Bonneyville Mill – Part 2

Today, March 25, 2018 we watched the second half of Larry’s documentary/story of the Bonneyville Mill, Elkhart County’s most notable tourist destination. Narrators of his story script include Pastor Tim Burchill and our classmate, Dick Herath.

The Bonneyville Mill, a grist mill that uses water power to turn the stones that grind the grain, most often ground corn into corn meal, and wheat and buckwheat into flour. Not many mills made buckwheat flour and the Bonneyville was notable for that. In the early days, the role of the mill in the community is important to know so that we can understand its continued existence.

The Indiana State Historical Society has designated the Bonneyville Mill as the oldest continuously operating grist mill in the State of Indiana. It is also the oldest commercial building in Elkhart County.

Today, Bonneyville Mill is a picturesque destination that attracts photographers and visitors from all fifty states and many foreign countries. Powered by the river’s mill race corn meal, wheat flour, and buckwheat are still produced by the mill’s two grinding stones. Visitors can watch the nineteenth century ways of how grain is reduced to flour and corn meal, and children can learn where their food comes from before it appears in the grocery store.

The documentary will first be available (soon) on DVD, and a little later as a digital download to rent or to purchase. You can keep track of the news about it by visiting www.BonneyvilleMill.com   As always, the very special “Searcher’s“ discount will apply.

There is a film “trailer” on that site, but here is a shortcut to it.

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Bonneyville Mill – Part 1

Today, March 18, 2018 we watched the first half of Larry’s documentary/story of the Bonneyville Mill, Elkhart County’s most notable tourist destination. Narrators in the film include Pastor Tim Burchill and our classmate, Dick Herath.

The land for the mill was first purchased from the Pottawatomi Indians in 1832, and the grist Mill was erected in 1837 by Edward Bonney, who was its first owner. The five acre parcel of land was where his house and the mill were situated. The parents of Bonney’s wife, Maria Van Frank, also lived on the land. The Bonney’s, and some of their family and friends, came here from New York State in 1833 hoping to build a community centered around a grist mill since there was a rumor that the Erie Canal was going to have a diversion built that would come by the mill. But plans changed and the diversion never happened, changing Bonney’s plans forever.

The Bonneyville Mill story includes a lot of aerial videography along with terrestrial scenes… it is a very pretty setting. Current miller, John Jenney, tells a nice history of the mill and also the story of Edward Bonney, in a way that is easy to understand. John is a talented educator and his love of the mill and passion for telling its story to people, particularly school children, shines through.

Next week we will finish the story of the mill and, of course, hear Larry’s interpretation of the burial place of Edward Bonney. Is he buried in the Bonneyville Cemetery (just east of the mill) or is he buried somewhere else. If somewhere else, where might that be?

The documentary will first be available (soon) on DVD, and a little later as a digital download to rent or to purchase. You can keep track of the news about it by visiting the Bonneyville Mill website.

There is a film “trailer” on that site, but here is a shortcut to it:

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Work: Negative Capability

Today, March 11, 2018 we explored a section of Eugene Peterson’s book “The Contemplative Pastor”, and what he says about work – that it is negative capability. What does he mean by that? It is a term coined by poet John Keats referring to an experience in work.

Keats was impressed by how William Shakespeare could make such a variety of characters in his plays, none of which seemed to be a projection of Shakespeare’s ego. He found it interesting that Shakespeare, the poet from whom we know the most about people, is the poet about whom we know next to nothing. Peterson says that “Real workers, skilled workers, practice negative capability – the suppression of self so that the work can take place on its own. St. John the Baptist’s ‘I must decrease, but He must increase’ is embedded in all good work”.

Peterson goes on to say “The worker in the work is a self-effacing servant. If the worker shows off in his or her work, the work is ruined and becomes bad work – a projection of ego, a projection of self.” I like that observation and, as we look around us each day, we see how prevalent it is that beautiful work is ruined by a projection of the worker’s ego.

Real work always includes a respect for the materials that we use in that work. The materials, he says, can be a pork loin, a mahogany plank, a lump of clay, a group of students, or the will of God. But, when the work is done there is a submission of will to the conditions at hand, a cultivation of humility.

Negative capability – the process of first emptying ourselves in the context of work – can be described in terms of a bucket. No matter what wonderful things it contains, it is of no use for the next project if it is not first emptied. Emptying is a prelude to filling. Jesus continually “emptied Himself”, and is a good example for us follow regardless of the nature of the work we are called to do at any point in our lifetime.

There was no video or audio for today’s discussion. However, next week we will watch the first half of the Bonneyville Mill video and here is my slightly early salute to the mill for St. Patrick’s Day.

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Give us this day our daily bread…

Today, March 4, 2018 we listened to an interesting discussion by the Discover the Word team of Haddon Robinson, Alice Matthews, and Mart Dehaan looking at the question “does God really care about the small things in my life?”

Do we ever doubt that God “loves me in all circumstances, and is interested in me and the small things in my life?” We had an interesting discussion about this. It’s possible that we can think that God is just too big to be concerned about little things, but if we think that way, are we bringing Him down to something much smaller than He really is?

In the very small things we can joke that “there are one and a half billion Chinese who just don’t care”, meaning that we should get a grip and not sweat the small stuff. But to God, nothing is so small or so large that He will not be concerned or cannot handle. In our human minds we see a great disparity between the small things and the large things. Here is an illustration of one of the large things that the pray-er turns over to God just as he surely does with the small things.

