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2019 osewalt family pictures…NYC lulu

16 Dec

…our first year together 💕

At many points in times past, Priscilla and I ( as many of you might have suspected knowing us over parts or the whole of these 40 years, have had some slight theological disagreements.)

One of these (among the role of women in churches; spiritual gifts and their exercise; and presently, whether a believer can lose their salvation- Hebrews 6 ) is: “what is family?”

We now-in 2019 – both agree: for Christians a family is all who believe in Him, our Saviour Jesus. Following His lead we, in Jesus footsteps when He -as a baby -added us to His heavenly family…(We are called His brothers and sisters; He came to receive freely as only a baby can- from Mary and Joseph, human parents.) we, Priscilla and I, have a ‘home grown’ family. A full, full family.

Jesus adopts all as full heirs, so have we prayerfully adopted others.

This, this NYC lulu, has pictures of our family…some of you may not see yourselves, but trust, we see you fully, always. (even if your images are not included here-but please feel free to send pictures you love to: and we will include you in a future future 2020 New Year’s Post) Now, enough words, pictures…


13 Dec

advent 2019-‘generous in time’m 4’ -swaddling clothes, Jesus’ gift: time, His generous time. And he spends it with, for us.

Swaddling clothes as an image is the baby Jesus’ first clothing; and…

Mary robed her child in “swaddling clothes” (Luke 2:7)

…and then …Joseph of Arimathea covered His Jesus in linen clothe (John 20)

…So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.

A woman robes Jesus at his birth; a man covers Him in linens for His death. In both moments the Lord of the universe and cosmos, the ruler of expansive heavens and earth, is tightly wrapped by human hands.

Jesus, of infinite time and space, is tightly wrapped, control and limited, in and by our humanity, by births and deaths. And He does this to allow us to enter His eternal time with Him, as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 2:11 defines us as His family,

“Both the one (Jesus) who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”

He choose us- with our linens and swaddling clothes- our life with joys and tears; us. We are for all eternity the holy family.

When Mary wraps Jesus in swaddling clothes/ bands, she sends recognizable signals to all that this baby is wanted, owned, embraced, touched and is being fully cared for. Mary and Joseph prepared this child’s birth having brought to the cave manger these bands in which to they tightly bundle the infant Jesus.

One writer has offered the following description of swaddling: “For years the Orientals of Bible lands have cared for an infant child much as it was done when Jesus was born. Instead of allowing the young baby the free use of its limbs, it is bound hand and foot by swaddling bands, and thus made into a helpless bundle like a mummy. At birth the child is washed and rubbed with salt, and then with its legs together, and its arms at its side, it is wound around tightly … Although based on customary practices whose antiquity cannot be determined precisely, nothing could signal more clearly the helpless state of a newborn human more than being wrapped tightly in any such way. Such a being has relinquished all power even to move, let alone to do, at that point, much of anything.”

Just as in birth, in death Jesus is wrapped in clean anointed, perfumed linens (Luke 23:56) But- Jesus rises and leaves these clothes behind. (John 20: 7) He rises and moves through the linen without touching them. He does fit leave the clothes of His birth because he needs time with us. They represent his choice: us.

Resurrected he is no longer limited by time and space; death or life. He leaves the linens of His death, untouched- clothe ‘lying in its place’ (John 20:7)

In generous time He came as a wrapped baby to become part of our family. He walked and lived with us; cried at death, rejoiced at weddings. He healed and forgave; taught and listened. And then He died so we, His, His brothers and sisters, can live in eternal time with Him.

Jesus’ gift: time, His generous time. And he spends it with, for us.

Advent is about Him, in generous time. Rejoice well this season. Adore well. Give well. He did-first in swaddling clothes; then linens. He gave well. He gives well.

advent 2019 ‘generous in time’ – 3rd in the series- quick

10 Dec

quick: Advent 2019 ‘…comes quickly’ 3 in “generous in time” series

Recently I heard someone speak of a deep struggle he was going through. In his youth he thought of the future and catastrophised. Everything, all glasses, were empty.

Catastrophizing can generally can take two different forms: making a catastrophe out of a current situation, and imagining making a catastrophe out of a future situation.

But the present or future wasn’t the issue for this speaker. Now, older, his issue was catastrophically living, looking, breathing in his past. Mistakes and what ifs; this road or the other. And he can’t leave this past path. He was and is catastrophing.

