Archive for December, 2016


unknownI’m in a bit of a predicament as a preacher, as are all of my colleagues preaching this coming Sunday: I can’t talk too much about Christmas because it’s still Advent (although it’s Advent IV – come on!). Also I’m supposed to preach about hope and I’m finding it a little elusive right now. Because it’s the elephant in most of our rooms, I have to reference the political scene but how? I’m looking for the hope, I really am. I’m pretty sure I’ll find some. I’ve got another day.

I’m reminded of those Sunday noon dinner table conversations (i.e. battles) at home when my dad and I discussed politics. He was fortified by three or four bottles of beer, me by my unshakable progressive convictions and a big fat dose of Adolescent Intensity and Rightness.

It wasn’t pretty, as I extolled the virtues of Hubert Humphrey and all things Democrat, throwing out facts and statistics (even then an inveterate researcher), examples and specifics. My dad retorted that when the Democrats get in, we always have war. And they were all a bunch of crooks. He was also, to be frank, a racist and that set me off further: “How CAN you say that? How the heck many black people have you even MET? Zero? You have no idea what you’re even talking about?”

You can imagine how well THAT went.

My mom’s overdone roast beef with lots of “seasoning salt” sat untouched on my plate along with the inevitable mashed potatoes, gravy, and lettuce wedge smothered in Western French dressing. My younger brother stuffed his face, oblivious as usual, and my mother nervously pushed the food around on her plate: Another Sunday dinner wrecked because Barbara just can’t shut up. (“Me? Me? What about HIM?”)

Eventually I learned that only experience can change some people’s minds. Many years later, my dad stopped being a racist and he didn’t even realize it. In the nursing home, he was gently cared for by men and women of color. Never one to hold back, he couldn’t sing their praises loudly enough. Wisely, I never pointed out that —- I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!

Some arguments you cannot win and I know that now. I have hope that my dad does, too, along with knowing how far he really came. Wherever he is, I’m really glad he has not been here for this past election. REALLY glad.

Regardless of your persuasion, this Sunday we will celebrate the hope that is the promise of this beautiful season. And it WILL show up.

It always does.

See you in church (even if it’s cold),


Read Full Post »