Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Lord God Almighty and His Duck Matilda

My hat is old.
My teeth are gold.
I had a duck I liked to hold.
And now my story is all told.

These words of that great American poet Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss, (1904-1991) sum up my day Tuesday.

Yes, Matilda the duck is no longer with us.

Beginning on May 13th, my blog has periodically chronicled how this wild duck came to stay in our back yard after being attacked by a raccoon.

We have fed the duck. We bought a pool for the duck. We protected the duck from neighborhood cats.

And we learned from the duck.

Ginny and I enjoyed a perfect day together yesterday. We lingered over coffee talking. We lounged in our swimming pool. We read our books. We napped. We enjoyed a two-hour lunch at a favorite restaurant talking about raising children, Indonesia, computers, and a host of other topics.

We decided that Matilda the duck no longer needs the refuge and safety of our yard. We decided that we should take her to a local park with a lake sprinkled with other ducks. We feared that as her wings became stronger she might fly over our fence and land in a neighbor’s yard among dogs. We decided that the best thing to do for her was to set her free.

It may sound dumb but we prayed about our decision.

Yes, we prayed for a duck.

The Scripture says that God knows every sparrow that falls.

Maybe so, but are ducks included in God’s care?

One of my favorite hymns is All Creatures Of Our God And King, written by St. Francis of Assisi. In his poem, Francis calls upon all nature, clouds, winds, birds, animals, men to praise our Creator.

When I looked at Matilda the duck, I’d remember the words of the poet William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878).

Bryant watched a waterfowl flying across a marsh and thought about how the good Lord God guides us through life:

He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Ginny and I tossed a wet beach towel over a protesting Matilda.

We were carefully not to squeeze her or to break a feather.

Ginny drove while I cradled the frightened duck in my lap.

We parked as close to the lake as possible.

Here’s an old postcard showing where we released Matilda:

We carried a bag of bread scraps. Ginny scattered the crumbs in one place to attract the other ducks away while I unwrapped Matilda at the far side of the pond.

Oh, she was happy to be free.

In her own element, she flapped and dove and preened…

Then three male mallards saw her and attacked. They chased her around the edge of the pond. They chased her out of the water, pecking and grabbing her neck and fighting over her.

Were they killing her?

Were they mating?

I ran over and kicked the three males away.

Matilda ran quacking up under a hedge with the three males charging in hot pursuit. Great squawking and shaking of bushes.

Soon the three mallards emerged.


They began chasing another female across the grass.

We searched the undergrowth, but saw no further sign of Matilda.

We think they killed her.

As a Christian I believe (barely) that Scripture which says, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose”.

That’s a tenant of my faith. But why does it so often seem otherwise in my day to day experience? Why do so many of our efforts seem so futile?

Why would God allow us the nurse this duck back to health only to have her raped or killed by her own kind?

That makes no sense to me in my limited human experience. Maybe it does make sense in some vast eternal plan, but it doesn’t seem right to me in the here and now where I live.

My faith says “Good”.

My experience says “Crap”.

I can not deny my personal observation of life; neither can I deny the love of God.

It’s hard for me but I try to move beyond my own observations and experiences to a place where I can say with Paul, the quintessential realist, “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

I believe that.

On a shallow level I really do believe that..

But sometimes, even when you do what is reasonable, even when you act with the best intentions, even when you plan ahead, even when you do what is right, even when you do what is logical, even when you pray — even then, your duck gets screwed.

Or worse.

Oh well, Hurricane Season begins tomorrow.

Here in Florida, we’re now ready!:

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 3:26 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Let Not The Sun Go Down ...

Donald’s girlfriend had nor read my blog yesterday but when she arrived at our Memorial Day cookout, she handed me this hand-woven silk bookmark from Indonesia.

How’s that for coincidence?

She and Donald also brought her parents to meet us for the first time.


Remember the chair cushions I mistakenly sent off to the mission last week? Well, Wes arrived at the party bringing his own chair, one large enough to fit his robust form. So no problem with chairs.

Remember how I’d sent two loads of stuff to the mission last week? Well Barbara brought six huge bags of clothes for us to take to the mission; so our house is again full of mission donations!

Warren and Carol brought in so much food that they needed a garden cart to transport it. Helen’s mother brought Ginny flowers. Eve brought buns. Donald brought drinks. Jennifer brought ice cream sandwiches. And the girl next door brought the baby which outshined even Matilda the duck as star of the show; never have I seen a better behaved baby, A real charmer.

A great contribution to the party’s success was made by a lady who was not even there, one I have never met face to face, my e-friend Jamie Dawn.

In her blog a few months back, Ms Dawn revealed how to make a 15-foot high gusher by adding Mentos breath mints to a bottle of diet Coke. As soon as I read her formula, I realized that this could be used to illustrate a Bible verse:

“Let not the sun go down on your wrath”.

During our devotional time after the meal (we’ve followed this custom for ages) I spoke on this phrase.

Here’s, more or less, what I said:

Last week I yelled at a book.

It was a self-help book and a phrase in it touched a nerve.

Last week the news said south of us In Miami, a man threw his two children out of a 15-story hotel window, then jumped himself.

Last week a young man just north of us ran his car into a family at a McDonalds, then backed up and ran over them again.

Last week at a public event in Germany a young man went berserk, pulled out a knife and stabbed more than 20 strangers as he ran through the crowd.

I don’t know about the other guys, but I yelled at that book because I’ve been holding some anger inside, harboring it in my heart.

I hold grudges and I still feel angry over slights that I received 50 years ago. These little white mints represent different things I feel angry about:

This mint is one of my first memories — my mother swatted me with a broom and knocked me down a flight of stairs. I still feel angry about that.

This one is for a boss who told me to shut a window.

This one is my first wife.

This one…

Holding grudges inside, keeping anger in my heart, builds pressure and frustration and depression. I’ve heard that depression is anger turned inward. Or if anger breaks out, then you end up yelling at books or other violent things.

This bottle of diet coke bottle represents my heart.

Let’s see what happens when I hold all these petty slights, resentments, bitterness, anger in my heart.

Do not try this at home! I am a professional!

(When the first mint hit the coke, the foam spewed 15 feet in the air. Spectacular! Thanks Jamie. I wish I’d got pictures.)

Well, we see what happens when I regard iniquity in my heart. “Let not the sun go down on your wrath”.


I have three suggestions:

One: when I feel anger over something somebody does to me, I need to remember the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me”. I ask the Lord to remind me of a time when I have done the same sort of thing to someone else as is being done to me. And Bingo! He does that. He shows me times when I have been unjust to you children, of times I have been unreasonable with Ginny, of times I have belittled, cheated —made life harder for someone than it needs to be. Forgive me of my trespasses just as I forgive so and so for pissing me off right now.

Second: And I think this is the hardest thing any Christian is ever called on to do. In His sermon from the Mount, Jesus said, “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”.

Go directly to the person involved and get straight.

Don’t complain to your friend. Don’t tell your wife. Don’t seal it inside. Go directly to the other person and straighten things out face to face.

Third, the same passage that says “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath, says, “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind”. This passage is from St. Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, chapter 4, verses 21 through 32.

Be renewed in the spirit of my mind. A thing that helps me with this when I begin to feel anger, to feel bitterness and resentment build, when my train of thought goes negative — I say the word STOP! I say it out loud. I break that train of thought by the word STOP! and put my mind on a new track. And I do this as often as necessary.

Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.

Last week, I saw a tee-shirt in a mail-order catalog that came in; the shirt said:

Don’t Go To Bed Angry
Stay Up All Night Plotting Revenge!

After the devotional talk, some folks sat chatting, some took a nap, some strolled next door to visit dogs, some exchanged recipes, some splashed in the pool, some clipped cuttings from garden plants to root, some ate more goodies…

Some talked travel: Yosemite, Arkansas, San Francisco, Blue Springs

And one stole Ginny’s lucky bamboo and a birdfeeder.

But I’m not angry at him.

Not me.

Just told him to get out of town by sundown!

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:19 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Monday, May 29, 2006

Thinking About Indonesia

Over the weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about Indonesia.

Last year about this time (see May 26th and June 21st blog archives) a company in Indonesia published a translation of a little book I wrote on prayer.

The Indonesian publisher’s website is http://www.perkantas.org/literatur_nasional/

Before I got word about this translation, I could hardly find Indonesia on a map.

It’s about as far away from where I live as you can get and still be on this earth. Since the publisher first contacted me I have followed the fate of the people of this beautiful country daily in Google news and on tv.

The news has seldom been good.

In January, 2005, the tsunami struck killing 200,000 people in Indonesia.

