Karkakonias, an Ojibwe chief in the mid-1800s, was taken to Washington, D.C. to see firsthand the advanced society and military power the United States had achieved at the time. When he returned home, his tribe was excited to hear all about his experiences, but the old chief remained mute, choosing to be alone and smoke his pipe. After some days, his people asked him why he did not tell them of his trip. He answered: If he told them of all the amazing things he had seen, they would accuse him of being a liar.
Did you know that infection was once considered a normal part of the healing process?
Last week, I fell asleep at my computer while working on a sermon. When I woke up, the screen had a long line of "Ks" across it because my finger was still pressing down on the key. A quick edit and the problem was corrected, but I remained concerned about the sermon. After all, if I fell asleep while writing it, what are the people going to do when I preach it?
You may never have heard of him, but Andy Green is the fastest man on earth. On Oct. 15, 1997, he broke the land speed record at 763.035 mph. Hearing this, I was amazed. Imagine a human being propelling himself along the ground at supersonic speed. But then I discovered Mr. Green did not achieve the speed recorded for him; it was the twin, jet-engine, "Star Wars"-looking vehicle that he was driving.
After Jesus ascended to his father in heaven, his church grew from a small group of committed adherents into a major world influence. Its earliest challenge was to find a niche in the Roman civilization that controlled most of the known world, whose actions and beliefs were completely opposite of the fledgling church. Despite these opposing views and beliefs, Christianity grew to become the official religion of the empire.
D.H. Groberg's poem, "The Race," depicts a foot race amongst boys. As the contest begins, one contestant surges to the front, leading the field until he trips and falls. Encouraged by his father's shouts, he gets up with renewed effort to catch the group, who by now has passed him. As he pushes forward, he falls again. Once more, he jumps to his feet, following the encouragement from his father, to continue the race. Yet, as the young man is closing the distance he had lost, he falls for the third time.
Like most pastors, I often officiate funerals for people I have never met. This can be challenging, as funerals usually require a eulogy of the deceased's life. To help me prepare the service, I meet with the family to talk about the loved one regarding who they were as a person. Most often, I come away from this experience regretting that I had never met the departed. They always sound like a friend I could have had.
Memories need very little influence to become active. I recently saw a man riding a bicycle down the street, and my mind immediately transported me back to a childhood event. That is the way memories work — you are going through life, minding your own business, and suddenly you detect a fragrance, hear a sound, or see some random act, and you are suddenly recalling an earlier experience.
Should people question our long-held Christian beliefs? For many, there is something sacrilegious about this. Traditional beliefs should be embraced, not questioned. Yet we are told that the church's unwillingness to entertain inquiries is causing many of the younger generation to turn away from the faith. They have questions the church seems unwilling to answer.
As I write this article, it is the second week of April and another snowstorm is predicted to hit our area. Spring is a long time coming this year. One thing winter teaches northern Wisconsin people is patience. There is no rushing nature. Yet, every year, winter goes away and spring takes its place. I admit I do not do well at this time of year. There is something within me that moans with each wintry weather report; something that yearns for anything green. Even moldy food in the refrigerator captures my attention.