Monday, December 28, 2015

Stuck in the Middle

Warning: Political post ahead.

Back in the 70s, Stealers Wheel had a hit song titled, "Stuck in the Middle With You." Now, I am not going to refer to any particular presidential candidate or candidates with, "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right." Although, the process of picking a nominee does seem to be a circus.

It seems that politics in the United States has become more polarized over the last thirty years. Both major parties have moved further to the right or further to the left, and the middle seems to be a no--man's land where few dare to go. So many campaigns for public office are telling voters how terrible the candidate on the other side is rather than presenting positive policy ideas. Policy debate often devolves into attacking the other side in order to win.

Politics has become more and more like a war, where one side is trying to gain ground and ultimately defeat the other side. There is little room for working with those across the aisle with a willingness to take the best ideas from all sides in order to actually govern.

What really bothers me is what I see on social media and hear from those who call themselves followers of the King of Kings. I have no problem with Christians being involved in politics, but when you see and hear some of the nasty and unloving things that some Christians say about those who disagree with them, it seems that some have forgotten that their allegiance is to be given to Jesus Christ, not to a person or party. There are many examples of political parties saying what Christians want to hear, and then disappointing those Christians by neglecting to follow through.

I believe there is a middle way in much of what is facing the country today. Many of the problems do not lend themselves to easy answers and could use ideas from many sources. I also believe that this would be a good way for Christians to be involved. Instead of working for the benefit of a party or ideology, maybe we could do the hard work of asking how the Kingdom of God would tackle the problem. Admittedly many things that government does are exclusive to a kingdom of this world, but there are areas where Kingdom values can be brought to bear.

At the very least, we who follow the Prince of Peace can keep our political leanings from causing us to vilify those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Sestina for Christmas

This is one of my earliest attempts at poetry from a few years ago.

It's the time of year we call Christmas
A time we spend with friends and family
It's a time for us to worship
We worship a baby
Who was born in a stable
But do we worship the King?

The child who came was born a King
Do we just see a baby?
Who do we worship?
During the time we spend with family
In this season of Christmas
Who do we see in the stable?

It was strange there in the stable
Not the usual place for the birth of a King
But there was the baby
His mother welcomed him to the family
We call this Christmas
Who do we worship?

There is only one worthy of worship
He lay in a stable
Surrounded by his family
At Christmas
We too often forget the King
And focus on the baby

It is wondrous that he was a baby
Born in a humble stable
So we celebrate at Christmas
Who do we worship?
A King?
Or an infant in a human family?

Yes, part of a human family
Born a baby
In a stable
He is more. He is King
He is worthy of worship
At Christmas

As we celebrate Christmas, surrounded by family
Remember that we worship much more than a baby
Born in a stable. We worship the King!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Birthday Reflections

As of today, I have completed my sixth decade on this earth. I remember, when I was young thinking that sixty was so old. I don't feel that way anymore, except when I get out of bed in the morning.

It's been an interesting journey so far. As a wise man once said, "What a long, strange trip it's been." It's not been a story for the ages, although there have been many moments that were memorable, at least to me. As I look back I see a life that was just a little bit outside of what some would call normal. Of course, what is normal?

Like everyone, I have had highs and lows. I have been married to a wonderful woman for thirty five years now and that union continues to be a high. My two beautiful children are happily married and are making their own way in the world. Looking back I see that my family has always been the best part of my life. I have had good jobs and bad jobs. I have lost good jobs and bad jobs. While I never got what I thought was the dream job, I've always had the sense that I was in the right place, even if I was there in order to learn some lessons. I have had good friends through the years. Some continue as friends, others have been lost and replaced by better friends.  I have been hurt by people and learned to forgive. I have hurt people and I hope they have forgiven me. I have learned from each of them.

I have traveled through the Christian landscape, from fundamental Baptist circles where I didn't quite fit in, to a small Presbyterian church where I feel love and acceptance. Along the way I dabbled in Reformed Baptist, non-denominational, simple, and house churches. I have been fed up with church and ready to call it quits. I have gone from being an advocate of attractional worship that uses music to bring in a crowd, to believing that it is in intimate community that we really are formed into the likeness of Jesus.

As the years have gone by, I have become far less convinced that politics can make lasting change, and far more convinced that being an agent of Jesus' Kingdom is the only thing that can. I have grown less tolerant of those who are convinced that their way is the only way, and that those who disagree are the enemy.

I have traveled the back roads on this journey. I have not been been successful in business, have not built any empires. I have not been named man of the year, or been roasted in front of a large crowd. I'm not famous. Hopefully I'm not infamous. I don't really care about all that stuff. I do hope that I have touched some lives in a positive way, that I have made a difference in a small way, that others have seen a bit of Jesus in me.

Sixty years. It does seem like a long time. But, it's not enough. In many ways it feels like the start, like there's much more out there. Maybe with all the advances in medical science, I'll have sixty more. Who knows?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings is going to be on hiatus the next couple of weeks. I'm going to try and post some original content and maybe some reposts as well. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

The first two weeks of December are in the books. The big news was another mass shooting, this one evidently the work of Islamic terrorists. I don't know if stricter gun control laws would have prevented this, although I do believe some way needs to be figured out to keep massive arsenals out of the hands of certain people.

Here is the good stuff:

Who knew pillow fights could be so dangerous?
There seems to be a shortage of chefs.
The first Black Friday.
Good Advent post.
Just coffee?

The gift of identity.
Good question.
Some things are meant to be not shared.
Good story.
Learning from failure.

The cult of likability.
A good story about a program that is helping.
This is probably not a good thing.
An article in favor of proselytizing.
Rules, rules, rules.

Mallory Ortberg on Charlotte Bronte.
Jeff Clarke on God's love.
CJ Green on the cycle.
Donavon Riley says sin is boring.
Jonathan Algner on the liturgical calendar.

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Thanksgiving day has come and gone. We had a wonderful time celebrating with some dear friends. We skipped the madness of Black Friday and now it is the weekend again. With all the stuff that is going on around the world, it's hard to pick one thing to talk about. It seems we are getting more polarized here in the United States and few seem to even want a solution. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.

