It has become almost cliché to do a ‘best of’ or ‘year end’ list, but some we do well to remember some things because another year passing is no small feat. Some loved ones are no longer with us, some new friends are made, and the calendar will turn over soon. With that said, here is another edition of Monday Memos, New Year’s Eve, 2012.
1) To veterans of the U.S. Military: This past year, my uncle passed away and he served in the U.S. Air Force. Military funerals with accompanying flag folding and taps playing always get me. And with that in mind, another thanks to those serving here and abroad and a prayer that our military funerals will soon decrease. I read recently that a U.S. veteran attempts or succeeds in committing suicide nearly every 90 minutes and undoubtedly, this is way too high. So, to veterans, our prayers are with you; to those caring for veterans, let us know how to help.
2) To the guy who called me a racist bastard: Earlier this month, our family served in downtown Kansas City for a charity event aimed at providing a store that allows low income families to purchase toys and clothing at significantly discounted rates. The idea isn’t unlike some in Robert Lupton’s book ‘Toxic Charity’ where the focus is on creating space for human dignity in our zeal for charity. One particular gentleman stayed for over three hours in the ‘store’ and began to cause trouble. Along with other volunteers, I asked him to kindly wait outside for his family to finish, as his behavior became increasingly inappropriate. In return, I was cursed at, screamed at, and called a ‘racist bastard’ quite out in the open. Despite the fact that I was serving alongside African American and Hispanic friends, I found myself deeply saddened at the remark and wondering if perhaps, at times, I had indeed been a racist bastard without knowing it. By God’s grace, I don’t think I have, but honestly, I also have to confess that as a six foot blonde, white, male, I may have blind spots as to what it’s like to walk in another man’s shoes. So, while I believe there are other ways to teach me than hurling racial slurs at me in public, I pray I am teachable nonetheless and will seek to continue to love the best I can.
3) To anyone interested in the Centrality of the Gospel: I have tweeted this, read this, handed this out, and used it in staff development. With that said, this is one of the better discussion pieces I have seen on the application of the Gospel to all of life via Tim Keller http://download.redeemer.com/pdf/learn/resources/Centrality_of_the_Gospel-Keller.pdf
4) To Gillian Flynn: Ok, I confess that Gone Girl is one of the most haunting books of the past several years, not just this year. Great work….virtually impossible to put down. I trust your husband is quite secure with himself to be married to the creator of that piece.
5) To fellow Christians: how’s this for a good question for the New Year: “If the righteousness of Christ allows me stand before a holy God utterly unafraid, why would I be haunted by what you think of me?” (Paul Tripp)
A Year End Prayer of Confession
“Lord Jesus Christ,
We confess that you are the Word of God,
You were with God in the beginning.
All things were made through you.
In you is life.
You are the light of the world.
We confess that you dwelt among us,
You lived a fully human life, yet without sin.
You came in to the darkness, revealed grace and truth,
You came in to the mess, revealing simplicity and love,
You came in to the chaos, revealing beauty and order
You lived, died, and rose again, revealing power and glory.
No one has ever seen God, but you are the very image,
The very representation, and the Word made Flesh.
You left your Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite your grace
From your fullness we have received grace upon grace
God, you who sent angels to proclaim the good news of the Savior’s birth,
Teach us to make redeeming love our story’s theme
I admit I am weaker and more sinful than I ever dared admit, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope.