Tuesday, December 18, 2012

pieces of my past

I am becoming a dinosaur. A relic of a time past that, in my mind, reflects a simpler time. A time where life seemed to be more well-defined, boundaries were understood, and expectations somewhat clearer.

A throw back to the days of Blue Laws (where certain things/stores/places could not be open on Sunday, aka: The Sabbath) which compelled one to stay home with family or go to grandma's place after church for the usual fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and whatever else was put on the table.

A slower time. A state of innocence.

Enter the new world. The Next Generation for you Trekkies. A time of 24/7 busyness. An internet world where literally everything is at your disposal at all times. Where relationships consists of electronic transmissions via text, social media, or email. Whens the last time you bought a stamp? yep. thought so.

Shopping for christmas gifts this year, it struck me just how much we rely on gadgets for our lives. Smart phones, Tablets, Ipods, electronic Furby's (as if the old ones were not bizarre enough), flat screen tvs. The list could go on and on. My favorite tv shows now are Toy Hunter, Pawn Stars, American Pickers. There is a recurring theme here: these shows are about items, and these items are usually something from the past. A bygone era. And since I am also, it resonates with me. And I believe it resonates with lots of folks who remember. I believe this is part of the success and popularity of these shows. People can indentify with a simpler time. Something from their past.

So, to help keep me in touch with my past, I bought a Stetson Felt Cowboy Hat this week. Not just any ol' Cowboy hat, but a full blown genuine authentic Stetson Cowboy hat that makes anyone, not just cowboys, take notice. Its a 5X Beaver Silverbelly and its a thing of beauty. Its the kind the "good guys" wore in the old westerns (pre Tombstone and Wyatt Earp movies). And it says "Made in USA" inside on the hatband. Growing up, all the old men and cowboys wore these. The Marshal and Sheriff wore them.
The Texas Rangers law enforcement group, not baseball team, still wear them today. When I was a youngster the town marshal would give me his old hat when he bought a new one and I would wear it with pride. I still have his shotgun that he left to my dad when he died and my dad passed it to me.

And I don't really know why I bought it. Heck, I didn't have one so there's that. And I look pretty silly in a hat really. But something drew me to that hat. A connection with a time past. My grandfather always wore a Stetson hat, and over the years it showed the wear from the sweat stains around the base of the crown, and yellowing at the front of the brim by the constant swirl of cigarette smoke that came from whatever cig he had in his mouth during the day. A remeberance from my youth. Something tangible from a bygone era. And I got one. And I plan on wearing it.

I don't care what others will think of it when I wear it. Its not really about them. Its about me. A statement to a fast paced, latest fad, electronic consumerist gadget society that I can still be me, tied to the past, here in the present.

Of course the irony is I bought the hat on Ebay using a computer and pay pal account. but still. ~npp

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Public Service Announcement from NPP - please read

What I type here just may save your quality of life or that of someone you know and love. I could not in good conscious keep this to myself if i can help someone else. I was poisoned three months ago. Yes. Poisoned. Poisoned by a medication I had never taken before and come to find out leaves 100s of people (and counting) in pain, disabled, and numerous other descriptors (including suicide). The drug was Ciproflaxicin. Known as Cipro. A synthetic antibiotic. It is in a class of drugs known as FLOUROQUINOLONES and includes several different names including Levaquin and almost anything ending in flaxicin. You can see a little list and some info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_effects_of_fluoroquinolones I had went to the doctor for a small pain and it was suspected I had an infection (similar to a urinary tract infection) and was prescribed CIPRO. I had no knowledge of this medication except that it was an antibiotic and was supposed to help me. Five days into this medication I began having pain in my hips and groin area. Ceased medication and given another antibiotic. But the damaged had been done. The medication attacked my lymph nodes in the groin, prostrate gland, hip and pelvic joints which makes it painful to walk, tendons and ligaments from the waste down. I was unable to walk for almost 2 weeks and in severe pain for three weeks then moderate to severe pain for another month. Tons of research latter (not to mention medical visits, changing doctors, MRIs, CTscans, Xrays, Ultrasounds, Blood Work, Urinalysis, Meds for prostate now that I never had issues with before) I have found that this drug is very dangerous and was developed initially as s SUPER DRUG to fight those things that normal antibiotics will not work on and are supposed to be used as a last line of defense drug. Drs. now consider it a first line catch-all drug that will take care of anything and it does, including healthy cells and tissues. It was widely used in the ANTHRAX scares about 2o years ago with devastating effects on those prescribed to. It has ruined several young people's lives who were previously totally healthy. Teh Public Broadcasting System (PBS) did a documentary on this in 2011 which I will attach here. Please watch it. Please do not take this class of medication IF there is any other antibiotic that will work on your issue. The risks are too high and too devastating. I am just over three months into this and fortunately am not in as much pain anymore, have regained a lot of my mobility (although it is limitied in how far I can walk and how long I can stand) and it is still effecting my nervous system as I have shooting pains down my legs and buttucks (nerve endings) which makes it difficult to set for periods of time either. I have missed family reunions, a funeral of an uncle that i was asked to be a Pall Bearer, have not been able to teach my class at church in over three months, missed church altogether for 2 months, and cannot do easy things I used to : like mow the lawn and work on stuff. But I am getting better. Slowly. Day to Day. Which is better than hundreds of others I have networked with on blog sites like www.survivingcipro.com and quinolone vigilance foundation. I am hoping to make a full recovery so I can have my life back the level it was at. I am grateful to God that I am not fully disabled as I feared I would be. Please watch this clip. I would hate to think that any of you would end up like this if I had the opportunity to let you know ahead of time the potential it has for destroying your life. I wish I had known. My family will never be taking this ever. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/jan-june11/antibiotics_06-16.html

