Things that don’t make sense…

wood 2Things that don’t make sense:

  1. Why flight attendants give instructions on how to use the inflatable life jacket on a flight from Kansas City to to Los Angeles. It seems these items would be much benefit flying over Kansas wheat fields or the Rockies. Granted, my geography isn’t so good, but maybe they know something I don’t?  (Corollary: why don’t we get parachutes instead?)
  2. Why “flammable” and “inflammable” mean the same thing. (As if the English language isn’t confusing enough, even for those of us who grew up with it.)
  3. Why a black hat stands for the bad guy and a white hat stands Continue reading “Things that don’t make sense…”
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Bumper cars…in my driveway.

wood 2We’re a Chevy Suburban-sized family.  At 6-foot-2, my husband is the runt of the four boys in his family, my brother is 6-6, and I’m around 5-12 (hmmm…)  All this to say that our three girls didn’t have much of a gene pool to draw from when it came to physical stature.  So when our daughters were in school, I went on the mega-search for a mini-van.  Thankfully, I didn’t find one to suit my husband, and instead found an old, reconditioned Sub (complete with glass-pacs for an impressive announcement when one hit the brakes on hill), and voila!  We fit!

Now, having that many kids, and with Bob and I being a dual-working couple, we also had a second smaller vehicle. If you’ve never been the owner of a Sub, suffice it to say that the running boards are really not optional, unless of course you want your shorter friends and family to pole vault into their seat.  It’s pretty nice to sit that high up off the road; however, one of the drawbacks is not being able to see a lower vehicle behind the car quite as easily.

That, unfortunately, was not my excuse.

Backing the Sub out of the garage one evening, I somehow was not cognizant of our smaller car behind me.  It made itself known as my tonnage of steel encountered it, albeit slowly.  ARGH!  Naturally, my next move was to pull forward.

Another feature of the disparity in size is that the bumpers of the cars don’t quite match up.  This means that, since one bumper is obviously higher than the other, once impacted they have more of a tendency to lock together…

The good news is that the main function of the little car was still intact, even though it had to spend a little time in the body shop.  In other words, the bumper performed its intended purpose—to protect the rest of the car.  It’s an apt example of that built in “margin for error” that my dad always tried to teach me.

I’m thinking God sort of had that concept in mind when He said this:

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble… A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Granted, even within the body of Christ, relationships get messy.  We bump into each other, and sometimes even tear parts away.  Though it seems like a paradox, that’s even more reason why we actually need each other—to buffer the hurts of life.  And when we have the support system intact, the intended function of our individual gifts and the corporate operation of the church can go on as He intends…

…even if it means spending a little time in “The Shop” for repairs once in awhile.

Ecclesiastes 4:9,10,12   Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Pigs and Pearls

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Having just referred to St. Aug’s comment re: “men’s souls hang on your gifts” and quoting the prophet Isaiah about pouring out “that with which you sustain your own life to feed the hungry and to satisfy the need of the afflicted”, Jesus’ somewhat uncomplimentary metaphor warning us to “not cast your pearls before swine” seems, at first glance, a bit harsh to our 21st century sensibilities.  No doubt, it was to 1st century ears also, particularly considering the religious and social context of the day.

Here’s how I unpack it—

A short take: Everyone has influence, period.  Everyone has a “hidden congregation” that’s watching and learning.  They need what you have to give, which makes each of us responsible for finding out just what that is, and start giving it, even if we don’t know who “they” are yet.  However, pearls take many years to form, and are an organic result of an irritation inside the shell.  Therefore, they are more fragile than, say, a diamond.   Which means you have gifts (sometimes born of inconvenience, irritation, or downright pain) that you might not even be aware of yet, experiences that others need, talents gained, hardships overcome.  Jesus considers these things precious when placed under His care, and He knows who needs them.

Secondly, since they are precious (and admittedly, sometimes fragile), these gifts must be respected and treated with care.  This is where heavenly wisdom is sorely needed.  I see young teenagers giving their hearts and bodies away before they can barely read and write coherently.  I see parents wasting their children’s childhood on drugs and alcohol, or on too many meetings at work (or church!) In these ways and more, pearls are crushed under muddy hooves.

And just a tangent thought: Jesus’ “casting pearls” comment also appears somewhat paradoxical, when compared with the whole “give up your life to find it” idea.  That is one of the many things I love about the Bible.  Like David Limbaugh so endearingly puts it in his book, Jesus on Trial, the paradoxes, the seeming contradictions in the Bible, are invitations to dig deeper to resolve them and thus, far from smashing our faith against the rocks of unanswered questions…

… they serve to help us walk on the water more confidently with Him who holds our hands.