Stay the Course

A few years ago, Cindy and I were hiking up to Lake Serene in Washington State. This was a long hike that meandered up several feet in elevation. Can you say, “switchbacks” boys and girls? Sure, I knew you could. As we were hiking, people coming back down kept telling us, “Its not far now.” And as we hiked and hiked and heard over and over again, “Its not far now,” we questioned whether or not we should just turn back. But we didn’t. We stayed the course. We believed that Lake Serene was really up there . . . somewhere. Continue reading

Scary Times

Just so you know, Ahaz is not the hero of the story. As a matter of fact, when you read about him in 2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28, he is kind of horrible. The account in 2 Kings tells us that he made his son pass through the fire, which means he burned his son as a sacrifice to some god or other. He burned incense in the high places. Continue reading

Rebellious Cats

Sometimes it can feel like trying to convince a cat that it should not scratch the furniture. When we had a cat, no amount of trying to reason with him worked at all. We reasoned with a spray bottle. We reasoned with catnip. No matter what we did, the cat just went on clawing the furniture. Often he would sit there looking at you and when you finally looked at him, while gazing into your eyes, he would claw the couch. Continue reading

The Throne Room

How do you describe the presence of God? How do you convey the majesty of heaven? And what about heavenly beings? Is it possible that the descriptions, few and mysterious as they are, are not intended to be taken literally? And is it possible that the person given the vision was allowed to see what was needed in the moment? What you see and how you see may be difficult to communicate; to put into terms that make sense; that convey the essence of the vision.

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Inevitable

Its sad really. A correction officer with years of honored service under her belt, helps an inmate escape. What was she thinking? How exactly did she think it would all end? Did she think that she and he would allude the law for the rest of their lives? When the law began to close in on them, she took her own life, did it finally hit her: it was inevitable. Continue reading

Six Woes

It’s one thing to cry out “Woe is me!” It is a cry of pain; a cry of distress over circumstances; a cry of “why me?”; a cry of lament that swirls around the soul. For many of us, these are but moments of self-focus. They may be imagined or real. They may be heavy or light. They may be about what is deserved or undeserved. But it is a different matter altogether if God pronounces a woe over you. There is no escaping the weight here. There is no dancing away from blame here.

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The Song of the Vineyard

Let us say that you have this dear friend. Now this friend has adult children who have turned away from God. And now this friend is all full of grief and guilt and shame. But you know. You have seen this friend do everything for their children. You have seen the laying down of self; the sacrificial love; the constant care; the sleepless nights; the training. Continue reading

Phoenix Symbol

Where did the legend of the Phoenix come from? I really don’t know. But maybe the ancient people witnessed a truth that was difficult to describe without a symbol. Life often springs up in the midst of death. Fire consumes and life sprouts anew. It is what AA calls rock bottom. The ash heap of life. And sometimes, the only way life can happen is through this rock-bottom crashing; this burning down of all that is familiar and comfortable; this death and dying. The Phoenix burns up and from the ashes comes to life again. Continue reading

Attitude of Arrogance

Its not about nice clothes or jewelry. There is an antecedent here. The clothes may be a symptom of the real problem. I was talking to a lady who was explaining to me why she was leaving the church I was working with at the time. She just didn’t get along with anyone at church. It had nothing to do with arrogance. She wanted me to understand that. But, you see, her husband was a heart surgeon and that put her in a different class. Continue reading

Yahweh Takes a Stand

In the first episode of the Korean show “Lawless Lawyer” a young boy watched as some thugs kill his mother and attempt to kill him. He manages to escape and is running through the streets. He runs into the arms of a police officer. The thug who was chasing him said, “Oh good, you’re here. Take care of him.” The police officer tried, but was unsuccessful. Later, you find out that the most respected judge in the city is the crime boss and the person who ordered the disposal of the boy’s mother and of the boy. Continue reading