Tales from the Great Adventure

a journal of living-like-we-mean-it, by Derek Maul

Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony – Colossians 3:12-17 

IMG_1295Today – and for the past few days – I’ve been mulling over a truth I’ve been wrestling with for much of my life. I’m not sure I like my conclusions at this point, but sometimes it helps me to “think out loud” and explore ideas in this on-line forum. So – with your kind indulgence – here goes:

Essentially, I’m struggling with the idea of innate human goodness. You see, I’ve always believed that, at the core of everything – people are essentially good. I know, there’s the doctrine of “original sin,” and the idea of “total depravity.” I get that, but those concepts are more technical issues, and bound up with the companion idea that Christ’s sacrifice on The Cross is absolutely necessary when it comes to salvation.

The “Nice-Mean” Continuum:

What I’m thinking about is more to do with what I’ll call, “the nice-mean continuum” – more along the lines of the Will Rogers declaration that, “I never met a man I didn’t like!”

“Everyone,” I have long reasoned, “is basically good; there’s no-one I wouldn’t like if only I sat down with them for coffee; all we have to do is get to know people and move forward from there.”

Along with that – something I’ve lived and practiced for six decades – is the companion idea that, “Being a Christian makes someone a good/nice/pleasant/generous-hearted person.”

So we have two ideas here:

  1. The essential goodness of humanity
  2. Christians are by definition nice people

No, seriously, don’t laugh – that’s what I’ve always thought. Even if I haven’t articulated it clearly, I have always operated on the assumption – right or wrong – that the fruit of the Spirit came, naturally, as part of the package: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires. If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit. Let’s not become arrogant, make each other angry, or be jealous of each other” (Galatians 5:22-25).

Flying the Christian Flag:

But you know what? I’m wrong! Simply flying the Christian flag does not make rude people civil, mean people nice, angry folk peaceable, crude folk polite, jealous people generous, unhappy folk joyful, selfish people unselfish, or arrogant folk humble.

I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary, and – somewhere over the past year – it’s reached the tipping point. I have to admit that adherence to the Christian religion isn’t the magic pill it’s often advertised to be, and wearing the “Christian” label – even 100% of our nation – would do little to change the way human beings interact from day to day….

But there is Good News!

But (and this is why I finished that paragraph with the ellipsis…) making the decision to be a disciple of Jesus, inviting the Holy Spirit to radically transform us, and waking up each and every day owning a disciplined intention to know Jesus makes every difference, and God will help us if only we are humble and willing.

What we must do – each and every morning like it’s the first time – is to get dressed for the day: “Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12-17).

  • Clothed with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience
  • Making allowances for others’ faults
  • Forgiving anyone who offends
  • Dressing ourselves with love…

That’s how it works. God provides us with the resources, we have to – with humility – work hard and, every new day, get dressed in these clothes of grace – DEREK

But he gives us more grace. This is why it says, “God stands against the proud, but favors the humble.” – James 4:6

As a writer, one of the things I constantly try to guard against is the trite, the gratuitous, and the cliché – especially when talking about experiences that are serious, or heart-wrenching. I also want to be as accurate as possible, and in consequence I’ve found myself thinking through some of the standard things we tend to say at times of crisis.

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Prayer vigil at WFPC

That’s what happened yesterday evening, when I met with the Wednesday men’s group and we found ourselves talking about the deep tragedy our church is grappling with this week. Tuesday evening – in a story that’s been all over the local news – one of our teens – Annalisa – was found in Falls Lake. Her death has stunned the community in the way such stories always do.

As a group, we went up to the prayer garden to join the informal prayer vigil. People – mostly parents, teens, and youth advisors – joined in song, read scriptures, prayed, and lit candles. Then we slipped back to our room to complete our time of Bible-study and fellowship.

There but for the grace of God….

That’s when I caught myself about to say something I immediately questioned. We were talking about the experience of raising teenagers, about how challenging it can be, and about the times all of us have questioned ourselves, and doubted. We talked about how precipitously close to the edge life teeters at times, and especially when we are raising children….

And that’s when I felt a phrase coming to the surface:

“I was about to use the standard, ‘But for the grace of God…'” I said to the guys. “But I don’t think that’s valid here. Would I suggest the grace of God isn’t at play with this family at this time? Of course not! The saying, ‘But for the grace of God, there go I..’ almost suggests God’s grace is something arbitrary, hit or miss, earned, or offered in proportion to our walk as believers; or available for some… but not for others. No! This family in this tragic situation is also covered by the grace of God.”

