Saturday, November 16, 2013


I suppose we're all looking for a way out, a way in, a sign, a something.

I suppose we all need to pay closer attention.

I suppose.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Sometimes water doesn't clean and renew. Sometimes water dirties and destructs. Sometimes it brings chaos and loss, agony and suffering, hopelessness and despair.

And the pain of the unknown.

And the desire for relief.

And the gathering of hearts that can unite.

And the dawn of a new day.

And the certainty of knowing that all will be well again.

We are not blessed with simplicity throughout our lives, but we are blessed with restoration. I can see beyond the barriers, I can trust in what lies ahead, and I can be reminded that we can - that we will, in fact - be washed by the water.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Following years of painstaking research, I've come to the conclusion that there's one group of people who are least likely to truly and fully accept the message of Christ's love for all of us:


O.K. Fine. It's not actually following years of painstaking research. Rather, it comes from mere observation and experience. Now, being an evangelical Christian myself, it's pretty tough to come to this realization. His love for us is so overwhelming, so complete, so all-encompassing, so unfailing, that He actually died for us. It's an amazing message, and I've discovered it's one that is actually received fairly well by those who don't claim to be Christians.

They don't struggle with Christ. They struggle with Christians.

It would be so much easier for people to believe in and live out the love of Jesus Christ if His followers were more consistently living out His message. Christianity is famous for delivering a message that it's not a religion, but rather a relationship. And yet, the message sent out is one of exclusivity - a privileged club that only some get to belong to, and that many can get kicked out of.

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Love. Just love. Make it the favorite, make it the focus, and the relationship with The Big Guy will actually flourish.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


My mom makes rhubarb custard pie. I mean, she makes a lot of things, but the pie is what sticks out in my mind. There's a uniqueness to the flavor, the sweetness and tartness combining in a way that only happens when she makes it. Or, at least I think so.

I do think about food a lot, and when I go home, it stays on my mind. Gotta get my Arni's, Dog n Suds, and Frozen Custard. Traveling around town when I'm back at home, my belly makes a point of getting fulfilled, and somehow it all makes its way toward my heart. Still, as much as I love food, that isn't why home is home to me.

It's at home where I truly feel loved. I'm accepted and respected for who I am. I'm trusted and supported. I'm not looked down upon, or judged, or ridiculed. That, to me, is what makes home so very special. Love is what it is, nothing more, and nothing less.

While I recognize this as my temporary home, and being uncomfortable is a part of not being truly home, I also know there's no reason in subjecting myself to unnecessary discomfort. As I look for a new church home, I realize it's no more about seeking nonexistant perfection than it is accepting that people have to be pointlessly judgmental.

My oldest daughter recently finished making her first rhubarb custard pie in solo fashion. My mom taught her how to do it. As she progressed through the process, I knew it was going to be wonderful in its own way. I knew it was going to taste like home. Sure enough, it did, and I know why.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Exhaustion is what happens. Mentally and physically, it wears you down. You start to not only believe you're not good enough, you begin to question if anyone else is. But then, somewhere inbetween the scoldings and the exile, you begin to find hope again. Soft and encouraging words are spoken, and the reassuring comfort that comes from knowing where you stand rises to the top. And you know, once again, that everything will be all right.

I haven't given up yet on believing that we, as Christians, can actually stop judging people long enough to love them. I still trust that the message of Jesus Christ is one that conquers all inability - especially among Christians - to demonstrate grace, mercy, forgiveness. I remain certain the gift He gives us won't continue to be spit upon with self righteousness and a lack of humility. I really do know that pride may interfere with, but will fail to conquer, three facts: We all are broken, our place is not to judge, and we must love one another.

As the unfriendings happen on Facebook, and the unfollows happen on Twitter, and the rudeness festers around the interactions (and lack thereof) with various people, we can get a bit consumed with the goings on with relationships. It's a fair place to be consumed, especially since we're called to be in relationship with one another. Social media or not, "social" is the part that's important. And, if we can't actually remain social, and we can't actually communicate with one another when we're upset, then, well, I'd say we've lost our way.

I'm guessing if we spend less time judging, more time loving, and continue to interact - even when the going gets tough - we'll all be better off. I know I will. I think I better start there, because The Good Lord knows I need to.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I bet that picture of a long, flowing white robe enveloping a massive masculine figure with stunning features and breezy white hair on an elderly Caucasian gentleman is, well, not very accurate.