And he was in this, his past, in dark hopeless despair. So, in this time lace, he is similar to Israel in the period between the last prophet and Jesus’ birth. Both were are stuck the past.

Israel was in absolute darkness for the 500 years before Jesus’ birth.

The prophetic word of the Lord ends after, with, Malachi (about 500 BCE). No more prophets or Spirit. Their is little hope, only much despair.

Israel was in disaster after disaster. All saw and experienced this emptiness, this absence of the prophetic word.

Darkness, absence, voids, silences was their embrace.

The Spirit has departed. And then, in a moment…

The Prophet Malachi, painting by Duccio di Buoninsegna, c. 1310-1311 (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena Cathedral).

…the word explodes, quickly, instantly. The writer of Hebrews speaks of Jesus, his coming, his purpose here:

Hebrews 2

17 And for this purpose (our salvation ) it was necessary that in all respects He should be made to resemble His brothers, so that He might become a compassionate and faithful High Priest in things relating to God, in order to atone for the sins of the people. 18For inasmuch as He has Himself felt the pain of temptation and trial, He is also able instantly to help those who are tempted and tried.

The Hebrews prophet does not look ahead and see the future; he looks at the Jesus of his own recent past and and sees our (Jesus’ brothers and sisters) future: eternal salvation with a compassionate and faithful high priest. He sees Israel’s past as a quick moment leading from darknesses to light. It – Israel’s past- is not a catastrophe but a story of life and love. This past, all of it, is His Advent story.

No more catastrophes: but pure eternal light. No more despairs; no darkness; only His compassionate salvation. Light.

Jesuspromise at Advent is come and redeem: to redeem the past of Israel and individuals; to redeem the sins of our future and present. He is king, priest and prophet. He is a child, a baby: our saving hope. He is the prophetic word made flesh.

One form of Jesus’ prophetic words are his parables. And one of his most beautiful and repeated words is the story of the lost son, the prodigal.

As Jesus tells the story the father of the prodigal waits, searches the fields for his lost son’s return. The son desires to leave sin and return to his home as a servant. Jesus describes the father as running to his son with compassion...

Luke 15: 22-24

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

The story of Advent is our narrative in darkness, in catastrophe; in sin and silence. It is our story without, before, Jesus. Stuck in a Groundhog Day, in a seeming eternal and sinful past, we live as the prodigal-with pigs, without hope.

But Jesus, as high priest and Saviour, as King and prophet. He comes as a Father and a baby. He comes in a quick, an instant, moment.

And that is the first word the prodigal son hears his father speak: quick.

The father seemingly speaks it to the servants; but he is really speaking to his sons and daughters. He runs and speaks to speak with quick compassions. ‘Quick’ – my servants: the robe and sandals; the ring and the fatten calf.

The first word the son hears is not ‘love’, or ‘I love you,’ but ‘ quick’. Why is this the father’s first audible word for his son, for us?

Because we have a High Priest, the image of the Father, who desires to run to us quickly. A Father who removes our shame and clothes us as a son, a brother in his robes. We have a quick ang generous Father.

This is the story of Advent:

Our Lord is quick to come, run, be born to us.

Our Father is quick to embrace us.

Our Brother is quick to love us.

Our Saviour is quick to forgive us.

My prayer for all this Advent.

Help us Lord to see you as the Father, priest, brother and son you are.

Come quickly my Lord. Come quickly.

Advent 2019- 2 stripped ….generous in time ….for such a time as this

6 Dec

Advent 2019- 2 stripped

….generous in time

for such a time as this…

“Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” – Esther 4: 13-14

Luke 2 – Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 11-12

Esther is an orphan, a jewess in an alien, a foreign culture. Chosen by contest due to her great physical beauty, she becomes the ruling society’s Queen.

Stripped of her identity, her home with guardian uncle Mordecai and her community, Esther is bathed in earthy beauties. Robes and fragrances; glances and deference. She moves from orphan to consort; from young girl to married woman. In her height, her time of physical beauty, she becomes, is, a Queen.

In His heavens, Jesus dwells eternally in a loving community: Father and Spirit communicate and touch, embrace and enjoy each other continually. They are family.Jesus and family is Lord of all, heavens and earth; cosmos and spiritual beings. He is King. But…

He comes, He chooses, voluntarily come to earth. And He comes as the least of the powerless- baby. Jesus takes off His heavenly community and becomes a homeless child. Stripped of heaven, He binds himself in time, to refugee parents, to earth. To us.

