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So.

It’s been quiet around here.

Well, it’s been a year. Heck, it’s been a couple of years. Life has a way of taking the wind out of your sails when you’re not looking.

Lots of things have happened; I turned 50. I’m parent to both a legal adult and a teenager. One whom I’m obliged to interact with in strictly an advisory capacity. And the other of whom wishes that were so.

I’ll leave you to figure out which is which (though the teen is oftentimes the more mature of the two).

In all seriousness, it’s been a journey of endeavoring to find a path forwards when my waistline isn’t the only thing in my life to go all pear-shaped.

Things have happened. Heavy things. Things I’m not sure I’m even ready to process yet. I mean how can I when my health is not great, my wife’s health is even worse than mine, and work is demanding more and more everyday…

Infirmity has a way of contracting one’s world till it seems as small as Hamlet’s nutshell. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the bandwidth (or the energy) to even begin to muster any outrage over the political climate in the U.S. (for instance). Life is more an unremitting treadmill of exhaustion and obligation.

It’s not that it’s a bad life, per se; I live in the wealthiest county in the world. I have a good family, a nice house… It’s just the weariness. The bone weariness. Nobody told me that one of life’s cruel jokes is that it demands more and more while taking health, energy, vitality at an ever-increasing rate as the years roll by.

Life seemingly takes more and more without truly giving anything back. It’s oftentime dry as sawdust, tedious… Repetitious. And I can’t fall apart; I’m the (as the saying goes) sole breadwinner for my family. It’s on my shoulders. It’s not that fun robbing Peter to pay Paul, keeping the bills paid, keeping a roof over our heads when more and more seems to be going out the door every day. Again, I’m not so much complaining as stating a fact (I know I live the most prosperous nation in the world, that I live what many would term a comfortable, middle class life; I get it). I guess it’s just getting harder and harder to get by on one income these days. Listen; I want to hustle, to bring home more green. I just don’t know how with: sleep apnea, thyroid disease, and my wife’s health challenges that take so much time and energy to address. I’m doing good to get up and go to the job I have… Seriously, I don’t measure my coffee in cups anymore; it’s pints. It’s either amazing, or distressing, how much caffeine I can imbibe in a given day and still be absolutely dragging myself in the door when I get home…

One day bleeds into the next, into the next, into the next. It’s hard to muster the energy to be excited about much of anything when I’m wondering what I’ll need to do to get some sleep. How much Melatonin will work for me? How about Valerian Root? Chamomille tea? I’m bone weary just sitting here typing this out.

Have you been there?

How did you break out of your rut?

Have you ever felt like the walking dead?

Author: Bill McChesney Author URL: https://www.flickr.com/people/bsabarnowl/ Title: 24230 Communion and Extended Communion First Presbyterian Church Charlottesville April 3, 2011 Year: 2011 Source: Flickr Source URL: https://www.flickr.com License: Creative Commons Attribution License License Url: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ License Shorthand: CC-BY Download Image

 
Church culture fascinates me. For instance, who decided that in the order of service communion should follow the greeting? You know what I’m talking about. There’s that time, every Sunday, when pastor announces that we should “extend the right hand of fellowship” to those around us? He means shake hands and say “Hi” to make folks feel welcome.

Well and good. People should feel welcome in our churches. I don’t have an issue with greeting folks (except that I mostly want to sit down and keep to myself). My problem is that when Communion Sunday rolls around it always comes after the greeting and not before.

My problem is that I don’t know where all those hands have been, you know? Who’s been scratching their head, nose, etc.? Who’s gone to the restroom (and not washed)? Who’s been changing diapers? Who’s (maybe) picked their nose, sneezed, coughed, whatever? (I’m sure you’ve seen that one guy who, when he thought no one was looking, scratched his posterior).

The answers are:

Don’t know

Don’t know

Don’t know

Don’t wanna know

Don’t know

And Ew!

And yet it never fails that I’m supposed to take communion, by placing that flavorless wafer in my mouth using the very hand I’ve just used to greet my brothers and sisters. They should have hand sanitizer dispensers as on the backs of pews so we can all freshen our hands before partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

It’s just a thought. 

