When I Grow Up……

When I grow up…..

But wait, I am grown up? How can I grow up?

Been there done that a LONG time ago.

Or did I grow old but not grow up?

Is growing up signified by the age on your driver’s license?

Or by how achy you are when you work in the yard for an hour?

Is growing up signified by the question to answer ratio? Haven’t heard of that? My dad told the story about how, when he was a young boy, he would love working in the garage with his Dad. But there was one problem, he talked all of the time and was constantly asking questions about what they were doing. Finally, my Grandpa, who had the patience of Job, turned to my Dad and said, “HOWARD! WHY ARE YOU TALKING ALL OF THE TIME?”

Dead silence as my Dad was thinking, “Uh, oh, I’ve screwed it up. What do I do now? I’ve gotten my Dad, the guy who never gets mad mad and now he’s mad at me. What do I do?”

“Well, I guess I better tell him the truth.” (Smart answer for a 4th grader who eventually becomes a preacher.) So, he looks at his Dad, my grandpa, and says, “Because I got questions!”

Pause……

Nothing gets said (quite a feat for these two – if you ask me). Wait! You don’t have to ask me because I just told you. Why do people use that phrase?

I had an English Professor, a few years ago, who felt it was very important for writers to conserve words. Don’t say something in your writing unless it adds to the whole picture of what you are saying.

Back to the story. “Well, if you’ve got questions, then I think we better answer them. But I have a question first……. Can you work really hard on your speed and your volume? Because sometimes you talk so fast and so loud it makes my head hurt. “

“I will try…..”

The story moves on and we find ourselves looking over this place in front of the Capitol Building.

The history on those steps and inside that building. It can take your breath away. From Abraham Lincoln to Joe Biden, from Dad Bush to Son Bush, so many people made a difference in the world from these steps.

On January 6, many people made a difference on the Capital steps, and it was not a good thing and it did not help us grow up.

On January 6, many adults behaved like children on the Capital steps and it was not something to make Americans proud.

On January 20, a 22 yr. old writer stood on the Capital steps and showed America and the World that there still is good in America.

And a collective sigh of relief was heard through out our country.

Amanda Gorman, age 22, wrote what was on her heart and a country and a world listened.

May we all continue to do so……

TV

Amanda Gorman on James Corden’s show

I Wonder……

I often wonder why…..
Why did God put us where we are?

How do we deserve where we are?
What does it mean? How does it go?

Does a new me eliminate an old me?

Does a new place eliminate an old place?

Does 2021 eliminate the damage that 2020 has done?

There were thousands and hundreds of thousands of empty chairs at Christmas, probably even millions of empty chairs because of Covid:

  • Some were gone and called home to their forever home. I hope that most of them find it a good, and excellent home. Though some did not.
  • Some were pouring out their heart and soul and all they knew – fighting to stem the tide, the tide that kept coming and coming.
  • These professionals stayed on the front lines in an effort to help as many as possible to spend more time on earth, even at possible risk to them and their families.
  • All of these were and are heroes.

Many empty chairs.

Pray for open hearts in spite of pain filled souls.

TJV

Circling the Drain – 6 yrs later

I really wish I didn’t have to write this.

But I do, probably even more so than when I wrote the original post 6 years ago.

There is so much stuff going on. Voting lawsuits, countersuits, allegations of this and that and it just keeps going on and on. And then there are bouts of international saber rattling, let alone some serious cyber rattling that seems to have many people in Washington quite concerned while many others seem more inclined to quote Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind and say, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a…….”

The list could go on and on and on.

And as it does, we keep circling the drain. Some are trying to make the drain work faster, clear out the mud, make the drain bigger so more water and whatever else can flow down, never to be seen again. Rather than be seen, they will provide water and more for the farmlands and parks and gardens that exist on the other side of the drain pipe. It turns what could have been a big problem into a small problem and then something good.

Others are taking sticks and boxes and cups and anything else – even if it is totally inappropriate for keeping water out of a drain and trying to use that. Our goal is to open up a drain hole and they are trying to plug it just as quickly as we are trying to open it up.

You would think, hope, see evidence of that by now we’d see evidence of that change. But no, things are sort of like my Mom said her Mom (or my Dad’s) Mom said, “Well, that was as clear as mud.” Translation – no matter what you mean, it isn’t coming out to meet the good that God expects.

God doesn’t expect us to walk and live in the mud of a sin filled life. But he does expect us to do what we can to get out of that mud and part of the getting out is to follow him and if we can’t get out of the mud on our own, that’s okay – he will send his people to help.

So, Inspite of the mud that is circling toward the drain and probably going to wash us down the drain, never to be heard of again, God says, “Don’t worry. Don’t worry about who is President, don’t worry about who wins the Georgia run off election, don’t worry about whether the drain wall will hold. I’ve got this. Believe in me and go do what you can to help. You take it part of the way and lean on me and I’ll take you all home.”

And that’s the meaning of a REAL Christmas Party……

TV

The Poor

Proverbs 17:5 “Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;”

Especially during these times of CoVid….

Mock? really?

Really?  Does God think that we might mock the poor?   Obviously He does, otherwise He would not have put this in the Bible.

But let’s think a little bit about what “mock” might mean:

Obviously, it means the typical meaning – to make fun of – to ridicule.

  • “Hah, you’re driving a 1999 Ford Escort because that’s all you can afford?” 
  • “You see that guy sitting over in the corner in the library?   He sits there to stay warm because it’s the only place he has!”

But what about a couple of other variations on what “mock” might mean?

  • Soup Kitchen by ssa.govDisrespect – volunteering at a soup kitchen and making fun of the way a homeless person smells?
  • Disrespect – donating clothes or other things that are dirty, worn and deserving of the trash but you give them to a third world mission “because it’s better than they have.”
  • Disrespect – being on a short term mission trip and wearing matching t-shirts that say,  “Bringing Jesus to __________.”   There are very few places that would take short term mission trips that haven’t already heard of Jesus.   But that kind of an attitude doesn’t show Jesus.
  • Disrespect – taking pictures of the poor, the downtrodden, the ill and injured without asking them first.
  • Disrespect –  sharing pictures of the sick, the poor, the malnourished in ways that rob them of dignity or is used only to manipulate potential donors and not done with dignity.

And what about mocking by being quiet?

  • Being quiet when you hear allegations of abuse.
  • Being quiet when justice doesn’t prevail.
  • Being quiet when you see evidence of resources that are supposed to go toward the poor that are going elsewhere?

I believe it is also possible to mock the poor by being one-sided:

  • Tell the stories of the poor, the poverty, the illness – without describing the inner courage and inner beauty that you see.
  • 2012-08-04 17.44.06Show the pictures of the run down huts and the tar paper shacks without also sharing the natural beauty that God has  put around those who are suffering and poor.
  • Behaving and working and treating the poor like they know less than we do.   Just because we were born in the First World doesn’t mean that we have it right.   Respect the culture, respect their dignity and work with them.    That means that you don’t do things that will damage their economy – actually you structure your support to help their economy.

At first glance, “mock the poor” seems very easy to avoid.   But it’s not actually so easy.    There are a lot of intricacies in how we interact with the poor.    Those intricacies make it tricky.

We all need to be aware of what we say, the message we send with our words and with our actions and how it reflects on our God.

And how it reflects on us.

We all, especially the poor, deserve better.

Tom

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