Whine or Shine

Reflections on Numbers 11 – 30 ~~~ You know what really scorches my grits? People who gripe and complain all the time. It’s like they roll out of bed on the wrong side every stinkin’ morning, drink a cup of bitter coffee and spend the rest of the day competing with each other to see who can win the gold medal of grumbling. They’d look a gift Ferrari in the grill and complain about the paint color. You could hand them a check for $ 10,000 and they’d grouse about having to pay taxes. If it’s sunny, they harp about … Read more…

Don’t Eat That Gecko!

This post reflects on Leviticus 16 – 27 ~~~ They say there are 600 separate laws in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. I don’t think that’s right because I counted something like a million in the book of Leviticus alone. At least it felt that way when I (finally) finished reading it this week. Some of the Leviticus laws are just gross: When a man has a bodily discharge, the discharge is unclean (15:2). Ya think? Some of them are odd: Don’t eat Geckos, (11:30). Some, especially for guys like me, are comforting: When a man has lost his hair … Read more…

Blood and Ashes

This week’s post reflects on Leviticus chapters 1 – 15. ~~~ When we lived in the country Lisa and I would take evening walks down a narrow, winding lane we called Christmas Tree Road. That wasn’t what the county called it, but at the halfway point there was a Christmas tree farm. Hence the nickname. In November, when the farmer trimmed the trees to prepare them for the December sale, the air around the road smelled of white pine, blue spruce and cedar. That clean, Christian scent lingered on our clothes until we got back home. Even as I write … Read more…

Priests to the World

When you are a child, everything looks big. The house I grew up in on Shadburn Avenue in Buford felt like a mansion. The hallway in the center of the house seemed to stretch for miles. The back yard was as big as a Montana prairie. But when you return as an adult to visit those childhood haunts, everything has been downsized.  That capacious corridor is a tight, three-step hallway in a tiny house on a postage stamp lot. The more candles I add to my birthday cake, the more those places that loomed so large seem to shrink. The … Read more…

And the Points Don’t Count

When our boys were growing up, we tried to expose them to as many different sports, music, theater and academic adventures as possible. We figured it was better to let them sample a wide variety than to force them to specialize in one thing. Your results may vary, but that seemed to work well for us and our guys. There was, however, one athletic experience I adamantly opposed – scoreless soccer. That’s where everybody gets to play the match but the points don’t count. Officially, anyway. Trust me, with a bunch of competitive parents standing on the sidelines, someone was … Read more…

(Not Exactly) A Love Story

I have never been very fond of the Bible-as-a-Love-Story approach to scripture. Other than Song of Solomon, it isn’t all that romantic. And whenever I hear the words “love” and “story” in the same sentence, I see two people running in slow motion across a field of flowers, falling into a tender embrace just as the soundtrack crescendos into a flurry of ecstatic violins. It’s kind of hard to fit the Levitical holiness codes for how to handle mold and mildew into that framework. Nevertheless, the Bible is a story. I don’t mean that the Bible is fiction like The … Read more…

We Can Do This

Happy New Year! First, thank you for reading, commenting on and sharing the blog throughout 2017. Your thoughts, challenges and encouragement have been a blessing. I am looking forward to – no, that’s not quite right – I am excited about where we’re going next. Our church, Twickenham, has launched an initiative to be in the Word in 2018. We’ve committed to reading the Bible cover to cover, from the Garden of Eden in Genesis to the City of God in Revelation. I am inviting you to join us. But I wouldn’t blame you if you had some doubts. Lots … Read more…

More Than Meets The Eye

A great and wondrous sign appeared. Does that line from scripture seem familiar? Like maybe it’s somewhere in the Christmas story. Does it precede the angel’s announcement to the shepherds that a Savior is born in the city of David? Or the announcement to Zechariah that he and his old wife are going to have a baby who would grow up to be the forerunner of Christ? Perhaps that line goes with the conception of Jesus himself. A virgin becoming pregnant would certainly be a great and wondrous sign. But that’s not how any of those stories begin. So let … Read more…

An Unexpected Christmas

The first five words of Genesis 18 pull you to the edge of your seat: The Lord appeared to Abraham. You halfway expect the mountains to quake, the seas to boil or lightening to crease the sky. When God makes unscheduled visits, the special effects can be spectacular. The rest of the verse, though, is considerably less dramatic: Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Maybe he waves away a buzzing fly or wipes a bead of sweat from his brow. Now, it’s the oppressive heat that takes your breath away, not the histrionics of a divine encounter. … Read more…

Jesus Comes Gently

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him, (Matthew 2:1 – 3 NIV). I can understand why Herod was unsettled by the news of a rival. If they had to relinquish their thrones, kings much preferred to pick their own successors and make their own succession plans. And … Read more…