Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Spring Break for the Hay family means heading west and into the mountains

HEAD FOR THE ROCKIES. After a long, cold winter and just when the signs of spring are beginning to emerge, Spring Break arrives with its offer of respite and recreation. Lots of folks head south for the beaches. But our family heads for the Rockies. This is the 10th year we've made our way to Breckenridge, Colorado for a week of skiing and snowboarding amid mountain grandeur. What would otherwise be out of our budget range is affordable via the hospitality of David and Lillie, Becky's folks. So, I'm grateful to be posting this entry on my laptop while glancing up at snow falling on the mountain peaks just outside the condo's windows this morning.

ALL IN A DAY'S FUN. In a little while, we'll pull on our gear, ride a shuttle to the chair lifts and spend the balance of the morning surfing down the trails. Snowboarding gives me the same kind of simultaneous release, relaxation, and invigoration as water skiing or a hard bicycle ride. We pack our lunch and store it in lockers at a mountain-top restaurant. Afternoon skiing and snowboarding becomes a matter of adventure and attrition. There's a lot of mountain to explore. Breckenridge has developed downhill trails of varying degrees of difficulty on four peaks. But a body can only take so much in one day. By mid-afternoon, family members head back inside, one by one. I try to stay on the mountain as long as I can or until the lifts close at 4:00 pm, whichever comes first.

DEALING WITH THE COLD. This year it is not so much fatigue as it is the cold that is cutting into our trail time. Spring skiing in Breckenridge usually means 30-40-degree temps on the mountain and plenty of sunshine. This year, we're having generous snowfall every day, the temps are in the teens and twenties, and strong winds whip. I don't feel the impact so much gliding down the mountain as I do on the 10-minute chair lift ride to the top of a long run. For every 10-minute descent that is invigorating, there is a 10-minute ascent on a chair lift that can chill you to the bone. Good cold-weather gear minimizes the impact of the cold and wind, but after four or five hours, it takes its toll. This is not a complaint (no whining), just a reality of the sport and environment. I find that a good bowl of soup or hot chocolate at a mountain-top restaurant in the middle of the afternoon does the trick and spurs me on to ride my board to the end of the day.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Henri Nouwen challenges us not to deny pain and suffering, but learn through it

KEEPING SUFFERING AT A DISTANCE. "We like easy victories: growth without crisis, healing without pains, the resurrection without the cross. No wonder we enjoy watching parades and shouting out to returning heroes, miracle workers, and record breakers. No wonder our communities seem organized to keep suffering at a distance: People are buried in ways that shroud death with euphemism and ornate furnishings. Institutions hide away the mentally ill and criminal offenders in a continuing denial that they belong to the human family. Even our daily customs lead us to cloak our feelings and speak politely through clenched teeth and prevent honest, healing confrontation. Friendships become superficial and temporary.

THE DECEIT OF EASY VICTORIES. "The way of Jesus looks very different. While Jesus brought great comfort and came with kind words and a healing touch, He did not come to take all our pains away. Jesus entered into Jerusalem in His last days on a donkey, like a clown at a parade. This was His way of reminding us that we fool ourselves when we insist on easy victories. When we think we can succeed in cloaking what ails us and our times in pleasantness. Much that is worthwhile comes only through confrontation.

BREEDING GROUND OF CYNICISM. "The way from Palm Sunday to is the patient way, the suffering way. Indeed, our word patience comes from the ancient root patior, “to suffer.” To learn patience is not to rebel against every hardship. For if we insist on continuing to cover our pains with easy “Hosannas,” we run the risk of losing our patience. We are likely to become bitter and cynical or violent and aggressive when the shallowness of the easy way wears through.

THE BEGINNINGS OF HOPE. "Instead, Christ invites us to remain in touch with the many sufferings of every day and to taste the beginning of hope and new life right there, where we live amid our hurts and pains and brokenness. By observing His life, His followers discover that when all of the crowd’s “Hosannas” had fallen silent, when disciples and friends had left Him, and after Jesus cried out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken Me?” then it was the Son of Man rose from death. Then He broke through the chains of death and became Saviour. That is the patient way, slowly leading me from easy triumph to the hard victory.

MEANS OF GRACE, NOT INTERRUPTIONS OF MY PLANS. "I am less likely to deny my suffering when I learn how God uses it to mold me and draw me closer to Him. I will be less likely to see my pains as interruptions to my plans and more able to see them as the means for God to make me ready to receive Him. I let Christ live near my hurts and distractions."

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


This one is a first for me...and I've read the names of lots of churches

Here's the church name on this sign: "The Utopian Society of Spiritual Research Second Zion Spiritual Temple." Wow! Wouldn't you like to get behind the meanings and stories and history behind each of those modifiers!

