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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Don't Think I Understand how this Meme Is Played

Maybe you’ve seen this meme starting to float around the interwebs – along with the accompanying challenge:

The American Challenge
Many of you have done the Ice bucket challenge. Let’s see how many of you will do the American Challenge! You have 48 hrs to post a pic of yourself with an American flag, a Bible, and a gun or post on your timeline why you do not accept the American Challenge! Let’s show the world that we are PROUD AMERICANS!

I decided to join in the fun, but I don’t think I understand how this meme is played.

(by-the-way: that's a book of Gustavo Gutiérrez's writings...)

Biblical Limericks: Lion of Judah

If Christ is the Lion of Judah
does he behave as lions should-a?
That is, does he, perhaps
spend the day taking naps?
Sleep most of the day? Hallelujah!

Revelation 5: 5

Anomalies A- Z: The Lamb that Was Slain

A heavenly grotesque in the sky
a divine chimera above the earth
part roaring lion like a desert wind in the night
causing pregnant women to miscarry
and the walls of Rome to collapse
part slaughtered lamb
its throat slashed, blood encrusted
wound still gaping wide
Seven keratinous horns sprouting from its head
bony spurs to stab and pierce
the kings of the earth
and eyes, and eyes
oh God! so many eyes
it sees me wherever I go
I cannot escape.

Read the other anomalies here:

Burning Heart

Farscape: It’s not Conventional Pastoring

My wife has a bit of a laugh at my expense; she thinks it’s sorta’ funny that I have a regular ‘date’ with my friend X.  It’s a “bromance,” if you will.  Monday evenings we watch a couple of episodes of the 1999 – 2003 Australian / American science fiction television series: Farscape.  I watch here in Newton, and he watches from his home several hours away.  We chat with each other over the internet as we watch.  It’s a regular thing.

But it’s not just the escapist fun of a decent sci-fi program (though I do enjoy that); it’s really an exercise in pastoral counselling. 

About a year ago my friend called me on the telephone – a desperate cry for help kind of call.  He’d made a series of bad decisions, had kept a deep secret, put his marriage and career in question, and was considering suicide. We spoke for several hours on the phone that afternoon, and often in the days immediately following.  He slowly pulled things together.  He made amends where he could, accepted that his choices had some hard consequences, and is generally much improved, and still improving.

Farscape became an excuse for us to keep in regular contact.  As we watch the adventures of John Crichton and the crew of the living ship, Moya, I can ask my friend how things are going… or not. Sometimes it’s just good to watch the show.

It’s not conventional pastoring, I know, but it works and it’s good.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dr. Tarrec’s Free Weekly Horoscope #14

Aries – In 1,500 words describe the beginning from the end.  Use examples from the text and our in class discussions.  TNR, 12 point, double spaced.

Taurus - Eden is not for sale and the Hanging Gardens were just a dream.  Would you settle for something in West Virginia?

Gemini – The Question You Must Ask is this:  Is bombing goat-herders really the best use of modern military firepower? 

Cancer –   Who left footprints in the mud beneath the window?  He was initially labeled as Homo Neanderthalensis but he prefers to be called “Enno.”

Leo – I know who is behind the hypnochemical fog dispersals in mid-western high schools and roller rinks.  It is that criminal mastermind Düsterdieck and his Jovian militants.  I cannot say more about this, not in open channels.  Meet me at the usual place for more information.

Virgo – The third angel is dead, his body interred in a sealed vault beneath Groom Lake.  You must exhume the remains before the next full moon.  It is imperative that you are successful.  The fate of the world depends upon it.

Libra – The revived AntiChrist will continue his tyranny for 42 months or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.  Your dictator may perform differently according to use and local conditions.

Scorpio – Heart Cancer is extremely rare, crabby hearts less so.

Sagittarius – The information ferrets developed by the genetic manipulators of the NSA have inexplicably become even more perverse.  This must end, and soon.

Capricorn – Presently the citizens of many European Countries are seeking to unite their economic efforts.  Their goal?  EUROPE UNITED.  As early as 1982 we may see a single currency used all across the European continent. 

Aquarius – What were you doing to stop the four successive hordes that ravaged the Holy Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries?  I’ll tell you what you were doing.  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

Pisces – The very position of the seventh seal, separated as it is from the other seals, should be enough to convince you that it is concerned with the crepuscular years of the United States of America.  This has all been thoroughly documented in the film Death Race 2000.   

People Are Complicated - A Guest Post

A friend of mine just shared this very personal piece of writing.  She has given me permission to post it here.  

My dad’s father is dying - my grandfather, my step grandfather, the guy who fathered and raised the guy who did not father me, but raised me.  It’s not so complicated these days as it once seemed. I’m not sure what to say.  I’m not so sure how to feel. 

I was “not a real granddaughter” as this man’s wife explained to me on a few occasions.  Real grandchildren did not have gapped teeth and short bodies with big bones.  I was not Norwegian and Dutch.  I did not like lefsa.   I was odd, bookish, loud, pious.  I could not even force myself to fit.  I was an imposter, a piece from a strange puzzle.  I was a fan of the Bears when they cheered for the Vikings, because they cheered for the Vikings. 

On Christmas Eve I sat in the corner opening plain envelopes addressed to “A.” (even my name was too strange for them) and inside I found unsigned cards and gift certificates to stores at which I never shopped.  My cousins, to whom I was not actually related, tore into shimmering gift wrap and opened boxes which contained actual things, while their parents lamented, “We never know what to buy her.”   

There’s a bitter and angry part of me that still finds it difficult to be gracious when confronted with the gift of money or called by an abbreviation of my given name.  It’s hard to grieve a face of cruelty. 

Yet, people are complicated and I will mourn with those who mourn.  Not because I have to, but because the same man, who has never managed to see me as a “real” child in need of love and acceptance, has managed to lavish my children with trinkets and holiday cards, and worn five dollar bills.  Somehow he has passed on an expanded form of his limited loyalty and grace along with his corny sense of humor and enlarged heart to my dad.  And while he has certainly failed to see it, he has fulfilled the wish of every parent: my dad (the man who did not father me but raised me) is a better man than his dad (the man who fathered and raised him).  Perhaps grief is not as complicated as it once seemed.

Biblical Limericks: Ezekiel’s Failed Prediction

What Ezekiel said of Tyre
never did completely transpire;
King Nebuchadnezzar
came as the aggressor,
but stopped the siege when he got tired.

Ezekiel 26 / 29: 18

Glass Abstract

glass abstract by Jeff Carter on

Glass by Jeff Carter on

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Biblical Limericks: It’s not Condemned Anywhere in the Bible

Even though most would think it taboo,
I have read the bible through and through-
nowhere does it condemn
my cannibalism.
I cannot kill, but I can eat you…

This Woman

I have been married to this woman for a few days short of 19 years. I'll take another 19 more...

Mikey photo Mikey_zps60ca97e5.jpg

Powerpoint Slides for Everyone - 2014 - Week 41

Here it is again: the weekly free image.  I use them in powerpoint slides but you're free to do whatever you like with them.  I only ask that you share them freely and that you tell others that you found them here.

 photo Week41_zpsb56a2679.jpg


 photo Keys_zpscee84b7d.jpg

Saturday, September 27, 2014

DIY Camera Hack - Bubble Wrap Filter

In the past I've shared with you my DIY macro lens, my home made flash diffuser,  and my DIY filter made from a sink trap.  Tonight, I have another photographic hack for you:  a bubble wrap filter.

I took an empty filter ring and used it to hold a piece of torn bubble wrap.  This creates a nice blur in the photographs.  I've used it a couple of times recently. Here's one example and there are two here.

Burning Up the September Sky

September Sunset by Jeff Carter on

September Sunset by Jeff Carter on

September Sunset by Jeff Carter on

The Missing Prophet

“What is your name,” the man says to me.

“I’ve told you my name.”  I have, in fact, told him my name several times. He continues to ask these pointless and repetitive questions.

“Humor me,” he says.  “Tell me your name again.”  When I say nothing immediately he leans forward in his chair and touches my arm.  “Please?”

I sigh.  “My name is Ezekiel Ben-Adam. I am the prophet of the Lord.”  I have told him this already.

“You’re not Lieutenant Zul-Kifl Miller of the Giordano Bruno Lunar Colony?”

I say nothing.  These words are meaningless to me.

“Do you recognize this woman?”  The man hands me a cube with a picture glowing within it.

“I do not.”

“You don’t recognize her as your wife, Lisa?  You haven’t been married to her for,” he pauses to consult something on or within the cube, “nineteen years?”

“I do not recognize this woman.  She is not my wife.  My wife is…” I can say no more.  I moan softly, but I do not allow tears to come to my eyes.

“What about you wife?” the man asks.

“My wife, the delight of my eyes, the joy of my youth was taken from me.”

“Taken?  Who took her?”

“The Lord.”

“God took your wife? You believe that your wife is dead?”

“Yes. The Lord took her.  He spoke to me in the morning saying, ‘Oh mortal one, I am about to take the delight of your eyes, through pestilence.’  That evening she was dead.”

“How did that make you feel?”

“I did not lament.  I did not allow my tears to flow.  Her death was a sign.”  The man allows me a moment of silence, and for that I thank the Lord.  It isn’t very long, however before he proceeds again with his questions.

“How did you come to be here?”

“I have told you this before.  In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, when I was in the community of exiles by the Chebar Canal, the heavens opened, and I saw visions of God.  I looked and I saw a stormy wind sweeping out of the north – a huge cloud and flashing fire surrounded by a blue radiance.  Something like a wheel within a wheel appeared within the radiance.  And now I am here.”

The man is annoyed.  He waves his hand to stop me.  “Let’s talk about something else.  Tell me… what do you do?  What is your occupation?”

“I was born to be a priest in the Temple of the Lord, like my father, and his father before him.  But the Temple has become defiled and the priesthood corrupt.  I am a prophet of the Lord.  I am his mouth and voice.”

“You’re not a crewmember, an engineer, aboard the Starcraft Abdul-Fattah?”

“I can give no answer to that.  It is gibberish.”

“Can you tell me anything about the Blish-Feinberg Drive?”

Silence is my only reply.  The man is frustrated by my silence, but what more can I say?  I do not understand his questions and, what is more, the Lord has given me nothing further to say.  I say nothing.    The man sighs and then withdraws from the room.


“I’m sorry,” said the doctor.  “I don’t know what else to tell you Colonel.  We’ve been at this for two months now.  We’ve examined Lieutenant Miller over and again; run every test.  Some of them twice.  Blood chemistry is normal.  Brain scans reveal no indications of lesions or tumors.  Our psychologists have given him the Wiesle tests. The results show no points of correspondence to the tests given to him before his admission to the academy. Physically he is healthy and well.  He has a few minor wounds, but they are healing normally.  Psychologically, however, there is nothing of Lieutenant Zul-Kifl Miller.”

Colonel João Andrade glowered.  “He still insists that he’s this Hebrew prophet of the sixth century B.C.E?”

“Yes, Colonel.” 

An exhausted silence filled the office.  Then, “The Blish-Feinberg Drive manipulates tachyon fields, moving particles through time, right?  And this man was trapped in the Cherenkov radiation chamber for 27 hours.  Could this be one of those Tachyon telephone paradox situations?” asked the Colonel.

“I’m a physician, sir.  I couldn’t give any answer to the theoretical physic questions created by the accident.”

The Colonel huffed. “No, no. Doctor, you’re right.  I’m hardly qualified to be here myself.  I barely understand how this all works, or is supposed to work.”  He paused, thought for a moment and tried another line of approach.  “Is there anything in the writings of this prophet Ezekiel that could help us?”

“That’s just it…” said the doctor.  “I’ve looked into the Hebrew scriptures and all the historical records.  There’s nothing anywhere about a Hebrew prophet named Ezekiel, in the sixth century or otherwise.”

“So you’re saying he’s crazy.  That the explosion caused some sort schizophrenic split?”

“No, sir.  As I’ve reported, the psych tests show no indication of schizophrenia or other mental disorder.”

“Then what are you saying?” the Colonel Andrade demanded.

“Again sir, I’m not qualified to give any answer to the theoret…”

“Just give me an answer, dammit!”

“Sir.  I think that the explosion in the Blish-Feinberg Drive aboard the Starcraft  Abdul-Fattah sent tachyons backward through time and space, carrying with them the mind, or spirit, or personhood – whatever you want to call it -of Lieutenant Miller.  And by the reinterpretation principle, tachyons moving backward in time can also be reinterpreted as tachyons moving forward in time.  We can’t distinguish between the emission and the absorption of these particles.  The tachyons moving forward in time carried with them this prophet Ezekiel.”

“You understand the physics more than you let on, don’t you doctor?”


“Never mind, doctor.  I thought you said that you said you couldn’t find any information about this prophet.”

