Harry Potter

We just unpacked our collection of Harry Potter books. They are considered valuables in our household, with our nine-year-old making her way through Chamber of Secrets as we speak.HP Post

It’s hard to believe that the first Harry Potter book was published twenty years ago today. J.K. Rowling blessed us with this magical world that teaches us much about our lives and our world. Plenty of people will write wonderful things about the insights Harry and friends have given,  but one overarching theme keeps coming to my mind. It also happens to be the overarching theme of the Bible- Love wins. Love always wins. Love conquers all, even death.

This is a word that we so desperately need to hear. J.K. Rowling created a world much likes our today, where some used the coercive power of fear to control and wield power. Voldemort used fear to the extent that most were afraid to even speak his name. Harry though, had no fear is saying his name. Dumbledore has none either. At the end of The Sorcerer’s Stone, Dumbledore offers these wise words, “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

The theme of fear and death verses life and love is the central theme throughout the story. Harry spends his life learning what it means to truly embrace others. He spends his life doing what Jesus calls his followers to do, losing his so-called life so that he may find true life. Harry shows us what it looks like when one seeks justice above all else, no matter the cost. He shows us what it means to care for others, no matter the cost. He shows us what it means to seek life, no matter the cost. We learn through his actions what it means to live for others, and the true gifts we find in living for others.

In the end, it is indeed life and love that has the final word. Even when it would have been far easier to choose fear and death, love still wins. Dumbledore offers Harry (and us) this piece of wisdom; “do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love.”

Thank you J.K. Rowling for reminding us of the Gospel truth- love wins.  

New

 

Danny, we will start in the deuce court.tennis-courts-1024x768

I’ve made three major changes in my life in the few months.

First,  I begun a new ministry with the Pension Fund of the Christian Church.

Second, our family relocated to Carmel, Indiana

Last, but not least, I started tennis lessons- at the intermediate level.

We’ve been knee deep in new lately.

I’ve had to learn lots of new words in the last month. A new job brings a new daily language. I use words and acronyms daily that I have never used.

We’ve lived in Carmel but there is still lots of new. Lots of new roundabouts to be exact. It is very important here to not only know what a roundabout is but also how to use one.

Tennis- I have played on and off, but never at this serious of a level. I’m convinced our instructor is prepping us for the US Open at Flushing Meadows.

It occurred to me on the tennis court that faith forces us to learn a new way of speaking. Faith calls us to new understandings. One of the great promises of the Bible is that God is always moving us forward. God moves us forward in our understanding who God is and what God would have us do. Encounters with the holy call us to see and to understand the world differently. Some embrace this while others fight it. New comes easier for some than it does for others. You can hold onto the past but the consequences of doing so are great. New life is found in what we are becoming, not what we have been.

I decided that I am going to figure out which side of the court is the deuce court and which side is the ad. My guess is my game will improve with new understanding of where to begin.

Grace and peace

A Reflection on Gun Violence in Virginia

I need to write something, perhaps for my own sake. I need to DO something, yet I don’t know what to do. I am reminded of the verse in the book of Romans that states, “the whole creation is groaning together.”  There are few things more American than baseball in the summer. Add in members of Congress practicing for a game against the other party and it becomes very American.

Unfortunately, stories of tragic gun violence are also becoming so American as well. This time it happened with the Capitol police standing guard. Even they couldn’t stop someone whose heart had been filled with hate and intended to do harm to another. Well-meaning, well-trained, and well-armed folks could not stop someone who had the seeds of hate sown into his heart. Hate, fear and the like are powerful weapons.

I find it hard to fathom that the answer to the epidemic of gun violence in our country is more guns. I can’t dismiss the role that our current administration plays in our culture today. Social media has given the President the means to dismiss, marginalize, and insult those who do not agree with him. An office that should be used to unite us around what truly makes America great is instead being used for something far less.

Where do we begin? Do we give in to fear and arm ourselves further? Do we need more “good guys with guns?” I believe the answer to these questions is “no” but I know many who would disagree. I do know is that we need to stop sowing the seeds of hate, fear, and violence in our collective hearts. That’s what we need to do today. Yes, I am frustrated with those who seem to hold their understanding of the 2nd Amendment above all else. Yes, I am frustrated with those who turn a blind eye to those suffering with mental illness. Yes, I am frustrated with the way this administration conducts itself. I know I can’t find solutions to these frustrations today. I do know that my faith calls me to do something today.

I know what I can do is watch how I interact with others.

I can use my voice to sow the seeds of love.

I can advocate against hate, fear, and violence every chance I get.

I can work to build a more just and equitable society

I will engage with those whom disagree with me so that we might find common ground