Saturday, June 11, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

It's getting hot here in the sunny South. The high Sunday is supposed to reach triple digits. And, along with the heat comes the humidity. The NBA finals are moving along and it looks like it could go seven games.

On to the good stuff:

Are you a stressed out millennial?
The death of self.
Good article from Tim Suttle.
A picture.
Faking it.

Funny post from the Babylon Bee.
Jared Wilson on pastoral ministry.
fresh approach to education.
Good post from Trudy Smith.
Good post from Cara Joyner.

As it turns out, you can grow your brain.
Just in case you've wondered what Rob Bell is up to.
Dealing with discouragement.
Good post from Ed Cyzewski.
Creative sentencing.

New theory on PTSD.
Bob Edwards on Gandhi's seven social sins.
Standing desks.
Good words from Chaplain Mike.
Jonathan Merritt on the Gospel Coalition and blocking.

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Five Year Plans and Wondering

Last night, I was asked where I saw myself in five years. I had a hard time answering that question for two reasons. First, I'm sixty years old and don't know how a five year plan fits in. The second reason is the simple fact that I have done all the daily, weekly, yearly, etc., goals throughout my life, including thinking five and ten years down the road, and very few of my long term plans have come to fruition.

I used to be one of those who bought the concept of setting all those goals in order to have success in career and life. I had all sorts of plans. Plans to coach at the college level, eventually being part of a national championship program. Plans to have a great impact in the lives of young people through my coaching.
Before that, I had plans to be an Olympic class sprinter.

Anyone want to take a guess at how those goals turned out? If you have followed college basketball or international track and field with even the smallest interest, you will know that I never reached those heights. While I was an assistant coach of a women's basketball team for one year at a small college, and I did spend one year running for a nationally recognized track club, those were quite a bit below where I wanted to be.

I used to be somewhat envious of those I knew who had their career track in mind at an early age and were doing exactly what they had envisioned. They had no deviations from the straight and narrow on their career path, while mine looked more like a drunken sailor on his way back to the ship. Not only did the path take some back roads, it sometimes ran along trails that seemed to go nowhere.

I have come to realize that my journey has not been of my planning or of my doing. I know, some of you may be saying, "Here we go. All of the excuses for why he's not successful." And, you may be right. I beg to differ. I believe long ago, God decided that I was not to do this whole planning, accomplishing, and succeeding thing on my own. I tried. I went to school, earned degrees, did internships, sent out resumes, all those things I was supposed to do. I watched folks less qualified get positions I was wanting. I spent time in jobs that didn't come close to fitting my plans. I never did grab the brass ring.

But, you know what? As I look back on my life, I realize that I wouldn't change a thing. Well maybe a couple of things here and there, but overall not a thing. I have had the opportunity to travel as a part of jobs I had. I have had the opportunity to work with some fantastic people and coach some amazing young folks, whether they were star athletes or not. I have had opportunities to learn some lessons that were life changing. Most importantly, I have had a wonderful wife by my side and the privilege of being a father to two wonderful children, both of whom I had the opportunity to coach. And, I have experienced the love and grace of fellow followers of Jesus that I am grateful to own as my brothers and sisters.

To quote the philosopher, Jerry Garcia, "What a long strange trip it's been." I am thankful for the way my Father has led me through all the twisting and turning. I am grateful for all those who have helped me along the way. I guess it's turned out pretty well. I think I'm looking forward to where the road takes me over the years to come. Should be fun.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

The first day of hurricane season came last Wednesday, and we already had two named storms prior to that. Could be a harbinger of a busy season. The NBA finals have begun. Can the Warriors repeat? It's warming up here in the sunny South and we have a chance of thunderstorms each afternoon.

Enough small talk. On to the good stuff:

Ten worst U.S. airports.
Funny post from Babylon Bee
Christian pop.
Ayn Rand's Mary Poppins.

Daniel Bush on doubt.
Feeding the beast.
Time and space.
Steve Brown on forgiveness.
David George Moore has questions for James K. A. Smith.

This is pretty cool.
Keith Giles on preemptive love.
Five myths about gentrification.
Jared Wilson on play.
Challenging post from Scot McKnight.

Keep your heart safe.
Good post by Chaplain Mike.
Another look.
Carl Trueman on the public square.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

Finally, the weekly links post is back where it belongs. There has been a whole lot of stuff going on in the last few weeks.