This church is in an urban neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio that I visited on Friday afternoon as part of a neighborhoods tour with an urban ministries conference I participated in.

It seems that the smaller the church, the longer its name. Or vice versa. I kinda like this name.

Is there any comparison, contrast or perspective relating to the N. T. Wright quote below?

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


What many churches are much of the time, though not all churches are all of the time

I read the following description of the church in a wonderful book titled Simply Christian by N. T. Wright. While some people bear a negative image of the church, for many “church” is....

“a place of welcome and laughter, of healing and hope,
of friends and family and justice and new life. It’s where
the homeless drop by for a bowl of soup and the elderly
stop by for a chat. It’s where one group is working to
help drug addicts and another is campaigning for global justice.
It’s where you’ll find people learning to pray, coming to faith,

struggling with temptation, finding new purpose, and getting
in touch with a new power to carry that purpose out. It’s

where people bring their own small faith and discover, in
getting together with others to worship the one true God,
that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
No church is like this all the time. But a remarkable number
of churches are partly like that for quite a lot of the time.”

That’s what I pray for the congregation of which I am a part, for West Morris Street Free Methodist Church, and for every congregation.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


First crocus of spring

I love winter and snow. I exult in it long after others have turned against it. But even hard-core winter enthusiasts like me are ready for spring. The first evidences of it that I observe are the leaves of perennials like daffodils and crocuses poking through hard soil and flowering. These crocuses opened yesterday, the first day of spring, as a signal of promising days ahead.

What signals the beginning of spring to you?

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Here’s a poem for the season of Lent by Ted Loder

This is from Guerrillas of Grace, that gold mine of a book given me years ago by Kathy Wallace, a resident and advocate for community on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis.

Catch me in my anxious scurrying, Lord,
and hold me in this Lenten season:
hold my feet to the fire of your grace
and make me attentive to my mortality
that I may begin to die now
to those things that keep me
from living with you
and with my neighbors on this earth;
to grudges and indifference,
to certainties that smother possibilities,
to my fascination with false securities,
to my addiction to sweatless dreams,
to my arrogant insistence on how it
has to be;
to my corrosive fear of dying someday
which eats away the wonder of living this day,
and the adventure of losing my life
in order to find it in you.

Catch me in my aimless scurrying, Lord,
and hold me in this Lenten season;
hold my heart to the beat of your grace
and create in me a resting place,
a kneeling place,
a tip-toe place
where I can recover from the dis-ease of my
which fill my mind and calendar with busy self-importance,
that I may become vulnerable enough
to dare intimacy with the familiar,
to listen cup-eared for your summons,
and to watch squint-eyed for your crooked finger
in the crying of a child,
in the hunger of the street people,
in the fear of nuclear holocaust in all people,
in the rage of those oppressed because of sex or race,
in the smoldering resentments of exploited
third world nations,
in the sullen apathy of the poor and the ghetto-strangled people,
in my lonely doubts and limping ambivalence;
and somehow,
during this season of sacrifice,
enable me to sacrifice time
and possessions
and securities,
to do something…
something about what I see,
something to turn the water of my words
into the wine of will and risk,
into the bread of blood and blisters,
into the blessedness of deed,
of a cross picked up,
a savior followed.

Catch me in my mindless scurrying, Lord,
and hold me in this Lenten season:
hold my spirit to the beacon of your grace
and grant me light enough to walk boldly,
to feel passionately,
to love aggressively;
grant me peace enough to want more,
to work for more,
and to submit to nothing less,
and to fear only you…
only you!

Bequeath me not becalmed seas,
slack sails and premature benedictions,
but breathe into me a torment,
storm enough to make within myself
and from myself,
something…something new,
something saving,
something true,
a gladness of heart,
a pitch for a song in the storm,
a word of praise lived,
a gratitude shared,
a cross dared,
a joy received.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Ways to cooperate with God’s desire to restore, renew, realign, and transform people and places

A VISION OF TRANSFORMED PEOPLE & PLACES. I've been reflecting on Isaiah 61. Jesus declared it fulfilled as the new norm for people and places as he began his ministry in Nazareth: to preach Good News to the poor, proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight, release the oppressed, proclaim with our lives the reality of Jubilee, renew the ruined cities, and restore places long devastated. Four aspects of Isaiah 61 strke me anew:

1. God desires to transform and restore both people and places.

2. God intends to work through vision-responsive people—you and me—to bring about renewal and transformation of people and places.