No longer in control, as a child, a newborn, he can only receive- milk and mother’s song; heat from animals on a cave manger; a father’s care. Stripped of His heaven and power, Jesus models this, His first gift: the ability, the acceptance to receive.

He models Esther’s story of receiving.

Advent is about beginnings, first gifts, and Esther – as a trope, a foreshadowing of Christ Jesus, also models this first gift. She is stripped of her past and then receives the position of Queen. In a moment her life is transformed, changed. She receives so then at the right time she can give.

She enjoys the pleasures of her kingdom. Yet, she is in a position to save her past, her Jewish heritage from the genocide of Haman, the country’s prime minister. She is in the time, the perfect moment, as Mordecai reminds her, for this-her people’s salvation.

The shepherds are told that today they have a saviour born, given to them. A gift, a Saviour, comes. Today, a time and child is given. And He is warped in swaddling clothes, clothes chosen dnd blessed by His mother Mary- holy anointed, yet humble clothes. Stripped of the heavens, the baby Jesus is covered with earthly sounds and smells; human fallible love and joy. But …Why- this time, this gift?

To model salvation. Salvation is a received gift. By faith Esther approaches the King though going to him it summoned exposes her to possible death. By, and with, faith she moves. She approaches and is received.

The man Jesus also moves. He moves miracles and teaching; listening and living. He models receiving and giving to his disciples. Then He moves them to move: He to send them out in the advent of their ministry in Matthew 10. His last and primary instruction to them is,

8 ‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.’

This is salvation’s message: receive and give, freely.

Esther, in her journey, is adorned with earthly riches and power. She first receives.

Jesus’ in His Advent journey, His choice is to lose all His heavens for us.

Esther’s story mirrors Jesus in reverse: she is adorned, He stripped. She receives; He discards. Yet…

…both, after freely receiving, Esther her throne, Jesus His earth and humanity, give.

And they both give the gift of salvation. Esther of her people in a specific time; Jesus to His people

of eternal time.

This Advent let go of all that you hold and is holding you. Let go and receive anew; meditate on receiving in this present moment the stories of salvation. Past and present; future and eternal.

For such a time as this, strip yourself and receive Him. He gives.

Advent 1: the gift of the moment (2019)

3 Dec

Advent 1: the gift of the moment

(the first of an eight part series)

1 Peter 1:12 (WNT) To them ( the prophets) it was revealed that they were serving not themselves but you, when they foretold the very things which have now been openly declared to you by those who, having been taught by the Holy Spirit which had been sent from Heaven, brought you the Good News. Angels long to stoop and look into these things.

This Advent, we are living in the moment, awaiting His coming. Angels are longing, bending, stooping and desiring to see our moment.

What is this moment? Mindfulness speaks of a present moment-both past and perished, yet alive and eternally present. This promised moment, this present moment is the everlasting eternal moment of Advent. It is the moment of all moments. The beginning of His new creation- it is our story moment- our advent moment: the coming of our Christ, our promised saviour into our earthly world.

Advent is about the gift of this and other moments- it is about new beginnings: newness and promise; expectations spoken and fulfilled; gifts of Magi and the Father. Our Father…. this is what Advent calls us to be mindful of. Our Father’s gift, Jesus His son.

Luke writes of these beginnings, Advent/advent moments, in both his Gospel and his book on the new Christian church. He begins his book of Acts of his church community with…

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” NIV

And in his first book, Luke’s gospel…

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly accountfor you, most excellent Theophilus,4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke 1 NIV

Luke writes, is deeply captivated, about advents, about beginnings.

The book of Acts (his second book) is about the gift of the Spirit. His Gospel is about the gift of our Saviour. These are gifts for new beginnings. Our new beginnings.

This is what Angels are stopping to look into: the Advent of the Gospel; the gift of salvation; the story of a child Saviour. They are also looking at us. They are looking at His story in, with, for us. They are looking for our new births with this story. Our advents.

This season of 2019 I will be writing about Advent beginnings: the beginnings of the Christian church in Acts, alongside the newness of a baby child in our world. These moments share in common a writer, Luke, and a Saviour; a beginning with a past; angels and shepherds; messengers and on lookers. Advent is about shared one shared moment which forms an eternity of new births, new beginnings- our stories together with His. Stories together as one

woven and still forming tapestry.

The story is about a Saviour, the Messiah. It is also about us-how we see and hear; receive and respond; live in moments and, pass, go on. It is about saving moments; eternal and everlasting moments. It is about advents, beginnings, our stories and His.

Advent is about keeping our story new and alive, a beginning without end. As eternal as the story of a homeless couple having a child in a cave manger. It is a story of the gift of the moment.

Join this eight part reflection On Advent beginnings – they will appear on Tuesdays and Fridays each week of Advent – at


JFK, me, my twin, Donald -56 years past

24 Nov

Donald and I moved to a new address -East 4th Street in Brooklyn at that time and enrolled at Our Lady of Grace Elementary School. We were in Fourth grade. (4)

On the loud speaker they announced that JFK was shot by someone named ‘Oswald’ in Dallas and the they were sending sending us home at about 2. ( we were new relatively students in the school. Our last name is Osewalt. )

As new students, all the boys angrily chased ‘relatives’ of the assassins home. They caught one of us and beat him up. The other escaped.

Difficult memories but we, I, must remember…

Yes I – we -need to embrace all memories

Look at Psalm 94 and how/what the word ‘fools’ /they / don’t remember or what ‘they’ choose to forget.

6They kill the widow and the foreigner; they murder the fatherless. 7They say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob pays no heed.” 8Take notice, O senseless among the people! O fools, when will you be wise?…

we must remember; but I/ we don’t have to live

there ..

As Hagar states in Genesis 16: 13,

So Hagar gave this name to the LORD who had spoken to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “Here I have seen the One who sees me!”

He sees; He remembers; He heals.

lesson 3 (of 7) trust choices: in this first of ‘Dumbledore’s parenting don’ts …

16 Sep


Parents: don’t make all the choices for your children, so they are never, ever empowered

Don’t be a Dumbledore.

Dumbledore makes all of Harry’s choices. From Harry’s birth to his death- Dumbledore chooses. After James’ and Lily’s deaths, Albus places the baby Harry with the Dursleys; (yes- Harry needs physical protection, but why not keep Harry with himself?…and for 11 years and no communication?) Then to protect Harry’s mind, Albus has Harry in Snape’s care. Harry hates Snape. Snape teaches Occlumency with hate to Harry. Dumbledore avoids Harry as he must protect his own thoughts from Voldemort and all others. So Snape teaches Harry. (And Snape shares all his mind as he dies, freely, with Harry: Snape trusts Harry to choose wisely as Harry holds Snape’s humiliations, love and remorse.

Yet, in contrast, Dumbledore is always withholding information from Harry: who had the invisibility cloak and why; how to destroy a horcrux; why he trusts Snape so; and that Harry must die, willingly at Voldemort’s hand. And when Harry begins to doubt, Ron and Hermione tell him to….

But trusting a parent who is not willing to listen or talk with you, is not a choice. It is a power abuse situation where the child is always/ all ways trying to win over the untrusting, unloving parent.

But this can’t be done by trusting a parent who does not desire/can trust you-their child. Nothing can be done here.

Though Dumbledore famously tells Harry, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. …) Dumbledore himself does not believe this. He certainly does not live it through his early, middle and late life. As Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth tells Harry in Hogs Head pub: it has always been about Albus’ search for more and more abilities. Harry, an impossible task?…little, not enough information? … youthful wizards?

Harry is seen by the parent Dumbledore as an extension of himself:

Harry is Dumbledore’s horcux.

Parents do not try to live beyond, thru your children. They are not horcruxs.

Then think as Harry…

“Harry thought of Godric’s Hollow, of graves Dumbledore had never mentioned there; he thought of mysterious objects left with-out explanation in Dumbledore’s will, and resentment swelled in the darkness. Why hadn’t Dumbledore told him? Why hadn’t he explained? Had Dumbledore actually cared about Harry at all? Or had Harry been nothing more than a tool to be polished and honed, but not trusted, never confided in?”

What is then is the first, the overarching, the essential- don’t of parenting don’ts?

Don’t don’t not trust your children to make their own choices. From clothes to red shoes; from ice creams to boy/girl friends, from piazza toppings to college, trust your children to their own first seemingly little choices and then their seemingly larger choices.

