Archive for April, 2021

15
Apr
21

The Dry

Man… this sure is a dry time.

And I say that as I gaze outside the window to my left, and notice a malicious mixture of slush and snow falling from the sky.

The dryness I am referring to is inside… not out.

And it seems to have come upon me in the span of time between two successive heartbeats.

One moment I was overflowing with ideas for essays, blog posts, witty Facebook posts, and cocktail banter. 

The next moment… dry, unbuttered toast.

Guess I’ll have to write about the experience of drying up.

I know I am not alone in this affliction. I’ve heard testimonies from other folks who have encountered their own deserts. Nothing to do but wait it out, they say.

Droughts are a regularly recurring phenomenon in the Bible, too. Most of the time they show up as God’s punishment on an unfaithful people. Sometimes, though, they just show up.

And the people wait.

And the people pray.

And the people wait some more.

And the people pray some more. 

And then, one day, after a longer spell of dryness than anyone had ever seen before, the rain begins to fall. 

And the rivers overflow their banks.

And the valleys turn lush and green again.

And all the people all rejoice. 

I’ll keep you posted…

Abundant blessings;

13
Apr
21

Crafting Corners of Control

Has this conversation ever happened in your home?

HONEY #1: “Honey? Have you seen the ______? I could have sworn I saw it here in this cabinet the last time I used it.”

HONEY #2: “Oh! Yes! I moved it over to that other cabinet last week. It seemed like a better place for it.”

HONEY #1: (… forcefully biting back a snarky comment). “Ah! That explains it! Thanks.”

This exact dialogue happens fairly frequently here at Chez Brown with yours truly playing the part of Honey #1. And since we have only been in this particular house just shy of 17 months now, we are still truly in the experimental phase of “where stuff goes.” 

When this event happens, I almost always start to register a complaint about the thing getting moved. But I always stop short, because darn it, she’s RIGHT! That new place IS a better place to keep the thing. When I really stop and think about it, it was kind of silly that we had it in Place #1 at all. 

And then, if I stop and think about it a moment longer, I realize I have a problem. 

My problem is: I LOVE pattern and predictability. In truth, I am absolutely head-over-heels enamored with the status quo… to the point that I am regularly on the verge of penning sonnets of desire to “the way things have always been.” The other day, in fact, Joan had to forcibly stop me from taking out my pocketknife and carving “RB + HOMEOSTASIS” on the trunk of the big pine tree in our yard.

I know I am not alone in my infatuation with solid, predictable unchangingness. Every day I meet scores of fellow travelers who spend sizable portions of their day standing and impotently shaking their fists at flexibility, flux, and fluidity. 

But just because there are legions of us lovable Luddites, it doesn’t mean we are right. I call this not-at-all-thinly disguised love affair a problem because it is absolutely at odds with the nature of the God of the Universe. 

I like to think of myself as a follower of Creator YAWEH. To ensure that is actually true though, I have to figure out a way to get on board with the fact that this God is a moving, shaking, dynamic God, constantly in the business of building up, breaking down, renewing, and reforming. 

Always has been… always will be.

The world this God created was designed to be a moving, tumbling, shifting salad of variety. I am pretty sure, in fact, human beings endowed with free will would not have made it off the drawing board if God were not a big fan of unexpected curve balls. 

God spoke about this exact thing when he spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NRSV). Later on, the apostle Paul reminded his Corinthian church members that Jesus also embodies the same dynamic qualities when he tells them, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NRSV).

When we look around at our community, our country, and the world and notice that nothing seems to be nailed down, we understandably become a little queasy. Our hearts long to find a little corner of calm and stability. We want to know that we can indeed control SOMETHING… even if it is just the location of the Crock Pot. 

God regularly reminds us – sometimes the hard way – that we won’t ever find security in STUFF. 

We will only find security in our connection with the One Who Created It All. He speaks to the seekers of stability and says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NRSV). 

THAT is the anchor that will never let us down…

… or move to a different cabinet.

Abundant blessings;

07
Apr
21

No Secret Cobbler

Way back in the W.Y. (“Working Years,” for the uninitiated), I went out to lunch with my pastor buddy Steven. We dined at a local burger place and discussed a few of the many mysteries of the pastoring life. 

I don’t remember everything we talked about that day, but I am sure that among the things we discussed were such esoteric, theological topics as, “So where do you go to get a really good drummer for the praise band?” and, “Are there really no circumstances in which it is OK to strike a parishioner?”

[Just joshing on that last one…]

I recall that I finished my burger and fries and – since we were still deep in conversation – I went back and ordered the special blackberry cobbler ala mode they were featuring on the menu that day. 

It was DELICIOUS!

When I got home that night, Joan asked me, “So… who did you have lunch with today?”

I said, “Steven,” thinking it was a little odd that she knew I had lunch with anyone at all.

She then followed up with, “So I guess you went back and had a little dessert, too!”

I said, “Now hang on a minute! How do you know that? Have you hired a private detective to follow me around all day? I mean, OK… I’m sorry I didn’t bring you any blackberry cobbler, but honestly honey, you’re freaking me out a little here.”

Joan then reminded me that our bank sends her a little “BING!” alert whenever there is a transaction on our jointly held debit card. She saw one swipe for the burger and fries and then a few minutes later, a second, lesser charge. 

So then, using her considerable powers of deduction, she was able to piece together the exact steps of my lunchtime behavior.

But I’m not going to lie; the whole thing was a tad unsettling. I mean, I didn’t particularly mind that my wife was alerted every time I used our debit card. After all, I had nothing to hide. The whole thing just sent out a “Big Brother Is Watching!” kind of vibe. 

So, in response to her financial vigilance, I resolved to become devious. I decided that every time I wanted to buy something goofy or frivolous, I would use cash, thereby subverting the whole family surveillance system. 

OK, here we go!” I bellowed to the sky. “Blackberry cobbler, morning, noon, and NIGHT!!”

It didn’t take me long for me to realize the futility of the path I had embarked upon. First of all, here I was… actively scheming to deceive my spouse. You know, the one I exchanged sacred vows with 20 years ago. The one with whom I had “become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, NRSV). The one I had promised to “love, honor, and cherish.”

There is also the small matter that whatever I do… whatever I think… every word I say… is already known anyway. I may be able to hide a blackberry cobbler dessert from Joan by using cash or toss a soft-drink cup onto the road when no one is looking or keep that $5.00 bill that the cashier gave me by mistake, but none of that is secret.

All of that – and so much more – is utterly and completely known.

I am known, head to toe, inside and out, front to back, by The One Who Created Me.

So are you.

And while this revelation might sound like anything BUT good news, it is actually gloriously, ridiculously awesome news. 

Because that One who knows us better than we can possibly know ourselves also LOVES us gloriously and ridiculously and unconditionally.

And if that news isn’t worth celebrating with a slice of blackberry cobbler ala mode, I don’t know what is. 

Abundant blessings;




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