Black, White, and Gray.

From Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh

It’s spring break week here at the University of Connecticut.  And while it doesn’t feel anything like spring, new things are still happening.  Even in the midst of the “old”, there is still “new.”

Historically, the Roman Catholic church just saw an unprecedented and historical thing happen; the pope resigned.  Out with the “old” and in with the “new” (kind of!).  The world waited to see who the new pope would be over the course of a few days.  Would the smoke be black or white?  Who would be the next in line to be such a world-renowned leader?
Today, as I walked on campus to the building I work in, I looked up and saw gray smoke.  Well, it was probably steam, but work with me on this.  I saw gray.  Hence, the application: the things that life is made of are not always black and white.  In this, there is concurrent peace and insanity and everything in between, all rolled in to one.
And I think that life has gotten grayer as I’ve gotten older.  I know my hair certainly has!  But the thought came to me as I looked up to see the gray cloud ascend- my God is good with gray.  He’s comfortable with it.  He knows what to do with it, even when I don’t.  He comes in all shades of color and light, too.  He is multi-faceted, like a diamond.
Black and white can seem easy sometimes.  It seems that way now.  It seems that this season of life is more gray than anything.  If God is good with it, I can be, too.  I can rest in His unfailing love, revelation, and kindness.  And I can look forward to more colors appearing…like the ones to come on Resurrection Sunday when He bursts forth from the tomb.
What a colorful world we live in.

What I learned about Jesus from Dale Gribble.


From Steve Bell.

We’re King of the Hill fans at the Bell household.  My kids are grown but I miss dinners where our entire conversation consisted of lines from the show.

In season 3, Bill has a breakdown of sorts and Hank and the boys look after him in shifts. It begins to wear on all of them and Dale finally complains and says, “Hank, you know it’s not in my nature to care about others.

This struck me from the moment I heard it.  So much so, that I began to use it as a deflection when people would thank me.  After I’d helped the old lady across the street, or after I’d pushed the pregnant mom and her stroller from the path of a speeding car full of bank robbers, they’d thank me profusely and I’d say, “It’s not in my nature to care about others.”

This didn’t work so well, so I stopped.  It wasn’t worth the time to explain the cultural reference and it was a little less than gracious response.

But uttering the words brought it home to me.  It’s not in my unredeemed nature to care about others.  Thankfully I have been redeemed through Christ and it changes everything.

The great thing about growing in Christ is that our behavior becomes instinctive.  We spend less time thinking about the right thing, we just do it. The more we do it, the less difficult the decisions become.

I have less trouble doing the right thing than I used to.  But maybe I can learn to offer a more gracious response when people thank me. My grandfather had a habit of slipping me dollar bills whenever he saw me and I wasn’t sure what I should say.  My Mom said, “Just take them and say thank you.”

So that’s my new approach- take the compliments and say Thank You.  But I sure do miss the confusion on people’s faces…