Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Set the Tone; Live in the Moment (Chapter 7)

Set the Tone; Live in the Moment

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” [1]

I was recently at the funeral of an 18 year old girl.  She was severely handicapped from birth and had not been expected to see her first birthday.  The Rabbi conducting the service, her dad, and others who spoke mentioned the fact that Louise lived “in the moment” and they encouraged us to do the same.  Louise had no choice.  She never worried about what happened or didn’t happen yesterday, nor was she concerned about what might happen tomorrow.  She communicated with her caretakers and others through her huge smiles and her grunts and disagreeable looks.

The message to us was that we would gain by setting aside our concerns about the past and the future.  Our friend Roberta has lived that way for the 17 years she has been working in Haiti.  The motto she has lived by has been “God will provide.”  [2]  She tells the story about sitting down to dinner with the children she had taken into her home to provide for them.  There was no food in the house and one of the children asked. “What will we eat?”  Her response was consistent with her life style, “God will provide.”  Soon there was a knock on the door and a neighbor was there with a live chicken – dinner!

I am sure there have been similar times in your life when you got to the end of your rope, tied a knot to hold on, waited for God, and nothing happened.  Those are the hardest.  But he did promise.  And he does sometimes take an opportunity to teach us patience and perseverance - though we wish he wouldn’t bother.  During the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught that we shouldn’t worry about what to eat, drink, or wear, but that we should seek his kingdom.[3]  These are not metaphors about our next promotion.  He is writing to Haitians who have good reason to be concerned about what to feed their children tonight.  He is telling them not to worry about it; he will take care of it.  And they look around and see their neighbors with nothing to put on the table.  And he says to be concerned for their souls and for our own.  Either we believe in a God who is in charge and who is able to keep promises and who will keep them, or we don’t.

“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?  If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?”[4]  The answer is, “Because we can.”  And maybe, “Because we must.” 

Imagine “being concerned” about the health of a family member, on a situation at work, or a relationship issue and someone says, “Just relax; it will all work out for the best.”  Is that a relaxing direction, or doesn’t it just add to our consternation?  "Oh bother, now not only do I have to deal with all these issues in my life, but in addition I have to do it in a peaceful way!”  I don’t recommend going around telling people to relax.  It probably won’t help.   But that is what God wants of us.

God wants us to love him and trust him and to know that he will take care of us in the long run.  And knowing that and trusting him to keep his promises is what it takes to become a confident, peaceful representative of the truth and of the good news here on this earth.

[1] Matthew 6:34
[2] Genesis 22:8
[3]Matthew 6:31-34
[4] Luke 12:25-26

Friday, December 14, 2012

Take a Break and Let the Spirit Get Back in Front.

“He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me,
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand, He leadeth me.”[1]

I am sure you have heard this old story.  There is a small group of hikers eating their lunch beside a mountain trail.  Soon a man comes huffing and puffing up the trail and they invite him to stop for a rest.  He says he can’t and asks if they saw a group of Boy Scouts go up the mountain awhile ago.  “I have to catch up with them,” he explains, “I am their leader.”

The story is often used to introduce a discussion of the nature of leadership, but I think it illustrates our relationship with the Spirit as well.  Like the energetic young scouts, we want to run out in front.  We don’t need a leader – until we get into trouble that is.

The Spirit leads us quietly
We do so want to direct our own steps, to plan our own course, to map our own way.  It is the American way.  It is the American story.  We start with the cards we are dealt and we play our way to the top.  And we get to define the top: the top of our profession, the manager`s job at work, the nicest house or car or boat in the neighborhood,  the biggest TV among our friends. 

But God says it is not in us.[2]  That is not a put down.  He is not saying we are not capable of developing a business plan and carrying it out.  He is just saying that our vision is too limited to direct our spiritual lives.  We cannot see what he can see.

On to peace
But his spirit will lead us to peace if we get out of the way.  Peace is one of his promised fruits.[3]  We need to quit being concerned about who and what people think we are.  Isn’t that a major part of what concerns us?  What will my coworkers and friends think of me?

Who are we really?
We need to figure out first of all who we really are.  Some of us don’t really know.  We are so concerned with our image, so focused on what others think of us that we have not spent any time figuring out who we really are.  We need to do that.  We should be able to put it in a few words and know that it makes sense.  And we need to put it in the context of what role God is calling us to play in his kingdom.  What does he want us to accomplish for his work in our workplace, in our family, in our neighborhood, in our church and civic club, among our golf or fishing partners?  Once we have defined those roles, we have figured out who we really are – and who we are not.

That may be the hardest and most important part – figuring out who we are not.  We are not defined by the roles we have been assigned at work or in the family, church or neighborhood.  We are not the manager of so-and-so or the deacon of whatever.  We are not the “head of the house” or the secretary of the board of such-and-such.  We are instead ambassadors of God,[4] each of us with a separate set of good deeds programmed for us from the beginning of our time here on earth.[5]

“Be still and know”
How do we do that?  How can we know what role God wants for us?  Remember the story of Elijah?  God wanted to speak to him.  But God was not in the strong wind that passed by.  Then an earthquake came, but God was not in the earthquake either.  Then there was a fire, but God was not there either.  As Elijah waited for God he was able to find him only in a still small voice.[6]

You see that is what we must do to find what God wants us to do.  We must be still and listen.[7]  We will have to know the scriptures because if we conclude that something is God’s will for us but it is contrary to the written word of God, we can know that it is a thought that was planted by Satan. [8]

This will likely be some agonizing work and might take quite some time.  Be patient.  One of the fruits of the Spirit is patience.[9]

And pray.  These are answers you cannot work out on your own.  God’s spirit has to show you the way.  And work really hard at getting yourself out of the way.   This is not about you.  It is about your neighbors in the broadest, Biblical sense of that term.[10]

Resign from the cast of the play
Once we have figured out who God wants us to be, and we have it firmly in our mind, and we are diligently working toward really being who we want to be and should be, we need to admit it to ourselves and others.  Quit trying to appear to be who you are not.  That will be a hard thing for some of us.  We have worked so hard, so long on our image that it has become a part of who we are.  Breaking the habits connected with being someone else may be as hard as breaking a smoking or drinking habit.  But with God’s help, we can do it.

I need to pause here to ask you to think about your church family as well as your personal family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends.  What is the image you have been trying to convey to your church?  Who is it that you have wanted them to think you are?  That may be an even harder role to break out of than the image you have been trying to convey at work.

We are all just people, but God loves us anyway.  We all slip up.  None of us has a right to claim salvation by our own doing.  We are no better than those we seek to teach about the good news.  Once we can own that fact, God can put us to work, and not until then.

Move your feet
But at that point, we need to be ready to move our feet.  God can’t use us very effectively if we are just sitting in a pew or if we are sitting on our couch at home with the doors locked.  We need to plan how we are going to meet people in our neighborhoods and at our workplace.  Someone has suggested that we should be doing things like being a repeat customer at the same establishments so we can get to know the clerks, joining a civic group or a hobby club, taking a class.  That is, we need to be strategic about how we get to know people and about how best to represent God’s love to those around us.  Our prayer each morning should include something about how God will use us that day to show his love to others and to help someone who needs help.

[1][1] J. H. Gilmore, 1862
[2] Jeremiah 10:23
[3] Galatians 5: 22-23
[4] 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
[5] Ephesians 2:19
[6] 1 Kings 19:11-13
[7] Psalms 46:10
[8] 1 John 4:1-3
[9] Galatians 5:22-23
[10] Luke 10:25-37

Monday, December 3, 2012


Another excerpt from "Peace on Earth?" By David May

What is the Proper Place for Fear in our Lives?

“God is bigger than the boogie man,
He’s bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV,
Oh, God is bigger than the boogie man,
And he’s watching out for you and me- ee-ee, hey!”
-          Junior Asparagus[1]

Enough said.  God is indeed bigger than anything in this world that we might choose to be afraid of.  Jesus has overcome the world.  He said so.[2]  And he tied that directly to his desire that we be at peace in the world.  He was not talking about some esoteric peace in the sky bye and bye.  In the same verse where he spoke of us having peace, he mentioned our troubles in the world and then affirmed that he has overcome the world.  That is where our peace comes from.  He is our shepherd and our guardian and he is in charge!

In 1 John the author is talking about contrary spirits, those who would deny the divinity of Christ.  In the middle of that conversation he confirmed that because we are from God we have overcome those spirits, “because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.”[3]  That has to be the text for Junior Asparagus’ little reassuring song about God being bigger than the boogie man.  Junior, by the way is one of the characters in the Veggie Tales series.  I’d love to watch those writers at work some day.  They must have a great time.

We are overcomers!
One chapter after the “Greater is he” quote, John reiterates: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.  Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”[4]

We are believers and we have nothing to be afraid of.  But sometimes we act in ways that deny the truth of that fact.  Particularly to outsiders, we tend to look very afraid.  We are afraid someone is taking our country in the wrong direction.  We are afraid of the collapse of the American dream.  We are afraid of Al- Qaeda and other terrorists.  We are afraid that immigrants will ruin the good deal we’ve got – a better deal than most anyone else in the world.  What we fail to understand is that God is bigger than all of that and more.  And he is on our side.  He has our back.

Why are we afraid?
Why are we afraid?  Because we don’t trust.  And because of how we view this world in which we live.  Have we never really sung and believed the old song “This world is not my home”?  We have put down roots here; unlike Abraham who just packed up and moved when God said “Go” without even knowing where he was headed.[5]

I love this nation.  It is the best deal we could find or build on this earth.  Could it be better?  For sure.  Could it be worse?  Are you kidding?  Have you read a newspaper or watched the news in the last ten years?  In fact that’s what we are afraid of, isn’t it?  That we will become what we read about in the rest of the world.  Yet we need to understand that America is a part of the material world.  Sisters and brothers, America is not our home.  We are ”…Just a passing through.  Our treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.”[6] 

We have been commissioned to make America as loving a place as we possibly can, but we are not charged with preventing its financial or military collapse.  If we finish our lives sneaking around on Sundays to meet with other Christians for worship in order to avoid arrest by the ruling Muslim powers, we should understand that God is still in charge.  And we can continue being his loving people is spite of what else is going on around us.  Just like the little bird, singing away in the middle of the cat 5 storm.

Do not be afraid
For us not to be afraid must be one of the most persistent parts of God’s message to us.  He must have understood the difficulty of that request.  Over 60 times in the Old Testament he said to mankind, “Do not be afraid.”  And again in the New Testament he kept saying it, “Do not be afraid.”  Whether it was through Moses speaking to the people as they were preparing to go in and take the promised land,[7]  or through an angel appearing to Mary to tell her of her future[8] the message was the same: we are not to be a fearful people.  Reassuring the Israelites, Moses, speaking for God said, “He will not fail you or forsake you.”  That is still his reassurance to us today and his reminder of why it is that we are afraid.  We are afraid because we do not trust that God will truly take all of what is happening in our horrible lives right now and will work it together for our good.[9]  But he will.  He promised.  And he keeps his promises.

When the disciples woke Jesus up on the boat to calm the stormy sea, he had to calm his students first.  “Why are you afraid?” he asked.  And he accused them of being of little faith.[10]  You see that is the answer.  We are afraid because our faith is weak. Our trust is weak.  And when we are afraid, whether it is because of big scheme political reasons, or over the potential loss of a loved one to sickness or divorce, or because of the potential for financial loss or loss of face among our friends or coworkers, we need to ask God to increase our faith.  And we should ask our friends to pray the same prayer for us. 

Courage has to be a major part of the peace Jesus wanted to leave us with.   But it is not a courage that comes from being sure of ourselves and our own abilities.  When Moses spoke to Israel just before they went in to conquer the promised land, he told them to be strong and courageous, not because they were a powerful army or because the enemy was weak, but because God was going with them.  He told them not to be afraid or tremble at their enemy.  “He will not fail you or forsake you,” Moses said.  God says we don’t have anything to be afraid of because he has our back.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junior_Asparagus#Junior_Asparagus
[2] John 16:33
[3] 1 John 4:4
[4] 1 John 5:4-5
[5] Hebrews 11:8
[6]Words and Music by Albert E. Brumley
© 1965 -
[7] Deuteronomy 31:6
[8] Luke 1:30
[9] Romans 8:28
[10] Matthew 8:25-27

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chapter 3 - Peace on Earth?

