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October 2016

the convert

After one moment when I bowed my head 
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white.
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead
The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.
"The Convert", G. K. Chesterton (The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton [1927])

For Good

I've not seen the Broadway musical, Wicked, but I have listened to the music. One of my favorite tunes is a duet by the good witch Glinda and the wicked witch Elphabah.  It speaks to how people come into our lives - sometimes for better, sometimes not. Whatever the result, there is always change.



The Encouraging Assembly

1churchMy past history in relation to the local church has been disappointing, to say the least. It has left me a bit shell-shocked – so much so that returning to a physical church is daunting.

In dealing with the past, I remind myself of the lessons I have learned.  I regularly employ such questions as “What if…?” and “So what…?” in finding a way forward.  But just as I find a sense of satisfaction with the resolution I have found for the tension within, a verse plucked from God’s Word threatens the calm I thought I had found:

Hebrews 10:25 – “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Continue reading "The Encouraging Assembly" »

I Was Afraid of That

ChurchsmallA friend recently shared with me about witnessing some of our local churches’ attempts at their displays during a local public event. What was relayed to me was funny, but it was also troubling. Such public displays over and above the weekly church service could be powerful, but sometimes such attempts seem to end up being either hilarious or embarrassing in my humble opinion.

When I hear of things like this, and end up shaking my head and thinking how foolish or impractical or humiliating they are, am I being overly critical? Maybe. Judgmental? I imagine so. Does it justify my staying away from and out of involvement in a local church? Now that’s a tough question.

Continue reading "I Was Afraid of That" »

scarecrow on fire

We all think about suddenly disappearing.
The train tracks lead there, into the woods.
Even in the financial district: wooden doors
in alleyways. First I want to put something small
into your hand, a button or river stone or
key I don’t know to what. I don’t
have that house anymore across from the graveyard
and its black angel. What counts as a proper
goodbye? My last winter in Iowa there was always
a ladybug or two in the kitchen for cheer
even when it was ten below. We all feel
suspended over a drop into nothingness.
Once you get close enough, you see what
one is stitching is a human heart. Another
is vomiting wings. Hell, even now I love life.
Whenever you put your feet on the floor
in the morning, whatever the nightmare,
it’s a miracle or fantastic illusion:
the solidity of the boards, the steadiness
coming into the legs. Where did we get
the idea when we were kids to rub dirt
into the wound or was that just in Pennsylvania?
Maybe poems are made of breath, the way water,
cajoled to boil, says, This is my soul, freed.
Dean Young, "Scarecrow on Fire" from Fall Higher.

silence is pure

Bench"We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox."

Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook)

all truth is God's truth

"...but let every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his Master; and while he recognizes and acknowledges the truth, even in their religious literature, let him reject the figments of superstition, and let him grieve over and avoid men who, “when they knew God, glorified him not as God..."

St. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine II.18.28


Editor's Note:  These posts will highlight ideas and images that, to me, illustrate the maxim that "all truth is God's truth".

home, where I belong

As I was driving home from work yesterday evening, this song popped into my mind...  It was sung by B. J. Thomas back in my Bible college days. I have to admit that at the time I thought it was a pretty song, and meaningful, but not very "real".  Now that it's 40 years later, it has much more meaning...


dependency and contentment

Clock“In a clock, stop but one wheel and you stop every wheel, because they are dependent upon one other. So when God has ordered a thing for the present to be thus and thus, how do you know how many things depend upon this thing? God may have some work to do twenty years hence that depends on this passage of providence that falls out this day or this week.”

Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment