Posts Tagged ‘love

10
Mar
21

Check Your Fear

Every morning, right before Patrick the dog and I head out on our morning walk, I check the temperature outside. I usually do that by pulling out my iPhone and saying, “Hey Sirii… what’s the temperature?”

Secure with Sirii’s answer, I then know what kind of coat to put on. Or whether.

I also like to check the humidity, the likelihood of precipitation, and maybe even the barometric pressure if I can.

But there is something else I should check every morning just as religiously… and so should you.

Before setting out in the morning I also need to check my Fear-O-Meter. That is, I need to ask – and honestly answer – the question, “How big of a role is fear playing in my life today?”

It is an easier question to answer than you might imagine at first. There are a few readily identifiable “tells” that will tip you off to the level of fear you carry on any given day.

For example, I can check and see how much energy am I spending DEFENDING myself. Am I doing a lot of work staking out a position – on any given topic – and then building impenetrable bulwarks of RIGHTNESS around that position? [The fact is, most forms of social media offer us nearly limitless opportunities to engage in this very fear-based defensive activity, don’t they?]

Or I can quickly measure my fear index by calibrating the amount of weight I am giving to others’ opinions of me… and how much I am allowing those opinions to shape my words, actions, or wardrobe. 

I can also choose to come at the question from the other side. I can choose to measure my fear using The Jesus Scale. The Jesus Scale was obviously developed by Jesus (duh!!), but was eloquently articulated some 70 years later by John the Evangelizer. John said, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18, NRSV).

In other words, the more my daily thoughts and actions are driven by LOVE, the lower the reading on my FEAR-O-METER will be. The converse is also true… the higher my level of fear, the less my life will be driven by love.

I can also tell when fear is running my show when I try to recruit you to join me here in Fearsylvania, USA. I will usually start by saying something like, “Well, if you’re not afraid, you’re just not paying attention.” 

There are plenty of reasons to look around and declare that we live in scary times, aren’t there? I mean, just look at our current American political situation; look what THEY are trying to do to US!

Look at the environment… look at the world’s geopolitical muddle… look at the tattered state of our ethical and moral framework… look at the sorry state of the NFC East, for crying out loud! [OK, sorry… superfluous and impertinent football reference there. Unnecessary. Irrelevant. Truth.]

It is all enough to send the Fear-O-Meter quivering into the red zone!

But here is the thing: Yes… all of that scary stuff is true. All of it is cause for concern. But each of us has to ask: is IT going to be the thing that shapes the way I live today? Or am I going to choose to cast out that fear with Christ-like love?

It’s a choice that is available to all of us, every day.

Abundant blessings;

25
Feb
21

Knowing You… Loving You

They know me so well.

” No endorsement of this product should be implied from this ad.

They know I drive a 2009 Nissan Altima.

They know I play the guitar. (Fortunately, they aren’t terribly clued in about my fumbling, stumbling skill level).

They know I am a grandfather.

They know I originally hail from Hilliard, Ohio. 

They are intimately familiar with my on-line purchasing habits, regularly offering me similar items at lower prices (and better quality). 

They know my political persuasions, my religious preferences, my sexual orientation, and my favored color palette. 

Heck, the marketing trolls of the internet somehow even know that I have chronic right shoulder pain and occasionally (when I eat too late) experience nighttime bouts of acid reflux … a fact I have only ever discussed with Joan behind our closed bedroom door. 

“How is it possible…” I ask, shaking my fist toward the heavens, “… that such total, uncaring strangers know me so WELL?”

But we all know the answer to that question, don’t we? This kind of deep, granular-level reconnaissance on each one of us is today’s coin of the realm. 

Nothing is hidden from BIG DATA. BIG DATA is in charge of our lives. Your phone listens in on the conversation you had with your next door neighbor and then **SHAZAM!!** up pops an ad for beekeeping equipment on your news feed.*

It is a scary and unsettling reality of Life in the Connected Age.

And yet, in a perverse and twisted way, isn’t this also the answer to a prayer? What I mean is, haven’t each of us, starting at a very young age, yearned for someone to KNOW us? 

No… we didn’t seek to be known for the purpose of being marketed at. But haven’t we each longed for someone to know us completely – head to toe – in order that we might have the experience of being LOVED… totally and unconditionally?

