Tuesday, April 28, 2015


An Inkling
Matt is a young man I know in Texas who is a cross-country trucker.  He often posts pictures from his truck cab of traffic jams or icy roads with the simple descriptor:  “smh.”  I had to look it up, and I learned that it means “shaking my head.”  Now that’s a useful abbreviation – and for more than just traffic conditions.
I am smh as the Supreme Court hears arguments today about same sex marriage.  Soon they will rule on whether our nation will be united in the legal fantasy that it’s up to us to define marriage, or whether the states will be able to continue these debates on their own.
On the face of it, a single standard seems a good thing.  But unity in the pursuit of fantasy cannot end well.  And so I am smh.  And praying.
I would be more than smh if I didn’t know that the Supreme Court is in fact not supreme in defining how life works.  I’d be slal (my new abbreviation for shaking like a leaf – ha!) if a 5-4 decision could actually rearrange the way God designed the world to work.  But there is great peace in knowing that the Creator’s good gift of marriage is subject finally only to the Creator.
And even better than that simple peace is the joy of knowing that the One presiding at THE Supreme Court is also the One who laid down his life for us, and for all of the ways that we presume to improve on what he created.  That great good news leads to joining smh with another, older abbreviation, ptl (Praise the Lord)!
With both abbreviations, let’s be praying for our Supreme Court and our nation.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Front Porch is Open

An Inkling
Could it really be that two inventions undermined neighborly relationships?  Social historians say that in the days before air conditioning and TV people went out on their porches to cool off in the evenings, and they circulated among their neighbors for entertainment.  Now people go inside and stay, cool, entertained, and isolated – which makes for a very different social fabric.  Maybe the change is more complex than that, but it is certainly true that we rarely know our neighbors.
One of our goals as a church is to serve our neighbors – and by that we mean our next-door neighbors.  We’re about to launch a new endeavor with that goal.  Starting May 6 St. Giles is hosting the Food Truck Association on Wednesday evenings through the summer.  From 5:30 to 8:30 they’ll bring a circle of trucks to our south parking lot, and serve up a variety of foods, including free Sweet Frog on that first Wednesday!  We’ll try out some music and games, and we’ll have out some picnic tables too.  Our hope is to create a neighborhood front porch, and thereby foster friendships.
Is that really the business of the church, throwing block parties?  It’s not all we do, but for those who serve a Savior who was big on friends and parties, it fits.  And in an era when so many see the church as either an opponent or an irrelevance, it’s a particularly apt way to serve.
So mark your Wednesday calendars and come hang out.  What a happy way to serve Jesus – enjoying an evening with neighbors!  He’ll be here every Wednesday, and as always, he’ll be the life of the party.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A New Name Yet to Come

An Inkling
Late in life I received a new name: “Pop.”  It’s my grandfather name.
Few things in life are better than hearing one’s name spoken by someone who loves you, and is thrilled to see you.  I learned this years ago being called “Daddy” by three little girls.  Sometimes they spoke that name in need, or even in panic, and that had its own pleasure of purpose.  But it sounded even better on their lips when I was coming home after being gone, and my name became their cry of delight.  It’s funny how a simple identifier can thrill the heart when spoken by the right person.
I’ve had a happy echo of that experience with my grandfather name.  I had a meeting in North Carolina on Monday.  Since Brandon and Dorothy were near – most importantly with our grandchildren, Caroline and Keith – I drove down Sunday night to grab a bit of time with them.  And when little Caroline saw me, she squealed, “Pop!”  Squeals aren’t the kind of sounds I usually seek.  But when it’s your name, and from a little girl who is thrilled to see you – wow!
One of Revelation’s mysterious promises is that in the Kingdom we’ll be given a new name.  Hmmm.  This late in life name has been fun, especially on the lips of the little ones who speak it with delight.  So how about a name to be given when life is full, and spoken by the One who is absolutely thrilled to see us?!  Yet one more thing to look forward to!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Singing and Making Melody

An Inkling
Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts. So writes Paul to the Ephesians. I do this, both singing and listening to others more able do the same. My musical palate has a taste for such Christian music, along with rock and roll and classical music. In bits and pieces I hear a lot of music.
Usually. But during Lent I gave up music. Most years I’ve given up some addiction during Lent, like sweets or chocolate. But this year I gave up music, all but during worship services.
So during Lent I heard more podcasts than usual, and I also lived with a lot more silence. Both were good. But I really did miss the music.
On Easter morning, as I drove to church, I realized my music fast was over, and I punched on the radio. The station was playing Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee, not the greatest song ever, but I was certainly thirsty for music, and it was a delight. Since then I’ve listened to some U2 and some worship music – all with great pleasure.
What is it about music? It’s a gift from the One who created the world – and it must be because he is musical. And so we, created in his image, are musical too. It’s a powerful part of our lives, and thus one that both needs and benefits from our redemption in Christ. Music reaches into our depths, and shapes our behavior and attitudes. That’s big. And with the other pleasures of life, brought under the Lordship of Jesus, it’s life-giving.
So if you see me bopping along in this Easter Season, that’s why.
How about you?  What does music mean to you, and to your life with the Lord?