2nd Lenten Wed 2021

The greatest event in the history of the world

My thesis for this second Wednesday in Lent is that Christmas is the greatest event in the history of the world.

Christmas is the birth of Jesus. Christmas is the birth of God in human flesh. Christmas means that true God now dwells in the skin and with the heart of a human.

It’s the greatest event, and it’s the craziest scheme in the history of the world. Indeed, what you celebrate with joy as the most natural thing in all the world—that God loves you in such a way that He would become one of you, because that’s what it would take to save you—that you mark the occasion without batting an eye at the notion, with birthday-party-like merriment—is completely contrary to how people have thought about God down through the ages, and how God can or cannot, would or would not, come into contact with the created world.

You are familiar with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, those great Greek thinkers who lived around four centuries before our Lord Jesus walked the earth. Those philosophers recognized that the world is a fallen place, that, even if they didn’t believe in Adam and Original Sin, they agreed that the world is a corrupt place. And, they reasoned, eternal God—however one conjured a creator—so transcended the created world, and was so set apart from corruption, that He thus could not, nor would He, have direct contact with the created world.

So, the Greek philosophers reasoned that God must have created the world by a series of emanations. Think of a stone thrown into a pond, and the concentric waves set off by the stone’s splooshing into the water. In this view, God is in the position of the stone, and the world is way out at the furthest of the waves which the stone has created. To the philosophers, this is the closest God can get to fallen, corrupt creation.

Before the Greek philosophers, there was Buddha. Well, the man, Siddhartha Gautama, who came to be called Buddha—which means awakened one—didn’t consider himself fully weaned off the snooze button until he spent many hours under the Bodhi tree. Buddha determined that enlightenment had to come from within one’s heart, that the only way to become a liberated human being was to completely let go of this world.

Buddha came up with a list called the Four Noble Truths. First, he recognized that suffering exists. But, number two, suffering is attached to our earthly desires. So, number three, suffering can only cease when we cut off all earthly desires. Thus, number four, to achieve the total ending of all desires, one must follow his eight-step program and to live by right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

Regarding God, Buddha believed that believing in God actually is a form of desire, one of our many attachments to this world which causes suffering. Thus, the desire for God must be given up. To Buddha, humans are their own gods, and they will only be at peace when they reach nirvana—a complete freeing of one’s mind from all worldly things.

Buddha would say that the notion of God becomes harmful, where the Greeks found it impossible for God to interact with the world. That takes us to the religion of Islam, where they are completely offended at the possibility that God has a Son.

The funny thing about Islam is that they don’t reject the idea of Jesus, but, to them, Jesus is not the Son of God. Rather, He is a prophet. And he’s not as important of a prophet as is Mohamed. But, that Jesus is God’s Son—that anyone could be God in the flesh of man—that is a complete impossibility.

These are but three of the many and various views about God and, clearly, none of them can embrace the idea of Christmas. For Muslims, Allah is very much as the Greeks thought of him—so set apart from this world that he could never be born into it. The Greeks had to come up with a pantheon of gods who ruled the world—Zeus and Hera, who are the king and queen gods; Poseidon, god of the seas; Apollo, god of light; and so on.

As for poor Buddha, who rejected the very notion of God, the Hindus made him a god and added him to their stable of millions of gods.

Finally, there is the modern philosopher, Bette Midler, whose popular song epitomized a common view of the deity: “God is watching us, from a distance.” Sounds Greek to me.

You might be familiar with the Bible verse, that we humans cannot conceive what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). Conceive is exactly right. We are so busy trying to figure out God, and how to get to God, and how to be God, that we could never conceive that God could or would be conceived in a human being. This is the beginning of why Christmas is the greatest event in the history of the world.

  • We couldn’t conceive that God, being so above this creation—so holy and separate from the fallen and corrupt world—could or would make a human body for Himself.
  • We couldn’t conceive that the way to true enlightenment about God could be or would be for Him to descend to us to teach us from His own mouth.
  • We couldn’t conceive that God is not the image of we human’s what you see is what you get, but is, in fact, a complex being of three-in-one, one-in-three, ultimately revealed to us for who He is: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • We couldn’t conceive that God could or would be content to watch this fallen and corrupt world from a distance, but that He would enter it, commune with it and—gasp!—suffer and die for it.

All of these reasons, and a heavenly host more, are why God didn’t leave it to us to come up with the way to eternal life. Because we are, in fact, a fallen and corrupt world, we never could come up with the way to eternal life. We are confined to our corruption. We are trapped in our own way of thinking, which only and always leads to death.

Christmas is the greatest event, and the craziest scheme, in the history of the world. With Christmas, God turns the tables on humankind: we don’t go to God, God comes to us. We doesn’t save ourselves, God does the saving. Whodathunkit? Well, actually, no one woulda thunk it.

Since you know the rest of the story of Good Friday, and Easter, and the Ascension of our Lord Jesus, and that He will return on the Last Day to put an end to this fallen and corrupt world with our resurrection to the perfect Paradise of forever, consider how God has been born in you—how Christmas has come to you, personally.

In calling you by the Gospel, the Savior came to live in you, just as He came to live as the man named Jesus. In washing you in Holy Baptism, the Savior has joined you to the reason He took on your human flesh—to die for you so that you could live with Him.

And so you do.

And so you do!

Just as personally as God came into the world in the person of Jesus, Jesus has come into you so that you can go into heaven.

Christmas, the greatest event in the history of the world, has set the table for Good Friday, which will be—you guessed it—the greatest event in the history of the world. Amen.

My toilet paper disaster

I have made a grave error. I purchased single ply toilet paper. And now Julie and I are paying the price.

You’re thinking, “Hey, goofball, just double up how much you use. It won’t cost more because you paid less. It will all work out in the end!” That’s exactly where I want it to work out—in the end. Sadly, it ain’t so simple.

Since single ply is one half of 2 ply—thank you, public school!—I figured out that for every two squares of single ply it would equate with one square of 2 ply.

If only.

To save you the effort, I examined the situation closely. I got out my slide rule. I then put away my slide rule because I never learned how to use a slide rule and, honestly, I have no idea why there is a slide rule in our house.

Next, I googed the quest. According to numerous sites, 2 ply is single ply times two. I was skeptical.

Thus, I did what any concerned TP user would do: I laid one square on top of another. Having done that, I used my ever-trusty memory to tell me whether it matched up to 2 ply. I didn’t think so.

Finally, I was ready to press it to the flesh. But, I was thirsty, and a cola sounded good. I had bought some Coke and some Pepsi, and I had planned this week to do a blind taste-test to see which I prefer. Ever since the Pepsi Challenge commercials began in 1975, I’d been meaning to do this. What better time than the present? Be sure to come back to my blog for the intriguing results.

I was now ready to pull up to the throne and pull down my BVDs for the TP Challenge. Fearing the fruit of the gloom, I unraveled twice as many squares as I normally would for my task. I neatly folded them in the manner in which I habitually do so.

Examining my work, I was riddled with doubt. But, I’m a brave soul, so I went in for the wipe.

I’ll spare you the gory details.

I reloaded. As I unfurled the squares, I saw visions of pennies floating upward from the roll.

I feel duped.

How did this happen to me? I’m a careful shopper. You know those stickers on the shelves, the ones that tell you how much items cost, say, per ounce? I read those things with the zeal of a shirtless Packers fan on a December day in Lambeau Field. And, it’s crazy that I should be taken by bathroom tissue, as the usual five or six options at my Aldi don’t match up in how they present the cost-per info. This one has more squares per roll, and that one has thicker plies, and they vary in rolls per package, so that comparative pricing is almost more than my public school education can handle and I find myself tapping my pockets in search of my slide rule.

And this single ply versus 2 ply thing? I always check. Always! I am so averse to single ply that noting this aspect is the first thing I do.

What happened to me? Am I slipping? Is shopping a young man’s game? Though at age 63 I’m still able to jog six miles at a time, does that not translate across my skills range?

I was really stewing about this when I called on my ever-trusty memory and pictured myself back in the store, in that aisle, in front of the bathroom tissue. That’s when I had my eureka! moment: there was only one option!

As it had been in your store, there was a period last year when the hopes of seeing TP were DOA and not to be fulfilled ASAP. I was thankful I had bought the mega-sized package early in 2020. No, not prescient about the coming lockdown and stock-up, but simply because we were low.

Thankfully, by autumn Aldi had caught up. They even removed the “limit one” sign. Still, we didn’t need it. Until now.

So, there I was, in need of both facial tissues and toilet paper. To my surprise, there were zero boxes of facial tissues. And though they had been “limit two,” I didn’t recall them ever being out. I made a mental note, “Put those on the Meijer list,” and stepped forward to the TP.

The Aldi where I shop has two pallets for bathroom tissue. Those pallets looked lonely. There might have been four twelve-packs stacked on it. I looked closely. Yup, they were all the same thing. But in my concern over that, I missed the key thing: single ply.

If I’d noticed, would I have forgone purchasing it and added it to my mental Meijer list? That’s a dangerous game to play. What if I had, and we ran out? What if Meijer were out? What if Meijer were stocked, but only had … wait for it … single ply???

At this rate, we will go through this package of TP fifty percent quicker than normal. There goes our bathroom tissue budget.

This entire fiasco has left me tired and thirsty. I need a cola. Which one do you think I’m going to choose?

Ash Wednesday 2021

The worst event in the history of the world

We begin this Lent with the worst event in the history of the world: Adam’s fall into sin. It’s the worst, because it brought death into the world.

The Lord had given Adam fair warning, that if Adam did the one and only thing the Lord forbid he do—eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—he would die.

But death didn’t only mean physical death for Adam. Where the Word of God tells us that the Lord created Adam in His image, after Adam fell into sin and Eve began to bear children we are told that the next generation of humans were born in Adam’s image. The meaning? That they were born sinners. That they began their lives already beginning to die. That they began their lives already spiritually dead.

The apple, indeed, does not fall far from the tree.

And every generation that came from them, came from them. As a man and a woman cannot do anything but pass on their physical DNA to their children, so they cannot do anything but pass on their spiritual DNA, their sinful nature, which came by Adam’s Original Sin.

Original Sin is the gift that keeps on giving, yet no one wants it. Thanks, Adam. How could you do such a thing?

Adam could do such a thing this way: his fall into sin showed how difficult love is. God is love, and He made Adam from His love. In love, He gave Adam the most challenging gift one can give: freedom. You parents know what I’m talking about.

The first time you let your child play at another child’s house, you experienced the pangs of fear which freedom brings. After that, it was your child heading off to school. Then it was sleepovers, then the first job, and traveling out of town without you, and going off to college or the service, and getting married, and moving to another town or another state.

Because you love your children, you don’t build fences around them. You give them freedom to move about, to stretch their wings and find their own joys and test out their talents.

But this freedom comes with a huge price tag.

Your children are free to reject you. Your children are free to associate with people who are not good for them. Your children are free to do things which might harm them. Your children are free to learn ideas and religions which hurt them both now and for eternity.

Your children might not love you back, but does that fear keep you from giving them freedom? Because God is love—total, unhindered love—He takes the leap without looking back and creates Adam with total, unhindered freedom. Even knowing that Adam will reject Him.

The Lord had put Adam in Paradise, and Adam could enjoy everything the Lord had created, except for the fruit from one tree, and that one tree was way across the state. And the first thing Adam said to Eve was “Road trip!”

It was Adam’s fault, solely Adam’s fault, that death came into the world. While it seems unfair to us that we should be born with no choice in the matter, that we inherit Adam’s sin and death, and there’s not a thing we can do about it, we have only our first father to blame.

We often question God, that if He knew that Adam would sin and bring death to every generation of mankind, why would He create Adam this way—why would He allow it—why wouldn’t He do things differently?

Hey, we know harm will come to our kids. We know they will get sick. That they will one day die. Knowing these things, why do we have them? If God is to be shamed for creating humans, when He knew what would happen, then we are to be shamed for bearing children, knowing what will happen.

To understand these things, we must be grounded in love. It’s our love that creates kids. Our love is a reflection of the Lord’s creative love.

To love means to reach out. To love means to think first of the object of one’s love, and only after that to think of oneself. To love means to provide freedom to those whom we love, but providing freedom means giving up control, and giving others the right to their own opinion. It means that we must walk around in a spirit of humility, kindness, gentleness, goodness, self-control.

And that’s not the way we want to be. The worst event in the history of the world has made us the center of our world. Do you want proof?

  • Why do parents harm their children?
  • Why does one country invade another country?
  • Why do the rich ignore the poor as they amass more riches?
  • Why do the poor hurt each other in the search for food and clothes and shelter?
  • Why does a spouse abandon a spouse?
  • Why does a husband or wife do the things that cause the spouse to want out?
  • Why do we kill each other?

