Monday, October 12, 2009

Twelve Feet of Black Top

Most mornings as I leave for work, I find myself struggling to get out of my neighborhood. Work and school traffic zooming in both directions, three nearby neighborhoods producing hundreds of morning rush-hour vehicles, and no left turn lane all contribute to a challenging (ok, maybe frustrating is more accurate) jump-start to my suburbia commute.

Recently, I have been noticing the cars that exit the neighborhood directly across the steet from mine. The only thing that separates us is asphalt and a double-yellow line. But as close as our neighborhoods are in proximity, there is a large chasm that is obvious to all who drive by. In the neighborhood across the street, property owners are leaving luxury homes that are worth more than four times the value of ours. The detailed landscaping of their yards makes me wonder if their lawn-care budget exceeds our monthly grocery allowance! And as they sit in line waiting their turn, they do so in high-end detailed SUV's, while the commuters from my subdivision cruise up in their factory-produced, fuel-efficient vehicles.

As different as my life may be from these high-income homeowners across the street, in these moments we are the same. Money, fame, luxury, comfort, and even opportunity can't get you onto Hudson Road any quicker. We are all at the mercy of a break in traffic to allow us access to the hustle and bustle that characterizes our morning commute.

Waiting and watching this process unfold each morning has caused me to reflect on how this is an exercise in the gospel. Working through the book of Colossians with our high school students has given me reason to meditate on the specific implications of the gospel. What I have been reminded of so clearly these past weeks is that the gospel is simplistically profound. Writing to a group of Christians who seem to "get it," Paul spends the majority of his time clarifying for them the importance of the gospel, reminding them that they no longer belong to this world, and that Satan has no control over them. He pleads with them to not be restrained by the cumbersome rules of religion. Over and over again he points to Jesus as the only true distinction that matters. Origin, ethnicity, family heritage, social status, and even religious traditions do nothing to help one enter the kingdom of God.

So as my neighbors and I "patiently" await our turn each morning to exit our neighborhoods, I want to be continually thankful (1 Thess 5:18) that in God's kingdom, nothing I am/do/have really matters. And just maybe I will even become thankful for my "patient" wait which allows me to ponder such things!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

So She Says

Ever see the show, Kids Say The Darndest Things? Well if not, you are missing out because the show is hilarious. Scene after scene kids say anything and everything that is on their minds. I can remember watching it during the late 90's thinking..."Do kids really say such things off the top of their heads? Surely some, if not all of this, is scripted." As funny as the TV show was then, I could never have imagined how funny it would be to actually hear my own kids say such things. Our five year old daughter, Harper, happens to be at a stage which has us eagerly anticipating the next comical thing to come out of her mouth. Here are just a few of the most recent:

- "Do I have to spend this quarter daddy? It has the state of Mickasota on it."
- "When I grow up, I want to be a petanarian so I can take care of animals."
- "Lots of boys in Calahan's class have mohog haircuts."
- "I don't need to noose the bathroom."
- "Today at church I learned about Noah and the whale."
- "Miss Sarah, do you have smoke detectors at your house? You have to go outside if they go off."
- "Soccer cleats have sparks on the bottom of them."
- "I learn everything good from Curious George."

So if you need some free entertainment and you can't find any reruns of Kids Say The Darndest Things, feel free to drop by and spend a few minutes in dialogue with Harper. You will be sure to get your fill of laughs, and you may even learn something new, especially if Curious George is on.