Hook often feels alone.

Captain Hook often feels alone.

… especially when he is around his crew. He feels isolated and cut off from them, culturally and intellectually. He has very few friends except for Smee, his “number 2 man,” who is friendly and genial.
 
Hook views Smee as his confidant, sharing personal thoughts with him which is not common for a villain of Hook’s acclaim. It has also been revealed that he was heavily ostracized by others as a child, as he explains to Mr. Smee several times, resulting in him spending most of his childhood hated and alone.
 
Hook likes flowers and music. He plays the harpsichord despite his loss of a hand. He likes to smoke two cigars at once in a holder that has seen both stage and screen. He actually does like – and celebrates – his iron hook, and does not miss his hand at all, often stating that his children should be born with a hook instead of a hand. He uses his hook as a weapon and is quite feared because of it. He likes to keep clean, dress well, and present himself nicely. He is a dastardly villain who tries unsuccessfully to be always in good form.
 
We like Hook’s vulnerability, although he can’t help it, since he’s trying to be just the opposite. 
 
At the Catch, we like to think of vulnerability as a positive character trait — something to be sought after. We have come to see human weakness as an opportunity for God’s strength. 
 
Hook would be humiliated if he knew we liked him for his bad form — that we see so much of our own attempts at coverup in his silly antics. Poor Captain Hook: doesn’t even know he’s done us all a favor and saved us from ourselves.
 
You can do yourself, and the Gospel of Welcome that celebrates strength in weakness a favor by keeping the Catch strong and viable into next year with a generous year-end gift. But time is running out. The clock is still ticking, but not for long. (Some of our Catch members are in parts of the world already in 2020.) Most of you still have time.
 
Click on the Clock before midnight and we will receive a matching gift!
 
We started great; now help us finish strong. We still have a ways to go. Don’t let the clock run out on our goal!
 
BREAKING NEWS!
We have just found out John’s first album, the 1969 recording “Cold Cathedral” including Jesus movement classics, “Look All Around You,” “The Lord’s Prayer,” and “Road of Life” has just been remastered and will be available shortly. To celebrate its release we are offering a free download to everyone who contributes in our end-of-year campaign. Don’t miss this opportunity to get this “better than the original” mix!
 
Let’s ensure this message will continue to go out loud and clear by giving a generous year-end gift today.
 
Click on the Clock while there’s still time!
 
Join those who have already gotten 
us over halfway to goal!
Arthur, Arlington, Virginia
Robert, Miami, Florida
Keith, Portland, Oregon
Markus, Koln, Germany
Frank, Las Vegas, Nevada
Ralph, La Habra Heights, California
Sara, Boerne, Texas
Victor, New Castle, Pennsylvania
George, Barefoot Bay, Florida
Chan, Hong Kong
Shari, Laguna Beach, California
Laura, Phoenix, Arizona
Mark, Garden City, Michigan
Merlyn, Goodyear, Arizona
Mike, Sacramento, California
Hal, Lititz, Pennsylvania
Noel, Blue Hill, Maine
Neil, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lyn
David, Lakeville, Minnesota
Laura, Lubbock, Texas
David, Kati Kati, New Zealand
Darin, Cozad, Nebraska
Linda, Rugby Warwickshire, U.K.
Kent, Bryan, Ohio
Christopher, Edwardsville, Illinois
David, Liberty Lake, Washington
Roger, Whittier, California
Laura, Phoenix, Arizona
Paul, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Daryl
Paula, Decatur, Alabama
Linda, Bainbridge Island, Washington
William, Huntsville, Alabama
John, Cupertino, California
John, Chicago, Illinois
Tom, Washington, D.C.
Patrick, Dundee, Michigan
Lisa, Sunland, California
Joe, Sugar Land, Texas
Cynthia, Harlingen, Texas
Garry, Ozark, Arkansas
Pat & Dave, Normandy Park, Washington
Christina, Columbia, Maryland
Michael, Tucson, Arizona
Dick, East Amhurst, New York
Lewis
Mike, Cambria, California
The clock’s already running. 
Join them now.
Posted in Uncategorized, Year End Giving | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hook conflicted

1833265a-adf8-42e3-a7d7-5ca9fe73e81f
Captain Hook is a complicated, conflicted character. He is hot tempered and treats his crew like dogs. He is menacing and sinister, and yet he is polite, and always exhibits elegant diction and signs of his good breeding. Hook is not an entirely unheroic character and does strive to act nobly throughout his ferocious acts.
Hook exemplifies the “gentleman’s villain.” He always has his waistcoat, fancy hat, and keeps his mustache well-groomed. He’s trained in fencing and speaks of good form and honor among thieves. But of course he doesn’t have any honor because he is a pirate, though an elegant one at that. 
But Hook cannot break out from the inner struggle he’s placed on himself. He is at odds with the conventions of blue-blooded, civilized society, and the life he leads as a pirate. While he seeks to carry out his treacherous acts with civility and nobility, (he is not without fairness or consideration), he is forever critiquing himself as to whether he has upheld his code. Hook also feels isolated, a mismatch who is above the dogged crew around him — one who must set an example for them, but perhaps he needs an example for himself.
 
