The “Stuff” of Life!

The “Stuff” of Life!

I once had an English teacher begin the semester by proclaiming he never wanted to see the word, stuff, used in our writing. For him, the word, stuff, was too general and using it screamed of laziness.  He wanted us to take the time and effort to think through exactly what we were writing about in very deliberate and specific language.  Stuff is boring. It’s what accountants and dentists deal with.

But yet, isn’t that really what life is made up of? It’s those little details that build our days of which no one really pays attention to.  The packing of lunches, mowing the grass, and kissing our families good-by before they head off for the day.  Like quiet bricks in a building that no one pays attention to, they are so necessary for the completion of the project. All the attention is given to the corner stone but yet the building is made up of those boring pieces of stone which together keep the rain out and heat in.  Isn’t that life? (more…)

Who Said That?

Who Said That?

I’m not sure when or why we started calling him Sir Rob.  I mean he’s not British and as far as I know the Queen has not knighted him.  But Sir Rob just kind of feels like a knight. He’s ex-military and a tough guy but yet carries an air of nobility and wisdom with him that makes you feel like you’re talking with someone in the English Parliament. Except of course when he’s making jokes and swimming in dry humor.  Which I suppose is a lot of the time. But still, Sir Rob just fits.

I also don’t recall when I first heard him pose the question.  I’ve heard it a lot though.  Another one of my friends gets down on himself and begins a degradation process. You know; the “I’m an idiot” type talk.  I’ve done that. Maybe you have.  But right after my friend told himself how bad he was Sir Rob followed up with the question of; “really, who said that?”  In other words, who said he was an idiot, failure, or other? (more…)

Barbara Walters, John, and the Number of Our Days.

GTY_barbara_walters_sr_140515_4x3t_384Where did the time go? That question has probably been on the mind of Barbara Walters of late. This past week Walters announced her retirement from the news media after a very long and illustrative career. As far back as I can remember she has been a household name of not only female reporters but in the world of journalism in general. Her gifts in life have added much to the landscape of the news media we know today.

In an interview last week she recalled some of her regrets in life and I found it interesting that at the top of the list was a longing to have had spent more time with her daughter. Her story is not foreign and I’ve witnessed similar occasions in my ministry career. Stories of people in their retirement years who aren’t so much concerned about a missed step up in the pecking order, but rather a missed relationship with those at the bottom, those closest to them, their own family and other loved ones. This seems to be a sad reality that so many of us are susceptible to.

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Life at the Symphony and Beyond 2014

I was a romantic this Christmas and took Deb to the Houston Symphony’s performance of Handel’s Messiah.  As you might imagine Deb was thrilled with the evening and I have to say that I was quite impressed myself.  Like many people I had heard parts of Messiah before.  One of the most famous movements of the work is the Hallelujah Chorus which draws the audience to their feet like the coronation of British royalty.  I wasn’t aware of the unofficial rise of the audience beforehand, but quickly connected it to a respect for Christ the King.

 

I also didn’t know before the performance that Handel had crafted the entire symphonic work around direct quotations from scripture.  That’s it.  Every word sung by the soloists and chorus were direct quotes from either the Old or New Testament recounting the life, mission, and glory of Christ. I have some music appreciation and background myself (no; I’m not as barbaric as I might seem at times) so I was able to appreciate the talent and time investment of every piece of the performance from the strings to the soloists and combined vocal chorus to the few brass and wind instruments as they combined into a profound musical and maybe even spiritual experience.  It was indeed a great evening.  Not to mention I got to sit next to the hottest lady in the building. (more…)

In Search of Joy

Well this stinks! Ever felt that way before? Ever said that out load before or even thought it under your breath with only yourself and God as the audience? Yup; me too. We’ve all been there. The truth is that life does stink at times and those who appear to constantly live above the fray and claim no pain are probably not dealing with reality and know a Christianity other than what I know. When I read the Bible I don’t see perfection, at least not on this side of eternity. No, I don’t see “health and wealth and lack of problems.” I see . . . stink. I see real life in the Bible and the kind of life that we experience here in the 21st century. While the Bible was inspired by God, it was written through human agents who breathed the same air and problems we face today. They were human and at times their lives stunk as well. Elijah felt suicidal. David wept bitterly. Paul spoke of anxiety regarding a dear friend near death. Even Jesus, God in flesh, spoke of the problems of his age and ours and the fact that just like they hated him, they would hate his followers as well. Yes, I see loads of stink in life and in the Bible, but I also see hope. (more…)