Because let’s face it; it takes no great depth of soul to take a shine to the online dating profile version of a person. But it takes something very close to divinity to love someone when every wart, freckle, and character flaw is exposed.

But THAT is exactly the love God offers us.

It is exactly the love we are wired to crave.

It is also exactly the love we are called to offer one another. 

Abundant blessings;

  • an actual event in my life
07
Feb
21

RED SUNDAY

Greetings, friends. As some of you are aware, it is SUPER BOWL SUNDAY here in the U.S. 

For others, the above phrase might as well have been spoken in a completely foreign language. 

In case you are wondering, the SUPER BOWL is the culmination of the professional American football season… an annual ritual involving food, fun, friends, and frivolity. 

[According to prevailing copyright rules, the only people allowed to use the words SUPER BOWL together like that are the owners of the phrase. I am not one of those owners, so by using it so flagrantly, I am in danger of having the pants sued off of me. Nevertheless, I soldier on…]

For a lot of folks (WAAAY too many, honestly) this day is an excuse to crowd together and overindulge while being entertained by slickly produced TV commercials sandwiched between bouts of a football game they have little to no interest in.

Not true for me last year. And not true this year for me, either. 

Because now, for the second year in a row, you see, MY TEAM – the Kansas City Chiefs – is actually playing in the Super Bowl! 

And as much as I keep reminding myself that it is just a game and that games are a minor, inconsequential part of life, my excitement and adrenaline continue to grow. 

Of course it is ridiculous and borderline blasphemous to draw any parallels between my 40+ years waiting for the Chiefs to make it to the Super Bowl and the 40 years the Israelites spent meandering toward the promised land. The suggestion that a life without an NFL championship bears even a REMOTE resemblance to a life without fundamental freedoms is morally indefensible and outlandish. 

So please understand… that is NOT what I am saying.

What I am saying is: DANG it is fun when your favorite team makes it to the BIG GAME

Yes… it is good to remind myself that God loves Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans just as much as God loves Chiefs fans. I am also clear that God unconditionally loves people who don’t give a flying flip about what happens later today in the Super Bowl. 

But for right now I am going to close with a totally partisan, non-inclusive “GO CHIEFS! BEAT THOSE BUCS! RUN IT BACK!”

Now… can somebody please pass the nachos?

Abundant blessings

02
Feb
21

Should we be nice?

Today, while taking the dogs for a walk in the park, I saw a hand-painted sign leaning against a fence. It was big… probably four feet high and six feet wide. Every letter on the sign was painted a different color, and it said:

“BE KIND.”

As the dogs and I finished our walk, I looked at the minivan across the parking lot and saw a message there in white letters across the back window. It said:

“I HOPE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENS TO YOU TODAY.”

“Wow!” I thought to myself. “How cool is THAT! I go out and find myself surrounded by positive, uplifting messages. With everything going on in the world today, those people have decided they are going to be positivity evangelists!”

“Well done, y’all!” (In case you are not aware, “y’all” is the plural of “you” in many parts of the country.)

There was nothing complicated about either message. They weren’t inviting me to join a club. They weren’t trying to sell me on a complex doctrine. They didn’t want me to give them a percentage of my income every month. They didn’t have a sneaky pyramid scheme that required me to enlist friends and family members. 

They were just putting the good juju out there in the atmosphere, hoping it connected with someone.

And then I had to stop and wonder, “Why can’t the Christian faith be simple and straightforward like that? Why do we have to muddy it up with all those convoluted theological dogmas and ‘rules of engagement’? Don’t we want to entice people and not repel them?”

“I mean, couldn’t Christians just say we are part of the ‘BE KIND CLUB’ and let it go at that?” 

For a lot of folks, it seems like a pretty big leap to say they believe in a deity who became a human being, died, and then came back from the dead three days later. But it is not hard at all to encourage them to say, “I believe in being kind to other people.”

So, what’s the problem? Why are we (Christians) so hung up on whether someone speaks the exact “phrase that pays” instead of just worrying about what they DO?

In the interest of full disclosure, I will confess that I am trolling you here a bit. I actually DO believe that confessing Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of one’s life DOES make a qualitative difference in that life. I also believe that a person’s actions and words are much more important than their professed systems of belief… even though those actions and words flow directly FROM those systems of belief. And I ABSOLUTELY believe that there is much more to the Christian faith than just being kind to other people.

