Sunday, June 22, 2008

Steel and Sky

New worship center at First Colony Church of Christ

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Love is Caring More About Another's Happiness Than Your Own

Love is caring more about another's happiness than your own. After reading this article this morning about Randy Pausch, the Carnegie-Mellon professor struggling with Pancreatic Cancer and author of "The Last Lecture," these words just stuck in my mind.

I started mentally testing out this definition. Is it true about the people I say I love? Is it true about the people who say they love me? How does it fit with John 3:16 which describes God's love, or the two great commandments, "Love God," "Love others?" Seems to work pretty well!

In fact, the more I thought about it, the more useful this short but practical definition of love became. I thought about how it applied to marriage, to parenting, to grandparenting, and it works. I thought about how it applied to caregiving, and found that it applies to lots if not all of the tough situations and decisions caregivers face.

I guess some would argue with the "caring more" part, wanting it to be more "caring as much." And I probably wouldn't quibble about that. And I know some would want to define "happiness" to give it their own twist (hopefully not "This is for your own good -- it hurts me more than it hurts you!"). And I probably would quibble some with folks trying to do that.

It just seems to be to be a good working definition of love to apply every day to everyone. Now that's the challenge!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Struggling With Faith

This post on Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog is an honest letter from someone struggling with faith because of health issues. Those of us who spend time with people fighting cancer (or going through any of life's other difficult challenges) face these faith questions frequently, both theirs and ours. Here's my comment reproduced from the blog -- not wisdom, just where I am.

What you're struggling with is hard. Many of us have been, are, or will be struggling with precisely the same questions you're asking. In fact it's likely that we'll go through this questioning multiple times in our lives.

After years of spending time journeying with people asking these questions, struggling with them myself, and studying lots of what's been written on the subject, I'm convinced that in the end, it boils down to a simple decision we each have to make. We can choose to believe and trust -- in spite of not understanding or liking what's happening -- or we can choose not to believe or trust (and still not understand or like what's happening). That was Job's decision -- to maintain his integrity, his faith and trust in God. If we understood it, if we could explain it, if it all worked the way we wanted, then it wouldn't be faith.

I choose to believe and trust, because I simply can't imagine going through these trying and uncertain times without God. That's my prayer for you as well.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Finally! (A story about change.)

Charles Siburt opened the Abilene Christian University Retiree Ministry Conference this week with a keynote talking about his "cloud of witnesses" -- older folks, some living, and some dead and still living -- who cheer him on. He calls them "Balcony People," those who cheer you on as opposed to "Basement People," those who try to drag you down.

My favorite story was about the patriarch of a church where Siburt had preached years ago. This man had served as a elder for a long time, but had now stepped aside from that position, and was the oldest man in the church. He still held a lot of influence, and frequently the current leaders would seek out his advice.

On one occasion a few years ago, they came to him, and said, "We're thinking about beginning to use a praise team in our worship. What do you think about that?" "FINALLY!" the patriarch responded. "We haven't always been so narrow, you know. In my youth, I sang with a gospel quartet, and we often sang during the worship service, not after the final prayer."

On another occasion, they came to him and said, "We're thinking about having a Christmas program this year. What do you think about that?" "FINALLY!" he responded. "We haven't always been so narrow, you know. In my youth we had Christmas pageants and even a Christmas tree at church."

There are lots of lessons to learn from that story, but here are three that I hope to remember.

1. Never assume that you know how someone else will respond to a proposed change. Ask and listen. You're almost certain to learn from them.
2. Never discount the importance of church patriarchs and matriarchs. They have untold influence for good, and we all have much to learn from them.
3. Don't assume that the older folks are the ones resistant to change. Often they are more aware of the needs for change than those of us who are younger, and are happy to help us accomplish it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Intentional Grandparenting -- Steve Wages

Intentional Grandparenting -- Steve Wages

Parenting is much more difficult today.

In the past, childhood was an internship for life.

We're in battle for hearts of children that begins at cradle and never
ends this side of grave.

Grandparents can increase the odds that a child will grow up
successfully.

"Give grandkids the big head." Paul Faulkner

It's difficult being a child these days.

Less time = less influence.

IRT. Individual relationship time

Every child (grandchild) wants to be an only child.

Grandparents are the only adults who have time.