Archives for category: health

At the risk of simply turning headsparks* into a Jason Evans quote machine, I am feeling the resonance of these words more & more these days:

Ironic to some possibly, punk rock kept my spirituality alive over the years

I’m feeling church a lot more like an indie band driving a beater van for a short tour of neighboring states rather than some A&R guy looking to sign the next big thing for some pyrotechnic arena blowout (if that makes any sense at all).

I think I’m just glad that Jason went with me to see Jaguar Love recently. Despite my wife’s merciless teasing over my giddiness at seeing shows with Jason, it’s so much more fun to catch a show with a friend. While we could have done without some of the borderline Black Crowesish organ breakdowns, it did my heart good to relax, watch the show and then hang out for a bit with J.

I wish I was more literate and/or cultured. Most of the time, my reading consists of ESPN’s Page 2 and the back of the Apple Jacks box in the morning.

These days, however, I have a nice stack of books I’m working through. Here’s what’s on my nightstand these days:

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Becoming a dad is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. It has forced me to come to terms with my (massive) shortcomings, humbles me every single day and has brought me greater joy than I could have imagined. It seems like an eternity ago, but we used to catch our daughter singing the Blue’s Clues theme song to herself in her mirror, dancing and smiling, using whatever toy she happened to find as her mic. In fact, tonight, as we sat together to worship, we caught her watching herself in that same mirror, dancing and smiling, as we sang a praise song together.

Jason Evans wrote a great post awhile back, Making Lunch, in which he talks about how the everyday act of making lunch for his children has become an integral, fulfilling spiritual discipline in his life. J’s words remind me not only of the kind of community I’d like to be a part of, but the kind of father I hope to become:

I am now the father, the teacher of these two little ones. I often tell new parents, “Your children are your greatest disciples… Don’t forget that this is your calling, to disciple these children in the way of Jesus.”

It’s tempting to farm out this responsibility to the professionals at the church. Who hasn’t had a really long week at work and wouldn’t want to drop off the kids for a couple of hours for some me-time? Is it too much to ask youth pastors to perform a quick two-hour extreme makeover on our prodigal kids — after all, what do we pay them for anyways? However, the formation of the resurrected life of Christ in us is a much longer and slower journey, and requires the patient, loving, everyday guidance of those who were first entrusted with these children.

Maybe it starts with helping parents to see that following Jesus around is a worthwhile, fulfilling, honorable endeavor. For those who feel “unqualified” I am reminded of Eugene Peterson’s words, “Everyone is a beginner in this business. There are no experts… Spiritual formation is not something we master.”

When I see how our daughter is growing everyday in brightness and love for God, I am amazed — and deeply grateful — that my failures do not prevent Christ being formed in her. Her life reminds me of this high and holy calling to lead her, in the ordinary and in-between, on the path of following Jesus. When I struggle with the heavy weight of discouragement, I know that I need to reconnect with God, to pursue the life that makes me feel fully alive in Christ so that instead of having a tired, irritable grouch stomping around the place, our daughter can see me following Jesus through the mess, and His life (slowly) being formed in me and — hopefully — she will want to follow Him as well.

At our last college ministry small group gathering, we talked about how isolation and loneliness are increasing despite the widespread popularity of various social networks. I shared with them how, during my first year in college, we received brochures on what this “electronic mail” thing was all about and how to use it.

After learning to navigate the worlds of elm and irc in college, I felt like some medieval clod during seminary as my students tried to explain instant messaging and the like to me. Right around that time (to me, it seems about seven or eight years ago), it seemed like shortcut acronyms were really popular: you know, LOL, BRB, etc.

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Our family just returned from the first real vacation we’ve had in years and we had a wonderful time.

One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the Grand Canyon. Our daughter enjoyed the snow there (yes, apparently it snows in Arizona and the fresh snowfall was beautiful). She even got to make a snowman, as evidenced below:

gcsnow.jpg

This was my first trip to the Grand Canyon, and it was completely breathtaking. Before visiting, I’m not sure what I imagined (maybe a big hole in the ground?) but when we finally arrived and got our first glimpse I gasped out loud. My wife told me a story about a family she knew growing up who drove out from Southern California to the Grand Canyon, saw it, said, “What a grand canyon” and hopped right back into the car and returned home. However, we were in no hurry to leave — there was so much to take in.

My wife and I spoke during our trip home about how sometimes we need to experience really huge and beautiful things that remind us of how small we really are and how this sense of awe and wonder help us to reconnect with God in deeper ways (well, mostly my wife spoke and I listened and learned — she’s profound like that, and I’m a lucky man!).

When everything is human-sized and manageable, it is so easy for me to lose sight of the vastness of God. And, at times when I feel on the verge of being crushed by circumstances, I am so glad that my life is in His hands. There is a world of difference between feeling dumb or belittled because I just can’t get it right and being re-sized in the presence of Almighty God.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! – Psalm 8:1