I’m thinking of developing a new messaging app. The distinctive feature of the app is that it won’t let you reply to an upsetting text until you’ve waited 20 minutes. Then you have to reply. I’ll market it to three different types of people: 1) The Reactionaries – those who fire off angry replies, which they later regret, 2) The People-Pleasers –  those who quickly write compliant replies, which they later resent, and 3) The Avoiders – those who give no replies, for which they later mumble lame excuses.  All… Continue reading Repent-A-Gram

ask a simple question…

Have you ever asked someone a simple question only to have them react defensively? “Could you put your dirty plate in the sink?” you ask. “Well… you don’t always put your plate in the sink!” they retort. Wow, you think, I can’t even ask a simple question. How are we supposed to have normal conversation if they respond like that? Even everyday interactions with a defensive person become painfully complicated. If we can’t talk about a dish, how are we ever going to resolve a deeper conflict? It is even… Continue reading ask a simple question…

hidden with Christ

“So, if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.” That’s how Eugene Peterson interprets Colossians 3:1 in The Message. Like Paul, he implores us to live in the new resurrection life given to us. The first four verses are a concise summary of the gospel. I put the whole passage at the end of the post; take the time to read it slowly. So, what is this resurrection life? And how is it different from the old life?  Here is my attempt at a… Continue reading hidden with Christ

de-clutter the moment

I have often de-cluttered: my desk, my basement, my finances (a lot still to do here). Once, I even sat down and reorganized my wallet with a self-challenge to make it 1/3 thinner. I’m happy to say that it now easily slips into my pocket and rests easier on my mind (and I actually know what’s in it). But there is one space that I find difficult to de-clutter. Ironically, it is the most spacious of all the spaces I possess, yet remains the most cluttered. That space? It is… Continue reading de-clutter the moment

afraid of widths

  A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I’m afraid of widths. –Comedian Steven Wright   People are more afraid than they let on. We won’t admit it, even to ourselves. Oh, we might confess that a near-accident got our heart rate up, or we had a temporary fright on a dark sidewalk. But what about the deeper, chronic anxiety? The fear that we’re not enough? The fear that it is all pointless? We repress that, we medicate it with snacks, 401Ks, busyness. But it’s there. There is a certain… Continue reading afraid of widths

God’s Three Breaths

  Christmas is inaugurated with one of the three breaths of God. The first breath happened during creation when God breathed out—exhaling the breath of life into Adam.  The second breath is a sharp breathing in—the Christ-child’s first breath. And the third was at the Cross—Christ cried out and breathed His last. The three breaths are all for the same purpose—to bring life into the heart of man. The three are the root, the rescue, and the restoration of humanity.  The purpose of God has always been the same, for… Continue reading God’s Three Breaths

incarnation is for the carnate

  I’ve performed in many, many Christmas plays in my time, but my most brilliant role came at the tender age of ten when I played the Angel Gabriel – the Archangel Gabriel.  The choice came down to either me or Jimmy Sizemore. However, due to my superior talent and the fact that my Aunt Rachel made the costume, I got the part and Jimmy played a shepherd.  Yes, Gabriel was my most brilliant role. I mean this quite literally; Gabriel lit up the stage.  My costume, a pleated starched… Continue reading incarnation is for the carnate

i didn’t ask to be born!

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you.― Frederick Buechner   My mom and older brother (age 17) were having a heated argument in the kitchen. I (age 9) was playing with Legos in the adjacent room, listening in. Mom shouted something like, “The world doesn’t owe you anything, you know!” I’m guessing that she was attempting to convince him that he was acting entitled. But he was having none… Continue reading i didn’t ask to be born!

“yeah, but….” conversations

I’m having a lot of “Yeah, but…” conversations lately. They are unhealthy, yet I keep having them and they go something like this: “The COVID case numbers are ________,” someone says. “Yeah,” I say, “but that’s because ________.” “Well,” the other person replies, “remember that ________.” “Yes, I suppose that’s true,” I say, “but then _________.”   Point, counterpoint. But, rebut. This, that. I feel myself getting tense.   Sometimes, I change my language a little. I switch from “Yeah, but…” to “Yes, I know, however…”  Or sometimes, I try… Continue reading “yeah, but….” conversations

where are my pants?

I recently had outpatient surgery – a hernia repair – robot-assisted. It had to be done. So, I scheduled it and showed up at the hospital at the appointed time two hours before the actual surgery. I signed in and was greeted by a very friendly stranger. “Let’s get you back there,” she said. “Already?” I asked, thinking I’d have a wait. But no, she took me straight to a little prep room. “The pre-op nurse will be here momentarily,” she said. Then she handed me three plastic bags. “This… Continue reading where are my pants?