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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Lent 2024: A respite from blogging

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday: the beginning of the Lenten season.

There have been some years when I have observed Lent on this blog.  The first time, in 2006, I refrained from posting at all.  This blog was two years old then and it was a commitment to keep the content fresh and poppin'.  So no blogging for seven weeks presented a dire temptation to write something, to write anything.  But I believe that I came through it a better person, and a better writer at that.

Then two years ago I felt the need to participate in Lent again.  But this time I went in the dire opposite direction.  After leaving Reidsville in 2016 I let this site lapse a bit (for over a year and a half!) while I was getting things in my personal life taken care of.  I like to think that I came back to this blog a different and better individual.  But the damage was done and this site still hasn't regained the audience it once enjoyed.  Still, I write.  And I was writing with passion for Lent 2022: endeavoring to make one post each day during the season.  In the end there were 47 posts made from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday... and it was TOUGH!  But it was something that I needed to do.  God showed me that He hasn't let the gift He has given me lapse because of lack of use.  That was something I needed to see, and I am thankful that He bore me through it.

Now we are on the doorstep of Lent 2024.  And once again I am going to give up blogging for the next seven or so weeks.  It's going to take something dire to bring me back to this site until then (Joe Biden resigning or being removed from the presidency will probably not cut it).  I won't be actively looking for anything to post about.  But this is time when I will be writing.  I'm committing myself to finishing at least one new chapter for my book each week.  Hopefully more than that if the Muse is feeling kind.  In the past month I've written three major chapters.  I've let confidants read some of the work so far and without exception they wildly approved and said that they want to know more about my life story.  I'll give you this teaser: "When you're driving a few hundred miles to banish demons, you can find most of what you need at Walmart."

So I'm more or less going into "radio silence" on this blog.  Probably not so much on Twitter however: that will remain an occasional chronicle of my musings and observations.  I'm also trying to see if I can achieve having a thousand followers.  I want to think that it's possible by doing it the old fashioned way: "we uuuuurn it" (as John Houseman articulated the line).

Lent ends on Easter Sunday.  This year that falls on March 31st.  Which is an important date for me.  It will be my birthday and not only that but my fiftieth!  I'm facing it with pure abandon.  Too many people, especially men, treat fifty as something they must make a deal with God to avoid the ramifications of.  Me?  I'm thankful... DARN thankful... that I will have made it that far.  I should not be here writing these words.  By many accounts I should have been dead dozens of times over by now, especially by my own hand.  I have survived too much than to not be grateful to God and the people He has put into my life for helping to bring me this far along.  I don't know what the heck I'm going to blog about come Easter Sunday but I'm going to write the heck out of it.

So, that's what's going to be up for the next few weeks.  I won't have died (you'll know if if I do though, that is going to be posted on this site) or otherwise abandoned The Knight Shift.  I'm just focusing on spiritual matters more for the next month and a half or so.  And maybe as before, I'll come out of it a better person.

See y'all in forty days.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Happy 50th Birthday to Blazing Saddles!

It was on this date in 1974 that filmmaker Mel Brooks released his western spoof upon an unsuspecting world.  And comedy was never the same again...

It's probably the number-one movie that has been said "it could never be made today."  Which makes it all the more special.  Blazing Saddles is unadulterated political incorrectness as only Brooks and his crew could have made it.

How much does this movie mean to me?  I have owned a copy of it on every home media format going back to VHS.  It was the very first DVD that I bought.  Later on I bought it on Blu-ray and today I keep it loaded on my iPad Pro (along with the complete Star Wars saga, The Thing, and Airplane! among others).

There are two movies that I distinctly remember from early childhood and each of them was run on CBS (the network our family's television was almost always tuned to) every year: The Wizard of Oz and Blazing Saddles.  Try finding a broadcast network that would show it today though!  Even HBO Max is now carrying a "trigger warning" when you watch Blazing Saddles on it.

Well, so much that could be said about this film.  I think I'll celebrate today by watching it again for the hunnerd zillionth time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

A meditation upon Matthew 7:7

Every so often Matthew 7:7 comes to mind.  The verse reads (from the New International Version):

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
 It comes to the fore of my thoughts when I think about my own salvation journey.  How it progressed from being a person very angry and bitter toward God, to realizing that He could not have been responsible for what happened to me, to appreciating His beautiful design of the universe, to believing that I could not possibly be reconciled with Him... on until I finally allowed him into my life as my Lord and Savior.
(Some people still don't think of my life in terms like that. I suppose they will always think of me as an "atheist" even though I never truly did not believe in God.  They want me to be what THEY expect me to be spiritually.  I guess that's on them.  I know where I stand with God, and it depends on no other person.)
I very much appreciate Matthew 7:7.  It could almost be my life verse, if I needed one.  But for the past several years I've pondered it a bit more.  And I've come to also appreciate the promise it holds.  One that I believe is of great import to us as believers.
"Seek and you will find."  To me those five words are a PROMISE.  That whoever is looking for God is going to find Him.  That's irrespective of "our" expectations.  We are told in scripture that there are some who will not believe that they served Christ when they did good for others... but God knows their hearts.  He knows when they were and even now are right in spirit and aligned with His will.
We can know when we ourselves have found His grace.  We should trust others that they also have His mercy.  But all too often we have no idea whatsoever how far along a person is in his or her own journey, or even if it's begun at all.
This verse tells me that we should trust God and His perfect will, that all who seek Him WILL find Him.  At the same time, we should orient ourselves toward His will that much more, so that His light and love shines in our own lives.  That might be the only witness for Christ that some, maybe many, will ever see.  Some will see the relationship with God that they have been looking for.  Others who don't know what exactly what they are looking for WILL recognize it and want the truth of Him.  They WILL find that. God has promised it.
We should live so that we have something pure and holy that cannot be evaded and ignored.  So that others might see that, and want it in their own lives.
God made us as believers to be a big reason why people seek Him in the first place.  We should embrace that role He has appointed for us.

(Image from Bible.com)