Reflections from the Slow Drip Spa

Regular readers of these ramblings know that my bride is in the midst of a battle with breast cancer. For the last eight months that unwanted and unexpected foe has rearranged our lives around doctors, hospitals, chemo days, and radiation days. Joni’s prognosis is good. The love and outpouring of prayers and well wishes from many of you has been amazing and uplifting. More than you will ever know. Joni has just over a week of radiation left and then several months of a targeted chemotherapy drug. That will be administered every three weeks so at least our schedule has a chance to return to some semblance of normalcy. Yesterday was another day at the chemotherapy infusion room that Joni and I call the Slow Drip Spa. It is a place that has administered “treatments” to me as I watch Joni receive her infusions. I get regular infusions of perspective into my self-centered veins and heart. I watch people display courage and
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Outing hypocrites? Be careful what you ask for!

I rarely give over my space to a writer that does not have the last name Burchett. But faithful and long-suffering reader Steve sent me a link to an article by Wheel of Fortune game show host Pat Sajak. Pat may need Vanna’s help to turn letters but he does a really nice job of arranging them into a thoughtful piece posted at his site. There is much debate in the gay community on the subject of “outing”; that is, disclosing someone’s homosexuality without his consent. As with most debates, there are two extreme positions and a middle position. On one extreme are those who think anyone is fair game, and no one has any business keeping his true sexuality under wraps. The other extreme believes it’s a very personal matter, and “outing” is absolutely wrong. Besides which, many of these absolutists find the practice counter-productive in their quest for gay rights. There is, however, a growing in-between position which says “outing”
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The Christmas Truce…Could it work in our churches?

Last year I posted a story about the decision by a Wisconsin elementary school to rewrite the lyrics of “Silent Night” to make it acceptable for the “winter program”. The unfortunate choice for a new title was “Cold in the Night”. And the new lyrics went something like this. Cold in the night,< ?xml:namespace prefix = o /> no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm.That is wrong on so many levels. Why not just have the kids sing “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” and go on home. Some things just shouldn’t be done. It is like the old Jim Croce song…”you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don’t rewrite Silent Night” (New Revised Version). Rereading that post brought to mind a legend I had heard all of my life involving
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Don’t miss any blessings this Thanksgiving

Ronald Reagan had a favorite joke that he told so often that the joke itself became a joke with staff members. A CBS News piece related the story as remembered by former Reagan aide Ed Meese. The joke was told about twin boys who were six years old. Worried that the boys had developed extreme personalities — one was a total pessimist, the other a total optimist — their parents took them to a psychiatrist. First the psychiatrist treated the pessimist. Trying to brighten his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys. But instead of yelping with delight, the little boy burst into tears. “What’s the matter?” the psychiatrist asked, baffled. “Don’t you want to play with any of the toys?” “Yes,” the little boy bawled, “but if I did I’d only break them.” Next the psychiatrist treated the optimist. Trying to dampen his out look, the psychiatrist took him to a room
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A Thanksgiving like no other…remembered

Note to readers…this is an article I wrote last year when we returned from a trip to Israel so the news article I reference is from November, 2005. I knew that our family Thanksgiving would be a bit different this year. We were in the midst of a whirlwind tour of Israel when Turkey Day arrived. As the day dawned in Jerusalem I remembered past Thanksgivings with family all around. Watching the Macy’s Parade while the tantilizing aromas of roasting turkey and pumpkin pie and fresh baked bread filled the house. Watching the football games, eating way too much, and  then the afternoon lapse into semi-consciousness known as the traditional Thanksgiving day nap. I knew that this year would be a little different but I had no idea how much. When I heard our schedule I knew this would be a Thanksgiving like no other. Our final activity for that day would be a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.  My first reaction was “no, no,
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A side dish of perspective for Thanksgiving

This Thursday most Americans will sit down to the ridiculous excess that we call Thanksgiving dinner. I will be one of them. If my pattern continues I will eat too much of the wonderful food prepared by my bride. I will probably complain that I ate too much as if that is anyone’s fault other than my own. I will be genuinely thankful for having my family together. That will be extra special this year because Joni’s cancer is a reminder that such gatherings are not guaranteed. I will thank God for the bounty of food that will be before us. But I don’t think I will really comprehend how blessed I am to be a citizen of the United States. A story that I read in the Miami Herald gave me a big helping of perspective as I look forward to Thanksgiving Day. Streaks of grime cover the boys’ bodies and insects crawl on their heads as they scour through heaps of trash
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Telling it like it is…

As I navigate through our increasingly more bizarre culture I alternate between laughing and crying. Yesterday I found out that our government has decided to redefine the plight of poor families in our country. For the thirty-three million Americans without enough money to buy food or families in which parents skip meals so their children can eat are now labeled as having “very low food security.” The experts feel that the term “hungry” does really describe their situation. I think these bureaucrats have “very low common sense capacity”. Hungry describes the situation for too many people in this country. I realized that we do the same thing as followers of Jesus. Because we don’t want to offend anyone we manage to do exactly what the government is doing. We have “very low truth and grace security”. The late Howard Cosell signature phrase was “telling it like it is”. Our culture seems increasingly less capable of calling simple concepts by their name. Our politically correct society
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