Monday Morning Musings for 06.12.17

  1. As our community remembers the Pulse tragedy from one year ago today, our hearts yearn to know, "How much longer, O God, will this go on? What can we do?" With each tragedy, we think "maybe that will be the end of it" but it never is – and that is the sad reality. From Revelation 10, the trajectory of our world is not changing anytime soon. Pulse was yet another sign of the broken nature of our human condition, yet that is precisely why Christ came. He came to answer Pulse and Paris and Brussels and all the other pains of this life such that they will NEVER have the final word. While the timing of God's ultimate work is not known to us, it IS KNOWN to Him. In that, we can take solace. It may be a mystery to us, but it is not a mystery to Him. He also gives us His instruction for living in this "in between" season. He tells John in verse 11 that he is to continue his ministry of the Word – telling others "again" about the nature of the world and the reasons we are to hope in Christ. Again and again, we serve. We love. We give. Yes, we weep with those who weep and we mourn with those who mourn, but we know that our tears will one day be taken up in the larger joy of God's redemptive plan. Yes, the world is going to end, but in that day, in the word's of Tolkien, "A great shadow has departed…and everything sad is going to come untrue."
  2. I am so grateful for the 170 volunteers who are taking part this morning in Operation Breakfast Blessing all over our city. FPCO and the Camaraderie Foundation are serving breakfast at the new OPD Headquarters, the ORMC Trauma unit, the 911 Call Center, and all 17 Fire Stations as a way to say thank you to the many first responders who were part of the Pulse tragedy. We realize we will not be able to reach everyone, but we hope we can encourage many by the posters that will be left filled with messages of hope and love from our members. Marnie Waldrop has run point on the project and I owe a huge "thank you" to her – and to the many who got up early to take part!
  3. I am not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but it bothers me how long Facebook pages remain for people who are deceased. I know there are many elements a family must tend to at such a time, but when it's been 18 months and the page is still active, I wonder if it has simply been overlooked. Perhaps the family has not been able to take steps in grief recovery or they are hoping for new messages of condolence, but it feels disrespectful to those who have died to still have them popping up in social media. 
  4. THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: The mega-wealthy who love to fish are building $15 and $16 million homes in Wyoming. Part of that money is to create and stock personal streams that also have computer-controlled conditions.
  5. I found it disconcerting that NATO admitted to not having the capacity to defend itself primarily because of a huge lack of equipment necessary to move troops and supplies during wartime. You can have all the weapons in the world, but if you can't get them where they are needed, you're not going to make it. For example, Britain – one of NATO's most critical members – had 55 destroyers or frigates in 1982. Today, they have only 19 with a diminishing defense budget.
  6. Nearly one year ago, July 2016, my wife surprised me on the 25th anniversary of my ordination by establishing The David Swanson Scholarship for Pastoral Ministry through the Heart of the City Foundation. One of my goals in the second half of my ministry is to help raise up the next generation of pastoral leaders, so her gift was deeply meaningful. In order for a fund to start distributing gifts, it must reach $100,000. Than you to the Session of FPCO, it has just surpassed that number – and in less than one year! I could not have made it through seminary without the generous support of Highland Park Presbyterian, so I am thrilled that FPCO will now have the opportunity to help seminarians preparing for pastoral/pulpit ministry. My goal is to have it reach $500,000 with distributions of $20,000 per year by 2027, so please consider taking part!
  7. EXPLOSION OF INFORMATION: It is utterly mind-blowing to consider the exponential growth of information in the world. If you took all the information generated in the world up to 2010 and called it X, we generated X plus another 200% in just four years. Between now and 2027, we will create X times 10 to a power that I can't even conceive of…but in all of that, human beings cannot process any more information than we did before this started. Thus, managing how we process and filter information will be one of our great cultural challenges for the foreseeable future. 
  8.  In spite of all my friends in Nashville and TN, I have been pulling for the Pens in the Stanley Cup. My favorite moment of the series was in game five when Crosby had Subban's head and was hitting it on the ice. The announcers and Preds fans went nuts, but he was not banging his head hard - it was love taps on the ice. Was it just hockey Jim Poorman? Dean Weaver?
  9. FROM THE MANAGEMENT OF MMM: I spend about two and a half hours on Sunday afternoon/Monday morning writing and editing these posts. I don't think they are going to change the world, but I do hope they provide a bit of perspective, spiritual encouragement, and maybe a laugh or two. This summer, I am going to tap the brakes a bit and rest more on my weekends, so MMM will hit pause until the beginning of August. Grace and peace to you all, David.