Posts

Showing posts from 2013

NoTV day

So the other day I announced to my family that we were having a "no TV day" which included all gaming devices in our home.  I was surprised that a revolt didn't happen right after making the announcement.  

Panic did set in though.
What will we do if we don't just sit an stare at the TV?
What can we do if the only plan for the day was taking the dog to the vet and that surely wouldn't take all day long.
In the morning while loading the dishwasher my son brought me a magazine and said "we may need this in the afternoon when we need something to look at."
Which made me giggle but also somewhat sad.  
He was thinking what I was thinking, "what are we going to look at?"

We spend a lot of time, looking at computer screens, iphones, gaming devices, and TV throughout our day.

We lasted until 4 p.m.  
Harry watched 15 minutes of Sponge Bob and then turned it off and went back outside to play.

You know the kids played a lot in the back yard, using their muscles …

My beloved Cardinals

Today I am experiencing a great variety of emotions.
Today is the day that I cannot turn on the radio without hearing how the Red Soxs won the World Series.
And while I am excited for Boston and their celebration, I am sad for what could have been for my home team.
I love the Cardinals.  And I am not sure why I feel that way.
Most people who come from St. Louis do and this love runs deep in our blood.
It is part of our DNA.
I think in part because St. Louis can be such a divided city in so many ways.
When we meet someone from St. Louis the first question we ask is "what school did you go to?"  And it wasn't until after college that I learned that when people from other cities ask that they are asking about the college you attended.  Not for us St. Louisans.  We are asking about your high school.
And we take great pride in the high school we attended.
My sister gave my son a Kirkwood Pioneer t-shirt and I make sure that he wears it with pride!
The rivalries run deep and …

Worry

Are you a worrier?

I think that I am on some level.
Now I don't lose sleep at night 
over concerns that I have.

But on some level of my consciousness
I am worrying about something
almost every day.

I worry about the church.
The body of Christ.

There is on some level a sense of prophetic worry
because after all faithfulness 
stands at time against culture.

I worry about our level of faithfulness 
to the gospel message.
I worry about our level of response
to the gospel message.

I worry about the number of people in the pews on Sunday.
I worry about our approach to ministry.
And then I wonder if we measure our "success" 
the same way God does.

My worrying about the body of Christ
takes me back to the basics of faith:
community centered upon
worship
prayer
giving
service
and study.

We are called to plant the seeds
not to give growth,
that is God's part.


Growing Up

I am not ashamed to admit that at the beginning of every school year
I get a little sad (well sometimes a lot sad) as I send my kiddos
off to another school year.

There is nothing like a birthday or the start of a school year
to get me melancholy.

This new school year hit me in waves.
We are into our second week and a funk has spread over me.
It probably has something to do with getting up an hour earlier
and battling bed time at night, so most likely I am just plain exhausted.

However ...
when driving to work this morning, I pressed shuffle on my phone and the song,
"Lullaby" by Trout Fishing in America played.
It is a great folksy tune mixed with a synthesizer.
Right after that song came the song "Come Away to Sea" by David Wilcox.  Now I don't have a lot of lullaby music on my phone so the shuffle picking two in a row is a rarity and didn't help me in my funkiness.

"Close your eyes and I'll sing you a song .... lullaby" and that
is all it …

Clinging to a Rock

Let me start with a fundamental reality about myself.  
I am seriously afraid of heights.
More specifically I am afraid of falling.
I am ultra competitive when it comes to sports.  
So I usually don't step up and try unless I know I am going to win.

So enough with the confessions ...

Back when I lived in Jefferson City, Missouri the YMCA right next to the church I served as Associate Pastor built an indoor rock climbing wall.  We took our youth one night as part of a lock-in.

I figured I would try it out to show good leadership and "take one for the team", showing my "bravery" by climbing the shortest wall possible, in the quickest amount of time,
without crying in front of my youth.

After my first climb I was hooked.

I loved the adreniline of climbing, of facing my fear head on.

After having our first child, Eva, Dan and I stopped indoor rock climbing until ...

Last month when I was in St. Louis on vacation, Dan and I took our kids indoor rock climbing for the very first …

Dreams

When I was a kid, I liked to dream a lot about what my future life would look like. 
It played out in many different ways,
with friends and with dolls. 
I would play secretary with my mom's extra office supplies of paper, 
typing machine and folders.  
I think I "worked" for a doctor, keeping patient files in order. 
Then when I attended high school the conversation was about what college we would go to and what we would major in.  
Everything we did and studied was preparing us for our future.  
So in some regard we felt like we had some sort of control over it, 
our hard work would get us to where we were headed.

I have noticed this same pattern emerging with my own children.  
They dream about their future, play it out in ways that I won't share 
because that is their story to tell and not mine.

But their telling or playing out of their future has got me thinking about how little control we actually have over our future: in that there are so many variables that we really won&#…

I don't judge

Yesterday I had a conversation with a colleague in ministry, with our children present with us.  As we tried to get our work done (while our kids were running around us) we got off topic, onto the topic of parenting.  And she said something so amazing, "I don't judge."

