Sunday, September 29, 2013


"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." (Proverbs 18:21)

Yesterday morning, I posted this little story on my Facebook page. It brought seven comments within thirty hours. I have been very busy (TOO busy!) over the past few days to post my my blog, but I decided to post this one on the blog, too. It reminds us that we really need to stop and think about how we impact young children, and about the people who teach young children! Incidentally, my first-grade teacher left that particular job after that year (1960-1961). Over twenty years later, her son was tragically killed. After reading the story, I got her address (I don't remember how I got it) and I sent her a condolences card and note. I never received any response from her. I guess I was not too surprised. Here is my story of a memory from first grade:

When I was a first-grader, I was a very skinny and very shy little kid. At the November parent-teacher conference, my teacher, Miss A. expressed concern that I NEVER raised my hand in class. My father later gave me a big "pep talk" about this. He COULD be very strict, but on this one, he wasn't. He gave me a really encouraging talk about the need to raise my hand in class. This was very difficult and very challenging for me. The next day, the teacher was giving a lesson which called for a LOT of class participation. Many kids were raising their hands and responding. This was my big moment. At one point, it took all I could muster to get my hand in the air, and then to give my response when called upon. At the end of that lesson, Miss A. said the following, "You ALL did VERY WELL with that- EXCEPT Bobby! He only raised his hand once; he might as well have NOT raised it at all!!" Something happened recently which brought that memory flooding back to me. It's one of the most stark memories of my childhood. Bottom line, we need to really THINK about what we say to people and how we react to them. There is a Bible verse which speaks of "life and death" being found in the the words we speak. In a way, sharing this is almost as hard for me as was raising my hand on that 1960 day, but it's just something I felt I needed to do today...

Sunday, September 22, 2013


"And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live." (Ezekiel 16:6)

One of my favorite films is "The Apostle" starring Robert Duvall. I think it was released in 1997. It's about a very dynamic evangelical preacher who commits murder, flees to another state, successfully starts a church- encouraging and inspiring a group of mostly poor and minority folks in a small community; and who ultimately is arrested and imprisoned. My fellow "born-again Christians" typically are very divided in their thoughts about this film- half absolutely loving it, and half absolutely hating it. I love the film. In an early scene of the movie, the Rev. "Sonny" Dewey (played by Duvall) and his mother (played by June Carter Cash) are traveling outside Ft. Worth, Texas in an impressive Lincoln when they come upon the scene of a bad automobile accident which has happened probably no more than five or ten minutes earlier. One car is off the road. Inside is a young man and his wife- both are badly injured; the wife appears to be dead or very close to death. Dewey pulls over, grabs his leather bound Bible, walks down an embankment to the car, and quotes the above Bible verse from Ezekiel. In what may be the most moving scene of the entire film, Dewey gives a very short "pep talk" to the couple, urging them to "accept Jesus Christ as Personal Savior" and become "champions" for the Lord. A police officer tries to stop Dewey from doing this, but he persists. Upon getting back into the Lincoln, Dewey and his mom begin driving away, praying for the couple. Instantly and unexpectedly, we're again shown the interior of the injured couple in the damaged car; the woman who appeared to be dead is moving. The viewer is left to believe that the preacher's bold declaration of Ezekiel 16:6 and exhortation was honored by God who brought life back into the young lady! I have heard actor Robert Duvall speak about this. He said he knew of a devout Christian woman who literally used to proclaim that verse from Ezekiel to victims of catastrophic accidents and pray over them. He based that scene on her actual actions. I was so moved by Duvall's words that I memorized Ezekiel 16:6 determined to do the same thing in the event of encountering such a horrific accident situation.

