Category Archives: What’s Brewing At St. Arbucks

What’s Brewing – December 2018

The “Hurry Sickness” is alive and well at St. Arbucks! It is not just because “Tis the season to be rushing!” but rather it’s the daily mood and speed of today’s society.  Remember comic Lily Tomlin’s quote, “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat!”?

As folks, young and old, hurry in and out of St. Arbucks this morning, we pondered the fact that many of us have the “Hurry Sickness”, big time, starting with me. Larry Dossey’s book, “Space, Time, and Medicine” puts it this way, “Just as Pavlov’s dogs learned to salivate inappropriately, we have learned to hurry inappropriately. Our sense of urgency is set off, not by a real need to act quickly, but through learned cues.” Our “bells” have become the internet, Facebook, texts, Instagram, and all the others – yes, even our morning Starbucks! (Quick aside – I recently saw a sweatshirt in St. Arbucks that read, “Sorry coffee, this situation calls for alcohol!”

The “Hurry Sickness” is very contagious, and some of us are actual carriers of it to others! It is easy to catch this illness. There is so much to do, so many events to plan for, so many people to see, and it’s on and on and on. Martin Luther was right when he exclaimed, “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get!” (Well, perhaps Luther didn’t say this, but he should have!”) We, or at least I, build in self-inflicted expectations into our daily lives. The book, “Time Management for Unmanageable People”, by Dr. McGee Cooper, claims that “hurry sickness” is a metaphor for all of those illnesses brought on or exacerbated by stress, rush, and internal and external constant pressure.  She adds:

  1. Messages from childhood tell us that faster is better.
  2. Modern society encourages hurry sickness – it’s everywhere we turn.
  3. Only a conscious effort to slow down will help “cure” us of hurry sickness.
  4. We all need to learn to balance “doing” time with “being” time. After all, we are human “beings” first, and then human “do-ers”.

Take a look at our lives – do we rush to be first in line? Do we get stressed out in gridlock traffic, even though our lives probably will not change if we are 10 minutes early or late? Do we finish each others’ sentences and rush ahead of the story? Do we skip breakfast or lunch to “save time”, or even eat on the go?   Do we not have time to stop and visit with a family member? And on and on!

I am reminded of a Charlie Brown cartoon that shows Lucy telling Charlie what’s wrong with him. When Charlie asks Lucy “What can I do about it?”, Lucy simply replies, “I don’t have the answers, my job is to only point out the problems!”

But rejoice old hurrying people of God! The spirit of our Lord continues to come to us with His reassuring words in Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God”! I do not always listen but we do know through faith that He is there to calm the storms in our lives, and to settle us down with His peace, hope, and grace. He also sends caring people into our lives to help us to “Remember the Sabbath”, to lighten up, to calm down, and to help us to take time for spiritual renewal, solitude, and just plain rest!

Perhaps you have not caught the “Hurry Sickness”. Good for you! The Lord has given you the gifts to help those of us who have caught it to hear the reassuring message of the Lord through your caring, forgiving, and loving actions to us, the hurrying horde! And if you are infected with “HS”, watch for those special people around you like ….little kids, grandparents, spouses, staff persons, and other friends…who the Lord has placed into your life for you to sooth, listen, hug, and forgive!

May this day be a gift to each of us to take a deep breath, thank the Lord for all of our blessings, pray often, sit and do “nothing” for 15 minutes…and while we’re at it, let’s read Psalm 46:10 again and again ….and try not to get caught in rush hour traffic!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – November 2018

Here I am, sitting in a St. Arbucks, one of our world-wide offices, waiting for my friend to arrive. I look around and see fascinating sites that remind me, in numerous ways, of our congregations.  Some of my thoughts affirm and support what is happening in our churches on Sunday morning. Others, quite honestly, do not, and make me wonder why. Let me count the ways as I give you a quick synopsis through these observations:

