A Word About My Brother, Gary, and a Favor Asked

            Some of you know that a group of men meet at my house every Thursday morning to pray, to study the Bible, and to organize for involvement in our community. That gathering has, for all intents and purposes, been my church life for the past ten years or so, since work requires me to be out of town on many or most Sundays.

            This year, we are reading through the entire Bible, our third time to do so. I have been struck on many occasions at how the day’s reading was so perfectly timed for circumstances that I was dealing with in my own life, as if the text had been somehow scripted for a particular moment.

            This morning, I read the familiar words of Romans 8 which tell me that nothing can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, that God cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him, that one of God’s overarching purposes in our lives is to conform us to the likeness of Christ, and that God is “for us”.

            Those words are timely.

            Yesterday, my brother Gary and I met with his doctor and were told that he (Gary) has a brain tumor, likely malignant, on the back left side of his brain, about the size of a quarter. Given that Gary is very healthy and active, the news was more than a little surprising. At present, there are medical decisions to be made, plans that need to rearranged, questions that need to be asked and answered. We’re thankful that the source of Gary’s recent forgetfulness and headaches seems to have been identified and are hopeful that the tumor (which, the doctor tells us, is at a good location on the brain if it has to be removed) can be taken out and followed up with chemo/radiation.

            Many of you have already gotten word of Gary’s condition and have written to express your concern and tell us that you’re praying. I need not tell you how grateful and encouraged we are by such kindness. Might I ask that, if you are one who prays, you would keep Gary is your prayers? I still don’t, and probably never will, quite understand how prayer ‘works’ but I know that God tells us to do it, promises His attention if and when we do, and assures us that He’ll not give stones to the child who asks for fish. …  For you who’ve already taken Gary’s case to God, thank you. For those who will, you are in good company. Thank you. I’ll keep you all posted from time to time here on the blog.

 

            While I have no desire to be melodramatic about the present circumstances, I can tell you that, when I’ve not been crying in the last 24 hours, I’ve benn an inch away from doing so. But the tears are not those of anger or even fear. They seem to be some strange mixture of sadness and gratitude and even hope. I am very conscious of how rich I am to have the brother and full-time hero that Gary has been to me over the years. And I look forward to walking through this next part of the path with him grateful for the ones who will be alongside us, including ones like you.

 

            “God is for us.”

 

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Facebook (a new song)

Click here —  Facebook — to hear song.

You still out there? After this long, long absence on my part? I’ve got several blog entries in the works, just some simple reflections inspired by summer moments at home – and will be posting them on consecutive days very soon. i’m also working on 8 or 10 new songs to post on the blog in August as I’ve done for the past couple of years.
At the request of Sue and Melvin from San Antonio, who I recently met at Laity Lodge in west Texas, I made this simple recording of a song that I sing a cappella in concert from time to time, usually while I’m changing guitars, tuning strings, or simply want to vary the sound palette a bit. It was written a couple of years ago when I first became aware of Facebook (after about a half billion other people in the world had already found it).

The song is true. I really am on Facebook, though I rarely visit the site and don’t quite know how to navigate my way around it. And this little tune is not meant to be a jeremiad lamenting the good old days of letter writing and face-to-face conversation. It’s just a poke at our present obsession.

I do see the benefits, the splendors even, of social networking, But i wonder if it doesn’t also have its limitations and dangers (captured perhaps in a statement that a friend made this past week, one of praise for the miracle of technology, about going to a crowded Starbucks where everyone was interacting with a device, “it was quiet as a library.”) For me, Facebook puts a spotlight on many aspects of the human condition: our desire to belong to something big, our hunger to be heard, our determination to be unbounded by time and place, our wish to have some record of our lives, our longing for relationship. Those desires and yearnings are all good, healthy, even God-given. I’m just not sure that Facebook is the highest, best, most lasting way to fill them.