Family

People sitting at churchHumor

When you think of family, what comes to mind? Does it cause you to break out in a big smile? A sad face? A grimace? Comedian Richard Lewis said:

We had a depression fair in the backyard. A major game there was Pin the Blame on the Donkey.1

Is that your family? 🙂

Or do you feel like Rodney Dangerfield?:

I looked up my family tree and found out I was the sap.2

Ouch.

Okay, one more…how about this from Brent Cushman:

I go visit my nephews. I get out of the car. They see me and drop what they’re doing and hug my legs. I feel like the most important person on God’s earth. Seven minutes later I would trade their pelts for whiskey. I look down at them. “How could you be so obnoxious?” Then I look at my brother.3

Is that your family?

There are tons of jokes about families or family members because, well, it’s complicated. 🙂

Movie Night

Friday night, about 15 people…many from this church…came over for a barbecue and a backyard movie. Although we were tired by the time everyone said goodbye and headed off into the night, Michelle and I really enjoyed it. The combination of neighbors, Cub Scout folks, and congregation members…all friends…felt like…well…

Family. [Read more…]

Happy Thanksgiving (2016)

Pikachu on TV setThree resting dogsWhether it is the dogs laying on my legs, Augie getting super excited at seeing Pikachu during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or you, my Facebook friend…I am reminded I have so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and may the Lord, who most deserves our thanks, bless you this holiday season.

Don’t Stop Looking at the Clouds

Closer view of light on fluffy clouds

There was a period in my adulthood where I stopped looking at the clouds. I do not know for sure, but I think it was the stress of a previous job that led to it. Of course, allowing it to do so was my choice, whether or not I realized it.

Life still has its stresses, sometimes as bad (if not worse) than that period. I refuse to stop looking at the clouds again.

God blessed me with these tonight…

Vew of light on fluffy clouds

Jeg Er Alan (or, “What’s in a Name?”)

Alan Fahrner with a Red Sox hat on backwardsOver a month ago I had a very depressing call with a Christian minister who asked me to remove all references and links to his church from this Traditores web site and my personal Twitter account? Why?

Because both the name Traditores and my Twitter handle (AlanCult) could be misunderstood. He suggested I consider changing my Twitter handle.

I mournfully expunged all references and links and still hope his assurances that there was nothing else behind the requests are true. Hard to shake off, if you know what I mean.

Now, even though I would suggest that someone truly in a cult wouldn’t advertise it by working it into their handle, “AlanCult” has been misunderstood before. It (and “AlCult”) were created many, many years ago (before Twitter) by combining my name with that of my then favorite band, The Cult. However, at this point it is not worth further misunderstandings, and I have changed my Twitter and Facebook handles from AlanCult to JegErAlan…

Which means “I am Alan” in Norwegian.

And that, really, is all I am.

P.S. When using Google Translate to double/triple/quadruple check I had it right…it kept wanting to change “jeg er Alan” to “jeg er alene,” which means “I am alone.” Kind of apropos given how this situation makes me feel…

Like a Trapped Moth

Moth trapped by a windowThis is a post that I meant to write three weeks and a few days ago. Although the company I work for is great, conditions as of late have made me feel I have little control of my fate—that I am trapped by circumstances.

I am sure I could have done certain things more effectively, but am convinced I have done a good (perhaps great) job given what was on my and my department’s plate.

But, it doesn’t matter. I am trapped like the moth in this picture. I don’t really advertise all that I am accomplishing (nor my successes), and as such often cannot even put them in words. Instead, all certain people see are what I could have done better (or that they perceive I could have done better), not all I did in the background that made the incredible look mundane. [Read more…]

51 (“I’m Okay”)

Strasburg water towerAs my day winds down and Augie, snuggling beside me, sings, “I’m okay”…I am reminded just how blessed I have been during my 51 years.

And just how blessed I still am.

CloudsOn this birthday, I am not as thoughtful as some. 2015 has provided some fairly high levels of stress, and that continues in some areas. A contributor to the stress is my lack of self-confidence…I hate to disappoint (and mentally it is easy for me to assume I have). That’s why, heading to and from this year’s American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, a song I don’t remember ever hearing before from Styx was especially heartening. Just happens to be the song Augie was just singing, “I’m Okay.” 🙂 [Read more…]

Less than One Week (Praise God)

Happy "less than a week and we are the homeowners" :-)This posts appears on two of my blogs, Strasburg.Rocks and Traditores. It will seem a bit odd on the former…but it speaks to the intersection of both in the form of the purchase of property in the friendly, small town of Strasburg, Colorado.

Although I am continually thankful to the Lord, I hesitate to make certain statements because they can be presumptuous. For instance, if when you have an unexpected bill you can’t afford just enough money shows up, is it fair to say, “The Lord sent the $$$?” I mean beyond the general providence of God…did He really personally ensure you received that cash? Sure, at a minimum, He didn’t prevent it from showing up…but did the Most High specifically fill the expense versus income gap?

Now, I am not questioning whether you should thank God in cases like that. You should. I am questioning whether it is presumptuous to say The Almighty divinely stepped into your timeline and changed something.

And with that rather lengthy preamble I humbly suggest that Michelle and I are about to own…and Augie is about to live with us in…

…a house that the Lord has personally provided.

How do I know? Well… [Read more…]

Cast Out

Man using his hand to tell you to stopThis is a post I really don’t want to write, but also think must be written.

Generally averse to controversy, I recently stepped foot into what might be considered unfriendly territory. Inhospitable…not because I disagree with those who hold that land (in many ways I’m entirely in sync)…but because many who inhabit its hills and valleys do not take kindly to suggestions that method/tone/whatever-you-want-to-call-it matters when it comes to biblically-mandated church discernment and discipline.

And in fairness to them, often those who call them on it seem to just be trying to change the subject (using it as a method of deflection) and never answer the core questions at hand. Not to mention, too frequently those who challenge individuals on tone exhibit extremely bad behavior themselves.

Now, I am not claiming perfection, but I think it would be fair to say I did not exhibit bad behavior (extreme or otherwise). Worst I did is commit a couple misdemeanors; definitely no felonies while strolling up and down the highways and byways of that foreign land.

However, a couple days ago I went to reenter the territory, looking forward to interacting with its residents. Oddly enough, I actually thought I may have become one of its citizens. Maybe a black sheep of sorts, but they felt like fellow countrymen. Sure, some of the conversations within that land were uncomfortable, but I was also shown great kindness and fellowship.

But, I was barred entry. [Read more…]

50

Birthday cake for 50 yearsI meant to write these thoughts on my birthday, but as I’ve gotten older time seems to move much more quickly. (Oh, to be 10 again when it seemed like 20 would never come.) A half century has made me appreciate every second of time more; it seems unfair that simultaneously it should pass with increasing rapidity.

But, regardless of its acceleration, there are certain milestones in time that are worthy of inner and outer reflection..and this is one. Going with the “outer” first, this blue planet has never seemed in worse (and worsening) condition to me. And no, it’s not because I am so much more aware of sin (and the results of sin)…decades ago I already agreed with Poison’s statement in “Something to Believe In”: “Sometimes I wish to God I didn’t know now the things I didn’t know then.” Yes, knowledge is a curse in this respect, but it is not why the clouds I see on the horizon are so dark and foreboding. [Read more…]

I Do Not Remember…

Mark JensenMark, I do not remember how it was to live with you the first five years of my life…

But I do remember you spanking me—not as cruel torture by a decade older brother—but as a kind sibling helping his frequently-disciplined younger brother no longer feel pain when he got spanked by his parents.

Mark, I do not remember why mom and dad kicked you out of the house when you were fifteen…

But I do remember you coming to visit, sick as a dog, and me selfishly pushing you (successfully) to give me your coin collection (which you kept in one of mom’s thread and needle containers).

Mark, I do not remember the next time I saw you…

But I do remember excitedly visiting a Mark Jensen mom found listed at a nearby hospital, only to walk in and see it wasn’t you.

Mark, I do not remember the exact year I got to visit you in Seattle during one of my business trips…

But I do remember taking your picture at the top of the Space Needle. We were brothers again.

Mark, I do not remember what I did to have you insist I be out of your life again…

But I do remember during the Seattle visit how you told me that when you were kicked out of house none of your friend’s parents would allow you to stay. You didn’t say it, but you were so alone. My heart broke. So, if me being out of your life meant less pain for you, I cared enough to accept it. You had more sorrow before becoming an adult than anyone should have their whole life.

Mark, I do not remember our last interaction…

But, it doesn’t matter. You are gone. You were alone. Nobody even knows exactly when you died.

Well, Somebody remembers how we spent our first five years together, why you were kicked out of the house, when I next got to see you, the year we were atop the Space Needle together, why you last insisted we lead separate lives, our last interaction, and the exact moment you entered eternity.

Surely a God who knows whenever a sparrow falls to the ground (Matthew 10:29), knows all of that and more. All your pain and all your smiles. All your sorrows and all your joys. All your demons and all your angels. “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”1 You may have never realized it, but you always have been of more value.

Mark, God will show you the love you refused to receive from your family and me. Will you be in heaven? I do not know. However, I do know the God who cares for sparrows cares for you and that your demons will torture you no more.

Mark, I do not remember the last time I told you, “I love you.”

But I do.


1 Matthew 10:31, English Standard Version.

UPDATE: With info from a sibling, corrected a couple of ages in the post.

“…Being Born in the Likeness of Men…”

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:1-7, English Standard Version).

The birth of Christ

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, 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. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).

Merry Christmas from Traditores (http://traditores.org), Traditores Radio (http://tradio.in), Alan Fahrner, and the Fahrner family.

May you find (or become closer to) the One who "emptied himself, by taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" and was "laid in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

“One Light” by 3 Doors Down

A great "almost Christian" song by 3 Doors Down:

I know what (who) the “one light to shine” should be…must be…

(And, who knows, maybe this isn’t an "almost" Christian song…)

P.S. As of right now you can get a free copy of this single here.

My Awesome Son

Now…I know that this technically doesn’t fit in the purposes of Traditores but:

(a) I’m a proud dad
(b) My son is a gift from God
(c) His talent is also a gift from God

Here is his euphonium solo from his last high school concert (June 2, 2012)…

And a bonus video…Mikey playing “Amazing Grace” over two years ago (May 6, 2010)…