Trust their choices; not your own for them.


lesson 2 (of 7) choices: ‘Dumbledore’s parenting do’s …. ‘This is, as they say, your party.’

15 Sep

via lesson 2 (of 7) choices: ‘Dumbledore’s parenting do’s …. ‘This is, as they say, your party.’

lesson 2 (of 7) choices: ‘Dumbledore’s parenting do’s …. ‘This is, as they say, your party.’

15 Sep

lesson 2 (of 7) choices

In the chapter entitled ‘King’s Cross’ Harry Potter awakes in a clear, empty white space. Having just fought Lord Voldemort, Harry is whole physically, yet removed from the earth.

Only a seemingly raw baby’s (under a bench) sad cries, is heard.

Again and again.

Only a surrogate father-Dumbledore- approaches Harry in this clean white space. It is as clean as Harry’s, nakedness, then as his new robes and finally, as his forehead- now without his lightning scar.nothing bonds him anymore, Harry is free.

As Harry and Albus move away from the child, they discuss where they are.

While Dumbledore has no idea, Harry ventures his guess: to Harry it seems like King’s Cross. Dumbledore agrees.

Harry, in an empty clean railway station, is paused on his journey. Where is he going? Dumbledore says ‘ on’ to Harry’s query. He cannot reveal any definitive answers of future choices, paths for Harry. To do so would be to heavily colour Harry’s future path.

Albus can not; will not; be may not be able to speak to Harry’s future steps. No. The choice is now Harry’s. This is Dumbledore’s release: no plans; no more willed gifts/legacies. No more withholding of information from Harry. Things have ‘opened at the close.’

Harry does ask if he should go back to the Earth; the forest; to Hogwarts. To Ginny.

Dumbledore states in response that he does not know the outcome if Harry returns. Dead, Albus is relieved of knowledge of the future. He can offer a guess. He only knows that Harry – as the ‘ better man’ – can relieve the hurts of others by returning.

And Harry can only do so by his own choice. Not Dumbledore’s or Snape’s; Not Voldemort’s or the Dursley’s.

The ‘Chosen One’ now gets to choose. This is Dumbledore’s lasting gift to the ‘boy who lived’: freedom to go on or to return. Harry returns to Voldemort for a final confrontation. A final battle.

He returns.

Any parent or grandparent; any mentor or family member must eventually open their hand and let go or a child. The choice is not really given to the child by the (surrogate) parent though. It is truly given by the parent to him/herself.

Dumbledores, when they stop trying to control their children emotionally, physically and/or spiritually, free themselves to ‘go on,’

Both parents and child are released to their choices. Our choices open and we go on.

lesson 1 (of 7) inflicted – Dumbledore’s parenting do’s and don’ts

31 Jul

A parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child’ anonymous grandparent

In J. K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ Dumbledore’s life ends as he tries to parent. But the child he has been lovingly trying to help at his end is not just Harry Potter, but Draco Malfoy. And us.

Wand less, injured, exhausted, Albus Dumbledore tells Draco on/ in “lightning stuck tower” as The white blond student moves to kill him ‘ … come over to the right side, Draco…you are not a killer’

Draco responses to Dumbledore that without a wand and alone Dumbledore is at Draco’s ‘mercy.’

Albus replies, ‘No, Draco ‘ said Dumbledore quietly. ‘It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.’ p. 492

At Dumbledore’s life end, these words illustrate the first and most important principle of parenting:

1. All parents will both be inflicted and be inflectors of pain with and for their children.

Draco has mercy; Dumbledore affirms this, yet at this specific moment it is the surrogate parent’s mercy that matters. At this moment Dumbledore feels Draco’s pain and his own coming pain. He is inflicted.

Dumbledore is inflicted by this own loving choice. He wants, deeply desires, to give Draco the choice to either kill him and become another horcrux breeder or to love by putting his wand down.

Parents, Dumbledore tells us in these last acts and words, must accept the pain of stepping back and allowing their children to inflict pain on themselves and perhaps even others. This is how we grow: by making choices, rightly or wrongly.

We can not blame ourselves as parents when our children hurt and disappoint us. We can blame ourselves when we hurt and inflict pain on our children. This is life’s way; God’s design, Dumbledore’s final gift to Draco and parents:

Step back and breathe; let the child chose; even if it means you must fall off a lightning struck tower. Be hurt; be inflicted.