It seems that so many parents do judge.  We judge on whether or not a mom decides to breast feed or bottle feed her baby.  We judge a mom on her diaper choice (cloth or disposable).  We judge a parent based upon when solid food is introduced.  And that is all within the first six months of becoming a mom!  We judge one another on how and when a child is disciplined especially when we have little to no background on the child's development and how their week has been going.

We especially like to make the judgements when a parent has a child out in public, in an unfamiliar environment.

We like to judge.  But why?

Does it give us some satisfaction that we are doing a "better" job than someone else i…

Gratitude

It never ceases to amaze me
how my best laid plans for the morning
can be overturned by a grumpy,
ADHD son.
For about two months we had pretty smooth mornings,
not ideal in any stretch of the imagination, but smooth.
You see with a child like Harry, you have to be constantly encouraging,
constantly reminding,
constantly watching
because he can get lost in his play with Legos or army men
as the minutes fly by and when you try to redirect his energy and effort
WW III can be unleashed without any warning.
It is probably the same for every child,
it is just exasperated with a child with his special needs.
Just when I thought I had a handle on
not sweating the small stuff,
this morning it sort of blew up in my face.

So as I was driving to the church this morning,
 with some sadness in my heart,
I thought back to worship on Sunday.
Harry had this crazy hair,
that was sort of sticking up in every direction,
thanks to the thickness of it and the length of it.
He had on an outfit that you wo…

The point of church

It seems to me that in the clashing of modernity and post-modernity,
of an ever expanding world view,
with an ever increasing speed to be informed about anything,
and I mean anything under the sun;
that the question about the point of church is on the radar.

I wonder however, how new the phenomenon really is,
(and as someone who has studied church history, I already know the answer ... i.e. not new at all)
yet we treat it as such.

So I have to wonder why it is we feel like we are going into uncharted territory?
(Something I admit to saying from time to time).  Maybe because we are.

Is it because prepackaged church programs aren't bringing new people in?
Is that we are finally learning that church should never have been constructed as a business,
modeling itself after the successful business models of the day?

Yesterday I got a call from a local news channel that wants to "brand" our church
and publicize the best ministries in an ad
that will run on their web site.
I do…

Follow up on giving it up

So we are into week two of our Lenten discipline of eating what we have and not just running to the store to buy the ingredients of what ever we are craving in the moment.  What I have learned is that this is actually something I can do!  Which is huge for me.  I have taken time each weekend to prepare meals for the whole week, last Saturday it only took 2 hours of my day and now I have home cooked meals ready for dinner and left overs for lunch, this is great.
You know it really does save money.  I am amazed at how much it saves.
And while I would usually not be too enthused about having Minestrone three days in a row, it is actually best on the third day!
The question now is whether or not I can keep it up.  I always find myself enthusiastically throwing myself into something new only to lapse and return to my old habits a month or so down the line.  God willing this Lenten discipline will turn into a new habit that honors our household budget and continues to raise awareness in our…

Give it up for Lent!

Each year, 40 days before Easter, I am faced with the same dilemma, what to give up for Lent.   Last year my family ate beans and rice for dinner on Monday and then donated what we would have spent on a larger meal to a local food pantry.  It was a good practice to have, however, my family really loves beans and rice so it really didn't feel like much of a sacrifice for Lent.

So this year, we are going to try and eat what we have in our fridge and pantry and menu plan around that.  We throw a lot of food away each week.  Partially because we menu plan based on what we are hungry for and not on what we already have. I know it is a bad habit to get into, especially the habit of throwing out food that could have been eaten but has gone bad.

My hope is that this new practice will help us also curb our appetite for instant gratification and allow us to be more creative with what we already have.  I'll let you know how this one plays out.

The Pope announces his resignation

All right, so I have taken about 24 hours to listen and read before responding to the historical news that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning.  The last time a Pope resigned was 600 years ago, so it is pretty news worthy.  His reason for resigning of course peeks our interest.  He says that because of his health he is not up for the challenges of his job.  And that has unleashed criticism.  Really?

Ministry is hard at best, I can only begin to imagine what the pressure and challenges of ministry are for a Pope. Some say that his timing is bad because after all tomorrow we enter into the season of Lent.  But I am not sure there is ever a good time in the liturgical year to retire.

But I wonder more about how it is in our society we come down so hard on those who say "no" or who decide that they cannot do something, so they need to step down.  I haven't come across any articles that speak about how when you feel God is calling you to do something different, then you better fo…

It doesn't always get better?

I have been listening to NPR's piece on "Losing my Religion" this week as I get ready for my day.  I have been looking into the rise of the "none's" (those without religious affiliation) for a couple of years. So I find the information to be quiet informative, especially to hear how so many people are struggling with the faith of their childhood that in many ways painted a black and white theology, where questioning wasn't welcomed; where blind faith was accepted.

I didn't grow up in such a tradition where questions were not welcome, in fact my first run in with a religious group that shunned those who question came in college.  I got kicked out of that Bible study and eventually found my way to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that has a rich history of debate and questioning not just of the meaning behind biblical texts but also how the biblical texts informs our decision making today.

As my exposure to more fundamental Christian has gr…