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The Story of the Stream

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One day the Streammaker decided a certain mountain needed a stream.  He opened up the heavens, poured down the rain and soon enough a great torrent was rushing down the mountain.  As it was a new stream, things were not as they should be, as far as streams go, that is.  The water was dark and murky.  The stones were very sharp.  Big clumps of earth and mud and roots and grass got in the way of things.  No matter.  The Streammaker knew how to make His stream, so He did.

At first it was very exciting.  The stream was exuberant at all the new adventures and discoveries to be made.  Each day he welcomed the sunshine with glad splashes and a happy rush - the flow itself disbursed its own joy of simply being, of moving, of reflecting and of singing.

But as the new stream needed to be settled, some things were rather disturbing.  Once in a while, a big clump of leaves and dirt would dislodge and go tumbling away.  The stream felt he was losing part of himself.  "You didn't need tha…

I'd like to Guess about Jonah

At Church we are doing a series on Jonah.  And so my mind has wandered, straight to the text, of course, and I have begun to think I can be just a bit inside Jonah's head.  With smug arrogance, I often (too often, I admit) have told my kids I can read minds.  And here I am, centuries after Jonah lived, and thinking I can somehow get inside his mind.  So, pardon my over-confidence here, but I'm just going to take a stab at what was going on with him.

I'm going to use some sanctified imagination, and go out on a limb and fill in the gaps with my musings.

I imagine that Jonah was raised by godly, somewhat rigid, well-meaning, devout, circumspect, righteous people.  He was probably a first-born: cautious, wanting to please, high-achieving, with keen insight and greater burdens of responsibility.  He took his upbringing well, I suppose, as we can guess because he went on to invest himself in full-time kingdom work as no less than a prophet.  I'll bet he was an inspiring l…

Sheldon Crutchfield, Through a Daughter's Eyes

Once upon a time there was a girl and she loved her father very much.  That girl was me, and I'd like to tell you about the man I called, 'Dad.'

But, what can I tell you about my Dad?  You know him - have heard so much already.  But you can tell something about a person by what moves him - to tears, to anger, to action and where he finds joy.

You know about Dad and his work - the stuff he did 'out there' (and sometimes it was way out there).  But let me peel back the curtains a bit for you now - a behind-the-scenes peek into what it was like to be his daughter.  To many of you he was 'Sheldon the missionary' or, as I like to say, 'Sheldon, the pillar of Hong Kong' or 'Sheldon, Mr. Beautiful' (as he often introduced himself this way)!  To me, he was simply my Dad.  As a kid, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the stuff he did outside our home.  It can be tempting to over-focus on ministry to the neglect of family; thinking the gran…

Theology and Parenting a Child with A.D.D.

I'm not going to start off by telling you any reason why I have the right to tell you these things.  My thoughts should prove helpful regardless, I imagine.  If I were talking to a group of parents who are struggling with the challenges of raising a child with A.D.D. here are some of the things I might say to them:

Before I get into all the nitty gritty, I want to begin with a basic premise - seemingly so obvious that it might be redundant to state it, but I believe it is a foundational starting point from which to parent any child - or even to interact with any human being, and it is this:  Your child was created by God, with His very fingerprints all over them.  God stamped His own image, His own self, into the very person you deal with on a daily basis.  Your child is created imago dei - in God's image, by God Himself.  So we can all agree, God wanted your child to exist, and was intimately involved in the process of making and shaping this child.  We can thank Him for tha…

Mourning Fire: An invitation to Grief

Four weeks ago today I could've talked to my Dad.  I had called a few times over the weekend but missed him - or got a few words before the concert he was attending began.  We had a couple conversations the week before.  Nothing of great significance crossed my mind, so it was the usual stuff - and he talked a bit with each of the kids.

Today I cannot speak with him.  Four weeks ago, this evening, he was on his way to see us and had stopped for the night in a motel in Georgia.  He and my Mom had a nice visit with friends, then booked into their motel and headed for bed.  He was reading in the other room and seemed to fall asleep.  My Mom tried to wake him to come to bed.  But he wouldn't be woken.  His peaceful sleep had merely been a transition from this world to the next.

I got the call at 10:30, and I was already asleep.  My mind could not take in or comprehend those words, "Dad is gone."  I refused to believe while grief swept over me.  These are some of the dar…

February 29

An extra day - a breather; a pause.
Crisp air, rushing winds, but deadness still sits on parched and empty branches.
Just enough warmth to warrant hope and a hint of squishyness in the mud -
To promise the dawning of spring.

Lent is a season of austerity - a time away from what is our common lot.  I put off a habit and add one that requires discipline.  I wonder what it is really all about - the ashes, mourning, reflection on spiritual life.  Perhaps the last moments of this winter are a visual, experiential reminder of the deadness of soul, which without Christ's redeeming - and resurrecting - work, would remain our permanent condition.

Winter's deadness seems to say, "Come, and sit a while in this quiet emptiness.  No life is visible in me, yet we know resurrection is at hand.  But, for now, wait in it - feel what the absence of vibrant life is like.  And wait.  Yearn.  Hope - while it is dark and bleak.  Be still in it.  Do not merely rush through this time, with yo…

The Missed Blessing

Recently a friend wrote me a lengthy explanation of how God wants us all to experience the victory of joyful living and that for a Christian to experience ongoing struggles of depression or other types of sadness is not what God intends.  It was an interesting read, and she asked for my response.  Since I am not posting her viewpoints here, and have probably overly simplified them above, I am possibly being one-sided and unfair in this response.  However, since I have something to say on the matter, I'll just put it here where I tend to just dump all my ramblings anyways.  I don't intend to respond to her point by point but just sum up some of my thought-process regarding grief, mourning, sorrow, depression, sadness, and general difficulties we face in life that can pull our spirits downward.

Basically, the question came down to one of codifying the morality of sadness - is it wrong for a Christian to be unexplainedly sad?  I tend to not think in these areas of black and whit…

The Season of Re-

Pardon the poetry these days.  Sometimes it just spills out here and there.  Words emerge in mingled masses until I throw them on a scrap of paper, only to be lost somewhere along the way.  Here and there I may get them into this blog, for a more permanent chronicle of the gazillion thoughts that I think.  This one is mostly thoughts I am telling myself.  Am I the only one who talks to myself?  Hope not!


Re-
Re-tell, Re-write, Re-alize. Re-engage, Re-turn -  A turning again to what once was, that might have missed its place -  the place of significance, of priority, of impetus on your journey.
Re-think, Re-new, Re-birth: Because these all flow,  each from the other.
Re-open - open your eyes to see what has been there, but you never dared to see.   See reality.  See yourself.  See the love you haven't held.
Re-visit - the things you tossed aside as useless - Gifts of heritage and faith. Re-evaluate.  You may find treasure.
In your rest, find a place to begin.   To everything, turn again, and return…

Esteem

Do not think much of me for the things I say. Do not think much of me for the things I do. In fact, do not think much of me at all. Think much of Christ - of His greatness, worth and love, and then, Only then... Think much of me as His broken child - needy, helpless and empty; Waiting to be filled by Him, To be soul-fed by His real food and bonded to Him by His real drink. I thirst, and am nothing but a hungry child.
Think much of my want, my lack, my nothingness. And think much of the Christ I love; the perfect Treasure of grace and truth, Whose supply abounds. There is nothing much to think of me, And oh, so much to think of Him.

House of Words

I fill my home with words - on windows, walls,
microwave, fridge and oven.
Volumes full of words arranged on shelves
form libraries of verbiage
to plow up in search of some novel nugget -
to turn slowly in the polishing chamber of the mind.

No room shall lack them -
words tucked in hidden places,
Not the least: bathrooms,
where one might flee for solitude and reflection.

Words here will not be meaningless -
lifeless chatter to fill empty spaces...
floating around us merely with their wisdom and wit -
Much more than arrangements of letters and words:
Grace, love and joy spill from crevices,
catching the eye, and maybe the soul unaware;
Prompting a thought yet unthought -
An impulse not quite begun.

For those with ears to hear,
eyes to see, and hearts ready to receive
the seeds of truth
will sit and wait -
Beckon in their silence
To all who enter.


Some Haiku for You

Sometimes I am uninspired to write.  And then I discover (or re-discover) the joy of Haiku.  So I wrote three today.  Here they are!


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Never be settled Immune to the Voice of God His song is your joy.
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Bitter, cold winter Invites reflection inside Soul-work not quite done.
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Being and Longing Meet each other and rejoice. Married, they Belong.
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Dangerous Days

Someone asked me today what I thought my trajectory might be for 2016.  I said I really have no idea.  It isn't something one can answer off the cuff, if that one is me, I suppose.  After some thought I'm sure I will come up with something.  I like the word 'trajectory' better than 'goals', 'ambitions', or the dreaded, 'resolutions'.  (Sounds so final, and defining and confining, that one).

You may have ideas for my proposed trajectory.  Or not.  But regardless, I felt a word of poetry was in order, because it has such rich meaning, and a great message for us all.  And since I didn't write it, I can commend it to you:

Sleepers, Awake
These are the dangerous days Christmas elation is past ornaments now put away bells are no longer ringing carolers cease their singing clean snow slowly grays.
These are the dangerous days as we turn from adoring the child to adding up income taxes  to writing thank-you letters no longer givers, but getters we resume old wa…