Who Am I, Pop-Pop?

    The lovely little lady is constantly asking me, “Who am I, Pop-Pop?  Who am I?” 

It’s not as if she is having an existential crisis, as she is too little for such complications of personal psychology; she is simply playing out various television characters to whom she has been attracted – hence, she is Austin or Tyrone or some other enchanting persona.

I happily play along; it does, after all, contribute to Amber’s sense of imagination and, to be frank, there are worse things an adult like me with both child-like and (alas!) childish ways could be found doing.

Architect, Archeologist and Adventurer

   I know him as Jack.  C.S. Lewis was known as the same by his friends.  Lewis was a literature professor, children’s writer and Christian apologist.  My Jack is an architect, an archaeologist and self-described adventurer.

He is also a novelist, having written and had published a fine novel entitled, Second Sight.  I have read it, with pleasure and to profit.  The man is as good at writing fiction as he is at designing churches and being a friend.

Jack is one who accommodates both brilliance and humility in his person at one stroke.  I have always enjoyed his company, appreciated his spirit and gleaned much from his conversation; I now boast of the sheer pleasure of his writing.

A Day both Glorious and Sober

 It had to have been glorious to be present in Philadelphia when the bells began to ring.  The date was July 2, 1776, a day that, to quote John Adams:

 “…will be the most memorable Ephoca, in the History of America.  -  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.  It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Labors of Love

Sometimes it’s more labor and other times its more love, but all Christians are called to loving labor.  No one is exempted, as everyone is granted the gift and grace of service to God, to His people and to the world around us.  We are laborers in love and of love.

Human history is replete with tales of the sheer drudgery and stupefying oppression of labor.  It is the “thorns and thistles” reality accruing from the curse that God placed upon our work as the result of our act of disobedience (Genesis 3:17-19).

Human aspiration is expressive of more rewarding and fruitful endeavors.  Our redemption has brought new meaning to our work, as those of us who are entrusted with harvesting the Kingdom are assured of fruitful and not futile labor.

Fatherly Foibles and Faithful Fathers

   It’s been almost 22 years since my dear father passed from this earth, and nearly 22 years later I begin to miss his presence in my life, let alone on this planet, with increasingly elevated longing.  He was a good man who loved me very much.

It may be due in part to the Boston Bruins hockey team.  They won the Stanley Cup Championship in recent days for the first time since 1972.  I well remember those days, especially of my lovely parents and, in this instance, of my father.

My brother and I were hockey fans in those early days of our lives.  The Bruins boasted Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Johnny Bucyk, Ken Hodge, Gerry Cheevers and a supporting cast of tough, skillful and great players.  The Bruins owned the hearts of all Bostonians.

Sinatra’s Paradox

   Philosophers will call it in future fits of cogitation, Sinatra’s Paradox, in honor of one of the most celebrated songs of the greatest of crooner’s, New York, New York:

I never thought it was one of his best songs, certainly not in terms of his vocal quality, but his stylizing proclivities remained in vigor, making it one of his most popular, even his last true hit song. 

   “Start spreading the news
   I’m leaving today
   I want to be a part of it
   New York, New York

   “These vagabond shoes
   They are longing to stay
   Right through the very heart of it
   New York, New York

Asgard or Bust!

     I went to see Thor with friends at the movies.  It is a must-see for any self-respecting comic-book fan from the Lee-Kirby era of Marvel Comics.  We were a privileged lot, no doubt about it. 

My friend John and I would never have dreamed that the super-hero comics that we avariciously read in our youth would ever have received such fabulous treatment.  It was beyond the pale.

But here we are.  And there you have them - Spiderman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and (soon!) Captain America.  It is great fun and, beneath fun’s veneer, a large measure of truth.

My friend is gone, having suddenly passed a couple of years ago, so I watch the films with John in my heart, if not by my side.  He would have loved them! 

What Does He Want of Us?

    I had come through a brutal run of dissension within our church.  A faction had sought for my ouster and treated my wife badly.  It was a grumbling and a rumbling that had slowly festered and then erupted.  These things are never pretty.

I wasn’t at my best, notwithstanding that the broader fellowship gave my wife and I its full support.  The threat faded away as the faction left.  But menace loomed on the horizon.

Would we be enabled to remain open, let alone viable, as a congregation?  We were reduced to a very small group, mostly if not exhaustively elderly with fixed incomes.  And I was reduced to a sense of having failed God, His people and my own ministry.

Dearest Mother

     We were watching Mommie Dearest, starring Faye Dunaway portraying film legend Joan Crawford.  It was disturbing, to say the least.

Crawford was one of the acting divas of MGM during the 1930s.  Her career surged afresh in the later 1940s and she even found herself on a television soap opera in the 1960s.

She was also the subject of a book by her adopted daughter, casting her in a role by which she would not have wished to be remembered.  Christina Crawford narrated a childhood that was marred and marked by alleged abuse at the hands of her mother. 

Film legend Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. challenged the charges, as he couldn’t recognize his former wife by the daughter’s descriptions.  Myrna Loy vehemently denied it also.

Resurrection Rumblings

    It is said that if a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon rain forest the reverberations are felt on the Arctic plain.  The delicacies of nature abound with consequence.

The delicacies of human life abound also, though not necessarily to our advantage.  Adam and Eve ate an apple that was forbidden them and all of human history has been marred, right to the present day, because human nature in its totality has been adversely affected.

History has been rippling, reverberating and rumbling ever since our ancestors “got it wrong,” so to speak.  Sin has rippled, reverberated and rumbled through ages of human activity and aspirations.  And ripples, reverberations and rumblings roar like lions in their effects.

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