Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1. Rarely is any one person, institution, movement or group moving toward to doing less when they have the time and resources to do more and more. Instead, all move towards more because we think we can do it and therefore it must be done.

2. Our culture has uncritically accepted the reasonableness of loads of daily homework after our kids have been at school for 8 hours.

3. It’s October 1st and perfect Fall weather just like God intended.

4. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.

5. My 6 year old asked what a soul was the other day. I thought I was avoiding these questions by sending my kids to public school.

6. Don’t assume the worst of those you disagree with and are arguing with. Ask questions. Ask yourself the same questions. Grace insists on it.

7. It’s my birthday month, so if you need to see my wish list, let me know.

8. Our culture’s idea of safety at the expense of endangering others is a luxury.

9. I’m tired of not eating pizza.

10. Joy is often familiar. Even when the experience is new. It may feel like an echo of a long forgotten sliver of memory. Once escaped. Now slight in the remembering. Only a taste. A sound. So small. But within, a world that can usher in that longed-for ache you know you were created for.

Random Thoughts for the Beginning of the Week


1. I’ve been listening to podcasts that interview writers and poets. Two different writers this past week said something to the effect of, “Write what you want. Don’t follow the market. You will never have your own voice, if you do. You cannot be yourself if you do.” And then they both offhandedly said this is true for life itself. And then like thunder it dawned on me how I do this with my family. I want to be seen as normal and follow the market of the middle class american family and what it values. But there is a voice ringing out like bells at dawn.

2. I’m writing some of these while up very late with a very sick little boy on Saturday night/Sunday morning and I’m past the point where I like anything anymore.

3. Over the past six months during my run I’ve seen a woman thin considerably.

4. I just watched a documentary about Levon Helm and there’s this scene on the day he wins a Grammy and he sees his just-born granddaughter for the first time in a picture and the look on his face is something I’ll never forget.

5. I cannot help but think the American idolatry of busyness is why my kids have so much dad-gum homework after being at school for 8 hours.

6. David Ryan Adams’ cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989 is heartbreaking in the most wonderful way possible.

7. I’m not very good at my job yet. But I find myself looking forward to it and wanting to get better at it. This is really weird.

8. I’m blessed to have a wife I am glad to have during hard times. But I did not ask the question before we married. I did not ask, “Is this who I want to weather the storms with?” I asked “Is this who want to have good times with?” Not a bad question. But my advice is to ask the first question first. The second question is kinda a full gone conclusion.

9. Two hours ago I was not only writing cogently but with rhythm. Now? It’s 2 AM and I don’t understand the keyboard anymore.

10. I believe one day the Christians of the future will look back on our day and wonder at our enjoyment of football while knowing it was destroying the lives of players and their families.


Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1. Yesterday I drove through a part of town where all the houses and streets look ideal. The sidewalks were covered in former frat boys and sculpted moms pushing expensive strollers. I felt judged. And it dawned on me that others may feel the same driving on my street.

2. It is hard for me to see someone as a victim if they have a PR firm telling me they are a victim.

3. After more than five long years, we finally have another book by Mary Karr. There are not many memoirs who avoid writing about people they don’t like. She does it because she sees herself as her biggest problem. If you know her story, you’ll understand how amazing that is.

4. Just over a month left of baseball and there aren’t enough documentaries to get us through winter.

5.  I’m not a pacifist. But I still think American Christians are too comfortable with violence. Too enthralled with it as entertainment. Too easy with it as sport.

6. Something doesn’t smell right about the Muslim student getting arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school. It’s too perfect.

7. I listened to an interview with Mary Karr about her new book while running this morning. You would’ve thought the new book was about her relationship with David Foster Wallace since half the interview was about her relationship with David Foster Wallace. Of course, it was NPR.

8. Even though I really like my new job, I still pine to be at home with my wife after being gone for about an hour.

9. This week we saw what it looked like for a pastor to apologize for blowing it in how he handled a pedophile case in his church and how he treated the victim. Apologies are rarely perfect. They just seem to be rare.

10. My ungracious expectations of my kids doing really well in school are not only ironic but hypocritical.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

1. We are preparing for our short visit to the beach, where I will eat fish and shrimp and sleep late and stare at Bethany in her swimsuit and listen to my children laugh in the excitement of being able to order a soft drink instead of water because we are wrapped up in the joy of being there.

