HT: Peter Rollins
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
An Advent Reflection
HT: Peter Rollins
HT: ASBO Jesus
The Last Few Days
- A Missed NBA Game -- I had tickets to the Blazers v. Suns game in Portland this past Thursday but was unable to go because of bad weather. I sulked on the couch at home watching the game, especially when Brandon Roy (of the Blazers) scored 52 points in the game, which was the 2nd highest point total in the NBA for the season. I should have been there.
- Terrible Road Conditions -- Mandy and I left Seattle at 6am on Friday and turned the 10 hour trip to Bozeman, MT into a 13 hour trip because of terrible roads. We had to traverse 4 mountain passes that first day and each one left us in dangerous conditions. We stayed with our dear friends Shad and Patti in Livingston, MT that night and loved seeing them and their 3 amazing boys.
- Tons of Food -- The Christmas holiday is only just beginning, but already I feel like I've gained a few pounds. I'm not sure how the birth of the Messiah came to be synonomous with overeating, but I'm definitely not an exception to this cultural norm.
- A Fantasy Football Championship -- For those of you who read this blog often, you've no doubt read about my addiction to fantasy football. A few weeks ago I won the regular season of our league, and just last night I secured the championship of the playoffs as well. I would be content enough with just "winning", but in our league we each threw in $100, so winning the regular season and playoffs also means winning a lot of money, which is never a bad thing around this Christmas season. Merry Christmas to Me!
This is all you get for now, but I look forward to more academic posting after we get home from Christmas break. I desperately hope this season is one of ultimate celebration over the savior of the universe bursting into our lives in the radical form of an infant child. Merry Christmas to you all. God Bless. Grace and Peace.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Then, tomorrow we were planning on traveling to Moscow, ID to visit our friends Jaisen and Jennifer Pester. We were already considering changing our plans to not visit them due to poor road conditions, and then got a call from Jaisen today saying they are stuck in the Denver airport and wouldn't even be home when we came through town.
So our new schedule is to leave tomorrow morning at around 6am and try our best to make the 10 hours trip to Bozeman, MT. You can definitely pray for us as we travel over the next day. We are hopeful that roads aren't too bad and we can get on with enjoying our Christmas vacation with family and friends. Merry Christmas to you all. Blessings on your holiday plans.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
It's Finally Winter!
Last night it snowed here in Seattle, though, so I thought I would share a few pictures we took to celebrate our non-liquid precipitation.
For the Bible Tells Me So
Open to Conversion
Mandy and I were volunteering downtown at the YWCA yesterday and I had the opportunity of serving alongside two amazing, intelligent women whose heart for social justice astounded me. They were two homosexual women who were serving because of their Unitarian faith. I was truly blessed in the conversation. I asked them a myriad of questions about their beliefs, their alternative lifestyle, how being gay had impacted their relationships with family members, and how they had been treated by the Christian church because of their sexual preference.
My heart was broken as I listened to story after story of ways in which their Christian families and other Christian churches had failed to put grace on display, but had instead reacted in a spirit of judgment and condemnation. The one lady said that when her brother had told his mother he was gay, she responded by saying it would have been easier to hear that he was dead than to hear he was gay. That story crushed me.
As I continue to think through this amazing encounter, I truly believe that I was "open" to being converted. Now was I converted? No. Was I worried about being converted? No. But I approached these woman with such openness, honestly, and humility that everyone involved was impacted for eternity. They could sense I had no agenda and was not looking to preach. I was simply trying to be the good news of Jesus, that grace, peace, and reconciliation have come to this world through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ...for everyone.
As we were cleaning up and preparing to leave, the women came up to me and asked for my contact information. They said they had loved our conversation and would be interested in continuing the dialog. I look forward to how our relationship might unfold and I pray that God would grant me the strength to stray from judgment and condemnation and continue to put the Kingdom on display through a message of grace and peace. Enough of the religiosity that only leads to people feeling estranged and bitter toward Christians. In the words of Meister Eckhart, "God, help rid me of God."
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A Quick Update
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
The Green Bible
I recently came across information about a new Bible called the Green Bible that I am actually quite excited about. The main thing that they are doing is that they are, similarly to the red-letter versions, putting all passages of Scripture that refer to creation in green ink. In addition, the pages, ink, cover, and spine of the Bibles are all made out of "green" materials. Their website says that Scripture speaks of heaven 490 times, love 530 times, but speaks of the earth and our care of Creation over 1,000 times. Christians have not traditionally been at the front lines leading the charge to better care for our world. We claim to worship the Creator, but we often don't care for what the Creator has created. I am glad this group is taking it upon themselves to do something about it.
Their website has so much more information and a great video for you to watch. I strongly encourage you to check it out for more information HERE. I think you will enjoy what you read and hear.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
A Random Quote
Monday, December 1, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
A New Personal Best
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope that you all have fantastic weekends with friends and family. Mandy and I will be at our cabin in Glacier National Park for the weekend, so we are excited for a weekend away with my family and a chance to hang out at one of my favorite places in the world. Blessings to you!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Thoughts on Scripture
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Cows & Economics
Doing What's Worth Dying For
One idea that my professor, Dan Allender, speaks of often is the idea of only doing that which is worth dying for. Dan even says that if his class is not worth dying for, then it is a waste of our time. He speaks of how you could get in a car accident on the way to class and life would be over, so if you are going to take that risk for anything in life, the reward of the activity or relationship had better be worth losing your life over.
The flip side of this is that if you are going to choose to do something, you had better make it worth dying for. Although morbid, the truth is that any of us could suddenly choke and die during a meal, so you have to ask yourself if that meal is worth dying for. Have you surrounded yourself with the people you love most? Has your conversation been filled with life-changing content? Was the meal, or any activity for that matter, really worth the risk?
I realize that this thought is a bit extreme, because you can't always do "only" things worth dying for, but it has at least become a guideline to help hold me accountable in my actions. This thought can help keep me from straying into activities of dissociation and help me focus on life in the real world that can be a blessing to me, others, and the Kingdom.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Stuff Christians Like
I like to think I’m a kind person, that deep down I have some degree of compassion bubbling in my heart like a holiday themed flavor of coffee. Perhaps a butternut toffee or peppermint stick swirl. But then something major happens and my true colors come out just like Cyndi Lauper promised they would. An economic downturn? A job loss or relationship crumbling? Nope, I'm talking about a major event, like someone asking to borrow my pen.
A Prophetic Voice
HT: ASBO Jesus
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
No joke. Real first name is 'Destination'. Real last name is 'Sunnyday'. I don't think that will ever be topped for me in all-time greatest names. Good luck trying.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
What if you truly loved...
The content of this video is the reason that Mandy and I packed up all our belongings, kissed our friends goodbye, and left all that had been comfortable for 8 years to move across the country. We honestly believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ really can be 'good news' to the world. We truly believe that the life, death, and resurrection of the Prince of Peace, the Son of God, can radically change the world in all areas...in economical and social and spiritual and political ways. If we didn't believe this way, we would be foolish to give up all we had for this life of the unknown. We have no idea where this crazy journey will take us and we invite God to move and shape our path.
So far I have had 2 of these people as professors in class, Dan and Dwight. This video only captures a glimpse of the depth, intellect, and passion that the professors at MHGS have for the ministry of redemption and reconciliation. I am truly blessed to be studying here in Seattle at this school. I thank God each day for this opportunity.
Friday, November 7, 2008
The Honk of Redemptive Violence
It is obvious that this is a myth. Just look at antics on the elementary school playground. One kid says something mean to another and the other responds. Now the bar has been raised and there is an expectation of something worse than the previous comment. We've all been a part of these escalating engagements, and we realize that they never end civilly. They always end with someone being hurt irreparably, but never redemptively.
I witnessed an example of this while downtown a few weeks ago. In a big city you are constantly inundated with sounds, one of them being horns honking as impatience levels rise in the midst of heavy traffic. Usually, however, this honking is one-sided (one person is mad at another, and the other feels shamed for their poor decisions). That day, though, I heard my first "double honk". One car honked at another and immediately the other car honked in response. It was definitely the sounds of the myth of redemptive violence. There's no way that the second honk was going to let the first honk have the last word.
I was so keenly aware at that moment of the idiocy of this quest to settle the score through upping the ante. The message of Jesus, and a few others who have followed (i.e. MLK, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Oscar Romero), has shown for us that the only true redemptive comes through non-violent resistance. In the words of Jesus, it is the willingness to "take up your cross" that shows the world the true beauty of the redemptive process, the life of turning the other cheek, loving your neighbor, and ultimately carrying the burden of the cross of calvary upon your back. The hard part is that the cross is heavy and may cost us everything, and many of us (myself included on most days) aren't willing to bear that load. May we be people who lean into the life of ultimate sacrifice, a life of submission that leads to redemption.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Let the Issues Be the Issue
I am constantly reminding myself today that regardless of who wins this election, my ultimate allegiance cannot be to any power of this world but I must fix my gaze on the Ruler of the Kingdom of God. I love America and am glad I live in this country, but we must remember that any kingdom of the world will always pale in comparison to the Kingdom of God.
A Derek Webb song has been running through my mind all morning so I thought I would share it with you today. The song is called "A Savior on Capitol Hill" and is a great commentary on not putting our trust in politics or any person. The lyrics can be found here.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
A Different Voice
God's message is definitely meant to be heard, but God's voice is never one of judgment and condemnation, and ours shouldn't be either. Too often the 'Good News' of the church to the rest of the world has failed to actually be good news. We must continue to present the truth of God to a world that desperately needs God's saving grace, but we must find a more creative way of voicing that truth, one that actually becomes 'Good News' to a broken and hurting world.
This Is How I Pray
HT: The Corner
Funny Comics from ASBO Jesus
HT: ASBO Jesus
A Climbing Video from this Weekend
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Last Few Days
I am so appreciative of the friends in my life that are lasting despite the long distance. I look forward to seeing how my relationship with my Sioux Falls friends will endure even though we don't see each other often. Thank God for weddings each summer that will allow us to return to the Midwest.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
David's Trip So Far
Yesterday, David and I spent the day rock climbing outside at this place called Exit 38, cleverly titled due to its location along I-90. It was so fun to be in Creation and see the changing leaves and enjoy a day with David like old times. We had a blast. I'm sure there will be much more to report later, but that's all for now. Peace.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Failed Campaign Slogans
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I Almost Peed My Pants
Having said that, the reason I "almost peed my pants" is that Shane will be coming to speak at our church, Quest, on November 9. Since the smoke of the election will not have settled, I am in eager anticipation of his words, especially in light of our country's new-found knowledge as to who our next president will be. I had heard rumor that Shane was going to be coming to our church to speak about "Faith & Money", but I just didn't know he would be coming so soon. The following are a couple of links about the conversation he will be having that evening in our sanctuary. The first is our pastor, Eugene Cho's, blog about Shane coming to speak. The second is the link to the Quest Church website which speaks more about the evening with Shane.
Eugene's Blog About Shane's Upcoming Visit
Quest Church's Information About the Conversation with Shane
Monday, October 20, 2008
Construction Worker Sabbath
The thing that has really caught my attention, however, is their willingness to take breaks. They work hard for a while, but when it is time to take a break, they really know how to rest. They enjoy each other's company and are often seen taking walks together to the local coffeehouse, steeped in conversation.
I think this is such a good picture of what Sabbath is meant to look like. We are designed to work hard, but at the same time called to rest, and rest well. I fear that we, as Christians, fail in this area in a number of ways. We either don't rest at all and find ourselves succumbing to a workaholic spirit, rest too much and fall into laziness, or as we try to rest we still end up filling our schedules with busyness that doesn't allow us to be replenished. May we be people who understand the rhythms of life we were created to live into and be willing to follow this God-given cadence.
A Mixed Weekend
Today got off to a great start with a morning spent at church. The worship was good, the sermon was fantastic, and it was special to celebrate the Eucharist with our church family. My day got worse, though, upon my return home from church. When I started up my computer and connected to the internet, I was surprised to see that I was getting demolished in fantasy football. I try not to talk about fantasy football on this site because it could easy absorb my blog life as it has my real life, but I can't help but be disappointed by my first loss of the fantasy season. I was 6-0 and in first place in the league, and just got blown out by a guy who was 1-5 (ouch!). Hope my guys (as if we're friends or something) will bounce back next weekend and return me to my elite fantasy status.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Palin or Fey?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
My Gang Member Friends
Being from the Midwest I am naturally ignorant to gang culture, so I bombarded them with a barrage of questions as to the nature of being in a gang. They said that they were a part of the Southsiders, which is the biggest gang in America. There are Southsiders in every state and there are 13 times as many members as any other gang. They said that there are Southsiders from every profession, including police, politicians, judges, and pastors. They said that there is a ministry in Southern California that is totally run by the Mexican Mafia, so when it eventually came up in conversation that I am in school to become a pastor, they thought that was great. My new friend (not that we are having coffee anytime soon though), Keo, said that he tries to live by the Golden Rule. I think he has some really messed up theology, but it was interesting to hear a gang member speak so highly of faith. He also talked about how Southsiders see themselves not as criminals, but as outlaws. He said that they don't take from those who have little, but instead, they steal from the rich and give to the poor. He never said that he and his friend have personally killed people (although I think they probably have), but he was clear that the gang takes justice into its own hands when necessary, their own form of vigilante justice.
These guys spoke a lot about the community of gang life. There is pretty intense initiation into the Southsiders, and once you are a member there is much expected of you, including paying 10% of what you make to the gang (too bad we can't get church members to give in this way), attending regular meetings, and regular participation in gang activities. They talked of it as being a family, a tight-knit group that constantly supports each other, looks out for the best interest of their brothers and sisters, and has a well established system of mentoring new members toward fuller participation in the life of the gang.
Keo went on to ask me if I knew what the biggest gang in the world was. He said that it was the Catholic Church. He spoke about the fact that everyone is in a gang. He noticed my wedding ring and commented that I'm in a gang with my wife. He talked about politics, families, and religion all being forms of gangs, of cliques. I think I agree with him. What would the church look like if we based our fellowship on the model of our brothers and sisters in gangs, or all of our community pastors were former gang members? How would the way we care for each other look different? How would our fellowship change? How would our giving increase?
Now I know that some Christians out there would criticize me for not taking the time to share the 'gospel' with these men. I feel, though, that I was able to be present to them in some way and I just pray that my non-judgmental, non-condescending language gave them some picture of the gospel of grace and mercy our God has to offer. I count my blessings that I live in a place where I can engage the hurting and broken of this world, recognize my own brokenness in those situations, and seek to bring healing to us all through the life, death, and resurrection of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you all.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thoughts on Church
When wondering about what it means to 'be the church' and be 'part of a church', I think that the church fails to be the body of Christ when it fails to embody Christ. We fail to be the church when we fail to put on the ways of Christ and actually embody his life in the world around us. The "body of Christ" is not simply the name of a group, but instead, the definition of a lifestyle. The early church was refered to as Christians, or 'followers of the Way', not because they signed the weekly attendance roster at their house church, but because they put on Christ's skin in a physical, tangible, earth-changing way for the world's sake. Christians tend to treat Church participation as something to put on their spiritual resume, rather than treating their faith life as the resume itself.
With that in mind, my thoughts on church membership are beginning to change. The church is different than any group or club because it is never about membership, but only about action. I fear that churches look no different than your local Elks, Kiwanis, or Rotary Clubs, when the church was always meant to be so radically counter-cultural that it couldn't help but stand out. Church membership seemingly goes against this idea because it allows people to think they are being the body of Christ even if they are not embodying Christ. Membership also puts some people 'in' and some people 'out'. It creates an "other", when the message and life of Jesus was all about destroying those walls of separation.
Rather than membership, I wonder what it would look like for churches to covenant together toward Kingdom purposes. Rather than focusing on simply being at worship gatherings, what if all those in attendance were committing to one common cause of being the Good News to a hurting world? Here's where my humility comes in...I have no idea what that looks like, but look forward to journeying with others so we can lean into God's fullness together, so that we might make heaven a reality here on earth as a covenanting group.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Mandy and I have lived here in Seattle for about 3 months now, but I realized that most of you probably don't know where we live and have never seen our home. So I thought I would use our new technology to show you a quick clip of our new dwelling here in the Emerald City.
Friday, October 3, 2008
A Great Weekend
We climbed on Saturday at a place called Frenchman's Coulee and had a great time of physical activity and Christian fellowship while enjoying God's creation. We camped at a beautiful campground on Saturday night before enjoying another half day of climbing on Sunday, returning to Seattle that afternoon.
On Sunday I took a fall while climbing a route. The rope was caught between my legs and when I fell (only a few feet) the rope burned my ankle and the back of my knee pretty bad. Other than that, we had a fantastic weekend climbing, camping, and strengthening relationships with some great, new friends.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Too Much for Words
For now, I'll just report that life has been great. I am loving class (not really loving homework though) and am really growing in knowledge and depth of character. This weekend I am going rock climbing at a place called Frenchman Coulee near Vantage, WA. Vantage is right on the Columbia River and is absolutely gorgeous, so I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures and let you know how my sabbath (weekend of climbing) went. Peace.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I don't particularly like this feeling, but I will persevere over the coming 4 years, keeping in mind that I have a long, salaried career ahead of me. Well, enough of my incoherent rambling when I should be working. Bye for now!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
As I was walking to the bus stop from class this evening I passed a man and woman who were holding hands and obviously a couple. The thing I was struck by was the fact that each of them was listening to their own iPod and not communing or conversing with each other in any way.
Tonight in class we discussed the role of the reader of any text (literature, music, art, etc.) as someone who communes with the soul of the author. In this case, I would say that each of these people were communing with the soul of their respective musicians, while failing to commune with the soul of the one they gripped palms with.
I was instantly reminded of a meal I shared with my wife a few years back where we sat in Applebee’s and watched as five consecutive women walked into the restaurant with phones to their ears and proceeded to continue their phone conversations for the next 15 minutes. Why is it that we can’t simply “be with who we’re with”?
In the words of Rob Bell, we need to be “fully present” with who we are with. Both of these occurrences serve to remind me to fully engage the people around me when they are in my presence and I in theirs. Our culture has glorified the “art” of multi-tasking, but I think this “skill” has caused us to poorly handle all the situations and relationships we face. May we be people of intention, not neglecting any situation that God has provided for us.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A Funny Button
This was just too good not to share.
An Update on Me
- I'm really, really busy (trying to juggle school and work and family and fun has been exhausting)
- School is great but really challenging (classes are fantastic, I'm learning a lot, but it is so much reading and writing)
- I'm already behind in my homework (I've only had 4 classes and I'm already needing to play catch up--not a good sign)
- I get the privilege of being in Sioux Falls this weekend to usher at my friend Dan's wedding (I fly out tomorrow morning and fly back to Seattle on Monday)
Bruggeman, one of the world foremost experts on the Old Testament, with much credibility to lose in making a flippant remark that he really wouldn't support (thus, he must really believe what he said), was quoted as saying, "God is a recovering abuser." I'm really not sure what to make of that comment, and am more excited to look at that quote in context and to wrestle through those horrific passages of Scripture in the future, not as a way of getting the answers, but as a way of better understanding my God.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
An Interesting Question
Let me know what you think. I really don't know what to think about this idea.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
When I turned on the tv I was alarmed to hear the incredibly negative words coming from the mouths of both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin. I don't mind a small amount of showing why the opposition isn't as qualified as the person you are supporting, but I hate the frequent use of cruelty and anger in an attempt to decimate the character of the opponent. Giuliani was simply mean tonight, attacking Obama unashamedly, and Palin wasn't much better. The following is an excerpt from the Giuliani speech.
