February 07, 2021

02

Smoky Mountain Views 04/12/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, North Carolina
Doing the right thing,
in the right place,
at the right time,
in the right way
is all there is to it,
but. 
Who is to say what "right" is?
We are!
And, there is a catch:
We have to be right about it.

The trick is that "right"
cannot be spelled out,
defined,
explained,
said,
told,
even known before hand--
before the moment of its doing!

Jesus said, "The spirit is like the wind
blowing where it will."

This means that not even the spirit 
knows what it will do next.
"It all depends upon"
the circumstances,
the time and place,
the situation,
the here and now
of the moment of decision.

What is called for?
Do that!

In the moment of acting
within the field of action
everybody knows what is right
and what is wrong--
but are they right about it?
Only time will tell.

In the meantime,
we have to trust ourselves
to the time that is at hand
and make our best guess
regarding what is called for
and how to respond to it.

The good part of this process
is that we sometimes get the chance
of redeeming what we do
in this moment
in the very next moment.

And sometimes we don't.

We have to live with that.

The pitcher who makes 
the wrong pitch
in the bottom of the ninth
of the seventh game 
of the World Series
has to live with it forever.

So does the first baseman
who lets the would-be final out
roll under his glove.

Our lives have too many lost moments
that changed everything,
and we have to live with it--
hoping to do better
in all the moments yet to be.

–0–

01

Fall Woods Panorama 10/11/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Little Switzerland, North Carolina
People sometimes wonder
if I am a Christian.

Having retired after spending
forty years and six months
as a minister
in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),
I'm ready for the question.

My answer comes in two forms.

1) "Unconditionally!"
2) "In exactly the same way
that Jesus was a Christian!"

A third response would do as well:

"Forest Gump might say,
'Christian is as Christian does!'"

The test of anyone's faith 
in anything
is the degree to which
their faith is evident
in their life.

We do not Believe In anything
we can live without.

I believe completely,
totally,
fully,
undoubtedly,
absolutely,
etc.
that Jesus would join me
in embracing
the unequivocal truth
of the statement:

"Live to do the right thing
in the right place
at the right time
in the right way
moment-by-moment
in each situation as it arises,
all your life long,
and let that be that."

Jesus and I believe
that if everyone believed and did that,
the world would be transformed,
and the fullness of life
would be a blessing and a grace
upon every living thing.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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