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Advent Devotion, Dec 1

Traveling Home Twitter

Holidays often mean homecoming, and homecoming often involves home-going. Travel at Thanksgiving and Christmas always seems to rank among the busiest times of the year.

Something like that is happening in Isaiah 2: the Greatest and Most Glorious Holiday, the Day of the Lord, will bring people from all nations back home to the God of all nations, where they belong… read more

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A Gift of Community

Three months ago–no kidding, just three months ago!–my daughter was facing a difficult decision brought on by circumstances out of her control. (Yes; it was mostly my fault, but that’s a story for a different time.)

Going into her Junior year, moving 43 miles away from the school where she had friends, and teammates, and theater family; and where she knew the teachers and coaches and directors; and with no guarantee we would be in the same location for more than a few months; and with her closest friend and big sister going off to college, my 16-year-old decided for an online charter school option that gave her a chance to earn an associate’s degree while finishing high school. Her thinking was this: if we move again, at least I won’t have to change schools again (as long as we still have internet access…)

Letting go of those known relationships was heart-wrenching. And our biggest concern in this new experiment was for community; I like my daughter a lot, and she usually likes me, but being at home all day with Dad is not socially ideal for an outgoing teenager. Transitioning away from her school, neighborhood, and church environments, and helping her big sister move into a dorm room at Wayne State, where would my Liz find a place to belong?

Right about that time, Liz was searching online for audition dates for a local theater department’s production of Anne; if she couldn’t do high school theater, maybe community theater could be an option. Through the magic and mystery of Google Analytics, she ended up instead at the home page of Fowlerville Community Theatre.

Although twice as far from home and in the opposite direction of everything else we do, FCT was auditioning for Frozen, Jr, and Liz’s dream role on stage has been Anna from Frozen ever since the show first came out. Not only did Liz audition, she was cast as Anna. That was the first in a series of surprises.

Picture from @FowlervilleCommunityTheatre

Fast-forward only 3 short months to tonight. The curtain came down for the fourth and final time this evening on the Fowlerville Community Theatre’s production of Disney’s Frozen Jr. Of course there were applause; of course there were tears. But there was something else; something palpable in the cast and crew and directors and parents and techies and theater moms. I can only call it community.

These people cared for each other and pulled for each other and called out the best in each other. They worked and laughed and struggled and planned together. They danced and sang and ate and prayed and imagined together.

The community we were so afraid of missing was swirling all around us. And as I sat in that theater row in the dark, I had a chance to think again of how our family’s community changed and grew in the last few months. Frozen brought my mom back north from Florida to see the show. Two of Liz’s life-long friends from Texas came up to support her. Caleb, her younger brother, decided by himself to audition with her, and played an outstanding Townsperson #3 (if I do say so myself) and the gaping hole that was left by their older sister going off to college was salved in a meaningful way by a deeper relationship between these two siblings, a treatment applied in heavy doses through constant car rides and late-night rehearsals.

Big sister was at the performance, as well; and she brought her best friend home from college so we could get to know her better. Our third and final daughter, and the biggest theater geek of them all, was too busy with sports to audition this time around; but she cheered louder than anyone in the audience and led the standing ovation.

Family and friends, new and old, joined by the magic and the music and the joy of being together.

At one point in the show, a destitute Anna says, “I don’t even know what love is.” “That’s OK,” the magical snowman Olaf replies, “I do! Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.”

(I can’t believe I just cited a magical snowman…)

I saw that love this weekend in the people who gathered, often at great expense, to be there for my kids. I see that self-giving love in my wife as she willingly embraces new challenges for the sake of her family. I see that love in my mother-in-law who graciously abandoned her own house this weekend so we could use it as a Motel 6, and has never once asked when we plan on moving out for good. I see that love in the friends Liz found when she needed them most, and found completely by accident.

(Thank you Lord, for your gracious action, even when we have no clue how to pray.)

At the top of my Thanksgiving list this year is the gift of community. Community doesn’t always look like you thought it was going to. Community doesn’t always get there at the expected time. Community takes planning and hard work and attention, and sometimes happens almost by accident. But however you experience community this Thanksgiving, together or apart, on purpose or by accident–receive that blessing as a gift.

Of all of God’s gifts, community is one of the best; for community is both temporal and eternal.

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.

