Is your life designed by God and unchangeable by any decision or choice you might make? If it is, you must be like a robot? Robots don’t write their own codes; rather, they follow the pre-determined design of the programmer. Read the rest of this entry »

imagesWhat do you understand the local church to be? Is it a group of people who all think in unison with a set of beliefs to which each has subscribed?  Or, is it a group of people who are worshiping God together even though they may not all agree to what that means? I recently read a post on Travis Flanagan’s website Help Me Believe  titled “What Is the Local Church” in which he provided this definition of the local church.

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I live a very safe life “in the shadow of God’s wings.” I gather with the rest of the brood regularly, yet wonder if God’s pleased with my worship. I conduct activity that keeps God alive in me—morning prayer, evening prayer—in between these weekly occasions of corporate prayer on Sundays, but then have to work hard to conjure up his presence when not consciously communing with him. Where did I leave him during those hours? I know I’m deep in the water of Christian faith, that I’ve walked with Jesus into those waters, over my head in them. I know what that’s supposed to mean and I try to make that meaning reality, yet knowing and being don’t always merge into one.

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imagesEaster is coming. As I sit here looking out onto a rain-slicked Tucker Avenue and parks, which are trying to become spring-green, under a thin, grey, leaky sky, I do not feel energy for tackling the tasks of the day. The freshness spring—officially five days old—should usher in is absent from the scene. How inappropriate, incongruent with the season today seems—temperature in the forties, drizzly rain, and grey skies does not paint an image of joyful spring with kids (goats or children) frolicking in green meadows. But it’s going to get worse.

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Considering living options as life winds down is an activity in which everyone will ultimately engage. Retirement planning is imperative. Many people immediately think about structuring their finances in a way that a sufficient amount of funds will be available for living out their final days. Without question, that is a huge piece of retirement planning. But that’s not all there is to ensuring quality, and even quantity, of life as it winds down. Another design component that goes into this last phase of living on this earth is whether or when to settle into a retirement community. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_0100I have been in a process of reimagining my life. The word “reimagine” means to reinterpret or rethink an earlier version. It is approaching again something already experienced but in a new way. 

The memories are warm and comforting as I recall times in my life when I was completely encased in the ethos of those days, enveloped in a particular kind of Christianity and particular brand of Baptist. Inside that cocoon I felt comfortable and safe, developed ministry skills, and exercised spiritual gifts. Yet there were times I felt empty, that there was surely more to Christian living than a confining sterile obedience to biblical principles.  Read the rest of this entry »

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I can be ferocious if I want to.

I ran across a note in my file from August 2013. Although it was written over four years ago, there is an uncanny aspect to its application for today and may affect the design of our lives tomorrow. In light of today’s climate in almost any segment of American society—politics, entertainment, and religion to name three—there is a pervasive attitude pregnant with outsized self-importance. This shaded truth is explained as an alternate reality as though one phenomena can have more than one factually based truth. Claiming something to be true and factual when it is only my interpretation is claiming authority I don’t possess. Read the rest of this entry »

fullsizeoutput_575There are times when I still think Barbara, my wife of forty-five years, is in the room. I almost say something to her, but when I look around she’s not there. Then the loss and the pain of it washes over me anew. After many years of her presence, five years of her absence has not erased the emptiness that arrived expectantly but undesired on September 27, 2012 when she died after being ill for over two years. Michael Piazza, pastor of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City wrote in a recent post in reference to the loss of his husband, “My experience has been that the adage ‘time heals all wounds’ is probably a lie.”

Barbara and I began dating in the last year of graduate school, were engaged by graduation, and married a year later. Over the years, we lived in three U.S. states and four countries on two Read the rest of this entry »

kaleid.A kaleidoscope, the kind shaped like a hand-held telescope, contains pieces of material, each a different color. The viewer looks through the lens like looking through a telescope and sees a colorful pattern through two or more reflective surfaces. As the instrument is turned, the colorful patterns change. 

Consider each color in your kaleidoscope represents someone you’ve met. As you meet someone new, you add a new color. Then, consider each turn of the kaleidoscope a new day. Suddenly the pieces in your life align in such a way that a new pattern emerges. The new piece(s) added the day before now appear in the design next to pieces you may have had all your life. Read the rest of this entry »

Life ChallengesSomeone asked me recently what my blog was all about. I directed him to the “About” page on the blog and then gave him the short answer “How people shape their lives and how their lives are shaped by external influence.” Here is a longer answer: Read the rest of this entry »