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”
A Soldier’s Letter Home
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”
Happy New Year!
We’ve finally made it to a new year! Virtual high-fives all around!
With a New Year comes New Year’s resolutions for many. If one of your resolutions for the year 2021 happens to be growing closer to Christ, learning to hear His voice speaking directly to you, or even beginning to spend time alone with Christ for the first time and you don’t know where to begin, I’d like to encourage you to check out the podcast Renewing the Center.Continue reading “Happy New Year!”
Surviving When the Holidays are Hard
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With the immense loss of lives, jobs, and financial security along with feelings of isolation and uncertainty—overwhelming fear even—of what the future holds, these words may ring hollow this year. For many, the joy and excitement that once filled the days leading up to Christmas have been replaced with anxiety, loneliness, and sadness. Grief. The holidays are hard.Continue reading “Surviving When the Holidays are Hard”
The Birth of Christ and the Cancel Culture
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.
A Prayer for Advent, 2020
Quarantine Writing Project (QWP)-1
As promised here is my first journal entry about our time in Quarantine. If you want to join me in this Quarantine Writing Project, you can join the link party down below or link back to this post so we can all check out your blog and read what you have written (or drawn, painted, whatever)! Don’t have a blog? Feel free to post your writing in the comments.
April 7, 2020: It’s hard to know what to do with myself. For years I’ve run around Continue reading “Quarantine Writing Project (QWP)-1”
The Quarantine Writing Project
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”
On Laughter and the Time My Father Fell Into a Grave
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most over the past few weeks is watching the ways in which people’s senses of humor have responded to the sudden challenges they face being quarantined, working from home, helping their children with online learning… There’s some really funny stuff out there, folks!
Some may argue that this light-heartedness during such immense suffering is a sign or our shallow flippancy and desperation for distraction- refusal to quiet ourselves in somber reflection and self-examination. I won’t try to argue that we are not all guilty of this to varying degrees. I suspect I am more guilty of this than most over the past few weeks. But I also still hold that laughter done well is a celebration of life. It is our refusal to concede to despair.
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”
After last week’s post On Faux Pas and Grace I received several requests to tell the story of the time my father fell into a grave.
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I’m Fine. We’re Fine. Everything is Fine.
Well, it’s been awhile, and I’m sorry for that. The short of it is, I started a new job. Continue reading “I’m Fine. We’re Fine. Everything is Fine.”