Tom Bolton

Author's details

Name: Tom Bolton
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Hopeful: Repeating On Word, Law and Life — August 31, 2014
  2. Hopeful: I Can’t Resist A Good Challenge! — August 29, 2014
  3. Hopeful: First Things First — August 29, 2014
  4. Hopeful: Caring — August 26, 2014
  5. Hopeful: Alleluia by Randall Thompson and a Prayer — August 23, 2014

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  1. Hopeful: Voting like a Methodist — 1 comment

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Aug 31 2014

Hopeful: Repeating On Word, Law and Life

Original post at

This was the start of my meditation on Psalm 119, which I started in December 2011.  I finished in Spring 2012, but I have periodically been drawn back to this piece over the past few years.

ScripturePsalm 119

How blessed are those whose actions are blameless,
who obey the law of the Lord.
How blessed are those who observe his rules,
and seek him with all their heart,

       On Word, Law and Life

A. Along the Way

Aware, aware, finally aware that the righteous are blessed, those who stay close to the Lord, steeped in the Word, blessed are they.
Alive, alive, we are finally alive as we, wide-eyed disciples, search out our master, search deep into the living–that Word from the beginning.
Aware of the way,
they follow His way,
Active, acting, aware and acting on precepts proscribed and written, carefully acting and awesome aware.
Alleluia and Amen! Obedient, praying, discerning, firming–finding the way,
A student, I study, searching the Word,
Today in Law, in the Word.
Abandoned, yes, once abandoned, no more
Alone, I listen, I obey, I try to obey.
Alive, I too live; alive, I give thanks;
in my spirit, alive; keep me right, o Lord.

(c) Tom Bolton, Tippecanoe, 10 December 2011

I’m planning to repeat a stanza each Sunday for the rest of 2014.

It was a great start with the letter A, I think, with its emphasis on new awareness, and being Alive–in the Word, in relationship with Christ.  I have been blessed in this way.

Tagged: Alive, Psalm 119, The Word

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Aug 29 2014

Hopeful: I Can’t Resist A Good Challenge!

Original post at

Tom Bolton:

This may be my favorite Ice Bucket Challenge.

Originally posted on Unshakable Hope:

Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Top $100 Million in 30 Days compared to $2.8 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 29).

Mary looked at me like I was crazy when I told her that I wanted her to dump a bucket of icy water over my head.
“You might gasp and breathe in water and choke,” she warned. But after a few days of prodding she finally agreed to play her roll in the Ice Bucket Challenge. I was hoping that the ice cold water being poured over my head would cause me to jump out of my chair and run, like my Australian friend, Phil, but (SPOILER ALERT) unfortunately that didn’t happen.

Seventeen years ago, almost a year after being diagnosed with this horrible disease known as ALS, I was asked by MDA to participate in the local portion of the Labor Day…

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Tagged: ALS, Hope, Ice Bucket Challenge

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Aug 29 2014

Hopeful: First Things First

Original post at

Tom Bolton:

Here is another great story from the Desert in Pastor Irvin Boudreaux’ blog this past week.

Originally posted on A Pastor's Thoughts:

Abba Abraham told of a man of Scetis who was a scribe and did not eat bread. A brother came to beg him to copy a book. The old man whose spirit was engaged in contemplation, wrote, omitting some phrases and with no punctuation. The brother, taking the book and wishing to punctuate it, noticed that words were missing. So he said to the old man, ‘Abba, there are some phrases missing.’ The old man said to him, ‘Go, and practice first that which is written, then come back and I will write the rest.’

—–Sayings of the Desert

Paul August 24I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to…

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Aug 26 2014

Hopeful: Caring

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On a Saturday morning in early 2012, I had been reading Matthew and John 13, and then went to Isaiah. I left with these thoughts in my poetry.

