Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Singing in the Face of Death

Sitting in a church service is no guarantee that your life will continue.

But having your earthly life end is no guarantee that God's Truth will be silenced.

Singer, songwriter, author, speaker, wife, mother, blogger Carolyn Arends has shared a piece in reaction to the Charleston killings that gently reminds us that there is hope even in the midst of tragedy.

Click here to read her short piece and listen to the song The Last Word. (There is also a link to Steven Curtis Chapman's new song, You Will Not Be Overcome.) 

Truth is...every day, everyone's life can include a desire, and a reasonable reason, to despair. For all of eternity, those who trust in the name of Jesus can live with a greater reason to stand strong and have hope.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rich Mullins Pulled No Punches

The year was 1996.

The event was the Cornerstone Music Festival, a gathering of Christian artists and fans, celebrating music with a message.

Rich Mullins was being his normal self: fielding questions from the press with utter transparency, humility, and the twinkling eyes of sassiness.

He spoke of moving to a Navajo reservation. He spoke of what Christian music is and is not. He spoke more truth in five minutes of a press conference than I've heard in many a 30-minute sermon. 

"Maybe God is bigger than the conventions of middle-class American Churchianity."

Truth is...I admit to being a fan, and yet, nineteen years later, the words of a now-dead dulcimer player still convict, challenge, and encourage.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Great Big Stupid World

When our kids were very young, we discouraged them from using the word "stupid". We felt it was generally a disrespectful word, whether applied to a particular person (like a sibling, for instance) or someone's idea or question.

This restraint of free speech resulted in our kids falling in love with a particular song on Randy Stonehill's 1991 album, Wonderama. The title was "Great Big Stupid World". The delivery was definitely tongue-in-cheek, but the message was sadly true: we members of the human race can certainly get side-tracked by a lot of things that, in the long run, are practically worthless...if not indeed harmful...and at the very least, stupid-er-silly.

Truth is...there are a few typographical errors in the video, but the fact that I felt the need to appear flawlessly intelligent by letting you know I noticed is, in the long run, practically worthless...if not indeed harmful...or at the very least, stupid.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

To Beloved

The sun was strong
Matched only by the emotions
The small-town church had no AC
And the place was packed to the rafters

No, really

The balcony was full
And so were the steps leading up to it

The heat was

That wasn't a tear trickling down my nose
But our friends still thought it sweet
When you reached up to brush away the sweat

We would have worn the dress

And the tux
To the same building on the next day
But they were sweat-soaked
And decidedly not nose-pleasing

Your smile

As you walked up the aisle
Reflected more joy and hope
Than one heart could hold

So we joined our hearts

To see if we could do it together

Thirty-six years

We've done it together

For thirty-six years
Not all of them happy
Or sunny
Or sweat-soaked

But none of them alone

None of them hopeless
None of them lacking joy

The Son was strong

And that has been enough

Truth is...the fairy-tale expectations of any wedding day will all surely fade away, but something much stronger, deeper, and truer remains.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Penelope's Parenting Points

With a name like Penelope Leach, you must be thinking the lady is from Great Britain, right?

Well, you're right.

But that fact is the least important for today's bit-o-truth. What's pertinent today is that she is one of the world's most respected developmental child psychologists, holds a PhD from Cambridge, has all sorts of research and child development society cred, and has authored several popular books on the subject of child-rearing.

In a recent interview published in TIME, there were a few questions that elicited answers from her that absolutely resonated with me...and so I share them with you:

Parenting is much more intentional than it used to be. Have we gone too far?

I'm sure there are situations where it goes too far. The tiger mom seemed too much - too much focus, too much attention, not enough room and space to grow and be.

At 77, what other trends in modern parenting alarm you?

We are really much too concerned with academics and testing for our 4- and 5-year-olds. We're cutting off both physical and social development that ought to be leading us at that point. Sitting 4-year-old boys down and expecting them to keep still and listen - it ain't in their nature. We'd do better with our boys if they were spending more time rushing about, pushing each other and shouting like boys need to do.

Are kids eating too much sugar?

Can I give you a phooey reply? The effect of sugar on children's behavior is nil. There's lots of reasons against eating lots of sugar, but your child bouncing off the wall isn't one of them.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...this is all more a matter of opinion than truth, but it matches MY opinion and this IS my blog, after all.

So there.