Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Reign of God

I'm dealing with the emotional and mental part of this deal, realizing that my life will be qualitatively different for 6 months. There is a lot of disappointment in all of that. Surgery will be on Thursday morning and the idea of that leaves my stomach feeling a bit queazy.

However, there is another side to this. My life will have to slow down, and that can be its own opportunity. When it comes to 6 months of rehab, instead of being impatient about getting it over with, I could make a choice to monk it. Think slow, deliberate, steady, breathe in the moments, pray unceasingly, gain inner and outer strength.

With all of life's disappointments, they fall under the same rule of God as our blessings. I live in a covenant relationship with the God of Creation. It is under His reign that ALL of my life is under. So I don't have to be strong, rather, I am coming needy today. My life is secure because it belongs to the Kingdom of God and is experienced under His Reign.


Monday, January 30, 2006


My left achilles is completely ruptured, the ER doctor was wrong. It looks like I may be scheduled for surgery on Thursday to repair it with a Kevlar staple of some sort. Then its 6 weeks in a cast. Then 6 weeks in an air cast boot (I'm in one now). That's 3 months in a cast. Then 3 additional months of rehab. I won't run for 6 months following surgery and all my daily life routines will have to change or be realigned. Bright side is that its my left foot so I can still drive, but not my truck which is a stick shift. So I'm gonna have to get rid of it. Going to pick up my grandmothers car this evening.

Zach's test today was a disaster like his last one. He refuses to cooperate and somehow the specialists at Children's Hospital can't grasp that. They are expecting him to do things that we can tell them he absolutely won't or can't do. They seem to put the burden of responsibility on us to make him do these things he is incapable of doing. The perception for us is that he must be a worse case of whatever he has than they are used to dealing with and that seems to be our problem. He has an appointment is thursday w/ ear/nose/throat which won't go well because he won't let anybody see him in that way. The sedation would be for a hearing test following that. His autism test is scheduled to be 3 hours long, my prediction like today's psych. evaluation is that it will be 30 min. tops because he won't do it. These tests at children's hospital were supposed to help us evaluate his condition, diagnose anything that may be a barrier, and launch us to more steps to unlock his intelligence and cope better with his behavior. Its turning out to be one diaster appointment after another, none of them helpful. Its an hour of driving round trip and we're just doing the co-pays to help the economy. It appears whatever Zach's issues may be, they are beyond their resources to know or help with.

I'm not going to lie, I am deeply, deeply disappointed. If any of these treatments for Zach and I come back not covered by insurance, we can't afford to cover them. I can't add another job on top of the 4 I'm spread out on as it is.

Im sure I'll get perspective in a couple days, for today, I'm just really pissed off.

I used to be an athlete

So I was playing basketball yesterday at the YMCA, trying to cover a big guy that was just killing everybody on the court, scoring at will. When my team got back on the court to take winners, I went to D him up again. He passed left, I accelerated towards the pass and then it happened . . . SNAP . . . and I was on my face. My first response was that somebody shot me, when I turned to see the shooter, I realized there was no smoking gun, rather I was hurt bad.

Spent the evening in the ER and found that I tore my achilles. It doesn't seem to be a total rupture, but its definitely torn. Monday or Tuesday I will see the Podiatrist, get an MRI and get the verdict. I am hoping that the tear can be healed without surgery, it seems to be a 50/50 chance. Either way I am looking at months of rehab and recovery . . . and I am not happy about that.

Presently, I have a soft cast on, crutches and vicodin. I slept for a bit, but now am up. You take your health for granted when things are well and now I would do anything to go back to when I had a healthy achilles. I just got back to running on Saturday in preparation for my 10K and 15K in March and 1/2 Marathon in May. All of that is cancelled now and that's a big disappointment.

But let's put this all in perspective, I tore my achilles, it will heal. My son has another test at Children's Hospital today, one that he will be sedated for, in an ongoing barrage of tests for autism or other source of his lack of development. Its very stressful on my wife to keep putting him in these trying situations. He's healthy and happy, but something inside him is not right. And my brother, Palmer. I think about him everyday, multiple times a day. I stand with him in solidarity against the cancer and keep asking our God for hope and healing.

