Archive for September, 2010

Daily Office

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21)

Something that has bothered me for a long time is the manner in which sinners are typically reckoned as members of the church. We ask them to ‘repeat the confession’: I believe, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God AND my personal Lord and Savior. So, we make sure we get in all those great Christological terms: Christ, Son, Lord, Savior, Jesus, God. And then, to much applause and fanfare, the right hand of fellowship is extended and the person is welcomed into the church. (Or they are baptized or catechized or turned into twice the sons of hell than they were before the confession.)

The problem is that nowhere in the Scripture are we told that this is even remotely close to the way in which sinners are reckoned as saints, orphans are reckoned as family, or wanderers are reckoned as disciples. In fact Jesus seems to be saying here that the confession of him as ‘Lord, Lord’ is one of the least reliable ways of determining anything. Jesus says that ‘not everyone’ who says this will ‘enter the kingdom’ (which I do not take to mean that it will be sufficient for some). There are wolves among the sheep. A lot of people are simply full of words, empty words as it turns out in the long run.

Bonhoeffer noted well,

“Even if we make the confession of faith, it gives us no title or special claim upon Jesus. We can never appeal to our confession or be saved simply on the ground that we have made it. Neither is the fact that we are members of a Church which has a right confession a claim to God’s favour…God will not ask us that day whether we were good Protestants, but whether we have done his will” (The Cost of Discipleship, 193; Bonhoeffer’s arguments here are a bit confusing but the short and long of it, he argues, is that this is not an ‘ordinary contrast of word and deed, but two different relations between man and God.’ One has to do with works, the other with grace.)

The gracious call of God, in other words, transforms us. There is a sense in which, in agreement with Bonhoeffer, our confessions are self-righteous and calls for people to notice us while our ‘doing’ is a drawing of attention to God, however quietly it may happen. Here N.T. Wright is also in agreement,

“This revolutionary vision of virtue thus enables us to shift attention quite drastically away from the idea that Christian behavior in the world is basically about ‘good works’ in the sense of good moral living, keeping the rules, and so on, and toward the idea that Christian behavior is basically about ‘good works’ in the sense of doing things which bring God’s wisdom and glory to birth in the world” (After You Believe, 71; his emphasis).

So Jesus is saying that, while a confession is not entirely out of place, if you truly want to demonstrate the grace of God in your life, or answer his gracious call, then respond to Him…make a confession not with words, but with actions. “The grace of Jesus is a demand upon the doer, and so his doing becomes the true humility, the right faith, and the right confession of the grace of the God who calls” He calls, we answer. “They know that confession does not justify, and so they have gone and made the name of Jesus great among the people by their deeds” (The Cost of Discipleship, 194).

Confession with words draws attention to the self: Lord, Lord, Look at me!

Actions, doing the will of God, calls attention to the God who calls: Behold, Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So go, make his Name great today. Jesus seems to be more impressed with doing than with saying. And this, I suspect, will be the true test of whether or not a person has been received into fellowship in the church.

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Daily Office

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:1-6)

I did a quick search of Matthew’s Gospel and found that Jesus uses the words ‘do not’ relatively few times as far as direct commands are concerned. If I counted right, and I’m tired so I might not have, twenty-six times. That’s not a lot considering that Matthew wrapped thirty-three years of life into a mere twenty-eight chapters. Jesus probably heard ‘do not’ more than he ever said it, I guess. “Jesus, do not play with your food,” or something absurd like that. Or, “Jesus, do not give your brother swirlies.” I’m just guessing here.

This section represents one of those twenty-six times and this first verse is usually bandied about like a six-shooter and everyone lays claim to it for one reason or another. Everyone says, “Don’t judge.” It seems that anytime a pagan has a criticism of a disciple this is one of the first things out of their mouth, “You Christians do too much judging…didn’t Jesus tell you not to judge?” Well, yes. He also told us not to throw our pearls before pigs. I suspect we all retain a lot of riches in this way. As DA Carson is fond of reminding his listeners when preaching on this verses, “Someone still has to decide who is and is not the swine…and that involves judgment.” Ah, yes!

Jesus told us ‘do not’ to a lot of things. “Do not swear at all, by heaven or earth.” And, “Do not resist an evil person” (one I’m sure requires no judgment either!) “Do not judge” seems to carry the same moral and theological imperative as, say, “Do not worry” or “do not be afraid” or “do not call anyone on earth ‘father.’” But I know better than that. You and I know that the first thing we do when we see someone is we judge them, we size them up, and we form an opinion about them based solely on the way they look. I do it every time someone walks into my store.

Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” In a vacuum this means what it says: Don’t do it. But we don’t live in vacuums so Jesus also clarifies: the standard you use is the standard that will be used. OK. So I should be gracious, kind, merciful, and considerate. We need to read this post-Calvary, post-Easter, post-Ascension, and Pre-Parousia. Post-Cavalry disciples read this in light of the cross where the world and sin were judged. Not only do we understand the world differently, we understand ourselves relatively completely: we know there is a log in our eyes and this log necessarily obfuscates our vision. This means, I believe, that I simply cannot pass judgment on anyone. It will not do. Why? Well, frankly, because I’m no better.

We cannot even see ourselves, let alone someone standing in front of us. Hauerwas notes, “Following Christ requires our recognizing that the one I am tempted to judge is like me—a person who has received the forgiveness manifest in the cross” (S Hauerwas, BTCB, Matthew, 86). I might also add that it also means we are just like them: blind to our own unrighteousness. How have I heard it said? We are like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

This world is different now that Jesus has been resurrected. (Different also as we await his appearing.) Our judgments and opinions need to be sober, sophisticated, and humble. Or we should just be quiet. We belong to a community that sees life for what it is. We see reality: cold, hard, and determined. We see hunger and thirst and suffering and opportunity. But do we see the world that is God’s world? Judgment is too easy. Passing judgment, acting upon our judgment, withholding love because of that judgment is a damnable offense. We belong to a new community that is not conditioned upon judgment, but love. We belong to a community free of judgment.

Judgment is associated with a lot of things in this world: power, hate, prejudice, racism, and a whole host of other damaging behaviors. Judgment is associated with many things, but love is not one of them.

As I listen to the Spirit sing into my heart, I hear the words of the poet, “Love is blindness.” Where there is love, there is no judgment. Open my eyes so that I might see myself, Lord, and love as I have, indeed, been loved. I think when the plank is removed from my eye, and I confess the truth of my own sin, I’m not going to be so concerned about the sin of others.

Next time you want to judge: Just don’t; just love.

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“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  ”And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

John Stott just published his final book. He called it The Radical Disciple. I read it. I wrote a review of it. In short, Stott, well known for his preaching among other things, boiled down discipleship to eight ‘neglected aspects.’ In his opinion, those eight are: nonconformity, Christlikeness, maturity, creation care, simplicity, balance, dependence, and death. I love John Stott and have read many of his books. This is not one of my favorites.

He confesses at the end of the book that the eight ‘neglected aspects’ are random and that his readers very well may choose their own eight (or more or less). I don’t disagree that the eight he chose are important, I just disagree that they are the most neglected (creation care? Please!). I looked at the birds in my backyard; they eat well. I watched the flowers grow all year; spectacular indeed. I have tried to imagine Solomon in all his royal robes—some scene it must have been each day when he strode into the room. I imagine there is something more significant to discipleship than creation care, but that’s just my opinion.

It’s hard not to worry though. It’s like we are wired for it. Maybe we worry because we have placed too much stock in the things that we think are necessary to life on earth. Maybe I wouldn’t worry so much about losing my stuff if I didn’t have stuff in the first place. Maybe we spend too much time chasing too much of the wrong stuff, seeking the wrong things? Then again, I don’t happen to think it is a sin to have stuff.

If I were writing a book called The Radical Disciple one of my eight would be that the radical disciple is content. In Rich Mullins words, “Well, His eye’s on the sparrow/And the lilies of the field I’ve heard/And He will watch over you and He will watch over me/So we can dress like flowers and eat like birds.” I wish I had that sort of contentment and faith but when I wake in the morning some of my first words are ‘what will I eat today?’ and ‘what will I wear today?’ Maybe I have too many choices.

What does it take to have that sort of faith? You know what I mean—the sort of faith that is determined that flower petal dresses and birdseed sandwiches are quite enough thank you very much. Wendell Berry poetically noted, “In your wild foragings/The earth feeds you the way/She feeds the beasts and birds.” Yes, she does. I still wonder about all those people in the world whom God seems no to know need food, the ones dressed less as well as flowers.

