Found and Found Out

Luke 2:41-52

Today’s Gospel story is a story of mission, and its undertaking has consequences that effect humanity and divinity alike. God’s mission takes the form of an incarnational one. It discerns real vocation and pursues plain purpose. It beckons us to remember God in familiar places, but cries out to us in the wilderness of our lives to rediscover Him in unconventional ways. “Look for me here, instead of there,” that still, small voice of a 12-year-old boy might sing. When we say ‘yes’ to God’s direction, we act like His Mother: there’s a lot to ponder, hearts will be pierced, but in our own wreckage we discover the One who would be broken for us all. This is good news as it shows God’s trustworthiness over and against our own.

In many Bibles, today’s reading is sometimes labeled as “The Boy Jesus in the Temple.” It’s an honest, yet surface-level reading of the text. If I was to rename the headline, it might read, “God Invites Us to Join in His Mission,” or at the very least, and to quote The Blues Brothers, “We’re on a Mission from God.” Initially, there were two missions happening. One, Jesus’ parents were on a mission to find him. Two, Jesus’ mission is to be found and found out.

The first mission had Mary discovering Jesus in the Temple, waiting to be found out. The scripture reminds us that she treasured his [mission] within her very heart. What may have started out as two missions quickly began coalescing into one as she grasped her role to play in the great Theo-drama of God. Before this marriage of missions, however, she and Joseph searched for Jesus among their caravan of friends and relatives. Ultimately, they not finding him there. We may pause and ask, “Is their seeking Jesus among friends and family a form of discernment?” Is it not our friends and family who oftentimes help in our sensitivity of where God is and where God isn’t? I find comfort in the fact that even though their friends and family had insufficient answers for Mary and Joseph, their presence alongside the Holy Family allowed them to get a little closer to where the mission of God would ultimately turn out to be.

The second mission invites us into contemplation and discernment about the mission of God. Jesus, the text reminds us, was puzzled over his parents’ anxiety and scolding, but through these Mary and Joseph discovered something about discernment. Perhaps their trepidation was a test and a trial for everyone involved? Through their suffering and losses they found deeper respect and relationship for and with God. Put theologically, Mary and Joseph not only discovered their son, but uncovered the Son of God. Again, the Son of God allowed himself to be found and found out. In doing so, Jesus invited his parents into intimate communion where words fall short, but hearts expand.

Finally, Jesus was in conversation with his Heavenly Father about what his mission was and will be. This required a few things from him. He was to sit and pray; ask questions, and listen. Put simply, he was to contemplative the things of God. In his contemplation there in the Temple, he received his mission. From there, he returned to Nazareth accompanied by his parents, being obedient to them as well as to his Heavenly Father. (The paradox being that God is the one who accompanies us, both within our obedience and disobedience). Once his (read here our) priorities and mission were/are in order was when he/us may “increase in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.”

This little story has a lot to say to us at the beginning of a new year, if not for the rest of our lives. It’s now 2021. In 2020, we were a lot like Mary and Joseph. We discovered that we can lose and lose out when we take gifts of God for granted. We falsely believed that God wants us to be more comfortable, fall in line with selfish status quos, and feast – day in and day out. This was and remains a false conviction because God is calling us to mission. Part of the mission is discovering God over and over again in places familiar and not so much. Like a child, God plays hide-and-seek just waiting to be found and found out. Like a lover, He wants us to remember him by remembering who we are – in him. It’s more intimacy than falling in line. Remember, Mary and Joseph were in line to go home! This is where they could have gone, would have gone, and maybe even should have gone. They did not. No, Mary and Joseph turned around. They went against the crowd. They did call on their friends and family from within the crowd for answers for a time, but discovered those answers ultimately fell short. They didn’t need answers. They needed The Answer, and so they went to church. They got The Answer. Then they went back home. While at home and in their daily lives they never took God for granted again. Like a child, they got giddy anytime Jesus wanted to play hide-and-seek because they knew that all God ever wanted/wants is to be found and found out. Their mission now collapsed into God’s mission, and they were forever changed.

How has God changed you through the inconveniences, disruptions, and losses of 2020? What will you never take for granted again, or when you do, turn around and go back to him? Christmas reminds us that everything changes with the birth of Jesus, and we’re able to experience that change when we do as he does. When we sit and pray; ask questions, and listen at church, in our homes, and in our daily lives. This year may we all discover (and perhaps rediscover) the mission of God on earth as it is in heaven.

Truth is a Person

In Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens characters Rey, Finn, and the droid, BB-8 are on board the spaceship Millennium Falcon. The Falcon has had many owners, but its most famous pilot is the arms trader and renegade smuggler, Han Solo. This time, however, the tables are turned as Rey, Finn, and BB-8 are the ones who stole (for the greater good) the Millennium Falcon. All these characters clash aboard the Falcon as pleasantries are skipped and survival instincts take charge. The Falcon is being chased by other illegal arms dealers and ships from the remnants of the evil galactic empire now called the First Order. The characters buy themselves some time with the Falcon warping into light speed, outmaneuvering their pursuers. Once they find themselves cruising to a safe planet occupied by the resistance, Rey discovers that Han Solo is THE Han Solo and the rightful owner of the ship she just stole. Solo is also the one who once knew THE One – Luke Skywalker, of the order of the chosen Jedi warrior class. Upon this revelation, Rey asks a poignant question with awe resonating in her voice, “The Jedi were real?”
With a boyish grin that quickly turns into a serene seriousness dripping with mysticism, Solo replies, “I used to wonder about that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. A magical power holding together good and evil, the dark side and the light. Crazy thing is… it’s true. The Force, the Jedi. All of it. It’s all true.”
The beginning of The Gospel of Mark takes into consideration Rey’s question of reality. Like Han Solo, the Gospel names personified Truth as the reality. The whole of the St. Mark text then expounds on the answer, not through logic and reasoning, but with a reckoning and a realization that God is just crazy enough to reach out and deliver the truth to us in person. Today’s Advent story is a story of God coming out to meet us (and even greet us) in the wilderness that is our lives. Even though this meeting place initially begins in the wilderness, it will finally find its culmination in a garden. The garden, this side of heaven, looks a lot like Gethsemane – wrought with worry and weeds – while the heavenly garden on the other side is like Eden. Here, we will find ourselves walking with Truth incarnate. God will walk alongside us in the cool of the evening. John the Baptist is that Advent voice crying out to us in the disruptions of our lives. He boldly orders us to repent and wash up. These preparatory acts make us ready to receive the Truth that is coming. It’s the Truth we’re not worthy enough to find, so that same Truth comes out finding us.
2020 has been a year full of disruption, disorientation, disillusions, and disorder. Institutions, as well as individuals, have all walked blindly into the wilderness together. In many respects, 2020 has been one long season of Advent. We’ve been collectively watching and waiting for some sense of normalcy for over nine months now. Thank God for John the Baptist’s voice today. He seems to be the only voice of reason in the world, a voice calling us all to repentance. John’s not interested in preaching repentance to make his listeners feel guilty. No, he’s preaching penance because it leads to forgiveness, which lightens the load. A softer cargo always helps when one backpacks through the wilderness of disruption.
We’ve all had to examine our packs this year, and not always because we wanted to, but because we had to. If these examinations led to repentance, you’ve more than likely left a few things behind on purpose. You’ve discarded some stuff. You’ve now named what is essential and what needs to be let go. You’ve repented. Like John, you pray that the world does the same, not to judge or make someone feel guilty, but because forgiveness (you’ve discovered) is not only something you do but is an attitude we have.
2020 has put truth on trial. If you’re like me, you’ve taken a look at the state of society this year and have wondered out loud, “What in the world is going on?” If this painfully confusing, disorienting year has taught me anything, it’s that the world needs Truth incarnate now more than ever. The world needs God. The world needs Christ. He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He’s the reformer. He’s the healer. He’s the Savior who comes to us. Like John, we must be bold in these proclamations, not only with our lips but in our lives. So much of the world believes these faith statements are a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but honestly, I don’t want to be anywhere near the alternative. What I do know by faith is that it is all true—all of it. Truth has come into the wilderness of our lives, lightened our burdens, inviting us to follow Him. If you haven’t already, now is the time to allow yourself to be found (and found out) by Truth.

