Playing Doctor in the Animal Hospital Ward

Let me begin by making apologies. Today, according to the calendar, is POW/MIA Recognition Day, and tomorrow is Rosh Hashanah. I ask for your indulgence because I am not going to talk about anything too serious today. I can’t.

Grief changes over time, but there are still things that I feel overwhelmed to tackle. These days while I should be preparing for house guests next week, I am confronted with tasks I avoid because they hit too close to home, and a substitute organist job, which I’ve agreed to do, but for which I feel unprepared and out of practice to do well.

So. I will narrate the task I have been working on instead of the many things I should be doing. I have been playing Doctor in the animal hospital ward, which involves the friends I discussed in my last post, should you have missed it. Specifically, it involves two ancient bunnies, given to me when I was a wee slip of a girl.  They are named (as of yesterday) Pink or Pinkie and Blue or Blue Boy, after the famous painting. They are so old that they cannot hold their heads up, and watching movies with the other kids is nearly impossible. So, I have begun surgery.

Yesterday, while Blue was standing guard, I cut an incision in Pinkie and removed all of her innards.  I was amazed when I saw what all came out of her, but realized the problems. The spongy material is no longer springy, and wires that once held up her ears are just poking out and not doing their job. I had to use a crochet hook to get the stuffing out of her arms and legs.

This is what Pinkie looked like without her innards.

Next, I bathed Pinkie with gentle soap. I carefully got her as clean as possible and then rinsed her off and patted her dry with some towels. I laid her down, and her friend Blue Boy kept watch over her. Blue Boy will need surgery next, and I had to give him a little prop to keep his head up to keep an eye on Pink.

Last evening, I brought down my hairdryer and gently used it to dry Pinkie a bit more. Then, as it was getting late, I arranged their bedding in a different location. I am pleased to report that they spent a quiet night together with a little nightlight shining over them.

This morning, I took a picture of the two of them, and Pinkie’s fur looks much better. It is also drying nicely. Before too many days pass, I should be able to restuff her with fresh and springy filling. Then she will be able to stand watch over Blue while I do the same for him.

 

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A Widow’s Modest Proposal to the Lord

Earlier this year, after my husband’s death, I went to the mortuary on business. As I was leaving, I mentioned that now that I am living alone, I find myself talking to inanimate objects around the house. The man who had been assisting me laughed and opined, “that isn’t a problem unless they answer you!”

Well, you can all relax; none of the inanimate objects have answered me. But recently, I’ve pondered that situation and have a modest proposal to suggest to the Lord.

In addition to the usual apologies to a table I run into with a vacuum cleaner, I always try to be polite to the inanimate objects and animals that share the house with me.

There is both a concrete rabbit named Beatrix and a metal guard dog, named Anthony, that keep watch for me.  (Aside, Anthony is currently at the dog hospital, getting repainted.) Also, several dozen stuffed animals grew up with me or were gifts, or in one case,  bought this year, while some belonged to others before me. (Aside, Peter, the penguin was purchased this year. The cocktail muddler was assisting him with balance. Flopsy, the bunny, was a gift to me along with some beautiful tulips this last Easter.)

People created these creatures. Human brains conceived them. Human hands cast them in concrete or metal, then painted them, or human hands cut out the material and sewed them together, adding eyes and ears, tails and paws, and sometimes making them clothes. In the case of Raggedy Ann, human hands added a stitched-on heart.

I regularly talk to them; most of them live upstairs in the Rialto Theatre, and whenever time allows, we watch movies together. They seem to enjoy their new seating arrangement in the family cradle made for my daughter.

My modest proposal to the Lord is that in the Kingdom of Heaven, He breathes life into even the little inanimate creatures much loved by little (and not so little) people of the world so that they too can share in conversations, making them no longer one-sided.

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The19th Anniversary of 9/11/2001

In these contentious political days, when rioters have toppled historical monuments in cities all across America, it is imperative to say a word about history.

In this Sept. 11, 2001 photo made by the New York City Police Department and provided by ABC News, Tuesday Feb. 9, 2010 a World Trade Center tower implodes in New York, after terrorists flew two airliners into the towers. (AP Photo/NYPD, via ABC News, Det. Greg Semendinger ) MANDATORY CREDIT

As individuals, we bring our baggage to the understanding of the world and its history. That includes our memories, education, losses, gains, grief, joy, faith, philosophy, and yes, our knee-jerk reactions. Our age is also a player. Those who lived through wars or catastrophes will view things much differently than those wrapped in cotton wool, who have never suffered a loss.

