Stories from the Road: An Internet-Free Zone

I got behind in my work during my recent vacation.  That may not sound strange; getting away from work is kind of what vacation is all about.  But my “vacations” are not entirely work-free, in most instances.  I usually have a few articles and a sermon or two that need to be ready to go before I get home, plus I have my various online obligations and my regular, run-of-the-mill Bible reading.

Some of that had to take a vacation as well, though.  My parents’ internet service was basically nonfunctional. 

Zebras

Every time I drive to my parents’ house in central Texas, I tell the family to be on the lookout for zebras.  The hot, dry environment is similar to the African savannah, making it perfect for exotic game ranches.  Of course, wild animals prefer to avoid open spaces in general, and noisy areas such as highways in particular.  So our vigilance — well, mine — went for naught.

Guess what we saw Friday, not 100 yards from the highway?  Four zebra, big as life. 

Real dangers vs. imaginary ones

Hospitals across the country are retheming after a recent study unearthed a startling fact.  Of 250 children surveyed, exactly 250 of them expressed an aversion or out-and-out fear of clowns.  I suppose a generation of administrators raised on Bozo and Ronald McDonald were slow to realize that garishly painted faces were just about the last thing children wanted to see when they were already scared out of their minds.

A few examples of “The Small Things”

Last week in this space I encouraged the “one-talent” Christians out there to not lose heart, but rather to rejoice in the “small things” they may be able to do in service to God and to the church.  I thought I would follow up today with some specifics.

Again, these are things that virtually any Christian can do. 

Nerf

A 9-year-old boy in Wales has lost an eye to a Nerf gun.  This is not the beginning of a joke.  This is the conclusion to a two-act tragedy.  It seems he lost sight in the eye because of an incident with a toy arrow when he was only 3; the second incident caused irreversible damage to the eye, forcing him to have it removed entirely or else risk losing sight in the second eye as well.

The mother, who is raising money through crowdfunding to get her son a more realistic prosthetic eye, says she doesn’t want people to think she is a bad mother.  I wonder why she would feel compelled to say that?

Companions

I spent the better part of the week at what Taylor delights in calling “preacher camp” while she and Tracie were riding out the hurricane.  Yes, I feel a bit guilty about that.  What can I say?  They made me go, and they wouldn’t let me come home early.  They had Elvis movies to watch.

But I’m glad I went.  I met a few dozen preachers.  I sat at the feet of qualified and motivated instructors.  I grew as a preacher and a Christian.  Almost as importantly, I got ample fodder for articles such as this one.  Stay tuned.

Abstaining from Sin: 100 percent effective 100 percent of the time

American efforts at sex education are ridiculed by many for a strong emphasis on abstinence.  “We know kids are going to have sex,” the argument goes, “so we should teach them a safer way.”  Whether this curriculum “works” or not is irrelevant in my view, as it avoids the central issue.  The problem is not kids getting pregnant or getting STDs; the problem is kids going to hell.

Stork

Most references to “love” in the New Testament use one of two Greek nouns — agapao or phileo.  (Hide the children!  Hal’s faking a knowledge of Greek again!)  But there is another Greek word included in the compound word astorge, which is usually translated “unloving.”  The root storge is generally defined as “family love,” that…