In February, another earthquake killed another 9,000. Humanitarian relief workers have been shot as they tried to help.

An outbreak of polio killed over 50 children and crippled scores of others. A car bomb set off in a Christian market place killed 25 and mangled many others. Churches have been burned and Christians live in daily jeopardy.

Five teenaged Christian girls on their way to school were beheaded by a Muslim mob.

Another earthquake on March 28th, 2005 killed another 900 people.

In East Timor civil war erupted. What began as a schism within the military spilled over to the general population, which is divided on geographical lines of east and west, or those perceived to have been pro-Indonesian against those who wanted independence.

Rival gangs torched homes and battled with machetes for a third day yesterday. Fire across the city filled the sky with smoke, and the streets were strewn with smoldering debris while Black Hawk helicopters roared overhead. The United Nations evacuated personnel over the weekend.

Also, over this past weekend another seven people in a single family died of bird flu. All had earlier tested positive for the H5N1 virus in a local laboratory. Bird flu has now infected 48 people in Indonesia, 36 of whom died.

This morning’s news says another five people in Indonesia have tested positive.

Some of the bird flu victims avoided hospitals and sought help from alternative medical sources which news reports call witchdoctors. \

Indonesia has had three major bomb attacks in the past two years. Bombings at a Bali nightclub killed 202 people in 2002, a bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in September killed nine people and a blast at the Marriott Hotel in the October left a dozen people dead.

All three attacks were blamed on an arm of al Qaeda.

This past Saturday morning another massive earthquake hit Indonesia. At least 5,000 people died instantly and over 20,000 injured people overran hospitals. Doctors and nurses flattened cardboard boxes on the ground in parking lots to use as hospital beds.

According to Google News, Rani Indrawati, from the village of Bagulon Kulon, said, “We’ve got no clean water, no food. No one has come to help us so we’re going to eat air to survive.”

Another survivor said, “We’re short of everything—clothes, food, water, all are gone. We are poor people, but our lives matter.”

In the midst of all that anguish and turmoil, I question how my little book fits.

The title of my book in Indonesian is Mengapa Doaku Tidak Dikabulkan.

I have no idea how to pronounce that.

In English, the title of the book is: Why Don’t I Get What I Pray For? Or, in a more recent edition, I’m Confused About Prayer. It is a frivolous religious humor book with hardly any redeeming social value.

Yet the translators and folks who produced the book over there have been through Hell to bring this bit of froth into print.

Over the years a number of bits and pieces of my work has been translated into various languages but none of the others have captured my attention as this one in Indonesian. Indonesia is, I think, the most populous Moslem nation on earth.

I’m not so vain as to think that people over there are sitting in the rubble reading copies of my book on prayer, but I do hope that my books is of some comfort to somebody there and that it may act as a protoevangelium to some person thinking about becoming a Christian.

I think about Indonesia a lot.

If you’re interested in buying a copy of the English edition of this book, I’m Confused About Prayer, go to www.lulu.com/bluefish ;-- If you can’t afford to buy a copy, look in the left-hand column of my website, http://www.cowart.info/ under the title Why Don’t I Get What I Pray For? And you can read it on line for free. --- Same book, different editions.

And, if you are inclined to pray for the troubled land of Indonesia, please ask the Lord to use this little book to honor Himself and to help troubled folks in pain.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:57 AM

Your comments are welcome: 4 comments

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Yard Work All Day Saturday

Did yard work all day Saturday.

Here I am taking a break:

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:20 AM

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Now, Where Could They Have Gone?

On Monday, May 22nd, and Tuesday, May 23rd, I wrote about clearing junk out of my shed.

Remember that?

I wrote it down.

I mentioned throwing out three garbage cans of useless, no longer needed items.

On Wednesday, May 24th, I mentioned delivering a pick-up truck full of useable goods to one rescue mission. Then on Thursday, May 25th, I sent another car-load of donations to another mission.

These mission donations are not acts of charity because I was not giving anything I treasure myself but stuff I no longer have any use for. I think charity means actually giving the best, not castoffs.

Be that as it may, I actually put down in writing this statement:

For a man who is not a materialist, I own a lot of junk. Books, old computer parts, file drawers, fossils, statues, teaching gimmicks, natural history samples, broke things that need to be glued back together, a clock for me to repair, tools I’ll need someday, and who knows what all else fill this shed.

I filled three garbage cans with stuff I’m sure I will never need again — until next week when a need for it is sure to arise.

Well, yesterday as Ginny and I prepared for a family cookout on Monday, my beautiful, understanding wife, who looks so young and vivacious, began washing lawn chairs — and looking for the cushions that go in those chairs.

“I know they’re around here somewhere,” she said.

“Where did you put them?” I asked.

“I’m sure we stored them in your shed after the last cookout,” she said.

Do you want to tell her?

Or do I have to?


Speaking of cookouts, yesterday I spoke with my brother on the phone and told him that I do not plan to attend that reunion. I feel no animosity toward any of the folks involved. I wish them all well. But the extended family has not been part of my life for close to 20 years and I feel uncomfortable about renewing contact.

I told David, “I do not want to go”.

Saying “I want to” or “I do not want to” is all the reason needed to explain almost any morally neutral action. Didn’t Jesus say, “Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay” or something close to that? We get in trouble and fall into the danger of lying when we try to elaborate more than that.

“I want to — I don’t want to”.

Those two honest phrases cover all that needs saying.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:31 AM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Friday, May 26, 2006

Yard Work, Halloween and A Lost Dog

Thursday I told my friend that I don’t feel able to continue taking care of his yard on top of my own. I hated to do this because I hated to admit that I’m feeling old and weak. It was an admission of defeat.

God willing, I’ll keep working at it till the end of June to give him time to hire a yardman or make other arrangements, but I just don’t feel I can keep it up.

Of course, he said I can keep borrowing his mower and tools even though I’m not helping with his yard.

As I edged his lawn and my own, I got to thinking about Halloween (See October blog archives if you’re interested).

Ginny and I gave out huge packets of goodies to the kids and among the treasures were little comic books and I kept thinking about the story in one of these:

A man owned a little dog which he loved.

He was nuts about this dog. He fed it and gave it water. He fenced in his backyard garden and placed the dog there to live.

He told the dog, “Stay”.

Every evening the man came to the garden and played fetch-the-stick with his dog. He walked with his dog. He talked with it. He doted on it.

One day the dog wiggled out under the fence.

Out of bounds, the dog wandered hostile city streets. It wallowed in filth. It ate garbage right out of the cans. It slept in the gutters. It ran with other dogs.

The dog catcher came. He cast a net over the dog. He lassoed a noose around it’s neck and dragged it into a barren steel cage. He took it to the dog pound.

Dogs only stay locked in the pound a few short days before being shoved into the gas chamber.

Destroyed forever.

The owner of the dog searched all over for it. He called its name. He went down alleys and dark places seeking his own. He went to all the low places dogs go.

He even went to the dog pound.

To rescue his own dog from that gas chamber, he paid the penalty.

He paid a high price to redeem his own dog.

He took the dog he owned in the first place, the dog he had bought back from the edge of destruction, the dog he loved — and he returned it to the garden.

The Halloween comic reminds me that in his first letter St. Peter says that we were not redeemed with mere silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.

Something to think about, isn’t it?

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 7:27 AM

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Just A Little Thing

A year or two ago a beautiful young lady moved into the house next door. Every morning I see her leave for work. Every evening I see her return. Each time she loads and unloads stuff from her car.

I am a member of our Neighborhood Crime Watch so it’s an official duty for me to watch what’s going on around me.


Yesterday there was a power outage. Folks up and down the block clustered in front yards to talk about it. I ended up standing next to the girl next door.

After a bit she said she had to go back inside to see about the baby.

“What baby?” I asked.

Turns out she has a new baby.

“How long have you had this baby?” I asked.

“He was born in January,” she said.

In all that time I have never noticed her with a baby. I’d never noticed that she was pregnant. I have fed her dog and I have moved her trash can out of her drive when the garbage men left it in the middle — but I never noticed any baby.

Hey, it’s a little thing.

Little things are easy to miss.

You can’t expect me to see little things like that.

I keep my eye on the big picture along our block. I am alert and watchful… I just don’t know what’s going on around me.

That’s unusual.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:28 AM

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Have Been Selected …

Tuesday afternoon the postman delivered a letter hand-addressed to me —

Not to my wife.

Not to one of my daughters.

But hand-addressed to me, John Cowart.

The letter contains my invitation and my official application form.

It says, “You have been selected to compete in the 2006 National American Miss Florida Pageant … You could be the next Miss Florida!

Yes! My sterling qualities have finally been recognized. I’ve been chosen to compete in a beauty contest.