I’m guessing He’s naked, at least at times, exposed to all the elements, wishing He could piece together something to cover up with in order to hide the shame or increase the comfort.

There’s a pretty good chance He’s dirty and frail, worn from the travel through the darkest places, starving from the unwillingness of those too self-centered and quick to judge to care for one another.

It’s not too far fetched to believe that He isn’t even actually a he or a she, transcending all sexual identification or orientation, poking and prodding at us to get over our unhealthy fixation on what matters not at all, and focus more on what matters more than all.

Not for certain, but not without reason, I’m thinking He spends little to no time with shampoo, conditioner, and various hair care products, electing instead to love all and give to all without exception.

And, I’m not going too far out on a limb when I say I don’t think He is some white dude, but instead the color of beauty and awe and wonder, penetrating our eyes with vibrant hues, rich in texture and substance, and me, and you.

God is unexpected, but only because God is precisely who we should expect, but don’t.

Joan Osborne - What If God Was One Of Us by Pippo-el-peco

Saturday, May 18, 2013


“I’ll pray for you.”

There’s a certain level of encouragement simply from knowing you’ll be thought of, even if it’s just for that moment when it’s spoken. I mean, what bad can come from anyone loving you enough to earn a place in their prayers? It’s comforting. And, still, something lingers, just kind of hangs there, as you think about what may come.

Allow me to be clear: I’m as guilty of this as the next person. Offending with or taking offense at my reflections here isn’t my point. I write to stimulate thought, to promote varied ways of thinking for ourselves and others. Nothing different here.

… A death of someone close to you, or a serious health concern for yourself or someone close to you, and people pray for you to recognize that God has a purpose for challenging you or taking them from this life with you.

… You lose your income and ability to provide for yourself and others, and people pray for you to recognize that God always gives us what we need, and to realize we have much to be thankful for.

… Sins are committed (as we all do), and people pray for you to fix yourself in the eyes of God and others.

“It’s what they need. Prayer isn’t about what they want, it’s about what they need. And, sometimes, you have to love someone enough to do that.”

Really? Spare me. If there’s anything God wants to teach me, He’ll take care of it. I’ll tell you what I need, and that’s your love. I don’t need your “tough” love, or your prophetic insight; no, I just need your love. Anything less than that is insulting to me, you, and God. If I’m giving anything less than unconditional love to someone else when I pray for them, then not only am I not loving them, I’m also perpetuating the selfishness of my own heart.

Pray for me, you say? Thank you. But, let’s not beat ourselves and others up then. Thank you for praying both for what I need, and you need. In fact, let’s do it together … let’s do it right now.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


"You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." ~ Matthew 17:20

I've prayed for the impossible.

But, it's not just about praying. It's about believing. And, it's not about the impossible. It's about the possible.

I used to think it was the big things for which I didn't have enough faith. "I'm asking too much," I would think. "I'm living in a fantasy world," I'd laugh. "It'll never happen for me - Too good to be true," I would settle for with certainty. But, I've been kicking it around here long enough to know that the big things aren't the problem. I've seen them, lived them, believe them. I look onward and upward in wonder, in awe, in amazement.

No, it's really about the little things.

But, they aren't little. They're far more than I can handle. And, breaking them up so I can haul them out of His hands only to bury them inside of myself doesn't make them any more manageable.

Life is made up of miniscule moments. Just the right words shared at just the right time with just the right person. Waiting patiently for that critical connection. Communicating encouragement, interest, excitement - faithfully and consistently. Loving others at inopportune places or in uncomfortable situations. Stepping out in faith, and trusting that He will catch you, hold you, carry you, and lift you up.

Faith isn't something that happens to us.

Faith is something we create.    

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Life is an opportunity.

It was breathed into me like an injection of loving persistence. Lifted up and pushed out into this world, I was given an opportunity. And, every choice I've made along the way has been mine to make - They've all been mine to make.

Would I make them again?

I've made decisions that destruct me, and inflict pain on others. I've followed my heart, and filled others with love. In ways I deeply understand, and in ways I will be perpetually left confused, I've been cursed and I've been blessed. My thankfulness of this is not in question. My certainty that I'm not alone in forging my path is not disputed.

I just wonder.

If I led another life, the self-destructing decisions, and the pain inflicted on others, might not happen. My heart may follow another path, with others being filled with my love. My curses may be absent, and my blessings may be different. My thankfulness would be for other things. My certainty may be disturbed.

I don't lead a parallel life.

This is the one I have. It's here and it's now that opportunities are presented to me. Caring for myself and electing to not harm others is before me daily. Love truly is everywhere - right before us, hidden from us, waiting to be found, and attempting to be released. Pain will never be absent, and blessings will forever flow. And, I will thank Him, hold His hand, and ask, "What's next?"

He will take me there.

And, I will follow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


When I stepped out into the quiet night air recently, I was struck by the simple beauty of a slow-falling, thick-flake, wet-heavy spring snow. I rested in that moment. It was peaceful. It was perfect.

I look for things like that when I'm struggling. Those miniature vacations that take me away from reality. They're gifts, I know - answers to my prayers. And, if I'm not paying attention, I miss them ... and, far too often, I do miss them.

It's not always like that, though. He doesn't always bring me that spring snow. Sometimes He brings me a storm. Sometimes He brings me precisely what I feel like I am not asking for. It doesn't feel good, and it doesn't make sense, and yet - somehow - it leads me exactly where I need to go.

I like that.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I was thinking about wrath lately. You know, that thing we completely misunderstand, get angry with and blame God for, and then praise and thank Jesus for rescuing us from. As maligned as God’s wrath is, and as much as we believe Jesus rescued us from His wrath, and regardless of what we do and do not understand about all of this, something continues to intrigue me about the whole thing.

Many of us are obsessed with God’s wrath, and despise His love.

It made me think of Khan. Wrath, that is, not God or Jesus or love. I’ve never really been a fan of Star Trek, but I certainly understand enough about story telling to know that watching one on the tube or in the theater would be pretty lame without some conflict. Even if that conflict exists in our own hearts. Even if that conflict seems to drown out the real message. Even if that conflict is allowed to consume us to the point of resisting resolution.

A friend of mine recently reminded me that the opposite of love is not hate; rather, it’s apathy. Hate still expresses a great deal of interest, a fair amount of passion. Apathy, on the other hand, is demonstrative of indifference - not just lukewarm, but absolute disinterest and unwillingness to engage at any level and in any way.

We can get distracted from the gift of grace when we fail to recognize that our life isn’t an episode of Star Trek. Our life isn’t even a series of real events that follow the patterns of a tale. Our life isn’t even our own. The story is too amazing to be understood with our fallen selves as it requires a faith in knowing that all that has happened, is happening, and will happen has already been forgiven. Fully. Completely. Without exception.

Sometimes wrath is all that makes sense to us, because love is simply beyond us.

I wonder, though, if a good place to start is by abandoning our tired messages and failed ways of approaching others. Perhaps we should stop scaring everyone into thinking God is just like us, anything like us. Maybe we could focus on how much He is the exact opposite of us. And, when the Jesus I know and others know becomes the Jesus we all can know, wrath becomes less our obsession, and love becomes more our passion.

I think we should start telling that story, the real story, because it truly is an amazing story.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~ Matthew 5:48

I used to take pride in how bizarre my behavior could be. My words, my actions, my indifference - all designed to demonstrate my unwillingness to not only conform, but also my desire to stand out as negatively as possible. Pathetic cries for attention, no doubt. I never cease to be amazed how my tattered self is still so intensely desired by the perfection of Christ. Yet, even in my redemption and my salvation, I have discovered that my journey still bends toward that broken path. Perhaps I'm less destructive in my ways, but now, instead of heading straight into the fire, I run away with cowardice. My knowledge of how imperfect I am has led me to have constant excuses as to why I should never even pursue perfection.

I know I have a fickle heart, and a bitterness, and a wandering eye, and a heaviness in my head. ~ Adele

Where I once explored new and exciting ways to sin at will, I now passively, apathetically, and willingly succumb to the contentment of doing nothing. Deceived into believing this is much better than the days of yore, I consistently fail to even attempt anything that might be considered perfect. Yet, that is exactly what we are called to do. Are we perfect? No. Can we be perfect? No. Should we pursue perfection? Yes. My ability to analyze my errant thoughts and actions on a daily basis is no different than my ability to analyze my correct thoughts and actions on a daily basis. Knowing I am a sinner is too often equated with not knowing the difference between right and wrong. Oh, we know it. All to well we know it.

Flawed as we are, our ultimate completeness begins now with our own efforts to follow in His footsteps. A worthy pursuit indeed. No the now? Yes the now. Most definitely yes.