An overall aerial view, two days later, of the impact point on the Pentagon where the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757-200 entered, breaking up in the process. Shortly after 8 AM on September 11, 2001 in an attempt to frighten the American people, five members of Al-Qaida, a group of fundamentalist Islamic Muslims, hijacked Flight 77 from Dulles International Airport just outside Washington DC. About 9:30 AM they flew the aircraft and 64 passengers into the side of the Pentagon. The impact destroyed or damaged four of the five “rings,” in that section, that circle the building. That section of the Pentagon was in the finishing stages of a renovation program to re-enforce and update the building. Fire fighters fought the fire throughout the night. The Pentagon attack followed a similar attack, two hijacked passenger planes flown into the twin towers of the New York World Trade Center, on the same day, in what is being called the worst terrorist attack in history. The huge American flag visible to the right of the damaged area is a garrison flag sent from the US Army Band at nearby Fort Myer, Virginia. It is the largest authorized (20Õ x 38Õ) flag for the military. 3rd Infantry soldiers and fire fighters unfurled the flag over the side. Each night floodlights illuminated it. Search and rescue operations continue looking for survivors and casualties.

Those who have lost loved ones to wars or catastrophes will also view things differently than those who have never personally experienced loss. I was at work on 9/11 when one of my colleagues came into my office and told me that America was under attack. I went down the hall and watched as the news unfolded. Later, I started hearing the stories of how the events of that day impacted friends and family.

  • A friend’s father escorted out of the tower before his rescuer went back into the building.
  • A friend who had to walk across one of the bridges to Manhattan to get home
  • A nephew in New York who tried to donate blood but couldn’t because they were so overwhelmed with donors
  • My boss, who was in Pennsylvania on business and might have been on one of the flights, but had made other plans at the last minute.  The picture below is of the plane wreckage in PA.

Not long after, I left work to pick up our only daughter from school and take her home. Our family needed to be together.

Thinking about this in our present politically charged days when rioters are pulling down statues, and defacing monuments, reminds me that we dare not attempt to erase history. Whether good, bad, or flawed, history is something we need to remember and learn the lessons it can teach.

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Mischief in Public

It is odd to discover all the things that change when your spouse dies. Particularly, when your spouse was your best friend, the one you could talk to about anything, the one who was deliciously amorous and humorously wicked. My husband seemed to have an extraordinary skill set for creating embarrassing scenes in public. I’ve told this tale on my blog pages before — but it was a while back, and I’m going to tell it again—the story of what he did at a Longhorn Steakhouse in Tucson, Arizona.

We lived in Arizona at the time & Longhorn was one of our favorite places to eat. We ordered cocktails, and he asked the young waitress if she would give him some advice.

No doubt, she thought that he wanted to know about a menu item, but no, it was much worse than that. He looked very earnest as he told the waitress that we were on a first date and that I had just suggested that he come back to my house after dinner. He confessed that he didn’t know how a gentleman should react to such a proposal and wondered if the waitress had any advice for him.

The poor young woman looked painfully out-of-place and assured him that he could probably sort that out himself, and she would be back with our drinks. When she came back, I apologized for my husband (to whom I had been married for some years), and informed her that he was a good guy who just loved to misbehave in public. She looked pityingly at me, and we left her a sizable tip. He certainly enjoyed misbehaving!

It has been over half a year since he died. I miss him all the time. I find myself telling him stories that he isn’t around to hear. I catch myself wondering about the reunions that must have already taken place in the Kingdom–like when he met my parents, or when he saw his parents and grandparents. I’ve wondered if the pets that preceded him in death were part of the welcoming committee.

Mourning the death of a spouse is not a quick passage. Or at least, it has not been such for me. All I can do is keep on keeping on. I am thankful for the time we had, for the family and friends I gained, for the love we shared. Beyond that, I can only pray, trust, and tackle my loss one day at a time.

Last night I had an excellent escape — dinner at the home of two of my favorite people. There was much laughter, great stories, delicious food, and a tour of the latest house project. Good times. My sweet Ronnie would have approved!

 

 

 

 

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Not For the Faint of Heart

Politics and political discussions these days are not for the faint of heart. Like many families and groups of friends, I have friends and family on both sides of the American political equation. I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that I do not have what it takes to engage in the political debate this year.

