Where The Healing Begins

(The weekly iPod Devotional at theFish.com.) I interact with a lot of wounded people. My books and a big hunk of my writing have been directed toward those who are beaten up by life, religion and too often by other people in the church. After writing a book on healing and restoring wounded lambs I was hurt and hurt others in a ministry situation. It was humbling and discouraging. Really discouraging. I was about ready to don the martyr’s robe and limp to the finish line.  And then something happened. A song titled “Where The Healing Begins” by one of my favorite groups, Tenth Avenue North, describes a bit of that journey.  So you thought you had to keep this upAll the work that you doSo we think that you’re goodAnd you can’t believe it’s not enoughAll the walls you built upAre just glass on the outside All of those years of working hard (and then harder) to be Godly and I
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Spiritual Implosion?

A recent trip to New York included the usual trips to the Bronx and the new Yankee Stadium. Across the street the once proud “House that Ruth Built” was being slowly demolished. About one-third of the stadium was still upright. It was a sad sight. I recalled the recent and very different demise of Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. In about a minute that once grand structure came crashing down in a spectacular implosion. The demise of something important in your life is sad whether it comes by agonizing demolition or dramatic implosion. I thought of fellow sojourners of faith whose once solid foundation of belief has been destroyed. For some it seemed like their spiritual demise came out of nowhere. A spiritual implosion if you will. But the truth is that there is rarely a quick implosion of faith. It almost always occurs slowly over time. Bringing down Texas Stadium took months of targeting the foundation and key structural supports. After thousands of hours
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Christian “Dogma”

Regular readers of these humble ramblings (all tens of you) know what an over the top dog lover I am. So this little nugget in the cybermailbox from my friend Clint caught my attention. A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?” The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew
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Here’s To You Mr.Robinson

(This is an annual revisit of one of the great stories in sports. Something to take your mind off of tax day) April 15th is not my favorite day of the year. Traditional tax day is never fun for a guy who is organizationally challenged. My idea of being prepared is having everything in one box. But I was heartened to find that April 15th is a great day for baseball fans.  Jackie Robinson made his major league debut at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on that date in 1947. It was a historic and significant day for baseball but maybe more so for our country. You can argue that the American civil rights movement was ignited when Robinson came to bat in Dodger Blue. The journey for Robinson was difficult at best and nearly impossible at worst.  Many Dodgers players, mostly Southerners led by Dixie Walker, threatened to walk if forced to play with a black player. That
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Be Careful What You Pray For

Today I asked a friend to pray for me to honestly live out the truths of grace in a tough environment. I know, I know. Be careful what you pray for because God will often answer in unexpected ways. I have been praying that prayer for myself recently and I have already had a couple of situational at bats. The first time I had a bloop hit. The second time I swung and missed with the fury of Casey at the Bat. Pitchers know that every hitter (except Vlad Guerrero) has a location in the strike zone where they are likely to miss. My weakness in the zone is being quick to judge and quick to distance from those who are not walking the walk. I love the way that my oft-quoted buddies at Truefaced put it. “When we view other Christians as sinners trying to be saints instead of saints who still sin then we give ourselves permission to judge
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Praying for a Wounded Soul

Most of the responses to my humble ramblings are encouraging and gracious. Sometimes the spiritual hall monitors smack me with their “ruler of truth” if they disagree with my theology. They seem to love that a little too much. But some responses stick with me and pierce my heart with sadness. I received such an email recently. The writer only identified himself/herself as “collegestudent” and gave me no way to respond. So I hope the writer is still checking in now and then. This is a place where I hope you can find grace and encouragement. Here is the email I received. your blog has brought me some measure of… peace? hope? some kind of positive emotion amongst the intense turmoil i have found myself in lately. I’ve known may ex-Christians. most of their reasons for not attending church, though most still believe in God, consisted of basically “bad Christians”. I regret attending a…. religious… college. I’ve never been around
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Smile and Live Longer!

On April 6th I added another year to the body odometer. Even if I could roll it back the gray and wrinkles would give away the deception. So I choose to embrace my journey to geezerhood. A line in a story from the Dallas Morning News today gave me some hope. People who have big smiles live longer. How about that! That statement was based on a study done by researchers at Wayne State University. According to the story by Shari Roan of the Los Angeles Times the study used information from the Baseball Register to look at photos of 230 players who debuted in professional baseball before 1950. The players’ photos were enlarged and a rating of their smile intensity was made (big smile, no smile, partial smile). The players’ smile ratings were compared with data from deaths that occurred 2006 and 2009. The researchers then corrected their analysis to account for other factors associated with longevity, such as body mass
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