Anger That Works

Since Mitch McConnell silenced Elizabeth Warren in the Senate, the words he used to justify his action have become a social media byword for principled resistance. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” The words—or the shorthand “she persisted”—accompanied pictures of renowned female leaders ranging from Rosa Parks to Queen Elizabeth I. Continue reading

Inflamed

Fire warms us in the cold and pushes back the darkness at night. Those same flames can reduce our homes to ashes and consume our flesh.

So when Jesus talks about fire, maybe we shouldn’t rush to erase the ambiguity packed into fire imagery. Instead, we can learn a lesson about passion—divine and human—by staying with that double meaning for a while. Continue reading

Going Up the River

[Listen to Audio]  Some friends had just treated Joy and me to dinner in an upscale restaurant in a large urban setting. On the way to the parking deck, I glimpsed a man holding a toddler in one arm and a bit of cardboard with handwriting on it in his free hand.

child-with-breadThe light was muted and the man was at a little distance, so I couldn’t read the message on the makeshift sign. But I knew that he was asking for help.

Nobody else in the group saw the two of them. I let the group’s momentum and the rest of the pedestrian traffic sweep me on toward the car.

And I regretted it. I still do. Continue reading

Where God Finds Us

[Listen to the Audio] Gunshots have been greeting us in the early morning hours of our weekends. The thump, thump and the crack, crack, crack penetrate our shutters before the sunlight can.

img_2071We’re not hearing gang turf battles or drug deals gone wrong. Duck hunters and deer hunters are opening fire at first light. From experience I also know that boats equipped with high-powered motors and sonar gear—along with a variety of smaller, humbler craft—are making their way more silently to fishing holes.

For us, this is business as usual. Our home sits by a lake in the midst of a massive pine forest. It’s hunting season. And if you’re the fishing sort, only work and foul weather keep you off the water. Continue reading

In Our Very Bones

[Listen to the Audio] If you’re traveling north on US 165 from Lake Charles to Alexandria, Louisiana, you’ll see the billboard on your left in Oakdale. A man engulfed in flames is turning his anguished face toward a heaven so distant that neither he nor we can see it.

fullsizeoutput_33baThe sign reads: People on earth hate to hear the word repent! People in hell wish they could hear it one more time.

As I recall, the sign mentions neither a congregation nor a denomination. Whoever paid for the billboard seems to have thought that they were conveying the agreed-upon essence of the Christian message. Continue reading