Here’s the ugly truth: Every time I hear of someone’s disappointment with “the church,” I find myself thinking… “Ugh, that’s me.” Talked behind someone’s back? I’ve done it. Betrayed someone’s trust? I’ve done it. Helped someone out and made them feel like a “project?” I’ve done it. Acted fake? Lied? Shown favoritism? Been self-righteous? Definitely. […]
My parents had just become Jesus-followers when I was little, the first in their families … or at least the first in their families in a long time. I have a very early memory – three or four years old, maybe – of the two of them making a pile of vinyl records with frightening […]
I meant to invite him to dinner. I really did. My gentle, old neighbor with the ruined long-term memory, who always smiled enthusiastically but never remembered my name. I meant to invite him to Christmas Eve service. I really did. And I knew that if I extended the invitation, he would come. Truth, though? In […]
We’re entering the time of year when most minds turn to family. For many, the holidays bring positive memories and joy from spending time with loved ones. But that is not the case for everyone. Some come from broken homes. Others have lost loved ones, maybe even during the holidays, and instead of joy they feel renewed loss and hurt. The challenge for us as the church of Christ how do we handle these reactions of hurt, or even deep seated scars, for those we now call family?
I recently asked the members of my small group what three words come to mind when they hear the word “father.” As expected, the responses varied. We do not all have the same feelings or experiences when it comes to our fathers. The reality of our day and age is that, more than likely, at least half of us will not have positive view toward our own father. And it’s not just because of divorce. I live in a neighborhood where the last statistics show that more than 60 percent of the homes are single parent households. Now clearly this becomes an issue for not just how we view our fathers but our mothers as well. But for the church, we use the word “father” a lot.
In the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Steve Martin plays Neal Page, a marketing executive in New York desperately trying to get home to his wife and kids in Chicago before Thanksgiving. After meeting Del Griffith (played by John Candy) they set out on a 3 day adventure trying to get Neal home. Failure after failure causes them to eventually drive a rental car.
Del is driving and Neal is exhausted and sleeping in the passenger seat. Through a comedy of errors, Del ends up driving the car in the wrong direction on the highway. As they drive along, a car with a husband and wife on the other side of the highway notices the deadly predicament that Del and Neal are in. They begin to honk and shout at the duo from across the highway. Del thinks the couple is trying to race him at first. After Del noisily honks back at the couple, Neal wakes and groggily tries to figure out what they want and rolls down his window. The couple both yell from across the highway, “You’re going the wrong way!”
Monday evening. Dinner. Our family is together again after a couple of days of quickly moving parts in various directions. We are hashing through the weekend — and my husband Brian pauses, uncharacteristically somber around the eyes: “I saw a theme yesterday.”
Act One: After a beautiful morning at church, we headed to a BBQ lunch at the home of some long-time family friends. They were celebrating the baptism that morning of their 15-year-old son, complete with hot dogs and hamburgers and a house full of people.
Brian met the parents of one of the kids’ girlfriend. Military family. From Texas. Been here six years — and moving back to Texas this summer.
“It’s so unfriendly here. We’ve been so excited to come to this BBQ — like, we’re finally gonna spend some time with people! Can’t wait to get back to Texas and be part of BBQs and picnics and get-togethers with people again.”
There’s this salad I used to love to make for gatherings. It’s rad. I know because everyone told me so. People would email me for the recipe and I’d have to email them back like, “Look, I made it up out of my very own brain and so all my amounts are approximations, therefore I […]
I’ll admit that Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney animated films. And this past weekend with the new movie out, my daughter saw it twice. The soundtrack has been playing around the house and of course songs get stuck in your head. So, I keep finding myself quietly singing, “be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test…”
This has led me to spend a lot of time thinking about hospitality. It would be easy to limit our discussion about hospitality to what we offer on Sunday mornings. But the Bible doesn’t allow that. The scriptures actually have a lot to say about hospitality and it covers everything from having hospitable homes to how the people of God at large should practice hospitality.
How creepy is it to walk into a new church for the first time? Can we all agree that gets weird fast? So many “what if’s,” and “am I dressed right,” and planning ways to pretend your kid’s not yours if they lose their mind while you’re there. Is that just me? But what if […]
Guest Writer: Clair Bolender
I was recently reminded of an event that happened to me about 30 years ago that changed a particular area of my life. It came to me as a “calling” to a specific ministry and, to this day, I am still answering the call and reaping the benefits of being obedient.
As missions go this one may be relatively insignificant and certainly won’t qualify me for sainthood, but there are small tasks that need to be done in the Kingdom as well as large jobs. I wish that I had been as willing and obedient on other occasions when I was asked to do important kingdom work.
I have not been bashful about telling this story many times before, but I don’t think that I have ever put it to paper, and it is too important to be lost from my history. It is about an event that happened roughly thirty years ago, but still affects how I act today. If you have heard it before you are excused from reading this account but the moral of the story is worth remembering, and it may change your life in the same way that it changed mine.