This Side Of Eden

This Side Of Eden

…Finding our way home

David Johnson

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Where We Miss…

I was listening to a radio interview recently with Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph.  They were discussing his ritual of game planning, and one of the questions he was asked was essentially, “When you have to catch for a pitcher at the last minute (maybe someone who has just been called up), what is the one thing that you need to know about him?”

Caleb’s response makes perfect sense to me, but I never would have thought about it.  He said, “I want to know where the pitches will miss.  If his curveball is going to miss, is it tight, or is it loose, etc.”

When I think about my best friends – the four people who know me the best – well, they know where I miss in life.  They know my weakness.  They know my dark places.  They know what makes me tick.  And they are able to notice it, catch it, and call me to the table so it can be corrected.  I thank God for those true friends who help me keep my aim on Christ.

Direction

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  – Lao Tzu

The question I ask myself is “In what direction should that next step be?”  And so, even though I know the journey begins with one step, I still find myself frozen.  Perhaps the trick is to take a step, in any direction, and create the movement that can adjust, correct, wander, modify, and meander if the first direction isn’t quite right.

Held Safe

I’ve thrown lots of fits at my parents.

I’ve thrown even more fits at God.

“Some of the most remarkable prayers in the legacy of liturgy and literature are arguments with God, the best of them strenuous, bold, and even brash with the presumption of children who take on parents in unequal battle, somehow knowing themselves to be held safe even as they flail and rage.”    – Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, page 217.

Now that I’m a father, that quote has a profound influence in how I understand, and raise, my son.

 

Still a Fan(atic)

In light of recent events, (the Broncos getting crushed in the Super Bowl), I have decided to repost a post a made back in 2007.

I am a Denver Bronco fan.  I will always be a Denver Bronco fan.

It is deeper to me than just the team.

And just as an aside…the family that was reasonably close did get together tonight.  And the others were just a text message away.  The family has even grown quite a bit since I posted first posted this, so it’s nice to carry on traditions.  Once again, the Bronco’s brought us together.  Win or lose…that makes it all worth it.  And I’d be willing to do it all again next year.

Here’s the post, originally from 2007.

Fan(atic)

I’m a fan of a lot of things. I’m a fan of Billy Joel, U2, college basketball, Tom Petty, Grey’s Anatomy, Family Guy, chicken…there’s a hundred things that I’m a fan of.

There’s really only one thing that I’m truly fanatic about.

Denver Bronco’s baby. And all that comes along with it.

That means John Elway, Champ Bailey, Mike Shanahan, Jay Cutler, Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, Jason Elam…Darrent Williams (R.I.P.)…The list goes on, and on, and on……

So, after they lost the final game of the regular season this year, which eliminated them from the playoffs, I really had to stop and think for a moment. Why am I fanatic about the Broncos?

I’ve been a fan for a long…long time. As long as I’ve known what “stardom” was, I’ve associated it with John Elway. I was raised a Bronco fan. For years, as a child, my brothers and I would fight for months, until the football season started, and then, my whole family would unite around the Broncos.

Sometimes we won, sometimes we lost. More often then not the games were nail-biters…going down to the wire. John Elway is the Comeback King, after all.

But my family was always there. I can remember cussing the team up and down one week, and the next week, gathering around the television with a clean slate…a new week. And if they lost a bunch in one year, we always knew there was next year.

I’ve shared the ups and downs with this team. From 3 lost Super Bowls…and then two consecutive Super Bowl wins, (heh, I even got kicked out of a church super bowl party because I wasn’t rooting for Atlanta…it was all good though…I had more fun watching it at home with my father).

All that being said, I found out yesterday that the 363 minute Bronco’s History DVD Collection that I ordered at Christmas has been shipped….and it should be arriving sometime this week. I’m debating whether or not to take a day off of work to watch it. Eh, I wouldn’t actually take a day off.

It’s not often that the entire family gets together anymore. Sure, we all see each other around Christmas and Thanksgiving, but even then, the family comes and goes…and we are rarely ALL there together. The day I come is the day one of my brothers leaves, and then when he comes back, the other brother is gone. It’s rare the 9 members of my immediate family are all together.

