Friday, June 25, 2010

finding time

For the last year I have been working two jobs (well almost). There was a 4 month stint in there where the jobs were sporadic, to say the least. Last summer I took a part time gig to supplement my income and here we are again in summer, a year wiser but still working two jobs. I remember trying this juggling act back in college and thinking, dude, this is nuts.

God knows I have a hard time saying no to anything and amidst these two jobs I find there is little free time to be had, but I am always looking for some. This past spring was probably the hardest on me that I have ever experienced and after pulling through it I was left to question why, yet I continue down the road of assent.

In the craziness of it all I have discovered that saying yes to so many different responsibilities can also mean saying yes to free time. I am the consummate master of telling myself there will be time for everything, but reality always reminds me that time yields to no man. So finding time for me becomes a task of sorts, kind of like writing date nights on the calendar. This matter should be open and closed but I can't escape the idea that I am missing something that I haven't made time for.

My case is not unlike most, I just don't air the majority of it via Facebook; no need (and no time). What irks me however is how glib some are that could be doing so much more and yet just waste away while telling the world how busy they are. Oh crap, there I go whining again, sorry.

Finding time is recognizing that we are all living on a limited supply, then maximizing every last second. It is saying yes to playing catch with your kid even after a long day of work, even when you would rather collapse on the sofa. It is making an effort in the lives of everyone around you, even when you know that half of them would rather not hear from you at all. It is listening when you would rather speak.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moving Christianity into Western thought…

For so long, we as Americans have believed that while Christ died for our sins, we are somehow detached from His commission because this country was founded on the belief that religious oppression included something we left behind in the Old World. Americans embrace a New World philosophy where apparently we are supposed to be “free” from oppression and persecution.

With that in mind, fundamentalists are adamant about protecting that particular freedom as truly American, and a God given right. We move through life, generation after generation, upholding a belief that somehow being an American frees us from suffering for Christ (Philippians 1:27-30).

Instead of gaining freedom from sin through Christ’s life, death and resurrection, we claim freedom by honoring the lives, and more importantly the deaths, of military men and women who supposedly grant us freedom.

But what does that freedom look like? Does it free us from eternal damnation or from sin? The claim is that we are freed from tyranny, right? Christians were persecuted (and still are) in the Old World, but American Christians believe that persecution has no place in their New World.

Christ Himself came to restore and give us new life, and all because of a grace that we could never understand. We celebrate that restoration by giving up our old ways and our old lives in order to live victoriously in Him. Our commission is to share that very news.

The contradiction for American Christians comes when we celebrate a freedom that is born out of death and nothing more. It happens when we rally around a freedom that is represented by man made accomplishments and man made documents. Americanism is all about what we have done and not so much about what our heavenly Father has done for us by His grace.

Leave it to man to circumvent God in an effort to be the top dog, especially an American man. The very image of an American man is one of rugged determination and grit, of steel jaws and raw nerves. Someone who doesn’t back down from a fight and never gives up. This image is powerful and it tends to draw every American in with the understanding that if you do not relate to this rugged American man, you must be either a traitor or a foreigner. Lately, you might be branded a terrorist.

The problem is that when the rubber meets the road and eternity is on the line, who are you going to trust; the military man with his big gun, or God Almighty?

Western thought (or Americanism) is relatively new in the grand scheme of things, especially that of philosophy and the understanding of the human mind. How any one group of citizens could have strayed this far in such a short amount of time is boggling but my inference is meant to elicit a question for each of us, and not meant to confuse or lead to more thought. The question is actually a simple one and it is this; who do you serve?

Take time to answer the question and do not jump to conclusions. It is easy to suggest that you serve God but I beg you to look at your life and examine what other forces are at work. What role does money play in your life? How about your job or your hobbies? Even your family focus needs to be looked at.

Most importantly, the object of this post is to examine what being an American means to you. I have written about this topic three times before and in those cases I pointed to the need for examination. You can keep blaming the other side if you want, keep pointing fingers, keep slapping “support our troops” bumper stickers on your car, but in the end God is going to expect much more from His children than silly rants on Facebook or catchy little Twitter slogans.

