Archive for October, 2010


One thing I wanted desperately as a kid was a nickname. One of my best friends growing up was Tyler Weaver but everyone just called him Tigger (as in Tigger the Tiger of Winnie the Pooh fame).  All my favorite golf heroes had nicknames. Ben Hogan was The Hawk. Arnold Palmer is The King. Gary Player is The Black Knight. Jack Nicklaus is The Golden Bear. Everyone calls Frank Zeller Fuzzy. Craig Stadler is The Walrus. Ben Crenshaw is Gentle Ben. Greg Norman is Shark. Freddie Couples is Boom Boom.  Retief Goosen is The Goose. Colin Montgomery is Monty. Tim Herron is Lumpy. Phil Mickelson is Lefty. Tiger is, well Tiger.

In Old Testament times, names were significant. They held identity as well as identification. The name Yahweh – or the tetragrammaton, YHWH – is used  nine times in Psalm 96. It is most often translated LORD because the Jewish community substituted LORD for this proper name of God for fear of speaking his name in vain. It is the verb form “to be,” which in Mosaic context signifies being present. Here might be a suitable nickname.

He is here. He is in the middle of all the stuff of life. He is the present one who has come to set thing right. He is our present rescuer. He is the one present to act. He is. What will your response be?


Smell of Sin

I grew up in a religious tradition whose primary focus was not sinning. In fact, it was important that we not get within 10 miles of the smell of sin. That meant no dice on attending even PG movies; no dice at all for that matter. Other prohibitions included: no dancing no playing cards, no alcohol no tobacco and absolutely no cussing. I wouldn’t even say the word “darn” because it’s a derivative of dang and as we all know dang is the Latin ancestor and third cousin to the word damn. It’s the same with shoot, shucks, crap, and jeeze. Darn, dag, suck and heck. Criminy, cripes, and crud. And of course, flippin, freaking and my personal favorite, Son of a Biscuit Eater. Every once in a while I would slip up and say H E double hockey-sticks or A double serpents.

Amazingly, in the midst of these prohibitions, there were always a few loopholes to be found. PG and PG-13 movies could be watched at home provided no one else found out about it. Square dancing at church picnics was somehow exempt from the dancing embargo. “Dad gum!” as an expression of disappointment was somehow an acceptable cuss word of sorts. And the card game Rook was an acceptable substitute for playing cards. Could it be that the Rook is the Greek expression of the Holy Spirit dove? I guess I should tithe off my poker winnings!