Sunday, February 28, 2010

don't you think

that it is possible to be gracious and loving even when you disagree with someone? And if that someone is a non-believer, isn't it even more important to love them first, and foremost?

We disagree on some things, it is true. There may even be anger there sometimes. But when I look into your face really carefully, I see that you are a child of God, and I know that Christ loves you. And really, my friend, that is good enough for me.

So, Christians, yes you must speak the truth, but never ever forget that you must do it in love. Because love, at the end of the day, is the most critical piece.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent begins

I am giving up some things. I decided to stop drinking alcohol for the duration. And sweets. I am going to read the New Testament. Maybe do a scripture reading at dinner with the family. And we, as a family, are giving up frivolous spending. By the end of Lent I will have a few extra bucks to donate to charity.

Mostly, Lent is a time of recognizing our failings and offering them to God, who seems to receive them with such grace and love, as though they were the most precious gifts we could give him. I lay them at your feet, my sweet Jesus.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

You know,

Lord, I have been lifting up some pretty big prayers lately. I have been praying for the people I love. And I have to send up a great big thank you for all the prayers you are answering.

So, today, I pray for my friend who is at a turning point and needs some clarity and conviction that he is on the right path.

And I am praying for my mom, who is struggling with her health insurer over a medication that literally saves her life. I am praying that the issue will be resolved and that she can feel less anxiety and fear, and rage, about it.

And I am praying prayers of thanksgiving for the healings, the miracles I have witnessed lately.

I praise you, Lord. And thank you.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Every year, I confess on this blog that I love Lent. And frankly, I would be hard pressed to express why, exactly. Perhaps it is the intentionality of it. It intrigues me to choose a fast, a sacrifice, and offer it to God. And lest I think that I am going to someday become some sort of perfect Christian, I always seem to fail at least once or twice during the season. One year I gave up chocolate. Another diet soda. One year Nguyen and I carried the TV to the basement for the duration. The kids were allowed to watch if they were at a friend's house, but in our house we gave it up. I managed to get through the whole season without watching tv until Maundy Thursday, when, between the service at church and the overnight vigil, I stopped in a Chinese restaurant for dinner and sat myself squarely in front of the TV and stayed glued to it for the entire meal. I had, in other words, consciously broken my fast. I had, in some small symbolic way, fallen asleep in Gethsemane. Good thing I had a confession planned for the next day.

I have been spending a lot of time with Evangelical Protestants lately. Most of the women I work with, the board at my organization and most of our donors are Evangelicals. They don't, as a rule, observe the seasons of the church year the way that Episcopalians and Catholics do. I am sure they must find the emphasis on self mortification rather strange, if not downright pharisee-ish. But for me, it has yet to become an empty ritual. For me, it is an invitation to step into the desert with Jesus and lay my heart bare in the glaring sun. My faults and sins will rise to the surface, as they always seem to do. My ego will struggle with surrender. My desire to be perfect will be pitted against the human reality of my imperfection. Spiritual pride will, if I am lucky, be given some time off.

And many many times a day I will cry out to Jesus for help.

I love Lent.