Packing is Hell, Coming Home is Heaven

For Bev and me, the month of August has been focused on the arrangements for purchasing a new house.  After living in Western Massachusetts for two years and renting, we found a place in Haydenville that seems to say “home.”  In fact, we close on the property today, and the movers come tomorrow to haul the heavy stuff from Amherst to Haydenville.  Bev and I have been packing all the rest of our “stuff” and making daily trips to the new place’s garage as a holding station.  Suffice it to say, this has been a “moving experience.”

The fact is that people who know about such things say that next to the death of a loved one, moving a household creates the highest levels of stress… Continue reading “Packing is Hell, Coming Home is Heaven”

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Rules, Boundaries, Life

I was raised to be a “good boy.”  In fact, the bedtime prayer that my mother said every night with me and then my three younger brothers ended with the phrase: “…and help me be a good boy and grow up to be a good Christian.  Amen.”  God bless my mother!  This is also the same prayer that our kids know and the one that our grandchildren now hear.  Yes, being “good” matters.

I think that most of us were raised to be good boys and girls; and, as I say, that matters.  It is inconceivable that parents would raise their kids to be “bad,” but the truth is some parents do; or more likely these parents never got enough “goodness” to pass on to their own children.  In any event, you and I have been trained to be included in the demographics of Garrison Keillor’s “Lake Woebegon.”  You and I have been raised to fit into that circumstance where “all the women are strong; all the men are good-looking; and all the children are above average.”  This is to say that you and I are supposed to be “good boys” and “good girls.”  As I say, having this notion of being “good” matters because it provides us with a foundation, upon which we may grow in maturity, wisdom, and fruitfulness.  Such training and experience allows us to have a structure that points us in a constructive, life-giving  direction. Continue reading “Rules, Boundaries, Life”

Crossing the Finish Line, With a Little Help From Our Friends

In light of the Olympics, I couldn’t help think of St. Paul’s statement in his first letter to the Corinthians.  Participating in a race is an apt image for our lives.  We don’t have to be Olympic athletes to appreciate the metaphor.  On the one hand, competition has the capacity to bring out our best.  On the other hand, measuring ourselves and our worth against “opponents” is a fearful and adolescent game.  As Satchel Page, the Hall of Fame pitcher from the Negro Leagues, once opined: “Don’t look back; someone may be gaining on you.”  This is when the race starts to become a “rat race.”  As Peggy Lee once crooned (you millennials can google her name!): “Is that all there is?”

My point in all this is that the image of a race sets a helpful context for us to understand our Christian faith.  In particular, the image helps condense what Jesus is all about and what difference he makes for us.  Here’s the way I see it. Continue reading “Crossing the Finish Line, With a Little Help From Our Friends”

Dog Days and Love’s Warning

We are, quite obviously, experiencing the truth of the phrase: “the dog days of summer.”  My dogs testify to this.

Bev and I own two, ninety pound, male German Shepherds.  Like horses, they need rigorous daily exercise in order to keep a healthy balance.  Bev exercises the dogs in the morning, when the day is cooler.  I do the duty in the dusk of the day.  In these early weeks of August the pre-dinner hour heat and humidity have been beastly, and our shepherds indicate just how uncomfortable it has been in the “dog days.”
Continue reading “Dog Days and Love’s Warning”

Darth Vader Will Fall.

Bev and I just came back from a week at the Rhode Island coast.  We rented a secluded house not too far from the beach; but what made it special is that all three of our kids and their significant others joined us – even our son, Noah, who lives and works in El Salvador.   These reunions are very precious to us, given that all of us have our respective responsibilities and separate lives; and now that there are two grandchildren involved, these gatherings have sacred tones to them. Continue reading “Darth Vader Will Fall.”