Rabid Fun

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Brunch And A Train Wreck

After she drove her daughter to chemotherapy Tuesday, my friend Barbara White treated me to a steak omelet brunch at Dave’s Diner, then we returned to my house, sat outside by the garden fountain, and talked for four hours about God’s control over circumstances and our personal responsibility in life.

Guess which one of us contributed the following tidbit to the conversation:

I do not get to run the train,
The whistle I can’t blow.
I have no say in which a-way,
Or how fast the train will go.

I can not stoke the boiler.
I can not ring the bell.
But let the damn thing jump the track,
And guess who catches Hell!

You’re right!

It was me.

That’s a poem I once saw on a reporter’s cubicle in the newsroom way back in the days when I worked for the local newspaper and I’ve remembered it all these years. How come I can remember that sort of thing but have such a hard time remembering Bible verses?

Although a grown woman, Barbara’s daughter now weighs well under a hundred pounds. This morning, her physician said that the regime of chemotherapy has stopped being effective and he started her on a new regime.

“We are not out of options,” he said.

Barbara attends her church regularly but she told me that she draws little comfort from the politics, programs and procedures of the church.

“I find I care less and less about more and more,” she said.

Barbara herself is a cancer survivor having undergone surgery and treatment several years ago. She knows from experience what is involved and what her daughter endures.

The element which comforts her most as she and her daughter go through this troubled time is music as she remembers hymns and praise songs. At one point over pancakes in the diner she softly sang a few phrases from one of the songs about walking close to the Lord.

Such songs remind her that she and her daughter are not in this alone, that Christ is present here and now, even when we are not aware of His presence.

“God makes all things work together for good,” Barbara said, “But He lets us make our own mistakes”.

One particularly good thing comes out of this cosmic train wreck:

Relations were once strained between Barbara and her daughter, but in driving her several times a week to chemo, Barbara and her have bonded to the point of enjoying one another’s company and laughing together. “We’ve never been closer than now,” Barbara said.

As we talked about God's control and human responsibility, butterflies fluttered amid my flower beds; squirrels drank from the fountain, bluejays attacked the birdfeeders, and lizards soaked in patches of sun. The garden radiates peace.

Yet because of all the construction debris around my house and all the work that remains to be done, I feel my yard and garden looks like a train wreck scene; I’m so sick of all the mess and clutter.

I told Barbara about my home repair projects, about painting and rain gutters and tearing down sheds. And about the anguish I go through in deciding which books to keep and which to dispose of.

In the past few years Barbara moved from a house to a condo, from her condo to a one bedroom apartment, then to an efficiency apartment. At each step she had to whittle down her possessions.

Paintings. Books. Heirlooms. Furniture. Dishes. Houseplants — all left behind.

“How do you cope with this reduction of possessions?” I asked her.

“My memory helps,” she said. “I find that I forget that I ever had such stuff, so it’s no longer so important. Sometimes losing your memory can be helpful”.

Did we arrive at a definitive answer to the question of God’s control over circumstances and human responsibility?


Of course not.

Better minds than ours have struggled with this question for ages.

Yet every person can live in the love of God without knowing the answer.

As Barbara said yesterday, “Jesus does not give us answers; He gives us Himself”.

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 @ 3:34 AM

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What's Going On Here?

Monday my friend Wes told me that a lady in the church he attends recently found her mother’s diary, a diary from the 1920s.

The daughter had no idea that her mother had kept this diary. It surprised her to discover that her mother had a life before she was even born. In fact, the mother’s diary even records how she and her future husband first met.

After the old lady’s death, the daughter found her mother’s diary as she was clearing away things to sell the house. She almost threw the book away along with other old papers before she realized what it was that she’d stumbled on to.

This news inspired Wes and me to talk for a long time about diaries.

I’ve kept my own daily (almost) diary for over 40 years (off and on).

That practice teaches me an important fact — At any given moment, I have no idea what’s going on in my own life!

I trivialize things that turn out to be significant, and I magnify things which turn out to be passing fancies. While a thing is happening, I have no clue how important or how minor it really is in the long run.

For instance, a few years ago the Senior Acquisitions Editor of a major publishing house called me about the manuscript of a book I wrote. He flew South to confer with me about changes he wanted in the manuscript. He talked about promotions, a book signing tour, cash advance, press run…

I thought his visit was so important. That I devoted page after page of my diary and much energy from my life to the meeting with this man.

I thought he represented a breakthrough in my writing career, We’d be poor no more. I’d be a rich and famous writer. I’d come into my own. I felt he was the most important person I’d ever meet…

Two weeks later his company fired him for embezzling and fraudulent expense account claims.

No one else in his company wanted to touch any project associated with him.

It turned out that he proved of no significance in the course of my life at all.

My book fell through the cracks.

Much ado about nothing.

On the other hand, neither Ginny nor I actually remember first meeting. We know the general time and place and circumstance; but when we first met, we neither one made enough of an impression on the other to warrant marking it on a calendar.

And now we’ve been happily married for almost 40 years and she’s turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me in my whole life!

Only I didn’t know that initially.

When I first met her, she was just another girl in the crowd.

My diary at the time made no mention of even meeting her!

That shows how much I know about what goes on in my own life.

That’s why I try (sometimes) to rely on God’s guidance in daily life. He alone knows what the future holds and what is truly important. That’s why I try (sometimes) to listen to His instructions and pay attention to His values.

Sure, I rebel and insist, like a 3-year-old, that I can tie my own shoelaces. I believe that I can do it myself. But in my right mind, I know that my times are in His hands; that I don’t really know what’s going on in my own life.

As King Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths”.

Sounds poetic, but it’s humbling for me to try (sometimes) to live that way..

So, while my diary may not record what’s really going on in my life — because I don’t know what that is — at least, I do try to record the great jokes I hear.

For instance, Saturday my friend Rex told me this one:

You’ve always heard that you can’t take it with you, but this wealthy man wanted to try. He made a contract with the Lord that when he died, he could take one thing with him. He packed the largest suitcase he could find with gold bars and hid it under his bed.