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, I was driving along a rather rural section of Route 27 in Medfield, Massachusetts about a mile from the Walpole town line. Suddenly, I noticed cars stopping in front of me, and several cars pulled to the side of the road on each side of the roadway. Then, I noticed something on the highway itself. Actually, there were two "somethings". There was a damaged bicycle in the middle of the road, and to the left of it, there was a man- probably in his forties, laying in the roadway. To my surprise, there were no emergency vehicles or personnel present. This couldn't have happened any more than five minutes earlier. I immediately thought of Ezekiel 16:6. I rolled down my window. My daughter is a nurse, so when she encounters accidents like this, she stops and renders aid. I'm proud to say that she has truly been a hero in her actions at several bad highway accidents. I was instantly debating whether to stop or not. I reasoned that when Amy stops and gets out, she does so as a nurse who knows exactly what to do. In my case, I have no idea what to do medically for an injured person! Yet, I thought of Robert Duvall in the film. I realized I could pull over, walk over, quote that verse, and pray for the victim with God's love and authority. Then, like Duvall in the movie, I could drive off and pray in the car. As I drove directly by the man, I saw that his head was injured and there was blood. It was not a pleasant scene. I heard one woman telling someone she had called 911 for help. I came within the proverbial sixteenth of an inch of stopping. Part of me really wanted to pull a Robert Duvall here. Part of me wondered if I'd just get in the way and cause a problem- if I really wanted to help this guy or if I was on a ego trip. I was already "praying in tongues" softly. I was slowing up, and about to stop. Next thing I knew, I didn't. I kept going. I did quote Ezekiel 16:6 aloud in the car and I did pray fervently for the victim. I fully expected to see emergency vehicles coming, but to my surprise, that did not happen. I suddenly realized that I was almost into Walpole and that the ambulance and police cars would be coming from the opposite direction.

I do not what the outcome of yesterday's accident was. I did an on-line search and could not find anything about it. Ironically, today in Bill Shattuck's Adult Sunday School class at Bread of Life Church, a guy in class pointed out that we tend to be much too shy and reserved about just praying out loud in public and that we really should not care what people think about it. I know there's a balance to this stuff. There is that whole thing about "don't cast your pearls before swine" that comes from the Synoptic gospels. We have to use wisdom. But the guy's comment really made me think. Did I do the wrong thing yesterday? Should, I have stopped, quoted the Scripture, and prayed a short prayer aloud? In retrospect, I absolutely think I should have. This is kind of scary to put out there in public because I know God will hold me to it, but the next time I encounter a situation like that, I will get out of the car and do what I should have done on Saturday!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


"For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37)

Today, September 19, 2013, is my 59th birthday. I've been doing a lot of personal reflecting during the past couple of days. The past year included some serious challenges- especially medical challenges. I've been blessed with extraordinarily good health for most of my life. For me, the year that I was 58 was a reminder that I'm not a kid anymore. It included two cataract surgeries, and emergency surgery for a detached retina. The scariest event of the past year was being rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night with blood pouring out of my bottom. Sorry for being so graphic! At that time, a number of diagnostic possibilities were being considered by the doctor, including cancer. I was well aware I could have cancer and that my days on earth could be seriously numbered. In fact, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, which is a nuisance and inconvenience in many ways, but is treatable with diet and medication. I am thankful that I am alive for my 59th birthday. I decided that on my birthday this year, I wanted to publicize and promote something which is very important to me. It would be my "birthday wish" as it were. There are honestly about ten matters I seriously considered writing about, but after deep thought, I've settled upon what's in this piece.

Now, this may seem like a very bizarre statement to make, but of all the poems I've ever heard recited during my lifetime and of all the poetry I've read during my lifetime, I think the most significant one is, "There Was a Little Girl" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which my very literary minded mother used to frequently recite. It goes like this:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

There are many, many people I've know in life who were like that: when they were good, they were very, very good, and when they were bad, they were horrid! There are also many things I've dealt with in life that are like that, as well: when they were good, they were very, very good, and when they were bad, they were horrid!

If you can just kind of "slow it down" for the next few minutes- not skim reading this, but really soaking it in, and giving it some thought, well, I think that would be "very, very good"!

Modern technology and social media is like that. When it's good, it's very, very good, but when it's bad, it's horrid! I am aware of the power and blessing of modern technology. I'm writing this piece in cyberspace- I'll "post it" in cyberspace and I'll promote in using social media. Many, many more people will read it and be exposed to it than would ever have done so just a couple of decades ago. But, listen, there's so much we've lost due to this runaway technology! I have two (frankly humbling) part-time jobs right now. I know many of you know I work at a telephone answering service, but not so many of you know that I also hand out flyers a few hours a week at a "big box store". I find the latter job very depressing. It's not that I mind handing out flyers- I actually enjoy it! No, it's the number of people who walk into the store mesmerized by their (stupid) smart phones. They're staring down and inattentive as they're trying to navigate and push a shopping cart along. They're yelling things into the air at some invisible person (looking like mental patients!) and you do notice there's a "bluetooth" or some other such device enabling them to do this. It's all so rude, so intrusive, so distracting, and as I just wrote: so stupid!!

