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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. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. 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.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Thank you

I left my phone on the cabinet in my office because no one calls me on Saturday mornings. We were making our weekly grocery shopping excursion and the day was mild and bright. When I got home I looked at my missed calls and saw three in a row from my parents. I didn't have to listen to the message...I've had a cell phone for over 12 years and that's never happened. When I got a hold of my mom, she told me dad had a serious stroke. Within 24 hours of that call my dad was dead. 

We all grieve in our own ways, as you know (and apparently my way includes blogging. Who knew?) My friends, and many of you gentle readers, and even people who barely know me have expressed so much sympathy in cards, letters, phone calls, Facebook, and text messages. Thank you for your friendship and prayers, they are much appreciated.

One woman in my congregation, the same age as my dad, has lost both of her parents within the past 14 months. That gets me to stop. What if I had another 25 years with my dad? Many of you know my wife lost her dad almost 24 years ago. I got a lot more years with my dad than she did with hers. It is strange how this all plays out for us.

However my dad is participating in reality these days, I assume at some quantum level he is making jokes with other atoms about still having to have a "polar opposite" in his life, I am sure he is participating. My dad was of a generation that never talked much about their "faith." My dad was quite comfortable to let the professionals of his generation take care of that...he sold trucks and did math. But it was pretty clear to most people that my dad did have faith, especially if you define the term to mean a "relationship with God." (Or, as one of my dad's generation theologians called it, "the regal relationship.")

Most sociologists will tell you that I am a pastor in Christianity because of the faith my dad showed to me. I can't disagree. Although I come from a long line of church secretaries, I had countless conversations with my dad about God, church, and faith. In fact, one time my dad and his friend were teaching confirmation at our local congregation. On trips home from college, my dad would have me teach the class...I think this was so the kids would possibly learn something other than how to tell jokes and drink coffee. But when those kids were confirmed at the end of their Jr. High School years, they all remembered and thanked my dad. That's the kind of guy he was.

Back in seminary I developed a close relationship to Paul's First letter to the Corinthians. It is my second favorite part of the Bible after the Gospel of John. I love 1st Corinthians for many reasons, and here is one
"Hear this--I'm telling you a mystery.We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet." (15.51-52) Paul probably means by "last trumpet" some final moment when the universe stops expanding and starts contracting again. Some time when reality ceases to be. But for my dad, that last trumpet blew a few Sundays ago. And he was changed. And so was I. That's the mystery.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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