ଓଡ଼ିଆ: କଳା କଫି

Community Coffee with Chicory–C’est si bon

Being from the South, we have our own unique sayings, such as: “fixin’ to,” “argue with a fence post,” “like a stuck hog” and “like white on rice.” If you don’t know the meaning of those Southern sayings, you might as well, well hear another one: “Like a bump on a log.” Some families have sayings unique to them. My sister, Loe, was telling me that she had spoken to a young man the other day who finds himself going bald at an early age. My sister told him to be sure and “slather” himself real good with sunscreen every day. If you don’t understand “slather,” just drop the “s” in the front of “slather” and you’ll understand. What’s important to know is “slather” is different from “lather.” You may lather your hands with soap, but if you “slather” them you get a lot more soap which means a lot more rinsing of the hand. In other words, when you “slather” something, it’s a whole lot more than when you “lather” something. By the way “slathering” is a real word which means: To spread or smear (a substance) thickly or liberally.” But enough of that for now! Consider layering.

I’ve been thinking a lot about layering the last couple of months. Consider winter. When its biting cold, it’s not unusual to hear people advising, “Layer-up before you go outside!” There have been times, on biting-cold mornings, that I layered up so much I looked like a locked-kneed, motorized robot. I guess you can say I went from layering to slathering. But enough of that for now!

Consider life (deep subject). As we know, life is inundated with ambiguous layerings. Anyone expecting it to be otherwise will be sorely disappointed. For the most part it’s not, “Do you want sugar or cream with your coffee? Or, do you want some pie with your coffee?” Life is not served up that easy, and most of the times the choices are not that simple.

Since the month of December, 2012, and the beginning of 2013, much of our national news has centered on life slathered with ambiguity. Consider, we know we need to do something to make our schools, and society in general, more safe from gun violence. Thus the roaring debate over gun laws! We look into the faces of parents who lost children at Sandy Hook Elementary, and then we look in the face of those who feel very strongly about protecting 2nd Amendment rights. Just days on the heel of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, there began the Fiscal Cliff hoorah! Congress, whose popularity, is just below having a root canal, began determining who would pay more taxes and at the same time raising the anxiety level of those who would/could pay more taxes. But wait! On top of that, was another layering–how to insure that the poor, Social Security recipients and the elderly do not suffer from a reduction in their much-needed social services. Yes, life is layered with ambiguity! There’s a whole lot of slathering going on.

However, let’s lay aside those layering/slathering issues for a moment. Consider the World of Sports. What a slathering mess! In the last few days, sports enthusiasts have heard the 7 time World Champion of the Tour de France admit to doping. Issues of trust and integrity and honesty and anger and hurt have swirled in the sports world, not to mention those who have experienced great harm as a result of Lance Armstrong’s coup de gras (yes, L.A. really finished himself off) News of late has focused on the Heisman-nominee from Notre Dame–Manti Te’o. Here is a young man almost drowning in all the slather smeared on him! It must feel like you’ve been tossed in a wringer washing machine (I’ve already written about that in a previous blog)! And what about the millions who see athletes as role models. I mean, consider little six-year-old Jack Pinto, one of the 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. Little Jack Pinto idolized wide-receiver Victor Cruz of the New York Giants. When Little Jack was buried, he was buried in a Victor Cruz New York Giants football jersey. Quoting a news article, it said, “On Sunday, wide receiver Victor Cruz, who was Jack’s idol and ‘hero,’ honored the boy by writing his name on both his cleats and gloves with the inscription “R.I.P Jack Pinto” and “My Hero.” And now, as young Jack is laid to rest, he will find peace wearing Cruz’s jersey.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/jack-pinto-noah-pozner-funeral_n_2316400.html)

Which brings us to another slathering–Grief. Grief has many faces as we are reminded in Edgar Newman Jackson’s book, The Many Faces of Grief. Another thing, none of us are exempt from experiencing grief. It is not an exemption anyone can claim, like claiming an exemption on a tax form. Wouldn’t it be nice if such a form existed where there was a box to check: check here if exempt from grief. Such a line not exist!

Being a Christian who believes in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I know Jesus Christ was not exempt from the layering/slathering that came with being God in human form. His life was layered with the needs of the world clamoring at his feet, needs that begged for healing (the poor, the lame, the deaf, the broken-hearted), needs that begged for understanding in the form of forgiveness and restoration of people’s dignity, needs that came from those who “just didn’t get it, couldn’t get it or wouldn’t get it. (religious authorities, apathetic government leaders, and yes, even the “duh-ciples”) Thanks Leonard Sweet for that coined description of the followers of Jesus).

Of course, it didn’t matter whether those layered/slathered with oppressive needs or prejudices or lack of knowledge, etc., every person mattered and every person matters to God! You matter to God!! And, while layering/slathering life-experiences come our way, just as there is no exempting God’s love for us, there is no expiration-date on God’s love. As I’ve heard it said time and time again, “God loves you and there is nuthin’ you can do about it.”

So here we are: a bundle of layering/slathering life experiences and God’s love. What are we to do? PRAY. I can hear some saying with tongue in cheek, “Yeah! Right Spurlock!”

Well, I know this, we are not God! We are not God’s Son. We are children of God, who loves to hear us pour out our praise and thanksgiving, our pleas for others and our needs vocalized. I know God must enjoy conversation with us because as a father, I enjoy conversation with my children. PRAY.

Jesus, after long days of healing people, teaching people, feeding people, forgiving people, confronting people, he would withdraw to lonely places to pray, to spend time with God, to be restored, to be renewed, to have frank conversations with God and to surrender to God (Matthew 14:22-23; Matthew 26:36-46) Jesus prayed.

May we add this simple prayer to our prayers (whenever we say them):

Lord, un-layer us, please, Lord, un-slather us. Amen.


There is a reason why I named my blog SinnersRow. There is always a place here for each of us. So, thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of coffee before you go?