The Shack - Revisited!

A new book by C Baxter Kruger, PH.D. is an indepth review/commentary/theological discussion on the popular book THE SHACK published a few years ago by William Paul Young that spurred discussion on many fronts - mostly in favor of and a few who attacked him for heresy. When I see something labeled heresy, I read it. THE SHACK REVISITED needs to be read AFTER reading The Shack, hence the word Revisited. A lot of discussion goes into the thoughts and struggles of Paul Young who had a tumultous early life and had come to know God (Papa), Jesus, and Saraya (The Holy Spirit) in more relational terms outside the boundaries of conformed doctrine. (hence the attackes of heresy as God is portrayed as a middle aged african american woman) and other issues. Kruger examines these characters closely in light of the struggles of all of us, including the main character Mackenzie (loosely a reflection of Paul Young) and goes into depth on the trinitarian nature of God, Jesus and Holy Spirit and where these three meet us in our lives. Its not a lectionary book. Its not supportive of doctrine. It is reflective. Thoughtful. Insightful. Which is why I guess Paul Young and Kruger have become friends and have toured together all over the place (US, Europe, etc) talking about these two books and sharing their stories and insights. Reading THE SHACK REVISITED makes me want to reread THE SHACK again in a different light, now that I know more of the motivation behind why Paul Young wrote the story and his life journey. If you are a fan of THE SHACK, you will want to read this. ~npp

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

a new book Hometown Prophet

Being the Original NonProfitProphet, a book titled Hometown Prophet was sure to get my attention. Its by Jeff Fulmer of Tennessee and is a work of fiction centered around the central character "Peter" who is kind of drifting in life, has had some letdowns, and has returned home to live with his mother and is beating himself up about his seemingly "Loser" life. Not wanting to give the book away, he begans to have a series of "visions" or "dreams" that come true, but sometimes being a prophet (don't I know it) is tough work. *See Bible for how they were mostly treated, stoned, fed to lions, etc. Being a prophet involves being a truth teller, even if the truth isn't what people really want to hear. Though this book centers more on prophetic dreams that come true, a lot of the job of a prophet is to see through the politics, the haze, the B.S. as we call it here in the States, and call it like it is. And this character plays the part of the relunctant prophet because it is tough, and who really wants to be that guy? There is good character development, it is relevant to hot topics of the day concerning immigration, environment, pastorial egos and church politics, differing styles of religion, a love angle, and is written well enough where it keeps you engaged in the story for the entire 300plus pages. My wife even read this book and she typically does not read my books. It needed a little editorial work as there were several places where the wrong words were left in or double typed that was a bit distracting, but overall I would recommend this book as a good read, not terribly taxing on the brain, but gives a good story. It is a fairly believable story that could just possibly happen in the present day - even though modern day prophets (like myself) are seeminly rare. If you read it, let me know your thoughts. ~npp