The rich man died and appeared before the gates of Heaven lugging this massive heavy suitcase. The angels in charge of airport security pulled him out of the line of people headed up the hill.

The angel said, “You’re not allowed to carry anything through the boarding gate”.

“Yes I am,” the man boasted, “I have a contract with the Lord that I can take one thing with me, and this trunk is my one thing”.

One angel read the contract and said to the other angel on guard, “He’s right. This contract says he is allowed to take it with him”.

They ran the trunk through the x-ray machine and passed the rich man through security. Then the angel guards watched him trudge up the hill straining and tugging and laboring and panting to get his heavy suitcase into Heaven.

“Strange lot, aren’t they,” said one angel to the others. “Why do you suppose that with a pass to bring in any one thing he wanted to, he’d pack a suitcase full of nothing but paving stones”?

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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Monday, April 28, 2008

Lord Of The Normal

Nothing extraordinary happened over the weekend.

Ginny and I shopped for groceries, office supplies, and for materials for next month’s neighborhood watch meeting.

My friend Rex came over Saturday afternoon and most of the day Sunday to install the rain gutters on our house. He works in heavy industry and is skilled at all phases of construction, mechanical, and metal work. As he worked I felt absolutely useless. I do not do well on ladders and I have trouble standing up when I kneel on the ground. This limits what I’m able to do and it feels odd to be the object of Rex’s charity. I’d rather be a giver than a receiver.

However, I’m very thankful that Rex has helped us so often and in so many ways. Without his aid, we’d be living in a shanty.

I did get the new garden shed erected all by myself. That’s something. And I killed another rat which had escaped from the old shed.

Ginny and I reviewed several plans about what to do with the space tearing down the old shed created.

We enjoyed the normal weekend flow of friends, family, visitors and phone calls.

In fact the word normal well describes our life this weekend.

Nothing wrong with that, Jesus is Lord of the normal as well as of the extraordinary. Bland is beautiful.

One funny thing did happen:

A little boy from the neighborhood, who is somewhere between five and ten years old, was looking at the cover photo on my book, A Dirty Old Man Goes Bad.

As he thumbed through the pages, the boy asked me if there were any other pictures in the book.

His dad remarked that from the cover photo, it looks as though I was burying a body in my back yard.

The kid, who’d been half listening to our conversation, perked up exclaiming, “You buried a body in your back yard”?

I replied, “No. … No… Not yet”.

The expression on his face was hilarious!

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 @ 4:43 AM

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Friday, April 25, 2008

When I Whack A Rat

Two weeks ago my neighbor tore down an old garden shed in his yard.

Last Monday I finished tearing down a 20+ year old garden shed in my yard.

Tuesday, I disassembled a shed in my daughter’s yard and transferred the parts to my yard to reassemble.

All this activity displaced the local rat population.

Yesterday as I worked I saw eight rats in my yard. They overrun the place.

I lifted a board, one which I’d lain on the ground just Tuesday, and five rats ran out from underneath.

I dropped that board in a hurry.

I waited an hour. I crept up on that same board, shovel in hand. I quickly lifted the board again and began whacking rats.

Killed two.

Broke my shovel handle.

But when I whack a rat, it stays whacked.

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 @ 3:05 AM

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two Sheds In Two Days

Monday, I hammered apart our old, rusted out metal garden shed.

Years ago, when I should have torn it down, instead I posted a sign on the door saying, “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” — the same notice Dante found engraved on a rock at the mouth of the Inferno.

I thought that was funny, and it was easier to post a sign on the door than to clean out and tear down the old shed.

Tuesday, I disassembled a newer shed at my daughter Jennifer’s home, loaded the parts on a trailer and brought them to my house to reassemble as our new(er) garden shed.

This morning I intended to write a clever diary posting about the spiritual implications of the word shed as both a noun and a verb.

My dictionary says the root of the word means something like to separate or set apart. Shed as a noun refers to a small, building likely used to set things apart for storage; shed as a verb also relates to setting something aside — The cat shed hair all over my favorite chair, or blood shed is common on Friday nights in Jacksonville, or a geological watershed separates water flowing in different directions.

I intended to write about one of my happiest days when Alva, my mother-in-law, took me to an archaeological dig in a Maryland corn field and we excavated a farm shed from the 1500s. Apparently an epidemic wiped out the farm family suddenly and their storage shed crumbled to dust leaving all the treasures they had stored in it buried beneath the corn field.

And I intended to tie this stuff together with the words of Christ when He said, “This is my blood which is shed for many”.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was stretching my point. My thought process on this is just too contrived.

If faith is real and valid, no artificial arrangement is proper.

Who needs contrived religion?

My sheds are rickety old buildings with useless stuff I’m too stingy to let go of, buildings where rats and spiders and roaches dwell.

Sheds have no spiritual implication — unless I really contrive something.

I’d be lying to say otherwise.

I can't honestly make more out of this than there really is.

Therefore, I’ve got nothing this morning.

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 @ 6:24 AM

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Decidedly Unchristian Rant!

I am a kind and gentle man.

I treat everyone on God’s green earth with kindness, tolerance, patience, compassion and charity — Everyone except for garbage men.

Them I can do without.

Monday is our regular trash collection day. As I have cleaned our garden shed, I scrupulously complied with every city regulation concerning trash. I made sure all trash was in cans or black plastic bags. No single item weighted over 40 pounds. It was placed neatly at the curb no more than 24 hours before scheduled pickup time.

The sorry bastards did not pick up my trash!

The three men on the truck decided that it was too heavy or something for their delicate little hands to handle. They parked at the curb, discussed the matter, then drove on leaving my garbage at the curb.

Before they got a full block away, I was on the phone to city hall. A recorded greeting from the mayor’s answering machine greeted me, but I punched through the abominable phone tree of city government to reach one of his flunkies.

I calmly explained the situation.

Well, the word calmly may exaggerate a bit.

The flunky tried to sidetrack me with questions about hazardous waste, (we take such stuff to the special collection point).Weight? (I said that I am pushing 70 and I carried every can and bag from our backyard to the curb by myself; and if one old guy could handle it, surely three strong young men, who earn more per hour than I ever did, should be able to lift a can of garbage all of three feet into the back of the truck!).

The flunky tried to fob me off by talking about budget cuts and offering to pick up the stuff next Monday — but I could not leave it at the curb for seven days; I’d have to move it again.

I said that some people are too sorry to be garbage men.

I want my garbage collected NOW!

I did my part, they should do theirs.

The flunky regretted ever answering the phone but relented if I’d agree to give them one hour to contact the truck. Don’t these people have radios or cell phones?

Sure enough, in an hour the same three guys and their truck appeared again at our door. For some reason in that hour, they’d decided my garbage cans were not too heavy to lift after all.

A pox on all their houses!

The problem with a stupid incident like this is that it’s mind-consuming.

I have fumed about this all day.

While Ginny shopped for groceries this evening, at 9 o’clock at night, I sat on a bench outside the grocery store still replaying the whole thing in my mind again and again. I can’t let go of it.

These sorry garbage men pulled my chain.

Outside the grocery store I fumed hating their guts, and trying as a mediocre Christian to pray for them. Ever heard of imprecatory prayers?

But these guys pushed my overload button!

You know, sometimes in my heart, I pray that after my death I will be remembered as a man who loved. I want genuine love to characterize my life.

That’s some goal for a misanthrope, isn’t it?

I overload on people easily and I recharge my batteries by being alone. I just can’t cope with too many people in a day. I’d make a great Christian hermit. Boy, can I be pious when nobody’s around to rub me the wrong way.

In thinking about the garbage men, I again realized that life is hard and I think it a great sin to make somebody’s life harder than it needs to be. Then I got to wondering how often I do that very thing myself?

Can it be that Jesus died for garbage men, city hall flunkies, and even me too?

Hard for me to believe that this evening.

But, in case you haven’t noticed, when it comes to loving people, the Lord Jesus is downright odd.

Oh, my!

Isn’t it blasphemous to say Jesus is odd?

I looked the word up in the dictionary just to make sure. Odd is defined as “differing markedly from the usual, ordinary, or expected”.

Yep. That’s Him alright.

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 @ 4:14 AM

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Animal Tales

Sunday, my friend Barbara White hosted a lavish cook out for the whole Cowart Clan at her home on Turtle Lake. She commandeered a huge BBQ grill from the management and obtained the use of a lounge overlooking the lake. And she served, among other things, her famous Chopped Olive In Whipped Cream Cheese, my favorite.

Ginny prepared a platter of deviled eggs, Helen brought luscious pineapple, Donald grilled burgers, Eve brought lemon cake, and other folks brought over favorite dishes — and we all talked about animals.

When we strolled on the pathway around the lake and on the dam spillway, we watched a 4-foot gator unsuccessfully stalk some water bird. As we lounged outside talking we watched an osprey furnishing a nest. I saw a water snake swimming among the lilies — and we all talked about animals.

As several of us sat outside smoking, a retarded girl and her family feed breadcrumbs to the school of fish that gather at the dam. These fish are so accustomed to people feeding them that the school can detect the vibrations of footsteps on the dam and will actually follow people, crowding close in hopes of bread crumbs.

We watched an anhinga, sometimes called a snakebird because it swims with only its head above the water, catch fish and bring them to a partially submerged log to flip over and swallow head-first. We counted 15 turtles sunning on that log. The anhinga saw the retarded girl throw breadcrumbs, it waited for the fish to gather at her feet, then it dove and caught one of the gathered fish to carry back to the log. Again and again it did this. Fascinating — And we all talked about animals.

Of course we gossiped about family members too.

And, as we did, I gained the strangest insight.

Mark and Eve are the two gentlest people alive. They are sensitive, retiring, quite, shy, timid, soft — and as, from a distance, I watched them stroll along the dam, I told the others that someday God would use Mark and Eve to accomplish some heroic task, a feat requiring great courage and personal danger. It’s hard to see them as heroes, but they will be. I’m sure of it. That was the oddest feeling to have about this unlikely couple — and we talked about animals.

Yesterday Mark and Eve got a new kitten, Simba. This new cat, which they deliberately went to the humane society and got, adds to the four cats they already own!

Why in the world would any sane person want more than one cat?

But, yesterday also, Donald and Helen went to a different humane society shelter and got a dog. It adds to the four cats they already own.

Must be some hereditary genetic defect in my offspring.

Helen said that as they browsed among the cages at the pound, a family came in also looking for an animal to adopt. The two rambunctious boys, ages about 7 and 9, dashed from cage to cage yelling, “I want this one! I want this one”!

The tired young mother turned to Helen and said, “How’d you like to adopt two boys instead of a dog? They’ve had all their shots and they’re almost housebroken”.

Helen and Donald chose a dog instead.

The family engaged in a long conversation about cat carriers and …


It’s 4:45 a.m and I just got back from seeing about a neighbor who suffered another heart attack, his third. A few minutes ago, I saw Rescue 10 unit pull up to his house, put my slippers on and went over. Warren was still conscious as they gave him shots and fixed an IV, so I knelt beside him and chatted as they prepared him for transport.

I offered him these words of Christian comfort:

“You can’t die yet. Who would I borrow tools from if anything happens to you”?

It only hurts when he laughs.

Carol, his wife, will keep me posted.

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 @ 5:33 AM

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Four Odd, But Cool, Incidents

Yesterday at Ginny’s work, she had to go to a different part of the building to get something from storage. A door in the hall opened and a man stepped out of a meeting.

He stopped abruptly intently looking at her.

“You have absolutely beautiful hair,” he said.

The stunned gentleman was former Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Grover!

I understand how he felt.


Yesterday an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter Scale shook 16 mid-west states. It was centered in Illinois along what geologists call the New Madrid Fault. No causalities were reported and little property damaged but it is unusual for earthquakes to be felt by people in this region at all.

One of the odd facts of history I remember is that in 1812, a major quake along the New Madrid Fault caused the Mississippi River to flow backward for a time (some accounts say it was for days). The quake actually changed the course of the river.


