Tuesday, February 21, 2006

olympics vs 24

Tonight we actually sat down and watched the olympics for a bit...something we haven't done as much as I thought we would. It may be because of the time difference, lack of "heroic stories", or it could also be because we are in the middle of the third season of 24. Yes, we are gradually working our way through the back story, thanks to friends who've graciously lent us the DVD's.

We've grown quite fond of watching tv this way. Its one thing to leave out the commercials. Its another to avoid the long stretch of the season and between episodes. I don't know if we'll catch up during the latest season, but we are making headway and enjoying it greatly. Though we haven't been big movie-goers or movie-renters in the past couple of years, for some reason this has really caught on.

And back to figure skating...go USA!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

king leopold's ghost

I just finished reading King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild. This was a great follow up to the last book I read, A Continent for the Taking by Howard French, though I'm kind of going backwards through history, I realize. After learning much about the past 10-20 years in the Congo and west Africa, I now have the context of King Leopold and his terrifying reign over the Congo at the end of the 19th century...and I can see how it has moved from generation to generation. He wanted to make a name for Belgium in the age of colonialism, and found the perfect place. It is indeed a story of terror, greed, and heroic acts, as the subtitle offers.

I am in awe that probably 10 million people lost their lives during his 10-15 year reign in the Congo; that he made such a fortune and was able to keep it from others, even after he was exposed; that the furnace in his palace raged for 7 or 8 days straight, burning any official records that may have information regarding the Congo; that today he is still mostly regarded as a pretty amazing king with brilliant tactics; that this story is only one of many regarding the "struggles" between the natives across Africa and the rest of the world at the height of colonialism. No matter how the wrong actions were, they have occurred for generations and will continue to take place this side of Christ's return.

We live in a messy world, a sick world, a beautiful world, a difficult world...and we have purpose and place in it, made in the image of our Creator and with the ability to glorify Him. To that end we must live.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

which hat(s) to wear today

We had a fantastic evening celebrating Blood:Water Mission's 2005 activities and what lies ahead...Saturday night a group of about 100 gathered in the barn at Deer Valley Farm outside Franklin to reflect and prepare, giving thanks to God for His faithfulness beyond expectation and belief. Jars played a few songs as part of the program, and we also heard some encouraging reports from Jena, our director, and Milton Ochieng', a student at Vanderbilt from a village in Kenya where we'll be working. What a privilege to be a part of this work, waking up each day with anticipation and hope.

I enjoyed playing some bass yesterday and today on another project with Mitch D. He's been working on the Jars record, but with them on the road this month he is squeezing in some other projects. So good to be with friends making music. This morning I was with Matthew Jones working on a song that will be on a benefit CD for Wes King coming out soon. Sounds like a bunch of friends have put together a CD recutting his songs as a way to celebrate him and encourage him in the midst of a long, exhausting, and almost life-taking battle with cancer. I'm so glad he is still with us, though the recovery is ongoing. Please pray for continued strength and healing for him.

Time for a little r & r, but wanted to check in. I'll be busy with Blood:Water Mission work the next few days, with a little music later in the week.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

a carpenter and a president

For months I've had a special project on the to-do list. Cari loves to look through magazines and books to get ideas for rooms in our house. Sometimes they are very simple, cost effective, and easy to do...and other times they get pretty involved. Well, I finally tackled our built-in bookshelves in the Sam's playroom.

I built them from MDF and Pine, and they included 2 full height bookcases framing in an existing window, as well as a shorter "bench" shelf under the window for reading and playing. I was so exhausted after the full day of work, and it was a joy to work with my hands and put the carpenter hat on for a brief time. Somehow it has taken longer to paint the built-ins than it did to build them, which was a surprise and frustration for both of us...we can't wait to see everything in them and the room transformed into a better space.

I started this entry this morning, and had to quickly take a break because I received a last minute invite to go hear President Bush speak at the Opry House. A friend of mine could not go and was looking for someone to use the ticket...and I happily said yes. Over the past several years I have been privileged to see and even meet people in different areas of the political world in D.C. Though it is easy to become cynical of this and that in politics, I always take the President's role seriously. I firmly believe no one can sit in the chair of the Oval Office day after day without feeling the weight of their decisions and work. Whether you stand behind or against the politics and decisions, the position and the person in the chair demand respect.

I am thankful for the way faith is interwoven into this country by our forefathers (and continuing into today). Though America is by no means a Christian country, I know that it is one of the few where Christian principles are freely played out and the world is able to see the fruit of Gospel-centered living. Faith doesn't guarantee prosperity; Faith doesn't even guarantee safety or freedom; But faith is a backbone and foundation that is firm and sustaining to whatever it supports.

I pray for our President, and for those around him. It cannot be easy. It must be exhausting. It is very messy, because it deals with all the rights and wrongs of our nation and of the world. Even his closest confidants cannot understand the pressure and weight of the role...and yet I trust that God is bigger than our president, than our government, than our best laid plans. I will not settle for optimism, left to human hands...I stand on the promises of hope, grace, mercy, faithfulness, faith, and love of the Gospel of Christ.

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