3. God’s vision of a transformed future begins with actions of relief, release, and realignment right now.

4. Anointing and power for being an agent of transformation comes from the Spirit of God.

FOUR WAYS TO BE A TRANSFORMER. Here's how I think about putting this invitation and challenge into action; four ways to become a transformer:1. Make yourself available. Most people are too busy taking care of personal affairs and maintaining the status quo to make a difference in the world. Do you want to see things change in the world? Start by making yourself available. First, to God in prayer, worship and service. Second, carve out serious time to focus on one concern raised in Isaiah 61.

2. Get God’s perspective. God sees potential and promise where others see problems and futility. Read the Bible frequently and deeply to gain God’s perspective on right relationships with God, between people, and in the marketplace. Turn off the talking heads (both secular & religious), challenge long-held presumptions about the way things are, and let God’s hope and promise begin to percolate in your mind and heart.

3. Do simple things to make a difference. Start small and simple. Like: Stop spending so much. Save a little to sponsor a child through International Child Care Ministries. Volunteer to serve others: visit homebound neighbors, tutor children after school, or serve as a mentor. Have a neighborhood food drive for a food pantry. Call someone to encourage them. Volunteer to help build with Rebuilding the Wall (Indianapolis) or Habitat for Humanity.

4. Join with others to challenge a wrong by supporting what’s right. Overwhelm unfairness and injustice by showing how what is fair and just makes more sense. Stand with workers for livable wages. Support Central Indiana Life Centers’ alternatives to abortion. Use fair trade products. Advocate for safe products, sustainable use of resources, and creation care. Participate in food recovery and good nutrition through Second Helpings’ efforts.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


What would it mean for you and me to take sustainability seriously?

GOING GREEN. A relatively few to a growing minority of folks have been taking sustainability seriously for quite some time. But for most Americans, myself included, sustainability has been more a word than a lived value to this point. After listening to Hot, Flat, and Crowded audiobook by Thomas Friedman and reading Green Collar Economy by Van Jones, I'm moving it into value/action territory.

PRACTICAL ACTIONS. I begin with the question: What would it mean for you and me to take sustainability seriously?I'm thinking of... Food. Mobility. Energy. Marketplace decisions. Investing. Communicating. Land use. Household living. Personal health. Waste disposal. Recreating. Compassion-sharing. Economic equity.

FOR ONE, FOR ALL. Some mild thought to small to modest-scale daily decisions might yield some significant impacts when many people start taking this seriously. My friend R. John Gibson keeps signing his e-mails "for our children's children." Another friend tells me he sees sustainability in terms of stewardship: "The journey of stewardship is the journey from me, more, now to us, enough, tomorrow." I want to join in that journey.

SUSTAINABLE INDIANA. It is about buying locally-grown food and farmers markets. It is about recycling and composting. It is about community gardening and civic engagement. And it's so much, much more. I've committed to work with an intitiative to encourage Hoosiers to move significantly toward being fully sustainable in a wide range of areas of living by 2016--the 200th anniversary of our state. Indiana Sustainability 2016 is just getting started and I'm in the process of doing homework and getting up to speed on the opportunities and challenges before us.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


"For religion to become concrete
would mean that its interest became
an interest not in the cherishing and
fostering of religious feelings and ideas
in us, but in communion with persons
-- real flesh and blood persons --
in our actual world."

- John MacMurray in The Maturity of Religion

Friday, March 13, 2009


All I can say at the moment is: Contrary to what many people have been led to believe, think the Bible says, hear on religious radio/TV, or act as if: God doesn't jerk people around--neither for God's sake, nor for theirs.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


One of life's grace-filled privileges

I've been privileged to be a part of some good conversations thus far this week. Nothing monumental, just the stuff of daily encounters, meetings, meals and visits:

In the course of a lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in a few years, I recognize his journey beyond the walls of the church is still one of grace.

In table fellowship, my frustration with one who has criticized and misunderstood me melts away.

A meeting discussion reveals a depth of need of children and families living in poverty in our community I had not before grasped.

During a walk with a friend, I recognize a depth of his commitment to his work and passion for being an instrument of grace in it.

A brief discussion with a staff member leaves me awestruck by the way God's love is making a difference in others' lives through them.

I see the joy of a new father and mother.

I read a chapter of a book in which the writer bears his soul for the sake of my growth ("being dead, still they speak").

I feel the concern of a husband for his just-diagnosed wife.

I engage in an extended Facebook back-and-forth discussion with the friend of a friend over a controversial social issue and it concludes with a respectful agreement to disagree agreeably.

I participate in a weekly roundtable conversation in the heart of the city that has been running for over eight years and recognize how much I appreciate its disparate members.