Spiritual Dynamite

“The Church’s responsibility is not so much to make itself accessible to the world, but rather to transform the world. It is the mustard seed, the leaven, the tiny ark of Noah. In Augustine’s terms, it is the City of God making its way within the City of Man.”
~ “Moving Beyond a Beige Catholicism,” Talk, Bishop Robert Barron


Today is Christ the King Sunday. It’s a day where the Church reminds herself that God is God, and we are not. It’s a day to remember that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. Finally, it’s an invitation to shed all presumptions and abstractions of love and be bold to tangibly express the love of God by loving one’s neighbor. Jesus makes for us the now-famous connection, that to love the other is, in turn, loving him. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40). Called to love like Jesus, his words act as touchstones to our purpose as Christians. In his teaching, Jesus reminds us that our very essence is, in fact, God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit has animated us into His image, calling it good. In His essence we find our existence, so that, in looking around, we’re surprised to find our family in the whole of the human race. What a revolution! Jesus shows that when we feed hungry mouths within the family of God, we nurture the One who fasted for 40 days. When we house the unhoused, we welcome the holy family who had no room at the inn. When we give drink to parched mouths and lips, we offer water to the Crucified One who said, “I thirst.” This teaching is radical, and when the Church embraces it, it’s like dynamite exploding.

“Someone who operated very much in [this Spirit] was St. Teresa of Kolkata. Much of Mother Teresa’s day was taken up with prayer, meditation, Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and the rosary. Still, the rest of her time…was spent in the grittiest work among the poorest of the poor, practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, blowing up the dynamite of the Church. Father Paul Murray, the Irish Dominican spiritual writer and sometime advisor to Mother Teresa, relates the following story. One day in deep conversation with Mother, he was searching out the sources of her spirituality and mission. At the end of their long talk, she asked him to spread his hand out on the table and touching his fingers one by one as she spoke the words, she said, “You did it to me.” (“You Did it to Me,” Bishop Barron, The Word on Fire Bible, pg. 151).

Mother Teresa’s witness does two things for me. I’m reminded that practicing my faith leads to a greater capacity to love, not in the obscure and abstract, but tangible love in thought, word, and deed. It also reminds me of St. James’ famous line, “faith without works is dead.” As we finish another liturgical year, where are you with Christ’s revolutinary teaching? Where do you think St. Julian’s parish is with his teaching? Are you/we “showing forth God’s praise, not only with our lips but in our lives, by giving up our selves to God’s service?” In this unprecedented year, may we all be challenged yet again to tangibly love our neighbors because in doing so, we serve Our Lord.

~Christ the King Sunday, 2020

Dew Drops

Every other night I read J. a book entitled Dew Drops. It’s a picture book with a flower on one page and the flower’s name on the other. No matter that the bloom depicted is a rose, tiger lily, or tulip, each has a dewdrop somewhere on its pedal, stem, or leaf. With every page turn, a new flower awaits, and a hidden dewdrop is discovered. While J. is too little to read the names of the flowers, one day, he will. He might even wonder where words come from and discover that words are symbols, and symbols point to something that is at once present and transcendent. Learning that a rose is a rose is a rose may one day lead to wondering where that rose came from, which ultimately makes one contemplate life itself.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is asking the Pharisees to look at a picture. It was a picture of the emperor. The emperor was a symbol of power and empire. The emperor was also a symbol of death and taxes. The power of the emperor and his kingdom would one day kill Jesus in a state-sanctioned execution. The irony is found in what cannot be captured in a picture or on the face of a coin. Even though Jesus would be executed by the powers of this world, he would be raised by forces that transcend it. He would be visibly raised by the invisible God. He would render God his very self; thus, rendering life to all – including the Caesars, sinners, and saints of this world.

It is perfectly acceptable to give the government its due in our own day in age. It is simply unfortunate if we do not also contemplate more than what the pictures reveal. This week, look beyond the image. Look beyond the symbols and discover mystery rendering herself to you. 

Stillness

Psalm 23 was balm in an otherwise chafed week. As I read its words again for the first time, I found myself dropping all pretense allowing its words to massage my soul ineffably. In particular, I found comfort in its second verse:

[The Lord] makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.


