Snow Bloom

This is a discussion of the book project I have been working on with illustrator Yvonne Gilbert and designer Danny Nanos. The following is borrowed from her blog.

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Living Dead (Halloween 2015)

Living Dead

No I’m not talking about the zombie apocalypse though, these days, I do walk a little slower and my body does seem to be falling apart. This is about living like a dead person. Oxymoronic? Yes, but the things taught by Christ are often paradoxical and sometimes seem moronic when compared to conventional wisdom. Nonetheless, living like we are dead is something to which the Scriptures call us.

“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. ” Galations 3:5

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:27

“So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:12-13

The gist of these scriptures and many, many more like them is to encourage the follower of Christ to deny their flesh, rotting or otherwise, so that we may pursue a course that is more in accordance with the way of Christ. Flesh in this context points to our propensity to desire things contrary to the will of God, you know the stuff that makes for good media coverage like road rage, installing a doohickey to lie about vehicle emissions, pocketing peoples retirement or almost any episode of the Kardashians.

I find living dead to be a “tricky” thing to pull off.  Some of the “treats” that tempt me can be real battles. Living dead, it turns out, calls for self control and a good bit of introspection. To know ones self is to know our own Achilles heal. We need a strategy to keep us in a state of heart and mind that is dead to temptation and far from the things not of God. Fortunately, this kind of discipline does not have to be mustered up on our own. It is something God provides to us. The Romans passage above mentions putting ourselves to death by the Spirit. Self control is something instilled in us by God’s Spirit. It comes freely from God. Our part is to give ourselves over so that we can receive it. This can be done by spending time with the Spirit in scripture, in prayer and in meditation allowing the transforming work that kills off that which is contrary to God allowing us to then enjoy what Christ calls the life Abundant.

However it was not death to temptation that started me thinking of the whole zombie, living dead comparison to spiritual life. No, I was thinking about how hard it is to insult a zombie. Sure they have an aversion to gun shots to the head and being decapitated but short of those things they’re pretty go with the flow, hard to hurt. There is no specific scripture that links “living dead” with overlooking an offense or offering forgiveness but I find the two concepts intrinsically connected in the “spirit” of Christ. I would like to imagine that being a member of the spiritual living dead means that I can find away to be unaffected by such things as the rude driver cutting me off or driving over top of me, or by the snarky word kindly meant to wound me or the outright unabashed insult or attack of another. The problem is that a little, always bullied kid, still hides in my adult body, which just happened to grow tall enough to allow me an imposing stance. I fear that someday, some little thing is going to trigger that little guy, in there coddling long ago wounds, and he’s going to come out like the Tasmanian Devil. So if there is an area where I need channel my inner zombie this is it. I need to model myself on the dead. Forget “water off of a ducks back” no one overlooks and insult like a corpse. This halloween weekend I look for life among the dead.


Sixty Seconds V with: Phil Coltrane

too funny

Flash! Friday

Phil Coltrane Phil Coltrane

Phil Coltraneis our latest champ and Flash! Friday’s first-ever FIVE-time winner. Read his bio and find links to his previous interviews at his winner’s pagehereWhat shall I ask you??? I said. We’ve covered the typical stuff. Let’s not be typical, then, said Phil, lighting the Sixty Seconds Interview Match, grabbing the mic, and grinning in an unsettling kind of way.


Some said it was inevitable I’d find myself here. “Five wins merits more than just five questions.” When Rebekah asked me to take off my writer hat and describe my typical workday, I was hesitant. What’s to tell?

Software development is shamefully male-dominated, and nothing interesting happens in the Services Department. I spend my day drinking caffeine, staring at a screen, ignoring a fitful stream of curses filtering through my earbuds.