Life is sometimes at odds with faith. That’s why the Catch is so important. We are all complicated characters. We try to fit our lives into neat categories, but they don’t always cooperate. We are too sacred to be secular and too sinful to be holy. 
 
Here at the Catch, we don’t shy away from those human/spiritual conflicts; in fact, we celebrate them. That’s why we need you to help keep the Catch going. Many say there’s nothing else like it.
 
So while Hook runs from the clock, let’s use the clock to our advantage? 
One more day — until midnight tonight — to have your gift matched up to $2,000.
 
Click on the Clock while there’s still time!

Join those who have already gotten us over halfway to goal!

Frank, Las Vegas, Nevada
Ralph, La Habra Heights, California
Sara, Boerne, Texas
Victor, New Castle, Pennsylvania
George, Barefoot Bay, Florida
Chan, Hong Kong
Shari, Laguna Beach, California
Laura, Phoenix, Arizona
Mark, Garden City, Michigan
Merlyn, Goodyear, Arizona
Mike, Sacramento, California
Hal, Lititz, Pennsylvania
Noel, Blue Hill, Maine
Neil, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lyn
David, Lakeville, Minnesota
Laura, Lubbock, Texas
David, Kati Kati, New Zealand
Darin, Cozad, Nebraska
Linda, Rugby Warwickshire, U.K.
Kent, Bryan, Ohio
Christopher, Edwardsville, Illinois
David, Liberty Lake, Washington
Roger, Whittier, California
Laura, Phoenix, Arizona
Paul, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Daryl
Paula, Decatur, Alabama
Linda, Bainbridge Island, Washington
William, Huntsville, Alabama
John, Cupertino, California
John, Chicago, Illinois
Tom, Washington, D.C.
Patrick, Dundee, Michigan
Lisa, Sunland, California
Joe, Sugar Land, Texas
Cynthia, Harlingen, Texas
Garry, Ozark, Arkansas
Pat & Dave, Normandy Park, Washington
Christina, Columbia, Maryland
Michael, Tucson, Arizona
Dick, East Amhurst, New York
Lewis
Mike, Cambria, California
The clock’s already running. 
Join them now.
Posted in Uncategorized, Year End Giving | Tagged | Leave a comment

Captain Hook is a thin man with curly, black hair

… that drapes over his shoulders, a large hooked nose, a thin black mustache that angles upward sharply, and a large chin. He wears an orange sash over his right shoulder that holds his sword scabbard at his left hip and a large crimson hat with a huge lavender feather stuck in it. He’s got a permanent weapon on his hand, his famous hook, although it tends to work against him just as much, because he lacks the discipline to control it.

He is, of course a menacing villain whose image is quickly diminished by his colorful outfit, and mostly, the crocodile.  

He is a black-hearted man who tries to put on airs and pretend to be a gentleman of good taste and style. Yet it turns out he is quite likable in his conflicted personality, and as a consequence, he will never die beyond the first manuscript of Barrie’s story. As Walt Disney said in a story meeting, “The last you see is Hook going like hell. That’s better than having him get caught … the audience will get to liking Hook, and they won’t want to see him killed.”

So for all we know, poor Captain Hook is still running from that crocodile.

Just as we are running from time and the end of the year. Here’s the good news: Our goal is $20,000 and we are already over halfway there! The people listed below have combined to contribute over $9,000!

Time for you to join them! We only have tomorrow, so send in your gift now.

Join those who have already gotten 

us halfway there!

Mark, Garden City, Michigan
Merlyn, Goodyear, Arizona
Mike, Sacramento, California
Hal, Lititz, Pennsylvania
Noel, Blue Hill, Maine
Neil, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lyn
David, Lakeville, Minnesota
Laura, Lubbock, Texas
David, Kati Kati, New Zealand
Darin, Cozad, Nebraska
Linda, Rugby Warwickshire, U.K.
Kent, Bryan, Ohio
Christopher, Edwardsville, Illinois
David, Liberty Lake, Washington
Roger, Whittier, California
Laura, Phoenix, Arizona
Paul, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Daryl
Paula, Decatur, Alabama
Linda, Bainbridge Island, Washington
William, Huntsville, Alabama
John, Cupertino, California
John, Chicago, Illinois
Tom, Washington, D.C.
Patrick, Dundee, Michigan
Lisa, Sunland, California
Joe, Sugar Land, Texas
Cynthia, Harlingen, Texas
Garry, Ozark, Arkansas
Pat & Dave, Normandy Park, Washington
Christina, Columbia, Maryland
Michael, Tucson, Arizona
Dick, East Amhurst, New York
Lewis
Mike, Cambria, California

The clock’s already running. 

