This Is The Saddest Thing I’ve Ever Written

This is the saddest thing I’ve ever written.

Two dear friends, two Wedgewoodians, had their world change in an instant. On September 8, Ed and Ann Rowell learned of the death of their daughter-in-law, Silje, and that their three year-old grandson, Isaac, had life threatening injuries. Their one year-old grandson, Matthew, was in intensive care but his situation was more promising.  The next day their three year-old grandson, Isaac, died from injuries of an accident.  Silje was at a stop sign waiting to turn right onto Independence Boulevard in Charlotte, North Carolina. Police say a man veered across four lanes of Independence Boulevard and struck Silje’s car. The driver was fatigued and there was an open container of alcohol in his car.

On December 19, 2012 I wrote this blog entry about Ed and Isaac.

ed and isaac

In this photo is Poppy (aka Ed Rowell, a Wedgewoodian and a great friend) with Isaac, Ed’s grandson.  Isn’t Isaac adorable!

Before we get too far in this blog entry, and before you scroll down, look at the reflection in the living room window.  That would be Loafer’s Glory in the mountains of North Carolina, Ed and Ann Rowell’s new “sanctuary.”  Ed and Ann recently bought a mountain home and they are getting close to God in nature.  They love the mountains.

They also love their grandson, Isaac, who just moved to Norway, the country of his mother’s birth.  The distance between Norway and Charlotte, Ed and Ann’s primary residence, is 6776 kilometers or 4210 miles.  Or, a long way.

One of the things Ed misses most is singing Isaac to sleep. Ed got to do that when Isaac stayed overnight with him and his wife, Ann, but now that Isaac is living in the land of fjords in person bedtime songs sung by Poppy are not possible.  Enter Skype.  The other night Ed got a call from his son reporting that Isaac was being fussy.  Nothing they were doing would settle Isaac.  “Dad, would you mind singing Isaac to sleep over Skype?”

Ed began singing softly.  In just a few minutes, while being rocked in a chair and listening to Poppy singing, Isaac quietened and fell asleep.

This is what God is like:  God is like Poppy singing his grandson to sleep.

Today the Rowells and Silje’s relatives from Norway gathered at the Rowell home to celebrate the lives of Silje and Isaac and mourn their great loss.  After reading Psalm 139 (“You are wonderfully made), telling stories about Silje and Isaac, they gathered in a circle and listened to song as a way of saying goodbye to Silje and Isaac.  It was the song Ed sang to Isaac to soothe him so he could sleep.

I’ve Never Believed In American Exceptionalism But Now I Believe in Norway Exceptionalism

norway

I’ve been learning a lot about Norway the last few days.  My wife and I are fortunate to be hosting four people from Norway until next Thursday.  I’m now a believer in Norway exceptionalism.  Norwegians and Norway are very impressive.

Although I’ve heard all my life that the United States is the greatest country on earth and the greatest nation in the history of the world I’ve never believed it, except as a child during those years when you are spoon-fed patriotism and your country’s myths.  Is it me, or do you too get tired of politicians, particularly U.S. presidents, telling us how great we are every chance they get?  Don’t get me wrong, there much to admire about the United States, but there’s also much to critique.  And guess what, there may be other countries way ahead of us, countries like Norway.

What’s so great about Norway? Well, their taxes are very high and everything is very expensive.  Norwegians are willing to pay a high price so that everyone is taken care of, so everyone gets the essentials of life.  Norwegians are not selfish like Americans.  They care.

It’s embarrassing how many people have complained about healthcare reform as if their healthcare is all that matters.  Other nations have proven there is another way to do healthcare.  Other nations have demonstrated there is another way to do life.  Other nations have set the high standard of community and caring for all. Wake up America!

Pray This Prayer With Me: Save Us From Christians

prayer2338

God,

The volcano erupted and death was in its path.

Life changed, in a horrific, unbelievable instant.

Futures incinerated.

Save us from silver lining Christians.

Save us from Christians with answers to questions that have no answers.

Save us from Christians focusing on salvation when the volcano erupts and nothing, especially Christian doctrine, can soothe or heal shattered lives.

In the valley of the shadow of death

lead us to Christians who do not speak but are simply present or do the things we can’t do due to tragedy induced paralysis.

Amen.

The Bible Does Not Say Anything

Non-talking Bible

Non-talking Bible

One, Christians do not agree on what books should be in the Bible.

Two, we have a manuscript tradition.  We have to choose what manuscripts to use and they are not identical.

Three, translation is more difficult than your high school and college language courses have led you to believe.

Four, there are diverse theologies and accounts in the Bible.

Five, the Bible does not say anything.  It has to be interpreted.

[Youtube video link - Case study of non-talking Bible - Click The Bible Does Not Say Anything Video]

Six, the Bible and its characters are historically and culturally conditioned, including the various portraits of Jesus presented in the canonical gospels and the non-canonical gospels.

We must learn to live with faith. Certainty is not an option.