In my personal life, my emotions are already spent. I am mourning the death of my best friend and dearest love – my husband – and having to relearn how to navigate the world on my own. I am the youngest of my siblings, yet the only one of us without a spouse.

I have been through tough days before. I don’t have to get permission from anyone on how I think, where I get my information, or how I choose to vote. In the end, it seems that for myself, there are two things I have to measure before casting my votes this fall.

  1. Am I confident in my choices?
  2. Can I make those choices in good conscience as a faithful Christian?

Indeed, decisions, particularly political ones, are heavily charged in this Presidential Election year in the United States of America. I think it very much in the realm of possibility to believe that we may one day be called to give our maker account for even things such as these.

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Old School Musings

I miss the public world I used to inhabit. Perhaps you remember it? Sometimes I think that maybe I just imagined it all.  Sadly it seems such a long time ago.

When I was a kid, it seemed as if nearly everyone went to a church or synagogue. My parents’ church grew so large that the people purposely divided themselves by neighborhoods and started six or eight new congregations around town. Now many churches are empty. There are beautiful vacant church buildings for sale all across America.

When I was a little kid, I knew one family whose parents had divorced. By junior high years, I knew of about three families whose parents were divorced. One of my nieces told me years ago that she didn’t have a single friend whose parents were not divorced.   Even though I had wonderful role models and knew exactly what I was promising, I failed in my first marriage.  The stain of that failure still rests heavily on my heart.

Way back in the dark ages when I was a kid, we were told, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Mind you, not every kid did that — but nearly every kid heard it.

You didn’t take advantage of your neighbor’s calamity. Should a storm hit, and people fled for safety, you didn’t bash in the windows to steal stuff that you could sell later. Your parents made sure you knew about right and wrong before allowing you to go out in the world. When you screwed up, they jerked you up and told you how the cow ate pumpkin. They didn’t fight your battles for you, and they didn’t surround you in cotton wool so that you never got in the wars. They held you accountable for your actions.

In the world I inhabited as a child, parents, not children, were in charge. Children were taught how to behave politely in public. They weren’t the center of attention, nor were they given free rein. It wasn’t just your parents who did this either. All the neighbors acted like parents too. There were eyes all around. If I did something I shouldn’t do, a neighbor would be sure to either talk to me about it or make sure my parents knew about it.

Fast forward a generation. When I was married, and my husband and I bought our first house, I hired a neighbor boy to do yard work. I knew the boy and his parents. He showed up. I showed him what I needed him to do, and he did it. There were lots of things he didn’t know, but he took direction well and did a good job.

One day he asked if he could bring a friend along to help. He introduced me to the friend, I explained what I would pay them and what I expected for the pay, and they agreed. I paid them, and they asked if they could both come back the next week. I agreed. But while the kids were finishing up the job, the father of the new child pulled up in front of the house, stayed in his car, which he kept running, and told me that the kids were doing a man’s job and that I should pay them a man’s wages.

I politely disagreed. I explained that a grown man doesn’t need to be told that just running the mower around the fire hydrant wasn’t enough. That it was also necessary to remove the foot tall grass around the hydrant that eluded the mower. I explained that I understood first jobs to include learning to be on time, to take direction, to do what you are supposed to do, and to clean up afterward — in this case, to put clean tools back in the garage.

Grown men already should know that. Kids need to learn it. I told the boy’s father that I had no intention of paying the young boy a man’s wages — and if he didn’t like it — he could forbid his son from working for me. The father peeled off at high speed, leaving rubber on the road in front of our house. I guess he was a little perturbed.

But the boy kept working for me for the rest of the summer. He had manners and learned to do a job well. Not bad for a first job. The two boys came to me in the fall and told me that they would be leaving my employ. They had graduated to their second job. They were going to work at the mall as Santa’s assistants — with a raise in pay from what I provided.

Fast forward to another generation, and I sometimes feel like I no longer recognize my country:

  • history is being rewritten or erased
  • schools, including some colleges and universities, are being used to indoctrinate students
  • Christianity is under attack
  • peaceful protest seems a quaint relic of the past
  • businesses are being destroyed and looted
  • police are under attack
  • free speech is under attack

Holding a religious or conservative view in the present political climate is often quite costly. Periodically I forget – but I have neither the temperament, courage, nor blood-pressure to fight such battles in the public square.

Thankfully, I have some friends, family, and acquaintances who either aren’t culture warriors, or who choose to tolerate or love me anyway.