The truth about grace is that we are all living with God’s grace as a constant. One of the verses Rebekah had people read during the prayer time was this, from Psalm 23: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

Another translation, one she made sure was heard several times, goes like this: “I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.”

That’s grace. We’re all suffering, and one of our families is devastated beyond what most of us can imagine, but God’s grace abounds. God’s grace is at work even now with Annalisa – she is still very much God’s child.

IMG_1295“But for the grace of God…?” Not the best phrase to use. Because of the grace of God; because of grace we can walk through this valley; because of grace this family knows the presence of God in this darkness.

Because of God’s grace, none of us ever needs to be alone, and no one ever has to lose hope.

“And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.” – Romans 11:6

This is the good news; this is the Gospel; this is the truth about grace – DEREK

 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to God’s church, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may know God’s love. – 1 Corinthians 10:31

DSC_0186Tuesday morning – early – I set off for Charlotte with my friend George. George had tickets to the practice rounds for the PGA Championship (one of golf’s four majors), so we spent the day walking around the stunningly beautiful Quail Hollow golf course.

I was torn between taking photographs of the spectacular venue, and grabbing a few shots of some of my favorite players. I know, every single golfer who qualified for the tournament is already one of the elite few – but then there is another layer, those who have the skill, and the presence, to be at the very top.

So we kept a lookout for – and found – Phil Mickelson, Jordan Speith, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Steve Stricker, Kevin Chappell, VJ Singh, and several others who we should have recognized but didn’t.

DSC_0026What I found remarkable was the consistency of the high level of play. These guys are not unusual physical anomalies, they simply apply a singular level of practiced competency, utilizing every ounce of talent, strength, concentration, and determination to every shot.

Watching them (and, yes, these guys are good) made me realize what a huge gap there typically is between the gifts we are given and how we make them count in our day to day lives.

Am I at the top of my game as a writer? As a husband? As a friend? As a speaker? As a member of Wake Forest Presbyterian Church? As a follower of the Way of Jesus?

IMG_1328-001Enjoy the photographs. There are a lot, but I’m confident you will enjoy them all. And – while you’re looking – think about the level of practiced competency God wants to see in the day to day practice of your faith, as a bringer of light, love, and life to the world where we are called to be witnesses.

Called to live faith out loud! Called to be light and life! Called to tell the truth about the Gospel of Love, simply by the way that we live, and who we are.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

 

 

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:22-26

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morning coffee with Derek….

So here are some thoughts around the idea of “net neutrality.” Yes, I know nn is about access… but the Internet is also neutral in the same way that nuclear power is neutral, or drugs are neutral, or money. All these things can be used for good, or for bad, or anything on the helpful-not helpful continuum.

But the Internet cannot ever be actually neutral, because it is populated by human beings. Of course it’s true that the net does not own a natural inclination in one direction or another. But, unfortunately, the fact of “the human condition” (otherwise interpreted as sin, selfishness, or the sheer weight of “nimrods” on line) has caused an imbalance that is increasingly hard to put right.

In a way – and a powerful way at that – the Internet is making America angrier, and there’s dangerous momentum in that direction that – again – is anything but neutral.

Immaturity and “it’s all about me”:

It’s really the product of a kind of a “Lord of the Flies” mentality. The more that immature, self-centered, ego-driven, narcissistic content drives the conversation, the more the conversation turns toward the immature and the petulant.

Fact is, a fully functioning hand-held computer, connected to the world wide web, is more dangerous in the hands of many human beings than a hand grenade or a loaded automatic weapon.

People online without filters are more than “bless their heart” embarrassing, they do critical damage to relationships – and relationships define the way we live together. Listen again to the wise and prescient words in the first chapter of James : “Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.”

The Internet is making America angrier, and if we don’t make a concerted effort to interrupt the cycle then we will all be at each other’s throats in short order!

We can fix this!

Here’s what we can do. We can be the circuit breakers that stop the chain-reaction in its tracks. If every declared “follower of Jesus” took this simple pledge, then this deadly scourge would fail to spread. “I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.”

It doesn’t matter if the other person just threatened to sue me because they don’t like the way I handled something, I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.

It doesn’t matter if I know for a fact that they are too angry to be reasonable, I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.

It doesn’t matter if I am innocent, or bullied, or misunderstood, or people have wronged me and they deserve my ire…. “I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.”