Anyway, on to the good stuff:

This is a good story.
Good for him!
Good article on family dinners.
Banning the Lord's Prayer?
Not one of our better exports.

Good post from John Frye.
I am thankful for this church as well.
Laugh! It's good for you.
To the crazy ones.
This is good!

Chad West wants to be distracted.
When it's hard to be thankful.
This is interesting.
They just go together.
I'm glad this is happening.

Preparing for a new church year.
Giving forgiveness.
The ones Jesus loves.
Dead end.
Go marveling.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Pilgrims and Community

The other night, we watched an episode of The American Experience that dealt with the Pilgrims and their settlement at Plymouth. It was interesting and brought out historical facts that will cause one to look at the whole story a bit differently.

According to the program, many of the things we have been taught about the Pilgrims, including some of their writings, are not totally accurate. It is true that we have tended to romanticize them and turn the settlement of New England into legend. It is also true that these settlers, whom we have made almost mythical characters, were actually frail humans with the same foibles and failings as the rest of us. Knowing that makes their story all the more interesting and inspiring.

One of the striking characteristics of the Pilgrims was their desire to live life together in community. They attempted to follow Jesus as the early church did and developed a love for and commitment to one another. The Pilgrims were not perfect in their attempt to be the church. They were suspicious of outsiders who did not see things the same. They were forced to accept non-Separatists as part of their settlement. Like most people of the time, they saw the Native Americans as savages. They succumbed to the temptation to close ranks and focus on themselves, rather than reach out to those around them and be a blessing to them.

Jan and I are part of a faith community that attempts to live our lives together and disciple one another. We too are not perfect and sometimes our attempts at being the church falter. Other times they move forward in fits and starts. It is a messy business and sometimes we hurt and are hurt. Most of us seem determined to stick with it because we believe it is the best way to live this life as followers of Jesus. Learning more about the Pilgrims' community helps me have hope.

In spite of the frailty and failings of the Plymouth settlers, some great things came from them. The Mayflower Compact was an example of people who thought differently coming together to form a community. The persistence of the Pilgrims made the later settling of New England possible. While they may have been fallible humans, their strong faith is inspiring. In spite of the messiness of their community, the Pilgrims were greatly used by God.

I need to remember that God can do great things in and through our community, as well as other communities, in spite of the times we fail and fall on our faces. Don't give up. You never know how God is going to us you.



Thursday, November 26, 2015

Give Thanks

How's that for an original Thanksgiving post title?

Psalm 136 begins with the words, "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever." (NLT) The psalmist then goes on to describe this LORD to whom we give thanks, using terms such as God of gods and Lord of lords. The writer also describes God's actions in creation, delivering Israel from Egypt and giving them the Promised Land, and providing for his people. Each description is paired with the declaration that his faithful love endures forever.

As I was reading this Psalm, I thought how comforting this Psalm is. The God who created everything, who brought all things out of nothing,  who is powerful enough to miraculously deliver his people and set up and take down rulers; that God is the one whose faithful love endures forever. The God who provides food to every living thing is the one whose faithful love endures forever. The LORD who is above all other gods, his faithful love endures forever. God is faithful. This is the one who can not lie. He is the one who is described as faithful and true. God's love will never fail.

So, if this faithful love comes from a God who is sovereign over all and mighty enough to accomplish his purposes, what does that say to us? To me it says that no matter what happens in my life, my Father's faithful love is there. Think of the absolute worst thing that could happen. Even that can not remove God's faithful love. We live in uncertain times (then again, who has ever lived in certain times?). There is a lot of fear, much of it unfounded. We don't need to fear. The Creator of all things loves us with a faithful love that endures forever. As Paul says, there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from this love.

Give thanks to the LORD for his faithful love that endures forever. It is this love that brings us all the blessings we can think of. Fear not. It is this love that will bring us home.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

It has become a bit chilly here in the sunny South. The low temps are supposed to be down into the upper 20s the next couple of days. The political climate has become more chilly too, with the debate on accepting refugees gets more heated and vitrolic. There is probably a good solution to the issue, but right now it seems to be buried under the rhetoric. I guess we'll see how it plays out.

On to the good stuff:

Evidently,some Americans' feelings toward immigrants are not new.
Turns out pop music is bad for you.
Did you think the song was about you?
Chaplain Mike on pastoral care.
What we really need.

Good post from First Things.
The exhaustion of outrage.
Good post from Keith Giles.
Jeff Clarke on what God is like.
Classic post from Michael Spencer.

Jonathan Storment on gluttony.
If you're going through hell.
The decline of writing.
Turns out there is a war on Christmas after all.
Being like Jesus in a polarized culture.

God of second chances.
Upside down kingdom.
Friendship.
Giving up control.
Bob Edwards on contentment.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Church Signs: Don't Look Back...

A church near us has a sign up that reads, "Don't look back. You're not going that way."

In one sense, I agree with the message. We shouldn't live in the past and should focus on what is ahead of us each day. The Apostle Paul said that he was forgetting what was in his past and looking forward to what God had ahead of him. It is true that many times we long for the "good old days," tending to romanticize the past. We also tend to use our past as an excuse for our actions in the present. Looking back can be detrimental to living in the present.

On the other hand, I believe there are times when looking back can be beneficial, even necessary. It's been said that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. We can learn much from the experience of others. We can also learn much from our own experiences. Much of what we call wisdom is simply learning from what has happened in our past.

Sometimes our problems in the present are caused by our refusal to look at our past. Rather than confronting things which we have done or which others have done to us, we bury them and move on. Except we never really move on. Like a bad horror movie, those things which we think we have buried come back to haunt us. Not forgiving someone who has sinned against us can cause problems with present day relationships. Not dealing with past abuse and putting it behind a wall can cause any number of problems. Sometimes our own past actions can affect our lives if they are not dealt with.

Like Paul, we do need to look ahead to what God has for us. Sometimes we need that to make it through our day-to-day. But there are times when we need to look back. When driving a vehicle, it is necessary to occasionally check the rear view mirror to see if we can safely change lanes or to see if any danger is coming up behind us. Sometimes we need to check the rear view mirror of our life.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

It's the first weekend in November. The leaves are changing and dropping to the ground. Christmas decorations are popping up on houses and in stores. I think it's too early, but no one is asking my opinion. Our little town was in the national news last night. The Democratic presidential candidate forum was held at Winthrop University, here in Rock Hill. I didn't watch the forum, as we were spending the evening with a few friends.

