Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Old Truck

On many days I drive around town in an old, white pickup truck.  It surely has far too many miles on it to be very reliable.  It has several small leaks. I put  some cardboard underneath it in the garage so as not to mess up the floor.  I tell folks that when they're that old and have that many mile of them, they'll leak too.  It has some rust spots on it and the brown rust symptom has begun to run down the fender.  Not too long ago the spare wheel fell out from under the truck bed when I hit a bump in the road.  The mechanism that held the spare tire had finally rusted away.  I wouldn't trust the truck driving too far out of town.  It has a clutch and a shift stick on the floor, so not many folks have asked to borrow it because they don't know how to drive a vehicle that doesn't have an automatic gear shift.  My personal opinion is that most families need an old truck hauling stuff.  I'm certainly not thinking about getting rid of the old truck.  It was purchased new and driven by my father many years ago.  When he became ill and unable to drive, he gave the keys to my son.  Dad has now passed away.  When our son had a job requiring him to drive a lot of miles each week, we traded vehicles.  That's how I ended up with the truck.  I know that there are a lot of things around our house and garage that could be disposed of.  However, most of them have a story or memory that's attached.  So until I'm ready to diminish those reminders of memories and stories, I think I'll keep some of that stuff, including the old truck.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Keeping Secrets Can Be Toxic

Dr. Ronald Cohen, M.D, as well as a Family Therapist discusses secrets in  an on-line article entitled, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell-The Hidden Life of Family Secrets."  He writes, "Toxic secrets are often long-standing and damaging to relationships and personal well-being. They become harmful and destructive when they involve keeping information from others that they have a right to know. Over time, toxic secrets corrode relationships, destroy trust and create otherwise unexplained symptoms and increased anxiety. Abundant non-productive energy is expended on maintaining who’s in the know and who is outside the cone of silence."  I often witness the keeping of secrets which become toxic, not only to the individual, but also to the group with which he or she is involved. That group may be the family, a church, a business, organization, etc.  Certainly there are confidences to keep. I fear that too many Believers and Churches keep secrets under the guise of confidentially and grace when those secrets are really toxic.  Keeping secrets are toxic when the secret gives a few persons a lot of power or authority because they are the ones with the information.  Unfortunately too many become addicted to having the inside information because it does give them a sense of  power, authority, etc.  Even more toxic is when the group has a pattern of keeping secrets which may prevent the group or individual from dealing with the consequences of inappropriate behavior. It is my belief that keeping secrets permits evil to inhabit a place.  This isn't to say that the persons keeping the secrets are evil.  It is, however, to say that they have been hooked, seduced, influenced, maybe even addicted, to the Evil One who best operates in the darkness.  Jesus said, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19, NIV.)  We must be very careful with darkness or secrets.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sometimes Prayer Is Showing Up

This weekend our Spiritual Formation class from The Baptist Seminary of Kentucky made a visit to the Abbey of Gethsemani.  Brother Paul, a monk at the Abbey for 57 years, spoke with the students. He talked about the importance of daily prayer, the significant pattern or ritual of showing up with a prayerful attitude.  He also mentioned that often there was the feeling of being so busy that we had rather not make the prayer time.  In addition, he referenced times when it seemed nothing was happening with our prayers.  Nevertheless, there is great value in just showing up, he said.  Scripture says that God's Word will not return void, but it will accomplish its task (Isaiah 55:11.)  So, who among us can really know what God is doing with and through our prayers, even if all we can do for this day is to show up for prayer.