Move forward in your faith, but remember that in order to do so takes some bold thought. Redefining Western thought is an imperative but before we can even touch that one we have to redefine the priorities in our own lives. Examine yourselves by asking God for wisdom as James directs us. Then, turn your thoughts into actions that are truly beneficial to His kingdom, and not this one.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

soccer dad

We have all heard the term ‘soccer mom’ but when was the last time you heard someone refer to himself as a soccer dad? You might think this is some new age terminology but the truth is that dads have long been attending soccer matches for their kids but it is often the mom who, being a stay at home mother, totes the kids to matches along with their friends and then hangs out with other like minded mothers.

There is nothing wrong with this picture, that of a soccer mom, but what does the picture say regarding dad? For years we have established that dads didn’t always make soccer games because of work or other responsibilities (such as golf with buddies), but for the last 15 years that I have been standing on the sideline, mostly as a coach, the signs are clear; dads are at the games.

Adding to participation rates of dads is our current economy, which has seen a rise in women maintaining positions in the work place while men lose their jobs or they work part time. This of course frees up men to take more of an active role in things like soccer games, but even with that, when was the last time you heard a guy declare himself a soccer dad?

So let me openly use the term for all to hear (and read); I am a soccer dad. I for one am grateful for the opportunities I get to spend with my kids, and being out there for them as they play sports is a real joy. I watch them work hard to impress me when they know that I am watching and I get a kick out of seeing them interact with other kids that are doing the exact same thing. Watching all of this play out seems so natural to me but I remind myself that it has not always been this way.

Thinking back to my playing days as a young boy, I remember my dad being there occasionally but I also remember feeling like he was out of place. There were always dads at the games but something feels different about then versus now. Possibly it is my involvement in the game (I coach, oversee the local parks & rec. soccer program and also play), but I wonder what these times say about soccer dads today as opposed to 35 years ago?

If you asked either of my kids what their dad does for work, they might slip up and say, “he’s a soccer coach”, or “he coaches other soccer coaches”. And while I do have a job that pays me, the truth is that a large portion of my life is taken up by soccer, so the term “soccer dad” fits. But that term is of greater significance to me when I remember that I am a dad first and soccer comes second. Watching my kids tear after the ball is a joyous thing and I relish those moments, even when they get down on themselves for not being as good as they think they should be.

For those of us that have embarked on this privileged journey of fatherhood, we know that there are moments of brilliance followed by trials of uncertainty, both on the part of our kids and ourselves. Whether your sport is soccer or your place of involvement is the science lab (science dad?), we have such an awesome responsibility to be a part of the lives of our kids. To me, being a dad is sharing with my kids all of the experiences that have shaped me from childhood, while also sharing the unique lives of my kids as they share with me.

Being a soccer dad is just one way that I am privileged as a father. Watching as one of my kids scores a goal and then turns to celebrate with both hands in the air, the greatest moment for me comes from seeing them revel in their own accomplishment, then looking at me with that infamous face that screams, “did you see that dad?”

Yea, I’m a soccer dad.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. 
Peace to you all.


Monday, April 5, 2010

hope and love

I don't know if I am disgusted or pissed off or maybe just confused, but whatever it is I need a break from it soon. Maybe I think too much, or maybe I care too much, or maybe I've completely lost the last marble that was playing wall ball in my head. Regardless, I am in thought regarding the state of our world, specifically as it relates to the community. I think of it globally but it has to start locally so we should start this chat there.

I am constantly at battle with the idea that we are capable of so much more but only able to see to the end of our own noses. As we passed Valentine's Day, I was struck with the notion that there is some love out there but it seems to be isolated and spotty at best. I certainly want to believe we are capable of more but certain signs continue to point to a contradiction. So much of our concept of love seems to be wrapped up in who we are that we often forget what everyone else thinks. Does that seem impossible to fathom? Probably not, but I would suggest that we have not truly thought it through all the way.