2. Only a consumer would read the CEOs more than the poets.

3. Much of what you find beautiful as you grow older, you only caught a glimpse of as a young man. Maybe you knew there was something there, but had no words for it. Maybe there was no context for you to make sense of it with. But now it’s like a veil being lifted from a glowing bride’s face.

4. I am truly afraid of my boys playing baseball at the ballpark and what it will do to our family. This is not an attempt at humor. I did not like how my heart was glad when I saw that my son was not the worst player. That is an evil insecurity. It will be hard to hope my kids fail well and succeed well. I’d prefer to not worry over their skills. And I worry about our evenings of leisure being tapped and parched. I worry about the ballpark taking over.

5. I have never regretted one moment of listening to Van Morrison. It has never been a waste. It has always been good for me.

6. Have I mentioned how much I look forward to all the seafood at the beach?

7. It has been a long time since I’ve gone on a vacation without the dread of return.

8. When the dark night is all you’ve known, even though you’ve longed for the morning, it is something to be used to still.

9. The missing of my parents has become a broken pane letting air in, and then out, the kind you grow used to. Maybe it’s more like a dent you cannot knock out. Or a hole in the ground you cannot fill.

10. On Friday I read Heaney’s “A Requiem for the Croppies” while at lunch. I did know the story behind the poem, but the line “The hillside blushed, soaked with our broken wave” shot through me, even though I did not know The Battle of Vinegar Hill took place in the county of my ancestors.

Thursday’s Random Thoughts


1.Something happens in the news. Think piece is written. Rinse (forget) and repeat.

2. Tomorrow I get to wear jeans to work and there are gonna be bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. I will do whatever they ask me to do.

3. I don’t know if I’m more upset by those who used Ashley Madison to cheat on their spouses or those who use it for self-promotion.

4. Last night I finished a book of interviews with Seamus Heaney. I grew cold towards the book in the middle. But the end was worth it. I am richer now.

5. Morality is not our great struggle. It is the struggle to believe we are accepted and loved by the King of the Universe because of what he did and not what we do or did not do.

6. My wife made some chicken salad this week I would knock over a nun for.

7. Contra the naysayers, the reel mower is working out wonderfully. Working in the yard is far more enjoyable and we think it looks better than ever. (Eats quinoa)

8. My kids should be the ones I want to show grace to the most and yet…

9. I’m actually not sure we are supposed to be eating Quinoa.

10. The last Christmas before my Dad went on ahead, my parents gave me a telescope. They knew my love for sitting out in the yard and looking into the night sky. I think I used it once soon after. There was a string of really cold nights and the gift was pushed into a corner. About that time a darker night came and I could not bring myself to use it. I had trouble enjoying just about anything. Around the same time I remember taking out the trash on one of those perfect winter nights when the sky shines with stars from every corner and your eyes cannot catch them all. But I could not enjoy it. The very thing I used to crave and long for during the day was set against the darkness of the next day and the next day. I couldn’t even look up.

The other night I dusted off the telescope and we looked at the moon and saw it’s jagged edges and chalky canyons and oooooed and ahhhhed in the brightness of the night and I smiled at the future.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

1. Grace laughs at the law with head thrown completely back and ribs grabbed.

2. Yesterday at work, I got to talking to a guy about books. And we talked poetry a little. And it was the best day at work ever.

3. There have been a number of articles lately about the things people say to pastors. And things you shouldn’t say to pastors. Ways pastors are criticized. One article was about how it hurts Pastors when people leave. 

I’ve now been on both sides of this coin. Can I write an article of what pastors should never say or do? It all seems a silencing. What would I love to hear from pastors? Posts asking for feedback with a chest behind that can handle it.

4. I listen to Ryan Adams a lot. And one of the reasons is how absolutely at odds his personality is with his songs. He is a foul-mouthed, pinball playing, comic book reading, silly boy-man. And he writes songs with incredible melodies and lyrics that rival some of the best modern poetry for beauty and insight into the human condition.

5. Last night we spent an evening laughing and eating and drinking with our best friends. We talked of our joys, our hurts, and we laughed at ourselves till we hurt. Each couple brings a dish. We get together every month at least once a month. But we try for more. We have a group text that we live on that’s been going for years. It’s full of inside jokes, prayer requests and plans for time together. It’s used every single day. We care about each other’s kids like our own.

No “small group” could compete.

6. My Ray Charles records are treasures. Found cheap and listened to more than any others.

7. My love for BBQ is without boundary.

8. Fear adds complexity.

9. One of the things that surprised me while working in the bank is how much people eat out. And how much money they spend doing it. And how they complain about not making enough money.