What about you? Do you have friends and family with whom you can have civil conversations even when you disagree on matters political or religious? Have you experienced hardship or loss because of the rioting and looting in some of our cities? Are you concerned about the safety and welfare of our first responders? Are you concerned about the current state of schools?

Posted in Church, Education, Family, Life in these times, Marriage, Politics, Responsibility | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hurricanes Laura and Hugo

I moved to South Carolina in 1988, when my husband got a teaching job there. Thirteen months later, we learned of a massive category 5 hurricane named Hugo bearing down on the Carolinas. At that time, Hugo was the largest Atlantic coast hurricane on record. The highest wind speed was 162 mph. The cost of Hugo was 11 Billion (1989 USD), which was the highest cost of an Atlantic hurricane until Andrew hit in 1992. Sixty-seven people lost their lives due to Hugo.

Hugo washed one of our favorite restaurants out to sea. It picked up houses and moved them to a different location, several blocks back. It picked up boats and piled them at shore’s edge or dropped a few in the middle of roads. Because of its speed and size, it did damage far inland. The photos of the Carolinas in the wake of Hugo were incredibly grim.

Now Hurricane Laura has made landfall as a powerful category 4 hurricane. The national weather service said that the storm surge alone was unsurvivable. Laura has already done massive damage to Texas and Louisiana. Whatever happens due to Laura, there are many people this day, and in the days and months to follow who will need prayers and help. Many will have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and the death toll is still rising. Everyone has a lot on their hands. But I would urge you to please do what you can to help. Pray. Donate to agencies working to assist those impacted by the storm. Then pray some more.

Posted in Life in these times | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Many Reasons to Give Thanks

Road trips, adventures, and fantastic friends and family are some of the many things for which to give thanks. On the day my husband died, I gave thanks that I was able to be with him. I had sprung him from the hospital and brought him home to our house. That in itself was a huge blessing.

In addition to the remarkable extended families that we gained when we married, we also acquired many new friends. I had lived the bulk of my adult life in the southeastern United States. He had lived the majority of his entire life in the southwestern United States.

The two of us were able to make trips to show each other places that were dear to us and have many adventures that we had never experienced before. Before we moved east, the two of us took a bucket list vacation to experience some Arizona adventures we had never had before. But the adventures didn’t end there.

Last summer, while vacationing in the southeast, we were able to make new memories:

  • a picnic with friends on their boat on Lake Murray
  • a several-day visit with friends in the mountains of North Carolina
  • umpteen visits to meet friends for meals in some of our favorite eateries
  • time to kick back loiter with friends, many of which I had known for decades
  • worship in a church where an old friend was organist and another old friend was a member
  • a drive-by my old house which looked terrific due to the remarkable people who bought it from me
  • visits with three dear friends known to us because of our jobs
  • the blessing of being houseguests of creative friends we had known for years whose very home was an artistic inspiration

Then, as if that weren’t enough, we did something I had never done before. We made a second major road trip in the same year!

The second road trip we took in November to the southwest. We had fun making new memories:

  • we got to be houseguests of my husband’s sister and her husband and enjoy time with them
  • we were able to spend time with one of my husband’s daughters and her husband who drove a gazillion miles to visit with us
  • we were able to worship again at our former church
  • we were able to have a picnic lunch at our favorite picnic table in Saguaro Park East.  Before we left we made a stop in their gift store where my dear husband bought me some wonderful Road Runner earings!  Not every woman is so fortunate!

 

 

  • we got together with many old friends at some of our favorite eateries all around town to catch up with each other and tell tall tales
  •  we spent many happy hours loitering in the homes of friends while enjoying delicious homemade meals and having cookouts
  • At the home of one of our friends, we were able to say hello to our former plant, a gorgeous Adenium, which had been a house warming gift when we had moved to the southwest. By the time we moved to Ohio, it had grown so big that we couldn’t take it with us. Thankfully our friends adopted it. Bless them!

Neither of us had any idea what 2020 would bring our way. Thankfully, the blessings of 2019 were many — and those blessings continue to shower down on me.

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How We Speak

Facebook can be a remarkable place of learning. Posts are instructive to analyze. It is instructive to see how often worthy arguments regarding an important subject only preach to other people who already feel the same way that the writer does. Often this happens because the social issue or political issue they post or link to is inflammatory to some group of people.

