Acquired Tastes ~ Godliness vs. Garbage

“But I don’t like that stuff, Ma,” I growled, knowing that this was another war of wills that I was not likely to win, but, after all, it was self-defense. My grandma–normally the sweetest, most considerate soul you’d ever want to meet–had an evil alter ego. A malicious, dark side would take control of her from time to time and turn her kitchen into a culinary weapons lab where she’d experiment with concoctions designed to torture innocent, harmless kids.

The stuff she was spooning onto my plate smelled like the vegetable-equivalent of boiled liver and made starvation look downright appealing. “Evil-side” Grandma launched a familiar counterattack in response to my opening salvo. Mimicking “Nice-Grandma’s” most encouraging tone, she said, “Don’t be silly, it’s just that your Continue reading

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Surviving a Pre-Dawn Raid

“PRE-DAWN RAID” . . . That’s a pretty ominous sounding term, isn’t it? Santa Claus reportedly performs pre-dawn invasions of private residences, but it’s different. He’s accused of gobbling up cookies, hot chocolate, fruit cake, and leftovers that might be sitting around in plain sight–well, maybe not that stale eggplant casserole you left out last year–but he doesn’t go plundering through all your personal belongings. Plus, you at least get advance notice of his plans. “Pre-dawn raid” sounds like something we’d Continue reading

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A Papal Allegation with Hellish Implications

Last week, several news sources, including The Guardian, reported a shocking comment allegedly made by Pope Francis. The Vatican quickly shifted into full-blown crisis management and scrambled to contain the fallout and take counteractive measures. Whether the statement was really made or accurately reported, we cannot affirm with certainty, but it behooves us to take a fresh look at the question that lies at the base of the controversy, because it is one that affects us all.

Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Shockwaves ~
In case you might have missed it, we’ll begin by taking a look at the comment the Pope was alleged to have made…  Continue reading

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The Power of His Resurrection

Easter claims to represent the most profound exhibition of God’s interactive personal involvement among men ever witnessed by human eyes. That’s fascinating and the implications are overwhelming, but let me suggest looking at Easter in a simple way that might offer a fresh degree of personal relevance. Among many other things, Easter is about power — and more than a demonstration of it. It’s about the personal acquisition of power, and there’s a compelling personal quality about that.

In spite of our narcissistic leanings, we humans seem to have an underlying awareness that we are remarkably weak and vulnerable, and we’ve always been intrigued by the concept of obtaining power we lack, or enhancing what we have. Our endless parade of exercises to perform, concoctions to consume, devices to purchase, behaviors to practice, and motivational psychologies to apply, all serve to make it clear that we’ll do almost anything in an effort to extend or enhance our natural capacities. Our quest for power is natural. It begins early and we never really outgrow it. My first notable engagement with such a quest began when I was barely five . .

A Reasonable Request ~
To me, it didn’t seem like all that much to ask. All I wanted was enough instantly available strength to totally pulverize any Continue reading

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Warning ~ Cross Ahead

Without a lot of forethought, I drove my midsize SUV down past the dock and pulled off on the side of the road leading down to the Kuskokwim River in Alaska. As I slipped the gear lever into “Park” and sat there looking out over the expanse of white, I wondered whether insanity only blossomed after moving up there, or whether I had been this crazy all along. Either way, whether I actually drove my car out on that frozen river or not, just seriously contemplating it would have been enough for my friends back home to suggest having me committed.

After reflecting for a couple of minutes on how they might tell this story at my funeral, I dropped the lever into Drive and headed out. After a few nervous minutes of creeping along and confessing every sin I could think of just in case I fell through, it sort of got to be fun. Running 70 to 80 mph on packed snow and ice, then hitting the brakes to Continue reading

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Heroes Wanted ~ A Primer for Passion Week

With Easter season approaching, I’m reminded of the western movies I saw as a kid. The hero in many of them was the strong, silent type, and a guy who he never looked much like a hero in the beginning. He was always the relatively new arrival in town, and nobody knew much about him except that he was quiet, sort of a loner, and though he was an ex-gunfighter, he was now the personification of civility in dusty boots and a floppy cowboy hat. He had those rugged, good looks that were all the rage among transformed gunfighters in the wild west, but the women generally ignored him in spite of his animal magnetism. The town’s most attractive, available, and as yet unclaimed female was the lone exception. She would risk an occasional, questioning glance in his direction. It was obvious that she was interested in this mysterious man. No doubt, she wanted to ask him questions like, “You’ve had that Continue reading

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