“He doesn’t exist anymore, sir.”

“Explain that, doctor.”

“Whoever this prophet Ezekiel may have been in the past is now gone; he’s been replaced psychically with our Lieutenant Zul-Kifl Miller."

Friday, September 26, 2014

(Not So) Biblical Limericks: Tim LaHaye’s Not a Great Military Strategist

Tim LaHaye would like us to believe
that some soon apocalyptic eve,
Russia, with bow and spear,
with club and wooden gear,
will attack and invade Tel Aviv.

based on a very faulty interpretation of Ezekiel 39: 9 -10

Anomalies A – Z: Kima

Can you tie cords to Kima,
or undo the reigns of Kesil?

Job 38:31

It is Kima that is doing this to me – the headaches, the chills, the unfounded accusations of disloyalty. 

Kima, the Family, the One Hundred, is arrayed like shock troops in tight formation, armed and ready for battle.  Kima is an alignment of rattlesnakes in the heavens.   Kima brings accidents, and blindness.  Kima brings violence.  When the Almighty, blessed be He, wanted to destroy the earth in a flood, he removed two stars from Kima and brought the waters upon the world.

The paths of the heavens are clear for those who will but look.  Were it not for the heat of Kesil the world would not survive the cold of Kima, but the cosmic bands of gravity that held that ancient hunter have been loosed and space is wearing thin. 

The intra-atomic energies that bind particular particle to particle have been dissolved by men with small minds and large egos. And Kima acts without restraint, stings like a scorpion with unfocused malice.

A Conversation with Jim

My cell phone rang.  It was Jim.

“Hello.  Is this Jeff?  Hey, Jeff, how are you?”  He was already off and running with the conversation and I hadn’t said anything yet.  “I was hoping you could run me up to the garden this afternoon if you got some time later today, I don’t want to bug you or anything, but the cucumbers and the squash are ready to be picked.  I drove by there this morning on my bike to check them, but I couldn’t pick any up then, not on my bike. I can’t carry very much of anything on the motorcycle.”  This is how conversations go with Jim; they tend to be rather one-sided.

“I got my bike running again, put a couple of gallons of gas in the tank.  Still got the problem with the tail light, though… Can you do that, Jeff? Can you take me over there, say around 4:30?”

“Yeah, Jim,” I said. “I can do that,” but he was already talking again.

“Can you?  At 4:30?  5 o’clock, when the sun’s gone down a little and it’s not so hot.

I don’t want to bother you or anything.  I can give you some money, I get paid later this week, and want to get a gallon of milk at Speedway; I was going to get some corned beef at Fareway too, but the prices keep going up.  I had some stamps and coins I was going to get this week too, but that will probably have to wait.”

“So, I’ll see you at 4:30?” I said, trying to get back into the conversation; it’s a bit like jumping through the gaps between cars on a moving train.

“I bought some duck stamps last week.  I’ll bring them to church on Sunday to show you. You and your kids.  And your wife.  She’s nice.”

“Yes, I think so.  Do you want me to pick you up at 4:30, then?”

“4:30, yeah.  If you can.  The squash and cucumbers are ready to be picked and the tomatoes probably are, too, if the deer haven’t been eating them.  Okay, then. I’ll see you at 4:30.  Have a good day.  Bye.”

“Bye, Jim,” I said, but he’d already hung up.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Wilderness is Wide

Between the burning, blinding sun
and the cold, changeable moon
I wander;
Between the mountains
the wilderness is wide.

Strike the rock
so that the people may drink;
Strike the rock
and be condemned.

The wilderness is wide
and you are unseen.

Note:  The name of the mountain where the people of Israel received the Torah is given alternately as Mount Sinai or Mount Horeb.  Sinai is derived from “moon” and Horeb from “sun”)

Passing Clouds Instead

I went out with my camera this afternoon to try out a new technique.  It didn't go very well.  I still need practice with it.  So - enjoy this animated gif of passing clouds that I created instead.

A Final Prayer

On this, the occasion of my death, I have need of nothing.  I am content with my life.  First responders do not think of themselves, but of those they serve – be they dressed in policemen’s blues, or firefighters’ turnout gear, or religious habit.  I do not pray for myself, but for those who are dying and those who will die. 

Most High, all powerful, good Lord, all praise is yours, all glory, all honor and blessing, even here, even now in these towers of death.  No mortal lips may pronounce your name, but to whom else could we call out, surrounded as we are on all sides by terror and by fear?  All praise is yours, my Lord, though your creatures have gone insane.

“Jesus, please end this now.  God, please end this now.”

It is dark in here, I cannot see.  Brother Sun, who shone so brightly only a few hours ago has been obliterated, his beautiful splendor blotted out.  Brothers Wind and Air have not brought sustaining rains – but cruel and violent storms.  Brother Fire has turned his mighty strength against my brothers, against us all.  And Sister Death, O Lord, whose embrace none of us can escape, has welcomed too many into her arms this morning. Enough.  Stay your hand. Enough.

“Jesus, please end this now.  God, please end this now.”

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servants from all danger of Hell, from all pain and tribulation.  Deliver us from the common death of the world.  Deliver us from violence inflicted upon us and inflicted by us. 

“Jesus, please end this now.  God, please end this now.”

Happy are those Sister Death finds doing your will, O Lord, even as fires rage and towers collapse. Give us peace, O Lord, especially as the fires are burning and towers are falling.  Give us peace when the nations are raging.  Happy are those who endure in peace.  Crown us, oh Lord, with peace, now and in the hour of our death.

This piece, written for my English Comp. class, was inspired by Father Mychal Judge 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I Can Be a Heartless Bastard

I’ve mentioned in this blog that I am currently enrolled at the local community college (Des Moines Area Community College).  I’m taking the last few general education classes I need to finally finish my bachelor’s degree (I know, I know… I’m on the twenty five year plan…) one of which is an English Composition class. It’s a required class; I have to take it in order to complete the degree requirements.

It’s a writing class – and a very basic one.  So far we’ve reviewed (in painstaking detail) how to use punctuation and quotation marks, and the difference between direct and indirect quotations, the difference between adverbs and adjectives, and so on.  Much of this (should I say all?) is remedial for me, though I’m still trying to make the class a learning experience; I haven’t written it off as beneath me or unnecessary.  I’m not so vain as to say that I’m such a great writer that I don’t need any instruction from anyone.  (I’m vain, but not that vain…)

Last week we were given the assignment to write in response to a remembered event.  Our papers were required to do the following:

* Describe the event in great detail.
* Incorporate a good hook.
* Use dialogue – in fact, the dialogue was to the defining part of the essay.
* Include an in depth reflection on the theme or meaning of the event, both on a personal and a universal level. 
* Be in first person.
* Be between 1000 – 1500 words.