It up to me how I respond. It is always my choice… your choice… to use what I like to call, “the vocabulary of grace.”

There’s a serious fire burning – it’s a conflagration – but we can turn the tide; we must.

Won’t you say it with me? “I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.”

Peace, in every way – DEREK

 

 

(photos from Sunday August 6)

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” – John 1:45-46

IMG_1320This morning I’m going to continue the “communion” theme I started writing about in yesterday’s post, Community, Mercy, and Grace. I can’t think of a better context for starting a new week than sharing the bread and the wine in a sanctuary filled with people.

A couple of weeks ago, my cousin Peter remarked at how beautiful the sanctuary is at our church. My reply is true for every church, no matter where it meets, how big it is, or the architectural style: “Every sanctuary is beautiful when it is full with people worshiping God.”

And it is even more beautiful when those people are celebrating the Lord’s Supper. There’s something about the buzz of prayer, affirmation, and blessing, the motion of people to and from the front of the church, where four stations of elders wait to serve the bread and the wine.

Community:

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kids bringing in the bread

But it’s something even more beautiful when that spirit of community, of loving one-another without reservation, of grace and mercy and peace, spills out of the sanctuary and into our everyday lives as disciples. We ALL have work to do in this regard, and the people of Wake Forest Presbyterian Church are no different in terms of our need to submit to the work of the Spirit in our every day.

So Rebekah’s words, toward the end of her message, very much resonate with me today:

“We reach people for Christ… by the appeal of what Christ is already doing in our lives and in our life together. This is what brings the world into the presence of God. Come and see. Come, and see! We follow Jesus. Invite others to follow with you on this journey….”  (click to listen to Rebekah’s entire messsage)

It’s Monday, and all of us – even members of a vital, thriving congregation like WFPC – have challenges when it comes to living out of faith. But this is where the rubber meets the road! This – this Monday through Saturday world we inhabit – is where the Good News of Jesus is so desperately needed.

Are we going to share this Good News by living full, rich, invitational lives? Or are we going to demonstrate the ineffectuality of faith, and give the world one more reason to turn away?

It’s Monday, and the ball is in our court. – DEREK

 

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. – Psalm 119:130

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This morning at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church we’ll be celebrating The Lord’s Supper. It’s an interesting concept, and probably one of the most powerful elements of Christian Worship.

When Jesus had that last dinner party with his friends, the night he was betrayed, the entire occasion resonated with a deep gravitas. This was The Last Supper. This was the final opportunity Jesus had to go over the highlights one last time. This was crucial.

So Jesus seized the moment – he always did – and picked up the most common yet profound symbol at hand to help his disciples remember the heart of his message. It was bread. Bread – as Jesus had pointed out on many occasions – is the essential food.

Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:32-25

“I have food to eat that you do not know about,” Jesus had said earlier.My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.” (John 4)

Bread is essential to life, and Jesus wants us to remember that he is essential to life too.

Then – at the Last Supper – the Great Teacher picked up the cup, filled on that occasion with wine. “Drink this and remember! And whenever you drink, think about how my life is poured out for you, so that you can truly live!”

Jesus used what was at hand – he always did. He used powerful metaphors to make it easy for his followers to remember the truth behind the idea. Water is living water when Jesus gives it to us – we never have to be thirsty again. Bread is the bread of life when we follow Jesus, and that’s enough to sustain us. Wine represents the lengths Jesus goes to for us, the bread broken shows how he held nothing back, how he still holds nothing back.

Let’s not make communion something it’s not. It’s a practical demonstration that God is with us; it’s a rich metaphor; it’s a mnemonic device; it’s a beautiful reminder that we are all forgiven, all dependent on grace, all equally loved into the kingdom.

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The mystery, the deep spirituality of it, comes not from the hands of a priest but from the hearts of the people. “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer. Not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”

We stand in line, together; we receive grace, without distinction; we take the bread and the wine, without question as to our worthiness; we remember that the only thing that counts is how we respond to the amazing love that Jesus offers. “That they may be one, as we are one” – Jesus prayed, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17)

Don’t miss it. You are welcome, regardless. I’ll see you in church – DEREK

 

 

“The whole earth will worship you. It will make music to praise you. It will make music to praise your name.” Selah – Psalm 66:4

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It’s Saturday morning, and I’m dedicating the balance of today to my novel. So, instead of writing, I’ll share the latest batch of photos from around Maul-Hall.