On to the links:

Good post from Karina Kreminski.
The deeper message of Charlie Brown.
This is pretty interesting.
Answering the phone.
A guide to evangelical lingo, Part 1.

Good post from Chaplain Mike.
The irreplaceable Father.
Spellbooking the Bible.
Singing lies in church?
Instagramming the sin of omission.

DIY spirituality.
A guide to colloquialisms.
Identity and reinvention.
Good post from Keith Giles.
Waiting on God.

Zack Hunt on football and prayer.
The challenge of culture.
Missing piece.
The unknown sea.

Have a blessed week!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Blast From the Past: 1 Corinthians 13 for the Elections

This is usually a post for a presidential election year, but I think it works now because the division and anger seems to be in high gear a year ahead.

If I speak with a silver tongue and can sway hundreds, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all polls,
and if I have a faith that can move political mountains, but have not love,
I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the national committee
and surrender my time to run a phone bank, but have not love,
I gain nothing.

Love is patient with those of the other party.
It is not jealous of opponent's fund raising,
it does not boast of its candidate, it is not proud.

It does not rudely argue political points, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered when others disagree, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in negative campaigns
but rejoices in the truth.

It always protects the reputation of Christ, always trusts God is in control,
always hopes for the best, always perseveres in living as a disciple of Jesus.

Love never fails. But where there are campaign promises,
they will be broken;
where there are silver tongued orators,
they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge of how to govern,
it will pass away.

For we have partial knowledge and we govern with that knowledge,
but when the True King comes, imperfect government will disappear.

When I was a partisan, I talked like a partisan,
I thought like a partisan,I reasoned like a partisan.

When I recognized who the True King is,
I put partisan ways behind me.

Now we see but a poor reflection;
then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Another week has come and gone. Pray for the folks in Mexico who have been hit by that historic hurricane and the folks in Texas who are facing more rain and flooding. In lighter news, the Mets and Royals meet in the World Series. I was kind of hoping the Cubs would win it all this year just because it's been so long.

Anyway, here are the links:

Jeff Clarke on contemporary worship.
Peacemaker or pain-avoider?
Changing the world, or not.
Good post from Jared Wilson.
What makes us hope for more?

Good post from Steve Brown.
Good question from Matt Applying.
Unbalanced?
This would be interesting.
Morally overconfident?

Antinomianism?
Out of ammo.
Good post from Bob Edwards.
Halloween classic from Michael Spencer.
White belts.

Your best story, now!
Possessed?
Chaplain Mike on Galatians 2:20.
Thought provoking post from Zack Hunt.
Dan Edelen on civil religion and Christianity.

Have a blessed week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Problem With Community

Community is a wonderful thing. It is how we make disciples and how we grow in the Christian life. But, there is a problem that happens when followers of Jesus come together to live in community. The problem is that there are not that many people who really want to be in community as Scripture presents it.

Most of us have an idealized picture of what Christian community is. We see it as an idyllic place where we are loved and accepted completely and there are never any disagreements, at least any that may lead to someone being hurt. We may see community as simply a group of friends, while the real work of the church gets done on Sunday. We have what Bonhoeffer called "wish dreams," utopian visions of community. These wish dreams are extremely dangerous, and can eventually kill the community. These idealized pictures cause us to try to center community around something other than Christ and to attempt to keep it going by the sheer force of our wills. I can attest, from personal experience that centering community around anything other than Jesus and what he has done for us will cause the community to crash and burn, with the resultant "loss of life."

Community is messy. I may misunderstand you or disappoint you. I may offend you or hurt you deeply. You may do the same to me. We will disagree on things. Sometimes those disagreements may be heated. None of us are perfect. Anyone who knows me knows how true that is. Sometimes though, we forget that and are ready to run at the first sign of conflict or the first hurt feeling. Some will say, "That person yelled at me and totally misunderstood me. I'm leaving." Or, " He wounded me deeply. I can't be a part of this anymore." While there may be times to leave a group if things are bad, many times the leavers have had their picture of community shattered and don't want to deal with the messiness of trying to work things out. Maybe hard things need to be said or heard. That is part of living as the family of God.

Others will say, "I'm just not being fed. I need a good preacher to feed me." Good preaching is a part of our growth in Christ, but it is only a part. I would argue, and I think Scripture would bear this out, that the intimate gatherings of God's children, whether in Missional communities, small groups, or one to one, do more to facilitate spiritual formation than even the best preaching or teaching. It is in the interaction we have with our brothers and sisters on a daily or at least regular basis that shape us. It is in those times that we learn how to follow Jesus in our day-to-day. As we spend time together, we see how others respond in certain situations. The times of disagreement and the times we mess up should be the best times to learn how to love as Jesus loved us and how to extend the same grace we have been given. The troubling times should be the times that actually form us more into Christ's image and draw us closer to one another.

To do that though, requires us to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. We don't like to do that because we may have tried and been ground under the heel of someone we trusted. It's hard. I've felt like I had my heart torn out and stomped on. Add that to the fact that we are basically selfish and living in community looks pretty hard, even impossible. That's why it has to be centered in the gospel. We are called to be people who repent, who forgive, who seek reconciliation, and who willingly lay down our lives for others. We can only do that if the Spirit has formed our community and gives us the power to live as a spiritual family.

It hurts when people leave. May our communities truly be places where the gospel is lived out and where God's kingdom comes.

World Vision Wednesday

It's not too early to begin thinking about Christmas, and what to give that special person who has everything. Consider a gift from the World Vision Gift Catalog.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

It's a beautiful fall weekend here in the sunny South. Yesterday, Jan and I spent the day at the farm of one of our friends, drawing with a group of artists. Jan did a good job on her drawing, and considering it was only about the second time I've really tried to draw anything, I didn't do half bad either. While our state is drying out, the folks in California are getting much needed rain. The problem is that the ground is so dry that the rain ran off and caused flash flooding and landslides. Hopefully they'll get more rain at a slower rate.