You can (if you want) read my paper here. Tonight, during class, we were to share our papers with one of our peers and to edit each other’s work. 

You must stop here and have a silent moment of pity for the poor girl who got stuck with me as her partner for this peer editing, because I marked up every sentence of her paper.  Every. Single. Sentence.  I was merciless.

It was several hundred words short of the minimum word length, had no dialogue, and was not in first person.  There were sentences without subjects.  There were sentences without verbs.  There was at least one sentence with neither a subject nor a verb – if such aberrations can be described as sentences. She chose to write her paper about the effects of Hurricane Katrina – a powerful and memorable event, to be sure- but her paper had nothing of the personal or universal reflections that the assignment called for.  I crossed out words.  I added punctuation.  I moved paragraphs.  I crossed out an entire paragraph that was an accidental duplication of an earlier paragraph, so her paper was even further away from the minimum number of words.

I realized that I could not hand this paper back to her – after I had marked up Every. Single. Sentence. – without offering some helpful and constructive words, and kind words as well.  I didn’t want her to think that I was tearing up her work just because I’m a heartless bastard who delights in kicking puppies and crushing the hopes and dreams of young women. 

I told her what was good about her paper, and there was some good in it.  It was not completely devoid of merit.  I told her what was her paper was still lacking, and provided a few ways she could correct those deficiencies.   She’s 19, 20 years old, maybe.  And this is her first writing class; in fact, this is one of her first college level classes. I didn’t want to ruin her writing experience; I didn’t want to crush her ambitions so early on. That should come later when she receives rejection letter after rejection letter from cold heartless bastard magazine and book editors…

(EDIT and - just so you will know that I can be a bastard to myself as well, I've corrected this little post twice three times since I first published it 20 40 minutes ago...)

Anomalies A – Z: Ishmael

Who has loosed the wild ass,
put away the leather quirt?
The same who freed the swift ass
and who gave him the desert,

the place of salt, as a home,
a vast wilderness to roam.
And though he does wrestle
he’ll forever be nestled

with his descendants and kin,
blessed, and blessed, and blessed again.
Harken to this, hear it well,
the Lord has blessed Ishmael.

To Participate in the Kingdom Is To Participate in the Struggle

I am currently enrolled in my local community college (Des Moines Area Community College) and taking a composition class.  Our assignment this week was to write in response to a remembered event that moved us emotionally or greatly affected our lives. 

I have taken part of a post I wrote earlier for this blog - reworked and expanded it for the assignment.

Earlier this year I went on a tour of Israel and Palestine with a group of pastors.  We were tourists and pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.  We did the things that tourists and pilgrims do.  We saw the historical sites, we went to museums, listened to lectures, bought souvenirs, and took pictures of everything. 

During the trip I frequently wore a keffiyeh – the Arab head-covering scarf.  My brother had bought it for me when he was in Israel earlier.  They’re available for purchase from merchants in many cities in Israel and Palestine.  But I wore mine, not just as a stupid American tourist, doing the things that tourists do, but because I understand the symbolic connection the keffiyeh has with the Palestinian people and their desire for a free and independent state.  I wore my scarf in support of the Palestinian people and to identify with them.

During most of the trip it caused me very little trouble.  In the northern parts of Israel, around the Sea of Galilee, it didn’t even occasion a second glance. When we went into the city of Bethlehem, which is part of the Palestinian territory, I was hailed by a couple of street venders, “Hey Mr. Arafat!”

It was at Masada, near the Dead Sea, that I had my first discomforting encounter on account of my scarf.  Our group had gone up to that mountain fortress that was at one time a stronghold of King Herod, and later was the last stand of the Zealots during the Jewish revolt against the Romans in AD 72.  Masada today is almost a religious site for the Jewish people and a symbol of Israel’s national identity, a symbol of their national determination to live free or die. While we were there we saw a family celebrating their son’s Bar Mitzvah in the remains of the synagogue used by the Zealots before their mass suicide.

As our group was preparing to leave the remains of that mountain fortress I stepped aside to take a few last pictures.  I approached the vantage point that I wanted to photograph and realized that my path would take me right in front of two women who were taking pictures in the same area. Not wanting to photo-bomb their pictures, I waited as one of the women gave instructions (in Hebrew) to her friend on how to use the camera.  When they were finished I said, “Shalom” and made to pass on by.  The woman with the camera then rattled off a string of Hebrew to me in return.  I apologized (in English) and said that I’d just about exhausted my knowledge of Hebrew. 

“That’s okay,” she said, “I’m Canadian.”

Then she picked at my shirt and vest and my keffiyeh and said, “Why do you wear this Arab scarf?”  Not wanting to engage in a confrontational debate right there and then, and also because our group was starting to leave, I made polite excuses and continued on my way. Most of our group rode the cable car down from the top, but some of us walked the long and rugged “snake path” down the steep cliff side. 

When we arrived, hot and sweaty, at the bottom of the mountain we ate lunch at the visitors’ center and, after the obligatory few minutes at the gift shop, went outside to wait for our bus.  That’s where I saw her again – or rather – she saw me.

“There’s my Arab American friend!” she called out.  She waved me over to speak to her. “Do you know what this means?” she asked, picking at my scarf again. “Do you know what this is?”

“Yes.  I do understand the implications of the keffiyeh,” I explained.  “I know something of the history of the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians.” We engaged in a short conversation there in front of the visitors’ center about the long history of conflict between these two groups. 

When she learned that I’m a Christian pastor she said to me, “As follower of Jesus, you must support the sons of Abraham.” 

“But aren’t the Palestinians, aren’t the Arabs, sons of Abraham too, through Ishmael?” I asked her. 

My new Canadian Jewish friend waved her hand and dismissed my question, “Pfffft.” 

Our bus arrived shortly after that.  I shook hands with my Canadian Jewish friend and we both said, “Shalom.”  The confrontation was over.  It was brief and it was mild, but it wouldn’t be my final confrontation. 

When our time in Israel and Palestine was over, we returned to Ben Gurion airport to catch our flight home.  As I made my way through the checkpoints in the airport I was stopped by a security agent because of the keffiyeh I was wearing.  The guard pulled me out of the line of travelers to ask a few questions.

