The weird crap in my mind.

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I’ve been meaning to blog for a while but I just haven’t had the initiative to sit down and put a whole lot of thought into it. I want to blog more regularly and so instead of just not doing anything today I figured I’m going to give you a glimpse into the strange things I think about. So strap in…

Have you ever wondered about Jesus’s first crush. We tend to think of Jesus as being asexual but for him to have to be tempted in every way he couldn’t have been. Can you imagine 14-year-old Jesus going to temple and seeing a girl across the outer court and seeing a girl who made him feel funny. Did he have the courage to go talk to her? Did he use any pick up lines? “Hey you remind me a lot of the people around my dad’s house.” “My Dad must have spent a little more time on you.” Did he make a move? What about Jesus’ first kiss? Did that even happen?

Jonah was a sicko. He strolled into town got everyone’s attention and said, “Hey I’m just here to let you know that here in a couple of days…..God’s going to set you all on fire. Ok I’m out!” *Mic Drop* THEN homey went and got the best view to WATCH THE PEOPLE BURN! He made himself a little viewing shelter, popped some popcorn, and got ready for the show. Now I have never smelled burning flesh, nor have I ever heard some one burning to death but it doesn’t sound like something I want to be a part of. I mean I’m a firebug so I’ve smelled burnt hair plenty of times, and that smells terrible. So lets just forget that he cared more about a plant than he did the people of Nineveh, this dude actually was excited to watch the deaths of thousands of people.

Do you realize that Jesus washed Judas’ feet knowing he would betray him? Can you imagine that? Washing someone’s feet is nasty. I’ve done it and I don’t like it. I washed my wife’s feet at a camp once. Nope didn’t like that either. And this is my wife. The person I love more than anyone else and it was still kind of gross. And Jesus washed the feet of the man who would send him to be crucified. They BOTH knew it at the time. Can you imagine what is going through Judas’ head? I can’t imagine humbling myself to wash the feet of a man who would betray me.

What was going through Jesus’ head when he designed us. Any of you that know me might know where this is headed. Why were we designed to fart? And did Jesus giggle when he put it in? I imagine he did. Which if he did would prove that even God finds farts funny. I’m thankful for it because nothing will make me laugh harder than a fart joke. I watch the movie Rocket Man specifically for that reason. I don’t like the rest of the movie but the 5 minute fart joke in the middle makes me feel happy just thinking about it. And it was Jesus’ idea.

Who would win in a wrestling match between Jacob and Samson? Samson was the strongest man but Jacob put God in a headlock and held onto it with his hip popped out of socket.

Why to translators still use the word baptize? They know that word doesn’t exist.

What purpose does long ear and nose hair serve? While we are on it what is the point of ticks, leeches, mosquitoes, and gnats?

Jesus was a carpenter, if he ever cut a board too short could he just put it back on?

Does God care if we capitalize the pronouns that reference “H”im?

Anyway that’s what I think about sometimes. There are lots of things that I think about that I’d like to think I’ll ask God when I meet Him. I’ve done enough study to know that I won’t care about any of this. But still I think curiosity about the world that was created for us helps us learn more about Him.

At the Copa, Copa Cabana.

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“Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” Luke 20:18 NIV

A few years back I was able to go to Rio de Janeiro in Brasil (yes that is spelled right). Almost everyone in the world had seen Rio in the movies and it is instantly recognizable because of the giant statue of Jesus with his arms outstretched. I was able to visit this statue and something struck me more than anything else. It is an impressive 100 ft. statue but it isn’t the height that struck me, it was the fact that this statue was actually a mosaic.

For those of you who don’t know what a mosaic is (you uncultured swine), it is an art form where the artist takes broken pieces of tile and puts then together to make a design. You’ve no doubt seen plenty of them usually as a patio table or countertops. They are very time consuming and sometimes you have to take those broken pieces and chip and file them to make them fit your need. The end result is something completely unique and beautiful.

