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The pastor that I grew up with understood people.  He knew how easy it was to focus on the busy work of maintaining a church.  There’s the parking lot to repave, the roof to replace, that room needs painting, and more.

For every dollar we spend on ourselves, we had to donate a dollar to someone else.  It didn’t matter if it was a $200 project or a $20,000 project.

As I child, I didn’t understand why he did this.  I didn’t dislike the practice. I honestly didn’t think about it much.

As an adult, it means a lot more.  Whether we are discussing church life or home life, it is so easy to get caught up in busy work and our own agendas.  So think about it.  What are you doing for others?  A little something to noodle over.




“Minimum wage doesn’t need to be raised.  She should just get an education and a better job.”

“Insurance?  It’s something you have to work to have.”

“No one gave me a thing.  They should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

We’ve all heard things like these.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ve said them too and probably believed they were True with a capital T.

That’s the funny thing about privilege.  Most of us who are fail to recognize it.  Whether your privilege is racial, economic or something else altogether, when you have it I don’t think you tend to notice it.  After all, you had to work to get through college, to hold down a job, to own a house.  You worked.  They weren’t just given to you.

Good for you.

But an awful lot in life depends on your footing.  Stable footing makes for a good beginning.  From a stable place you can reach out for something better.

And, who knows, you might also decide to have true compassion, to pull someone who is struggling over to also stand on firm ground.  Now that you know that it’s there why not share God’s blessings with someone else?




Of course, I can’t find where I read it now that I want to share it with you.  But yesterday I read an interview (or something) with Martin Luther King Jr.  He discussed the idea that riots are the language of the unheard.  He explained that society needs to question not just the rioters but why the majority refuses to hear what is being said any other way.

Yes, we need peace. King never backed down from the idea that peaceful protest was best.  But he also understood why people riot.

Understanding.  It requires listening.  That means he listened to the people he disagreed with.

This is definitely something we all need to learn to do.  How can you truly serve Christ if you cannot hear.  How can you walk in his ways of peace?


It’s been a tough couple of weeks.  Lori wrote about how people are reacting to Hurricane Harvey news. I have to admit that I’ve been carefully avoiding anything with visuals.

I don’t have anyone in Houston but I have a lot of family and friends scattered throughout Texas.  One friend evacuated Corpus Christi for McAllen.  One cousin’s husband lashed a tree to a fence post because the tree was being uprooted by the wind.  She is suffering from something similar to MS and had to stay inside because the change in barometric temperature was making her so sick – her ears are one of her principal weak spots.  Another cousin was supposed to be induced. That was cancelled and we are waiting while her husband keeps half a tank of gas in reserve.  Fuel is hard to come by and he wants to make sure they can get to the hospital when the time comes.

At times like this it is so easy to feel powerless.  We can’t turn aside the winds.  We can drain away the waters.  We cannot fly.

But that’s okay.  As this quote by MLK reminds us, when flight is impossible, it is okay to crawl.  Think of it as baby steps.

As Lori pointed out, we can watch our words.  Words have great power and we aren’t always careful how we fling them about.  I’ve been very cautious around one particular friend who, during the Ferguson riots, posted a “fun debate” about who had what coming.  Fun debate.  That just didn’t jive with what I was seeing one town over.  Now this Texas friend is upset about the things being posted about Houston and who deserved what.  Words hurt.

Not sure what is safe to say?  Silence is acceptable.  You can also keep it simple.  “I’m so sorry that you’re going through this and I’ll pray for you.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a prayer shawl to work on.  The maker called the yarn color Om Opal.  It looks a lot like storm clouds, doesn’t it?  But there’s light among the dark just as there is Light among our darkness.  Remember, you may not be able to fly, but you can crawl.


Science and religion. Some of us walk with them both every day.

Have hope.  It is how all good things are accomplished.




When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

earyikg21d4-maja-petricIn the news lately, we’ve been hearing about people committing awful acts of terror, and this term seems to come up more often than not: “self-radicalized.”

It might be more accurate to call it “metastasized.” Something incompatible to life taking root at the cellular level.

I’ve noticed that this word isn’t applied to everyone equally.

We don’t call these two grandmas in a shoot-out at Wal-Mart “radicalized.”

In most cases, the term is used when speaking of Muslims involved in violent acts, but I think it could be applied to people of any race, gender or religion who feel disenfranchised.

That being said, I still believe that most of the world’s population is comprised of peaceful, law-abiding people. Of course, there are some exceptions, but there are still many reasons to be hopeful about life.

God’s grace is still the oxygen of the universe.

Here’s what buoys my spirits.

To know that there are people like this four-year-old who read a thousand books and was made Librarian for a Day at the Library of Congress is like a vitamin for the soul.

To know that this elderly lady in distress dialed a wrong number and it turned out to be a police detective who stayed on the line to help her is evidence of Providence at work.

To know that these stray dogs in Turkey were given shelter at a mall by kind-hearted locals during a snowstorm warmed my heart.

To know that young and old can connect, as this 82 year old man found out when a 4 year old said, “hi, old person, can I have a hug?” brought a tear to my eye.

What if we took back ownership of the word, “radicalized,” and used it in the spirit spoken of by Dr. King?

We might self-radicalize toward full-scale compassion. Mobilize in the direction of brazen kindness. Maybe if we open our hearts and reach out our arms, we’d find we could embrace the whole world.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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