For some reason, I remember my 25th birthday very vividly- on September 19, 1979. I wonder if I had miraculously been transported forward in time on that day, from 1979 to 2013 what my reaction to "the future" would have been. The automobiles would all have seemed much more aerodynamic and much less "cool", frankly. The television sets would have looked ridiculous- FLAT and rectangular, albeit with much clearer pictures. But the thing of everybody walking around staring at some tiny box in the palm of their hand, squinting to read the screen or frantically typing ("typing??!!") onto it, and THEN some folks in very animated fashion talking and yelling into the air at nothing...well, it would have all been very scary and very depressing and going back to 1979 would have been very comforting; just like Dorothy returning to Kansas after her trip to the land of Oz!

I don't have his permission to use his name or give any personal information about this man, but I will call him, "Missionary John". Missionary John is an Assemblies of God "home missionary" (meaning a missionary to somewhere in the United States). He ministers to the Native Americans at a site in the west. When I was still pastoring at the small church in Framingham, MA, we used to have missionary guest speakers from time to time. We had Missionary John with us for a special Sunday night service. I think that was about nine years ago. I remember my wife and I taking him out for a meal at a local restaurant after the service. He was a very pleasant and a very friendly guy. Prior to our church's catastrophic financial condition, we used to send monthly financial support to a number of missionaries. I don't remember if we ever "picked up" John and his wife for monthly support, but I don't recall that we did. However, I was amazed that on every birthday and every wedding anniversary, there was not only a greeting card which would arrive in the mail from Missionary John- in addition, he'd handwrite (essentially) a letter in the card. Yes, he'd write at least ten sentences telling about what was going on with himself, his family, and his mission, and wanting to know how things were going with us in Massachusetts. Some missionaries do send e-mail newsletters and some send U.S. mail newsletters, but personal greeting cards with long, handwritten letters; well, nobody else did that!

You might expect that after the church was closed in March of 2010 and after I was out of pastoral ministry, those greeting cards and letters would stop, but they did not! They have kept arriving, on my birthdays, on my wife's birthdays, and on our anniversaries. We received an anniversary card and letter in August and I received a birthday card and letter a few days ago. Usually, I just kind of read it, look the card over, and think, "that's nice" and then, that's about it!

For some reason, after I read my birthday card a few days ago, I got kind of "choked up". It hit me that this missionary is not going to receive any financial support or any publicity from writing and mailing this card. It was just something he was doing out of love and care. I gave that a lot of thought! Lest you think this Missionary John is just sitting around in some tiny Native American village listening to native songs and smelling the aroma of peace pipes being smoked; in fact he is a teacher to the Native Americans who carrys a very heavy course load! He pretty much has "no time"! Yet, here he is handwriting a personal letter in a card to me, from which he is going to receive nothing!

This high-tech, "social media" society was supposed to give us much more free time- much more leisure time- much less stress and pressure. Instead, just the opposite has happened. Nobody has any time. Everybody is stressed out! Everybody is in a hurry! We're rude, irritated, and defensive! We've got no time for anybody! We've got no time for what's truly important! It's "funny" that the people of one hundred years ago had time to work 60 hours a week in factories, and yet had time to donate untold hours to charity work and to write long and beautiful letters to family and friends. These precious letters give tremendous insight about history to those who study history. When I was in Bible College in the late 1970s, I would use Sunday afternoons as a time to write letters to family and friends back home. Recently, my sister found some letters I'd sent home during that period. I was amazed at how "good" my penmanship was then, and how much thought and detail I put into the letters. I actually wrote them on special Central Bible College stationary which was sold at the school bookstore largely for the purpose of writing letters home to family and friends. In this day of smart phones and texting, would anybody write letters like that on a Sunday afternoon?! I doubt it! I am quite a writer, but I must confess that I write very few "real" letters anymore.

Missionary John really touched me this year. His handwritten card really touched me. I thought, "What if there was less of this high-tech foolishness and more people handwriting letters and greeting cards to those who'd appreciate them? What if we made a conscious effort to be a little less dependent on high-tech and social media and did more card sending and old fashioned letter writing?"

