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Showing posts from October, 2019

Awkward, Again.

So, I’m by myself in Sheboygan, Wisconsin at a bar that is waaaaaaaayyy too hip for me (and, quite frankly, I cannot believe there are places in Sheboygan that are too hip for me). Ten minutes ago, I asked the receptionist in the hotel lobby where the “cool kids” grab dinner (I, by the way, did not sound like a “cool kid” when I asked that question). She sent me here.  
I’m desperately trying to fit in. The only problem is it is awkward. No, actually, I’m awkward. I want to order a beer but based on the tap handles it looks like my options are clown juice, buffalo something, or Budweiser (and I’m not ordering Budweiser). 
I say, “Can I just have a pale ale?” The bartender asks if I want circus-something or bison-whatever. “Whatever most people like,” I say. He asks if I want a pint or a mug. I say, “Whichever is bigger.” A moment later he approaches with a beer in the biggest mug I have ever seen. As I take my first sip, I look like a toddler trying to drink milk from a gallon jug. I…

Paddle-less

They didn’t teach me this in seminary, was the only thing I could think while standing in a flooded kitchen at church with water pouring in from the drains in the floor. (Yes, you read that correctly. Water was pouring IN from the drains that are supposed to let water OUT.) I was overwhelmed, at a loss, and quite literally up a particular creek without a paddle. I didn’t know what to do or where to start. I felt inadequate and resented the world around me.   I’ve thought that a lot lately: they didn’t teach me this in seminary. I’m nine years into my call at the church I serve and by now I expected to have things figured out. Unfortunately, with every passing day, week, and year I have found myself confronted more and more with situations that are beyond my control and questions for which I do not have the answer.  And I know a lot of people who are not in professional ministry who feel that way too.  There are many times in life when we find ourselves feeling like we missed the cours…

Mustard.

“Lord, increase our faith!” the apostles begged of Jesus. 
Increase our faith. 
As I read the disciples’ request it struck a chord in my heart. I’ve been there. I’ve felt that. And I know many of you have too. 
There are many points in life when we, like the original apostles, find ourselves crying to the LORD: increase my faith. There are inevitably – for all of us– times of doubt, struggle, and confusion. There are times when hope, peace, understanding, and confidence seem scarce.  
When we are confronted with death we may cry: Lord, increase my faith.  In the midst of a storm we lament: Lord, increase my faith.  Surrounded by nonsensical violence, anger, and hatred, we beg: Lord, increase my faith.                  In times of struggle and sacrifice, when we are worn down by worry, we whisper: Lord, increase my faith.  When our loved ones or we struggle with depression, addiction, and anxiety, or find ourselves/themselves battling cancer, illness, or dementia, we plead: Lord, incr…