Author Archives: patrickvaughn

But Is It Real?

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Hopping down the bunny trail

Hippity, hoppity

Easter’s on its way.

 

We celebrate Easter in a variety of ways. Some of us squeeze into tightly packed pews and sing, “Jesus Christ is risen today!” Some of us gather with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents for a delicious feast of ham and pineapple filing. Some of us hide and hunt for eggs.

Some of us even decorate our yards. A couple of years ago, I drove past a home and saw a dozen pastel eggs hanging from a tree. This seems to be an increasingly popular practice. Unfortunately, these eggs were still in their original wrapping; a plastic bag hung from that budding dogwood!

From the quaint to the quirky, on Sunday many of us will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

But exactly what are we celebrating? What does Easter mean for us today?

Perhaps Ethel can point us in a helpful direction.

Continue reading

Can Valentine’s Day Distort Love?

2016-02-10-1455111023-1581516-happyvalentinesday20161.jpg

And the Lord said now that I made a bird
I’m gonna look all around for a little ol’ word
That sounds about sweet like a turtle dove
And I guess I’m gonna call it love.

Most pop music traces the ups and downs of love. Take Jimmie Rodgers, for example. His 1957 song, “Honeycomb,” soared to the top of the music charts. With a folk-rock style and velvet voice, Rodgers sings about the ecstasy of love.

Valentine’s Day is nearly here. In one way or another, many of us will once again celebrate the bliss of romance. Flowers will be delivered, red cards will be mailed and boxes of chocolate will be devoured. Couples of all ages will enjoy a few hours when they dine at local restaurants.

Many of us will want to sing along with Rodgers, “Honeycomb, won’t you be my baby?”

Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful festivity, but, sometimes, it can be misleading. It affirms an unspoken assumption about love in our culture.

Continue reading

2015-11-30-1448916568-1243749-IMG_2755.JPG

Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, my family and I set up several manger scenes in our home.

One is from Haiti. Another from Peru. Another from Mexico. Another from the West Bank.

I enjoy these various depictions of Mary and Joseph and Jesus. Their different skin colors remind me of the scope of God’s love. God doesn’t just love me or people who look like me. God loves the whole world.

The more I gaze at the crèches, however, the more aware I am that someone is missing. The scene is incomplete.

Continue reading

Thanksgiving and Unexpected Vulnerability

2015-11-22-1448221634-2620120-thanksgivday.jpg

Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.

Every now and then I am reminded of the power of rituals. Take Thanksgiving, for example.

Each November my family makes our annual pilgrimage to my wife’s hometown, Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania.

I know what to expect, and I actually enjoy it far more than I ever left on.

About 12:30pm her brother and his family arrive. Our children are teenagers now, and they make all kinds of teenage noises and teenage jokes and teenage protests.

Continue reading