Tuesday, February 21, 2017

When E. F. Hutton Speaks...

Am I the only one here old enough to remember the E. F. Hutton commercials?

The scene would be a busy restaurant or a tennis match. Two people would be having a semi-private conversation, and one would say to the other, "Well, my broker is E. F. Hutton, and he says-" at which point, all other activity and noise would immediately stop and everyone's attention would be focused; intent on hearing the sage advice of E. F. Hutton. "When E. F. Hutton speaks, people listen."

I had an E. F. Hutton kind of moment recently while reading A Glimpse of Jesus, by Brennan Manning. When one of your favorite writers chooses to pass along a lengthy quote from "the most important book [he's] read outside the Bible"  -  a book that "has revolutionized [his] understanding of Christ and the meaning of Christian discipleship"  -  it might be a good idea to pay attention.

Hence, this excerpt from On Being a Christian, by Hans Kung.

The church of Jesus Christ is a home not only for the morally upright but for the moral failures and for those who for a variety of reasons have not been able to honor denominational teaching. The Church is a healing community proclaiming the Father's indiscriminate love and unconditional grace, offering pardon, reconciliation and salvation to the down-trodden and leaving the judgment to God.

A Church that will not accept the fact that it consists of sinful men and exists for sinful men becomes hard-hearted, self-righteous, inhuman. It deserves neither God's mercy nor men's trust. But if a Church with a history of fidelity and infidelity, of knowledge and error, takes seriously the fact that it is only in God's Kingdom that the wheat is separated from the tares, good fish from bad, sheep from goats, a holiness will be acknowledged in it by grace which it cannot create for itself.

Such a Church is then aware that it has no need to present a spectacle of higher morality to society, as if everything in it were ordered to the best. It is aware that its faith is weak, its knowledge dim, its profession of faith halting, that there is not a single sin or failing which it has not in one way or another been guilty of. And though it is true that the Church must always dissociate itself from sin, it can never have any excuse for keeping any sinners at a distance. If the Church self-righteously remains aloof from failures, irreligious and immoral people, it cannot enter justified into God's kingdom. But if it is constantly aware of its guilt and sin, it can live in joyous awareness of forgiveness. The promise has been given to it that anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.

Truth is...forgiveness and grace are a messy business, and it's good to have close companions along the way. That's what I call Church, and that's what I wish for each person reading these words.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Ah...Valentine's Day...chalk-like hearts with two-word phrases, boxes of chocolates, bouquets of flowers, infinite opportunities to disappoint...

Yes, there are a lot of traditions associated with today's festivities. And if a fellow feels like he has to live up to expectations, there's a lot of pressure.

Well, here's a little more.

What does or doesn't happen today...or on ANY single day...is not nearly as important as how you treat your spouse throughout the whole year. Which is why I've chosen today to direct you to a post from July 8, 2013 titled Homo Sapien Husbandry.

It started like this:
You've heard of animal husbandry, I'm sure. Well, this is like that, only specifically about being a human husband. There are certain things that I think every man who is married ought to know and do. Just in case you were wondering, here they are:

To read the rest, CLICK HERE.

Truth is...perfect love casts out all fear (I John 4:18), but only God's love is perfect. I still have to work on mine and how I show it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

5,000 People; All Glad I'm Not Jesus

It's been said before..."There is a God, and you're not Him." Well, I just read a journal entry of mine from December 2000 that indicates what a good thing it is I'm not.

RE: Mark 6:30-44
So...the apostles get back from their preaching tours and Jesus wants to get away with just the 12 for a restful break. They sail across to the other shore and are met by a crowd of thousands.

The next phrase is a telling truth that points out a major difference between Jesus and me: "At the sight of them, his heart broke  -  like sheep without a shepherd they were."

Had it been me, I would have felt exasperation bordering on anger...anything but compassion. And they definitely would have been on their own for supper!

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Truth is...If the truth were known, all would clearly see I've still got such a long way to go.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

When You Don't Feel Like It

This isn't the first time this blog has quoted Radio Free Babylon's Coffee With Jesus, and it probably won't be the last. Sometimes they make me a little uncomfortable (which isn't always a bad thing), and sometimes the "comic" resonates to the point of shattering fine glass goblets.

