Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Weep with Those Who Weep

Helpful piece on what to say when your friend is grieving.

Yes, You Should Say Something

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Turning Toward

Based on just a few factors, psychologist John Gottman can predict with up to 94 percent certainty whether a marriage will succeed or fail. Changing your mindset and behavior in a few ways changes everything.

I read this fascinating and concise article a couple of years ago and reading it again has been a good exercise for me.

"He invited 130 newlywed couples to spend the day at this retreat and watched them as they did what couples normally do on vacation: cook, clean, listen to music, eat, chat, and hang out. And Gottman made a critical discovery in this study—one that gets at the heart of why some relationships thrive while others languish."

The Masters of Love

Country Romance

Love these two pretty songs about real, grown up romance.

Remember When -- Alan Jackson

Something That We Do -- Clint Black

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Brother from Shangri La

Tales from Shangri-La features The Brother from Shangri-La's blog responding to a recent Nicholas Kristof article:

Resisting the Talisman View of Salvation 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Be encouraged by good and saddened by evil, but surprised by neither.

Friday, August 5, 2016

It's Kind of a Mess (a first world analogy)

The contents of the pantry are stacked all over the dining room table and buffet -- canned beans, boxes of Minute Rice, Windex. Everything from the kitchen countertops has been dumped on top of tables in other rooms, too. The adjoining family room is full of boxes and old sheets are covering all of the furniture and electronics. The doors are completely off the refrigerator, leaning against the garage wall, and the fridge is unhooked and ready to be moved.

The People Who Live Here are mildly irritated by the topsy-turviness. And any stranger who might turn up at my front door right now would think we are hoarders -- or complete slugs when it comes to home upkeep.

It's a mess around here because we are having contractors remove our old cracked, chipped, bright-white tile kitchen floor.  It is scratched and damaged, and its perfectly white finish lacks cleaning mercies, showing every tiny crumb and muddy print. Its network of fissures gather and hold dirt and debris.

This is The Big Fix we decided to do when we first moved in. It's time someone took this on and addressed what has become a problem in function and form in the central room of the house -- which is otherwise bright and sunny and in good condition.

For The Fix, first, the workers have to demolish and tear out the old tile floor (which is probably quite happy with the idea of staying put and resistant to being dismantled and pitched). Then the workers will go deeper and remove the subfloor -- in a house this age the subfloor will be affected by the trouble up-top, and it will also cling to the old tile after many years of being stuck together.

Only then they will put down the new sub floor, floor, and toe molding. The new floors -- a warm wood which will be friendlier to look at -- will have more give and grace in our life of sports-oriented teenagers, muddy dogs, and lots of cooks in the kitchen. It will also help bring the kitchen in line/in sync with the persona? identity? (value) of the rest of the house.

This reminds me of the renovation of the soul. A small or big project in soul renovation and upkeep can be so messy. A Soul Fix can be so messy.

Renovation and Repentence. Renovating the soul -- repenting -- in one area can open a pandora's box of other problems (mixed metaphor alert) -- invisible subfloors, now made visible, which need to be replaced.

The labor of the Christian in the strength of the Spirit -- confession, repentance, redirection -- itself also spills into other parts of life which were formerly tidy, and can cause a general air of upheaval, disarray, upset, and even temporary ugliness.

To get beauty and function, you have to be ready for the Holy Spirit to undo, unravel, unpack the soul. Then it can all be corrected and rebuilt and put back just-so, in the proper places, looking and functioning very differently indeed.

What If You Don't Weed Your Garden?

Butterfield on each of us driving a fresh nail through sin each day, on the church functioning as a true family for singles, and the different challenges she faces at secular vs Christian campuses.

No Free Passes