Sneak Peak of the Introduction to “Our Grey World”

Leaving the Garden of Eden

“Everybody has strange things that mean things to them. You couldn’t help it.”

Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden

When anyone thinks of church, we have this specific idea and image that comes to mind. Whether you grew up in a church or not, we all have an idea of what church looks like. Most of the time, these ideas and images are associated with our first experiences. So goes the phrase, first impressions last the longest and you only get one shot.

I’ve been working in or attending churches as long as I can remember.

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I’ve Been Thinking…

UnknownLately, I’ve not had a lot of time to think. It’s been a crazy 3-4 weeks. I haven’t even had but one day off since the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s Advent Season and that always ensues chaos at the church. Don’t get me wrong though… I love the chaos and I love my job. But, sometimes I don’t really get the chance to slow down and just think about why I love Christmas so much. It really is my favorite time of the year (of course, only after Thanksgiving, as anything before that drives me nuts)!

Earlier this week, our Senior Citizens group from the church called “The Golden Adventurer’s Club” went to the Precious Moments Museum and Park. It was a beautiful place with such beautiful thoughts throughout.

First of all, it reminded me of my childhood. Continue reading

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The Twelve Days of Christmas

UnknownSome of you may have already heard me give this next fact if you were attending our church and saw me preach a Children’s Sermon earlier this month. So, I apologize for the repeat, but it’s worth repeating. In the twelve days of Christmas, if you were to count up all the gifts, you would have 365 gifts (Day 1 -1 Partridge. Day 2- 2 Turtle Doves and 1 Partridge =3 gifts. Day 3- 3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves, 1 Partridge = 6 gifts, and so on until they all add up to 365 gifts for the duration of the 12 days). 365! Crazy, right?

When you think about the Twelve Days of Christmas song you might be more likely to think how odd the gifts are before you think about how many gifts there are in the whole song. I mean, who gives 9 ladies dancing or 7 swans a’ swimming as a gift? Continue reading

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A Winter Wonderland Feeling

Okay, I think the cat has been let out of the bag and my filter has been removed. I love winter. There, I said it and made it official. It didn’t take long this past Sunday for several people to notice that I was staring out the windows and doors of the church as snow began falling from the sky. I was enthralled. This Texan wanted the rest of the world to just come to a halt while he watched the snow come down and begin covering the earth. But, why? I am in fact from Texas, right?!

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Death and New Life

NTNH-F1I’m terrified of dying. Straight up, I’m terrified of death. Since I was a kid, I’ve always been afraid of the grave. I don’t know what it must feel like to lose the ability to breathe, the function of sight, or to lose the ability to even move. It frightens me when I think of those things. What happens in our final thoughts as we let go of life? What happens as our bodies are no longer living things? Our Souls move on but it’s frightening to even think about what that looks like or feels like.

Perhaps, for me at least, it’s the fear of the unknown. It’s the fear of moving to something beyond this body, THIS body that I know, the senses that I understand with sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. I can comprehend the world around me with those things. But how do I comprehend what happens when I no longer have those things?

For me, it’s why I could never do what Brittany Maynard (link for Time Magazine’s story on Brittany) did in Oregon yesterday. After having been diagnosed with a terminally ill disease and given just months to live (and painful ones at that) she decided to take her life into her own hands. She decided to take her own life by assisted suicide with medications prescribed to her to make it painless. It was part of her die with dignity plan.  Continue reading

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America’s Entitlement: Consumerism

“See he just wanted a jump shot, but they wanted his Starter coat, though
Didn’t wanna get caught, from Genesee Park to Othello
You could clown for those Pro Wings, with the Velcro
Those were not tight
I was trying to fly without leaving the ground,
Cause I wanted to be like Mike, right
Wanted to be him, I wanted to be that guy, I wanted to touch the rim
I wanted to be cool, and I wanted to fit in,
I wanted what he had, America, it begins”

We held our Sunday Youth Group yesterday and gathered in the Youth Room to look at a particular video. I wanted to talk to our youth group about consumerism and what it means to place our identity in consuming. You might be thinking, “Whoa. Don’t you think that’s a little deep for a youth group, Jonathan?” Truthfully, I don’t think it is. Sometimes it can be too much. But you’d be surprised to hear the depth that most students think and feel. Yesterday was no different.

So, how DO you talk to youth about consumerism?

Great question. The answer? You don’t.  Continue reading

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O Ebola, Ebola! Wherefore Art Thou Ebola?

EBOLA VIRUSThe 21 Day Quarantine period is over in Dallas, TX. We can all take a huge sigh of relief now. The epidemic is just about over. We don’t have much to worry about. We can put this nonsensical ridiculousness behind us.

Though we still have 120 folks who are “not in the clear” until November 2, they are all under quarantine and nobody else is at risk. Schools were closed last week, our healthcare system kicked it into high gear to help those who could’ve had contact with Ebola, and only 1 has died from this epidemic.

Oh wait…

It’s not over. At least, not for thousands of others still dealing with this in many other countries. But, now that it’s pretty much over here in the States, we’ve begun that whole out-of-sight, out-of-mind mantra that so many of us follow.

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