I mean the juice comes in a little cup, right? Why not put that little, flavorless, moisture-sucking pellet in a cup, too–instead of in a receptacle where we all have to fish it out by hand? That’s just a thought, too, you know.

Then again, what if, say, the church implements a two-cup system (two cups, one… never mind), with the wafer in the bottom, and the wine substitute in the upper cup. What happens, say, if that juice sloshes around, or if the volunteers were a little too enthusiastic jamming those communion cups together? I’d say that the situation is ripe for that one perfect storm you never want to have happen when partaking of the Lord’s Supper:

Spilling Jesus.

What is spilling Jesus? It’s when the little cups either get stuck in the tray, and you can’t get them out, or the cups themselves are wedged so tightly together, that you end up spilling the juice all over yourself, your wife, her new dress, and the pew.

Not that that’s ever happened to me, mind you. It’s just a good thing I’m not Catholic (speaking of, can you imagine taking communion from the same cup? Many people, one cup? Yuck!).

I’m not sure what (if any) the lesson in all this is. Maybe we just need to be careful about how and where we spill Jesus?

All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, is upon us this week. In light of that, I have a question for you:

What’s your favorite scary movie?

It doesn’t have to be horror. It could be a thriller, action/adventure, whatever. It just has to be something that gets your blood pumping, your adrenaline flowing.

I’ll go first:

In recent cinematic history, I’d have to say it’s The Conjuring for me. It delivers the mood, the thrills, the chills, and a faith-affirming message, too.

What’s yours?

Share in the comments below.
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Recently, my online friend Caleb McNary emailed me with an inquiry. Would I willing to, during the month of November, engage in fearsome feats of follicular fortitude?

Would I willing to grow a beard for No shave November?

When I broached the subject with my wife, she wasn’t entirely supportive; because, you see, beards are not her favorite. 🙂 (I do have a nice pebbling of stubble sprouting from my face. We’ll see if she notices).

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captain stubbles

The impetus behind No Shave November is to raise awareness for a worthy cause. In Caleb’s case, he’s put together a crackerjack team of (soon to be) bearded bloggers united for a single cause:

Our goal is simple: raise $1,000 to provide clean water for 50 people.

Will you join us?

To donate, or learn more about the project, click here.

If you’re among the male half of population, please consider joining in. If you do, use the hashtags #noshavember or #beardedbloggers, and post pictures of your hairy hirsuted progress to social media.

(As Caleb indicated in his post, if you’re a lady you’re more than welcome to join in. It is heading towards winter after all–so grow out that leg hair! Just don’t post any pics anywhere, okay?). 😉

Thanks! Hope you’ll consider joining in on all the fun, faith, and follicles!

First, a question:

What are you reading? I ask because I love books, and am always on the lookout for new reads. So keep that question in mind for the comments, ok?

Now, since I’ve let you go first, allow me to make some recommendations for books that will knock your socks off:

In the category of “Best book about Jesus I’ve ever read” is:

John Eldredge’s Beautiful Outlaw. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Once you read it your view of Jesus will never be the same. Promise.

As a free plug, and if you’re at all interested in a closer walk with Jesus, I highly recommend you check out some of the resources on the Ransomed Heart webstore. Lifechanging.
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In the “Best New Book About Sports and Jesus” category, we have:

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My My Internet Name Rival’s new book, Love Thy Rival, about what sports’ greatest rivalries teach us about Jesus’ command to love our enemies.

Coincident with the release of this book, Chad has partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to build a clinic in Haiti. Check out the campaign, and support your team against its rival.

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Last, but not least, in the category of “Best Book About Jesus and Zombies,” is Clay Morgan’s new book, Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn. Professor Morgan has his finger firmly on the pulse of pop culture (well, technically zombies don’t have a pulse, and will eat you if you try to take it. But I digress), while being firmly rooted in history, and scripture. Don’t miss this book!

So there are three books I’m reading (expect full reviews in the coming days) right now. Again: what are you reading? Share in the comments.