The myth of the cowboy coder is romantic fiction. We work as…

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Remember The Rainbow: A little bit of poetic prose for those who have ears to hear.

owl rainbow

These were the inhabitants of the kingdom: the Ant, the Jay, the Rabbit, the Fox and some others. The kingdom being about three acres or so and the full extent of the world as they knew it. Before the storm came they each lived according to their way; each abiding in their own truth. The Ant saw the world very differently from the Jay, the Rabbit and Fox were naturally inimical, the Fish, who, here after, will not appear again, viewed everything completely differently and so on. When the rains came and the winds blew, some were greatly impacted. The tree housing the Jay’s nest came down, the Ant’s tunnels were completely deluged, the Rabbit was merely inconvenienced while the Fox was largely unaffected. When the howling of the terrible beast had ceased, among its retreating clouds a rainbow formed. Equally awed by this as they were the flashes and crashes that proceeded, the animals of the kingdom gazed in utter reverence, that is, until those crystalline droplets began to fade and the memory of it, not prone to linger in the minds of such creatures, began to fade as well. The damage however, was not forgot and now had come time for blame. Each coming with their own view and their own certainty, charged the other with having brought the storm. The Ant pointed to the Fox for his incessant and very offensive digging. The Rabbit was obliged to agree. The Jay, who had a higher view of things, assured the company that none had offended the Storm Bringer as much as the dirty little Ant. So intense was their in-fighting as to rival the storm itself. In fact, the matter of who was right became much more paramount than the task of recovery. In order to terminate their endless debate, the Owl was consulted. Who’s right? Who’s to blame? They asked. The Owl, who is very wise because he sleeps a great deal of the time, said forget the storm remember the rainbow.


The Battle for the Battle Flag: A Simple Thought

369509288_4e76ffa9ef     This morning my wife and I watched a vehicle in front of us change lanes and vary speed numerous times obviously not certain where they were and how to proceed. We noted the out of state tags and simultaneously turned to one another saying “not from around here.”  In the part of the world where we live being from someplace else immediately makes one suspect. We live in a community where kinship and roots mean everything. It is a place that harkens back to a lost civilization, a society, as Margaret Mitchell put it “Gone With The Wind” It is a place deeply tied to the War Between The States, the war in which the Confederate Battle Flag rallied the Sons of the South. We live in Virginia, known as the mother of presidents, it could be argued she is also mother of the Confederacy. Robert E. Lee, Stone Wall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart and Goerge Pickett to name just few all hail from our great state. The Confederate Battle Flag raced back and forth over almost every inch of her. In our city, Winchester, you cannot point to “the” battle field because all of it was a battle field at one point or another.
     “Not from around here” folks do not get the inseparable connection those who call this place home feel for the land, it’s history or its link to their past.  Those “not from around here” do not understand what it is like to be tied to a land through generations. “Not from around here” people might understand being politically correct but they cannot understand how deeply this symbol, the Confederate Battle Flag, is enmeshed in their heritage and their way of life. “Not from around here” people cannot understand that this symbol is tied to honor, especially the honor given those who fought and died, whose spilled blood mingled in the red clay, beneath that flag.
     Having said that, there is a people who have every reason to rightfully view this same symbol as representing something completely different. For them too, it speaks of another time, a time of bondage and cruelty. It also speaks to them of previous generations. Generations who were held as property and treated as less than human. It is a symbol that was co-oped (not unlike the greek symbol that became the swastika) by hate groups who attached to it beatings, burnings and murder.
     I see both sides. I see why both groups see something very different in that same flag. When comes to wether or not the Confederate Battle Flag “should” be removed, I have no opinion. A copout? Maybe. But if asked, were I to own or display one, if I I “would” remove the flag. I would reply an assured “yes” and here’s why…
     I belong to heritage far greater than my culture, citizenship or ethnicity and far older than the Old Dominion. It too stretches the generations all the way back to another both unifying and divisive symbol… the cross. And in the tradition represented by that symbol we are taught that to follow Christ is to be a stranger in this world (I Peter 2:11). Yes, that’s right, I am “not from around here ” I am from a kingdom where the central concern in debates like this are guided by passages like Romans 12:18 “as much as it depends on you live at peace with all men.” We people who are “not from around here” because our home is of much better stuff than this cannot afford to spend our limited visit here on “right fighting” because we have precious little time and the gospel, grace and compassion to share.
     … just a simple thought.