Here is the good stuff:

David Moore interviews Scot McKnight.
Sweden is going cashless.
Interesting, and disturbing.
Good article from Thom Ranier.
Son of a carpenter.

The neverending workday.
A poem.
Excellent post from Stephanie Phillips.
Waking up with Leah.
7 strikes.

Fathers and sons.
Letting go.
Just what is purpose?
Is there a tiny church movement?
Good question from Zack Hunt.

A prayer from Michael Spencer.
Lamp.
Just stories?
Which character are you?
Good post from Chaplain Mike.

Have a blessed week!

Monday, October 12, 2015

1 Corinthians 13: More Than Just a Sentiment

1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most widely known passages in the Bible. It is known as "The Love Chapter," and is well loved. Many times it is read at weddings and is often used in premarital counseling. I think, though, that most of the time we miss the whole picture.

This chapter is set down in the middle of a section on spiritual gifts and the use, or misuse by the Corinthian church. The letter was written to a congregation that had a number of serious issues, issues that would be enough to cause many church leaders to quit. There was immorality, dissension, and arrogance. There were factions, and the people didn't do a very good job of treating each other right. They were more concerned with their own spiritual gifts and using them for themselves than they were with loving their brothers and sisters.

It is in this context that we find the Love Chapter. Think of it this way:
Love is patient...with that person who just doesn't get it.
Love is kind...to that jerk who thinks they are God's gift to mankind.
Love does not envy...the success of that one who always gets everything they want.
Love does not boast...of my success.
Love does not dishonor others...by gossiping or slandering them.
Love is not self-seeking...even when I'm not getting my way.
Love is not easily angered...even when someone tries to tick me off.
Love keeps no record of wrongs... even when it keeps happening again and again.
Love does not rejoice in evil...even when we think they deserve it.
Love rejoices with the truth... and glorifies God.
Love always protects...because we are family.
Love always trusts...even when he has blown it again.
Loves always hopes...even when she is a hopeless case.
Love always perseveres... even if it's taking forever.
Love never fails...the greatest of these is love.

As an old song used to say, love hurts. It hurts to love people who are not all that loveable. You may get your heart torn out and stomped on. Loving our brothers and sisters is not for the fainthearted.

But, without love, we are nothing.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

The last two weekends have been extremely busy, so the links post took some time off. It is cooling down here in the sunny South and fall has arrived. Last weekend's rain put much of our state under water and there are a lot people who lost everything. Dams have been damaged and there is more water coming from the mountains, so the devastation may become worse. Pray for those folks.

On to the links:

A heartwarming story.
Bacon. 'Nuff said.
Maybe they were wrong.
And then, there's coffee.
The blessing of belonging.

Living the thug life in Oregon.
Don't waste that food!
Good post from John Frye.
Irony obsession.
Come home.

Guilt hangover.
Getting ready for the end of the world.
Art critics.
The Withertongue Emails: Part 1.
Don't think this is a good thing.

Drinking games.
Halloween do's and don'ts.
Good post from Jeff K. Clarke.
Sounds like an excuse to me.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Love Revival

I know. It sounds like the title of a Motown song. It's the best I could come up with.

A number of Christian groups are seeking revival. Of course, revival means different things to different people. To some, a revival would mean a return to the morals of the past. To others, it means an increase in charismatic activities. Still others are looking for a revival of adherence to doctrine.

While a revival of some of those things may be a good thing, I believe what is needed is a revival of love. The vital importance of love is a theme that runs all through the New Testament. In the gospels, Jesus tell is that the two greatest commandments are, love God with all our being and love others as we love ourselves. He later upped the ante when he said to his followers that we are to love our brothers and sisters as he loved us.

The Apostle Paul said that we can perform all sorts of good and even spiritual acts, but if we don't have love we are wasting our time. He also said that what counts is faith working through love. Peter tells us to love one another deeply. It is hard to read through any of the apostles' letters and not find commands and encouragements to love one another. We are commanded to love more often than anything else we are told to do. It seems that love is something that God thinks is pretty important.

I believe the Church needs a revival of love for God that is shown by following Jesus and doing what he commands, and a revival of a love for others that is self-sacrificing and lays down our lives for others. It was said of the first Christians, "Behold how these Christians love one another." Stop and imagine with me. What would the Church be like if those of us who claim to follow the one who laid down his life for us really loved God and didn't just talk about it? What would it look like if we laid down our lives for others and were known for our love rather than what we were against.

I for one, would love to find out.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

World Vision Wednesday

Because clean water is a necessity of life, World Vision is planning to spend 500 million dollars over the next five years to provide water in places where there is little to none. For more information about the program and to learn how you can help, click the link. You don't have to have 40 million dollars either.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Little Update

It's been an interesting year plus around here. In June of 2014, the journey took me down on of those side roads. My father-in-law fell and broke his hip. That same day, I left my job as a teaching assistant. By the end of that summer it became clear my father-in-law would not be returning to his home. I became his representative for his financial and healthcare affairs.

There have been a few ups and downs on the emotional rollercoaster, as his health worsened, only to be followed by a rally, followed by a downturn, followed by another rally.... You get the picture. He has been under hospice care for a few months, and is still hanging in there.

Most of the heavy lifting has been done regarding his estate, so I was freed up to look for a job. Three days ago I began a part time job driving a bus that picks up people and takes them to work, medical appointments, or school. It is part of a county agency for the aging so the fares are low or free. I think it's going to be good. Because it's part time, I'll be able to continue to do some of the things I have been doing as well as continuing to help my father-in-law. Because most of the folks I'll transport are on the lower end of the economic scale, I'm looking at it as a way of serving the least of these and loving my neighbor.

 It will be interesting to see where this back road takes me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

World Vision Wednesday

In developing countries, child marriage is still a common occurrence, with one out of every three girls facing marriage before age 18. For more information, check this out.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Another weekend is upon us. Football season has begun, baseball is winding down, and it won't be long before basketball starts up. For those of you who are not sports fans, it's pumpkin everything season. It seems there is a way to put pumpkin spice in just about anything. To each his own.

