Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
Last Saturday, my youngest son and I spent an afternoon carefully stacking a half-dozen rocks that had been worn smooth and elliptical by the French Broad River that eddied around our knees. The swift river and its small pockets of whitewater drowned out the world around us as we built a small impromptu cairn together for his birthday. After we balanced the final stone, he sat on the large foundation rock rising out of the river and clasped his hands together. As his lips whispered a prayer, I looked around and felt at peace.
There’s a popular poem about JOY, which you may have heard before. It’s an acrostic.
A few years ago a student was referred to me, the college chaplain, because he was getting in a bit of trouble. He was drinking and partying too much and making some poor decisions. This behavior was out of character for this student and his professors thought it had something to do with the fact that his mother was dying of cancer. When we sat down together in my office, the first thing this young man wanted to tell me was that he was not very “religious.”
I was swimming along just fine, regularly going for a mile or more, several times a week. I felt strong and sleeker than usual. Then, one day, I just didn’t feel like it and had to argue myself into going to the pool.
One significant difference between Eastern and Western perspectives is how we treat the elderly. Although modern society is eroding some of our Chinese traditional values, in general, there is still more respect and honor for the elderly than our Western counterparts. I hope this is an instance where the global church in the North can allow other cultures to speak prophetically into its faith community.
Most nights, my bedtime prayer with our two oldest boys begins like this: Be still and know that I am God.
There is much that we hope for, we who have cast our lot with Jesus of Nazareth. We hope for mercy, forgiveness, new life, eternal life. We hope for the promise of a new heart that—against all odds!—beats in sync with our Maker, as promised by the prophet Ezekiel. We hope for the relief from pain, for relational wholeness, for freedom from the burden of crippling doubts and unmanageable burdens. We hope for heaven, whatever that might mean.