Why Would I Want You Back?

  You left us, my dear mother, one year ago, and we were left reeling.  It was a shock to us, but a salve for you who had been by a disease alien to our Welsh blood savagely assaulted.

It was always something cardiac that pathologized our lineage, but now a cancerous precedent has been established, one casting a double shadow upon two men doubly bereft of their maternal origins.  How could you have done this to us?

Our world was a better place for your presence.  You loved and laughed and labored, then loved even more.  And the world, or that portion wherein you lived and wherewith God so deigned to honor, was truly blessed.

The World Is too Much with Us

           “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33)

I don’t know how much more I can take.  I refer to the classic duels between my beloved Boston Celtics and the hated Los Angeles Lakers.  It is all too much to take. 

I have been attuned their epic battles since the early 1980s and can’t even fathom how fans have survived who have been following their cataclysmic clashes since the 1960s.  It is utterly beyond me.

Every shot taken stops my heart.  Each time the Celtics score I find rest and peace and an odd admixture of quiet yet exuberant satisfaction.  Each successful basket by the Lakers puts a pit in my stomach and a dagger in my heart.  I am so weary.

Faith or Fraud?

  “Lord I Believe, Help My Unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

Are we fallen but faithful, or are we faithful to our fallen condition rather than to God?  Do we believe in Him and what he says, or are we listening to our fears or arrogance, or the wisdom of this world?  We need to ask such questions.

We should be struck by the baneful reality of much of contemporary Christianity.  We pride ourselves on our various expressions and experiences of the Gospel, yet the ceiling appears to be falling upon us and the ground breaking below us.

Have You Died Today? “The man who loves his life will lose it …” (John 12:24)

 Frightening words, aren’t they?  One would think this were an entry-level query into an episode of The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents.  Well-read mystery readers will hearken to the macabre tones of Cornel Woolrich stories.

It may sound odd, but we are actually being immersed in the ethos of New Testament theology!  One would think that the New Testament is about life (and it is!), but it is also preoccupied with death, and not just escaping or overcoming it.

Our western world emphasizes self-fulfillment.  We are motivated by self-justification.  Even our Christianity can be applied in such a way that we are affirmed over and against others, even other professing Christians.

Not Just an Option

“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17)

Two years have past since my best friend passed suddenly from this life, one year since my dear mother, also my beautiful friend, was diagnosed with a cancer that would take her a mere month later.  Two friends are now gone, but never forgotten.

We are rarely publicly conscious of the loss of friendship.  I have often wondered why.  I received far more expressions of condolence concerning the passing of my beautiful mother than my friend from boyhood days. 

A Peculiar Kind of Work

    “Be Still, and Know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

I used to chuckle but now get increasingly frustrated by the penchant for television characters to always be rushing downing corridors as they discuss their lives or their cases or their situations, or whatever it is with which they are dealing.

It appears as if the ultimate panacea to the human predicament is simply to expend as much energy as possible and – Voila! – We will find that our problems are solved.  Solutions come as long as we are doing something, anything, but something.

Awaiting the Messiah

    It is said there was a pervasive whisper amongst horribly deprived Romans during the later stages of the 2nd World War that kept reminding them, “The Americans are coming; the Americans are coming!”

They knew that help was on the way.  The American GI had heretofore been a prospective, but now had become a palpable, reality on European soil by the mid- to later stages of the war.  He was real and they could all but touch him.

The Jews of yore patiently awaited the coming of the Messiah.  He had been promised as far back as the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, and was typified by such luminaries as Moses and David.

Is There a Game-Changer in Your Life?

I tend to be ill-disposed towards anything that smacks of a trend, especially in the realm of language.  There are certain standards of grammar and definitions of words that have stood the test of time for reasons inherent to their existence. 

I hated it when people “partied” rather than attended one.  I loathed the day when individuals began to “dialogue” rather than to talk.  I all but go apoplectic when news-readers refer to “cops” instead of police officers.

(I sympathized with President Obama when Jon Stewart addressed him as “Dude,” rather than as “Mr. President”; I received the same from a teen-aged boy from whom I made a purchase last summer – I was disgusted!)

The Redemption of a Junk Culture

We are the greatest nation on earth, but we are producing so much junk it is almost surreal.  Western culture has been reduced to the bartering and selling and consuming of junk.  Frank language is applied to what is plain to see.

I really don’t want to write a negative piece; negative critiques are so easy and plentiful, but one can use the junk-infested society as a spring-board for something more positive and redeeming.  Let’s just say that even junk can be redeemed.

The old saying is that all that glitters isn’t gold, but there’s a lot of buried gold out there that needs to be unearthed.  Its restoration would do far more than restore a moribund economy.  And it would make a fabulous Christmas gift to our world.

A Holiday for Your Heart

    I don’t know which holiday is more earnestly received, whether Thanksgiving or so-called Black Friday!  We have passed through the both of them and they are now behind us, with Christmas looming ever larger on the horizon. 

Americans have traditionally placed a high premium on Thanksgiving as an opportunity to give thanks amongst family.  It remains the busiest insofar as traveling, but (I fear) not insofar as gratitude is concerned.

I reference Black Friday as a “holiday” with humorous sobriety, because gratitude appears to have given way to an extravagance of greed, a greed that helps to set a tone for the duration of the holidays.

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