Psalm 133 (NIV)

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Help for a Busy Season

The calendar always seems to be filled to overflowing between Thanksgiving and New Year. How are you supposed to focus on following in such a busy season?

Check out this short video for some practical help. This next step strategy is good year-round; and having a game plan is especially helpful when your calendar looks like a kleptomaniac’s Christmas tree.

What’s your plan for taking an Advent Next Step?

Find out more about the You, Follow Me Advent discipleship travel log.
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Support Next Step Press on Patreon.

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Team Advent

When I went to write an Advent devotion book, I made a conscious decision to do something different; something more. (You can read more about it here: Something Different for Advent.)

And I also made a conscious decision to resource an individual rather than a small group. This is what I shared in the introduction:

We follow Jesus better when we follow him together. In order to consistently take next steps following Jesus you need other people on your rope, people on the journey with you.

And sometimes it’s good and helpful to spend some time in single player mode.

Even Jesus, who had his large group gatherings, his small group of 12, and his micro-small group of three—even Jesus regularly went off by himself to pray. He needed the support of Peter, James, and John; he loved his interaction with the Twelve. But sometimes he needed to be alone with the Father and filled with the Spirit.

Sometimes you need that, too.

The weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year seem to be some of the most hectic of the year! But you don’t want to miss the peace and joy you know Jesus wants to give you in this season.

With most small groups meeting only socially, it’s a perfect time to embark on a solo adventure in God’s Word. Some days will be busier than others; and if you miss a day or two, don’t feel guilty. Just get back to it. Jesus invites you to follow him through Christmas and into 2020 and beyond.

Today is a good day to take a small next step.

You, Follow Me: A Daily Discipleship Travel Log
for Advent/Christmas 2019
by Justin Rossow

I still think that core concept has some value. In my experience, the weeks surrounding Christmas are filled will so many rehearsals, parties, to-do lists, shopping trips, and get-togethers that the busyness of the season can overshadow the whole point. Adding the burden of a small group meeting on top of all the other activities on the calendar seems counter-productive. I am trying to be realistic, and one more meeting time seems like work to me rather than delight.

I don’t want to add burden to your Advent; I want to add delight. So the whole concept of single-player mode doesn’t negate the fact that we follow Jesus better when we follow him together; there just may be times or seasons when we need individual rather than team support.

I still think that’s all true. And I have had my concept of single player mode broadened in a wonderful way.

First of all, a friend actually asked if it was OK if she went through the material with some other people. She wanted to respect the whole “solo adventure” feel of the book, but she also wanted other people to be part of her Advent preparation.

I love that she asked; it showed care and respect. And of course the answer was of course! The more the merrier! We follow Jesus better when we follow him together!

The material in the book is designed for personal, individual growth; and nothing spurs on personal, individual growth like the support of a team.

A couple of days later, I saw another friend post an invitation on Facebook. “I’m gonna do this for Advent!” she said, “Anyone else wanna join me?”

It turns out, the woman who originally asked if it was acceptable to do an individual devotion with a group is leading a Facebook Pop-Up group just for Advent. And my other friend is not only getting on board, she is inviting others to join her.

Reading down the comments on her invitation post is pretty fun:
“Ooh me!!”
“I’m in!”
“I think this might just be what I need. “
“I have been wishing for something to get me into the word a little more. What a great answer!”
“Share this in the MOPS group!”

One of my favorite responses was a maybe, followed by a further invitation, “We could even get together on Friday mornings and add it to our chats!” with this gracious caveat: “No pressure. I’ll sit with you either way.”

As the author, of course it feels good to hear perfect strangers talk about your material that way. But more importantly, as a follower of Jesus, the group response to a resource geared to the individual drove home the point once again: We follow Jesus better when we follow him together.

Even when you are spending a focused time in individual meditation or prayer, that experience is deepened and supported by having other people on your rope.

Think of Jesus, who has just spent some time with his small group in the Upper Room on Maundy Thursday. His small group heads out to Gethsemane together, and what does Jesus do? He takes his three closest companions–the people in his inner circle or micro-small group–he takes Peter, James, and John with him into the olive grove.

They aren’t there to join Jesus for small group bible study: their job is to watch from a distance and pray. Jesus goes a little farther by himself, but he wants his team to support him even as he goes off by himself to pray.