I told myself I wouldn't blog on vicodin, I think I did ok :)


Friday, January 27, 2006

Celtic Daily Prayer

I have gotten back to reading and praying the Daily Office from Celtic Daily Prayer and I'm wondering why I ever stopped. I have resumed finding my center in Christ through the morning prayers and canticle, next step is the mid-day prayer. Then would be resuming the evening office and night canticle with my wife and children before bed.

I have fallen into the lie of the busy and the urgency of the immediate. That way of thinking is worldly and leads to a scattered soul. Temptation seems more rational in that state, instead of the festering invitation to death that it really is. Stopping to breathe in my relationship with Abba in the morning through CDP is my launching point.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Prayer without ceasing

An old man and his wife had been married for many years. Content in each other's company they rarely needed to speak. Another man, speaking of his way of praying, has said, 'I looks at Him, and He looks at me, and we're happy together.'
My eyes, my eyes have seen the King,
My eyes, my eyes have seen the King,
The vision of His beauty,
Has pierced me deep within;
to whom else can I go?

- Celtic Daily Prayer, Jan. 26 Aidan Reading

How do we measure prayer? We don't. We simply relate with Abba in intimacy and keep that conversation going. We have a mystical union with God, not a calculated program. Abba is near, we simply need to stop and receive the embrace.

Stop and notice the Kingdom amongst you today,

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Attention iPod geeks!!

Here's a pretty sweet offer on a smokin' Kenpo iPod jacket. I've seen this jacket, its worth trying to win.

Check out this link for more info: iPod jacket

Just pushing along the info. if you like free stuff.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

is my 9 year old ready to blog?

Ali, my 9 year old daughter just wrote this yesterday. I found her on my computer and asked her what she was doing. She said she just felt like writing something to God. She has taken up writing and poetry this past year and seems to enjoy it as a past-time now. Here is her latest piece of art:

"Our life is only one chapter of this big book and there are thousands and millions of chapters to be written. We have a reason in life and it is written in that book. We look forward to what that reason in life is that is written in that book. And we hope someday we will see that book. That God will open up that book and we will know the purpose of our life. When that first chapter is over we that God will welcome us into the next chapter to heaven. We hope we are happy in heaven and that one day everyone will believe in Jesus and that every single person will be in heaven.

You find your meaning in life listening through prayer and reading the Bible and last but not least, you make the choices you think are right and God thinks is right. That is how I am going to find my meaning written in that book."

By: Alison J. Marshall

Friday, January 20, 2006

Personal Retreat

After I give my last exam today, I'm going on personal retreat. I need to rest, think, pray, be alone, relax, worship, write, recreate, plan . . . and did I mention rest? I've been carrying some stress and pressures more than usual this past month and my wife is giving me space to take some personal time. My wife is pretty great.

God - you're my God! I can't get enough of you! I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praise like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.
excerpt from Psalm 63 - The Message

may you find peace where you are,

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Calling Yahweh

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes and make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt and make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul and make it sing, sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them how to carry
Take these hands, don't make a fist, no
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth, give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn
The sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Why the dark before the dawn

Take this city
A city should be shining on the hill
Take this city if it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

We reflected on this song by U2 last night in house church, about God redeeming our broken parts. I'm still in the redempting flow of this song, its washing over me again and again. Apparently I'm still a sinner in need of a Savior.


Monday, January 16, 2006

The Evil of Dehumanization

Next Wednesday evening, in my last class of World Civilization for this cohort group at Indiana Wesleyan University, I will be lecturing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So in preparation, I took myself to see "Munich" today. This is not my first exposure to the conflict. I spent a couple weeks in 1998 studying the issues firsthand in Israel and Palestinian territories. Since then, it has become a personal issue to me. In my final paper for that class, instead of taking sides in the conflict, i came to one conclusion . . . that dehumanization is evil. Israel has dehumanized Palestinians and vice versa. What it creates is a cycle of violence that will never, never end. No matter how noble or righteous your cause, violence is an unending, vicious circle. This is the same reason why I have never been in support of the U.S. war in Iraq. But that's for another day.

