Laptop drama, memories of GG, & other Thursday musings…

My 2018 ‘intention’ to blog at least 1x/week was blown out of the water by a freak computer accident last Tuesday, 1/9. I was on an especially fun Skype call with a couple of dear friends, & in my excitement, I evidently began waving my arms around (I didn’t know I did that.) The 32 ounce Nalgene bottle I take with me EVERYWHERE happened to be just to the left of my laptop, all prepped & with the top off so I could get hydrated much quicker than if I DIDN’T have the top off… & you know the rest. The spill (about 4 ounces, thanks for asking,) wasn’t so bad, but the screen started displaying crazy pixelations almost immediately, & I feared the worst: A dead laptop – the one laptop I use for writing, for studying, for just about everything… with me not sure if I had done an iCloud backup recently.

Today, the verdict is in: lappy survived with all data intact. And I have purposed to keep my trusty Nalgene bottle (& any other cup/glass containing ANY liquid,) far, far, away from him. And I will do that until I forget to.

Today is 1/18… my Grandma Necie’s (GG) birthday. She would have been 97 years old today; she died 4/16/2001… I found myself reminiscing about her several times today. (I actually reminisce ALL the time. Being a Pop to 4! grandkids has brought new waves of reflection, a desire to look back a bit, & to make the next years really count.)  The memories I have of GG are many – & some of my most favorite ones are disjointed recountings from my first few years of life that don’t really have much context. And yet they still shape me. Here’s a few things I’m thinking on:

  • The Wizard of Oz – I watched it with her multiple times.
  • Chocolate pudding – a required dessert she made with my invaluable help. And then I ate it while watching Wizard of Oz.
  • Pets – Maynard the dog (Granny Dell, GG’s mom, lived with GG until Granny Dell’s death. She called Maynard, “Maynus” in the cutest southern Georgia accent. Now that I think of it, she called me “Little Loodie” & my dad “Loodie.” Just remembered that.) Margaret, the black & white cat who permitted me to pet her 1 or 2 times.
  • Her sense of dignity. She was a Southern belle, through & through.
  • BBQ beef ribs – at the Liberty Belle. Closed in 2006. Boo. Goodness. Best ribs I ever had. The power of nostalgia will always keep the Belle’s ribs #1.
  • GG’s rib sauce – she made her own rib sauce to put on our version of the Liberty Belle’s signature ribs. This is a recipe that our family still uses (with some Louie tweaks to it.) It is a point of comfort to be able to remember her when I make the sauce. I should tell more GG stories to my kids when I make the sauce.

There’s much, much more, but you get the gist. The amalgamation of images, sounds, smells, (imagined) tastes… all conjure up myriad memories. A hint of sadness. And now, shock, at just now discovering that the year I was born, 1969, she was 48 years old.

The same age I am right now.

Makes me think of my own grandkids: Mason, Luca, Owen, & the Littlest Turkey of them all, Mila. And what their memories of me will be.  Makes me want to be the Best, Healthiest version of me I can be.

Happy birthday GG. I think you’d like my version of your rib sauce.

Word on the weather channel says the wind is coming. Joy. 100 mph winds predicted in the mountains. Note to self: stay inside until it subsides.

I’m wrestling through a response to my 1st post of the year, The Gospel & Racism #1.  Trying to formulate something coherent & tangible, without it being patronizing. I know the gospel Good News is good news for EVERYONE, not just for a few. And how can I, a 48 year old white dude, preach a gospel/live a life that not only declares this gospel Good News, but does the hard work of Luke 4Like Jesus said in fulfillment to the promise of the prophet Isaiah

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
    because He has anointed Me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

So say we all.

The Gospel & racism… #1

“The question we have to ask is: Does the Gospel, as we currently preach it, have the power to deal with racism?” – John Perkins, Pastor & Activist.

(I came across this in a book I’m currently reading called, “The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb,” by Jamin Goggin & Kyle Strobel. For more about John Perkins, I’d recommend reading his book, “Dream With Me: Race, Love, & the Struggle We Must Win.” ) In a nutshell, he followed closely in the footsteps of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. beginning in the 1960’s & stood up (continues to stand up) to injustice & racism through a life-pattern of nonviolent resistance, which Dr. King defined as “the courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love of Christ.)

Pastor Perkins experienced unlawful arrests & imprisonments, countless beatings at the hands of mobs & police officers who were professing christians intent on maintaining the status quo of their segregated & stratified society. So his question, “The question we have to ask is: Does the Gospel, as we currently preach it, have the power to deal with racism?” is legitimate & demands an answer. And if the answer is, “No,” then something about how we’re preaching it has to change. Because the Gospel tells how, in Christ, all of the things humanity has used to stratify, to oppress, to create inequity are stripped away. (see Colossians 3:11 & Galatians 3:27,28)

Though I’ve never seen myself as an activist & I definitely am not a fan of (most) all things political, I am greatly disturbed by what continues to happen in our country with racially based inequality, injustice, persecution, murder, violence, & the like. And I want to do something about it. Not in a condescending or tokenistic manner, but something meaningful.

For the last 18 years I’ve served as a pastor to our church. I have tried my best to be faithful to the Gospel Good News, to the message of Christ, to live out the Golden Rule & to encourage others to BE & DO what Jesus would be BEING & DOING if He was walking in their shoes. Looking back, I’ve been Naive. Uninformed. Unaware. So, for the last couple of years, I’ve tried to be more intentional in my informal education & in challenging my own perspectives & points of view. I’m reading books, listening to podcasts, engaging in conversations, & trying to learn, trying to grow, trying to understand more about the continuing troubles flowing from racism & racist attitudes, thoughts, mindsets, & behaviors. I want to try to figure out what I can do to be a part of a solution, to be a help. I believe – anyone can be divisive, anyone can stir up trouble, anyone can tear something/someone down… but it takes intentionality, patience, grace, forgiveness, & more to BUILD & keep building something of worth.

I greatly admire & look up to my dear friend, David, a.k.a Opie for many reasons. One of the most prominent is because over the last 20 years, he has lived out his faith in Christ in practical ways in his job, his community, & his church. And it has led to him being a constructive & helpful voice in his city, as he is leading significant conversations & cultivating understanding between whites & African-Americans in his racially divided city. His grasp of the gospel, in action, gives me hope & an affirmative answer, YES!, to the John Perkins quote/question at the top of this blog.


Throughout 2018, I hope to revisit the topic of this blog in meaningful, thoughtful ways – & to find what path I’m supposed to take/keep taking to be able to answer “YES. The Gospel I’m declaring has the power to deal with racism.”