Rolling your eyes…

“Always there are the right people, there are the suitable people, there are the smart people, and then there are (lower your voice) those others. And the way you signal to other right, smart, and suitable people that you are one of them is to roll your eyes when the wrong people and places are mentioned.

We want others to think of us as capable and intelligent, and we often seek to establish this identity not through respectful, diligent argument but through ridicule and disdain. People are not merely mistaken but out of step, regressive, intellectual midgets. Nathanael could not believe that somebody from a place like Nazareth had the answers to the big questions of our time. “You’re telling me he’s got the answers—and he’s from Nazareth? Uh, I don’t think so.” He’s rolling his eyes. “He’s from there? Really?

If you have this view of Christianity, or know someone who has this view of Christianity, that is no surprise. Many people today view Christianity much like Nathanael viewed Nazareth. Christianity was from Nazareth then, and it is still from Nazareth today. People love to roll their eyes at their idea of Christianity and its claims about who Christ is and what he has done and can do for them. The knowing people, the suitable people, all say, “Christianity—been there, done that. I grew up with it, I realized early on it’s not for me, and I’ve made up my mind.” So Jesus is still from Nazareth. If that is your attitude toward Christianity, I have two suggestions for you, because I think you have two issues before you. The first is that this kind of dismissiveness is always deadly. It absolutely kills all creativity and problem solving, not to mention any hope of a relationship. Tara Parker-Pope, in her book on marriage called For Better, cites eye-rolling as one of the definitive warning signs that a relationship is in serious trouble. Marriage counselors look out for it because because it signals contempt for the other person. A successful marriage can handle disappointment, disagreement, pain, and frustration. But it can’t handle complete dismissal of the other; contempt literally kills the relationship. A more concrete example is one where you have misplaced your keys. Once you’ve looked for them in all the places where they “can” be and haven’t found them, you’ll have to start looking in places where they “can’t” be. And of course, that’s where you’ll find them. So there’s nothing more fatal to wisdom and good relationships than rejecting certain ideas—or certain people—out of hand.

Your second issue is more substantial. By despising Christianity, you sever the living taproot to what are probably many of your own core values…”

Keller, Timothy. Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions (pp. 5-7). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The Big Run

In September I finished my third Superior 100 Ultramarathon. I have written about the first finish here. The essential information is:

  • The race takes place on the Superior Hiking Trail.
  • It is 103 miles long.
  • Runners start on Friday morning and finish sometime on Saturday.
  • Four of us ran: Tim, Forrest, Jill, and myself.
  • Amanda and Jillian crewed for us (they made sure we had what we needed to treat our feet, our stomachs, our water bottles, and our emotional instability).
  • Nate and Dad came and paced us for the second half of the race (they made sure we were eating and drinking, didn’t follow our hallucinations, and kept moving when we wanted to die).
  • It took us 33 hours, 53 minutes, and 48 seconds to finish.
  • You do stop along the way to get food and water and use the bathroom.
  • If you stop too long you get kicked out of the race.
  • It is hard.
  • Most of it is not enjoyable.
  • All four of us finished.
  • When you finish you get a belt buckle to wear and a star patch to sew on your Superior hoodie.
  • I made a blood pact to never run it again (the blood mostly came from wiping out on the trail).

Below are pictures taken throughout the race from others who were running, crewing, or pacing.

To the finish line

Visiting Colorado

We were able to spend a week near Colorado Springs and then a weekend up with friends in Longmont. We loved the mountain views! On our way south we stopped at the Four Corners Monument. We decided to let the kids explore a state on their own.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty. We have nothing to give to you. Our hands our empty of anything which you might not have. Our lips have no words which you have not formed. Our minds have no thoughts of which you are unaware. We come to you empty.

You created this world and all that is in it. You fashioned the heavens and the earth. You formed them over the raging seas and plunging depths. You gathered the dust and cast our form. You breathed into us your breath of life. You spoke to us.

Who are we, that you are mindful of us? Who are we that you have set your thoughts upon us? O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

You gave us our form and you gave us our being. You gave us our belonging and you gave us our task. You gave us our home and you gave us our limits.

But we have failed.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

What you made good we squandered. What you pulled from the disorder, we have plunged back in. All of creation groans. We groan.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

And you have ordained that this year we should come to you, emptied of more. In the past months we have felt even the imagined reserves of our independence depleated. We have watched as our ideas and dreams, securities and abilities, drained away. We have felt our emptiness in new and unimagined ways.

We have felt the loss of routine and familiarity.

We have felt the loss of the comforts of home and the probabilities of the future.

We have felt the loss of personal stability and independence.

We have felt the loss of memories and freedom.

We have felt the loss of friendships and self-image.

We have felt the loss of close friends and loved ones.

We have felt the loss of meaning and importance.

We have felt the loss of hopes and dreams.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

We come to you empty.

Empty.

But he emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you full. Our hands are weighed down with the extravagant gifts you have poured out upon us in your Son Jesus Christ. We have no barns big enough, no storehouses grand enough. We would have to tear them all down and build larger, and still they would be embarrassingly insufficient. For the bounty with which you have blessed us is exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that what we could ask or imagine. You have responded to the depths of our emptiness with the overflowing fullness of your grace.

Every good gift, and every perfect gift comes down from you, the Father of lights. And around this table we see a cornucopia.

We see the gift of shelter and warmth.

We see the gift of food and drink.

We see the gift of love and friendship.

We see the gift of new birth and youth.

We see the gift of age and wisdom.

We see the gift of laughter of tears.

We see the gift of faith and hope.

We see the gift of love.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you full.

And so as we sit and enjoy the richness of your gifts,

As we feast,

As we laugh,

As we rejoice in you,

We do so in worship to you,

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts.