Saturday, March 7, 2015


I have often remarked to members of my congregations that there should be a support group for parents of adult children. This writing from Henri Nouwen is helpful, I think, to understand our relationship with our children from another perspective. 

The Great Gift of Parenthood - Henri Nouwen

Children are their parents' guests. They come into the space that has been created for them, stay for a while - fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years - and leave again to create their own space. Although parents speak about "our son" and "our daughter," their children are not their property. In many ways children are strangers. Parents have to come to know them, discover their strengths and their weaknesses, and guide them to maturity, allowing them to make their own decisions.

The greatest gift parents can give their children is their love for each other. Through that love they create an anxiety-free place for their children to grow, encouraging them to develop confidence in themselves and find the freedom to choose their own ways in life.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Today I woke early and went to the church where we hosted a district committee. We are pretty insistent on being as hospitable as possible, so we made sure there was coffee and ice water. Lunch was prepared for them and we stayed until they were finished. It makes for a long day, but although it took the same amount of time, it wasn't  as long as theirs. 

Today this committee met with ministry candidates, local pastors, and others who fall under the oversight of this committee. That kind of work is painstaking and tiring. It isn't physical labor, it isn't even necessarily unpleasant, but when taken seriously, you feel the weight of responsibility. It is tiring. 

Time is a funny thing. We say we "make" time, "take" time, time goes "quickly" or "slowly."  Sometimes I think "time" has a mind of its own. This weekend we are even "losing" an hour as we spring forward for the time change.  But in reality there is never any less or any more time, it is an illusion due to our perspective. 

As you set your clocks this Saturday night, think about what a precious gift time is. Enjoy the journey rather than rushing from big event to big event. Never "wish your life away" as my mother used to say. Savor each moment and make memories. 

I am glad you took some time to read these thoughts.  May your time be blessed tomorrow and throughout your life. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


This Sunday I am planning to have a blessing service as part of the morning worship service.  It reminded me of when I was last anointed and blessed.  After the service, I wrote this poem.

Faithful pilgrims with oily brows
  following as best we can the 
    footsteps of Christ.

Fearful people with songs of praise
   stuck in dry throats
      hoping God doesn't notice.

Weary travelers seeking a safe place for rest,
   come to the harbor of God's friendship.

God responds to the faithful, 
   the fearful, and the weary with open arms 
        and a heart full of divine grace and love.

I hope this poem blessings your journey of faith.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Has Reason Left Us?

It seems the current ideological climate is marked by unreasonableness.  I remember when you could have a conversation with another person and could disagree without resorting to hate-filled remarks and character assassinations.  You might even have a civil discourse in which new understandings could be found by both parties.  Now, the battle lines are clearly drawn and it seems all have chosen their sides. 

What happened?  It is as if we have dehumanized and demonized anyone whose views differ from ours.  We have become rigid in our opinions, and have closed our minds to any new ideas.  This makes learning problematic.  It also makes finding middle ground and discovering new perspectives virtually impossible.  Unreasonable disagreements are not new, but they do seem to have multiplied.

I'll admit it is difficult when the pendulum of reason swings so wide; when the middle has disappeared in the mire of extremism.  Good people are woefully uniformed, misinformed, and believe dubious facts because it supports their position.  Education has become suspect, and is even discouraged.  As someone who values as much education as you can get, I find this last part most interesting.  It seems that some would rather believe a lie, than to learn a truth that may challenge their views.  I cannot fathom this.

Today was a day of quite a few disagreements on social media.  People who otherwise might be nice, under the anonymity of the internet have said some very ugly things.  Intentionally twisting words and name calling seem to be the order of the day.  These are not teens who are caught up in online bullying, these are adults who are professionals in their field--and often in helping fields such as the clergy.

I am reminded of Jesus words as found in Mark 12:29-31:

Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”

Do we show our love for God by our love for God's children?  Or do we want to narrow our understanding of who are children of God by our own standards, limiting our views even further?  Do we love our neighbors, meaning even those we disagree with most, as we love ourselves?  That would require us to respect their opinions as we would like ours to be respected.  

We live in a difficult time.  I would like to think that reason has not left us entirely, and with kind words and understanding spirits we can regain some of the reason that is needed in our country right now.  Join with me as we seek to bring a kind word, even in disagreement, and not hold grudges when others would say ugly things to us and about us.  Let us love one another as Christ has loved us and as we love ourselves.  

Monday, March 2, 2015


I have recently taken an interest in quilting.  That interest has not yet born the fruit of an actual quilt, but my intentions are good.  I am inspired by the quilting group at our church called "Piecemakers."  This title isn't just a cute name with a play on the words "piece" (meaning what you do when you put a quilt together) and "peace" (tranquility, no war, harmony, etc.), it is what we are called to do and be.  The ladies that are a part of this group make more than quilts, they make peace.  Their quilts offer comfort.  They provide quilts for those whose lives are chaos (lost everything in a fire or tornado).  They give quilts as gifts to youth leaving for college to reassure them that their church family loves them.  They do bring peace, and I am very thankful for them.

In Matthew 5:9, Jesus tells us "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."  To be children of God, we are to be about the business of peace. We are to bring comfort to others, bring harmony when there is discord, and advocate for non-violence whenever possible.

Too often, however, we are more busy sewing seeds of discord rather than harmony.  We cry for war rather than search for peace.  Our lives reflect anything but tranquility as we seek retribution and revenge.  We are too busy being just like everyone else rather than the body of Christ.  We fail miserably at being the children of God we are called to be.  This is the sad truth of our witness as Christians.

But this is the season of Lent.  The season of honest reflection and repentance.  We can only repent when we are first honest with ourselves and quit making excuses for our behavior.  It is time we turn from our ways back to God's ways.

Blessed are those who seek to and live in peace with one another and with God.