Do I need to go on? Of course, I don’t. There’s nothing new here.

You are trapped—trapped in a body of death which you inherited from the worst event in the history of the world, the fall of Adam into sin. That’s why one day soon the pastor will say over your casket or urn, “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.”

The worst event in the history of the world requires the same love from the Lord by which He created you. Now, He has to love you enough to save you—to win back your freedom to live.

Over the next five Wednesdays, my premise will be that Christmas, and Good Friday, and Easter, and the Lord’s ascension, and the Last Day, are the greatest events in the history of the world.

Since you are familiar with the Lord Jesus’ birth and death, His resurrection and ascension, and that He promises to return to this earth to bring about your own resurrection into the Paradise of the recreated earth, think now on the greatest event in the history of your own life.

The greatest event in your life was the Holy Spirit calling you by the Good News that Jesus was born, Jesus died, Jesus rose, Jesus ascended, and Jesus is going to return. The greatest event was the Holy Spirit creating faith in you—bringing your dead spirit back to life—washing you in the baptismal waters of renewal and regeneration.

This is love, dear friends. Not that you love God, or that you love each other, but that He loves you. That He never stopped loving this fallen world. That the Father sent His one and only Son as the sacrifice for your sins—to die your death so that you might live in His love.

And so you do.

And so you do!

This is your Lenten reflection: the greatest events in the history of the world all center around the Father’s gift of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus’ gifts to you: forgiveness, life, and salvation in His name. Amen.

In the land of few masks

On a recent Saturday, a task took Julie and me away from Indianapolis, out of our county, to a rural area of Indiana. We went from where facial coverings are required to where they are not.

We drove far enough that we needed to make a stop. As we proceeded through a village, we spied a convenience store that looked nice enough to have clean restrooms. Automatically, we covered our faces before leaving our car.

In the store, we greeted the young man at the cash register. He stood behind plexiglass. He was unmasked. After we used the bathrooms and were looking for a snack, the fellow eagerly made suggestions of some local favorites. The woman at the food counter, also unmasked, chimed in.

Julie and I took them up on suggestions. We were not disappointed.

The two employees continued to show their friendly nature and our conversation lasted past our transaction at the cash register. Though we kept our distance, several things went through my mind. First, that when scanning our purchases the guy touched them. Second, that because they both were unmasked the air from their mouths could make it to us, and the woman’s onto the food she was preparing.

I recalled the saying: my mask protects you, and your mask protects me.

While in the store, a man came in. Unmasked. Another entered. Unmasked. A woman entered unmasked, but a few steps in she put one on.

I’m not hyper-sensitive. I’m also not naive. None of this freaked me out, but it stayed on my mind.

At our destination, we met two men. Neither wore a mask. While we were there, a number of people filtered in and out. None were masked.

We remained outside for all but a few minutes. We kept our distance.

I asked how bad the virus has been in this county. I’ve actively monitored statistics and knew there were a few counties in Indiana that didn’t have their first COVID-19 death until late last year, and still have had few, and fewer cases percentage-of-population-wise. Because of the lack of masking I’d witnessed, I thought this county might be one of them.

I was surprised when the man told me that they’ve been hit about as hard as anywhere. He told of folks he knows who’ve gotten really sick, and of one co-worker who has died.

A few days later, we had a chance to have our daughter, her fiancé, and our grandkids over for dinner. They take great care with the pandemic. We consider each other safe to be around.

I was texting about their coming over on Wednesday when it occurred to me that we needed to allow at least five days since our Saturday potential exposures. We held off seeing them until Friday.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A year ago, masking up was as alien an idea as wearing a seatbelt was when I started driving in the 1970s.

Early in the pandemic, we heaved a collective sigh of relief when we were told that it wasn’t necessary to cover our faces. At the time, I cringed at the thought of having to wear a mask whenever going to a store.

By summer, in many places—including the county in which I live—required the covering of faces when out in public.

And, by autumn, we had mostly fallen into a routine: keep masks by our car keys and wallet, in the car, our coat—without thinking, popping one on when leaving our car.

The biggest challenge has been at church. Singing hymns, one draws in far more air than when speaking. My mask sucked onto my mouth. I corrected the problem enough to relieve most of the discomfort. Tying it tighter keeps the cloth from moving as much.

A few weeks before masks were mandated in our county, I took to wearing one. Immediately, I noticed those with uncovered faces. I don’t rudely go up to strangers and question them, so I only wondered about it.

Now, each store has a sign at the door, informing us that masks are mandatory.

A few days ago, while in a grocery store I walked by a woman who did not have one on. I wanted to ask her about it. Is she not able to wear one for a medical reason, or has she had COVID-19 and feels she’s safe, or been vaccinated? If any of these, how do the rest of us know?

I wish we’d wear informative stickers for every occasion.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the 1980s, when wearing a seatbelt became law, it took a bit to get used to putting it on every time. At first, it seemed a nuisance. Soon, we were used to it. And buckling up probably became automatic before we would have guessed. And then we finally recognized we are safer wearing one than not.

And so it has gone with covering one’s face—or, at least, it has for me. And quickly noticing when others don’t. And wondering why. And, more than anything, wishing they would, believing we are safer with them on.

With seatbelts, when we remove ours it means we’ve reached our destination. How sweet it will be when we do the same with our masks.

We’ll know we’ve arrived.

Men: how do your wives describe you?

A recent article in USA Today grabbed my attention. The topic was how differently men and women (in traditional, heterosexual relationships) have responded to the pandemic, and how many husbands have not been supportive of their wives with coronavirus protocols. The article caused me to reflect on my experiences with men and women.

Here’s the article:

As I write, keep in mind I speak of generalities and not stereotypes. A stereotype is something such as “All Germans are stubborn,” where a generality is “Germans are blond-haired and blue-eyed.” Generalities can turn into stereotypes, usually unfairly. Sometimes, they are earned. I fear in the discussion here, men might have earned a stereotype, and a negative one at that.

Regarding the pandemic, women tend to take it more seriously than men. More men than women believe it is a hoax, or are “COVID-deniers.” (That more males than females have died from the disease, might these be greatly contributing to this?)

Women obediently wear a face covering in far great numbers than do men. And mind their distance with others. And refrain from potentially unsafe gatherings. Again, this is in general.

