Monthly Archives: April 2011

When your world ends at 6 a.m.

By Charles Redfern

It’s my wife’s fault.  She ruined me.  I’m not even sure if existence exists because of what she did.

I had donned my sarcastic armor.  I would snicker about the fawning Kate-and-William fashion show, with allusions to the aristocracy’s seamy night life: they could not possibly believe the prayers they mumbled beneath their hats in the cathedral.  Only one in ten of her majesty’s subjects attend church, pointing up state religion’s Achilles Heel : Spirituality fades where monarchs rule the bishops …

And back to those hats.  Had they ever read 1 Peter 3:3-4? “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

I would be downright snooty – and it would be fun.   And then I would have been nice – in a snooty way: Let’s wish them well.  Kings and queens are now figureheads and at least do no harm.  I even sympathize: They seem like prisoners in their own palaces, the very opposite of Henry VIII.  Have a great Niagara Falls honeymoon, your worships.  Or is it the Catskills?  Or the Poconos?  Did you consider Orlando?

I was prepared, armed, and (this is key) snooty.  The alarm blared at 6 a.m. and I blundered through the kitchen in my search for the kettle and the coffee — but then I heard the television in the living room.  My blood congealed.  My heart raced.  Was it a burglar?  A home invader?  Defend your kith and kin, Redfern.  Be the man of the house …

And there I found my wife, for whom morning is the terrible aftermath of humanity’s fall.  It is proof-positive of original sin.  It is God’s reprimand.  Morning, the great enemy of civilization and the evil stepchild of the Prince of Darkness, infected creation after God evicted Adam and Eve from paradise.   My wife – the quintessential non-morning person and the epitome of non-girlie fanfare – was up.  And she was watching the ceremony.  And enjoying it.

I lost all my creativity at that moment.  My world was thrown into chaos.  Is “up” actually up?  Is “down” down?  Does gravity really exist?  If so, why?  Why even ask, “why?”  I cannot think.  I refuse to think.  Instead, I’ll merely guide everyone to Bob Allen’s article on how it’s good to separate the church from the state.  I think he talks about the wedding as well.  Maybe.  I’m not sure of anything anymore.  Press here and find out for yourself.

Meanwhile, I must ponder: If my wife could be up at 5 a.m. and actually enjoy Kate and William’s ceremony, what else can be true?  Maybe I should get a plane ticket and fly to Taos, New Mexico.  What will I discover there?

Kids these days, Part 2

I put myself in the skin of a cynic while watching this video and saw nothing but flaws: “The Jesus language is gauche; the ‘prophetic words’ are manipulative; the healings could be faked – or maybe the so-called ‘healers’ are conveying their own personal power onto the ‘healed.’”  And so it went.  Cynicism seeks and exploits perceived defects, dismisses the unfolding reality, and claims superior intelligence.

The fact is that Hannah Ford brought a group of teens and young people to Disneyland on June 11, 2009; the fact is that the group prayed for people and – as the video shows – other teens were healed.  Look at the faces of those who experienced healing – especially the one toward the end who runs in place.  Only the blindest cynic would call this “fake.”

Ford and her companions were bold enough to pray for people and watch God work.  They were rowing in one of the three crucial steams leading to the confluence of a holistic walk with God: the intimacy and power of the Holy Spirit.  I look forward to the day when this stream merges with the other two – sound, biblical theology and community action.  The Church will really make a difference then.

Drop the veil of cynicism.  Look.  See.

Kids These days …

Dear Ken, Betty, and all the grandchildren:

I thought those famous Hungarian horses would dance!

I’ve never been good at these technological thingamagigs, but your mother says to me, she says: “Better send them an e-mail card ’cause they only peak in their mail box once a week,” and she means the box outside your house, not Outlook’s.  But I’m all thumbs when it comes to the ‘puter — back in my day, machines had “on” and “off” buttons; I can’t even turn up an oven now.   I says to Mom, “Why don’t youdo it?” but she gives me this look like she’s just seen a skunk in the garden.

So it’s up to me.  Knock on wood, here goes: We made it to Budapest smack-dab on Easter, which means Mom’s dream came true.  You know how she’s been pining to get back to the old country, bless her.  “Everybody wants to be in Budapest on Easter!”  That’s what she always says.  Of course, it goes without saying that we poked around for a church, it being Easter, but we met all these kids.  They were actuallydancing and singing like they meant it!  I mean, these people were happy — rejoicing over the resurrection and everything.  Mom videoed the whole thing before she began jigging herself. I thought she’d throw her hip out.  And then Uncle Ted sent us an e-mail postcard from their Australia trip.  They found a church where the kids pranced like they’d just read Psalm 150:

Praise the LORD;
Praise God in his sanctuary;
Praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
Praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
Praise him with the harp and lyre,
Praise him with timbrel and dancing,
Praise him with the strings and pipe,
Praise him with the clash of cymbals,
Praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

So here’s the video from Budapest, followed by Uncle Ted’s – if I can only find that send button!

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