As many of you know, I will leave with my son Neil on 9 January 2020 to travel by ship from Southampton, England. We are sailing basically to Australia and back—with many stops along the way. Some of you have asked where exactly we are going and what follows is a rundown. To be painfully detailed, and among other locales, we will go to Malaysia, Jordan, Vietnam, Egypt, Mauritius, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Australia, Italy, Singapore, Indonesia, Spain, Namibia, South Africa, Hong Kong, and England—not in that order, of course.
It is a journey, no doubt, and we are using some of my vacation time unused from the 1980s and 90s, believe it or not. Thank you for your prayers.—dnm
On Monday, 20 January 2020 we as a nation will observe Martin Luther King’s birthday, although he was in fact born at noon on 15 January 1929. Many folks deeply appreciate this day and how it shapes our best inclinations as human beings. Of course, when we celebrate the civil rights struggle that Dr. King led America through in the 1960s, it also brings to mind Jesus’ words in the first century. In Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount we read: ….read more
As a continuation of last week’s blog message share that I once asked a twenty-something year old what I could write about in my blog. The twenty-something said: “Anything but religion!”
This was an interesting way to frame the content or anti-content of a blog— “Anything but religion!” I was somewhat vexed by the response as the question was absolutely in earnest. Yet the more I thought about it and looked around, listened to people, and read things in the newspaper, I realized that many of the issues that hang up “religious people” have little or no interest for college age students. Read more...
Doris Mortman once wrote, “Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” I can’t say as I have ever heard of Doris, but I think I would enjoy visiting with her. When Paul was writing out of deep gratitude to the church at Philippi, this is one of the things he wrote:
“I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have
little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I
have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having
plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens
me. In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress” (Philippians 4:11-14).
It takes integrity to finally be able to say who we are. Of course, that does not mean we stop trying to grow or do what Wesley urged when he wrote and spoke of “going on to perfection”—that is “being made perfect in love in this life.” The integrity comes by finally and simply making a stake in life that says “I stand for these things.”
In this vein, and as we begin a new year striving to be what God created us to be, Socrates’ words have a ring of helpful truth about them: “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
Sometimes as I go back and read random notes, I discover something that was especially delectable as a slice of human behavior. Recently I ran across one such note.
Lloyd Steffen wrote in The Christian Century how when King Frederick II, an eighteenth-century King of Prussia, visited a prison in Berlin, the inmates tried to prove to him how they had been unjustly imprisoned. All except one. That one inmate sat quietly in a corner, while all the rest of the prisoners protested their innocence.
Seeing him sitting there oblivious to the commotion, the king asked him what he was there for. “Armed robbery, Your Honor.”
The king asked, “Were you guilty?”
“Yes, Sir,” he answered. “I entirely deserve my punishment.”
The king then gave an order to the guard: “Release this guilty man. I don’t want him corrupting all these innocent people.”
Every now and then, one understands the truth and the truth will set that person free.