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Friday, June 8, 2018

A SIMPLE OBSERVATION - IT’S A GIFT TO BE SIMPLE

At its peak in the early 1800’s the Shaker community in the United States had 6000 believers but by 1920 there were only twelve Shakers left and as of 2008 there were only four.  Who are the Shakers you are asking.  The name ‘Shakers’ was originally an uncomplimentary term applied to this Quaker fringe group who were known for the emotional religion involving singing, trembling, dancing, shaking, speaking in tongues. The composed thousands of songs and dances. Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848 wrote the lyrics of a one verse song that had the music of a quick dance, and the song was entitled, ‘Simple Gifts.’   

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down
where we ought to be,
and when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained
to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
to turn, turn, will be our delight
till by turning, turning we come round right.

In the course of a lifetime in our western urban society we move gradually from a simple childhood with meals, clothes and shelter provided and a few toys that we each call “mine,” to the amassing of a house full, and a garage full of possessions and a mortgage and a wish list for other belongings. Perhaps occasionally we vacation away from all of these things and we mutter “this is the good life, the simple life.” That exclamation is a confession that the accumulation of all this stuff which appears to make us happy is not really successful. We concur briefly with that Shaker composer that it actually is a gift to be simple. It’s a gift to be free. It’s a gift to come down where we ought to be. 
And if it is a second nature enticement to complicate the simplicity of life, it is equally true that we can obscure a simple faith with an excess of performance, of additional expectations, rules, and duties. This is spiritual seduction.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mother’s Day 2018


It’s 4 days past Mother’s Day. Now I am choosing to go public. Mother’s Day was a full, fun and happy day. Christine & I went to early service @CrossRidge Church, then with MX5 top down we drove to The Glades, rhododendron park to enjoy the way over 20 floral acres & then sat for a String Quartet concert. We cam home & Christine put on a dinner for eleven, our family, 6 adults & five children ages 10-17, roast beef and wines and dessert ... fantastic.

Perhaps what Christine appreciated next to having her family nearby was my written morning tribute to her. Here it is.
Mother's Day 2018
This weekend marks the tenth year that I have not purchased a Mother's Day card for my mother. She is no longer here to accept it or to read my loving and appreciative remarks.  She needs no support from her firstborn son. Having received from the LORD the affirmation given to disciples who have been faithful and have done well, she resides now in paradise. 

I can and will honour you, Christine as the mother of my two children, Cari and Jeff. Christine, you were a stay at home mom through my children's formative years, not because it was the culturally acceptable practice, but because you were committed to their best interests. You were determined to be present with them and for them. Yours was an informed and practical motherhood in the early years, reading, listening, teaching and protecting and always loving. Your appetite for God's Word has always been apparent and served as a model of how God's truth can direct the many decisions for living. You have always been an encourager to your children's aspirations and abilities. You are a disciplined follower of Christ who prays for her children and grandchildren daily, and this has been your routine in all the years we have lived together. You do all that you possibly can to nurture relationships with your five grandchildren, so they know you are always available. You have sought to build trust so they can learn from you. You have helped them whenever and however you can. They know that you care for them. Each of them has a special place in your heart. You love people and touch their lives with genuine interest both in person and through phone calls. You may pop in, or bring a baked item to enjoy, or give a hug. You love to help others. You are hospitable and enjoy the company of friends. You are wise, and speak prudently into people's lives. You honour the LORD in so many ways, not least of which is as a wonderful mother and grandmother.









Sunday, March 4, 2018

REMEMBERING MURRAY PHILLIPS

REMEMBERING MURRAY PHILLIPS
Murray, June 10/44 - Mar 1/2018 
Murray's affirmation was what I needed. Murray walked through my home, room by room, pausing for a few minutes at each of my watercolours, oils and acrylics.
When he concluded his tour of my paintings he asked me, "So what do you want from me?" I told him I wanted his opinion about my art and whether it had merit. He said, "First, let me assure you that you are an artist." That alone made my day. It was 2008 and I was 66 years old. My life was changing. I had invited Murray to my home because I was concluding a forty-year career quite unrelated to painting. I was requesting advice from a successful artist who was a man of integrity.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

YOU CAN HEAR ME PREACH - IT HAPPENS SELDOM NOW

I once prepared and delivered several sermons or talks per week and in recent years only occasionally. When I do have an opportunity I relish the hours of reading and prayerful consideration and writing and then to be able to present the product of such spiritual labour to willing and sometimes eager listeners is a privilege. That’s because it is God’s Word that I am daring to comment upon with a view to encouraging decisions.

