Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Refrigerator Disaster - Could be Worse!

Yesterday we came home from an extended time at the beach to find...

our refrigerator stopped working about 5 days earlier.

Whew, you do NOT want this to happen to you!!!  It is a stinky, expensive mess.

Could be worse I guess, much worse.

Let's think about it:
  • Everyone is healthy!
  • We have employment in a great, enjoyable job.
  • We have NO felony convictions.
  • We live in a nice place where we enjoy peace.
  • No one, except for maybe a few students, is trying to kill us.
  • We have freedom of religion.
  • We are part of a great Christian congregation.
  • We have lots of good Christian Ministry opportunities.
  • We have food to eat (though not cold food at the moment).
G^d is good!  He has Blessed us abundantly.  I often think that along  with David, I say, "Who am I and what is my house that you have brought me this far?"  2 Sam 7:18.

G^d is good all the time.  Indeed.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Tale of Two Beaches (yes bEAches)

Brenda and I had a terrific two weeks over a Gulf Shores, west beach.  Then, due to an unforeseen opportunity, we got a week at Panama City Beach.  We have moved between beaches before, but not exactly like this.

The contrast between beaches was noteworthy. First of all, our end of PCB is the non-highrise end which means the beach is almost empty.  No really.  The beach in Gulf Shores was full.  There was space, but it was a valuable commodity.  Today at 10AM we had the whole beach to ourselves.  At its busiest, there were maybe a dozen people within 50 yards either side of us.

The Gulf Shores beach was constantly remodeling- which we enjoyed.  The PCB beach is very stable.  The GS beach was mostly easy walking, but the beach here is so sloped that it is a bit uncomfortable to walk.

The sand is white on both beaches, and the people are friendly. The sun is bright, and the water warm. Both beaches are wonderful, even though a bit different.

It’s hard to complain about a vacation at the beach!

Friday, September 25, 2015

More Small World Stories

26 Jul

We have been at the beach for two weeks.  Brenda knows that I keep on the lookout for someone I know. Last month, on our first beach trip of the summer we saw our optometrist.  This time we had been here for almost two weeks, and I was still looking.

Then there they were, one of my College of Educ colleagues from UA and her husband.  I recognized them immediately and we had a nice conversation.  Whew that box was checked off.

Later that day, I somehow struck up a conversation with a young man playing with his little daughter.  I asked him where he was from.

"Cleveland, TN", he said.

"Yeah, I know it, that's where Lee University is."

"Yeah," he said, "I went to Lee."

"One of my Ph.D. students teaches at Lee, Mike I."  I said.

"Yeah, Dr. I taught me exercise Physiology and Sport Nutrition and a couple more.  He's a great teacher."

Today, I ran into another College of Ed colleague and his finacee.

This AM, in Sunday School, our teacher is good friends with one of my friends.

It's a small world, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yet Another Disagreement

I have a lot of respect for one particularly thoughtful friend, with whom I disagree on occasion wholeheartedly.

My friend makes the good argument that Christianity MUST necessarily remain totally independent, in every way from the US Government.  I agree.

My friend, by application, objects vehemently to any particular recognition of Armed Forces veterans, since they act as agents of said government.  He objects to any recognition by the Christian Church that singles out these veterans. This is where we part company, on this exact point.

My friend never served in the Armed Forces.  He is NOT a veteran.  I went 4 years to the US Naval Academy, then served 8 more years on active duty accumulating over 2500 hours of flight time.  I supposed this partly explains our difference in perspective on this veteran thing. 

I know a lot of military veterans, 3 of my brothers included. Several of my friends are retired military officers. I have a tremendous respect and sense of gratitude for these men and women. Many came into the military largely out of ignorance, but that didn’t last long.  Somewhere in your first couple of weeks of military training it dawns on you that your NEW job is quite dangerous – and not likely to become any safer anytime soon.

We call it military “service” because all who “serve” are putting themselves into a situation where they may well DIE for their country, regardless of their personal patriotism, their political inclinations, or their views of governance.  They are trained to participate in war, in one role or another, but war nevertheless.  Their service does a great deal to protect the peace and prosperity of those back home.

Police officers, firefighters, Emergency medical technicians, and the US military are all part of service professions.  Jesus once told his disciples, “He who is greatest among you is SERVANT of all.”  All of these, much of their time, are serving a great many.  By that token they are great.

I am in favor of recognizing, as often as possible, all who serve in whatever capacity – including military veterans.

But, I might be wrong.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Philip Yancey

If you are not familiar with him, Philip Yancey is a very popular Christian writer from my home state of GA.  Yancey has written extensively about grace.  As a Bob jones Uni alumnus, grace is an important issue to him.  My oldest daughter, the very well-read one, says that all of Yancey’s books are about grace.

Perhaps so.  It is a very good topic, and so often misunderstood in part or in whole. I don’t want to digress.

Yancey is a plain-spoken writer.  I like that. He tells stories about real people, most of them unknowns.  I like that too.  He speaks practical truth. I like that as well.

Yancey has a LOT of Christian books on the market.  Look on Amazon.  I recommend him.

I think that Yancey is a very practical Christian. He sees the faults in the American Christian Church, and admittedly these are hard to miss, but they are difficult to discuss. His writing ought to be a great positive influence on American Christian.

Lord make it so!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sweet Anticipation

I wrote before about the pleasures of anticipation.  It is sweet indeed.

This morning, my son-in-law Ben mentioned something he had said in his grandmother's funeral last Monday.  I was at the funeral in Birmingham, and heard him tell about his grandmother.  His "grammy" used to mention, with apparently high frequency, the necessity of planning for the triumphant Return of Jesus.

Anytime any future event was mentioned, Grammy felt the necessity to remind anyone within earshot that the return of Jesus ought to be considered.  Her reminders emphasized the imminence of this event too.

And, I think Grammy had the RIGHT idea.

How would it change our thinking, if, in the front of our mind was the imminent return in ALL GLORY of The Messiah!

I am going to try to be a bit more like Grammy.

Monday, September 14, 2015

First day of school... 57 times!

  • 12 years of school
  • 4 years college
  • 2 years MS
  • 3.5 years Ph.D. (simultantoeus with 3.5 years Ph.D.)
  • 3 years teaching at VMI (simultantoeus with 2 years MA)
  • 3 years teaching at UGA
  • 29.5 years teaching at UA (1 year sabbatical at NASA, one term in Sweden)

For 57 years now, I have had a "first day of school".  I just had the first one of my 58th year.

First days carry much emotion:
  • Excitement,
  • Anticipation,
  • Trepidation.
As I have written before, I feel very privileged to have a job that has a distinct beginning.  First days are the  beginning. What will come?  Who will I meet?  What challenges, what opportunities, what trials, lie ahead?  Will it be a banner year, or a bust?  Will it generate many good memories, or regrets?

Lots of questions that will only be answered by time.

That gets me thinking about heaven.  One day we'll have a first day there!  But there won't be but one... for all eternity!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Beach Again

Brenda and I are at the beach again.  We love the beach. There’s something relaxing about the beach. There is no agenda, no schedule, no list of things to see and do.  The beach is sun and sand, and salt water.

For the first time ever, by an accident of the calendar, we had 3 weeks here.  The first week we had kids, spouses and grandkids.  This week and next it is just us.

Being here this long, we have noticed the constant remodeling that the beach undergoes. When we first arrived, the beach was one long gentle slope to the water.  A couple of days later, there was a 3-foot embankment cut by the current and high tide. Most recently the bank had shrunk to 18-20 inches and a more manageable slope.  Further down the beach the changes were noteworthy as well.