“What is your purpose in Israel?” the security agent asked me. I don’t recall what he looked like; all I could see was the firearm on his hip.

“I’ve been here as a tourist.”

“Who do you know in Israel? Do you have friends here?” 

“No.  I don’t.  I’ve just been here a few days as a tourist.”

He interrogated me with firm voice and stern eyes. “You don’t have any contacts in Israel or in the Palestinian territories? Who do you know in Israel?”

“No one.  As I said, I’ve been here ten days with a tour group. Now I’m heading home.”

The guard examined my passport and my boarding pass, poked through my camera bag, and looked me over before speaking into his shoulder mounted radio.  He spoke Hebrew rapidly – but I recognized my name being said.  He stared at me as we waited for a response.  It was one of those moments that seems to last much longer than the actual elapsed time.  I could see my wife standing on the other side of the checkpoint ready to cry.  

When an answer finally came back to the security agent from some unseen officer, he returned my passport and boarding pass.  “You should proceed immediately to your plane, Mr. Carter,” he said to me as he handed me the documents.

The Catholic theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez has written, “To place oneself in the perspective of the kingdom [of God] means to participate in the struggle for the liberation of those who are oppressed by others (Gutiérrez, 287).”  But in my normal everyday life I am not oppressed or persecuted.  I live a fairly privileged life; as a white American male, I occupy a position of relative comfort and ease.  How can I identify with those who are persecuted and oppressed? 

I’m not stopped in the streets by police armed with assault rifles.  I’m not, in my ordinary life, questioned by armed guards at military checkpoints when I travel.   I don’t live behind concrete and barbed wire barricades.  I had a few brief moments of fear and anxiety in Israel because of the keffiyeh.  What is it like to live every day with that constant anxiety?  I had a difficult few moments at one checkpoint.  What is it like to have to endure a checkpoint interrogation in order to leave or return home every day?

Christian theologians talk about the kenosis of Christ – that is his “self-emptying,” the giving up of his place in heaven in order to take on a human incarnation and to live among us.  He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (English Standard Version, Philippians 2: 6 – 8).” He became as we are so that he could identify with us in our struggles.

It’s not enough for me, as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to speak the good news from the pulpit on Sundays.  It is a hollow gospel that is proclaimed merely from a place of safety and comfort. If the gospel is about life and freedom for all of God’s people, I cannot sit idly silent while others struggle to live and be free. It may have been a small action, but I wore the keffiyeh as a way to identify with and to, for a few moments, participate in that struggle. 

English Standard Version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles, 2007. Print.
Gutiérrez, Gustavo, “Theology of Liberation.” Gustavo Gutiérrez: Essential Writings.  Ed. James B. Nickoloff. Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books, 1996. Print.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our Help in Ages Past

Let's face it:  the United States relies on military strength and firepower.  It's our first and only choice in dealing with conflict.  We invade, we bomb, we get bigger, more powerful missiles, we get more missiles, smarter bombs....

So, perhaps, it's time to start singing those old hymns to the god we really worship.

Biblical Limericks: The People Quarreled with Moses

Moses, you are such a goddamn putz!
Did you lead us out here to kill us
with hunger and with thirst?
Good grief! You are the worst!
If we grouse it’s ‘cause we hate your guts!

Exodus 17: 2 - 4

Fantastic Mysteries

I created this music in Ableton Live (8) using material I recorded and the following sounds from the Freesound Project:

01 – Short Wave Signals
02 – Secret Warnings
07 – The Lost Tunnel
Beneath Ambient 2
Fool Synth 08
Supra Beat Straight Floor Tom Rock
08 – A Figure in Hiding

09 – What Happened at Midnight

Anomalies A – Z: The Hawk

The following you shall abominate among the birds – they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination:  the Eagle, the Vulture, the Black-Vulture, the Kite and… every kind of Hawk. Leviticus 11: 13 - 16

A cast of circling malevolence
wheeling across the sky,
hawks of every variety

the Falcon, the Kestrel,
the Hobby, the Harrier,
flat headed, hook beaked royalty

with an eye upon the sparrow,
an eye upon the hare,
his talon snares all he does behold.

The One who is Above screeches
long and loud as he hunts;
the Distant One spreads his wings for the south.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Foreword Has Been Written #mutedhosannas

I am getting very excited about this.  My book Muted Hosannas is very close to becoming an actual real thing.  I've sent proof pages back to the editor with some final (I hope) changes and corrections, and my friend, Joel Watts, has finally come out of his medication induced stupor to write the foreword.

You never begin a piece of writing, foreword or otherwise, with a cliché; however, a picture is truly worth 1,000 words. 
Experiences, those finite moments buried deep in the recesses of our mind, only to be trotted out in our honor but never fully shared, are perhaps worth more. To find a way to combine these things, pictures and experiences, is a remarkable feat worth only enough words to present the rawest of emotions.
 Jeff Carter has in these few short pages given you and I a glimpse into the experiences, both before and behind the camera. Emerging from his 2014 trip to the Holy Land, Carter has compiled still-imaged experiences, adding to them the poetry evolving from these encounters. They are not long soliloquies burdening the reader, but measured statements of the heart, Carter’s heart, whereby we are able to get a glimpse of a place many will never see. Further, we are able to briefly exist with our poet in the time and place in which he stood as he experienced for himself, for the first time, the sights and sounds of the Holy Land.
 There is something else, too. There are images and poems about the Christian year. Carter has given us more calendric Christians a use for this book. It becomes a devotional as well. Equally so, for the more lyrical minded, Carter’s third section presents us haikus. Haikus. His poetic talent is almost endless, as is the beauty of this book.
 I would encourage you, in the years to come, to take this small book with you on your travels. Let it give you not only joy, but also an emboldened view of the adventure of experiencing something.
 Joel L. Watts, Author

The book will be available soon (though I don't have more specific dates) from Frontier Press.  

Biblical Limericks: Strike the Rock, Don’t Strike the Rock…

In Ex’dus seventeen it’s okay
for Moses to strike the rock, but hey,
in Numbers twenty when
Moses does it again
he’s barred from the Promised Land, oy vey!

Exodus 17: 6 / Numbers 20: 8 - 12

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dragon Yen

Dragon Yen by Jeff Carter on

Powerpoint Slides for Everyone - 2014 - Week 40

Here it is - this week's free background image.  It's free. It's yours.  I only ask that you share it as freely as you have received it and that you tell others that you found it here.

