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Showing posts from August, 2011

Walking with a Stick…

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As a young boy growing up in Guyana and Grenada, there was something I always had in hand when I left our yard:  a stick.  A stick was just a part of the everyday life there.  As many folks get up, dress—and without even thinking—put a wallet in the pocket or a cell phone in the purse,…well, a stick in the hand was like that for us kids in the Caribbean.Why did we carry a stick?  As we walked the roads through neighborhoods or the paths through “the bush,” there was always the chance of being attacked by dogs.  A stick was good protection.  And, if we were passing a mango tree, the stick became a lance to knock mangoes out of the tree.  If we happened upon an old tire (car or bicycle), a stick turned that tire into a toy that we would run along beside for hours and hours.  And, of course, it was good for prodding, poking, moving around whatever unknown things we found lying around.  The stick was a security blanket, a tool and a companion.This week, I remembered the stick as I came to…

Saying “No” to Culture…and “Yes” to Faith

To be honest, I had forgotten what it was like. I had forgotten how difficult it is here in the US. I remember, oh, so clearly the mission teams, the work teams, coming to serve in Venezuela and Mexico remarking on how refreshing it was to worship there…on how deeply spiritual the people seemed…on how faith was somehow different there. I lived, moved and breathed the culture there…and saw nothing unusual…wasn’t really sure what they were talking about, but nodded, smiled and affirmed their assessment. After a month-and-a-half back in the US, I finally understand…. Living a life of vibrant faith here is so hard! The culture crushes in from all sides…and sucks the faith out of life. Technology is God. Money is salvation. Status is the goal. Possessions and shopping are the passions. And the Church here is not immune. Worship has become a technological production, practically impossible without multiple digital projectors, state-of-the-art sound systems. I even saw recently that one conf…

God’s Expansive Grace

Recently, some friends of ours invited us to visit with them a couple of days during their vacation on the coast about an hour-and-a-half from where we live. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity. As I walked down to the beach from their apartment, I was struck yet again by the immensity of the sea. The horizon so far in the distance, the quantity of water, the variety of sea life—all of it just brings a sense of awe to me…and that to a boy who grew up in the Caribbean! The ocean always amazes me. I step down to the water’s edge…the wash of a wave running up over my feet, sucking the sand from beneath. I’m left unsettled for a moment, a little off-balance. It is though the sea is beckoning to me, gently trying to pull me in. I step a little farther into the gentle surf…tentatively at first since the water is so cool compared to the glaring sun-heated world around me. I’m up to my knees…my waist…mid-belly…and I finally plunge in, diving through a small wave. Refreshing, cleansing s…

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