Jesus Message about Children was Revolutionary

(This is an excerpt from my book Waking Up Slowly. I don’t care how pundits, politicians, and propagandists cherry pick the words of Jesus to support their side. I do care about how the radical rabbi viewed these precious children. His teachings rocked the culture. They still should.) Jesus had some subversive teachings about children and women. We forget how revolutionary His message was in that culture. Children were viewed as expendable. In his book When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity, historian O. M. Bakke details Jesus’ radical teaching among the people of His day. An infant boy was not named until the eighth day, and an infant girl was not named until the ninth day, enough time for parents to decide if they wanted to keep their child. Those less fortunate infants, ones who were deformed or just happened to be girls, would often be killed or left to die of exposure. Bakke makes
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A Tribute to My Leader of the Band

Dan Fogelberg was a gifted songwriter who wrote “Leader of the Band”.  Fogelberg’s father was a musician and he passed that talent down to Dan. Parts of the lyric made me think of my own dad in his final years.. The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough And, papa, I don’t think I said ‘I love you’ near enough My dad knew how much I loved him. Still I wish I had told him more. But this is the portion of the song that continues to impact me as his son. My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band Paul Burchett was a wonderful, kind, loving, and flawed man. I have the flawed part down. I
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The Outrageous Extravagance of Grace

This line from poet Nancy Spiegelberg may be the most indicting summary of my misunderstanding of grace for decades. Lord I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I’d have come running with a bucket. One of the most compelling illustrations of God’s extravagant grace is the story of the Prodigal Son. The son rebelled, sinned, and suffered the horrible consequences of his actions. The son realized his sin and in humble desperation decides to throw himself on the mercy of his father, believing he had lost all his privileges of being a son. But nothing had changed for his father. It reads like a Hollywood story of tear-jerking redemption. A child who is lost and hopeless. A father who never quits believing in and loving his son. The son trudging toward an uncertain homecoming with eyes downcast. Hearing a commotion down
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Busyness is NOT next to Godliness!

Regular consumers of my humble ramblings know that I love to use song lyrics as a springboard to spiritual meditations. A song from the country group Alabama hit home during a hectic week. I’m in a hurry to get things done Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun All I really gotta do is live and die But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why. It seems those lyrics describe the norm for many of us. Especially the life’s no fun part when we are crazy busy. Slowing down was a big part of my motivation in writing Waking Up Slowly. Here is an excerpt about the danger of busyness from the book. Letting our busyness get in the way of our relationship with God shows how out of balance we let our schedules become. Nowhere in Scripture will you find this command. Be busy and know that I am God. Our busyness does not please God.
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No Condemnation Here…

I wrote Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace during and after the cancer journey of my canine friend Hannah. She was a remarkable companion and I realized from her how much dogs can teach us about life. One of her sweetest characteristics was a total lack of condemnation no matter how selfishly I might behave toward her. Condemnation seems to be the starting point for disagreements in our angry social media world. I can carry that over into my journey with Jesus. When I trip and fail to live out the truths I espouse my first reaction is that God must be disappointed. Surely a Holy God would condemn such actions. The Apostle Paul wrote that is not the case. Here is an excerpt from Stay on that topic. Paul talks about no condemnation from an eternal perspective. It is the passage that contains a verse that has already played a role in this journey.
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What a Fool Believes

A song from the Doobie Brothers got me to thinking. The title is “What a Fool Believes” and I thought about some of the things I once believed. Yep, I have believed some foolish things in my life. I used to believe that I had control. Life showed me otherwise. I used to believe that performance pleased God. Now I know that the gift of grace is that my faith pleases Him. I used to believe that I could go it alone. I have learned that is the worst way to navigate this journey and that we are designed to be in community. Philip Yancey states it beautifully. “The church works best not as a power center, rather as a countercultural community – in the world but not of it – that shows others how to live the most fulfilled and meaningful life on earth. In modern society that means rejecting the false gods of independence, success, and pleasure and
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Gratitude Rhymes with Attitude

Today I stopped during a road trip for the usual infusion of a caffeinated product. I visited the coffee shop restroom first and noticed that it could use a bit of attention. But I recognized that this was an extremely high-volume pit stop and gave the workers some grace that they were trying to keep up with drink orders more complex than the tax code. An article on Quora named the most complicated Starbucks order of all time: a Venti, half whole-milk, one-quarter one-percent, one-quarter non-fat, extra-hot, split-quad-shots (1½ shots decaf, 2½ shots regular), no-foam latte, with whip, two packets of Splenda, one Sugar in the Raw, a touch of vanilla syrup, and three short sprinkles of cinnamon. If I worked the counter and heard that order, I would curl up on the floor in the fetal position and whimper quietly until help arrived. But God raises up people who can handle that kind of stress. I try not to be
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