I am of the belief that love is very deliberate and that falling into it is not really possible. I heard someone suggest a similar view today and it occurred to me how I feel about the topic. I could tear off into the definitions of love but instead, let me say this; we are all capable of love on some level. The real question is when are we going to show it? This world seems like a big game of poker and instead of showing our hands we keep bluffing and upping the ante. The real problem here is there are a lot of people playing this game and trust me when I say, the stakes are high, and there are going to be a lot of losers if we keep going like this.

Currently there is a division in this world that is thick enough to touch and it is getting worse. Opinions are flying in the face of facts and going unchecked. In the midst of this, love is being trampled like a city slicker in Pamplona and everyone seems to be cheering. Even those who claim to be in agreement with each other have abandoned love and seem to be clinging to appeasement. There is no community and certainly no love in too many of the public venues that we witness today.

Enter hope on the scene. While it is scarce and sometimes very quiet it is most certainly in the house. What we know of hope is it's like a 3 hour car ride in a booster seat knowing there's ice cream waiting at the other end. My son will tell you that Hope is his cousin but even he knows that hope is also the start of baseball season, sunshine filled days that are warm enough to wear shorts and trips to the beach.

I can't say enough about some of the cool people I continue to meet who regularly give me hope that there is more out there than just this stale fear of death. I have hope of so many things but it is life that fills me most. I live each day not as if it's my last but instead as a chance to be a positive force in spite of all that is against hope. My community needs it and yours does too; we need hope and love, not accomplishment and entitlement. 
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

settling foundations

Like any new house, I expect the one I am in to go through its settling process, to creak and moan and shift. I have watched the subtle changes take place with curiosity and noted them in some deep recess of my brain, in case something more comes of them. Ultimately I am not too concerned, as I know how much rock this house is sitting on.

You see, out here where I live, all houses are sitting on a bed of rock that requires a contractor to spend the better part of a day or two hammering into, prior to leveling the property and then setting forms for a foundation. Our home is not unlike any out here in that regards and the rock crusher spent no less than 10 hours to get the land to a place where a foundation could be poured. While there have been subtle cracks in the drywall, mostly this house has remained quite constant and the settling process that all homes go through has been minimal at best.

Not all homes are the same however and much can be said about the prep work that takes place prior to pouring a foundation. I have seen dramatic changes to houses that have poorly poured foundations or poorly prepared building lots. Proper preparation is obviously the key and it is important to recognize that everything we do requires some level of prep work prior to our intended action. For example, think of the steps you take prior to actually getting into bed, or the steps you take prior to actually driving down the street, or going on a picnic, or making dinner and so on.

Having foresight is also key. We must also recognize the foreseeable consequences and negative outcomes of not properly preparing for events and actions we take. If in our preparation we fail to see outcomes, I truly believe that the failure is our responsibility and we alone deserve the consequences. I do believe there are exceptions but as a rule, poor prep work leads to poor outcomes. This should seem rather obvious but it is clearly an issue as some people do not accept responsibility for their actions.

What are we teaching the next generation in regards to fiscal, emotional, physical and even spiritual responsibility when we lay waste to poorly poured foundations in our lives and then disavow ourselves from the messes we make? We make fun of and blast politicians and celebrities for their indiscretions but how much better are we? We blame local, state and federal programs for wasting money and over taxing citizens but we spend money we don't have because we somehow feel entitled to it? At what point are we going to wake up and recognize that the responsibility rests firmly on our shoulders and not someone else's?

Many of you know that I am a Christian. For those of you that did not know that, welcome to the party. As I travel this road I am on through life I continue to see reasons why my faith is so vital but I know that not everyone feels the same way. I view my faith as a foundation and that all things I encounter in life are simply another part of the house I am building on that foundation. From time to time, parts of the house break off or need to be fixed but the foundation is intact and seemingly impervious to anything this life throws at it. I am thankful for that foundation and know that if everything else fades away, I will still have that solid foundation to stand on and that gives me immeasurable hope.

For those of you that do not have that kind of faith, or you believe in something all together different, I pray that the foundation you stand on is rock solid and prepared for settling. I also pray that you recognize your responsibility to coming generations and accept the consequences for the decisions you make as you build your house. Lastly, I pray that as I am out here building my house, I can help you build yours and vice versa.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

day by day

So here I sit, two months into being officially unemployed from full time work. For the record, I have enjoyed these last two months as I have had a little more time each day with my kids, especially on Fridays where I now volunteer at a church that they go to for their choice Friday program. For those of you unaware of "Choice Friday", it is something that local businesses and organizations have done for kids because our district went down to 4 day school weeks because of cutbacks.

