Granny’s Eulogy

January 10, 2015 — Leave a comment

While preparing for today, I asked my brother Dan for his thoughts and he shared a story that summarizes Granny’s faith. It happened a couple years ago as he and his wife, Cara, were getting ready to move to Indiana so he could take pastoral position at a Quaker Church. Now Granny didn’t know anything about Quakers beyond the Quaker’s meeting game she taught us when we were kids. It’s the one that starts: “Quaker’s meeting has begun, no more laughing, no more fun, no more showing whites of teeth, no more chewing bubblegum.” And then we all went silent, like the Quakers … she used to play it with us on road trips when she wanted us to be quiet.

Anyway, Granny was obviously concerned about the Quakers and Dan going to be a pastor there. After internally processing for a bit she asked, “Do they love Jesus?” Dan smiled and replied, “Yes, they love Jesus.” Granny didn’t have another question, that was all that mattered to her. You see, Granny’s faith was simple, and yet, as Pastor Doug put it the other day, it wasn’t simplistic. Rather, I believe her faith was rich and complex, but not in the sense of dogmatic statements or theological proclamations, rather, it was richly and complexly lived.

In Genesis 1 we read that people were created in the image of God. More and more, I believe those words mean that we were created as those who can, like a mirror, reflect the image of God to each other and the rest of creation, and that’s where the richness and complexity of Granny’s simple faith is revealed. Let me share three stories that highlight different ways that I remember Granny and see Jesus.

The first comes from my younger years and it involves getting back to Granny and Grandpa’s house after Sunday services. While most people would do something like leave the pew, shake the pastor’s hand, have a cup of coffee, and go to the car, that didn’t work for Granny. You see, she had to stop and talk to everybody, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say everybody. If she knew you, she followed up on something you’d talked about the week before. If she didn’t know you, she needed to meet you and find out something she could check in on the next time you talked. Everybody was reached out to, connected with, and embraced. Everybody mattered. Everyone was important. And every name, was remembered. In a world where so many people are disposable, forgotten, and nameless, Granny didn’t ignore anyone … not the tax collectors, or lepers, or sinners, because Jesus liked to image himself off of her.

The second story that comes to mind is more recent and far more personal. A few years ago, sin and brokenness in my own life manifested itself in a very public way. It was painful, humiliating, and destructive, not only in my life, but in the lives of everyone close to me including Granny. Her initial response were the simple words, “I’m mad at you.” After a few months, her daughter, my Aunt Debbie, arranged for the three of us to meet and talk. Over a couple hours we shared, processed, explored next steps, and wept. As the conversation closed, I asked for forgiveness, and she gave it. But she didn’t just give it, she lived it. From that moment forward, our relationship was different. There was an extra twinkle in her eye as she told me she got a speeding ticket. Laughter was heartier, hugs were warmer, and conversations were more real. Granny was someone who could say, “Is nobody left to condemn you? Then neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” because Jesus liked to image himself off of her.

Finally, as long as I can remember, Granny was amazed that she’d reached whatever age she was at. The first birthday I recall her being shocked at was 55. Every year brought another surprise and more amazement. But something happened over the past few years and Granny developed a bit of a wild side. She decided to embrace life in a way that I’d never seen, be it going for a ride in a hot air balloon and handling a crash landing with ease, or putting on her leathers and taking a motorcycle ride through the Garden of the Gods, or taking the family to Mexico and stepping out into the ocean as part of her 90th birthday celebration, or finding herself a younger beau … and Red, what a gift you are. Now what grabs me isn’t so much the activities she chose, it’s that she decided, instead of waiting to die, that she was going to live. It’s as if she realized that her Jesus lives, and that he came to give abundant life. And as she made the most of every day, Jesus imaged himself off of her.

Like I said at the beginning, Granny’s faith was simple. It was Amazing Grace and I Know That My Redeemer Lives. He faith was Away in a Manger and Jesus Loves Me. It Was Abide With Me. But her faith wasn’t simplistic, because Jesus liked to image himself off of her.

This past Christmas, Kiana and I gave Robbie an XBox … or, as he says it, an XBox 360 Kinect.

It’s been a lot of fun, but I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant about getting one. It’s not that I’m opposed to video games, and, perhaps surprisingly to some, it’s not because the XBox is a Microsoft product. Rather, I had some concerns about how it might be used and abused. And that’s why, while there are days the XBox rules, there are also three major XBox rules.

Robbie's mad XBox skills

Robbie demonstrates his “mad skills” on the XBox.

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Our Family XBox Dancing

February 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

The title says it all … here’s our family dancing to the XBox.

A super simple review of how to set up folders (which Google calls labels) in gmail.

A very simple tutorial on how to add a signature to your gmail account.

This morning, when I woke up, I found this email in my inbox. It’s good to be the daddy!

Am I Losing My Lutheran?

January 20, 2012 — 17 Comments

As I said in my post yesterday, while my new blog, Restorying Life, isn’t an abandoning of my Biblical faith, it does flow out of a rethinking of my theology and how I read the Bible. This begins with what I see as the central theme of the Biblical narrative, which has move from strictly justification to a broader theme of the Kingdom (which includes justification).

Now, I’m sure some in the Lutheran world would be quick to say that this makes me a non-Lutheran. Perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn’t. In the end, I really don’t care.

For those who are interested, here’s an overview of how I came to this conclusion … a journey that began with a paper I wrote for my first semester of my DMin work (most of this work was developed in October and November of 2010):

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Late last month, I quietly launched a new blog called Restorying Life. Last week, I began to share that it was online and one of the posts sparked some interesting questions about where I’m at faith-wise these days (I’m sure some recent Facebook posts have done the same).

As a bit of setup, I’ve been writing a series of posts that reflect on my personal journey from a year ago at this time.

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A Year Ago Today

December 8, 2011 — 2 Comments

When I woke up a year ago today:

  • I had no idea it would be the last time I’d wake up in that life.
  • I was clueless when it came to the love of friends and family.
  • I knew it would be another day of trying to prop up my life.
  • I didn’t think healthy was possible.
  • I was hopeless about the present, and desperate for eternity.

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#10 – Promark Financial: Promark has the most amazing corporate ethos ever. We’re a for-profit company that gives away all our profits, and this is in addition to providing custom insurance plans that not only help with basic security but also college and retirement planning. It’s an amazing company and I’m excited to be in the mix! By the way, if you haven’t had anyone look at your life insurance in the past couple years, let’s talk.

#9 – REI: I swear I was born for this job. When I’ve got my green vest on, I spend my time talking to people about gear and products I’m passionate about. I get to inspire, educate, and equip people for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. I feel extra lucky given that I was one of 15 hires out of over 800 applicants at the Denver Flagship Store.

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