Listen, I'm not planning to stop e-mailing or get off Facebook, but I'm going to make a genuine effort to keep a lot of this stuff a bit more "at bay" in my life, and I'm going to make a conscious effort to set time aside and send cards and notes to friends and family. As "stupid" as that might sound, think about how we'd look to someone who'd travel here from 1979 to observe us! We need more Missionary Johns! How about it?! Is that a crazy wish?!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


"And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." (Matthew 23:12)

On Monday evening, Pastor Mike Pinkerton "went home to be with the Lord" as we evangelical Christians like to say. Well, to say he "died" seems so stark, negative and final; and "passed away" seems like too much of a generic euphemism. I went on-line to try to find specific information about Mike: What day was he born? Where did he grow up? What are some things about his life or some accomplishments that I was not aware of? I could not find anything. There's not even an obituary posted on-line that I am aware of. I know that there will be a Memorial Service in honor of Mike Pinkerton at his brother-in-law, Pastor Phil McCutchen's church (Bethany Community Church in Mendon, MA) on Saturday, September 14 at 2:00 p.m. I am working on Saturday, so I can't be there; but I absolutely wanted to put something "out there" as a memorial tribute to Mike Pinkerton and to express my deepest sympathy to his family and friends. I know that when people's earthly lives end, there tend to be a lot of flowery, gushing, and poetic things said about them; many of which are exaggerated or just not true. What I write here about Mike Pinkerton may seem to be exaggerated or just not true, but I assure you that all of it is accurate.

I don't know what Mike Pinkerton's exact age was, but I would guess he was around age 61 or 62. I know he had several children- most of them are grown, but I believe the youngest is only around age 14. His widow, Judy, is a lovely and talented person. I cannot remember exactly when the Pinkertons moved into Massachusetts from Florida, but I would guess it was around 1998. I also do not remember exactly when I met them but I think it was at an Assemblies of God "Central Massachusetts Section" function. I do know that while my first impressions of people are usually quite incorrect, in the case of Mike Pinkerton, my first impressions were "spot on"! In ministerial circles, sad to say, I would often meet men (and women) who were overconfident, egotistical, and intimidating. Mike was nothing like that. Nothing like that! I was amazed that he seemed so simple, so warm, so sincere, so friendly, so "open", so unassuming, and so humble. There was nothing flashy at all about Mike. It was also very obvious that Mike loved God very deeply, loved his family very deeply, and very much wanted to reach out to hurting, needy people. He almost seemed like he did not belong in professional ministry. That may seem like a strange thing to write, but professional ministry can be very difficult. Pastors may have to deal with angry, selfish, and manipulative Church Board Members. They may have to deal with stubborn, rebellious people. They may have to deal with City or Town officials who frankly don't want a Pentecostal church in their community, and who certainly don't want a Pentecostal church putting up an impressive church building or exercising too much power and influence in their community. Admittedly, I was not the most capable person in dealing with the kinds of people and situations I am referring to here. Sometimes, the way I handled such situations was rather weak and unimpressive; and yet compared to Mike Pinkerton, I could be considered a very confident and capable leader. Mike Pinkerton pastored a struggling Assemblies of God church in central Massachusetts for a couple of years. He faced enormous problems and difficulties there, and ultimately the church closed. For a number of years, Mike worked at a secular job at the Bedford, Massachusetts V.A. Hospital, but he was always available as a guest speaker. I had him come to our (former) church in Framingham as a Sunday morning speaker at least once (perhaps twice) and I had Mike Pinkerton minister at our Men's Fellowship Group at least once. Honestly, Mike was not a flashy or dynamic speaker. Sadly, a minister's speaking ability is often the first and foremost item Pulpit committees look for in "calling" a pastor to their church. Mike's public speaking was at best average. Perhaps, it was a little below average, in fact. Yet, Mike always had some very rich and important matters to share from the Bible and about life. I happen to be a better speaker than was Mike Pinkerton. But Mike's very life "spoke volumes" as they say! As I reflect on Mike's kindness, compassion, love of people, love of God, and desire to reach out and help the hurting and needy, I feel (frankly) "like a jerk". Listen, in those areas, I would not have been worthy to get down and shine Mike Pinkerton's shoes! I so admired what a fine man and what a wonderful Christian he was, and I knew I fell far short of that!

