God’s Cathedral of Prayer   Leave a comment

Originally posted on mattfrizzell.com:

A version of this testimony was first printed in the Lamoni Chronicle, December 8, 2011 edition, in the section”Everyday Blessings.”

In 2007, my family and I left home for Thanksgiving.  We were living in Chicago.  We were traveling to Michigan to have the holiday with my family.  Margo, my wife, was a Chicago public school teacher and having a stressful year.  She wasn’t feeling well that day, but we hoped that some rest would be good and help her feel better.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Katy and Kenzlee (my daughters) piled in the car with Margo and I, and we left for a three-hour drive along Lake Michigan’s coast to grandma’s in Grand Rapids.

We arrived safely at my mother’s home.  The day of Thanksgiving, Margo still wasn’t feeling well.  She slept through most of Thanksgiving.  Friday evening, her headache and stomach pain worsened.  On the way to the bathroom…

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Posted February 6, 2015 by terryflowersblog in Uncategorized

A Walk with Jeremiah 5.1   Leave a comment

Originally posted on mattfrizzell.com:

IMG_444149099In Chapter 5 of Jeremiah, the central theme moves from grief to judgment.  There is a sense Israel and Judah are on trial.  The emotions of anguish and anger that seem to drive chapters 1-4 begin to distill to negotiation and reason.  There’s a reason to be angry.  Again, theology – or making sense of God – accompanies makes sense of circumstance.  The Book of Jeremiah was likely compiled while God’s people were already in Babylonian exile, as a witness and memory for the nation.  In other words, it was compiled not in real time but after the fact.  This means, the compilers have to make a sense of the people’s fate.  Jeremiah’s prophecies, in this context, make perfect sense.  He was right. It makes sense that Israel and Judah fell and were plundered because the nation had become corrupt.  Verse 1 comes right out and says it:

“Search its squares and see if you can find one person who…

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Posted January 29, 2015 by terryflowersblog in Uncategorized

A Walk with Jeremiah, 4.1   Leave a comment

Originally posted on mattfrizzell.com:

IMG_443980114I grew up hearing all the concern about the Old Testament’s angry and vengeful God.  This is certainly an important theological question.  Theology should be questioning the nature of God.  With all the emphasis on power and authority among many Christian preachers and believers, the nature of that power and authority is also important to consider.  Who wants to worship a God who threatens you whenever He doesn’t get what he wants?  (This kind of of God is almost always, certainly, a “He.”)

But, if one actually spends time with Old Testament scriptures, one can read the prophet’s encounter with God a different way.  This is the reading I’ve been searching for, and am finding.  Chapter 4 of Jeremiah is a good example of what I mean.

Sometimes, our wrestling with God’s anger is not about wrath or punishment.  It’s about natural or reasonable consequences.  As human beings, no one…

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Posted January 27, 2015 by terryflowersblog in Uncategorized

A Walk with Jeremiah 3.1   Leave a comment

Originally posted on mattfrizzell.com:

IMG_443463605If I continue to look through the lens of grief between estranged lovers, Jeremiah chapter 3 reads like a grief process.  There’s anger over betrayal, as well as the bargaining associated with coming to terms with a loss.  The bitterness comes through naming Israel’s and Judah’s whoredom.  Whoredom is the main theme of the chapter.  Jeremiah begins there:

“If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her?  Would not such a land be greatly polluted?  You have played the whore with many lovers; and would you return to me?” (vs 1)

Interestingly, the Tanakh adds the nuances of the Masoretic text, the authoritative text Rabbinic Judaism, “Saying, If a man divorces his wife” or “I have to say, if a man divorces his wife.”   This nuance helps remind us that the prophet, speaking for God, is thinking in metaphor.

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Posted January 20, 2015 by terryflowersblog in Uncategorized

A Walk with Jeremiah 2.1   Leave a comment

Originally posted on mattfrizzell.com:

IMG_443110490God obviously needs us.  And, apparently, we need God.

Chapter 2 of Jeremiah reads like a letter from a bitter lover whose been taken advantage of, cheated on, and abandoned.  Many of us have been there.  Lost in love and mutual happiness, something happens and it all falls apart.  The memories of rapturous fulfillment are still palpable, but something’s changed.  The relationship’s broken.  They don’t need you anymore…of they don’t think they do…or they never did.

I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride…Israel was holy to the Lord, the first fruits of his harvest…What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they want far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?  (vs 2b, 3a, 5)

But, somehow, this is more than just getting lost in love.  Love between God and Israel isn’t limited to the metaphor of matrimony.  At least from the prophet’s…

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Posted January 17, 2015 by terryflowersblog in Uncategorized

A Walk with Jeremiah, 1.1   Leave a comment

Originally posted on mattfrizzell.com:

IMG_443023954For the next little while, I plan to be reading Jeremiah.  I’m doing it for my own study.  My plan with this blog is simply to post simple reflections based on my reading.  At this point, I don’t plan this to be an in depth academic study, but more impressions and reflections.  At times, I may input commentary information or wonder off in a long thought about something.  But, overall I simply hope to jot down the passages, themes, metaphors, and impressions that come to the surface.  I hope, for someone, the reading is worthwhile.

Chapter 1

The first chapter covers Jeremiah’s call and commission as prophet.  Thinking about it from an experiential point of view, verses 4-5 and 17 stick out.

vs 4-5:  Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I…

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Posted January 16, 2015 by terryflowersblog in Uncategorized

Independence Coal Burning Plants to Be Shut Down   1 comment

I am a long-time resident of the city of Independence (since 1962) and am concerned about the health and welfare of residents. I am a hospital pharmacist and have over 40 years experience in health care sectors – my primary personal and professional concern is public health. It is because of this concern that I am writing this letter: I feel compelled to speak out about the health impacts and “externalized” costs of burning coal.

I live within a mile of IPL and am concerned about the public health risks associated with the toxic gases and the slurry pond that IPL produces. There is a small creek that runs in close proximity of the plant. The creek runs from west to east, under the new bridge on Bly Road, and empties into the Little Blue River. There are also a number of crop fields very near the plant. As I live near this area I have a personal interest in the environmental impact that the plant may have locally and therefore the health of all the residents near there. But I am just as concerned about the environmental impact for the entire city and beyond as the public health of all of us is at risk.

Coal is often described as the most affordable source of electrical power we have. This is only true when you ignore the public and environmental health issues that surround burning coal. Who pays for the people that develop chronic bronchitis from breathing in coal dust? The taxpayer. Who pays for the premature deaths that are caused by coal-related toxins? The taxpayer. The source of the graphic below is The Clean Air Task Force. The numbers speak for themselves.

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Blue Valley Power PlantType of Impact
Annual Incidence
Deaths 11 $79,000,000
Heart attacks 17 $1,900,000Asthma attacks 200 $10,000
Hospital admissions 8 $180,000
Chronic bronchitis 7 $3,100,000
Asthma ER visits 13 $5,000

At the end of the agenda of a city council meeting I read the question, “Is it good for the children?” My answer is that clean energy is good for the children. I will just close by saying, in summary, that when health and environmental costs are included the cost of clean energy is less costly than any fossil fuel. The use of clean energy will also make our city more livable and cleaner.

This is why I fully support the city council’s well-informed step in passing Councilman Scott Roberson’s resolution calling for the closure of the two Independence coal plants. This resolution also calls for a rate study that, for the first time in six years, will ask Independence Power & Light why we have some of the highest electrical rates in the state and will critically reassess why we pay so much for electricity that is making us ill.

Thank you, Independence City Council and IP&L, for making bold moves in the right direction. I sincerely hope that the resolution does everything that it can and should to protect Independence citizens and future generations.

Posted August 16, 2014 by terryflowersblog in Environment


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