Archive for February, 2010


It’s a difficult to talk about our own personal strengths and weaknesses.  If you’ve ever been interviewed for a job or been in a situation where you have to describe yourself to someone else who doesn’t know you, this is always a question we dread:  “What are your strengths and weaknesses.” 

We don’t like to brag, but it is usually not as difficult to list some strengths that will be appealing.  I’m a hard worker.  I like to work with people.  I’m a good problem solver, etc.

When it comes to listing weaknesses, it’s actually much harder.  It’s not that we can’t think of any, but what specific weaknesses are you going to acknowledge to a potential employer or someone to whom you want to give a good impression?  I tend to be kind lazy?  I lose my temper easily?  It’s hard for me to get along with others.  I crew my nails.   I mean, are you really going to be that vulnerable to someone you want to be a friend or employer?   I don’t think so. (more…)

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There once was a man who was angry because a little church had rented out an empty store beneath his apartment.  The church had worship services with loud music that sometimes lasted late into the night.  He complained to the landlord.  He complained to the police. But nothing could be done.

He got madder and madder until one night, he decided he was going to get even.  He went down to a costume store and rented a little Devil’s suit — complete with horns, a pointy tail and pitchfork.  He went home and put it on.  He climbed down the stairs and waited for just the right moment. As it happened, as storm came up suddenly.  Thunder rolled and lightning struck and the lights went out.  At just at that moment he burst into that little church, yelling and screaming. (more…)

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The season of Lent has undergone a kind of identity crisis over the years.  For many, Lent is a sad time – full of dreary church music in minor keys and constant reminders of our sin.  It is a time of sacrifice – many people give up something for Lent.  And during Lent we focus on the suffering and death of Jesus – not exactly subjects that make us smile.  We refrain from “alleluias” during Lent as a sign in our worship that this is a quieter time for sober reflection. (more…)

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I drove home from St. Peter a few weeks ago very late at night and it was extremely foggy.  I could not see a thing.  The visibility must have been close to zero because the only road I could see ahead of me was the part illuminated by my headlights.

I suppose this experience of driving in a dark fog, something which I’m sure you’ve all done, could be symbolic of life’s journey at times.  There are days where we feel like we are in a fog, right?  Not really knowing where we are going, what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what is yet to come. (more…)

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How many phrases can you think of that begin with the word, “holy?”

How about . . .

Holy cow

Holy mackerel

Holy buckets

Holy smoke

Holy Toledo

Holy moly       

And then we have the famous batman and robin expressions.  Like: 

Holy strawberries, batman, we’re in a jam.

Holy Kleenex, batman.  It was right under our nose and we blew it!

None of these things are, of course, holy in any sense of the word.   The word holy is being applied to things that are not holy or sacred at all!   All of these phrases are euphemisms; they help the speaker avoid some explicit profanity while still expressing surprise and amazement.  So we say, “Holy (fill in the blank) in response to something that is hard to believe. (more…)

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I have received in the past week two different versions of the Lord’s Prayer both adapted for the Minnesota Vikings.  Both of them begin, “Our Favre who art in Minnesota.”  I found both prayers to be at the same time very clever and very blasphemous.  So I wasn’t sure quite how to react.

It may not surprise you, but it might disappoint some of you to know that I am NOT going to pray for the Vikings today in our prayers.   It’s not that I don’t think the Vikings need any help.  Some of us have been around long enough to see the Vikings reach a point like this and choke.  But I’m not going to pray for the Vikings today for a number of reasons. (more…)

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