Easter 2005

We had a good Easter here at the Hudson home. It was a busy, but nice weekend. Emily’s been working most weekends, but she likes her job. Friday night Annette and I went to the Good Friday service at our sister church. Saturday morning we drove out to beautiful Dittmer, Missouri to help a friend move back to St. Louis. She’s separating/divorcing so a bunch of us from church went out to help her. Saturday night I spent at church preparing the breakfast for Sunday morning. Sunday morning after the Sunrise Service at Bellerive Park folks always come by for breakfast. It’s not big, just about twenty-five or so. Easter Service was very nice. A packed church as usual for Easter. My Cousin Ken’s niece Tara and her fiancé came and later they told us they’d decided to get married here at Kingshighway. Her grandmother, Ken’s mother, my aunt Beth would be very glad to hear this. I can’t help but to think of her each Easter as she’s the one who always arranged for the Easter flowers in the sanctuary. When I see the tulips and lilies, I think of her.

The big news in these parts however is the announcement by my elder sister Becky that she, Becky, is going to get married. Married for the first time, I’ll have you know. I know she’s happy and I couldn’t be happier for her. She’s found a great guy named Steve who’s just wacky enough to fit it with our family. We’ve met all of his family now, and they’re frighteningly similar to ours. Southsiders, to be sure. Steve is a Realtor and he recruited Annette to join the brokerage that he works for, so now, those two just sit in a corner talking real estate and nobody else has to listen to it. It’s great. The wedding is planned for the summer of 2006, so I hope that’s enough time for Becky to plan everything.

Well, I’ve been writing this blog for a little over a year now. Talking about my Aunt Beth a minute ago, I was reminded that I said the exact same thing in last year’s Easter blog entry. Oh, well, I warned you; I’m boring.

I’ll leave you with the first verse of a Charles Wesley hymn that every Protestant on earth sang Sunday morning:

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia
Sing, ye heavens and earth reply, Alleluia

Holy Week

Sorry for not writing in a while…

Let’s see…my Dad is doing well. He’s still on the oxygen, but is improving each day and should make a “full” recovery. “Full” meaning 72 years old, smoked cigarettes for 50 of those years, so what do you think his lungs are telling him? “We can’t, (cough, cough) do it, (cough, cough) any – (cough, cough) – more!” So, he’s given up the cigarettes. He says he’ll be ready to go to Steak N Shake maybe next week. It’s going to be strange, sitting there after we eat and him not lighting up. Maybe I’ll start smoking.

I can’t believe it Holy Week already. Man, where does the year go? I always remember my old friend Scott Doss on Maundy Thursday. He died on Holy Thursday 5 years ago. He and I were childhood friends since 4th grade or so. He moved out of Carondelet before we went to high-school, but we remained friends. When we were kids, he lived down here on Dover, and another kid by the name of Raymond lived upstairs from him. Raymond had a drum set. A real drum set. I was very jealous. I always wanted to play the drums, but I remember thinking to myself, “well, I guess I’ll have to play guitar now. ” Raymond moved away soon enough though, and Scott ended up being the drummer. His older brother Jeff played drums too. We had the proverbial garage band for a while, though I admit I didn’t even know 3 chords.

I was quite shocked to hear that he had died. When I went to the service, I approached his twin sister; she looked at me queerly…I leaned towards her and said my name. She wrapped her arms around me and cried. She then announced to the folks gathered around her that I was Scott’s “oldest” friend. I didn’t mind the implication. “I did know him longer that all of you,” I thought. She then lead me down to the casket where Jeff was standing and whispered my name in his ear. He shook my hand and tried apologizing for not calling me. (I’d heard the news via my Dad who read it in the paper.)

I sat in the back of Hope Lutheran Church on the South Side. I’ll never forget what the preacher told us that day. Something I didn’t expect about Scott. The preacher said, “I talked to Scott before he died. He was ready. How about you?”

I did some driving that day. I turned on the radio to a station from our youth: KSHE 95 – Real Rock Radio. I knew Scott and God were picking the tunes. They played the Black Sabbath song that he and I tried so desperately to figure out when we were 13. Then I heard Grand Funk Railroad’s “I’m Your Captain” from the album “Closer to Home.” I knew Scott was OK then.

