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When I was in the third grade, I learned about this very cool thing called a bike-a-thon.  I could take my bike and by just riding it help cure cystic fibrosis, a disease that I had no idea what it was, but sure sounded bad.  In my idealistic eight year old mind this just seemed like it just having fun for a good cause, so I signed right up and went for it.

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My second grader sister heard about the same thing and decided she had to do it as well.  That was a pain.  This meant every pledge I went to get had to pledge equally to the both of us by royal decree of my mother.  I was irritated, but we both pluckily canvassed the small town of under 1,000 inhabitants, all of whom knew our family, and gathered pledges.  I knew no fear in those days, heck, I didn’t even realize knocking on doors asking for money is annoying in my innocence. 

    Pledges were made per mile and so the first question we were asked was how many miles we were going to bike.  I pulled the number twenty off the top of my head as it seemed a nice even number.  I still remember some of the amused, patronizing smiles as these wordly wise adults then penciled in their donation.  Our pledges piled up and we ran out of room to contain them, requiring extra pledge sheets.  What’s the harm in donating to a couple of naive kids playing grown up biking on their Schwinn’s after all.   Read the rest of this entry »

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24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

Luke 4:24

These are the words uttered by Jesus Christ at the start of his ministry, which he had just announced in front of the very people he grew up with in Nazareth, in rather bold fashion in fulfillment of Scripture.  These are the words sung by Joan Osborne, trying to picture what our reaction would be if God were among us as man–

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home…

Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
‘cept for the Pope maybe in Rome

I can imagine few things would be more crushing than expectations for anyone claiming to be a prophet.  What exactly does a prophet look like?  What do they do for fun?  Can they joke, smile, laugh, play?  Are they all curmudgeons?   What is to be the key prophetic characteristic?  Brash, bold, solemn, quiet dignity, old, wizened, unkempt, loving, serene, crazed, severe, scolding, bearded, mystical, wise, charismatic, learned, with plenty of experience or a complete lack thereof? I am not entirely sure.  I am quite sure that in any case being human is very likely to get in the way of anyone believing any claim for them to be what they are.

Samuel, the boy prophet Read the rest of this entry »

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