I’m not, Jesus says, supposed to be like the pagans. Jesus says that following him means that we will approach each day differently than the pagans. Today is enough, he says, if I am seeking something other than the day. Seek righteousness. See his kingdom. Seek something other than the things the world expects you to be seeking. Is that the definition of faith? Do I have the sort of courage required to actually do that? What if I went an entire day seeking nothing but righteousness and His kingdom to the utter neglect of the things that I have been conditioned, from the day of my birth, to seek each day?

I’ll bet I would worry a lot less because those things, when sought, cannot help but be found.

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Daily Office

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I don’t mean to ‘take-over’ the blog or anything, but I do think that sometimes we get so wrapped up in discussions that we utterly forget that we are all saved by grace by the same Lord. I’ve been meaning to do this—to start making a daily contribution to the blog (at least during the week) that would turn our thoughts to Jesus. You, the readers of this blog, so long as you choose to read, will be a congregation (of which I am a member) and these short devotionals, designed to turn our eyes upon Jesus, will be sermons of a sort. I will be following the Daily Office, Year One, as outline in the Book of Common Prayer because that is where I am reading.

There’s a little part of this pericope that is always overlooked by the commentators in their rush to point out that Peter will now be a ‘fisher of men’ or in the hurry to explain the miraculous catch of fish. It’s at the end, when Jesus speaks to Peter a second or third time. Notice what Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” In our hurry to get to that great part about ‘catching men’ we overlook the part where Jesus has to tell Peter not to be afraid. I suppose being afraid would be an appropriate response. Strange, isn’t it, that Peter’s response to Jesus was one of fear.

It’s too easy to think that Peter was merely humble (so, Bock, NIVAC, 154) or overly repentant of his unworthiness in light of ‘holiness’ (so, Wright, LFE, 55). It’s much more difficult to see Peter as absolutely terrified. Yes, yes. Peter calls himself sinful and bows down at Jesus’ knee. Yes. Yes! But Jesus tells him, “Don’t be afraid.” Jesus tells Peter that his new way of living henceforth is to be one without fear. “Don’t be afraid.” Howard Marshall suggests that here ‘do not be afraid’ functions as a ‘declaration of forgiveness’ (NIGTC, 205). But I’m not so convinced. If this phrase also marks ‘epiphany scenes’ (see Luke 1:13, 30), then perhaps it is much more than forgiveness Peter is asking for: in the presence of Jesus he was fearful for his very life! In the presence of Jesus Peter thought for sure he had seen something that marked his doom.

I think Peter recognized at that moment that Jesus was someone altogether different, altogether other—whatever that might mean. But let’s turn back to Jesus. It was Jesus who told Peter not to be afraid. It was Jesus who prophesied Peter’s vocation. It was Jesus Peter and the others ‘left all’ to follow. The fish were soon forgotten and off they went to follow Jesus. And before we go off and follow Jesus, and where he leads us we will follow, he tells us not to be afraid—even though in following him we may necessarily and inevitably end up in places that are rather frightening.

I know that perfect love drives out fear, but when we are about to embark on something so incredible as following Jesus won’t we necessarily be filled with fear? Or, at least, shouldn’t we be? Sometimes I wonder if we are a bit too glib in our calls for people to ‘come follow Jesus.’ He bids us ‘come and die;’ that’s rather scary. Does this strike no fear in us? Yet Jesus, the very one we will dare to follow, is the one who puts his hand on us and says, “Don’t be afraid.” We follow one who strikes fear into our hearts without fear. Is he safe? Of course not. But he’s good!

Do not be afraid.

It must be that even Jesus recognizes that some of the things we will see or some of the places we will go or some of the things he will ask us to do will cause us to be afraid. But isn’t it reassuring that before he asks us to go and ‘catch them alive’ he commands us not to be afraid? Isn’t it wonderful to know that when we follow him we do not have to be afraid? Isn’t it a blessing to know that this frightening One commands us not to be afraid? And whom shall we fear?

His word to us today is this: Don’t be afraid.

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Love covers over a multitude of sins.
Love embraces before repentance begins.
If we only love those who also love us,
It is not born of God, but born of dust.
Love always triumphs, love always wins.
Love covers over a multitude of sins.

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Brotherly love

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the release of Joe Banua’s debut EP, “Broken” with about 1200 other folks at my church. Since then, I’ve been listening to it quite a bit in my iPod rotation, and I am constantly moved by the depth and passion of it.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve known Joe for the past five years or so, and have had the pleasure of playing with him on the Sunday-morning worship team for much of that time. He’s an incredibly talented guy (he is able to play most every instrument we use in our worship services – and do so quite well), and his heart for the Lord and serving him with music is incredible. So it was totally incredible when an anonymous donor offered to fund the production of a professional EP for Joe, which he is now able to take with him during the week while he tours (and which has gotten a good bit of local radio play time).