On to the links:

This is becoming a real problem.
A sobering essay.
This is coming.
Computers and reading.
So, "quality time" is not the key after all.

Missed opportunity.
John Frye is imagining.
Legalism, doctrine, and moody theologians.
Politically correct "Lord of the Flies."
Marilynne Robinson on fear.

Keith Giles on our biggest problem.
A Socratic dialogue.
Michael Spencer on theology.
Zack Hunt is heartbroken.
Good article from Donavon Riley.

Dan Edelen on wrestling with God.
Just stop.
I want one of these!
Evidently, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Finally, on the anniversary of his passing, something from Rich Mullins.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Well the last tropical storm to appear in the Atlantic didn't turn out to be anything to write home about. I kind of figured that, with a name like Fred, it would be a force to be reckoned with. Oh well. Not every thing or every one can live up to the name. Refugees continue to pour into Europe, trying to escape the horrors in the Middle East. The picture of the little boy on the beach was heartbreaking. Hopefully it will spur some action on behalf of the refugees and people will look beyond themselves and their biases.

On to the links:

Taking marriage seriously.
Great story.
Let's hear it for Iceland!
Revenge?
Good article from Jonathan Merritt.

Just follow.
Steve Brown on fear.
Peter Leithart on evangelical films.
A story from Daniel Emery Price.
The science of forgiveness.

Repentance.

Terry Pratchett quotes.
The Walmart stores' issues convinced me.
I guess getting everything you want isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Good post from Mike Erich.

Sacred tears.

Keith Giles on immigration.
Good post from John Frye.
Chaplain Mike on good works.
The Streak.

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Blast From the Past: "Come To Me, and I Will Give You..."

This was first posted on June 14, 2011.

Rest? I know that's what Jesus said, but how many of us really live like he has given us rest? How many of us have learned "the unforced rhythms of grace," as The Message puts it. For many of us, the first thing we learned when we became a Christian was that there were certain expectations that we were to live up to in order for God to bless us, or at least in order to stay in the good graces of the group. Some still live that way, and are burdened by a load as heavy as the one the Pharisees put on the Jews of Jesus' day. Others have broken away from that bondage but taken on another heavy burden, the burden of "proving" how free they are in Christ. Even if we are not burdened by Pharisaical rules or by a need to prove our Christian liberty, we may have a hard time simply resting in God's grace and mercy.

One of the things that the Father is teaching me is that he loves me, my family, and my friends dearly, and that his heart is good toward them. He takes care of his children. Even though I have seen the hand of God numerous times as he takes care of us, I am having to constantly be reminded by my Father that we are all in his arms, and that it is not my job to do what only he can do. I can only do what God has called me to do as a husband, father, and friend. I cannot change anyone's heart. I cannot make them do what I think they should do. I can't heal anyone. I can't provide jobs. Only the Creator of the universe can do that.

I am learning that the only thing I can do is love them, pray for them, and give them any help that I can. As I do those things, I have to rest in Abba's love and grace and trust him to do what is good. When I am able to do that, it brings a peace and contentment that is not there when I try to do God's job or worry about how he is carrying it out. As many times as I've seen that played out, you'd think I would have learned that lesson well. I am learning it, but I still have a ways to go.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

This week, a large load was removed from my life as we closed on my father-in-law's house. While he is still alive in an assisted living facility, not having to be concerned with the house is a big relief. Now, all I have to do is find a job. Piece of cake, right? Elsewhere, the 10th anniversary of hurricane Katrina happened. It seems that, while a large part of the city of New Orleans has recovered, there is still a bit of that city, and other areas, that have not. Another storm is heading for Florida, after causing damage and loss of life in the Caribbean. With just a little over a month left in the hurricane season, I wonder how many storms we'll end up with.

Anyway, here are the links for the week:

Cell phone rules.
Blizzard baby boom.
This could be a problem.
This is interesting.
So, the Bible is Donald Trump's favorite book?

When potato salad is outlawed, only outlaws will have potato salad.
A man just can't get away these days!
A parable from Keith Giles.
Steve Brown on love.
Thought provoking post from Zach Hoag.

Don't be boring.
Moving on.
Are you having a moment?
Where the wild things are.
Random thoughts of foodie cookie monster.

Can the way you eat pizza show your personality?
Good post from Sarah Condon.
Wisdom and "God-talk."
Good post from Daniel Jepsen.
Since I'm currently unemployed, maybe I should try this.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Inside Out

A little while ago, Jan and I went to the movie theater to see Inside Out. The reviews were pretty good and a few people that I know had seen it and liked it, so we decided to give it a try. We both really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it. I thought the film had a good message that is relevant to those of us who follow Jesus.

In the movie, Joy was the leader of the emotions rolling around in the lead character's head. The other emotions were Anger, Fear, Disgust, and Sadness. As the main character, a girl named Riley, went through different experiences in her life, the emotions all had a part to play. The only emotion that was sometimes shut out was Sadness. Joy was so dominant that she wouldn't let Sadness do much of anything. As the film progressed, the girl and her family moved to a new town. Somehow, in spite of the best efforts of Joy, Sadness touched some memories and things began to rapidly deteriorate. At one point Joy and Sadness were sucked out of Riley and Anger was left to run things. Things went from bad to worse, until Riley decided the only thing to do was to run away and return to her former hometown.

As Joy and Sadness desperately searched for a way to save Riley, they went through a wide range of memories and things that had happened in her life. Finally, Joy realized that the only way to save Riley was to let Sadness play her part. That caused Riley to become sad and, in that sadness, return to her parents. As happens in most movies, everyone lived happily ever after. Joy realized that Sadness had an important part to play in Riley's life.

I think that lesson is something that many Christians need to learn. We tend to want joy all the time. Our worship songs speak of how wonderful it is to be a Christian. "There is joy in serving Jesus." We are told that the world out there needs to see us happy and "joyful" so they will want what we have. Some of us are told that bad things happen only because satan is attacking us, and we need to believe and rise above it, in effect pretending that we are not hurting. It is implied (and sometimes stated outright) that if we are sad, there is something wrong with our faith.