In fact, would it surprise you to hear me say that I don’t believe that the Christian faith has much at all to do with being nice to people?

Loving them? Yes. Absolutely. Unconditionally, even. But as Jesus demonstrated over and over again, LOVING another person doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with BEING NICE to them.

Jesus gave a very succinct summary of his mission on earth in John’s gospel when he said, “… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, NRSV). 

In other words, he came to revive relationships, break cycles of addiction, lift up the downtrodden, snap chains of injustice, bring hope, infuse possibility. In short, he came break down every barrier that separates people from the abundant life God always intended for them (us). 

If being kind, gentle, and sweet to a person helped connect them with that “abundant life,” so be it! Jesus would be like, “Bring on the kind, gentle, and sweet.” If, on the other hand, bringing about abundant life meant employing the proverbial “swift kick in the pants” approach, he would not hesitate to administer that.

So yes, let’s redouble our efforts. Let’s offer a smile to a total stranger on the sidewalk. Let’s make eye contact and give a kind word to the cashier at the convenience store. Let’s pay for the person behind us in the McDonald’s drive-through. Let’s call someone on the phone, “just because…”

But let’s also join Team Jesus and help bring the abundant life he was after. 

Abundant blessings;

15
Jan
21

Certain Uncertainty

I may have said this before, but I just LOVE Google!

Questions which, in bygone days, might have floated off into the ether unanswered, can now be resolved in the blink of an eye, thanks to Google.

Just yesterday, for example, I idly wondered what the shape and size of the 970-telephone area code is. I wanted to know what other towns besides Fort Collins it includes, what its total area is, what other area codes are nearby… you know – important, life-changing questions like that.

Being decidedly OLD, I can vividly remember the work it once took to answer even a question as simple as that. I would have started by pulling down the big white page version of the phone book and then thumbed through the front of it looking for an area code map. Failing that, I might have taken a trip to the local public library and posed my question to the research librarian. 

Today? I just hit the button and say, “OK, Google; show me a map of the 970-area code,” and BINGO! There it is, before you can say “Jack Robinson.”

And guess what, kids? You can do the same thing with ANY question at all! Curious about how many ounces are in a pint? Ask Google! Want to know the racial make-up of your county? Ask Google! What if you HAD to know George Brett’s batting average in his rookie year? In less time than it takes you to ask the question, you can have the answer, thanks to Google.

In fact, it is hard to imagine a question that could not be answered in the twinkling of an eye by the miracle of the Google Machine.

Welcome, my friends, to the age of CERTAINTY where NOTHING is unknowable.

As accurate as that description might be, I have to wonder if that is entirely good news. I mean, is certaintyreally the end-all, be-all we make it out to be? Does the elimination of all mystery and uncertainty really mean our lives are quantitatively BETTER? 

In asking these questions I am not advocating a return to a stone age understanding of the world… the one where people cower in fear in the belief that the moon swallows the sun every time a solar eclipse happens. 

My question more has to do, I suppose, with how we think about FAITH in an age of certainty. Here in GoogleWorld 2021, does faith become more like a passive placeholder, as we wait for greater certainty? That is, do we say, “Well, until the science comes along to either prove or disprove this proposition, I will just have to have faith”?

If that is how we see faith, I can’t help but be a little sad. I have always been encouraged to see faith as something ACTIVE rather than PASSIVE… as an intentional choice we make about the metanarrative we live out of. 

I have lived a lot of years and learned a lot of things during that time. A lot of uncertainty has been vanquished with the help of education, connections, and the miracle of Google. And yet somehow, at the very same time, the scope of what I do NOT know about the universe seems to be expanding at an even greater pace. 

How is that possible?

But ultimately, it is FAITH that assures me that it is OK to just stand here in awe… drinking in the sheer wonder of the world around me, trusting that the Unseen Hand behind it all loves each of us completely and unconditionally.

And that brings me peace.

[Incidentally, in case you wondered, George Brett’s batting average in 1974 – his first full season in the bigs – was .282. Not bad for a kid.]

