Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Mother's Sweet Lament

 Ever so lightly I press mothering fingertips against the tanned left forearm of my Sleeping Man-Child; the center-of-my-soul flips as whispered, "thank-you, thank-you, thank-you's" set off an avalanche of memories: his 9lb, 11oz., entrance longed for and celebrated by a family of four who eagerly spoke his name as soon as the sonogram confirmed he was our sweet little Patrick Michael; the peals of delighted laughter as Kristen & Ricky Neal sat transfixed as he kicked and caused a cup of water to slosh about on my belly; apnea monitors which sent me to the brink of despair and strong maturing lungs as day after day, week after week, month after month, and year by year passed...finding me and him here this evening. One fast asleep, the other awake and mindful of the bittersweet passing of time. You are loved Patrick Michael Barnhill, you are loved.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Phat Bible But's

Four words. One oft-repeated phrase: "But as for me..." Listen in as Julie reminds listeners (and herself!) of the power of choice.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Take a Peek at Some Current Work-In-Progress Writing!

"I’m going to confess something here which may send you flying to the bookstore for a return on your purchase. I hope not, but I can’t do anything but speak as candidly as possible through these pages. 

Sometimes I envy, seriously envy, those who do not have a million-and-one memorized Bible verses ricocheting throughout their head. A million-and-one, “Ooo! Ooo! Pick me! Pick me!” answers--good answers, even, which all too often suffocate a much needed first-response to pain, grief, confusion, and worry. (See, even as I typed the "w"-word at least three bible verses popped into my mind and almost compelled me to write a “But Christians aren’t supposed to worry,” disclaimer. And I'm pretty sure some of you did the same thing.)

Sigh. Sometimes it’s so wearying being me. Being you?

Said confession is almost cringe-worthy, isn’t it? Especially coming from the author of the book. But I hope you'll hear me on this; the heart behind such thinking is simply this: sometimes—many times, I long to be given permission to exhale.

To feel my pain.
To feel my confusion.
To feel—dare I say it—my unbelief.

And then permission to discover the transforming power and sensitivity of those 1,000,001 life-giving, life-restoring, commands, principals, directives, and truth.

Here’s what I think and know to be true in the world in which we live, and move, and have our day-to-day being: What the world needs and what the believing church is desperately crying out for is a Christian woman who bleeds—one who would submit her application into The Worst Kind of Christian arena as she certainly doesn’t have everything figured out and wrapped up.

See, I think that woman is the one you and I would most want to share a room with over a relaxed weekend retreat. She’s the one we’d stay up with into the wee hours of the morning; baring our soul over the course of confessions, prayer, laughter and, of course, tears. I believe it is that woman you want sitting alongside you on a comfortable sofa while intermittently sipping chai tea and spitting out anger and grief regarding a difficult family relationship.

I believe it is that woman you (and I) would trust to draw near when we’ve all but convinced ourselves that we too, without a doubt, are The Worst Kind of Christian.

The Worst Kind of Christian…
who has come to the end of herself,
for whom God seems to be actively working against, (yes, I said it),
and whose prayers, while spoken, are rarely felt or believed heard.

The Worst Kind of Christian…
who has experienced the humiliating unraveling of finances, job security, family, dreams, and health (perhaps all at the same time),
for whom God seems aloof, if not removed,
and whose prayers, while whispered, are rarely felt or believed heard.

The Worst Kind of Christian who violently grasps and holds to faith—believing there is a God who sees—even if it seems He’s chosen to close those metaphorical eyes; choosing to believe—despite everything emotions and rationality propose and submit— that He will never abandon her, if for no other reason than its an impossibility given His character (2 Timothy 2:13)...see, there goes that "Ooo!" "Ooo!" thing again.

The Worst Kind of Christian following hard after Jesus in the best kind of honest way.

Most certainly me!
Perhaps you too?"

Writing research regarding The Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13) and return of Christ brought me here early this morning...

Former Navy SEAL Tells How To Protect Yourself in a Situation Similar to Colorado Shooting

Surreal and an altogether disconcerting interview--recalling Phil Collins lyrical "Land of Confusion" observations as I listened.

THIS is the world we live in...a trained military combat sniper--moved by a compassionate urgency for defenseless civilian masses- educating average Americans (like you and me) on arming themselves for survival ( people!) in their day-to-day lives. This is the world we live in..."be prepared" tips such as carrying on your person at all times a blinding 500 lumen flashlight in order to gain 3 or 4 seconds of "save your life" time when faced w/similar Aurora theater shooting and/or horrific terrorist situation.

This is the world we live in and the world my children came to age and are staring squarely in the face as young adults: a Modern Warfare reality played out in formerly benign shopping malls (Westroads, 2007; Tacoma, 2005; Toronto, 2012); sanctuaries of worship (New Life Community, Colorado Springs, 2007; Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, Knoxville, 2008; First Baptist Church, Maryville, IL, 2009); schools houses (I was stunned to read the following statistics at as well as the seeming safety of your own front yard/front door/neighborhood (Nicole Westbrook, 21, 2012; Harry Stone, Raytown, MO, 2012).

"Sweet Jesus (and you'd better believe that is spoken as a prayer), grant us wisdom, discernment, and clarity of thought in these increasingly dangerous and malevolent days. As evil increases both in severity and frequency, may we who are called by Your name humble ourselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, for it is then that You tell us...'I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.' Help us to throw off paralyzing fear and to speak and live in a manner worthy of the hope that lives within us."

"Superman, where are you now?" Superman has left the building, but God is close to the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit. May we as believers submit ourselves to Him and learn all the more to entrust ourselves to a Faithful Creator.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Found in San Diego: Daniel Returns!

Rare is the son or daughter who can outrun the love of a tenacious Mother. Grateful news concerning the young man mentioned in prior video: Missing in Reno.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Missing in Reno. Devastated in San Diego.

Life is hard and there is something we can do to help ease the burden friends (and strangers) bear...pray. Pray for the safe return of my friend Lisa's teenage son Daniel. And though it may test your ability to do so, I also ask you to pray for the parents of James Holmes who are facing an altogether unfathomable reality as mother and father.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Porn-y Effect

Some thoughts on trickle down lasciviousness and kick-in-the-pants encouragement 
to think differently.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Embracing Spontaneity and a Little Country

On living off-the-cuff. 

Andy Griffith & the Sweet Mystery of Life

Sometimes we simply need to exhale, stop trying to figure everything out, and embrace a little Mystery.

What Speaks To You?

Be it the sound of crashing ocean waves; snow-capped peaks of a mountainous range; the trill of a toddler laughing; or thunderous clap of a lightening bolt, we all hear and sense the presence of God. What is the sound? the image? the place? which brings you to a place of awe and reverence?

Morning Bondage, Part 2

Here's to being a hypocrite and drawing lines in our own life.

Morning Bondage, Anyone?

Nothing like a casual early morning talk show interview on BDSM to rattle ones cage (pardon the pun).  Maybe you've asked the same question I have: how did we get to a place where this is casual conversation? As always, I'll tell you what I think.