Recently, there was a post on Facebook about a local family situation:

“I am asking for prayer for Aiden Katip, the grandson of our friends, Bill and Debbie Katip (Bill is President of Grace College). Aiden is 9 years old and he was in a house fire last night and was without oxygen for a very long time. It looks like he is in his final hours and the brain is very damaged. He was not burned. I am asking for prayer for this awesome family. This is such a terrible tragedy. Could you join me to pray for the comfort of this family?”

From Bill Katip’s post two days later:

“The lack of oxygen sustained from Sunday’s fire was just too much for our grandson, Aiden William Katip. While the doctor declared 12:15 pm on 2/21 as Aiden’s time and date of death, we know the Lord had this all determined even before 3/11/09 (his birth date). Thanks to all our family and friends for your loving support and prayer. ‘The Lord is close to those whose hearts have been broken. He saves those whose spirits have been crushed.’ (Psalm 34:18)”

The God of the universe is so big that He cares deeply about everything that affects us… large or small. Our job is, in all circumstances, to come to Him and trust Him to handle all that confronts us. He wants us to learn that in all circumstances He cares deeply about us, can handle each situation in ways that we cannot imagine, and that our job is to focus on our relationship with Him and trust Him in all things.

Here is a link to today’s discussion.

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Peterson & Bono: The Psalms

Today, February 4, 2018 we watched an interesting video. Two men from different generations… two men from different social worlds… two men from different countries discuss their spiritual upbringing, struggles, and find common ground in the Psalms. Eugene Peterson, in his translation of the Bible, “The Message”, renders the Psalms as closely as possible from the Hebrew and discovers that they are not pretty. They don’t flow well. But, they are brutally honest in their story. Bono uses “The Message” translation since it speaks to him best in his world, and helps him to find comfort learning about his struggles similar those of King David.

Peterson and Bono have a conversation comparing their own similar struggles. Now a Christian and having grown up with some violence in Ireland, Bono is a “socially conscious musician” (activist) who uses his celebrity outside of music to make a positive impact on the world particularly with global hunger. Peterson “appears” to be lower key in his approach to changing the world through his personal contact with his parishioners and pastors whom he mentors.

Both men feel passionate about what they do and when they get mad about a particular circumstance, as Peterson suggests, they try to express it in a way that allows them to “cuss without cussing”. In these cases, the place in the Bible where they both are drawn are the “imprecatory Psalms”… certain Psalms that call for judgement, calamity, and curses against the enemy. Both Peterson and Bono use these Psalms to make sense of violence realizing that God is not a violent God, but that the world is a violent place. Neither wants to escape the violence of this world, and both desire to be drawn closer to God through trusting Him and viewing the world through His eyes.

Here is a link to today’s program.

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Peterson: In Between the Man and the Message

Today, January 21, 2018 we watched a video interview of Eugene Peterson as he tells about his life. He is a pastor, professor, author, and poet and is one of the best known theologians of our time. He has written more than 35 books, but he is probably best known for his translation of the Bible, The Message, which is a contemporary rendering of the Bible. Other popular books of his include A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, and his memoir, The Pastor. In the latter, he reflects on life and the ways in which Jesus-followers can respond to God’s call.

The video is sort of an “afternoon with Eugene Peterson” where he is asked several questions about his life and “career”. What is remarkable about the interview is that the questions are framed in a way that triggers complex responses from him. In other words, Peterson’s responses are not simple, but draw from his life experiences in ways that cause us to think about our own journey of faith and of how we can more closely follow the ways of Jesus.

Eugene Peterson, in all his humility, is a good mentor for us. Our view of, and sometimes struggle with, life can be brought into better focus by learning from him about his own struggles. Jesus does not expect perfection from us, but we can learn how to do our best with our own imperfection. Peterson helps us see the reality of that.

Here is a link to today’s program.

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Jesus, the Oppressed, and the Oppressors

Today, January 14, 2018 we watched a video from Rev. Dr. Kenneth Bailey about Jesus, the Oppressed, and the Oppressors. For us to correctly handle many confusing and complicated situations today we should not rely on our own assessments, judgements, emotions, and actions to resolve the issue. Jesus has been there and dealt with every issue that confronts us and He is the one we should look to for an example of how to handle things.

Many times – maybe usually – He assesses a situation differently than we do, and so His resolution is far different than our method. For example, Ecclesiastes 4:1 (Amplified Bible) says:
“Then I looked again and considered all the acts of oppression that were being practiced under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.” God is concerned with showing comfort to both the oppressed and the oppressor.

We can see how Jesus handles this situation in two stories found in Luke 18:35 – Luke 19:10. The first is the story of the (oppressed) blind beggar who because of his disability is relegated to begging each day in public relying on contributions from passersby for his income and sustenance. The second is the story of a despised tax collector (oppressor), Zacchaeus, who climbs a tree in order to better see Jesus, and is found out by the crowd and jeered all the way home.

Jesus handles both of these situations in profound ways that can help us to understand and learn, if even in a limited way, the concern of God for all people… the oppressed and the oppressors alike. We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us guidance following Jesus’ example when we are confronted with a situation that the rest of the world handles in its own unbecoming way. Dr. Bailey presents an interesting explanation and example in this video, and I hope you will take time to watch… and watch again.

Here is a link to today’s program.

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