‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall…’

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My first understanding of grace came by way of my worst understanding of me.

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” (James 1:23-24) 

I wonder if James wrote this for people like me who would spend a lot of time in  church — hearing the word constantly and doing nothing about it. So when we look at ourselves in the mirror (the mirror of the law) and are horrified at what we see, of course we immediately forget it because it’s just too painful and too damning. I have devised all kinds of ways to forget what I see in that mirror. I was a Christian for many years before I really allowed myself to stare long and hard into that mirror and for the first time realize God’s grace was for me. I am the sinner I have been talking about most of my life! I am the pompous loser, and everyone but me could see it. I am the worst one.

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No time to sleep

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by Marti Fischer

My heart hurts.

This is Makenna Lee, fourth grader from Uvalde, Texas. Yesterday morning that priceless smile of hers brought joy to those who knew her as she wished them goodbye before heading off to school. I imagine she had thoughts of summer vacation which was only two days away. But for sweet Makenna Lee, summer vacation will never come. She was cut down along with 18 of her classmates and two of their beloved teachers yesterday by a school shooter.

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Posted in grace turned outward, Tragedy, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Both sides now

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Inspired by yesterday’s Catch on learning to understand “the other side,” Terri, who has spent most of her career as a college professor, sent me some insightful comments a few of which I am pleased to share with you today.

I was on the debate team in college. A debate tournament has six rounds. Three on the affirmative and three on the negative. It was an amazing experience. We were debating things like privacy issues, war powers, wage and price controls; oddly enough, many of those issues are contemporary. Then after the debates we would meet up with the opposing teams for supper. Nobody got angry because they lost. We learned about the issues on each side and probably made more reasoned personal decisions as a result. You often didn’t know where a person was personally on an issue because they could argue both sides so well.

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Empathy is not endorsement

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In a recent interview in United Airlines Hemisphere magazine, singer/songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Bonnie Raitt, stated: “This time is the most fraught and worrisome in my lifetime. The polarization and the increased vitriol and the delusional misinformation and the lack of a responsible center, in journalism and in the culture and in politics, is a source of great stress and pain for me personally.” And when the interviewer asked her if she had any hope looking forward, she said: “we really gotta stop turning each other into the other side. I want to try to encourage whatever activities we can do and whatever coming together we can have that allows us to see the humanity in each other.”

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Posted in image of God, politics | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

‘Remember those in prison …’

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Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:1-3)

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” I love the way this is worded. Not just love one another, but keep on loving one another. Keep it up. Don’t stop. Don’t go do it once and think you have accomplished something, but live in a continual state of loving one another. This is a critical support to our message to the world. Jesus said that the world will know that we are His disciples because of our love for each other. Our ongoing love should define Christianity. 

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Losing isn’t so bad after all

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Well the Angels won the 7-inning game on my birthday but they lost the 9-inning one. They might as well have phoned in the eighth inning, allowing 7 runs on walks and some embarrassing defensive plays on the field. They went into the eighth inning up 4-3 with only 6 outs to victory. They walked off the field, three outs and multiple mistakes later, trailing 10-4. “Mama said there’ll be days like this,” and baseball is like that. Twenty-two-year-old Reid Detmers, (born two months before Chandler), started this game for the Angels one week after he pitched a no-hitter against Tampa Bay in just his 11th big-league game. But game 12 was a little different. This time he didn’t last three innings. “Mama said …” (you know the rest).

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Birthday faith

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I woke up to a myriad of birthday greetings and I appreciate every one. Marti wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday so I told her. I wanted to go to an Angels game but they are playing the Rangers in Texas. So I said I wanted to go to our son, Christopher’s house, sit in his recliner and enjoy three hours of guiltless television baseball on his large screen TV complete with hot dogs, beer and peanuts. Not sure about the peanuts but we’re going to do it. I also told him he had to guarantee a win for my birthday (apologies to all our Texas Catch citizens) and he said no problem. 

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100% raw organic

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I once met a woman who described herself as “100% raw organic,” and what she meant by that was that what she sees when she looks at herself in the mirror isn’t very pretty. It was her way of saying she was pretty messed up. We were at a small church gathering at the time, and the comment served to endear her to everyone. We all knew immediately what she meant. I mean, really, who wants 100% organic all the time, anyway, and when you throw in “raw” well that makes it even less appealing.

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Posted in being human, forgiveness, freedom | Tagged , | 6 Comments