Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I always enjoy the week before Easter. There are so many reminders of what really matters in life: newness and appreciating it; the path Jesus took and the events of His last Incarnate days; the build-up to the biggest bummer of all time, and then the silence... and then the most Incredible Day of all time; the being-together with the brethren; the hope that new people will become brethren as the Focus of the resurrection wins their hearts. I love Easter, and then again--every Sunday is a Resurrection Sunday! This is why the church changed from worshipping on the Sabbath to worshipping on the first day of the week. The Resurrection trumps everything!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The first Christmas I remember would be 1956 when I had just turned 4. Coming downstairs to a magically overnight construction of a train table and Lionel train layout almost blew my four-year old mind. I also remember from that Christmas singing around the community Christmas tree and being given a small box of hard, Christmas candy. 55 Christmases later, I still love the day. I love how all the joy people feel depends ultimately on the quiet assumption of the "reason for the season." Christmas would just be another silly, fantasy-laiden, escapist holiday were it not for the birth of Jesus at the root of it. I don't know how early it was for me when I first heard about Jesus--but it certainly wasn't long after 1956. I am waiting now for this babe in the manger, then crucified, dead and buried, then risen, then ascended, for over 50 years. There were maybe 5 years in there when I wasn't paying attention--otherwise Christmas always reminds me of the "good news of great joy for all the people." It is what drives my life. I hope nothing will ever distract my affections until I see His face. Merry Christmas 2011 to you who see this!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Early Sunday mornings have always been serene to me. Even when our girls were little, there are many memories of quiet, peaceful Sunday mornings, early. Today I am at the church, alone yet, an inch of snow has fallen (which always contributes to a certain feeling of pax) and praying for the day. I am thankful that the Lord's Day is yet special in my mind. Our world treats it as second Saturday so much. But to me, it is unique in the week. As Jesus said, it was was created for man, not man for it. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of early Sunday mornings. May I never cease to appreciate them.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

My Dad was a soldier for about five years. He was also a soldier before he was a soldier. And he was a soldier after he was a soldier. Martin Jens Damgaard, youngest of eight children of Christian Sorensen and Metha Kirstine, joined the Civilian Military Training Corps during the Depression and learned some of the basic protocols and training routines of the U.S. Army at that time. It was then that he learned of the man who would become his C.O. during World War II--Colonel Kearney. Dad was a soldier long before he enlisted just before Pearl Harbor in 1941. After he was mustered out of the Army in early 1946, he was offered and accepted a civlian engineering job at Fort Belvoir, VA with the Corps of Engineers, with whom he had served throughout the war. From there he moved to the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Building T-7, next to National Airport and from there to the new Army Materiel Command until his retirement in 1973. From professional soldiering, he worked in support of soldiering for the remainder of his career. He was Chief of the Mobility and Equipment Branch in AMC as a GS-15 at retirement. Although his handling of the stresses of his position, and the times in which he worked was with great difficulty, I would say he loved the Army his whole working life. And near the end of his working career, as I was growing up there were two moments regarding me, that stay in my memory clearly. First, I remember he was very joyful that my draft lottery number was high (something like 350) in my year of eligibility for the draft--he told me that he did not want me to have to go to Viet Nam. Second, he counseled me gently away from joining the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets as a freshman there--a step I was seriously considering. He said he just seriously doubted whether I would be happy in a soldiering environment. It was 1970. It was also one of those subtle moments in one's own history where you later can see that it was a turning point. While Dad loved soldiering he was fairly sure I was not, though currents had been drifting me towards that for years up to that point. Years later, Dad also wrote one of the few remembrances of his war experiences--a letter in 1980 to a Junior High English class in Illinois (upon invitation) to describe his experience as a liberator to Buchenwald Concentration Camp near Weimar, Germany in April 1945. This was the man who raised me.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

If you went your whole life and no one ever heard of anything good that you did, no one ever sent you a card, announced your name in public for recognition, you never had your name engraved anywhere, no one ever thanked you for blessing them in some way, no one said to you, "You did that well," no one ever e-mailed you or FB messaged you and told you that you were valued, no one ever even really knew your name or remembered you years after you died; if your entire experience on earth was characterized just by being with people, being among them, spending your whole time just trying to live and do well, and bless people wherever and whenever you could, and the only rewards were the smiles of the blessed, the sighs of those you relieved of a burden, the quick "thanks" on the spot when you helped out, and the joy of knowing you invested a little time and effort well--how would you be with that?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Well I was hoping that despite all my comon sense, biblical sense, and desire for large crowds to love me, that maybe somehow Harold Camping was on to something and my years of study at Dallas Seminary had actually failed me and I had missed something important. I want Jesus to come back. From a personal and selfish standpoint, the sooner the better. Because I actually believe that the Bible==without the need for any funky numerology==teaches pretty plainly that Jesus will come back. Actually. At least that's what Paul, Peter, John and a bunch of other first century guys wrote. And two thousand years of Christians have bought their testimony. So I was kinda hoping. Or maybe Harold miscalulated just a bit and ...

Monday, May 02, 2011

Concerning men and women.
This is a constant and evolving discussion surrounding what are appropriate and what are inappropriate functions for men or women in Christian circles. Traditionally, they are better defined but since, say, 1970, they are more clouded--some would say, "more open." But does openness result in confusion or contradiction? And ultimately, how does God expect us to balance things? If everyone can do anything, that invites confusion--where there are no boundaries whatsoever too, we violate a plain understanding of Scripture. But over-restrictiveness also seems to violate something. So, I am still and ever thinking this one through. One thing is clear: some people are crazy.