A short run down on what the last two months have been like, looks like this; started collecting unemployment benefits for the first time in my life, continued my part time job for parks & rec, found a few other part time opportunities that have been rewarding (like crawling around under a 40 year old house with 6 inches to spare) and of course chasing nearly any and every job that moves. I continue my job search and have a few good prospects that I consider hopeful.

All in all, the past two months have been decent, but my thinking cap has been on the entire time and I find myself diving deeper into given subjects like never before. Such voracity for learning has always been a trait but this seems different. I find that once I discover a given topic of interest, it is not enough to read just one page and call it good, I have to pour over a 100 pages to feel quenched.

Take for instance my fascination lately with the Middle East. I am trying to narrow down my interest to Israel for a few reasons, but primarily given the constant state of unrest that takes place over there and seems to be acceptable to most of the world. I fear that the unrest in that region has been going on for so long that most people take it for granted and are completely desensitized to any of the ongoing conflicts there.

One such issue is over the ownership of a region known as Golan Heights. This is a section of land whose sovereignty is hotly contested. Currently the land is controlled by Israel but Syria wants control as soon as possible. Syria is in a world of hurt regarding lack of water in certain parts of that country and the leaders there see Golan Heights as a gateway to access the Sea of Galilee for water to their hardest hit regions in the east. Needless to say, I like to read about these things and with that comes some sense of learning about a different culture than mine, a different part of the world filled with people that I will probably never meet.

Another item of interest recently was a report I read detailing how a study was done regarding young Egyptian men. The study included some 15,000 men and women, all between the ages of 18 and 29, who were asked if young men had a right to beat their wives if the wife was caught talking to another man. 80% of men and 67% of women thought it was OK to beat the wife for talking to another man, while another 8% thought it was OK to beat the wife if she burned food. I find these articles interesting and once I find something like this I have to get to its very source and read more. For the sake of understanding, how can we come to terms with anyone group of people if we have no understanding of their values?

Here in America, I find that most people lack a basic understanding of what any one person goes through in another country. We here of the major stories by way of the TV news and the Internet, but what do we truly know of any one person in any other country, specifically as it relates to culture and a broader understanding of person hood?

I have written about peace (and to some degree, war) for the better part of the past 10 years and my grasp has always been on the atrocities I deem that stem from greed and the desire for absolute power. I have always said that we need to reach out to others in any place they may be and seek relationship with them, for our lives are meant to serve no greater purpose than to be in fellowship with others. My faith has been at the forefront of this belief for almost as long but more than anything else I see a need for diplomacy on a level that no one wants to talk about, and that is the one on one experience.

Being without a job for the past two months has allowed me to think a little more clearly, but something more profound is coming out of this and that is the understanding that I wish I were more connected than I think I am now. Connectivity is essential in this day and age but the question of who we are connected to is more apt. As I read more about places like the Middle East and its inhabitants I am compelled to somehow meet them. I have researched web sites that would allow me to converse with individuals over there on a regular basis but something changes in a relationship when it is not face to face.

Each one of us has something unique to share with the world. I can only hope and pray that I can share something of worth before my time is up. But there is a choice of whether or not to share. We all have choices regarding our involvement and whether or not we will seek relationships that are outside of typical comfort zones. As open as I am to talk about anything I am also susceptible to closing down relationships based on certain content. It has been difficult to walk away from a few relationships over this past year but if there is one thing I will not be a part of, it is hatred. Our lives were never intended to shelter so much vehement hate towards another human being and yet we allow ourselves to fall victim too often.

I will continue to dig deeply into subjects and places that fascinate me but more importantly I hope to somehow connect with some of the people that I read about, the ordinary citizens like you and me, and seek a relation that goes beyond stereotypes and misgivings. There are real men and women out there across the globe that go through the same things as you and I but there are also so many more that never raise a voice. And some voices are silenced.

