Tuesday, December 20

Catching up with a few random thoughts along the way ...

I've never understood people who aren't excited about getting the mail every day. There are those strange individuals who can go days at a time and not check their mail. At our house, Gina and I fight over who gets to see the mail first! If I'm out of town, one of the things I always ask when I call home is, "Was there anything exciting in the mail?" This excitement doubles during this time of year as Christmas cards arrive from around the country. We love to read the Christmas letters and see what is happening in the lives of friends we haven't seen in years. We love to see the pictures of families and kids and feel old as former students build their own homes and raise their own families. I promise you - we "ooo" and "ahh" over every picture.

Of course, we have been doing this so long that some of these families are getting pretty grown up. Some of those involved with ConC years ago now have kids in college. Del and Rebecca have a son at the UofA and a daughter playing basketball at Harber High here in Springdale. Chip and Suzanne have a son at the Air Force Academy. This fall I watched Jim and Jo's son play high school football on the same team as Roger's two sons. Jan and PD's son is a basketball player at Harber and Phil and Leslie's daughter is a multi-sport star in Siloam Springs. We have got to watch Dwayne and Michelle's girls dance at a football game and compete in gymnastics. Even though some of these were in ConC 20 years ago or more, we still feel like we are a part of their lives.


Venus Flytrap turned 61 yesterday. That's hard for me to believe. Now - how many of you can tell me who Venus Flytrap is???


I have friends who have strong feelings about "postmodernism". Some feel that it is all hype and all the talk about it is wasted energy. Others feel that it is a very accurate description of the direction our world is heading. But I do know that the US is more and more a "post-Christian" society - a society that, for the most part, has heard the Gospel and largely rejected it.

In the November issue of Christianity Today, Philip Yancey has one of his typically thought-provoking pieces about this post-Christian world in which we live. In it, he writes this:

"Reflecting on our conversation, I remembered a remark by (C.S.) Lewis, who drew a distinction between communicating with a society that hears the gospel for the first time and one that has embraced it and then largely rejected it. A person must court a virgin differently than a divorc'ee, said Lewis. One welcomes the charming words; the other needs a demonstration of love to overcome inbuilt skepticism."

That resonates with how I see our world and, particularly, how I see the university campus. Most students I meet are not strangers to the gospel. They have heard it. They know who Jesus is. Most have spent a good portion of their lives going to church. But they have found Christianity lacking. Whether it be the hypocrisy of Christians or other issues, they have made a choice not to take it seriously.

What a world like this needs to see is authentic Christianity being lived out - the kind of Christianity that Jesus describes in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Not just smooth words or slick presentations, but a demonstration of service, sacrifice, incarnational living, and practical love.


Along that line, I would encourage you to read an op/ed piece written by Nicholas Kristof in the Dec. 11 issue of the NY Times. It will challenge a lot of what is going on among Christians at this time of year. Some of you probably won't like it at all. Some will love it. But if you can avoid reading politics into it, it is very challenging. Unfortunately, you may have to pay to get to it. If so, let me know and I'll fill you in.


One thing I remember about the home that I grew up in was that we always received several newspapers. My dad loved them. We took the Ft. Scott Tribune, the Pittsburg Morning-Sun, two Kansas City papers (a morning paper and an evening paper), and the weekly Marmaton Valley paper. In fact, one of my earliest jobs was writing sports for the Ft. Scott Tribune and the Marmaton Valley paper. But that love of newspapers rubbed off on me. We get two papers at the house every day and, at one time, I took the NY Times here at home. But with the internet, I daily read portions of the KC Star, the Washington Post, the Dallas Morning News, USA Today, and the NY Times. Most are free, but I do "subscribe" to the NY Times to get more access to their paper.

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