The Risen Christ Invites Us…

Everybody wants to get to heaven,
but nobody wants to die.

In the span of a single day, I read and heard variations of that statement from two very different sources. One was a quote used in curriculum for a Christian education class. I can’t remember the author’s name attributed to the quote. The other source was a verse from a hip-hop song used for the soundtrack of a television show. I don’t know the title of the song, or the group’s name.

I bet the writer and the entertainer don’t know each other. And I don’t think, if somehow each one discovered the other’s use of the statement, that there would be any accusations of plagiarism or nasty lawsuits.

I suspect it’s a rather commonly used phrase, just as relevant for a scholar as for a singer.

dawn_by_latyrx-d6dub91Easter has arrived. The words “death” and “heaven” will be proclaimed—shouted, whispered, prayed, sung—in churches around the world.

Along with Christmas, Easter is one of the two grand celebrations of the Christian year.

Christmas is easy; Easter is hard.

Imagine what you feel like a few days out from Christmas? No, I’m not talking about the exhaustion of shopping or the obligations of parties. How do you feel as you get close the end of the journey to Bethlehem? Regardless of whether you take the Bible literally, with every word and situation laden with unassailable holy truth, or dismiss it as a fanciful tale, I would bet there is the common ground of anticipation. With the smell of evergreens and the crinkle of bright wrapping paper, there is that birth. Maybe you slip into a Christmas Eve service, cold from a wintry night and cynical from a weary day, and you hear those familiar verses with gift-giving magi and trembling shepherds. And birth happens. A new child. A new hope. Continue reading

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The Day I Need

good fridayI’m grateful for* . . . Good Friday. Because as a Christian, it’s a day that dares me to be honest with my faith. Please: no rabbits, eggs, chocolates or syrupy hymns. Please: no fancy language about atonement or how-God-works-in-mysterious-ways. Please: help me be reminded how we selfish, self-serving humans are so good (then and now) at building crosses and pounding nails. I don’t believe Jesus died for our sins or died to promote chocolate bunnies. Me, I believe Jesus died because humans nearly always resort to violence. We get rid of troublemakers. And Jesus, my faulty faith also believes, trusted God’s love even as everything—everything—fell apart . . . and even as he had no idea what would happen next. Sorry, on Good Friday, I get serious. I apologize. (Not really.)

What are you grateful for today?

 

*Normally, I post a daily “gratitude” on my Facebook page. Though this was what I first wrote when I considered what I was thankful for today, I just couldn’t upload it onto the silly, lovely digital village of Facebook. Decided to put my words somewhere . . . which meant here.

(By the way, I hope you have a miserable, truthful Good Friday.)

Image from here.

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How Can I Tell My Kid That I’m Dying?

Hospice ADLs:  My Adventures of Daily Learning.65

parent-childA patient recently asked his hospice nurse, “How can I tell my kid that I’m dying?”

Before attempting answers, there are several excellent reasons to “question” my responses.

First, I don’t have children. I’ll never tell my own kid that I am dying.

Second, I’m not an expert. There are excellent books, from scholarly research on “children and dying” to kids’ books containing well-chosen words and lovely drawings to help youngsters (and parents) discuss death. In the grief groups I’ve lead, I often mention Patty Dann’s 2007 memoir “The Goldfish Went On Vacation” for insights on telling kids about a dying parent. Known for her best-selling novel “Mermaids,” Dann wrote about her husband’s brain cancer and how she dealt with their young son before and after the death. While I heartily recommend Dann’s book, I’m only aware of a spoonful of resources in the gallons of books, blogs and articles* that are available.

Now you know my advice-giver weaknesses! However, in the realm of conversations involving parents, kids and dying, being open about weaknesses (and strengths) is essential.

For my responses, I’m guided by a favorite quote from President Franklin Roosevelt: be sincere; be brief; and be seated. That was the 32nd President’s humorous views on public speaking. Continue reading

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Another Companion Is Bi-Available

In the last few days, the busy folks at Amazon have added the Kindle version of my “Another Companion” to the options. So, darn excited readers, you have choices!

The digital version on Kindle or a paperback.

If you want to hop over to the book’s home on Amazon, you can click here. I’ve also embedded links on this page, “over thar” on the left side of the website.

Buy early, buy often...

Buy early, buy often…

Happy reading. When you find mistakes in the text (you will), don’t hesitate to gleefully tell me.

If you want to write a review on the Amazon site, I’ll be mighty grateful.

Email me with comments and questions. I always enjoy dialog with readers.

And don’t hesitate to buy 10 or 15 copies for your friends and family. I’ve got a dog and cats to feed, ya know.

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Glimpsing Danaus Plexippus

John 20:19-31  – The Second Sunday of Easter – for April 27, 2014

“But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them with Jesus came.” (John 20:24)

I rode my bicycle, all smiles and pedaling fast.

Then a butterfly attacked me!

I ducked . . . whew!

mexico-monarch-butterflies.jpeg-620x412However—since I’m a two-hundred pound guy, and was riding at twenty miles per hour, and wore a goofy-looking helmet—shouldn’t I instead say: I avoided smacking a butterfly?

After all, who’d have suffered more from impact: Chunky Larry or Madame Butterfly?

I’d been dashing along the bike trail, admiring the scenery, alert to other bicyclists and the occasional walker and mostly minding my own business. Then, whoosh! On the far left side of my peripheral vision a winged creature dipped into view. I ducked. All survived the near miss.

It was my second butterfly encounter within the week. A few days before, I’d been lounging in a lawn chair after finishing yard work. Just passing the time. Just enjoying a spring afternoon. And then, floating by the orange tree, I spotted a monarch butterfly. For a leisurely moment, the Danaus plexippus did what butterflies do so wondrously well. It flitted up and down, a splash of brash gold and black against the tree’s green backdrop. Unlike an anxious, frenetic hummingbird or a proverbial busy buzzing bee, the monarch took its time.

I watched, my mind wandering until the insect disappeared over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard. Continue reading

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