Posted tagged ‘Brazil’

Recovering From Vacation

March 31, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                 March 31, 2019


Vacations are tragically funny! We long for the excitement and happiness that the advertisements seem to convey and come back home exhausted in our search for them.

Let me say this up front! The best parts about vacations are either the deepening of relationships or the experience of being embraced by peace. 

When I reflect on journeys that are the most memorable I think of being with either family or friends. The destination was secondary in importance. Memories of conversations and humorous happenings rise to the top. For example, three years ago my wife, Carol, and I took a road trip from Colorado to southern Ohio. We went to a couple of Presidential Libraries (Eisenhower and Truman) on the trip east, which were interesting, but what we’ll remember is surprising our nephew, Eric, on Sunday morning when we showed up in worship at the church he pastors In Bethalto, Illinois, and then surprising my brother at the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery outside of Frankfort, Kentucky where he is a tour guide, and then being in Proctorville, Ohio for my dad’s 88th birthday celebration. Those are the moments that stand out. 

And peace! Like the sound of ocean waves as a person stands on the shore is the embracing of peace that some vacations offer. It’s the feel of a gentle breeze touching your soul, an absence of noise and clutter that allows the person to hear the whisperings of God and the beauty of silence. In our culture quiet moments are under appreciated and yet vitally important!

We returned from our most recent vacation late last night. We went to The Magic Kingdom where peace and rest are like alien creatures. Once again, the best part involved the deepening of relationships- going with our oldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids. The magical moments were connected to them: seeing the grandkids playing in the pool with a couple of children from Brazil and listening to how they connected across Portuguese and English language barriers, watching the personalities of the grandkids emerge in their distinctive differences, and taking long walks around the Orange County Convention Center with Carol.

The frustration of air travel, the crowds of people, the price gouging of $25 just to park at Disney, and the spike in Disney food prices were all dampers on the experience. I mean…really, do I need to pay $6.00 for an ice cream bar shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head image, or $9.00 for a plain hot dog?

So why is the Magic Kingdom so popular, so overcrowded? Perhaps it’s because many of us think there is something offered there that our lives are lacking. Or perhaps it’s the other way around…our lives are lacking and we are hoping that a visit to a place that features a castle with stardust above it will fill that void.

The other interesting thing I noticed at Disney revolved around the number of people who had their faces buried in their cell phones as they waited in line or as they walked through the park. It’s as if we want to go on a magical journey, but can’t quite let go of the world we live in.

And so we arrived home last night- actually 12:30 in the morning- to recover from the crowds and the chaos and return to the “ho-humness” of our routines. We return from vacation to our vocations remembering…not the rides and attractions, but rather the conversations and chuckles.

The chuckles, however, will end when I received my next credit card statement! It will tell me we can’t afford another vacation for a long, long while, and there’s something, like I said in the first sentence, tragically funny about that!

The Rising Costs of Head Shaking

October 3, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               October 3, 2012


Recently a news post hit my web server that left me shaking my head. A 20 year old woman in Brazil was selling her virginity to the highest bidder. I’m not sure that exactly explains what I mean, so let me put it in more explicit terms. She was going to have sex for the first time with the highest bidder. They were going to do this on an airplane in flight, due to prostitution laws in the country.

The young lady is giving a portion of the fee to a human services organization, but the vast majority of her winning bid monies is going to her. She wants to go to law school, go the funds will go to help her become a lawyer. The current high bid is $160,000.

And she isn’t the only one! Selling virginity is becoming a more popular, and lucrative venture. Reportedly a California woman is doing the same thing at a Nevada brothel. Her proposal got 10,000 hits and, although not confirmed, the bid was at $3.7 million.

Many people have come forward to question “what’s wrong with it?” It becomes a great question for a culture that stands less with the Jesus of scripture, and more with the Jesus of invention.

Morality aside, I’m etched with the question “what does Christlikeness look like?” If Jesus was walking with me through this day what would I do to please him? Are there things that I do that I’m hoping he has turned his head and not seen?

Being a follower of Christ has the constant tension involved with it of being labeled “old stuck-in-the-mud!”

So let this “stuck-in-the-mud” give equal time to the high cost of being a German Catholic. In a recent Time magazine there was a note that a resolution/policy had been adopted by the German Catholic Church that stated a 8% tithe was expected from every member to retain their membership. People who gave less would not be members in good standing with the Church.

I’m guessing that the German Catholic Church is having money problems, what with the European debt crisis and all. Giving to the church with a willing spirit has now become secondary in importance to just anteing up!

Many might say I’m taking too extremes and trying to tie in knot with them. Perhaps I am. My judgment is often suspect and flawed.

Whether it is a twenty-something selling her virginity or the church selling “member-in-good-standing”, money becomes the object that we worship. I’d dare say churches worship it, generations worship it, and even non-charitables worship it.

It has become more the necessity than the presence of God and the moving of the Spirit.

Frankly, I’d effected by it more and more. As pastor of a congregation that meets in a facility where things are starting to break down, or need to be replaced, I see the inflow of funds meeting a tidal wave of needs. Therefore, I think about how we can raise more money as much as “how can we help people grow spiritually.”

Money is the subtle influence that borders idolatry.

My cynical side wonders if there might be a Walmart German Catholic Church in the making. “What they ask 8% for we’ll give you for 6%!”