It turns out, part of his suffering, part of his abandonment was the fact that even his closest friends let him down in his hour of need. But I think Jesus longed for their support and relationship even in the midst of the most personal and individual of his prayers.

And I think Jesus invites us to long for that, too. As you walk through Advent and Christmas and into the new year, you don’t walk alone, even when you are by yourself. We need other people on our discipleship journey, even when we go on a solo quest.

So who’s on your rope this Advent? Who will you invite to be on your Team Advent? Who will encourage you and support you and pray for you and process with you, even if you aren’t meeting in an official group at a regularly scheduled time?

It doesn’t have to be hard. “I’m planning on going to Wednesday worship this Advent: who wants to come with me?” “I’ll be reading through Luke in December: who’s in?” “I’m going to early service on Christmas Eve: anyone want to share a pew?”

Make a relational invitation to someone in your circle as you step into this busy time of year. You just might find that Team Advent will be a blessing to both of you. After all, we follow Jesus better when we follow him together.

Photo by Flo Maderebner from Pexels

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A Sign of the Times

[Warning: this blog is a little difficult to process, but it is worth it!]

Right before we piled into the minivan to start our journey home, I thought I would visit the park facilities just to be safe. In this case, the facilities were a very nicely kept public restroom that nonetheless was little more than a fancy porta-potty.

As I washed my hands, a sign caught my attention. With a plea to common sense if not common decency, it implored: “PLEASE… DO NOT put trash in the toilets, it is extremely difficult to remove. THANK YOU”

On the surface (and in spite of some punctuation issues), this sign is nothing special; you understand immediately what the sign is saying and you recognize the force of the argument without having to think about it.

But stop and think about why you don’t have to think about it, and this clear and obvious sign can give us an insight into the way our culture operates without even thinking about it.

[Stay with me here: I think it’s worth the extra effort.]

A) DO NOT put trash in the toilets,
B) it is extremely difficult to remove.”

What is the logical connection between A) and B)? Why does B) count as an argument in favor of A)? What is the nature of the appeal?

I think our immediate and natural understanding of that public restroom sign hinges on several Conceptual Metaphors working together. Weird, right?

Don’t get me wrong–the language of the sign itself does not contain any metaphors: the trash is just trash; the toilets are just toilets; the literal removal of literal trash from literal toilets doesn’t point to some deeper meaning. Still, in order to understand the logic on which the sign depends, several Conceptual Metaphors common in our culture come into play. By noticing those Conceptual Metaphors, we can better understand why things make natural sense to us (and maybe even where our natural sense-making goes wrong at times).

You could describe the conceptual dynamics behind this porta-potty sign in more than one way, but it probably involves several aspects of the following.

In our culture, things that are important are naturally understood to be big, heavy, up, and expensive. We can label some of these obvious and natural inferences with language from Conceptual Metaphor Theory.

  • IMPORTANT IS BIG (that’s a huge opportunity)
  • IMPORTANT IS HEAVY (his opinion carried a lot of weight)
  • IMPORTANT IS UP (she was the top dog in her field)

The phrases in parentheses, above, are instances of language use that point to a connection in our conceptual system: we might all say, “That’s a huge opportunity!” without noticing the conceptual mapping going on behind the scenes, but we are nonetheless culturally trained to view things that are big, heavy, difficult, up, or expensive as more important than things that are small, light, easy, down, or cheap.

There are some logical chains built into our conceptual system. For example, things that are big tend to be heavy; things that are heavy tend to be difficult, big and heavy things are important, ergo difficult things are important. In German, the metaphorical chain has been lexicalized: schwer, by definition, can mean either “difficult” or “heavy” (or both).

So when the sign says trash is “extremely difficult to remove,” we immediately understand that this is very important, because difficult things are important! But that’s only part of what makes the appeal serious; the logic of the appeal actually hinges on another set of Conceptual Metaphors.

In our culture, TIME IS MONEY, with the result that more time is more valuable than less time. Because things that are DIFFICULT also take more time, DIFFICULT is not only IMPORTANT; DIFFICULT IS EXPENSIVE (there’s another logical chain: more difficult = more time = more expensive; difficult = expensive).

