I was sitting watching Pride and Prejudice with Kelly (thank you very much, I hear that applause) on TV last week and I found myself concentrating closely on the dialogue. This was partially due to poor miking (I thought they could’ve done better with the audio) and partially due to the fact I can never understand Keira Knightley when she speaks in movies. Anyway, I enjoyed the subtleties of the dialogue and nuances of the cultural formalities … and sitting with my wife, of course.by
Anyone who’s spent time with me this past year has probably heard my rant about a few of the more prominent TV shows. I’ve watched more than a few with my teens and, as the laugh track is turned up, I’ll say to them, “But that wasn’t a joke!” And it’s true. There wasn’t a joke. It was either an off-color word or joke, a comment made by a character, or a putdown of another character. But no joke.
Maybe I’m just getting old.by
I want to thank you all of you who regularly stop by the website for a great 2013. I appreciate your continued support for the strongest year ever on the website. It has been fun for me to meet folks who have been reading my posts for some time and have found them helpful. I am also grateful for those of you who pass along various posts to others on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Thank you to those who have taken advantage of the convenient Email delivery of posts.
Speaking of 2014, it looks to be our best yet and you’ll notice some changes to the website early in the year: read more…by
I once had a conversation with two teachers, I think it was about 10 years ago. I remember that we discussed a wide range of topics, most related to theology. One of the conversation partners came from an Anabaptist background (let’s call him Al) while the other (we’ll name him Paul) reportedly held to a Wesleyan theology. I remember that at every turn of the conversation Al answered as one would expect one from his background to answer. Paul, on the other hand, kept excusing his answers at times because he knew his answer was at variance with his espoused perspective.
Impressed with Al, I later offered him a job because I knew what I was getting with him. I knew that no matter what issue arose Al would handle it as an Anabaptist would and with deep humility. He was faithful to his theological position. I remember reflecting on what impressed me so with Al. I began that week to look for instances of a new character trait, fidelity.by
I recently hosted a campus-wide event for college students, just before finals’ week. The cafeteria was packed for the midnight breakfast and our job was to provide an entertaining evening with costume contests, giveaways, and other humorous elements. A tough order. College students are among the most savvy and regularly-entertained people groups, so any slip would come up “lame” and not achieve the event’s goals.
By all accounts, the event was a supreme hit with the students, many saying it was the best one ever. As the host (and readers here know that I love watching TV hosts), many of those comments came my way and I deflected them to those (especially the amazing producer/director Reed Lyons) who had done the hard work to make it such a success. As I drove home after the event, I started to reflect on why it was a hit. I came up with a quick “hit list” of five elements that made it better than average.by
Each semester I assign students in my online class (Exploring the Christian Faith) to attend a Christian church service dissimilar from their own tradition. If they don’t have a church background, I give them some ideas and I also encourage Protestants to visit a Catholic or Orthodox church (and vice versa) if they haven’t been to one. It’s been a great assignment and students have done well with it.
One student went to a large church and she said that the ushers were “friendly but not inviting.” You know those moments; though there were smiles, handshakes, and warmth, she never felt like they wanted to know her. There was no empathy, just a performance.by
I have a friend who is an accomplished surgeon, a wise man older than me from whom I’ve learn so much about caring for people in the midst of trauma and crisis. One night as he drove home from the hospital, the sunset colors exploded across the sky. Overwhelmed, he had to stop and worship the One who created such beautiful moments. Tears welled up in his eyes and he felt both small and giant as the colors burned the western sky, sending light cross the sky overhead and even into his car. The shadows were gone and he sat there, praying, weeping, and in awe.
He picked up the phone to call his wife and tell her to go outside the house and see the sunset. As he picked up his phone, he said it was as if God spoke to his mind and asked why he had to do that. Why was it that he had to do something in that moment? Wasn’t God enough?by