Uploading 2014

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to read through the Bible, I’m suggesting the biblein90days.org, a program published by Zondervan. It can be as simple as printing out the bookmark and reading the assigned texts. Or, go to the website to find a variety of resources. I’ve read through much of the program a few times (ok I admit, never completed the middle of the Old Testament on schedule) but with gratitude to a very patience class of students last term, I’m two months in as the New Year begins. Since accountability and community seem to offer a functional motivational boost, here is my nudge.

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In our box-office-hit-single-media-downloadable world, even the people of the book have forgotten how to read. Our primary style of reading the bible is as if it were an encyclopedia of basic instructions before leaving earth. Reducing our sacred story to a google search for deistic therapeutic moralisms, it becomes a utility for an individualistic society of capitalism. By rereading favorite portions, we tend to forget the stories are not isolated episodes. Reading the stories in relation to one another allows the characters to develop, events to unfold, and the resulting revelation to provide a particular view of reality that is only available from this ordered telling.

Reading through the bible from beginning to end is not a chronological recounting of events. Like any good story, the narrative of Christian Scripture begins at a particular moment and moves out from there. Much of the background for how the story was told isn’t always in the narrative itself. That provides the technical notes and deleted scenes that many enjoy once they’ve decided the story was well told. We like to learn more about the author, and how the characters were develop. We notice some characters receive random exposure, allowing chapters to provide points of flashback of the same event.  This of course makes the study of religious literature a thought-provoking venture and keeps many seminarians awake at night realizing they don’t know their favorite book nearly as well as they thought.

So 2014 may offer an opportunity to read through the biblical narrative from beginning to end. You may want to read in a group. As Christian Scripture, our understanding is formed by interpretation in a community that has passed down the story for generations. By reading together, we are encouraged to honor a tradition along with others who value the task of living lives that witness to the presence and promise of God with us. Together, we are held accountable to a unique way of telling the world.  Read in this way, the bible presents a perspective that challenges, critiques and, occasionally, confirms ideas we too often take for granted as the only norm. It also tells a remarkable story of resistance, love, triumph, and hope.

The stories we tell as the community of faith are about real life, not escapist fantasy. Be ready to read descriptions that many bible-believing folks tend to avoid  - violence, abuse, war, adultery, rape, abandonment, conspiracy, and sex. Spoiler alert: the stories really are not about us. They provide an unfolding revelation of a people struggling to know and serve God. They fail, miserably.

So if you don’t keep reading this month, you can start again. But if you do begin today, by Easter you will have read through the story that gives meaning to the hope of the resurrection. It is the story whose telling is reshaped by the birth of a boy child in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. It is a radical story that reads differently when read as it is, a single story told in little stories.

Father memories

Forty years ago, Father’s Day was June 17th. Officially, Chicago Public Schools had another week of classes, but Friday had been the end of the year celebration, held in West Chatham Park. Then, the swings were wood planks hanging on heavy metal chains from poles over asphalt. The climbing frames, we called monkey bars (was that politically correct?), were on the same asphalt. No sawdust. No dirt. For as often as I fell, my folks should have had stock in Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals. Or offered me as a poster child for Band-Aid. But I have not memory of accidents on that morning of June 15th.

I loved that I lived three houses from the park. So it was like the end of the year party was in my front yard – that is, the yard I shared with all the kids of West Chatham Neighborhood. As we ran around the park that morning, my classmates had watched my dad washing his new Black Mercury Marquis on the street in front of the house. I loved that my dad was home in the mornings. Mom worked days, and dad worked nights, so I was daddy’s girl at lunchtime. So, I loved that when I was elementary school, we walked home for lunch.

And that Friday, my dad did what he often did – he took me out for fast food. On Mom’s off days, I’d get something fancy, like bologna on white bread with lettuce, a slice of American cheese, and Miracle Whip.  The usual fare was peanut butter and jelly. I still LOVE PB&J. But every so often Dad would say, want to go out?

Fred and Jack’s was a local hot dog joint with awesome shakes. Regularly, my folks would drive in on a Saturday or Sunday evening just for ice cream. Beside Fred and Jack’s was the McDonald’s on Vincennes. I remember watching the how-many-served-number increase rapidly. If was as if McDs hamburger sells were parallel to my capacity to comprehend larger numbers. (yeah, I’m that old). Those were the two options Dad usually offered during the hour I had before returning to school, and he had to leave to get to work. June 15th, 1973 it was McDs. I had the two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun Big Mac. Dad took me back to school and he went to work. I don’t remember that afternoon.

