Weekend at Davey’s

Last weekend, a couple of old high school buddies came to my home and we DSC_0175spent some significant time together. It was one of those gorgeous weekends (weather-wise) that enabled us to do whatever we felt like doing (as long as our old frames would hold out).

I folded back the top of the Jeep and took off the doors. Aside from losing a couple of ball caps in the wind, it made for a great ride. The sun was shining much of the time, the temperature was right, and there were enough clouds to make the scenery all that much more beautiful.

“We chortled it up for a couple of days.”

We hit some restaurants, a distillery, and an antique car show over the weekend and added a few miles onto the Jeep’s odometer. King crab, short ribs, and country fried chicken was some of our fare, and we chortled it up for a couple of days.

Aside from seeing each other and catching up on what was happening, the highlight of the get together was probably our road trip to the Shenandoah Mountains. We headed down to Shenandoah National Park and did a leg of Skyline Drive.IMG_1362

If you’ve never been there, I encourage you to take the time to meander down this wonderful stretch of road. If you do, you’ll wind along the ridge tops as you peer down at the Shenandoah Valley far below. It’s an indescribable sight.

We stopped at various overlooks, took a few pictures, and drank in the vistas. It was an incredible venture. I had done it before, but it’s one of those things you just can’t get over.

“There is a God.”

At one point as I gazed over the seemingly endless valley, I turned to my buddies and said this: “When I look at stuff like this, it just confirms to me that there is a God.” They both agreed. I’m glad they did because I just wasn’t in the mood for an argument.

At college, I majored in biology—the study of life. Like most students, I heard about the big bang, the primordial sludge, and how all of life evolved from some slimy sorghum. Sorry, but I just don’t buy it. I guess I know too much (or not enough). My money is on a benevolent Creator as opposed to an amoeba gone bad.

I’m not much of a world traveler, but I’ve been around enough to see some rather diverse people, geography, flora, and fauna. They all speak to me of a world put here by someone who cares—someone who holds it all together for us. Someone who likes order and beauty… That someoIMG_1375ne has placed within us the capacity to love and to appreciate the world around us, despite our shortcomings, failures, and rebellious spirits.

I may be naïve, but I don’t think so. There’s too much evidence for me to turn my back on the Lord for a few theories. Maybe we all need a weekend at Davey’s. It did ME some good, at least.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]

Staring at the Baby

NewLilyMy lovely bride and I have a new grandbaby. She is now two months old and is pretty special. She’s not our first, but the rest of them are located in Florida (which is a fur piece, as some of us like to say).

That means we get to see her much more than the others (who now range from four to twenty-two years old). Because of her proximity, we’re getting in on the ground floor of her existence (so to speak). This is the first time we’re getting a real opportunity to do that, so we’re trying to take full advantage of it (without being total pests to her parents).

“It verges on the embarrassing.”

Grandma and I were discussing this just yesterday, and we discovered something we have in common. When we’re around her (and in particular, when we’re holding her), we can’t stop staring at her. This is a trend I find unusually weird. The only other time I’ve ever experienced such a phenomenon is when I’ve been in the presence of some drop-dead, gorgeous woman. It verges on the embarrassing.

I don’t know if the rest of you grandpa and grandma types have ever experienced a similar sensation or attraction, but I’m guessing you have. I’d hate to think we’re the only ones with such a fixation, so I’m assuming we’re normal.

When I found out that my bride has the same affliction, I began to think about it more. What is it that makes us want to be staring at the baby so much?LilyPapa

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect it’s the convergence of a lot of things. First of all, she’s ours. There are loads of grandbabies in the world, but this one is ours. Beyond that, however, is (I think) a much deeper appreciation for life at this stage of the game. Being a senior citizen   seems to give one a different perspective.

When I look at her, I’m reminded of all the qualities and foibles of life—especially, new life. She is totally vulnerable and dependent. She embodies innocence and demands full attention at the same time. She is full of potential and a lifetime of choices lies before her. I could list a whole lot more, but I think you get the picture.

“This whole fixation with her causes me to think…”

Being a preacher type, this whole fixation with her causes me to think in a slightly different direction as well. It causes me to ask the question, “What will it be like when we see Jesus?”

If I’m constantly staring at the baby whose diapers need to be changed, who cries when she doesn’t have what she wants, and who spits up on Papa’s new shirt, what will I be like when I see Jesus? He is perfect; he’s the Creator, Savior, and sustainer of the world. He’s all-compassionate, loving, and giving. He gave us the little one who has my rapt attention.

I just can’t imagine. Maybe, as we’re staring at the baby, we’re getting a glimpse of Jesus.aslan-and-lucy

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]

Cross Words From a Crossword

YourTextHere

I do a crossword puzzle every day. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed (a pastime I inherited from my Mother). Beyond the pleasure of conquering the beast, I also think it helps me increase my vocabulary as well as fill in some peripheral knowledge on the blank pages of my mind.

This morning’s puzzle contained the following quip by historian Oswald Spengler: “The stupidity of a theory has never impeded its influence.” In the words of a lesser-known historian, “Truer words were never spoke…” (I’m not sure, but that may have been Li’l Abner.)

It always amazes me how quickly people jump on the bandwagon of anything that sounds remotely clever. If someone comes up with a slick theory, postulation, or saying, it’s as good as gold to many people.

coexistBumper stickers are a great example of this. There’s bumper sticker wisdom, bumper sticker politics, and bumper sticker theology (just to name a few). For many people, if you can’t fit it onto a bumper sticker, it isn’t worth pursuing.

My favorite one to hate is the “COEXIST” sticker where each letter is the symbol of a world religion or philosophy. The obvious message is that we should all get along (Rodney King would be proud). It has sparked responses that are numerous and equally as clever. I saw one the other day that said, “You Can’t COEXIST With People Who Want to Kill You.” Good point…

It hasn’t stopped there, however. There seems to be a bumper sticker conversation going on with this one. There’s now a sticker with COEXIST spelled out in weaponry. Another uses religious symbols to spell out IDIOTS. Another uses them to spell out FICTION.bumper-fiction

There are plenty more, but I’m sure you get the idea. Some of them are not particularly couth, but they’re on bumpers nonetheless. If you get a chance and have a few minutes to kill, look them up on one of the Internet search engines. It will be amusing if nothing else.

More recently, bumper stickers have been used to attack Christian beliefs. Here’s one you can’t read unless the car is motionless and you’re standing right behind it.

“CHRISTIANITY: The belief that some cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your Master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Makes perfect sense.”

The fact that the author of this sarcasm is wrong on virtually every point doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it’s cleverly worded. Even I (a Bible-thumping Christian) think it’s clever—totally messed up, but clever.

All this leads me to the pièce de résistance (pardon my French) which is, “Bumper Stickers Will Save the World!” My favorite, however, is a bumper sticker that simply says, “Bumper Sticker.” As they say, “Less is more.”

squinting-bumper-sticker

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]