No one has been around in a while. People pass by it every day on their way to some place else and hardly give it a thought. Even those who were frequent visitors have forgotten how to get here. Occasionally someone will stop by, perhaps hoping someone will be home, and they think about the owner. “I wonder what happened to him?” they ask, “he just up and left.” The weeds are growing up all around, in and out of the old rotting siding. The windows are now bare and dark and stare into loneliness. It has been said that once, all sorts of interesting people would come into the warm and inviting living room, grab a beer, sit by the fire and join into the conversation; or they would just stop by and sit on the porch swing and listen. Now the voices have grown cold and hollow and the only thing you can hear are the echoes of once glorious parties – the laughter, the music, and the joy. And the sadness. It’s all in the building somewhere if you listen hard enough.


You imagine all sorts of exciting things the owner must be doing – he’s traveling the world in search of some great adventure. Or he’s helping those less needy than himself with self-sacrificing love. Or he’s traveling a great and glorious journey of faith, discovering who he is or should be. But then you realize that the building you are standing in the middle of isn’t abandoned, it’s just neglected out of laziness and apathy, and that makes you cry just a little bit; but just a little bit, and then you move onto your next destination where the conversation and friendships still warm your heart. Your footsteps echo on the wood floor and you open the creaky wooden door slowly as if you really don’t want to leave, but it’s cold and drafty in here and there really isn’t much reason to stay. Looking back one more time into the dark room you notice, just maybe, a very slight glowing ember in the fireplace, and you smile. Just maybe…



I’ve just taken a 40 day blog fast, but it wasn’t intentional.  During the last 40 days I’ve been to New York City for a week, started moving my office and video studios from one campus into new digs on another campus about 20 miles further in my daily commute, tried to re-seed my back yard after the drought did a number on it (failed – not even one blade!), went to a wedding of a couple who met at Seminary but became friends and grew together in our singles Bible study, and read a lot of your blogs (and by yours I’m referring to the readers of this blog who hopefully haven’t abandoned me to the emptiness of the world wide web).  And I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about things: this blog, my faith, God, the Bible study class I’ve been leading, stuff like that; things I can write about.  I promised Bar I would post more if she would add me back to her blog lists, and even though she hasn’t done it yet, I’m making a quick post before I head home from work.

So, I’m back.  Hopefully I haven’t lost a lot of my regular readers, but it doesn’t matter…this blog has always been for me so I will continue to write.


Gary Means has an interesting post on what he thinks when “it” becomes legalistic. Check it out.


Thanks everyone for the comments. Brian asked how or why I chose the “Bit of Smoke” title and the scripture that went along with it. Well, to tell you the truth, I have no idea; it just came to me as I was creating the original blog on Blogger. It struck me as being so true: we are only here for a short time, like that smoke, and for most of us when we are gone there isn’t going to much left to remind people we were here, hence the blogging thing.

Perhaps blogging is our way of reaching for some kind of significance, some kind of permanence (as permanent as the internet can be): to write down our thoughts and hopes and fears and whatever else happens to pop into our usually distracted thoughts and pretend that someone actually cares about what we have to say. Don’t get me wrong here, I do care about what you have to say on your blogs and in the comments you make, but is what we have to say really all that significant? Does it have to be? We usually write because we enjoy the process, not necessarily the end results. Barbara had a great quote on her Prodigal Daughter blog:

“Writers don’t write about themselves because they think anyone actually cares that much. They are banking on the fact that in the process of wrestling something out of their own darkness, they can connect with that which is common to someone else. Doesn’t have to be everybody, either. Just somebody.”
– John Fischer

I liked that quote. Not everybody has to get something out of what I write, just somebody. And so it is with you, too. Gary talked about why some posts get comments and others don’t. I think it’s because some posts resonate with the readers more than others. I read a lot of blogs, but I don’t comment that often. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s just there are some posts that talk to where I’m at in the moment. Others don’t. Don’t take it personally.

OK, sorry. The question was why I chose “Bit of Smoke…” Not only was I struck with the similarities of life and smoke, and the brevity of both, but I was also struck with how smoke is often used in the Bible to show God and His power (“And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power…”) and it is my desire to be a representation of God in this dry and parched land, a small bit of God if you will. So, should I change the name to “Bit of God…”? Naw, I think I will leave it alone. Hopefully somebody will connect.

His peace.

Well, it’s a little different.  Amber made a comment that she and Brian were having trouble reading my blog on their computers, so I changed themes.  Hopefully this will help.  If any of you have any problems, let me know.

Thanks for reading, I do appreciate it.


Grace has an interesting post in response to a blog by Mark Driscoll.  You need to go read it if you haven’t already.  And she’s got quite a few comments so leave one if you dare; I couldn’t think of anything to add to the conversation but I don’t think it’s through yet.  Mr. Driscoll’s comment reminds me of the one by the Muslim cleric in Australia.

It’s been 13 days since my last post, and I’ve been called lazy or busy.  Both are probably true but I would prefer the latter, I’ve been really busy for a change.  At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I know the longer between posts the better chance of losing readers, and I would hate to lose the few that stop by here, but I’ve really felt unmotivated, uninspired, and uncreative.  Nothing seems to inspire me these days except some of the great posts on other sites, and my discussions with some good friends like Smitty and Shelly and Bar and T.  Some mornings I spend way too much time on AIM with some of my friends who should be paying attention in class, and not working or blogging.  But that’s ok, I’ve got some things I’m chewing on and perhaps soon I will share these thoughts.  In the mean time I hope you all have a great rest of the week and if I don’t talk with you soon, have a great weekend.

Absent but not gone.


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