In the favelas (the neighborhoods where all the poor people live) there is another impressive mosaic. In Brasil if you are born poor you will likely die poor. If you live in the favelas, no matter hard you work or how good you are at your job, you will most likely die in the favelas. This mosaic is at the home of a tile worker, on a porch in front of his house. It is made up of tile left over from various jobs this man had, he never let a single piece go to waste. It’s not huge and to be honest there is no discernible pattern in the tile work. Using scraps you don’t really get to match your color wheels. What makes this particular mosaic so beautiful is the reason it exists.

You see this tile worker held a bible study in his house every Thursday night,for anyone who wanted to join. He ran into a problem though, he didn’t have enough room in his living room for all the people that wanted to come listen about a man named Jesus. People would stand outside his front door and the windows to listen. When it would rain, people would stand outside in the mud to listen. He couldn’t afford to make a bigger living room, but he could take left over material and make a covered porch. He couldn’t lay the beautiful tile floors he put in the houses of the elite in Brasil, but he could take the scrap from those jobs and make a mosaic porch. Because he loved people he came home everyday from work, and made a place people could hear about love and hope, something in very short order in the favelas, and do so dry. None of this would have been possible without broken tiles.

It’s been more than well documented that the perception of people in the church are people who have it all together. I think to some extent we perpetuate this myth. We have like our services neat and orderly, peaceful and docile. We like the people there to think like us, sometimes we even prefer them to look like us, whether you read that as skin tone or clothing. We put off the illusion that because we are regular attenders and involved in a ministry, we have it all together. We are complete and whole people. The problem with that is, in my opinion, God has no use for whole people.

In my opinion God designed his kingdom to be a mosaic. And there is no place for whole people in the kingdom. In fact to be a part of the kingdom of heaven you have to be broken. Luke says that anyone that really comes into contact with Jesus is either broken on or by him. Contact with Christ removes the illusion that we can hold it together. The church should be full of broken people.

Now I don’t mean to say we need to come into church sad faced and weeping, though it should be ok if you do. But we need to understand that we are all broken, ugly, and useless on our own. It’s the Master that takes those pieces, gives them a place, gives them a purpose, and makes them a part of something beautiful. He knows where they goes and what they should be doing. He knows what parts need to be trimmed and shaped. Romans 14 basically says its not our place to determine where the pieces go but to find awe in being a part if God’s work.

Can you imagine if the Christ statue in Rio had a tile missing and you managed to see it? It would still be impressive but wouldn’t it seem incomplete? It would almost be sad. Every tile is needed for the statue to be as beautiful as it possibly can. Every piece is needed, even the ones we don’t like. What if you noticed that one tile was slightly different from the ones around it? You’d have to tell people that the statue really wasn’t that great because there was a tile you didn’t like on it. Can you imagine some one saying that?

When you stop seeing the kingdom for the beautiful creation it is, chances are you are focusing too much on the tiles and missing the 100 ft. demonstration of love and acceptance. You are broken, you are ugly, and we need you together with us to be as beautiful as we can be. Alone we are worthless together we are priceless.

You are entitled to my opinion.

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So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
Romans 14:22 NIV

The other day our preacher asked our congregation if there were any scriptures we wish God had not put in the Bible. At the time I couldn’t think of anything because I’m a good Christian and believe that all scripture is God breathed and beneficial for etc. etc. etc. And then tonight one hit me. It’s the verse above. Guess I’m not as good a Christian as I thought.

It comes at the end of a section of Paul talking about being considerate of your family in the things that you do. He talks about food, holy days, and opinions, and he comes to rest here. I don’t like it. That’s not true I actually like the concept a lot. I love the idea that what I believe is really no ones business but God’s and mine. And I love the idea that if I know my brother believes differently than I do that I have the opportunity to love my brother by humbling myself for the sake of his relationship with Christ. It’s amazing to me that the God, who created a system so intricate down to the very cells of the tips of the fingers writing this post, left me gray areas to figure out how I relate to Him. He left parts of our relationship up to me.

