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Archive for July, 2009

Thanks!!!

To all who’ve prayed me up — and moreso prayed up Adam McKay — so faithfully all these years that I’ve agonized over this war and over having my only son so far from home so long, and for responding to me when I asked you to think about all the ramifications and ripple effects of war that leave the warriors’ loved ones tossing and turning many nights, wondering, fearing, praying, vowing to never read or watch the news again because you just can’t handle the news of troops being killed and maimed, only to tune in to CNN or float around all the news channels in the middle of the night wanting war news and half fearing your son, your daughter, your brother or sister or loved one might be on some news film.
And for responding to me when I asked you to pray for all troops and their families and to always remember that war is hell, damn it, and hell on war families especially, and I’d rather you think long and hard about that than put a Support Our Troops sticker on your SUV or better yet–get involved, do something for all those warriors coming home with a few less limbs, often with not much brain left (Google up what the “signature wound” in Iraq was and is and here’s a clue for you all–it’s a brain wound), and being reduced to the care of parents or siblings who don’t know what’ll happen to the only son or daughter after they’ve died and gone and the son or daughter is going to be taken over by the government bureaucracy and we know how much they care.
I think I’ve said enough.
Just thanks for your prayers, and grace and peace today to all you who still have yours in harm’s way. I feel for you and pray for you and love you all in the way we all love each other.
And especially to Marine parents because they are obviously a little more special to me–I hear you. I know. I hear you. And once more, Semper Fi.
paul

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I’m thinking, I can’t believe we’ve been getting perfect, steady, almost nonstop rain for hours upon hours in Dallas, Texas today!

I’m thinking, you better believe me when I tell you, dear reader, that you’ll never want to hear your son or daughter or close loved one say to you someday something like, “Dad, just remember that if anything happens to me I was doing my duty.”

I’m thinking, maybe the best news I ever received in my life was the news this morning that he’d called his mom this morn to say he’s in Kuwait and will be in Ireland tonight for a layover at (how perfect!) an Irish pub.

I’m thinking, I may not stop crying today. I never dreamed that tears of joy and relief could have such a crippling effect but honest to God I may have to call in late to for hospital duty to get myself together.

I’m thinking, you just don’t know–unless you’ve had a loved one a million miles from home in harm’s way. Then you know what this crying is about.

I’m thinking, however, that the Dave Matthews Band is to be on Letterman tonight, and again Friday night, and that’s about as good as it gets unless you have a loved one coming home from war. I can’t believe I’m twice blessed today!

I’m thinking, 

Adam McKay

Adam McKay

thank you and praise you God from whom all blessings flow amen!

 

 

 

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Spread the news: The War in Iraq is finally over

The pugilist at rest, at long last

The pugilist at rest

Paul David Mckay | Create Your Badge
Paul David Mckay

For Cpl Paul Adam (Adam) McKay and the McKay family, war is finally over.
The blood of jitterbugger’s blood is in Kuwait as of this writing and will be heading to Ireland tonight for a visit to the pub (thank you nation of Ireland for providing our troops with your fine tap beer as soon as they stop in your wonderful nation for layovers from Kuwait!!!! Cheers!)
This librul almost-pacifist’s son is finally laying down his arms and will soon be all done with duty to Uncle Sam and can come home and pick up his blues guitar and leave the arms behind forever thank you Jeeeeezus!
Semper Fi, ol’ son! Proud is not the word of what we are of you!

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Russian at Compline

Russian Orthodox worshiper at Compline


For Joan

It is useless to try to make peace with ourselves by being pleased with everything we have done. In order to settle down in the quiet of our own being we must learn to be detached from the results of our own activity.
We must withdraw ourselves, to some extent, from effects that are beyond our control, and be content with the good will and the work that are the quiet expression of our inner lives.
We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, to work without expecting immediate reward, to love without instantaneous satisfaction, and to exist without special recogniton.
It is only when we are detached from ourselves that we can be at peace within ourselves. . . .
Our Christian destiny is, in fact, a great one: but we cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great.
For our own idea of greatness is illusory.”
— From Merton’s No Man is an Island

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Him with a telephone pole stuck in his mouthFor all the newcomers to this blog site, you should know that:
Jitterbuggingforjesus.com is the blog site that will save the world with its wit, wisdom, provocations and stimulations while quite possibly (probably) alienating whole towns and cities.
That’s our motto, although, since we have a low threshhold for boredom here, we change up the motto sometimes to be this:
Jitterbuggingforjesus.com is the blog site that will cause Rush Limbaugh to collapse to his knees with humility and awe because God still does miracles and sometimes uses Rev. Jitterbug as the agent of change for good in this broken world of broken people all in need of God’s grace.
And by the way, Rush Limbaugh needs all of that he can get.
To use a constant phrase of Charles Barkley, one of jitterbugger’s favorite of all cool sports guys, Rush is just a “terrable” person.
“Terrable.”
Which is how Sir Charles actually speaks.
And every time I run that motto about Rush Limbaugh, the Dittoheads email me and send me responses with their hair on fire and questioning my patriotism and religion too.
It’s pretty funny so I run the motto often for the amusement of myself and my librul kith and kin.
Jesus gets a kick out of it, too, and he’s my best friend.
By the way, Rush was a draft dodger just like Dick Cheney, and W. (he who said live on national TV that he made a deal with the military to get out of his military obligation to the Texas Air National Guard early–the Air Guard being the force that bombed horned toads for practice drills in West Texas during the Vietnam Era–so he could go to Harvard (where he made terrable grades and is proud of it)–and worlds of other now courageous Republicans and others like me, your blogger, who didn’t want to go to no Vietnam War just like they didn’t.
I seem to recall I had a heart murmur that kept me out anyway, not to mention flat feet. I was twice blessed.
We’ve probably said enough so, once again, welcome to JFJ, newcomers. Where do you all keep coming from and why do most of you seem to like it here?

*** Editor’s note, or what would be an editor’s note if we had an editor here to keep our excesses in check: Odd photo of Rush Limbaugh with a telephone pole in his mouth taken from the Jitterbuggingforjesus.com photo archives at the offices of the Jitterbuggingforjesus.com think tank off LBJ Freeway in Dallas, Texas.

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Them: To be on Letterman

Them: To be on Letterman

Dave Matthews and the boys will be on David Letterman Monday night, July 27, and again on Friday night, July 31!!!!

Funny The Way It Is lyrics

Lying in the park on a beautiful day
Sunshine in the grass and the children play
Sirens passing, fire engine red
Someone’s house is burning down on a day like this
And evening comes, and we’re hanging out
On the front step and a car goes by with the windows rolled down
And that war song is playing, “Why can’t we be friends”
Someone is screaming crying in the apartment upstairs

Funny the way it is, if you think about it
Somebody’s going hungry, someone else is eating out
Funny the way it is, not right or wrong
Somebody’s heart is broken – it becomes your favorite song

The way your mouth feels in your lover’s kiss
Like a pretty bird on a breeze, or water to a fish
The bomb blast brings the building crashing to the floor
Hear the laughter while the children play war

Funny the way it is, if you think about it
One kid walks 10 miles to school, another’s dropping out
Funny the way it is, not right or wrong
On a soldier’s last breath, his baby’s being born

Standing on a bridge, watch the water passing underneath
It must have been much harder when there was no bridge, just water
Now the world is small, compared to how it used to be
With mountains and oceans and winters and rivers and stars

Watch the sky, the jet plane so far out of my reach
Is there someone up there looking down on me
Boy chase a bird, so close but every time
He’ll never catch her, but he can’t stop trying

Funny the way it is, if you think about it
One kid walks 10 miles to school, another’s dropping out
Funny the way it is, not right or wrong
On a soldier’s last breath, his baby’s being born
Funny the way it is, not right or wrong
Somebody’s broken heart become your favorite song
Funny the way it is, if you think about it
One kid walks 10 miles to school, another’s dropping out

Standing on a bridge, watch the water passing underneath
It must have been much harder when there was no bridge, just water
Now the world is small, compared to how it used to be
With mountains and oceans and winters and rivers and stars

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Bob Dylan, Willie & the keeper of the small town

He fights authority, authority (and always will)

