Monthly Archives: September 2014

I was listening to a random/Genius mix of music on my way to Orange Park this morning. I think the way we use the imperative verb “come” and related words in recently-released worship songs is fairly novel and I’m not sure it’s biblical. It may or may not be wrong, but I’m not sure it’s supported by history or scripture. But in an effort not to shove my foot too far into my mouth, I’m going to do a little more thinking and at least a modicum of research before writing any more on the subject.

The Daily Show springs tense showdown with Native Americans on Redskins fans

From The Washington Post:

Hawkins said he wouldn’t have worn his Redskins jacket — at the producers’ insistence — if he had been expecting to square off with Native Americans, especially one of the leading activists against the team name.

If there’s nothing wrong with the jacket or the logo that adorns it, why wouldn’t he wear it in front Native Americans? How can it be claimed that it’s not offensive or derisive to a people if you can’t then wear it in front of them. I think some of these fans are in denial.

“When language has no longer any depth, when, under the pretext of being accessible to all, it has become univocal, it is powerless to convey the ‘mystery.'”

-Louis-Marie Chauvet, “Are the Words of the Liturgy Worn Out?”

I got home from a Nats/Braves game a few minutes ago and immediately called Rori downstairs (who knows what she was doing upstairs) and took her for a walk. We got back inside and I started to try to figure out what I was going to do for a late dinner. She interrupted, growling at me for her own dinner (she’d eaten her, uh, breakfast, while I was at the game). I dutifully filled her bowl with kibble and returned to my search for a suitable supper of my own. She ran into the living room and laid down.

It wasn’t that she wanted to eat, but rather the option of eating that was important.

Just because I think about what I’m going to say does not mean the words are less genuine or heartfelt. It means I’m trying to convey exactly what it is that I’m thinking, or feeling. I want to mean what I say, and say what I mean.

Final Service at Christ Our Lord Church

The finality of today has not fully sunk in yet.

The service was less emotional for me than I expected. Christ Our Lord Church has been such a blessing to me, and to my family, that I really cannot believe my time here has ended. Will I really never kneel at the back of the church with a throng of children gathered bout holding up the dismissal sign?

I suspect I’ll be overcome with emotion next Sunday—my first Sunday actually away. And I have no doubt there will be moments of grief in the coming months, as people who have been such an integral part of my life over the last twenty-six months are no longer there for me to turn to.

The remaining work to be done at home preparing to move later this week has also provided a convenient emotional distraction.

Learn something new every day: “by the skin of my teeth” is a Biblical Hebrew idiomatic phrase.

 וָאֶתְמַלְּטָה בְּעוֹר שִׁנָּי

It appears in this morning’s readings (Job 19:20). I always thought it was a relatively recent English expression.

Misplacement

We know all that should matter is what our Maker says to us about who we are—more specifically, who we are in Christ Jesus.

We know this. And yet…

I got a phone call yesterday morning from an old friend. He complimented me on something I had done for him as a favor. It was behind-the-scenes work, not extensive by any stretch of the imagination. It was, however, work that I took pride in. It wasn’t “ministry” work, or pastoral or priestly. Nonetheless, it was something I think I have a bit of aptitude in doing.1

Later in the day, I thought about what he’d said. It was nice to be appreciated. It was nice for somebody to notice the small thing wasn’t just done but done well. It was really nice to hear this old friend who I look up to greatly express that appreciation. If I’m being completely honest, I was beaming a little bit inside—a combination of receiving encouragement while emotionally drained, the affirmation that somebody else agreed with my estimation of the work, and my great admiration of this man. I even looked forward to telling Elise what he’d said.

But as I prayed through Morning Prayer this morning, I was convicted. Looking back over the readings now, they don’t speak particularly loudly to this issue, so I can only say that it was the Holy Spirit. It can be easy to set aside others’ opinions of ourselves others when they disagree with our own.2 But if we’re not careful, we run the risk of putting too much value on those opinions when they agree.

When we have a poor understanding of ourselves, we may find ourselves agreeing with what the bully says. But if we have too high an opinion of ourselves, we can find ourselves delighting in—well, ourselves. Of course, it’s no good to dismiss the praises of others entirely. And I seem to find it easier to redirect the glory heavenward when I’m praised for something more directly related to my priestly ministry. But clearly, I have a blind spot.

We can make excuses (“I used to work for a certain kind of person, and…”). Or, we can suffer the sting of that conviction. I’m sorry, Lord. I’m sorry, Jesus, that I valued his opinion so highly. I’m sorry for being proud of a gift that you gave me in the first place. This way is less fun; I can only hope that by being open to the correction of the Holy Spirit, he will shrink that blind spot a tad.3

We all have blind spots. The danger in this one for me is that I can find myself seeking the approval of others—especially those whom I admire—instead of the One who has actually called me into ministry. By all means, continue to encourage your pastors and others around you. But if you are close to men and women who lead in the church—help them pay attention to their blind spots.

Lovingly, please.


  1. Could I make this more mysterious?

  2. Apologies for the awkward sentence.

  3. It hasn’t escaped my notice that I’m kind of writing a blog entry that says “Look how good I’m doing at not being proud! Look how spiritual I am!” Kyrie eleison.