The proper place for anger

“For the churning of milk produces butter,
And pressing the nose brings forth blood;
So the churning of anger produces strife.”[1]

What makes you angry?
Is your anger most related to how the boss treats you? The insensitivity of your coworkers? The lack of understanding your spouse has for you? Your kids’ lack of respect or their laziness? Traffic? I am guessing it is mostly about how other people treat you.
Our anger is closely related to our fear.  Often we are angry about whatever we are afraid of.  Anger covers the fear.  We come on strong and push back on the situation or person who scares us and it protects us from confronting our fear.  In that way, anger is destructive to the person who exhibits it, because it covers the underlying emotion and prevents us from having to deal with it.  Without the anger, we could meet our fears head on, but anger prevents us from doing so.

Did you ever flare up at someone you love, quickly and without warning; and then be amazed at yourself? “Where did that come from?” you wonder. And when you examine the situation, the anger rose from something the other person did or said that triggered old fears – maybe honest fears for how the person will turn out, or that they will stop loving you, or that they will not find their way into heaven or that their attitude toward you will embarrass you in the eyes of others. And those fears in turn triggered the anger.
A little or a lot makes no difference
Some of us go through life showing very little anger.  For whatever reason, temperament maybe, it just takes a lot to make us mad.  And when the door to our anger is opened, it is often sudden, loud, maybe out of control.  But it is short lived.  Then we are under control again.  Our burst of anger itself scares us.  It is inconsistent with our view of ourselves and we hurry to bury it again.

Others of us wear our anger on our sleeves.  Anything, it seems can touch it off and no one is safe from its consequences.  But whichever category describes our anger, or whether we are somewhere in between, it is still not a part of who God calls us to be.

Now that is a powerful statement: “God does not call us to be angry.”  But I believe it to be true.  If we can begin to understand how God calls us to deal with fear and anger, we will begin to take our places as effective citizens in his kingdom.  We need to eliminate these barriers to our service to him.

“Be angry and sin not.”
Okay so Ephesians 4:26 says to be angry.  How can we argue with that?  Well, the context is a call to righteousness.  In the larger passage we are called to quit lying and stealing.  Paul does give us enough leeway to get legitimately angry if we must, but then he says in the same verse not to go to bed angry.  Then in verses 31 and 32 he says we should put away from us all bitterness, wrath, and anger, and we should instead be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.  So this passage is clearly not a call to anger.

Was Jesus’ clearing of the moneychangers from the temple and act of anger?
Another Biblical passage sometimes used to justify anger is Jesus’ clearing of the temple.[2]   But if you read the passages carefully, clearing the temple follows immediately after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  The people were crying out “Hosanna!  Hosanna!”  And when he got into town he went directly to the temple.  Nowhere in the three accounts does it say he saw the money changers and got angry. 

In the Mark account it says he went in one day and looked around and saw everything that was there.  He then left the temple, went to Bethany to spend the night, and came back and cleaned it out the next day.

The John account says he made a whip of cords before he cleaned it out.  Some commentators believe there were two events when Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple.  That discussion is not relevant to our purposes here.  Whether it was once or twice, it seems very deliberate – going in and seeing it one day and coming back to clean it out the next – taking time to make a whip.  Neither of these events reads like he saw something that made him lose his temper.  They seem very deliberate.

Yes cleaning the money changers out of the temple was an authoritative act on behalf of his father, who owned the place, but it does not really read like an act of anger.

Hebrews 3:17 says God was angry with his people for 40 years, but we are called on to turn loose of our anger by nightfall.  That is okay with me.  God has a right to be angry with whomever he chooses.  He was angry at sin.[3]  If we are angry at a brother (the implication is that we harbor ongoing anger) we are in danger of the judgment.[4]  I get the impression that anger is primarily God’s job and we are to be peacemakers.