That way of thinking is contrary to so much of what we see in Scripture, and has not been the experience of God's people through the ages. Even a quick reading through the Psalms shows a range of emotions, from joy and gladness to sadness and despair. A number of Psalms are songs of lament, asking God why evil happens to good people or why the wicked prosper. Most of those do end in confidence that God will act and that justice will be done. There is always a sense of trust in God even in the midst of deep despair, but the psalmists are always honest about their feelings. God's people have always faced trouble. Jesus told us that we will have trouble in this world. We live in a broken world with broken people. The difference is the knowledge that our Father is in control, even when tragedy strikes.

By denying any of our emotions, we deny our humanity. We also deny our own brokenness and our own need of a Savior. By denying grief, we deny the opportunity to experience the deep comfort of our loving Father, and the chance to comfort others who may go through the same things. Life is not all sweetness and light. Evil still is active in the world. Sin is still around in us. There will be plenty of opportunities in life to experience sadness and grow from it, just as there will be plenty of opportunities to experience joy and happiness. We are citizens of a kingdom that is now, but not yet. Now we still must deal with grief. Someday all our tears will be wiped away and all sadness will be gone.

Until then, grieve when it's time to grieve. Grieve well, as those who have hope. Rejoice when it's time to rejoice. Rejoice well, as those who have hope. Don't put on a happy mask and deny the sadness. Give space for the Spirit to do his work through everything that comes into life. Be a whole person.        

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

It is actually beginning to cool down here a bit in the sunny South, while triple digit temperatures continue out west. I'm sure we'll have some warmer days before fall settles in. Forecasters are predicting a cooler and wetter winter for much of the Southeast. Maybe cities need to start stockpiling the things necessary to clear roads of snow and ice. You know, those things they never have because it doesn't snow that much.

Here is the good stuff:

The best representatives money can buy.
Things are tough, even for the tooth fairy.
Interesting article about hummingbirds.
Bad lip reading.
I bet he didn't expect this.

God in one word.
War on faith?
Good post from Jessica Thompson.
Steve Brown on freedom.
Ending homelessness in America?

Wrong people.
Banksy.
Behind the curtain.
Modeling slow.
Good post from Matt Appling.

Pete Enns on his favorite part of the Old Testament.
More than meets the eye.
Perspective.
It's hard to believe it's been ten years.
Good post from David Zahl.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Football season is upon us. The NFL has begun the preseason, colleges are getting ready to play, and the high schools have had their jamboree scrimmages. If it seems as if it's too hot for football, it is. But that's the way it goes.Parts of the country continue to suffer because of drought, and California is pretty much on fire. Pray for those folks. In China, explosions and fires continue in Tianjin, while the government denies that they have ordered evacuations, even as people evacuate. Schools go back into session this week here in the sunny South, increasing the morning traffic.

Now for the news you can use, or at least enjoy:

This is good news.
As is this.
How to lose your freedom.
Why church history matters.
A list worth checking out.

The heart of a slave.
Who's your father?
A review of The Fellowship.
Portraits of forgiveness in film.
Homework.

Sounds like an interesting time.
Odd and fascinating houses.
Classic post from Michael Spencer.
Are you bored?
Oikonomia.

A man's world?
Good post by Allan Bevere.
Good article from Jonathan Storment.
Good question from Dan Edelen.
Vocation as holy ground.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, August 14, 2015

How Quickly We Forget

A few weeks ago, the nation was shocked at the senseless murders of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The next day, many were shocked at the forgiveness extended to the shooter by the families of those killed. The shooter, Dylann Roof, carried out his crime in an effort to start a race war. While there was not widespread violence in the country immediately afterward, I fear that, in some way, the killer succeeded.

We seem to have forgotten what we saw that day when the families forgave the man who had so brutally taken their loved ones from them. What we saw was the result of the gospel. Those who realized they had been forgiven much, forgave much. The media and many of the politicians noted what was an extraordinary event, and then moved on. Moved on to the controversy surrounding the decisions to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state capital in South Carolina and from other public buildings as well as stores and on-line marketplaces. Those decisions brought out rebel flags by the thousands, by those who believed it was their right to fly the flag regardless of what others may think or feel. Add that to the already tense climate caused by a number of police involved shootings (both as shooters and as victims). It seems as if the divide between the races has been widening in recent weeks. There is much rhetoric by people on either extreme that is designed to keep things stirred up. Very little is said about coming together in a spirit of  reconciliation to attempt some healing. There is not a great deal said about having a necessary hard conversation about the state of things in this country. It seems that the majority is simply interested in proving that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

I can understand the lack of desire for forgiveness and reconciliation from those who do not claim to follow Jesus. Those concepts are foreign in a world that tells us to demand our rights, to fight back, to make sure the other gets what's coming to them. What pains me is the number of people who claim the name of Christ and carry on in the same manner as those who don't. If an individual claims to be a Christian, why would they post on social media things that tell others that they are going to continue to fly the flag, or whatever action that their "side" is taking, regardless of what others may think, forgetting that some of those they may be offending are their brothers and sisters in Christ. I really don't believe that is something that shows others the love of Christ. We of all people should be at the forefront of attempts to bring reconciliation. We should be the first to, in the words of Jeremiah, "Seek the peace and prosperity" of our city. Maybe we have no interest in reconciliation outside of our immediate area because we have not practiced it in our families or churches. It's far to easy for us to simply uproot ourselves and leave family or church, and not attempt the hard work of repenting, forgiving, and reconciling.

All this is in spite of clear commands from the One we claim to follow. Jesus tells us we are to love our enemies, forgive those who sin against us, seek to be forgiven by those we sin against, and seek reconciliation and peace with others. We are called to love others as Jesus loved us. In fact, love and forgiveness are so important that they are the distinguishing marks of a Christian. Jesus said that it is those who are forgiven much who love much. I don't know about you, but I certainly have been forgiven much. When we think of the lengths our Father went to in order to reconcile us to himself, how can we do anything less than forgive and seek reconciliation?

Scripture says that judgement begins at the house of God. It's time we take a look at ourselves.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Another week has zipped by. The Republican candidate circus had its first performance this week. Not exactly must see TV, but parts of what I saw were interesting. The summer days are waning, and school will soon resume. This will be the second year in a row that I will not be returning to a school, and to be honest, I don't miss it.

