Your Blog Steward

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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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I like new things

It took me a while to realize that I liked new things. In college, for example, my friends often joked that I never read a book published after 1800. (Which is not true as Soren Kierkegaard's Present Age is the first book of philosophy I ever read, and that was published in 1832. So there!)

I still use a Blackberry.(Think about that for a minute. Did you even know they were still in business?) I drive my cars until there is at least 200,000 miles on them. I have sweaters older than my children. And worn-out and well-used is my favorite patina on furniture. 

I remember a line from one of John Gardner's stories that went something like the heavier something is, the more real it is, the more you can trust it. It's not a hard and fast rule, but in general I hate plastic things. (Plastic dishes and cutlery are an abomination. There is simply no reason to destroy the planet to have your food be delivered on plastic. Paper, yes? Plastic, no.) So I like heavy. old things.

The other day I discovered the wireless mouse I use for this computer is nine years old. I've had three computers but only mouse. (That Microsoft makes a good mouse I guess.) I know the young kids nowadays use the touch-screen and the IPaddy and the Siri-thingy phone, but not me. Just an old PC laptop with a mouse that pretends to be an Energizer bunny.

Suffice it to say I love old things...which is why it is weird to realize I like new things.

All my old stuff--at one time--was new.

I'm off to work with a new group of people. I like that. I like meeting new people. I get to work in a new system. I like trying to figure out systems. I get a new office chair. I get a new set of keys. I get a new commute. (This one has pheasants along the way. Although my old commute once had a turkey in the middle of the road.) I like all that newness.

Over the years as I've read about Jesus of Nazareth, I've often wondered if he was an old soul in a new environment or a new soul in an old environment? Was he telling people something new or something old? In the words of one of my former seminary colleagues, "How new is new?"

I disdain labels. But I wonder about the ideas which propel our actions. I often wonder if they are new or old? I wonder if my idea is something that's already been tried and done, or, if, the idea is rather novel and as yet untested?

Maybe that is why Jesus of Nazareth died on a cross? Not to complete something old, but rather to test something new? Maybe he died to free us from the old stuff so we can entertain the new? Maybe he died to reveal that death (the oldest story of all) is but the beginning of life (the newest story of all)? Maybe we like new, not because it is new but because it reminds us of how powerful the old is?

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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