An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park

Author’s note: During this week of Thanksgiving, it seemed judicious to write something a bit lighter than usual. These are serious times, however, and there are crucial issues impacting our nation, including the ongoing struggle for justice and equality, and the continuing redefinition of Christianity apart from (and often at odds with) the primary allegiance of following Jesus. So, I’ll get back to those weightier matters next week. In the meantime, enjoy the break!

Early to bed, early to rise makes one – ever more susceptible to infomercials and local news media seeking to keep viewers from changing channels.

The TV comes on moments after the “brew” button is hit on the coffeemaker. Not in need of a folding ladder or magic cookware, I move quickly through the channels.

The surfing devolves as I come upon wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are fleecing religiously minded insomniacs who are rich in gullibility and low in the retirement funds too easily given over to such charlatans. Combining gimmicks, James Robison peddles pills along with a false gospel.

Surely local news is a safer bet for starting one’s day regionally informed and with the right layers of clothing. But a traffic report begins with this: “We were the first to tell you …”

So what? Had you been the third reporter on the scene would the information be different? Just the facts and alternate routes, please.

Then the well-dressed, rookie “certified meteorologist,” who drew the early shift, stands before the green screen to remind viewers of what the weather was like yesterday.

Yes, we know; we were all in attendance.

Then she promises to tell us – “in just 10 minutes” – what to expect today.

Uh, there’s a weather app in my pocket. Next channel.

The Beverly Hillbillies provides a nice landing spot. And the scenarios are significantly more believable than the ones offered by Pat Robertson and Kenneth Copeland.

And Flatt & Scruggs might show up to sing, “Pearl, Pearl, Pearl, come give your love to Earl; don’t you marry Lester Flatt, he slicks his hair with ’possum fat …”

Scanning the onscreen guide, I see more options are ahead at a later hour. There are listings for “Fox & Friends” and “Very Scary People,” which I assume to be the same show.

By now, the coffee is ready and the computer has awakened from a night of rest. The sun will come up soon, and that will be worth more than a casual glance to bring perspective and inspiration.

In the meantime, Barbara Brown Taylor’s latest book – a collection of sermons – is within reach without sacrificing the hand that holds the hot and holy coffee. Priorities matter.

Her thought-provoking words send me into the biblical texts out of which her reflections arose. There’s some pretty interesting stuff in that ancient book too.

Now to work while the mind is refreshed and the coffee cup is refilled. It’s time to push some publishing tasks and other projects down the line. (There’s a special joy in knowing my colleagues in other time zones will awaken to find I’ve handed off work to them.)

Among the other tasks is the ongoing pondering of my next column. So I wonder: Is there something worth addressing out there somewhere?

Or will those who arise at whatever hour, and read what I’ve written, think their time would have been better spent watching The Beverly Hillbillies?

Or perhaps ordering the secret serum that “visually reduces under-eye bags and wrinkles in just 10 minutes.”

“But wait, that’s not all!”

Or as we say at Good Faith Media, “There’s always more to tell.”

So y’all come back now, you hear?

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