Where do you find stillness these days?

Where do you find quiet?

Like the Psalmist, do you believe God leads you into stillness?

Like a caring Father who knows our needs better than we, does God make you lie down in order to find rest?

We find ourselves climbing a mountain with Isaiah and companioning with the church’s early female saints in today’s readings. We were called out of our complacency by Christ, and Christ serving as a judge pointed to outer darkness as a threat to our souls. Complacency and apathy are not the only dangers to our souls these days. Another may be refusing the Lord as Shepherd, the Lord who leads, the Lord who not only made the heavens and the earth, but makes us lie down in green pastures. It is this Lord who pats us on our backs to settle us. It is this Lord who whispers, “Get some rest.” “Go to sleep.” “It’s okay.” “Everything’s going to be alright.”

This fatherly sentiment is something the great hymnist Isaac Watts discovered in the 23rd Psalm. Today I’ll leave you with his paraphrase of this arresting Psalm.

My Shepherd will supply my need, Jehovah is his Name;
in pastures fresh he makes me feed beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back when I forsake his ways,
and leads me, for his mercy’s sake, in paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death, thy presence is my stay;
one word of thy supporting breath drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes, doth still my table spread;
my cup with blessings overflows, thy oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days;
Oh, may thy house become abode and all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come;
No more a stranger or a guest, but like a child at home.
~The Hymnal 1982, p. 664


Where do you find [childlike] stillness these days?

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

While outside, J. does not like being in his stroller. Walking and pointing out things are more his style. Yesterday afternoon’s walk took on this new game. He rebuked the stroller, reached for my hand, and pointed down the street. J. wanted to walk. He wanted to walk and see the Halloween decorations a few houses down, and that is what we did.
It’s a small miracle when my child takes me by the hand and leads me. Just like he was reluctant to take a ride in his stroller, I was unwilling to follow his lead, but am forever grateful for choosing his way instead of my own. Yesterday J. reminded me of innocence, surprise, and delight. J. showed me joy, invited me to play, and to see – to see. When was the last time joyful innocence caught you by the hand and pulled you along to surprise?

Parking Destiny

The kingdom of heaven is like a parking lot.
A church parking lot
where spaces are gotten, but mostly free.
Cars, trucks, vans (and even motorcycles) have their place.

Most days the parking lot patiently waits.
At times for a patron.
Always for a visitor.
Occasionally, a school bus, delivery truck, or mail carrier making use of its asphalt turns ‘round. The twist leaves tire marks like an icon of repentance.

The kingdom of heaven is like a well-worn parking lot,
its tacit function not altogether obvious.
Think parking? It shows you a pilgrim.
Found a spot? Next time, it’s claimed.
One’s sweltering plight? Find relief through its sultry saints.

Parking fortune,
and destiny,
and lot, remembered
and forgotten at once.

Deschooling

Since our oldest first started attending elementary school, our family was used to a Monday through Friday drop-off at 7:30 A.M. with a 2:30 P.M. pick-up. At once, the school served as both an opportunity for education and childcare. For us, childcare officially ended at 2:30, but the education continued. After an early afternoon break, the rest of the afternoon and evening was set aside for homework, study, and reading. Like mom and dad had a full-time job, so the logic went, for our oldest, education was his current vocation. This ideology changed somewhat when we decided to homeschool, and when I first discovered the concept of deschooling.

Home School Mom defines deschooling as “the adjustment period a child goes through when leaving school and beginning homeschooling. To fully benefit from homeschooling, a child has to let go of the private or public school culture as the norm. Together, these norms are called deschooling, and it is a crucial part of beginning homeschooling after time spent in a classroom.” I soon discovered parents had to deschool and let go of norms as well.

