Posts

Too.

My children have entirely way too many books (and stuffed animals and toys and crayons and clothes). And so, recently in an effort to clean their rooms and teach them a lesson I challenged them to find all the books they weren’t going to read again and put them in a pile so we could donate them to kids who don’t have any. I explained to them that when you have a lot it’s always nice to help people who only have a little. 
When I left the room I expected to return to a short pile of pathetic looking books – books without their covers and with pages torn out, drawn on, and dog-eared. I figured they’d each grab one or two of these old books, throw it in the pile and call it a day. I was amazed to discover the opposite. Not only did they create a large pile of books, but also their pile contained some of their best, newest and most favorite stories. 
Then, I panicked a little bit. 
I said to my daughters who are four and six years old, “Hey guys, good work here but are you sure these are…

What?!

My children ask a lot of questions. A lot. They ask why. They ask where. They ask who. They ask when. They ask how come. And more than anything else they like to ask: What?! What?! What?!
Their favorite time to ask questions is when we’re on the road. Trapped in their car seats, my kids immediately become little detectives. With nothing to do but think about and look out at the world around them they become exceedingly inquisitive. They ask both simple and existential questions. They inquire about the mundane and the magnificent. They ask questions that are fun to answer, difficult to respond to and – admittedly – tricky as all get out to address. In fact, more often than not, on the ride home from school I am stumped and tripped up by the questions of my four and six year old daughters. 
I got to thinking about my kids and their questions when I read the gospel lesson assigned for Sunday. Jesus is on the road with his disciples and he’s prepping them for the things to come (namely, …

Words, Sticks, and Stones

My daughter came home from her first week of school chanting that phrase they taught us all as kids. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me! And all I could think as I watched this innocent kid defiantly not giving other people the power to hurt her was: yeahright. And I got sort of sad – for her, for me, for you, for us all – as I reflected on how hurtful some words can be. 
See, sticks and stones my break my bones, but words… can harm a friendship. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words… can end a marriage. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words… can break our spirit. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words… can hurt forever.
We tell our children that words will never hurt us, but that’s not true. Words have the power to hurt. Words can be wielded as weapons. Words can be put together in ways that break down and beat down. Bullies use words to degrade others. Politicians use words to slander others. Racists and sexists use words…

Meat and Ketchup

“MEAT AND KETCHUP!” my two-year-old son John yelled at me when I entered the house. 
His face and hands were covered in ketchup. His clothes were too. He had a baby ‘spork’ in his right hand and he couldn’t have been prouder of himself. 
“Meat and ketchup,” I replied. “Yum.” 
“NO!” he shouted back. “MEAT AND KETCHUP.” 
“Yea, Johnny, I heard you,” I offered. “Meat and ketchup. Good boy.” 
With his ketchup covered fingers he grabbed my hand and led me to the table. He pointed to his plate, dug the spork in and ate a mouthful of ketchup. 
“I’m eating ketchup,” he said. 
He sure was. It wasn’t meat and ketchup. He was eating ketchup. He shoveled spork-ful after spork-ful of ketchup into his mouth. When the spork wasn’t cutting it he literally licked the plate clean. 
As I watched my son, I couldn’t help but wonder why a person would ever do such a thing. What kind of person just eats a plate of ketchup? There’s no point. It’s not filling. It’s not nutritional. It’s sort of gross. Actuall…

Bystanders.

As I read the story of Jesus’ Last Supper, betrayal, trial, persecution, suffering, and death last week, I couldn’t help but notice a few characters that escaped me before. You may be familiar with the main characters – Jesus and Judas, Peter and Pilate, the chief priests and the scribes – but did you know that in Mark’s gospel alone there are 7 bystanders who are complicit in the crucifixion of Christ?  
These bystanders typically are spokespeople for the crowd. Though mere individuals, they speak for the masses. Through their inaction, they are witnesses to injustice. Through their questions, they fuel hatred. Through their comments, they demonstrate coldness and indifference. 
While arguably not as evil as Judas the betrayer, Pilate who had Jesus flogged, or the soldiers who cast lots for Jesus’ robes, these characters are burdened with a more subtle form of sin – the sin of inaction and apathy. 
My fear for God’s people today is that we have once again assumed the role of bystand…

Skating on Crutches

Eat.