When Your Loved One is Missing in Action

I wait for you, loved one. I will wait as long as I’m able.

Each Sunday morn from my place at worship, I eye the door and hold out hope until the very last strain of the prelude, until the amen of the invocation, through the announcements, and even into the first song.

I watch the door willing you to appear.

Like the children in the theater clap their hands and believe to revive Tinkerbell,

I raise my hands and ask God to renew my faith that you will return to Him,

to us.

We wait together, He and I.

It’s hard for me, sometimes, to believe He loves you as much as I love you.

How is that possible?

For, I love you with the fire of a thousand suns,

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Who’s Whispering in Your Ear?

Forest Gump’s mother had it right. Stupid is as stupid does. But sometimes we act stupidly because we listen to stupid advice.

A team of professionals surrounded the single father.

Everyone sat in his living room trying to understand why he continued to make unfortunate decisions for his son despite their best counsel.

Finally, I asked, “Is there someone else you turn to for parenting advice? Someone who isn’t in the room? Someone suggesting alternatives solutions?”

“Well,” he hesitated, “it isn’t a support group per se . . .” He glanced out the window.

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Is Your Dream in Season?

If you’re like most of the Christians I know, you have a Kindle full of books about simplifying and decluttering your life but you haven’t made time yet to read them.

I get that.

Modern believers are just as susceptible to the pressures of “NOW” as our unbelieving neighbors. We’re out of touch with the notion that life, like New England, has its seasons. In order to embrace summer, we must bid adieu to spring and to relish the autumn, we must release the summer sun. To say “yes” to something, we need to say “no” to others but this action, somehow, requires a supreme output of faith. Continue Reading →

Are You Weird in the Best Way?

We all want the best for our children.

I’m comfortable with that statement because who would argue otherwise?

Let me just ripple the waters of common thinking, however, by suggesting that our modern idea of what is “best” has been polluted by the world.

My mother often expresses regret that my parents couldn’t afford to send me to private school when in first grade I tested at an advanced level. The choices made for me back then did, in fact, cause me deep and lasting pain. I spent six years being educated separately from the rest of my classmates. They set me apart as terminally different, freakishly strange, and more trouble than I was worth. My personality bears an impression from that time like the dent on a car hood after impact with a deer.
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Houston, We Have a Problem – But It’s Not What You Think

The powers that be in Houston are using the law to bully pastors into silence.

On one level, the issue is homosexuality. On another, the issue is freedom of religion and speech. Still, there’s a deeper issue here and it has nothing to do with the mayor who isn’t the devil, she’s just a woman trying to figure out her life and using her influence to work for what she thinks is good.

The driver behind this is the true enemy of the church who knows how easily we are cowed into compromise and into hushing each other at any concern that we’re causing offense. You know, that for every pastor who defies the subpoenas, there are dozens more across the U.S. quietly second-guessing their sermon texts and editing themselves in an effort to do the impossible task of removing the offense from the cross of Jesus Christ.

Have you noticed? It’s something many of us attempt. We keep trying to remove, to mask, and to camouflage the offense of the gospel. But today I have some questions. Continue Reading →

The Wild and Wooly Truth

“I’ve read the story you sent me. It’s not good. Try another form of writing.”

A literary agent sent that comment in response to my first attempt at fiction.

 

“You don’t even know what you’re trying to say, Lori. Until you do, you shouldn’t try to get someone to publish you.”

Words from one of the first editors I pitched.

 

“No. No. That was not good writing. I’m disappointed. I expected more from you.”

A writing workshop leader reacting as I read my attempt at his assignment.

I have framed and hung these words on the walls of a special room in my mind where I keep those things for which I am particularly grateful.

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Together They Have Become Worthless

“Your son will have to learn to fit in sooner or later,” the woman said to me with a scowl.

“No doubt,” I replied, “but maybe he could learn to walk first.”

My son’s crime? He resisted circle time at our baby gym class for the opportunity to play longer in the ball pit. Yup, he was a rebel.

Much of life is about fitting in. I believe that’s important. Getting along with others, obeying laws, and working for the greater good are valuable pursuits. But, there come times in our lives, many, in fact, when we have to muster the fortitude to defy the majority. Continue Reading →

Applying My Theology in the Mirror

Lori-Speaking-resizedIf Jesus took all my guilt and shame, why does it still appear in my mirror every morning?

I stare at the body that reflects my poor choices:

all the times I take my stress, not to God, but to French fries,

moment upon moment that I opt for inertia over movement,

bite after bite when I choose taste, sensation, and excess over self-discipline;

and I wonder why I can embrace the murderer, the addict, or the adulterer with forgiveness but refuse to completely inhabit the truth that Christ’s cross paid also for these crimes, the ones reflected here, spilling over my waistband, emphasizing my thighs, testifying to my weakness.

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The Holy Carpe Diem – Seize Eternity Now

Two women face death by cancer. Not a road any of us would choose.

They can’t opt out of death but they can make other important choices along the way. This week, each of them, Brittany and Kara, have shared their end of life choices publicly. One will take the timing of her death into her own hands; the other will trust the timing to God. One has chosen to petition for the right to die. The other has given voice to the right to live to the very end, embracing God’s plan even when it involves suffering, trusting that even that works together for good.

As I read their words, I felt the weight of each grain of sand flowing from the top to the bottom of my own hourglass.

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Holy Cadaver, Batman! How Does Your Church Feel?

love-1075476_640If I asked Jesus into my heart, why would He leave my feelings unredeemed?

That doesn’t make sense, does it? And yet, all my life, the message I’ve been sent by the church community is that my feelings are not to be trusted.

On one level, I get it. Feelings are changeable and subject to complex influences. When a church member cautions, “we can’t be ruled by feelings,” I can agree – to a point.

But, I have to say, I also don’t believe we should be ruled by our bodies or our minds. I know some extremely intelligent people who have thought their way into aggressive atheism. And every day I work with people living with the consequences of letting their hormones make their choices.

No, I don’t believe we should be ruled by emotions but I also think we shouldn’t let our intellect, or body dictate things but only Christ alone. If Jesus has redeemed me and the Holy Spirit is working to sanctify me, can’t I expect that work to have as much effect on my emotions as on my mind?

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