Random Thoughts for Thursday

  
1. Yesterday it dawned on me that if grace is true, then God is not ashamed of his children when they sin. And if he isn’t ashamed of them when they sin, then he is not ashamed when they express their faith in hackneyed ways. He’s not snobbish. And if he’s not ashamed, then neither is Jesus. He is never ashamed to be associated with us. This means I shouldn’t be ashamed of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Ever.

2. The true scandal of this election is not that some people would vote for a particular candidate, it’s how the church talks about the candidates and others that is the true scandal. If Schaeffer is right and our distinguishing mark is our love, then we should be distinguished by that in the way we discuss politics. Pretty sure that’s not happening.

3. Cash is my favorite Christian artist right now. I bought his Unchained record and cannot stop listening to it. All day at work. At home. In the car. It’s mesmerizing. Otherworldly. And yet at home.

4. The sound of a baseball game, a needle on a record, bacon cooking.

5.  All of Paul’s letters seem to have at their core, the desire for the reader to understand the good news of God’s grace for sinners. That seems like a viable pastoral ambition.

6. An old man was stuck in a dark hole with little light. He prayed to be set free. He was finally set free. One day he looked around and saw he was in a hole deeper than the one he was in before. He now prays for contentment.

7. Those who follow Jesus are part of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

8. It is hard to hear of pastors leaving the ministry when I miss it so much.

9. Imagine an assembly line. Now imagine that on the line are items with a problem to be fixed. Now imagine no problem is the same. Now imagine no item is the same. Now imagine each one is brought to you by a different person with different personalities and backgrounds and needs. 

10. Most every morning I sit at my desk and miss Bethany within the first hour.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

  
1. I prefer to listen to old men singing sad songs. They are closer to the end.

2. I am glad to know I will hear a clear presentation of the gospel each Sunday because I’m thoroughly worn down by the end of the week, weary.

3. Last weekend Mark Driscoll preached at an Acts 29, which in microcosm, displays the inherent and tragic problems of Acts 29. 

4. Every time I go out to eat I think about how my wife’s cooking is better. And her company makes it even better.

5. Winter in Alabama means cutting the grass in February.

6. I never noticed how the click of the keyboard can sound like the pick against a rock.

7. Baseball is so close…

8. Johnny Cash reminds me of the biblical characters more than anyone.

9. Dying is scarier than death.

10. The coaches at the ballpark nowadays are nicer than most of the coaches I had. I mention this because I enjoy watching the coaches push Dylan and be kind to him and encourage him as he fails and succeeds.

Random Thoughts for Thursday

  
1. I am thankful there is grace to cover my sin of forgetting the gospel of grace and trying to earn God’s favor.

2. I’m reading a book on the history of the blues. It’s fascinating to read the author trace much of what you hear in early 20th century Delta blues music to regions in Africa. Understanding the history of these descendants of slaves and their music help me appreciate the music more. The same principal should be applied to people too, I guess.

3. If you’re going to a concert and getting so drunk you can’t stand up, you’re making poor decisions. And if you’re dating that person, same goes for you. Of course, I also think you’re making bad decisions if you spend $8 for one beer.

4. My RPMs go down just thinking about watching a baseball game.

5. The great blues musicians from the Delta made some of the most transcendent and influential music ever made. And they did it with cheap mail-order guitars. This is a rebuke to our supposed need of the best and nicest version of everything.

6. One of my regrets is I did not dive headlong into the Delta Blues when I lived in the Delta. I saw the crossroads, went to Robert Johnson’s supposed gravesite, and knew the man who owned the rights to his only photographs. But I did not listen like I should have.

7. Am I the only person that didn’t like To Kill A Mockingbird?

8. Last night my wife made blackened fish tacos with mango avocado salsa. Yep.

9. You can hear the coming of Bob Dylan in the voice of Charley Patton.

10. It has taken me many years to see the goodness of God and also feel it, when my idols are revealed. 

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

  
1. There are life-saving wellsprings of the gospel I would have never tasted if I had not left vocational ministry and entered the business world.

2. Roger Angell says that baseball is sport about losing. The best hitters only get a hit 1/3 of the time. Most teams are happy to win just above half their games in a season. You lose? There’s always tomorrow. Maybe that’s why it mirrors life so well. Dealing with loss over a long season.