Join them now!

Posted in Year End Giving | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tock the Croc

Hook is terrified of Tock the Croc.

Captain Hook’s bad dream.

Maybe more than anything. For him, Tock represents the passage of time. He is afraid Tock’s clock will run down and stop ticking. Then, Hook fears, Tock will sneak up and get him.

We understand this fear. Even with a solid faith in Christ and a real hope of eternity, we still fear the unknown territory of life beyond this one. On this side of time, the clock still ticks. On the other side, it doesn’t.

My thoughts go to our friend and my mentor, Ron Ritchie, who is home with hospice care, more aware than ever before of his ticking clock. He is doing quite well, however (some of you have asked). He is not in any pain and still can get up, take baths and even joined family and friends at the table for Christmas dinner. Yet still, for him, the clock ticks. He hears it, and everyone around him hears it. Though they might not talk about it much, their ears have become tuned to its frequency. And when it stops, sadness will prevail, though joy will come in the morning.

Meanwhile we hear the ticking of the end of the year because there are only 36 hours left to 2019, and 36 hours left for you to donate to the Catch Ministry and receive your tax deduction for 2019. Our annual budget relies heavily on what we raise in these next few hours, so please don’t wait. The croc will feast on the last morsel of 2019 tomorrow night so take a few minutes and make your year-end gift now!

We purposely don’t fundraise between Thanksgiving and Christmas because we want to remember the hungry and the homeless at that time. But in these last few hours of the year, we ask that you remember us and our vision to introduce the Gospel of Welcome – Grace turned Outward – to everyone, everywhere. 

Join those who have already gotten started on 

Year End Giving!

Mike, Sacramento, California
Hal, Lititz, Pennsylvania
Noel, Blue Hill, Maine
Neil, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lyn
David, Lakeville, Minnesota
Laura, Lubbock, Texas
David, Kati Kati, New Zealand
Darin, Cozad, Nebraska
Linda, Rugby Warwickshire, U.K.
Kent, Bryan, Ohio
Christopher, Edwardsville, Illinois
David, Liberty Lake, Washington
Roger, Whittier, California
Laura, Phoenix, Arizona
Paul, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Daryl
Paula, Decatur, Alabama
Linda, Bainbridge Island, Washington
William, Huntsville, Alabama
John, Cupertino, California
John, Chicago, Illinois
Tom, Washington, D.C.
Patrick, Dundee, Michigan
Lisa, Sunland, California
Joe, Sugar Land, Texas
Cynthia, Harlingen, Texas
Garry, Ozark, Arkansas
Pat & Dave, Normandy Park, Washington
Christina, Columbia, Maryland
Michael, Tucson, Arizona
Dick, East Amhurst, New York
Lewis
Mike, Cambria, California

The clock’s already running. 

Join them now!

