Sunday, December 20, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

 I know I just did one of these a few days ago, but I meant to do that one much earlier in the week and I don't want my links to build up and get out of control again. So here are a few good ones to chew on:

On Faith:
Posted: 12 Dec 2015 07:41 PM PST
"We read in Isaiah 53, foretelling of Jesus that "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." This is good tidings of the greatest joy. It is cause for the desert and the parched land to be glad, for the wilderness to rejoice and blossom. We are, every last one of us, strays. Accepted or denied we have deep, punishing wounds. But because of Jesus on the cross, problems don't stay problems. "The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.""

Posted: 13 Dec 2015 09:19 PM PST
"When it comes to fear, America has become the Woody-Allen-Character of cultures. Our anxiety oozes out of us at every Starbucks-owned corner. We're afraid of Democrats winning another election, that the gays will overrun our society, that someone will take our kid, that someone will break into our car, that someone with a gun will shoot up whatever public space we find ourselves in, that our kid will get hurt, that we don't have enough money, that Trump might win, and on and on, ad nauseam. But that's not the worst part. The worst part is how infrequently we admit our fear. And why would we admit it? To be afraid, as the Bible seems to be univocal about, is to mistrust God. And we can't have a bunch of Christians confessing that they don't trust God, now can we? No, we can't. We're even afraid to confess our fear."

Posted: 13 Dec 2015 07:59 PM PST
"That I was standing there in the line with passport in hand on a Friday afternoon in the busiest airport on the entire planet, looking into weathered and young and searching eyes of a torrent of passing people, and I was falling head over broken heart in love all over again with teeming, beautiful humanity. That you can find beautiful people wherever you seek to see beauty. That I believed that we know the last line of this cosmic story and His beauty saves… And that I was this smiling fool nodding at everybody, that I couldn't stop looking into the eyes of the wanderers and the sojourners and the weary travellers because I never get over it: Smiling at anyone is to awe at the face of God."

Posted: 13 Dec 2015 01:40 PM PST
"But they will not live a few days," the girl broke out, sobbing. "They have had nothing to eat for two days as it is." She clutched tightly at a bundle of wrappings and kissed it. "Oh, my babies, my babies, we would die for you if it would make any difference!" "No," said the White Stag fiercely, arguing with himself. "I am rare and exceptional. I am going to hang in a king's castle and be admired by noblemen for a hundred years."
Posted: 13 Dec 2015 07:42 PM PST
"I feed people, I clean, I walk, I gather people, I sing, and the whole time a corner of my soul is crying out to God in braided grief and hope and longing: strengthen us, embolden us, light our hearts on fire, show us we belong to each other, break down the barriers between us, give us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand."

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 08:26 PM PST
"Be near me, Savage Dreamer, Bright Igniter of Exploding Suns, But not too near. I'd like to live, By your grace, just long enough To taste another perfect steak. And to see my children marry"

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 08:49 PM PST
"Funny things are everywhere, reminding us that, in the end, this story we're living turns out to be a comedy rather than a tragedy. This world's little absurdities may not be absurdities at all, but glimmers of a deeper joy that this world's sorrows are hardly able to conceal." Not only was this post insightful, the comment thread went on at length and was especially interesting.

Posted: 09 Dec 2015 11:05 PM PST
"Home from Egypt, Spirit-breathing, in the towns of Galilee, how you had the people seething when you preached the Jubilee. At the margins, far from center, where you met the ostracized, even friends weren't keen to enter conversations that you prized."