I thought Spielberg did a fine job in this movie of storytelling and creating the many shades of gray involved in the conflict. It is commendable for a Jewish Pro-Israeli as he is to give a decently balanced Palestinian view as well. This gave the movie so much more credibility for me. However, his gray questions have caused much controversy amongst the groups spouting more war over their black/white values. Extremists will never get peace and they exist on both sides of this argument. All the hope rests in the moderates who still value discussion, diplomacy and compromise. I loathe the amount of U.S. $$ that is sent to Israel with blind support. I also loathe the evangelical church and its bias towards a secular Israel that doesn't share the values of the Sermon on the Mount. At the same time, I reject Hamas or any other Palestinian group that uses terror and murder to make its point.

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, consider passive resistance based on the Sermon on the Mount as your model. Look at what Dr. King accomplished. Look at what Ghandi accomplished. Jesus was a Jew who was persecuted and he layed down his sword to break the cycle of violence. He forgave His abusers, he blessed His enemies. There is no other way to peace, it requires a bigger idea than vengeance. I hate all forms of dehumanization. I am not pro-Israeli nor pro-Palestinian. I am pro-peace. I know for some, that makes me a poor theologian, but the Sermon on the Mount is the central teaching of Jesus to me. I will live and die by those truths. Grace is the way, compassion is the way, understanding is the way, forgiveness is the way. These are not weak concepts, they are the way of a powerful, risen Christ. If you seek for only justice, often you will find no peace. Love is the only freedom.

Justice done

It is no secret that I'm not a fan of the Steelers and that I am rooting against them, which makes me a Broncos fan now. However, let me take a moment to be fair. They not only beat the Colts, they beat the officiating crew as well. One could make an argument that there was a conspiracy on behalf of the NFL front office to have the Colts and Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. Let me give the 3 biggies:

1) The obvious pass interference against Randle El. The DB never made a play for the ball and tackled him while the ball was on its way. It would have clinched the game all the more, but a phantom no-call.

2) 4th and 1, the Colts jump the neutral zone claiming the Steelers flinched for a false start. The replay showed that Faneca did move a bit, but wasn't called against the Steelers. The defensive line doesn't make the call, the refs do. Because no false start was called, the Colts jumped and touched the opponent over the neutral zone. That is an AUTOMATIC off-sides call. It happens in every game. Instead, the refs decided to not call anything . . . that is not an option. I'm a football freak and I have never seen that kind of no-call in my lifetime. That is inexcuseable.

3) Polamalu had a clear interception. He maintained control of the ball, had 4 points down before he got up. (elbows and knees = more than 2 feet). As he got up, he fumbled off is knee which was after his 2 feet were down under him. There certainly wasn't indisputeable evidence to overturn the call on the field. That was a HORRIBLE call.

If the Steelers lost that game, the Steelers would have had every right to protest that to the front office. And if you're a good conspiracy theorist, it was the front office giving directives to have the popular Colts in the Super Bowl to market. Instead, in the words of Manning, "the idiot kicker" shanked hard right. What a wild game.

There might not be a sexy team left in the playoffs, but this is what the NFL is all about, parity. And I love it. I want to see a Broncos vs. Carolina Super Bowl, can appreciate both of those defenses.

Ok, that's off my chest . . . phew.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Psalm 39 thoughts

Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it (v.4-6) . . . Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were. Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more (v.12-13).

This life is just a passing through, don't get too comfy. This is not all that is reality. His Kingdom is coming upon this one and it is one that is in fullness. I have realized that I have had permanent expectations for this life when my goals should be quite temporary. There is much value in this life, much beauty to be soaked up and experienced. But instead of building brick homes, we probably should be pitching tents in reference to our expectations. This is not the totality of Kingdom Come, but it is a taste of it. We are aliens and strangers, but we are here. So with the "here" that I have today, I want to taste beauty and I want to be an advocate for the light of life. Don't get comfy in this life, but do make it count.

