Aside

That’s Me in the Corner

In case you’ve been wondering where that very handsome looking logo in the upper left corner came from.

Since beginning this blog, I’ve tried to keep the header image personal and current. Every few months, I take another picture of myself and try not to look like a complete goofball, with varying results. I’ve attempted the artsy approach, the fun approach, and, recently, the scholarly approach with a picture taken at my very windy outdoor graduation in May.

The tassels and hood didn’t play well in the wind. Thanks a lot, COVID!
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Proverbs: Short Sentences Long Remembered
Audio

Pursuing Righteousness and Kindness

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life, righteousness, and honor.
Proverbs 21:21

What Smokey & the Bandit Taught Me About Kindness

Righteousness and Kindness

The greatest movie of 1977 was Smokey and the Bandit. I’ll fight anyone who disagrees with me! I know Rocky won the Academy Award for best picture that year, but think about it. Rocky lost his fight at the end (sorry if this is a spoiler, but the movie is 44 years old, so that’s kind of on you). But, on the other hand, Bandit actually completed his mission and did what they said couldn’t be done.

Also, the theme song to Smokey and the Bandit is a lot catchier than Rocky. When you sing the Rocky theme, you just go “duh duh du-du-duh du-du-du-du-du-duhhhh.” Nothing tops Eastbound and Down by Jerry Reed.

I think I’ve made my case.

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Trejo

The Redemption of Danny Trejo

A review of Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood, by Danny Trejo with Donal Logue

Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood

If you read this book, Danny Trejo will make you cry. But, of course, if you don’t read this book, there’s a good chance he will come to your house and make you cry anyway.

Just do yourself a favor and read the book.

I first heard about Trejo a few weeks ago and thought it would be an interesting romp with one of the more extreme Hollywood personalities. I knew he had come up through some very harsh circumstances, so I was expecting fun stories of stabbings and wacky gangland antics. The book finally became available through our local library system last week. I added it to my Kindle instantly.

This is not a romp.

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Remembering Walter Wangerin Jr.

Walter Wangerin Jr. died last Thursday (August 5, 2021). I met Walter in the flesh twice, but I knew him long before in his preaching and his writing.

Walter Wangerin Jr.

I had a copy of his “The Book of God, an elephantine tome that retells the story of the Bible in novel form. Unfortunately, the book was lost in our church fire. I’ve missed it for over ten years now.

I have a copy of his very personal “Letters from the Land of Cancer” that I have shared with many friends who have spent time in that same land. I’ve shared it because I lack words and experience and trusted Walter to speak into their lives better than I could.

I have a very old audio recording of one of his sermons. It’s a recording of a recording made by putting a tape recorder close to a television speaker, and it sounds as good as you might imagine. I’ve done my best to clean it up. It’s Walter’s remembrance of his grandfather’s death and what his grandfather taught him.

Both times we met, he was kind to me, laughed at my foolishness (I asked, “Remember that one time when you wrote the Bible?”). And he blessed me out of his suffering.

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Let There Be Hospitality

Let There Be Hospitality

In the Beginning . . .

Hospitality

There is an old, well-worn, and often repeated poem by James Weldon Johnson titled “The Creation.” Written in the style of an old African American sermon, the poem retells the first chapter of Genesis from God’s perspective. The poem begins, “And God stepped out onto space, and he looked around and said, ‘I’m lonely. I’ll make me a world.’” After surveying the creation of the sun, moon, stars, plants, and animals, God looks at the world he has created and pronounces, “I’m lonely still.”

It’s then that Johnson draws God into himself. “Then God sat down on the side of a hill where he could think. By a deep, wide river, he sat down with his head in his hands. God thought and thought until he thought, ‘I’ll make me a man!’”

My theology tells me that God is self-sufficient; my understanding of the nature and being of God tells me that he lacks nothing and needs for nothing. And yet, I love this sermon for what it teaches us about ourselves. Somewhere within the image of God locked inside each of us is the cry, “I’m lonely.” Created in his image together, our heart’s longing is for companionship. Unlike our Creator, we are not self-sufficient, and we only find our completion in relationship with one another.

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