Tag Archives: love

If We Could Take Pictures In Church

Things I would have photographed this Sunday if I could take pictures in church:

– Far down the hallway, pastor leaned his face very close to the man in the wheelchair who can’t talk very well, and put his hand on his shoulder. The man spoke as well as he could and with great effort, weaving back and forth and waving his arms. Pastor spoke back, and smiled. Their faces were mirrors of love and affection.

– My friend three pews up and one section to the right stood with her eyes closed and both arms reaching upward in the way we do at church, singing her heart out: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow….” She is eighty and was just diagnosed with dementia.

– A old woman sat alone in the fellowship hall and a man passing by told her the bright turquoise scarf and matching blouse and earrings she wore were beautiful. She looked up and smiled and her eyes glowed like sudden candles in a dark sanctuary.

– A little girl held the specially-designed communion-wine-squirt-bottle with both hands, carefully squeezing wine into the tiny cups. Her face looked as if it had been taken from one of God’s angels on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

What Eagles Never Bear

We’re watching the Decorah Eagles again this year (http://www.decoraheaglecamalerts.com/ie.htm) and it occurred to me that there are certain things eagles will never have to bear:

SPAM: no eagle has ever

·         been offered the chance at penile enlargement

·         needed a belly fat blast

·         been offered a work-at-home strategies to make a six figure income

·        been offered a chance to date eligible black-white-gay-straight-men-women-blondes-brunettes

·         been told to vote no on prop 29

·         been told to vote yes on prop 29

·         been advised to help the president win reelection

·         been advised that it will be curtains for the free world if we do not defeat the current administration and replace it with a new president.

MEMORY LOSS: no eagle has ever

·         misplaced his keys and had to call his spouse to let him in the house

·         forgotten to mail the Netflix video back

·         forgotten to return the library book so often the librarian knows him by name and calls him when it’s close to time to return his materials

·         burnt dinner on the stove because he forgot the burner was up on high

·         forgotten the name of the woman at church who just introduced herself

·         misplaced her reading glasses

·         forgotten to put the perishables back in the refrigerator so the milk curdled overnight

·         left her coffee in the microwave until the next morning.

FAMILY OBLIGATIONS: no eagle has ever

·         missed his parents

·         loved his sister

·         shared his fish with his brother

·         prayed for his siblings

·         laughed at anything at all.”

I’m glad we’re not eagles.

2 Comments

Filed under Decorah Eagles, New Season, Uncategorized

We’re All Perishable. So Mail Me.

There is nothing like sending baked goods through the mail to the ones I love and appreciate. The entire process is a delight, from the idea, to the baking, to the wrapping, and especially the final moments at the post office when I’m asked questions vital to the preservation of democracy and the civil society. (I only go to the counter instead of the self-serve package mailing machine when there are six people waiting behind the poor soul who has never before used the machine, doesn’t have a debit or credit card–the machine doesn’t allow cash–and can’t figure out what to do because the screen has devilishly defaulted to Spanish.)

It’s my turn. I step up to the counter. The first question comes.

“Mailing anything explosive today?”

“No.”

“Anything liquid or breakable?”

“No.”

“Anything that promotes the destruction of America as we know it?” Ah, yes, this one is manufactured, but I’d love to hear it the next time I’m at the postal counter because it would mean I’d found the one postal worker with a sense of humor.

“Anything perishable?”

The mind is a marvelous thing. In the blink of an eye I say to myself “No, not if you do your job, it won’t perish,” and “We’re all perishable given enough time, right?” while simultaneously telling the postal worker

“No.”

“Why does it say ‘open immediately upon receipt’ on the outside?” she asks.

Note to myself: No more ‘immediately upon receipt’ in red block letters on the outside of the package. Better to call.

“They are going to be so eager to receive it they will want to open it right away” I say.

Joy! The postage sticker spits out of the machine, I pay the bill, look the postal worker in the eye and smile, and tuck the receipt in my wallet. Success!

Moral of the story: Let nothing stand in the way of showering love on those you care for. The possibilities for creativity multiply like farm animals in the springtime.

Dan Cathy of Chick-Fil-A feels the same way:  http://cathyfamily.com/resources/videos/please-eat-more-chicken.aspx.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I Am A Person, Not An Attraction

We’ve let the culture put a wall between individuals on the issue of sexual attraction. The culture has decided that Christians, of which I am one, hate “homosexuals.” Because the culture has decided that I hate people whom I do not hate, I am robbed of the opportunity to engage another human being in a discussion of the things most important in life, namely our desperate need for forgiveness and salvation.

Makoto Fujimura is an excellent painter, writer, and founding elder of The Village Church in New York City. The Village Church has written a statement on homosexuality that is the best and most complete and true statement I have seen. The statement begins:

“The Village Church feels compelled to apologize, on behalf of the Church at large, for the demonization of homosexuality and the shunning or rejecting of any individuals for their same-sex desires. We affirm, in the strongest possible way, that those of us who are heterosexual in desire are not more righteous or more entitled to the grace of Jesus Christ than those of us who are homosexual. Nor are heterosexuals in less need of that grace.”

Amen.

The fifth and most important of all the paragraphs if we are to reject the cultural expectation that we’re supposed to hate each other reads, in part

“We believe that it is dehumanizing to compel anyone to found his or her identity on sexual desires. So we resist efforts to coerce people into labeling themselves as “gay” or “lesbian” just because they have same-sex attractions. We harm people when we make the nature of their sexual attraction their identifying characteristic. Rather, all of us can find healing and direction through more deeply understanding and affirming our genders as women and men.”

“We harm people when we make the nature of their sexual attraction their identifying characteristic.” This is the key to reestablishing the human dialogue between us as individuals.

The entire seven-paragraph statement can be read here:  http://www.villagechurchnyc.com/homosexuality/.

So let’s talk, you and I, about our mutual need for forgiveness, for salvation, and for God’s eternal and complete love. Because we are people, not attractions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cleansing Hearts and the Hale Koa

Know how God cleanses your heart? By filling it with so much love that there’s no room for anything else. My boss came back this morning from a two week holiday in Hawaii. It’s been a blissful two weeks with him gone, though there’s no animosity about it. No respect, either. The situation the past couple of years has been such that any respect I had for him or for his service to the nation in the Navy dissipated. Completely.

 Now, let me preface the rest of the story by saying I prayed that this week my heart would be cleansed of anything God found displeasing, in preparation for resurrection Sunday, celebrating and honoring the gift of eternal life and joy that I have in Jesus Christ. The Jews do this in preparation for Passover, they clean their homes and their spirits, and I wanted to do the same. (Except for the home – my place isn’t going to get much cleaner between now and Sunday. If I were a Jew I’d have to go visiting for Passover….) I thought of pride, and bad language – the two things that come to mind when I think of my ungodly habits. I thought it would be good to get rid of that pride, and to clean up my language. God heard my prayer, but He had more than pride and cursing in mind.

 So, back to the story. My boss walks past my cube heading for the coffee pot, says “good morning.” I wait for him to say good morning or not – most times he says nothing in the morning, he’s very task-oriented and focused. “Good morning, welcome back,” I said, and asked if he’d had a good time. He proceeds to tell me about the trip—food, family, rest, restoration. He’d had a great time. While he’s talking my heart is filling with joy, and love, and affection. When we talked about the Hale Koa hotel and the military presence and the honor and respect we all give each other in places like the Hale, because we’ve served, my eyes welled with tears. “That honor and respect matters” I said, and I knew that I was suddenly talking to myself, and that God had begun to cleanse my heart by filling it with love so profound that bitterness and pride and everything but love and joy were no longer there. It was as if I saw him through God’s eyes, through the eyes of the Christ who died for us, and who lives for us now, pleading our case with the Father so that all will be well with our souls.

 When the tide of love has gone out, as it seems it must inevitably do, I’m praying it leaves a residual stain on my heart so I will be maybe one step closer to being like my Savior. This is, apparently, God’s answer to my prayer for a cleansed heart.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized