Salt truck succumbs to a pot hole in nearby Youngstown, OH (source:wfmj.com)
It’s not like I haven’t been around potholes before. But, they’ve been extra bad this year. I’ve had conversations with co-workers who agree that it seems far worse than in the past.
As it turns out, we’re correct. I read online that in 2015, the state of Ohio has been sued 256 times for automobile damage caused by these gaping craters – the most ever. Our local newspaper even has a “Pothole Patrol” so commuters can report the location of the most cavernous routes and whether or not they have been repaired. However, we have seen potholes before, and you’d figure that drivers would have some idea how to navigate them.
On my way to work last week, I took my normal route, which had birthed and expanded potholes overnight. At many points in a one mile stretch, cars slow to a crawl to safely maneuver a pothole minefield. I was at one of those points, and a driver behind me was in too much of a hurry to worry about the potential damage to his vehicle.
Did you love this, or what? You may not be a fan of these types of shows. I’m not. But when someone who is so openly hateful and arrogant against a certain people group finds out he’s actually a member of the group he’s been hatin’ on . . . well, that’s just beautiful.
I’m skeptical about the whole thing, though. In time we may hear that the results were intentionally skewed for publicity. Either way, it’s the reaction to the findings that interests me. Not HIS reaction, mind you, but everyone else’s (including mine).
Sometimes society is thrown a softball in our sweet spot – a situation 99% of people can agree about. The silliness of Westboro Baptist church has been an easy target of late. The 9/11 disaster resulted in our country and many others to have the same opinion about Osama Bin Laden. And what about Ariel Castro, imprisoning three young women in his house for so many years? It’s easy for us to hate all of these evil doers, and we love to hate them in unison.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
(Plato 428-c 347 BC)
Timon and Pumbaa taught me something about myself. A few years back I was watching one of the extra features on a Lion King DVD and was shocked to hear Pumbaa describe what I’ve experienced all of my life without explanation. Though I don’t remember exactly what he called it, he was referring to Photic Sneeze Reflex.
Basically, I sneeze at the sun. It mostly happens when I go outdoors on a sunny day after having been inside for a bit. It’s only when I first get outside. I could sneeze up to seven times. My kids – who have the same affliction, just not as severe – will say, “God bless you,” several times in a row between my first and second nasal expulsions of air just to cover their bases.
Panera Bread in Shakopee, MN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vanda and I were at Panera Bread for coffee and a bagel this morning before work. It’s been a favorite of our for several years. There’s always a crowd of older folks at the one near us in Boardman, Ohio. A little community has developed. We see many of the same faces whenever we go in, and even though we don’t know them or even interact beyond a smile or greeting, it still gives us a sense of familiarity.
There is one thing that makes me a little uncomfortable though. It’s kinda funny too.
The apostle Paul said some crazy things. While studying for the teaching I offered at church yesterday I came across yet another gem that had eluded me all these years. In 2nd Corinthians 1:6, Paul says, “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation . . .” (NIV).
My thought had been that Paul means his suffering was a bridge to bring other people to know Jesus Christ. But he doesn’t use the past tense here. His current stress is to encourage the Corinthians and to save them. And, he’s speaking to Christians. They’ve already been saved! And he’s certainly not implying that he is their savior.
The church is full of hypocrites. That’s one of the top reasons people don’t give Jesus serious consideration for their spiritual journeys. One aspect of this truth that has subtly invaded our Christian communities has been on my mind lately: our inability to live in true, hardcore community.
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)
Praying hard is hard because you can’t just pray like it depends on God; you also have to work like it depends on you. You can’t just be willing to pray about it; you also have to be willing to do something about it. And this is where many of us get stuck spiritually. We’re willing to pray right up to the point of discomfort, but no further. We’re willing to pray right up to the point of inconvenience, but no further. Praying hard is uncomfortable and inconvenient, but that is when you know you’re getting close to a miracle!
Libby Phelps Alvarez is a very brave woman. She made a tough decision that changed her life forever. Four years ago, Libby left the church started by her grandfather, Westboro Baptist Church.
I watched her interview on NBC’s TodayShow yesterday. “They think that they are the only ones that are going to heaven,” she said. She was taught that if you don’t go to that church, you’re going to hell. Libby had protested military funerals around the country from when she was eight years old. What’s really crazy is that this church believes that they are saving people with their views.
Libby had begun to question her church’s actions when her family protested the funeral of her friend’s husband who had died in service to his country. It was about the same time that they had started to pray that people would die, though she hadn’t done it herself.