Random Thoughts for the Weekend

the-good-samaritan-after-delacroix-1890

1.  The above piece of art is Van Gogh’s “The Good Samaritan – After Delacroix.” It is stunning for the eye and the heart. I have no taste for politics and I do not like any politicians. But, if it is true our current President did not categorically repudiate the white-supremicists carrying Nazi flags that marched in Charlottesville last weekend, any defense of this by those who follow Jesus is not merely a political issue but a gospel issue at it’s deepest level. This is not controversial in the least. The teachings of Jesus and his Apostles are clear on how we treat other people – we love them even if it feels like a cross to bear. We love them regardless of their race. We love even if they want to kill us. There is no getting around this. There may be a thousand issues swirling around all the issues of race and protest and politics, but for the one who places all their hope in the mercy and grace of the gospel of Christ, there is no other way to live besides love for our neighbor regardless of what they look like, what they believe, and whether or not they mean us harm. Again, this is not politics, this is theology.

2. The Glass Castle may be the craziest memoir I have ever read. It is certainly some of the best writing I have enjoyed.

3. Speaking of broken records, my truck overheated again and the plan is to not let the day end without buying a new vehicle.  (raises fist in defiance)

4. Someone asked me the other day if I missed anything about my last job. I miss nothing about working for the bank. I worked with some good people but we were so frantically overworked that you could never really get to know them anyway.

5. I keep trying to listen to albums other than Isbell’s The Nashville Sound, but none of them are near as good. Not a one.

6. Relax, we still have more than two months of baseball left.

7. I am barely into my third day of taking a rest day – a day when I do no work for my job(s). As much as I look forward to this day, it is hard work to not work. But because there is always something that can be done when teaching, it is tempting to open the computer and begin working or do some related reading. Plus, I *really* enjoy getting ready for classes. But I get the feeling this rest day is good for me on a level I cannot pin down just yet.

8.  When I got my first paycheck from the school, my first thought was “Which record do I want to buy?”

9. Me: Everything I know about teaching I learned from School of Rock.

8th Grade Boys: What is School of Rock?

10. I think it’s in The Message version of Proverbs 31 that it says, “She rises early and drives a school bus so her family can enjoy good insurance.”

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

bethany bus

1. What a week. I started teaching. My wife started driving a school bus. My daughter started High School. My son started Middle School. And now all three kids are at three different schools.

2.  Love your (political) enemies.

3. When I was in college, for a number of years (it takes awhile when you pay for it yourself) I was a secondary education major. But then I decided to pursue a call to ministry. Now I do both of those. This all feels like I’ve been guided along.

4.  One sign that you may need to try a new place is when the waitress knows which sushi roll you ordered the week before.

5. Related to the first point above, I am learning the value of Sabbath rest in a fresh way.

6. The last time the Cardinals had a run like this was 2011. The last time they had a rally animal was 2011. The last time I quit a job and started a new career was 2011. They won it all in 2011.

7. (Waits for new War on Drugs album impatiently)

8. Yesterday I told Bethany that I could not believe I get paid to do this. She asked if I felt like that when I was doing youth ministry. I don’t think I ever thought that way back then because I had not yet walked through the valley of the shadow of banking for six years. Being thankful for those six years will take time and effort, but I can catch a whiff of what that thanksgiving looks like.

9. After watching the video of Tim Tebow making that autistic kid’s day (year?), he may be my favorite ballplayer. Some things go beyond stats and success.

10. I am so proud of my wife. She is seriously the most competent person I know. There were zero doubts she would be able to get through all the training to drive a school bus. I had no doubt she would do a good job driving it. But what you need to hear is how she talks about the kids. If she was your kid’s driver, you’d be very fortunate.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend


1. For what you communicate in your vocation to be your only comfort in life and death is no small thing. I am not sure I realized this before. Far too often “success” is the comfort…was the comfort.

2. Mozart’s clarinet concerto.

3. Side goal with my students: Expose them to the magisterial thinking of Calvin.

4. My daughter starts high school in a few days. How is this even possible? She is only 7 and just yesterday she could fit in my lap and asked me  to carry her because she was tired.

5. This week I talked with a fellow new faculty member about Shawshank Redemption. We talked about being “institutionalized” and the fear. I am about to describe something many of you understand about the workplace even if you never had words for it. 

You are standing on the head of a pin and you are realizing there are an infinite number of ways to fall off. And daily you are shown new ways of falling off. The head of that pin is never expanded. That would cost money. It is always contracting. And fear is all around you. 

Even though I am no longer standing on the head of a pin, it is hard to not stand as if I am.

6. It is hard to watch the Cardinals right now. Easy to not.

7.  Yesterday I was cut off by someone getting off at the same exit I was. It was an unnecessarily dangerous piece of driving. And then I thought how funny it would be if we were going to the same place. And that got me thinking about how followers of Jesus talk about each other and deal with each other and we are all headed to the same place.

8. People say there is no magic but I disagree because of coffee.

9. That moment in the roadhouse when Jayber sees Troy Chatham with another woman.

10. Have you ever not feared?/To stand there in all that mercy,/if only for a split second, with/nothing to fear, is heaven itself.