Please do not be silent as you move forward, but also understand that people just want to talk, to be heard and to share their life. As I go day by day into the future I pray for encounters that will grant me the chance to share and allow others to share, to connect and to grow.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him.

Peace to you all.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010


To seek peace is to constantly and deliberately seek to fulfill the will of others. You cannot live a life that is self centered and truly seek peace; you will find only narcissism and empty spaces. This life has the potential for great things and the simplicity of it all is what gives me hope.

Common goals and interests are pivotal to the search for harmony but it is when we actually share with others as we find value in the lives around us that we begin to see harmony. Valuing others is a key but before we can do that we must discover the value in ourselves. We have it on good authority that we are loved and that we are valuable. Matthew 6:28-30 and Matthew 10:29-31 are good places to start.

Understanding value becomes critical. In math, a value is essentially a number. Zero is a number which carries a value of zero, one carries a value of one and so on. As humans we understand value differently and when we look at something we usually assign it a value greater than zero, because let’s face it, if it was truly a zero, we would not waste our time.

A life equals a value of one; it is an amount greater than no life. When a life ends, so does its value on earth. However, when we celebrate life, it becomes quite valuable to all of us. If life is valuable it is because we choose to make it that way. God chose to give life value. We have that choice today when we choose to value a life through encouragement and growth by way of accepting someone for who they are, and promoting their life in what they add to ours.

Valuing a life simply means assigning worth to any life. Is life really that precious? Let’s consider this from God’s point of view. Here is your quote for the day…

The apple came from the tree of life and it brought death to all that followed. Jesus was placed on a tree of death and brings life to all that follow. (Yes, I wrote that, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit).

In the beginning, God made man and woman and he gave them a breath of life that he did not give to all the other animals on the planet. He gave man a soul and a reason and a will. It wasn’t too long after creation that man made the epic failure of eating from the tree of life and evoking God’s wrath upon all mankind. For thousands of years man had to have struggled with that understanding of failure from his earliest ancestor. But man had hope of a savior.

Then God sent His son. (I have wondered about the span of time between creation and the fall and if it matches that of Jesus’ life from birth to crucifixion. Not that the span of time is critical but other similarities seem significant to me so maybe there are more that I don’t see.) The correlation between the apple being plucked from the tree in an act of defiance to God’s will and plan for His creation, and the crucifixion of Christ on the tree at Calvary is palpable. In God’s salvation plan, He gave His people something that was so much more valuable than that apple and yet they rejected it.

Adam took something from a tree that God had commanded he not touch. The consequences were banishment from the garden, the loss of immortality and a lifetime of pain and hard work that appeared to have no hope. After being banished from the garden, what hope of eternal life did Adam and Eve have? The gloom of that day created a dark cloud over humanity that lasted for thousands of years.

God never commanded His people not to eat of the tree of death; instead He created an antithesis to His tree of life by sacrificing His only son on a tree. During the last Passover meal, Jesus Himself said to take of this bread as if it were His flesh, and to drink of this wine, as if it were His blood. Jesus represented mankind’s second apple, our second chance to get it right.

In Christ we have been given a second chance at the garden. We have been freely given a chance to re-enter a life with God that was only possible if we obeyed God’s commands. Our apple is before us, it is Jesus. The value that God has placed on us is measureable by looking at what He gave us.

One life that is so precious that it provides value and worth to all that accept it. Jesus is that one life, and all we have to do is accept Him.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Competition is laced through everything we do in life. From sports to work to fellowship activities at church, we pour a win or lose attitude into nearly every facet of our lives. When we maintain that view of win or lose, we build ourselves and others up for exceptional expectations. It becomes something of a lifestyle that is perpetuated by the next bit of competition.

Competition as defined by the early Greeks was something that made each participant better. You competed to become a better athlete and player, not just to win. The idea was meant to reinforce ones activity in the market place while also boosting morale of all people. Anyone could compete and win, but becoming better by simply participating was the goal, along with the chance to know your competition. It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of those whom you compete against, regardless of the arena. In time there is the opportunity to know and understand everyone that you might compete against, whether on the field or in business.

