Monday Morning Musings for 03.13.17

  1. Typically in Florida, the weatherman announces a hurricane is coming and the response is a collective, "Yawn." We just don't do much to get ready, but with few exceptions, that seems to be our approach in life. We live in such a hurry that thoughtful preparation is not high on our list, and that's certainly true spiritually. In Mark 13, before Jesus even leaves the first time, He tells the disciples that there are things they need to prepare for before he comes the SECOND time. He tells us that certain things are on the way well before He comes, so "Get ready. Be on guard. Watch out!" Yet, we live as if we have all the time in the world. The truth is, we don't! Lives are at stake and Kingdom business is at hand. If we don't know when He's coming, then our task is to live with greater spiritual urgency. Such living is not a burden, but a blessing as we live with Kingdom purpose in every dimension of our lives. Further, when things get a little hairy, and they WILL, He says, "Don't be afraid or anxious. The Master is coming." We know the Master is both righteous and good, so when He comes, He will bring all things under HIs rule. Yes, we will have to wait, but we can live now with security and confidence, serving others as we seek to be a foretaste of His coming Kingdom.
  2. When Jesus instructs HIs disciples of those coming challenges, wars, and rumors of wars, He says, "It's not the end – just the beginning of the end", so "don't be afraid." As our culture endures a difficult season of intense polarization, I continually hear people describe how "scared" or "afraid" they are. I understand the concern, but those are faith moments. It makes me wonder if the college students and Millenials who express such fears most are seeing life through a lens of faith. I have seen nothing that God has not already predicted, so I can find peace beneath His sovereignty knowing that He is the sole author of history, even when that history unfolds in ways we struggle to understand. Jesus said in John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me." 
  3. THIS IS US: (Spoiler alert – if you have not seen the most recent episode, don't read this one.). As I have said before, this is the best television show I've seen in some time, but one thing from last week left me disappointed. It was a great episode, especially the line describing William as "a soft armrest for weary souls to lean on." Oh, that more of us could be described that way. The show also made it very clear that our pain is going to come out, one way or another. Stuffing it is never healthy. It's only as we bring our pain to the surface that we experience growth and healing. So, my disappointment: in an episode with death at its center – one current and one long ago – there was not a single spiritual word or question. I certainly harbor no hope that there is any grand faith discussion, but in the face of death, it seemed something was obviously missing. They stood in their home, not a church or other such place; they had no community outside of family – none; they said nothing of any life that might follow death, no hope of seeing the deceased again. They talked about how much he influenced their lives and how much they'd miss him. That's all appropriate, but such leaves us staring at a gaping hole of grief while hiding the existential question in every heart: is there anything after this?
  4. A DAY WITHOUT: In the spirit of two recent protest days – a day without an immigrant and a day without a woman – I thought I might encourage anyone else thinking about staging such a day with a few suggestions. I'd like to see a day without a protest, a day without a tweet, a day without kale or peas, a day without cable news talking heads, a day without poverty, a day without spending millions of taxpayer dollars on lavish benefits for those hired or elected to manage that money, a day without selfies, a day without lies, a day without flies, roaches or mosquitos, a day without pain, a day without hatred, a day without vulgar, explicit language in song lyrics, a day without cramped seats on airplanes, a day without broken marriages or infidelity, a day without selfish individualism, a day without smartphones or Facebook (so we might actually talk to each other in person), a day without cancer, a day without a traffic accident, a day without alcoholism or drug addiction, a day without dementia, a day without telling people what we're against, but celebrating what we are FOR.
  5. The organization responsible for overseeing medical residents in most teaching hospitals around the country just approved extending allowable hours worked in a day from 16 to 24. 24? I don't know about you, but if a resident has been working for 22 hours, he or she is not getting anywhere near me.
  6. The number one factor that compounds chronic homelessness is mental illness, yet in the budget presented by Florida legislators, it seeks to cut mental health spending by $50 million. Gov. Scott wants to increase it by $25 million. Our state says it is serious about homelessness, but making that cut is working against the very thing you're trying to solve.
  7. Boarding my flight last week, I look into the open cockpit and the pilot has a large "to go" box of Carraba's balanced in his lap. He is working over a piece of lasagna or spaghetti with a napkin tucked in his collar. I have an aisle seat and the cockpit door remains open, so I continue to observe this. Our departure time is in ten minutes, and he is still working on his Italian bread. Shouldn't he be checking the instruments? Radioing the tower?
  8. MARCH MADNESS: It's finally here – one of the best weeks of the year! Tourney time! What seems odd to me is the strength of the field. It does not appear to be as good as recent years, and there is no one dominant team – truly anyone's game. Congrats to Northwestern (Shelley Wilson Lauten) for their first trip! SMU was treated per usual by the NCAA – they win the AAC regular season and tournament and get a 6 seed. Ridiculous. However, I like how our bracket sets up – bring on Baylor!
  9. Why do we do this to ourselves with Daylight Savings Time? I feel like a truck ran over me this morning.