3. “Ham is the taste of life.” – 6 yr old

4. Mississippi John Hurt

5. The lens through which we see the world wil color the world we are trying to make our way through. Sounds obvious till you realize what lens you are wearing.

6. Our shepherds are more vital than our politicians.

7. There is a second lawsuit coming against SGM and its leaders. When it comes there will be no statute of limitations. There will be sworn testimony. This is being called the largest child sex abuse scandal in evangelicalism and the evangelical elite remain silent except for their support of CJ Mahaney.

8. I now understand how my Dad felt when he would watch me play baseball, having played and loved the game himself.

9. Your arguing about politicians and who is better is like arguing about which poison to ingest.

10. It dawned on me that I’ve not a whole lot of vocational ambition. My ambition? To spend as many moments with Bethany as I can before one of us goes on ahead. And then pick it up again later…

Random Thoughts for Thursday

  
1. The grace of God for us covers the gracelessness we show toward others.

2. Needing to have the best is a terrible slavery.

3. The myth of America as a Christian nation is revealed in our collective hope in politicians and our hatred towards those we disagree with.

4. Ray LaMontagne

5. In all seriousness, how insecure do you have to be to make fun of someone who likes cheap beer? Related, don’t complain about your student debt if you’re drinking the expensive beer.

6. The most engaging political act is praying “Thy kingdom come.”

7. The older I get the less I need to be entertained. I can’t tell if it’s contentment or resignation.

8. I’ve been reading through Keller’s Counterfeit Gods and it’s killing me. In a very painful way.

9. The writer of The God of the Mundane struggles in his cubicle.

10. Last night we watched the scene where Jesus raises Lazarus in The Gospel of John movie. I imagine that Jesus had no doubt that His friend would walk out of the tomb by his command. As God’s Son, his soul swirled with assurance. I want that kind of assurance of God’s love and in the hope of my own resurrection.

Talking About Football on a Podcast

I made an appearance on the Calvin’s Corner podcast, in which I answered as to why I don’t watch football anymore. Before you get defensive and assume I am asking you to do the same, I would ask you to listen first.

I am working on a post where I flesh this out a little more and answer some objections others have made. Enjoy the show…
http://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/53960/42483115?el=0&refid=stpr

Random Thoughts After a Hard Thursday

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1.  I am at home today because my stomach is in revolt against me. Either the stress of yesterday or the “Moolatte” from Dairy Queen has taken my lactose intolerant self on an all night ride through the land of misery. I barely slept. So I’m home from work and don’t even get to enjoy it.

2. For years we have struggled to understand our daughter. When she was younger she was diagnosed with the severest form of ADHD the experts had ever seen. For a few years we have suspected something more. Yesterday we received a firm diagnosis of what we had suspected. High-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder with learning disabilities in a couple specific ares.

That was harder to type that I imagined it would be.

Our emotions are mixed, to say the least. On one hand the diagnosis names the struggle and gives us an idea of the road we need to travel. (And we know we will not be traveling that road alone.) But naming it makes all the more real.

Nothing about Emma changes. Our love for her and commitment to help her is only strengthened. In the midst of all our frustration and fear, we love the Emma God has given to us. We may never know, “Why?” And yes, we’ve asked that question into what seemed like a silent sky. I suppose it would be enough to encourage another parent in a similar situation.

We are so thankful for the love and encouragement of our friends and family. Thank you for loving Emma and loving us so well. And the kindness and help we have received from Mitchell’s Place is breathtaking. Those people are heroes. I am in awe of them.

If you’re the praying kind, pray for Emma. And for us too.

3. Last night we found out our city’s school board has rezoned our street and the street behind us. This would send our boys to a school outside of our close-knit neighborhood. The Elementary School is the hub around which the community we live in spins. Geographically and historically where we live has been part of this community, we are now made to be separate. Six months ago my sons would not have been eligible to take the bus because they were said to live too close to their school. Now they are deemed too far away to continue attending. More than angry, we are sad to be on the losing end of a decision devoid of logic, which betrays a staggering lack of care for our family and the families we are surrounded by.

