Friday, March 11, 2011

Sharing Rooms

Each of my two sons had their own bedroom - paradise, right?  You get your own space, I get mine.  I don't have to worry about you touching my stuff.  At bedtime, I can listen to the ball game and you can listen to your cd book.  No fusses, no arguing about whose mess this is when Mom says to clean it up.

Well, this week they surprised me.  I got the call (while I was at work): "Dad, we want to share rooms again."  I may have rolled my eyes (don't tell anyone) at first, then postponed the conversation till I got home that evening.

"We just want to be together.  Sometimes it's lonely having your own room."

We talked through the trade-offs: compromising with the music selection, sharing closet space, working out the conflicts, that kind of thing.  Then we jumped right in with furniture moving.  In the context of disassembling bunk beds, I overheard one say to the other, "Let's go put this in our room.  Isn't it nice to say OUR ROOM again?"

My heart is warmed.  My kids are getting it.  Sometimes it really is better to be together.  Sometimes my need to be WITH you should trump my desire to have my own stuff protected.  I'll bet we can work out the other stuff along the way.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Bridge Guy

I have become fascinated by, and drawn to, bridges and pictures of bridges. A certain amount of this fascination is architectural and aesthetic, but at the core it's still a functional fascination.

Somebody somewhere decided that these two things must be connected -- two land masses, or two sidewalks, or just two sides of one creek. Could a person drive from Oakland to San Francisco without using bridges? Sure, if he's willing to drive 80 miles of California city traffic! Who's going to do that when the Bay Bridge is only 4.5 miles long?

Or, if getting to Grandmother's house requires going "over the river and through the woods," how exactly am I getting over this river? Jumping? Hang gliding? Scuba diving? (Oh wait, that would be "under the river and through the woods.") I sure hope somebody has built one of those Vermont-style covered bridges!

And again, I'm back to the church. The fractured body of Christ, which somewhere along the way decided that generations don't really belong together. They're so different from one another; let's keep them apart. Teens on one island, grandparents on another. I'm sure we can think of lots of great reasons for this, and I certainly would expect to have some age-specific instruction, but what we seem to end up with is, well, segregation.

Do we not need bridges between the generations? Do we not need wise mentors handing life-tested faith downward? Do we not need the youthful enthusiasm to infect the whole church body, including those wise mentors?

Who will build these bridges?

I'm working on it. Anybody else?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Birds of a Feather

“Birds of a feather flock together.”  A proverb based in observation.  It’s true.  If you drive across South Park in central Colorado, you may see a herd of cattle, a herd of buffalo and a herd of pronghorn antelope.  But you will rarely see them intermingling.  The different species are not enemies, they’re just different.  They just like to be with their own kind. 

People do the same thing.  We tend to gravitate toward those who resemble us – similar economic status, common age demographic, same skin tone.  We even “herd” with people who like the same stuff we do – baseball, or country music, or the opera.  Even our churches seem to follow this maxim.  We can “flock together” with similar personalities and style preferences.  “I prefer to worship with others who are as expressive as I am,” or, "I like to be with people who see how important traditions are."  

But what if the church is supposed to be different?  What if what hold us together really is stronger than what keeps us apart?  Or, what if our ‘feathers’ were the marks of our common salvation in Christ?  Could we maybe become a different kind of bird altogether?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have it Your Way

We are Americans.  Don’t tell us we can’t ‘have it our way.’  We can drive through the fast food place and in mere minutes not only have a meal in our car, but we can specify exactly what we do and don’t want on that burger.  I can get grilled onions, or no onions, or vanilla syrup in my Coke.  

We assume this is our right as Americans – the right to unlimited choices, the right to go somewhere else if we didn’t get exactly what we came for.  We are offended if someone suggests that this is a mere convenience.  We assume this right in most areas of our life – the restaurants we choose, the movies we watch, even the churches we attend.  We can select a local church based solely on whether or not we like the music.  

We’re Americans.  Don’t tell us we can’t have it our way.

But what if the Church is supposed to be different?  What if when Paul instructed us to ‘prefer one another,’ or ‘outdo one another in showing honor’—what if he meant that I need to lay aside some of my own desires, and actually help you achieve some of yours?  

What if I applied this idea to our church family’s worship gatherings?  What if ‘preferring one another’ means that I stop insisting on getting my own worship service, with my own musical style preference?  

Is it possible that I would experience something much better than a drive-through burger with grilled onions?