That’s one aspect, but here’s information from the article that prompted me to write: when wives appeal to husbands to mask up, keep distance, and mind where they go, many men don’t listen, or they argue, and they do as they please. And, in the process, leave their wives frustrated, unsupported, going it alone. For the woman in the article, she reached the point where she’s speaking of divorce.

These things remind me of differences I saw when I was a pastor, and with my current experience with parents who have transgender children.

At my church in Port Hope, Michigan, we had a church school. Few fathers attended the meeting of the Parent/Teacher League. Parent/teacher conferences saw mostly moms sitting with their child’s teacher. While fathers were far more visible at big events—such as talent shows and science fairs—they lagged behind mothers.

In all of these instances, might the men have been working? Yes. And, in the old days—say, when I was a kid—that explained most instances of dads not being available for these things, but these days? When women are working in numbers nearly equal to men?

I occasionally asked women about their hubbies. “Oh, he’s hunting,” was the, um, stereotypical response. Another comment made by women—well, I bet you know it: “When he gets home from work, he’s done working for the day. When I get home, I have to make supper, do the laundry, and help the kids with their homework.”

Are stereotypical reasons behind why more men don’t attend parent/teacher conferences, and other occasions typically handled by women?

When I received calls of concern over whatever-it-might-be, I suspect it was easily eight out of ten times that it was the wife who contacted me, regardless of the situation.

Because I was familiar with this, when I sat with couples I was preparing for marriage, I stressed to the men the need for them to be supportive of their wives, not to leave everything in her hands, to step up when a situation calls for it, to remember their marriage vows and be the person they promise to be.

Some men did well—remember, I’m speaking in generalities—yet, for all of my appeals, over the years my attitude became that I found women far more responsible than men in vital areas.

It’s way more than women stepping up and taking action. In everyday life, it’s men simply not being supportive. They don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to be bothered. They have other stuff to do. So, instead of getting roped in, many men avoid.

These are situations I observed, things I heard, where I was personally involved.

What causes this difference in men and women? The age-old areas at which we point are the way males and females are built, testosterone versus estrogen, how we’ve been socialized, nature versus nurture.

I don’t exclude any of those areas from having at least some effect on all of us. Do these mean that we—all of us—don’t have brains and hearts? Cannot men figure it out? Care deeply? Unite thinking and caring for their wives’ sakes and change their behavior?

I’m pleased to report I know many who do. I also know far too many who do not.

Where it concerns transgender, I see this exacerbated. Of all the parents who have found me because they have a trans child, read my blog or/and books, and then contacted me, only one has been a father.

And, regarding transgender, when I inquire about the husband/father, the women often report that these men don’t want to deal with it. It is not unusual for them to be offended by transgender, and that it has entered their home has left them deeply disturbed.

Not only is it left to the child’s mother to help their child and to become informed on the topic, these wives and mothers don’t have these husbands and fathers to lean on. Because of the sensitive nature of this subject, these women often find they can’t bring it up to family and friends, so they are left to go it on their own.

One last time, I stress that I’m talking in generalities—strikingly dramatic generalities.

Men: for the sake of your wife—to whom you have vowed your love and devotion—and for your children, wake up to your shortcomings.

Women: if you’ve seen yourself as the one who is the guilty party, do the same.

Women: if you are carrying the load, I commend you. Whether it’s the pandemic, or kids in school, or a trans child, or any of the other many areas of life, keep up the good work.

Men: if you are the husband and father needed by your wife and children, kudos to you. Continue to shine your love and concern for your loved ones.

It’s as simple as treating others the way we want them to treat us.

Do you like it when others don’t listen to you? When others are unsupportive of you? When others are stubborn? When others are unavailable? When others leave you frustrated and upset?

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. And nope.

So, don’t be that way. In this particular conversation, men, break the stereotype. Give your wives someone they want to brag about: “Oh, I never need to remind him to mask-up. And he makes sure the kids wash their hands when they get home.”

Yeah, be that guy.

A letter to my brother

When my brother Jim was an infant, his brain was damaged when his doctor treated him for whooping cough and encephalitis. When Jim turned five and I was on the way, Mom would no longer be able to provide Jim the intense care he needed and take care of Tom, Sue, and me. Dad and Mom made what Mom always called the hardest decision of her life: so that Jim could receive the care he needed, they signed him over to be a ward of the state of Michigan.

Initially, Jim lived in Coldwater. By the time I remember visiting him, he’d been moved to Fort Custer, in Battle Creek, two hours from us in Montague. In 1974, a place was built in Muskegon—thirty minutes away—and Jim was moved there. A few years later, he went into the best setting of all: a group home in North Muskegon. He’s been there ever since.

A few years ago, I began receiving birthday and Christmas cards from Jim. Tom—who, along with Mark, took over caretaker duties when Dad died—told me the man asked for the addresses of all of us siblings. Jim cannot read or write, but every card has his scribble of a signature.

I took to sending him birthday cards. This year, I included a letter. I assume one of the staff will read it to him. I have no idea whether Jim will understand a word of it. No matter. I had to write it. I needed to tell my brother how he impacted my life. My letter follows the photo, which was taken at Dad’s funeral in 2010—the only photo of all us us kids that I’ve ever seen.

John & Floye Eilers’ six kids. From left: Mark, me, Sue, Jim, Dave, Tom.

Dear Jim~

I hope this finds you doing well as you turn 69 years old!

Though I see you rarely, please know that I think of you often. It helps that I have the photo (printed on the back of this letter) of you and mom next to my computer. The photo is from August 1970, so you were 18. It was taken in the yard at Fort Custer, where, when the weather was nice, we ate a picnic lunch.

Those visits to you formed an important part of the person I became. Since you’re five years older than me, and Dad and Mom had to have the state take over your care when I was coming into the world, my earliest memories are populated by our visits.

When I was young, Fort Custer could be a scary place. When we arrived and Dad went to get you, we kids sometimes walked across the way to the building in which you lived. We couldn’t go in past the lobby, so we waited. Residents—either on their own or escorted by staff or family—would come through. Often, their reason for being at Fort Custer was obvious in their physical appearance. And some were so unusual to us, it scared us.

We must have told Mom. Being kids, we might have made comments or jokes that were inappropriate. Mom wasted no time teaching us.

First, she made sure we knew we didn’t need to be afraid. That physical appearance didn’t mean anything about a person. That every resident was safe to be around.

