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Asking Good Questions: A Sermon for a Young Parent

 I’d want them to know my love was so strong that no matter how bad it gets,

how far down they go, who leaves them and abandons them, I won’t. 

13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.    

Looking at a newborn is a pretty overwhelming reality.  It is the age we are in.  Vickie and I were sitting outside in the

waiting room, getting more anxious by the moment for our daughter and her husband and a little one.  Being born is

from cdc.gov site

from cdc.gov site

dangerous, not guaranteed, and full of anxiety, no matter what reassurances we are given.  In fact, the greatest advice from the OB to our daughter the last two months was, “Don’t Google.”

We don’t know how to know what to do with all the information.  In the old days, they took the mother, the father paced outside, and  the baby arrived.  It was the first inkling of what you had—boy or girl.  No paint colors until you knew.

Now, you have more knowledge about this infant than the NSA has of your cell phone.  But what to make of it?  Truth is, there is still a place where we cannot intrude with knowledge, and it is the miracle of life itself.

But don’t get me wrong.  It’s great to know.  And here’s how we got the word.  We’re sitting there, grandparents, waiting, worrying, praying.  Getting texts from our kids and friends—praying for you, hoping, let us know, that sort of thing.  And we occupy ourselves by answering these as we wait.  Naturally, we are watching the other occupants of the room.  A waiting room is pure democracy.  Rich, poor, well-dressed and barely dressed, country and city, every Read the rest of this entry

Grandparents, Moneyball and the Call to Worry

See what I mean?

Watched “Moneyball” Sunday night.  I liked it.  It surprised me.  I wasn’t sure that it could be faithfully made into a film worth watching, but, as usual, I know little about the art of that.  Brad Pitt is a great actor, all of the fluff of paparrazinsanity aside, and he hit a homer again.  It’s an interesting story about baseball, change, and the resistance to new things that always comes.  It doesn’t end with exploding lights, a la, “The Natural,” but with the gentle irony that success leads Billy Bean to a fateful choice between one vision of “success” and family–even though his is broken.

I was in the mood to think about all of that, since my granddaughter just turned a year old this weekend.  She has changed our lives and our priorities.  I care much less about a great many things.  I declined an opportunity to be part of a panel on religious responses to immigration law in Alabama, a topic I feel strongly about, but I’m going to see that little girl for a brief visit, and, as I explained to friends, this is even more important than securing the borders of the United States.

Tony Giles, a friend who works in financial services, said yesterday that he is hopeful about the economy, even if worried, because, “Prosperity always climbs a wall of worry.”  His idea is that as long as we are worried about our world, there is still a chance it can get better.  I like that.  Jesus told us not to be anxious, which is one of the strangest and hardest of all of his sayings, for what else motivates humans beyond anxiety?  I know there is a way to not react to anxiety without eliminating it, and that is the best I can do.

Don’t worry about my granddaughter?  Might as well tell me to quit breathing.  I will worry about, at, and just plain worry this world until it provides her the kind of planet little children deserve.  If I had continued down midlife without her, I might have been able to unwind myself from caring a little more, retire, play golf and croak.  But I can’t.  It matters too much now.

Thing is, I don’t mind minding so much.  She’s worth it.  If a smile can make a person feel that good, you can cruise on it all day long.  The other day, our band, during practice, recorded “You Are My Sunshine” for my baby, recorded on an iPhone.  (click to play it). Grandparenting will make a fool out of you–I’ll testify.  One that will keep caring, no matter how bad they say it is.  God send us some more fools.  We might balance some budgets, stop a lot of stupid wars, work harder, save more, and give our egos a rest.  All you need is one baby.