Our Small Town Night Watchman

Dylan and Willie and Mellencamp will be together for a performance in the Dallas area in a couple weeks and boy, would I like to be there for that.
But boy, too bad it’s going to be one of those Brain Fry outdoor shows that starts at 5:30 p.m. when the inhospitable Texas sun will be beating down on people who will have waaaaay too much beer in the inhospitable Texas sun and that ain’t my deal thank you very much.
Glad I held out for my two tickets to the Sir Paul McCartney gig which I’ll enjoy in the cool confines of Jerry Jones’ cool new Dallas Cowboys Palace. (The a.c. bill must be enormous for that new stadium, which I guess is one reason that prices to the McCartney show are tantamount to highway robbery but fools like me pony up to in order to say we saw a Beatle before we died or he died, whichever will come first.)
I’ve seen all but Mellencamp in concert (live, I mean) anyway, and I hope to see a Mellencamp show some day. I like him, and for obvious reasons. If you were born in a town of 5,000 like I was, Johnny Cougar speaks directly to you of your life experience growing up in a small town, complete with its lonely ol’ nights and Jack and Diane hangin’ at the Tastee Freeze and that night some old friends had to put you in your place (by rearranging your nose with their fists; small town life ain’t all Norman Rockwall civility).
Mellencamp still looks like an overgrown punk to me, but a punk in the best sense, the sort of punk I grew up with and loved and hated but totally understood and those punks were OK with me and I with them. They just had a lot of fight in them, and too much fight in them much of the time, usually because of daddies who had serious mean streaks in them, particularly when they got drunker than Cooter Brown’s pet hound.
Mellencamp was the kind of kid who was always meeting somebody for some recreational fistfighting after school.
Recreational fistfighting is a thing of the past, or so it seems. For all I know, a couple of high school boys can still get in a compromising position (usually because they’re at odds over what else but some girl!,) and live to tell about it.
But there was a time when getting mad and fighting was just something to do for recreation, especially in your small towns where you can only ride around for so long–packing the streets and honking and waving at each other till 4 in the morn sometimes–without getting overly bored.
Growing up and listening to rock on the transistor radio under his pillow at night was Mellencamp’s boyhood experience and it shaped his point of view and it still defines him in spite of his having grown a lot musically and philosophically.
It’s the same experience that defined a lot of us growing up in the fifties and sixties. (See American Grafitti with the Wolf Man always howling from some mysterious black hole out in the universe.)
I saw an interview Mellencamp had with Bob Costas once.
And by the way, there aren’t many better interviewers around for celebrity interviews than Bob Costas (Charlie Rose excepted) and I wish he’d give up sports and go back to a late-night show like he had for such an all-too short time when he interviewed the likes of Mellencamp and Don Henley and Grace Slick and so many other entertainers who actually have points of view and something interesting to say.
“I’m not the keeper of the small town,” Mellencamp said in the interview with Costas.
But that was Mellencamp in a rare moment of dishonesty.
Musically, he’s the keeper of the small town, and he’s more than that, it’s true.
But still . . . he (and Springsteen to a great extent, it’s true) is the night watchman over our small town memories.

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Him

Him

Seven Deadly Sins

Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi, one of the most influential figures in modern social and political activism, considered these traits to be the most spiritually perilous to humanity.