So, I’m thinking the Bronco’s will pull this family together at least one more time. We’ll all pick a Saturday, put on our old school Broncos jerseys, sit down, and watch our team.

Perfect: Living Free

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was interviewed this morning about Nelson Mandela.  He relayed a story about when Mandela was released from prison after 27 years.  Mandela was asked if he was going to go after his captors or if he was going to retaliate.  Powell said that Mandela’s response was, “If I do that, than I’m not free.”

Amen.

(Already) Blessed

I once worked with an older woman who had seven horses.  My allergies invariably kicked up while working with her, but it was fun for a 15 year old, so I continued working even though I had allergies.

One thing nagged at me though.  When the allergies started, I would sneeze.  Now, I’m a multiple sneezer…so I wouldn’t just sneeze once, but several times.  I cannot remember a time when the lady I worked for said “Bless you.”  Eventually, I began to joke.  I would say “Bless me!” after I sneezed.

Invariably this produced a somewhat agitated response of, “You’re already blessed!” from her.

The Truth of that statement still catches me off guard today.

“You’re already blessed!”

Indeed I am.

Attentive: Adoption

First off, let me say I hope I’m not jinxing things by writing this post.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 6th, is supposedly our court date to finalize the year and a half long process of me adopting Carmen’s son, Colby.  It’s been a long process, and feels like it should have been finished long ago, but here we are.  Please be in prayer that tomorrow actually works out for us.  We’ve been given dates before, but they always fell through.

In light of that, I’m trying to be attentive to adoption stories these days.  So…here are all the references to adoption found in the English Standard Version of the bible:

 

 

20 At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, 21 and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.   – Acts 7:20–22.

 

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.  – Romans 8:12–17.

 

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.    – Romans 9:1–5.

 

4 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.   – Galatians 4:1–7.

 

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.    – Ephesians 1:3–14.

 

There’s plenty more references, depending on translations, and how original text carries through.

Please pray that all goes on without a hitch.

Grace and Peace,

David

Crossing Guards

Sometimes we all wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  That’s understandable.  Occasionally, we will just wake up in a bad mood, and carry that mood into our day.

Colby is just finishing up Kindergarten.  Every day that I have dropped him off at school we have passed one of two crossing guards (depending on which route we take).  These two women, regardless of the day or night they have just had, ALWAYS greet Colby, and every other child, with a smile, a “Good morning”, and a “Have a great day today!”

I don’t know them personally, other than returning pleasantries each morning, but I can’t imagine that every day they have had the best of mornings, but they always have that attitude.  It really struck me these passed few days that these women are the first people Colby sees each morning, other than his mother and I.  It has also struck me that no matter what kind of morning Colby has had, he now always greets them…It’s routine now.

All that being said, I’m so very thankful for these crossing guards.  I expect them to keep my kids safe, I expect them to not be mean and nasty…but the attitude and consistent pleasant nature was not expected.  And I am so very thankful for the effect that those pleasant attitude’s has had on my child.

Thank you Crossing Guards…for the unexpected lessons that you are teaching my son.

Seminary (Seminarius)

Currently, I am a student at Asbury Theological Seminary.  After 96 credit hours of courses (of which I’m a little over halfway done), I will graduate with a Masters of Divinity degree.  That being said, many people don’t know what seminary really is.  I get the questions, “What do you learn in seminary?  Is it just reading and talking about a lot of scripture?”

Seminary is far more than studying scripture.  I learned something today that I thought was interesting.  The word seminary stems from the Latin word “Seminarius”, which means seedbed.  So seminary is about generating solid soil.  It’s about nurturing, nourishing, maturing, and fortifying people for a lifetime in ministry.  A seedbed doesn’t just produce plants, but it produces a place for plants to produce more plants.  Seminary, as a “seedbed” means that as seminarians grow and prepare in their experience with God, then they will create space for others to also grow.

Just thought that was an interesting concept…

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