  1. People are streaming in and out of the entrance in brisk fashion. They seem to be on a mission –to grab their favorite java and get back into their cars to fight the morning rush. No “greeters” needed – these folks know what they are after!
  2. The tables are full of people who are evidently not in a hurry but have a purpose in mind – to relax, to begin the day with a friend, to just enjoy the moment. There is a student working on an assignment. I see two business people evidently talking about their agendas and priorities for the day. There is a woman with 3 little kids, each sipping on something (hopefully not coffee) while the woman tries to keep them quiet. There are two older men in the corner studying the Scriptures together. There is a woman doing a crossword puzzle (who I later find out comes here every morning as a respite before she takes on the task of caring for her 90-something year old Mom.)
  3. I look outside and see 15-plus cars waiting patiently (hopefully) in the Drive-Through lane. A quick 3 minute survey I take shows that 63% of the drivers are women. Not sure what that means, but it is an interesting statistics, eh?! I equate the drive-through line as a modern day confessional booth, a kind-of “Toot and Tell”. Would that ever work in our churches? I ponder….and then I drop that idea!
  4. I wonder how many of our Sunday morning worshippers come to Church with the energy and passion that I see around me here? Evidently these people’s needs are being met and they are committed to doing whatever it takes to meet these needs. I am amazed how Starbucks is providing a quality product, at a fairly high price, to people of all ages, and providing quality service at the same time.
  5. I stop observing for a moment and wonder if I am comparing apples to oranges, so to speak. Come on, I say to myself, get real. People come to worship to praise the Lord, grow in the faith, celebrate the Sacraments, be the Communion of Saints in that place, and to be refreshed by the power of God’s Word as they head back into their world. Here at St. Arbucks we have people focusing on their own needs, their own lifestyles, and their own priorities.
  6. On the other hand, I am observing with my own eyes people of all ages who evidently see St. Arbucks as a “safe place”, a place to build community, a place that accepts them for who they are and even for how they look, a place where relationships can grow, and a place where their needs are being met. Some “take aways” for me as I “ponder anew what the Almighty can do….” is that we as God’s people can learn from St. Arbucks to focus on relationships, model celebrative ways to live, develop safe opportunities to grow, be intentional about “attracting” people of all ages, and to deliver a Message of love and caring, not in the name of Coffee, but in the name of Christ Jesus! Remember the old “Cheers” TV show and their theme song, “….a place where everybody knows my name.”? Now that is something for us to accomplish, at St. Arbucks, sure, but even more importantly in our own “Word and Sacrament” Community, called the Church!

And that’s what’s brewing at St. Arbucks this day!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – October 2018


A recent article in Time magazine (September 17, 2018, Jeffrey Kluger, author)  takes a refreshing look at aging and happiness. Good for Jeffrey!  It’s a creative and affirming article which re-enforces what many of us have been saying around the theme “Celebrating God’s gift of Aging!” 

It reports on a 2006 study of a group of 30 year olds and a group of 70 year olds who were asked which of the two groups was likely to be happier. Both of them chose the 30 year olds. However, when those two groups were asked about their own happiness level, guess what, the 70 year olds came out on top! Other experts on aging have long been reporting that old age is often reported as a time defined, “not by sorrow, dread, and regret, but rather by peace, gratitude, and fulfillment.”

Another interesting tidbit shared is that, perhaps surprising as well, is that the middle-ager tends to be the most miserable, as compared to children and older adults. Life satisfaction tends to follow a U-shaped course, with the youngsters and the oldsters being content, celebrative, and satisfied. This is reported in the book, “The Happiness Curve”, by author Jonathan Rauch. (May, 2018).

What might these statistics and findings say as to how congregations are “treating” older adult ministries? Might these findings be a strong indication that we older adults need to spend more time with the youngsters in order to continue to train and model a more positive and celebrative ministry style of living? Might we oldsters consider how we can model and rub ministry shoulders with our own kids and other middle-aged people to help develop a more positive view of living for and with them? Perhaps we older folks need to be more intentional about changing our lifestyle pace from being “do-ers” to being “be-ers” ; that is, to share our gifts of listening, modeling, coaching, and encourAGING from the sidelines in order for the youngest and the middle agers to learn and develop positive attitudes towards and with each other. Now that could be both challenging and rewarding as we oldsters share the satisfaction we have developed by celebrating and serving others in the Lord!