The wildlife is also something to see.  Our grandson Isaac loved hunting ghost crabs with a flashlight at night.  Naturally he named one crabby.  Sunday afternoon, after a severe thunderstorm, the ocean was dead flat.  Then, right in front of our balcony a whole pod of dolphins were chasing fish. I had seen them about 3 times before, the show this time was special.  We also saw a brown pelican, once endangered but now plentiful, diving for fish.  Of course the gulls are ever present and ever entertaining with their aerial acrobatics.

The most interesting wildlife, of course, are the humans. Let me tell you, we have gotten out of hand with the tattoos!  They are abundant and some people have a super abundance of them. Of course we are #2 in the world on obesity, and the beach verifies that data too.

One thing I like about the beach, is the simplicity of clothing. I get up in the AM, put on my swimsuit/running shorts, get my running shoes on and a visor to try to mitigate the sweat in my eyes, and take off for a run.  I take off my shoes and visor, and I am ready for the entire day in the ocean, or a shower and dip in the pool.  Sand is no problem, it is just part of the beach.

The beach, as always is relaxation.  Everyone has the same goal- sun, sand, saltwater.  It’s simple, it’s natural, it pleasurable.

And that’s hard to beat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


One of the most striking things about this venture overseas this year, was the abundance of flowers.  In Italy there were some great flowers, and the smell of jasmine was a most pleasant shock on several occasions.  However, England appeared to be one huge flower arrangement.  The hills were alive, not with the sound of music, but with the bright yellow blossoms of the rape seed plants that filled acre after acre (yes we got the measurement of acreage from the Brits).

I’m guessing that England’s abundance of both rainfall and sunshine this time of year gave just the right conditions for floral flourishing.  Maybe it's always this way, and I simply never noticed before.

Flowers are interesting.  So many varieties, and so much of the populace of the world find the same beauty in them.  I have marveled to see some house plants all around the world.  In Sweden, orchids are extremely popular as an indoor flower.  They are also popular with Brenda.

I have to admit, I like flowers, all types a lot too.  I think this is a small argument for G^d's existence.  Humans recognize, and generally agree upon, the beauty of flowers, many of which are not only NOT good for food, they are poisonous.  That is, they have no survival value, they just give a bit more value to life.  Why did G^d make flowers, and in such enormous variety?  One day we can ask.

In the meantime, let's just enjoy a few photos from England.

And trust me, these picts were randomly chosen from among hundreds.  Hope you enjoyed them.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Phillip Bishop Funeral Plan

July 2015

We attended a funeral service today which was very nice.  It got me to thinking about my own funeral.  Why let someone else plan something so personal.  So, here is an OUTLINE of my funeral:

Desired Tombstone Inscription for Brenda and Phil:  Followers of the Christ   

These are my present desires for a funeral service:

1  1)  Prayer - invocation
    2)    Bio (also for obituary announcement):
a.       Lifelong Disciple of The L^rd Jesus the Christ (said that way)
b.      Married to Brenda for __ years.
c.       Five children, __ grandchildren.
d.      An active missionary and professor- in that order.
    3)     Prayer – for lost
4  4)     Sermon: Joy of Heaven
a.       For what doth it profit a man… (Matthew 16:26)
b.      Phil 1:21
c.       I Thess 4: 13-18

d.      Call of the Christ to be Saved in Him (Phil 3:14)
e.      Jokes in Scripture:
                                                               i.      Luke 16:31  even if one rises from the dead, they will not believe
                                                             ii.      Matt 6: 27 American Standard Version
And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life?  (This is a gag intentional by the Christ).
5  5)      Joke time:
a.       All surviving brothers share one or more jokes.
b.      Anyone else share joke.
6  6)     Prayer: for Joyous living
    7)   Music:  Interspersed as desired:
a.       Amazing Grace
b.      How He Loves
c.       I’ll Fly Away
8  8)    Prayer: Benediction- notice how MUCH Praying was done (4 times)- “Overworked and under-prayed”.