Giving Up vs. Giving In

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I have recently witnessed the term “giving up” as a reference to medical choices.

An elderly woman in her 90’s has pneumonia and a mass on her lung.  There are choices to be made in this situation. Pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics.  The mass could be seen better with a CT scan, then maybe even biopsied, with other choices from there.

So, what do you do?

Everything possible?


Some use of pharmaceutical options and nothing invasive?

Do we know what the woman wants?

Does not doing anything or just doing some of the non-invasive choices mean that you are giving up on the woman?  If someone does see this as “giving up” it would appear, to me, that they are seeing this as some sort of a guilt issue.  “I don’t want to feel guilty, so let’s do everything possible to keep her alive, no matter the costs.”  Is this about the elderly woman or the person grasping for straws?

I think that “giving in” can be an active, grace filled means of love.  Sometimes not doing everything possible allows people to die with great dignity, even a sense of control.  Giving in is not losing.  Giving in is removing our own egos and emotional baggage in order to allow life to be a process, a transformation.

I’d love to hear you comments.



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Eart2014-05-26 07.29.53h

Earth is LONGING

Earth is LONGING for Life

Earth is LONGING for Life – Unknown

Earth is LONGING for Life – Still Buried

Earth is LONGING for renewal

Earth is is PREPARING


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Every Spring I am amazed at the new growth that shows up all over the place.2014-05-20 07.37.06

This year I have been particularly intrigued by the new growth of flowers (and weeds like creeping Charlie) that comes grows in the compost from last Fall.  Compost is an important factor in making a rich, nutrient filled soil.  Compost can also choke out the potential of any new growth.

A huge part of Christianity is to be compost.  A place for growth, new life and new potential.  Yet we have also been like compost that chokes out potential, covers the “ugliness,” and sucks all the oxygen out lives around us. In my side yard I have Creeping Charlie growing up through the compost of last year.  Although I initially like the look to the purple leaves of this little plant, I can see how it takes over entire patches of grass.

Churches have the exact same issue.  There is all this growth coming from the compost.  It looks great on the surface and we have people saying, “Look at all the growth that is happening.”  The problem is that the growth is toxic.  This growth will actually hold back any potential real growth to be the salt, life, and light to the world that Jesus has called us to be.

The Gospel of John talks about pruning so that the fruit will grow.  We also need to pull the weeds that may look like new growth but are really hindering people from experiencing and growing in Jesus. We can do great things together when we can look carefully at what is growing.


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Our oldest son, Jacob, recently finished performing “Fiddler on the Roof” with Children’s Theater of Madison. I am continually captivated by “Tradition.” I like the song, but there is so much more to it than just fun lyrics.
There is one portion of the show where Tevye is talking about traditions, listing them off and telling the audience why that particular tradition is important. Some of the traditions, Tevye has no idea why they are the way they are.
What I’d like to chat about is when is tradition a significant grounding for faith; and when is it “we’ve always done it this way.”?
What are the positives and potentials pitfalls of tradition?

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2014-05-11 11.15.33On the corner of Linden & Dunning there is a contemplation garden.   Sometimes I just sit on the grass; others on the memorial bench.  I particularly like it when the air temperature is a bit cold, but the sun is out in full force.

I find it amazing to see flowers grow from just bursting through the earth to full bloom and color. As I look at those petals, seeing their shape, texture and shades of color I am struck with awe for all of God’s creation.

What I have noticed most, is that now I actually notice.  By that I mean that I take in my surroundings in a different way than before.  Not necessarily better, but with deeper appreciation.  Robin (a man who sleeps on Zion’s front steps) all it takes is a smile to unfurrow his brow.  Another man who hunts for cigarette butts so he can smoke them – he does’t want a pack of his own (I tried that) but he freely received help when I noticed a pretty big butt by the church door.  I hear more sounds, smell more smells, and see more sights…simply because I notice.

Are you able to notice?  What could be standing in your way?

No Longer Nameless

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Yesterday I spoke about a slave girl who is nameless in Acts 16.  She announces that Paul and Silas are “slaves to the Most High God.”  Eventually Paul gets her to shut-up.  For some reason he does not appreciate the fact that the girl is announcing his beliefs and his teachings about Jesus.

I am still fixated on the namelessness of the girl in Acts, as I hold it next to the school girls in Nigeria who are being held captive by the Boko Haram.  In looking at pictures, videos and following the story I come to realize that this is much bigger than a “story.”  This is life for 276 girls who have names, have parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters.  From so far away, what can we do?

How will we respond?  As people of faith what is our obligation to these girls?  How do we share their names and lives?  How do we engage?  How do we help make these girls be “no longer nameless?”

The first step is to tweet #Bring Back Our Girls