Oh NO! Not The Family Tree!

“Oh NO! Not the family tree scriptures again!” I can almost hear the congregation thinking out loud when we come to portions of the scriptures that have “and so and so begat so and so, and he begat so and so, and …” Just look at today’s Gospel Lesson in Luke 3:23-38, 4:1. Jesus has a real family! I’ve even been asked “why is that in the Bible?” The short answer: You…

The Heaven Was Opened

I never will forget the thrill of anticipation as we waited outside for the doors to open. It was my very first concert, and I was wide eyed at the spectacle of the crowd, the chance to see a favorite band, and to hear the music that rocked my world at that time. It seemed my whole self was attentive, anticipating, and alive. And when the doors opened to let us in…

Gratitude Multiples!

St. John Chrysostom said: “Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward and learning to enjoy whatever life has and this requires transforming greed into gratitude.” I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to, counseled, and known who find themselves gripped by either regret or disappointment with their lives, and, invariably, these people suffer great pain that disguises itself as anger, bitterness, or despondency. But, the heart of the Christian…

But You are Xeni!

Years ago, when I was a police office, I was doing police work in a small,North Georgia town where I was also going to college to get my undergraduate degree. One afternoon I was sent to a local business in this small town to take a report on a robbery. Seems like someone just walked in, picked up the cash register, and walked out. Seemed straightforward enough. So I took the report…

You Keep Using THAT Word…

“Life is pain.” I love that movie! What, you don’t know the movie “The Princess Bride?!” I weep for you! The whole quote is worth recalling: “Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Seriously, M. Scott Peck, in his bestselling book “The Road Less Traveled,” starts off with this: “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because…

You WILL BE Hated

“Hate” is such an ugly word. And yet I use it all too often. “I hate this traffic.” “I hate coconut!” ( I really don’t like coconut. I think it’s the texture.) “I hate that music.” You get the idea. But, sometimes, dark times, weak times I have even used that word about another person! Horrible! Lord, forgive me! And I’ve had that word used about me. It was a shock and…

Lift Him Up!

There’s an old chorus our youth group liked to sing during youth meetings called “Lift Him Up.” It goes something like this: “Lift Him Up, Lift Him Up, Lift the Name of Jesus Higher. Lift Him Up. Raise His Banner to the sky. He said ‘If I be Lifted Up, I will draw all men unto Me.’ Lift Him Up, all you people, Lift Him up.” Neat words and a catchy tune,…

For This Purpose

As we come to another infamous anniversary of September 11th, the perennial struggle with “purpose” comes to my mind. I was having a conversation the other day with a dear, educated man, who also happens to be an ordained clergyman in one of the many Protestant denominations in our fair city, and the conversation turned, as it often does, to the “struggle” in today’s religious landscape between the “conservatives” and the “liberals.”…

For God So Loved the World…

The famous author J.K. Rowling once said: “I’m interested in that drive, that rush to judgment, that is so prevalent in our society. We all know that pleasurable rush that comes from condemning, and in the short term it’s quite a satisfying thing to do, isn’t it?” And she’s right! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ranted and raved at the TV news reports, or some post on Facebook with…

Memory Eternal!

The ancients kept the stories of their past alive through storytelling and through communal memory. It was just expected that a young person would memorize the tales of the tribe so that he could pass on this communal memory to the next generation. Now don’t laugh, but when I think of this, I think of the perfect illustration of this fundamental idea of human self-knowledge from a movie! The movie is “Enemy…