She then told us that all of you were no different than us. That you were human beings. Sons and daughters and brothers and sisters, and beloved by families just as we loved you. She encouraged us to say hi to you all, even to talk to folks. Just treat everyone as we would anyone else.

And she made sure we knew that you all were like us in being precious to the Lord, and that just because we were healthy so that we could live at home didn’t mean we were better than anyone. Those two things really stuck with me. I learned to respect all people, to treat them as I want them to treat me.

When I became a Lutheran minister, I went into a lot of hospitals and nursing homes. Because of my experiences as a kid, and knowing you, and Mom’s lessons, I was able to have a compassionate heart and friendly face for everyone. I was very thankful for being formed as that kind of a person.

Back to Fort Custer. When Dad wheeled you to where Mom was, I watched how you lit up with joy when you could see her. Your smile! It was huge! It was electric! Mom called your name as she met you. She kissed you and hugged you, and you soaked it in. You talked as best you could. Though we couldn’t make out your words, we knew what they were: “Hi, Mom! I love you!”

We kids gathered around. We told you everything a kid has to say—what we got for our birthday, or how our baseball team was doing, or about school. You looked at us intently. We were sure you understood. You smiled and laughed in all the right places.

In the mid ‘70s, when you were able to live in the new facility in Muskegon, we brought you home for special occasions. We loved watching you rip into Christmas presents—paper flying everywhere! And when you got to the gift, you looked at it wondering what it was, and then you looked at us. You smiled widely. We smiled with you. And laughed. And it was grand.

Tom and I walked you to the bathroom. You were a handful! Jim, you grabbed onto everything you were not supposed to grab—the door, the sink, the shelf. Ugh! What a challenge to get you onto the toilet. When we were done and had you back in your chair, Tom and I wiped the sweat off our brows and fell into our own seats!

Those were the days. Oh so long ago. I often long for those years. I miss Mom and Dad so much, as I am sure you do. I look forward to us all being reunited in heaven with our Lord Jesus. Be prepared, Jim, because I’m going to talk your ear off. I can’t wait for you to give it right back to me!

I love you, dear brother.

There you are with Mom in the photo from 1970. The little boy on the left is your nephew, my first child, Johnathan. Sadly, Johnathan got sick with a strep infection the day he was born and died the next day. His mom’s heart and mine were broken, but we didn’t waste time having another child. First, Erin. Then we had Jackie. Then, Addison. Finally, Alex. Two daughters and two sons to enjoy on earth, and they have so far given us seven grandchildren!

Don’t fear lasagna!

The sloppy gooiness! Comfort food at its best!

When I was a kid, I watched my mom make lasagna. I thought the job looked difficult. Then, when I ate my first wife’s lasagna, observing its many layers, I thought it must be hard to put together. I couldn’t imagine being skilled enough as a cook not to screw it up.

Since retiring, I’ve now made lasagna at least twenty times. I learned how wrong I was in my assessment of it. It turns out that it’s as easy to make as it is delicious!

In retirement, I have the things I needed to be able to get into cooking and gain confidence to learn new things: time and being alone.

Being alone? Yup. I need no one walking in and out to distract me, or to make suggestions or question me. And that Julie of mine—she has a habit of entering the kitchen and stirring stuff. “What are you doing?” “I’m just stirring it.” “I just stirred it! Get out of here!” I love her so.

As for time, I like to allow for an ample amount. I want to be relaxed. Enjoy the process. And if I screw up something, not be rushed to correct it.

I now have a good idea how long most things take to do, stuff like chopping an onion, sautéing a pound of ground beef, and cutting the fat off chicken. For new recipes, I read through the steps and consider the cooking time. Often, they tell you how long it will take to put together—I find all of my recipes online—and then I add enough time to give me confidence. And, it is important to note whether you want to serve the item right away, or whether it needs time to cool or, as with meat, to rest before cutting.

Back to lasagna. The recipe in the next photo is not mine, though I do vary it. That begs the question: how much do you have to change a recipe to be able to claim it as your own?

Here is how I vary the recipe:

  • Cottage cheese comes in a 28 oz. container. I don’t buy two, to get to 32 oz.
  • To make up for that, I use the entire bag of grated mozzarella cheese, which contains 4 cups.
  • I use the entire box of lasagna, regardless how many pieces it contains. Typically, there are 12 noodles.
  • I no longer spread a bit of sauce in the bottom. I cover the bottom with a thin layer of water.

Tip 1: I use oven-ready noodles. I can’t recommend them enough. Once—only once—did I use noodles that had to first be boiled. What a mess they were to work with.

Tip 2: I often put it together ahead of time, so I have time to work on other parts of the meal. To allow for it having cooled in the fridge, I put it into the oven for the final five minutes the oven is preheating.

It takes me about 40 minutes to ready this lasagna for baking.

When mixing the mozzarella with the cottage cheese, I throw in about 2/3 of the bag, or nearly 3 cups. Mix well! When you think you mixed it enough, don’t stop. You want to make sure you get the eggs thoroughly blended. The same goes for making meatloaf, or any recipe where you have lots of ingredients.

This is how I allow for my box of lasagna having more than nine noodles:

Don’t worry about gaps and overlaps. You never notice them when eating.
Don’t fuss with covering every inch. As it bakes, everything will even out.
I eyeball how much cheese and sauce for each layer. If one layer is thicker or thinner, you won’t notice—or care!—when eating.
I switch the noodle pattern as I go.
The side pieces having been broken for length. I save every bit for the top.
Don’t forget the water! It is essential in keeping everything moist.
Be sure to cover it for the first 45 minutes.
My daughter and granddaughter are huge fans.
As are my grandson and the wide-mouthed Julie.

More LCMS transgender misinformation

The article pictured above appears in the January 2021 issue of The Lutheran Witness. I found the information wanting, the focus wrongly placed, and the reader left with the wrong attitude toward gender dysphoria and transgender persons.

Scroll down past the photo of the magazine cover to find the letter I sent to the author.

