Here’s the billboard that grabs my attention every time I’m at the traffic light on Glenwood Avenue and Route 224. You can’t tell from my amateur photo, but a number lights up in that blank spot to advertise the average time a guest to Northside Hospital’s Emergency Room has to wait to be seen by a medical professional.
What a brilliant idea! Even though that facility is miles from my home, I’m still interested in the billboard because I’ve done the parent thing; hanging out in ER waiting rooms for hours with a sick or injured child. In those situations, it’s hard not to speculate on why it takes so long.
It finally happened. In my post about Planet Fitness I made reference to the Lunk Alarm. It’s a large purple siren fixed high on the wall. It’s part of a sign that defines a Lunk as someone who displays their physical strength by shouting while lifting or slamming weights down at the end of some heavy reps. I’d not heard or seen the alarm go off in my four months there and I was beginning to think that its function was limited to decor.
When the siren went off my first thought was that it was a fire alarm, but nobody moved toward the exits. I noticed the light flashing when I got to the other side of the machine that had been obstructing my view. Everybody else must have experienced the alarm before that day because they kept going about their business unaffected. The culprits had been putting on a show that no one had been watching.
He’s the first active athlete of the four major sports in America to announce to the world that his is homosexual. Jason Collins, the 34-year-old center for the Washington Wizards, had an interview with George Stephanopolous on ABC’s Good Morning America after his announcement. When asked what he would say to a gay 12-year-old boy dreaming of playing in the NBA, Collins said, “It doesn’t matter that you’re gay.”
Do you have any idea what guests think when they visit your church? Outreach Magazine has a great column at the back of every issue called Mystery Visitor: “An unchurched person reports on an unannounced visit to a local church.”
Why would Outreach Magazine do that and why would people want to read it?
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is in John 9. Jesus and the disciples were walking past a man sitting along the roadside. This guy had been blind his whole life. Somehow the disciples were privy to this info and it brought up a theological question that they presented to the Teacher for clarification. They had been taught by the religious leaders that if someone had a physical ailment it was due to evil they had committed. If someone was born that way the belief was that it was the result of either what their parents had done or, believe it or not, what the child had done while still in the womb.
The doors to the back of the chapel are closed. The bridesmaids have made their way down the aisle, been greeted by their groomsmen counterparts, and have taken their place for the ceremony. Michael, the groom, stares at the double doors with great anticipation. He isn’t alone. All of us who have gathered to witness this union have contorted our bodies in the pews and are bobbing our heads back and forth to secure just the right perspective through the crowd for the moment when the doors will open.
Then, one door moves ever so slightly. A chuckle comes from the group because what we see isn’t what we have been anticipating. The door closes behind the tiny flower girl who has emerged (she will later refer to the bride as her best friend at the reception), and she goes about her flowery task. She finishes her trek and everyone re-fixes our gaze on the doors.
There isn’t much time left. He knows he’s going to die a death that will relieve his physical pain. But, there’s the question of his eternal destination.
Maybe he doesn’t think about it at the beginning of his final earthly destination that he shared with the Son of God. He can’t anticipate what will baffle and amaze Jesus’ closest followers in a few days – that even such a brutal death can’t keep Him in the grave. So there must be something along the way that turns this thief, that changes his mind about the Savior.
I wonder if it was Jesus’ plea on behalf of his executioners. Despite the brutal beating, whipping and beard pulling – in the face of all of the mocking and slandering – Jesus asked God to forgive them. The thief has surely seen an execution before. But he’s never seen anything like this.
English: Iowa Supreme Court in Des Moines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In late December of 2012, the Iowa Supreme Court (seven men) upheld the ruling that dentist James Knight acted within his rights by firing Melissa Nelson, who had worked at his practice for ten years, because she is attractive. Her firing was the idea of Knight’s wife who also works there. There has been no extramarital affair. There had only been texts, mostly to do with updates on their families schedules (Nelson is also married), and a couple of rude comments from Knight that were ignored by Nelson. The firing came as a surprise to Nelson because she had no idea there were feelings of a sexual nature from her boss whom she viewed as a father figure.
The situation is complex. It may be legal in Iowa to fire someone because of your own vices, but what about as a Christian? The Knights went ahead with the firing at the suggestion of their senior pastor. Once again, in the eyes of the world, Christianity is represented by a few.
The disciples must have been confused. Very confused.
The culmination of three years of teaching, healing, and traveling had come. As they entered the ancient city, thousands of people shouted praise to their Messiah who had been seated slightly above the procession on a donkey. Okay, the donkey thing was weird enough. You can’t get rid of the kingdom of Rome without war, and a donkey was an animal of peace.
But, they followed dutifully and cheered with the crowd. I wonder if any of them noticed Jesus’ reaction to the festivities:
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. (Luke 19:41-42, NIV)
My father-in-law is British. There’s a phrase he has used for many years to inform anyone within earshot of his need to use the bathroom, “I have to spend a penny.” Early on I was curious about the phrase, and Frank is like Cliff Clavin from Cheers; he loves to impart useless information (as he willingly acknowledges). It is often interesting, though.
Back in the day, he explained, if you wanted to use a public restroom it was necessary to invest a penny into the process. Fascinating, I know.
There’s another phrase he uses: “The penny has dropped.” Thankfully, this one has nothing to do with bodily functions. It dates back to the Victorian era when penny arcades were popular. Sometimes the penny would get stuck half way down and the customer would have to shake the machine or just wait until the penny finished its journey downward for the game to begin.