On the surface this idea is actually kind of stupid. I mean broken down to its basest form, this is a being, of such power that his breath creates stars, gave a dirt clod the power to choose how to relate to him. Stupid right? But without it I can’t give Him my love. If He had dictated every single thing to us then I would have no choice in the matter. I would have no place for my individuality to express its love to my a Father. I would only be able to give him obedience. And while he wants obedience, he wants obedience done in love not compulsion. I think it’s awesome that God allowed me to customize the way I express my love for him.

So why do I have a problem with this verse? Because we SUCK at it. Mankind absolutely stinks at activating this.

Today I was participating with the youth group I lead in watching a live feed of Winterfest from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (We couldn’t be there in person this year due to weather.) So I’m watching Jeff and Taylor Walling speak and I’m completely fangirling out. Not because it was Jeff Walling, met him once and shook his hand turns out he’s just a human like me. I was fangirling because they were talking about the Restoration Movement, which spawned the creation of my tribe. I love talking and hearing about this movement. So there I am trying not to squeal because these teens I minister to, and like 14,00 others, are about to hear about one of my favorite topics. And then they started putting up three of the four major tenants of the restoration movement. On the outside I maybe look like I am intently listening, but on the inside I’m bouncing around celebrating because maybe someone I’m sitting the room is going to see what the ideas were that started my tribe and MAYBE go, “Hey why can’t we just do that!” And they turn around the banner that has the motto, or whatever I am supposed to call it that says this, “In faith,unity. In opinions, liberty. In all things, love.”

Now in my personal study into the restoration, my understanding is the phrase was actually, “In essentials, unity…,” but Walling is talking to students who might not understand what the word essentials means so, Jeff if you are reading this (yeah right) I forgive you. And before you say it’s just words, remember what God used to create everything.

Anyway, there is that pesky Romans 14 idea again. In opinions, liberty. I mean that’s really what verse 22 is saying isn’t it? Whatever you believe about this is between you and God. Simple reasoning leads me to believe that if what I believe about these things is between God and I, then what you, or anyone else, believes about these things must be between you and God too. I don’t know if the problem lies in human nature or if it’s due to our culture but we don’t like people to have differing opinions. About anything. We’ve got all kinds of media out there talking about one point of view and saying that any other point of view is held solely by idiots. It is my observation that it isn’t just American culture that is this way, but hey…that’s just my opinion.

Right now we live in a world where little girls get involved in horrible emotional abuse on YouTube videos of bands that won’t be here in 2 years. We have people driving down the road with bumper stickers profanely displaying the support or despise of an idea. There has long been a battle over which is better Chevy or Ford. We fight over sports teams and clothing brands and musicians and politics and tv shows and comic books brands. (Skidmore if you are reading this I’m working really hard to get past your love for DC’s knock off version of Marvel’s clearly superior Namor. I’m only name dropping because I’m cool enough for him to follow me on twitter #lifegoalachieved #cofcfamous #Winterfestheadliner #selfie). We have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and all kinds of things where we can post links and shout to the world, “THIS IS THE RIGHT OPINION TO HAVE AND OH WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT I HAVE IT AND IF YOU DON’T AGREE ITS ONLY BECAUSE YOU STUPID AND WRONG! AND YOUR MOM IS UGLY!” It’s like we look for lines in the sand to draw to stand on the “right side” of.

One of the most disheartening things that has happened to me was opening up the front cover of a book called The Directory of the Churches of Christ. The intent behind this book was to help you find a place to worship when you were away from home. It’s probably in your church library or in the church secretary’s office. Go look. Inside this front cover you have about 3 pages of abbreviation explanations. It has things like one cup, instrumental, non cooperative, no bible school, and the list goes on and on. The whole idea about the restoration movement was unity. And here in a tribe that all too often claims to be THE church of Christ, we find divisions. I hate that.

I don’t hate Romans 14:22, I love it with all my heart. It is my favorite part of the Bible because it tells me the relationship I have with God is unique to me. I wish it wasn’t in there because then I wouldn’t have the expectation of His people, including myself, to follow it. As it is we are, as they say, without excuse. So I guess since it’s in there I’m going to have to respect your opinion, even if I don’t agree with it or like it. I don’t have to make it my own or believe it but I have to respect you and your relationship with God enough to make accommodations for it when we are together. And to make it worse, I have to do this whether you reciprocate or not. I have to because my belief about this verse is that is one of the ways I can show God I love Him. And I do love Him. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

(Ok Skidmore, I guess it’s ok if you love Aquaman)

Honey I Shrunk The God

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Recently I have heard people say things like, “Let’s lift God up,” or, “Lets put God in the most high place.” I’ve heard this several times and the questions, how exactly did God fall out of the most high place, and just how strong are you that you can lift God?

I think that this might stem from and underestimation of who God is and an overestimation of our importance. First God’s position in this world is not dependent on me nor contingent on the amount of praise I give him. He IS the ruler of everything regardless of how I regard him. To think otherwise is foolishness and to further thing that he needs us to put him back in the place he belongs is nothing short of the deepest and most sincere arrogance. Worse than that its highly dangerous.

The god that I can move and that needs my praise is a small ineffectual god. If he requires my esteem to reside in the place he belongs he is a weak god. In fact at god that needs me for anything at all is false and powerless. None of these descriptions fit the world creator and destroyer that I read about in the Bible.

There is a disturbing pattern in our selfish and self centered society of shrinking God down to something along the lines of Dobby the house elf. Though a creature of immense power God is forever hobbled to indentured servitude because He needs us to give Him the sock of our praise to set Him free. Why would anyone want to serve a God that impotent?

You know there is even the prevailing attitude that Christ lived a perfect life for us? Some of you probably even think that. Well I hate to break it to you that’s not true. He did not live a perfect life for us, he lived a perfect life because that was who he was. Do we benefit from that? You bet your sweet bippy we do, but its pure rotten arrogance to think that it happened because of us.

I cannot gift God with honor, I am in serious debt to Him when in comes to honor. In fact any honor I may happen to have was a loan from Him. I have created nothing in this world that would make me WORTHY of honor and yet I have the gaul to come into His throne room and say things like, “I want and I need.” I don’t make humble requests of a being so terribly powerful He could create light with a word and could end my life with a thought. No come before Him with gentle demands and false humility. That friends and family is dangerous.

Recently my wife was reading in the book of Ecclesisastes and found a verse I had never seen before, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. (Ecclesiastes 5:1 NIV). If that doesn’t convict you then I suggest you reexamine your heart. “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.” One of the other things I have witnessed is a rush into the throne room of God without any thought of what you are doing. I have heard men in front of thousands approach God flippantly and laxidasically. How many of you would run into the office of the president and say “Hey I want you to make sure that Betty Jo Godlymom gets good doctors. Ok thanks for being a powerful president, k bye.” You just wouldn’t do that and yet its becoming common practice to cooly slide into the throne room of God after a message has been given. There have even been a few times i couldn’t tell that a sermon had ended and a prayer started. Shouldn’t our talking with God be distinguishable from our talking to man?
I think maybe it comes from a desire to be familiar with God. God wants us to be familiar with Him, not what we want Him to be. We want God to be the loving father figure that answers his child’s every whim and desire. We want Him to be the gentle shepherd who speaks to us softly and is slightly amused at our errant ways. The problem is while those might be aspects of His personality that is not who He is in His entirety. If thats the only side of God we serve then we don’t serve God at all. What we serve is an imaginary God that is everything we want and ask him to be, and more correctly we worship ourselves and call it God.

Please understand that God is not small nor is He powerless nor does He need you at all. Next time you pray read the description of just exactly what you are walking into when you come before The God in Revelation 4. Then think about if you really want to stand before Him and say things like I want and I need and I lift you up. You are insignificant in the realm God lives in. “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.”

My Thoughts on Oklahoma

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About 12 years ago I was in a friend’s apartment getting ready to leave for Brazil the next morning. We were watching the news talking about a huge tornado coming towards the area. The eye of this storm was supposed to be a mile wide. Several other friends who lived in the same apartment complex came over and we all went outside and watched the sky.