Stop and notice the Kingdom amongst you today,

p.s. I'm wearing a Colts shirt today. (last week's wound is still wide open)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Stages of Grief

This is not a football topic, its time to move on to some real-life issues. I, as well as my family and community, are going through the stages of grief with the loss of Kate. They are strange and unpredictable. Sadness, wonder, questions, anger, acceptance etc. etc. We are going through these stages sometimes separately, sometimes all at once. I'm not a big fan of "stages" of anything in regards to human beings. Life and people rarely operate according to scientific accuracy and contexts change the rules to anything. But there are some generalities that can be noted. Here are some examples:

Probably the most well-known of these might be from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' book, "On Death and Dying." In it, she identified five stages that a dying patient experiences when informed of their terminal prognosis.
The stages Kubler-Ross identified are:

Denial (this isn't happening to me!)

Anger (why is this happening to me?)

Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)

Depression (I don't care anymore)

Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)

A lesser known definition of the stages of grief is described by Dr. Roberta Temes in the book, "Living With An Empty Chair - a guide through grief." Temes describes three particular types of behavior exhibited by those suffering from grief and loss. They are:

Numbness (mechanical functioning and social insulation)

Disorganization (intensely painful feelings of loss)

Reorganization (re-entry into a more 'normal' social life.)

I'm not a therapist and I have done very little study in the area of grief counseling outside of the basics. I know that the Scriptures include examples of every stage of grief, including rage and anger (not normally associated with good Christians). I know that our world is broken and that grief is a paralyzing part of it.

While at the gravesite for Kate, I was overwhelmed with a hatred of death. I hate death, I oppose its forces. Darkness at times covers this earth and I'm in rebellion against it. The Kingdom reality is one of light and life. The Kingdom has come and the Kingdom is coming in its fullness. As a follower of Christ, I have a role of calling back the darkness in my community and proclaiming life. Death and darkness is our enemy, we fight the stench with relationships of hope and words of life. Resurrection is our identity, we are the people of God.

I grieve, but I hope. I mourn, but I fight for life today. I recognize darkness, but I call it back in the name of and for the sake of Christ and one another.

peace to you and your house today,

Monday, January 09, 2006

My Game Report

I know there are a gadzillion other reports out there on the game last night, but here's mine.

#1 - Congrats to the Steelers and their fans. You played Steeler football and won the game. Physical, kept to the run, capitalized big plays, composure, never gave up when down. You are moving on, we are not . . . this year ;)

#2 - Carson's injury. It is not an excuse to lose a game, its a part of football that can happen on any play of any game. For us, it was extremely untimely and devastating to a young team. Nothing appears to be a cheap shot from my vantage point. However, the loss feels that much more hollow without our best shot. Carson had the ability to go over the top of the defense, one of the few weaknesses to the Steelers defense. Kitna is what he is, a 2nd string quarterback who is a great guy and leader. I would have much rather gotten beat straight up, but that's football.

#3 - Officiating. It seemed that the refs lost control of the game early. My biggest beef would be the pass to end zone for Housh with the non-call of interfernce with the DB with his back to the ball shoving Housh out of the play. That seemed obvious in person, more obvious on the replay and with a playoff crew, unexcusable to be missed. Without Carson, we had no wiggle room, we needed that call. That was the beginning of the end. A couple penalties later, a bad snap and the game was over. The Bengals offense was completely absent in the 2nd half, even embarrasing.

#4 - Bengals Defense. We have never had a playoff defense. We have gotten by with turnovers all season and an offense that either controls the clock or outscores their opponent. We need atleast an average defense to go with our offense to go deep into any playoffs. This still needs to be built through free agency and the draft. Our young players did well last night though, in particular Geathers, Pollack and Thurman. Madieu Williams, come back soon, we need ya bad. We need 2 DL's and a SS this offseason at the very minimum.

#5 - Fans. Its embarrasing to the human race what people do and say while completely destroyed on alcohol. Bengals and Steelers fans alike acting like animals. No concept of the game or signs of intelligence. After the game the sirens were everywhere dealing with fights and public absurdity. And then there's the public puking. We witnessed a Steeler fan convulsing on the busiest corner of Covington, doubled over, paralyzed with dry heaves, body completely out of control as his stomach tried to repulse all the poison in his system. I guess that's supposed to be fun. I talked to, shook the hands of and congratulated Steeler fans after the game. They as well wished they had won against a full-squad Bengals team, kind of a hollow win too. But, as they should, they are taking it. There are always good people on both sides of any argument.

