A little journey through this topsy-turvy journey of joys and sorrows and hopes and dreams with plenty of grace from God along the way.

Valparaiso University

Last week was another reminder of higher education in our Lutheran sphere needing to go through a re-evaluation, to say the least. Valparaiso University, one of the bedrock institutions for many of our siblings in Christ to further studies in music and theology and more, has publicly acknowledged the possibility of eliminating those two programs altogether. In addition, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Columbia, SC), one of the seven remaining for our wider Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), announced its move to the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina. These are just the latest rounds of reality checks that this isn’t “our grandmother’s Lutheran church anymore.”

This past weekend was a bit of a rough one on the home-front, as we had to bid farewell to our most beloved Zoey. A previous “wandering” has already been had on her life story, of sorts, but it’s safe to say that the quality of that life had diminished in recent months. It seemed like it had become a distant memory of her running up-and-down church building and parsonage hallways chasing after tennis balls or relentlessly going after the biggest stick she could find on beachfronts. I suppose those were the best of her “good ‘ole days.”

This past Sunday, some casual curiosity might have peeked over my hometown after a miracle was pulled off to rival that of walking on water or feeding thousands with a few loves of bread and some fish. The Ohio State basketball team has been struggling, to put it rather mildly, in recent weeks to the point of their head coach being fired with less than a month remaining on the schedule. The first game after those departure proceedings was hosting the #2 ranked team in the country in the Purdue Boilermakers. Somehow, someway, they pulled it off. Perhaps just the chaos of the sport, perhaps divine intervention. Regardless, the new guy at the helm was a graduate of Upper Sandusky High School in Jake Diebler. Whether he will be staying much past March remains to be seen.

There was this one guy who would always pass up on the ashes. “I’m not much of an ash guy,” he once said. It’s not that he was trying to avoid considering his personal mortality. He knew it was going to happen someday. It’s just…he thought it was too dismal…or something. That word that often comes up on Ash Wednesday when the Gospel is proclaimed: “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting” (Matthew 6:16). And it’s not that he thought the whole dusty-cross-on-the-forehead thing was too much “Look at me for sticking with the church tradition!” or the like. He was just…so Gospely…so filled with hope…so glass half-full when it came to his own faith journey and others around. He thought the whole “Remember, you are dust, and to dust you shall return” was…well, rather depressing in a way. That the church should remain committed to the Gospel of hope and love and death-defying Resurrection.

For our fifth wedding anniversary, Sarah and I made the trek across the pond to Iceland. Word was starting to get out about this not-so-hidden-anymore gem. We couldn’t resist when the opportunity arose amidst careers and before diaper dandies came along. There are only so many experiences in life that no matter how much the anticipation builds and the expectations soar about certain places or events or whatever else, that they can somehow still be met. Iceland was and is one of the few so far (I suppose diaper dandies can be a part of that list, too).