I don’t remember the plans we had for that weekend. Saturdays were my other days with dad. Most Saturdays seem to begin with a picnic! We would go to Washington Park in the morning where he played softball with his coworkers. The rest of the day I’d run errands with dad; follow him around as he worked in the basement or in the yard; watch the baseball games on the television; read. Me and my dad.

The weekend before had been a family reunion in Milwaukee. A short road trip. Mom. Dad. Me. We were planning to take a longer one later. I loved summers, because we always took road trips. Dad captured most of them in photographs. Dad was the photographer in the house. Neither he nor Mom spent much time in front of the lens – that was my role! That Sunday, as we returned from the reunion, I took a barely discernible picture of my parents in front of our house. It’s only that photograph that keeps the memory of that Wisconsin road trip in my consciousness.

parents

I vividly remember waking up on Saturday June 16th. I could hear my mom, but not comprehend what she was saying. It was early. Very early. Something was wrong. I came downstairs, and she sent me back to my room with instructions to dress quickly.  I didn’t argue. I didn’t ask why. I got dressed, putting on the same sweater I had worn in my school photos that year. When I came back to the living room Mom was waiting for me on the couch. And then she told me. There had been an accident.  Someone had run a red light going 110mph. We would later learn that, at that impact, Dad probably never knew that he had been hit.

No more road trips. No more softball games. No more spontaneous lunch outings. Did I even tell him I loved him before he went to work yesterday? I think I did. I hope I did. That’s why I always tell Mom I love her. I want her to know. And I want to remember that she knew.

I have more memories of the events surrounding Father’s Day 1973. One was a request I made of my Sunday School teacher’s husband. To be honest, I don’t remember precisely what compelled me to approach him. But I did. They had one daughter,  a classmate of one of my older cousins.  I have not memory of why I thought she would want to share her father. So, with the expectant innocence of a child, I asked if he would stand in as my dad. And he said yes.

I’m not sure what compelled him to say yes. He knew how special my dad was to me. And he never competed with those memories. Instead, he provided 40 years of moments to remember: Riding with him on the back of his tandem bike. Taking me with my friends roller-skating.  Every graduation, he was there. My ordination. He visited all but the last church I served. We talk regularly.  He’s a prayer warrior. He and his wife just celebrated 60 years of marriage. She and their daughter have unreservedly shared him with me.

Being a father has less to do with making a baby than it does making memories. Memories shape our imagination. Memories provide stories around which to form our lives. It’s not a memory that holds us back. It’s the story we tell around the moment. The most tragic moment of our lives are transformed if the story told moves us forward. I only had to live June 16th 1973 once, though I’ll never forget that day. But, it’s only a moment. One accident shaped my entire future. Transformative. Tragic. But, it was only a moment because so many more memories came before and after that Saturday forty years ago.

So this Father’s Day I publicly thank my heavenly Father for the privilege of two extraordinary men – Jim Taylor Moore and Joseph N. Strong – who called me their daughter and gave me moments by which to shape the story of how I remember my life.

Now, I’ve got two phone calls to make –  to my mom…and to my Daddy Strong.

No News is Good News

I talk to my mom everyday, usually on my way home from work. Sometimes I call in the morning, just to break the routine, but usually, we touch base just before dinner. So she asks - what are you having for dinner - and usually, I haven’t thought much beyond pulling in the driveway and taking off my shoes.

In these daily conversations, she keeps me alerted to what’s happening with the family, the residents in her building complex, and, once a week, her bingo wins and losses.

Since we talk everyday, I don’t always have anything sensational to report. You know, I went to the office, a couple of meetings, did some writing, taught a class, still finishing yesterday’s projects…reading a book. Apparently, my cousin, who checks in on my mom regularly is about as talkative as I am, so mom has decided that no news is good news. 

Generally, I like to keep it that way, except the more attentive I am to the media reports, the more it seems this is a true, but not so positive, statement.

