Friday, December 10, 2004

Musical Tones

Tonight is opening night for the First Baptist Church of Fair Oaks' annual Christmas program. This year we are doing One Incredible Moment, a musical based on Max Lucedo's book of the same name, in which the birth of Jesus is highlighted as mankind's most incredible moment.

Yes, I'm in it! I have a short duet with one of our sopranos (Christie) to open the show. I've been working my tail off, what with overtime at work and nights at church, rehearsing. These shows are always a joy to be involved with, but everyone is always glad when we're done! They are a lot of work!

Shows are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at 7pm, with a matinee showing on Saturday at 3pm. No admission is ever charged, and no offering is taken. Just come and enjoy the show. It runs about 1 hour.

Whether or not you are a believer, sociologically one must admit, Jesus has had arguably the greatest impact on human history that one single man has ever, ever had. His followers and the beliefs they spread has influenced all of western society. The Christian credo of caring for your neighbor has been the basis for benevolence and charity throughout all of western civilization. The core ideas of personal responsibility and personal liberty, upon which the USA was founded, come from Jesus teachings. It can even be argued that the underpinnings of true communism have a basis in the way the early church pooled their resources, and gave to each as they had need, in order to advance the greater good of the Church and it's followers.

It's my opinion that there is no single individual who ever made a greater contribution to human history, or the direction of it's future. His teachings are as poignant and relevant today as they were 2000 years ago.

The pastor at my mom's church the other day said it well: "For those who believe, the most incredible moment in our lives occurred not during out lifetime, but 200o years ago."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Pearl Harbor Day

Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

It's a day seldom remembered anymore, at least not on the grand scale it once was. I remember, as a little kid back, in the '70's, having entire school days dedicated to Pearl Harbor Day and remembrances of the attack.

Of course, that was only 30 years after the end of WWII, and was not the "distant past" as it is now. (Think about it.... the memories of WWII during the 1970's were just as fresh for THAT generation of veterans, as memories of Vietnam are for today's veterans.) Most of the vets that served in 1941 are either passed on or getting very old. It won't be long before the memory of Pearl Harbor will live on only in textbooks and families directly related to Pearl Harbor survivors. An excellent website for those wanting to learn a little more about what really happened at Pearl Harbor is the National Geographic site devoted to it.

My hat is off today to all who served our nation during WWII, and especially those that endured the early days and the Pearl Harbor attack. They truly were, and will be for a long time, our Greatest Generation.

On to a lighter note:

I know we all get tons of e-mail from friends forwarding things that they just think are the funniest jokes and cutest pictures ever. However, once in a while I get an e-mail that deserves note.

A friend of mine from church sent me the following photo from a 1954 Popular Mechanics magazine:

Makes one realize just how long ago 50 years was, and then makes one wonder about the next 50 years, huh?

I love cats, and she also sent a series of photos under the e-mail heading: Best Positions In Bed.
Misleading, to say the least.

I don't want to hear from closet kitten haters, or even open, committed kitten haters. I love kittens and think they are adorable. If you don't, just pretend you do and enjoy the photos.

After all, Santa is watching.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

100 Years Is A Long Time

I got my car out of the repair shop last week, I think on the 30th. Obviously I haven't posted in a while.

Overall it wasn't too bad. The tension bar that keeps the alternator belt tight, and (get this), the "harmonic-balancer", which is tied into the tension bar, broke. Believe it or not, the Focus has some sort of little widget designed to counter natural engine vibrations so that the car runs quiet and smooth. Pretty cool actually, because before the car broke down, the engine vibes were getting noticeably louder and stronger. While they were down in there I had them replace the timing belt, too, since it was overdue and they had to open up the timing case to get at this harmonic-widget-thing anyway. Total damage: $950. Not SO bad, but dang... bad enough.

Now then, TODAY I spent the morning at my parent's church, New Hope Free Methodist Church at 41st & A Streets in Sacramento. Today they celebrated 100 years of ministry in Sacramento. The church office sent out dozens on invitations to alumni who'd left over the years to come back for a day of celebration, and to visit with old friends. I think there were about 150 people that showed up for church today.

Now, you need to understand, this is a LITTLE church right now. The regular congregation is probably 25-30 right now, maybe 40 on a good Sunday. 150 people today just about 1/2 filled the sanctuary. Lots of old friends with faces older than I remember (just as I'm sure I look to them), and many adults that I last remember seeing as young children. Pastor Patrick asked if I would come back and sing for the service, which I was only too glad to do. God seemed pleased, in His infinite wisdom, to bless be with a cold a few weeks back, and it's STILL hanging on! But that's OK, my voice has rebounded enough that the song went off without a hitch, and I'm told it was very good.

After service we had a catered lunch down in the fellowship hall. I ran into several people I literally have not seen in 20 or more years. A couple of girls (sisters) I went to elementary school with came, with their husbands and children. Talking to them, it was fascinating to see how much people change, and yet how much they stay the same. Both have matured into lovely women. Serious, they looked great. Last time I'd seen them was probably 1983. Both were tall and a bit lanky. They've matured into really pretty women. The change was astounding. But, even more interesting to me was that fact that their mannerisms hadn't changed at all. One still held her head a certain way when she talked, the younger sister still had a distinct smile (she has one of those smiles where one side is higher than the other, almost like a knowing smirk). They both walked the same, held their heads the same, had the same inflections in their voice when they talked, as they did 21 years ago.

Same goes for several other people I ran into. Age changes how we look, but it doesn't seem to do much to change the core of who we are.

Anyway, I had a wonderful time. A few people I was hoping to see didn't make it, and with that I'm a bit disappointed. Some of the older folks in the church have passed on since I was little. But the church goes on, in whatever form, just as it has for 100 years.

I looked at all the little kids today, and was wondering what memories they are going to have of places like that church when they are my age.