Crying as I pitch historical documents

I’m up to my elbows in paper, going through old files and crying as I throw away tons piles of historical documents relating to the work and the church in Brazil over the years. I have material in English and Portuguese starting from the 1960s and 1970s.

Months ago, I moved from my office space, which I had rented for 17 years, to a home office. There’s not room for everything, so most of the files must go. I have boxes of papers and files scattered around the office and the bedroom, and it’s past time to pare it down. Continue reading “Crying as I pitch historical documents”

A help to many, including me

It took a truck to deliver the 10 pizzas, since the motorcycle deliverer couldn’t manage them all. So here came the owner in his vehicle. And right on time, too.

The pizzas were part of our going-away party, after church, for our son Joel, his wife Tansy, and our two grandchildren. (The fact that they’re the children of our son and daughter-in-law is incidental, understand.) They spent 11 months living down the street from us and will be returning this week to the U.S., as planned.

This was the first time we’ve had grandchildren living near us. It was a grand experience. They were able to see us in our home setting, rather than a few days visiting in their home once a year or so, and then gone again. Continue reading “A help to many, including me”

The smell of a phone conversation

This article was translated from the Portuguese and some points reflect Brazilian law and society.

I dislike talking on the phone, a trait no doubt inherited from my dad, since he avoided it at all costs. But last week The Missus was busy when the phone rang, so I answered it.

“Is this the phone number of the church?” a feminine voice asked.

“My name is Randal, and I’m a Christian, can I help you?” Continue reading “The smell of a phone conversation”

The statue and the real Christ the Redeemer

The Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro with outstretched arms turned 80 on Oct. 12. The 125-foot, 699-ton statue “cost $250,000 in 1931 (estimated to be $3 million today). It was funded by donations from residents of what the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, called ‘the world’s most beautiful city.'”

It was, from start to finish, a Catholic project. Donations came through Catholic parishes around the country. The architect and sculptor responsible for the statue were required to surrender all rights to the city’s Archdiocese. In 2006, the statue was declared a Catholic sanctuary, which allowed marriages and baptisms to be performed at its base, in an effort to “reclaim … the sacred sense of the monument.” Continue reading “The statue and the real Christ the Redeemer”

The real McCoy

The Friendship Bridge standing high above the Parana River connects Paraguay and Brazil. Paraguay’s border town is famous for selling a variety of pirated products to eager and enterprising Brazilians. However, cheap imitations cannot deliver the functional promises of their genuine counterparts.

Like unsuspecting consumers who later discover they possess worthless products, Paul insured the early Corinthian church would awaken to the realization that they had begun to buy into a counterfeit source of security and guidance. Within his first letter to them he immediately exposed their inept foundation of focusing upon dominant personalities and exalting human profundity, while simultaneously unveiling for them the real McCoy.

Continue reading “The real McCoy”