First, this summer has really highlighted what I enjoy about living in the woods. My parents’ house, in the middle of extensive exterior remodeling, sits beautifully among the trees – then the other photo shows how our homes line up together on our part of the cul-de-sac. Trees may create extra work in some ways, but I wouldn’t exchange the shade and the beauty.

Then – as my patience and timing has improved over the past few days – I managed to capture an even better series of photographs featuring the hummingbirds.

DSC_0895During the family of hawks’ three-month stay, Rebekah and I stopped putting out bird food (we didn’t want to lure the songbirds to their deaths!). But then, exactly one day after the hawks left the neighborhood, a bluebird perched on top of the feeder pole as if to remind us it was time to fill the trough. We did, and within half an hour the back garden was overrun with more than ten identifiable species. It’s been food-court palooza ever since!

Enjoy the photos – and get ready for some news on the novel very soon.

Peace, and more peace – DEREK

 

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:23-25

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Author Derek Maul

Would you like to know how to have a God-sighting every day? For me, it’s the community of believers that makes the difference – most especially my men’s ministry peeps.

“Let us consider how to provoke one another…” encourage the guys sitting next to us, spur on our neighbor, motivate each other; all for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds.

Typically, when I meet with friends from church, one of the first things we talk about is where we have seen God at work in our lives over the previous few days. We call them, variously, God moments, God sightings, or catching up on our spiritual journey.

These are the times when we actually noticed God’s presence, or we had been touched by Grace, or when we were sure we felt the brush of an angel’s wings, times when God-with-us was undeniably real.

“Where have you witnessed God at work this week?” I’ll ask. “Where has your faith journey led you?” “Where, in your day to day, did you pause and think, ‘this is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus!'”

The key, I believe, is to wake up each morning and – in prayer – declare our intention to witness God’s work in and through our lives. And it drives me crazy – the guys already know this – when I parse the question and there are men present who have absolutely nothing to say!

“Really?” I’ll sometimes say; “the only ‘homework’ I ever ask for is that of taking note of the times you run into God. And you’re telling me you skipped that every single day this week?”

  • How about beginning each day by asking God, “Let me see your glory today! Meet me in my interactions with people! Challenge me to serve you! Give me the opportunity to share my story with someone who needs to hear a word of grace…”

Typically, everyone in the Bible study has a story to share. Because sometimes it’s simply a matter of opening our eyes, of training our ears to tune in, of learning how to see. God’s revealing evidence is everywhere, we just have to pay closer attention.

My God-Sighting:

This week my key “God Sighting” was the Wednesday evening meeting itself. It’s the first week of August, many folks are traveling with their families, and a lot of ministry initiatives take a summer break. But not my guys! I had a room full, including two new men who were there for the first time.

It always encourages my heart to see such commitment and enthusiasm for following Jesus. Everyone had something to say about their walk with God; everyone was there with a receptive heart.

So let me share the announcement I had in our church newsfeed the past couple of weeks. It’s my invitation for men to join us, and commit to a more deliberate journey with Jesus. Feel free to use the words in your church if you think it’s what the guys you know need to hear:

Calling all men! In a world that can be a little crazy sometimes, I’d like to invite you to a place that’s solid ground. Every Wednesday evening WFPC men get together for mutual support, encouragement, Bible study, and prayer. We meet in the CLC at 7:00, in the room next to the kitchen. We’ve discovered we’re good for each other, and we think you would be good for us too. Contact Derek Maul – derekmaul@gmail.com (or, meet with the Saturday morning crowd in the Youth Room at 7:00)

“We have discovered we’re good for each other, and we think you would be good for us too.” That’s because we’re all about provoking one another, encouraging the guy sitting next to us, spurring our neighbor on, motivating each other; all for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds.

Think about it. Pray about it. Then let me know how it’s going – DEREK

(here are some men’s ministry books I know will help – you can find them all at this link)

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day. – Psalm 25:4-5

  • I’ve been thinking about the connection between my lack of patience and my walk with God. When it comes to patience, do we have what it takes to listen?

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I stood in front of the kitchen sink this morning, cleaning up the remnants of breakfast, plotting the schedule and the tempo of my day. And there, happily tasting the nectar we’d been replenishing all summer long, hovered a beautiful hummingbird. So I moved – ever so stealthily – around the peninsular to the table where my camera sat, I sighted with precision and care, and then – at the precise moment my finger touched the shutter – the bird was gone.

