Jud Wilhite is one of my favs. Former addict and current pastor in Sin City. Author of great books like Deadly Viper (w/ the equally awesome Mike Foster) and Throw It Down. And, as proven by his recent blog post, one REALLY cool dad.
It seems that Jud’s 8 year old son busted out the back window to the family SUV yesterday. Jud’s response to this is worth reading. And remembering. Having broken my parent’s bedroom window out when I was about this age, I can truly appreciate how Jud handled the situation.
The Busted Glass and the Prodigal
by Jud Wilhite
Yesterday my 8 year old came in the house and said, “Uh, Dad, I accidentally threw a rock and broke the glass in the back of the minivan.”
At first I didn’t believe it, but sure enough he completely shattered the back glass. It surprised me because I remember trying to shatter car window glass at a junkyard years ago and it was incredibly hard to do even with a sledge hammer!
I asked him how he “accidentally” did this and he told me he was throwing this rock into the garage and aiming to go between the cars. Unfortunately, he missed–BY A LONG SHOT!
Here’s a pic of the rock on the bumper–that little thing did the damage. Crazy!
I was gearing up to give Ethan a lecture on how much this will cost and how he’ll have to work for the next 10 years to save up his allowance and help pay it off, when I looked over and saw him in tears and completely distraught. He said, “I’m not worthy to be part of this family.” Yeah, it sounded just like the story of the prodigal son.
I thought about God and how he forgives us again and again and how he doesn’t make us pay. So I took a deep breath, put my arm around him and told him I loved him and talked to him about what an important part of our family he is–glass can be replaced, kids can’t. I explained to him that while there was a price to pay, he didn’t have to pay it. I would do that. All I asked is that he doesn’t throw rocks anymore.
It was like a mini-scene right out of the prodigal son story in the Bible for an 8 year old. As a dad I got a fuller understanding of God, who loves us and extends his grace every day. He doesn’t want to shame us, he wants to save us and help us experience freedom in him. He doesn’t want us to pay. He’s already paid. He’s just asking us to love him and relate to him–and be careful about where you throw the rocks.
Telling Ghosts to Go -
In the spirit of Halloween (I know…day late, dollar short), this was a fantastic post by Jaimie Tworkowski of To Write Love On Her Arms fame. Brilliant writer. Brilliant dude. Love his idea of what we do with the “haunted people” and “haunted places” in our past.
Telling Ghosts To Go.
What does it mean when something is haunted? What exactly is a ghost? Is it when something from the past refuses to leave? Is it when something dies but doesn’t go? It’s easy to talk about haunted places. A haunted house. A haunted building. We smile at those stories. We get excited. There is no stigma, no shame. But what about haunted people? Isn’t it true that, as people, our lives can become haunted things as well? The past can haunt the present. The past can steal the future. Isn’t that what most of this is about? Something painful in our past? Something breaks or something dies and in living with the pain, we begin to live with ghosts. And by our choices, we either ask the ghosts to leave or we help them make a home.
If we can talk about haunted buildings, then we should be able to talk about haunted people. We should be able to put a hand up and say, “I’m not doing well” or “I need some help” or “Can we talk?”
Maybe we begin to ask the ghosts to leave when we begin to ask some other folks to join us in our haunted places. In the broken parts of stories. Our messes and our questions. To meet us, to know us, to help, to care, to listen. Maybe we begin to help our friends become unhaunted when we let them know we’re not afraid of their pain. When we ask to really know them. When we ask to see inside. When we do our part to go beyond the distance and the smile, deeper to “who are you?” and “how are you?” and “are you okay?”
i have been a haunted house. i have had things die but stay and i didn’t know how to make them leave. And there were certainly times i didn’t want them to leave because they were beautiful. They were no longer real but they were beautiful. They were bridges to brighter days. i thought they were my dreams.
But reality is the best place to live. Reality is where healing happens. In the honest light and by the voices of our friends.
We all have our past. We all have our pain. We will all know ghosts from time to time. But if our life is like a building, then we should open our doors to let some people see inside. And into our darkest places - into those rooms that hold our fears and dreams - we will begin to walk together. Friends with hope like candles, telling ghosts to go.
Christianity has an image problem. Church membership is falling nationwide. Embarrassing scandals involving preachers or high powered officials professing to be Christians are unfortunately all too common. Negative portrayals of Christians in news and media seem to be the norm (Ned Flanders, I’m looking at you).
A 2009 Newsweek cover story called “The End of Christian America” says ”This isn’t to say that the Christian God is dead, but that he is less of a force in American politics and culture than at any other time in recent memory.”
All of this has left most of the younger generation in America either skeptical of anything “Christian”, or embarrassed by the label all together.
“The End of Christian America” may be upon us. But that’s actually a good thing according to an excellent new book by Gabe Lyons: “The Next Christians - Following Jesus in a Post-Christian Culture”.
Instead of looking at the decline of Christianity’s place at the table in our politics and culture as a negative, Gabe looks at this as an incredible opportunity. Because as Christians, we have unlimited opportunity now to reach out in real, tangible ways. To be a blessing to our family, our neighbors, our co-workers, and the people that we’re in line with at Redbox. To forge authentic relationships and worry less about “converting” people. To be part of solutions that makes the world here and now a better place to be.
To be what Gabe in the book calls “Restorers”.
Restorers of broken people. Restorers of broken places. Restorers of hope, forgiveness and grace in a world that desperately needs it.
And if we can be about that more, “the End of Christian America” really is a good thing.
I seem to get it wrong more than I get it right.
I am a work in progress.
I believe the world needs a lot more positivity and understanding.
Yet I continue to crack jokes when someone’s musical tastes aren’t exactly in line with mine.
I believe it’s easy to be cynical. It’s much more worthwhile - and dangerous - to create something.
But many times I settle for “good enough” with the projects I’m working on and just leave it at that.
I believe we should all be much more patient with each other and stop making mountains out of molehills.
Then I completely loose my cool with someone over a call in a meaningless game of pickup basketball.
I believe in the power of forgiveness. Because I need to be forgiven for so many things.
But I’ll still replay a conversation a boss had with me years ago that I can’t seem to let go.
I don’t buy into a prepackaged religion that fits neatly into a red or blue box, then asks for your vote.
But then I don’t make the time to actually go out and vote, much less get really informed about the canidates and issues.
I’ve fallen down time and time again. Making enough mistakes to fill two lifetimes.
Something tells me I’m going to make many more before I’m done.
But I believe God understands. He forgives and loves me anyway.
I am a work in progress. And that’s part of what makes the journey so worth it.
Working my way through this incredible book a friend lent me. Feels like I’m reading the Holy Grail. (Photo by lancemccluskey)