Yesterday evening I gathered with a small group of people (via Zoom!) to discuss last Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, heightened political tensions in our communities and within our families, and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our personal relationships. Within our group there were deep feelings of anger, disappointment, anxiety, sadness, exhaustion, embarrassment, numbness, and fear. I too have felt all of these emotions, especially over the past week. I have even struggled to put pen to paper regarding it all-not because I am unsure of what I think (my thoughts are quite clear on these matters) but because I haven’t found a way to cohesively and affectively communicate those thoughts.Continue reading “Truth Over Power and the Attack on the U.S. Capitol”
The following is a work of fiction based upon facts found in letters written by my grandfather to my grandmother while he was stationed in France during World War II. I’ve written before of a French family whose lives were forever altered by the quick, ruthless act of German soldiers. This letter contains that story.Continue reading “A Soldier’s Letter Home”
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
I’ve been thinking a lot about the birth of Christ recently, specifically about the Incarnate God stepping into such a harsh, unforgiving, and inhospitable world and how He continues to love that world even when it is actively and aggressively opposed to Him. I’ve also been thinking about the cancel culture in which we now live, specifically about the growing Christian cancel culture.
For those unfamiliar with the term cancel culture, it is the idea that those who offend us should be immediately ostracized. Those with questionable or controversial opinions should be boycotted or outright cancelled. This does not just apply to large companies or local businesses, but to individuals, to friends and even family members. Then in our outraged state, we surround ourselves with only the people who think what we think, value what we value, and live as we live—we throw out, block or cancel everyone else from our physical spaces and our social media as if their value was dependent upon what they thought or said and not in the fact that they were created in the image of God.
I tend to agree with Anne Lamott in thinking, “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” I will go one step further an add—you cannot claim to welcome the infant Christ into your hearts and homes at Christmas, or any time of the year for that matter, if you are unwilling to welcome, love, and be in relationship with people who are different from you or with whom you may disagree. What we do to the least of these we do to Christ.
I have mentioned once before on this blog that in the wee hours of the morning after I’ve had a cup of coffee and spent some time in prayer, before anyone else in the house is awake, I log onto my computer and teach online English classes to children in China. I originally took the job to make some extra money, but in the process of teaching I have developed true relationships with these children and their families despite the fact that we do not share the same language, culture, political or religious beliefs—we don’t even share the same physical space. All of the things I once thought were necessary to develop and maintain a relationship with another person are absent, and yet I have still come to know, care for, and love these children and families as if they were my own. Without even knowing it, they have challenged my thinking and opened my eyes to a world of beauty. A poorer person I would have been for sure had I not come to know them.
Friends, we have been called to a greater love and freedom, one that is not bound by fear and judgment or any agenda except the well-being of another. It is for your benefit, as well.
Welcome the infant Christ into your hearts and homes this Advent.
You are free to love because He first loved you.
When I fantasize about a joyful Christmas morning I picture a large, freshly cut fir tree blanketed in white lights and homemade ornaments with neatly wrapped gift boxes filled with video games, designers clothes and shoes, iPads, and jewelry spilling from beneath the tree’s limbs. I imagine a large, happy family snuggled up by a roaring fire watching old movies and sipping hot chocolate without a worry on our minds. Our stomachs are full. The bills have been paid. We have everything we could possibly need. All is merry and bright.Continue reading “All is Merry and Bright”
Just about everyone I’ve talked to over the past week has mentioned they are struggling with anxiety of some type- either a dull, underlying yet persistent pain you can’t seem to pinpoint the source of or an intense, end of the world feeling. You’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop and everything to come crashing down. Either way, anxiety is all the rage these days.Continue reading “Anxiety: It’s all the Rage”
I’ve written before about discovering the letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother while stationed in France and Germany during World War II ( you can read about them here, here and here), and what a treasure it has been to read through those letters. They’ve given me a window into the past that history books, or even news articles from that time, could never offer. I’ve learned about their personal hopes and fears, what they saw, and how they managed each day. I’ve read those letters dozens of times, and they never get old to me. They make me feel close to grandparents in a way I never did while they were living.
It occurred to me the other day that it would be such a shame Continue reading “The Quarantine Writing Project”
The rug has been ripped out from beneath us, and we are on the brink of the unknown. We who once imagined ourselves invincible, with our medical advancements and (at least to some extent) our economic security, are now terrified and in the grip of grief. Continue reading “Man’s Search for Meaning”
If there is any generation that understands the darkness of fear and uncertainty, the feelings of helplessness, and the temptation to despair that we now face Continue reading “In the Face of Darkness”