Monthly Archives: August 2006

Josh on John 17: Unity in the Church

Josh, the other contributor to this site, preached one Sunday at Fellowship Baptist Church. Listen to it here.

His topic was John 17 and Jesus’ prayer for unity.

Though I was working while listening, I picked up some good points. One of the driving points seemed to be that Jesus wants us to focus on him. Out of our unity with God we find our unity with one another.

In other words, ecumenical gatherings can only do so much. We cannot plan out a “unity” so to speak. What we really need for unity is a life that is formed through contact with our Lord.

Something else that I need to listen again is the part about the unity that Jesus prayed for. Here’s the passage:

17:20 I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony,
17:21 that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.
17:22 The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one
17:23 I in them and you in me that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me. (NET Bible)

Two things are striking here.

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Jesse the Juggler

My friend Jesse is a fantastic juggler. He has a real heart for children and does a great job keeping the kids engaged in the little juggling show.

Check out his new web site:

I’m pretty impressed with his touring schedule. It looks like he’s all over the mid-west.

Part of Jesse’s gig is that he uses juggling to teach children Bible stories. It sounds impossible, but somehow he really makes it work.

Manchester Has the Worst Dunkin’ Donuts

It’s official. Manchester, Vermont has the worst Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in the world. Why, you ask?

– There’s two less people working there than what is necessary to operate a DD.
– The coffee is therefore always running out. They’re always trying to make it. A sin at DD.

So I blame it on the management.

I have always seen long lines in there, even though the parking lot was virtually empty. I guess local thugs ran off with their cars while they were detained inside.

After five minutes of standing in place this morning I decided to run off to Mrs. Murphy’s Donuts . . . right where I should have gone in the first place.

Mrs. Murphy’s has equally good coffee and much better donuts. The local flavor is great. It’s got the “locals section” with all the fellers and ladies hangin’ out and yuckin’ it up.

The Corolla Has Moved On

It began as the car my grandfather used to haul his blue-blazered grandson off to school. He passed it on to me before my junior year of college.

It served through two years of college, four years of seminary, and then a long move to Vermont. It survived a Vermont winter and is now ready for the next move. Yesterday, after cleaning it out on Monday, I passed my blue 1994 Toyota Corolla on to my brother-in-law.

He’s going into his sophmore year in college, but he’s more mature than I was by my senior year of college, so all is well.

I got the car with only 33,000 miles on it. Now 122,000 miles later I find myself reflecting a little bit on my first car.

I remember going through a type of personal revolution during the summer before my junior year of college. My freshman year was kind of chaotic and even somewhat godless at times. My sophomore year was fairly stable. Before my junior year of college God really grabbed my attention.

I realized one night while reading the third chapter of Romans that I had been trying to live the Christian life on my own. That’s right, just like Martin Luther, Romans is THE book for evangelical Christians I suppose for better or worse. It was a dark night of the soul that suddenly ended that evening when I surrendered.

“Righteousness from God,” was the key. How freeing. God wants us to live holy lives, but he makes it happen. That is a religion I can give myself to. God wants to be with us so much that he will draw us to himself. We just have to get out of the way.

And so that summer I dedicated myself and whatever I had to the Lord. The car was included in this deal.

Going off to college in Indiana, I did all that I could to give rides to freshmen and other people who needed a lift. I hauled 20 foot boards in the car for people who needed to move a lost. I made countless mid-night trips to Taco Bell.

The car, in a sense, was my one of my tools for serving others. I didn’t always do things right, but I had a sense of responsibility to use the car that I had received at no cost as a blessing for others.

I grew a little sentimentle yesterday as I looked over at my car in the parking lot at work for the last time. It’s so odd that we grow attached to things. The familiarity, the routine. The air conditioner that blew out more air on low than on high. The remnants of a milk shake around the center consul during a trip home from college, the crusty stain from a peach pie I brought to my grandmother and partially spilled on the seat, the red stain of jello that melted and spilled out of the span.

Good memories. Good years. And now, one of the chief reminders of my college days has passed to my brudda-in-law. It’s his job to make his own memories now. Good luck and have fun taking sharp corners!

What I Learned Today

Today I learned that you should never make a lengthy trip to the DMV, run a bunch of errands, clean out your car, and completely revamp your web site in one day. Then you may stay up way past your bed time like I’m doing right now. And speaking of errands . . .

While in Bennington today I saw and then heard an altercation where a young woman almost ran a man over with her car. He seemed nice enough just strolling along with his little canvas bag. Once the brakes screeched and he stopped dead in his tracks to avoid the car zooming out of the drive through teller toward the sidewalk, he let loose a string of profanity.

She gave it back, mostly recycling the same words and probably saying something about watching where he’s going. Being clearly in the wrong though, she seemed to bow to his escalading torrent of f-this and f-that. It was kind of depressing.

Here we are, beloved creatures of God all scurrying about on our way. When someone messes up, we tear into him or her. The goal suddenly becomes belittling the other person, winning the fight, and making the other person feel lousy. He could have yelled, he could have reprimanded her, but he didn’t stop there. He became abusive and spiteful, just trying to hurt.

She didn’t help. She could have said, “My bad, I’m sorry.” Yet, she tried to fight him back, trying to save face somehow and abusing him in return.

No one made an effort to communicate. The English language was a by-stander like myself for this exchange.

In the end, no one won. He became lost in his fury, consumed with anger and she became defensive and furious. There is no doubt that the man’s words had some effect. It almost hurt me to hear it.

And so my question after this is: “Why attack others when they come close to hurting us?” I have felt this on numerous occasions while on the road. I become defensive and think angry thoughts and even want to yell something or find another way to express my rage.

There has to be something to our own designs for perfection. Abusing and chastising others for their own failures, especially when we feel threatened may be a way to make us feel superior.

And yet, how should we react when the car is zooming up to the sidewalk and we are in danger? I can’t help but relate with the man. I would be angry too. But is there a humble and redemptive way forward even in the rush and hum of every day life?

This is Not a Blog About Fishing

After a year and a half with the “stanch” skin for this blog, I talked with Josh about changing things up a little. One of the most interesting templates around for Nucleus seemed to be the Fishing one.

I’m a novice still with web design, so it will take a little time for me to get things cleaned up and to get rid of the fish, but for now hang in there and don’t be surprised if things are completely messed up sometimes. Actually, things are pretty bad right now.

Of course I start these kinds of projects when I have next to no time for them. We’ll see how things go. The first thing to go has to be the fish!

My First AT Hikers

I was on my way to the pet store yesterday in Manchester since I had some time to kill before meeting Julie for dinner. I was in the turn lane, had my blinker on, and was waiting while droves of cars swarmed on both sides as if I was a rock in a rushing stream.

Looking up I noticed that two fellahs were walking along the road with their thumbs out. They were just about out of town and were probably not going to have any luck with a ride. Once the traffic settled down, I pulled over and they loaded in.

My first two thoughts were: 1. Dang, my car is not that big! 2. I need some kind of odor thing in my car if I’m going to do this regularly.

They were through hikers on the Appalachian Trail with huge packs. What made them unique was their choice to hike from North to South, rather than the typical South to North that is a bit easier by way of temperature and difficulty.

Their names were Grit and Wa——??? I’m not sure. It was a unique trail name that’s tough to pronounce, let alone remember. I’ll just say “W” for now, not to be confused with George W.

Grit and W started together up in Maine with many other N to S hikers, but as people dropped out or moved forward or behind, they ended up hiking together quite a bit. Though W is from upstate NY, the Albany area and then Syracuse, Grit is from England. Not a bad way to see America.

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