The Bike Guy’s Advice

Tour de France
Sharing a smoke during the 1927 Tour de France. Really? Really . . .

“Don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt.”

I recall waiting at the red light. The driver next to me had leaned out of his window to give me that suggestion. Or was it advice? Or a joke? He smiled and I smiled and then he made his turn, merging his car into the traffic.

The light turned green and I bicycled across the intersection, still smiling. Fasten your seatbelt, the car guy says to the bike guy. Right. Road humor. (Once, before walking my dog chewed into my exercise time, I oft pedaled the roads of Fresno.)

The driver’s comment was more a joke, but I probably filed it in the advice category because I had recently given my sage advice to another person sharing the road of life and skinny tires with me.

Now, let me preface these next comments by objectively stating that what I provided—free of charge—was excellent advice. Was my advice uninvited? OK, no one had asked to hear my opinion. Am I a qualified expert in the subject? OK, I wouldn’t even be considered an amateur.

But why let common sense prevent dispensing my valuable insights? Continue reading →

A Hit Close To Home

Luke 10:25-37 – The 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for Sunday, July 14, 2013

“‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” (Luke 10:25)

beatles-jesusI googled ten words/phrases/names, wondering which one would get the most “hits.” And by the way, let me be the first to acknowledge this methodology was as non-scientific as it was self-serving.

Here are my ten searches in alphabetical order:

  • Beatles
  • God
  • Golden Rule
  • Good Samaritan
  • Jesus
  • Larry Patten
  • Obama
  • Pat Robertson
  • Prodigal Son
  • Ten Commandments

Here are the “hits” each received (from my exhaustive efforts):

  • 1,660,000,000
  • 809,000,000
  • 663,000,000
  • 213,000,000
  • 54,000,000
  • 12,600,000
  • 8,970,000
  • 4,430,000
  • 3,200,000
  • 5,760

What word matched which number? Guess! (And please, no cheating . . . don’t go doing your own Google hunt, trying to wow me with your brilliance or to prove my search was a fluke that resulted in skewed results. I only wish for you to attempt a friendly guess.)

My quest for Google hits began after reading Luke 10’s ever-popular, well-known, oft-referenced “The Good Samaritan” parable. Without caring an iota for scholarly research, I believe “The Good Samaritan” and “The Prodigal Son” are Jesus’ best-known parables. I’ve heard people from faith traditions different from Christianity thoughtfully use these two stories. I’ve read novels and seen movies with plots based on ‘em. I’m confident the average atheist, agnostic or believer would score equally well on a $64,000 Samaritan-Prodigal pop quiz, whether given in the classroom or a supermarket aisle.

Have you completed your guesses? Continue reading →

The Fifth Voice

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 – The 4th Sunday of Lent – for March 10, 2013

“There was a man who had two sons . . .” (Luke 15:11)

the-return-of-the-prodigal-son-1669.jpg!LargePlease complete the quiz on Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son found below.

(This is not an open book test. Keep Bible closed. Only give answers based on prior reading or your random, desperate guesses.)

 A. Circle how many characters speak in the parable:

2    3    4    5

B. Where does this Parable take place (check all that apply):

___ John’s Gospel

___ In other families

___ Luke’s Gospel

___ Only way back then

___ Mark’s Gospel

___ In my family

___ Matthew’s Gospel

C. Though known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son, a better title for this story would be: (choose one answer)

___ The Dysfunctional Family

___ Don’t Judge Me Until You Walk A Mile In My First Century Sandals

___ Unforgiving Jerk Of An Older Son

___ (bonus point) Your title suggestion: _______________

*          *          *

In his insightful 2004 book “The Four Things That Matter Most,” physician Ira Byock wrote, “I have long thought that the phrase dysfunctional family is redundant.” After reflecting on Jesus’ The Dysfunctional Family parable for the 4th Sunday of Lent, I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Byock.



Same thing, eh? So often, when reading the stories of my faith, dysfunction is the rule, not the exception. From the get-go, Eve and Adam and their odd clan made a mess of things. Imagine yourself as a younger sibling of tricky Isaac and dufus Esau. How’d you like to join King David’s family? Royally weird! Or there’s Noah’s drunkenness, Abraham’s claim that his wife Sarah was his sister in order to placate a pharaoh, Joseph’s slap-happy brothers tossing him in a pit, the disciples of Jesus and their constant grumbling and dear old St. Paul and his thinking one thing but doing another. Continue reading →