Have Time to “Like” Me?

I hope you enjoy the words and thoughts I share.

I have a favor* to ask. As a way of expanding my presence on social media, I’m trying to increase the number of people who LIKE my Facebook author page to 100 or more. If an author page achieves 100, Facebook provides more options. Options are good!

So . . . if you have a moment, I’d appreciate your support. The easiest way to do this favor is to slip over to the Facebook link on the left side of this page and click the obvious LIKE.) And if you want me to reciprocate on your Facebook page, just let me know.

Thanks for reading.

*I mailed my subscribers this request, so please “ignore” it if you’ve already received my plea…

X is for . . .

X MARKS THE SPOT

An X appears on a map to tell you where you want to go. Mayhaps an olde pirate map indicates a buried treasure’s location with an “X.” Off you sail, in search of gold at the end of a journey.

Or an X appears on a map to let you know where you are. You arrive at a sprawling shopping mall and search a map display to find your goal . . . say the jewelry store with a great sale on the perfect gift for your spouse. X declares your location and gives you a sense of how to get to the south end of the second level near the food court. Off you go, knowing where you started your first steps.

Don’t we wish that an X would clearly mark a spot of where we are in our faith? Or, better still, where God may desire us to head for? If only I could reach X, things would be better. When Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief became popular in the 1970s, I recall teaching classes based on her groundbreaking work. Many easily understood and appreciated her research about denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But I frequently cautioned people that there was no logical, predictable passage from one “stage” to another. Persons wanted to know exactly where they were going or where they had come from. As valid as Kübler-Ross’ stages are 40+ years after the publication of DEATH AND DYING, none of them ever becomes an X Marks The Spot.

Putting an X on a map is easy. But an X doesn’t work well in the topography of the soul.

Mathematics of Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35 – the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for September 11, 2011

“. . . how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” (Matthew 18:21)

In Matthew 18:21, the disciple Peter ponders forgiving another seven times. In Matthew 18:22*, Jesus challenged Peter—and therefore us—to forgive seventy-seven times.

Ah-oh. Note the asterisk by 22. Don’t race to the bottom of these words to find what it refers to . . . I’ll deal with it now. Almost every Bible has a footnote or asterisk linked to Matthew 18:22 because different ancient manuscripts, and different ways of interpreting Greek, lead to a different number. Instead of forgiving another seventy-seven times, Jesus may have exhorted Peter to forgive seven times seventy. Gulp. Take a breath. Now do the math. How many times should I be prepared to declare, “I forgive you?”

7 x 70 = 490

Iforgiveyou-Iforgiveyou-Iforgiveyou-Iforgiveyou-Iforgiveyou
Iforgiveyou-Iforgiveyou-Iforgiveyou-Iforgiveyou-Iforgiveyou

10 down, 480 to go.

Jesus must have been kidding, right? He exaggerated, used hyperbole. It’s all about shock value.

In the faithful mathematics of forgiveness, whether the answer to Peter’s question is 77 or 490, there’s always a crucial, single number at the start . . .

1

Me. You. One nation. A corporation. Every giving or receiving of forgiveness will begin because an individual or an institution steps forward and truthfully says, “I forgive you.”

And yet, if one person doesn’t begin . . . Continue reading →