In our culture we value–in the fullest sense of the word, we pay more for–we value things that are difficult above things that are easy. That may seem obvious and natural, and there is a certain kind of experiential sense to that logic–if it takes three times as long it seems like it should cost three times as much money–but these natural connections are a kind of logical shorthand. Because they apply so often and so well, we apply them always, without thinking about it.

And that, my friends, is the point: we use logical shorthand embedded in our culture without thinking about it. That’s fine for exegeting bathroom signs, but not so much when it comes to exegeting Scripture or interpreting our lives of faith.

[Hang in there! The payoff is coming!]

“A) DO NOT put trash in the toilets,
B) it is extremely difficult to remove.”

A Sign of the Times

So what is the logic behind the sign? I think the whole thing hinges on our cultural understanding of economics, time, and difficulty:

A) DO NOT do something easy that takes almost no time and is therefore not important and not valuable (like putting trash in the toilets) BECAUSE

B) it is extremely difficult to remove, and therefore it takes time, it is expensive, and it is important.

You might imagine having to do something difficult like taking trash out of a toilet, and you might not do it because you are nice and empathetic and wouldn’t want someone else to have to do what you don’t want to do.

But the actual logic of the sign does not address your character or your empathy; the argument is an appeal not to human decency, but to economic free-market principles. You might be nice, but you might also be a jerk. Either way, the signs wants to point out that the economic value of A does not correlate with the economic value of B, and even if you are a jerk, surely an American jerk would understand the value of time, money, and difficulty and not do something so economically unbalanced as putting trash into a toilet where it takes time and money to get out! Where do you think we are? Communist China?

Based only on the logic of the sign, we could assume that if it were easy and took little time to take trash out of the toilet, it would be OK to put trash in there. (Or even, if it were really difficult and took a lot of time and effort to put trash in the toilet, it would be worth the time and expense to get it back out. Of course, that’s ridiculous in this case; but the logic of the sign actually hinges on a pattern of thinking that would technically allow that inference.)

[OK; here it comes: this is what makes this whole article worth the effort.]

So, who cares about a porta-potty sign? I don’t; and you shouldn’t either. BUT WAIT! Look at the logic that allows the sign to make sense, and you get an idea of some of the assumptions you walk around with every day. You even apply them uncritically to your life of faith. Now that matters!

So you and I naturally think something that takes time or is difficult is more valuable and more important.

  • How hard is it to say a short prayer before you put your kid or grandkid to bed? Pretty easy.
  • How much time does it take to read ten verses of Scripture in the morning and say the Lord’s Prayer? Not much.
  • How much effort or expertise does it take to speak a word of comfort or encouragement or forgiveness? Like, none.

Some of the most important, most foundational, most formative activities in our life of faith are easy, take little time or effort, and require no formal degree or training. Our culture demands that we devalue or even ignore these faith essentials: they are not worth our time or energy because they are not difficult or expensive. You don’t devalue the common, ordinary activities of faith on purpose; but you are naturally trained by your culture to think less of things that aren’t expensive or heroic.

As a good member of your culture, you would never put trash in the toilet, because it is so difficult (and therefore important and expensive) to remove. As a good member of your culture, you will likely ignore prayers at bed time, a few verses of Scripture with your coffee, and ordinary, everyday forgiveness. If you want to value those ordinary parts of your common life of faith you will have to consciously fight against the way you have been hard-wired to think.

That’s not always easy; but it is important.

Even when it is easy, it’s still important.

Don’t give up on the simple and the easy and the common, ordinary, daily expressions of faith. They are just as essential, and perhaps even more important, than the breakthrough, conversion, mountain top experiences. 

Jesus is part of your ordinary, every day life. And that is the most important thing of all.

[There! I told you! This blog was DIFFICULT and took time but that means it was IMPORTANT and VALUABLE so that reading to the end was WORTH the effort. Even your evaluation of this blog has been shaped by the metaphors you are reading about, while you are reading about them, and you might not even have noticed!]

Featured image by Julien Delaunay on Unsplash


A Piece of the Wall

11 November 2019.

30 years ago today, the Berlin Wall came down; and I was there.

Well, the wall took longer than one day to actually, physically come all the way down (and you can still see pieces of that most famous symbol of the Cold War standing in museums around the world). But on November 11, 1989 the wall between East Berlin and West Berlin became obsolete. People from both sides of the border celebrated on top of that wall, a symbolic gesture of reunification that would take almost a year to make official.