One of the last times was all the way back in 2017 at Johnston Height Evangelical Free Church in Surrey, B.C. Here is a video recording of that 30 minute sermon called ‘LIVING FLAT OUT FOR GOD.’  The text will be Ecclesiastes chapters 11 and 12. And I make reference to my book on the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes that I published in 2016.
https://vimeo.com/204941347?ref=fb-share




Here is the paperback available at Amazon for $10.00 plus shipping or for $4.13 as a Kindle book.

Monday, February 26, 2018

WAKING UP FROM A DREAM


This was unexpected to me. Last year was my first year as a marshall and starter at Pagoda Ridge Golf Course. I supposed that for those of you who have been there longer this was an anticipated annual event. The e-note as I read it was simply an invitation to us all to attend the season opening celebration. When I arrived, I was stunned at the level of organization. Dreams are under no obligation to divulge all the details of what made this so impressive, so I am uncertain whether the large banqueting rooms were off site or under enormous tents on site on the course. My fantasy suggested we were at Pagoda Ridge. As soon as I arrived I was handed a garment bag and was directed to a change room.  I walked past colleagues like Bryan and Tom, Stuart and Jack and there was Lenny, each of you seated cross-legged and imperial in brown three-piece pin striped suits and polished brown dress shoes. I moved past Pam, Cindy, Tammy, Char and Pat in their charming light blue or coral orange dresses and stylish blue slacks and complimentary colour tops, wine glasses in hand. In the change room I unzipped the garment bag to find that I too had a brown pinstriped suit that fit perfectly. I thought immediately that someone must have called Christine to inquire about my shirt, suit and shoe sizes. This is how all these rainy and frozen ground weeks had been spent by a handful of planners. I asked myself, what clothing rental store has enough brown suits to accommodate this party. This was an extravagant gala beyond anything I could have imagined. We were directed to a banqueting area and as we moved, conversing and smiling at one another, I lamentably began to lose sight of all of you, and woke up … so here I am with my coffee, a typed paragraph and my gym bag. In a few minutes I'll head to the gym through slush as the big snowfall continues to melt away.  

Please don't get your nose out of joint if I didn't mention you by name. It's not my fault. Dreams are notoriously unpredictable.


(I sent this to maybe 40 fellow staff at the Pagoda Ridge Golf Course on February 25, 2018. Rain, snow and frozen ground has closed the course for most days in 2018, so far, but soon, we will be there again.)

Friday, February 23, 2018

WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY ON THE DAY HE DIES?

WHAT IS APPROPRIATE TO SAY ABOUT A FELLOW CHRISTIAN ON THE DAY HE DIES?  Some people think it is suitable to denigrate his memory on the day he dies. On the day he dies is my point.  We're not speaking about a madman or a money launderer or a serial rapist. It would be entirely apt to recite his transgressions one minute after he bites it. I'm talking about an upright man whose entire life was devoted to God. What would be appropriate to say about him on the day he died? Be clear, this is not an hypothetical personality. I refer to someone whose 99 years of earth life were spent talking to God, and to people who loved God and to people who did not know God but would. What 's fitting to say about him on the day he died? If the person making the post mortem comment hates God, then anything goes. Say what you want about the deceased. But if the commenter is a child of God and a good brother has died, would the right time to point out all of the brother's alleged bad stuff be on the day he died? Why am I asking this question here? 

This is what some Christians posted on the day Billy Graham died this week.

"This is very sad, and especially so when you read of so many within the Christian community who feel that he was sound in his theology. He did not simply make a few errors within his theology; his entire ministry was based on anything but the pure truth of the Word of God. Anyone who can write a book entitled "How To Be Born Again" is far from the truth of Jesus' description of regeneration.

You saw the line that I highlighted I’m sure, or what was the point? 
Oh, and they have said much worse than that.  Or, they have checked out from being original and merely pasted in a link so that every curious reader goes to a site belonging to someone else. Or they just cast some doubts on an area of Billy’s theology with which they profoundly disagree, or some comment he made within a peculiar context or when he was older or confused or mistaken. And to what end? Slanderous articles like those posted on the day he died, did what? Thousands of people from many ethnic communities welcome Billy in Heaven this week or will join him when their time to cross over occurs. There is a time to analyze, dissect, publicly challenge the man, before his death or some respectable time after his death ... but not mere hours after he has realized the promise of Christ that he has shared with all who would listen to him. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

APPEARANCE DOESN’T MATTER ANY MORE - A POEM

Appearance Doesn't Matter Any More
I knew I was good-looking
as a young boy blond and lean.
Combed my hair back to a duck tail
Stretched my height out as a teen.
Sex appeal was so important
As a college young adult.
Some outstanding wedding photos
Display the superb result.
Obligations soon took over
I gladly became a dad.
I learned children prefer play time
To good looks I thought I had.
Nonetheless employed by others
I made sure that I looked smart.
Yet mirrors gradually told me
Signs of ageing had a start.
Kids grew up and career moved on
Thinning hair, a few pounds more.
Arrest the pace, start the program
Trim the fat, strengthen the core.
I did all that for many years
Now experience lets me say
I'm genetically compromised
My dad had a part to play.
So here I lie beside my wife
And she sees someone other
Than the young man that she married
She likely sees my brother.
He too has realized the truth
Nature's laws will never bend.
Plastic surgery and workouts
Can't reverse this trend.
I have coffee with my friends now
Talk comes easily and free
Guards are down and we are honest
They all seem to look like me.
© Ron Unruh, November 2017

Monday, January 1, 2018

A NEW YEAR CANVAS

Expired as expected, my last original 
Leaving much to be desired, unfinished work. 
I had good intentions at the start,
Signed, but discontented in my heart.
Came as expected, new hopeful canvas of time 
One of countless others, this one mine alone, 
On which to paint love, joy, peace and fun,
To bear my signature when it's done. 

I'm confident that on this new one I will brush 
A masterwork in a lifetime legacy,
My motivation while seeming odd 
Will be the glory and praise of God. 

© Ron Unruh, 2018

Sunday, December 31, 2017

YEAR END, PEACE AND PAINTING

YEAR END, PEACE & PAINTING … the way I see it.

Thanks for respecting my right to express a faith. This morning I looked into the face of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi.  I saw peace.  Using the soft painting style of his 'Mona Lisa,' and 'John the Baptist,' da Vinci rendered the 'Saviour of the World,' holding a globe in his left hand (symbol for the world) and offering a sign for peace with his right. It is the Saviour's eyes that speak the language of peace. As 2017 ends, Peace is the antidote to life today.

The human spirit is fashioned to inhabit peace. Craving peace, humanity has confused peace with abundance, pleasure, ecstasy, altered states of consciousness, exhilaration, joy, and amusement. Peace remains absent. At auction at Christie's in New York on November 15, 2017, Salvator Mundi sold for a record $450,312,500.00. Someone possessed enough discretionary money to purchase the painting while another person begged for coins to buy a MacDonald's coffee. Peace is the antidote to life today. Whether one's situation is palatial or squalid, sumptuous or meagre, vigorous or indisposed, free or restrained, life carries inherently those experiences that are common to humanity. Life is burdened by distrust, poverties, melancholy, agony, misery, and sadness.

The eyes of the Salvator Mundi tell me that Peace only seems to be universally inaccessible. It is readily available but contingent upon a relationship with the Creator. On the night before he died, amid his disquieting comments to his frightened disciples, Jesus the Salvator said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 On that same evening he further stated, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Christ's resurrection convinced the apostles that Jesus is the Prince of peace and the apostle Paul exhorts his listeners, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15