The Wrong Side of the Storm

We are scattered by storms, and we are gathered by storms. Our storms may be physical or political, economic or spiritual. Sometimes, we are battered by a nasty confluence of all four. Whatever their nature, storms force us to move.

And Hurricane Sandy certainly moved us.

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The Flames of Obedience

On a dark street in the early 1970s, as three rival gangs went about business as usual, there was a man who took off his shoes after seeing a fire.

At the time, those three troubled, disparate, and man-made congregations were looking for a flame, a spark — something to add light to their dark and heavy hearts.

But the only true solution, in the end, came as the result of a spark — a holy spark. Continue reading

The Smack of Loyalty

With a delicious Irish meat pie sitting on the table, my 4-year-old son looked across the same table and saw a chubby red rubber ball, 13 months his junior. Carefully, with a small elastic string, he tethered his brother to a hard, mischievous paddle.

“Jaaa-ames,” he pulled, “Me going to drink your miii-ilk.”

Smack.

“Jaaa-ames, me going to eat your craaa-kers.”

Smack.

As the “playful” paddling continued, each smack was met with a shrill, vile cry of defiance. Meanwhile, my half-full plate of food steamed in front of me, while a half-empty temper steamed inside of me. The noises were a bloody distraction from my meat and potatoes — like watching a battle unfold on the evening news during supper. Only this was worse — because I had to get involved.

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It’s Not What You’re Holding

“It matters little where a man may be at this moment; the point is whether he is growing,” wrote 19th century author George MacDonald. Unfortunately, many in our culture have chosen to write with a different stylus.

Our culture hungers for resolution in its consumption. We want to display the trophy. We want to own the wardrobe. We want to write the status update that cements our identity. Too often we want our lives to sit neatly like a well-placed book on a well-dusted, scrupulously organized bookshelf. Continue reading

Listening with the Tiny Feet of Obedience

Yesterday, I had a former student stop by my room and ask if I would read a poem that he wrote. I didn’t get a chance until today, and so we talked about it together after school. In the poem, he likened the human condition to that of ants, describing our challenges and fears from this “insecta” perspective, as they face what appear as overwhelming giants around them. Continue reading