In choosing the songs for the album, Joe first put together some quality acoustic recordings of ten or so of his songs, which he invited his friends & family to vote on, for inclusion in the EP. While there was one I was rooting for that didn’t make it (”Yeshua”), the ones chosen were quite good:

“Bring You Glory” – The first song released to Christian radio stations in the area, Bring You Glory is stylistically similar to Chris Tomlin’s recent worship songs, and is incredibly solid (and catchy). In all honesty, of the songs selected for the EP, Bring You Glory had been one of my least favorite from the acoustic set (as an acoustic song), but its translation to the studio reminds me of the difference between Rich Mullins’ acoustic demo for My Deliverer and its posthumous studio production.

“You Are Holy” – Not to be mistaken w/ Marc Imboden’s song of the same title (and the odd coincidence of knowing Marc, who lives about 15 minutes away), You Are Holy is a sweet interlude that always reminds me of the meditative time spent in our weekly Communion services.

“Broken” – From a songwriting standpoint, Broken is the best song on the album, and probably my favorite (though the last track is neck-and-neck with it). Broken explores Jesus’ love and healing, particularly focused on the broken and downtrodden.

These are the hands that were nailed to the cross,
These are the feet that run to the lost,
These are the arms that wrap around those who are broken.

These are the eyes that see through our sin,
Whatever we’ve done, wherever we’ve been,
These are the lips that speak to the hearts of the broken…

Broken could very well have been produced as more of an acoustic-feel track and been ever stronger than the full studio treatment (similar example: Rich Mullins’ acoustic demos of Elijah were more timeless than the pop-style production of Reed Arvin), but even so it is an incredibly powerful song that truly deserved to be the title track of the album.

“Never Failed Me” – Joe’s exploration of the concept of God’s grace and our response to it, Never Failed Me speaks to God’s unfailing mercy, in a catchy, but laid-back, Southern Rock style.

“Feet of the Nations” – Probably the song that changed the least between the acoustic recording and the studio album, the polish provided in the professional recording takes a great song and makes it incredible. An examination of the common, every-day love of serving our neighbors, Joe brought tears to the eyes of a lot of folks when he first played this song last year in our sermon series on loving one’s neighbor. Interestingly, this song was written in less than a week, but lyrically is amazingly both tight and raw the emotion it brings across.

Dark and lonely, breathing slowly,
He’ll drift and fall asleep.
Wishing only for a hand to hold,
So he can finally leave.

Just another beating heart for him to feel,
Just another comforting voice for him to hear,

I will fall to my knees,
Down at his feet,
For the Lord has first loved me.
As the water flows down,
Oh that beautiful sound,
All the dirt, it is washed away.
And I give up my pride and let it be taken,
So I can wash the feet of the nations…

Broken is an incredibly powerful and moving album which I hope you will enjoy as much as I have. You can give a listen to some of it at his website here, or you can download the whole thing from iTunes.

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“I hated the hypocrisy that niceness cloaks.”

–Stanley Hauerwas, Hannah’s Child, 28

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I’d like to go ‘old-school’ for a moment or two as this day of mine comes to a close. Think back to a time not long ago when U2 released the CD they titled, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It wasn’t that long ago, and yet it seems forever and a day. One of the (in my opinion) better tracks on the CD is a song simply called YHWH. The lyrics are such:

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist no
Take this mouth
So quick to criticize
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

We were driving home from worship—the culmination of a nice Sabbath I treated myself to. Worship, by the way, was amazing today. I feared for the preacher who had the nerve to say to his congregation, “Don’t be a tumor on the body of Christ,” and, best, “Dead churches do not ask you take responsibility; living churches do.” I nearly fell out the soft padded pew. Next week I am not sitting in the balcony, that’s for sure.

We were driving home after hearing the preacher say such things and we were listening to Yahweh.  My children were horsing around in the backseat and my wife and I were engaged in conversation. I heard the lyric, “His love is like a drop in the ocean” and I paused…I thought about it…it didn’t make sense to me for some reason, but I couldn’t figure out why. I said to the lovely and gracious Bumblebee, “that lyric seems out of place, it doesn’t make sense.”

She nodded as she does when she is trying to indicate that I am over-thinking something. I persisted.

