A tragic tale of New Year’s Eve disappointment

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Usernet123u, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the best things to come out of the pandemic here in Bedford County is the Catch The Wave-Shelbyville Food Mob Facebook group, started to promote locally-owned restaurants, food trucks and the like.

Not every post has to do with brick-and-mortar restaurants. Someone asked about tamales the other day, and a woman posted that she was taking orders for homemade tamales, to be picked up at 1 p.m. New Year’s Eve.

I love homemade tamales. I remember one of the first times my California-born sister-in-law was with us for the holidays, she made a big batch of tamales. I live in an apartment complex with a high percentage of Latino residents, and there used to occasionally be someone selling them door-to-door, and they were great. A couple of other times, I’ve found out about someone who sold tamales; I remember meeting someone in a CVS parking lot a year or two ago to make the handoff, and I felt like a drug dealer. …

Goose Pond United Methodist Church, December 27, 2020

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Luke 2:22–40 (CEB)

When the time came for their ritual cleansing, in accordance with the Law from Moses, they brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. (It’s written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord.”) They offered a sacrifice in keeping with what’s stated in the Law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He was righteous and devout. He eagerly anticipated the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he wouldn’t die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple area. Meanwhile, Jesus’ parents brought the child to the temple so that they could do what was customary under the Law. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God.
He said,“Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation. You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples. It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel.”
His father and mother were amazed by what was said about him. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your innermost being too.”
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, who belonged to the tribe of Asher. She was very old. After she married, she lived with her husband for seven years. She was now an eighty-four-year-old widow. She never left the temple area but worshiped God with fasting and prayer night and day. She approached at that very moment and began to praise God and to speak about Jesus to everyone who was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
When Mary and Joseph had completed everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their hometown, Nazareth in Galilee. The child grew up and became strong. …

A familiar game show in a new disguise, with some twists

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After decades of having to work Christmas Eve at the newspaper, this year — as a county government employee — I got off both Christmas Eve and the day before Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve, about midday, I took a load of laundry to the laundromat. While I was sitting waiting on it, I happened to notice a game show on TV. Now, I grew up in the golden age of daytime game shows; I owned the “Concentration” home game. I loved “Match Game.” I was on a game show on TNN in the late 1980s (and again three years later). …

Goose Pond United Methodist Church, December 20, 2020

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Jan van Eyck, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Luke 1:26–38 (NRSV)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” …

Can you make fun of a good movie? Sure you can.

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“They’re not laughing at you, honey, they’re lauging with you.”

One of the things that a child must be taught is the distinction between mean-spirited mockery and affectionate amusement.

Does this distinction apply to movies? You can certainly laugh at a bad movie, but can you laugh affectionately at a good one?

Anyone who follows me on social media knows that I’m a huge fan of a TV show called “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” It started on local Minneapolis television, then ran for seven seasons on Comedy Central (1989–96) and three seasons (1997–99) on Sci-Fi (now SyFy). …

Colonies versus homeland, and brother versus brother

For the past few weeks, Charlie Baber’s terrific Wesley Bros. webcomic (and the blog post Baber writes to accompany each week’s comic) has been tackling the 1784 “Christmas Conference” which represented the beginnings of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. It’s a fascinating story, both for its historical significance and its family drama. I should probably just tell you to go read it at Baber’s site, but I decided to take a stab at it myself.

First, we must set the scene. John Wesley, who is generally considered the father of Methodism (although he was by no means its only founder), and his brother Charles were lifelong members of the Church of England, which was an official, government-sanctioned, government-affiliated church. Other churches were permitted, but had to apply to the government for a license. …

Goose Pond United Methodist Church
December 13, 2020

John 1:6–8, 19–28 (CEB)

A man named John was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.
— -
This is John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”

John confessed (he didn’t deny but confessed), “I’m not the Christ.”

They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

John said, “I’m not.”

“Are you the prophet?”

John answered, “No.”

They asked, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. …

A chilling tale of heteronormativity, card games, fabulous accessories and a couch potato

In the evenings, while half paying attention to the TV, I will sometimes stretch out on the couch and play games on my tablet. I do this, perhaps, too often.

My go-to games are the New York Times crossword and spider solitaire. But I every now and then get itchy for something else to play. I was cruising the Google Play store a few weeks back and found a computer version of the card game Phase 10.

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Phase 10 is made by Mattel (keep that in mind; you’ll need it later), and is a cousin to the classic Uno, also made by Mattel. …

Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church, November 29, 2020

1 Corinthians 1:3–9 (CEB)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always for you, because of God’s grace that was given to you in Christ Jesus. That is, you were made rich through him in everything: in all your communication and every kind of knowledge, in the same way that the testimony about Christ was confirmed with you. The result is that you aren’t missing any spiritual gift while you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also confirm your testimony about Christ until the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. …

Rob Schneider, Roger Ebert, Citizen Kane and hillbillies

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Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in “Citizen Kane.”

A few minutes ago, someone in a Facebook group I follow made a reference to “Hillbilly Elegy” and another member of the group, unaware of the new film adaptation, responded, “you mean the book?” He was quickly brought up to speed.

I chimed in as well. If he was a reader of the book, he might be pleased to learn about the movie adaptation, but I warned him that I’d read several negative reviews, the common thread being that the movie (which I have not seen, and thus have no opinion on) condescends to its Appalachian setting rather than trying to understand it. I’ve read this same basic comment in several different reviews, and that tends to make me take it more seriously. …


John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at http://www.lakeneuron.com/dislike

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