Obama, Giuliani said "is the least experienced [presidential nominee] in the last hundred years. He was a community organizer ... What do they do? .. Then he was in the Chicago legislature, no the Illinois legislature, no the Chicago machine ... [The Democrats] have got their experience at the bottom [of the ticket] ... Joe Biden, Joe's got a lot of experience which he'll tell you about ...He's got a lot of experience talking ... talking ... talking," Giuliani said at a luncheon at the New York delegation's hotel. As a state senator, Obama had "an interesting record," Giuliani said, noting that Obama voted "'present' almost 130 times. I don't remember having that vote when I was mayor of New York City ... You're supposed to make a decision."
I would love to simply see a clean fight, a good series of debates where the candidates focus more on the issues than on slamming one another personally. I'm not sure that's too much to ask for.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Quotes from Obama's Convention Speech
"The greatest risk in this election is to use the same old politics and the same old players but to expect different results." -- Barack Obama
"In this election, change is not going to come from Washington, but to Washington." -- Barack Obama
My Fantasy Football Team
Quarterback 1: Drew Brees (Saints)
Quarterback 2: David Garrard (Jaguars)
Running Back 1: Brian Westbrook (Eagles)
Running Back 2: Thomas Jones (Jets)
Running Back 3: Matt Forte (Bears)
Wide Receiver 1: Marques Colston (Saints)
Wide Receiver 2: Roy Williams (Lions)
Wide Receiver 3: Brandon Marshall (Broncos)
RB/WR: Jerricho Cotchery (Jets)
Tight End 1: Kellen Winslow (Browns)
Tight End 2: Heath Miller (Steelers)
Defense/Special Teams 1: Seattle Seahawks
Defense/Special Teams 2: Philadelphia Eagles
K 1: Mason Crosby (Packers)
K 2: Robbie Gould (Bears)
America's Stranglehold on Sports
The most recent occurrence of this phenomena is in the world of women's golf. The LPGA has recently passed a rule that, beginning next year, all of it tour members must be proficient in the English language or face suspension. The LPGA has recently been invaded by a slew of incredibly talented foreign players, especially from the country of Korea. This new rule will drastically change their approach to the game and will no doubt rob them of precious practice time required to achieve professional ability, while they work on honing their linguistic skills instead.
I'm just not sure what the LPGA has to do with the English language. It's not the "American Ladies Professional Golf Association." It's golf. It's a global sport. And now we are punishing people and affecting their careers, their livelihoods, based on their country of origin. That ain't right!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Dare to Dream
A few weeks ago I was the typical husband as I waited impatiently outside Jo-Ann Fabrics for my wife to finish shopping. While I was waiting I walked across the street to watch a young boy repeatedly drop into a bowl of a skateboard park. The boy was probably 7 or 8, a mere 4' tall or so, and the bowl he was tackling was probably 10-12' tall. I couldn't get over how daring this young man was, but even more striking to me was how encouraging his parents were as they looked on. The boy would fall sometimes but always got right back up and tried again. But even as their son was endangering himself, the parents remained calm and seemed to keep encouraging him to take chances and keep trying.
I deeply desire to be a person who encourages the people around me (including my own future children) to be daring, to take risks, and to try things out of their comfort zones. I want to dream of a new way of living and I want to empower others to do the same. In the words of Shane Claiborne, I want to "dream big, live small, and love loudly."
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The final element he mentions is one called "denouement". This is a French term that refers to the point in a story when redemption occurs and peace is secured, if but for a brief moment. It's that time in the book or movie when the plot twists and brokenness of the story unfolds into understand and resolve. This is what Allender says about the denouement of our own story:
"Tragedy mars shalom, but denouement invites us to remember our innocence and dream of a day of even greater redemption. Denouement is an ending that serves as the prelude for a new beginning; there is always the next turn in the road. A new story begins the moment the old one ends. But a denouement is a respite that calls us to stop the journey for a brief interlude--to eat, drink, sing, dance, and tell our story to others."