Jesus angry at the Pharisees
But Jesus is our example and we do know that he was angry at least once – at the Pharisees.[5]  He was in the synagogue on the Sabbath and a man was there with a withered hand.  Jesus, as he frequently did when he met someone who had some infirmity, wanted to heal the man.  But the Pharisees were watching to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.  If he did, they would accuse him of violating one of their rules.  Yes the Sabbath was God’s rule, but they had interpreted it very narrowly, and then forced that interpretation on the people.  They interpreted this “religious rule” in such a way as to prevent people (Jesus in this case) from doing what was really God’s overall, summary rule – helping someone who needed help.

Jesus did not secretly heal the man’s hand; he called him to the front of the room.   Once Jesus and the man were standing together, in front of all the people, Jesus asked the crowd whether it was “lawful” under their law to do good or evil on the Sabbath.  No one gave an answer.  At that point John records that Jesus was both angry at them and grieved because of their hard hearts.  Jesus loved even these hypocritical religious leaders who set out to trap him and eventually to kill him.  He was grieved because they would not understand what he was teaching.  And he was angry.  What did he do with his anger?  He did what he would have done anyway.  He healed the man – so everyone could see.  He asked whether it was lawful to do good or evil, then he did good.  That looks like an example of how we can “be angry and sin not.”[6]  We should continue to love the person we are angry with (he was grieved) and we should turn our anger into energy to do the right thing.

Anger gives us energy
Anger triggers the “fight or flight” response in us.  It releases chemicals to prepare our bodies for action.  Our job at that point is to direct that readiness toward something good – toward helping someone as Jesus did.  If we are angry because someone cut us off in traffic, we can redirect that energy not only toward letting him or her into our lane, but also letting in the next two or three people.

God acknowledged that the emotional makeup he created for us includes the anger response just as it does the sexual response and fear.  But he asks us to be in control of it and not vice versa.  We are to be known as people of peace.

If we follow Jesus' example, our anger will be directed at injustice, and as Isaiah wrote, we can aim that energy at correcting unfairness:

“Is this not the fast which I choose, 
To loosen the bonds of wickedness, 
To undo the bands of the yoke, 
And to let the oppressed go free 
And break every yoke?" 
“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry 
And bring the homeless poor into the house; 
When you see the naked, to cover him; 
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?"[7]

[1] Proverbs 30:33
[2] Matthew 21:12-16; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-47; John 2:13-17
[3] Hebrews 3:17
[4] Matthew 5:22
[5] Mark 3:1-6
[6] Ephesians 4:26
[7] Isaiah 58:6-7

Friday, October 26, 2012

Peace on Earth? Chapter 2



“Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin:
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.”[1]

Whose fault?
We have made the case that Christians should be a peaceful people, but those around us might not be so quick to label us as peace loving.  That may not be our fault at all.  It may lie at the feet of a handful of highly visible “Christian Leaders.”  But even if that is true, to the extent that we follow these leaders, echo their war cries, forward their accusatory emails, and link to their trouble-making web pages, we are contributing to the view that Christian people are indeed looking to make trouble rather than to bring peace.

What do outsiders think of us?  Those who know us well may think we are soft-headed nice people with good hearts.  Maybe they have heard of our mission trips and our generosity.  Perhaps they like us okay, but think we are a little strange and they have determined to just stay away from religious conversation with us.

Are we “the religious right”?
Others though draw their conclusions from what they have seen in the news and read on-line.   They see us first as wrong-headed about the social issues of the day and then as vicious fighters for what we see as right.   The issues from their view are largely about individuals’ rights and personal freedoms - the founding principles of our nation.  And they believe our attacks on those rights are an affront to the fundamental foundations of our society.  They see us as unfriendly because we want to use the government to limit citizens’ civil liberties and control things like who you can marry, what you can do with your body and whether you can even live in our country.

Our positions on abortion, gay rights, immigration, even war and homeland security have become confused in their minds with the positions of the Republican Party or the Tea Party.  The vocal ranting of party leaders, bloggers and pundits, often using Christian arguments, are all lumped in their minds as the mistaken and evil intentioned tirades of what they call the “religious right.”  Bear with me now.  If you throw the book away at this point, you may just be proving their point.