1. Wealth without Work

2. Pleasure without Conscience

3. Science without Humanity

4. Knowledge without Character

5. Politics without Principle

6. Commerce without Morality

7. Worship without Sacrifice

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Paula D'Arcy

Paula D'Arcy

Yes, Jitterbugger is back from three days of a deep-river spiritual retreat where he was the guest of a hospitable friend and spiritual soulmate (Buddhist Div.) who is the type of person who keeps figs in the refrigerator this time of year.
The type of person who will serve you homemade bread with real butter.
The type of person who will engage you in good conversation about God and Christ (and Buddha and Buddhism and how those fit and how those don’t fit and how those could fit and how those can’t possibly fit).
The type of person whos lives in a house that was built in 1895 and is decorated in such a way that you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, from about 1895 to about the 1950s depending on which room or which part of the enormous garden you happen to be in. (That is, a time back when people ate fresh fruits and veggies from right out of the back yard to serve up with homemade bread and butter.)
The kind of person who will accommodate you and be kind to you even if you have to speak your truth and assert that nothing good can come from a fig or a fig tree (read the Gospels)–excepting of course the Fig Newton, and even it leaves those tiny but gritty little pieces of whatever that you can’t dig out with a toothpick and why would you want a Fig Newton, really, when you could have something like a chocolate chip cookie with some Blue Bell or better yet, some homemade ice cream.
The kind of person who comes to appreciate the music of Dave Matthews and the Dave Matthews Band after you introduce DMB music to them.
The kind of person who introduces you to the incredible and rocking performance that Duke Ellington and the boys gave at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956 (or was it ’57 or ‘8; you could look it up) and was so powerful a performance that it almost literally caused a riot, so enraptured were the 7,000 people in the audience who followed the lead of one platinum blonde who got up and started dancing like Miriam or grooving like your crazy aunt used to do at Grateful Dead concerts(see your Old Testament for more on Miriam, who jitterbugged with joy of the sort that we can appreciate here to the fullest extent.).
The kind of person who will take you deep into the woods just to walk among trees planted in the last 50 years or so amidst 200-year-old (and older) trees including one that you can literally step inside of and feel the life force of the tree. (You really can; maybe I’ll post a picture of the tree when I have time to blog, which I don’t really have time to do).
All in all I’ve had a great weekend on my town-and-country retreat and I’m thinking next weekend I’ll be leaving the state of Texas for (what else?) a spiritual retreat being led by the spiritual writer and thinker and retreat leader Paula D’Arcy. (You could look her up; you will be astounded by what she has done in her life to transform pain, loss and suffering into hard-won wisdom and spiritual depth that she so generously shares to help us all to know how to transform pain, loss and suffering into wisdom and spiritual depth.)
And until the next posting here always remember the immortal words of The Buckinghams, the Chicago band from my era, who got it so right when they sang, “Baby, you got-ta got-ta have soul right now,” and amen and praise God from whom all blessings flow, yaw.

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What the living things sing so perfectly in the night

I just realized I posted quotes from St Teresa of Avila yesterday and sorta forgot to mention they were quotes from St Teresa of Avila.
Oh Well.
I’m on retreat and don’t much care about that or anything else except losing all sense of space and time, which I’ve managed to do here at my Walden on my spiritual retreat. things are good here. and really, really beautiful. I walked places so far back in the woods, they’d have to pipe in the sunshine to get it to me. I’ve been on hilltops where I can wirelessly send you more quotes from St Teresa and other saints for your spiritual edification (comments in brackets or parentheses are from yours truly). I’m going back down and be chillin’ like Dylan with the cows and the birds under cool clouds above.
this is not such a bad world, really.
grace & peace, amen.
paul

Teresa said: All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.

Teresa said: God has been very good to me, for I never dwell upon anything wrong which a person has done, so as to remember it afterwards. If I do remember it, I always see some other virtue in that person.

Teresa said (and she was speaking for me on this one!): I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.

My constant spiritual companion and main mystic man Thomas Merton said (in his private journals that he knew would be wholly public, of course) in one of his most famous of all writings based on a powerful mystical experience he had in downtown Louisville, Ky (where there is a marker noting that Thomas Merton had a powerful mystical experience there):
“Yesterday, in Louisville, at the corner of 4th and Walnut, suddenly realized that I loved all the people and that none of them were or could be totally alien to me. As if waking from a dream, the dream of my separateness, of the ‘special’ vocation to be different. My vocations (as a monk) does not really make me different from the rest of men or put me in a special category except artificially. I am still a member of the human race, and what more glorious destiny is there for man, since the Word was made Flesh and became, too, a member of the Human Race!
“Thank God! Thank God!I am only another member of the human race, like all the rest of them. I have the immense joy of being a man! As if we could ever begin to realize it on earth.” (March 19, 1958)

Yesterday, between two cedars, looking at the wagon tracks on the soft earth of the bottomlands and at the woods beyond, I knew that whatever God will have granted me, whatever solitude, will be truly for the salvation of my soul. I saw how much I need solitude for that reason.” {And we all need some solitude and time alone with God for that very reason, do we not?}

“Sweet afternoon! cool breezes and a clear sky! This day will not come again. The bulls lik under the tree in the corner of their field. Quiet afternoon! the blue hills. the day lilies of the world. this day will not come again. {So drink it in!}

Thomas Merton said (on firewatch at the monastery): Now is the time to get up and go to the tower. Now is the time to meet you, God, where the night is wonderful, where the roof is almost without substance under my feet, where all the mysterious junk in the belfry considers the proximate coming of three new bells, where the forest opens out under the moon and living things sing perfectly that only the present is eternal and that all things having a past and a future are doomed to pass away.”

Thomas Merton said (at the end of a retreat he was on, like unlike the one I’m on): The thing is to cling to God’s will and truth and their purity and try to be sincere, and to act in all things out of genuine love, insofar as I can.

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