By Name.

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It’s strange, but I’ve been thinking this week about

Judas, Hitler, and Genghis.

Those three guys are so notorious they only need one name.

Like Hannibal, Nero, or Saddam.

Can you imagine?

Can you imagine wielding so much power?

Channeling it to such misguided purposes, and to such infamy, that future generations would abandon the use of your name?

Can you imagine becoming a near-eternal symbol of humans at their worst?

– – –

I can’t.  But I don’t have to.

I’ve never had my name “retired”,

like Stalin, or Mussolini.

I’ll never have to worry about sticking out with such damnable distinction.

I’m just one of the crowd, along with every Tom, Dick, or Harry.

Every Laurie, Tonya, or Mary.

One of the crowd.  The faceless crowd.

Lining the streets as Jesus carries his cross.

– – –

My moniker may not be synonymous with evil,

but on this week, I can’t help but be mindful that there is darkness that lurks in my soul.

Even mine.

And as Jesus passes by, he sees me,

and sees into me.

And I shudder to realize

that this man

knows everything I’ve done.

He knows,

and he knows me

by name.

Despair Or Hope Directions On A Signpost

Scouts and Trustees

 

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A True Story:

As it turned out, it was just men who showed up to the Trustees meeting last night.

We sat around the table in the library, talking about concrete, and wood floors, and our old church bus.

Meanwhile, right outside our window, the Scouts were making all kinds of noise.

They were taking turns running down the sidewalk, timing each other in a 50 yard dash.

I remember thinking, “Some of those boys will be us in 30 years, drinking coffee and talking about lightbulbs.”

– – –

We headed outside then, to inspect the curb.

There we were, a bunch of middle-aged men, standing right in the the middle of the racecourse.

Once we realized, we scooted out of the way, and watched a few of the boys take their turns.

“7.50” was the time of one boy.

“8.20” was the next.

Even the larger boy, with his 10 second run, seemed to streak by us to the cheers of others.

I thought I caught a whiff of wistfulness in a couple of the other men’s eyes.

I know it was there in my own.

– – –

I’m not exactly sure what happened next.

The sun was setting, and it was clearly magic hour, but I would swear that the next person to run wasn’t a child at all, but one of the Trustees.  He zipped by us, and the time-keeper called out “12 seconds. Good hustle!”

From then on, the groups seemed to merge.  A Scout would run, and then a couple Trustees.  Everyone yelling in encouragement.

Even the oldest of our group, who had somewhat of a limp, made it down the sidewalk, a Scout on one arm, and a Trustee on the other.

They all whooped and cheered for him and his 26 second outing.

And I ran too.  And felt energy returning to my bones, and the evening breeze on my face.

I felt alive.

Soon, magic hour gave way to dusk, and the Scouts and Trustees separated to end their meetings.

The Scouts had future adventures to plan.

The Trustees had facilities to care for.

– – –

Now…

Every bit of this story is true… except for a few parts I may not be remembering correctly. 🙂

But I can tell you this:

God created us to be both Scouts and Trustees.  To adventure into the world, and to care for home base.

And if you want to see what that looks like in action,

just come down to the church next Monday night…

and we’ll be here to cheer you on.

Have a great week,

Mitchdownload (3)

 

“Facticious”

Litany of Facts:  By Mitch Todd

Global Warming Is A Myth.  (Here, let me show you the facts.)

Global Warming Is Here! (Here, let me show you the facts.)

Republicans know what to do with our money. (Here, let me show you the facts.)

Democrats know what to do with our money. (Here, let me show you the facts.)

Eat bacon and lose weight!  (Here, let me show you the facts.)

DON’T eat bacon if you want to lose weight!  (Here, let me show you the facts.)

I could go on, but honestly, I’m kind of tired of the litany of “facts”.  After a while, it all starts to sound…facticious.

I long for the day when facts were, you know, facts.   As a kid, I believed in facts.  If a scientist or a researcher or a politician told me something was fact, I believed them.   There was something comforting about the solidity of facts.  Something that gave the world some structure.  A platform you could attempt to build a life on.

And then…I don’t know if it was just me growing up, or maybe the world drifting into post-modernism, but facts started to become slippery. Invariably, for every rock solid belief I held, there was someone else in the world holding an opposite belief just as tightly–clutching onto a different set of facts.

The same is true in Christianity.   Just look at the fracturing of the Protestant Church.  Now we have hundreds, even thousands of denominations, all claiming to know the facts about belief.   (As if such a thing were even possible!)  Even within my denomination, the United Methodist Church, individual churches and members may believe very different sets of “facts” when it comes to issues of women in ministry, homosexuality, capital punishment, salvation, etc.

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe part of our job as faithful disciples, and citizens of this planet, is to sift through all the facts and come to as faithful a decision as we can on all sorts of issues.   And I don’t even think we all have to agree on everything.  But I’ve come to realize that you can stack up all the facts in the world and it doesn’t mean you’ll reach the Truth.  (Tower of Babel, anyone?)

Truth is mysterious, never fully knowable, and somehow able to transcend all the various facts we attach to it.   Truth, for me, is the reality of God’s Kingdom that I can never fully comprehend, but can pledge my every breath to.  Truth is potent and powerful.

When I live with Truth first, and facts second, I’m able to see that the person across the spectrum from me may still be in touch with some Truth that I can’t fully see.   When I live with Truth, I’m able to see The Issue behind the issues, namely the spread of God’s Love into this world.   When I live with Truth, I’m more comfortable saying three magic words:  “I don’t know”.

When I try to live with Truth, life is less about building platforms, and more about building relationships.  Facts are building blocks, and building blocks can be helpful.   But not when they’re used to build walls between people.

Still, I can’t imagine a world without facts.  I don’t think I’d want one.  Facts certainly have their place.

But a world without Truth?

The would be worse than a world without bacon.

Have a good week,

Mitch

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previously published in Aug ’11