Saturday, December 20, 2014

Back In Time

As some of you are aware, I have returned recently to social media.
I blog, have a page on Facebook, and will be podcasting soon.
I have found the experience so far to be fun but also a bit disturbing.

I guess that I was taken aback on Facebook by how old everyone is.
It is no small thing to ‘jump’ 30+ years into the future and see your friends with grown kids that also have kids of their own. I feel like one of those frozen astronauts that have been thawed out after years in space.
Of course one major exception to that sci-fi scenario is that, though I have aged too, it has been more gracefully.  

But, to stay with that time-elapsed theme for a moment: Why all the cat videos? Has the world gone insane while I was in cyber-sleep?

I suppose that had I started with everyone else that phenomenon would seem natural by now (meow) and would have affected me too (meow) but I think I’m okay since I haven’t been on social media but (meow) just a few weeks.

As you might have imagined being gone for so long and then suddenly appearing after all these years has surprised some of my old friends and acquaintances and they in turn have contacted me.

Just the other day I got a call from one of the teens that was in my youth department back in the early 80’s. This fellow whom I have not seen in 32 years called me up and we talked a bit about the ‘old days’.  

Now I have to tell you, as he talked I was scared. Back in those days when all this impressionable youth was under my spiritual care I had tons of zeal but little knowledge. I was out to save them and to save the rest of the world too. I have always wondered how badly I might have messed up those poor, unprotected, middle-class, white, American Christian teenagers. So, as he talked, I listened for clues for damage assessment. 

We talked for a while and as the conversation was wrapping up he made a statement that caused me to break out in a cold sweat. “Laurence,” he says, “I remember two things that you taught us that I have never forgotten.”

Oh no! I thought. I am so sorry, Lord! This kid, this now 40 Something, is going to share with me two ideals or two principles or two heretical statements that I impressed upon him with all the thermonuclear earnest I had back in those days!
He had gone to college, gotten married, worked for 30+ years, had children of his own, raised them to adulthood, his kids have had kids…how might I have screwed this all up?!

I was cringing as he continued, “You told us”

I listened in the fetal position…

“That if we guys shaved while in the shower, then when we got out, we were all done.”

Can you imagine how relieved I was?! Thank you Jesus! I almost started laughing and crying hysterically. 

“You also taught us…”

Oh no, right, there were two things…two things that he had always remembered. I had influenced his life, his family…they in turn have influenced others…what have I done…what have I done!

“…to never wear white socks with dress clothes.”


I came away from this encounter with a greater awareness of how we influence one another. Sometimes the intentional isn’t as strong as the peripheral but there is always some type of effect. No one ever leaves our care, our teaching, our friendships, our parenting exactly the same. And our influence, both intentional and peripheral, is a responsibility given us by our Lord and He wants us to always do well by others.

Still I am a little ticked that that was all he had ‘remembered’.
All that time? Seriously? Is that all he got out of those years of my giving all my heart and soul and…and life?  
But hey, maybe I have made the world a bit more beautiful. There is at least one guy out there wearing socks that match his slacks. Maybe he taught his boys that too and maybe they influenced others.
Come to think of it, I cannot remember the last time I saw anyone wearing white socks with dress clothes!

If only I would have also said something about cats on film

Monday, December 15, 2014

Spice of Life

Pictured here with two 'over-medium' eggs

Incredibly, there were some jalapeño poppers left from last night's party. 

For the uninitiated:these are made by slicing jalapeños in half-lengthwise, filling them with cheese (in this case equal parts cream cheese & cheddar), and then finally wrapping them in bacon before baking. 

So this morning as I was contemplating breakfast it occurred to me that, chopped up, they might just be a great compliment to stone ground grits…and they were. I added some extra cheddar just for 'color'.

I know that oatmeal would have been a healthier choice but, hey, It's not like I am not going to live forever.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Eberstadt’s premise is that familial loss causes a cultural loss of faith. From her introduction: “…family and faith are the indivisible double helix of society—two spirals that when linked to one another can effectively reproduce, but whose strength and momentum depend on one another.”

Walk & Talk

When it comes to teaching our children how to live before God we should be sure to follow our heavenly Father’s instructions.

The format is not to be limited to a classroom, a Bible study time, a catechism Q & A, or even family worship. These are all very good to do (and should be done) but in this we must remember the basic reality that too often the ‘very good’ takes the place of the ‘best’.

The best education in living out God’s Word comes ‘when you walk by the way’. This means that you—as a parent—are consciously aware of scripture’s application as you work, play, speak, and act…and this isn’t lost on the kiddos…because you’re talking to them within scenario and under situation rather than just in a formal setting.  

 Our responsibility to teach our children is to be done incrementally, consistently, creatively, conversationally and naturally. There just aren’t a whole lot of bible passages that you can ‘live out’ while sitting still.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Two great reflections from Genesis Chapter 2

First: God’s great design in creating and connecting Man and Woman.

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam,
and he slept; and He took one of his ribs,
and closed up the flesh in its place.
Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man
He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 

Second: Man’s response to God’s design

And Adam said:
         “This is now bone of my bones
         And flesh of my flesh;
         She shall be called Woman,
         Because she was taken out of Man.”

Here we have a man’s first words spoken to woman: the first words of a husband to a wife. Adam essentially means that he believes the truth that he and his wife are so spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically connected that it is like they are one person. This is grand, intimate poetry.
Yes ladies, a guy said that.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Those Poor Bastards

I’d like to talk to you about, Those Poor Bastards.
I mean this is in a spiritual sense, a biblical sense and so, you know who I mean don’t you?
I am referring to men who do not have God as their Father.

They have no community, no belonging. They have no help. They will never be complete men.

Some of them know this, they sense their need and some, the artist, the musician, the poet have given voice to their pain.

Hear this poem by William Stafford, A Ritual to Read to Each Other 

If you don't know the kind of person I am

and I don't know the kind of person you are

a pattern that others made may prevail in the world

and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,

a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break

sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood

storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,

but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,

I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty

to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,

a remote important region in all who talk:

 we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,

or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;

the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

The darkness is deep and they are to be greatly pitied and we, we should think of ourselves incredibly blessed for we once were those poor bastards.

When I consider my state, being with you, living among others who will watch my back and speak into my life—you are my true wealth; you are my treasure. 

So, lift a glass with me…

To Jesus, the Alpha and Omega male,
who by His sacrifice made us no longer bastards—
but sons, sons of God.
And since we be all sons of God…we are all brothers.

   (Birthday speech, Sidetrack Tobacco/November 24th 2014)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Laurence's Guest Lecture At Apple

So in my dream I poured some vanilla and then some cream into a glass of ice. Then I filled the glass with club soda, stirred it a little and was very satisfied with the sweet, refreshing taste. Then with concoction in hand I crashed the latest board meeting at Apple.

They were, as you might imagine, stunned to have a stranger suddenly show up out of nowhere—but that is how dreams tend to play. It was then that I riffed like Nietzsche’s madman. “You are fools to try and imitate Personality because it is disingenuous.” I took another sip of my homemade cream soda to let the spoken truth sink in. “It is not only disingenuous,” I continued, “but it is impossible. Imitate Principle…that you can do; that can be done.”

I’m still not sure why I would care enough to share wisdom like that with Apple but maybe I’ll send them a letter.


But I am definitely going to try making that drink.