This week's photo is of a row of Salvation Army flags.

 photo Week40_zpse4d256bb.jpg

Anomalies A – Z: Gibborim

There are few among us who can still recall the exploits of the Gibborim, David’s Mighty men.  It is already largely forgotten that it Ehanan who killed Goliath, the Giant of Gath, not the upstart Bethlehemite, David.  And who today remembers Eleazer, the Son of Dodo, who once wrestled a bear that had stolen his mead?  Or Beniah, he who killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day, and attacked and killed Ahmose the Egyptian, who stood seven and one half feet tall?  Who among this generation can recite the tale of Bani the Gadite?  His name was sung from Dan to Beersheba and rightly so; who else has encountered the satyrs of the desert and survived? 

David is remembered but his men languish in obscurity.  They fought giants and ghouls.  They crossed vast wildernesses seeking danger and treasure and glory. But who remembers them now?  The dangers are subdued, the treasure is spent, and their glory has faded.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Last of the Summer Daisies

Good grief, where did the summer go?

This photo was taken at a roadside rest-area along the way to Omaha, Nebraska.  The blur was created with another of my DIY filters-  basically it's a piece of shredded bubble wrap in front of the camera lens.

Photograph Last of the Summer Daisies by Jeff Carter on 500px

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Plerosis Versus Kenosis

The American Christian says, ‘Let me get rich so I can help the poor. Let me amass great wealth so that I can be a job creator, so that my wealth may trickle down to others. Let me fill up and over flow for others.’

Christ says ‘I am rich, but I will make myself poor so that through my poverty they may become rich. Let me empty myself for others so that they may be filled.’ (2 Corinthians 8:9)  

Biblical Limericks: Jubilee

“Let’s read the bible literally,”
they say, “and obey it completely -
except we will leave out
all those verses about
cancelling debts in the jubilee.”

Deuteronomy 15: 1 - 18

Golden Rosette

Golden Rosette by Jeff Carter on

#Throwbackthursday: Teenage Embarrasment

This is one of those #throwbackthursday kinda of social media posts that are so trendy these days.

I don't remember exactly why this picture was taken.  One of the members of our church who did a lot of photography work popped his head into the classroom at the church were several of us were hanging out.  He said he needed someone to sit in for a picture for a few moments.  I don't remember if I volunteered (doesn't seem very likely considering what I remember of myself then) or if I was volunteered, but I ended up in front of the camera.  The sweater was borrowed.

Not long afterwards the photographer gave me a copy of the picture - which apparently I saved, because here it is. I remember that I didn't particularly care for the picture at the time.  It's a fine portrait of me - but I was embarrassed by my acne - which isn't actually so bad in this picture.  There were times when it was worse.

Never mind that the photo was great.  Never mind that everyone - EVERYONE - has acne at some point. I was embarrassed and I put the photo away, stashed it away. I hid it.

But now that I'm old enough to know better, or perhaps - old enough not to care anymore, I realize that it was a pretty decent photograph, and I should have been much happier about it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Biblical Limericks: Flesh Pots

Their flight to the desert was complete
but the Hebrews had nothing to eat,
so they wept and they cried,
“If only we had died
in Egypt where we had potted meat!”

Exodus 16:3

Anomalies A – Z: The Fear of Isaac

Had not the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac been with me, you would have sent me away empty handed.  Genesis 31: 42

Feel the electrostatic changes in the air
that signal the presence of the one we cannot see;
feel the fine hair rising on your neck and arms.

Heart rate increasing, skin pimpling,
your muscles tense, ready to fight or to flee.

Swear, and swear true
by the God of our Father Abraham;
Swear by that numinous terror that comes at night,
the Fear of Isaac.

Let him stand between us, you and me.

Thinking about "a Word of Prayer"

Every now and again it’s good to stop and to think about the words that are coming out of our mouth. 

The expression “a word of prayer” - as in “Let’s have a word of prayer,” has always struck me as just a bit odd. It’s an idiom and won’t adhere to the normal meanings of words.   We’re obviously going to say more than one single word.  We use the same idiomatic expression in other ways – “May I have a word with you?” or “I want to give you a word of advice.” 

This is an example of Synecdoche – wherein a part of something is used to represent the whole – in this case “a word” is used to indicate a string of words in a prayer.

If we were, however, to limit ourselves to a single word of prayer, what would it be?  Perhaps the most gut wrenching, earnest prayer is the desperate shout: “God!”  Perhaps “Amen” – “let it be so” would be a full and complete prayer in and of itself. 

I also think it’s weird to “have” a prayer. This expression makes prayer seem like a consumable:  “I’ll have a piece of cake.”  “I’ll have a cup of tea.”  “I’ll have a word of prayer.”  This is just weird.  Prayer isn’t something to be consumed; prayer is to be offered up. Prayer is to be made.

I realize that I may be over thinking it.  It’s just an idiom.  It’s just something we say.   But, as I said, every now and again it’s good to think about those words that are coming out of our mouth.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Anomalies A – Z: Enoch

Forgoing death, he walked away
after a year for every day around the sun.
Enoch walked away and was no more
into the sky, into the sun
where temperatures reach millions of degrees,
yet he did not die.

Tell me, guiding angel, what are these things you are showing me?
Can the photographs and news reports be trusted?
How can conspiracy theories be disproved?

Is this European Superstate the home of giants?
Why was Charlemagne immortalized on European coins?

The element of fire will devour these unions,
dissolve their bonds – yes, this is to be expected.
Enoch will stand in the streets of Jerusalem
holding back the rain while the fires burn unchecked.

But see the iron plated beast rising up
like a wide faced woman on the back of an ox
to murder the witness.

Oh, guiding angel, must I see such things as this?

Biblical Limericks: Maybe It’s Better not to Know

Manna came at night, but what was it?
No one really knows, I must admit,
but some scholars suggest
that what they did ingest
was the residue of insect spit.

Exodus 16:14 - 15

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Reading from the Book of Limitations

I am speaking in human terms and limitations.  You agree that you will accept these words and this syntax and all appropriate constructions and conjugations.  And you shall set limits for the people all around.  The author is not responsible for injury or death resulting from breech of said established boundaries.  These limitations my not apply to you.  Certain state laws do not allow limitations on implied warranties or the exclusion of certain damages.  If these laws apply to you, some or all of the above disclaimers, exclusions, or limitations my not apply to you; and you may also have additional rights.

Your use of services includes the ability to search out to the farthest limits the ore in gloom and deep darkness.  You acknowledge that “deep darkness” is a registered trademark.  Use of deep darkness requires compatible devices and certain software (fees may apply); may require periodic updates, and may be affected by certain weather phenomena.

