30 April 2010


When you were a kid, did anyone ever accuse you of having cooties? Did you ever claim someone else had cooties? In this coming Sunday’s reading from Acts, Peter is browbeaten by some of his fellow Jewish believers for associating with Gentiles—and even eating with them. He broke the laws of ritual purity that should have kept him separate from them.

Peter hung out with those people who have cooties.

What about us? Who are some people we think of as having cooties? Do we need the Spirit of God to cure us, just like the folks in our scripture text?

27 April 2010

R.I.P....for now

Throughout the 2009-10 season, the Buffalo Sabres hovered near the top of the NHL’s Eastern Conference. (Of course, the Washington Capitals seized control of the number one spot early on!) So I think we can agree that Sabres fans were thinking with their heads and hearts when they expected their guys to at least get to the second round. Add to that the awesome Olympic goalkeeper, Ryan Miller, and the case should be made. But the Boston Bruins had other ideas…

As for the Nashville Predators, in recent years getting to the playoffs has been a fairly routine procedure. Winning a playoff series remains elusive. So when they drew the Chicago Blackhawks, who boast an Olympian of their own in Patrick Kane, things didn’t look very promising. Still, after going up 2 games to 1, Preds fans had reason to hope. But Nashville’s ineffective power play, which led to the heart-breaking Game 5 loss in Chicago, provided a microcosm of the series.

Oh well, wait ‘til next year.

22 April 2010

thirsty planet

Today is Earth Day, and as I’m drinking my mug of tea, I’m reminded of an article from the BBC News I read a few days ago. It deals with water (especially clean water)—or the lack thereof—all over the world. I mention tea because it takes less to produce it than it does coffee. But both of those pale in comparison to things like steak and a pair of jeans.

Water is the most precious commodity on Earth. (If you don’t believe me, watch Daniel Craig as James Bond in Quantum of Solace!) Water has “fueled” conflict for millennia.

It puts the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:35, “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,” a global spin.

20 April 2010

no room for humor

“This man ought to be put to death, because he is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.”

Who is this traitorous scoundrel referred to, one who refuses to support the troops by echoing the party line? It is none other than Jeremiah the prophet. And as much as he would like to, he can’t ignore the insane path that his country is heading down. This quote comes from chapter 38, verse 4 of the book that bears his name.

As I’ve been planning our Bible study, I’ve thought about my admiration for Jeremiah.  He has to be courageous to endure the stuff that happens to him; it’s too bad that there’s no room for humor. Then again, some of his antics do have a dark comedic feel to them!

13 April 2010

weeping prophet

In late summer and early fall of this, year C of the Revised Common Lectionary, the book of Jeremiah is used for the Sunday Old Testament lessons. But why wait until then? We’re starting a new Bible study tomorrow, and guess who’s the guest of honor? The weeping prophet himself.

Jeremiah did not have an easy life. He lived at a time when Judah was threatened from within—by rampant corruption and decadence—and from without—the seemingly inevitable invasion by the Babylonian Empire. He was frequently misunderstood and maligned. He had multiple arrests and was accused of treason. All of this tore at him, because he truly loved his fellow Judahites.

But the greatest love/hate relationship was with the God who called him and promised to make him “a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall, against the whole land” (1:18). How nice! Everyone’s dream job includes having to be a fortress to fend off the attacks of one’s neighbors!

The image is “Prophet Jeremiah” by Marc Chagall.

06 April 2010

truly, no sarcasm

Somehow, I came into possession of tickets to a concert that I figured my wife would greatly enjoy.  This being her birthday, I am willing to make the sacrifice of attending a musical display that I ordinarily would scorn.  (Please, do not tell her that I said that!)