Marathon Bombs and Baseball’s Best – Lessons on life vs. death from April 15th

Yesterday, as often happens, sport became the backdrop for something larger.  It also happened to be something horrific as Boston blew.  But sport and life were celebrated yesterday too, because April 15th is Jackie Robinson day in Major League Baseball every year.  We do well to ponder, celebrate, and learn, especially this year, when fear is crouching at the door, inviting violence. His story can teach us a few things about the only good way forward.  Here's why:April 15th, 1947, in a Jew … [Read more...]

Torn and Tattered: mutual brokenness as the basis of friendship

"I needed to be back on track. Pity is the last thing you need. Pity is hopeless. Pity is what someone gives you because he is afraid to take care of you. I didn’t need that", said Phillipe regarding why, in spite of 90 highly qualified applicants, he hired an ex-con with no experience to be his care giver after his paragliding accident which left him a quadriplegic.  The story of his relationship with his caregiver, Abdel, nicknamed Driss, is explored in the marvelous movie "Intouchables", pr … [Read more...]

Powers and World Forces: Sugar, Salt, Fat, Coke, Kellogs, Kraft, Coke.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness...." Ephesians 6:12This story on NPR caught my attention yesterday because it came just as I was doing something I rarely do anymore:  stuffing my face with chicken McNuggets from McDonalds while I was driving home from a study day in the mountains.  It wasn't the best of days.  Forgetting the computer cord meant was I done studying (or at least writing my sermon) earlier than I … [Read more...]

The “wish dream” must die! Musings on intimacy from Ruby Sparks

None of you know this, but I write fiction.  Writing bad fiction is a bit like being an omnipotent God, in the most "omni" sense of the word.  I will characters into existence and then shape them to do my bidding, to move my story towards whatever end I desire.  They're protagonists or antagonists.  They're heroes or villians.  They're sexy and alluring or not.  But whatever else they are I know this:  they're boring and predictable. This is because I created them, rather than doing what real fic … [Read more...]

If you give a moose a muffin… and other kinds of repentance

The best children's book series, in my opinion, is the "If you give..." series.  I like it because it speaks to the realities of cause and affect, and the importance of what Peter would call the "day of visitation", but does so in a way that children and even adults can understand.  Each book begins with someone giving an animal something edible, and then this simple act leads to another act, and another act, and another act, until the day is filled with nothing that was originally anticipated.  … [Read more...]

Brownie Points: Colorful considerations of race, class, and community

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.  —PlatoIt's true.  It's also true that the 'everyone' of whom Plato is speaking includes me, and you, and each of us.  This makes his admonition all the more challenging because there are two edges to it: be kind...right in the midst of fighting your own battles.  It's tough to be kind when I'm in the trenches, dealing with my own pains and poverty, be they emotional, physical, relational, financial, spiritual.  I need to work it out, ge … [Read more...]

Brownie Points: Colorful considerations of race, class, and community

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.  —PlatoIt's true.  It's also true that the 'everyone' of whom Plato is speaking includes me, and you, and each of us.  This makes his admonition all the more challenging because there are two edges to it: be kind...right in the midst of fighting your own battles.  It's tough to be kind when I'm in the trenches, dealing with my own pains and poverty, be they emotional, physical, relational, financial, spiritual.  I need to work it out, ge … [Read more...]

Messiah complex and conventional wisdom: a marriage made in hell

Two books found their way into my world this spring, and their convergence has helped me understand why so many pastors are suffering short tenures  (3-5 year average) and physical problems, and the battle each of us in professional ministry must face.  The books are The Time Bomb in the Church and Ignore Everybody.  The former is about pastors who have heart attacks because they're doing too much; the latter is about creativity, which is a big umbrella under which many subjects can find cover, i … [Read more...]


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