Lexi’s Eye Appointment

You and I go to the eye doctor and look at distant charts consisting of progressively smaller letters, voting for ONE or TWO. Since Lexi is physically 16 but mentally 2, she can’t really answer questions about the E on the top line. If I didn’t already know, I’d be rather curious about how an eye exam for someone who cannot read actually works. As it turns out, the gang at Kellogg Eye Center (you’ve tried the cereal, now try the exam!) at the University of Michigan (still winning in some minds) is very good at checking the eyes of those of us with special needs.

A quick dilation (don’t ask how the eye drops went) and a comparison of light refraction is about all they need to decipher if Lexi needs glasses or not. It makes me wonder why you and I don’t undergo the same simple exam, rather than the stress of deciding which one is better: ONE or TWO. I don’t know about you, but that whole inquisition with the giant knobby lens machine in our face feels like the worst final exam ever. ONE OR TWO!?! WHICH ONE LOOKS BETTER? Don’t get this wrong or you WON’T BE ALBE TO SEE CORRECTLY FOR A YEAR, at least ONE or TWO years.

Not only do I give five stars to the team at Kellogg Eye Center, I also give high kudos to my son — Lexi’s brother, Malachi — who was unsurprisingly willing to take the afternoon off of school to join us and give me a hand with her. His presence made things much easier indeed. I am blessed and grateful for each of my kids. On this trek to Ann Arbor, I found myself again thankful for what Lexi teaches me about joy and grace, for Malachi’s vigilant servanthood and good company.

Behold: this is how teenagers wait, with phone in hand…

By the way, Lexi doesn’t need glasses, and that’s probably a good thing. When she encounters something she doesn’t like, she throws it across the floor and/or into the trash. Brussels sprouts, poorly disguised Melatonin tabs, and, I imagine, her prescription and pricey glasses.

Posted in Family

[RadCast] The Discipline of Celebration :::

As a recovering control freak, I find it difficult to simply be in the moment and enjoy the blessings of God — and there are many blessings indeed. I’m learning the discipline of celebration, which I’m working out in real time. I’m praying “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” as I look back. I’m praying “establish the work of our hands, Lord,” as I look forward. (Psalm 90)

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[RadCast] Is Jesus Stressed Out Today?

Yep, things are about to change. Tomorrow won’t be the same as today. What keeps Jesus from stressing out? And what motivates us today — fear or love?

Psalm 103:13-19

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It’s All Temporary

Someone from the church works at the local coffee house. I mentioned on Sunday that I would stop by today, and I did. A stellar decaf latte got the job done. I used to dislike milk in my coffee, but a mission trip to Brazil changed that. Anyway, the coffee was here one minute, gone the next.

Large. And in charge.

Like you, I have received approximately three metric tons of political mail. Shiny and colorful card stock, printed both sides. This weekend, someone went through and put a bunch of door hangers on each of our handles. As the winds kicked up Sunday evening, they flew all over the neighborhood and mingled with the fallen leaves. Here in suburbia, machines with cup-holding fingers pick up piles of leaves we pushed to the roadside. Can the flyers get picked up that way, too? It’s about the same amount.

Do you think they’d take the pumpkins as well?

I couldn’t help but take a moment to drink in tonight’s sunset. Outstanding work. I knew it would only look like this for a few minutes, so I captured it. Very Bob Rossian.

How many colors do you see?

These three items have something in common. They are all temporary. The hand and gut warming cup of coffee is consumed and forgotten. Leaves that worked all summer have died, just as half of all political hopes shall do when the votes are counted. The street lights are on until the sun shows up on the other side of the sky tomorrow (you know, Lord willing). And a Tuesday election will come and go. A term in office will come and go. The kids will tell their own kids about 2020 and what it was like. I’ll be drinking coffee for as long as I can, which isn’t forever. At least not here.

No, there’s nothing new under the sun. It’s all cycles. Eternity is in the beyond, above, elsewhere.

Every day here is a gift. Observe, enjoy, but don’t fret. It’s all temporary.

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[RadCast] Who Do We Vote For (2020 Edition)

Jesus said “my Kingdom is not of this world,” which is a pretty remarkable thing to say when you’re kneeling at the mercy of your captor. William T. Cavanaugh said “A Christian should feel politically homeless in the current context…” and that sums it up. Jesus is Lord. Yep, there’s an election and you should vote, but… Jesus is Lord.

John 18:36-38

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Yeah, but… Who Do We Vote For?

November 2016 pretty much sums up November 2020:

(R) Adam Davidson

Message preached on Sunday, November 6, 2016 by Adam Davidson at Portage Free Methodist Church

In this series, we’re asking the BIG questions about God, faith, the church, and Christianity in general. For this Sunday, the questions we’re addressing are about politics and the Kingdom of God. We’ll get to the specific verbatim questions in a moment, but first we need to lay some groundwork. We’ll start in Romans chapter 13 as we seekto establish what is true, in light of the topic of politics and the Kingdom of God.

Does the church participate in politics? Do pastors participate in politics? The answer to both is yes. Next question: should the church and/or pastor take a political stance? That’s where wise caution must be generouslyused. We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in the state of Michigan, and that standing has with it specific laws that need to be…

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All Saints Day

“I am sad that there is no train. And that it is snowing.”

On today’s customary train-spotting round trip, Lexi and I shared lament that 1) there was no train to see and 2) it is snowing. Lexi isn’t too much of a fan of cold and snow. Like so many of us in our grumpy adult years, she finds that winter in general offers a plethora of inconvenience for the sake of the picturesque. If you want nice pictures, try googling “snowy tundra” from your wi-fi’d tablet on a beach in Miami.

I remain fascinated by Minecraft landscapes rendered in Apple IIgs-level graphics.

Today is a very special day in the church known as All Saints Day, and, to a lesser extent, Half-Off All Halloween Candy Everything Must Go! I blogged about it here and said, in a nutshell, that

Nov 1 is All Saints Day, a day to remember that the world has seen countless men and women follow Christ, some as martyrs, some as heroes, and many unknown yet faithful. Following Jesus is never easy, but it’s good to know that, across the globe and through the centuries, we’re not alone.

On this day, we consider the saints officially canonized and saints canonized in our own lives. My mother, gone for nearly 10 years, was and is a saint. My mother-in-law, a critical lynchpin to the function of our family and an unceasing flow of love and generosity, is a present-day saint. Not just because they’re “good people” or “cleaned up their act before Jesus came over” but because they exemplify the love of Jesus in tangible, reliable ways. I think of others from our church who have gone to be with the Lord. No, they wouldn’t quickly don the cape and sash of saint, but they are, technically, saints, in that they put their faith in Christ and are now with Him. This is a great mystery to me. Also, it’s not that all saints are victorious in the eyes of the world. Some are flat-out losers, and their testimonies are especially poignant. See Hebrews 11.

People have brought a LOT of food to our house over the last week, in an effort to take care of at least one part of our day as I struggled with some kind of eye infection that rendered me functionally blind. As I write this, I’m finishing off a bit of Stromboli and thinking about a piece of Turkey Lasagna that is down to the last serving in the far reaches of our fridge. These are basic blessings that demonstrate the love of Jesus. For a hungry family in the midst of it all, this is saintly work.

Besides regeneration in Christ, right relationship with God, and the infilling of the Spirit, followers of Jesus are to be known for who they love and how they love. Who = everybody. How = tangibly. This is saintly work, the high calling and impossible standard of discipleship except by the grace of God in our lives.

Be a saint. Someday, someone will perhaps share how you were a saint — are a saint — model sainthood. I’m no Mother Theresa, but I do have a mission field that’s just as important (I think).

Here’s to a snowy All Saints Day in southwest Michigan. And here’s to half off candy that I shouldn’t be eating but, by golly, it’s a feast over here.

Posted in Family, lectionary, spiritual formation, Uncategorized

Halloween 2020

Dad, why are you in the trunk?
All quiet on the CN through Vicksburg. Signals indicate nothing remarkable.

After a customary cruise in the car with Lexi to to see if there are any trains, I took Zac and his pal out for the tricking and treating. Surely this year was different, with less than half the porch lights lit, but others compensated with full size candy bars and copious praise upon recognizing Zac’s costume.

I posted a pic on Facebook and saw the same guesses as we heard on the streets. “Shower?” (Yes, but… there’s more to it). “PSYCHO?” (No, but to be fair, the curtain is turning red, so I get it).

“Daniel-San?”

Yes, sensei.

“We’re in middle school, Dad. Social distance times 10, please.”
That cold be Jonny Lawrence under that mask… but it’s not.

Happy Halloween. Parent tax 10% flat rate, 35% on Reese’s Cups. Take it or get audited.

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[RadCast] Sloooowly Seeing (Spiritually)

In Mark 8:22-26, Jesus performs a two-step healing. Did He goof it up the first time, or was this meant to point to a deeper reality, where Jesus is slooowly healing our spiritual vision to see the world as He does?

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[RadCast] Emu-Petting & Ice Cream :::

Does sin stop God from answering our prayer? It can and does… especially if we cherish the sin. God loves us, but He’s no fool. Clean hands, pure heart, here ya go.

Psalm 66:17-20

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