A final quote from the article: “Yes, death is nonnegotiable…something that can only be delayed, never avoided. It’s a mercy, then, that when we do reach the end, so many of us arrive there smarter, calmer, and even smiling!”  And as we as God’s people move on to our heavenly home, we rest assured that the Lord has used us to serve and to celebrate with the younger, the middle, and certainly with our peers. May we all keep celebrating the joy of aging, in the Lord, whatever age we are!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – September 2018


The questions and discussion these days around St. Arbucks is focusing on the question, “Who are your Heroes?”  It surfaced after the death of Senator John McCain last week. Many tributes continue to pour in in memory of and in honor of Mr. McCain’s service to his Lord, his country, and the world. Young and old, Republican and Democrat, and people from all walks of life and ancestry, continue to hail him as a true servant and stalwart of the U.S.A. and of humility, truth, honesty, and civility. May more leaders recognize him as a true hero and model of humanity at its best!

So back to the conversations around the aromatic atmosphere of St. Arbucks! Why not spend some time these days remembering your heroes, both past and present? It serves as a significant exercise in thanking and praising the Lord for the people who He has placed into our lives. Hopefully, it will trigger in each of us the thankfulness, the memories, and the specific reasons why these people popped into our minds as our “heroes”! Keep thinking now as I recall a few of my own heroes:

  1. Belma Boyer, my 2nd grade teacher. First of all, I must confess that I liked her because I knew that she liked me! She was patient, thoughtful, energizing, and she laughed a lot, with me rather than at me!
  2. Bill Gust, an adult member of my home congregation. I saw him as a hero because he was about the only adult who would actually talk to me before and after worship services. He convinced me that there really were at least some “older people” who liked “younger people”, although I do wish there had been many more Bill Gusts around for me to like also!
  3. Andy Pafko – Mr. Pafko was the All-Star 3rd baseman for the Chicago Cubs. He visited our grade school one day and I was so impressed, first because he was personable and friendly, and also because he was a Lutheran! Imagine that – a star professional baseball player who was actually Lutheran! I “worshipped” the autographed baseball he gave me that day, although my Mom somehow lost it a few years later (But that’s another story!)
  4. Dolores Murray – Dolores was the first secretary I had ever served with in our first parish, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas. She quickly became one of our best friends, support people, and confidant. She listened, laughed, forgave, and modeled what friendship, families, and faith are all about.

There are so many other “heroes” that come to mind for me, but now it’s your turn. Think through your memories and jot down a few of your heroes. Think about why you thought of them, and then thank the Lord for them! What a “Holy Habit” this exercise would be if we would do this regularly to thank God for the wonderful, lovable, forgiving folks that have blessed us on our journey of life! Thanks Lord, for those remembered and even for those forgotten!

The final assignment for us from St. Arbucks is to ponder the question, “Who in our lives today, as well as yesterday, might be “mentioning” our names as their “heroes”? Really? Really! Might it be helpful if we intentionally looked around us to see how we can make a difference in younger people’s lives, right now?  Who needs to see us as a friend, a listener, an encourAGEr, right now, today and tomorrow and into the future?

Well what are we “heroes” waiting for? Blessings on bringing hope, joy, peace, and civility back into our culture, all in the name of Jesus!

Rich Bimler



What’s Brewing – August 2018

The focus of conversation at St. Arbucks this month has been how we older adults can become more engaged and connected with the younger generations. Here is an exciting list of possibilities for you and your friends. Enjoy…as we continue to celebrate God’s gift of aging!


As children and youth head back to school, burdened down with their bulging back-packs, we older adults can also be involved in the “back-to-school” process. Here are some handy hints of activities available for the over-65 crowd . Feel free to add your own suggestions as well:

  1. Offer your assistance at an elementary or high school as a volunteer in a class, in the cafeteria, in the library, or on the playground,
  2. Give a “Welcome Back to School” gift to a favorite youngster in your life, like a Starbucks card, food card, prayer booklet, necklace, or …..
  3. Write an e-mail or note to a young person or two, saying that you will be praying for them.
  4. Contact the parents of a student and offer your support and help to them during the school year.
  5. “Sneak” a favorite student or three some spending money, just between you and them!
  6. For college students, bake some yummy cookies and get them in the mail as soon as possible! They will enjoy your thoughtfulness and it will also prevent you from eating them yourself!
  7. Let them know that you will be praying for them throughout the year…and then do so!
  8. Plan to visit the school, just to say HI, to offer to volunteer, and to meet their teachers.
  9. Enroll in a class yourself so you continue to grow and learn along with your younger friends! Lots of on-line courses, community college courses are available.
  10. Send a selfie to a young friend with an “I’m praying for you” tag line.
  11. Text a special young person once in a while, just to say HI, but do not do it tooooo often!
  12. Ask the parents how their kids are doing and inquire how you can continue to help and support them.
  13. Be a greeter at the local elementary school. If Wall Mart can do it, why can’t you do it also!
  14. Look for mentoring and tutoring opportunities in your local school. As you share your gifts with the students you will receive so much more in return from them!
  15. Encourage other older adults around you to join you in doing these and other activities with you. The more the merrier!
  16. Invite youngsters over to your home when they are out of school – just to chat, laugh, tell jokes, and listen to their stories and challenges.
  17. Take youngsters out for a special breakfast or lunch on weekends or when they have a day free from school. Ask them to tell you about their high points and low points of the week, and then listen wisely!
  18. For grandchildren especially, make plans with them to go on a Grandparent/Young Person Vacation Trip to a destination of their choice during a break or long weekend. Obviously, it is best if you set the financial limits and guidelines of such an adventure! One-on one excursions can be great experiences for all!
  19. Plan to attend as many sports events, plays, concerts, and special events where your young friends are participating. Be the best cheerleader, encourager, fanatic fan you can be, but it is probably not wise to point and shout out “There’s my grandchild – isn’t she the best!” (Even though she is!)
  20. Think of at least one specific activity you can do each week to connect with one or more school age kids, whether they are grandkids, neighbors’ kids, or kids from your congregation.

Free One: Remember to thank the Lord for the gift of children of any age as you continue to encourage and empower vibrant, grace-filled living across all generations, in the name of the Lord!

And that’s what’s brewing at St. Arbucks this week!

 Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – July 2018


The sippers and snackers are a spirited band of saints at St. Arbucks these days! We continue to “solve” the world’s problems with sound logic and common sense. Now all we need do is to convince the rest of the world that we are right!!!

Our discussions recently have centered on marriage, since we have experienced a number of them these past months. Whether the vows are being shared in Chicago, Elkhart, Marco Island, or some other venue, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing – and that is that the Lord is right there with us, to bless, guide and strengthen our faith, family, and friends!

Remember the story about the little boy who heard in Sunday School one day how Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding? When asked what he learned from that story, he said, “If you’re having a wedding, make sure Jesus is there!” What a joy to always remember and remind others that Jesus is with us – not just to make sure that the wine flows, but to be there to strengthen us and work through us as we serve and celebrate our faith!

Our St. Arbuck’s  clan also affirmed how significant it is that both family and friends gather together for weddings to support, encourage, and affirm the bride and groom. Sure, the Lord is always with us. We know that where “two or three are gathered” there He is, in the midst of us! But what a joyful affirmation it is of the Lord’s love and support for the bride and groom when relatives and friends from near and far, make the effort to be there for this special celebration of love and commitment!

One of the scriptures shared at a recent wedding was I John 4:16-17: “We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him. In this way, God is made complete among us ….” This ties in so well with I Corinthians 13:13  – “Faith, hope, love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” What a wedding WOW to hear that love is the “greatest” of these because it is what husbands and wives (and all people) are gifted to give to each other as they daily serve and celebrate their faith. Faith has already been given to us in Christ. Hope is the Promise of God to us for eternal life. Love is the NOW of our faith which is unleashed in us to give and to share and to receive, in marriage, through family, and with all people!

The next time you are blessed to attend a wedding service, watch and listen for the Wedding VOWS and then watch and pray that all wedding VOWs continue to turn into wedding WOWS, in and through the new couple as well as in and through the family and friends gathered around them!