GRACE BETWEEN THE LINES. None of these conversations are related, and yet the common thread running through them all is grace. This is the "grace between the lines" that I pick up on and try to write about. Grace is not the subject; it is the emergent reality. Grace is not obvious, but it is discernable to the one who watches for it.

GRACE AWAKENING. Grace does not wait for a Sunday or only flow out of an experience of public worship or private devotion or act of service. Grace does not wait to be officially intoned. Grace is present, in between, in the very warp and woof of the fabric of life, if we are willing to tune into it. This is an awakening to grace that I am privileged from time to time to see and hear and experience. And I'm grateful for the fresh reminder that God is a work and doing all things well.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Professional cyclists experience repeated emotional and physical challenges and breakthroughs in a 3-week race

SPRING: BICYCLE RACING RETURNS. As spring approaches, professional bicycle racing is ratcheting up. The Tour of California has been raced. Now the focus returns to European spring cycling events--all prequels to the triple crown of cycling: The three-week dramas of the Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy), Tour de France, and Vuelta e Espana (Tour of Spain). Cycling in Europe is a bit like NASCAR here. It is followed closely by millions of fans, is a major sporting news story, and is heavily sponsored by major corporations.

I SIGNED UP FOR THIS? One can only imagine what goes through the mind of a professional cyclist in the middle of a pack of 180 riders in the middle of a 2,000-mile race being contested thousands of miles from home. The glory is going to a handful of incredibly gifted athletes. The others cyclists, called domestiques, are jostling to promote or protect or serve the team leader. They must think: “I signed up for this? Why am I spending myself out here in the middle of the French countryside anyway?”

WHAT POSSESSED ME? I think similar things when I am bone weary out on the far end of a long bike ride that seemed like an inspired and glorious idea just two hours earlier. The night before, I am anticipating the glory of the early morning across the fields and hills. The morning comes, and I am anxious to get on the bike and go where I haven’t gone before. Midway through the ride, I am wondering whatever possessed me to wear myself out this way.

HOW MANY THRESHOLDS? Those thoughts and feelings usually subside—or are eclipsed—before the end of my long trek. But my own mid-ride emotions make me wonder about the emotional journey of a participant in a 3-week effort like the Tour de France. How many emotional thresholds does a rider confront in that 23-day grind? How many breakthroughs? How many times are riders confronted with the limits of their physical abilities and begin to question their sanity? How do they persevere? What motivates them endure both tedium and pain?

JOURNALING THE JOURNEY. Some cyclists journal their way through the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta e Espana, and other multiple-stage races. I enjoy reading their entries online at http://www.velonews.com/ and http://www.cyclingnews.com/. Usually written in the evening after a long day in the saddle, these brief posts get us inside the head and heart of a professional cyclist and yield interesting insights.

INTERNAL BREAKTHROUGH. Many athletes, not just cyclists, live for the challenge of pushing their abilities to the edge of their known capacities. There, being confronted with resistances in their minds and limits of their physical stamina, they often push beyond a barrier into unknown territory. Doubt yields to possibility. Pain yields to energy. Fear yields to courage. They find something on the other side that is akin to a transcendent experience. High athletic achievement may be the outward outcome, but breakthrough is the internal reward.

SOMETHING AKIN TO GRACE. Continuous confrontation with emotional, relational, spiritual, or physical thresholds is not just the stuff of athletes. It is a way of life for all who want to grow. Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, The Different Drum, and other bestsellers, wrote that our challenge should not be to avoid such intersections or crises in our lives, but to see how many we can experience—and learn and grow through—in a lifetime. This runs counter to the static, pain-avoidance posture many people, including Christians, expect or embrace. Those who live forwardly in the face of fear, pain, and limitations often find a buoyancy on the other side, something sometimes described as “grace.”

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

Friday, March 6, 2009


These mysterious moments are grace points that can result in breakthrough. But they aren't a given, are they?

HE CAME TO HIS SENSES. I'm reading the story of the lost son (Luke 15:11-24) and I notice what happens at the farthest distance from home, at the deepest point of misery, in the darkest hour of his life. Right there, "he came to his senses" (15:17). The whole story turns on this moment. What an awesome thing!

MISERY INDEX? How's that happen? Is it that he hits "rock bottom," something folks in recovery tell me is different for everyone but the same in that you've got to hit it before you get serious about getting and staying sober? Is it that his misery index goes so high it triggers an inexplicable "aha" -- a hair-brained, long-shot idea that he could get up and go back to become a slave for his former father? How is it that grace comes to this most ungrateful and ungracious, wasteful and wasted person at the very moment it would seem evil is about to declare a fait accompli on him?

FROM PERSECUTOR TO ADVOCATE. A different kind of awakening is recounted in The Acts of the Apostles. Saul of Tarsus, a man deeply invested in Pharisaic Judaism and active in its defense against heresy, is on his way to Damascus to find and arrest followers of the Way of Jesus of Nazareth, when he experiences a blinding light that knocks him down and a voice that calls out to him. This awakening is no less a turning point than that of the lost son. It transformed Saul’s way of seeing and acting and marked the beginning of his transition to becoming one of the most outstanding advocates for Christianity.

REPEATED BREAKTHROUGHS. I'm intrigued by such spiritual awakenings. And not just these out-of-the-pits awakenings, but spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and relational breakthroughs that occur throughout life. I think I've had several of them along the way to age 50; I pray I will experience more. What's particularly interesting to me is that breakthroughs tend to (1) occur out of a crisis or search of some sort, (2) come at our blind side, (3) at a time when we may least expect it, (4) and become a critical turning point for our future. There is a serendipitous and grace-gift quality to them. Have you had such experiences? And what do you make of these awakenings?

HOW MANY CRISES CAN WE EXPERIENCE? I recall M. Scott Peck talking about seeing how many crises could be crammed into one life (he might not have used the word "crammed") for the sake of the breakthrough and spiritual/emotional growth that tends to come out of such wits-end experiences. I can't find that quote, but I came across another Peck statement that relates:
"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are
feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in
such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our
ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
CAN'T "MAKE IT HAPPEN." These seem not to be experiences that can be reproduced, scheduled, or marketed (though I do believe such formula-bottling and marketing is, in fact, doing brisk business in spiritual--yes, including church--circles these days). But I am wondering if we can cultivate conditions in our lives where awakening and breakthrough are at least more likely to occur?

FIVE WAYS TO CULTIVATE BREAKTHROUGH. I am NOT recommending putting oneself in the condition of the lost son. But noticing the situations out of which I have experienced a few breakthroughs, I suggest five ways to cultivate the conditions of awakening--all the while knowing that grace can, does, and will occur totally apart from any conditions any of us can postulate or imagine.

1. Unplug and tune in. I wonder how likely it is that we will “hear God” amid the noise of high technology, constant entertainment, and what Richard Foster calls “manyness and muchness?” Try turning off the gadgets; get away from noise. Withdraw from chatter for a while. Be quiet for a spell and listen for God’s “still, small voice.”

2. Acknowledge and embrace your own brokenness. We compare ourselves to others constantly, often seeing our relative “good-ness” in comparison to others’ relative “bad-ness.” This is self-justification and it blocks God’s grace. The Bible says: “Humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up.” The Apostle Paul promoted the saying among the so-called sanctified: "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst."

3. Serve others. Many have experienced spiritual breakthroughs after they made a decision to serve others--and followed through. Awakenings rarely occur when we’re self-absorbed in our own seeking and anxiousness. Do something for someone else. No strings attached. Don't serve to save. Don't serve to witness. Don't serve for reward or brownie points. Just serve. "Spend yourself on behalf of the hungry," Isaiah challenges.

4. Put yourself in a place that causes growth. Stop avoiding opportunities for growth. Don’t be a slave to your fears. Go beyond your limit. Adventure forth in faith. Develop an inquirer’s heart. Take a calculated risk. Go back to school. Break denial. Avoid difficulty no longer. Determine to gain knowledge and, with it, pray for wisdom. Breakthrough often comes by moving intentionally beyond our comfort zones.

5. Contemplate the plight of others. Instead of accepting stereotypes and what media talking heads say and academics theorize about people and life, try to look at things from the point of view of ones who are hurting, harrassed, taken advantage of, labeled, marginalized, poor, etc. As a Christian, I ask sincerely for Jesus' eyes to see others…and then pray for grace and courage to respond as Jesus would.

WAKE UP, O SLEEPER! Here's another rather obscure and unreferenced saying that intrigues me: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:13). Sounds like one of my camp counselors: "Rise and shine! It's great to be alive!" Day and light and grace invite us. What are we waiting for?

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Peace!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


My favorite comic strip, which happens to be about bicycles...available online

If you ride a bike for commuting (like Yehuda Moon), for training or racing (like Joe), or for recreation or occasional exercise, you'll like "Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery." This is a labor of love for artist Rick Smith. As far as I know, it's available only online, though I'd love to see it in newspapers. It's great bicycle issues awareness and advocacy. And funny, to boot. Check it out.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Not sure who to attribute this blessing to, but I embrace it

“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.”

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!