Friday, May 25, 2012

So God Is Love? eeeh sorta

"I Love You So Much I don't Want to See you get Hurt!". These words were spoken by a father to a seven year old son who was attempting to climb outside of his two-story home by way of window ledge and got stuck, hanging on with his little boy hands to the wooden frame of the window. The panicked father grabbed the boy by the arms and pulled him in with such force the boy landed across the room. The father stated the above and walked out of the room, visibly shaken and trying to regain his composure. Much is said of our Heavenly Father loving us. "God is Love" is used alot. Its a passage from 1 John 4:8 and other references throughout the scriptures and there is no doubt that this is true. What seems to be lost in translation for us today is just what does this Love mean? How are we defining that Love? The question bears some thoughtfulness. Another very popular passage is John 3:16 which every kid learns at Vacation Bible School or Sunday School or wherever, and I would imagine that even non-church folks have heard it somewhere "For God so Loved the world that ....". yes. I left off the last part on purpose. Because God loved the world so much what? The what is...He did something. "God as Love" isn't a state of being as much as a state of purpose or action. When we love something we do things to show it through some action, whether that be saying it, buying flowers for our special someone, endulging in their interests when it isn't ours, spending time, and many other things. Sometimes our demonstration of love is different. We tell our children "NO" in certain circumstances because we know from experience that some behaviors are injurious. We teach them at an early age to look both ways before crossing a street. To not touch a hot stove top. To bundle up when dressing for a cold day. God isn't much different with his children. As the story above illustrates, God Loves Us So Much he doesn't want to see us get hurt. Beat up. Harm ourselves. Make bad life choices that He knows are not in our best interests. Not look both ways when crossing the street. Engaging in behaviors that have life long consequences in both the physical as well as mental realm. And as children, we often rebel against this Love. This Love that infringes upon our self-determination that we know best for us. We do not like being told that certain behaviors are not pleasing to God because it is pleasing to us. Our hedonistic desires compell us to be self pleasure seeking. As a child, we have all engaged in behavior that we were told not to by our parents or grandparents because they knew of the dangers that we were not aware of, or chose to ignore. Many times we were caught doing so, or by injuring ourselves our parents found out. I am reminded of that iconic scene in the movie "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie finally does get his Red Ryder BB Gun for christmas from his father (against his mother's wishes). As stated throughout the movie, when Ralphie would say he wanted one for christmas, everyone's response was "you'll shoot your eye out". And of course he almost does. Did his dad let him almost shoot his eye out? of course not. His father loved him so much he wanted to see his Son happy and bought him the gun anyway. Sometimes Love involves risks. Sometimes it has consequences. But it is not stagnant. It is action. Lately it seems that we have confused Love with something that is more akin to a vaste space of limitless acceptance where we are no longer responsible for ourselves or others. A place where guidance and wisdom is viewed as judgement. A place where long held and time trusted value systems are no longer regarded as relevant. A place where christians are no longer allowed to engage the culture. Where it is no longer okay to tell a child to look both ways before crossing the street without having to explain why. We are doing a disservice to our world with this approach. People are getting hurt. They are lost in a sea of secular culture that debases human relationships to their lowest of levels. A culture that promotes the famous Nike marketing of "just do it" without considering the consequences for the person or the collatoral damage the actions have on others. There are healhty boundaries that we are aware of but are becoming increasingly silent about for fear of being lambasted by those who do not wish to hear. It is sad to see that little boy hanging onto the window frame with his tiny little boy hands...and no father coming to his rescue. ~npp

Saturday, April 21, 2012

and I saw Jesus just briefly...

it happened. right here in my little neck of the woods. I saw Jesus. Briefly. Given my numerous years on the planet I think brief is a good descriptor. but still... i saw him. my post before this one about ChristMAS I mentioned the lawsuit against the small texas town by anti-religious/atheists folks. well here's an update. The person in his 60s who brought the lawsuit had to drop it due to medical expenses he started incurring due to an illness/disease that is causing him to go blind. And he drives a taxi for a living. Yes, can't work. Can't afford a lawsuit. Can't afford the operation that will help his condition. Now some of you reading this have already had the thought that God was at work here. Nope. Not yet. But its coming...keep reading. One sweet little church member of this community saw a news report about this man and went to her pastor...to find out what they could do.... for this athiest... who had filed a lawsuit against them....who was going blind. Then started taking up donations to pay for his surgery for him. And they sent him the money. A bunch of christians showed love to a person. A love thy enemy kind of deal. A pray for those who persecute you scenario. Love thy neighbor as thyself. now you got it... Jesus had showed up. However briefly on the timeline of humanity in my small area of the world, Jesus showed up in the form of his followers and carried out the christianity that He had intended. The athiest could not believe it. He said for the first time in his life for he and his also athiest wife, christians treated him like the thought their bible said they were supposed to. His previous encounters with "christians" had not seemed very "christlike" it appears. He still doesn't believe in God, but somehow he now has a different opinion of what a christian might actually be.... jesus on earth. however briefly. ~npp