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The Bible Tells Me

I’m not the Bible scholar I should be. I know some verses; not as many as I ought. Still, I find most of my experiences can be framed or underscored, explained or illuminated, by Scripture. Or maybe a hymn or a worship song, a devotional or a testimony. Frequently, I have those “Oh, yeah” moments when I see God clearly in an event. Or realized that I should have seen Him.

These are the moments of “The Bible tells me.”

These essays reflect that. Do know that I can proof-text as well as anyone. I have a concordance, and I know how to use it. Well, truthfully, I do all of that online now, where I can quickly find a passage, see it in many versions, and choose the one I like best. I try not to be narrow, but instead broad, as I apply Bible words to my experiences. I know that your interpretations and understanding may be different than mine. But I also know that our God is big enough for all of us.

I have a friend who, in her prayer time, likes to tell jokes to God. “I know He knows the punch line,” she says. “But I tell them anyway. He likes it when I laugh.”

He likes it when I laugh. I’m going to hang on to that. It’s Biblical. The Bible tells me.

Our mouths were filled with laughter then,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord had done great things for us;
we were joyful.

Psalm 126: 2,3 (HCSB)


Phone Etiquette

My parents raised me to be nice. I was supposed to be polite to people, and I was. With regret, I admit that I am less so, the older I get. I blame the strangers who call me on the phone.

So many people, all unknown to me, feel free, empowered, and worthy, to call me whenever they want during the day and/or evening, to press me, question me, suggest to me, and threaten me with, well, whatever is on their mind. I’ve become a shrieking shrew to strangers on the phone. On rare occasions, someone I don’t know will phone me with a real question. I will have answered taut and tight-voiced and then must apologize for my discourtesy.

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Taking Photos

In 2008, I went to New York City with my sister and her family. Her son was in charge of the camera. Lest you think this was an opportunity for a child to get some shutterbug experience, Collin was an adult, 24 years old. He took pictures of EVERYTHING.

Collin, the photographer

Collin, the photographer

Natalie sitting in Hans Christian Andersen's lap

Natalie sitting in Hans Christian Andersen’s lap

For example, as we were walking through Central Park, we came upon the statue of Hans Christian Andersen, seated on a bench, with a book on one knee. Collin got out the camera. We sent his 20-year-old sister Natalie to sit on Andersen’s bronze lap, as though listening to him tell one of his tales, maybe “The Ugly Duckling.” ( We aren’t irreverent or inappropriate; the statue is intended to be climbed on.) Collin took several shots of her. She moved away; he kept shooting. There are distance pictures of Hans Christian Andersen, nearby pictures, and an intense close-up of the inside of his nose. The camera filled up with stuff like that.

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I Do Love to Laugh

I sat down with several friends at a long table for breakfast, at the conference center where we were teaching for a week. An employee was walking around the noisy, busy dining hall with a stack of styrofoam cups and a coffeepot, pouring fresh cups for some and replenishing the mugs of others. This lead to a conversation among us about who did and didn’t drink coffee. A couple of friends agreed with me when I said, “I just don’t like coffee. I never learned to drink it.”

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They Tell Me There’s a Lake Out There

I have some friends in California who think I don’t get out enough. Occasionally, they get a plane ticket for me, and I fly out for a visit. One spring, they planned a lengthy adventure, roaming all the way from Disneyland in Anaheim, California, to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, with many stops along the way. We went to the Timberline Hotel, the Portland Rose Garden, and Crater Lake. I remembered doing a report on the lake when I was in elementary school. I wrote it on one of those pieces of school paper that had a space at the top to draw a picture. I still can recall the drawing I made and was looking forward to seeing the real thing.

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