Facing the Worst in Ourselves, and Learning Grace [excerpt]

© 2006 Greg DunlapFlickr | CC-BY via Wylio
What would it take for us to stop playing this game, understand that Romans 3 is real, and be able to face the worst in ourselves and in others?

We perpetuate this lie that there is such a thing as a clean life, a closet without skeletons. Because we do that, we continue to be shocked every time we find out otherwise. We live our days in the midst of this fake drama of being self-assured and put together, and start to believe it’s our true narrative. We live with lists of “unforgivable sins,” but it just so happens that none of our own sins are on the list. When someone else gets exposed, we retreat to our positions of judgment and superiority — not to punish them but to protect ourselves.

Church, instead of being a place of freedom from this game, is too often a place for upping the ante, a place for advanced-level players of this game. Church can end up being a place where we are expected to hide from our brokenness rather than admitting it, working through it, and receiving the grace of God. Somehow, the church must become the place of refuge for the repentant tax collector (Luke 18:9-14) rather than where the adulterous woman, covering her head, waits for the first stone (John 7:53-8:11).

Most harmful behavior boils down to a hidden fear or unmet need. We really never know how we would respond in certain situations. It’s the circumstances we rarely take the time to understand, but it’s the circumstances that are key... [read the full article at Baptist News Global]


Schedules, Sitcoms, and Parenting’s Important Moments [excerpt]

Parents Place from Flickr via Wylio
© 2009 Lasse ChristensenFlickr | CC-BY-SA via Wylio
Remember all those shows and movies we grew up watching? Whether it’s Danny having that important life talk with Stephanie or Uncle Phil having that teaching moment with Will, they always seem to happen when everyone at least has time for it. A child is sitting on their bed in tears when the parent happens to walk in, unflustered. Two people are alone in a car with no distractions and are not late to where they’re going. A teenager walks into a room after a break-up, and the parent just happens to be on the couch with a magazine and coffee.

Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but it never happens that way for me.

More often than not, those volatile or key life moments with my children tend to spring up when I’m late, flustered, grumpy, busy, or just trying to do 10 other things…which is more often than not. [read the rest at Practicing Families].


Going to Bat [excerpt]

© 2006 Juan Antonio F. Segal +1 million viewsFlickr | CC-BY via Wylio
Many people have gone through life with few people who will go to bat for them. This is where we begin to see that there is more to being “down and out” than having run out of money.

Compassion International has tried to communicate this with its poverty wheel illustration. On a bicycle wheel, there are many spokes that hold the wheel together. The more spokes that are missing, the less the wheel is able to function. Material wealth is obviously one of the factors, but it is intertwined with many others.

There is an environmental spoke, for instance. If you live in an area without access to clean water, with high air pollution, or with no nearby healthcare, you are sick more often and spend more of your time, money and resources on that...

...But I believe one of the most crucial factors is the social aspect. From what I have seen, a strong social network of family, friends and professional connections is the one variable that can most significantly help people weather crises in other areas.

Only when people have your back are you able to look ahead...[read more at Baptist News Global]