I watch what U.S. news commentators promote as noteworthy around the world: unrest in the Persian Gulf area; allegations of sexual assault against high-ranking officials; wars, and rumors of wars; famine, flood, and earthquakes; economic collapse, social unrest, adverse employment practices; mistreatment of the elderly; incest, bribery, and forced labor; disease, divorce, and domestic violence; increased child sacrifice, adultery, and multiple sex partners.

(I have to resist the idea that someone has hacked into the CNN tele-prompters and uploaded texts from the prophets of Ancient Israel just prior to the Babylonian exile!)

Then, as now: National politics advances as the worship of the Trinitarian God recedes. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the people of God — look just like everybody else. There’s nothing new I guess. And that’s not really good news.

An ancient word records:

9 Whatever has happened— 
that’s what will happen again; 
   whatever has occurred— 
   that’s what will occur again.

There’s nothing new under the sun. 10 People may say about something: “Look at this! It’s new!” But it was already around for ages before us. 11 There’s no remembrance of things in the past, nor of things to come in the future. Neither will there be any remembrance among those who come along in the future.

(Ecclesiastes 1: 9-11, Common English Bible)

The News might not be so good. Except maybe a random moment of goodness that slips in between sensational reporting. But that’s nothing new. For now, I am interested in how our culture receives the Christian voice as well as how the Church speaks that witness in the world.  Our task these days might not be any different than the first followers of Jesus. That is, to draw attention to what is good, just as a witness to the world that God is still present and peace is still possible.

Such a glimpse might be good news for someone who feels stuck in yesterday’s old news.

speaking in black history month

Last month was Black History Month. Along with invitations from several African-American communities, I was given the opportunity to speak at Bethel Seminary in San Diego. They invited me as the Black History Month speaker. I used to be better at accepting that invitation and then presenting the gospel in sermon.  But with my current title of Associate Dean for Black Church Studies at the Divinity School at Duke University, I am torn between which message is appropriate to deliver.

While the gospel is always and anywhere a timely message, it may be another year before some will look straight-on at the devastating reality born of racism. Still, I find it hard to expect that the mere reporting of historical practices of apartheid and segregation, oppression and discrimination, or exclusion and inequality will result in changed behavior. If so, the world would already be a very different place. Books line the shelves. The list of contributors is long: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois,  Booker T. Washington, Benjamin Mays, Richard Wright, Martin Luther King,  Malcolm X, John Hope Franklin, Maya Angelou, Nell Irvin Painter, Nikki Giovanni, Valerie Bridgeman, John Perkins, William Pannell, Thomas C. Holt, Henry Louis Gates, and Cornel West. And that’s only the names of those African-Americans most would recognize. So many other scholars have provided a record of the wrongs, hopes, and possibilities on the topic of Black History. It’s not that the information is unavailable.

It may be the difficulty of trying to process the onerous information. How does one receive a history that rehearses repeated actions and attitudes of oppression and discrimination? Should the audience nod in agreement with the descriptions that indeed are horrific or shake their heads in dispute at the proposal they participate in such behaviors? Denial on the part of the listener suggests deceitfulness on the part of the presenter. Now both hearer and speaker take positions of defensiveness, each trying to maintain a semblance of dignity born of integrity. Feelings of antagonism give rise to the very division between so-called racial groups that the event seeks to dismantle. It is difficult to recognize the habits and practices I do without thinking are in fact perpetuating the very reality I think is wrong.

Or maybe, the problem is an unwillingness to acknowledge the institutional structures that enable continued division and misunderstanding across racial lines. Can we recognize the difficulty of supporting an economic system based on privately owned businesses when hurdles abound for African-Americans whose access to financial backing and prime real estate was only insured less than 50 years ago? By then White America already owned and controlled the majority of this country’s wealth. As well-established businesses struggle in the failing economy, the harder hit will of course effect less established minority businesses. It is difficult to see that the very way we do things, the very way we’ve always done things, may in fact be wrong.

Can we acknowledge that most of our images of racial difference continue to actually characterize economic and intellectual difference? The projected Black culture continues to suggest aborted education, broken English, and deficit economics define the African-American experience. Portrayals of affluence within the African-American community seems limited to entertainers and sports celebrities. Condoleezza Rice’s status as an African-American hero is criticized because of ideological differences and the disrespect of President Barak Obama too often suggests blatant racism as well as partisan politics. We don’t seem to know how to describe racial diversity within cultural sameness and won’t describe cultural difference without drawing attention to racial identity.