And one more WOW shared at St. Arbucks this day: LOVE in marriage can be summarized in this way:

L – LAUGH – at ourselves; and with, not at, each other;

O –  OOPS – practice and learn to say “oops” as often as possible – to say “I am sorry, please forgive me”;

V – VOICE –Listen to each other, in love. Listen to the Lord as He leads and calls you; listen to family and friends who are around you to guide and direct you; and

 E – ENCOURAGE – Even though the world often says “do unto others before they do unto you”, encourage one another as the Lord encourages you!

Yes, Weddings Vows are lived out through wedding WOWS, in the Lord! May married couples, as well as all people, continue to live in love with their theme being, “One for the other – Both for Christ”! Now that’s what I call a Wedding Wow!

And that’s what’s brewing at St. Arbucks this month….!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – June 2018



Yes, it is true! And you read it here first! The St. Arbucks’ crew has become all excited about a new product that is being unveiled this week throughout the country that will revolutionize the world of communications. No more need for an I-phone, an I-pad, snap chat, face-time, texting, tweeting, or even a Smart (or average-intelligence) phone. This very inexpensive but highly valued new “gadget” is called “talking to each other”!

Perhaps I am over-stating a bit of my frustration and concern about the current trend in how we communicate with each other. And it is not just the younger folks. It is people of all ages. Check out the latest statistics, from the Pew Foundation:  

73% of adults over 65 use the internet or e-mail;

54% of internet users over 65 use social networking sites such as Facebook and 28% do on a typical day;

72% of adults over 65 own a mobile phone;

59% of adults over 76 own a cell phone of some kind.

And on and on!

The point is not that these new communication tools are bad and should be discarded. The problem is rather that our society seems to be relying too heavily on these gadgets. Have you ever tried to have a real conversation with a grandchild who is immersed in her Smart phone as she texts away with someone in the other room? Have you almost been run over on a sidewalk as another pedestrian moves into your space, looking downward attempting to respond to a recent beep from his know-it-all phone?

In some ways we are more connected than ever before in history. In other ways we seem to be spiraling into epidemic levels of loneliness. Joshua Banner, in the Cresset magazine, puts it this way: “Mobile technology promises us the ability to be everywhere and seemingly to be in control of everything. In truth, these devices cause us to be nowhere and in control of very little”. Stated another way, we are becoming masters of “the elsewhere self”.

But, rejoice, Facebook lovers, there is good news! It is called “talking to each other”! Why not begin today and actually take the time to converse verbally with someone close to you?  Go visit your neighbor, and use words! Actually talk to the person in front of you in the shopping line. Greet the mailman with a cheerful, “How are you?” Even if we older adults use more four-letter words, great – as long as they are words like What or When or Oops!

I do not know about you, but I see the Lord best in other people. But how will I ever know if they might possibly see a spark of hope and joy and love in me if I never get out of the car or the house or from behind the computer to let them see for themselves?

Sure, as Martha Graham says, “Misery can be a communicable disease”, but it does not have to be! Share your ups and downs by talking to each other!

Join me in helping to re-invent the Art of Talking! No instructions needed ! Open mouth, focus on a person, and start ….talking! Do not worry about the results. The Lord will enable and empower you and me to be in ministry-range of others as we rub shoulders and share words of love and joy and peace with those people who He has lovingly placed around us.

Altogether now …..1,2,3 ….Talk, and Listen!  Wow, what a product!  Let us pray it catches on!

And that’s what’s brewing at St. Arbucks this month!

 Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – May 2018


Congrats to all of us older adults! This is OUR month to serve and celebrate as the U.S. recognizes aging as a gift to celebrate rather than a burden to bear!  Isn’t it nice of “them” to designate at least one month to recognize us as being significant ?! Our task, however, continues to be enabling and empowering people of all ages to celebrate aging as a gift from the Lord of ALL ages – and on each and every day and month!

