Oceanside – Welcoming but Segregated (Case Study)

I periodically connect with people at Starbucks (where I study) and meet new people.  It helps me to get a feel for how people experience Oceanside.


Darryl is an African American (spitting image of Tiki Barber!) that has been in the navy for 16 years and feels like he’s enjoyed his career.  He has 3 more years and is looking forward to retiring.

I asked Darryl to give me a sense of how he experienced the City of Oceanside and if there have been any specific ways that have been helpful to him.

  • Welcoming:  He feels like Oceanside (the O) has been very kind and welcoming to him.  But he also mentioned that the O is segregated (east side is latino/blacks) and west side is more middle/upper class.  San Diego has been very welcoming and opened his eyes to so much more he hadn’t experienced (grew up in Ohio).
  • Faith Community:  Darryl felt like he really connected with the Rock Church in San Diego and their North County campus.  Specifically, he mentioned the worship music, how organized the service projects were (easy to plug in, provided breakfast or lunch, his friends wanted to participate with him because he was so excited about it).

 

Current Theological Heritage and Values

I have to write a paper and think through my “theological heritage/tradition”. I feel a bit lost trying to think through what it is.

  • I grew up in a pentecostal (apostolic assembly/latino) church until my early twenties.
  • In my twenties, I was part of a small congregation that was in part getting influenced by the “shepherding movement” in a charismatic setting.
  • Late 20s to early 30’s, I was part of a non-denominational church that was in part connected to PCUSA.
  • We did a stint with the Vineyard.
  • We’ve been most consistent at North Coast Calvary Chapel for the last 6-7 years or so.
  • I studied theology (spiritual formation) at a Catholic University and did my masters at a baptist seminary!!!

So how does someone like me begin to name their theological heritage and tradition?! aaackk!!!  LOL!!! At this point, I feel like I have a strong “ecumenical/theological” heritage and tradition.

I also feel like it’s important to name movements, beliefs, and people that have influenced me:

  • Henri Nouwen (catholic)
  • NT Wright (anglican)
  • Walter Brueggemann
  • Stanley Hauerwas
  • Lesslie Newbigin
  • Justo Gonzalez
  • Miroslav Volf
  • Ronald Rolheiser (catholic)
  • Eugene Peterson (Presbyterian)
  • Vineyard Movement
  • InterVarsity
  • Gifts of the Spirit for present day
  • Kingdom of God (here/not yet)
  • eschatology: a redeemed and renew creation (literally)…heaven coming to earth/not taken out of creation
  • world of psychology (brene brown, john gottman, hargraves, harville hendrix, and more)
  • Dallas Willard
  • Leadership theory

And the list goes on. I wasn’t sure how to capture all of this as a heritage until a friend gave me some advice.  He said to “make the same list focusing on the practices of faith (both personally and corporately) that you actually embody and the intersection is likely your actual theological heritage.”

So here’s an initial try at listing the practices:

  • wholeness:  learn from different disciplines and streams to integrate principles for flourishing.  I support therapists, learning from different theological streams (i.e. Catholic church, charismatic movement, etc)
  • integration:  I know this sounds like the first one, but I try to learn from each discipline and pull ideas together.  I read something from each discipline every week.
  • mission:  I deeply care to participate in God’s mission for this world.  I care about the stranger being included and invited to the table.  I believe that God is deeply hospitable, making room for the destitute, misunderstood, and excluded ones.  I engage in God’s mission for the world by serving the marketplace.
  • formation:  we are all shaped and formed into the person we envision.  Our upbringing, beliefs, mentors, influential people, habits and practices, and God all contribute to the person we’re becoming.
  • Holy Spirit:  reliance on the Spirit to guide, heal, transform, empower
  • wisdom:  we seek insight from the God who knows all things.
  • incarnational presence:  being in the daily life of the people we serve, making a home where they live and work.
  • worship:  the full expression of praise to God, expressing gratitude to God, confessing to God, fellowship with one another, communion, and proclaiming the word of God.
  • community:  serving and being in relationships with one another for the sake of encouragement, growth in Christ and for Christ.
  • justice:  seeking the justice of God’s heart in this world.
  • multi-ethnic/cultural expression:  seeking how to incarnate the gospel in the setting of the people–who they are (racial/ethnic profile, cultural practices, etc).