And there’s the rub. The very fact that I choose to speak of race in this blog, highlights the problem. I could have kept silent by writing only the paragraph below. But in order to truly wrestle with what we believe about the power of God to transform the world, I wanted to present a real conundrum. I use race because as a Christian, now living in the south, I am convinced that the most insidious effects of sin in our culture can be made evident in the practices of racism. Just as sin pervades human nature, racism permeates our culture. As an African-American, living in the 21st century, I experience the effects of exclusion in the past as inequality in the present. And my experience of racism has been the least of all compared to most.

So I begin again.

While it may be another year before some will look straight-on at the devastating reality born of racism, the gospel is always and anywhere a timely message. I remain convinced that the transformation of this world will result only when the followers of Christ practice a radical Christianity of repentance, reconciliation, and justice.

That change will come only when the presence of the Holy Spirit enables us to admit that injustice exists in the way we legislate healthcare, grant citizenship, imprison lawbreakers, employ personnel, and educate youth. That change will come only by knowing the intention of God for his people to love their neighbors (and so-called enemies). That change will come only when we practice community as a living example of holiness. That change will come only when we in the church realize our practices of good are not civil or even moral responsibilities but demonstrations of what the world will look like when God’s kingdom comes on earth. And to admit that, to know that, to practice that, to realize that requires a scriptural imagination born of familiarity with the biblical revelation that in Christ God is actively reconciling this world to himself.

I guess that’s why I think it is always appropriate to teach and preach the revelation of God in Scripture.

(Originally posted on joysedge@blogspot.com 01 March 2011)

What kind of community are we?

  “…[T]he most important social task of Christians is to be nothing less than a community capable of forming people with virtues sufficient to witness to God’s truth in the world.”          

Stanley Hauerwas, A Community of Character

At some point I found myself in agreement with this idea. I don’t recall if reading it during my seminary experience created that ‘aha moment’ when words were found that captured my expectations, or if that early encounter shaped my future thinking. However it occurred, I find this notion of the church to be both an indictment and a challenge for the followers of Christ today.

I once told Brian McLaren (oh yes I did name drop) that my idea of church is something between the Catholic Church before Vatican II and walking into a Starbucks. I wasn’t raised Catholic, but four years in a Catholic high school, along with three-years of high school Spanish, prepared me to walk into Mass at Notre Dame with no knowledge of French and appreciate the service. After a few “Pater’s” and “Jesum Christum’s,” I found my place in the familiar liturgy and knew exactly where I was through the gestures of the priest and the community prayer beginning: “Pater noster.” When you walked in the service, you participated in the Mass. You knew what you were getting, and you got it.

Similarly, when I walk into Starbucks, whether in Lexington, KY or London, England, you know what you’re going to get. The accent of the barista may be noticeably different, but the coffee will be the same. And it doesn’t matter how I voted in the last election, who (or if) I’m currently dating, or what college I graduated from (or even whether I graduated!).

I have to say somewhere between because I am not Catholic, so attending a Catholic Mass is somewhat voyeuristic for me. I am a spy gaining information; an outsider pausing to observe. Not so in the coffee shop. I may come for conversation with a friend, or to read the newspaper, but if I can’t get my venti-americano-decaf I won’t be coming back. And I am not going to ask to speak to the manager because they don’t serve two-all-beef-patties-on-a-sesame-seed-bun.

I can’t be so sure in the church these days if I will even recognize God, not to mention find a community I identify with. On the occasions I am a visitor, I quickly can tell if I could “belong” simply by observing the racial make-up of the congregation or checking my attire against those in attendance. Rarely can I expect a variety of music (think coffee or tea) and once the style of worship is revealed I still may not encounter the One to whom said worship is directed. God will be assumed and maybe pointed to with glowing modifiers that are rarely actively substantiated in a language familiar to someone born after the 19th century.

But I may well find out what the congregation is to think of the current administration in Washington, DC. I may get tips for balancing my budget or surviving my divorce (even though I haven’t yet tried marriage). And whether the sanctuary seats 75 of 5000, I’ll probably be able to close my eyes and sing songs as if there is no one in the world but me and Jesus. I can almost assume that, if the Bible is referenced, it will merely serve as a spring-board for the preacher’s rumination upon the human condition: A clever phrase, seized out of its narrative context, serving as an existential reflection on the modern predicament by a sermon title and repetitive clause to make the sermon captivating; A promise without context providing the edge I require to work another week or return to class on Monday; An entertaining story introducing me to the preacher or her family, but the biblical story — too often is sidestepped.

