The Rhetorical World of Ruby

1. I went on a ride in the back of the machine today. Wait, were you driving?

2. Monday is just Wednesday with a fresh coat of paint.


4. The box in question contained shoes for something called PROM. I cannot go to this PROM?


6. Why am I the only one who cares about intruders?

7. I watched the television program with the talking train again. I find Thomas strangely disconcerting. Find something else for me to watch.

8. I lost count of the number of others I saw on the ride. Six, four, a thousand? How long were we gone? 10 minutes? A week? Did I age?

9. All the good science fair projects were taken. Hurley and I are doing some thing with eggs. I wanted to show the expansion of galaxies post Big Bang.

10. You’re not going to the kitchen, are you?


Don’t Stick the Cotton Swab All the Way In Your Ear

There is one basic lesson in ear hygiene.  Do not stick the Q-tip completely in your ear!  The Q-tip isn’t a wax backhoe.  It’s designed for the less sensitive, easy to reach, exterior parts of the ear.  Despite this easy to remember maxim, we humans persist, do we not, jabbing our cotton swabs of death into battle against the brown foes of wax and gunk.

Q-tip rules are ones we learn at a very young age.  This is not the kind of thing society has deemed relevant for the syllabuses of 9th grade health classes. “Today we’ll be talking about how a man has a ‘you know what’ and a woman’s got a ‘thing a mabob’ and the proper method of cleaning your ears with a Q-tip.”  Ear cleaning with cotton swabs should be learned before we know anything about human reproduction, beer, flip-flops, constipation, colors, or osmosis.

On whatever day they taught Q-tip usage I was absent.  I blame my parents.  I was completely home schooled in cleanliness.  I was trying to get advance placement credit in toenail clipping and it wasn’t going well.  If memory serves, I might have skipped to prep for the “Big Toe Final”.  Honestly, I can’t be sure.   I did so much Tinactin in middle school.  How could someone who played no sports at all have athlete’s foot?

Why does it matter that I was absent from ear cleaning day at hygiene home school?  On Monday, I broke a cotton swab right off, plumb clean in my right ear.  I know what you’re thinking.  How did this happen?  Surely, someone with my good looks, bald head, and sock collection knows the one basic lesson of ear hygiene:  don’t stick the q-tip completely down your ear.  I got greedy and cheap.  I bought bootleg Chinese Q-tips on the black market.  Sure, I wanted to save a few bucks. But the narrow diameter of the swabs appealed to me.  They looked like they could bend further and go deeper than the usual, safety tested American models.  These babies could reach places where no cotton swab had ever swabbed before.

My right ear beckoned.  Before I knew it, I heard a snap.  I pulled the Q-tip out and the cotton was gone.  The plastic tubing was broken.  I was deaf as post.  Panic soon set in.

I called for my wife, using both a tone and term of endearment reserved for the direst emergencies.

“Baby, baby, get my Swiss Army knife army and pull out the tweezers!”

“Why?” she asked in a manner more casual than I thought the emergency deserved.

“I think I broke the Q-tip off in my ear and it’s headed to my brain, you got to get it out!”

“Don’t you know,” she said, “you’re not supposed to put it all the way down your ear?”

No, I was out that day.  Same thing happened when they gave out brains.  I thought they said trains and I feared locomotives.

I Need To Be Found (Luke 15:1-10)


Gracious God,
We do not know we are lost.
Nor are we aware of a need to be found.
Our existence,
Defined by our soul’s incapacity to see,
Being marked only by our presence.
This cannot last.
I cannot remain unfound as
One wandering among nothing.
Yet, I am,
Lost and do not know.
A self-misplaced,
Joy ripped from Grace,
Waiting to be found,
Reunited with the forgotten,
By someone who cares enough,
To look.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-5 Ideas for the Church and Christians to Consider


1. When the church is on the side of the status quo, it will fail to be prophetic.  When the church becomes the status quo, it will collapse.

2. If you want the ends to justify the means (in church or other issue), do you find yourself siding with Pontius Pilate during Holy Week readings?  If so, doesn’t that seem strange?

3. If you’re not shocked by the Beatitudes read them again.  If these words don’t blow your mind, read them until they do.  Jesus is turning the world upside down.  Given the entrenched nature of our world (and if you take Jesus’ words seriously), the challenge of living up to what Jesus asks of us should be unsettling at best and frightening at worst.

4. It’s a mystery that we keep referring to God as mysterious. To say God works in mysterious ways borders on a cop out.  This is a way of saying, “We’d rather not talk about God”.  People work in ways aligned in their self-interests; this too is not mysterious.  We simply choose not to understand Jesus.  By this time, we should be starting to get Jesus.  I can spot Jesus’ actions from well over a mile away.  Jesus is so predictable he’s not allowed to play blackjack in Las Vegas.

5. God has a strong distaste for organized religion and ritualized religious practices.  To God, religion is a pretty miserable thing.  How do I know? Re-read Amos 5 and 1 Kings 18. In 1 Kings, God swallows whole, with fire, the sum total of accepted religious practice.  God will not be defined, even by our well-meaning, hand stitched, Cokesbury purchased idolatry.   Churches continue to create practices and traditions despite God’s open disgust and condemnation of our efforts.  We are doing things in God’s name God never said to do.  We are ignoring God’s desire to emphasize relationships and mercy over ritual and religious practice.    Why?  Relationships are hard.  Religion is easy.  Make relationships more important than religion.

If They Don’t Have Hot Sauce in Heaven Then I’m Probably in Hell

Richard's Food for Thought


I love to eat. When I die, I want eternal life to include home grown tomatoes, cucumbers, Neese’s Sausage and hot sauce. If it doesn’t, I’ll know I’ve gone to Hell.  (Is it wrong to want biscuits and gravy in eternity?) Food is important to me. If I’m going to eat, whether at home in a restaurant, I want to enjoy the experience. Who doesn’t? I choose my covered dish dinners by the churches and their resident cooks. Why go if you know they use inferior green beans and French onion soup mix?

So how do I best describe my culinary experiences? Over many years and countless meals, I’ve developed a complex system of responses to rate a meals and dining experiences. Granted, I’m not a professional food critic. I’m a redneck with refined tastes. Here’s my scale of rating meals:

1.  Not too bad. (translation: I’ve died and gone…

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Food for Thought-Common Prayer for Common Places Number 2


Common Prayers for Common Places

place: water fountain

Amigo, compadre, my friend from Nazareth; You talk a great deal about water. I’m riding on a massive boat across water. Our planet is covered in water. But do we ever take water for granted. I can just go to a machine and drink clean water-even in the middle of the sea. How many people can’t do that on land? Forgive me for taking the basics of my life for granted. I know it is so easy to do but shouldn’t helping others be easy as well? Float some Amen my way.

Food for Thought-Common Prayer for Common Places



Common Prayers for Common Places

Place: a ferry

We are on this boat, O God. The water around us is way cold. Divine creator bro, amigo, and compadre; I like the warm comfort of this lounge.  Be with us when we park tightly, breathe air rightly, and smell the sea air which moves us spritely. So, Amen me up some long term flotation love. On my best days, I’m sinking when I’m walking. You are the best.