I have probably read through the entire Bible several times in my life, but I had never read it systematically in one year - until tomorrow. Not that I haven't tried before. With the help of a blog and it's link to an online Bible, I was able to faithfully keep up on daily bible readings for one year. I have been wondering if the fact that I could do my reading on my Mac laptop encouraged the discipline. :) Even though it's internet based, you can save previously loaded windows, and read them on vacation days, even when you can't fing a wireless internet link - i.e. camping in the Grand Tetons. I enjoy using this blog because each day the author of the blog posts some background comments on the reading and lots of pictures that go along with the readings. I really appreciate the pictures, particularly if they are some old paintings of a biblical scene. There are also daily comments from other readers who have read the same thing that day. I usually didn't read all the material availble, but it was nice to have it there, if I wanted a little more background or discussion. I have looked for other internet daily bible reading sites for next year, but I haven't found anything I like better, so I'll go with this one again this year. If you are thinking of using an aide like this, I recommend it. Check it out at www.oneyearbibleblog.com
My nephew Aaron and wife Jen played host to the Bulthuis Christmas gathering on Wednesday. Aaron and Jen, along with their two sons recently moved to Lynden as Aaron is now principal of Lynden Christian Middle School. It was great to get together with my siblings and their families. Karen and Brian are home for a few days from New York. Ellen has been staying with mom in her new home in Meadow Greens, but will come home with us for a few days before flying home to Sacramento.
Celebration of Christmas this year was shared with the Eide family (Esther's two brothers and families.) The weekend was filled with eating, talking and playing the Wii. All of the adults took their turn at flinging the Wii remote back and forth through the air. Meals included among other goodies: oyster stew, clam chowder, sausage egg balls, peppermint jellow and pork tenderloin. We appreciate our large house with fourteen bodies spending the three days together.
Jenny has been staying with us for a few days, and was able to join us on our pre-Christmas Seattle shopping day. Little did she realize what she was in for. After shopping stops at Capital hill, Queen Anne, Greenwood, Northgate, Universtiy Village, Southcenter and Tacoma Mall, she learned how serious Bulthuis pre-Christmas shopping can be. Jenny and Bjorn enjoyed American Apparel and Urban Outfitter on Broadway. Calvin relished a stop at Gary's Games and Hobbies in Greenwood. Markus was able to pre-order his WOW game at Northgate. Esther's enjoyment of Universtiy Village was cut short by a power outage, but rescued by an unexpected find at World Market in Tacoma. And we all enjoyed a hefty burrito at Gorditos. With Santa's bags now almost full, we need a recoup day in sleepy Southworth!
Last night our family went to the theater to see 'the nativity story'. We all enjoyed the experience. I particularly appreciated the 'earthiness' of the sets. Though Nazareth and Bethlehem may not have been as primitive as the movie depicts, I am sure that they were simpler and dirtier than my common perception of them. I was disturbed by Mary's melancholic spirit and the lack of any romance in the betrothal. I have always envisioned a more cheerful madonna. Joseph seemed more in keeping with my perceptions. In any case, it was a good experience and I recommend it to your holiday agenda. The sacred events surrounding our Savior's advent never cease to capture my amazement and emotion. We wrapped up the evening with a trip to Starbucks. It's great to have Bjorn home this week.
The sounds of my childhood are haunting me these days. Our neighbors are enjoying a week in Mexico, leaving us the opportunity to look after their pets. With the power off, we thought it best to bring 'Greegio' home to some heat. My entire childhood was shared with an African Grey parrot. These tropical fowl have a pecular habit of piercing the quiet with shrills and human sounding whistles. Greegio doesn't seem to be the talker that our 'Aku' was, but he would give him a whistling challenge. We have altered his diet of pizza and muffins to fruit and nuts, but he seems to be surviving. Well, we are back in the land of the 'powerful' today and enjoying anew the conveniences of electrons.
Yes, we are one of the many victims of the windstorm that hit western Washington Thursday night. Most of Kitsap County was knocked powerless by the storm; and school was cancelled (our last half-day before the break) We have been staying somewhat warm with a gas stove and fireplace. The deck has become our new kitchen. It is frustrating to see the ferry parking lot all lit up with their backup generator, and us with no power day after day; though we did benefit a little this morning. I went down to the expresso stand with my coffee grinder and used their power to grind my coffee. And like a good Dutchman, I didn't even buy a latte. Last night, we all went to Tacoma to escape the endless candlelit evening. (I know, we aren't very hard core!) This afternoon, I stopped at the library to get my internet fix. Markus and Calvin are spending the evening at 'powerful' friend's homes. Esther and I will enjoy a candlelit night with Oscar, Bowser and the neighbor's African Grey parrot (another blog)
Markus is the first of the family to savor this year's snowpack. He and some SPU friends celebrated the completion of finals with a trip to Whistler. They had two for one coupons and spent two days carving up the slopes. Many of the higher runs were closed due to high winds, but there was plenty of powder to plow through. Esther, Calvin and I are sliding through the last few days of school before the break. The wild weather with power outages at home and at school are making this week interesting. We are looking forward to Bjorn being home next week.
The last couple of weekends have been filled with domestic holiday preparation. Last weekend it was outside lights and a christmas tree. This weekend I have been painting the basement and the main bath. Esther has been busy both weekends decorating the inside of the house with christmas cheer. Friday night we picked Markus up from finishing his finals at SPU. He took off again Sunday night for a couple of days of snowboarding at Whistler with college friends. Bjorn still needs to finish up finals at Trinity, but should be home next Sunday.
A couple of weeks ago I came across this title in a bookstore. After browsing through the contents, I discovered that it was a story of a minister's wife of an evangelical church in the northwest, whose husband’s hypocritical lifestyle of control, pornography and strip clubs pushed her to a divorce and a rejection of the Christian faith. I was curious enough to order the book later and begin reading. The more I read, the more identification I made with people and places. Imagine my surprise as I slowly realized that the church which provided the setting for this tragic narrative was the very church that I pastored in Everett in the early 90’s! A preceding pastor and his wife were the characters of this sad chronicle. The parsonage that we lived in was the backdrop of the deceit and heartbreak. The parishioners who we served were the characters in the sordid plot. Of course, the names of everyone were changed, but their identity is undeniable. I recalled stories of this very strong pulpiteer that preceded me. His preaching was well respected by everyone. There were allusions to their troubled marriage, and there were a couple of bizarre incidences; but I never suspected what had happened. The sad thing is that the author has ‘thrown the baby out with the bathwater,’ and rejected the Bible completely. She is currently a producer for KCTS and her ex is a popular speaker in Unity churches. I am still processing the implications of this shocking story.