I originally wrote this piece for my church’s website in January 2017. This reflection comes from an event that occurred when my wife and I pastored in northeast Wyoming.
I had a hard time seeing the sign for the turnoff – not only was the setting sun blaring into my face through my car’s windshield, but this was the kind of place that GPS didn’t know about. I had paper directions. The last time I used paper directions was when I printed them out from MapQuest at a university computer lab.
I was headed to a funeral service. I’m not sure that service is the best descriptor. A service denotes order, specific function, and an agreed upon liturgy. This…funeral didn’t have any of those elements. But it did have hurting people, and I do hold one simple conviction as a pastor if I hold any: hurting people need to be loved.
This is the first in a series of blogs for the 2017 Advent season.
This year will be the first Christmas without my grandpa.
Since he passed on that hot afternoon in late August, my family has been making firsts. Dad turned 60 without him around. The first Thanksgiving came and went without him. His birthday was December 22 and it’ll come steadily into focus and then fade away just before Christmas – without him.
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“And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea…eventually.”
When Harvey Weinstein’s story broke, a chink in the armor of the rich and the powerful of Hollywood’s elite was exposed. Thankfully (in this case), the media and the nation at large jumped at an opportunity to expose moral corruption in the ranks of the culture-makers who move and shape using the power of visual arts. It wasn’t long before the long, sharp blade of scrutiny pierced through this particular armor and began to wound a system of abuse. A list of the accused* has steadily grown. The authorities have mobilized,vowing justice.
The problem is, reputations carry weight. How we have conducted and do conduct ourselves matters and the things we do don’t go away or disappear with time. I don’t mean to suggest that people don’t change – they can, they do. And I don’t want to imply that there is no room for repentance and forgiveness. But that’s not what we’re talking about, here. We’re talking about people leveraging status and power to do things they knew they shouldn’t have been doing and now find themselves “caught.”
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This is an excerpt from my prayer journal on a recent spiritual retreat I took. I think this is appropriate for Thanksgiving – to name what I’m thankful for and to center my prayer on being more like the object of my gratitude.
in whom and through him and by whom
everything is that is.