Posted: 09 Dec 2015 11:02 PM PST
"Peter had a sword. We have car bombs and semi-automatic guns. As humanity creates deadlier and deadlier weapons, turning the other cheek begins to look more and more ridiculous. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Perhaps that's the root of our problem. We don't want to be children. We want to be heroes."
 On Hope:
Posted: 11 Dec 2015 08:50 PM PST
"I cried many times that Christmas, but one of those times was the day I met Anna. It was in her faithful life and giddy recognition of God that I learned I don't need a specific personal promise to hold on to. I can instead grip desperately to the truth that God is good, that He loves to surprise us with unimaginable gifts, and that if I am present to Him every day, His presence will heal me. The truth that, one ordinary day, with no hope on the horizon, I might pause and see a gift that reminds me that my faithfulness to God is a faint shadow of His undying faithfulness to me and I will be overwhelmed in gratitude and joy, suddenly aware of His loving presence."

On Home:
Posted: 11 Dec 2015 09:10 PM PST
"And you know, that's okay. Home can be in two places, even many places. Home is where we first spring from seeds, and it's where we replant our roots. But we still reach for the sun, for something more, for the home still coming, someday."

On Traditions:
Posted: 13 Dec 2015 10:15 PM PST
"Dementia comes with a heavy dosing of confused and blank stares. The look has a haunting pleading in its soulful stares. Some pieces are missing. Not everything is wholly understood. But what was clear. And what is clear. And what I had the joy of learning is this: celebrations happen around beautiful substitutes for a traditional table. And childlike satisfaction in the simplest of traditions deeply satisfy the hungry soul."

Posted: 13 Dec 2015 09:47 PM PST
"Nativities will come and go (and in our house we seem to go through them at an impressive rate, what with someone's head being broken off immediately and inevitably as soon as the box is opened). But parents willing to sit between the dishes and listen to the stories of wonder or woe that pour out of their tiny humans? That – that is the stuff of miracles and memories. There is your frosting. There is your meaningful art. There is your tradition."

On Marriage:
Posted: 13 Dec 2015 09:28 PM PST
"The union holds; the institution remains; the vows are intact–and none of it is made less beautiful in the end, only more real. This is a battleground where the distinction between my efforts to obtain approval through the law (armed with a toothbrush and expectations) and the "it is finished already" truth of the Gospel are writ large and daily. There are failures; oh so many. There are wounds. At the end of every day, there are two people lying in a home that often doubles as a battlefield, casualties of our own characters. But there's also this: the waking to each other, still here. Nobody disappeared in the night. (Yet.) And, to be mildly spoilery, the awareness of the gift we give each other, echoed in that TV narrative: You stayed?! Which echoes the gift given to us on the cross, at Christmas, and throughout the history of grace: He stays."

On Christian Hospitality:
Posted: 13 Dec 2015 02:15 PM PST
"Making Red Beans and Rice for our guests felt like admitting we're on a budget. It felt like a failure. Sure, I can make a huge pot for guests and it'll provide dinner for our family for several days after, but the vulnerability required of me to make such a universally frugal meal for guests was just too much to bear."
Posted: 11 Dec 2015 08:43 PM PST
"But we don't prepare Him room just by contemplating His birth or reading our Bible more. And we sure don't prepare him room by being festive. We prepare Him room by preparing room for His beloveds - literal, tangible room. We rearrange our schedule and push the furniture to the edges of our heart. We clear a path, make a bed, pick up the phone, simmer the soup."

 On Hard Conversations:
Posted: 13 Dec 2015 08:52 PM PST
"Let's not leave each other hanging when hard conversations are unfolding. Let's respond in a timely, loving manner. Let's assume the best about each other. Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt. Let's start from a position of love: believing all things, hoping all things. Let's be lavish in our willingness to see the other point of view."
 On Gifts:
Posted: 11 Dec 2015 06:47 PM PST
"the best gifts come with new possibilities. When I got a guitar, I was presented with the possibility of becoming someone who makes music rather than just listens to it. Similarly, my first bike made it possible for me to go further and faster than I ever had before on foot."

On Technology:
Posted: 09 Dec 2015 10:43 PM PST
So crazy!
Noteworthy Images:

I love the English language.


 Trying to get everything done for the holidays got me like....

 girl sees beauty through tenement grime. [This was hard and fun.]

And Imma do my best to keep it that way.


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