Posted in Year End Giving | Tagged | Leave a comment

Time & Eternity

3cabdd30-be71-415b-bca9-ecd24414f876Captain Hook, that nefarious helmsman of the Jolly Roger, has but two fears. He fears a crocodile with a clock inside of it, and the boy who cut off and threw his hand to that selfsame crocodile who now wants to eat the rest of him.
For this, and the next 40 hours — the last 40 hours of 2019 — we will have some fun with that fiendish pirate from J. M. Barrie’s classic story of Peter Pan. Captain Hook is a complicated villain, who in many ways mirrors us as we try to run away from the inevitable approach of our own mortality. The end of the year forces us to focus on the ticking clock of time, but it also calls us to look forward into a New Year and gather together your year-end tax deductible gifts towards our ongoing vision to introduce the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere. So expect to be visited by multiple emails in the next 40 hours. We promise to entertain and inform you to where you will actually look forward to the next interruption, which also will chronicle your participation as your generous contributions come in. 
So why does Hook, a pirate who instills fear into children, natives, and grown men alike, fear these two seemingly mild inhabitants of Neverland? The answer is all about time. The masterful J.M. Barrie created this wonderful allegory with a revealing piece of dialogue between Hook and his first mate:
He [Hook] sat down on a large mushroom, and now there was a quiver in his voice. 
“Smee,” he said huskily, “that crocodile would have had me before this, but by a lucky chance it swallowed a clock which goes tick tick inside it, and so before it can reach me I hear the tick and bolt.” He laughed, but in a hollow way. 
“Some day,” said Smee, “the clock will run down, and then he’ll get you.”
The clock, of course, is representative of time that is running out on Hook, just like it is for all of us. Like the crocodile, it’s going to get us all one day. All good children’s stories are allegories for adults, and this one is no exception, except that it is allegorical of the strictly human side of life — the side with no eternity — the side that fears death because it sees nothing beyond it.
For a believer, there is a counter reality to time — there is something on the other side of time — there is eternity. Jesus spoke of it constantly. He called it heaveneternal life, and everlasting life, and it is a big part of the gift package He brought humanity. Through His death and resurrection, He created a doorway into heaven. He conquered Hook’s nemesis and enjoyed the first fruits of heaven for those who believe.
In the story, Peter Pan represents that hope of immortality, and is the main reason why Hook is so envious of him, and yet this is mere fantasy. In the story of Christ, a real historical figure, heaven — eternity — is no fantasy. It is a reality buoyed by real faith in the inner parts of our souls, and something that grows with time.
Yet we are human, too, and just as susceptible to human fears as is Captain Hook. That’s why we’re not going to be so hard on the guy, and why Barrie’s story treats him with a level of compassion. In spite of our faith we still have fear. We still understand. We are probably closer in reality to Hook than to Peter Pan and his cocky crowing. We feel and fear the effects of time even as we believe and hope in eternity.
That’s why these stories are so important. They capture the human side of our existence that too many Christians try to deny. Embracing our humanity is essential in identifying with others. It’s what Jesus did when He became one of us. In the same way, embracing the Spirit is what helps us identify with Christ and our ultimate salvation. We experience both at the same time.
To be sure, the Peter Pan story also has its spiritual side as well. Peter teaches the children to fly by believing, and Tinker Bell is healed when enough children believe.
Even the most human of stories has some eternity in it. That’s because somebody placed eternity in our hearts. I wonder who that was. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Look who’s already got a start on 

Year End Giving!

Noel, Blue Hill, Maine
Neil, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lyn
David, Lakeville, Minnesota
Laura, Lubbock, Texas
David, Kati Kati, New Zealand
Darin, Cozad, Nebraska
Linda, Rugby Warwickshire, U.K.
Kent, Bryan, Ohio
Christopher, Edwardsville, Illinois
David, Liberty Lake, Washington
Roger, Whittier, California
Laura, Phoenix, Arizona
Paul, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Daryl
Paula, Decatur, Alabama
Linda, Bainbridge Island, Washington
William, Huntsville, Alabama
John, Cupertino, California
John, Chicago, Illinois
Tom, Washington, D.C.
Patrick, Dundee, Michigan
Lisa, Sunland, California
Joe, Sugar Land, Texas
Cynthia, Harlingen, Texas
Garry, Ozark, Arkansas
Pat & Dave, Normandy Park, Washington
Christina, Columbia, Maryland
Michael, Tucson, Arizona
Dick, East Amhurst, New York
Lewis
Mike, Cambria, California

The clock’s already running. 

Join them now!

Posted in Year End Giving | Tagged | Leave a comment

Family Christmas

IMG_2017

Christmas is family. However you cut it, it comes out that way. We get each other whether we like it or not. For richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; ’til death do us part … we are family.

Continue reading

Posted in Christmas, family | Tagged , | 4 Comments

‘Behold I am making all things new’

OIP-5

Last night in our Catch church service on line, we had a blessed time recalling Isaiah 53 as the true meaning of Christmas. Remembering it was the birth of a suffering servant whose life was “cut short in midstream” for your sake and mine. This was the birth of the Son of Man who bled God’s perfect blood for us all. In this ancient prophetic passage, years before the first Christmas, the whole point of His life and existence is made clear — His suffering, our salvation. What a wonder! Here is Isaiah 53 in its entirety. Not what most people think of on Christmas but it’s what makes it most glorious.

Who has believed our message?
    To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
    like a root in dry ground.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
    nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.

Continue reading

Posted in Christmas, grace | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Thrill of Hope

9e93a329-cbd0-487f-9077-062abfa8eef3

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new glorious morn

It created a shudder through the galaxy — a breaking story that rocked all worlds. It rippled through the stars and slapped against the edges of the universe. It was The Event time was waiting for. Hush. It’s about to crack the sky and spill out onto a Palestinian hillside, only to seem wasted on a handful of shepherds; the only ones invited to the party. We wouldn’t have even known if they hadn’t told us. But who can trust the words of a few lowly sheep herders? God could have orchestrated anything, and He chose to do this. He’s always been somewhat secretive. It’s His style.

Continue reading

Posted in Christmas | Tagged , | 1 Comment