Thinking back to childhood it becomes apparent that we have been hardwired. From what I can tell, every society on this globe is affected by competition, no one is left out. We can attribute the Olympic Games as a possible bit of reasoning but even before the Olympic Games were held in Greece for the first time, there was competition between siblings.

As kids we had to compete for everything from a place to sit on the bus to a place on the soccer team at school to our favorite piece of silverware (seriously). We fought for everything and we played to win. We believed that no one played to lose, because why would you? Every day brought new opportunities to compete and if you got your favorite spoon on Monday, you wanted it on Tuesday too. There was never a time when we stopped, we were relentless.

That attitude spilled into our adult lives and we chased down everything because of that upbringing. We went after good jobs and good spouses and good places to live and good churches to attend. We wanted the best and we were willing to compete for it all. Win or lose this has always been about being on top and then bragging about it to our sibs and friends.

Today we are spirited people who see joy in competition but we have experienced too many sorrows as well. When we set ourselves up with a win or lose lifestyle we create guaranteed heartbreak for someone. In many a case throughout our lives, each of us has experienced the agony of defeat. Losing comes not only in sports remember, there is the somber fact of losing your job, or losing a loved one. Losing can be devastating and the sting can last for years. If you have had losses in your life and they have stacked up against other losses without too many wins, your heart takes a beating and recovery seems miles away.

Too much of our global society puts a do or die ultimatum on winning and the consequences of losing are too great for most humans to bear. The fragility of human life proves to us that when we take winning to this place we disregard the essence of human emotion, which is love. This is never more obvious than when witnessed through professional sports.

I know that my position is not popular but we are coming to a point where unless you win, you will not get paid. That idea is alive and well today as we watch the global economy suffer. There is only so much of this made up wealth to go around and eventually certain wells will dry up. Only the winners will walk away with a paycheck and winning will no longer be about sport, but the bottom line. Naturally this is only an opinion but I have certainly never been afraid to share that.

Let me take a step back and dissect something for you that means a lot to me; the heart of sport. Personally I love soccer and I love to play and coach and watch. I am fully aware that there are winners and losers but I also know that on any given day, the team you think is the worst will beat you and the team you think is the best will fail. I know that it takes a team to play this sport and without all the players working together, there is absolute chaos on the field. Teams that do not work together find they get humiliated and run over by clubs who value teamwork.

In the sense that sport produces the opportunity for teamwork, I am struck deeply by the idea that teamwork is something we need in the very framework of life. We need it in our homes, our work places, our churches and every aspect of society. We cannot build bridges and homes without it. Large corporations could not survive without it, neither could small business. Police, fire and emergency workers are trained in being team players. Our military would crumble without it, regardless of what the Army says in their commercials. Trust me when I tell you this, there is no such thing as an army of one and there never will be.

So back to the idea that winning is everything. That idea comes from the greed of one and is always perpetuated by one individual’s pursuit of winning at all costs. This is displayed by coaches and team owners alike, as well as CEOs and wealthy tycoons who see value in winning regardless of the toll it takes on anyone else. Typically these individuals are obsessed with wanting more of the same, and the word winning is only a displaced adjective for a much greater desire; accumulation of wealth and notoriety and the elevation of self.

That desire for more is not the same as the desire to be the best at whatever you do. In sports, being the best is a value. Wanting more is simple greed and there is no place for it in sports. If this seems relative to anything else in your life, then you might be paying attention. As children we have an opportunity to discover teamwork as well as individual value through sports. As we grow, the idea is to take those lessons and apply them to our relationships, our careers, our marriages and even our spiritual journeys.

We all make choices regarding our involvement on any given “team”; whether at work or at home or anywhere in your life. When you decide to be a team player you are effectively saying that you want the team to excel and you are willing to put forth the effort to get there.

So tell me; do you compete to win or get better? Is it possible to do both or should we just compete to get better? Society tells us to compete to win only but we have a chance to help each other get better, in every avenue from sports to business to our homes and with our neighbors. The unspoken line here is that as you get better, you actually help to make others better that are around you. That fact is something that goes unwritten and unsaid by the world in which we live. We are so busy trying to get better and/or win at all costs; we forget the effect we have on future generations regarding what we can teach them about competing in this life.