Such therapeutic-moralistic-deism has failed to form a community capable of being a glimpse of the good intentions of the Creator for the world to see. After years of seeker-driven church-growth strategies, the church can maybe claim a few well-intentioned individuals, but when the label ‘unchristian’ describes what contemporary society thinks of the church, we have a problem.

Maybe my analogies are too modest. Our congregations are branded: contemporary; monastic; traditional; liberal; evangelical; conservative; missional; pentecostal; progressive – not to mention the denominational (and non-denominational) varieties. Still, after two millennia there isn’t the idea that the church with all its out-posts might each cause the random Sunday morning visitor, or more importantly that Monday morning co-worker, to recognize that there is a God. And this God is up to something. And that something is good. And what they witness to in this community is a glimpse of that good.

I wasn’t sure about this idea of blogging. These gist of these random thoughts are wide open for criticism. Faulty logic notwithstanding, still I wonder, what kind of community are we?

(Originally posted on joysedge@blogspot.com 01 March 2010)

I like Oprah

I like Oprah. It’s one of the few things I can claim with a whole lot of other folk. Ok, I am an African-American woman…from Chicago; an original subscriber to O Magazine. I do remember when she changed the face of daytime talk shows. Plus, my grandmother didn’t like watching Phil Donahue. (I think you have to watch Donahue to decide you don’t like watching him) Regardless, I like Oprah.

Not an habitual viewer, I never attempted to get tickets to the show. I have watched enough shows to be proven guilty of having television access during the last quarter of a century. Still, I missed most of the grand moments – like Tom Cruise’s jump scene or the opening when Black Eyed Peas got a feeling Chicago could dance. (caught the former through other shows’ recaps, and the latter on YouTube)  Like most of the world, I watched her wheel in the wagon of fat and read books on her book club list. Wait, did I say world?

Imagine that. A living African-American female born poor, in the state of Mississippi before the impact of the civil rights movement, is today an international icon. Already a billionaire, Oprah ended her show to take on the networks. Literally, Oprah now has her “own” network. (love that play on words/letters). Oprah is doing to television what Facebook has done to individual expression. (look out Ted Turner) It may still take an African-American woman a few more years to reach the Forbes richest 25 status, but Zuckerberg, Jobs, and the Tea Party have got to envy her influence.

And here’s the rub: with her network, Oprah’s influence has gone (more?) viral. People who have never met Oprah and people whom she will never remember meeting (like me) are able to be influenced by Oprah in almost every arena imaginable. And, somehow this seems more personal than Turner’s TNT. Times, they are a’changing. Turner took over a billboard agency. He made his money advertising other’s work. Oprah rose to the top precisely because of her personality – so fitting in a MySpace era.  That’s the beauty of having your own talk show. You steer the conversation by the guests you invite and the questions you ask. So OWN is Oprah’s favorites. Like Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, and her best friend Gail, Oprah is sharing with the world her favorites and soon they become our favs too.

She’s demonstrated pretty good taste, too. I don’t share all her beliefs, but as far as choosing entertainment for the early third millennial audience…girlfriend is spot-on! More versatile than BET, Fox, or HGTV, Oprah and Discovery Communications bring parts of her magazine to life, expand her talk show to 24/7, and entertain, educate, and enlarge our lives beyond the computer screen informational format. And with its accompanying website and blog, we can wave the remote and click the keyboard until our hearts content.

I know. Why pick on Oprah? I’m not. Really. Like I said, I like Oprah.. You see, the influences in our lives today are…well…noteworthy. And you can’t get more noteworthy than Oprah. It’s like talking about the free-market with Wal-Mart as your foil; or fiction through the lens of Harry Potter; or politics via the Democratic Party. They provoke thinking, feeling, responding. And all these random thoughts bring me not to criticize Oprah’s influence, but to take note: she has accomplished something the church needs to consider in this open-source media age.

It’s like Oprah is a thermostat determining the temperature rather than a thermometer registering the temperature. When we disagree with her position, we are delighted with her personality. She’s confessed her wrongs and seems to generally live above reproach. Her actions match the convictions she claims. She encourages those that have to give to others so they can have the things that are her favorite. And she while she talks about our intellectual, emotional, material, social, and physical values, she also speaks about spiritual issues.