Abundant blessings;

07
Jan
21

Lord, in your mercy…

… hear our prayer.

  • Hear our prayer for humility in the face of chaos and confusion.
  • Hear our prayer for justice, administered without regard for place or privilege.
  • Hear our prayer for softened hearts and willing hands.
  • Hear our prayer for vital, life-giving connections between all of your people, recognizing common bonds of humanity.
  • Hear our prayer for the resiliency of hope in the middle of dark times.
  • Hear our prayer for a new willingness to listen deeply to voices other than our own, and those who echo us.
  • Hear our prayer for the relief of the physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual suffering of brothers and sisters around the world.
  • Hear our prayer for a supernatural infusion of wisdom into those we have appointed to govern over the unremarkable affairs of our lives.
  • Hear our prayer for new courage to do your will… even in the face of opposition and hardship. 
  • Hear our prayer that the sharp edges of power might be hammered into the productive edges of plowshares.
  • Hear our prayer for gentle rains and warm sunshine to nurture the fragile, green shoots of new life bursting forth all around us. 
  • Hear our prayer for the birth of a new world, reshaped into the image you intended at the Dawn of Creation.

In your name and in the name of your incarnate son, Jesus Christ, we pray…

AMEN

27
Nov
20

Thanks Be to All

viol

I dislike violence.

I mean, I REALLY dislike it.

I can’t stand violent sports like boxing or Mixed Martial Arts… although I somehow find a way to make an exception for the violence of American football.

I immediately turn away from gratuitous violence on both the small and big screen.

I am so queasy about violence I even have a hard time watching contestants as they are eliminated on game shows. 

Which, I suppose, is why I have such a hard time facing up to the violence that helped pave the way for the life I lead today. 

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, our time of gluttonous gratitude gatherings. And even though it was a somewhat isolated feast for Joan and me this year, it was still quite enjoyable. 

The Thanksgiving holiday always causes me to think back and remember the things I was taught in school about the origins of this special national holiday.

I can still remember being part of a pageant in the fourth grade that commemorated the first Thanksgiving feast… with “Pilgrims” in their construction-paper hats and collars sitting down with their “Native American neighbors” (wearing their multi-colored construction paper headdresses) to thank them for their valuable assistance in coping with the fierce North American winter. 

Nowhere in my entire formal education, however, did I learn about the genocidal violence inflicted upon those original people by the European settlers … violence that was justified as necessary to promote the advance of “civilization.”

Or, if I ever did hear about it, I probably turned away in denial, preferring to believe a more sanitized version of American history. You know… the version where the Europeans and the Native Americans all sat down around a big conference table and respectfully agreed that it would be in everyone’s best interest if those First People uprooted themselves from places they occupied for centuries and squeezed themselves into tiny settlements in some of the most inhospitable parts of the American West. 

As we now know that version is just not the way it happened. Blood was shed. Lives were lost. Families were destroyed. Terrible violence was employed in order to “open up” this country for European expansion. 

Yes, I still believe it is good and necessary to give thanks to God for the bounty and blessings of the life I lead today. It is necessary to admit that I have received unmerited grace and favor, and to be continually humble in receiving it.

But I believe it is also necessary to admit – as much as I detest it – that violence also played a significant part in placing me where I am today.

Today – the day after Thanksgiving – has been officially designated as Native American Heritage Day. And in an historic first, it is worth noting that there are now more Native Americans serving in the U.S. House of Representatives than ever before in our nation’s history. There are six; three women, three men. Three Republicans, and three Democrats. 

To celebrate and sum up the importance of this day, I will close with this fitting quote from one of them:

“Native Americans have a unique opportunity to educate their children and fellow Americans about the legacy and hardships Native Americans have overcome. We know the stories of our ancestors and we pass them on to future generations. Our history and our sovereignty are what bind us together.”

  • Markwayne Mullin, Congressman, Oklahoma, a member of the Cherokee Nation

We also remember that it is the undiluted, unconditional, universal love of God that binds all of us on this awesome planet together.

In our thanksgiving, let us remember to give thanks to ALL who have gone before. 

Abundant blessings; 

25
Nov
20

In Which Circumstances??

Would you look at this mess? 

A worldwide killer virus is floating around in the air, seeking out the most vulnerable among us, killing record numbers of people, especially people of color… and you want me to DO WHAT??

  • “… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NRSV)

Not only did this virus cause Joan and I to cancel our plans to join the rest of the family for a long overdue gathering, but now it has been rude enough to smash our SCALED DOWN Thanksgiving plans… and you want me to DO WHAT??

  • “… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NRSV)

And what about those working parents out there? What about the folks who have to figure out some way to do their jobs over a video screen, supervise their (often reluctant) remote-learning children, put meals on the table, and maintain a home? 

And you want them to DO WHAT??

  • “… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NRSV)

And in this time of roiling turmoil outside, when most people can hunker down and bask in the comforting embrace of home and hearth, Joan and I instead wake up each morning to face a construction zone full of dust and noise and sheetrock and extension cords… and you want me to DO WHAT??

  • “… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NRSV)

And even though some of the dust of the recent election seems to be settling and new, orderly pieces appear to be falling into place, we still face the reality of a nation deeply divided along racial and political lines… and you want me to DO WHAT??

  • “… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NRSV)

And seriously… don’t even get me started on the endless litany of aches and pains and visits to doctors and chiropractors and physical therapists and testing sites and pharmacies and all that other stuff that seems to go hand-in-hand with having attained a **certain** age… and you want me to DO WHAT??

  • “… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NRSV)

I have to ask: God, are you sure you really understand what you are asking of us?

I mean, do you have any concept of what we have to deal with down here in the land of flesh and blood and traffic lights and fire ants? 

Do you have the slightest notion of just how tough it is to make it from Point A to Point B some days… even without today’s extra stressors of disease, sleaze, and unease?

And then it hits me; of course you do!

You know EXACTLY what we are up against. You are intimately acquainted with every ache, pain, fear, frustration, joy, disappointment, dream, distress, annoyance, and heartache we will ever face… in a thousandlifetimes.

You know us because you loved us enough to BECOME us.

Nothing about this human experience is foreign to you.

AND YET… you still command us to GIVE THANKS…

… in ALL circumstances. 

You know what? I might just give it a try.

I mean, shoot… whining hasn’t worked.

Throwing a one-man pity party hasn’t worked.

Sulking over here in my corner hasn’t worked. 

Maybe I’ll try your way instead.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Abundant blessings;

20
Nov
20

“I Surrender!”

Like many men of my age, I was quite the little warmonger as a child.

My friends and I loved to do nothing more after school than get together in the big field behind Jeff and David’s houses and play ARMY. As soon as we got home, we would drop our books, say hello to our parents, grab our toy guns, and head out.

Please understand; these guns didn’t actually shoot anything. Not BBs, not pellets, not even air. We “killed” members of the opposing army by aiming our rifle at them and making some kind of “POW!” noise with our mouths. 

Each soldier was on the honor system to die fair and square when shot by someone from the other side.

One of the hardest things to do in the game of Army, however, was to surrender. 

Surrendering only became necessary when someone from the opposing army stealthfully crept up on your hiding place, pointed his gun at you and said, “OK, Rusty! (my childhood nickname). I see you there behind the garage. Put down your gun and come out with your hands up!”

To be captured was humiliating and embarrassing. Each of us would have preferred to be shot dead, complete with a well-rehearsed death swoon, over being captured by the other side.

Today, even though my last backyard Army battle took place more than 50 years ago, I look around and see that many of us still have the same problem that gripped my boyhood friends and me. 

That is to say, it seems that a lot of us today would rather die than surrender

The health crisis that grips our country is a prime example. The scientists and epidemiologists who have spent their lives studying these things tell us that we are all going to have to – at least temporarily – surrender some of our customary practices to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

They say, for example, that…

  • … we are going to have to surrender our plans for large family Thanksgiving gatherings.
  • … we are going to have to surrender our desire to walk around maskless in public places.
  • … we are going to have to surrender our plans to go to restaurants, sporting events, worship gatherings, and concerts. 
  • … we are going to have to surrender our habit of walking around with dirty hands.

But mostly, the doctors and scientists say, we are going to have to surrender our belief that we are each the masters (or mistresses) of our own domains, free from ANY need to constrain ANY of our behaviors.