The lady from the pizza party called yesterday.

She was at her cardiologist’s office. He’d said there was no sign of damage to her heart and that her problems may have been caused by a reaction to some medication she was taking.

“The Old Man Upstairs is looking out for you,” he said.

Her other physical problems remain.

We’ll see what happens — If anything.

She was very happy about the cardiologist’s report.

My own state can best be described as one of doubtfully believe.


Yesterday, on Kings Road over in Southside, only a few blocks from where I grew up as a boy, a construction company was renovating a building when workers made a strange discovery.

During the 1950 and ‘60s the building had been home to Skatetown, a roller-skating rink where teens hung out.

In renovating the building workers found about 30 wallets, billfolds and purses stuck in a hollow space between some walls.

No cash was in the wallets leading the construction foreman to speculate that they’d been stolen from the lockers of teens while they skated. The thief stripped the cash then dropped the wallets into the hollow space between walls to hide the evidence.

But he left everything else in the purses and wallets. Old snapshots in accordion sleeves, folded up love letters, bus passes, birth certificates, pressed flowers — anything a teenager might carry in a wallet.

As a sign of those far-away times, virtually every one of the 30+ wallets and purses contained — a library card!

The construction company is attempting to locate the original owners to return the items discovered between the walls.


Speaking of construction…

Also yesterday, in my latest ploy to avoid writing that fire department history, I began cleaning out and tearing down our rusted garden shed.

I found termites have shredded some old maps I had stored out there.

I filled five garbage cans with debris, valuable debris that I’ve been saving for years just in case I would need it someday.

Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal… For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.

But what if I really need those old lawnmower wheels, Lord?

What will I do then?

And here’s a perfectly good replacement bulb for our car’s headlight… Er, right, that was a headlight for our car three cars ago.

Tomorrow I’m borrowing three more empty garbage cans from my neighbor Rex.

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 @ 3:42 AM

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Money Matters

Any day now a royalty check for my first quarter book sales should arrive.

We’ll be rich beyond our wildest dreams of avarice.

Well, almost.

At least we can afford groceries next week.

Anyhow, Ginny and I spent the morning planning how we will spend all this anticipated money.

When I walked her out to the car so she could drive to work, as she opened the car door, she struck a pose like one of the presenter girls on a tv game show.

She lifted her arms and proclaimed, “I am the David Copperfield of Finance! I can make cash disappear faster than anyone else on earth”!

I laughed till tears ran down my cheeks as she drove off.

That other magician, David Copperfield, only made the Statue of Liberty vanish. You can see a video of his stunt on You Tube.

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 @ 7:57 AM

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Two Conversations, A Camera, & A Galleon Of Canola Oil.

First, Happy Birthday to Ariel; she turned 18 Tuesday.

When my friend Wes treated me to breakfast yesterday, he said the name Ariel is Hebrew that means The Lion of God; Ariel corrected him saying it means The Lioness of God. Wes countered with the feminine form of the Hebrew word…

I said that I thought Ariel was the name of the Little Mermaid in the Disney movie.

They laughed at me.

Wes and I drove back to my house to smoke our pipes and talk about the Nicene Creed, the nature of the church, Aryanism, and the place of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity.

We’re way too old, but we’d make really great sophomores!

Wes thinks of the church in terms of each local congregation, He cited Christ’s words to seven individual congregations in Revelation, and Paul’s writing epistles addressed to individual congregations in specific cities.

I tend to think of the universal church as all believers living and dead from Adam to unborn generations in the far future, mighty as an army with banners stretching throughout time and eternity.

Pretty high-minded for a guy who seldom attends church, huh?

I feel that God raised up different denominations to fit the individual tastes of different people just as He gives the gift of music. Some folks’ taste runs to rock & roll, some to country western, some to classical.

I could be wrong about this.

Wes says that’s highly likely.

Concerning the Trinity, Wes said his grandfather used the analogy of an old kerosene lamp. The wick burned, the flame flickered, the light touched all corners of the room. Yet all three are one lamp.

Now God is unique.

He is Creator; all other things are created. Therefore, nothing else in the universe is like Him, not exactly like Him. But various analogies from created things can give us hints as to His nature.

For instance, I’ve heard the Trinity compared to solid ice, liquid water, and vaporous steam, different states of the same H2O. I’ve also heard the Trinity compared to an egg, one yoke, one white, one shell = one living egg.

My own favorite analogy is a deep-fried shrimp. The shrimp is the center, the crisp bread coating covers it, the warmth permeates the whole shrimp.

Wes said that comparing the Holy Trinity to butterfly shrimp is silly.

But I happen to like fried shrimp.

Speaking of silly…. No, that’s unkind.

What he’s doing is not silly, (but to me a tad strange):

Wes asked me to take some photos of him with my digital camera so he can post them to an online dating service.

How did couples ever meet before computers?

Thank God that Ginny and I stumbled blindly into eachother 40 years ago. It’s a strange new world now.

Anyhow, Wes wants to date.

Via computer.

So I took a dozen photos of him.

He will chose one to lure a potential mate.

That’s how they say it works anyhow. The computer also says that I’m the millionth visitor and that I’ve won a free dance lesson.

I don’t know which photo Wes will pick, but I think this one portrays him best:

Why is he laughing?

Instead of “Say Cheese” as I snapped the photo, I said, “Wes, look intelligent”.


Strange this should come up.

About 18 hours after I wrote Wednesday’s entry, the one about divine healing, Ginny and I attended a pizza party with six or eight other people (Only one of whom had read my blog entry).

Our hostess, a mature lady, suffers from a debilitation illness.

She has good days and bad, and had planned the party on a good day, but last night turned bad for her and she was in considerable pain.

As party conversation gravitated toward healthcare issues, I felt uneasy as I remembered what I’d written that very morning. I excused myself and went outside to smoke a pipe and pray as the conviction grew inside me that I should anoint this woman with oil and pray for her.

I resisted that conviction for as long as I could.