In fact, the theme for this Month’s Celebration of aging is “Engage at Every Age!” Very appropriate, don’t you think? I trust that you too are seeing more and more articles, videos, presentations, and that you are hearing more people in your home, church, and community discussing the issue of “aging” with others. It’s a positive sign that we older adults are becoming more of a topic of discussion and are being taken more seriously by people of all ages. There also are more books being written about and for older adults. Check out your favorite bookstore and see what others are saying and reading. By the way, if you’ve read any of these – “The End of Old Age”(thanks Dick Koehneke), “Aging Thoughtfully,” “Disrupt Aging”, and “Vesper Time” (Thanks, Tim Hartner), let me know your reactions.

Here are some further discussion quotes and notes being heard around the St. Arbucks’ tables these days. We really can learn a lot from each other, if we just listen to what is being said!

  1. Ashton Applewhite, speaker/author says it well: “The underlying message of growing old is to lose value as a human being, which is a pretty terrible thing to grow up being! This can damage a person’s ego and future. If we don’t stop and challenge these ideas, they become parts of our identity.”
  2. Another quote heard recently, “The goal is health, not youth; the enemy is disease, not aging”.
  3. How about this one: “No need to search for the ‘Fountain of Youth”. Better to seek out the “Fountain of USE-full ness!
  4. A stinger: “Gains in longevity have occurred, not because of personal choices but because of public sanitation, clean water, and control of infectious diseases.” 
  5. A new term popping up in older adult culture is the concept of “age-friendly churches”! How is your congregation doing? How would you rate your parish in terms of priorities and focus? Who is responsible for older adult ministries in your congregation? If you do not know the answer, what can you do to at least have people start asking the question?
  6. ”Ageism stems for the perception that older people are irrelevant.”
  7. ”There is a devastating mindset among many that “the old” are a burden “the young” must carry.” Neither “youth” nor “older adults” are the problem, but they both are the solution!”
  8. ”We basically discriminate against our future selves!”
  9. It is a positive sign that the term, “anti-aging”, is being dropped by AARP as well as other organizations.”
  10. Let us keep “Aging out Loud” with people of all ages. Jeff Greenberg, New Yorker magazine, November, 2017, says it this way: “Why Ageism Never Gets Old -How to Deal with Aging”: 1) Have the elderly live among and with the younger; 2) Bolster self-esteem throughout the culture to diminish the terror of aging; and 3) calmly accept our inevitable death.

Romans 14:8 is a great way to close our St. Arbucks’s discussion: “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord”!

And that’s what’s brewing at St. Arbucks these days!

Rich Bimler

What’s Brewing – April 2018


St. Arbucks is alive with laughter, giggles, and humor these days as we gather together to enjoy laughing WITH each other and helping people to not take themselves tooooo seriously!  What a gift we have in Laughter! We remind each other of the three emphases:

  1. “And God said, “Lighten Up!” He also said, “I am the Light” of the world, which makes us “lights” also!
  2. Laugh AT yourself first!
  3. Give other people permission to laugh!

As one of our joy-filled friends likes to say, “If you love Jesus, why don’t you tell your face about it!” Sounds a little law-oriented, but it does help us to remember Psalm 126:3 –“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY!”

The St. Arbuck’s gang has developed a “test” to help each other to focus on the gift of laughter. We are happy to share it with you ….and you have our permission to add to it and take from it, as long as it helps people younger and older to laugh more and sulk less! Here are some of the benefits of laughter, in addition to the powerful fact that laughter reminds us that the Lord continues to love and forgive us, regardless of how we look, act, or feel.  Sure, “The Lord loves a cheerful giver”, but He also loves us grouches!

