The "Gospel" in all it's simplicity.

Back in 1963, Gloria Gaither penned some of the most profound words I've ever read. I will privileged to hear this wonderful song (in person) sung by the Gaither Vocal Band at the Gaither Christmas Homecoming Concert last Saturday night.


Love has always been here,
in the chaos of our world.
It was the WORD that echoed through the formless void.
And whether in the universe or worlds of our own minds,
It's love that turns our chaos into joy.

His love went on longing,
And His love went on reaching
Right past the shackles of my mind.
And the WORD of the Father became Mary's little Son,
And His love reached all the way to where I was.

The WORD that formed creation
Man just couldn't understand;
Its sound was muffled by his wars and strifes.
And man destroyed resources
God intended just to be
the lovely backdrop for abundant life.

And so this great Creator
Who'd been reaching all along,
This GOD who formed the worlds
With His own hands,
Made LOVE become a BABY
One of our very own.
And spoke His WORD
So we could understand.

His love went on longing
And His love went on reaching
Right past the shackles of my mind!
And the WORD of the Father became Mary's little Son
And His love reached all the way to where I was.

New Year's Wishss....

It's that time again. So here are my "wishes" and "hopes" and "plans" for 2010:

1) Get myself back down to 175 lbs--I've gained a few pounds since the Kidney Donor's time to take that "extra weight" off..again.

2) Learn additional computer skills. I need to learn PowerPoint, and some of the other MicroSoft programs....I've put this off for far too long.

3) Visit friends in Texas, North Carolina, and California that I've not seen in WAAAY too many years. I have three weeks it's time to travel some...and I need to start planning immediately.

4) Read my Bible regularly and daily. I'll confess: There have been many days when I just didn't take the time to read God's Word. I'm ashamed of this...and it will be remedied in 2010. As a matter of fact, I'll start today.

5) Save even more money....the LORD is making a way for this to happen, and I plan to take HIM up on His provisions in my life. Not going to horde, or be a stingy man, but I do want to save more.

6) Give more away in 2010. I want to always be a "giver" and not just a "taker" or an "observer" but a GIVER...

Our "credibility' deficit..some thoughts...

I can't remember a time when the United States has been more partisan, more divided, and more "unrealistic" in our approach to civilized society. Sadly, some "christians" have done little (if anything) to help remedy these maladies.

I grew up in a very conservative (fiscally, theologically, socially) environment and local church setting. I'm very, very grateful for my "upbringing"--even though I was poorer than overused soil. I was pretty much raised to see issues "one way"...and that was the 'way our church' or 'our culture' viewed them. Rarely, if ever, did I think there just might be more than "one side' to any given issue. While very "narrow" indeed, this training saved me a lot of heartache, grief, and trouble that might have otherwise destroyed not only my "faith" but my person, as well.

When I entered the "real world" (after college), I found out that there is often "many sides to any given issue." While I firmly believe in the BIBLICAL ABSOLUTES, there are many things that we considered "absolute" that I would later learn were anything BUT absolute.

I'm deeply troubled when CHRISTIANS 'swallow' everything that any particular "political" or "social" media feeds them--without the least bit of discernment. Example: Some folks will believe every bogus email about President Obama or Madeline Murray O'Hair or Mickey Mouse that is circulated--and particularly those of defamatory character. This is not only reflects POORLY on those who claim the name of our great Saviour! Some of these same people swallowed every 'spiritual tale' that was spun concerning former President George W Bush (praying for a guy in the Grand Canyon, feeding a hungry child in truck stop, et al)...when such "tales" were proven to be false. While I want to believe the very best about our former President's "heart" toward those who are less fortunate than himself--there's no need to make things up. We lose our credibility when we insist on manufacturing untruths--no matter how well-intentioned these 'untruth' may have been. They are still false.

Not all gay men are rapists, child molesters, drag queens, exhibitionists or philanderers. Some may be guilty of one or more of these awful things. BUT, to paint every person with such a broad stroke is wrong. Morally, ethically, legally, mentally, spiritually WRONG. ( I have an openly gay friend who is a theologian...and none of the above would apply to him.) But labeling people with such defamatory accusations when there is NOT ONE SCINTILLA of truth is not only unkind, it is UNCHRISTIAN.

A very wise pastor once told me, "Remember every piece of bread, regardless of how thin it is, always has at least two sides...and then some edges..." That is advice that I do my very best to remember...every day. I may see one side of the issue...and I may not agree with the "other side" of the issue---but just because I don't agree with it, doesn't mean that it CEASES TO EXIST.

I am not talking about Scriptural absolutes (I wanted to repeat that before anyone reading this decides to label me a "liberal heretic worthy of being burned at the stake"). But Scriptural absolutes and cultural trends/activities are often two birds of "very different feathers."

Jesus Christ is not a White, Anglo-Saxon, Conservative Republican. He is not a "bleeding heart" liberal Democrat either. While I'm all for the political process...the church...and CHRISTIANS in particular must lead the way in restoring civility and credibility to how we view those with whom we disagree--regardless of the issue on which we disagree.

I received a mailing from PLANNED PARENTHOOD the other day (so there really IS a first time for everything). I didn't call their office, ranting and raving. I simply returned the envelope and requested that I be taken off their mailing list. I disagree with 99% of what the organization stands for. Their letter, requesting money, offended me. But I found no need to be "offensive" in return.

I hope I can treat all those with whom I disagree with the same dignity.