Monday, October 29, 2018


Today I am writing about Love.

Or at least, I’m trying to write about Love.
Because the 4th Sunday of Advent is Love Sunday.
And I’m supposed to be writing the Candle Lighting reflection on Love.

But where is Love?
This week alone - 
14 Bombs were sent
11 Jews were shot dead in their Synagogue
2 Blacks were shot dead while grocery shopping

Sometimes it seems like all there is, is Hate.

I know different.
I know Love is real
I believe there are more loving people than hating people.

But Hate is loud and clamorous, red-faced with anger.
It grabs our attention with clashing cymbals and clanging gongs,
with screams and breaking glass
Hate excludes and rejects, pushing away anyone who is different

And Love sobs quietly in the corner,
weeping and grieving.
And then gets up, and goes out to where the pain is greatest.
Wordlessly embracing the bereaved, the injured, the forlorn.
Welcoming the outcast and the other,
encouraging the weak, seeking the lost.

Where is Love?

Love is where ever it is needed.
It is in Pittsburgh, PA and Jeffersontown, KY.
And Washington, DC and New York, NY.
In inner cities and suburbs 
in gated communities and homeless encampments
On mountain tops and valleys and shorelines,
in farmlands and deserts.

Where ever there are people.
Love is there.
To heal the hate, to soothe the anger.

Where ever caring happens.
Love is there.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

I love your hair!

In February I had my hair colored.   Not the usual “cover the grey and make it look natural” look appropriate to my age.  Not even the “Lucille Ball improbably red” look that is still popular all these decades after “I Love Lucie” went off the air.  Nope.  I had my hair colored purple. Bright purple.  Not all of it. Just the front fringe of my modified pixie cut, which sort of swoops over toward the left. (My left. Your right.).   In April I had a blue streak added in the middle of the purple.  I get it re-done about every 6 weeks, when the colors are fading.  

Everywhere I go I hear, “I LOVE your hair!”  I hear it from little girls and teenaged boys and women of all ages and men my own age.  I hear in every sort of place - restaurants and department stores and gas stations and church and just walking down the street and city council meetings.  If there are humans present, generally, I hear some stranger say, “I love your hair.”  The other day at Target I think I heard it 8 times - and I was in the store less than 30 minutes!

Every time I hear, “I love your hair,” I say, “Thank you.  I love it too.”  Sometimes that starts a conversation.  Little girls are sad because their school won’t let them wear purple hair.  Moms are happy to hear me tell their girls that purple hair is one of those things that has to wait till they get a little older.  Young women encourage me to dare to be different.  Women my age and older sometimes say they don’t have the courage to do anything so bold, and I tell them to go for it.  Do the daring thing, if they want to.  I am a preacher!  And my church is ok with it.  ‘Cause it’s my hair.  And, they say it suits me.

Dyeing my hair these colors is probably the single best thing I have done in my entire life for my self esteem.  I mean, one cannot go through a day listening to compliments from random  strangers without feeling good!  Because the compliments aren’t really about the color or the style - that’s all down to my barber, anyhow.  The compliments are about the courage to be a little different and daring, at my age.  The compliments recognize the self confidence it takes to pull this off.  My purple and blue hair says, “This makes me happy, and I choose to do the things that make me feel good about myself today.”  The compliments remind me of that. 

It should go without saying - but I’ll say it anyway - that I make a point of complimenting other people on their outfit, or hair, or the color of their shirt or whatever.  If my eyes tell my brain, “I like that,” then I make sure my mouth does the same thing.  Not that anyone needs my approval - but I know how good random compliments from total strangers feel.  And I do like to share that good feeling, helping others build their self esteem - loving my neighbor, as Jesus told us to do.