If you are writing about something that is important to you then you need to consider what you hope to accomplish by your argument. Do you want to insult or destroy the people who disagree with you or do you want them to open their hearts and minds and listen to you? Do you want to “fire up the base” or do you want to keep communications open in such a way that others might be swayed by your arguments?

I once had a young Protestant seminarian come into my office and tell me, quite innocently, that a particular group of people were stupid. So that we could continue the conversation, I told him that perhaps he ought to know that I was one of that particular group he was labeling as stupid. He was stunned. He stuttered and apologized all over the place. I put him at his ease by saying I was not offended but suggested that perhaps he shouldn’t make assumptions about his audience.

Often we make assumptions about others that are ill-founded. I was once unfriended on FB by a school friend who is living in a committed gay relationship. I sent my friend a private message and asked if I had said something to give offense. The reply was that they had unfriended everyone that they didn’t think could whole-keep calm and play niceheartedly support their lifestyle. Since it was clear from things I had posted that I was a Christian they assumed that I had views about gay issues. I responded that I did have views on that subject as well as many other subjects but that we had been friends for years and that I do not feel it is my place to judge. I went on to say that I have my hands full dealing with my own life – or as the Bible says, dealing with the log in my own eye.

I read a book recently that was very helpful on this subject. It drove home the point that people of goodwill often hold totally divergent views. If you are the reader of something that is bothersome or offensive to you – talk privately to the person who wrote it. Ask about it.

If you are writing something consider whether you want to slander the other side or invite people of differing views to talk and think about what you have said.

Freedom of speech works best when we converse with each other. Give and take, asking and answering, first one then the other. Maybe one of these days I will write specifically about the book I mentioned in the last paragraph. It was a remarkable read – but not only because of the subject of the book.

Posted in Charity, Church, Friendship, Life in these times, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Intersection of How We Speak and Wanting a Seat in the Pew…

The post that follows is one of my earliest — and something that bears repeating.  Especially now — in 2020!

This last Sunday my husband and I accepted an invitation from friends to attend church with them. It is a very different denomination than ours and we talked with them before we accepted the invitation saying that we were seeking a liturgical church in which to become members. They said that they respected that, but that they still hoped that we would come and worship with them in their home church. We gladly agreed.

We always try to visit other churches with open minds, but both my husband and I have had the uncomfortable experience of visiting churches and hearing our own faith communities criticized. Our own faith communities are not immune to this. We have also cringed when we heard people from our own church talk about other Christian faith groups in a less than charitable way. Sometimes it comes from the Pastor, sometimes from other people in the pew, sometimes it is written in those helpful little bits of literature that are available in their bookstore or as handouts in the narthex.

As I said in my first post, I don’t need ways to fill my time and I’m not lonesome. I have friends, projects and people to share meals with. I don’t need a hobby or suggestions for volunteering in my community. I don’t need to be told how to vote or what to think about gun control. I want a place to worship! I want a church to worship God and hear about Jesus.  I don’t go to church because I want a club to belong to, I don’t go to church because I want to be with perfect people, I don’t go to church because I want to check off some box to raise my stature in the business community. I go because I want to be fed, because I am both saint and sinner and need nourishment to go deal with the hard realities of life.

locked door 2 sinners welcomed

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the things that come to mind when I think of open doors and roadblocks:

  •  Years ago our pastor told us in his sermon something like this:
    Dear Hearts, we have had a man worshiping with us occasionally lately who is not here this morning. I have been so grateful that you have welcomed him and made him feel welcome. He is dying of aids. His own church told him he wasn’t welcomed there. He contracted aids because of his own actions and now is dying. Brothers and Sisters he is just like us. He is a sinner before God and just such a one as this the Lord came to die for. If we were well we would have no need of a physician.
    This was an open door and encouragement to us, the members of that church, to be a shining light to this man who so badly needed the love of the Lord.
  •  I recently had a friend on FB that I knew as a child reach out to me and ask if she could talk to me about religion. We grew up in the same church and haven’t seen each other for probably thirty years. I said, of course, she could. She said she was afraid to reach out to me because she has converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism….and some of her Lutheran friends won’t speak to her anymore. She dared to hope I might be different because I had said somewhere that I have family members who are Catholic. We corresponded and I think that I was able to help her. I’m so glad that I had said something that let her think she could come to me.
  • I have a dear friend who was a pastor and became an alcoholic. He turned to his superior for help and instead was defrocked. The list of church people who closed doors on my friend is painfully long. Those are roadblocks and they are sinful roadblocks. One day those people will be called to account.
  • In my own life, I have had friends of thirty years standing who have never spoken to me since I sought and gained a divorce. Thankfully, I have had others who were willing to continue talking to me, praying for me, and holding out friendship and help to me even if they themselves are saddened by the divorce and care for and love both my former husband and myself. It isn’t about choosing sides, it is about whether, in the face of human frailty, sickness, failure, and sin, we open doors or slam them shut.
  • My parents who were married for 52 years until my father died, who absolutely believed that marriage should be forever, took into their home two women who were fleeing abusive marriages and reached out for help. In one case the woman stayed with them for about a month and it proved a wake-up call to her husband and eventually, they were able to fix their marriage and it lasted, without abuse, for decades more until her husband’s death at a ripe old age. That was a case of an open door. Someone who turned for help and was welcomed with a safe haven.

