Legalism is a sure thing . . .

Legalism is a sure thing . . .

black and white, rules and tools,

all the borders are tall and rigid with fixed right angles. Legalism is a safe system that makes me feel secure because I never have to worry about being wrong with the correct formula in hand. I never have to wonder or wander from these protected parameters, but then there is that love thing . . .

so untidy.

Love does not come with a script or a map; the margins of this love-life are fluid and wiggly, sometimes feeling good and sometimes not.

There is that humility thing and

that messy self-sacrifice thing, and

the willing-to-lose-the debate thing that makes loving so much more uncomfortable than knowing and playing by all the rules.

Legalism is a sure thing . . .

All that needs to be done is memorize the right creeds, collect the right people, and dispose of any opposition, all with as smug a satisfaction as I can muster, knowing that the niggling convictions will dull with suppression and empathy will dull with misuse. But then there is that love thing . . .



1 Corinthians 13:4-6  (J.B. Phillips New Testament)

This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.

5-6 Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.


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May the Words

Where are the days when I sowed into your life and you into mine? It meant so much

in that moment, but

is that harmony  lost to the multitude of noises in the universe—the ever present drone, earth to star. Or is the moment captured and catalogued somewhere in a file called

“Meaning”—memories of things that really mattered and were not lost to time and distance and division.

When you complain that I complain too much or criticize my being critical—

when you accuse me so harshly for not using words that are pure and edifying—

is it not just an ever-turning never-ending circle, and what we hate in others,

we hate in ourselves, and

what we judge in others is our own pernicious crime? But how does it stop?

If you stop judging me, and I stop voicing pain and discouragement, does it fade away?

Does it disappear just because it is unspoken?

How to cleanse a heart before the word is thought, let alone spoken; how to cleanse the word upstream before it ever is formed on the tongue—

spilled out to damage those on whom it would fall.

From mind to mouth to wrecking ball.

It is good to stop the word before it is spoken; but even if it is bit down between clenched teeth, it still exists to poison. And

if words don’t come out the mouth, they sneak out the eyes, the clenched fists, and fixed jaw.


Let the WORDS of my mouth and the MEDITATION of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.  ~~Psalm 19:14
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I Wonder

In every stained glass butterfly wing and every crafted hummingbird tongue,

in chiffon layers of petal upon petal, anther and stamen, centered strength,

I see your hand,

your mind,

your art, and I wonder

at those who could praise science and the randomness of process for these marvels.

There is a hunger for wonder, and here it is.

All around.

But to praise the source of it as an impersonal, cruel nothing

rather than an intelligent, creative something—


is to miss the love for the function and to miss intervention for happenstance .

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G iving thanks is a calculated choice, not just a

R esponse to warm, fuzzy feelings,

A aroused by a serene environment and an inner personal peace. To be

T hankful involves the seat of your will, not just the seat of your pants,

I ntuition gained by work and intentionality,

T ested over time in murky waters when emotions and motives were impossible to

U nderstand, when it would be much easier to sulk and voice the

D readful, dark components than look for the silvery grains of gold that in

E ternity are the jewels that will last.


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Happy New Year Y’all!

May we be blessed with peace and purpose in this new year!

[New blog:]

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It Was a Weird Christmas

My spouse wasn’t feeling too well;

it was a lonely, cold feeling, knowing family and friends were far away and would not celebrate this night with us; and

there were no decorations taken down–no tinsel or twinkling lights (except those in the sky)–because, well . . . it was just a weird sort of Christmas.

There was a deep sense of disappointment and rejection from those we thought were worthy of our trust, and

that added to the pain of it all.

So we just hung out together–just the two of us.

Until there were three.



We did have a kind of weird Christmas alone and with sickness, but it got me thinking that the first one was a bit weird, too, until all heaven broke loose. :-)

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Weighted on the Front End.

Life is weighted on the front end.

Summers are longer, winters wane, and dreams seem attainable but far off.