But enough about me. On to the good stuff:

Good post from Bruce Hillman.
Good post from Martin Luther. Really.
Funny post from Babylon Bee.
Funny post from the Toast.

No kicker.
This could be a good thing.
Cooking questions.
Garrison Keillor and Christian branding.
This is interesting.

Good post from Michelle Van Loon.
Mike Erich on encouraging one another.
Bob Edwards on dignity.
Church of the Organ Grinder's Monkey.

Good question from Keith Giles.
Power or cross?
7 worst snacks.
Road trip!
Scot McKnight on church architecture.

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

How Long?

This is a poem I wrote recently.

How long?
How long must parents mourn the death of children
Disease, hunger, war, or their own hand?
How long must children watch parents waste away?
Disease, dementia, or simply age

How long must families, friendships, communities be torn apart?
Selfishness and sin
How long must people and nations be destroyed?
Hatred and war

How long must the land be devastated?
Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes
How long must the earth groan?
Belching fire and tearing violently asunder

Creation is broken. It is not supposed to be this way

How long?
How long must we wait
Reunion with loved ones?
How long must we wait
Relationships set right?

How long must we wait?
Creation set right
How long must we wait?
Disease, pain, death ended

How long must we wait?
Anticipating your return
How long must we wait?
Resurrection and the death of death

We long for the way it is supposed to be

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Passing Generation

This past Friday, my father-in-law passed from this life into the next. He had been in an assisted living facility for a year and a half after falling and breaking his hip. A little over a month ago, he celebrated his 95th birthday and it became increasingly clear that his life on this earth was nearing its end. He became unresponsive on Thursday, and on Friday took his final breath.

There has been grieving, as is normal when a loved one is no longer there, but there is also a sense of relief and a knowledge that his suffering is over and he is now completely whole and at peace. There is also a sense that things are now different, as the last of our parents has passed from the scene. This generation has been called the "greatest generation," and there is a sense in which this is true. They defeated the greatest threat to the world up to that time, and came back to build a country that became the most influential on earth.

My father-in-law was a good example of that generation. Charlie left a small town in Iowa to move to Washington, DC and begin a career with the FBI. He began as a clerk, going to school at night to get a college degree in order to become a special agent. This career was interrupted by war and he joined the navy and served in the Pacific as a signalman on a troop transport. His ship was torpedoed by the Japanese and survived a typhoon. After returning to the US, he was promoted to special agent. He served in that position for twenty four years.

After retiring from government service, Charlie spent a few years as head of security at a local bank. I met him after he retired when I began to date his youngest daughter. From the start, I felt completely accepted. I was made to feel like part of the family. For some reason my father-in-law thought I was pretty special. When he moved into the facility in 2014, I hung some plates on his wall. I have a decent eye so I was able to hang them pretty straight without using a level. Charlie was always telling people who came in to see him that I had done such an amazing job of hanging them straight by just eyeballing them. He continually told me what a good son-in-law I was and how glad he was that I had married his daughter. He was always a huge encouragement to me..

Charlie's sense of humor was a source of amusement for all of us. From him, we learned how a crow lights on a limb. We also learned that if you didn't know where someone was, they were probably on a night train to Memphis, and we also learned the answer to the question, "Think all this rain will hurt the rhubarb?" (Answer: Not if it's in cans) My father-in-law, along with my mother-in-law got along very well with my parents, so it was a joy to be able to get to together with all four of them when we visited, and later when all four moved to be near us.

Charlie Parkis is at rest with his Savior. I am grateful for the way he accepted me as if I was his son and for the encouragement he was to our family. He will be missed, but we know we will see him again some day.  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

Sorry the posting has been spotty lately. There's a lot going on in our little corner of the world and blogging has had to slide down the priority pole. I am planning to write a post on some of what is part of our lives right now.

In the meantime, here are some links:

A Bible for everyone.
Family-friendly = Christian?
Is it really about the bucket list?
Kierkegaard and the offense of Christianity.
Pam Hogeweide on golden handcuffs.

Self righteousness.
A different perspective on Donald Trump.
Dialing up a random Swede.
Getting better.
I don't know. This seems like a poor substitute.

Classic imonk post.
Pascal's other wagers.
Good article on being hated.
Putting cats to work.
How many of these are you guilty of?

Messy saints.
Good post from Keith Giles.
Good words from Bob Edwards.
Pogo, the Pilgrims, and us.
Scot McKnight on Kingdom and leadership.

Have a blessed week!