Thursday, July 7, 2011


[God's] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Ephesians 3:10-11

Manifold wisdom.

The first thing that popped into my head was the phrase "drive manifold."  I imagined this as a safe sphere that covers the moving parts of an engine.  Not exactly true, but on the right track. 

A manifold is a pipe fitting with several outlets for connecting one pipe with others; or a fitting on an internal combustion engine for directing the fuel and air mixture to several cylinders (or receiving the exhaust gases from them).  And it can describe a sphere. *whew*

I love the picture of God's wisdom being a safe sphere that covers the working gears of our life.  Of his wisdom connecting things together. 

And for as much as this wisdom makes our lives better, it's not just for our benefit.  The love story God is telling for us, is also a story he's telling with us.

What a thought.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


A short thought today.  It struck me why I love Spock so much.

He's a child of two worlds, and he's constantly trying to find the balance between both of them.

I feel the sting in the bully's taunt: You're neither human nor Vulcan, and therefore have no place in this universe.

Because I often I feel that way

I feel the conflict between the earthly way and the heavenly way.  I know what Paul means when he says, "The flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other" (Galatians 5:17).  I think there's a deep truth in the statement "We're not physical beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a physical experience."  (I can't remember who said that originally, but I hear it from Steve Hall all the time.)

Like Spock, there's just no escaping it.  I'm a child of two worlds.  But could you imagine if Spock completely shut off his human side to be fully Vulcan?  Or if he completely denied his Vulcan side to be fully human?  He just wouldn't work.

Neither would I.

Thank goodness we both have support.

"As always, whatever you choose to be, you will have a proud mother." ~ Amanda Grayson

"You will always be a child of two worlds. I am grateful for this, and for you." ~ Sarek

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


During the last Men's World Cup, the Irish pub near my house promised to show every game live.  But since the games took place during the work day, they also recorded each game to re-play them in the evening.  Isn't that nice of them?  I thought so.

One evening (I believe it was a Sunday), I decided to head over to watch the replay of the Germany game.  I was greeted by a mostly empty restaurant, except for some extremely excited basketball fans who were gathered in the bar area. 

I got the head bartender's attention and asked if he could put the Germany game on on the TVs in the far side of the room.  He quickly agreed.  And as he was getting me set up with game-time fare (The Sunday night special was peel-and-eat shrimp. Yum!), we shared this brief conversation:

"Do you know the score?"
"Cool.  I'll just let you enjoy it. It's a great game"

That was that.  I settled in and enjoyed the game.  Every once in a while the bartender would walk by.  He would chat about the tournament or comment about an exciting play.  He even skipped over the halftime break, giving me 90 minutes of straight soccer.  But he never gave anything away.  He let me enjoy everything as it happened.  It was divine.

Interesting side note:  I didn't watch the whole game by myself.  The soccer game acted like a magnet, drawing all the Europeans in Annapolis to my little section of the pub.  Several accents were represented, and it was quite a fun phenomenon to behold.

There's nothing like watching a live game.  The drama.  The suspense.  The conflict.  The triumph (or defeat).  They're so much more poignant because each moment is history being made.

In a way, I'm are like a DVR -- replaying the hope I've found and the story I've lived. But sometimes I get ahead of myself and give away the ending.

Or other times, when I meet people who are on a faith journey, I feel like someone who's already seen the game (because I've been loving and walking with Jesus for a long time).  So I want to tie all the bows, connect all the dots, and share the highlights before they've had a chance to see them.

But giving away the ending robs them the joy of the journey.  I could compare also it to taking away the wonder of a child's revelation.  "Did you know in the Southern Hemisphere Summer and Winter are switched?"  Bad answer:  "Ummm...yeah."  Good answer:  "Wow, that's pretty cool!" 

The best thing I can do is just let things unfold in the proper time.

Peter said, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15).  I want to take his charge seriously, but I think I could take a lesson from my bartender. 

Clean off a table.  Be ready to talk about the tournament, to share the excitement of a good play, or the outrage of a bad one.  But don't give anything away.  I don't need to over explain. I don't need to tie all the bows. 

I just have to live my story.  To let it play and allow people to experience everything (my story and theirs), in its fullness, it as it happens.

"Do you know the score?"
"Cool.  I'll just let you enjoy it.  It's a great game."

May I have the same wisdom.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bieber Hair

It was my second concert with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.  I was nervous because this was the first time I had been with the orchestra for a full concert session -- from first practice until performance day.  (My first concert I snuck in halfway though the process.)  I got to the venue super early and perched myself in the back of the horn section...hoping to blend in to the folding chairs until someone arrived to give more direction as to how I could help get ready.

After a few minutes, one of the french horn players arrived.  I had this dialogue in my head:  "Should I leave?  I'm totally in his section?  Should I try to make small talk?  We've never really chatted before.  His name with an 'M" I think. Quick!  Think of something clever and Regina-like to say!"  But before I could settle on any opening words, his face got an "oh my goodness" kind of look and he leaned in and asked, "Is that Justin Bieber?"