“Seriously. What is he saying there? A drop in the ocean is small compared to the ocean. Is Bono saying that God’s love is really small? Is he saying that God’s love is condescending, that it becomes small to accommodate our inability to comprehend it’s vastness? Or is he saying it is indistinguishable from everything else around it? It’s only one small part of what God in his grace gives us?” She agreed, which I think was her way of saying she wasn’t really interested in ruining a nice song with analysis.

Then it happened. I confess that right now, twelve and a half hours later, I am still in a bit of shock. It happens that my youngest son, Doodle-boy, Pookie, was listening to our conversation and, evidently, the song. He piped up, “it means it’s hard to find.”  Huh? This from my son who is about as interested in school as a chicken is in Tyson. I hadn’t thought of it that way, and I’m still having trouble understanding why my 12 year old did, but I think he might be right.

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

So my thought is this: If God’s love is so vast, so great, so big, so deep, then why is it so hard to find? Is it really so indistinguishable from everything around it? Do we really have to search and search and search for God’s love?

I know that my 12 year old is not the only one asking such questions. Bono is no neophyte in matters of the mystery of God and God’s love. And we, with outstretched hands and longing hearts, too want to know this love of God that others seem to find so easily and readily. Maybe what Bono is saying is that God’s love is hard to find because it is only found in one place and we have to go through a lot of, uh, crap, to find it: it is one treasure hidden in a field, one pearl in a market place, it is one Man among millions, it is one drop in an ocean. It is hidden in plain sight, yet for all we see it is indistinguishable from its surroundings.

I do not know what was going through the mind of my Pookster, but I know what is going on inside my own heart and mind. And the truth is that sometimes God’s love is difficult to find, feel, or see. The preacher this morning said that true church membership is a loving relationship between the members. But maybe it is also the place where God’s love is felt most acutely while we are having our shoes, feet, shirts, cities, hands, and mouths changed, that is, while new children are being born. And in the meantime there is pain.

Or maybe humanity is the ocean, and Jesus is the one drop of God’s love?

Who knows? All I can really say is this: If God’s love is a drop in the ocean, I’d rather know that one drop than all the rest of the waters of earth. For it seems to me that no matter how difficult it may be to find, there, in that one drop, is all the sustenance I will need for a thousand-million years. And it would be worth searching a million years or more to find that one drop.

I’m glad Snakers spoke up this morning. He reminded me to keep on looking, to keep on searching, to keep pursuing the God who relentlessly pursues me.

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Saturday evening I finished work at 5 pm and decided, since I didn’t have to return to work until 4:30 the next day, I would declare that period of time a Sabbath. I decided: no work, no homework, no nothing but relaxing with my family, watching movies, eating good food (Renee made Kebobs and homemade pizza), laughing, and worship Sunday morning.

We watched some excellent movies: Robin Hood (the new one with Russell Crowe); Is Anyone There? (with Michael Caine, and excellent movie); and the first seven chapters of The Boondock Saints (for which Willem Defoe should have won some serious awards). It was Defoe who played the lead character of the film, FBI Special Agent Paul Smeckers.

Then I went to bed.

I woke up today, Sunday, thinking about Smuckers. You know, of Jelly and Jam fame. And I got to thinking about their slogan: “With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good.” This led me to question what that slogan really means.

Does the phrase mean (that is, how should the phrase be interpreted):

A. With a name (as strange as) Smuckers, the Jelly/Jam had better be good? (Because with a name like Smuckers, it might not get a chance.)

B. With a name like Smuckers, the Jelly/Jam cannot help but be good. (Because those Smucker people really know how to make Jelly.)

C.  Something else?

I’m not really a fan of Jelly/Jam. In fact, I’ve never even eaten Jelly in my life. I like toast, but not with Jelly. I prefer my toast with cinnamon and sugar and butter. It’s really tasty. Toast and tea is one of my favorite breakfasts.

Well, my breakfast is now over and it is time to get ready for worship. My Sabbath only has about 8 more hours before it concludes. Then I have to go back to work and convince people to rent videos, give my opinion about the videos we rent, and help them select a great snack to go along with their video. Then I’ll come home, finish The Boondock Saints, and go to bed.

And wake up thinking about something else. But I’ll say this: the last 16 hours have been holy and blissful, which also makes me wonder why my son and his friends were talking about the Canterbury Tales yesterday…but that’s a fire engine of a different color altogether…

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