Monthly Archives: August 2008

Inclusivity

I was at a meeting a few days ago where we tried to elect a chair of a group. Ought to be pretty simple, right? Everyone of us was an ordained pastor with college educations and masters of divinity degrees.

An hour passed and we finally elected five people to serve as a “team” of leaders with the highest vote getter expected to be the ‘convener’ who would act as THE chair when we needed someone to represent the group at conference events.

The thing is, our bishop had released us to go to our meetings with the idea that we were trying to ‘discern’ what GOD wanted… and WHO God wanted… as our chair.

Now, by my understanding, to discern what God wants is akin to saying find out God’s idea and then go with God’s idea. After all, if you aren’t going to follow God’s directions, then why ask what God’s will is?

But before we voted, we were subjected to parliamentarily confusing procedures (that not even ROBERT with all his rules would recognize), specifying that IF the vote didn’t go the way we thought it ought to with the right ‘inclusivity’ then we would add some people to the ‘team’ to better reflect the inclusivity of our church.

We prayed and listened for God’s leading and then each one marked their ballot and submitted what we felt we had heard God say. And five pastors were chosen.

And, lo and behold, 3 of the 5 chosen were white men and 2 of the 5 were white women. Apparently God must have made a mistake because there were no other minorities represented. SO… the tellers were instructed to find someone of color that got some votes. And that person was added to the team and thus, now, God’s error was corrected.

HUH?

Can we honestly claim that we both heard God when we voted and discerned the top five and then also claim that we have to correct the results of the discernment process? Do we really believe God helps us discern? Because it seems more like we believe WE have to fix God’s discernment process!

And personally, if INCLUSIVITY is going to be the standard by which we judge God’s will and God’s discerning process, then why did we only ask about whether we were inclusive of gender and race. Were we inclusive age-wise? How many elected were in their 20s? 30s? 40s? 50? 60s? Isn’t that part of being inclusive?

How about being inclusive of geography? How many were from the Pittsburgh area? How about Connellsville or Erie or Kane Districts? Isn’t that part of being inclusive?

How many were pastors of large membership churches? How many from small membership churches? Isn’t that part of being inclusive?

How about the liberal/conservative realm? Or the people who have brown eyes compared to those others? How about the bald ones vs. the full head of hair ones?

At what point does the fallacy of ‘inclusivity’ get recognized as just one more DEMONIC way of DIVIDING people?

Now understand, I am personally in favor of trying to be fair to everyone… but as the church we claim that we are ABOVE the practice of treating people differently because of race, creed, gender, etc. So why are we now making such distinctions so important?

And the particular man of color that was selected happened to be African-American, but were we slighting the native-American pastors or the Asian-American pastors or the Hispanic-American pastors? Will he be able to speak for the minority women? A white male apparently can’t be trusted to look out for white females… so how’s a black man going to speak for an Asian woman?

Now, I happen to respect that particular man, and I think he can be a great help to any team he’s a part of… but what are we saying when we claim that we voted based on what GOD spoke to our hearts and he was not elected… but we want him on our team, not because he has anything of value to offer but just because he happens to have been born with the right skin color we want to be seen with for political appearances?

I am embarassed. I am disgusted. That man has MUCH more value than just being black. His skin color has NOTHING to do with his ability to be a good pastor or a good representative for a bunch of pastors.

And by putting ourselves in the place where we claim to hear God and yet we then have to ‘correct’ God’s revealed will as discerned by the body, then aren’t we setting ourselves up as being more wise and more just than God is?

Is that really a smart move?

Let’s resolve to STOP looking at whether someone is black or white or male or female or rural or urban or old or young and let’s just SEEK GOD AND HIS WILL! And then luet’s just do it!

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.”
–Matthew 6:33
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First Day of School

Monday was this year’s first day of school for Josh… He was EXCITED!!!!