But November 11, 1989 was the start.

Or rather, November 11 was the next, most visible step in a process that had started long before and would take even longer to come to final fruition. And I was there.

Well, when I say “there,” I mean “there in Germany,” not “there on the wall.” At least not right away. I had classmates at the Max-Plank Schule, Kiel who drove through the night to join the festivities. But I showed up for my history course the next morning.

That same history class had been on a field trip to Berlin just weeks before. The same history teacher who bemoaned the fact that so many student were missing class on November 12th had given us strict instruction not to try to climb the wall, or get too close to the wall, or do anything that might make the guards with the Uzis nervous. You see, right up until the Berlin Wall didn’t matter any more at all, it was a matter of life and death.

me-on-the-wall.pngI got to go back to Berlin a couple of months later. The wall was still standing, though the gaping holes were impressive. I got to take my place on top of that wall, a symbolic gesture that all the human power in the world is in the midst of becoming obsolete.

I got my own hammer and took home my own piece of history. My personal memento of the Berlin Wall isn’t very impressive: just a small chunk of concrete, rough on one side, pock-marked, a trace of spray paint the only hint at the graffiti artwork that once covered the 96 miles of barrier.

The real value of that piece of concrete is the way it connects to a moment in history, to a broader cultural story of change and struggle and freedom and celebration. I’ll never forget that Fall night in Germany, while the world watched in disbelief, and everyone walked around as if in a dream. That moment of change–that moment that came so slowly, but arrived so suddenly–that moment of change left everyone in a mild sort of euphoric shock.

And I have a piece of that wall, a relic of history; evidence that I was there.

30 years later, I am reminded again that all the human power in the world is in the midst of becoming obsolete. God touched human history in the person of Jesus. Jesus came, not out of nowhere, but as the most visible step in a rescue mission that had started long before and has not yet come to its complete fruition. Cosmic reunification has been accomplished; we’re just waiting for it to be made official.

The evidence of God’s activity isn’t found in physical relics or holy souvenirs; the evidence of God’s victory, already accomplished and not yet realized, is you. You who belong to Jesus–you are the sign and symbol and evidence that God was here.

Your life may be more than a little rough around the edges; your faith may be pock-marked or vandalized. But your individual story is caught up into something bigger than you; you have stood on the wall the separates heaven and earth and danced. You have partied on the border and drunk the banquet wine of heaven and had your future changed in a moment.

Of course there will be hard work to do as we strive to live out this reunification. Of course the Final Party hasn’t started yet. But you were there. Not there, on that first Easter morning, when the women ran from the tomb frightened out of their wits to bring an unbelievable message to skeptical disciples. But you have been to that open tomb since, and been joined to the death and resurrection of Jesus in your baptism, and you walk away knowing that everything is changed. (And yet you still have to go to history class in the morning.)

November 11, 1989: 30 years ago today, changed history and the shape of Europe as we know it. I have a rather nondescript souvenir of that historical event that reminds me how I got caught up in a bigger story.

You also have been caught up in a Bigger Story. And your day-to-day life, as nondescript as it may be, is a souvenir of a historical event that reminds the world, there is a Bigger Story.

Come quickly, Lord.



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Tiberius Maximus: A Study in Scenes


Since I didn’t pay the extra $11 to choose my own seat, I was in the middle (of course) between a woman with a yellow cardigan at the window, who was flying to a family funeral, and Tiberius Maximus, with his bright blue eyes, strawberry-blonde hair, and contagious smile.

When I met Tiberius, he was strapped to a twenty-four-year-old woman who turned out to be his mom. She had the aisle seat. As I heard Tiberius Maximus being introduced to the lady in front of me, I made some side comment about a Caesar by that name. Mom blinked twice, slowly, and explained that her son was named after the TV show Star Trek and the movie Gladiator. (If you aren’t a fan of either, then you might not know that the T in “Captain James T. Kirk” is TIBERIUS and the lead character in Gladiator is, well, a gladiator named MAXIMUS.)

That got me thinking about my name and how I got it….



The Western house is full of memories, out-of-town relatives, and finger food. Following my aunt’s directive, I leave the hum of post-funeral conversation and climb the polished wood stairs to the master bedroom. My job is to see if any of the lawyer suits would fit.