I may become the next Miss Florida.

This can not possibly be a scam to sucker folks out of the $20 application fee because the brochure confirms that I was selected by “an experienced panel of judges”.

They couldn’t be wrong about something as important as this.

My application says that I will need a prom dress or evening gown for the formal wear segment of the pageant.

Here’s a worry: I don’t happen to own a formal evening gown… but for the swimsuit competition I get to wear either a one-piece suit or a two-piece bikini — but I can’t wear a thong. Contest rules prohibit thongs.


I’m so excited.

I can see myself on the runway.

I can smell my huge bouquet of roses.

I can feel the wide silk slash banner with my title.

I can hear the MC announce my vital measurements: 48!… 50!… 53! …8!

My application requires that I send a recent photograph. The brochure says that my photo may qualify me to appear on magazine covers!

Wow! Since a photo of me has already appeared on a book cover, that’s the one I think I’ll send along with my application fee.

The pageant is not until mid July.

I can hardly wait.

Er… Anybody out there got a prom dress I can borrow?

Oh, if you want to see my picture on a book cover, you can see it here at www.bluefishbooks.info

Good thing the experienced panel of judges didn’t see that photo before inviting me to appear in their beauty contest. My hair was just a mess that day.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:11 AM

Your comments are welcome: 4 comments

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

And Now, For Number Two On My List…

First thing Monday morning I wrote down my 2do2da list on a 3X5 card so I could scratch out each item as I accomplished it.

Topping my list of 23 items, number one was to find a faulty electric plug in my outside office shed so I could get the lamps working again so I could see enough to get items eight through 15 done.

You following this so far?

My outside office shed has two wall sockets. Plugged into the one on the north wall is a long surge protector/power strip; in that are plugged four desk lamps, a computer, a printer and a radio.

In front of that north wall socket over months of time, I have build a brick and board bookcase. In front of that book case I stored a floor-to-ceiling stack of file boxes loaded with Florida history materials. On top of those boxes are mailing tubes containing history posters, box lids filled with coffee mugs featuring some Jacksonville logo, and boxes filled with maybe a hundred tee-shirts featuring Jacksonville events from years past.

On top of those are board games, ash trays, pipe racks, a statue of a Greek goddess, a pile of file folders I haven’t gotten around to filing, and a long board with nails hammered in a complex pattern which I used in teaching adult Bible lessons.

Can you picture the scene?

Hold it in mind because you can’t actually see it because my lights went out a couple of months ago. I used a flash light when I need to find a book or file out there.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the books are double-shelved.

So to find why the lights went out and get them working again, I needed to test every socket in every extension cord and several surge protectors which link to the first one.

To test the sockets I used a small radio.

To make sure that worked, I unplugged the coffee pot in the kitchen and plugged the radio into the wall socket.

I hear music.


I up plug it.

I still hear music.

The radio is one with a battery back up so that it keeps playing even when unplugged. I remove the battery and check it again. Again I hear music.

Crawling around under the desk and behind stacks of books and the fan and the child-sized coffin (don't ask) I plug the radio into every socket I can reach.

No music.

That means that I must trace all the wires back to the north wall socket — the one behind all that stuff.

I remove the coffin (which is full of toys — again, don’t ask) and the ammunition box, and the Dave Barry collection, and the chess set, and the andirons, and the brass spittoon, and the plastic skeleton under the glass dome, and … I still can’t see the wall socket.

I clear a space on the desk (got to repair that clock someday) for the books and begin disassembling the brick and board bookshelves over the top of the other stuff.

Won’t work.

I remove the cinder block with the attached seamstress’s hem marker, and the fish skull (Don’t ask… well, if you must, it’s another adult Bible lesson teaching gimmick ). I remove the boxes of tee shirts, the coffee mugs, the board games, the first two layers of bookshelves...

I still can’t see that plug.

Good thing I’m not a materialist.

Exhausted I take a break and sit outside smoking a favorite pipe I’d lost months ago but found behind some stuff this morning.

I watch Matilda the duck. I’ve been running the lawn water sprinklers because we haven’t had a drop of rain in over a month

At first the duck is suspicious of this new thing (incidentally, she’s still convinced that I’m really Colonel Sanders in disguise) but she soon claims the sprinkler as her own. When a dove or bluejay or cardinal or cowbird tries to drink from the spray of water, Matilda spreads her wings and charges squawking to chase the other bird away.

As I sit there panting from all my exertions, a light comes on above my head…

A mental light, you understand.

An idea.

A bright idea.

A very bright idea.

A brilliant idea in fact!

I went back in the office, unplugged the initial surge protector/power strip, ran a heavy-duty extension cord from the SOUTH wall plug…

And behold, there was light and music and computer cursor flashing and a cooling breeze from the fan.

That cooling breeze felt very nice as I moved all that stuff back to where it was in the first place.

Like most of my labor on this earth, it all proved unnecessary.

But, if you hear of a job opening for an electrical engineer, I am available.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 12:59 PM

Your comments are welcome: 4 comments

Monday, May 22, 2006

Odds & Ends — Mostly Odds

Ginny & I have been thinking about buying a couple of bicycles for exercise so over the weekend we visited a bike store where we discovered that two new bicycles would cost more than our car! Maybe we’ll take up weightlifting or lacrosse or rock climbing. Yeah, rock climbing. Rocks are cheap. We can afford rocks.

Matilda the duck actually flew about ten feet Saturday morning. Her wing is healing and I imagine she’ll be flying away soon.

I’m still obsessing about that reunion thing. It’s a brain consumer. I keep trying to get past every other factor and ask only, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” That’s the only question that counts.

Since I work at home while Ginny works out of an office, every weekend I try to give her a few hours alone in her own home to do whatever appeals to her. This weekend, to give her the run of the house, I spent a lot of time outside cleaning the storage shed.

For a man who is not a materialist, I own a lot of junk. Books, old computer parts, file drawers, fossils, statues, teaching gimmicks, natural history samples, broke things that need to be glued back together, a clock for me to repair, tools I’ll need someday, and who knows what all else fill this shed.

I filled three garbage cans with stuff I’m sure I will never need again — until next week when a need for it is sure to arise.

Here’s a Bible Quiz question:

Q: How long did Cain hate his brother?

A: As long as he was Able.

During Ginny’s alone time, she checked our grab-and-go bag for insurance policies, car title, birth certificates, etc. She also checked our hurricane/bird flu/other disaster supplies. For the next couple of days, Florida has suspended sales taxes on any hurricane supplies and Ginny checked to see what we might want replenish.

I had not checked e-mail all weekend. This morning 78 e-mails filled my inboxes. Several friends send me this photo of what to expect when bird flu hits Florida:

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 2:55 PM

Your comments are welcome: 3 comments

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Saturday morning Ginny and I dabbled in our garden clearing a flower bed beneath our bedroom window. This was such a relaxed happy activity.

The day went downhill from there.

She had some old books to trade in so we drove to the largest used bookstore in Jacksonville, a place which covers most of a city block in two buildings which house over a million volumes. My heart sinks every time I go in there and I see all those books which other people have written and I realize that the books I write are just so much useless trash, just another item on the dusty pile.

All those dead writers thought they were doing something important too…

Solomon said, “Of the making of many books there is no end and much study is a weariness of the flesh”.

About 9 o’clock this evening my brother called from downstate. He informed me that somebody with nothing better to do has organized a family reunion at a state park next month.

He wants me to come be ridiculed and put down and displayed as a failure in front of all these people who would not have even known about it if I’d died ten or fifteen years ago.

My heart sank at the news.

I do not want to go.

These people dismissed me and my immediate family from contact back when my mother died. I see no reason to renew contact.

These folks are related to me but they mean no more to me, nor I to them, than the crowd I encounter at the grocery store checkout line. Yet some sense of guilt or hint of obligations makes me think I perhaps should attend this function.

Of all the things Jesus ever said, the hardest for me to deal with was when he told some poor bastard, “Go home to your family and friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee”.

That was said to the crazy guy who lived in the cemetery and cut himself with sharp stones and Jesus cast the demons into the herd of pigs which jumped off the cliff. Then “He that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him”.

But instead, Jesus sent him to family.

Seems to me that Jesus did that with a couple of blind guys and lepers too.

Instead of letting them be disciples and get burned at the stake or fed to lions, Jesus sent them back to family.

How cruel.

How could a loving God do such a thing?

I’m going to have to pray about this invitation and see if there’s any possible loophole that will get me out of going.

I wrote about my feelings in this same sort of situation back on February 28th.

For some reason school teacher used to write on my report cards:

Johnny does not play well with others.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 4:42 AM

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Saturday, May 20, 2006


Actress Allison Janney inspires me to think of shrimp.