Enough about me. Let's get to the good stuff:

You know those polls about religion? Turns out they are not all that accurate.
This might be interesting.
Saving the bees.
Not funny!
New and different video game starring one of the Mario Bros.

St. Francis on Instagram.
Hopelessly devoted.
The reports of grace's death are greatly exaggerated.
Fear and trust.
Why is this not surprising?

Beautiful pictures!
Are office buildings too cold? It depends.
Zack Hunt on Puddlegum.
Jesus or Nietzsche?
Some Irish proverbs from Kansas City Bob.

Jared Wilson on the gospel.
Matt Appling on Millennials and faith.
Depression and delight.
Broken people.
Michael Spencer on arguing.

Stats.
This is friendship!
Sound familiar?
Going into the wilderness.
Thoughtful post from Arthur Sido.

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Church Signs: We Are Not Closed

In my travels driving a shuttle bus for a local camp, I pass a church that has a sign out in front. Over the years they have put up some interesting messages, some of which have been fodder for my blog posts. Early in the summer, there was no message on the sign. The sign remained silent for a number of weeks, and I began to look for signs of life each time I drove by. Evidently I wasn't the only one who wondered if they had gone away. Just recently, a message appeared advertising their vacation Bible school. At the bottom of the message was an addendum, which read, "We are not closed."

As usual, the wheels in my head started to turn. I started thinking about what people would say if a particular church closed. Maybe it would be useful if we asked ourselves, "If my church closed, would anyone notice? If they did notice, why would they notice? What difference would it make?"

Would folks notice because the Sunday traffic in their neighborhood suddenly dwindled? Maybe the sudden ease of getting a restaurant table on Sunday afternoon would catch their attention. Would the people in your city take notice that they are no longer harangued by people yelling at them, telling them how wicked they are? Would your neighbors notice that you are no longer there, and rejoice?

Or, would your city discover that you are gone, and mourn? Mourn because there is now a gap in the care for the poor in that city. Mourn because there is a lack of salt and light in certain areas of the city. Mourn because the church was a place from which people went out and brought the kingdom of grace, love, and shalom to their city.

There are other questions. If your church closed, would it, should it make any difference in how your city is blessed? Do you need an organization or program to love your neighbors or serve those less fortunate? I know that there are things that are better accomplished by larger groups, but do we need them to love others and be good neighbors?

Let us, as individuals, shine our light and love those around us as Jesus loves us. Let us, as groups of Jesus followers, band together to be a blessing to our cities. Let us take the words of Jeremiah seriously and seek the good of the city in which God has put us. Let us live such lives as would cause those around us to be glad that we are there, whether as individuals or as part of a church congregation.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Year-Round School?

A few weeks ago Bob Edwards suggested that I write a post on some of the ins and outs of year-round school. I am not an expert on school and the pros and cons of having the students go year-round with more breaks rather than have a long summer break. But I am a blogger, and I can give my opinion on anything. Right? I have had a bit of experience in education, twenty four years as a student, and thirty three as a teacher and coach, so my opinion is not totally uninformed.

There are a number of arguments in favor of year-round school. These include having shorter breaks throughout the year that are supposed to help retention of information, keeping kids off the streets during the long hot summers, and providing a place for working parents to put their children. Given the current cultural situation in the country, those could be compelling reasons. School districts around the country have instituted year-round school, in the elementary schools at least, and the results seem to be positive. When the students get to the upper grades though, there are a number of factors that I believe will hinder a broader use of a longer school year.

In a lot of areas of the country, particularly those whose economy runs on tourism, the businesses depend on a supply of teenagers who are on summer break to fill their openings. Some states have pushed back the start of the school year in order to allow those students to work the entire tourist season. The economic benefits of a long summer break would be awfully hard for those areas to give up. When I was coaching, one of the big benefits of a summer break was the opportunity to go to summer camps at colleges. These colleges were also on their summer break, so they could concentrate on the camps, which are a great recruiting tool as well as allowing the teams to work on their skills. A shorter summer break might not affect that so much, but longer breaks during the school year would make scheduling athletic seasons very interesting. In some areas of the country, sports such as football or basketball are nearly a religion, and one tinkers with that at great risk.   

It seems that a large part of American culture is built around  a school year that begins in mid to late August or September and runs until the end of May or middle of June. I think it can work in the lower grades, and possibly in the upper grades as well, but I'm not sure the majority of the people in the country are ready for the adjustments it would cause.

Just my thoughts. What do you think?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Happy first weekend of August! The summer break is winding down for students and teachers, and the long break called the school year is gearing up for the parents. It is still warm here in the sunny South, and we may break the record for most days with temps in the 90s. Baseball is heading toward the postseason and football is getting ready for the start of the season. I believe we went a whole week without another candidate entering the presidential race that's over an year away. Amazing.

On to the good stuff:

Abandoned, yet sacred.
Letting go of our baggage.
Learning social skills starts early.
Re-directed art.
That's one mean turkey!

I don't think this qualifies as "heritage."
The list.
Good news, not good advice.
Bullies.
A to-do list.

Good question from John Frye.
Damaris Zehner on rights.
Curve balls.
Lines.
Kingdom at the table.

Nothing.
Dan Edelen on plans.
Two robberies, two responses.
Good post from Keith Giles.
Community.

Have a blessed week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

World Vision Wednesday

For the last three months, World Vision has been helping with the relief effort in Nepal. While a great deal has been accomplished, there is still much more to be done. Check the article for information on how you can help.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Five Fred Facts

My blogo-friend Bob tagged me in a meme a while ago. The first part is to list five facts about myself.

1. I have been blogging for about ten years.

2. Mamie Eisenhower once held me in her arms (at least that's what I was told). Really! I was three years old and was at a Christmas party at the White House with a friend of the family who worked there.

3. I have competed in, and coached eight different sports. Soccer, football, cross country, basketball, volleyball, baseball, golf, and track.

4. I have learned to enjoy gardening and am constantly looking for creative ways to redo the outdoor space at our house.

5. I am a beach bum at heart, but I also enjoy being in the mountains. Different things at each place speak to me in different ways.

