Tina the Turken

by on June 20, 2012
in Uncategorized

She isn’t beautiful, but she does look interesting!
She has several names and there are different stories surrounding her unusual profile.
One of her names is “naked neck,” another “Turken,” and another is “Transylvanian Naked Neck.”
She looks like a regular chicken except that there are no feathers on her neck! She has a fluffy body and a fluffy little head, but her long curving neck is bare. She also has half the amount of feathers on her body as other chicken breeds.
One story is that the breed was developed to be easy to kill by wringing the bare neck and easier to pluck the feathers since there are less of them.
Another story is that the breed is a cross between a turkey and a chicken, but no viable offspring can come from those two.
She may have come from Hungary or Transylvania, become popular in Europe, and eventually was brought to America. There is a Turken from Australia that lays blue or green eggs, but most lay brown eggs. She will lay 120 to 180 eggs in a year and, although usually only eight pounds when grown, some raise her for meat.
Our little four week old naked neck will grow up to a calm, disease resistant, good forager, and a chicken who can do well in the hot weather and, surprisingly, in cold weather. I guess you could says the will be a chick for all seasons!
But I keep coming back to the idea that she was bred to be easy to pluck and easy to kill.
Is Leviticus one of your favorite books of the Bible? You can learn all about the details God gave the Children of Israel for the sacrificial system. . . but most of us don’t spend a great deal of time reading Leviticus.
If you do read about the sacrifices in chapter 6 you can find out about the two goats that were to be brought before the Lord.
“Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.” (Leviticus16:7-10)
So what happens to the scapegoat? “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.”(Leviticus 16:20-22)
We enjoy our pets and we often become quite fond of the animals we raise. Can you imagine raising your very best, firstborn animal– whether lamb or goat– knowing that you were choosing it, feeding it, protecting it, keeping it as perfect as possible to deliver it to the priest to be killed.
If your favorite animal was going to be slaughtered and the blood used in the sacrificial system for you to find forgiveness for your sins, wouldn’t the process become much more personal?
What if you had to take the animal you had seen born, nurtured, and took pride in—out into the woods and leave it to be killed and eaten by some wild animal? Sacrifice would become personal.
How can we wrap our feeble minds about the reality of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross that was pictured with every sacrifice made through the years?
How can we ever imagine the depth of love and pain that God endured as He saw His only Son delivered beaten and bruised, but unbroken to the bloodletting cruelty of the cross.
Our forgiveness came at an unbelievably high price.
It couldn’t have been more personal.
We need to get back in touch with the grief and pain and loss of sacrifice, and the intense life taking seriousness of sin.

Anyone for some Pufferfish? or Fugu?

by on April 20, 2012
in Uncategorized

We had heard about it, but never thought we would eat it!
While working in Japan as a Missionary Journeyman for the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board teaching English in a Japanese Girl’s school, my co-missionary, Charlene, and I had many dining adventures!
We found out that refusing what is served at a dinner or snack is terribly rude. Of course, it is rude in America, too, to refuse a dish that has been lovingly prepared or expensively provided. But not to the extent that it is in Japan where the intricate rules of etiquette are interwoven into the culture, the food, the language, and really, everything.
The last thing we wanted to do was insult our friends or co-workers.
So when our school went on vacation (yes, all the faculty went on a vacation trip together on a bus to a lovely hotel in a seaside village) Charlene and I bravely faced the whole fish, eyes, fins, and all, served on a platter decorated with vegetables and flowers for our communal dinner.
I almost felt I had been there too long when I found myself looking forward to my hot rice, raw egg (which was broken over the steaming rice, stirred into the aromatic rice which kind of cooked it, and eaten after dashing in a little soy sauce for flavor), yellow radish pickles, and small blackened dried fish.
Anyway, some of friends decided to treat us to a marvelous, expensive, traditional, famous, and dangerous meal! We were invited to eat fugu sashimi (very fresh, raw fish sliced extremely thin and served with sauces for dipping it into).
We had become accustomed to maki sushi (rolled sushi) and other forms of raw fish (served on a small length of rice with wasabi, a hot green condiment). But we knew a little of the reputation of fugu, or blowfish.
The skin, liver, and ovaries of the fugu fish contain a poison, tetrodotoxin, which paralyzes the muscles. First the lips and tongue tingle and grow numb. Then the person dies from full body weakness, seizures, a coma and respiratory arrest. A thousand times more potent than cyanide, the poison in this fish is nothing to fool around with! Of course, I didn’t know all these facts then.
The Japanese government has set up strict rules for the training of chefs who prepare fugu. First there is a two or three year apprenticeship; then a licensing exam which includes a written test, a fish-identification test, a practical test, and fugu preparation and serving. Only about thirty five percent of the people taking the test pass. So, our friends considered the risk minimal when they asked us to eat with them at a well-known, licensed restaurant to try fugu. Being invited to this expensive meal was considered a great honor.
We sat around on the tatami floor around the low dining table. A lovely lady dressed in a formal kimono brought in our hot tea, rice, and a large platter with the thin, delicate fish slices arranged on it. The platter was white with an intricate blue design which we could see through the fresh fish.
Our friends were chatting and began taking small pieces of the fish in their chop sticks and choosing sauces for dipping and eating the fish. Then they turned to us. Charlene and I looked at each other. So far so good. No one was falling over! And then we ate fugu safely with dear friends and lived to tell about it!
No one was insulted. No one died.
However later we heard about a famous actor who had died from eating fugu! It seemed that because he was so influential he had been able to have a tiny bit of the poison served with his fish. We learned that some diners liked the danger of the slight tingle they got from a touch of the poison while eating fugu. However, he was a bit greedy—and ate a friend’s portion of the very expensive fish. He didn’t know that his friend liked a bit of the poison, too. He died from an overdose since he had his amount plus his friend’s amount of tingly in his serving.
Have you thought about the warning that Jesus gave that could be compared to ingesting poisonous fugu? Jesus and his disciples went across the lake and the disciples had forgotten to bring bread. The Pharisees and Sadducees had just asked Jesus for a “sign” that He was who He was—the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus told the disciples to: “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6)
The disciples were confused and thought what Jesus said was because they had forgotten bread—but Jesus reminded them he had fed the multitudes.
“You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Yeast starts out tiny and spreads throughout the dough to make the entire mixture change dramatically—just as the poison in the fugu can be a tiny amount, but spreads throughout the body to kill it.
Refusing to believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the only Son of God, who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross taking the punishment for our sins, rose again to life, and is alive today as our Savior is spiritual poison more potent than any poison on earth.
“After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.” (John 2:22) They had a happy ending in eternity.
Beware. Be careful. Know what you believe about Jesus.
Don’t be fooled by Satan’s lies no matter who tells them.
(more at www.conniebunch.com)

You Can Be My Daughter

by on April 3, 2012
in Uncategorized

Bless your Heart
Connie Ellard Bunch

We play, we talk, and we spend time doing what she wants to do since I am not with her very much or very often.
My granddaughter, Aeralyn Grace, who will be four in July, soaks up information like a pretty little sponge! When I am able to go see her, my son Daniel, and my daughter in law Jayme, I try to visit with everyone as much as I can.
Since her mama and daddy spend lots of time with her, they are happy for me to take over for them a little bit and play with Gracie.
Gary and I used wood from building the porch to make her some blocks with words printed on the sides. I drew pictures to illustrate the words—words she uses like “Mac and Cheese,” “Grandma Garnette” (Jayme’s mom), and “cat,” “puppy,” “flower,” “bike,” and “Unca Drew’s Motorcycle.”
She and Gary play blocks, and I play blocks with them, and we build houses, and castles, and farms, and walls, and, well, almost anything we can think of. The blocks transform as they are used to be whatever we, the builders, want them to be.
Gracie also loves animals, and at Christmastime I found a set of little dogs, cats, turtles, and more little creatures that went with a pink and white pretend veterinary clinic. The clinic even had little x-ray pictures and a picture eye chart to check the animal patients!
Combining her other toy people and animals, her trucks, and her train, we built a fine imaginary place for the veterinary clinic to be located. Between her doll house and the place she called “cation” which was vacation “at the beach” the clinic waited for its first patients.
“Let’s play creatures,” Gracie says.
“Alright,” I agree, and we start to set out all our stuff.
As we played, Gracie let me know which animal was the doctor and which one was the nurse. She explained how the animal patient had gotten sick, or hurt, and we continued building our imaginary world. There were mama animals, daddy animals, and friends in this play world.
Thinking about relationships, I asked Gracie if she remembered all her granmas. “I have Granma (Garnette, Jayme’s mama), and Granma Jeanette (Gary’s mother), and Granma Susie (my mother),” she said listing them as she continued to play.
“What about me?” I asked?
“You are my nonnie,” she said looking up at me surprised.
“Well, who am I then?” I continued.
This time she stopped playing, looked me in the eye, frowned a little in concentration, and replied, “You can be my daughter.”
I was surprised at her reply. It would be impossible for me to be my granddaughters’ daughter. But have you thought about how impossible it is to be a “child of God?”
Without the miracle of God’s grace, love, sacrifice, and eternal life; our becoming God’s child would be impossible. God even gives us faith and the Holy Spirit to understand and reach out to Him.
Galatians 4:4-7 tells us: “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.”
Amazing! Impossible!
Yet with the death of Christ on the cross and His resurrection—nothing is impossible with God!

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