The Book of Limitations 4: 15 - 21

A Limerick for Kirk Cameron

Kirk says Darwin’s theory’s run amok
and if you believe it you’re a schmuck,
but perhaps he’ll amend
the words he has penned
now that we’ve found his famed crock-o-duck.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Schadenfreude in our Salvation

After 400 years in Egypt, after years of slavery and oppression, after bitter rigor and slave labor and tears, the people of Israel were ready to leave, were ready for freedom.  They were oppressed.  They were burdened and beaten. 

Imagine them sitting huddled in their homes during that Passover night – hearing the screams and the shrieks in the dark.  Imagine the moans and sobbing and weeping as the angel of death passed through the country killing the first born sons of Egypt.

Then came their flight towards freedom, but first they had to cross the Sea of Reeds. So the angel, the cloud, the Lord moved to a place behind them to shield them from the pursuing Egyptians, as sort of smoke screen as they passed between the towering walls of water on either side.  And then, on the opposite shore, they watched as the Egyptian army followed them into the sea-bed.  Imagine the horror as those liquid walls came crashing down upon the Egyptians.  It must have been a horrible sight – to the Egyptian horses and riders and crumpled chariots washed upon the shore (Exodus 14: 30). 

Rabbi Johanan  taught that as the Egyptians were drowning the angels of heaven began to sing and to rejoice, chanting their hymns– but God rebuked them saying, “The work ofmy hands is being drowned in the sea, and shall you chant hymns?

I imagine that it would have been tempting for the Israelites to cheer when they saw those bruised and battered and bloated bodies on the shore.  We want the bad guys to get what they deserve.  We want justice to be done.  We need justice to be done. But the line between the desire for justice and the desire for revenge is thin.  The desire for revenge and justice is natural and normal.  But dangerous.   Like fire that can cook food, heat homes, and disinfect can also burn, and destroy and kill. The need for justice or the desire for revenge can help or hurt us.

We want justice.  We want the oppressors to be punished, indeed we need for them to be punished.  But we should not let ourselves be so filled with hatred for our enemies, for our oppressors, for those who would hurt us – that we begin to enjoy and celebrate their pain and death.

Proverbs 24:17 says, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls, when they stumble do not let your heart rejoice.”

The German language has a word for this, it is schadenfreude - literally that is: “harm joy.”  A somewhat silly example of this is the slapstick humor of the Three Stooges.  We laugh when they take a prat fall, or get smacked upside the head with a shovel, hit with a frying pan.  But it becomes a matter of hatred and even sin when we begin to celebrate the pain and ruination of our enemies. 

Jesus said that we should “Love our enemies” (Matthew 5:44 / Luke 6:27).  This is a difficult thing to do.

A number of years ago I received word that a fellow Salvation Army officer – an officer who had been … less than kind to me, had been injured in a car accident.  I remember that my first thought upon hearing of his injuries was, “well good!”  I, for that brief moment, took some perverse pleasure in the fact that he’d been hurt.  And I did not like myself very much in that moment. 

We must somehow learn to love our enemies – to pray for and even bless those who would do us harm.  Even as we celebrate justice and the punishment of evil men and women, we must somehow learn to love them.  We must be people of love, not people of hate.

There is no room for schadenfreude in our salvation.  

Powerpoint Slides for Everyone - 2014 - Week 39

Here's another in the series of free images for you.  Use it in Powerpoint (or another similar presentation program) if you like - or don't.  Use it however you like - at home, work, school, church, wherever.  I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others that you found it here.

This week's picture is a combination of a stone wall and a fancy candy box.

 photo Week39_zps8fb81f88.jpg

Shiver Shudder Sing

We heard their shrieks in the night
as we huddled in our homes,
and shivered
because we knew what we’d been spared.

Standing on the shore of the sea
we watched the bloated bodies
of horse and rider
wash upon the sands, and shuddered.

Rejoice for freedom.  Sing.
Celebrate the end of captivity,
not the death of our enemy. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jesus in Liberty Jail

I saw this bust of Jesus in the lobby of the Mormon Liberty Jail Museum in Liberty, Missouri.

Jesus Sculpture by Jeff Carter on 500px

Photograph Jesus Sculpture by Jeff Carter on 500px

Faithful Children Doubt the Bible

I was driving yesterday, and while driving I listened to the radio.  I happened upon a Christian program where “Pastor Mike” was answering the question: “Is the Bible Accurate?” – and by that he meant inerrant and flawless in every way.   He explained that all the apparent contradictions and questions found in the bible can easily be reconciled and smoothed over.  There are no contradictions, he says, because this is a divine book; its authors were overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, in the same way that the fallible virgin Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in order to produce the sinless and flawless Jesus.

At one point in the program he said that the reason that some people “doubt” the bible is that they don’t want to do what it says.  He compared it to children finding a note on the kitchen table with instructions from mom and dad – a list of chores to do.  “And it’s all good and fine and everyone believes that it’s from mom and dad, and it signed by mom and dad… and there’s no question about the authenticity of it until they get to a point on the list where there’s something they really don’t want to do.  And now there’s a question. I don’t even know if this is from mom and dad. Who really wrote this?  …All of these skeptical thoughts arise when culture puts pressure on people about the things that the bible says. And they say, well I wish the bible didn’t say that…”

There are several problems with this line of thinking, but I want to comment on only two of them: 

1 – It would not be unreasonable to doubt the note on the kitchen table if it appeared in multiple hand-writings, and gave contradictory instructions.  If, for instance, the note said at one point “take the lamb chops out of the refrigerator and boil it,”    and then a few lines later said “take the lamb chops out of the refrigerator and roast it – do not boil it.”  It would not be unreasonable to read the letter with some skepticism if differing agendas could be detected within its instructions.  A faithful child would then read critically, trying to determine what is good and true about the note, so that she could be truly obedient.

2 – The analogy rests upon an unwarranted assumption: that all those who read the bible critically, paying attention to discrepancies and contradictions, do so because they are trying to avoid doing what God commands.  It may be granted that there are some who do so.  Some will use whatever excuse is handy.  But there are great multitudes of Christians who are trying to be faithful to what God commands – and believe that addressing the contradictions and problems of the bible is part of that faithful obedience.