The big daddy never came near us but we could see it. It barely rained where we were. If I remember right all of us slept together in the same apartment. The next morning I got up and went to the airport and flew out to Brazil and as we left we flew over Moore, Oklahoma, the town that was demolished yesterday. The images I’m seeing on the news sites and on Facebook right now are almost identical to what I saw 12 years ago.

That storm passed through during the night so the schools that were destroyed were empty. During that storm I knew people who knew people who lost things but no one I knew was directly effected. This time very dear friends lost a barn and I thank God that that is all they lost. They very easily could no longer be here. This time I had friends that lived in a neighborhood that was utterly destroyed but as far as I know they weren’t even touched. And I thank God that they are ok.

As I am getting all my news of people who I know and love from that area from Facebook its very possible that I have lost some one I love. I’m sure that won’t all hash out for a couple of weeks. But I do have friends that I KNOW are ok. And I thank God for that. I have also seen a lot of foolish statements on Facebook about what happened this week that almost break my heart worse than looking at what was destroyed. I see people trying to say that this is God’s will, and that is false. I see people getting angry at the school district for not canceling school as if anyone in that town could have known what was about to happen. That is like saying that the daycare in the Federal buildings in OKC should have known to close the day that Timothy McVeigh blew it up. I have seen people blaming God for letting this happen. I see a lot of hurt and confusion talking, I also see a lot of ignorance being spoken as well.

In a time like this its a great deal easier to see God’s love. Now you might think I’m saying this because of all the people who are showing up to local churches to bring supplies, but that’s not it. Or maybe it’s because of all the people who have left their jobs to go help people sort out and clean up what used to be their home, but that’s not it either. Could it me in the statement of an elderly gentleman who when interviewed said “All this stuff belongs to God anyway, he can do what he wants with it,” but that’s not it either (although I pray that we can all get to that point in our life where this is a reality for us and not just a church saying). Where I see it is in the tornado.

I’m sure some of you think I have lost my mind but let me explain. You know when God set up the world he designed tornadoes? He put it in his design that when the conditions are right wind and water will be come a devastating force that we can neither predict nor control. We can make guesses and observations but we can no more control the direction of a tornado than we can change the color of the sky. But God can control it. While I do not believe He directly caused this tornado it is His design. I also have read about the power of my brother and Savior simply speaking to a similar storm and it went immediately calm. And if this is what my God can do when limited to human form how much more could He do when He is unlimited.

So how does that exactly show His love? I mean doesn’t it make sense that if He really is a loving and all-powerful God, why didn’t he stop this? Did the people of Moore do something wrong and they needed to be punished? I mean Moore has been slapped like this several times. In fact the year after the storm I experienced they got hit again. I doubt that God is punishing Moore. Or maybe those people who died he needed in heaven.

I’m going to take a small break in my narrative and soap box for a moment. All of you people who are saying things like “At least these little children are with God now,” or “God must have needed them in heave,” could you kindly do us all a favor and shut your mouth. that is not helpful and it’s just plain ignorant. If you think for a second that God’s heart is not absolutely shattered at the loss of life, child or adult, you clearly have no understanding of who God really is. If your child was suffering, no matter what the cause, you would be suffering as well. So if you, being an utterly imperfect parent, feel this way, how much more is God enduring right now? Comments like the one above only hurt and misrepresent God. If you are looking for something to say that will comfort people stick with I’m sorry and I’m praying. That is unless you happen to know a magical combination of cliché’s that will actually restore those lives that are gone, then you can say horrible things like “This must be God’s will.”

Ok back to the original line of thought.So how do I see God’s love in Him not stopping a terrible storm that took lots of lives and destroyed so much? It’s because He didn’t interfere. WHAT?! Yeah it’s because He didn’t change anything He created simply because I don’t like the results. It shows me that I am not in control. It shows me that my life should not be about what I want because what want is irrelevant. Life is not about my happiness. Life is not about being free from suffering. In the words of the wise Dread Pirate Roberts, “Life is pain.”

In times of loss and pain we always look for reason or explanation as to why this was a good thing. You know what, sometimes bad things happen. It’s not God’s plan, it’s not His will but it happened. Instead of looking for your own explanation in times like this turn to God for comfort. Too often when things like this happen we turn to God for him to explain Himself. I dare say that exercise is futile because I fear His explanation will be, sometimes bad things happen. But if we instead will turn to him for comfort and consolation I believe we will find an embrace that will comfort better than any hug ever could. If we ask Him to help with the pain I think we will find rest that beats any blanket and warm bed.

In times like these don’t run to God with your accusatory wagging finger or your idiotic explanation of the unexplainable. Instead run to Him with your broken heart and your bottomless sadness, as a child runs to his father after he has fallen off his bike and skinned his knee. Run to Him and crawl up in his lap with your hurt, let him clean your wound. Let him stitch up the scar and let Him hold you in His arms. Come to Him humbly and broken and He will comfort you.

For Example

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWWbOY97lFw

Relevancy

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I’ve been meaning to blog for several weeks and things have just been so crazy around here I haven’t had time. In that time many ideas have come and gone bringing me to the conclusion that I need to buy a literate flying monkey to fly over my shoulder so that I can simply mutter the idea to him and he can write it down. I think I will name him Rupert. What does that have to do with relevancy? Nothing.

I try to stay pretty well read when it comes to youth ministry and I have heard this line said several times in both the books I read and in the talks I’ve heard: “We have to keep the word of God relevant!” Well I have a problem with that, because either the word of God is relevant or it isn’t. I can’t make God’s word anything other than what it is. What we need to be guarding is our presentation of the Word. By trying to “make God’s word relevant” or focus becomes less on what is God saying to me and more on how can I make God’s word speak. What we do in effect is put words into the mouth of God. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t know that I want to be telling God what he should be saying.

I think we spend too much time trying to show teens and possibly the church how the things in the world look similar to what is in the Bible. We waste hours trying to find video clips and songs that are popular so that we can some how twist them to fit what the Bible says. Basically we try to get the things in this world to speak for God. We end up with ridiculous boxed curriculum like “The Simpson’s Gospel” or “The Office Small Group Study.” I don’t know about you but I don’t want the world telling God what he should be saying.

So what do we do different? We sit down with the book and let it speak to us. We let God speak for Himself. I can’t tell you how many times I have approached my study for class thinking, “Ok here’s what I want to say so how do I use the Bible to make my point?” I do it too much (although doing it at all is too much.) Think real hard and think when was the last time you sat down to read the Bible to see what he had to say to you? Not going in to study a particular subject just to let him talk? How much time do you spend every week reading the new book on relevant ministry or the new “movement in evangelical theology.” Which side is heavier on that scale?

If our presentation of God’s work makes it come off as irrelevant or inapplicable then it’s not God’s word that needs to change, its our presentation. We think we need to make our presentation exciting and entertaining, but does that really mean we need to have 5 video’s of Lost queued up in MediaShout to get kids to pay attention? Is that even for them or have you become bored with the Word? It’s normal and it’s not shameful you just need to realize it and figure out why. Enthusiasm and positivity are contagious, but so are apathy and pessimism. Your attitude comes through in your presentation and saturates your message. If you can’t be enthusiastic about it (no I’m not going to say don’t teach it) then be honest about that and spend some time explaining why you still believe its important even though you aren’t excited about it. That in itself is a lesson we all need to know. Christianity isn’t always light shows and good feelings but of all the things it is, it is ALWAYS relevant.

The House With Roses in the Yard

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There is a house with roses in the front yard. In this house lives a stubborn old missionary and his daughter. There is really nothing special about this house, but if you saw it like I do there is no mansion in Beverly Hills, no estate in England that could rival it’s beauty.

In this house there is a freezer with the most delicious homemade freezer jam ever made with tiny crystals of sugar hidden it that become their own special surprise. In this house there is a small dachshund that will bark at anyone who walks through the door no matter who it is or how long they have lived there.

In front of this house is a bench in a rose garden that started me in the most spectacular adventure I have ever been on. On that bench I fell in love for the last time after having fought it all the way.

In this house I silenced a man who had never in his life been found at a loss for words. In this house I was often awaken to GOOD MORNING TO YOU!!! Often times harmonized poorly. Never at less than full volume. Never sung well.

In this house is a table where I have set many mornings reading the comic section of the paper because its the only part of the paper I can stand to read. I was required to be at this table at least once a week for a family meal. It consequently was the only meal I would have with this group of people that didn’t involve the phrase “To heaven if we follow Jesus,” uttered at kneejerk speed.

All around this house are flowers, mostly roses but always flowers. I’ve often been there in the winter when I’m sure it would have been impossible to have flowers, but for some reason every memory of that house has flowers in it. These flowers were planted by some one I believe had to a direct descendant of Eve herself. I don’t think she could have killed a plant if she wanted to, but then again I do believe this woman could accomplish anything she set her mind to.

In this house was a 300 gallon fish tank. That’s probably an exaggeration but I’m pretty sure Bass Pro Shop got their design ideas from this tank. Every other tank I have ever seen always had just a little algae build up on it somewhere. Never this one. Every single viewing surface of this tank was spotless…on the inside. The outside always seemed to have at least 3 or 4 sets of tiny fingerprints from unimaginably loved grandchildren. I always loved looking at that tank. I couldn’t tell you what kind if fish were in it but I can tell you that they were happy fish. Everything in that house was happy even when it wasn’t.

In this house is a couch that has seen more Mariners games than the people that sat on it. It has seen countless college football games that its controlling occupant watched through his mouth. This couch has seen every episode of Star Trek and just about every crime drama ever. This couch was where I was sitting when I saw the stubborn old missionary in his underwear and undershirt. It is also where I watched him ride a NordicTrak in spandex. These two memories are the only two memories I have worked tirelessly to scrub
from my banks and have not yet succeeded at.

In this house is a bedroom with bookshelves crammed way beyond their weight capacity with books. I couldn’t tell you what kind of books they were because it always felt slightly odd to me to be in there.

In this house is a kitchen that if it were a recipe book it would have made Julia Child weep at her own inadequacy. The walls of this room are saturated with aromas of countless meals and sealed in with a thick coating of the love that went into every one. Some how even just a glass of water from there tasted better, even though it was terrible municipal water.

In this kitchen I made a promise that I was reminded of today. You see every Saturday I set about the task of shaving my head. If you read my blog regularly you already know why so I won’t recount it again, although I never grow tired of telling it. Every Saturday I wish my hair would start thinning because some days the task of shaving this orb of wisdom is just exhausting. And every Saturday I am reminded of just how much I am loved. Not was loved not used to be loved, AM loved.

Every time I shave my head a new memory pops into my head. Today it was something small but it feels huge to me. You see in that bedroom is a bed. I set next to this bed as my aunt was passing away and held her hand. She either hiccuped or a sharp pain hit her, I choose to believe it was a hiccup, and I said to her, “Yeah I have that effect on most women.” She squeezed my hand because she was way beyond being able to talk at that point, and I choose to believe that was her smacking me on the arm for being a smart mouth again. I also choose to believe it was as much of her signature laugh as she could muster. In my head I heard her laugh.

It’s hard to believe that the memory of that house means so much to me. I mean none of the people that lived there are related to me by blood, though if she ever heard me say that I’d be in trouble. Why would a 300 pound man be afraid of a little old (I get hit for that too) 120 pound woman with a bum hip? I don’t know but I was and to be honest I still kind of am.

The house used to be on street named something like T&G or something which I always though sounded like a name to knock off root beer. They have since changed the name of the street to Brickyard which I think is much more fitting. The spiritual houses that were built in that house were made from strong bricks made with African clay and potting soil. I have a few of them in my own house. They are strong and I believe unbreakable. I’m proud to share them with the thousands of people that have them and I look forward to seeing them in my children’s lives.

There is a house with roses in the front yard. It’s not much to look at if you don’t know how to see it. It may look to you just like every other double wide on that street, but to me, oh to me, it is one of the most beautiful houses I have ever seen. When I get to heaven, after I’ve seen my Father, my very next stop will be to find the house in heaven with the roses in the front yard.