Pistol Pete Reiser (updated)

While roaming through the Baseball Reference site (I added a permanent link to it on the Trivia Night Blog) I remembered a story my dad told me about Pete Reiser. Turns out, he’s the 2nd cousin of Leo Reiser, who attends our church. Leo’s upwards of 85 years old now and was quite the musician in his day. He still composes (piano) and plays during Communion once a month. He’s also a regular at our Coffee Houses. He loves Rogers & Hart/Hammerstein as much as I do and we’ve more than a few times blessed the crowd with his not-so-exact fingerings and my not-so-Howard-Keel-like voice. Each time he performs, I think to myself, “Boy, I hope I’m still doing that when I’m 85.”

Whenever my dad and Leo see each other, Leo says to him, “‘morning Son,” to which my dad replies, “‘evening Star.” I guess it’s some kind of secret code they made up when they were both in Choir years ago.

But, back to Pete Reiser. Poor Pete is the reason baseball players now wear helmets and the reason there is now a “warning track” around the outfield. Leo told me that Pete played every game “like it was his last.”

If you’re a baseball fan, take the time to read these links that I’ve provided here. This guy truly was the original Pistol Pete!

Condi speaks

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of Condoleeza Rice. She made the news the other day when she wouldn’t rule out a bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2008 and when she described herself as “mildly pro-choice.” Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Miss Rice said abortion should be “as rare a circumstance as possible,” although without excessive government intervention. “We should not have the federal government in a position where it is forcing its views on one side or the other.

So, for instance, I’ve tended to agree with those who do not favor federal funding for abortion, because I believe that those who hold a strong moral view on the other side should not be forced to fund it.”

Describing pro-lifers as “the other side” is one of the ways Miss Rice articulates her position as a “mildly pro-choice” Republican. She explained that she is “in effect kind of libertarian on this issue,” adding: “I have been concerned about a government role.

“I am a strong proponent of parental notification. I am a strong proponent of a ban on late-term abortion. These are all things that I think unite people and I think that that’s where we should be.

“We ought to have a culture that says, ‘Who wants to have an abortion? Who wants to see a daughter or a friend or a sibling go through something like that?’”

Miss Rice described abortion as an “extremely difficult moral issue” which she approaches as “a deeply religious person.”

Read the story here.

The Republicans have a problem in 2008: The best candidate is the Governor of Florida who happens to have the same last name as 5 of out the last 6 Republican nominees. America is probably not ready for another Bush, not matter how good he is. Giuliani? Too New York. McCain? Too McCain. Rice? Maybe.

A few more thoughts on the Ten Commandments

I’d like to flesh out my feelings on the Supreme Court’s hearing the Ten Commandments issue. It struck me that my friend Kurt would be very confused if he were to read my blog post and comments from a few days ago. You see, in the context of a Sunday School class that he was teaching I defended the civil liberties side of the argument quite convincingly. I did this mainly because he was coming off a little heavy handed and I knew there to be some liberal folks in the class that were not likely to speak up. I wanted to say what I knew they were thinking. Now, Kurt knows me pretty well, and was a bit confused by my stance, so we talked about it at some length. He sympathized with my nod toward our shy liberal friends, but, as he’s done many times while talking to me, he pinned me down and asked, “Rich, what do you think?” I hate when that happens.

After chatting for a while we both agreed that God was probably not much impressed with our monuments. And, like our tithes, God doesn’t need our money or our symbolic gestures. What He wants is that which transforms us when we tithe or praise Him.

If you can accept the ethical commandments such as Don’t Murder, or Don’t Steal; but not the religious ones like, Have No God Before Me, I ask you: why? what’s wrong with murder and stealing? If there’s no God, then you can’t tell someone else that stealing or adultery is wrong. That would be enforcing your moral code on them.

We live by the code of law in this country. A code that seems to be common sense, taken for granted; at least when it comes to Don’t Murder and Don’t Steal. But it’s not. It comes from the same Well as the wisdom that brought us One God opposed to many gods. It is a religious concept. We shouldn’t break with the spiritual side of life, we can’t live that way; we weren’t built that way.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Freedom of Religion is a religious concept brought to you by the Reformed Christian Church. Having said that, I can live without the Ten Commandments in our Civil Courts building or where ever else it bothers the so-called non-religious people who aren’t really non-religious.

Dad’s out of the hospital

What’s that you say? You didn’t know he was in the hospital? Neither did I. Turns out he almost died from respiratory failure. Turns out he’s got emphysema on top of the bronchitis. Who was buying cigarettes for him, you ask? Yeah, that was me. Was buying cigarettes for him; not any more. He’s quit smoking; that’s the good news. Finally, after, I’m guessing, over 50 years of smoking he says he’s quitting. I think he will. He’s probably scared to death now. I’m thinking he’s had a life changing experience. I gotta get over there before it wears off.

The Beatles reunite for my birthday

I don’t know how she did it, but Annette got all 4 Beatles together at the Pageant last Saturday night to perform for my birthday. And, just so you know, apparently the Paul is Dead rumor is true. I overheard the T-shirt lady say that Paul (she called him Gary to try to cover it up) went home sick. She then said that they had to call in another Paul and he would be playing tonight. However, I saw a mini-van parked outside with the license plate MCRTNY so I’m quite sure he was there. Or was he?

Seriously though, we went to see 1964 – The Tribute down at the Pageant in the Loop last Saturday. Emily went with us and she just had a blast. I was thinking about it: I could do without the costumes etc.; the music as it was played by the Beatles, i.e. on the original instruments stands on its own. I was very impressed with “George” and his Carl Perkins guitar. It was turned up loud and it carried the songs. The power of the pop-song came through; guitar, bass and drums – that’s it. Great melody, great beat, great vocal harmonies; do you need anything else? I think not.

Religion vs. Anti-Religion

Make no mistake, folks who want to see the Ten Commandments taken out of every civil building in the country are not non-religious; they are anti-religious. And, there’s a big difference between the two. Non-religious people do not believe in God. God doesn’t exist, He/She/It didn’t create the world, nor do they, or have they, ever interceded in history. Obviously not, if they don’t exist. But, if people really believe this, then they can be said to have a belief system. We call these belief systems Religion. So, really, they are religious, just not in the way that I am. That’s great.

Then there are the anti-religious people. These are folks who think that religion is bad and should be destroyed; wiped away from history once and for all. These people, I believe, are, in fact, very religious. We might call them fundamentalist. They believe so strongly in their system that all other systems need to be done away with. Like a Crusade or a Jihad you might say.

Well I think the Supreme Court has had enough. If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll remember a point in the proceedings last week when all the Justices looked up from their benches at a frieze of Moses holding the Ten Commandments! The argument is that they are such a part of our civilization, that they now have a “secular” value.

I’m just sick of hearing about it. You don’t have to be constitutional scholar to know that a founding tenet of this country is Religious Freedom. And that the idea of Religious Freedom is borne of a Reformed Christian World view. We should all thank whatever God/Non-God we believe in that we live in a country with such freedoms, and shut-up about the Ten Commandments!

For some lively Trivia, please visit TriviaNight.blogspot.com!

Trivia Night Blog Debut

I’ve started another Blog. This one is completely dedicated to Trivia. I love playing trivia almost as much as I hate bad trivia. So, in an effort to rid the world of stinky trivia, I’m devoting myself to preaching and teaching the difference between good and bad. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing some software to help me expedite matters if I were to offer my services as Trivia Master for hire, and I’ve begun work on that. This new blog will be a place for all things Trivia. I’ll be asking questions for fun, I’ll be looking for questions from readers, both for fun and possible additions to my software. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve dropped away from writing here at this blog. Never fear, I will continue here, but it’ll likely be in the online journal mode more often than not. If something strikes in the area of politics etc., you can be sure I’ll comment. But, I like to read the news each night, and that usually takes me about an hour, and after that, I usually am too tired to comment. Anyway, here’s the address of the new blog: trivianight.blogspost.com. Check it out, let me know what you think. Send me some questions. You can use the comments to send me the questions. I’m going to use the Blogger comments for this one, so either sign up for a blog of your own, or check “other” when making your comments.