Most I try are too short in the sleeve and too full in the waist. But they all smell like my mom’s brother, my Uncle Bill. One–a deep blue with light blue pinstripes–almost fits and will for years to come. If I wear cowboy boots with it, like Uncle Bill did, you can hardly tell the pant legs are too short.

The one time I remember Aunt Peggy smiling that day was when she came to check on me as I wore my uncle’s pinstripes. He would have been proud, she said, as she hugged me; maybe she hugged the suit more than the nephew.

His name was William Paul.



The small, formica dining table was pushed all the way to the wall to make the low-ceilinged room seem a little bigger. I am flanked by both of my dad’s parents, and we are alone.

“Your grandma and I wanted you to have this,” he says as he passes me a box designed for a book. The book, it turns out, is a Bible; but not just any Bible. The black leather cover bears the name and confirmation date of my uncle, Paul William.

At the age of 15, my Uncle Paul was killed in a car accident on my father’s birthday. Dad had just turned 19 and was in the car when the accident happened. Uncle Paul died in my father’s arms at the side of the road. I had never heard my grandfather mention Paul’s name; after 30 years, the grief was still too fresh.

I already had my own Bible with my own name and confirmation date on the black leather cover. I keep the two together.

William Paul. Paul William. Justin Paul.



Tiberius Maximus“I’m sorry folks; we’re going to have to deplane. This technical difficulty can’t be fixed immediately. We will have to take a different plane. Luckily, we have another one available. We’re sorry for the delay.”

After the thin voice of the captain cuts out and the groaning dies down, I learn that Tiberius Maximus is #4 of 4. At least for her. She is moving from Florida to Michigan with her husband (across the aisle) and two daughters (across the aisle, with dad) and her dog (also across the aisle, as it turns out). But her eldest son is staying in Florida with his dad.

She hasn’t seen snow in 22 years; since she moved from Kansas to Florida when she was two. I don’t do the math until later: she is almost exactly as much younger than me as Tiberius Maximus is younger than her. Depressing…



“I’m sorry folks; we are going to have to taxi back to the gate; we have a technical difficulty we can’t resolve. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

Different plane; same result. “It looks like we will have to ask you to deplane again and wait until another aircraft is available. Thank you for your patience. Your safety is our first concern.”

“We’re out of patience!” came a lone, frustrated reply.

The mother of Tiberius Maximus was sad she didn’t get to see her brother or sister before she left. Well, she got to see her brother behind a clear wall, but not hug him goodbye; we was in jail. Her sister she didn’t see at all. But her niece lives in Pennsylvania, she said, which isn’t that far from Michigan. She was trying to convince herself, not me, that she would be seeing her sister again soon.



I’m sitting next to Tiberius Maximus for the third time today. The third time is the charm, and this plane actually takes off (to the sardonic applause of disgruntled passengers).

Tiberius has been a real trooper: four months old and just a delight.

I am searching for a quote from a book I was reading on the way down to Florida. Tiberius made me think of it.

Dr. Alyce McKenzie, in her book Making a Scene in the Pulpit, was talking about how many in today’s culture have little ability or interest in understanding life in terms of a grand narrative. Having been indoctrinated into a state of perpetual partial attention, today’s hearers not only don’t know the story of the Bible, they often don’t have the tools or desire to understand the story they are living. Instead, they experience life as a series of unrelated episodes or scenes.

It helps me make sense of Tiberius Maximus and the mother who named him after a TV show and a movie. Scene: growing up in Kansas, where it must have snowed, but I don’t remember. Scene: husband (?) #1 and son #1 who are staying in Florida. Scene: new husband and kids: two daughters and Tiberius and a mild-mannered dog who likes to fly. Scene: saying goodbye to family, but not getting closure. Scene: on the plane. Scene: off the plane. Scene: on the plane. Scene off the plane. Scene…

I find the quote I am looking for on my Kindle Fire:

I am convinced that we are still story makers—plot providers—but that our skills have atrophied. Drawing people into one episode or scene and then helping them connect it to God’s encompassing story exercises their weakened story-making skills.

McKenzie is right, I think; there is hope. If only we can enter these disconnected scenes with Jesus and see how he might join the disparate strands to the tapestry of his story. I’m still musing on this as Tiberius Maximus grabs my arm with his tiny fingers and smiles.

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