Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blue Bloods

There are TV shows that I have come to enjoy some for their content, some for their humor, and mostly all for their entertainment.  Those which are my “favorites” I set up the DVR to assure I don’t miss them.

One of my favorites now is “Blue Bloods” starring Tom Seleck.  It is a typical Cop show which I have always been a fan of.  It is in New York City which I enjoy seeing the scenes after spending some time there.  It is about somewhat real stories of real people in the profession of law enforcement in a big city.
In fact, its stories are centered on a whole family who are involved in all levels of crime fighting.  One son is just beginning as a rookie cop.  Another is a tenured detective.  A daughter is a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office.  The father, played by Seleck, is the Police Commissioner.  Oh, and if that isn’t enough, his father is a retired police commissioner.

What I have come to look forward to in each episode is the last few minutes.  At the end of every show the entire family has gathered together around the dinner table at the father’s (Seleck’s) home.  There is normal sibling banter going on; inquisitive young children trying to figure out some of the “code talk” the adults are doing; and grandpa usually has a calming word to offer.  What impresses me is they are being “family.”

Some of my best family memories revolve around the family dinner table.  Whether it was at Grandmamma and Granddaddy Daniel’s on Sunday afternoon, the Deal clan coming from all over to the Deep Creek Community Hall, or at Mom and Dad’s, eating a meal together brought us together.  There we would joke, share stories, learn about our family history.  There I learned table manners (after many, many failures, I am sure!)  There I learned I was accepted and loved, and that everyone around the table was part of my family.

The “Blue Bloods” family argues how to uphold the laws and sometimes differ greatly.  But, one thing is sure, differences do not divide them.  No one is divorced from the family, or sent to their rooms until they repent, because of their opinions expressed or views on how the world revolves or who is in an elected office.

I wish I could say that is true for my family.  Not my family of blood and marriage; my faith family.  I have witnessed too many times brothers and sisters who feast at the same table of our LORD Jesus Christ differ on issues of politics or interpretation of Scripture.  Sometimes we grow from these dialogues; most of the time we get up from the table still “family.”

However, there are times that sadden our LORD as He watches His family differ on issues yet cannot continue to love one another, cannot accept someone who is different than themselves, who cannot fathom that someone who believes that way can really be a Christ-follower.  In essence they subscribe to the “divorce-is-the-only-solution” philosophy and our collaborative witness to a world needing Grace is too often lost.

Isn’t the Christian faith one that is built around blood?  Isn’t it said, “blood is thicker than water?”  How is it that these “blue bloods” exhibit how to live with differences better than those of us who are washed in the red blood of Jesus Christ?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Nuts Don’t Fall Far From the Tree

Early in the ‘90’s we lived in the parsonage of Mount Hermon Baptist Church in Danville, Virginia.  The front yard was full of tall, mature pecan trees.  Many times now my family of four will recall the fall days when we would go out and pick up all the pecans we wanted.  However, we wanted more than those on the ground.  We wanted the ones that were still hanging on by a thin fiber inside the wide-opened black outer shell.

So, we got creative.  We would jump up and catch a limb and shake, shake, shake.  The boys were little and we made a game of running and picking up as many as we could.  Later we would desire ones that were even higher.  One of the boys went inside and got a football.  They would throw it up and hit one or two.  Then, Dad got rambunctious and began punting the ball up high into the tree.  Soon we were pummeled by dozens of hard shelled pecans.  Keeping the football theme the boys ran inside and got their football helmets to protect their heads from the hail-storm of nuts coming out of the tree.

Several things are for sure.  We had lots of nuts to eat, cook with and share.  And, without a strong wind all the nuts fell fairly close to the tree.

This week my family will celebrate the graduation from seminary of our second son William.  In a couple of weeks I will help him move to Boone, North Carolina where he will begin his first full-time position at First Baptist Church.  It will be like déjà vu all over again!  His older brother Ragan graduated just last year and I helped him move to Topeka, Kansas where he is now Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church.

To say that Susan and I are proud of our sons is an under-statement.  How can we cease to praise God for His blessings?  Some have quipped that they are just staying in the family business.  When they individually talked with us about their feeling “called to ministry” we did our best to talk them out of it.  Why wouldn’t we?  They had grown up in two ministers’ home; they had experienced the good, the bad and the ugly.  We encouraged them to do whatever they wanted to do and God would be pleased.

But, they each insisted that they knew God wanted them to go into full-time vocational ministry.  It just goes to show that no matter how much wind we, the parents, tried to blow the nuts away from the tree, God’s will and desire for them was much stronger.  And, without a doubt, we are so glad these nuts haven’t fallen far from the tree of their parents’ vocational journey.