The second part of the meme is to tag other bloggers. Since I don't know how many bloggers actually read my blog, if you have a blog and are reading this, consider yourself tagged. Let me know in the comments so I can check your five facts out.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

It's a beautiful weekend here in the sunny South. After a couple days with temps near triple digits, it is a bit cooler. The race for president is heating up and looks like it's going to be quite the circus. That's my political statement for the week.

On to the good stuff:

Body by God.
Good post from Jared Wilson.
This is interesting.
Damaris Zehner shares a poem.
Good post from Mike Erich.

"A cohort of wonder."
A letter from Matt Appling.
Sabur.
Four things we can learn from heartbreak.
Humility.

Radical freedom.
This is an excellent post.
I know a couple of folks who would like this.
John Henryism.
Is Harper Lee a prophet?

Good article for church leaders.
I bet there are a few folks who are nervous about this.
You think you dread going to the dentist?
We should all see our marriage vows this way.
Chaplain Mike on Kansas and Oz.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Blast From the Past: A Place to Be

This was first posted on March 14, 2011.

 The language arts class in which I assist just finished reading Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli. Because I leave halfway through the class each day, I was only able to catch bits and pieces, but I was able to get the basic idea of the book. It's about a boy who is orphaned at age three, and spends the next few years of his life trying to find a place to call home. He bounces from place to place, never allowing himself to feel comfortable at any one of them because he is afraid to settle in, afraid to let himself get too close, afraid of losing anyone else.

As we finished the book today, I started thinking about how that is so like those of us who follow Jesus. We're afraid. Afraid to let others get too close, or to get too close to them. We're afraid that we won't be accepted once people discover the real us. I think our biggest fear is the fear of being hurt. I know that fear personally, and there have been times when I have tried to not get too close to folks in certain groups, because I have been hurt and don't want to get hurt again. I understand those who have to deal with that.

I believe that these fears are one of the reasons churches are not what they could be. Many are looking for a safe place, but they don't let themselves get too comfortable or too close to the people in a church. In a large church, they can hide. Eventually though, they will get the vague feeling that something is wrong, that the church is not meeting their needs. They will then look somewhere else, like Maniac Magee. Unfortunately the cycle will continue to repeat itself, or they will give up on the whole church thing altogether. Or, they may come upon a small to mid-size church that bills itself as a place "where people matter." They soon find out that people matter as part of a program, not as individuals. Conflicts may happen, and then, out they go. Some spend their whole lives looking for a place to belong.

Even those who are part of simple churches are not immune to these fears. Again, they are perfectly understandable. If one of the goals of a simple church is to know and be known, there will inevitably be conflict. Too many folks have the idea that if they can just "do church" the way the early church did, all of their problems will be solved. Have you read the letters the Apostles wrote to the early churches lately? It seems that a large part of those letters were written to address problems that the people were having with each other. I have yet to be in a church where a man was sleeping with his father's wife.

Anytime we deal with people, there will be conflicts. Life is messy, and the deeper we let people into our lives, the better the chance that we will be hurt. That hurt makes it hard to believe that we are safe, that it is really possible to live in community. Some return to the old routine of moving from place to place, never allowing themselves to get comfortable or to love again. Others will give up, and try to go it alone. Both approaches have problems. The first puts us right back into the system that hasn't produced the community that many look for. The second forgets the fact that the Church is the Body of Christ, that we need each other as the body needs each of its parts. When a limb is amputated, the patient experiences a phantom limb, feeling pain in a part of the body that isn't there. The same thing happens in the Body of Christ.

Living in community is hard. The conflicts happen, and the wounds they leave are real, and sometimes deep. I don't believe the answer is to hide our hearts deeper, or refuse to be vulnerable again. Loving and being loved is hard, messy, and painful. It can not be accomplished in our own strength, it can only be done in the power of the risen Christ, the One who has told us to love each other as he loves us.

Be encouraged. Community and love can happen. It is what Abba wants. It is how others will know we belong to Jesus.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Welcome to July! It has been pretty warm here in the sunny South here the past couple of weeks , although the temperatures have moderated a bit over the last three days. Next week they are predicting highs near triple digits. I am thankful for air conditioning. Does anyone remember the days before central AC and AC in cars? I do. It seems like the message of grace and forgiveness that was proclaimed by the survivors of the Charleston 9 has been quickly forgotten as people on both sides are showing what really amounts to hate. This weekend the kkk (and yes I put it in lower case on purpose) is having a rally at the SC statehouse. A lot of folks are saying everyone, including the media, should just stay away and not give the tantrum any attention. I think I agree.

On to the links:

10 reasons for pastors to avoid politics
Ahh, memories.
The smell of rain.
Gifts of the Puritans.
Crowdpounding.

This could be interesting.
This. Just because.
God's favor? Really?
This is good.
Chaplain Mike takes another look.

Steve Brown on freedom.
John Frye on comfort.
Oh, good gracious!
I think I'll see if our town will put this in place.
Daniel Jepsen on grace.

Pretty cool tattoos.
Good post from Frank Viola.
Four reasons for contextualizing.
Good book review by Scot McKnight.
Great question!

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Gosh, it's been a long time! It's amazing how quickly a month can go by. A lot has happened in the last few weeks. Jan and I celebrated our 35th anniversary. The US women won the World Cup. South Carolina removed the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds. Kanye West is now the greatest rock artist. All of the above statements are true except one. Can you guess which one?

On to the links:

Historic day in South Carolina.
Church in bed.
Good post from Sarah Condon.
A different kind of World Cup.
Good post from Steve Brown.

He loved first.
A different look at Independence Day.
Tree church.
This is interesting.
Is it the culture?

Interesting article on aging.
Redefining greatness.
I've never seen anything like this before.
Crossroads.
Daring to forgive.

This is unbelievable!
Dan Edelen on fear.
Zack Hunt on the Church.
Putting on the new man.
Eight elements of creative people.

Have a blessed week!



Weelend Wanderings

The first weekend links post of autumn is here! The weather is beautiful here in the sunny South. It was fifty degrees on our back porch thi...