Teachable Moments on Steroids

(Jesus and his disciples) went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9:30-32) I am struck by the number of occasions in Mark’s gospel…

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Swimming Lessons

Come gather’ round wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown, accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone. And if your breath to you is worth saving then you better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times, they are a changin’. Bob Dylan In 1963 Bob Dylan wrote these opening lines to a song which reflected the events which surrounded those of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. To…

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Becoming Truth-Tellers

“What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.” Ephesians 4:25Taking in the extravagant love of Christ changes us. God loves every single person extravagantly, profoundly. But there is something important that happens as we take in that love, as we accept that love. We become transformed by that love, and…

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“I’m Weary”

What is it we are looking for these days of the hottest summer in my memory? The heat has sucked all my energy and driven me to give up walking until it breaks. I know I’ve been looking for several things. A return to normal just might be one of those items we’d all like to experience. Sure, we have begun the process of returning to normal in the heat and as Covid stubbornly hangs on, or perhaps it’s the people who won’t…

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Remodel

We’re in the process of remodeling a room in our house. A room. Singular. It’s a smaller one, too—the guest bathroom (not the one pictured above, but similar size and layout).You’d think, 45 square feet or so, not too big of a deal. It should be taken care of in a month or two at the most. Well, one thing has led to another and here we are—4 months later-with materials in the garage and lining up labor to get the job done.…

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Wearing Out

I have an old chamois skin which I use when I wash my car. This chamois and I have been together for forty years, at least. The truth of the matter is that it is getting pretty ragged and worn out. Something about that is upsetting for me--perhaps I want it to be the same—like it was when it was new.New cars are somewhat the same way. I really like the smell of the interior of a new car. When I buy a…

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Seasons of Growth

Everything visible, without exception, is the outpouring of God. Fr. Richard Rohr, “The Universal Christ” This year, more than most, I feel closer to nature and the changing seasons. It was just about a year ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, I started my long daily walks. It was also the beginning of spring and those vibrant changes filled me with hope. Since I’ve walked pretty much the same route for a year now, I’ve had a front row seat watching creation…

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Migration and Movement

What would it mean for Christians to rediscover their faith not as a system of beliefs, but as a just and generous way of life, rooted in contemplation and expressed in compassion, that makes amends for its mistakes, and is dedicated to community for all? Could Christians migrate from defining their faith as a system of beliefs to expressing it as a loving way of life? Brian McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration The word migration has deep meaning for me. In a sense,…

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Time for Change

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” ~Anne Lamott Tweet I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters…that I am addicted to being plugged in. What? You may ask. Isn’t this the lady who goes off to a hermitage twice a year and wanders around in silence watching grasshoppers? You are right, ‘tis I. But let me tell you what I am fleeing FROM when I go to the hermitage.Picture it:…

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Travel and Grief in a Pandemic

Last week I was supposed to be in New York spending some time with my family for my dad’s birthday. When I booked my flight back at the beginning of June, we still had low numbers of new cases in Idaho, I had an e-credit to use from a different cancelled trip from this fall, and flights were as cheap as I have ever seen them to Albany or Syracuse. I booked my flight knowing that things could change and I might not…

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Change

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 CHANGE. This is my 2020 “Star Word.” I received it in early February. Some churches (ELCA and other denominations) around the world have these available each year on the Sunday closest to the Feast of Epiphany - the celebration of Christ’s revelation to the world. The star shape emulates the star…

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How it Was: a short memoir

I pretty much had an ideal upbringing in the 50’s here in Nampa. Not unlike “the Beav” shall we say—you know, as in “Leave it to Beaver.” My mom was a typical homemaker, my dad a family practice medical doctor, and there were four of us kids. Other than the usual drama, I know I was blessed to have grown up without any real childhood trauma. At the time, Nampa’s population was roughly 25,000 and was largely lily white. Mexican migrant workers and…

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I Love Simplicity

Casting all anxiety on him, for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (watch video) 2020 I designated as the year of "Joy." I decided to look and take action on things I was unhappy with. Do I seek God first? Or, do I do it on my own first and then go to him?

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New Beginnings

6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be…

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Freedom to Care

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female for all are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28A few days ago at our book study at a Trinity Lutheran in Nampa we were studying and conversing via Zoom about Rachel Held Evans book “Inspired.” The question was asked what is the Gospel or good news in one word? My answer was “freedom.” Yet in light of everything are we truly free?…

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Life in the Rearview Mirror

How much time do we spend looking in the rearview mirror of our lives, convinced that the sunny days behind us were the best ever? When the world around us is dark and stormy we look back wistfully at how things ‘used to be’. Remember when church on Sunday morning was just the thing to do? Remember when the stores were closed on Sundays and life was simpler? Remember when we could just leave the house and go wherever we wanted and greet…

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The Rules of Perspective

Breathe... Close your eyes. Inhale for three seconds, pause, and exhale for three seconds. Take as many breathes like this as you like. Read... John 14:15-31 ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he…

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