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The Missing Door

In the introduction of Michael Card’s book The Hidden Face of God, there is a revealing story of Vincent van Gogh, the famous artist of the 19th Century.
Van Gogh had once felt called to the ministry, but had never been able to pass the theological entrance exams. Instead, van Gogh opted for a more incarnational ministry… among the coal miners in a small town in Belgium.
Bit by bit, over a three-month period, Card writes, van Gogh served God by reaching out to these poorest of the poor. In fact, he followed Jesus’ admonition to the rich young ruler to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. Paycheck by paycheck, as van Gogh saw more and more need, he gave away just about everything.
Card then writes “So completely did he reflect the sacrificial simplicity of Jesus that he became known as ‘the Christ of the coal mines.’”
“But those in the church who had authority over him did not feel this extravagance was appropriate, and he was eventually dismissed. It was a failure that hounded him for the rest of his life,” Card writes.
Throughout the rest of his life, even as he discovered a ‘ministry’ of expressing himself through art, van Gogh struggled with a sense of failure… even though we now recognize he was a genius! He felt like a reject… and felt the church was the one who had rejected him. He no longer felt he could turn to the church for strength or support… and became estranged from the Lord of the Church as well… Jesus Himself becomes a stranger to this one who had once emulated him so completely.
Card then draws attention to the last church painting van Gogh ever made, not long before his death: the Church at Auvers. Card writes:

“What many art critics have commented on is not the swimming colors but the ominous lack of a doorway leading into the church. Vincent painted a church that no one could get into. Having tried all his life to work hard enough to ‘get in,’ it appears that he could not imagine, in this last image of the church, a door that might allow him, with his enormous load of pain, to enter in…. Together with the scarcity of references to Jesus in his last letters, the absence of the door in the painting reveals his most fundamental fear: that there is no way into the church and, even more agonizing, that there is no One waiting on the other side of the missing door.” (pp. 12-13)

Vincent van Gogh died on July 27, 1890, as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds from a suicide attempt two days earlier. His brother, Theo, was with him when he died, and reported Vincent’s last words were, translated: “the sadness will last forever.”

How many times do we, today’s church, share our opinions and our thoughts about the way someone else is doing their job in serving Christ? How many of those times are we alienating those very ones who love Christ and are trying to serve him? How many end up like Vincent van Gogh… carrying an overwhelming load of pain and feeling abandoned by Christ and the Church?
No small wonder that the author of Hebrews writes: “…encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13, NIV)
Not everyone will agree with the way everyone else does stuff… not even in the church. But we can make sure that constantly show God’s love and compassion by encouraging one another… so that no one ever sees us as a church without a door.
Who can you encourage today?
(This was my pastor’s letter for the August 2008 edition of our church’s newsletter: The Sound of the Trumpet)

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Thoughts about Grappling With God

In early July I was looking ahead at the lectionary readings for August and was struck by the Old Testament readings. In particular, the August 3rd reading from Genesis 32:22-32 about Jacob wrestling. I knew that I knew I just had to preach this passage. And that God wanted to speak to me as well. (Actually, most of my preaching has been whatever God has been speaking to me from a text and the congregation just gets to listen in.)

With Mom getting sick, and then dying, I wasn’t around for a Sunday morning until today… and I still felt I was supposed to preach that text. For lack of a super catchy title, I simply called it “God Grappler.”

Even though I had an outline, what follows are more my notes, or perhaps reflections, from this morning.

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GENESIS 32:22-32

Jacob remembers how badly he had treated his brother Esau and gets worried when God sends messengers (angels!) to alert him that Esau is heading towards him. Jacob got really serious about needing to do some soul searching and seeking God for some help and I notice that Jacob starts clearing out any distractions… He makes arrangements for his kids (11 boys) and his wives (2 actual wives and 2 ‘significant others’) and all of his stuff and servants to be in two different places. The text seems clear that he’s trying to ‘cut his losses’ in case the worst happens and Esau actually attacks. But I remember Jesus talking about separating yourself away from others and ‘getting alone’ in order to seek out God. Isn’t that where the idea of a prayer closet comes from?