I followed the direction of his gaze.  Sure enough, there was a very-tall-for-his-age middle schooler sporting Justin Bieber's signature hair.  Employing the clever tactics of semi-whispering and significant look-giving, we spent the rest of the afternoon counting the Bieber look-alikes.  (Little did I know this exchange would signal the beginning of a very close and quirky friendship.)  In an audience of about 50, we counted five.  I make no claims to the thoroughness of our search.  We were also playing music at the time.  But five out of 50 certainly seemed like a high Justin/non-Justin ratio.  They were everywhere!

Later that night, I was leafing through the sheet music that lives in a half-organized pile on the top of my piano.  Somewhere near the bottom, I happened across the song "And they'll know we are Christians by our love."

It struck me that our love should be as noticable and distinctive as Justin Bieber's hair.  That when I walk into a room, people who have nothing else in common should notice the Jesus in me.  Even if they can't exactly name it, it should show.  (Who has swoopy hair like that?  Isn't there some kid who sings or something?) 

I'm sure those kids that day didn't have naturally occurring Bieber hair.  I'm sure they had to use any number of creative techniques to get the look right.  And I wonder how many of them had to wait for their hair to grow a bit longer, anticipating the awaited day when they could pull off Justin's signature swoop. 

Walking in love takes effort and intention too.  It doesn't just happen. 

But the person I'm imitating should should be as obvious as the hair on my head.  In fact, it should show on all of us.
They'll know we are Christians by our love.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I love Po.  I love that he's imperfect and clumsy, and that his belly makes an awesome "boing" sound whenever it gets hit.

I also love that he doesn't turn into a flawless kung fu fighter. He has brilliant moments. But right after doing something fully awesome, he's just as likely to mess up again.

I can relate to that.

But what I love most about Po. In a word: "Skadoosh."

This is a word that only shows up once in each Kung Fu Panda movie.  At the end of the first movie, when Po discovers his self confidence, and in a battle during the second movie when Po has his first moment of peace with his heritage.

No one sees it coming because Po is an average guy.  His belly gets in the way.  He wrestles with these things.  He's a slow learner.

But I found myself mulling over that extra "something" in those scenes. The bit of faith.

It may be brought on by the inconvenient pressure of being the person caught between the rock and the hard place.  Or the acceptance that good, bad, or ugly, this is what you've got to fight with and the bad guy is right there so you're as ready as you're going to be.  Or the inspiration that comes from knowing you're a part of a fight worth fighitng.   Or maybe just the clicking into place of the wisdom people have been trying to tell you all along.  Maybe a little bit of all that.

But that bit of faith makes all the difference.

Deep breath.  Skadoosh.

That's why I love Po. 

(Well, that and his belly.  I do love his sound-effect-laden belly.)

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ~ Matthew 17:20

Friday, July 1, 2011


- - - HALF OF 2011 IS GONE - - - -

So declares a daily email I recieve from a friend.  Don't worry, the daily message also includes a quote, a ponderable, a jeopardy question, a word of the day, and list of notable events that happened on this day in history.  So it's not all gloom and doom.

For whatever reason, I thought about all the half-baked ideas I have floating in my head.  You know those little snippets that will one day grow up to be blog posts?  I have a few laying around.  (Several are scrawled on post-it notes that reside on my bedside table. I'm very high-tech that way.  Now that I think about it...some are currently serving as bookmarks in the pile of books that also lives on/beside/around my bedside table.  Poor things.  They deserve better.)

As a perfectionist and an overanalyzer, I tend to hold onto these ideas for a very long time.  I need to get back in the habit of just writing.  Letting it out while the ideas are fresh.  So I think July will be about sharing my snippets...even if they are half baked.

Stay tuned.

P.S. - For those of you who are curious about the contents of my morning email.
  • "He who lets time rule him will live the life of a slave." John Arthorne
  • Why are they called hemorrhoids – shouldn’t they be called asteroids?
  • Jeopardy category: Shall we play a game? $1000 Answer: Four of these “Hungry” animals compete to “eat” as fast as possible in a “frantic marble munching game”.
  • Word of the day: Supposititious \suh-pah-zuh-TISH-us\   adjective 
    • 1a : fraudulently substituted : spurious b : of a child (1) : falsely presented as a genuine heir (2) : illegitimate
    • 2a : imaginary b : of the nature of or based on a supposition : hypothetical
  • On this day in history:
    • 1863 - American Civil War: the Battle of Gettysburg begins.
    • 1904 - Games of the III Olympiad open in Saint Louis, Missouri.
    • 1963 - ZIP Code introduced for United States mail.
    • 1979 - Sony introduces the Walkman.
    • 1980 – “O Canada” officially becomes the national anthem of Canada.
    • 1987 - Excavation begins on the Channel Tunnel.
    • 1999 - At the first meeting of the Scottish Parliament in nearly three centuries, Winnie Ewing opened with the famous words, "The Scottish Parliament, adjourned on the 25th day of March in the year 1707, is hereby reconvened."
You're welcome. *grin*