Showing posts from June, 2009

Cassette Tape Ghosts & Other Tales of Mystery & Imagination

I was doing some cleaning in my office today, and I found some cassette tapes that various people gave me when I came to the church I now serve as pastor. I don't usually clean my office unless I am beginning to feel like I have too much to do. For some strange reason that defies logic, when I am busiest and have a lot going on in my life, I tend to shut down a bit. It's like this limiter switch inside my head that is triggered to the "off" position when there is just way too much junk to download. I suspect that if they diagnosed such things back in the day, I would have been one slapped with the "ADD" label and medicated to the point where I didn't have any imagination left at all. Instead I was just spanked. I know that's not a popular form of discipline nowadays, but it sure worked wonders for me. I just learned that there were times it was okay to be scattered and weird, and times it wasn't. Most of the time I chose to daydream anyway

Roll The Dice: Why Grace Is For Gamblers

I am no good at games of chance. Once I had four Kings in a game of Texas Hold 'Em poker. FOUR KINGS. I was holding three Kings and one was in the flop. I played it masterfully. One by one everyone in the game dropped out except for one young woman, who was rather good and had a mass of chips. I wanted her chips, badly. It would meant a win for me, and I had not won a game of Texas Hold 'Em EVER. At the end of the betting, I laid my cards down in triumph. FOUR KINGS. Everyone gasped and a few people cheered. After staring for a moment at my cards, the young woman laid her cards down, too. A Royal Flush. Only the most elusive hands in all of poker. No wonder my grandmother detested card games of all kinds. They lead to devilry. I've also tried the lottery, but to no avail. The only thing I have ever won when playing the lottery is more lottery tickets, which, by the way, all ended up being losing tickets. Once many years ago, I entered a football pool one year at m

The Distance Between Head & Heart

One of my many regrets in life is that I never learned how to play the guitar. For someone who loves and appreciates music as much as I do, it seems a shame. My wife bought me a rather expensive acoustic/electric guitar one year for my birthday, which included a book of chords. A friend of mine offered to help me learn how to play. Some other folks offered to get me lessons. In the end, I became too busy, too preoccupied with life and ministry to even think about learning guitar. Finally, I donated the guitar to a silent auction for a fund raiser that was held at our church. Someone bought it for a couple hundred bucks. I have not thought about my old guitar in years until this very moment. It's not that I didn't have the desire to learn how to play, I just didn't want to make the commitment of time, energy and what-have-you. So now I regret it, but still not enough to make it happen, which is understandable now when you consider the schedule and pace that I am forced

Predestination Sucks: A Primer (Of Sorts) on "Limited Atonement"

One of the worst things that you can experience as a kid is being picked last for teams on the playground. There’s not much that sucks worse than that, to be honest. I would like to say that I don’t know what that feels like. I would like to say that I was never picked last, because then I could sort of maintain this image that I have of myself---an image of a guy who was always so athletic, so popular, so good looking that he never watched all the other kids on the playground get picked for a team while he stood there in shame and self-pity staring at his shoes. A few years ago, when I was still doing youth ministry, I would play football or basketball with my students during our youth group gatherings. Prior to the games, I would name two captains and then they would divvy up the players among them. It wasn’t the best way to divide teams because the process itself usually ended up categorizing people based on friendships and athletic ability. Then I started to notice that I was ge

The Shack: So God Looks Like A Lady. What's the Ruckus?

I finally broke down and read The Shack by William P. Young--since I was starting to feel like one of the three people in the world who hadn’t (if you are one of the other two, don’t feel bad). The Shack is one of those books that just sort of takes on a life of it’s own. Predominantly by word of mouth at first, and then through something that can only be called a phenomenon, millions of copies have been sold and countless people have both read and reflected upon it. Young recently confessed at a workshop that he had received requests for signed copies from, actors like Angela Bassett and Denzel Washington, President Barack Obama and His Holiness Pope Benedict. What started as a book that dealt with the problem of evil in the world, and prompted by his own experiences with sexual abuse, grief and infidelity, quickly became a parable that presents a decidedly different understanding of Providence and the work of the Trinity in Creation. Young created a story where all of his questio