This Friday is Good Friday, the day we remember Christ's passion, suffering, crucifixion and death. How can we call this horrific day "Good?" Why do we celebrate the brutal killing of our Lord as one of our most sacred days of worship? At the center of the Christian faith are unexpected and seemingly contradictory images. We believe in an almighty God who entered into human history not to assert his power but to die. Our most sacred symbol is the cross, an ancient and cruel method of execution.
I've been thinking a lot about issues of sex and gender lately. There have been rapid societal changes on issues of gender identity and sexual practices over the past few years. The media spotlight on Bruce Jenner and the Obergefell decision are just the latest examples of these issues that are sparking heated debates and seismic shifts in our culture's understanding of gender and sex. These are hot button topics that are far too big to address adequately in a brief newspaper column, but they aren't the reason why gender and sex have been on my mind.
Living in a house with four young daughters, a day never goes by without tears being shed (and no, I'm not referring to myself. I'm saving all my tears for all the future weddings and wedding expenses). Most days one of my daughters will get a bump or a bruise and will cry. Our strong-willed three-year-old almost always cries about not getting her way about something. Our youngest girl gets frustrated and cries because she is learning how to talk. We don't always understand her, and communication can become really frustrating for her.
My life is increasingly revolving around children these days. Jill and I have been blessed with four daughters ages 7, 5, 3 and 1. I grew up with only brothers. Needless to say, I have come to learn far more about tea parties, princesses and dancing than I ever thought I needed to know. I grew up with G.I. Joes, nonstop sports and playing with toy guns with brothers and neighbors. I now have a room in my house painted pink!
I just returned from an eleven day mission trip to Honduras with 17 people from our church. It's great to be back home with my family, but I'm not overly excited about the 30 degree temperature and the snow flakes I see falling outside my window this afternoon (I heard it was 70 degrees one day last week while we were gone... I'm a little bitter about missing that). Honduras is one of the most impoverished and violent nations in the western hemisphere. Many of the people that live there have great needs.
I am submitting this article Tuesday morning after returning from the polls and casting my vote. This is the second time I've had the opportunity of writing an article on election week. If you're like me, you may have mixed emotions when it comes to elections. On one hand, it is certainly a great privilege and honor to be able to participate in free elections. The freedom that we have in the United States is something that we should never take for granted.
My brother told me an amusing story recently about his two pre-teenage daughters. His daughters were laughing but starting to fight over a pair of socks that one of his daughters was going to give away and that the other daughter had taken for her own. Each girl claimed that the socks really belonged to her. They had borrowed the socks back and forth for a few days, but the conflict over ownership began to escalate, and my brother had to step in and try to settle the matter. It wasn't clear to my brother who really should own the socks.
I have had a lot of conversations lately with people who are feeling pretty discouraged. Each person has his or her own frustrations and difficult circumstances that contribute to his or her own discouragement, but there seems to be a common feeling of the blues lately. I know for many the doldrums caused by this long, ridiculously cold winter have gotten them down. All of us Minnesota transplants have been seriously questioning our judgment when we decided to move to an area where 40 degrees below zero is even possible! Spring can’t get here fast enough.
I was born on my father’s 35th birthday. Later this month I will turn 35 and my dad will turn 70. My wife and I are also expecting our fourth child this month. The baby isn’t due for a few more weeks, but I’m kind of expecting that he or she may decide to arrive early and join my dad and me on our birthday celebration. It would be pretty remarkable to have three generations of Borlands sharing the same birthday, each separated by 35 years. I’m kind of hoping this happens, but I’m pretty sure my wife desires a few more weeks of sleeping at night before the baby comes!
It’s been a strange summer. My wife and I have seen a lot of tragedy lately — not in our immediate family, but in a surprisingly high number of friends and other relationships. A close friend of ours was in a horrible auto accident and suffered a serious brain injury two months ago. He’s been in the hospital and rehab ever since, and his wife and two young children are left hoping and praying that his brain will fully heal.