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. 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.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Simple man

I watch a couple of reality shows, but they have one thing in common: they take place in the mountains, and their competition is usually just "surviving." One I watch, Mountain Men, I came across by accident. I was surfing through the channels when I heard this song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I had to watch a show that has this for a theme song 

Now I have to admit that I have always leaned to minimalism in my life. The spartan life has always had an order and cleanliness to it that resonate with my sensibilities. I have always been fascinated with the succinct, the brief, the poignant, and finding ways to make do with as little as possible.

That's why I write essays in this blog rather than a book. They are simple, clean, and if they are any good they leave you with a sense of hope rather than confusion. They may be provocative, ambiguous, and somewhat dense, but what I am trying to do in these blogs is something very different from what most people do with blogs. It all has to do with finding the perfect sentence.

My tagline, for example, "May your tables be full and your conversations be true" is an example of what I am going for in this blog. A full table. Wouldn't that be great if everyone had a "full" table? Sadly, there are too many empty ones these days. Our greed and avarice has shattered the lives of so many people that a full table, even for a holiday, is a dream for many people throughout the world.

And "true" conversations? How many of us would just like ANY conversation? We are so distracted and busy that sometimes a series of texts has to suffice for a meaningful relationship these days. To actually have a "true" conversation is a pipe dream. How can we get to anything true when we are so afraid to risk even the trivial? It's time consuming, somewhat risky, and often scary to have a conversation with a stranger. But how else are we ever going to be friends if we don't talk to each other? Or, at least hang out together?

True conversations happen only when the simple things in life get taken care of in the course of a relationship. One of the greatest stories in the world is the story of Jesus of Nazareth and his friends. The stories we have are often conversations he tries to have with people. Interestingly, the people he has the most in common with often don't get his conversation. People he should have nothing to do with understand him at the most basic--simple if you will--level.

Why? Often because he is their last chance, and they do not have time for complicated conversations. They need something from him, and are too tired, poor, ill, battered, and abused to deal with trivial formalities. So they get right to the heart of the matter: they get true in a hurry. And life gets simple.

I want to get to those true conversations, but not because I am at the end of the line, but rather to be at the beginning, and to set true conversation as the way in which we all talk to each other. All the way down the line. And for me, true conversation is simple conversation. It's the conversation that motivates our days and deeds in peace. It's the conversation that connects us to a world far beyond what we can ever hope to imagine. It's true. It's real. It's simple.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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