So Jacob is alone… verses 9 through 12 talk of Jacob actually praying and asking God for help. No repentence is explicitly cited, but there’s a definite seeking God! Little wonder that God shows up later in the story!

Verse 24 says that “a man” wrestled with him till daybreak. Verse 26 seems to hint that this is a human form of God and when the man renames Jacob, his rationale is “because you have struggled with God and with men…” Jacob, in verse 30, names the place Peniel “because I have seen God face to face and yet my life was spared.” Hosea 12:3-4 says in one verse it was God and in the other that it was an angel.

In several other places throughout Scripture we read of God appearing in human form and being referred to as ‘The Angel of the Lord’ so I guess I don’t see this as much of a problem… It appears to me that this is simply a pre-incarnation theophany of Jesus. And if so, it would make sense that Jesus would not want Jacob to see him in the light and then find out that he had wrestled with God because it would have decimated Jacob’s understanding that to see God is to die. So to have encountered God face to face in the dark would do the work in Jacob’s life that God was after without completely undoing him. (Perhaps sort of like today’s cliche that God will only allow as much as you can handle.)

So, ‘the man’ says let me go because it’s almost morning… The response Jacob gives is, not surprisingly, ‘NO, not without your blessing!’

I struggled with this for a while, but then, reflecting back on that Hosea passage again I realized that even from the womb, this guy has been trying to carve out a place for himself… He grabbed his brother’s heel, he manipulated and schemed to get his brother to trade away the birthright, he tricked Isaac into bestowing Esau’s blessing on him instead… and then all of the back and forth scheming between his uncle Laban and he in the ancient ancestral homeland. I think there’s evidence here that this guy has a deeper unmet hunger for MORE than just the physical things like wives and herds and property. His hunger is for the blessings, the birthrights, the ‘spiritual’ dimensions of life. And he has tried to get that hunger met through his own scheming and manipulation.

Even when he encounters God as he flees from Esau, and we read the whole ‘Jacob’s ladder’ narrative, Jacob tries to make a deal with God. IF you bring me back… THEN I will serve you… It sounds to me like He wants the blessings and gifts of God without having to commit to a relationship with Him.

Twenty years pass and he’s met someone who’s given him a run for his money in the lying and manipulating end of things. He barely gets out of that encounter with Laban in one piece.

Now he’s here about to meet Esau. He’s scared. He’s invoked God Himself to come and intervene. And I believe God listens and answers… but not necessarily in the way Jacob had hoped or wanted. Instead of physical deliverance (which he DOES get later) from his brother, he gets a physical AND a spiritual intervention.

In verse 26 Jacob is still just trying to ‘wrestle’ a blessing out of this one who has engaged him in this struggle. The ‘man’ asks about his name and offers him a new one… ‘One who has struggled with God and with men’ and something CLICKS in Jacob’s head… He knows of MANY times when he’s struggled with men… but ‘when have I struggled with God?’ And I can see the lightbulb coming on and realizing this must be more than just some ‘man’ that he is struggling with now…

And Jacob does something he hasn’t done before. He asks this ‘man’ what his name is. He’s always wanted the things of God… but now he wants to KNOW more about this God Himself. And the Bible says THEN the mysterious wrestler gives Jacob his blessing.

It took the struggle to get Jacob where he needed to be to let go of his scheming ways and finally seek God. Many struggles with Esau and then Isaac, Laban, and now this ‘traveler unknown’ as Charles Wesley would word it in the 1700’s.

SO… how are we like Jacob now-a-days?

I see LOTS of signs of spiritual hunger… spirituality in our marketplace, our businesses, our boardrooms, our televisions, our movies, and even in our children’s literature. We want there to be more than just the physical reality. We want spiritual truths and spiritual realities. So Goosebumps books, and Harry Potter, and demonic horror movies, and even Disney shows, all try to capture us and enthrall us with the premise that there is some spiritual truth beyond what we see in the physical.