It’s interesting that when you encounter Oprah, you get Oprah. From her favorite things to her magazine – it’s all O! I’m not so sure the Christian community has been as consistent on what one encounters when we espouse our faith. I mean, think about the last sermon you heard: what do you remember from it that described what God is doing to set the world right that was demonstrated in Jesus to which the church can bear witness to in the power of the Holy Spirit?

I’m curious as to how the church regains a position as an influence to change culture rather than merely an institution following the culture. I wonder if knowing what we value and fostering habits that encourage those values might be a better means of reaching vitality. I wonder whether our gatherings would be populated if our practices demonstrated the presence of God such that others sought to join in corporate worship of the one revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I question if we understand discipleship, evangelism, and righteous living are not options for a Christian influence. Together they are the evident consequences of being Christian.

I’m just saying

(Originally posted on The View from Here www.nextstepevangelism.org    11 April 2011)

Thanks for the Function of Virtual Friends

The other day I read a Facebook link posted by one of my ‘friends’ who was sharing a biblical resource that claims to do for biblical references what snope.com does for urban legends. I immediately sent a Facebook message to ask a couple of other ‘friends’ their opinion of the site’s information. My colleagues were helpful, but several days later, I realized I was thinking of them more than usual. I think it is because I am not satisfied with our interactions merely being a trade of facts, info, and opinions. I know my day-to-day interactions include these fio exchanges, but they had previously been secondary to a genuine feeling of camaraderie in the hello-how-are-you-isn’t-the-weather-something-something banter. Now my interactions seem to resemble google-dot-com searches from wikipedia content.

It might not be merely the technology that has reduced interactions to this practice. I spent the majority of my life relating to teachers until I started working. And now that my employment is in an academic institution, the teach-me-something expectation is ubiquitous. When I started pre-school, I hardly noticed the substitution of the already familiar exchange of parental wisdom in the home into authoritative specialist exposing me to provocative ideas. The extended school year couple with being together during the better part of each day, these once strangers became my primary informants on practices for building relationships beyond the family.

Even those for whom the public education system has been a failure  have nonetheless developed a functional style of relating with others.  We seek relationships that bolster our own reputations by association or benefit our existence through reciprocal gain. Maybe this is why our society has such a high divorce rate accompanied by serial attempts to establish family. Like being promoted from one level to the next, we abandon existing relationships in pursuit of something more, something better, or something else with each new partnership.

So maybe this is why God’s answer to the inappropriateness of solitary human existence was neither a paid therapist, a seasonal friend, an institution of advanced learning nor an elected government. The original intention for community is family. A rather messy association, which can be abandoned, but not abolished. The genetic connection remains, with its physical resemblances, not to mention the evidence of dispositions acquired through shared patterns of everything from eating rituals to how one values the environment. Heritage, both its legacy and ancestry, provides a framework that links one to a past before laying out ones future.

One must learn to face the flaws of one’s legacy in order to embrace one’s parental promise. You can learn much from a lecturer and avoid direct association with their personal frailties.  But even when you marry into a family, you take on their reputation — both good and bad. No pre-nuptials can erase the branding of a name and affiliation.

On Facebook, I can avoid publicly “liking” a link though privately reading it in its entirety. I can end a friendship without ever sharing with the other why. I can bolster my credibility by sharing posts from friends of friends I have never met. And I can rely on the expertise of my many connections when a question arises. But without the face-to-face, daily exchanges in the messy relationships that risk misunderstanding, require apology and responds with forgiveness, functional affinity groups lack the humanizing quality of community.

We need to take care that as we acquire information, we don’t undermine genuine association. The gift of hundreds of virtual friends should only enhance the privilege of family and real friendships that have endured the tests and trials of time. I am grateful for Facebook and the extended relationships it affords. But don’t be surprised if every now and then, I pick up the phone for a long chat. Or better yet, drop by for an unscheduled meal. I guess there is something more than enjoyment to hearing the cadence of your voice when you tell me you are fine, the weather’s unchanged and ask the same of me.

(Originally posted on The View from Here www.nextstepevangelism.org    12 August 2011)

reflecting on moments, contexts, situations, and practices to glimpse edges of joy