Lent, Ophidiophobia, and Wounds

I’ve never been bitten by a snake.

I’ve seen snakes. No, I’m not counting any zoo sightings. I’m referring to riding a bike along a sun-dappled path, hiking a trail through a jumble of boulders, and even a few times around my local suburbs. Yep . . . seen ‘em, nearly stepped on ‘em, and have gladly circled wide of many short and long, still or slithering snakes.

But I don’t fear the creepy, crawlies like the fictional Indiana Jones. Don’t label me with ophidiophobia! Continue reading →

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Lenten Anger About Anger

Anger is a tornado in the human soul.

Roiling within us, like warm moist air, are memories of past mistakes and a host of personal beliefs and biases. On the outside, from the imagined thoughts or real injuries from another person or situation, flows the cool, dry air. Over years, or in a splintered second, the dry wind swirls with that inner moist air and . . .

Anger!

Police and civil rights activists clash, fire hoses spraying, dogs lunging at the end of leashes.

The national guard, all young, grasping weapons, form lines on a college campus. They face the rebellious students, all young, their clenched fists raised in the air. A storm of bullets is released.

21st century Nazis march, in polo shirts and jeans. Some have, not long before, serviced someone’s car or managed a portfolio. But how skewed their hateful views are about our nation’s past and today’s diverse culture. They clash with others that also earn a paycheck and yet possess a different, more complex version of history and society. They are last year’s Charlottesville and this year’s looming headline. Continue reading →

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I Have Never Suffered

It’s Lent. The second Sunday’s looming.

Let’s talk suffering.

And yet, how can I?

I am an American white guy, mid-sixties, with a swell pension plan, health insurance covered by my wife’s job, with access to Medicare on the horizon. I was raised by ridiculously loving parents, played in quiet, safe neighborhoods as a kid (and later as a teen), and have two remarkable sisters who still voluntarily talk with me and openly express love for me. I labored in my unremarkable career as a pastor in places where people handed over the keys to the buildings on the first day of work—they trusted me from the get-go! Those churches paid a way-below-average salary (compared to others of similar education, experience, and responsibility), but always gave me tons of freedom to hike the mountains, write in the early mornings, and to fiercely preach the “good news.”

I have never suffered. Continue reading →

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