As Christians, we are called upon to bear witness to the Gospel. We believe that something happened two thousand years ago which changes everything. We believe that God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, born to a Jewish woman, to save us. We are to live out, in the world, a transformed life, bearing witness to the love of God, the love that bore our sins, and was willing to die for us that we might live. That is why we go to church – to be fed and nourished on the news that even for us – sinners that we are – even for us who have stumbled and fallen time and again – we have a hope and home in Christ. When we go to church we need to be fed. We need to have doors opened to us. Which gets me back to my story of attending church with our friends.

This past Sunday was a nice surprise. Shortly after our visit, we received a very gracious, personal letter from the pastor thanking us for coming to church with our friends and expressing the hope that the visit was a blessing to us. We were so taken by the thoughtfulness of the pastor’s letter that we wrote one in return…. This is the middle portion of our letter:

My husband and I both grew up in liturgical churches. We love coming to the Lord’s table often, we love the biblical basis of the rich liturgy, we love confessing our faith using the ancient ecumenical creeds of the church, we get fed with the texts of the lectionary,  each Sunday four Bible readings: an Old Testament lesson, a New Testament lesson, one from the Psalms, and the Gospel reading. Long ago we committed our lives to our Lord and daily we refresh that commitment with our conversations, with our prayers, with our heads and hearts.

There are some things, however, that we would like you to share with your congregation if you think they are appropriate. We were both taken by the gracious welcome of your church members. We were greeted warmly by so many and had extended conversations with quite a few. The singing of your congregation was inspiring! The choirs were outstanding and certainly conveyed their delight in the Lord! We were pleased to find hymns from our own traditions that were old favorites. Beyond those things, we were enriched by your morning message. The teaching that you did was thoughtful and meaty. We learned from and appreciated that experience.

Ron and I have both experienced visits to other churches where our own churches were belittled and criticized. We have had uncomfortable times in our own churches occasionally when pejorative language has been used when speaking of other faith communities. Your witness in your morning message was inviting and helpful without castigating others. We will always hold that up to our own churches as a model for how Christians should behave.

Our churches, just like our homes, are unique. They have traditions, history, unique furniture, lighting, music, and ceremonies. How do we welcome people into our homes? How do we welcome visitors into our churches? Do we only welcome “nice people” – well-scrubbed, nicely attired, who have the appropriate pedigree and educational standards? Do we welcome anyone who shows up – or only the people that are without fault (there aren’t too many of those)?

My husband and I vacationed in Wyoming once. We saw a bumper sticker that said:

Wyoming is full, we hear that Montana is nice.

We laughed heartily at that….but sometimes that seems to be the message of many churches. Is that what we want to say to visitors? I’ve been to many churches where no one spoke to us at all. Would we invite company to our homes and then never speak to them? Maybe we have plenty of members already and really don’t need any more. Do we introduce ourselves to people we don’t know and tell them how nice it is to have them worship with us today? Do we have any guidance for people who may not know the way we conduct our services?

I guess it comes back to the way we speak. Do we speak welcome or do we close doors? Is our website such that only people who are insiders will know what all the abbreviations mean?

As my friend Austin said in his thoughts on the church life of Tucson…the mission field is here. I dare say that today it is in many cities and towns across America. Do we still answer the call of the Gospel imperative to tell the good news….welcoming the “least of these” or do we ignore our neighbors?

The congregation where our friends took us was welcoming as was their pastor.

They made a faithful witness. What about you? What about your church?

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