Mother's Day

This Mother's Day has been a fairly good day. Naturally it is one that is somewhat bittersweet, as it is the second Mother's Day without my mom. It doesn't always hit me that my mom is gone unless I need her. Or, as in a day like today, I want to show her love. And really that seems the essence of motherhood. Someone that is merely there, never asking for much in return, but there when you need them.

But I think things are starting to fit back together. I foolishly thought that after my mother's death I could shut out the pain, and put life together back with a smile and a laugh. I didn't realize that my approach never allowed me to deal with the loss. But, finally, this year due to other things going on I felt like I started to have all the human emotions again. Joy, sorrow, frustration, elation, and anything else that falls in between.

And that is good. Pain can do strange things to an individual. If you allow it, you can become slightly sub-human. Too happy to be real, or too sad to be enjoyable. I think I chose the "too happy to be real" approach and eventually realized that I no longer was a normal person.

So, on this Mother's Day, I look back and can be thankful for all that my mom did. I was blessed to have a mom that loved me and who made me into a good man. I will miss her on days like today. I will miss her on holidays, and I will probably miss her even more on those big days in my life that are still on their way. I'll miss her wise counsel and her affirming approval that I am the person she always wanted me to be.

She's not gone, though. I represent her now. I carry her spirit on. And that is my gift to her.



Sometimes I think I'm not selfish. That I care about others, and that I'm not self-absorbed. That I truly love my friends.

Then I'm reminded I don't.

I'm reminded I'm selfish.
Caught up in my own world.

I went out with a friend recently. A friend I hadn't talked to in a couple of months. We had grown apart, and really I had started to take it personally. I'll just be up front and admit that I deal with self-doubt and confidence quite a lot.

But when I talked to this person, I realized it wasn't me. It wasn't that she was trying to avoid me but that she had withdrawn from all people that are close to her because she was struggling.

I should have known this. I should have not taken it personally and should have kept up with her better. After all we had been friends for years. I should have looked past my own issues and looked out for her.

That's the quality of friend I am.

I read a book about monks once. You know what I really liked about monks? They seemed to be in tune with people. In large part because of their celibacy they had no self-doubt, no petty jealousies. They could simply deal with people where they were at and know when people were struggling and needed a friend.

I wish I could be that way with my friends. I wish I could be that way with any person who needed someone. And maybe I could - if I could just get past myself.


Ugly Evangelism

I chose the word "ugly" for my title because it was less offensive then the word I really wanted to use. That word was "condescending". Up front this is going to be a strange blog, and I'm not sure what I want you all to get from it which is always a dangerous thing. But I do want to explore what goes on in evangelism so that hopefully we can be better at it.

You see, about two weeks ago I was evangelized to for the first time. It was right before my trip to Mexico, and so I had part of the day off from work. A couple of guys came by from a city-wide prayer breakfast that I had attended, and so I gladly let them into my home.

We small-talked for awhile, which was expected. Then the conversation abruptly switched tones, also slightly expected. They started asking me questions about my faith. They first asked me how my relationship was with God, and I told them it was pretty good. They then asked if I daily read His word and prayed, and I said "Yep, I've got a prayer journal and everything that I daily use." The next question they asked was, "If you died today, do you think you would go to heaven?" And I exclaimed with perhaps a bit too much gusto, "Heck yeah I would!" That's not an issue I struggle with, so why try to act all concerned that I'm not going? Then they said, "Well why do you think that?" By this point I'm starting to get a bit wary, and knew they were trying to figure out my angle on religion. Was it because I was baptized? Predestined? I was a good person? Knowing all the possible answers I tried to answer with one I thought worked pretty well and said, "Well I don't think its anything I've done really, and really its God's grace and mercy that He has given me."

Ok, till this point I'm having a perfectly uncomfortable conversation with two guys I don't know about God. I'm ok with this, although I do realize that this model is quirky and that if I ever do such a thing I think I'd slow things down a bit and not make everything awkard in only five minutes time.

But then they broke out the dreaded tract! You know the ones. They then preceded to show me some nice pictures how I'm on one plateau and God is on another, and there is this big abyss between us because of sin. And so, all in picture form, they then tell me we need a bridge to cross and...turn the page...there is the cross so I can walk over it and be with God. How nice.

Ok, my sarcasm may be seeping through but for good reason. By this point I felt insulted and had become extremely quiet. For one thing, I had told them I thought I had a strong faith, and even that I was going on a mission trip the next day. But rather than listening to what I had said, they instead insisted on listening to their version of the gospel story. But, to make matters worse, they then boil my intelligence down to a sixth grade level and show me lovely pictures about how I'm separated from God. Is this how we really want to reach programmers, lawyers, doctors, and anybody else with an education?

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate their efforts. But had I been an atheist or agnostic I would have been turned off. In fact, I probably wouldn't have had the patience to sit through it and would have really told them how I felt. So how do we evangelize? I'm not sure. I think part of the answer starts by believing that people are deep, real people who can't change everything in a matter of moments by us knocking on their doors. Perhaps by each of us reaching out to those we already have relationship with instead of sending people out creating uncomfortable situations. Perhaps by embracing people's intelligence, and realizing that we may have to deepen our faith to answer their tough questions.

Thoughts? Ideas?


Lost: Season Finale

Ok, don't worry everyone. I'm perfectly healthy. I still have a million thoughts running around in my head. But yes, I am going to have two pop culture blogs in a row. Totally unprecedented, I know. But I just read this statement and I had to share with all of my fellow Lost-fans. Here is how exciting the season finale is going to be:

"But, Lindelof says, 'the last five minutes of (this month's) finale are going to seal our fate.'" Amazing! That's all I have to say. I already yell at the TV enough as it is, and I'm only getting older so I may have to take an aspirin to ensure that I don't have a heart-attack that night.

To read about how there will be three more seasons click here.