Archive for the 'Family' Category


Thank you Amy

In addressing a difficult and often ignored topic, Parkview’s own Amy Simpson openly shares personal and profound insights on mental illness and provides suggestions on how the church should respond to those in our community who suffer.   Most importantly, Amy offers hope to all of us who are affected in some way or another.  Thank you Amy.  I hope many will not only join me in reading “Troubled Minds” but take the steps necessary to understand, reach out to, embrace and help those who have them.



With the Supreme Court sharing arguments on gay marriage, it’s no secret. Traditional marriage is an issue most conservative minded Christians embrace. Yet given the current track record of those within the church community, the long held opinion on the matter holds less weight than it once did. For Christians who favor and champion the sanctity of marriage, it doesn’t help that so many in the camp are poor examples of what biblical marriage is purported to be – a lifetime union between a man and women through good times and bad “until death parts us.” Recent surveys indicate that Christians are found to be divorced at a percentage rate “statistically identical” to the rest of the culture. One might then argue, on what moral grounds do we stand as advocates to the sanctity of something we ourselves seem to violate and disregard? In many respects, we’ve lost credibility to speak into the topic. Perhaps before Christians begin lecturing others on the value God places on the union of a man and woman and casting a vision for what is right, we should take a hard honest look at our own practices and remove the plank of rebellion from our eyes and lives.usa-supreme-gay-marriage


made me smile

Here’s another short indy film that made me smile. It’s an award winner about Ben – a nice but shy sign-holder who loves his job but is working his his last day before his career moves to a new level. Great message about friends and encouragement.


Season of giving?

The holiday season is often refered to as the “season of giving.”  But is it? I’m not just talking about giving to ourselves, friends and families, gifts we most likely don’t need – but giving to those who are truly desperate, marginalized, forgotten, abused or hungry?

Sometimes our response to the idea of generosity is “I’d like to give but right now I [we] don’t have enough money or resources to spare and until we’re doing better financially – we can’t be expected to be generous to others – we just can’t do it.”

Yet as Christians, the Apostle Paul calls us to “carry each other’s burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ.”

The famous preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards responded to this mentality with the following comments….

“In many cases, we may, by the rules of the gospel, be obliged to give to others when we cannot do it without suffering ourselves…If our neighbor’s difficulties and necessities be much greater than our own, and we see that he is not like to be otherwise relieved, we should be willing to suffer with him, and to take part of his burden on ourselves; else how is that rule of bearing one another’s burdens fulfilled?

If we are never obliged to relieve others’ burdens, but when we can do it without burdening ourselves, then how do we bear our neighbor’s burdens, when we bear no burden at all?” [Jonathan Edwards, Christian Charity, The Works of Jonathan Edwards]

With this in mind, can we say this is truly the “season of giving” or “carrying other’s burdens?”


I’ve wondered similar things about…

The Chairs That No One Sits In

You see them on porches and on the lawns
down by the lakeside,
usually arranged in pairs implying a couple

who might sit there and look out
at the water or the big shade trees.
The trouble is you never see anyone

sitting in these forlorn chairs
though at one time it must have seemed
a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.

Sometimes there is a little table
between the chairs where no one
is resting a glass or placing a book facedown.

It may not be any of my business,
but let us suppose one day
that everyone who placed those vacant chairs

on a veranda or a dock sat down in them
if only for the sake of remembering
what it was they thought deserved

to be viewed from two chairs,
side by side with a table in between.
The clouds are high and massive on that day.

The woman looks up from her book.
The man takes a sip of his drink.
Then there is only the sound of their looking,

the lapping of lake water, and a call of one bird
then another, cries of joy or warning –
it passes the time to wonder which.


A fun song

Who can you sing this song to today?  Surely someone.  Don’t wait, tell them “I love you.”


New seder sound

Passover is nearly here and as I get ready to host our traditional seder meal, this song helps set the tone….


the judge

This past week, for the first time ever, I served as an election judge. My wife convinced me it was an honorable way to serve our country. I still agree with her but —Wow! It was an interesting experience. Fourteen and a half hours confined with complete strangers with record low turnout at the polls was rough. The term “boring” doesn’t begin to describe the agony. It was like the Breakfast club and Survivor combined. I have a new appreciation for the people who do this every election…but in all honesty, it didn’t necessarily bolster my confidence in the voting process. Not that adding or subtracting votes would be easy for someone with ill intent to accomplish – but the disqualification of votes due to mishandling seems much more likely. Still, I respect the commitment and efforts of those who serve as judges and would encourage others to get involved. The process needs sharp men and women to help ensure the integrity of the process. Would I do it again? Yes. Hopefully next time, the election will carry more weight and be viewed by voters as more crucial. The reality, however, is all votes in all elections impact all of us.


Just got news

As always, there is apparently now a new way to get high. But it comes at a HUGE cost. Have you heard of “bath salts”? Here’s what you need to know.

illegal in Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida

Some in the US Congress are seeking a nationwide ban on a pair of recreational drugs being sold as “bath salts.” The plan is to introduce a bill that would outlaw the drugs mephedrone and MPDV [Methylenedioxypyrovalerone]. The substances, banned in the European Union and three US states, are widely available and are used as legal substitutes for cocaine, ecstasy, or amphetamines.

Why are we not hearing more about this stuff? These so called “bath salts” contain ingredient that are basically narcotics, and are being sold cheap to all comers, with no questions asked, at store counters around the country. The result is a serious and growing addiction and overdose problem among students and young adults.

a seized stash of Bath Salts

Be listening for word on this stuff [AKA] — White Rush, Cloud 9, Ivory Wave, Ocean, Charge Plus, White Lightening, Scarface, Hurricane Charlie, Red Dove, White Dove, Uncle Charlie.  Reported side effects of MDVP include: increased heart rate, nosebleeds, hallucinations, severe paranoia, seizures, and kidney failure and even death.


Grateful people healthier

If you’re interested, check out the front of the Wall Street Journal’s Personal Journal section, (11/23) “Health Journal” focuses on continuing research that is finding people who maintain an attitude of gratitude have more energy, more optimism, more social connections, and more happiness than those who do not. Researchers are also finding that gratitude provides similar benefits in children. The research is said to be part of the “positive psychology” movement. Of course, this is nothing new. The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.”  Clearly God knows the benefits of genuine gratitude.

re: the random-ness

Husband. Father. Senior Pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, IL. you've located the place where I put down my random thoughts. The key word here is random: music, sports, art, food, books, news, spiritual musings, weird stories, etc. I'm especially interested in how everyday experiences of life intersect with the ancient stories of Scripture. Thanks for reading.
October 2020

Thoughts gone by

"No problem can withstand the assault of substantial thinking." Voltaire