I'm about to share something here that very few people know. In 2005, I had applied for an employment position with the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri. It's not important what that job was. Despite my overall lack of accomplishments in ministry, this particular position was one which I was amazingly qualified for and would have been a good fit for. In fact, I ended up being one of (I believe) 6 ministers who were seriously considered for the position. I was slated to be interviewed by a very important Assemblies of God official while I was out in Missouri bringing our daughter back to college. What happened was that just a short time prior to my scheduled interview, a candidate was interviewed who was so outstanding and so perfect for the position that they decided to hire him and not pursue any of the other finalists. (Just for the record, that candidate was far more qualified than I was and was really a perfect fit for the position. I had absolutely no bad feelings about what happened.) I write all this to say that if I had gotten that job, my heart's desire was that the church in Framingham "call" Mike Pinkerton to be the pastor! Mike and his family never knew that, so now I'm making that public. I felt that with his amazing concern and care for the hurting and needy, and the excellent personal connection he had made with the church when he ministered there, he'd be perfect to pastor there. If you do an on-line search for "Bob Baril" or "Rev. Robert E. Baril" you'll find "all kinds of stuff" as they say. My friend T.H. often speaks of people who are guilty of "shameless self-promotion" and I say now with a red face that I've often been guilty of "shameless self-promotion". In life, I've often felt marginalized. I also felt that the church I pastored was often marginalized. Like a teenager "tagging" brick walls in urban alleys, I was screaming, "I MATTER! NOTICE ME! OUR CHURCH MATTERS! NOTICE OUR CHURCH!" I must admit that when I study a chapter such as Philippians chapter 2 which speaks of the total humility of the Lord Jesus Christ, I realize that Jesus was not a self-promoter at all. He was not flashy. He did not call attention to Himself. Neither did Mike Pinkerton. So, I am not exaggerating when I write that Mike Pinkerton was very much like Jesus, and was far more like Jesus than I am. Here's what's sad: The flashy ministers...the self-promoters...the "charismatic personalities"...THEY are the ones who often get buildings named after them and who get big "write-ups" in Christian magazines and on-line after they die. (Listen, I'm not saying everyone who gets that sort of treatment is a flashy, self-promoter; Billy Graham will be honored that way, and he truly deserves it. It's just that too many heroes of the faith like Mike Pinkerton die and seemingly nobody knows or cares.)

When a great Christian dies, I am often very sobered, and I wonder, "Lord, who will take his or her place?" I am sorry I can't be at Mike's Memorial Service; but I ask sadly and with deep soul-searching, "Who will take Mike's place?"

Thursday, September 5, 2013


"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)

Not long ago, I stumbled upon a strange on-line posting. It included a photo of the residence in Framingham, MA in which my family and I used to reside. (The photo had to have been taken about ten years ago.) Along with the photo was a short article promoting me as the pastor of a church which (supposedly) meets at that residence! (Now, I did pastor a church in Framingham for many years, but I never held church services at that residence!) The thing that really amazed me is that in promoting the worship services I (supposedly) was leading at that residence it stated that I "say mass" there every Sunday! I posted the link to that erroneous piece on my Facebook page with a blurb about how wrong and incorrect its information was!

Shortly after I'd posted about that on Facebook, I heard from my friend (and fellow Canton High Class of 1972 graduate) Ellen Ronayne. She said she'd recently read something about a Congregational Church in Quincy where the author incorrectly stated they had "mass" there! The ignorance of the most basic matters of religious practice, protocol, and decorum by today's average American is, in my opinion, appalling! I honestly wonder if it's the whole business of "taking religion out of the public schools" that's the cause of a lot of this stuff! Granted, in the pre-1963 days, maybe there was too much of the "establishment of religion" in public schools. I can still remember that in the earliest grades, we recited the Lord's Prayer; and Christmas was observed complete with carol singing. Maybe that was a bit extreme, but today's kids learn that "pilgrims are people who go on long journeys" and often learn little or nothing about the religious convictions of the Pilgrims and Puritans, or of Roger Williams and the reason he founded Rhode Island, or of the intricate details of the Protestant reformation, or of a number of basic Bible passages such as the 23rd Psalm that culturally we should all be familiar with, for that matter! So, modern Americans ignorantly believe any religious service for the masses is a "mass"- or at least that any religious service for anyone even remotely Christian is a "mass"!

If you go to Wikipedia and read their piece on "Mass (liturgy)" you'll get some great clarification on the subject. In fact, "mass" has nothing to do with the fact that religious masses are present! The word is from the Latin "missa" which means "dismissal". At the end of the mass, the people were to go out and live out the Christian mission on earth, hence the origin of the name. But "mass" is a term that is never used by most Protestants! It's mainly a Roman Catholic term, although it has been known to be used by Lutherans, Anglicans, and "western rite Orthodox" churches. (I don't have the space or time here and now to explain what a "western rite Orthodox" church is!) In order for a Christian religious service to be a mass it must include "The Holy Eucharist" (that is Holy Communion) according the Roman Catholic theology. Now, this may come as a shock, but not all Protestant churches observe Holy Communion every Sunday morning. Some do, but many do not. In the Assemblies of God, the church in which I'm Ordained, there are a few churches which have Holy Communion every Sunday, but I'd say at least 95% have Holy Communion only once a month. That's also true of most Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, and Nazarene churches. That practice of only once a month communion comes from reformer John Calvin who believed that having Holy Communion every Sunday caused believers to trivialize it. Calvin felt that having it monthly and making kind of a big deal about it would cause the worshiper to be much more serious and devout about Communion.

Now, of course, the Catholic Church believes in "The Holy Eucharist". In traditional Roman Catholic theology, the bread and wine actually become Christ's body and blood. In most Protestant churches, the elements are viewed as symbolic elements; nothing more and nothing less. A serious Roman Catholic would never think of Communion at most Protestant churches as "The Holy Eucharist"! And, a serious Roman Catholic would never think of a Baptist or Congregational or Methodist or Assemblies of God service as a "mass"!

I know that readers may think this all gets too confusing and complicated. Maybe it does. The Bible passage I opened with is from Jesus' conversation with the "woman at the well" in Samaria. She tried to "push her religion" on him, which was indeed pretty different from traditional Judaism, but Jesus steered things back to focusing on really worshiping God and having a relationship with Him. Anyway, I hope I have not "muddied the waters" here but if you're one who calls any Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox service a "mass" I hope this has been food for thought for you!

Sunday, September 1, 2013


"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" (Matthew 6:19-20)

I recently heard a highly respected professor from an ivy league school on a weekend morning radio program giving advice about saving for college and about not spending money foolishly. Ironically, even this man admitted to spending too much money on gadgets and having to have the latest and best of this and that which comes out on the market. This man, hailed as an expert financial adviser admitted that he lacked a certain amount of discipline when it comes to buying what many of us would call "adult toys". I couldn't help but wonder if he couldn't control his spending, how were the rest of us supposed to control our spending?! Our society is so enamored with having to have the latest and newest and best computer or car or television set or (especially) smart phone. What foolish priorities we have!

Early this morning, I was driving along Route 2 westbound in the Acton, Massachusetts area. On this drive, I saw a memorable Cadillac convertible. I am not certain of the model year, but I would guess the Cadillac was either a 1960, 1961, or 1962 model. I know it was not a 1959. The Cadillac I saw had tail fins, but the 1959 Cadillac had giant tail fins- the largest tail fins ever on an American car! No, it wasn't a '59. Frankly, I can barely tell the makes of any cars built since 1985, let alone the model year designations. To me, the cars from 1985 to today are often very generic and unexciting. So many years, makes, and models look bland and alike. The cars from about 1949 to about 1972 are from a golden age of styling when each year and make was a distinct work of art and craftsmanship. I'm one of those people who likes to go to car shows and "oooh and aaah" at the beautiful restored automobiles. This early '60s Cadillac convertible was certainly memorable. It was memorable for the wrong reasons, however! The car was being transported on a flatbed truck. The Cadillac convertible looked terrible! The car was painted a nasty green color- sort of a combination of emerald green and forest green. It was not a professional paint job- it looked like it was done by a 7-year-old! The roof was down. In fact, I think the roof was off! The windshield was smashed. It looked like somebody had hit it with a sledgehammer. The car was truly a hunk of junk. I'm not sure where it was being transported to. My late father would have said about it, "I wouldn't take it if you gave it to me!" Well, I wouldn't either!

Even as a little boy, I noticed cars. Had I seen that car on the road fifty years ago, in 1963, it probably would have been a sharp looking, shiny, impressive and luxurious Cadillac convertible. I would have been impressed to see it. My father never would have brought a car like that home for us to own. We really could not have afforded it. If he had, however, we'd probably have been drooling over it, and been begging to have a ride in the car with the top down. How ironic that today that car is a hunk of junk that almost no one would want. I suppose someone might buy it to try to restore it, but he or she would have my sympathy! That would be a very long and very expensive proposition.

Yeah, I thought about that Cadillac today. It made such an impression that I don't think I'll ever forget it. It left me wondering why we chase after material things, and why we love material things, when one day they will just be junk! How much time and energy of ours is put into stuff that doesn't matter- and when it comes to God and eternity- so many people just don't care!

Yeah, I thought about that Cadillac today and I thought about what does and doesn't really matter.