Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's about being 51.

Tommy made it home from Wheaton, and is spending Labor Day Weekend in Minneapolis.   A fun change of plans.   I love spontaneity!

So, spontaneously, I'm gonna try to play golf with him.  First time to hit the links in 2 years.  Amazing.  Hip, knee, and now my "flicking" incident in July crippling my hand.  How can golf be such a physical challenge?  I mean really, I usually have to defend it as a sport.   But last time I attempted to play, it became clear that it  matters how all your body part parts are working to swing a club.   Sigh.  Almost 51 will require some Advil Liquigel, and rest following.  Going to give it the ol' college try at least.  Looking forward to it!

Isn't that just it?   We can still do, but the recovery is the issue.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Homecomings Stir

I've achieved a new stage. As has become typical in this life, albeit resisted and wrestled with before I'll admit it, I am embracing the changes.

The piles of shoes and rapidly emptying cupboards and fridge attest to the return of my children for the summer. Laughter and loud music bounce down the hall to me at all hours. It is not just the sour economy that increases the food budget these days. Items that it took months for me to not impulse buy at the grocery, are once again scrawled on the refrigerator's magnet pad. The dishwasher is full in two days -- instead of every 2 weeks!

Surprisingly, the return of the collegiates has once again stirred the nostalgic in me. I do not truly wish to return to the days of delightfully homebound childrearing, but with great fondness I recollect. I praise God for His provision that allowed me to share so many moments unrecorded by word or photos with the kids. The warm sofa time with the newly wakened nappers. Incessent kitchen duty washing plasticware and sponging up spills. Richard Scarry, A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter and Seuss. I loved my travels to Busytown, Pooh Corner and MacGregor's garden. Glitter painted shoes and Osh-Kosh overalls. Nursery school programs and sparky shoes running around a soccer field --chasing lawn moths instead of watching the game. Privately owned moments of motherhood that resonate only in my own soul.

Then we let the kids out into the world for four hours in kindergarten, and the private moments begin to dwindle.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meet Bono talking about Faith in Jesus Christ


Bono Interview: Grace Over Karma

(Excerpt from the book Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas)

Bono_Rose_Colored_GlassesBono: My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love. What does that mean? What it means for me: a study of the life of Christ. Love here describes itself as a child born in straw poverty, the most vulnerable situation of all, without honor. I don't let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond [sighs] in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that's my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that's not so easy.

Assayas: What about the God of the Old Testament? He wasn't so "peace and love"?

Bono: There's nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that's why they're so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you're a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.

Assayas: Speaking of bloody action movies, we were talking about South and Central America last time. The Jesuit priests arrived there with the gospel in one hand and a rifle in the other.

Bono: I know, I know. Religion can be the enemy of God. It's often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. [laughs] A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship. Why are you chuckling?

Assayas: I was wondering if you said all of that to the Pope the day you met him.

Bono: Let's not get too hard on the Holy Roman Church here. The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there. The physical experience of being in a crowd of largely humble people, heads bowed, murmuring prayers, stories told in stained-glass windows

Assayas: So you won't be critical.

Bono: No, I can be critical, especially on the topic of contraception. But when I meet someone like Sister Benedicta and see her work with AIDS orphans in Addis Ababa, or Sister Ann doing the same in Malawi, or Father Jack Fenukan and his group Concern all over Africa, when I meet priests and nuns tending to the sick and the poor and giving up much easier lives to do so, I surrender a little easier.

Assayas: But you met the man himself. Was it a great experience?

Bono: [W]e all knew why we were there. The Pontiff was about to make an important statement about the inhumanity and injustice of poor countries spending so much of their national income paying back old loans to rich countries. Serious business. He was fighting hard against his Parkinson's. It was clearly an act of will for him to be there. I was oddly moved by his humility, and then by the incredible speech he made, even if it was in whispers. During the preamble, he seemed to be staring at me. I wondered. Was it the fact that I was wearing my blue fly-shades? So I took them off in case I was causing some offense. When I was introduced to him, he was still staring at them. He kept looking at them in my hand, so I offered them to him as a gift in return for the rosary he had just given me.