School days flow like lava—heavy and slow—

not the steady stream of the middle years, and

certainly not this rushing torrent at the far end of it all.

When you are young, 25 is old.

When you are young, you can’t ever imagine not succeeding.

Summer vacations are so long you actually start to miss school.

The sun rises slowly, then creeps along at a snail’s pace,

beating down on young ones running barefoot from shade to shade to avoid the burn.

Reaching graduation, jobs, independence, marriage, and kids—it all seems like a lifetime away when you are plodding through the lazy, long days.

Christmas is a forever away. Presents lie wrapped and examined beneath the tree,

trying the patience, feeding expectation.

And winter drags its icy feet, sowing doubt that there ever is a spring.

But then

it accelerates.

Without warning.

At the far end of things, one day bumps so quickly into another—whiplash.

And springsummerfallwinter

becomes one brief season.

ThanksChristmas is a breath that exhales like mist, and

some years now we don’t even get the decorations down.

Life is weighted on the front end, and the only thing that still takes forever is

a dental appointment.

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People Don’t See You

People don’t see you; they see

your cane,

your chair,

your walker.

They see your tremor and your white hair, and

the you you used to be and

the you you are

are supplanted by images and stereotypes and judgments.

You were young once.

You had dreams once. You have dreams now.

And momentary kindnesses feel patronizing, just putting a round peg in a round hole


they think they know all there is to know about you.

This weakness snuck up with little warning, and there you were full speed ahead—and your life blended in with all the other capable doers, even though you were ever trying to stand out—

be different.

And now you are.

But you don’t want to be this different—so different as to not be seen

or listened to

or valued.

Because people don’t see you; they see

your cane,

your chair,

your walker.

And they judge you as you pull into the handicap spot; but

when you peel yourself out and start to hobble, there’s the momentary tut-tut of support before you become invisible once again, and all that is left is

the cane.


I have been hobbling around lately because of a knee injury, and it got me thinking as I relied so heavily on a cane (resisted the walker). Often when we view those with health aids, we see the disability as the person. Somehow it is hard to look past the device. The personhood of the individual becomes invisible to the predominance of the device. The handicapped become a category; and unless you push in and get close, it is easy for their personalities to disappear in the disability.

I felt this somewhat a few years back when I used a motorized cart in a store when I was first getting out again after breaking a rib. It was an odd experience to feel some people were looking down on you literally and in other ways, too–judging your need, assessing your worth, pitying you. And in those moments, I felt a lesser version of me to these strangers than I would have before.

When we meet people out and about, when they roll or hobble in to our churches and our places of employment, do we go out of our way not just to perhaps help or make a broad path; but do we see them as people worthy of getting to know–people with personalities and worth who stand apart from their weakness?

I am going to try harder.

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Christmas Gift

 100_2065 - Copy

Carried for nine months and birthed far from

Heaven’s hallelujahs into Israel’s

Rough fringes—a Bethlehem town,

Incarnation, God come to be one of us—a

Singular identification with

The lost and the loved: It was a lowly

Ministry to a dying

Adamic race, desperate to

Save, destined to


Give hope where there was none, exchanging the glories with the Father for the

Isolation and humiliation of life with the

Fallen, and we reach out from our disgrace

To receive Heaven’s gift.




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A Fluid Forever

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

005 - Copy

The creeping darkness—really a creepy darkness, and

it smothers my horizon with narrowing view,

pressing smaller and smaller; and I wonder how it happened,

when years that seemed to stretch before me in a flowing forever

now shrink back on themselves,

time compressed in evanescent days.

And my pace seems almost as fast, this running to be productive and survive,

to live purpose, to live meaning, to live obedience;

but my pace is outpacing the sliver of light.

What is beyond this shrinking window,

this forever window

that one day I will skinny through?

Do the praying and hoping moments just stop and does a new now begin?

Or does the now spread wings and seamlessly blend with the eternity I have been living,

a fluid forever?


For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with…

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