Thursday, May 30, 2013

You are there and I am here.

I read a Facebook post this afternoon from someone affirming how the presence of a certain online community had strengthened her during a tough week.  Oh how I know what she means.

I have friends all over the world who are connected by the magic of the internet.  I've met a lot of them but not all.  I have prayed for them.  Laughed with them.  Had snarky little fights with a few.  Debated theology.  Wondered about life.  And then in less public forums, I have cried and been comforted.  Had my hand figuratively held.  Had my butt kicked a few times when I needed it.

The Bug Man finds it all rather mystifying.  He's not interested in chatting or texting or posting.  For him, the internet is what allows him to watch his beloved St. Louis Cardinals even when they're not playing the local team.  Anything else is unnecessary fluff.

Some would argue that all this technology is causing us to be insulated and separated from the world.  I know when my daughter texts at the dinner table I find myself feeling disconnected from her.  I suspect I do not have her full attention in those moments, no matter how scintillating the conversation may have been before her phone made that chirpy little bing bong noise.   And yet-  I have friends all over the world.  And just knowing that they are there, makes a world of difference.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Romans Five and the Dandelions

While many of my friends and colleagues were debating on how to best discuss the Trinity with the kids at church-  I ran in the other direction.  I've been down that path before and I just didn't want to go there today.

Instead we talked about the lesson from Romans.  

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

The trick it seemed was how to give them something concrete to attach to the abstract.  They had great definitions for suffering, endurance, character and hope.  Then we talked about dandelions.  The suffering, pushing, struggling and change that a seed must go through in order to spring from the ground.  The endurance of a young seedling that has survived and kept at the growing process.  The character of a bright yellow flower with strong roots and confident color.  And the hope as the clocks float in the air to become new flowers.

Does it connect?  It worked for me.  Time will tell what the young theologians will remember.