 

My heritage is a composite of the journey I’ve been on to serve Jesus and be a disciple.

Thanks to all of these people/movements/ideas for helping me on the journey.

Keep Calm and Quiet

 

Psalm 131

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

In my 20s and 30s, I often daydreamed of being “great”.  I think we live in a culture that praises heroes and greatness.  We concern ourselves with matters of greatness and big wonder.  We might have thoughts of how we’d run the country, a company, a local city, or implement reform on a national scale.  We say, “Well, I’d do it like this!” and walk off thinking we know what’s best.

It seems that the people who truly effect these great changes are those who have learned to keep calm and quieted their restless hearts.  They’ve learned to listen, observe, and take small steps and actions towards a possible reality/goal.  It’s a slow process.

How do we cultivate a calm and quiet presence?  There are two movements.  The first is to abstain from certain patterns of thinking.  One habit might be to think that we have all the answers and don’t need others to resolve issues.  That’s “haughty and ego proud” thinking.  The second movement might be to practice times of silence and solitude.  I find that it slows me down and helps me to be present to any anxieties or fears that are causing me to be reactive and frenetic.

Reflection Questions

*In the workplace, what might it look like for us to develop practices of calmness and quietude?  Would the company culture allow for it?

*Our culture says to make our voice heard for issues of injustice–and we should.  When are times that we ought to practice calmness and listening?

Leaders Define Reality

Max Depree writes:

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader. Concepts of leadership, ideas about leadership, and leadership practices are the subject of much thought, discussion, writing, teaching, and learning. True leaders are sought after and cultivated. Leadership is not an easy subject to explain. A friend of mine characterizes leaders simply like this: “Leaders don’t inflict pain; they bear pain.” The goal of thinking hard about leadership is not to produce great or charismatic or well-known leaders. The measure of leadership is not the quality of the head, but the tone of the body. The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?

The art of leadership requires us to think about the leader-as-steward in terms of relationships: of assets and legacy, of momentum and effectiveness, of civility and values.

from Leadership Is an Art

I think of the leadership theory and development because if I don’t, I won’t become a good leader.  Plain and simple.  I think leaders need to make more time to reflect on their leadership practices and habits.

Max Depree offers a great reflection of what leaders, who they are, and how they think.

Reflection Questions

*What do think of the statement, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality”?  One can imagine that it might be a struggle to define reality and have to say the hard things sometimes, acknowledge the losses, or admit failure.  How do you cope with reality?

*Reflect on this statement:  “The measure of leadership is not the quality of the head, but the tone of the body. The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers.”  If the body or team is the primary sign of how things are going, how does that shift your leadership tactics?

*What might be one way that you can define reality for your team this week?

Acts 1 Thoughts and Reflections pt.1

As a follower of Jesus, we seek to model His life by attending to His teachings and deeds (see Acts 1:1).  Jesus can be found having meals with disciples and giving them instructions for following Him and about the Kingdom of God.  After He suffered and was raised to life, Jesus made it a point to reveal Himself to the disciples and show them convincing proofs that he was alive (Acts 1:3).

As He is about to ascend, Jesus comforts the disciples with a new promised gift.  I’ve noticed that some people, at the end of their lives, gift others with words of blessing, guidance, or a loving assurance.  This shows a Figure that is aware of the human condition–our propensity to grieve loss.  The Christ Figure shows a deep compassion for His followers.

I think in a cultural setting where we feel pressed by violent acts (the recent Texas church shooting), we seek answers to why this type of violence is increasing.  I don’t have sociological or psychological answers as to why this phenomena is occurring but I do believe that Scripture teaches that God is near us during our losses and is seeking to gift us in our times of deep loss [note:  this is not a post to try and figure out what is happening with mass shootings].

