H-P Repents

February 12, 2011

Recently a Facebook friend posted a prayer of contrition that moved me so much that I saved it and sent it to our office printer. By the time I would get to the printer to pick it up, the copy of my prayer was gone. Repeatedly. Why anyone would swipe a prayer of contrition puzzled me, especially considering these colleagues of mine, who I thought were living decent lives. Several copies later I finally snagged one of my own.

In the process, the H-P printer itself soon displayed its own prayer of contrition, for good reason, we all thought:

“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you through my obstinate refusal to print your servants’ papers and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of power and the pains of dismantling, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life.”

We hope it will lead to transformed behavior. And my thanks to brilliant work-study students, Joyce, who captured the confession, and Daniel, who noted that we have here a “prayer of reprintance.”

[Look for upcoming posts on how to see humor in the Bible, on goat-hair ruses, and on David's daring dowry.]

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Nebraska National Forest

October 14, 2010

The sign pointed toward the “Nebraska National Forest.” My brother Mauri and I saw the sign, but as we sped along the interstate, the scenery made us wonder where they put the tree. Fred and Suzi Dow, national forest specialists, answered my curiosity (and smart-alecky skepticism):

“Yes, Virginia, there is a forest in Nebraska. … the largest hand-planted forest in the United States.” Apparently visionary botanists have been planting trees in Nebraska’s sandhills for over a century now, taking their cues from Indian legends about a pine forest there.

Two campgrounds offer recreation near the experimental forest – horseshoes, volleyball, gawking at non-native Ginkgo trees, etc. Those annoyed by trees can find a national forest campground in the wide-open spaces of the prairie overlooking the Dismal River. You can’t see it from the interstate. I have a friend who would love it. When he lived near us in western Oregon he complained that you couldn’t see anything – there were too many mountains, hills, and trees.

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The Pair Tree

October 12, 2010

A bit east of Mitchell beside Oregon’s Highway 26 is a tree the locals like to brag on. Folks there say that high school grads and other young folks tie old pairs of shoes together and toss them high to hang in the tree. I suspect they may have help from the young-at-heart and other admirers.

The sign on the tree’s trunk reads:

A BEARING TREE

NO CHERRIES OR PEACHES

JUST A FEW PAIRS

By now the Pair Tree has a great crop.

One friend told me she has seen a similar tree in Nebraska. Maybe there are others and you’ve seen one, too.

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Respect Mitchell’s Limits

September 29, 2010

Central Oregon astounds me. It’s full of wonder with the Painted Hills, fossil beds, evidence everywhere of a long geological history – a potpourri of stones, peaks, wide valleys, cinder cones and other volcano wanna-be’s. Highway 26 across the state winds through it. But, frankly, it’s a bit short on polite rest stops. So we’ve come to love, even look forward to Mitchell, where they keep a decent public restroom across the street from a small park and just up the road from gas, groceries, and a restaurant. As kind as they are, however, the good folks at Mitchell have limits and want everyone to respect them.

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Catered Affairs

September 23, 2010

A local sandwich shop displays a big sign: “HAVING AN AFFAIR? We cater.” Now I’m no expert on affairs, but this seems too grand, too public. Aren’t affairs usually hidden, secret, shocking to discover? I suppose lovers risking a tryst at a grand hotel might try room service. But catering? Tables piled high with meatball subs and broccoli-cheese soup, even in bread bowls, must tempt in ways I can’t imagine.

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Living in Fun

"Walking Cheerfully" is place to think out loud about how to use and enjoy humor in positive, life-giving ways. We’ll explore how following Christ in all of life can shape, not scuttle, laughter and creative play. What might it mean to laugh with others as you would have them laugh with you?

Probably the other most common posts will be "Finds in Fun." I first learned the phrase “being in fun” from Tom Mullen’s Laughing Out Loud and Other Religious Experiences. He points to the playfulness of children, who are readier to laugh and to see the silly than most adults. Living each day “in fun” often makes us laugh as we slog through a nearly endless supply of things odd, silly, klutzy, and preposterous. The stories here are mostly from my own ordinary, “in fun” days.

Fun Nooks and Crannies

There’s “Humor in the Bible,” and these posts explore where it is, how to find it, and what to do with it. It’s one way of thinking about how to read the Bible well.

Since a lot of us spend big chunks of time at work, the “Humor at Work” posts will suggest ways to stay sane and happy, to get along with cow-orkers, and to use humor to do good work.

I’m a book-pusher at heart, and some of my best friends push books, too. I even know some folks who read. So “Fun Books” posts will tell about books that are funny and help us think about humor.

Sometimes I’ll brag on some of the friends I’ve been given or share some photos I’ve enjoyed taking. Maybe you’ll laugh, maybe not, but they’ve brought joy in my journey.

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