This is one of those times.

We begin with a generic greeting...

...which is followed by a generic response...

...and then an awesome truth sweeps in and makes itself at home in our minds and (hopefully) our hearts.

Truth is...Feelings should always be the LAST things consulted when deciding what to believe, say, or do. Just make yourself available to Jesus, be real, and see where He takes it from there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Perfect Moment

My Beloved and I recently enjoyed a concert by Art Garfunkel, the taller half of the folk-rock duo, Simon & Garfunkel, famous for songs like "The Boxer", "Mrs. Robinson", and "Bridge Over Troubled Water".

There's a minuscule connection between S&G and this blog. Partly because part of the lyric to "Sound of Silence" is mentioned in the description of our Facebook page, but mostly because I've written about a couple of Simon-penned songs before (found here and here).

The playlist for Mr. G's solo concert was mostly Simon & Garfunkel songs, which were mostly Simon compositions, but there was one song he introduced as coming completely from him..."Perfect Moment".

I met you once before the first time,
Cinema 1 or 2, I noticed you
Standing in line, your eyes met mine
And I could not look away

There we were,
In a perfect moment
A perfect moment in time
For a moment you were mine

So later on I knew the first time
That it would be alright for us that night
Trust in our eyes,
We made a bridge of sighs
When we crossed over it was day

There we were,
In a perfect moment
A perfect moment in time
For a moment you were mine

I wasn't ready for the last time,
But wasn't I supposed to let you go?
Into the blue
But still I'm holding you
For you're a million miles away

There we are,
In a perfect moment
A perfect moment in time
For a moment you were mine

In a perfect moment
A perfect moment in time

Just for a moment you were mine

Truth is...some love songs contain both joy and sadness, and in the grand scheme of things, even a whole lifetime spent with someone you love is just a moment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fortune Cookies

Over the years, the "fortunes" tucked inside fortune cookies have dramatically changed. Gone are the days when a person would crack open the crisp treat and read "Tomorrow, you will meet a true friend," or "A big change is about to take place." The modern fortune cookie is more likely to make an attempt at sounding wise with pearls like "Today is yesterday's tomorrow" and "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Once in a great while, humor will be attempted with something like "Help! I'm being held captive in a fortune cookie factory!"

I was pleasantly surprised recently when I finished eating my hibachi-grilled pea pods and shrimp. I opened my fortune cookie, joyfully chewed and swallowed (does anyone else have the "rule" that the cookie must be eaten before the fortune is read?), and began to read:

Don't put off till tomorrow...

"Oh brother," I thought. "How unoriginal can they get?"

And then I read the whole thing. 

Don't put off till tomorrow what can be enjoyed today.

Not "what can be done today" or "what should be done today" or "what is today's duty", but "what can be ENJOYED today."

Truth is...it would serve us well to step away from the ordinary and add a dash of positive expectations. What will you be enjoying today?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

You Are So Awesome! ("How Great Thou Art" Prosified)

O Lord my God! I am overcome with wonder and awe when I see the billions of stars and think about all the worlds you have made. I hear the rolling thunder, which is just a tiny part of the power you display throughout the universe, and my soul bursts into a song of praise to you, my Savior God: You are so awesome! You are so awesome!

I sing this song when I'm walking through the woods, listening to the birds sweetly singing in the trees, and when I hike in the hills, looking down from a grand peak, hearing the babbling of a nearby brook, and feeling a gentle breeze.

And then, when I think that you didn't hold back your son, but actually sent him to die...it's almost more than I can fathom. Jesus gladly carried my burden to the cross where he bled and died to wipe out my sin forever. When I think of that, my soul bursts into song: You are so awesome! You are so awesome!

My heart will be filled with utter joy when Christ returns to take me home, a shout of approval on his lips. When I see him face to face, I will bow, praising him as humbly as I know how with these words: You are so awesome!

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Truth is...How Great Thou Art is a hymn, based on a traditional Swedish tune and a poem by Carl Boberg, with English lyrics by Stuart Hine. But no matter the language, nor whether it's poetry or prose, words cannot come close to expressing the majestic power, creativity, and grace of our Creator.