Like Jacob, we want a piece of that reality… but also like Jacob we have a past filled with unrepented sin and a desire to have the spiritual without getting to know the true God of the spiritual reality. And so we walk away from all those other spiritual things, still ‘hungry.’ Like Jacob, we’re still looking for the right ‘blessing’ even after we’ve gotten everything we’ve tried to lay our hands on.

I believe the answer comes with Jesus’ wprds in the Sermon on the Mount, when he admonished his listeners to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

It’s the act of asking and seeking and knocking and wrestling and struggling with God that defines us and strengthens us and matures us into who God wants us to be.

I think of the times I play hide and seek with my four year old son Josh… I may hide, but I WANT him to find me! I want him to SEEK me! Because the joy and excitement comes even more forcefully when he FINDS me!

Jacob never got the blessing he was looking for until he got past the ‘give me’ stage and grew into the ‘What is your name?’ stage. When he actually wanted to know this God… then the blessing came unasked for.

Jesus said that’s how it is for us, too: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

One of Jacob’s later descendants, Jeremiah the prophet, would write God’s prophetic words on this subject this way to Jacob’s distant grandchildren who were about to face another defining struggle: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you…” (Jeremiah 29:13-14a)

The Bible is supposed to be like a mirror… we ought to be able to see how we look by seeing ourselves in the mirror… and in the Bible. How do we find ourselves in Jacob’s wrestling story? Where do we fit in? And how do we now respond?

One more thought… From that point on, Jacob, or now “Israel,” was known by his limp… His wounding helped define who he was and helped people to know it was really him. Somewimes we have have been wounded or hurt, but yet found a blessing hidden in the midst of the pain… an unexpected positive in the midst of a whole slew of negatives… Perhaps, we carry the wound with us to remind us of how God can, and did, work in the middle of that difficult time. After all, even Jesus was ‘known by his scars.’

What are our scars? Have we struggled long enough to keep at it, until we get to know God Himself in the midst of the struggle?

Or do we settle for whatever happens to tickle the spititual hunger and never seek HIM?

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Remembering Mom’s Final Chapter

We buried Mom on Friday at the Myrtle Cemetery just outside of Shinglehouse, PA. She had always wanted to be buried in a place where there would be shade… and she is literally under the boughs of the only tree. Josh is standing in about the spot where she ended up being buried. Many of my father’s family (on my Grandma Mix’s side) are buried throughout the cemetery, including my little brother who died at birth back in 1968.

Mom’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Norman Cox, of the Rixford Evangelical Church in Rixford, PA officiated for most of the service and I preached the eulogy (or message or sermon or naming or witness or whatever you want to call it!) Here are my notes…

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Memorial Service for Virginia Milne
August 8, 2008 11:00 a.m.
Howard’s Funeral Home
Shinglehouse, PA
The Rev. Dr. Norman Cox
The Rev. Dayton D. Mix

DAYTON’s Notes:
When a loved one dies, we expect there to be hurt, and loss, and deep pain. But as Christians, we do more than just grieve and bury our departed loved ones. We don’t just gather to “pay our respects.”

Sure, that‟s a PART of what we do, but as Christians, we deliberately gather together to do more than that, don’t we?

As Christians, we come together to praise God for His promise of new life from death and for His promise of comfort and hope even when we walk through the darkest valleys of life, even the ones that are filled with shadows of death itself. And we celebrate the good life of the one who has departed from us.

This day, in this place, we are gathered because of our mom, our wife, our grandma, our great-grandma, our sister, our aunt, our neighbor, our friend: Virginia Pauline Peterson Milne.
We gather together because of her death, but not really. Because it wasn’t in death that we loved this woman, was it?

The reason each of us is here today, for this time, is a reflection of her LIFE, not her death.
In her life, she touched us. In her life, she loved us, she cared for us, she prayed for us, and she gave to us.

These are issues of life, not death. These are the reasons we are here…

Because of her life.

SO I propose we acknowledge that she is gone from us, that she has “died” as they call it, but then let’s move on to the reasons we are here. Because Virginia Milne’s living out of her life affected us.

With that in mind, the Scripture text I share today is a little different than you might have heard at a funeral before… And yet, as I prayed about how Mom fit into the grand scheme of the Biblical story through the ages that continues right up to now, THIS is the passage that I believe God Himself shared with me about this remarkable lady we are here to celebrate.

READ: Hebrews 11:1-2 (NCV)
“Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even when we do not see it. Faith is the reason we remember great people who lived in the past.”

Did you catch that?

Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even when we do not see it.

Mom had a HOPE stone… a token that reminded her that even in the midst of the lousiest circumstances, God never leaves us alone and He offers us HOPE… no matter what.

Even when things got bad towards the end, Mom never lost her hope… She constantly was heard saying, ?It’s gonna get better… one way or another… It’s gonna get better!?

She was SURE that there was HOPE with God… and she knew that healing and hope were real… even though she couldn’t see it right then.

Sort of like being stuck in the cold drizzling rain at noon… You may not be able to see the sun… but the very fact that you can see the rain means that the sun IS out there somewhere on the other side of those clouds.

Well, Hebrews 11 goes on and talks about all of these heroes of faith throughout the Bible… Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses… and more.

So how does this relate to Mom?

Just this, every single one of these people listed in the great Hall Of Fame of Biblical Faith… was messed up…

Look at the people that God called great heroes of faith… Noah (who was a drunk), Abraham (who was a liar), Sarah (who laughed when she heard God‘s crazy plans), Isaac (who picked favorites between his sons), Jacob (who was a manipulative schemer), Moses (who was a runaway murderer who repeatedly let his anger get the best of him), Rahab (who was a prostitute), Gideon (who was a scaredy-cat), Barak (who hesitated when God said to do something), Samson (who was distracted by his temptations), Jephthah (who came from a ‗ad‘ family), David (who had an affair with another man‘s wife and then had him killed), and Samuel (who was great in the church, but didn‘t do very well in raising his kids).

GOD ALMIGHTY lists these same people who messed-up, as being the men and women of faith that we are supposed to look up to, and remember, and follow their example of faith.

If THEY are in that list, then today, as we remember Mom, who would NOT have claimed that she was the most religious person in the world and didn’t always make perfect choices, DEFINITELY fits there too!

Because Mom was a REAL person wasn’t she?

She was quick to share her real feelings… with pretty much ANYone… She could get angry in a moment‟ notice. She could come up with some pretty down-to-earth commentary on the world around her… whether it be a comment about doing what you sat down to do or get off the pot OR whether it be an exasperated exclamation, something like: WELL, DANG!‟

And if she was particularly animated, she would start pointing a finger at you… with that one sort-of-off-center pointer finger…

John Paul and Laura love telling the story of a time when they had argued or disagreed or something, and Mom kept getting more and more frustrated… and, somehow, as she got madder… they got her laughing… which made her madder still…

Mom was a woman in touch with her feelings. She wasn’t perfect… but she was real.

And while we could probably all look back and tell each other some way that she wasn’t what we expected or how she somehow disappointed us, we choose to offer our forgiveness for her failings… because she was simply human… just like ALL of us are.

She wasn’t perfect.

But like those people in the Bible who were full of problems and mess-ups, and yet turned in faith to God and would later be called a hero of faith… So I believe Mom was as well. We can look to the Bible and read about all those people’s real, everyday lives and the way they messed-up and yet still turned to God. Mom may not have been perfect, but there is much that we can learn from her as well.

It took me years to recognize it, but Mom knew Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. She had a deep spiritual hunger that only He could satisfy. She knew Him as a friend she could talk to and as someone she could go to for help. So she wasn’t religious… that’s OK, neither were most of the people on that list in the Bible either. They weren’t considered faithful because they had done a bunch of religious things…

They were considered faithful because they knew God personally. That was Mom. She wasn’t perfect, but she knew Him. And because of that, the Bible assures us that she will be with Him forever in Heaven…

And the Bible also says that any of us, who trust in Jesus Christ and allow Him to free us from our past by admitting we‟e messed up and asking God to forgive us, will know Him too!

Mom didn’t have it so easy… she once told me that by the 11th grade, when she finally quit school, she had been in 17 different schools in her academic career. Between children’s homes and foster homes, she had endured the chaos of constant moves and transitions… so she finally just said, enough. Years later, it would bother her so much that she had never graduated that she would go back and get her G.E.D. and celebrate her completion of high school the same day John Paul graduated from Demopolis High School. I can look at my mom and learn a lesson of going back and finishing the things I gave up on.

Mom taught us that family is a relative term. You choose to be family as much as being related to your family. As a foster child, she had learned that being part of a family wasn’t dependent on sharing the same blood in your veins. Her final foster family, the home of Herb & Beulah Fuller, was to be the place that finally felt like home… Grandma Fuller once told me that my Mom had so become a part of their family, that Grandpa Fuller had worked things out to be able to claim her as a part of the family even on the tax forms… but then she decided to get married.

But the Fullers were family now… And Grandpa & Grandma Fuller, along with Uncle Calvin & Aunt Pat & Uncle Roddy & Aunt Wanda, and their families, were some of our closest friends and most faithful visitors. It didn’t negate the relationships with the other relatives we were actually biologically related to… we simply had MORE aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents than most of our friends.

Mom also taught us a lot about believing in someone. I remember the early years after Mom & Dad separated, and then divorced. Not everyone she picked to hang out with had their act together very well. Even when Norm finally came on the scene, he… well… still had some rough edges. But Mom had seen the kind of man he could, and would, become… and she believed in who he was becoming… She saw more… She saw the HOPE… And this woman, after three marriages that hadn’t worked out, showed us what it means to be committed to someone and stay with them “through richer or poorer” and “for better or for worse…”

And Norm in turn, has taught us what it means “to have and to hold…, in sickness or in health…, till death do us part…”

And I can look back on their marriage and pray that my wife and I can be as absolutely consumed with each other and dedicated to each other as these two have been for more than thirty-three years.

Mom has taught us how to face adversity and sickness as well. She was the most positive person I have ever known in the face of cancer. She faced this disease not as a death sentence, but as one more obstacle that just needed to be overcome. And like Job in the Bible, the disease never did overcome her… She was still who she was inside… No disease could change her.

And Mom knew the God of Hope had promised healing… and she hoped, and she prayed, and she trusted, and she believed.

Some might say, but she died! How can you talk about her hope and healing?

Let me use the words of Hebrews 11…

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live in this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
–Heb 11:13-16 (MSG)

Her hope wasn’t just in doctors and medicines… Her hope was in the God of healing behind those doctors… And just like there are times that a beginning pianist can really nail a piece of music, there are some musical works that only a skilled and practiced pianist with years of experience can master.

Mom knew that the doctors and medicines we have available are like that beginner musician… pretty good at what they‟e mastered so far… and WAY OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE when it comes to some of the harder and more complicated sicknesses, illnesses, and injuries that the Devil Himself tries to throw at us.

Like those people in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, Mom knew that ultimately the healing she would have to have would be from God Himself. And there was a possibility that the earthly physicians wouldn’t be able to do everything that she would need in order to be healed.

She knew that she knew that God would heal her… and she hoped it would be here, through earthly doctors… but she was just as certain that even if it wasn’t that way, she would STILL be healed. Her faith never waivered on that point. The Great Physician had promised… and therefore she had something she could HOPE in… Someone she could Hope in!