Actually, this is a very logical thought process —for me, at least.

Friday, among other chores I cleaned my pipes. A few weeks ago Donald gave me a beautiful set of churchwardens he bought on E-bay and I had not taken time to clean them.

For me, pipe cleaning involves an elaborate ritual with a box full of specialized probes and tools and blades arranged in a specific order. Along with a bottle of Scotch whisky.

It’s a task only to be done outside because it generates a lot of trash and debris.

No, I don’t drink the Scotch.

I use the whiskey to cut tobacco residue in the stem and bowl of a pipe..

Thursday night Ginny and I watched a dvd of West Wing programs. This, now canceled, tv series starred Allison Janney as C.J. Craig, press secretary to the President of the United States.

Ms Janney proves that a grown woman can be intelligent, powerful, human, romantic, alluring and sexy — unlike the brainless, pre-pubescent jiggle bimbos featured on most tv shows as sex symbols; they have no idea what it’s all about!

Ms Janney does!

Anyhow, in one of the West Wing episodes we watched, the Secret Service gave C.J. Craig the code name Flamingo.

A couple of years ago, our youngest daughter, Patricia, gave us a pink plastic flamingo for our garden.

No Florida yard is complete without one.

Naturally we placed the lovely yard ornament at the base of a flamingo plant. We have a dozen or so of these flamingo plants spotted around the yard.

As I cleaned my pipes a few feet away from the plant thinking pure, noble, Christian thoughts about Ms Janney, I remembered a trip to the zoo.

We were looking at a herd of real live flamingos when the ornithologist explained that flamingos are actually white birds — but as they eat shrimp, some chemical in the shrimp turns the bird’s feathers pink

Over the years shrimp have played a major roll in my life, both physically and spiritually. Our family would have died without them. This importance is reflected in my journal entries over the years. Here is a link to a few selections from my journal showing how God has used shrimp in my life; these selections tell of grueling poverty and hardship underpinned by deep joy.

You can also find it in the right-hand column of my website (www.cowart.info)under the title Shrimp & Dog Days Of Summer.

Flamingos turn pink from eating shrimp. Shrimp turn pink when dropped in hot water — and speaking of pink and hot, here’s another web photo of Ms Janney at an awards ceremony:

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:53 AM

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Trash and Treasures

Trash collectors dictate the ebb and flow of my life.

Because they pick up yard trash about 6 a.m. on Fridays, I spent Thursday pruning branches so I could have them at the curb in time for the trashmen. So, all day I balanced on a ten-foot ladder sawing off dead palm fronds.

I now have a huge pile of debris at the curb ready for pick up.

If I don’t get the dead branches down this month, hurricane season starts next month and the storms will prune the trees for me, but with less precision.

As I balanced on my ladder, I thought about various aspects and implications of my faith in Christ. The Christian religion reminds me of the many sparkling facets of a diamond; whichever way I turn it I see some shining wonder.

Every time I consider one facet, I think of others even more impressive.

There’s worship and history and social and relational and spiritual and charitable and personal and collective and all sorts of overlapping other aspects, each one a treasure and each one a pain in the ass. Different appeals and different rewards. Some much easier for me to stomach than others. Some I love to ponder and others I avoid thinking about.

I haven’t thought any of this through enough to be able to write about it coherently.

I’ll let it percolate for a while longer before I try.

Meanwhile, I need to get the recycle bin to the curb; it’s six a.m. right this moment and the truck for that stuff comes by at seven.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:09 AM

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

To and Fro

Wednesday, like a certain well-known biblical character, I roamed to and fro over the surface of the earth.

I kept the car so I could run various errands.

First I drove Ginny to work then, since the bank wasn’t open yet, I drove to Whiteway Delicatessen to enjoy a breakfast of fried eggs, hot fried sausage and the greasiest, tastiest pile of home fries to be found. The way they prepare breakfast insures that it is no-fat and low-cholesterol — has to be, I was able to walk out under my own steam.

A wonderful treat… except for one thing.

Some customer, with a mouth loud enough to be heard by everyone in the place, insisted on telling jokes about menopause, Jews, lesbians and Viet Nam veterans. When no one would laugh at one offensive joke, he’d try to top it with one even more offensive.

Now as a gentleman and a Christian, I know I’m not to be judgmental of others so in keeping with the tenants of Christian charity I will not call him a dog-fucking asshole. No, I’m above such pettiness. We Christians don't say things like that.

Next, I drove to the bank to cash our income tax refund check.

I have this theory: Instead of selecting a president by the electoral college, I think that the guy who pays the most tax ,in proportion to his income, in a given year should be named President for that year.

During my First Hundred Days, I’d recall all American troops then A-Bomb everyplace between London and Hawaii. Whichever way the wind blows, would the fallout hurt anyone who means our country well?

Then I’d solve the immigration problem by building an 18-foot electric fence along the St. Mary’s River to keep all those yankees on their own side of the border and out of Florida.

My administration would also address other issues.

Gun Control: No one could own a gun except me. With plenty of ammunition.

Abortion Reform: Parents would be able to abort any child up till the kid reaches age 30; by then the parents could decide if the kid will turn out to be a decent person and decide whether or not to keep him.

Drive-by Shootings: If you can hear the radio from another car, you get to shoot the driver as he drives by.

Drunk Driving: First offence, gouge out his right eye with his own car keys. Second offence gouge out his left eye. Third offence: Well, there’d be no third offence.

Education Reform: Learn or Burn.

Drug Dealers: Lethal injection. Bleach is cheap and does the trick.

Enough daydreaming!

I’m getting too mellow in my old age.

I drove to the gas station where I spent all our tax refund. Humm… Also, during my First Hundred Days I’d execute the top three executives of each oil company for treason (How has Al Qaeda hurt the average American more than these guys?) and see if the number four man in the company might not find some possible way to lower gas prices. Say by midnight tonight.

Anyhow, when I walked into the gas station, the two clerks on duty were behind the counter engaged in heavy petting and groping.

“It’s against company policy to do that in front of customers,” I announced as they sprang apart.

I paid for my gas, then said, “The customer is now leaving the store; you may go back to what you were doing. Have fun.”

I don’t think the guy understood English but the girl got the giggles over my teasing.

Next I drove to Abandon-Hope-All-Ye-Who-Enter-Here-Mart. Actually, I’d stopped at another store first hoping to avoid having to go into the mart but the other place didn’t carry the pool chemical I needed so I was forced to go to Hell-mart.

While I was there, I bought a pair of winos, the $6 dollar canvas shoes I favor, but I bought a pair a half size larger because my feet have taken to swelling, burning and stinging most afternoons

There went the last of the tax refund.

Drove back home. Too exhausted to get any work done. Read a murder mystery till time to drive to pick up Ginny.

No spiritual insights today.

Some days are just days.

Oh, the biblical “to and fro” reference comes from Job, chapter 1, verse 7.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:24 AM

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Big, Giant, Huge, Enormous, Terrible, Horrible, Ugly Monsters

Editor’s Note: I intended to write about how God sometimes uses bad circumstances to guide us (that’s the underlying theme of my book, Glog: A Dinosaur Novel Of Sorts). But, unfortunately, some terrible bad circumstances in my life prevented.

Therefore this guest posting is written by Matilda The Duck to describe certain traumatic experiences she suffered last Saturday…. jwc


They tried to make me walk the plank.

You know how in the old days, pirates made victims walk the plank into the mouths of hungry sharks?

That’s what they wanted to do to me!

I don’t really remember how I got to this place. The last thing I recall, I was flying free and saw some interesting tidbit to eat on the ground.

I landed in lush green grass and was nibbling when this raccoon (a wild animal which readers in Great Britain call a Wash Bear because of its habit of always rinsing food in water) -- This raccoon charged out of the bushes and grabbed my tail.

I fled squawking and flapping my wings.

But the creature chased right behind me. It hurt my left wing as I ran blindly toward this fountain in the garden where I heard water running. A giant monster sat in a lawn chair just a few feet away. I hid at the fountain and the giant stomped its feet at the raccoon and chased it away.

I thought the giant monster would turn to eat me next, but instead it sat back down in the lawn chair and just watched me cringe.

This creature was the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen!

The Giant Huge, Enormous, Terrible, Horrible, Ugly Monster held a black pipe in its mouth and actually blew smoke from it’s nostrils. Disgusting!

It terrified me when it got up and fiddled with something or another on a table. Then suddenly, miraculously, a dish of bird seed appeared beside the fountain and a dish of water for me to drink.

