To a friend,

IMG_4157This has been my experience of Christianity:

At times, I live for a season without clinging to the cross of Christ. I find during those seasons that my love is filled with hypocrisy and my goodness is too flimsy to withstand examination. Fear of discovery can make me defensive. It often takes a painful solace, an absence of the distractions that satiate a selfish heart or the desire to love someone, impossibly, beyond the end of myself that puts me down into a depth from which I am helpless to emerge. It is then– a painful confession, it is only then– that I look upward. It is then that the cross– rugged, stained, demanding of more than I want to give– looks appealing. I cling. And I am consistently surprised to experience joy.

I never see it coming. Joy.

* A note: Friend, grace and faith, as words, are absent from the paragraph above, so don’t mistake this brief account for theology. Grace and faith are the air I breathed as I typed, by grace, through faith. They are the space between every line above and the pause after every period and comma. But you already knew that.

Year-End Review

To finish out 2013, here’s a list of some favorite posts from the past year:

Happy New Year, Everyone!

On the Lighter Side of ThingsTypewriter

Home Run, Man

Perspective
the “most viewed post” this year

I lost Grandma

Trick or Treat?
runner-up for “most viewed post” this year

But the title’s awful…ly catchy
most “liked” post this year

jmm relevant

On the Serious Side of Things

“Death be not proud”

“The world is not as it should be…”

“On Friday a thief”

What to say

Suggestions of the Real Thing

Some of my Favorite Quotes on the Blog

starburst galaxy

Rhythm, Harmony, and Math

Mo’ honey, mo’ problems

A sense of our own weakness

What to read

A mistake, though an understandable one

And (not from 2013) here’s the first post published on this blog:

Eliott’s Inkling this explains where the name “Not a Tidy World” comes from

Ideas for 2014?
Did I leave out one of your favorites form 2013?
Tell me about it in the comments!

“Death be not proud.”

“Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,”

– John Donne “Death Be Not Proud” (“Holy Sonnet X”)

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

– 1 Corinthians 15:55

Oh, but death does sting.

“Sting” is an understatement.

Some days, death rips into our souls with such shocking savagery that we can barely whisper, “Where, O death, is your sting.”

Some days, death is a cataract, dimming the victory of the cross.

“Death reveals that the world is not as it should be but that it stands in need of redemption.”

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

But, thank God for those moments of grace, glimpses of that unfathomable peace.

Thank God for those days when He gives us the strength to shout, “Where, O death, is your sting?”.

Thank God for the days when even death can point us to the cross.

“And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.” – Donne

I’m rubber, you’re glue…

“McDonald’s remains focused on serving our 69 million customers around the world every day.”

– A McDonald’s spokeswoman, from “Chipotle: McDonald’s biggest regret?

Well, then. Take that, Chipotle.

mcrib-photo

McDonald’s is too busy to care.

Apparently, McDonald’s formerly owned a large stake in Chipotle (90% at one point) but sold their shares in 2006. And since then, Chipotle stock has taken off: “Shares of the fast-casual burrito roller are up almost 80 percent this year and over 1,100 percent since its initial public offering in January 2006. Chipotle commands a price-to-earnings ratio of 53, more than twice that of its longtime parent [McDonalds]. It’s increasing earnings and sales at 20 percent and 28 percent, respectively, compared with McDonald’s at 1.5 percent and 2 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.”

But you know, McDonald’s has moved on. After all, they’ve got those 69 million customers around the world to focus on. And they’ve got their hands full arbitrarily rationing McRibs.

Is there anyone else out there who also had no idea that McDonald’s formerly owned a large stake in Chipotle?

(Jim Gaffigan fans: “That’s your McDonalds.”)