Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Silence

Once again, I tried to come up with something profound. And once again, God told me to shut up. Or maybe that's just the message they want me to deliver.

Let go of the tumult of this day. At least for a few moments, indulge in sacred silence. Quiet your mind, that you might hear your God whispering sweet nothings into your heart. We are, after all, celebrating them coming to us. So let them!

May you have a most joyful and fruitful Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Choice to Love

Earlier this week, I watched an ESPN documentary about how Nelson Mandela used the sport of rugby as a tool to promote reconciliation and unity in post-apartheid South Africa. What struck me most was not Mandela's actions, but that so many of his fellow countrymen chose to follow his lead. They did not have to after all. It would have been understandable, perhaps even justifiable, for them to remain stuck in their anger and fear. But instead, whether reluctantly or eagerly, they chose to love.

We have spent the last few weeks celebrating Nelson Mandela, as we should have. But let us also take the time to celebrate those ordinary South Africans who chose to love their neighbor rather than fight them. Even better, let us emulate them.

"Yes, this path will be terrifying. It is uncertain and full of risk. But we owe it to our family to embark upon the journey. It is who we are and why we were created: to love our family, all of it."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Monthly Reading Links

"We met Rafael's battered body in Capulín, El Salvador, where the dusty road out of the parish of Chirilagua reached its highest and widest point … Not too many days before, a young and vibrant Rafael had passed by this very spot, eager for a new life of promise in El Norte. But on this day, weighed down by hearts heavy with grief, we gathered together as a parish family to meet the 'hearse,' a beat-up old pickup truck that would bring home our young friend's lifeless remains."
Lisa Marie Belz, America

"I sat and stared at the words. I knew that if I could find time in my busy life to read this prayer every day, it would make a difference … As I folded towels, I re-read the words that had touched me so deeply. And in doing so, I found my answer! I quickly found some tacks and hung the prayer over my washing machine. And thus began a ritual, which I would follow for years, of praying this prayer every time I did the laundry."
Susan Erschen, America

"I feel a strong sense of almost palindromic symmetry of what I experienced. A six-hour flight brought me to the [International Space] Station in May. Six hours ago I was still on board. Now I am back. Nothing has changed – nothing will ever be the same."
Luca Parmitano, European Space Agency

"I never wanted a big wedding. I never wanted to wear a white dress or throw a bouquet. And when we took that out of it, when we realized we wanted a marriage more than we wanted a wedding, what was stopping us? Why couldn't we do it that Friday night?"
Taylor Jenkins Reid, Los Angeles Times

"When newspapers report on human suffering, they suggest we should care. When they demonize the same people, they suggest that maybe we don't have to, and when they focus on the status of material goods rather than that suffering, they suggest property is more important than people."
Rebecca Solnit, Los Angeles Times

Follow me on Twitter, @jwbidwell, for additional reading recommendations.