Rev. David Rufner is pastor of New Hope Lutheran Church in Hudsonville, Michigan. His B.A. in Philosophy is from Concordia University - Chicago, and his M.Div. is from Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. Beyond the horizon of church, David (along with his wife Megan, and four children) enjoys cooking, sipping bourbon, reading, parties and life with neighbors, hiking, camping, and long road trips to lands where mountains loom and canyons yawn.
The place was Promontory, Utah. The date was May 10, 1869, or at the time of this writing, 150 years ago. The scene looked like this: Two locomotives facing each other, cow-catcher to cow-catcher, as if in a silent standoff. But the mood was one of celebration as crowds stood around watching, and dignitaries worked together to drive in the golden spike.
Jesus died with a Psalm on his lips, Psalm 22 specifically. “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1, Spoken by Jesus in Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34). And on many occasions before His death, Jesus lived with a number of other Psalms upon His lips.
Dad died three days before Christmas. The dying came slowly and hard as the completion of a season of surgery and tests, treatments and procedures, referrals and home health, hospitalizations and palliative care, and finally, hospice care.
Yet what is true about all self-made credos is also true about theirs and mine and yours: They can sound good in the moment, but given enough time, if they are false or lacking, they will be shown for the shams that they are.
In Berry’s estimation, individuals are interesting, important, and even worthy of recording in story; but it is only when individuals are bound together in community that they become fully human. The man who belongs to others and to a world bigger than himself is a rich man - a man truly alive in the midst of a people truly alive.
The distance—the gap—between the life of our dreams and the real deal is humorous. At least on paper. In a book. But at ground level, it can be utterly unfunny, unnerving, and even crushing. This truth can lead to a warning: Mind the gap.
With so many others, I once thought that e-books were the future. Imagine owning something that moth and worm cannot touch, and thieves cannot steal. But a decade or so on, and I find myself reaching for the real thing. Hardcover. Softcover. I’ll take either.
This cosmic collision between light and dark that will soon be upon us last took place 73 years ago in 1945! No, I don’t speak of World War II, or of Axis and Allied nations. Rather, I speak of Valentines Day and Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) falling on the same day; Wednesday, February 14, 2018.
Last night I did what I hate to do; I helped with decorations around the house. This made me grumpy – very grumpy, jerk-level-status-grumpy. I don’t much like dealing in trinkets. Poor me.
It may well be a mistake to read literature for the sole purpose of finding literary gems. But it is no mistake—no mistake at all!—to gather these gems up when they reveal themselves to us.