"This is a profound mystery… but I am talking about Christ and the Church." Eph 5:32
- The FPCO Marriage Retreat was a rich encouragement to me. The presence of God was thick in such palpable ways - a wonderful sense of community and growing relationships, heartfelt testimony, hearty laughter, and the joy of seeing couples sitting together all over the property (Mission Inn) talking through the dynamics of Christian marriage. Paul alludes to the "mystery" in the Ephesian text above when after describing the Christ-like manner in which husbands and wives are to love each other, he says that he is actually talking about Christ and the Church. Marriage, then, has a far more significant purpose. It is not merely about the happiness of a husband or wife; it is about the larger purpose for which God brought them together. As husbands and wives love each sacrificially, they bear witness to the world of the way in which Christ loved His Bride, the Church, by laying down HIs life for her. It is quite a contrast to the cultural view of marriage, one based on consumerism – not convenient. As Stanley Hauerwas wrote, "We don't fall in love and then get married; instead we get married and then learn what love requires." Love is not a feeling to be felt; it is a commitment to be kept.
- The greatest blessing of the weekend was talking to couples who had never been to church or a church event. Their view of "the church" was completely built on what they had heard or read – all negative – which created tremendous anxiety beforehand, but they came nonetheless at the invitation of friends. It was such a joy to watch that melt away in mere hours as they found community and love and grace. "We thought it would be about shame and rigid rules. We had no idea that it would be FUN and that we would find such community and warmth – and a new understanding of God.
- Furious would be a good word to describe my feelings regarding the Florida House decision to sweep $182M from an affordable housing fund and use it for other purposes. Thankfully, the Senate has it fully funded, so I am praying the House does the right thing and restores the fund. The affordable housing crisis in this state is only going to get worse, so the last thing we need to be doing is taking money away in order to serve more self-serving interests.
- One of the great movies of all time is The Sandlot. If you have not seen it, give yourself a gift and watch it. It's childhood and growing up and boyhood friendships and baseball – and the fabulous scene where Squints feigns drowning in order to steal a kiss from the oh so beautiful lifeguard, Wendy Peffercorn.
- Douglas McKinnon, former Pentagon official and now a consultant on space, shared that asteroids measuring 50 to 400 feet are not detectable and could strike our planet at any time, causing catastrophic loss of life depending on location.
- THE QUESTION: After watching the last two episodes of This Is Us, and also reflecting on the many funerals I have done, there is a question that people ask in those moments. It is the question that show has made me ask as Jack's children reflected on their father's life – and it is this: What will they say of me? I'll be standing at a post-funeral reception, and people invariably will ask, "Well, when you're doing my service, what will you say about me?" As I think about my own life – and what my children would say of me – I find my answer is still the same when people ask: "Well, that story is still being written, isn't it? It's never too late to do what God is calling you to do."
- As I spoke this weekend about the nature of love: "phileo", "storge", "agape" and "eros"… it was an "aha" moment to realize that eros – erotic, physical love based on attraction - a love that asks 'what can you do for me?'… the love of our culture… is actually one that never shows up in the Bible. Only the first three are used – but not eros. If we'll take time to learn the other three, eros will happen naturally with our spouses – for we have learned the art of love that is Christlike – and true.
- What I'm reading: A Lifelong Love, Gary Thomas
- What I'm listening to: The Rest of our Life, Tim McGraw/Faith Hill