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30th of January

Gloves Off Gospel


My pastor says things much more eloquently than me. He draws inferences from the Good Book, and I thank the Good Lord for it.

Some times I find myself just wanting to haul off and punch people.

But fortunately, I have people around me who teach biblical truth. A wife who loves first and foremost.

It stops my fist before it leaves the proverbial hangar.

Yesterday, Mark spoke on Revelation and made a connection to loving people I’d never heard in my 32 churchgoing years.

And before you stop reading, let me say right here that it wasn’t another LG,LP message. He didn’t make it about holding hands and skipping or anything.

It’s what I like to call Gloves Off Gospel.

It wasn’t highfaluting wish wash, but something that dug in and hit home.

The question he led with: Do you love as well as you used to? (Taken out of context this could mean anything. But here, for a Christian, it means what it says.)

Revelation 2 instructs every believer to – “do the works you did at first…”

This harps on how love diminishes in everyone who starts on warp speed, with mad love for God, and then, well, fizzles out.

Life, politics, saccharine packets, and bad pizza take their toll on our hearts metaphorically and literally. 1st world sucker punches happen and we think this somehow makes it okay to stop caring. I don’t know about you, but I’m not okay with any punch to my gut. From friend or foe.

My stomach hurts just typing this. I want to avoid the lull of carelessness. Forever.

Can we pray for impenetrable faith? Do we need extra compassion injections over time? Are we being the body we’re called to be?

January is cold and nothing can insulate like good works & faith.

Do I love as well as I used to?

 

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23rd of January

Language is Universal.


It’s easy to lose our love for words & conversation.

Language can become nothing more than consonants, vowels strung together and overlooked on social media.

I take them for granted every day. I misuse them, too. Saying things I don’t mean.

Writer friends of mine can do beautiful things with grammatical units, prepositional phrases.

Phonemes and morphemes constructed to make magic to listeners in any native person’s land.

I love the impact of language. How it can transport us in fiction like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird to 1930s Maycomb County, Alabama, or relay world news pertinent to us in 2017. It can unite (and often divide). It can be succinct and to the point. It can also be long-winded and meandering. (Much like me…)

But, at it’s core, language serves a purpose: to communicate.

Fun Facts

  • With 6,500 languages in the world about 2k of these have less than 1k speakers.
  • Mandarin features almost 1 billion speakers (well over double those of us speaking English).

“Ni hao,” “Hello,” & “Hola” all greet peoples of the world. And can mean different things in the way they’re said.

I love the unity of language.

You might ask, “But doesn’t language divide & confuse us daily?”

To an extent, but linguistics unifies as well.

Studying languages as obscure as the Pirahã language of Brazil (comprised almost entirely of phonemes) merits importance to those still speaking it. Likewise, just because those natives of North Sentinel don’t want to be invaded by outsiders doesn’t cheapen the Sentinelese language spoken on their restricted coasts.

I like not knowing some things about the French language. It’s mysterious. There’s a hidden code in every language. It allows people groups to learn from one another, share, and also hide in the comfort of their uniqueness as well.

Did you know inhabitants of the island of La Gomera use a whistled language? Or, that the Pawnee tribes’ (Native American) language involved a love affair with syllables (some words possessing over 30 syllables)? Or, that the Taa language in Botswana literally translates to “the language of human beings”?

I found the English language WordClock online and it states there’s a new word added every 98 minutes. As I type this post, the clock shows: 1,005,366 words in the English language. That’s 14.7 new words per day. See it here.

Do you think language unifies or divides? Should it be kept in a lockbox only for natives to speak to natives? Should North Sentinel Island be invaded for the sake of conversation? (Ok, that one is a bit pointed.)

Are you a wordsmith secretly planning to now learn Pawnee, because you read this blog? Buy Rosetta Stone for Pirahã if it exists?

I love the discussion of language. No matter where you are on this blue planet you can take this blog, copy & paste it into a word app on your phone, and in a minute (maybe less), you know exactly what I’m saying. You process it in an exquisite, God-given brain, and you respond.

Magic. Voilà!

 

 

 

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20th of January

Slice of Nostalgia: How Many Do You Remember?


Searching for the band BareNaked Ladies on a school browser and immediately regretting it.

Discovering the face of Jesus in a slice of rectangular-shaped pizza in the school cafeteria.

Purchasing pencils, pens, & paper out of one of these:

Losing more oxen than you care to remember on The Oregon Trail.

Eating a nutritious pack of Gushers to curb your appetite before lunch.

Eating the other pack of Gushers before making it into the lunchroom.

Using your lunch money to buy Fruitopia out of the machine.

Playing Candystand & Nabisco World Mini-Golf in class.

Wearing JNCO jeans you got at Goody’s, because it was absurd not to. (Plugg Jeans were a nice backup.)

Metal choker necklace – check.

Hair glue – double check.

A worn in pair of Airwalk sneakers – always.

Forming a WINDBREAKER club afterschool.

 

 

 

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17th of January

4 years 273 days at Sea.


4 years. 273 days. That’s the length of time one couple has sailed across various oceans of the world with Princess Cruise(s).

I only know this, because of a bulletin that recognized them as distinguished on a recent trip.

I couldn’t process that milestone. 1,733 days at sea. 1,733 vacation days. 1,733 days passed willy-nilly with endless watermelon and copious entertainment. How?

I haven’t had anything last that long in my life, have you?

I mean, apart from marriage, education, and well, breathing. [I’ve been alive that long but not much else.]

The couple’s picture was prominently displayed on the cruise line’s bulletin and I wondered what brought them out on the waters so much. Why would they keep sailing? And how the heck did they pay for it?

Has anything ever drawn your attention for so long? Any passion? Any hobby?

I can safely say I lose interest in things longer than a Netflix season.

This couple obviously found something in those 4 (almost 5) years at sea. But what? Did they secretly know where sunken treasure was and didn’t want to tell anyone else? Their secret resting miles below the ocean’s surface.

Maybe love was prodding them out to nature as they aged. It seems they could almost name a ship after you, if you cruised for 5 years with the same company.

Obviously Princess Cruises thought them significant enough to print their picture. But what was their story? What prodded them to embark for an eternity? Was it a Melvillian fixation with marine life?

Remember that song from the 90s by the band Fastball called “The Way”? It was about an elderly couple (Lela & Raymond Howard) who wandered from home one day and tragically drove over a cliff. Authorities indicated that they left their belongings behind and suffered from forgetfulness in their final hours.

I sometimes wonder what grabs our interests and keeps us enthralled. Imagine that something lasting for 5 years.

What do you care enough about to pursue for 1,733 days?

 

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12th of January

If your resolution was to read more…


WHEELMAN & BAPTISMS & DOGS on sale NOW!

Get a copy for your e-reader or for someone else’s. Get both for just $5.

 

And stay tuned for more updates about my newest novel, SWIMMING THE ECHO, out 5.30.2017.

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