Monday, September 11, 2017

Social Media

Sometimes I'm still proud of these gills I've grown over the last decade, how I've learned to breathe under this water I was so eager to dive into all those years ago.

Sometimes, but not as often as before.

Sometimes, I kinda hate 'em, these gills I wasn't born with.

And just about the time I seriously start to wonder whether these gills are actually bad for me, like maybe I would have been better off without them, like maybe I shouldn't have ever jumped in, I put my head above water and see my sons on dry ground, eager to dive in and join me.

My heart sinks.

No, please...not them.

Yes, they're coming. There's no stopping them now.

I mean, really?

They've been the fodder for how much of my underwater breathing all this time, have observed my constant swimming, and I really think I can keep them out of this water now?

My sons.

My precious boys.

I was there for their births. Fingers, toes, sweet little cries.

No gills.

But those gills are gonna grow on them, too, probably even more impressive than mine.

I wish it didn't have to be so.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Charlottesville

Father,

In all that has disgusted me today, let me see myself.

Forgive me for the times when I have nurtured hatred toward others, created in Your image, for slights large and small, real and imagined.

Forgive me for the times when I have hated people because they were not "one of us".

Forgive me for the times when I have fantasized about violence toward other people.

Forgive me for the times when I have vaguely glossed over my sin and used cowardly equivalences to avoid naming it in its ugly specificity.

I repent!

I demand of myself the same purging of hatred that I want to see in the people I hated today.

Oh, Father, heal our nation. Break our hearts and let us see there is hope only in You.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Moth & The Bird

To the bird I saw chasing a moth through the air this morning:

Dude! You gave up just a moment too soon. Seriously? There is no way that moth could have eluded you much longer. You were right there. Keep chasing, bird.

To the moth I saw flying for its life away from the bird chasing it this morning:

Wow! Amazing you didn't give up. You kept flying and darting around, without much reason for hope, but determined to create reason for hope. You made it! You lived to fight another day.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Praise!

Oh, Father...

Praise to Your holy name!

Praise for Your lovingkindness.

Praise for Your creation, ongoing.

Praise for Your mercies, new every morning.

Praise for Your perfection, beyond my understanding.

Praise for Your mysteries, hidden from me, making me feel I know You altogether.

Praise for Your Word, teaching me, piercing me, building me.

Praise for Your Son, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Praise for Your passion for every soul, not just mine.

Praise for Your concern for the little things of my life.

Praise for Your power over kings and presidents.

Praise for Your humble entry in the form of a baby.

Praise for Your Spirit's filling of my selfish heart.

Praise for Your artistry on this earth and in my heart.

Praise for Your grace, wholly undeserved.

Praise for Your presence in joy and grief.

Praise for Your fearlessness in the face of any threat.

Praise for Your laughter in the face of my arrogance.

Praise for Your patience with my foolishness.

Praise for Your willingness to absorb my ugliness.

Praise for Your hand molding me as clay.

Praise for Your creation, ongoing.

Praise for Your lovingkindness.

Praise for Your holy name!




Sunday, March 26, 2017

Nothing

Oh, King!

What will I place ahead of You?

Nothing.

Not my family, and my joy in their love.

Not my career, with its rewards.

Not my body, with its cravings.

Not my suits, ties, and wing-tip shoes, with their self-importance.

Not my dreams, with their enticements.

Not my intelligence, with its lure of solid ground.

Not my pride, with its poison.

Not my ability to please others, with its quicksand.

Not my past, with its memories.

Not my future, with its hopes.

Not my guilt, with its martyrdom.

Not my anger, with its blade.

Not my speaking ability, with its impressiveness.

Not my humor, with its sarcasm.

Not my judgment, with its self-pleasing accuracy.

Not my vision, with its false credit to me.

Not my money, with its security.

Not my amusements, with their fun.

Not my reputation, so important to me.

Father, Master, Maker, Lord, and Friend:

Not one of these will come before You.

Take hold of my life.

Take it, it is Yours.

I am Yours, Oh King!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

When Your Child Becomes a Global Pariah

If you're a parent, you know the feeling.

Your kid does something so embarrassing, you just want to hide. You know you did the same to your parents, but that doesn't help. There's nothing quite like it.

But what if your child's transgression is not a private matter? What if your child not only does something awful, but the deed is exposed to your community, or your child is foolish enough to post it online as well, and spark the next whirlwind of global condemnation?

What if your son or daughter becomes the social media poster child for everything that is evil and wrong with "this generation"?

You may have seen the recent video of a teen abusing a dead dog's corpse, and you may have read the predictable pile-on from outraged strangers pointing out the obvious and heaping shame on someone they'll probably never know.

The video is truly awful, and the young man's actions beyond the pale.

But...

How in the world could you possibly respond as a parent?

How would you manage to address your child's obvious failure, as well as their intense vulnerability, at the same time? How would you juggle your horror at your child's conduct, along with your disgust at the bloodlust of the hordes calling for your child's head?

How you respond might depend on what your child has already seen from you:

How do you respond when it's someone else's kid who does something awful?

How do your kids see you respond to the nuisances and outrages of your own life, as well as the many grievances shared online by your friends all the time?

How have your children heard you speak about those who have wronged you? About strangers who have done terrible things, at least terrible things that you haven't done yourself?

Does your child have reason to believe there is grace for an offender?

Has your son or daughter seen someone receive love in the aftermath of error, even when that error brought devastating consequences? Do your kids know that someone can be sent to prison, alienate their spouse, fail their children, lose their career, destroy their health, squander their fortune, offend the most basic human sensibilities, ruin their reputation, even become the next You Tube pariah...and still be so important to God that He has already paid the price to redeem them?

Does your child know a Lord who spoke the word that made powerful men drop the rocks they were ready to throw at a woman so ashamed she might have welcomed an untimely death?

If not, what will your kids expect to experience someday when this happens to them?        

One day it won't be a stranger exposed for some terrible deed.

One day it won't be so simple.

One day no one will understand the whole story.

One day you'll want nothing more than for someone to be kind, even in the face of an offense no one can overlook.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's the Word for That?

What do you call the fight that never happened?

We need a word for that.

The argument that never took place, because someone bit their tongue and let the moment pass.

The confrontation that might have happened, but didn't, because someone decided it wasn't worth it, and turned out to be right.

The horn that wasn't honked.

A snarky comment left unposted.

The middle finger that kept its seat.

A fist left unthrown.

The war never started.

Vengeance left unsought.

An empty space in time, left unfilled by an offense no one remembers.

Thank God for these...whatever you call them.