Time and schedule were the first things on our deschooling list. When, exactly, were we going to homeschool? At first, our default went to the norms held in brick and mortar schools. We soon discovered our old conceptions of time and schedule did not work, so we started asking questions around time. “What is the best time of day for our oldest to learn?” “Where was he comfortable learning (table, desk, couch, outside/inside)?” “What were his default learning styles?” What were our natural teaching abilities?” “Do we want to learn together?” “Do we want to teach one another?” With these questions and others like it, we soon discovered a natural teaching/leaning cycle in the morning with lighter activities in the early afternoon. We also learned that if we only have one hour of substantial learning time one day while doing four hours the next, there is no harm. Finally, we got rid of the Monday through Friday mentality; instead, teaching around work and life schedules. Sometimes we take the weekend off. Sometimes not. Sometimes homeschooling happens several days in a row. Sometimes there’s a needed break in the middle. We all had to learn that every hour of direct one-to-one instruction far exceeded the time in a classroom full of other learners. For example, if we need to spend a whole hour on something difficult, we do so. If we solve a problem in 10 minutes, we move on, pushing the learning hour to its limits.

The concept of deschooling also gave us the freedom to experience learning in all aspects of family life. We’re now cooking more together, visiting exciting places during the week, checking out more books from the library, discussing the candidates for President, watching documentaries, playing board games, and getting curious about the world – together. We listen to music while we study, play chess, and memorize Shakespeare. We pray Noonday Prayer out of The Book of Common Prayer. Learnings mostly occur at our home, but they also happen in car rides, family walks and trips to the swimming pool.

Homeschool has permitted all of us to take charge of where, how, and what we learn. It gives us a sense of awe and joy for the world around us while nodding to humility as we realize that we are standing on the shoulders of all the saints and sinners who came before us. My wife and I no longer check homework because the work is done at home, in the car, around the dinner table, and on walks. We no longer rely on the brick and mortar school to provide an education as well as childcare. We’re caring for one another in new, different, and more profound ways. The choice to homeschool has brought us closer, and for that, I am grateful.

To read more about deschooling and to find many books on the subject click here

This is an ongoing blog about the ups and downs of homeschooling. For my previous posts on the subject click here and here.

Mind Mapping

As I mentioned in my first post on homeschooling, our family has chosen the three principals of prayerwork, and study taken from St. Benedict’s Rule of Life to guide each day. These three principals provide balance and purpose. Like the North Star, they order the day. Their guidance helps to answer questions like, What is a balanced life? What does purposeful living look like? How do we pray? Why do we work and study? These are weighty questions to tackle for a 4th grader. These are profound questions for anyone. Creating a mind map began this process of inquiry.

A mind map is simply a tool to get the creative juices flowing. (Back when I was in elementary school it might have been called brainstorming). We were interested in creating a routine that was at once, orderly and flexible. We already had our guiding principles (prayer, work, and study). Now, we just needed to flesh out what those meant at the time of the mind map, and with the understanding that reality will help form new ways of living into this Rule.

Under the Rule of Prayer, we agreed upon three practices: prayer at meals and at bedtime, reading the Bible, and celebrating The Lord’s Supper. Currently, prayer is sporadic, as is Bible reading, while celebrating Holy Eucharist has been with my oldest son and me. These are new practices for our family underneath the same roof. I’m starting to realize how I relied on other contexts (church and Sunday School) to reinforce prayer practices. Now the full burden is on me. Prayer begins in the family. Church and Sunday School strengthen practices in a Christian home. I hope to report our family’s progress in prayer at a later date.

Using the mind map, we translated Work as simple household chores: cooking, cleaning, taking out the trash, washing the dishes, setting the table, etc. Thus far, our oldest now wakes up, eats breakfast, makes the bed, brushes teeth, and gets dressed for the day. As the year passes, I hope to add taking out the trash/recycling and setting the table, among other things.

The last principle under our Rule is Study. As parents, this means lesson planning and seeking out teaching opportunities within life’s daily routine. It is giving our oldest the freedom to study and learn where he wants (kitchen table, his room, on the porch, couch, outside, etc.). We’re also learning how to navigate formal learning time with downtime, and develop boundaries around screen time versus leisurely reading. For a 4th grader, 1 to 4.5 hours of instruction/learning/exploring four days a week is recommended. Our family is staying within this rubric based on everyone’s schedule. In our four weeks of homeschooling, not one week has looked the same. Our routine is flexible enough not to worry about tight scheduling. It’s also let us experiment with having a day or two off in the middle of the week because we all worked hard over the weekend (homeschooling is not a Monday – Friday gig).

Starting with the mind map has helped us focus. It also begins to show us the tensions of chaos and order, or love and law. My next post will explore the topic of deschooling. 

On and Off the Court

Matthew 15: 21-28

It’s been said, “There’s a thousand different entryways into the life of the Church.” For some, it was having the privilege of baptism at an early age – being born into the Church through a parent or grandparent by the providence of God. For others, it was a harder road of conversion. Maybe you came to Christ later in your life, finally acquiescing to the Spirit’s call, and saying ‘yes’ to discipleship. Still others may have found themselves coming to the Lord through the classical expressions of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. The truth of the Gospel came to you from unexpected quarters – music, a novel, a play, or philosophy. Perhaps a swim in the ocean, a walk in the woods, or an attempt to climb a mountain allowed for transcendent beauty to ravish your senses taking you out of yourself and into something beyond. Still, an entryway into the life of the church could have been the greatest action of all time; that is, love – the kindness of a stranger, an act of unconditional care, the touch of a beloved. All of these are one of a thousand ways in which God reaches in and reaches out to us beckoning us into the good life.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus shows us yet another way into the life and into relationship with God. It may be categorized as wrestling – wrestling and persevering with God. Like Jacob who wrestled with an Angel of the Lord, finally pinning him down, and demanding a blessing, today’s Canaanite woman begs for mercy, does not receive it immediately, but intellectually spars with Jesus in one of the greatest one-liners in the Bible, and in her perseverance finally receives not only mercy and blessing – but an increase in faith. Jesus, acting like a good coach doesn’t (initially) give her what she wants. He allows her to persevere in prayer which gives her the confidence she needs. Jesus, acting like a good coach calls her a derogatory name she’s heard all her life knowing she doesn’t really believe the name-calling. Jesus wasn’t tired. He wasn’t grumpy, and he certainly wasn’t prejudice. Jesus knew that she knew where mercy came from. Jesus knew that she knew where dignity was planted. Jesus knew that she knew the faith, and like an original coach with unorthodox methods, he drew these out of her; perhaps even surprising them both in the process.

I’m currently watching the sports documentary, The Last Dance on Netflix. It’s about the lead up to the 1997-98 NBA playoffs with the iconic Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. MJ’s second-hand man was Scotty Pippen back then. Next in line was the controversial figure, Dennis Rodman. The coach was Phil Jackson. Phil certainly had an unorthodox style of coaching, and this is clearly seen in the way he coached Dennis Rodman. Dennis was always in the news for being a bad boy. He liked to party. He liked women. He liked to gamble. Overall, he liked to live life on the edge. From time-to-time, and in public cries for help, Dennis would disappear. His team, coach, and organization didn’t know where he went and because of his battle with anxiety and depression they often worried about him. Dennis would allow his bad boy persona in the media to get the best of him during these times of despair. He was liked one day, and judged and hated the next. On the other hand, and for Dennis, basketball was very simple. It was ordered. It had rules and boundaries – something he never was really fond of outside the court. Phil Jackson understood the tension within Dennis. Phil knew Dennis knew that he was something far more greater than any reporter could ever write about him – on the court, as well as off it. Phil took him under his wing, and worked with Dennis’ dignity as a way of making him a better basketball player. He wouldn’t allow Dennis to believe what others said or thought about him.

This coaching posture is exactly what I see Jesus doing in relationship with the Canaanite woman. He saw her for what she was even though he names for her what other people (falsely) said she was. He challenged her. He gave her test. And she passed. With flying colors. Her perseverance in prayer paid off. Her daughter was healed, her faith was increased, and her relationship with God deepened.

Who are those coaches in your own life who wouldn’t let you get away with what others said you were? Who are those voices who have told you with their words as well as their actions that you are a beloved child of God, and don’t you forget it? Who were those voices who didn’t say such things, but allowed you the space to figure that out on your own? How, perhaps, have you challenged God to remember you, and to remember your needs as well as your wishes? Is your relationship with God mature enough that you’re willing to wrestle, to wonder, to persevere, and to get clear on things with faith as a backdrop?

This week, reread this story with Jesus as that coach asking yourself, “What deeper things is God calling me into – on the court, as well as off?”