Showing posts from January, 2013

Making Things

Humans have always been good at making things.  Our earliest ancestors figured out quite early that a rock could be used as a weapon, a tool, and a canvas.  Not long after, some of those rocks were transformed into spearheads, wheels, and vessels.  Those who have gone before have fashioned objects out of wood, stone, bronze, and iron.  Our imagination and ingenuity led to the development of the printing press, steam engine, cotton gin, light bulb, automobile, and computer.  In 1963 the US Patent office received over 90,000 patent applications and awarded nearly 49,000 patents.  In the year 2011, some 500,000 patent applications were received and nearly a quarter million were awarded (see the full chart here ).  There really seems to be no limit to what we humans can make. And, this is a wonderful thing!  We celebrate the creative genius that gives birth to innovation and invention.  It is part of what makes us uniquely human. Unfortunately, we humans also possess the proclivity to

Year of the Good Samaritan

‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ (Luke 10:30-37 NRSV) As my family talked about the Ringing in

Why Wasn't I Myself?

Paraphrasing a rabbi, theologian Miroslav Volf said, "I don't fear that at the end God will ask why I wasn't Moses (great leader) or Thomas Aquinas (towering intellect), but why I wasn't myself." From nearly the beginning of our lives, we live in a state of constant comparison with those around us.  She walked so early.  He didn't talk until late. She was always short for her age. He had many developmental delays. I'll never be as smart as she is. What did you get on that math quiz? I wish I was as tall as he is. I am not as pretty, talented, or gifted as they are. You're so much better at nearly everything than I am. Sound familiar?  We all do it.  We compare ourselves with our neighbors, our fellow students, our colleagues, our family members, or what we have come to believe is "normal." And this sickness invades all of our lives.  None are exempt from its fever and its lingering debilitating side effects. This is

New Beginnings

New years and new semesters bring with them a tremendous amount of excitement, energy, and potential.  If we are completely honest, they also bring with them more than their fair share of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty.  Sometimes the new beginning can be so overwhelming that we are nearly immobilized by the magnitude of it all. Frozen in our tracks. Not sure what the future might hold. Frightened to take the next step. This is the nature of beginning something new.   At the beginning of the book of Joshua, we find the Hebrew people at a critical new moment in their existence.  They escaped from Egypt a generation before and had spent forty years wandering about in the desert. The man who had led them through and within their wandering was gone, and they were uncertain about their next steps as a people.  Into this moment, a man named Joshua was called to lead.  Joshua had spent years following Moses as he led.  And, now as the Hebrew people were steps away from entering the