Compete to get better. Compete to make others better. Compete to build opportunity for all people to enjoy victory, for it is not yours alone.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I’m bored and don’t know what to write…not sure why but for some reason seem conflicted about whether to write on a new topic or keep discussing my favorite one. There are a lot of things I could talk about but I suppose I need some passion, gotta figure out where I hid that.

I have been at odds lately with many things, among them my family up north. I love them all very much but I am nearing the point where no interaction is acceptable, seeing as they are alright with that. For a while it appeared we could keep up some sort of regular conversation by phone, then that failed. There is always the annual pilgrimage home for Thanksgiving weekend, but that almost seems trite anymore. I want so much to have some sense of relationship but I fear it is one sided. I get the impression during chats that it would be best to just stop calling.

Relating to ministry, I have officially stepped down from one thing and have hoped to find something a little closer to home. So far nothing has materialized but I am trusting in God to direct my steps. With the winter upon us now, it is that time of year when most things are indoors which seems to limit my thoughts towards ministry. Now that I am working for parks and rec I am excited about the many possibilities to talk to hundreds of people that I would never have known. I am hopeful that God has planted me here to be a light. My heart has been screaming out to serve and I can only pray that God takes these hands and feet and moves me into the lives of the broken.

Work hasn’t changed much, speaking of my full time gig that is. We show up every day and find a way to make it happen. Times are tough and things have been ugly this year but I am very thankful for a boss that is so generous. I am convinced we will survive this mess and rise above but sometimes it is harder to believe than others. Right now we are looking good for the next few months and I am thankful that God continues to provide.

Does this feel like a Christmas letter? Yea, to me too…hmmm, not what I was intending, but now what? Politics? Boo. Hiss. Phffftttt! Sports? I was inspired by Ingram’s acceptance speech at the Heisman presentation and wish every athlete would watch that. I hope the Ducks crush Ohio State and I hope Cincinnati shows up against Florida. I am sick and tired of pro sports and wish I could ignore the 24-7 Tiger channel (the guy screwed up and now he is trying to figure out how to make things better…let’s back off and give him a chance).

I am looking forward to watching my daughter try basketball for the first time, starting in January. I had this crazy daydream of having ESPN Gameday show up at one of her games…tell me that wouldn’t be cool, Dick Vitale goin off about “diaper dandies”. I will get to watch every game and I am hopeful that she has a blast.

I continue to become more reflective as I age, this is possibly normal but it is all the more obvious to me as the days pass. I spend more time reading and then truly thinking about impacts. It has occurred to me that too many people on this planet are strictly reactionary and therefore too few people are effective in being proactive. That nature is what is destroying the movement to be more environmentally conscious. Instead of looking at this planet as a place to enjoy for many generations, too many individuals are living as if they get to be the last generation. It is despicable to witness and worse to come across Christians who think it is acceptable to be so reactionary.

I will admit that up to now it has been nice to be an American but I am coming to grips more and more that I am simply a visitor here and will soon fade away like everything else on this planet. With that notion in mind I have toyed with the idea of giving up my citizenship if it means I can stand for the one thing that no one can take from me, and that is my faith. I know that I spoken about Americanism and being not of this world, but this is more of an ultimatum now. My faith has to be not only more important than my place as an American, I have to find a way to make it clear that I would happily give up my rights to prove a point, which is that being an American is becoming something of a liability.

Since starting this post I have experienced the joy of being laid off. During this economic time when so many are hurting I feel blessed and am willing to be tested if that is God’s plan for my life at this moment. Spending time in the fire may be just the thing for me and I am excited for what God can do with this sojourner.

We have made it to another year. We are stronger and wiser (hopefully) and continuing to seek better than we had last year. In this coming year, take moments to reflect on what you have and forget about what you do not have. Thank God in the little moments as well as the big, He enjoys hearing from you all day, not just at the end. When you are down remember that others are down there with you so pray for them because you might be able to help each other up.
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.