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Showing posts from November, 2013

A Life of Gratitude

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One of the most difficult things we teach our children is how to say, "Thank you."

Saying these two little words doesn't come naturally. Developmentally, children believe and act as though they are the center of the universe and should be the focus of everyone's attention.  When this is the way in which one views the world, saying something appreciative to another person who has just done something for you or given you a gift doesn't fit.  In spite of this, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and teachers work hard to remind the little ones in their lives to say thank you.  We all believe that it is the right thing to do.

As difficult and important as teaching and learning the practice of saying "thank you" may be, it pales in comparison with learning how to live a life characterized by the discipline of gratitude.

Much like other disciplines, a life of gratitude is decisive, intentional, and responsive.  - A life of gratitude is a decisive …

For All the Saints - Celebrating 175 years of Second Presbyterian Church

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On November 19, 1838, fifteen members of the Presbyterian Church of Christ in Indianapolis amicably left to start what would be called Second Presbyterian Church.  They felt the call toward a more progressive expression of their faith in the understanding of original sin, the confessions, and the reform of individuals as well as society.  This was a part of the larger Old School vs. New School debate in the Presbyterian Church.

For 175 years, Second Presbyterian Church has been a witness to the love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the movement of the Holy Spirit in Indianapolis and beyond.  The members of Second Presbyterian Church have continued to live into the call the fifteen charter members responded to long ago.  The journey has not been without its bumps, bruises, disagreements, missteps, and near splits.  However, the people of Second throughout history have been a "faithful people striving to be faithful" in word and deed to the call of Christ (Lorna Shoemake…

The Freedom of Grace

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Funny thing about grace, you can't decide where it goes or how it's offered. 
This is perhaps what makes us the most nervous about it.  
We like parameters.  We like limits - even though we often pretend as though we hate them. We like the illusion of control. 
But grace cannot be tamed!  Grace refuses to fit into our neatly constructed boxes of who is worthy and who isn't.  Grace will not stay behind the lines we have drawn in the sand as if to say, "You may go this far but no farther." 
No, grace falls like rain on the hardened soil of fear and disdain. Grace brings life to even the most desolate of places.
And yet, we stomp our feet and scream that it just isn't fair when those who we have deemed unworthy are offered grace. We pout and cloister ourselves as we watch with jealous rage those who have the audacity to dance in the rain, splash in its puddles, and soak in its abundance.
That is the nature of grace.
As uncomfortable as it may make us, we must be willing …

Of Saints and Scalawags

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One of the things I love most about November is that it is bracketed by two really wonderful days.  The first of which is All Saints' Day (also known as All Hallows - the day before which is All Hallows Eve or Halloween) in Western Christianity.  It is on this day that we celebrate the lives of the saints who have gone before.

The second day is, of course, Thanksgiving occurring on the fourth Thursday of the month in the United States.  It is the day on which we traditionally give thanks for the bounty of the earth and celebrate family.

I think it is fitting that these two days which seem to speak into and out of one another occur in the same month.  Both of these holidays fill me with more than a bit of nostalgia as well as a spirit full of gratitude.

In my family of origin, Thanksgiving was the time when we had a huge family reunion (I have written before about the importance of these gatherings to me - see New Narrative - A Lesson Learned at the Kid's Table). The cooking…