Thursday, June 26, 2014


In the United States, and increasingly in the rest of the world, we tend to turn everything we like into commodities.  I wonder what we lose when we no longer have to give something of ourselves to do for others and we have little opportunity to express gratitude to those who make what we use.

Take food as an example.  I have had the privilege of enjoying multiple meals with friends over the years.  It is a gift to enjoy food prepared by the able hands of someone who actually knows you and spends hours getting a meal ready.  How different it is to go to a commercial establishment where you never see who prepares your food.  This separation makes it all but impossible for the preparer to include anything of himself, any love in the preparation.  It also makes it easier for the consumer to withhold true gratitude or even common courtesy if things are not to his liking.  It is about the food rather than the gifts of service and gratitude.

When we become consumers we lose any sense of gratitude.  This happens in so many areas of life.  It is a cancer eating away at our world and rendering us increasingly selfish and unloving toward each other.  It is at the very core of our addictions to food, sex, and “love” today.

We have turned the gift of love expressed physically into a commodity and have made it about desire rather than giving.  We have flipped it backwards, thus trivializing it.  Food and sex both appeal to our senses, which tell us we need more of whatever feels good, but when we focus on taking rather than giving we bury our very souls beneath a mountain of greed, lust, and gluttony.

How do we recapture and reassert a sense of gratitude and sacrifice in a culture saturated with consumerism and selfishness?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


We have to use general labels to describe ourselves and each other because that is the best we can do.  The problem so often is we limit ourselves and others to those labels.  When I now tell people I am a stay-at-home dad, they filter that label through their experiences and information.  A stay-at-home dad could conjure very different pictures for people depending on their life experiences and information.  

When not used precisely, words are of very little use in getting to know someone.  Words can help us understand each other, but they can also separate us when we do not use them carefully.  

Labels can be a huge source of misunderstanding when we do not ask clarifying questions.  A label is a beginning, a conversation starter, not a definitive statement about who someone is.  Our labels just help us determine the right questions to ask if we want to know and be known.  We use labels because they help us describe what we are like, but they are not specific enough to tell us who we really are.  

God alone knows our true names, our unique identities rather than the collection of labels we wear throughout our lives.  All those labels change, but what part of us endures through all the labels?  That part dances just beyond the reach of our intellect because it gets lost in the inevitable inaccuracy of human description.  That is who we really are.  It is the soul and it yearns to be called by name.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Words, words, words, they come in, they go out.  They move, they flow, but what do they carry?  What do they know?  Words are everywhere, inside, outside, in quiet and in chaos.  You cannot hide from them and you cannot run. They are always there, lurking or advertising, whispering or shouting.  This world is made of all sorts of things, but mostly it is made of words, words we know and words we don’t.