A Clear and Complicated Contrast

  “We Know in Part and We Prophecy in Part” (1 Corinthians 13:9)

1939 gave cinema-lovers two magnificent films of enduring worth:  Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.  They have two things in common:  They were both directed by Victor Fleming and were filmed in glorious color.

1943 gave us Casablanca, featuring Humphrey Bogart, exquisite direction from Michael Curtiz, and the finest in black-and-white cinematography.  The mere notion of a colorized version of this classic is noxious to any aesthetic integrity. 

The Luck of the Irish Is Really a Welsh Blessing!

  I bet it passed you by and it you didn’t even notice!  March 1 came and went and that’s all there was to it.  It’s a dirty rotten shame, that’s what it is!

March 1 is St. David’s Day.  David is the patron saint of Wales, just like Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.  Everyone knows about Patrick, but few are familiar with David.

Everyone gears up for St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.  The Irish seem to be better at public-relations than their Celtic kin from Wales; still, David deserves better.

We Are Supposed to Be One People

           How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity (Psalm 133:1)

It is the paradox of civilization:  Centuries have gone into making the world that we know today, necessitating a healthy respect for those who have labored and an appreciation for their labor’s fruit, yet recognizing its finitude and ultimate demise.

It is true of God’s creation.  We are given to know that God created the heavens and the earth, but those very same spheres, both celestial and terrestrial, will one day be consumed by fire and replaced by an entirely new created order!

Kingdom Concerns

    A Christian should be defined, at least in part, by someone who sees beyond his or her nose.  A Christian, you see, is one who is concerned with, motivated by and lives for, a reason far beyond one’s individual welfare.  A Christian is Kingdom-oriented.

God loves you and me.  Jesus plainly said that we needn’t worry about our lives because God, who cares for the sparrows, loves us even more (Matthew 6:26).  God’s love separates Christianity from other religions.  He cares, plain and simple.

His love and providential care for us should never be in question.  It is an indubitable proposition in Scripture and is the witness of the historic and universal Church down through the ages.

Moving Forward

  The notion of the “good-old-days” is a misnomer on two counts:  First, they may have been good, but they are now old, in the sense of being past; second, they weren’t always or necessarily good so much as we simply remember them as such.

Our nostalgic yearnings have become a highly lucrative enterprise, and I’m not certain that they are built on anything other than cheap and tawdry sentiment – and sentiment, let it be understood, is not the same thing as true depth of affection.

Our capacity and penchant for remembering is not always concentrated upon the good times.  The memory of bad things can be seared in our souls, giving our lives a rancid flavor due to bitterness or trauma or just plain disappointment.

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. 

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