Then, feeling like an utter fool, I blundered into the kitchen looking for some olive oil. A lady there asked what I needed and I said, “You know if she has any olive oil?”.

“No. But I think I saw some canola oil in the cupboard. Would that do?”.

No reason why not. The Scripture just says “oil”, it does not stipulate what kind. I suppose whale oil or peanut oil or 3-in-1 Machine Oil would do just as well. So I said, “Canola oil will do fine”.

She pulled out a gallon jug of the stuff!

I carried it into the party where the sick woman lay on a couch. I dipped my thumb into the oil jug, traced a cross on her forehead, and prayed for her. Not having read my blog, she and most of the others there, had no idea what I was doing, but one caught on and said that for this trick to work you have to use virgin olive oil.

Now, I don’t know how to tell virgin olive oil from the kind that’s been… well, from the other kind.

But I said canola oil would work just fine. After all it is not the oil nor the guy praying but the Lord who raises up the sick. I joked that maybe I should pour the whole galleon on the lady instead of just a dab; that way she’d really be anointed.

Now let me emphasize that everyone at the party knew the lady’s colorful past. In her youth she’d been… Well, let’s just say it was a little too late to worry about virgin oil.

When I said that, the lady and the party-goers roared with laughter.

In fact the whole thing was a hoot! With much joking and commentary and laughter — and maybe a little thinking.

Will my silly ritual restore the lady to health?

I have no idea.

We’ll see.

But, it seemed like the thing to do at the time.

So I did it.

Sometimes trying to live faith in everyday life makes you look like a fool.

I should be used to that by now.

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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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Miracles That Don’t Work

On tv last Sunday night, I saw a film clip of a little kid trying to drink from a water fountain, the kind they call a bubbler. He almost had the knack of it, but he couldn’t get a drink.

He’d press the button on the side and water arched forth. But when he leaned forward to drink, the flow stopped because he couldn’t keep the button down.

He puzzled and puzzled over the contraption, a comic expression on his face.

Finally some adult lifted him up while pressing the button and the kid drank.

This came up Monday as my friend Barbara White, author of the Along The Way series of books, treated me to breakfast at Dave’s Diner. As usual we gossiped about friends and family, books and videos, politics and newspapers, the whole state of Christ’s church and the world.

But mostly we talked about divine healing.

Barbara’s grown daughter undergoes chemotherapy treatments often. Barbara drove her to several radiation treatments last week.

Among the Scriptures we talked about was that odd instruction in James’ letter that says, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him”.

Barbara observed that we often try to reduce the miraculous to a formula.

If I do such and such, then God has to do thus and so. He’s obligated.


What has any of us ever done to put Almighty God in our debt?

Barbara said this play called life is about Him, not about us. We are stage hands or bit players in His story.

“It’s all about Jesus,” she said.

Now the apparent formula for healing in James’ letter seems to be first, call the elders, I suppose that means the wisest and smartest people among us, Naturally that means doctors. If you don’t believe me, just ask one of them.

They are to pray and anoint the sick person with oil. I suppose that means give him the best treatment available — Like when Jesus commended the Good Samaritan who poured oil on the wounds of the guy who’d been mugged on the highway.

A friend of mine who works at the Mayo Clinic says that the duty of a doctor is to amuse the patient till he either gets well or dies.

I’m not that cynical.

Not quite.

Although years ago a physician did prescribe Vioxx for my arthritis pain. But when I read the label warnings on the bottle, I decided I’d rather endure the pain than risk poisoning myself and trashed the stuff. This was long before the maker recalled the drug when they admitted it was killing patients.

But I’m not cynical about medical science. I suspect the Vioxx scandal is more related to Merck’s accounting department than to its physicians.

Sometimes the stuff they do for sick people at Mayo works; but not always. I mean they push all the right buttons but the patient dies anyhow.

Maybe it takes a miracle.

I think I almost saw a miraculous healing once.


I’m not sure. I have my doubts.

What happened was, about 50 years ago a young pregnant woman tumbled down a long flight of stairs from her third floor apartment. At the emergency room she was told she’d lose the baby. For some reason, she and her husband called me. I went over, anointed her forehead with olive oil and prayed. A few weeks later she gave birth to a healthy son.

Did my voodoo charm of oil and prayer make any difference at all?

Was the happy outcome the result of what the doctors did for her in the emergency room and hospital?

Might she have sustained the fall, foregone any treatment at all, and had the healthy baby anyhow?

I have no idea.

After all babies are tough little fellows. They cling to life tenaciously.

So maybe the birth of that child was a normal thing. Maybe that kid was just hardheaded.

But anointing the woman and praying seemed the thing to do at the time.

So I did it.

But this is not a magic formula.

If I grease the sick one’s forehead and pray, then God has to…

No He doesn’t!

Indeed He has set physical and spiritual rules in place in the universe. Normally such rules work. But often they don’t.

I press the button. I see the water splash. I lean forward…


It stopped.

What went wrong?


It’s just that I’m too little to reach — some Adult has to lift me up.

That’s the only way things 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 @ 3:56 AM

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Peaceful Long Weekend

Writing about peaceful, joyous things is more difficult for me than writing about things that annoy me.

Must be because I’m a natural born complainer. But this past weekend contained nothing for me to complain about. Mostly Ginny and I sat in our garden talking, reading or just being in silent love together.

She potted a few flowers and I vacuumed the pool, but mostly we just got re-acquainted as we talked about faith and politics, children and news articles, future plans and distant memories.

Nothing ruffled our feathers or clouded our horizons.

Sunday the sky misted rain as we drove about 15 miles out to Baldwin for a country breakfast at Everybody’s Restaurant. Customers there must tip well because our waitress told us it was her first day back at work from having taken her family for a vacation in Hawaii.

Around us local customers talked about buying new pressure washers, and what the preacher said, and what might be wrong with a sick cow. I love eavesdropping on such conversations and hearing the speech cadences of pure Southern language.

On the drive out, we had seen a sign to a historic preserve at Camp Milton, a Civil War fortification where in 1864 our brave Southern boys attempted unsuccessfully to defend Jacksonville and the Homeland from barbarous invaders from the north.

