1. The other night we went out to dinner for the first time in months. I was nervous because cases continue to rise in Alabama. But the more I thought about it, the risk was not much more than going to the store. And Emma (17) had been begging to go get Mexican for her birthday which was almost a month ago. So we sat outside on the restaurant’s patio in the dusk’s sun and drank mango margarita’s (non-alcoholic for Emma) and had chips and queso and salsa and I had shrimp tacos and a guy in a trucker hat sang Bob Seger and Alan Jackson songs while bronzed women with fading tattoos sang along. I sang along with them. And I gotta tell you, it was good for my soul and I don’t even really like Bob Seger and Alan Jackson. Still felt a little risky, though.
2. Assume the best of everyone. It is less exhausting and the path of peace.
3. I was given an Amazon gift card as an end of the year teacher gift and I figured I should be responsible with it, so I bought records and books.
4. Elgar’s Violin Concerto by Nicola Benedetti is worth your time.
5. If you go back and read the Gospels and look for how Jesus is trying to get people to see that the unseen realities are the highest realities, his teaching will make more sense to you.
6. While I understand the statement, “I don’t wear a mask because I trust God will protect me,” there are problems with that line of thinking. The main problem is wearing a mask is a way to love your neighbor, which is a primary way in which we trust God. We place our confidence in his teaching to love our neighbors sacrificially when we willingly lay down our “rights” and “privileges” to care for others knowing it is the best way to live because God knows what he is talking about.
7. I’ve been listening to a lot of U2 lately. Although, it seems even when I am not listening to their music, I am still listening to them. Those songs are in me in a way no other artist’s are. 32 years I’ve been listening to them and they’ve informed and challenged my faith in a way few have. I don’t always understand it. But I’m always thankful.
8. There is a third way. There is a third way between the Scylla of Nationalistic God-and-Country bravado and the Charybdis of grievance-and-victim Progressivism. Both see everything through a lens of news-driven politics. And their preferred political party is the answer to whatever question and problem. And the other side is evil and dangerous. Each feed on a toxic mix of fear and anger. There is a third way, though. However, you must put a premium on the gospel of the unseen reality of the King and his Kingdom. You must seek it first. And you need to know its modus operandi is love.
9. I am reading Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain again. At one point, he is shocked because a professor, who is Thomist, recommends Augustine to him because he sees so much Augustinian thought in him. That shocked him because he did not expect someone from one line of Catholic philosophy to recommend and celebrate another. It was rare for Catholics to do so. Merton thought is was great. You don’t need to understand that scenario at all to understand the need the evangelical church has of this.
10. I feel sorry for everyone who has not been quarantined with my wife, Bethany.