10. Last night while at our friend’s I looked over and watched my wife sit and talk and laugh in all her beauty and thanked God for such a gift. Her laughter is better than gold.

Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1. I dreamed last night that I preordered Marilynne Robinson’s book of poetry.

The only problem is she doesn’t have one coming out.

2. I’ve worked three days at my new job and I haven’t needed to listen any angry music with bad words on the way home.

3. There is no place in Christendom for snobbery about coffee, beer, or whatever.

4. Yesterday I sat with a lady at her desk as part of my training and on her desk was a copy of Homer’s The Odyssey. That would have never happened in the branch.

5. I looked at the mobile versions of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News and could find nothing on the newest Planned Parenthood video, even though it features a live baby killed for its brain.

6. When you do violence to words, you can expect violence against people.

7. I’ve been reading this huge book of interviews of the poet Seamus Heaney. At the same time I’m reading a book of Wendell Berry’s poems. Early on the two were similar. But fame changed one of them.

8. I wish my middle son liked school more because I remember disliking every single day.

9. There’s a lot of laughter at my new job. I hope I never minimize that.

10. Missy’s homemade pizza with Supper Club.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend


  1. Yesterday was a hard day. Bittersweet. I was so glad to say goodbye to a job I’ve been struggling through for nearly four years. But man, I loved the people I worked with.

2. I have never studied nor even read on the subject of brand identity. So all of my thoughts are born of observation and speculation. But I cannot help but think modern western culture identifies with brands in an unhealthy way and very different from the generations before us. Before, men and women identified with their vocation and what they actually created and did. Now, we identify with what others have created and done. It’s odd, really.

3. Churches are guilty of brand identity also. And they are also guilty of encouraging it.

4. Looking forward to my wife putting my new lawn mower together.

5. It is good for your neighborhood to have a few foreclosures in it. Why? Otherwise you probably live in the neighborhood version of a high school cool kid clique with all the drama and snobbery and competition.

6. Protip: When someone buys something new, don’t talk about how bad it is and what a bad idea it was. They’ve bought it. Telling them it won’t work out is nothing short of cruel.

7. On my last two days of work, we had a problem locking the vault, which kept me at the bank way late and then my final customer was someone who brought me a document I was not able to notarize. Pretty good summation.

8. To suggest explicitly or implicitly the main work of a Christian is evangelization is to be completely out of step with the Scriptures. And when I say completely, I mean completely.

9. The blackened shrimp I will eat tonight.

10. Man, I wish my parents were able to share in the good news of me changing jobs after waiting so long.


Random Thoughts on a Sunday Night

1. I cannot remember a time when Sunday night was not a time of anxiety and dread. Till now. A few of you can possibly understand. But not many.

2. Listening to Van Morrison while the Cicadas sing their songs out of doors, while we sit around listening, makes for a good Sunday evening.

3. My wife’s leftovers are better than most meals.

4. Finding two of Heaney’s books of poems at the used bookstore is better than finding money in last year’s winter coat.

5. Believe it or not I’ll miss some parts of my job. But I suppose that even soldiers once in the hell of war miss the companionship and friendships made and lost.

6. Last weekend we celebrated the new job with friends. We congratulated each other as a joke. But it was the kind of joke with depth of meaning and it meant more than gold could ever mean.

7. Why not all the Van albums on vinyl?

8. No hope in a politician. None.

9. My daughter, who used to sleep soundly on my chest, got her ears pierced today. She starts 7th grade on Thursday. (Reaches for Xanax)

10. American Christianity has produced an environment where the head of an evangelistic ministry who also heads up one that targets the poor the world over, makes $880,000 a year. And hardly anyone thinks that’s a problem.

May God have mercy on us.

A Question For Those Who Don’t Want To Defund Planned Parenthood


I have a few friends who are not all that eager to see Planned Parenthood defunded. I’m not sure why they think like they do. They are confessing Christians, so it is hard for me to understand. I can only guess as to why.

But I do have a question for them.

What would it take for you to want Planned Parenthood defunded?

How many hours of unedited video? How many videos of intact dead babies? How many times would you have to hear someone exclaim, “Another boy!” before you thought about defunding Planned Parenthood was a good idea? How many times would you have to hear the cold statement, “it’s all just a matter of line items?”

What would you have to see or know?



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