In my review, you will see regular references to the author’s previous article—How do you know whether you are a man or a woman?—in our seminary journal, Concordia Theological Quarterly (CTQ). You may read my review of that article here: Scholarly article on gender dysphoria

I also refer to Swyer Syndrome. To learn more about it, click here: https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/5068/swyer-syndrome

Finally, I note that with this letter I sent the author a copy of my book, Ministering to Transgender Christians. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FHBNGQV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

As with every time I have communicated with persons in the LCMS, and all of the critiques I’ve put on this blog, my goal is to help correct wrong information, that the LCMS might accurately see gender dysphoria and transgender persons.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I write regarding your article in the January 2021 The Lutheran Witness. With your previous article in Concordia Theological Quarterly in mind, if I didn’t know you wrote this LW piece I would think it was authored by someone else. In your CTQ article on gender dysphoria and transgender, I found you to have presented a lot of good information. I didn’t agree with all of it, yet it was the best thing I’d read from anyone in the LCMS. This LW article sounds nothing like the CTQ one.

You might not have written the subtitles, yet it is noteworthy that the quote of Ephesians 4:15—that we speak the truth in love—did not happen in the text. Key areas are either inaccurate, misleading, or false.

After referring to our creation and of marriage as reflecting our relationship with the Lord, you wrote, “Anything the devil can do to distort that reflection, he will do.” Though you did not specify transgender, that is the topic of the article, and so that is where readers’ minds are, so they are set up to hear you saying that the effects of gender dysphoria are the doing of Satan and, therefore, of a spiritual/sinful temptation nature. Indeed, that this article appears in this issue dedicated to living a “Chaste and Decent Life,” with features on pornography and immodest dressing, further lends itself to presenting gender dysphoria as a spiritual issue and living as a transgender person synonymous with worldly, ungodly living.

Further, you wrote of sexual ethics, which also set up the reader to hear this: gender dysphoria, and believing one is transgender, are ethical issues, and not the experiencing and addressing of a physical malady.

Writing about transitioning, you use “want” and “wish.” These are incorrect, and reinforce that gender dysphoria is a sinful desire. Gender dysphoric persons, including those who find they need to try transitioning to see if it helps ease their pain, don’t want or wish to be the opposite sex. Rather, they experience themselves as the other gender.

The gender dysphoric Christians I know want and wish they could be at peace with their birth sex, or their dysphoria is so intense they wish they’d been born in the biological sex in which they experience themselves.

And, try as they might to remain living in the gender in which they were identified at birth, striving to do so through trust in the Lord, spiritual care, talk therapy, and outright determination, sometimes they cannot. Indeed, in your CTQ article you rightly noted that intense talk therapy is rarely successful in alleviating gender dysphoria. To this, I can attest. I went into therapy with the desire to be at peace with my male self. I forced two therapists to address every last possibility why I was in conflict. I sought every means to lessen my pain, including placing myself under the care of two brother pastors when I was still in the ministry, and two more pastors after I retired.

I have gotten to know a number of transgender Christians, who have all had the same attitude, who have used talk therapy to find the strength to abide in their birth sex, who have used sheer determination, who have placed themselves in the hands of the Lord and the care of their pastors, and have strived in prayer that He might deliver them from this gender conflict. I can only think of one of these persons, who has so far found the strength to continue living in his birth sex, and one other who uses cross sex hormone therapy to ease his dysphoria—and it’s worked so far, though he had to have a double mastectomy because of excessive breast growth.

In your CTQ article, while commending all Christians to confession and absolution, you also said this experiencing gender dysphoria is not a spiritual issue to be specifically addressed with the Means of Grace. Yet, in this LW piece, I believe readers would believe confessing one’s gender conflict as sin is exactly what is prescribed.

Each of the gender dysphoric and transgender Christians I’ve gotten to know have gone the route of confessing as sin their conflict, believing it a spiritual issue before they learned more about its being a physical malady. They have strived in confession and absolution, receiving the Lord’s Supper, bathing themselves in the Father’s grace, clinging to Christ. They have longed to find comfort in their birth sex.

They know the lay of the land. They don’t want to transition. They don’t want to harm their marriages. They don’t want to disrupt their families. They don’t want to face rejection in every sphere of their lives. They don’t want to be kicked out of their churches.

They find themselves stuck. And, should they try transitioning, seeking the same physical relief their brothers and sisters in Christ seek from medicines and surgeries to heal their infirmities, they are condemned as sinners and kicked out of the Church. I also know that, firsthand.

They are left stuck between the heaviest of rocks and the firmest of hard places. Is it any wonder persons in this spot attempt suicide at a 2 in 5 rate? And the Church is doing nothing to help them.

It cannot be overstressed: gender dysphoric persons do not wish or want to be the opposite sex. They wish for healing and want some internal peace. When we continually misstate, with wish and want, their desiring to be the opposite sex, we do harm to them, because we arm with misinformation those who do not understand, those who do not accept this malady as a real, physical condition—people who, in their state of misunderstanding, end up condemning as unrepentant sinners those who transition.

It might not be the intention not to put the best construction on their situation, but that is what happens.

You defined dysphoria as intense unhappiness. It’s much deeper than that. I use a literal translation—ill feelings—to stress the physical ailment aspect of it.

“Unhappiness” gives people ammunition. You might hear this reaction, “They just want to be happy. Well, lots of us are not happy with many things in our lives. That doesn’t give us permission to sin!”

Happiness is not the goal of transitioning; it is a byproduct of getting healthy. Gender dysphoria is not intense unhappiness; it is intense distress.

Discussing our fall into sin, you wrote: “[W]e can fall into the trap of loathing our physical form and hoping to somehow transcend our biology. Transitioning one’s biological programming is an attempt to transcend that biology,” followed by, “Current trends in sexual ethics encourage people to find their identity by transcending their physical flesh. This encourages people to deny God’s good creation of their bodies. … It is contrary to the Gospel to claim that the immaterial soul is one’s real identity …” None of the gender dysphoric and transgender Christians I know agree with any of this. None have this attitude.

Attitude is everything—the starting point from which a person undertakes transitioning. The trans Christians I know do not listen to current trends in sexual ethics. They are not part of a so-called “transgender movement,” which disparages everything biblically true about our creation. Rather, these Christians are hurting intensely and are seeking physical, emotional, and mental relief—not to transcend their biology but to get their messed up biology into enough order that they can abide in their flesh.

These Christians I’ve gotten to know have flocked to me because they have found in me one who is as peculiar as them: Bible-believing, traditional and conservative in how they think and live, who do not deny God’s good creation of their bodies, yet experience this gender conflict. They have the same attitude as Christians suffering cancer, or a birth defect, or Alzheimer’s. They are living the outcome of Adam’s sin—physical harm to their bodies—and as with other ailments and diseases are striving to find some temporal healing.

They reject these silly notions espoused by progressive thinkers, that we can transcend our biology. They reject thinkers—Christian or otherwise—who claim the soul is one’s real identity. They know who they are, in their biological sex, and have no interest in denying it. Indeed, as I speak with them, I talk about our coming resurrection, and ask them if they recognize that they will be raised from the dead as their biological sex, finally free of this confounding sex-and-gender conflict.

All of them recognize this truth. All of them rejoice in Christ’s gift of the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life when there will be no more pain, where the former things will not be remembered.

Sometimes, when I introduce this topic, they don’t like the idea of being resurrected in their birth sex. They experience themselves so intensely as the opposite sex that to be resurrected in their birth sex sounds too foreign. I speak gently to them, reminding them that when they are resurrected the conflict will be gone, that they will be healthy. Eventually, they are able to rejoice that the Lord will, indeed, accomplish what right now seems impossible: they will live in peace and joy as their birth sex.

Onto the Church’s response. I appreciated the paragraph in which you suggest the church be neither repulsed nor affirming, agreeing with the sense of affirming in which you write. Sadly, in their repulsion, too many Christians link all transgender persons with liberal trans activists, yet there are many trans Christians who disagree with these activists’ ideas.

As you move on to how the Church should minister to gender dysphoric and trans persons, I don’t see a resolution for those who have transitioned. Perhaps, you were intentional, leaving to each pastor to minister according to each situation.

You wrote, “If someone you know suffers from gender identity confusion, love him.” What does this mean? Listen and be compassionate so long as the person doesn’t transition? Continue in that attitude if the person does transition, or now reject them?

We must ask: what if a Christian transitions? Does the pastor and congregation listen to this person’s confession of faith and how transitioning is viewed? Is this child of God to be excommunicated if they do not repent and cease transitioning?

In your paragraph beginning, “Furthermore,” you rightly acknowledged faith in Christ does not cause gender dysphoria to go away. Then, you reinforced that they are suffering a spiritual problem, instead of a physical malady: “Rather, people who know and love our Lord Jesus continue to struggle against all kinds of sins…”

The gender dysphoric Christians of whom I write do not “delude themselves” or “embrace the lies of the world” or “reject the intentions of their Creator.” They don’t “need to be admonished and invited to confession and absolution” for their gender struggle any more than we would expect a person striving with cancer to confess as sin their pain and desire for wholeness of being.

This point cannot be made too often or too strongly. These Christians hold the same faith you hold, believe the same doctrine you believe, long to serve the Lord and their neighbor to the glory of the Father as you long to do so. There is only one difference between them and you: they are stuck in a confounding malady that is misunderstood and disrespected for what it is.

In your CTQ article, you attested to gender dysphoria being a real, physical malady, when you stated that calling it an intersex condition is consistent with the evidence, and when you recognized that talk therapy rarely eases one’s struggle. Here is a portion of that section: “The hypothesis that gender dysphoria is an intersex condition of the mind/brain is consistent with the evidence. It also helps explain the strong resistance GD [gender dysphoria] has to all forms of psychotherapy and all current drug therapies. If this hypothesis is granted, one cannot argue that maleness and femaleness are determined exclusively by the genitals, gonads, secondary sex traits, or even chromosomes.”

You recognize that maleness and femaleness are not determined exclusively by the chromosomes, etc. Indeed, as only one example of this, women with Swyer Syndrome have XY/male chromosomes, yet they virtually always experience themselves as female. This is one vivid example of how our physical nature does not automatically line up with our experienced self. With Swyer’s, it is easily accepted as fact—a woman with male chromosomes—because it is observable. Most folks’ gender dysphoria is not genetically or otherwise observable. Does that make it less physically real?

Finally, here is how I would expect the average LCMS reader to take your LW article: “Some people are intensely unhappy with their bodies, and because they deny that physical biology is as important as their spirit—which is where we experience happiness—they find transitioning acceptable. They deny God’s Word regarding how the Lord has created us and, therefore, are sinning.”

I’m worn out, Scott. It’s coming up on six years since I went public with my gender dysphoria, and articles such as this continually appearing in LW and other places make me feel that, for every educational step I take forward, I’ve been pushed back five leaps.

Please, read my book. I provide specific, detailed information as to how to minister to gender dysphoric and transgender Christians. Evaluate all of my information, theology, and suggestions for spiritual care. Consider the Christians I profile. As I do in the book, bathe everything in the Good News of our Lord Jesus, so that the Gospel wins the day for hurting children of God.

Scott, might we work together to provide good information for the sake of our fellow Christians?

The Lord be with you!

Remembering our dear Gerri

Gerri, casing the joint at my sister Sue’s wedding reception in 1975. That’s Dad, against the wall, never looking better in that cool tux.

She was like a second mom. And an older sister. And always a great friend.

Gerri Koclanis—the better half of Dean & Gerri, my parents’ best friends for twenty years—died on January 28, 2021. She was 86. Dean left us in 2010, two months after my father died. My mother died in 1986.

Her obituary: https://www.colettasonsfuneralhome.com/obituary/GeraldineGerri-Koclanis

During our Hart years, 1964 to 1968, Dean & Gerri came into our lives. They were newlyweds. From Chicago. Doing what so many Chicagoans do: hitting one of Michigan’s lakes for fishing. Even more, their first visit was their honeymoon trip. They loved it so much, they kept coming back.

Dad was a regular at Harry’s Boats and Baits. That’s where he met them in 1967. Before we knew it, Dean & Gerri were over at our house for supper.

We kids—Tom was 14, Sue was 13, I was 10, Dave was 9, and Mark was 5—immediately took to them. It was easy. Well, with Gerri it was. Dean was a curmudgeon. Actually, he only played the curmudgeon. It didn’t take much to get him laughing with us.

Gerri? She was just plain fun. She played with us. She was goofy with us. She got our jokes. She made it her joy to live at our level.

We formed a bond in 1967. The summer of ‘68, they headed back to Hart for frequent fishing trips. Gerri began fishing less and spending time with Mom. Dad and Dean hit the lake.

A potential snag was soon brewing. Dad was taking a new job and we were heading back to our hometown of Montague. We kids were freaking out, that we would be losing our new friends. Dean & Gerri showed how close we’d all become by helping us pack and move.

Montague is a half hour south of Hart. Like Hart, Montague also sits along a lake. Dean could have switched fishin’ holes to White Lake. Nope. He liked Hart. What to do?

Mom solved the problem: “Would you like to stay at our house?” Problem solved! They came up for weekends. Dean drove north each day to fish. Gerri almost always stayed in Montague.

And we played cards. And Scrabble. And Yahtzee. And more cards.

Circa 1976: Mom and Gerri in their usual spots, with my (still!) best friend Tim Todd in the guest spot. I always sat on the other end . . . with the best access to the refrigerator.

And we laughed. Everything was funny to us. We laughed so loud, my sister Sue remembered, “We wondered if people going by our house thought we were a bunch of drunks.” We were, if one can get drunk on silliness.

We kids so loved them staying with us that we never wanted them to leave. As soon as they arrived, we asked, “When are you leaving?” It came out wrong. We meant, “How long are you staying?”

Our wrongly phrased question stuck. Every time they arrived: “When are you leaving?” Years later, when I was in my 30s, every time I saw them I still asked, “When are you leaving?” Gerri laughed. Dean just shook his head and walked away.

Dean was of Greek descent, and had the skin tone and features to show it. Clearly, Gerri was not. We learned her maiden name was Murphy. Soon, she had a nickname: Murph!

Because they wouldn’t arrive until early Friday evenings— the drive was nearly 3½ hours—and had to leave Sunday afternoon, we stayed up late. Always at the kitchen table. Always with a card game going. Often with someone zipping down to Papa’s Pizza for a bag of Pappa Whoppas.

Like us, they were Roman Catholic. During Lent, when you’re not supposed to eat meat on Fridays or eat between meals, we figured out how to get around it. We preheated the oven at 11:30 p.m. Put the frozen pizzas into the oven at 11:45. At midnight—when Friday became Saturday, and the Pope could no longer nab us—we chowed down and fueled up for card-playing late into the night. Good Catholics—that was us!

One time, they arrived from Chicago with a box of cream-filled long johns. All manners went out the window as we kids snarfed those up. Dean was not too happy. Dean should have known that would happen.

The long johns became a regular thing. We kids came to expect them. Dean & Gerri knew how to spoil us.

Gerri did two things that perturbed Mom. She washed dishes with her hands, instead of a dish cloth, and she buttered an ear of corn by grabbing the butter with her hand. Mom was not shy to tell Gerri of her disgust over both. I think Gerri kept doing both because it was so easy—and fun—to get Mom’s goat.

It was the same reason, every Thanksgiving, when Mom asked how the turkey was, I replied, “I’ve had worse.” “Whattttt???” But I digress.

Brother Tom swooping Gerri off her feet.

One January—perhaps in 1977 or ‘78—Mom wasn’t feeling well. That, and it being a typical Michigan winter with lots of snow and cold and short, bleak days, she was down in the dumps. On a Saturday evening, my brother Tom, his wife Jo, and I were at the Stony Lake Tavern. We were talking about Mom. I think it was Jo who said, “You know what would make Mom feel better? A visit from Gerri.”

But how would this work? Gerri had a job. She never made the long drive by herself. We didn’t let either of those stop us from calling her.

She loved the idea. She could take the week off work. We would drive overnight to go get her. Dean would come up the next weekend to retrieve her.

We decided we would surprise Mom.

After midnight, Tom and Jo and I hit the road. We got to Chicago in the wee hours. Gerri made us a hearty breakfast. Since Mom always went to 11:00 a.m. Mass, we timed our arrival back home for when she was at church.

Mom got home and wondered why Tom and Jo were over (I still lived at home). No reply was needed. Gerri appeared with the big reveal. The look on Mom’s face and her scream of delight … well, it might be the neatest thing I ever witnessed with my mother. And when she learned Gerri could stay the entire week … well, where are the cards?!

Brother Mark reminded me of one of our crazy antics from that week. We had a huge snowstorm. The roads, while plowed, were still drifting. But, McDonald’s had just built a restaurant by the freeway—the first in our area—and we would not be denied some burgers and fries! The three-mile drive was akin to warnings these days about travelling during the pandemic: only do it if you have to. Clearly, McDonald’s was a have-to!

Mom died suddenly in 1986. That changed everything. Dean and Gerri continued to come up, but now they parked their mobile home at Gurney Park in Hart. By then, I was married to Kim and we had kids. Whenever Dean and Gerri were up, it became our practice to go up on Saturday afternoon.

Gerri loved our kids the way she loved us. She spoiled all of us. One time, she had a box of those wafer cookies, the ones with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. The kids loved them. Gerri then so reliably had them on hand that we came to call them “Dean & Gerri cookies.” My family still call them that to this day.

We feasted so well those Saturday evenings that I came to say, “The question isn’t when are we going to eat, or what are we going to eat, but how much are we going to eat?”

Thank you, Gerri—and you too, Dean—for being our friends. You were great for our folks. You showered us kids with affection and devotion. We were all the richer with you in our lives.

My breakfast burrito recipe

Simple. Quick. Delicious. And don’t forget that it’s filling—enough to hold you until lunch. That’s my breakfast burrito. And that’s me, below, enjoying one on January 28, 2021.

I fell in love with breakfast burritos because of McDonald’s. Theirs became my go-to on-the-road breakfast. A couple of years ago, I found myself wanting to make them at home. I began experimenting. It wasn’t long before I landed on the recipe I make about four mornings each week.

The ingredients:

  • Two eggs
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Two breakfast sausages
  • One tortilla shell
  • Hot sauce

Crack two eggs into your favorite skillet. Drop some cheese onto them.

Microwave the sausage. They take 40 seconds in my microwave.

Cut them into small pieces and add them to the eggs. As you flip the eggs, cut them up so as to mix all of the contents.

Ready one tortilla.

Plop on the goods. Add some hot sauce, or whatever you like. Perhaps, some salsa? Hot peppers? Chocolate fudge? (Okay, I was kidding about the salsa.)

From start to start-eating: under ten minutes!

If you are counting calories, the burrito clocks in at 440:

  • 140: 2 grade A large eggs
  • 120: 2 breakfast link sausages
  • 130: tortilla shell
  • 50: no more than 1/8 cup cheese
  • 0: hot sauce

That’s enough protein and carb calories to satisfy and keep you until lunch, and it’s few enough not to blow up a healthy count for the day.

A neat thing about this recipe is that the ingredients perfectly fit into the shells. Fold it up and enjoy! Let’s give one more look at the happy diner these breakfast burritos make out of me: