A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood.

I was driving through town with the windows down and the sun roof open and enjoying the cool air and thinking, “It’s a beautiful day…in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine?”

And now it’s probably in your head too. It is, of course, the theme song from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It’s kind of a catchy tune written by the beloved Mr. Rogers himself. But the reason it was so sticky in our minds, so memorable, was the way he sang it. It was his rich, personal sincerity and disarming kindness.

When he sang those words, “I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,” we believed it. He genuinely wanted us all to be his neighbors. And so, in some sense, we were until he moved from this world in 2003. I am confident he would wants us to join him there, but that’s another blog post entirely.

That song, though…”won’t you be, won’t you please, please won’t you be my neighbor?”

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The Wonder of the All

It’s easy to get bogged down in the muck of the social conflict around us. This morning, I find myself reflecting upon the vast expanse of a three-letter word: all.

One element of the many debates storming and swirling around us is the over-application of this word. Generalizations about people of some lifestyle or another and hyper-application of stereotypes and prejudices are simply the norm on most every side of most every debate.

We are, it seems, bent on making blanket statements. But there is one that jumps out at me this morning. It is one absolutely perfect use of the word and its fullest, most complete understanding. It is the beautifully simple statement of John the Apostle who identified himself often as “the one whom Jesus loved.”

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

That word, “all,” is absolute. When we come to God and simply agree with Him about our failings – accepting that what He says is sin truly is sin – we are cleansed from ALL unrighteousness.

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Investing My Two Cents

The world of social media is ablaze with controversy this week. I have friends on every side of the current issue – and I love and appreciate each and every one. I appreciate the many and varied opinions. I try to listen and understand the differing perspectives.

Some are harsh and judgmental. Ok, most are harsh and judgmental. We tend to either be condemning of the individual concerned in the controversy or the people who disagree or denounce that person’s choices.

And, believe it or not, I get it. Both sides have some valid points and, most of the time, neither is very compassionate toward the other or is willing to listen.

There are a couple of questions that keep stirring in my mind. First, why is it considered hateful to disagree with someone’s life choices – particularly if they insist on proclaiming those choices to the world?

Secondly, and probably more important for the people to whom I have the opportunity to speak, why would we expect someone we don’t know to listen to our convictions about their lifestyle?

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