I also believe we struggle, as a culture, to create a sense of long term community with others.  We seek our own comfort in our air conditioned homes, DIY projects, TV/Streamed entertainment, and any other hobbies we might have.  But we don’t make room for intentional shared meals with others so as to build community and connection.  Yet Jesus is constantly doing that.

Lastly, Jesus promises the empowerment and gifting of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses in our community, city, and world.  Jesus teaches and demonstrates a life of wholeness that always involves inner/relational/communal wholeness.  As Miraslov Volf says,

A good nation…
Is one in which all inhabitants are given the conditions, opportunities and the tools to have a flourishing life – that is, a life of righteousness, justice, peace, and joy. (via FB post)

The empowerment of the Spirit and the life Jesus models is a culmination of something I long for.  I can spend the time to host a monthly community dinner, have others over my house that I won’t necessarily benefit from (Luke 14:12-14), and serve others as Christ would–with dignity, respect, and love.

Citizens en La Casa

God’s word speaks most to me when I think about my context, interior life, community, and culture. A theologian friend of mine said that all theology should be done in our context.  It’s where God is meeting us.

I follow the Catholic daily lectionary. It’s usually a passage from the Hebrew testament, a prayer from the book of Psalms (prayer book), a passage from the New Testament, and a Gospel reading. If read each day, you can read the Bible in three years.

Today’s passage:

Ephesians 2:19.21.22
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household…In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

dia girl.jpg

I thought of a story I heard the other day. Sally (pseudonym) works at a local middle school where the “demographics” have been changing.  I asked her more about that and she said, “it’s not the hispanic population that is causing most of the problems.  And when they cause an issue at school, their parents receive a phone call and they immediately do something about.  They apologize and say that it will be handled at home.”  She said that most problems are drugs and sexual activity on campus, and that it’s mostly caused by kids whose parents are uninvolved.  When these parents get a call from the school, their response is, “I’m sure it will all be fine”.  In other words, they dismiss it.  But it’s mostly assumed that it’s the Hispanic population shift that is causing most of the issues.  My heart was overjoyed to hear that Hispanic parents are involved in their children’s lives.

I thought of another conversation I had with a pastor the other day.  He said that his church movement is finding that when Latino’s feel like they have a place at the table and are welcomed, Latino’s respond with gratitude and joy.  I think it’s because Latino’s just want to feel included and wanted.  I know everyone wants that but for many Latino’s, they’re seen as strangers, foreigners, and illegal.  It hurts to hear those words and be treated in that matter.

The politic of the Gospel is that Christ Jesus says we are no longer foreigners, strangers, or illegals.  He calls us His own and makes us feel welcomed, inviting us to be in His home and part of his Casa.

We are also called to participate in the building up of a community where the Spirit of God dwells.  The Spirit gets poured out to all people, thus welcoming us to have a place at the table.

My friend, the other day, challenged me to claim and appreciate my heritage.  I’m tri-cultural:  American, Mexican, Christ follower.  I’ve neglected my Mexican heritage.  It’s painful to think about the kind of shame I’ve felt because I’m Mexican.  I was born in Whittier (near East LA County), grew up in Fullerton (Orange County), and always felt like I was different (in a bad way).  I long to belong.  I long to be known and have a place at the table.  Sometimes ethnic shame, not feeling good enough, or feeling like I’m a tonto have caused me to slip away.

I’m usually one of the few Latino’s gathered at a pastor’s cohorts, in a theology class, or when talking to other executives in business settings.  I don’t blame anybody for that.  I commend them and hope to learn from others as much as I can.  So it feels really good when I step into situations where there are other Latino’s.  It makes me feel like I belong.  That’s why I love visiting Mexico.  It feels like familia.

I write this with tears.  It’s an area I have written much about.  In Christ, I’m no longer a mexican foreigner, stranger, or less than.  I have a place–en la mesa de Cristo, en su Casa.

And so do you!  You have a place.  You’re no longer a stranger.

