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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On Returning to the Place I grew up (home)

What is "home?" Is it the place you grew up? Is it where you feel safe? Is "home" defined by people, or by a location? Can you have many homes? Or, is it just one? Is a "house" the same as a "home?" I mean, we have
* home pages
*home bases
*home away from home
*home fields
*home "boys" (which, curiously, also often includes "girls")
I am sure there are some I have missed...feel free to add in comments below

But, "home" carries with a definition that most of us can't describe...but we know "home" when we see it, or experience it, or feel it.

I think that is why "home" is such a powerful metaphor. I haven't lived in Minneapolis for 11 years, but still coming back into the southern suburbs yesterday felt like home. Maybe it's familiar? Maybe it's comfortable?

    I have a suspicion that home is more important now that immigration is a reality for so many people. Immigration used to be only for those going from one country to another, but now it is people going from one city, one place to another. I remember in Bismarck, being at a Golden Corral (it's one of those buffet restaurants where all the food tastes the same), and the manager, in a nice Southern accent welcomed us. You're not from North Dakota, I asked? No, he said, I moved here from Atlanta, and this is so exciting to have a job!

The first winter came, and Golden Corral had a new manager. From Pick City, a little town just north of Bismarck. It takes more than a job to make a place a home. It takes more than people to make a place a home. Early in our life together, Chris and I lived six blocks from Wrigley field in Chicago. We were surrounded by people all the time, but we never thought we were "home."

Curiously, when our youngest turned 16, and we wanted to take her on a trip anywhere she wanted to go, she chose Chicago, because although she hadn't lived there for 15 years, it was home. Really? You were one when you left? Is home the place you were born? Maybe...

So I am back in the verdant greenness that is Minnesota in the Springtime. This is where I learned to ride a bike, kiss a girl, and graduate from school. This is where my brother lives. This is where some of my longest tenured friends live (although I rarely talk to them anymore...I'm too busy...too selfish...to ignorant--see my last post.) I am sitting 100 yards away from the first sanctuary I ever preached in, where I learned Luther's Catechism, where I taught pre-schoolers about Abraham and Sarah, and teenagers about God's Spirit.

Right now I am sitting 100 yards away from the home of my best friend's mom whom I did the funeral for a few years ago...a family we used to have dinner with until divorce broke them up 12 years ago...this is all part of "home."

But when I am not here, this is not the place I think of when people ask me, "where is home?" My answer is always the same, wherever Chris is. 26 years ago I married her, and although I have yet to take her on a honeymoon, or even be in the same state with her for our anniversaries (to be honest, I had to do the math right now--I am a horrible spouse...maybe someday I'll buy her a gift?) But she is home to me in a way that my own mother, my own children are not.  Whatever is home for you, I hope you have a little bit of it this summer. Summer seems like a good time to "go home." Wherever, whatever that is.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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