Showing posts from April, 2013


I've spent more time on long flights than some, and I am well familiar with that sensation of anxiousness towards the end of the flight--anxious to be done with it, ready to see familiar faces on the other end, wondering how you'll get home from the airport and then...the longgggeesstt part of the flight, the taxi-ing of the airplane down the tarmac headed for the gate.

We are officially at the point in my wife's pregnancy that I think of as "circling the airport".

This is the point when it "could be any day now" or, it could be three weeks.

And, so we do the only thing that can be done at this point--wait and wonder when this flight will be over.

Easter 5C, Moving Over to Make Room

As always, the propers can be found here...

Moving Over to Make Room
As a newly sprung college graduate I moved to Cleveland--I’d like to say that it was some greater calling that drew me there, but at the time I was broke and I had good friends who were happy to have me live with them (in their two bedroom apartment that already had three people in it) until I found a job and a place of my own.  
Thankfully, the job came...and I found myself serving as the youth outreach worker for four struggling inner city parishes in Cleveland.  
And, it was in one of those parishes that I found myself transformed.  
St. Luke’s..., the door was open, no security, we knew and were known.  At the hot meal program we started, everyone got a name tag, everyone was invited to make an offering, everyone was asked if they had a prayer request.  Meals were tasty, and volunteers, along with the cooking and the serving, were tasked the job of sitting and eating.  So they did, the same food, the same plates, the…

My Favorite Children's Books About Death

Several people have asked me lately about books I would recommend for children who are asking questions about, I thought it may be useful to list my top picks here

When Dinosaurs Die is a good intro to the whole topic--approachable and tailorable as a "read aloud" for discussion of specifics that may apply to a particular family or situation.  The illustrator has several other familiar books (he's the author and illustrator of the Arthur series) which makes this book feel familiar and approachable.
I have other recommendations for kids who are dealing with losing someone in the immediate family--ones that are less nuts and bolts (altho' both are necessary) and deal more with the abstract "feeling" stuff 
Butterflies Under Our Hats by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, is a favorite of mine to gift folks who have lost an immediate family member or friend.  In the book a mysteri…

Light Bringers

I have a dear friend and colleague whose sermon writing advice can be summed up in a simple question, “where is the grace?”  Indeed, where is the grace.  This is the challenge that so often confronts us, not just in reading scripture, but in living in this world, at this time, in this place.  Where is the grace?
I am no stranger to death or despair, or hopelessness.  Working as a pediatric chaplain, made me a close companion to dying gasps and primal screams.  I often said, in my time there, that I wished I could go back, to that time when children seemingly never died (or at least not ones I knew) and I could blithely assume that I, and those I loved, would be safe.  
My time as a pediatric chaplain was a loss of a kind of innocence...but it was not my first loss of innocence.  As school children clustered around the television, we saw the Challenger explosion live--from wonder to horror in seconds.  The death of my father when I was a senior in high school changed everything I thought…

Soap Box and Boston

Devastated...again.  Praying for all those physically present in the midst of the chaos and aftermath.  Praying for all first responders.  Praying for everyone whose world's been shaken.

That said.

If you have small children at home, or even not so small ones,

TURN OFF YOUR TELEVISION! if children are present.  Listening as it happens will not prevent, change or affect the eventual outcome. Catch up with the news (if you feel the need) after the kids go to sleep!

Young children cannot differentiate from a bombing thousands of miles away and next door.  Young children cannot tell the difference between what happens "there" and what happens "here".  This is not about sheltering or hiding children from the "real world".  This is about being real about what children understand and don't understand.  This is about recognizing that secondary trauma with real psychological implications for the short and long term, can occur when people (espec…

"Do You Love Me?"

I’ve spent much of my adulthood thus far wrestling with the question, “am I an admirer of Jesus or a follower?”  Given the relative luxury many of us live in, given our power and privilege in the world, given...
are we following Christ or merely admiring Christ?  
I imagine, in many ways, that this is the question being posed to Peter.
Will you admire me?  Or will you follow me?
Because, it is in the following that you will lose all sense of control.  It is in the following that you will expose yourself to all the suffering that the world can bring.  It is in the following that you will take the risk of letting the world into the upper room.  And, it is in the following, that the upper room will become the world ENTIRE.  
Because, letting the world in is not enough.  We must enter the world and embrace all that we see.  This is not a sedentary or isolated faith experience to which we are called.  It is not an experience that’s meant for our entertainment or our delight.  It is not an exper…

More of the Same, Easter 2C, Reconciliation and Resurrection

Easter 2, Reconciliation and Resurrection
Throughout Lent, the word “journey” came up frequently.  Taking the metaphor of the desert wilderness...we discussed the reality that in the midst of our suffering and as broken people in a broken world we may at times (or even frequently) find ourselves struggling through a metaphorical desert landscape.  As we heard the scriptures throughout Lent we saw in them a reflection of our own journeys and we were invited to see that we are not alone in our journey--that the company of the saints, and of each other, brings into our presence the companionship and grace of God.  
The message that we are not alone in our struggles rang out again and again.  
When I was going through my first BIG heart break in college I remember listening to music that really spoke to the brokenness and despair I was feeling.  Singing along at the top of my lungs, I felt as if I was alone in the world and in my despair.  That’s when I realized...I was singing along.  That …