Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Blessing

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."

I no longer lift my hands to receive that blessing with even the slightest bit of indifference.   Having experienced the loss and extended absence of each of those blessings, the restoration of them is dear and precious.  To have them spoken over me each Sunday is powerful.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Music Monday: Dynamic Duos

Luke Winslow King & Esther Rose

Corey Chisel & Adriel Danae

Over the Rhine - Linford Detweiler & Karen Bergquist

Whitehorse - Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason

Civil Wars: Joy Williams & John Paul White

Shovels & Rope

Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires

Monday, February 9, 2015

Music Monday: A Communion Hymn

Thomas Aquinas

 Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.

Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there's nothing true.

On the cross thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken:
 Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.

I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.

Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran---
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with thy glory's sight. Amen.

(translation of Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Idol of Obedience

"All the way...right away...with a good attitude...every day."

What an absolutely wretched paradigm for parenting.

Unless, of course, our aim is to create either perfectionistic, self-righteous little Pharisees, or defeated, self-loathing little prodigals.

This is NOT Christian parenting!  This is gospel-denying, moralistic striving that engenders smug self-satisfaction in those inclined toward obedience and cynical disregard in those inclined toward rebellion.  Neither of these are fruits of righteousness.  Both are antithetical to living in the Good News that Jesus has rescued ALL of us from ourselves...the obedient and disobedient alike.  BOTH need him because neither can save himself!!

I regret parenting under this paradigm.  Even though I thought it was *right* at the time, I now see that underneath it was my own moralistic striving to prove myself worthy of the appellation "Christian parent."  Make that GOOD...or better yet..."EXCEPTIONAL Christian parent."  Obedient, moral children would prove that my own faith and life were genuine.  What a burdensome way of life, not only for me, but for my sons.

In reality, this is simple proof that I am in as much need of the gracious gospel of Jesus as my sons were/are.  Because of the mercy of God in Christ, I don't have to despair of my parenting failures.  I have confessed my sins and errors to my sons and though I hope they have heard and responded, my hope for them does not lie in my ability to adequately confess or right my wrongs.  My confidence is that HE is fully capable of bringing them to himself and healing any hurt, damage, or distorted beliefs they have as a result of my parenting, whether through or apart from my acknowledgement.

Bottom line: even if I had parented as perfectly as humanly possible...even if I had more accurately taught and displayed the Good News, in the end, the ONLY thing that will save them...or the work of Jesus Christ, who loves us and delivers us and draws us near even when we don't obey all the way...right away...with a good attitude...every day. 

Our father is forever faithful, he knows our frame, he gives us eyes to see ourselves when we're ready, and he grants us repentance and life.  And we can trust him to do the same for our children.  Thanks be to God.

NOTE: This is not about self-flagellation, nor am I seeking accolades for my parenting, nor is it an indictment of my sons!  I dearly loved my boys and tried - in the best way I knew how at the time - to shower them with love, to train their hearts to love God, and to allow them joy in the process.  I did some things right along the way. I grow and change and experience The Good News in new ways in my own life, my perspective changes and I see my parenting differently.   I hope to challenge/encourage young parents or to-be parents (such as my own sons...) to formulate their expectations for obedience from a more gracious stance and with a view to their children's AND THEIR OWN ongoing need for Jesus.

Monday, February 2, 2015


I drove nearly 1000 miles this weekend to watch my boy play basketball.  

No...he isn't spoiled.  And no...I am not an obsessed, overly-involved mother who can't let go.  But this is kind of a big deal.

This Man-Child of mine arrived at this place by a long, circuitous route.  He wanted to attend Covenant College since he was about 13, but for various reasons, it was never an option until this year, and he had to overcome some fairly large obstacles.  It's true that some very caring souls stuck out their necks to assist him, but ultimately the risk and the work to shed the burdens that haunted him, required commitment and perseverance on his part. 

Every mile was worth it because it allowed me to participate in the joy of a son who has cast off his past and is pursuing his passions.  His dreams are simple: Teach.  Coach.  Love kids.  He is on the path to fulfilling those dreams and for me to be on the sideline cheering him on, is the fulfillment of mine. 

Music Monday: Norah