The fat, ugly giant — I’ll swear it was a hundred times bigger than me — opened the door to a tool shed, and the clumsy thing accidental left the door open.

When it moved away from the door, I hid in there, safe from cats, hawks and raccoons for the night.

The next day another Giant, Huge, Enormous, Terrible, Horrible, Ugly Monster appeared in the garden. This one was a female with flowing white hair and a softer voice. It was stacked. (They are mammals, you know)

This female tried to lure me close with a handful of breadcrumbs.

The thing couldn’t fool me.

I know these creatures are vicious and can’t be trusted.

I prayed for He-Who-Knows-Every-Bird-That-Falls to deliver me from the female monster’s clutches and to keep me safe and to give me a pond where I could swim away from these evil beings.

No still small voice answered me.

That afternoon the giants went a way for a while but they soon returned.

Miraculously, a pond appeared!

Right there beside the fountain, a pond appeared as if by magic.

It was round and not as deep as I’d prefer, but it was a pond with bright balloons painted on the sides. An answer to my prayers?

But the sides were too high for me to reach the water because of my hurt wing.

What was I to do?

Besides, I faced a new danger.

These two Giant Huge, Enormous, Terrible, Horrible, Ugly Monsters watched my attempts to climb into the safety of the pond. Their beady eyes stalked me. They looked hungry. Treacherous. Conniving.

The male went into my tool shed and came out with this sheet of plywood. The wicked monster couldn’t fool me. I saw there was a nail driven through the end of that plank. Surely he intended to whack me with that board.

He leaned it against the side of the pond while he stalked me. The monster spread wide it’s arms and came at me from the right.

I ran left squawking.

Then the female came at me from the left.

Bravely, I ran between them.

They circled inching their way along so that the wall of the tool shed blocked my escape. These Giant Huge, Enormous, Terrible, Horrible, Ugly Monsters were herding me up onto that plank!

Who knows what was at the end of that thing?

Pirates made victims walk the plank into the mouths of hungry sharks.

I ran left. The female blocked me.

I ran right. The ugly male blew smoke at me.

Like wolves hunting in a pack, lunging left and right,these two herded me right up the inclined plane of that plank.

I had nowhere else to go.

Escape was impossible.

Why had He-Who-Knows-Every-Bird-That-Falls allowed this to happen to me?

The giants forced me up that plank. Higher and higher. Deeper and deeper into the unknown.

Forsaking all hope, I reached the end of the plank.

I jumped.

How about that! My brave leap of faith landed me in water! Cool, clean, clear water. Water where Cheerios and birdseed floated on the surface.

The Giant Huge, Enormous, Terrible, Horrible, Ugly Monsters must not be able to swim. In fact, I think they are afraid of water, because once I hit the surface, they both retreated to their lawn chairs and just sat watching me swim and feed and preen my feathers safe away from their terrible designs.

Yes. Even though I had to go through this terrible scary circumstance with the Giant Huge, Enormous, Terrible, Horrible, Ugly Monsters, the Good Lord God, He-Who-Knows-Every-Bird-That-Falls, delivered me and brought me to still waters with my tail feathers intact.

I’ll be safe here till my wing heals and I can fly free again.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:47 AM

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Night Of The Living Duck

Remember that scene in Frankenstein where the villagers storm the castle carrying pitchforks and torches?

Ginny was at the computer by the window last night as I was cooking supper when she called out, “John, they’re bringing back the duck”.

I turned off the stove and ran with Ginny to the door where six excited neighbors had gathered bringing back “John’s Duck”. We all clustered in the drive discussing what to do with the escaped duck which apparently has recovered from it’s raccoon trauma enough to fly over the fence and escape from our backyard.

One shirtless young man, the one who carried the duck wrapped in his red tee shirt, had been a volunteer at BEAKS, a local bird rescue charity. Sherry, a lady from down the street, carried a cardboard cat carrier box from her vet to put the duck in. Dennis, Captain of the Neighborhood Watch, suggested we all go to Riverside Park and release the duck at a pond there which is frequented by wild ducks. Scott came from across the street to see what the gathering was about; he’d been raking his yard and carried his garden rake in a way that reminded me of the Frankenstein movie.. . The BEAKS volunteer put the duck in the wading pool Ginny had bought for it and all watched the duck bob for Cheerios I tossed to it.

The villagers Our neighbors had captured the beast down the street where all joined in a lively chase trapping the duck against a fence. How anyone knew that this was “John’s Duck”, I have no idea because neither Ginny nor I had mentioned the duck to anyone, but in our community word travels fast.

So, “Matilda” (Ginny’s name for the duck) or “Captain Tripps (my name for the duck) once again resides in the kid’s wading pool till further notice and peace returns to the sleepy village.

This was not the Cowarts first encounter with a wild bird. Years ago when the kids were all living at home, we encountered a seagull and I wrote a humor article about it for the local newspaper. If you’d like to read it, the article is called, The Hand Of The Almighty Smites A Seagull; it’s in the bottom left-hand column at www.cowart.info .

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 4:13 AM

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Monday, May 15, 2006

More About Pain and Suffering

I feel a bit more befuddled than usual this morning. Please bear with me here because I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts into words.

Back on Saturday, May 6th, and on Wednesday, May 10th, I wrote long postings about the problem of pain. My e-friend Jellyhead questioned how we can believe in a good, all-powerful God when there is so much pain and suffering in the world.

I’m not satisfied with what I said in those previous postings and I have another thought about this same question.

Back before I became a Christian, I often relished putting Christians on the spot. A missionary returned from Africa tried to convince me of the truth of Christianity and I teased and baited her with religious conundrums about God. Like the lines from the famous play (I’ve forgotten the name of it, Archibald Maclish’s J.B.??? ) where satan taunts:

Play the even, play the odd,
If He is god, He is not good;
If He is good, He is not God.

And I’d bring up questions about famine in Africa, deformed babies, senile old people, war, etc and I’d ask how a good God could allow such things to happen. The Creator must be cruel or capricious to put us in such a world as this.

In one of Shakespeare’s plays (again, I forget which one), two men stand on the deck of a ship at sea looking down into the water when one says, “I wonder how it is in the world of fishes?” The other man replies, “The same way it is in the world of men; the big ones eat the little ones.”

The big ones eat the little ones.

That is the observable law of nature. The strong deer our runs the wolf, till it gets old and weak, then the wolf eats it. When the wolf gets too old and slow to catch a deer, it starves in the snow. A successful bacteria infect its host and multiplies till it kills the host and dies itself.

This is the way the world works.

A tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Later the missionary told me she thought I’d never become a Christian because I was such a cynical hardcase.

About that time I read a Bible cover to cover looking for answers to my questions about pain and meaning and purpose in life.

I did not find them.

I found the Scripture addresses real questions, not my sophistries.

Not one word in the Bible tells me how other people ought to treat me; the Bible only tells me how I ought to treat them.

God comes across as intensely personal.

In His “Sermon From The Mount” Jesus uses some form of the word “you” 207 times; He never once says “they ought to” but with Him it’s always, “You, when you pray… You’ when you give… When a man has ought against you, you go and…”

With Christ, it’s always “you” not “them”.

For instance, once people questioned Jesus about some Galilaeans who were killed in the Temple by Pilate’s soldiers, and about a construction accident when a tower in Jerusalem fell killing 18 workers.

Jesus did not discuss the evening news with them.

Instead He made it personal and said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”.

In one of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books, Aslan says to Lucy, “No one is ever told someone else’s story”.

As I think on the personal intensity of the God of the Bible, I realize that He often does not answer my philosophical questions because the answers are none of my business.

I find that I often use philosophical questions about hypothetical or even real life situations in far away places to avoid God, to put Him off, to side track a duty that I know in my heart I should do.

My own questions are a smoke screen to hide me from God.

So, I don’t ask, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do”

Instead, I ask, “What about that senile old lady who can no longer read the books she herself wrote when she was young? What about the 13-year-old girl, an honor student, who was killed in Jacksonville last night when a stray bullet came through the wall of her house and hit her as she read a book in her own bed?”

And God does not answer my question about somebody else’s pain, suffering, death or disaster

His word only speaks to me me, about me.

It will only speak to you about you.

In the last chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus told Peter that the disciple would get too old to even dress himself and need somebody to carry him around.

Then Jesus said, “Follow me”.

But Peter looked around and saw another disciple and asked, “Lord, what shall that man do”?

And Jesus replied, “What is that to thee? Follow thou me.”

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 7:03 AM

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Yes, It's On Page 287

In my wife’s affections, I have been replaced by a duck.

Yes, Ginny dotes on the thing.

She has named the duck Matilda.

At dawn Ginny went outside to check on the duck’s well-being. All morning she watched the duck, fed the duck, pampered the duck, talked to the duck. All afternoon we shopped for the duck, buying just the right bowl, birdseed with cracked corn, and a small wading pool for the duck.

The duck, of course, hates me.

Yesterday, when the raccoon was grabbing tail feathers, the duck ran to me to save it and hid under my chair while I chased the vile beast off; today, the duck shies away from me, puffs up, hisses, and runs when I get too close — you know, it acts the same way I do with God. When a raccoon is clawing at my tail, I run to Him; danger past, I want Him to keep His distance.

Ginny loves this duck. She coos at it. Thank God we have no grandchildren yet or my beloved wife would loose it completely.

However, I am not jealous of a duck.

Don’t tell Ginny, but did you know that page 287 of Betty Crocker’s best-selling book mentions the phrase a’ l’orange?

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:01 AM

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Our Peaceable Kingdom

Friday, as I rested by the fountain while doing yard work, I heard a commotion; it sounded like….

It sounded like....

A duck fluttered squawking across the deck. Right on its tail, clawing at fleeing feathers followed a raccoon!

In blind terror the injured duck ran toward me. I stamped my foot. The raccoon saw me and retreated into a fern bed. The duck tried to hide under my chair.

Here’s a photo I took of the injured duck:

What is a wild duck doing in our yard? There is no sizable body of water within eight or ten blocks of our home.

What is a raccoon doing attacking a duck? I’ve never heard of such a thing before; I thought coons ate frogs and crawdaddies -- and from our neighbor's garbage can which they put out without a lid.

Eve came over a few minutes later and I showed her the duck and the raccoon which continued lurking at the side of the house. As Eve and I talked, a mouse ran between us and right up the middle of the brick walkway.

Later, when Ginny came home, I took her out back to see the duck, and darn if the raccoon didn't come out and try to catch the duck again!

Then, as she and I sat by the fountain, we saw a dove perched on a branch of a cedar tree right outside our garden gate, a tree that had just been pruned by the tree crew Tuesday, when a hawk swooped down attacking the dove and stirring up a ruckus among the other birds around.

And here came the raccoon again after the duck!

What is going on here?

Usually the only wild animals we see in our yard are lizards.

After a pleasant dinner out, Ginny and I strolled in Memorial Park watching a full moon rise over the river creating a long path of shimmering light across the water. We could hear faint strands of music from a riverboat cruising close to the far shore.

Several other couples leaned smooching against the old concrete balustrade.

We joined them.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:40 AM

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Friday, May 12, 2006

On A Happier Note:

When Ginny opened her fortune cookie at the office lunch table yesterday, the message thrilled her. She passed it around among co-workers resulting in giggles, titillation and a touch of envy among the ladies.

Note: Guys, if you try this make sure the cookie message is G-Rated for public display — as was the tasteful, dignified yet salacious fortune I wrote.

For the past week or so I’ve written a lot about pain, suffering, anquish, misery, and death. I still have a bit to say about the subject but it can wait another day or two.

It’s time for some joy.

There’s this guy in England, Pete, who has written a terrific essay on thanksgiving and joy in his May 8th posting at http://3cephas-notes.blogspot.com/2006/05/philippians-11-11-thanks-and-joy.html .

He starts off with this great joke (which I envy) about the missionary’s horse.

I don’t know much about Pete. I got to his posting via his daughter’s blog. As I recall Karen was the first person to ever make a comment on one of my entries.

An amazing thing about Pete’s posting on joy is that he wrote it within days of his father’s funeral.

If you’d like to know more about joy, his post is well worth reading.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:38 AM

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Touch Of Devilment

Wouldn’t you know it!

After using my cane and the fake limp with the tree guys that I wrote about yesterday, this morning I woke up with my arthritis hurting like a toothache -- only three feet lower than it should have been.

Is there a connection?

Something to do with God’s keen sense of humor.

But I was not hurting too bad to get into a touch of devilment.

The other night when Ginny and I went grocery shopping, to keep from shopping hungry we first had supper at a Chinese restaurant. Of course two boxes of leftovers remained from the huge servings.

I fixed one of these for Ginny’s lunch at the office today.

First, I carefully, without tearing it, removed the plastic wrap from her fortune cookie.

Remember, back when I could see better I used to build model ships; I even constructed a ship in a bottle once. (A photo of me doing that heads the “About Me” thing in the sidebar and gets stuck on whenever I make a blog comment — I forget what those things are called, an aardvark or aneurysm or avarice or something “a” like that).

Anyhow, I was once skilled at fiddling with little things in tight places.

So, using curved tweezers from my modeling kit, I surgically removed the old fortune without breaking the cookie. I wrote an appropriate, suggestive, seductive (not quite obscene… well, not very, anyhow) message to Virginia on my computer using several fonts till I matched the one used inside real fortune cookies.

Then I cut the new paper fortune out and inserted it inside the cookie.

Then I sealed Ginny’s cookie back in it’s plastic wrap.

This project took me about two hours.

Why would I do such a thing?

To bring joy and excitement into her dull, drab, humdrum existence.

Besides, I have my reputation as a dirty old man to protect.

I eagerly anticipate her response.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 2:24 PM

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tree Trimmers & Pie In The Sky

Tuesday I had conversations with nine people!

That’s a record for a reclusive hermit like me.

One young man bemoaned the fact that several years ago the love of his life had left him and had much latter committed suicide. Wringing his hands in remorse and regret, the young man said that his intense love was perceived as smothering but he did not realize it at the time.

“I killed that relationship with my own hands,” he said.

He said those same words several times.

I could think of absolutely nothing to say which might comfort him.

In the afternoon workers with five bucket trucks, chainsaws and shredders arrived on my street to clear tree limbs off power lines, getting ready for next hurricane season:

Herein I proved myself a sneaky sinner.

The work crews cleared the main power lines around and between electric poles along the street. That’s their job.

At the corner of my house an oak tree overhangs the electric line running from house to transformer. The work crew has no obligation to clear anything on private property… but sometimes a discrete tip to the crew boss removes this obstacle and they will stretch the strict definition of their work order.

Now, I have degenerative arthritis in my right hip and sometimes when the pain is bad I walk with a cane.

The pain was not bad yesterday.

So I faked it.

I limped outside on my cane to talk with the crew boss. I deliberately came across as a crippled old man. I deceived the workers and they swung the bucked and power saws over onto my property and pruned the tree for me.

Without any charge.

I must have looked so pitiful.

So decrepit.

So pathetic.

These workmen pruned my oak tree in minutes. If I’d had to climb that tree myself (as I intended to do next weekend) it would have taken me hours to do the same work.

Yes, I have degenerative arthritis in my hip and macular degeneration in my eyes — Ginny says that I’m a degenerate from one end to the other.

But that’s no excuse for playing on the workmen’s sympathy. For being manipulative. For deceiving.

Hey, it worked.

But that’s beside the point.

Just because something works, doesn’t mean it’s right. In fact, a lot of things that “work” are downright wicked.

There’s a point to what I’ve been telling and it’s not really about tree limbs or me but about suffering and glory and Heaven

Last Saturday I wrote a post, “Once I got my ass kicked… and once I didn’t”, about suffering.

I left two of my thoughts on the subject out of my blog post. I’d like to address one of those now.

One thought I left out is that the Bible links present undeserved suffering and pain to future glory.

“I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”.

“Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy”.

“If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him”.

“All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”.

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”.

“When we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly… God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us… But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life”.

Again and again and again the Bible holds out the promise of Heaven ahead, that we can be accepted in the beloved, that we can be joint-heirs with Christ, that whatever happens here and how, the possibility of eternal joy, peace and glory lies ahead.

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats… Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…”

This is what we were all created for.

But all have sinned, everyone of us falls short of the glory God intends for us. There’s not a teddy bear in the lot of us.

The Scripture teaches that God lightens every man and woman coming into the world, that He intends glory for us… but He gives us a certain amount of free will to accept or reject Him — and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

And He allows us our own choice.

Till death confirms us in the choice we made.

Of all Christian teachings, I find the one about Heaven ahead the hardest one for me to believe. I mean, how can God allow a guy like me, a guy who fakes a bum leg with a cane into his kingdom?

I’m just not good enough.

Yes, the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleans us from all sin… I believe that, but I doubt it too.

In my heart of hearts I harbor the believe that Christ can save everybody in the whole wide world – except John Cowart.

Why, in the light of Scripture and the revealed character of God would I think a dumb thing like that?

I suspect there are three reasons:

I have trouble believing in Heaven because Heaven seems far off, future and invisible; while evil, sorrow and suffering are here and now and visible everywhere I look, like the young man who mourned his lost love right here beside my desk this morning. Poor bastard.