4. Yesterday was a hard day. The kind of day we will not forget. The kind of day that wounds and then leaves a scar. But the gospel is still true. The good news of the kingdom established by the King is all the more true today.

My friend Russ sent me a text yesterday as we were walking out the door to get the results. I told him what I was doing and he asked me, “How about a new heaven and a new earth?”

I told him, “Make that a double.”

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

  
1. One of the benefits of re-reading books is seeing different things. I’ve always attributed that to missing something in the earlier readings. But I think it’s more likely that I’m reading through a lens of my experiences and as those experiences and circumstances grow and change, what I see changes. What I’ve been  going through colors the reading.

2. Morrison’s Astral Weeks has the greatest intro of all the music ever recorded. It sounds like all the beauty ever looked for.

3. One of the things I miss about being a pastor is being able to sit and talk with people without being on a clock. 

4. I’m now at the point where I’d rather eat at home than eat out. Is that part of growing old?

5. The greatest hindrance to my growth in grace/following Jesus is my fear of tomorrow.

6. Do you not know the politicians are telling you what you want to hear until they don’t have to?

7. Prayer, the one thing I need to be doing, I find the hardest to do.

8. Though surrounded by violence, the early church stood apart without killing their enemies.

9. Seamus Heaney is worth the digging it takes to get down into his poems. There’s good soil. Much grows there.

10. The other night I sat and watched my sons play and we listened to an old Van Morrison record. It was one of those moments when everything stood still, though the record spun and the toys clinked. Are these not holy moments, when we see the beauty of what God has given?

Random Thoughts for Thursday

  
1. Close enough to opening day of baseball to plan the day’s menu.

2. While we were sinners – in other words, not measuring up – Christ died us. The powers and systems of this world are constantly checking to see if we measure up.

3.  I drove by the house I grew up in yesterday, it looked like a foreclosure. There was no sign of the love and happiness and wonder I knew there. All that had gone. My sons were with me and I’m sure they could no more imagine beauty among the near ruin as they could a trip to the moon.

4. The scriptures value music and song deeply. But it is never merely entertainment. It is always help along “the way.”

5. Eugene Peterson has ruined me. Him and Calvin. 

6. My wife cooks all things well.

7. Listening to Van Morrison on vinyl.

8. There is a huge difference between those who see the gospel as merely the message we take to others and those who see the gospel as the daily reality by which all reality is understood.

9. I have been thinking a lot about writing lately. And “Publishing.” And wondering if the church is doing it right. How are we different outside of our message? Are we supposed to be charging people for books that are to give them life and hope? Charging the same? Marketing the same? All our books we charge so much for spring from writings that were freely distributed because they were giving life and hope to people.

10. One of the values of Paul saying he resolved to know nothing but Christ and him crucified is that we are prone to veer into issues being the one thing we are tempted to make the main thing.

Random Thoughts at the Beginning of the Week

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1. Having loads of people in your home to listen to live music is the way to do things. Especially if the music reaches the dark beauty of the night sky.

2. A consumeristic culture’s grief will manifest itself most fully in buying up the goods of a particular celebrity. It’s shallowness will only ask, “Is this wrong?” Never asking, “Why are we doing this?”

3. The life of Jesus is a bottomless well of life-giving wisdom.

4. This is when baseball season feels as if it will never come.

5. Vivaldi (Perlman) in the quiet of the morning. With day breaking. Everyone asleep. Still. Only violins. The sound of the heater sometimes. Maybe a car passing. But still. A lone bird.

6. I am reading a book about the Acoma Tribe in New Mexico and there is a section describing how the Spanish gave many of the tribes the options of conversion or be conquered. Sounds familiar.

7. I preached for the first time in a long time this past weekend. And I really enjoyed doing so. I don’t know what to do with that.

8. When I make the effort to step outside of pop culture, I can get fresh air.

9. When I was a kid I really, really wanted Prince’s album 1999. I loved the song “Little Red Corvette” having no idea what it was about. In the liner notes, Prince thanks God. Or maybe he did in an interview or something like that and I remember trying to convince my parents this was a good reason for me to listen to buy the album. All to no avail. I think about this story and how I used Jesus, every time Christians post a “spiritual” quote or observation in the wake of a celebrity dying.

10. This song has been playing in my head for almost a year now. I’m not complaining.

 

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