   A Quiz, (with answers) on the Benefits of Laughter

  1. Why does it make you feel good to laugh? Medical folks claim that laughter releases certain brain chemicals, like endorphins and dopamine, to create these positive feelings and actions.
  2. Socially, we use laughter to show others we like them. We are 30 times more likely to laugh when we are with others than when we are alone.
  3. How many calories can 10-15 minutes of laughter burn? Studies show that we burn 40 calories in the process. So, if we laugh 15 minutes a day, we will lose 4 lbs. a year! And that’s without even going to the gym!
  4. How does laughter help our heart? It helps our blood to flow more freely and relaxes our arteries. Sounds healthy to me!
  5. How does laughing help to ease pain? It releases endorphins which is especially helpful to older adults with chronic pain. No, we cannot “laugh our pain away” totally, but it sure will help our well being in the process.
  6. Laughter is helpful to mental health issues. It lowers stress and helps fight depression. I recall one friend’s quote, “I do not have stress – but I am a carrier!”
  7. Laughter is contagious. We have a built-in “laugh detector”. Once we begin to laugh, our “laughter generator” is tripped and we develop the giggles. And then, watch out world– here we come!
  8. Babys’ first giggles that bonds them with their families are generated through smiles, laughter, and tickling, as they learn by watching and responding.
  9. Our early ancestors laughed before they could talk. It is how they communicated and found out who was a friend or foe. Laughter was used as a “sigh of relief” after dangerous situations. Recall the importance of laughter in meetings and other events, especially when tough and heavy-duty topics are being debated.
  10. Free one: Who is the medical doctor who uses humor as medicine? Patch Adams is his name, and he continues to practice his skills at enabling people to laugh their way to being healthy and happy people, in the Lord!

“Happy Laughing” to each of us as we continue to celebrate God’s gift of laughter with and to those who he has placed around us.  When we think of keeping healthy in the Lord, remember the doctor who quips, “Open wide …and say “AH-HA!”

Dr. Rich Bimler

Ambassador of Health, Hope, and Aging (AH-HA!)

What’s Brewing – March 2018

BREAKING NEWS ………A recent study from Germany confirms that drinking beer and coffee regularly increases one’s life span! When this astounding news was shared at our Saturday morning confab, it naturally got the attention of the baristas and regular customers at St. Arbucks!  I also know that it will make my brother very happy as well!

Now that we have your attention, we want to share some conversations, ideas, quotes, and general observations we are experiencing at our local St. Arbucks. We really can learn more by listening to people than by simply talking at one another!

One of our coffee-loving friends shared some scripture with us which he claims provides one way for older adults to deal with younger people. We are sure that he does not understand the text appropriately, but it was cause for some further discussion, as well as laughter.  He read 2 Kings 2:23-25: “From there Eisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you bald head”, they said….He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths…..”

Now we are certainly not promoting this kind of “relationship building” between the younger and the older, and we have encouraged our friend to do a study of this text to see it in the appropriate context. It did, however, raise the issue of how the younger and the older are relating with each other, at home, in church, and in the community. Perhaps we older ones do wish at times that the younger ones would “disappear”, or “keep in their place”, or “not be so noisy”. Perhaps we at times feel discouraged when we older folks are perceived by the younger as being a “problem”, “out-of-step”, or just old “fuddy-duddies”.  I still bristle when someone demeans an older adult through a joke that pokes fun at an older person or when younger people assume that we older ones are all set it our ways and are just “living in the past”.

So, what are we going to do about it? I say, first, let’s do continue to drink our beer and coffee (in moderation, of course!) and be pro-active in spending time with and listening to those young people around us. Why not invite one or two of them to join you at a St. Arbucks (yes, forget about the beer this time!)? Why not seek out a teenager after worship next week and actually get to know him or her a little better by asking how they are doing? Why not spend some time with a grandchild or young neighbor to get their take on their world? Perhaps if we were more intentional about connecting with young people, we wouldn’t have to think about finding some bears in the woods to solve the issue, and we might even find out that these young people will enrich and enhance our lives so much that we will not even have to think about drinking beer or even coffee the rest of our lives!

I am so blessed when I listen to my grandkids. Sarah, college student, sent me a text recently and shared her perception that our society loves “aged cheese” and “aged wine” but has difficulty accepting “aged” people?  She asked why is it that many aging and vintage items in our world are seen as positive and valuable while aging people are often seen as “problems”! Thanks, Sarah, for that insight! Let’s get together and talk more about it!

So, let’s continue to drink our beer and sip our coffee, but even more importantly, let’s continue to keep in “ministry range” of younger people, as we continue to celebrate God’s gift of aging!

And let’s also make sure we understand the context and meaning of 2 Kings 2:23-25!

Rich Bimler