After breakfast we returned to the cutoff and visited the site. Because of the rain and early hour not a single other person was in the park. We strolled through the ancient battlefields and along a boardwalk to view the ruined earthwork ramparts.

One interesting feature of the preserve is a typical Florida Cracker homestead; this house, which is being restored, reminds me of my grandfather’s farmhouse in Graham, Florida:

Oddly enough, though I’d once worked at the adjacent Whitehouse Oil Pits (which may relate to some of my physical problems today years later) I had never been to Camp Milton before. Whitehouse is the name of a small rural community now mostly absorbed by Jacksonville.

For some unfathomable government reason Jacksonville’s Mosquito Control Board was partially responsible for cleaning up the oil pits. When I worked there the place, a Superfund Site, was a vision from Hell — except it was too toxic for demons.

Odd that with my interest in history, I never realized that the huge Civil War fortification was so near.

Anyhow, Sunday morning Ginny and I strolled alone in misting rain through lush swampland and spring meadows. We spotted numerous bird species we could not identify but we enjoyed them too much to really care about which kind of bird they were.

So from the turmoil of ancient war, we strolled in happy peace.

And now we turn away from the real world and back to our normal daily activities.

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 @ 5:34 AM

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Life In A Dryer

For the past six months I feel as though I’ve been living in a clothes dryer.

I tumble from thing to thing to thing, from to this to that and to the other in an unending cycle going nowhere.

The problem with doing one job is that it reveals another job that also needs doing.

When I paint a wall, then I notice how much the trim around the window needs painting. When I paint the window trim, I see how dirty the curtains are. Washing the curtains, exposes how much dust has built up on the plate rail. Dusting the plate rail shows how badly the ceiling fan needs cleaning.

This process continues till I find myself digging out drainpipes underneath the concrete slab house foundation — which I see is being cracked by tree roots, so I’ll need to…

At some point I have to call a halt.

I have to declare that it’s Good Enough.

If I don’t call that halt and make that declaration, then my life careens out of control and my days are dictated by an ever accumulating array of tasks which, while nice, are not necessary.

I have to learn to say, “It’s good enough for now”.

Acknowledging the Good Enough is especially important in marriage. Because, although Ginny and I are what the Bible calls “One Flesh”, we are not always of one mind. In fact, I’m married to this left-handed, wrong-headed woman.

She does not see things or do things the way I do.

And, instead of forcing the issue and fussing at eachother over trivia, we’ve each had to learn to tolerate the other person’s methods and acknowledge that while the job is not done the way I’d do it, it’s been done Good Enough.

No job is as important as she is.

Getting along with her matters more than seeing the job done perfectly (meaning as I would have done it).

Remember back in November when I was writing a book on the history of the Jacksonville Fire Department?

Then I put that book aside to celebrate our anniversary, then came Thanksgiving and Christmas and four family birthdays, then our daughter’s wedding, which led to replacing the rotten wood on the back deck, which meant painting, which meant sealing the wood with tar, which led to clearing bushes from the house foundations which led to transplanting thorn bushes and replacing rain gutters.

That job revealed that I needed to clear books out of the storage shed which meant culling the bookcases inside to make room for the books from outside, and that means collecting things for a garage sale next month which means I’ll need to …

See what I mean about living in a clothes dryer?

What I need to do is finish writing that history of the fire department.

The status of the house is good enough.

In fact, the place is in better shape than it has been for years.

The same can’t be said of me.

I’ve lost my focus.

Time to say Good Enough and do what I’m called to do.

Author Stephen King, who once worked in a laundry, urges aspiring writers to stop dicking around and write. He points out that it is entirely possible to spent the rest or your life trying to do your laundry to perfection.

But we aspiring writers tend to think the primary activity of a writer is to avoid writing.

The thing is, B-List projects are so much easier to do than A-List projects. B-List things are manageable. When I check a B-List project off my list, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I see immediate results. And I’ve gotten the job done in a controllable time-frame.

And when I chop down a tree, that sucker stays chopped down!

B-List stuff is not an on-going, life-long job — like living for Christ.

Walking with Christ can never simply be checked off my list as over and done with. And, the results are seldom visible. And I have to keep going back to basics as though I’d never started in the first place.

Being a Christian is not for sissies.

It’s easier to write a history of the fire department than to walk with Him and it’s easier to paint walls and cull books and tar wood and salvage bricks and level flagstones than it is to write a history book.

I keep thinking that in order to be thoroughly Christian, I need to know more, to see deeper, to read classics, to think harder…


All we ever need to know about God, we already know.

That's true of everyone.

The ball’s in our court now.


I think I’m dry now. Ginny and I are taking several days off to recharge our batteries. So I’m unlikely to post in this journal again till after April 14th — That’s the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic; no group invited me to lecture about Dr. Bateman and the Titanic this year, but click here if you’re interesting in reading a chapter I wrote about it.

And, when we get back from our time off, I intend, God willing, to resume writing that fire history book.

Or, I may just keep tumbling along.

I need to take down that rickety garden shed, or clear the jungle path, or transplant the mulberry tree or … by the time I get finished, the house will need repainting again!

So goes my life in a clothes dryer.

PS: the graphic is from http://monkeyinadryerblog.blogspot.com

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 @ 4:51 AM

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Typical Neighborhood Watch Meeting

Monday night for our monthly Neighborhood Watch Meeting, Lisa brought a snake for the Show & Tell segment, and Ayolane, a naturalist, delivered an impromptu talk about how to identify dangerous snakes we might meet in our gardens:

Sharp-tail, OK; blunt-tail, bad.

The group of about a dozen people went around the circle for our High/Low exercise in which each person tells the high and low points in their life since the last meeting, the best and the worst thing that’s happened to them.

I passed around a 1,500 watt lightbulb and a 2,000-year-old clay lamp from an archaeological excavation. (Just things I happen to have laying around the house).

Using these props I gave a mini-devotional on the phrase, “Ye are the light of the world”. I put a wick and some lighter fluid in the lamp -- and for the first time in 2,000 years, it gave off light.

Officer Craig Grant from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported on crime statistics within a half mile of where we were meeting. He gave us various tips on home and personal security.

Judy distributed tee-shirts with River Celebration logos from our last park clean-up day and we planned the next one.

Again we went around our circle so each person had a chance to speak about whatever concerned them in our neighborhood or in life in general. One person is calling JEA about street lights, another is arranging for branches to be cleared from around a traffic sign.

Then to close, and as the highpoint of the meeting, I told one of my wonderful jokes:

The workman installing wall-to-wall carpet in a home had just finished tacking down the edges or the rug and replacing the molding around the room. He noticed a small lump beneath the carpet in the corner of the room.

Patting his shirt pocket, he said, “Darn. My pack of cigarettes must have dropped out. I’ll have to rip out all the tacks and peel back the rug and…”

Wait just a minute here, he thought. No I won’t have to redo all that work.

He reached in his tool box and pulled out a length of 2X4. He pounded the lump down flat and smoothed out the place, rubbing the 2X4 back and forth over the spot.

Satisfied he packed up his gear and returned to his truck in the drive. As he put his tools away he noticed his pack of cigarettes on the dashboard.

As he tapped one out of the pack, the lady of the house came out saying, “Oh Driver, have you seen my canary? She got out of her cage”.

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 @ 5:50 AM

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Without Straw

In 1901 the Great Fire of Jacksonville burned over 400 acres of the city’s core. Immediately afterwards reconstruction began. This time, instead of heart pine boards, the builders constructed many buildings of brick to avoid having the place burn down again.

In their rush to rebuild, they mixed a light, sandy mortar to hold these bricks together.

Thank God.

Because over the past few weeks demolition crews have been knocking down some of these after-the-fire downtown buildings and when a crane hits a turn-of-the Century brick wall, it crumbles in a pile leaving most of the old bricks intact.

Guess how Ginny and I spent our weekend.

We wanted weathered brick to line some flowerbeds and for a walkway and other projects around our house, so we visited a demolition site and salvaged bricks.

What fun to prowl through the rubble collecting bricks and looking at old papers and fixtures the demolition brought to light.

Rain hampered our efforts and we got soaked and filthy with demolition dust, but we now have plenty of weathered brick.

Some folks might call us Dumpster Divers; we prefer to think of ourselves as salvage recyclers.

We recycle a lot of things. Last Thursday I sent a pickup truck load of clothing and household good to a mission for the homeless. A dozen huge black leaf bags and cartons of goods can be reused by folks who need them.

We are also in the process of culling our bookshelves. Over they years I have accumulated eleven bookcases stuffed with arcane volumes; and there are books in our closets and boxes of books beneath our bed.

We spent last night sorting which of these to keep and which could go to the used bookstore (again) or to the Friends Of The Library book sale.

This process is painful for me.

When I give up a book, I feel loss. I cling to my books. I think that I’m sure to need this reference tool in the future. I fully intended to get around to reading this other book someday (I’ve intended to read it for the past 30 years). But this book has such great illustrations. And that one has a classic tooled-leather binding. And this one may help me grow spiritually if I were to read it. And that book on Kourion tells about an ancient ruined city (destroyed by an earthquake on July 21, A.D. 365) which I’ve always wanted to visit. And Mr. Darby gave me that book… Er, he didn’t exactly give it to me, I borrowed it from him ten years ago and haven’t returned it yet.

I can’t get rid of this book; it has that poem by what’s-his-name, the poem about the girl in the yellow dress, the poem that made me feel haunted the first time I read it and still give me goosebumps. And here’s a copy of Bomba The Jungle Boy that I read so much instead of doing homework that I almost failed third grade. And here’s that copy of Dracula, the first book I ever stole. And here’s that Stephen King first edition of the story I enjoyed so much and want to re-read. And here’s a Bible study book on Esther that I marked with notes and here’s the book that….

I can find some reason to never let go.


But, I have to.

Rats have gotten into the boxes of books stored in the shed.

If I do not cull, dispose of, recycle, make room for — these books will be lost forever, shredded by rodents, silverfish, termites.

This distresses me.

I do not own these books.

They own me.

Maybe by recycling and passing these volumes on to some younger person, I will enrich his life. I remember how pained I felt when I was young and could not afford to buy the books I needed for school. I remember how deeply I coveted certain books which over long years of collecting I now own (but still haven’t read).

I draw my identity from the books I read — and from the ones I write.

So instead of culling my bookshelves, I’d rather carry bricks.

Bricks are lighter.

Much lighter.

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 @ 9:00 AM

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Make Straight In The Backyard …

Philip Wylie played a unique conversational gambit as an icebreaker on meeting strangers.

Wylie was the author of When Worlds Collide, Opus 21, and Generation Of Vipers. His writings inspired the comic book characters of Spiderman and Flash Gordon.

In 1930 Wylie wrote the book Gladiator, which became the basis of the comic book hero Superman.

On meeting a stranger at a cocktail party, Wylie would ask, “If God walked in through that door right now, what one question would you ask Him”?

Inevitably the stranger would conclude that if God walked in the door right now, there would be no question. All questions would be answered by His presence.

Although Philip Wylie’s books were favorite reading among sophomores when I was in college, I had not thought of him for years until yesterday while I leveled flagstones in our backyard.

Yes, I painted the chimney. Yes, I tarred behind the woodwork. Yes, I caulked the walls and painted them. Yes, I pressure washed the deck. Yes, I repaired the hole in the side of the pool.

Our home is improved.

Darn sure better be after all the work I’ve put into renovating the place since January. From top to bottom everything about our home has improved except my disposition.

So now I’ve worked down to leveling a flagstone walkway in the backyard.

Don’t want anybody to trip.

This leveling involved chopping tree roots, which over the years have pushed the stones aside, or adding sand in places where over the years rain washed out the underpinnings of the stones.

As I worked, I thought about Philip Wylie’s icebreaker and about the words of the Prophet Isaiah:

Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill shall be made low:
And the crooked shall be made straight,
And the rough places plain:
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed…

The message is, Get ready. Prepare to meet thy God. He’s about to walk in through that door.

Jesus once said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with me”.

Any questions?

My daughter Eve drove over from work to spend the afternoon talking with me. Something at her job upset her and she took the afternoon off for a mental health break.

As she sat telling me about what happened at work and watching me level stones, I asked her opinion about one troublesome stone that I’d worked with for over an hour.

She said, “Well, Daddy, it’s level on one end”.

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 @ 3:06 AM

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Wedding Photos Arrive

Yesterday the postman delivered a packet of wedding photos from our daughter Eve and Mark’s wedding on February 9th.. They were taken by my brother David.

Here’s a photo of David. A few years ago he survived a lung transplant so to avoid possible exposure to infection, he wears a mask. He’s sitting with Carol, his sister-in-law, while May, his wife, a former dance instructor, was jitterbugging on the glass dance floor (with neon lights underneath).

The night before the wedding my own bride Ginny celebrated flourishing her camera:

Eve and Mark were married by an official aboard the cruise ship Celebration:

Here is the coven of bride’s maids:

I walked Eve down the aisle to give her away:

The cruise line provided a reception with ice sculpture right next door to the lounge where the ceremony was held:

Here is the happy couple:

After the reception, family and wedding guest left the ship while Mark and Eve sailed away into the sunset to honeymoon in the Bahamas.

All they brought back as a souvenir for me was this empty rum bottle:

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 @ 3:32 AM

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Nails Were Too Short

Yesterday, while doing home repairs, I hurt myself bad.


Last week I’d pulled a muscle in the right side of my chest, Yesterday I twisted my right knee. All the time the arthritis in my right hip pains me. Before long I’ll be scuttling along sideways like a crab.

The problem was the nails were too short.

We have a boardwalk running along the ground for about 25 feet between the back deck and the pool steps. There are 4X4 inch posts driven in the ground with 2X4 joists nailed between them, and 2X6 inch planks nailed on top.

Over the years the whole structure has sagged and warped and fallen in spots.

As part of my home improvement project (which I’ve been entangled in since January 17th) I decided to level out this boardwalk. This involved removing boards by crawling around on my hands and knees, prying out old nails, leveling the joists, drilling holes, and re-nailing the planks in securely.

Drilling holes?

Yes. Among the many talents God has given me, the ability to drive a nail straight is not one of them. Christ may have been a carpenter but He didn’t pass that skill on to me. So I have to drill a hole through the board in order to hammer the nail in straight.

As soon as I began tearing the boardwalk apart, the cause of its deterioration became evident. Whoever had built the thing in the first place, had used nails hardly two and a half inches long.

These nails were too short to hold the boards in place.

When I hammered the thing back together, I used 3 ½ inch nails.

Solid workmanship if I do say so myself.

Anyhow, as I crawled around doing all this, I zigged when I should have zagged, caught my foot beneath a joist when I turned to reach for my crowbar, and twisted my knee.


The combination of pain and nails reminded me of something:

Between the years of 1932 and 1935, Dr. Pierre Barbet, a surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parris, conducted some macabre but interesting experiments with nails and cadavers.

Using square-cut nails to tack an amputated human arm to a board, Dr. Barbet suspended weights from the arm to see how much it would take before the nail ripped out through the fingers.

He and his colleagues performed this experiment dozens of times

Dr. Barbet wrote, “One finds that in the middle of the bones of the wrist there is a free space, bounded by the capitate, the semi-lunar, the triquetral and the hamate bones”.

A nail driven through the hand in that spot, called Destot’s space, would support 288 pounds of weight without ripping out through the fingers.

And no bone would be broken or shattered by the nail.

Dr. Barbet described his work in his book, A Doctor At Calvary, (Image Books, Doubleday, ©1963).

Although he was a surgeon, he was also a scientist who studied the process of crucifixion on the human body. There is a name for experts in this field, crucifixsures or cruciologists or something like that; sorry, I’ve forgotten the exact word.

But anyhow, Dr. Barbet concluded, “Hanging by the hands causes a variety of cramps and contractions in the crucified which are described under numerous general headings, stretching to what we know as ‘tetany’. Eventually these reach the inspiratory muscles and prevent expiration; the condemned men, being unable to empty their lungs, die of asphyxia. They can, however, escape for a few moments from this tetany, and from its consequent asphyxia, by lifting the body upwards with the feet as a support.

“At this moment the knees and the hips are extended, the body is raised, while as a result the angle formed by the forearms with the vertical decreased slightly, in the direction of the original right angle. The body thus alternates, during the agony, between a sagging position and a state of asphyxia and a raised position which brings relief…”

The doctor draws a picture of Christ writhing on the cross, pushing up on the nails through His feet in order to breath — or to speak.

He pushed up on those nails to say, “Father, forgive them…”

In his anatomical experiments Dr. Barbet used short nails, hardly 3 inches long.

I’ve heard of a singing group called Nine-Inch Nails but I’ve never heard them sing and I know nothing about them; I suppose the group name is derived from some idea that it would take nails 9 inches long to hold Jesus to the cross.

I doubt it.

Even those nails would be too short.

Just how long of a nail would it take to pin down God?

Before His crucifixion Jesus said, “I lay down my life for the sheep… I lay down my life that I might take it up again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again”.

He said this sort of thing again and again throughout the gospels saying that although He is God come in the flesh, yet He voluntarily went to the cross for our sin.

He suffered agony for us.

No matter their length, nails alone were too short to hold Him to the cross.

It was love alone that held Him there.

Love for us.


Last night during our normal prayer time after supper, Ginny and I got to talking about John the Baptist and the virgin Mary. We discussed how the call of God had come to each one of them and to other people mentioned in Scripture.

Ginny observed, “They agreed with God, but they were not sure of just what it was they were agreeing to”.

We decided that’s a good summary of the Christian life.

We don’t agree to something; we agree with Someone.

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 @ 6:00 AM

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