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Tell Me A Story

“When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.”

Deuteronomy 6:20-23

“When I was a little boy of about six I used to drive the horses and rake hay, and a couple of times we hit a ground hornet’s nest and those horses would take off like a shot straight ahead, running as fast as they could until they couldn’t run anymore, and there I was just holding on for dear life trying not to fall off.”

My wife’s Grampa is eighty-eight years old, going on sixty. Tomorrow if it doesn’t rain like it’s supposed to he plans to put up some sixteen foot 1×12” shiplap on the roof deck of a pole barn he’s building. “Gotta get all my scaffolding under a roof,” he says.
Continue reading “Tell Me A Story”

Mock On!

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

preface: I felt like writing something tonight, but wasn’t sure what to write. So I opened my embarrassingly large folder of unfinished articles and random thoughts and came across this one begun (and abandoned) on November 17, 2017, when Alice was in her fourth or fifth week of radiation. It seemed like a project worth finishing, so hopefully two years late is still better than never. Oh, and Dad, you worked really hard for a lot of years teaching me not to mock stuff, and I promise I’m getting better in general. Hope you’ll be okay with this one.
-jr

Because of our current family situation with Alice, I spend a lot of time these days pondering life, but to be honest, a lot more time pondering death. For the last 20 years I’ve never steered my mind away from thinking about death; it is coming to a boy named me at some point, and I’d just as soon make my peace with that, and understand the best way to manage whatever time I have until that day comes. And now, facing what feels like the inevitable departure of my dear daughter, death at least feels like it’s standing at our doorstep. I hope it turns around and goes away – but even if it does, it’ll be back. Maybe not for decades, but it’ll be back, and for all of us at some point. It is, after all, appointed unto us once to die. Continue reading “Mock On!”

Suck It Up

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you…
Ephesians 4:1 ESV

Once, while reading through the book of Ephesians, it struck me as a bit odd that here smack dab in the center of his letter, Paul mentions the fact that he’s in prison. I’d expect maybe that he’d do that at the beginning, perhaps at the end, but to stick it here seems out of place. Continue reading “Suck It Up”

In Which I Discover I am Immoral

I am now immoral when once I wasn’t, and I didn’t do nothin’. These are my thoughts concerning my recent, rather unpleasant, self-discovery. Continue reading “In Which I Discover I am Immoral”

My Confession: I Have a Thing for Old Ladies

Regarding the title of this piece, I must make an admission up front, which I only offer because you already know, and it would be highly insulting of me to presume you didn’t. The title is provocative; after all, that’s what I’m supposed to do in this age of cacophonous digital voices straining to stand out from the congested landscape of social media, frantically trying to grasp your attention. Then, in true clickbaity fashion, once curiosity has enticed its victim to give a little peek into this rabbit hole, what is discovered is rather mundane and boring. The lion doesn’t bite the man’s head off, the couple getting engaged don’t fall off the cliff, you won’t really be shocked at what she looks like now, and though I’ve never checked into it, I’m sure that secret the casinos don’t want you to know probably has more to do with the quality of the lobster on the buffet than the secret to victory over the slot machine. We are not fools; you and I. It’s merely a game we play, but pretend we don’t. I pretend my writing needs no suggestive title to be read; you pretend that you are immune to such juvenile tactics, yet here we are, and both rather embarrassed about the thing. Continue reading “My Confession: I Have a Thing for Old Ladies”

(Almost) Too Hot to Handle, and Another Thing Not as Hot as You Might Think.

My family and I spent a very casual and relaxed Christmas dinner with my sister and her family, and somewhere in the mealtime conversation she asked me, “So what are you going to write about next?”

I said something like, “I don’t really know. Something other than suffering, for a change.” Granted, for us it’s been a year that has had a lot of suffering in it, and unlike the inimitable 17th century theologian/writer John Owen who was able to endure the death of ten children and hardly pen a public word about it, I’ve hardly been able to think or write about anything else. It’s probably getting old to hear the same thing over and over. So it’s time for a change. Continue reading “(Almost) Too Hot to Handle, and Another Thing Not as Hot as You Might Think.”

The Curious Case of Righteous Lot

 

as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard”
– 2Peter 2:8

Dare to be a Daniel. Like young David, slay your Goliaths. Endure hardship with the patience of Job. Imitate Paul, as he imitates Jesus. These are but a smattering of biblical role models from which we can learn much, as we seek to emulate their triumphs against evils within and without. There are the negative role models too: Saul, the poster child of a promising beginning, coming to a tragic end by means of impatience, jealousy, and a mere partial obedience to God. Broken-necked Eli: the father who didn’t love his sons enough to “restrain them.” Solomon, whose multiplied wives caused his heart to wander. Samson, a man of brute strength which knew no limits, yet utterly incapable of muscling his own brute passions into any sort of submission.

Then there’s Lot. He’s the picture of compromise. He’s the one who selfishly chose the better land for himself, despite (because of?) the close proximity to Sodom. Then he pitched his tent facing the city. Next he moved into town. Finally, he sat at the gates, quite at home in this figuratively (but soon to be literally!) “hell-hole.” Continue reading “The Curious Case of Righteous Lot”

What’s up with the “Silly, Weak Women”?

For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 2Tim. 3:6-7

Paul must have hated women. Either that, or he was so entrenched in the unenlightened, oppressive, chauvinistic culture of the day he can be entirely disregarded as an irrelevant misogynist. Or so the ultra-tolerant and hyper-diverse entirely non-judgmental thinking of our era might say.

Why did he have to pick on the ladies, though? “Weak women weighed down with sins” isn’t very loving, especially coming from the guy who commanded women to keep silent in the church, submit to their husbands, and cover their heads. The translators in the employ of King James had the audacity to render this text “silly women,” so no extra points for flattery there.

So what’s the deal with these silly, weak, or gullible (NKJV) women? Continue reading “What’s up with the “Silly, Weak Women”?”

Choosing Better, pt.7: It is Better to Attend a Funeral than a Party

It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 

Here is a seemingly morbid portion of Scripture, and hardly a common piece of advice: Better to go to a funeral than a party.

My Dad, who is far more gifted with acronyms and alliteration than I could ever be, summarizes the book of Ecclesiastes this way: ITIA –“I Tried It All.”

It’s good to read books, because in a matter of hours or a few days you can absorb material it took the author perhaps years to learn. It’s good to talk to elderly people, because if you’re willing to listen and learn, in a matter of a few conversations you can take graduate level courses from the school of their hard knocks and keep the bumps off your own head. Continue reading “Choosing Better, pt.7: It is Better to Attend a Funeral than a Party”

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