We become incensed. We stand up proudly and say – with raised voices – “THAT’S not the America I believe in! No SIR! I live in the land of the FREE! I’m not surrendering my freedom to ANYONE!”

Which is kind of funny, considering all the “surrendering” we each do on a routine, daily basis. 

  • If you are married, you know exactly what I am talking about. Healthy marriages are based on the art of compromise…  in other words, the art of surrendering MY agenda to OUR agenda. 
  • When we get into a car, we surrender to the authority of our local traffic laws.
  • When we get onto a plane (which some people still do, I hear), we completely surrender our lives to the skill of our pilot and the integrity of the air traffic control system. 

And would you believe it? Jesus actually went so far as to teach his disciples that surrender was the key to eternal life! He is recorded in each of the gospels saying something similar, but here are his words from the Gospel of Mark: “He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.  For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?’” (Mark 8:34-35, NRSV). 

For many of us, the idea of surrender can still be frightening. It can suggest a loss of control over the circumstances of our lives. 

But what if, instead of seeing it as a matter of LOSING control, we instead saw surrender as TURNING OVERcontrol… 

… that is, turning over control to the One who designed the whole crazy thing in the first place?

Abundant blessings;

09
Nov
20

The Power to Change

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:43, NRSV).

I never did like Donnie Avery much. 

He was one of those kids who lived on “that” side of my hometown… the side the rest of us tried to avoid. He was regularly sent to the principal’s office for disrupting class in one way or another. He regularly got into fights. 

One time I saw Donnie and two of his friends standing in a tight circle behind the drug store. When I got a little closer to see what they were laughing about, I saw that they had a frog they were torturing in some pretty sad and sadistic ways. 

The real breaking point for me though, was that day in study hall when we were both sophomores in high school. As I was walking up the aisle on my way to the pencil sharpener, I passed Donnie’s desk. Naturally, Donnie stuck his foot out and tripped me as I walked by. I stumbled forward, caught myself, and in one motion turned around and swung my fist at him.

Donnie clearly anticipated my reaction because as I turned, he was holding his own, freshly sharpened pencil out in front of himself… like a spear. The point of that pencil went straight into my right thumb and snapped off. To this day – more than 50 years later – I can still show you that graphite-colored spot on my right thumb where Donnie Avery’s pencil jabbed me. 

As much of a nuisance as Donnie Avery was growing up, I don’t think I ever considered him my enemy

Mostly I just thought of him as a guy to steer clear of, if at all possible. 

But LOVING Donnie Avery? Are you serious, Jesus?

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “enemy” as: “One that is antagonistic to another especiallyone seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent.”

Try wrapping your mind around that for a moment; imagine that standing there, right in front of you is a person who is yes… annoying, bothersome, and irritating. But then, on top of all of that, this person is also actively seeking to, “injure, overthrow, or confound” you. 

And then you hear the voice of Jesus sounding in your ear saying, “See that person? Yes… THAT one. The one who is out to get you? I want you to love them.”

On the one hand it is the most ridiculous idea you and I have ever heard.

On the other hand, it is also the most radical, revolutionary, and world-changing idea we have ever or WILLever hear.

It tests us.

It puts us on the spot.

When we hear Jesus speak that command, we are instantly required to give an honest answer to the question, “Do you want things to change? Or do you just want to keep hanging on to all of your feeble excuses for why they never will?”

Joan and I watched a special on PBS the other night about the Freedom Riders. These were the folks who fought to integrate the buses that traveled from state-to-state in the deep south in the early 60s. 

In their quest, they were insulted, screamed at, beaten, burned, shot, jailed, and denied due legal process by people who genuinely sought to “injure, overthrow, or confound” them. 

In other words, by genuine ENEMIES

And yet, guided by the words of Jesus and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they chose to not fight back. They did not resist. They determined to love those very real, very hate-filled enemies.

In the end, of course, they prevailed.

Today I wonder; if it was possible for Jesus to love those who sought to injure, overthrow, or confound him, and if it was possible for many of his followers throughout the ages to do the same, should you and I strive to do anything less? 

Hmmm. I wonder what Donnie Avery is up to these days?

Abundant blessings;




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A law student and an avid reader. Along with your desired book reviews you're gonna get great book suggestions. Books of all genre with detailed review. Thank you, Visit Again ❤️

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