This risky, uncertain life: Embrace it

Embrace today the now the unknown uncertain Embrace failure new things trying the learning Embrace making a mess letting it go reaching out reaching for more Embrace the parts of you that don’t fit that are awkward and a singular beauty Embrace grief its loss that was full full of hope joy promise Embrace it because it moved you, stirred your inner being and filled you with life. Embrace the...

We’re on a mission

The organization we’re with has a purpose statement for the area we’re assigned to. We have an overall mission statement but in our singularly focused area of ministry, we also have a statement defining our purpose. It says, in part: “The primary purpose of an Adult Rehabilitation Center is the spiritual regeneration and rehabilitation of men who have undergone a process of disaffiliation from those significant ties, which enable individuals...

No thanks, I can do it myself

I have a love-hate relationship with our local Target’s self-serve lines. They lure me with the no waiting temptation and then they frustrate me when they don’t register I’ve bagged something and the voice comes on and says: Please wait for assistance Everything stops. Sometimes the clerk is near and sometimes she’s busy with another customer. The frustration mounts that this stupid thing can’t register that I moved a bag...

Is God only good when we are spared from tragedy?

  It seems every town will have its moment of tragedy. We know them by name: Newtown, Columbine, VA Tech and now our town that lives in the shadow of Miami made headlines last week as a lone gunman opened fire in the baggage terminal of our airport. Ten days before, we’d made several trips to that airport picking up family for the holidays. It’s a relatively small airport for...

When ordinary Sunday church turns extraordinary

We are sort of like your average church. Our Sunday service outline is basic with slight changes week to week. Sunday after Sunday will look like this: Welcome & Announcements Doxology sung before the offering is collected A Call to Worship will be read responsively Congregational song Prayer Someone will read selected scripture Another song will be sung Sermon an invitation for prayer at the altar Amazing Grace will be...

How do we thank God no matter what?

Is this the year we sit around our Thanksgiving tables in fear and loathing, wondering where did it go amok? Do we rattle off our list of thanks with all the enthusiasm of reciting the multiplication tables? I’ve lived through elections since the late 70’s when I became eligible to cast my ballot. Saturday Night Live heavily influenced my choice for Carter as I’m sure it’s influenced many a generation...

It’s not about the White House but Our House

Our feelings about the campaign process are stronger than who’s running. Every 4 years we’re subjected to name-calling and finger-pointing but this year’s race has taken it to new levels of hate, vitriol and fear. The media is telling us voters are casting their ballots for who they dislike least. Some people are fearful of a certain candidate being elected. This is playing out like a reality show only this...

I’m dragging my feet on this part of the journey

You can tell me that every path or journey in life is unknown and I wouldn’t argue with you. But. But, there has been a predictable sense about them. One I’ve watched walk ahead. They’ve marked the way and left signposts of where to turn or when it’s time to stop and rest. They’ve shown me it’s best not to journey alone, even though I still try to make my own...

Grace is the one-size-fits-all pattern

The church is good at creating patterns. And for first borns like me, we’re drawn to the neat packages of how-to’s. Quiet Time aka devotions: Have your quiet time in the morning, first thing, before your feet hit the floor. Fill your soul with good from the word before feeding your body. Prayer: Also in the morning and at night but write them down and use a clever acronym so...

A Broken Heart – what to do when the church hurts you

by Laura Acuna “There is nothing quite like the pain of being hurt by the church.” This is what my new pastor acknowledged to me when I first visited him after leaving the church where our family worshipped and served for over fifteen years. Boy, was he correct — there really is nothing quite like the pain of being hurt and disappointed within the Body of Christ. It’s disorienting and...