Thursday, November 24, 2005

Day of Thanks

I'm thankful for my family, beyond explanation and comprehension.
I'm thankful for this house, and the stories already experienced within these walls.
I'm thankful for time with extended family over this weekend, for the opportunity to feast and fellowship.
I'm thankful for my work, both in making music as well as trying to love people across the ocean more and more.
I'm thankful for our church, which has been part of a revolutionary year for me and our family. Its vision is beyond human reach, yet beautiful to experience in it should be.
I'm thankful for friends, from years past and from yesterday. True community is a journey, and it takes the effort of all to continue along the path...and some forgiveness...and some courage...and patience. They all--and my family--have a part in who I am.
So much more, but that is enough to sit in for a long time. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2005


We have the joy of hosting some family this weekend for Thanksgiving, complete with celebrating Christmas as well. Unfortunately it is just not as easy as it used to be going from house to house during a long trip home around Christmas and New Years Eve...ahh the days of old--and being younger (read my last post). We have so much to be thankful for, and not just the stuff on the surface that looks nice and happy. More on that in a couple of days...

I've been making my way through Resident Aliens, published about 15 years ago. I've heard much about this book, and read other articles/essays by Hauerwas and Willimon over the years. I'm not sure why I picked it up now, other than I saw it on a friend's shelf (as if I don't have enough waiting to be read on my own) and figured "Why not?". So far I have been pretty impressed by the focus on the importance of the church in our world. It is so easy to keep a gaze on self/family, or to put all weight into politics, work, or organizations in the community. But we have to remember that the church--as it was intended to be--lives out the only hope that gives sustainability and longevity in this world. History reveals this, though the church has by no means been innocent and perfect in that time. In fact, the reality that the church has had its ugly moments yet endured and has become even stronger is revelation of something unique to it...not to glorify actions or excuse them, but to recognize the faithfulness of a loving Creator, the love of a Bridegroom for His bride.
I've been busy working on spreadsheets and numbers, helping put into place a fund development plan to go hand in hand with our budget for 2006. It has been an incredible year for Blood:Water Mission, with miracles abounding in the midst of fragile human hands giving whatever they can. We desire to be good stewards of this, and recognize that it is impossible left to ourselves. Please continue to pray for transformation in my heart, your heart, throughout the US, and especially in Africa...the HIV/AIDS crisis is numbing and too big, yet God's grace and mercy are so evident in its midst. And give thanks, for God is constantly moving deeply for His glory in these things.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

31 and counting

31 today...with a sore shoulder from sleeping on it wrong and weariness from a crazy 3-4 days, I'm definitely feeling older. Wiser? Not sure yet, but I'm definitely learning more and more about life and the world we live in. With less fear. With more hope. With a gaze slightly less on myself--maybe on a good day.

We celebrated with lunch as a family at Sam and Zoe's, a coffee/sandwich joint near our favorites Baja Burrito and Calypso Cafe. I've eaten there many times on studio days, but have been anxious to introduce it to Cari and Sam. I think we're making pizza for dinner, and Cari made some genuine ice cream sandwiches (with real cookies, from a Ben and Jerry's recipe) for dessert. My ice cream fix continues to grow with age...

The past few days I've spent a fair amount of time working with Neilson Hubbard and others on some Glen Phillips tunes. Glenn was part of Toad the Wet Sprocket, an influential band to Jars and the music scene overall. He's working on some material toward another record, and I've had the joy of spending a couple of days with him and making some music. Hopefully there will be more in store once these are done.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

longing for restoration

I was able to be participate in part of the board retreat for Blood:Water Mission over the weekend, and I am in awe of God's crafting of the board and how one weekend can be so beneficial. For one thing, it is amazing that all 9 current members (many from outside Nashville) were able to be in one room at the same time. For another, what an encouragement to see the felt burdens of running an organization shared between a group of people rather than a few individuals. I am excited to hear more about what lies ahead, but left midway through the retreat completely encouraged and revived.

I've been learning and relearning and relearning (constantly) about what it really means to long for the restoration of all things...that what God said was "very good" will one day be made new and complete again. My work with Blood:Water Mission gives me an opportunity to work toward this. But too often I settle for my own agenda and goals, which fall blatantly short of the vision for God's restoration. I'd rather focus on making sure I have all my ducks in a row, and that I'm getting along with everybody. These things contain goodness, yet they lack in true fulfillment and grind against faithful living. Yesterday I had a hurtful interaction with a neighborhood friend, who for various reasons has been living on next to nothing, eating next to nothing, and has barely kept a roof over his head for the past 2 months. He's experiencing some of the darkest emotional and physical suffering that I've seen, and I left our (a friend was with me) interaction with him listening to him yell in anger with hateful words.

I bring up this situation not to exploit a friend (and forgive me if I fail in this), but to show the reality of the heart of every man and woman, and the reality of how hard it is to love well. As we walked to the car and drove away, I was mad, frustrated, and a little fearful. These emotions are a revelation that things are not as they should be, and that the only hope we have is that one day all things will be made new...restored...completed. Unless we open ourselves up to experience and feel the pains of the world, we likely have a very small view of the world and God's intentions and desires for us. What a tragedy considering the heights, the depths, and power of the love of God, especially in the blood that Jesus shed on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Variety of topics

Halloween came and went. We left the lights on and had some candy ready for any trick-or-treaters. This was our first time in this house (we weren't home last year), and we didn't know what to expect. We had some of Sam's friends stop by in fun costumes, and ended up with 2 groups of about 25-30 kids each coming by as well. Unfortunately only about 4 or 5 brave souls were in these groups, willing to wear costumes as they asked for candy. The other 40 just walked up in their street clothes, stuck out their backpacks, and said thanks as they left. A majority of the "kids" were probably in jr. high or high school. I think next year we will post a sign on our door saying "candy for costumes only", because something about it all just didn't seem right.

Our neighbors are very gracious. Once again, we borrowed their tiller as we spent 2 days overhauling our yard/garden. We tilled up two large areas of the yard, trying to start over with new grass seed in places that were filled with weeds. We also tilled up the garden (and expanded it to about 20' x 20'), completing our successful first year of gardening. Looking back we enjoyed carrots, tomatoes, snap beans, zucchini...and have plans to make it much better next year now that our feet are wet.

This weekend is the Blood:Water Mission board retreat. Though I'm not on the board of directors, I'll be around for much of the time to speak on all that has been going on as well as help with things. I can't wait to see these friends all in one room and share this brief time together...if only we could do it more often. Praise be to God for giving us all that we need and giving us such a beautiful longing for what we can't yet have, but will be restored one day!

I've been reading the new spy-thriller by favorite author Vince Flynn, Consent to Kill. And I'm done with this post so that I can hopefully finish it tonight!

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