To the extent that we have identified with the ravings of people who are not willing to have a discussion with the other side, people who talk like they have all the answers and see their mission as shouting down the “evil opposition,” we do severe damage to the picture of us as peacemakers that Jesus was trying to paint.   We need to distinguish ourselves from these folks. 

Jesus did not commission his disciples to “Go into all the world and enforce a moral code on every creature, regardless of whether they are believers or not.”[2]  Remember the Colt Peacemaker revolver.

He did say that if we love him we will keep his commandments.[3]   We get people to do that by telling them the good news.  We are to teach them about Jesus’ love for them and we are to coach them into a love for Jesus.  Then they will keep his commandments.[4] 

Do you see the difference?  On the one hand we are making laws to get people to act in moral ways, whether they are inclined that way or not.  Keeping a moral code because the government will punish us if we don’t is not the New Testament goal.

On the other hand if we are telling people about Jesus and are holding up his standards as the proper goal for Godly people, we will be able to bring about willing adherence to the moral codes of the Bible.

Being a peaceful people
How do we make ourselves known as a peaceful people in the midst of all this disagreement about how much authority the government should have to regulate the lives of its citizens?  I really don’t like this answer, but it seems to be the truth.  We do it one conversation at a time.  Just as Jesus sent us out to teach the good news to people, we have to show the same people that we are a loving people and are a people of peace.  That is a demonstration that is most effectively given one on one. 

And to the extent that we have a larger audience, say our church group, our family, or a blog readership, we can make our peaceful nature known there.  This, though, is a tricky endeavor.  Not carefully done, it can come across as “I am a peace loving person and you are not and if you don’t straighten up I will punch you in the nose.”  Entering the argument to tell both quarrelers that they are wrong and we are right and they need to listen to us will only make the situation worse.

Peace wins by being peaceful.  The peace that we have is an attractive trait.  Many people will want to know more about it.  Some will want to know how to acquire it.  That is the course we need to take.  And as more of us take that path, our influence will grow. 

There are so many angry people around today, it is hard to imagine that a handful of peaceful people can make a difference, but what else can work?  We need to be assertive peace makers, in your face peacemakers, interveners who will step in to cut off a loud disagreement and encourage people to at least listen to each other.  Micro-interventions repeated again and again eventually turn into macro-interventions.

Oh, and take the time to encourage anyone you see who is being an active peace maker.

[1]Words: Edward H Bickersteth, 1875; Music: George T Caldbeck, 1877
[2] Mark 16:15
[3] John 14:15
[4] 1 John 2:3-6

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Family Traditions

At the pumpkin patch
Traditions are especially fun when they are associated with seasons of the year.  One  of our biggest ones is the yearly late Summer camping trip. This year we had about 13 family members there.  Next Summer we expect even more.

Sometime in December we join Mike, Diane, and David for a trek down to Kellogg, Minnesota, to visit a family owned toy store with lots of homemade toys and a really nice, old carousel (merry-go round).

David in the corn maze
Today was our annual trip to the pumpkin patch and the apple orchard.  They are independent operations almost across the highway from each other.  It was a great day.  Though this morning there was a heavy fog hanging over the river, the sun was out for our outing.  We walked the corn maze at the pumpkin patch and ate apple brats and hot dogs at the apple orchard.

"Do not look in here"
But the best part is keeping the traditions like peeking into the hole with the sign that says, "Don't look in here," playing out Mike's strategy for negotiating a maze, picking up dropped corn from the ground to feed the goats rather than buying a quarter's worth from the dispenser, browsing the toy section at the pumpkin patch and sharing kettle corn at the apple orchard.  And this year Mike got a neat picture of tiny pumpkins for a wallpaper for his phone.

Charlene and Mike (with kettle corn)
Sometimes churches are criticized for keeping traditions.  But traditions can be fun.  Our little church loves the annual retreat at the county park, and wouldn't give it up for anything.  I guess there can be a problem with traditions if they become confused with God's instructions, but as long as the group recognizes them for what they are, not only are they harmless; they can be fun, enlightening faith and fellowship builders.

What are the traditions of your family, church, or other group?