I also have trouble believing in Heaven because I’ve heard intellectuals tease about it. You know, Opiate of the masses. Pie in the sky by and by. That sort of thing.

And because I’ve been teased by people I respected and thought smart about believing in a future good, I feel ashamed to acknowledge the promise of God that there is indeed future good ahead in spite of what we see daily on earth.

A third reason I have a problem believing in Heaven in the future is because of voices from my past.

“John, I’m so disappointed in you”. That’s the one phrase I remember most hearing from my father during my childhood and youth.

My mother’s characteristic phrase when I aspired to an academic career or anything else was, “That’s not for the likes of you. Things like that are for better people”.

And my first wife said…

Well, let’s just leave that one, OK?

But you get the idea.

My parents have both been dead for many years yet I often hear their phrases as clear as can be. Belittling voices from the past that override and drown out the very promise of God.

I hope you don’t know what I mean… but I suspect you do.

I need to follow my own advice:

When I’m talking about following Christ with a person who’s had a bitter experience with their church or a repressive religious family member, I advise:

“Forget everything you’ve ever heard about Jesus. Pretend you have never even heard of God and begin reading a Bible. Start with the Gospel of Mark, it’s the shortest one, and see what the Scripture actually says about Jesus for yourself. See if the Jesus you read about there is someone you can trust, someone you like, someone you can follow. If He is, then follow Him as best you are able, one step at a time.”

Reading the Bible with an open mind, with no pre-conceived notions, as though you’ve never seen a page of it before heals a lot of hurts.

I need to do that again.

In a way, as a witnessing Christian, I shouldn’t talk so much about my doubts; I really don’t want to squelch anyone else’s faith. But if I didn’t believe, I wouldn’t doubt… Does that make sense?

Push come to shove, I hope I’d say with the Patriarch Job (known for his suffering), “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”.

Do I understand suffering?

No. Not at all.

Do I believe in Jesus Christ?

Yes I do.

Do I look forward to Heaven?

Not really. I halfway expect to hear the words, ”John, I’m so disappointed in you”.

Is there pie in the sky by and by?

Well, come right down to it, that’s the only pie there is.

The next to the last chapter in the Bible says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new’”.

For some reason I want to close with another photo I snapped of the tree trimming guys:

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 2:36 PM

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Heaven In Our Own Backyard

Over the weekend a flight of American Redstarts flocked around our fountain to drink. Drought conditions here in North Florida made them bold to seek water even though Ginny and I sat within a few feet of them.

Yes, this was a weekend for lounging in the garden carrying on one of those eight or ten-hour conversations we enjoy so. Actually, I suppose we’ve been engrossed in the same conversation for 38 years (with periodic interruptions for lesser living).

Besides the redstarts we saw two new species we’d never seen before but we felt too lazy to get the bird books to identify them. You don’t need to name a bird to enjoy it.

Eve and Patricia took us to lunch Saturday then came over to play music videos on my computer. I always get antsy when anybody else touches my computer – especially geeks who know more about the system than I do, because they are always tempted to “improve” things for me. But they were good girls and didn’t even mess with those number lock buttons that drive me nuts.

For Gin and me, the weekend was heavenly.

Speaking of Heaven, I’ve had the thought that Heaven is not a special reward for people who do extra special things, I’m beginning to think that it’s a matter of God restoring us to the place we should have been all along if we had not run frrom Him.

Oh, also I ran across a quote that’s been attributed to a lot of people, but I think it was originally mathematician/philosopher Blaise Pascal (or maybe it wasRene Decartes - I get philosophers confused) who said:

I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn't, Than live my life as if there isn't, and die to find out there is.

Here’s another web photos of a redstart:

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:13 AM

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Once I got My Ass Kicked… And Once I Didn’t

My e-friend Jellyhead (http://jellyheadrambles.blogspot.com/ ) is a physician in Australia. She and her husband have two children. He enjoys birdwatching and captures beautiful photographs; she studies karate and recently earned her blackbelt.

I wish she’d been walking beside me one morning about two years ago; as I strolled home through a nice residential area on a beautiful Spring day about 10 a.m., a man darted out of no where, knocked me down, beat me up, and stole my billfold. I never even saw him till he’d already hit me and knocked me to the sidewalk.

A karate champion would have been a great companion that morning.

Thursday Jellyhead asked me the following question:

Do you really believe in an interventionalist God, John?

Because to me, the idea that God can help us if we only pray to him, or have faith in him, flies in the face of all those children who die from leukemia, or young people who have tragic accidents, or even older people who die awful lingering deaths. Surely if God could change these things, he would. Hence the concept of a loving God who can watch over us, but cannot save us from tragedy. What do you think?

(I understand if you don't want to answer - this is after all a very public forum)

When I read her question the first thing I thought of was two dogs.

About 15 years ago my car broke down and I had to walk to work through a very rough slum section of town. A block ahead of me I saw a six or eight tough really mean-looking guys standing in the street. They eyed me coming and spread out blocking the walkway. Really scary. One of them hefted a bat or pool cue.

I could either turn around and run or keep going because this was the only way I could get to work.

I may have said "O damn!" or said a prayer but I really didn’t know what to do.

Suddenly, out a narrow space between the brick walls of a laundry and a bar, two enormous dogs appeared. One black and one white. These two dogs came out like fighter jets in formation and took up station, one on either side of me.

These dogs, each the size of a desk, biggest dogs I’ve ever seen, looked to neither the left or right but pressed in against my legs and matched me step for step as I walked straight ahead.

The gang of tough guys separated.

These dogs and I walked straight through the two columns of them.

The dogs walked like that with me for another block till we came to Springfield Park where both dogs peeled off and ran, disappearing into the distance.

They had never sniffed me or even glanced at me.

Do you really believe in an interventionalist God, John?

I have to answer: Sometimes.

But I’ll have to qualify that by saying that the Lord intervenes in human affairs at His pleasure, not mine.

He is, after all, sovereign.

So, I wonder why, or even if, God protected me by sending those big dogs that one time, but let me get my ass kicked that other time?

I mean in the light of the bad things that happen every day, how can we believe in a loving, all powerful God who lets, or causes, terrible things to happen to His children?

If God loves us, then why does He allow terrible things to befall us?

If God is all powerful, then why doesn’t He stop bad things?

Is it a case of either God does not care about us --or, if He does, then is He too weak or too far removed to do anything about it?

I do not have an answer.

What I do have is a couple of thoughts that help me believe in Christ and trust Him even though I do not have a definitive answer.

Yes, children do die from leukemia, young people do have tragic accidents, older people do die awful lingering deaths. There are deformed babies, wars, cruelty, cheating, bullying, debt, abuse, liars, adulterers, frustration – Suffering in varying degrees touches every person’s life.

And if we don’t die first, we face Alzheimer’s.

It’s not a pretty picture.

Why doesn’t God intervene?

How exactly would I want Him to do that?

Well, first of all I’d like to live in a garden. A beautiful place with flowing springs, singing birds, peaceful animals, fruitful trees, blooming flowers - no thorns. A place where my beautiful wife and I could romp naked in the forest and roll happy in the grass. No thorns, no sickness. No troubles. A place where in the cool of the day God would come and walk with me and talk with me and listen to me and …

Oh. Oh. Oh. — He’s already done that.

That’s the life He had in mind for us from the word go.

But we chose otherwise.

Our president decided he had a better idea; he decided that humanity could actually be like little gods. Instead of worshiping and obeying and enjoying the Creator, our first leader rebelled and changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator.

St. Paul said, “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient”.

In other words, God let us do the things we chose to do.

And He let us deal with the consequences.

When Ginny and I were talking about such stuff yesterday, she asked if Jellyhead is a mother. “Then,” Ginny said, “ She’ll understand about teaching them to walk. Sometimes, you have to let them fall so they can learn to stand”.

She also compared God’s treatment of us with a father who teaches his 16-year-old daughter to drive a car. He explains the rules of the road, the traffic laws, the safety tips – everything he can to protect her and keep her safe and help her get where she wants to go …

But there comes a day when she turns the key and starts down the road alone.

The Father’s heart is in his throat. He cringes when she shifts gears. He stays awake all night till she’s safely home… But he lets her drive.

He lets her be responsible.

He lets her chose the road she drives on and the speed she goes.

He wants her to be free.

To cruise.

To get where she wants to go.

To come home safe.

But at that point he does not intervene.

How would she feel if he did?

And when she get a speeding ticket, does Dad intervene?


Is he able to help? Of course. Hey, Dad can drive a stick-shift and back a trailer into the drive without running over the rose bushes. Besides, as all girls know, he’s a soft touch made of money.

Is he willing to help?

Not necessarily.

Sometimes he’ll say, “You got the ticket, you pay the fine”.

Other times, he intervenes.

He pays the penalty for her.

It costs him.

“Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit”.

That’s what St. Peter said in his first letter, the one that talks most about suffering, both that of Christ and that of people.

I think the phrase that he might bring us to God gives a reason for all suffering.

Yes, I know that most of our suffering, we cause ourselves — at least I think that most of my sufferings in life have been caused by me.

But there is a redemptive element in suffering.

Innocent suffering carries great power.

In one place Christ is referred to as the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world.

Peter said, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s suffering … If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you…But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters… Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin with us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?… Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls unto him in well doing as unto a faithful Creator”.

In another place, Peter talks about common afflictions suffered by your brethren throughout the world. Some bad things happen to us just because we live in a fallen world; such things are the common lot of mankind. No body’s fault in particular just the way things are.

But the overall tone of Peter’s thinking seems to be that at least some suffering links the afflicted person with Christ to bring somebody else to God.

In other words, sometimes the suffering is for the benefit of the observer.

Once Jesus healed a man who had been born blind.

The disciples asked, “Master, who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind”?

Jesus said, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him”.

That the works of God should be made manifest to those who observe his deformity.

I have this fantasy.

I could not prove it by Scripture or even common sense, but I have this fantasy:

In my fantasy babies waiting to be born stand in a line before the throne and God asks for volunteers. God explains that on earth there are parents, doctors, nurses, brothers, sisters – people who will be nudged toward the Kingdom by being exposed to a suffering, cripple child, a child in pain, and God asks, Who will go for me”? And some kids step forward saying, “I love those people I see down there. If it will help bring them Home to You, I’ll go. I’ll be born that way”.

That’s just a fantasy but it rings true to me.

Suffering is rooted in love.

“Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God”.

This post is getting awfully long and I know my thoughts don’t really answer the questions but I hope they help.

As to this being a public forum — Anyone else out there have thoughts on the matter? Feel free to comment.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:41 AM

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Friday, May 05, 2006

This Reminds Me Of That Which Reminds Me Of…

I drove Ginny to work early so I could again sit with the car at to Erbaughs Auto Fitness so more the mechanic could test for the next thing and do the work…

Except that the tests showed the next thing would cost an additional $1,300.00!

Not having that much change in my pocket, I decided we can live with the problem, after all it does not effect safety, just comfort and cosmetics. Erbaugh’s had already done the essential work on Tuesday.

As I drove back home I remembered another garage where I had some brake work done years ago. A lady drove in and got out of her VW Hatchback.

This was an interesting sight because her doors would not unlock. She had to crawl over the seats to the rear and open the hatchback to get out of her car. Since she was not quite as fat as I am and since she was wearing a skirt, this made for an interesting operation.

She was also in the garage for brake work.

As we waited forever for our cars to be repaired she told me that she was a social worker and drove around all day visiting needy families thus had to get in and out of her car numerous times a day so when the door locks broke, she had to climb in and out of the back.

When the guy came out and told her what it would cost, she was dismayed. It cost much more than she anticipated. She could not afford to have the work done.

Down and discouraged, she climbed back in through the back of her VW and drove away.

Now in the course of our conversation, I’d learned her name and where she worked.

That next week I told another Christian about this social worker’s car problems. The Christian gave me a hundred dollars to give anonymously to the social worker for car repairs. I called her and…

Talk about leery!

Here this guy who she chatted with for 15 minutes in a garage calls saying he has a hundred dollars for her if she wants to meet him in a public place.

A likely story.

However, I must have a kind face which inspires confidence, because she agreed to meet me in a very public place where I delivered the money to her.

She could not believe that a total stranger would send her help through another total stranger without even knowing anything about her.

I explained that Jesus told us to give in secret and that is what the Christian friend wanted to do. I was just the delivery boy…

That reminds me of another Christian who gave in secret:

A waitress at a favorite restaurant was talking one morning saying that her car had been broken into the night before. The thief stole this and that but the real damage was that he’d smashed her front windshield to get into the car. Her insurance would not cover the damage and she could not afford to get it fixed and she had no way to get to work if she could not drive her car.

Another Christian friend heard this and went to an ATM and withdrew cash; he gave it to me to deliver to her to get her windshield replaced.

He asked me to deliver the money because he wanted to give in secret, so that no one but God would get thanked.

That’s the way Jesus told us to give, open-heartedly and in secret not letting our right hand know what the left is doing so that people will see the good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

That reminds me…

Once at lunch with a lady I know, our table was near the coffee station and we overheard two waitresses talking as they worked. One girl was telling the other about her college classes, her grades and how she lacked a couple of hundred dollars to pay tuition next semester so she would have to drop out…

My friend reached in her purse, took out her checkbook and wrote a check for the amount the waitress mentioned needing for tuition. Since this was not even the waitress serving our table, she got the girls name from the manager, folded the check and gave it to him asking him to give it to the student after we left.

That waitress would never know where her tuition money came from.

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them,” Jesus said.

He said the same thing about praying and fasting as He does about giving.

But that reminds me…

Once I visited a church where there were dozens and dozens of bronze plaques saying who had donated this or that so that everyone would know about the donor’s generosity. That makes me uncomfortable.

Personally I give so little to help others that I’d be ashamed for people to know about my giving. I suspect that’s why Jesus said what He did; He knows we’d be embarrassed if our parsimoniousness were made public.

But that reminds me…

There’s this great cartoon:

A man in a business suit, like a banker, sitting on a park bench feeding pigeons out of a paper sack. In front of him is a bronze plaque announcing:


That breaks me up.

But it also reminds me…

When I was a kid there was this song.

I think it may have been about a sailor who wanted a statue of himself erected in a city park where there were already statures of Abraham Lincoln and General Robert E. Lee. This song may have been about a WWII memorial or something of the sort and the sailor singing it thinks about pigeons in that park so the refrain went something like this:

Oh, they build nests on Lincoln,
And they build nests on Lee,
What will they do on me, on me?
Oh What will they do on me?

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:40 AM

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

This Struck Me:

Yesterday, while reading a biography of Jonathan Goforth, a missionary to China in the early 1900s, I ran across a striking verse of Scripture.

The missionary kept a calligraphy copy of it in the pasted in the cover of his Bible.

The words were spoken by King David as he advised his son Solomon:

Be Strong and of good courage, and do it:
Fear not, nor be dismayed:
For the Lord God, even my God,
Will be with thee;
He will not fail thee,
Nor forsake thee,
Until thou hast finished all the work…

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:26 AM

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Waiting Around

Tuesday I spent eight hours and a thousand dollars in a garage.

In accordance with the plans Ginny and I made (see April 25th posting), I took our Ford Escort to Erbaughs Auto Fitness and I hung around all day while the mechanics replaced the radiator, water pump, thermostat and other car guts.

All this was expensive but I’ve had work done on the car there in the past and I’ve been pleased with their work.

Because the garage is so far from our home and because anyone I might have bummed a ride from was either at work or out of town, I carried several books to read and study while the work was being done on the car.

I read a local history book and a book on revival and I started a book on the holocaust.

Of these, the book on revival was the most important. At various times in history the Holy Spirit has swept over areas with little human agency involved. He apparently makes His presence known in ways that people with no religious intentions are suddenly aware of the majesty and holiness of God. Christ is honored and lives are changed, not by preachers or plans or programs, but by the Spirit’s direct influence.

I have never seen this happen.

The phenomenon is well-documented history, but I’ve never seen it personally.

Such a visitation is something I covet for myself and for Jacksonville.

You know the sort of thing, “The glory of the Lord shown round about them and they were sore afraid”.

For years I have prayed for it and looked for it but so far, nothing. God doesn’t jump through hoops just because I want Him to. One earmark of true revival is that we become intensely aware of God’s sovereignty, that He indeed is Lord.

I’d sort of half way hoped that today was the day, that revival would break out… why not in a garage? He manifested Himself in a stable once, on a death-row cross, from a borrowed tomb, in an upper room.

Between reading chapters as I wanted in the garage, I listened and talked with a number of other folks. One young man told me about ecology and the importance of frogs. A guy on vacation told me about his brother’s electrical business. A young fellow told me about having to bring his grandmother’s car to the shop. And old guy worried about health problems – just the sort of small talk strangers indulge in in a waiting room.

Wednesday, I get to hang around a doctor’s office. Then Thursday, I plan to bring the car in again for additional work…

Just living the stuff of life

Doing everyday duties.

Looking for the sign of His coming

Anticipating wonder.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:49 AM

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