But one last thought, before we finish… In the Bible, it says that for all those people who had received the promise… but hadn’t seen it completed yet, it also goes on to conclude:

Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours. –Heb 11:39-40 (MSG)

Mom’s promise of hope continues in those of us here today… Hope for our marriages, hope for our families, hope for our healing, hope for our eternity… Let’s take what she learned by trial and error and through struggle and pain and let’s use that which she learned to help us in our lives… because, as Scripture says, we are part of the legacy of her life because we are part of the promise she saw and hoped for.

If we KNOW God like Mom did… if we have admitted that we have had messed up lives and need God to forgive us, then we can know Him! THAT’s what we mean when we talk about having faith… or being saved!

It’s simply knowing Him! That’s faith!

Let’s put her faith together with our faith… her life together with ours… and let’s see the completion of the promise…

For those who know Jesus as Lord & Savior, we WILL see Mom again…for Heaven is offered to all who ask Him for forgiveness and allow Him to be their Lord.

I look forward to that day when I get to see her again…

For this woman WAS, without a doubt, one of the heroes of faith… Her life, and her faith, have been used by God to form me and help me grow up in as a Christian… and make me who I am today…

and I’m going to miss her…
(PHOTO: My wife, Gay, and my Mom, Virginia, at her church’s Mother-Daughter banquet just a couple of months ago. This is about the only picture she ever liked that showed her in her wig)

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Follow Up for Mom

My mom died this morning about 6:20.Obituary info will be in the Times-Herald, Olean, NY; the Bradford Era, Bradford, PA, and the Demopolis Times, Demopolis, Alabama. This is the rough draft WE wrote… We’ll see how it comes out in the newspapers.

(PHOTO: Mom, October 2003, first meeting my son Joshua)

Virginia Pauline Milne

Virginia Pauline Milne, 64, died today (August 5, 2008) at her home, Eldred, Pa., following a lengthy illness.

She was born February 13, 1944, in Cuba, N.Y., to Harold & Hazel (Baxter) Peterson. On January 25, 1975, she married Norman L. Milne, who survives.

She lived most of her life in the areas around Eldred, Pa., and Demopolis, Alabama. As an adult she returned to school and earned her G.E.D. She had worked as a sewer, cleaner, furniture restorer, and as a bookkeeper. She attended the Rixford Evangelical Church, Rixford, Pa. She enjoyed fishing, tending her flowers, refinishing furniture, and spending time with her family.

Surviving in addition to her husband, are three children: Dayton D. Mix (Gay) of Reynoldsville, Pa., John P. Mix (Judy) of Duke Center, Pa., and Laura M. Rutherford of Montgomery, Ala., along with 6 stepchildren, 6 grandchildren, 21 step-grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, 5 step-great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Also surviving are two brothers, Melvin Peterson of Hume, N.Y., and Calvin Fuller (Pat), of Shinglehouse, Pa. and a sister, Mary Essler (Jake) of Nunda, N.Y.

She was predeceased by her parents, along with her foster-parents, Herb & Beulah Fuller; two brothers, Harold Peterson and Roderick Fuller; three sisters, Nancy Bentley, Bella Snyder, and Judy Peterson; a son, Aaron D. Mix; and a grandson, Aaron D. Mix.

Visitation will be Thursday, August 7, 2008 from 2-4 and 7-9 at Howard’s Funeral Home in Shinglehouse, Pa. Funeral services will be conducted on Friday, August 8, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home by the Rev. Dr. Norman Cox and the Rev. Dayton D. Mix.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Rixford Evangelical Church, Rixford, Pa., or the American Cancer Society.

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Mom just died

My mom just died… about 6:20 am.
It drives me a bit crazy to not have my cell phone or computer work here…
No arrangements yet, but the funeral home will be Howard’s Funeral Home in Shinglehouse, PA.

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