I waited a little while, then returned to the dishes. Two minutes later a movement caught my eye and there he was again, accompanied by a friend, and this time I simply enjoyed the view. I’ve tried a dozen times to grab a photo over the past few weeks, but the hummingbirds never want to cooperate with my timetable.

Patience:

DSC_0824Ok, by a show of hands, who is really good at being patient? Well, not me, either. But I’m learning. At least I think I am.

You’d think the attainment of six decades of life might soften the hard edge of wanting things and wanting them right now? As if maybe I would have learned that the passing of time can be such a positive intervention in so many situations?

Children grow up – it takes a couple of long decades but you pray each day, hold the course, wait some things out, and there you go. Mortgages get paid down, car notes are paid off, trees grow, hurts heal. Time goes by and – often – hanging in there (consistently, faithfully) can be the very best we can do.

So I should have learned all that by now. But sometimes it’s the opposite, and I hear myself arguing that life looks a little shorter today than it did all those years ago, and realizing the mathematics of it all makes me more impatient because – well – time’s a wasting…

So I set a fresh pot of coffee to brew and went upstairs to my study, determined to knock a couple of deadlines off my calendar.

Ten minutes later I returned to pour my mug of java and – out of the corner of my peripheral vision – two hummingbirds raced by the window on their way to the crepe myrtle blooms by the fence.

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Waiting, coffee and camera…

So I poured my coffee, I sat down by the window, and I set everything else aside in order to drink in the tranquility of the garden, the flowers, the stillness, the silence, the rhythm of my own heartbeat, the presence of God if only I am still enough to listen, the deep knowledge that I have of grace, the peace that passes all understanding, and – yes – the hummingbirds.

Patience. Waiting. Wait on the Lord. It only took thirty minutes of spiritual reflection before the birds came back and – sort of – posed nicely for my camera. Thirty minutes. But of course thirty minutes is a very long time if all the time we ever set aside for reflection is a few seconds, or a minute or two at the most.

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day. – Psalm 25:4-5

On you I wait all the day, Lord. All. the. Day.

– DEREK

 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  – James 1:19-20

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author Derek Maul writes – and “opinionates” – out of North Carolina

One of the more troubling symptoms of our country’s current impasse in terms of productive conversation – albeit politics, religion, or ideology – is the absence of intelligent dialogue. This is evidenced by the limited range of vocabulary employed, the partizan hijacking of otherwise useful words and phrases, the application of clumsy generalizations, and the unwillingness to explore nuance.

Any exchange that comes from an “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality is destined to journey away from truth. When dialogue is replaced by diatribe, discourse will inevitably devolve.

If only we remember the indisputable fact that there’s nothing we can talk about that is not first filtered through a human – and therefore flawed – channel, then maybe we can begin our conversation in the context of mutual humility.

there’s nothing we can talk about that is not first filtered through a human – and therefore flawed – channel

I don’t care who you are: Joe next door, Pope Francis, Bill Gates, the preacher at your church, the guy who changes your tires, a spokesperson in D.C., the editor of your favorite news-source, me, some expert on TV. Whoever you are, the information you have, the “truth” you adhere to, the opinion you put forth – is digested, filtered, processed, and voiced via a flawed, fallible, human vessel.

Closed-loop

Every repetition of a closed-loop argument necessarily travels farther away from truth. That’s the problem with echo-chambers – both on social media and in other venues. In contrast, every conversation that is ruled by open-minded inquiry, respectful listening, and an honest understanding that each one of us may well have something to learn, leads toward truth.

I’m sure we’ve all attended a social event where conversation is dominated by a bore who “knows” everything. They are the expert on any and every subject, and they are not interested in anything anyone else might have to contribute. Typically, if you scratch the surface, you will find that their ignorance runs deep. Why? Because when you already know, then you have nothing to learn!

Great questions are better than tidy answers!

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating (and it’s true both in religion and politics): If you run into someone who claims to have all the answers, then you’d be well advised to head in the opposite direction. Both faith and politics are more about great questions than tidy answers.

The place where we discover the most truth is the place where we can engage those great questions together, and most especially when we understand – and own – how much we have to learn.

The first thing we need to learn to do is to listen. In fact, the first great national workshop we all need to sign up for is this: “Listening 101.” You never know, you may well learn something.

We’re not ashamed to have this confidence, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us. – Romans 5:5

Peace, and more peace. Remember, it’s always a choice – DEREK

 

 

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