Assayas: Didn't he put them on?

Bono: Not only did he put them on, he smiled the wickedest grin you could ever imagine. He was a comedian. His sense of humor was completely intact. Flashbulbs popped, and I thought: "Wow! The Drop the Debt campaign will have the Pope in my glasses on the front page of every newspaper."

Assayas: I don't remember seeing that photograph anywhere, though.

Bono: Nor did we. It seems his courtiers did not have the same sense of humor. Fair enough. I guess they could see the T-shirts.

Later in the conversation:
Assayas: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Assayas: I haven't heard you talk about that.

Bono: I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Assayas: Well, that doesn't make it clearer for me.

Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I'd be interested to hear that.

Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.

Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

Assayas: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?

Bono: No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched

Bono later says it all comes down to how we regard Jesus:

Bono: If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s--- and everybody else's. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that's the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Minnesota has endured quite the winter this year. That endurance includes a respite in February of about a week of above freezing temperatures. This weekend we received another 15 or so inches. White and pristine new snow is covering up the corny, blackened ice piles left beside the driveway and at the sides of roads.

I am reminded of how easy it is to cover up my sin with righteous searching and glorious insights found in scripture. How easy it is to ready my one year Bible, and devotional fare and not spend a minute in soul searching or sin confessing before our Holy God. The beauty of the moments with Him and the stark realities of the the darkness beneath.

So, I am going to go to Him now and ask for cleansing. Until that is done, don't jump into any snow piles! There's a blackened iceberg below.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Minnesota in February

I've lived here now 25 years. I am a west coast girl by birth. When we moved from California to Washington, I was introduced to the concept of snow. But in Spokane, the snow would fall and leave several times each winter. Even in the snowiest times, it would be a matter of weeks. None of these months of snow.

Tom is snowblowing for the umpteenth time this winter as I write. He was so kind to offer me the opportunity tonight. I declined. I simply didn't have it in me to push that gas-powered driveway clearer about for him. I didn't want to take the time to done my snowpants, my coat, my scarf, my mittens, my hat in order to clear the driveway of snow...when in the morning, it will be drifted, or snowed upon, or snowplow stacked at the end of the driveway one more time. I did not want to either shower or go to be with the aroma of exhaust on me (though, I will certainly need to comment on the cologne d' unleaded on Tom as his head gratefully hits the pillow tonight.)

So, February 1 marks another 2011 snowfall. No doubt, there will be many more to complain about yet this winter. But tonight, I did not have the gumption to fore go the opportunity to snarl a bit before retiring for the evening. For it does not snow with the promise of a "snow day" for school, or for providing a white Christmas, or to cover up the barrenness of autumn landscape. Now it just piles it on in spite.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Passing Through

Today a person with whom I have served our Lord with for many years, awoke and had her life take a devastating turn. Though I do not know any of the details, I was informed by a tweet from our senior pastor -- technically her boss, but practically her friend and mentor -- that her husband had suffered a heart attack and died this morning.

How to you wake up -- suffer this breath sucking catastrophe. What do you do all day. How to you move, think or be. Much must be required of her. Her daughters need her to be a mother to their loss of their father. But how do you breathe? Arrangements must be made, plans and events ordered. But how do you interact with people.

Lord, I thank you for your presence. Your Holy Spirit that provides for us in times like these. I pray that in these coming days you will empower and direct the events for Vicki. For her daughters, I ask that you will comfort them and help them as they find their fatherless way. May floods of delightful and warm memories wash around and through them. May the reality of your promises of eternity and your presence buoy them as they want to simply sink.

May I live each day in the delight of a future that ends in your everlasting. May I not resent as those mortals that I love, respect or those I care about love and respect face the stark reality that You know the times for us.

I trust you now for the Windfeldts.