Unfortunately we fail to celebrate well. We get so caught up in life that we fail to enjoy it. Rather than celebrating with our family at the end of a long day, we turn on the tv and watch fictional characters celebrate with each other in a fictional story.
The church has failed to celebrate as well. For a year or so I have been thinking that Sunday worship services should be more about celebration that anything, and this idea of denouement is enforcing that idea. After a long week of writing our own story, the church must come together for a brief respite to share with each other how God is writing each individual story and how we have co-authored the tale.
Good Quote from a Good Book
I began reading this book to get a jump start on the semester, and so far am really enjoying the read and think I will learn a lot. The premise of the book is that we all have stories worth telling, and are ourselves, a story written to the world to tell the story of the Author of life. Allender claims that we must learn to read our own stories so that we can become co-authors with God in writing the future of our stories.
Plan on hearing much more about this book and others as I progress through the seminary process. For now, here is a great quote that captured my heart as I continue to process the idea of dreaming:
"A dream without suffering is little more than a fantasy" (pg. 48).
Monday, August 11, 2008
Free to be Patriotic
Every four years, though, for a period of two weeks, these thoughts are pushed aside as I become a raving lunatic in support of the Stars and Stripes. The Olympics are a beautiful expression of world harmony and peace. For two weeks the world can come together under one roof and celebrate the hard work of each nation, competing with skill and agility rather than guns and bullets. I love it!
It feels so good to support my nation and I pray that the world would come to its senses (especially my own homeland) and start working for peace and justice in the world rather than domination and control. What would the world look like if it behaved the way it does for these 2 weeks during the other 206 weeks of the quadrennial?
Sunday, August 10, 2008
What Is Sabbath?
Today, for the first time of many in the future, we attended church in the evening rather than in the morning. It was great to be able to spend the day in communion with each other and nature before communing with our church family tonight. We spent the normal church hours climbing at the rock climbing gym I work at and it was a beautifully, spiritual activity. After that we toured the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks where we watched the salmon make their way up the fish ladder to the other end of the lock.
Sabbath has always been about setting a day apart to spend with family, friends, and the Creator. We have always been people who filled our sabbath with a ton of activity though (especially while I worked at churches), so we are trying to change our ways to better appreciate God's gift of a day of rest. I'll let you know what we are doing to enjoy this special time of the week.
Monday, August 4, 2008
A Great Weekend
On Friday after work we had dinner and then played tennis at this awesome park where you had to traverse down these switchbacks of trails to get to this little hidden court at the bottom. When we had tired we drove a few blocks up the hill to another park and watched a beautiful sunset over Puget Sound. Honestly...an amazing view, and right in our neighborhood.
On Saturday, Mandy and I headed down to Qwest Field to watch the annual Seattle Seahawks Scrimmage. We figure we might not be able to afford to go to any regular season games, so for $12 each we were able to see the team in action. What a blast. That night we headed down the hill to Seattle Center to watch "Juno" on a huge, jumbo screen in this outdoor amphitheater at the base of the Space Needle. We had so much fun and are planning to trek down there this coming Saturday to take in "Batman Begins."
Friday, August 1, 2008
In addition to the mandatory emissions test, we have been glad to have our hand forced in the way of recycling. We had desired to be people who thought more about the environment, but it has been surprisingly easy due to Washington regulations. We end up recycling twice as much as we throw out.
I almost can't believe that I didn't live a more eco-friendly existence for the past 25 years. I claimed to worship the Creator, but didn't outwardly show much concern for the creation. I can't believe the church isn't leading the way in the effort to be 'green'. Why aren't church leaders at the forefront of these conversations? Why aren't followers of Christ spearheading movements toward alternative energy and fuel? How can we be people who take as active an interest in the creation as we do in the Creator?
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Back to the Blogosphere!
We were also able to see our great friends Shad and Patti Durgan, and their 3 boys, my friend Chris Dooley, and our friends Kaia and Keri. It was so refreshing to see familiar faces again after a few weeks of loneliness, and now we are ready to jump into regular routines here in our new home of Seattle.