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Showing posts from February, 2016

Honduran Abundance

I'm away on a mission trip in far-western Honduras this week, and the project I'm on is to supply rural mountain villages with access to clean water. Below is an excerpt from one of my emails reflecting on how things are going. Yesterday (Monday) was a full day: delicious breakfast, then into the pick up truck for a long ride up to the village we are serving. The long ride is in the cab of or riding in the bed of the pickup truck, going up and then down a mountain on switch-back, dog leg narrow, deeply rutted roads. Think being a tennis ball inside a clothes dryer, on wheels. But it's also some of the most gorgeous countryside any of us have ever seen. We spent from about 10:00 to about 3:00 working alongside the villagers on the trench line. There are photos and videos on Facebook of 14-year olds lugging 75 pound sacks of earth straight up a hiking path, while we huff and puff to fill those sacks. Humbling! Back down the the mountain, into town to

Hope Trumps Demagoguery

Earlier this week, I was texting back and forth with a friend of mine who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, mostly about about the UNC-Duke rivalry. Suddenly she writes, "Do you remember a sermon you preached last fall about immigration? That inspired me to get involved with refugee resettlement, through Lutheran Family Services, in Raleigh. Well, I'm sitting next to a woman from Somalia whom I brought to the health department for her initial health screening. A good reminder that there are battles being fought beyond a basketball game, and that your words from the pulpit have power!" I thanked her -- told her she made my day, in fact. Then she went on to say, "I took a different Somalian woman to the doctor last week and she didn't speak much English. When she first got in the car, there wasn't much to say. I asked where she was from, and if her family is here with her. And she said 'my family is no more.' "Where do you go from there? I mean, r

Lent Resolution Nonsense

This Sunday, Transfiguration Sunday, we transition from the season of Epiphany into the season of Lent. (Because the date of Easter is so early this year (March 27!), and because Lent begins 40+ days before, Ash Wednesday comes early this year -- it's this upcoming Wednesday, February 10th). So it's a good time to make our Lenten resolutions, starting by asking ourselves, "When it's Easter Sunday and Lent is over, how will I know if my Lent has been successful? - how will I know if I've had a 'good' Lent?" A good Lent starts with good Lenten resolutions: self-examination and repentance, prayer, fasting, self-denial, and reading and meditating on God's holy word. I hope you don't buy into the nonsense that we should only "take things on" instead of "give things up" for Lent. It's nonsense because it's a false distinction: on the one hand, to "take something on" is, by definition, to give somethi