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.
Four things we can learn from heartbreak.

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.

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.
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!

Moving On

It's been a while since I've written here. Life has been happening the past few months. I have decided to start fresh, so I'm mo...