Tim Keller on the Missional Church

According to an article published by Tim Keller in 2001, the church has lost its privilege (Christendom) in the culture in part for these reasons:

  • cruelty and hypocrisy – “Christian morality without gospel-changed hearts” (Keller)
  • silence of the church over issues of abuse from ruling powers against the weak.

And this decline started in the mid 19th century!!!

Keller points out five ways the Church in N.America can be missional:

  • discourse in the vernacular
    • The missional church avoids sentimental, pompous, ‘inspirational’ talk . Instead we engage the culture with gentle, self-deprecating but joyful irony the gospel creates. Humility + joy = gospel irony and realism.
  • Enter and re-tell the culture’s stories with the gospel
    • “In a missional church preaching and communication should always assume the presence of skeptical people, and should engage their stories, not simply talk about “old times.”  Our culture cares about justice (inclusive) and to be authentic (safe world).
  • Theologically train lay people for public life and vocation
    • “In a ‘missional’ church, the laity needs theological education to ‘think Christianly’ about everything and work with Christian distinctiveness. They need to know: a) what cultural practices are common grace and to be embraced, b) what practices are antithetical to the gospel and must be rejected, c) what practices can be adapted/revised.”
  • Create Christian community which is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive
    • “In general, a church must be more deeply and practically committed to deeds of compassion and social justice than traditional liberal churches and more deeply and practically committed to evangelism and conversion than traditional fundamentalist churches. This kind of church is profoundly ‘counter-intuitive’ to American observers.”
  • Practice Christian unity as much as possible on the local level
    • engage with other church and para-church communities so that Christian love and unity can be in full display (i.e. In North County San Diego, a host of church gathers for what they call “One Church”.  It’s a quarterly gathering where there is a sharing of resources and encouragement with one another.  There are also pastoral cohorts that get together on a monthly basis.  Some churches I know are partnering with para-church groups like InterVarsity, FCA).

 

Life Together Reflections, Ch. 2

The beginning of the second chapter in Life Together is dedicated to a reframing of when “day” begins and ends.  In the Old Testament, the day began in the evening, when we rest and God works.  The day ended at sunset, when darkness begins.

In the New Testament, the day begins Sunday morning at the break of dawn, when Christ Jesus resurrected from the dead and darkness was no longer.

The early morning belongs to the Church of the risen Christ.” p.41

The morning belongs to the Church as we gather for common worship and common reading of the Word, to give thanks and praise to Victorious One.

It feels, so far, like a pastoral letter establishing spiritual disciplines of communal prayer, worship, and devotion.  Bonhoeffer sees the morning as a deep reality of God’s breaking into the now, establishing light out of darkness.  He also sees the morning as the first opportunity to hear the Word that awakens us (p.42).

Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and first word belong to him to whom our whole life belongs [quotes Eph.5:14]. p.43

[and]

All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him. p.43

Let our mornings be filled with gratitude and hope. For darkness passed, and the morning light shines again.

every common devotion should include the word of Scripture, the hymns of the Church, and the prayer of the fellowship.” p.44

“The Psalter is the prayer book of Jesus Christ in the truest sense of the word.  He prayed the Psalter and now it has become his prayer for all time.” p.46

For the BonHof, the Psalms are the prayers of the Christ.  What an imagination to see it like this!

More pastoral insight:  when we pray the Psalms, we pray the prayers of Christ, which reach the heart of God.  In so doing, we pray His prayers, not our own.  We become mediators and intercessors of the prayerful heart of Christ Jesus.  (see p.46)

When we pray collectively as a community, we function as the Body of Christ, which we cannot fulfill as individuals–because we are members of a One Body.  The Psalms are read in fullness only in community.  That’s why when we gather to pray and worship collectively, you may not “feel” connected to the prayer or reading or song.  But we pray it, sing it, proclaim not just for ourselves, but for the other members in our community because we are a Body.  (see p.47)

We pray repetitiously because there is a different, less than holy and life giving repetition that must be drowned out.

“The more deeply we grow into the psalms and the more often we pray them as our own, the more simple and rich will our prayer become.” p.50

BonHoeffer makes a strong case for the reading and studying of the whole of Scripture.  He wants to see what I believe the Catholic church has done for centuries:  a reading of the Psalms, OT passage, NT passage, and Gospel passage.  In as such, we get a fuller sense of the Big Story.  (see p.50-51)

Prayer – The Psalms as Christ’s Prayers
Scripture Reading – OT, Psalm, NT, and Gospel reading for the breadth of the Gospel Narrative
Singing the New Song – The Victorious Song of the Church in gratitude and adoration of the work of Salvation from King Jesus

“The fact that we do not speak it but sing it only expresses the fact that our spoken words are inadequate to express what we want to say, that the burden of our song goes far beyond all human words.  Yet we do not hum a melody; we sing words of praise to God, words of thanksgiving, confession, and prayer.  Thus the music the servant of the Word.”  p.59

 

Life Together Reflections, Ch.1

Below are quotes and some preliminary thoughts on Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together“.  My hope is that it encourages you to read the book and be inspired by the mystical Body of Christ.

“It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God’s Word and sacrament.” p.18

There are some believers who are imprisoned, sick, or in some form of exile.  I think of countries like China or others who do not permit public gatherings.  They seem to value the gathering much more than maybe those of us who can gather publicly.  It seems that when something so precious like this is taken from us, we learn to appreciate its beauty and worth.  I haven’t thought about it with this mindset.  It brings tears to my eyes to think of the possibility of not gathering publicly.  It makes me think of how good and pleasant it is to see brothers and sisters gathering in unity.

“Communal life is again being recognized by Christians today as the grace that it is, as the extraordinary, the ‘roses and lilies’ of the Christian life.” p.21

My immediate “reaction” is to call up people in my life who are longing to follow Jesus and how I experience a certain grace when we interact.  I also experience this grace with people who don’t attend a church but the prevenient grace of God is definitely at work in their lives.  In both cases, there is a nourishment of the heart/mind/spirit that feels mystical and transcendent.  It feels otherworldly.  Words of benediction are spoken, one to another.  Gestures of humility and hospitality are shown, one to another.  The common thread is the work of grace.

“Christian means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ.  It means…

  1. a Christian needs others because of Jesus Christ
  2. a Christian comes to others only through Jesus Christ
  3. in Jesus Christ we have been chosen from eternity, accepted in time, and united for eternity.” p.21

For Bonhoeffer, help must come from the outside [and]…God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of a [brother and sister] , in the mouth of [humankind].”  p.22-23

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much we need a power that is beyond us to sustain, transform, and resource us.  We confess an emptiness, weakness, and human limitation that is met by the Presence of Christ, who redeems, fills, and makes us whole.  Using Bonhoeffer’s framework of the Community of Christ, this only happens when we seek Christ and others that comprise the Body.  In this sense, I say it’s mystical because it is a grace that is beyond us.  The 12 step tradition starts with a confession that we are powerless and need a higher power. And it is confessed to another, as a means of receiving grace and support.

“the goal of all Christian community:  they meet one another as bringers of the message of salvation.” p.23

“Christian community means community through and in Jesus Christ.  On this presupposition rest everything that the Scriptures provide in the way of directions and precepts for the communal life of Christians.” p.24

Jesus becomes the peacemaker between the Triune God and humanity, and humanity with one another.  But without Christ there is “discord” (p.23).  What are the realities of those who have not professed Christ and made baptismal vows?  What is a helpful framework to commune with the mechanic, accountant, and sales manager that may not adhere to the teachings of Christ?  The mystery of the Body of Christ is one because Christ makes us one.  But we are made one with all of humanity because Christ became human.  We relate to one another in terms of a constant tension between having our Christian faith but also being called to mission to serve the world.

Reflection Question:  Bonhoeffer makes such a strong argument towards brotherly love.  What was happening in his context that made him lean so strongly that way?

One is a brother to another only through Jesus Christ” p.25

I agree with that AND also believe I am a brother to another through our shared common humanity.  It’s both/and.

“The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede…” p.26

So far, Bonhoeffer is making a point of the depth of Christian community we have in and through Christ Jesus.  Christ relates to us as Brothers and we are found in Him.  Because of that reality, we are now one with another as well.  I think this view has deep implications for us, especially in our Americanized, fragmented culture.  We pick and choose where to go to church, forgetting that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  And when we choose to be part of a community, is there depth and a genuineness?  There ought to be signs and fruit of this depth.

In many ways, sometimes church doesn’t feel like this.  It feels more like a weekly task to mark off.  The liturgy may make room for a friendly greeting and we may have small groups to attend.  But it feels more like a rotary club meeting to accomplish a task.  When I think of Christian community, I picture vulnerability, transparency, encouragement, facing the pain together, helping each other flourish, listening as a radical act of love and communion, and deep friendships made real through Christ.

I had to change my focus while reading Bonhoeffer from thinking he’s excluding non-christians to seeing that he is trying to capture the mystery of Christian community and the gift it is.

“Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and if we are fortunate, with ourselves…only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight…the sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both.” p.27

Bonhoeffer’s view of Christian community is not based on a wishful dream and fantasy.  He is against idealizing the community.  If we love the idea of community more than the Christian community itself, we are being “pretentious” (p.27).  This is such a hard word for someone like me that is a visionary and idealist.  A Christian visionary has the choice to paint an idealized fantasy of Christian community or to lean into a reality that simply is–a Christian community brought together by Christ, and held up together by Christ.  I wish I would have read his book 20 years ago.  So good!!  We don’t enter in Christian community demanding that our vision and needs be met.  We enter as “thankful recipients” (p.28)

“Christian [community] is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.” p.30

 

Words at the end of Life

In the 12 years of doing marketplace ministry, I’ve now had more experience doing bedside visitation at the time of impending death and loss.  It has always felt like an honor to listen (when possible), pray, and bless during this time.

The other day, I went to visit a 91 year old man in his home.  He lives in my “parish” (about 3 minutes from me).  He was recently diagnosed with brain and lung cancer.  He is now receiving hospice care.

During the visit, we were getting to know each other and I heard him say, “I’m in misery and pain, I feel useless, and I’m ready to go.”  His words were sincere and even apologetic for saying he was ready to go.  I was moved by his words and feelings, asking that God would help me to listen attentively, and also hoping to see how God was present.

I was compelled to ask Rich (pseudonym) to give a young buck like me some advice for life, noticing that even at 91 and sick, he was sprite and caring.

Rich said,

Be nice to others.  Be good to others.  It will come back to you.

If you have family, love them and spend as much time as you can with them.

Always work on yourself and never stop growing.  I never went to college but had one of the highest positions in my naval department that a civilian can have.  One door closed, and another one opened.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs but I’ve tried to keep getting back up when I fell down.

He went on to share some more stories about his life that made it feel like he did the best he could to be caring and loving.  The tone was hopeful and bountiful in the room.  This is isn’t always the case.  Some people have lived tough lives and for reasons beyond me, it was hard for them to put their lives together in such a way that their death could give life.  It saddens me when I see this and am moved to ask for God’s mercy for the person, but also for myself so that I might see my life put together in a such a way that it will bless others.

We talked about how Jesus, at the moment of death, committed His spirit to the Father, and breathed His last breath.  I think Rich was comforted by this image of Jesus. Rich is Catholic and was deeply touched by his faith.  When I asked what prayers he might have in his heart, he immediately said, “the Our Father”.  I reached out for his hand and began to pray for God’s mercy and peace to be with him.  And then we both prayed “The Our Father” together.  His 91 year old voice.  My 39 year old voice.  A man at the end of life.  Me in the middle of life.  Him a Catholic, having lived a good life.  Me, a follower of Jesus, trying to learn to live the good life.  Both hands clasped together, incarnating the Body of Christ.

I think that when visitations go well, both patient and priest feel like each has been blessed by the other.  Both feel God’s presence and consolation in different but unitive ways.

His thoughts on being good and loving your family struck a chord in me.  My parents had just finished getting on the train to head back home after a weekend visit.

Rich, thank you for your life of service and your words of blessing.