I don’t think God wants us to be naïve.  I don’t think God wants us to be like Ned Flanders from the Simpsons, who said, “I've done everything the Bible says! Even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!”  (Hurricane Neddy, 1996)  Of course, “Pastor Mike” won't even admit that there is stuff that contradicts the other stuff…

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Face of Joseph Smith in a Tortilla

In June of 2008, Rosalie Lawson found the face of Jesus in a potato chip.   In April of 2009, Linda Lowe found him in a grilled cheese sandwich.  Crowds flocked to a Malaysian hospital when it was reported in 2012 that the Virgin Mary had appeared in the windows of the building.

And it was reported today that Mrs. Odonna Blondeen Benson of Ballard, Utah has discovered the face of American religious leader and founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, in a batch of flour tortillas.

“I was cooking up dinner for my husband,” said Bensen, “making up some tacos.  And when I flipped over the tortilla I saw him there.  I saw the prophet.”

Officials from the Church of Latter Day Saints leadership refused to comment on whether or not the image is indeed that of the prophet, but said, “if Jesus and his mother can appear in food stuffs and window smudges, why shouldn’t the prophet get in some of that action?”

(Not So) Biblical Limericks: Hal Lindsey Makes a Confession

The end is coming soon, I’ve seen it,
about time too! This world’s gone to shit.
And though my predictions
are mostly just fictions,
I’ll keep selling books to the half-wits.

Anomalies A – Z: The Destroyer

“For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.”
Exodus 12: 12

I am awakened by the sound of the city screaming,
startled from my bed into a tangle of sheets on the floor.
Sirens are blaring, the building shakes -
an explosion somewhere near.

When I finally find my feet I rush to the window
and look out on the city burning.
It is hell, nor am I out of it.

And then I see you in an apophatic sort of vision,
seeing only the places where you haven’t yet passed.
My vision blurs and darkens, but I will not faint.

I am determined to stare into that void.
I will see your face!

But resolve alone is no strength against you.
Your sword, if it is a sword, cuts through another city block.
Sparks fly upward as power-lines
and humans lives are cut down.

“Enough!” I shout, “Stay your hand!
Enough, enough!”

And through the oily, lolling smoke
I see your face
and it is the face of God.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Anomalies A – Z: Cherubim

Motion in any direction,
                dashing and flashing, ever turning,
Erupting in a blaze of winged light.

“Return, turn, turn back or die!”
Kinetic creatures are transformed
                into holy swords of fire

And I am stopped upon the path.
                I can go no further, the way is guarded by
Beasts fifteen feet tall with wings and arms outstretched.

Angels or monsters? There is no difference;
Heaven’s mercy seat and tree of life
                are guarded by the Cherubim.

(Not So) Biblical Limericks: A Weak Argument

The Dispensationalists are bent
to note that the word “church” is absent
from the middle of John’s
divine Revelation,
but that’s a weak rapture argument.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Glenn Beck is the Mouthpiece of the Empire

Glenn Beck: Forget 'shock and awe, you show the world what America does when we unleash the might and full power of the United States of America. Suck the air out of their lungs and push them back into the darkness so maybe we can have thirty more years before we have to do it again. Scare the hell out of them. That's the only thing you can do with these guys. Kill them. Kill them rapidly and go home. No nation building.

Governor Tarkin: Perhaps she would respond to an alternative form of persuasion.
Darth Vader: What do you mean?
Governor Tarkin: I think it is time we demonstrated the full power of this station. Set your course for Alderaan.

Emperor Palpatine: As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!

Anomalies A – Z: Basilisk

Super aspidem et basiliscum calabis conculabis leonem et draconem.
Psalm 91: 13

Not more, the historians say,
not more than twelve fingers long
rising from the dust and dirt,
rearing up with hooded crowns

Little kings, spitting death,
fiery serpents beloved of alchemists
hatched from a cold, cold egg
their ashes turn silver to gold.

But the weasel, the weasel!
of all of God’s creatures,
the weasel will bite their tails
and crush their heads.

This is my fourth pass through the alphabet with these anomalies.  To read the previous anomalies:

What Color is God?

It may seem like a silly question.  It may be a silly question.  But, if God can be said to have a skin color -and I don't really believe that it can be said, but if it could the answer is fairly easy to find.

In the Revelation given to John, when he saw the the throne room of heaven, he saw the One seated upon the throne whose appearance was like Jasper and Carnelian (or Sardius, depending on your translation- Revelation 4:3)

So God is a deep red / brown color.  God's not white; that's for sure.



Instamatic 304

I found this old Kodak Instamatic camera (made in the USA) in our thrift store.  The 304 was first introduced by the Kodak-Eastman Company in 1965 and sold for $44.50 (about $325 today). I bought it for $1.50 and brought it home to take a few pictures of it.

Photograph Instamatic 304 by Jeff Carter on 500px

Photograph Instamatic 304 by Jeff Carter on 500px

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Apple Blur

I used my DIY macro lens for this shot.

Biblical Limericks: Why Bother?

Why do we even pretend to care?
We’re not concerned with making plowshares
from our swords, or hooks from
our spears; we think it dumb
to stop teaching our children warfare.

Isaiah 2: 4

Anomalies A – Z: Archons

We were here before you whimpering humans.
While your species was still wetting itself
on the African plains – frightened by the hyena’s bark -
we had already ascended into the heavens.

Now wanderers among the stars
we do and go as we please,
manipulating equations and bending cosmic rays
because this universe belongs to us.

And if we continue to visit this little earth
it is because we are spiritual brothers,
transcendental sisters.
Let us show you how to rise into the radiation.

This is the beginning of my fourth pass through the alphabet with these anomalies.  To read the previous ones...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Muted Hosannas - Proofs

Things are coming along very well for my upcoming book, Muted Hosannas, and I'm getting very excited.  I received a couple of  sample pages - proofs - from my publisher today.  Everything is still on schedule for its release in October or November, just in time to be a swell Christmas gift for everyone on your list. (hint, hint...)

Biblical Limericks: God’s Private Blend

Yahweh has his own special oil;
it’s holy – not something to soil.
So don’t be so bawdy
as to rub your body
with it, that will God’s good mood spoil.

Exodus 30: 22 - 33

Abstract and Pattern

I like the combination of the abstract quality of the scratches and tarnish against the regular pattern of the platter's edges.

Platter by Jeff Carter on 500px

Photograph Platter by Jeff Carter on 500px

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Crowns of the Saints

The crowns of the saints
                and elders around the throne
are scratched and gouged –
the result of an eternity
of being tossed down
around the glassy sea
again and again.

The crowns of the saints
               and elders around the throne
are dented crowns
for gold is soft
and they are humble.
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