Showing posts from September, 2015

When I'm More Baggins Than Took

I find myself feeling very hobbit like as summer ends and fall rolls in, as the leaves change colors and there are more overcast days (and winter is coming , to mix my stories) and I keep finding that I love Bloomington and Hope more than I did the week before. (art by Jian Guo ... some of my favorite LOTR fan art!) I'm hobbit like not in the sense of wanting so many meals a day (though I don't object) but in the sense that I don't want adventures, not big ones anyway. I don't want to go.  I want to stay here, to get a dog and get married and buy a house and have children, to walk these sidewalks that are not crowded with bodies.  I want to stay through the familiar cycle of seasons, year after year. I don't want to juggle airline tickets and languages and never having enough time to say all the goodbyes, never being able to fade into an afternoon of easy invisibility in the grocery store. My heart wants to cocoon itself in a safe shell of familiar comf


This Sunday was a baptism Sunday for the baby of some dear friends of mine and a part of one of the vows caught my attention. Do you now unreservedly dedicate your children to God ? Those words seem too hard to hear, the promise heavy to bear, when I look at the baby in front of us and think of how much we all love him.  How we love all the children of this congregation and... Unreservedly? In this world that's full of bullies and ISIS, where 9-11 is a chapter in the history books and kids don't even blink at the mention of terrorism?  (They know what it is; they've grown up in a world full of it, I realized the other day when the boys I was babysitting were totally unfazed by the short documentary they watched about 9-11. ) Unreservedly? Now, when millions of refugees wait and die without homes?  When abuse and corruption and disasters abound?  When all of us in this sanctuary know that the children's hearts will be broken and their bodies will wear out


Three random memories that came to mind today, God's faithfulness in the past, affecting the present and stretching out into the future. A customer and Laura and I were talking about drinking hot water, and I was thinking back to when I first remembered enjoying hot water, and decided that it was probably the semester I studied abroad in China.  When we were on a service project on a chilly mountain top in Guizhou, and suddenly the silly, cheap water bottle that Tim carried everywhere and kept filling up with steaming water became a prized object, something that would warm our hands for a moment.  It was in that freezing place, on a night when the generator wasn't working and we were sitting around in the main building, telling stories by candlelight, that I looked around at my group mates and thought, Wow.  This is exactly where I'm supposed to be right now, and there is no where I'd rather be.   That was probably the point at which I was hooked on China.  And oh, th

The Refugee Crisis and the Imago Dei

If we really see the image of God reflected in the humans around us -- How can we close our doors and hearts and laws to refugees? image from , check them out for ways to get involved How can we ignore the atrocities of abortion? I woke up this morning and those thoughts were beating at my mind.  It's such a simple concept in some ways, the  imago Dei , that we bear the image of God Himself.  And such a very hard one to live out.   If I truly believe that God's image is stamped into every person I interact with -- How can I be impatient and annoyed with others? How can I think that what I'm planning to say is more important than listening? I'm longing to have a heart after God's heart, one that is deeply full of love and grace, so that living with grace and love is a natural outflow, spilling into interactions with customers at Crumble and kids from church and people in Bible study and the cashiers in Kroger a

Quote fest!

One of my favorite things about having a kindle is the way it assembles everything I've highlighted (highlit?) for me. So without further ado, here are some quotes that I marked up, for one reason or another, in past months. "To become a disciple of Jesus is to accept now that inversion of human distinctions that will sooner or later be forced upon everyone by the irresistible reality of his kingdom.  How must we think of him to see the inversion from our present viewpoint?  We must, simply, accept that he is the best and smartest man who ever lived in this world, that he is even now 'the prince of the kings of the earth' (Rev 1:5). Then we heartily join his cosmic conspiracy to overcome evil with good." ( The Divine Conspiracy  by Dallas Willard) "We ought to be spiritual in every aspect of our lives because our world is the spiritual one.  It is what we are suited to."  ( Divine Conspiracy ) "Jesus, by contrast, brings us into a world with

the flip side of how I feel about going back to China

Usually when people ask about what I'll be doing in the future, about China-things, I give them very happy and excited answers.  Because I am  excited, thrilled, to have the chance to go back.  But also partly because it is hard to hold onto too many emotions at once and deal with that conflict, let alone try to express it to others. Tonight though that came up in conversation with some friends from church, and I decided I should write about it -- the deep sadness that accompanies my plans to go back -- since I've been thinking about it anyway. As summer turns to fall, I'm constantly reminded of how grateful I am to be in Bloomington for a second year.  It is beautiful and good to get to know a place and to build deep relationships, to discover short cuts and favorite houses and breath taking gardens.  And the thought of saying goodbye to it breaks my heart. A baby is going to be baptized soon at Hope, and that is a deep joy to me.  Because I've known his family s