                                      We Care

Sunset 1
I was startled today at the many voices in the text–
so many accents, so many tones under the words–and
Then there was one voice, a unity, one trinity.
We came back from the dessert, refreshed, and in the dim pre-dawn,
A light has risen again!
I turn to God early this morning–once again! Thank you.
Near the kingdom, already past midnight, already past deep sleep,
the oil was gone, some lamps now dry.
Awake, what day is it? What hour?
We do not know, and we learn to lose caring.
We are here for the suffering, the lonely.
Barbara called me one day before and I forgot her.
We care for her now.
Maria-Anne heard my voice this week, and forgot me at once.
We find her and lift her up.
We care for her.
We left some too long alone in hospitals.
We care, even when we forget, and return late at night,
Early in the day.
The rough voice, the smooth words, the academic words, the lawyer words,
The words blend to one this morning.
We care for the weak, the prisoners of life, the prisoners of selves,
And we lift the cross as best we can.
We care.
At what hour? Who cares?
Beneath the cross, we care for ones we left years ago.
We return and we care.

© Tom Bolton 17 March, 2012.

Tagged: Caring, John 13, one Trinity

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Aug 23 2014

Hopeful: Alleluia by Randall Thompson and a Prayer

Original post at

I very much enjoyed this video of undergraduate engineering students in the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology, Surabaya, Indonesia.  I love the presentation of this wonderful chorale by Randall Thompson.

I also want to share this prayer from Dr. Vicki Morris, who just finished volunteering in  an Ebola treatment center in rural Liberia.

Morris said she was amazed by the people of Liberia. “They are not stupid or evil—I know you see a lot of things in the media that make you think otherwise, but they are just amazing people.”

She noted many Liberians think Ebola is God’s punishment. She said she told everyone she met, “God hears your prayers, God loves you.”

Morris said the experience changed her and she is still thinking and praying about what she is supposed to do next.

My prayer, every day, is ‘God, send help.’”

Read more about the work of volunteering in Liberia at the United Methodist Church website.


Tagged: Alleluia, Dr. Vicki Morris, Ebola, Prayer, Randall Thompson, Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology

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Aug 19 2014

Hopeful: In Quiet

Original post at

(I was reflecting on Galatians and reading Bonhoeffer when I wrote this.)


                 In Quiet, Reflecting

Today I look in a mirror, and I see there
Brother Dietrich behind me at ten o’clock,
and I’m learning to listen, and
I’m joyous in this community–even when disappointed in us–
and I see too John Wesley and
others who teach me now and across time.
Solomon teaches me too and I wonder if he had the lessons deep inside him, and outwardly he taught us in sound bites.
Was the kingdom firmly in his grasp?
In silence, I listen, and now my friends
question my silence.
Walking beside those who hunger and ache,
I listen, and briefly boost them up.
They seek answers from me, but I have
only a few answers, and I am simple.
Paul is by me too, and he has polished his arguments.
I am simply here, simple in argument.
Like those around me, I love the carols;
all through each year, I love these carols.
God worked extraordinary miracles through Paul.
He spoke extraordinary truths through
these around me, and through Jeremiah and Job.
I do little:
I listen,
and I sing praises of God all my life.
He upholds the oppressed and the lonely
all the time.
He feeds the hungry and visits the prisoners.
How many kinds of prisoners may we find here?
With Teresa, he teaches us to smile
and to give blessings to the blind and hurting.
He loves the lonely, the poorest of the poor.
He is with us in these lowly places, preaching on a mount.
God blesses us in our silence and our listening.
God blesses His servants!
He offers us grace and peace when we listen.
Grace and peace:
Are there any better gifts?
If I were trying to please neighbors,
I would no longer be Christ’s servant.
Let me listen and serve in this
community, this blessed community, this day.
In my fogged mirror, let me see still those who
guide me, and listen and serve.

(c) June 28, 2012, Milwaukee

Tagged: Bonhoeffer, Galatians, Paul, Quiet, Religion and Spirituality, Wesley

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