Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
A man was out walking with his best friend one day. As they discussed various things both light-hearted and serious, another traveler happened across their path. After introductions were made, the man asked the traveler if there was anything he could do for him.
“Well, actually, I was wondering if you could help me out,” the traveler replied. “This path is new to me. I was wondering if you could help me make a choice regarding the fork I see ahead.”
The man paused and turned to his friend. After a brief consultation, the man gave some counsel regarding each choice. After the man was finished, the traveler looked slightly bemused.
“It sounds like you’ve been down each path!” the traveler stated. “I didn’t know anybody could walk both of them. I thought one had to choose one or the other!”
“I actually haven’t been down either path.”
“So how do you know these things?”
Continue reading “Invisible”
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
“I want to start a community group,” I said. “There are still a lot of people in need, and starting a support group seems appropriate.”
“I have some literature that could help you,” the pastor replied. “Want me to send it?” I agreed, with the promised literature arriving in my inbox moments later. I began to look through it.
That’s when I cringed: it was all related to starting a Bible-study group.
I didn’t have a problem with the subject (obviously), and I certainly had no problem with the structure. It was simple, straightforward, and easy to implement.
Nonetheless, I cringed. I cringed for the single mother, the depressed college student, the struggling addict, the abused believer, and many more examples. Even if I could gather enough people to form a group, these people would likely not come back.
And if you don’t understand why this would happen, then this post is for you.
Continue reading “When Bible Studies Make You Cringe”
Expected reading time: 15 minutes
Steve awakens from his stupor. “Sorry, bro, I was spacing,” he says with an embarrassed grin. He holds out the pipe to me.
“What, I gotta go over there and get it?!” I ask in mock insult.
“You think I’m getting up and going over there? Bro, I am way too stoned to move!”
“What if I’m too stoned to get it?”
“Then I guess you ain’t getting any…”, he trails off, as he pulls the pipe back towards himself.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” I drag my butt out of my chair, snatching the pipe out of his hand. I look at him for a moment while shaking my head. “F**king stoner.” We both laugh uproariously.
Continue reading “Blessed are the Peacemakers”
Not too long ago, a preacher stood in front of his congregation and gave the following quote attributed to Francis of Assisi:
“Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.”
He followed this with saying it was the dumbest quote he ever heard. He went on to say that it is by our words that we are known as Christians, and it is by our words that people know what we believe. He then exhorted his small congregation to preach with words, and to preach often.
I understand why he said it. To be a preacher is to be known for one’s words above all else. Many are critiqued based on the speeches they deliver each Sunday. If a pastor or preacher is not ready, both in and out of season, to serve words that encourage, teach, admonish, rebuke, edify, etc, then (s)he is not being true to his/her calling. Writers are often in the same situation, struggling to find the precise words benefiting as many people as possible.
Nevertheless, I disagreed. Many of us are not preachers, just as many of us are not called to be writers, myself included (if you like what I write, it’s my second best talent; my best is doing what I write about).
How are we supposed to communicate what we believe and what we stand for if we have neither the words or the opportunity to say it?
Francis not only expressed a pearl of wisdom, he demonstrated it by using as few words as possible.
And in many situations, words only get in the way.
Continue reading “Preaching Without Words”
Expected reading time: 10 minutes
“Lord, I’m sick of this!” I ranted while driving. “I just want to see anybody win for a change!”
It was early on a Saturday morning and I was driving to work. I worked as a slot cashier in a local Indian casino: someone who carries large sums of money in a pouch for slot payouts. My main income was tips, and when nobody wins, you don’t make much in tips.
Over the last few weeks, the guests were not winning. And the rent was coming due.
Continue reading “An Unexpected Visit”