#6 - The Tailgate. By far the highlight of the day. Beautiful day. 12 guys at the truck. Parked next to a van full of Steeler fans. We made peace offerings both ways. They gave us shrimp, we gave them picks of our litter as well. Good natured picking of one another. We had the Texas Hold Em table set up with a great game and people were stopping just to observe in the crowd. Our feast was White Castles and Skyline Coneys. Its gonna take some time to recover from that.

And we had a special guest, Chad Johnson visited our lot just checking out the facilities. He was in sweats and slippers. We wished him well. I had a football in my hand, I regret not asking him to go long in his slippers. I know I still have the arm to throw the deep one . . . put me in coach!!! The tailgate was a blast of a party with some of my favorite people. Oh yeah, and I made a playlist on my iPod of about 80 appropriate football tunes, I'm always ready to DJ.

So we enter the offseason with a lot of work left to do, but I can hold my head high as a Bengals fan. It was a blast of a year, winning is always fun. Thank you to Coach Lewis for bringing pride back to Cincinnati. I know that we have many more winning years ahead with him as our leader. (And maybe fax your winning philosophy over to the Reds so we can have fun year round) To Carson Palmer and his healing, Godspeed my brother.

To Geo, you won the wager my friend. I will peruse the Reds schedule for the right game and you will get a taste of the Nati for a weekend. We will sit in the front row like Rock Stars, we will visit an Irish establishment or 2, and I will introduce you to some of the coolest Kingdom folk that the U.S. has to offer. None of us lose in that deal.

One last thing . . . Go Colts :) (that was for Mr. Bean)


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bottom Line


Friday, January 06, 2006

Breaking down "The Game"

Ok, yesterday's post was all in good fun. Just doing my bit to plug the hype. Now, let's talk football. Here are some factors to this game that's in the numbers:

* Defending the turf: The Bengals haven't beaten Pittsburgh at home since Dec 30, 2001. The Steelers have won their last four in Cincinnati and 6 of 7. For the Bengals to win this game, they have to match their physical play and intensity. HAVE TO.

* Getting ahead: The Steelers are 98-21- (.820) when scoring first under Cowher....including 8-1 this year. The key for the Bengals is scoring early and often. Make them play from behind and pass more.

* Hold that lead: The Steelers are 100-1-1 when leading by 11 points or more under Cowher, the best mark in NFL history among 70 coaches with a lead that size more than 40 times in their career.

* Road trippin: The Steelers were 6-2 on the road this year. Since they won their last Super Bowl during the 1979 season, the Steelers have won only two of eight road playoff games. They won at Denver in 1984 and Houston in 1989. Its been awhile since Pitt. won an away playoff game, let's make it longer.

* Where did the TO's go?: The Bengals forced 29 turnovers in their first 9 games....and average of 3.2 per game, they have forced just 15 in their last 7 games....and average of 2.1. Our defense isn't good enough to not have turnovers, they are key and the reason we beat Pitt. last time.

* Experience counts?: Only 3 Steeler offensive starters have not started a playoff game.

* Cover that TE!: The Bengals have been carved up by opposing TE's. Steeler TE Heath Miller has not caught a TD since week 8.

* Championship D?: Only two of the last 10 teams to make the Super Bowl have been ranked outside the top 10 in total defense....the Bengals rank 28th. We need to put 9 in the box to stop the run and let our corners try and make plays.

So, of course my mind tells me that this is going to be a real challenging game to win. It would be another step in our development for sure. We haven't played particularly well at home this year but a home playoff game can throw all the stats out the window. My heart tells me that the Bengals will focus on defense and make enough plays to win. They won't dominate but will do enough to win. The offense can play its own defense by scoring and keeping the Steelers run game off the field. Early on, somebody will set the tone, it better be a Bengal. We can't get lose the physical battle, must step up.

So, my prediction . . . Bengals 28 Steelers 20
Offensive MVP - Carson Palmer (manages the game to a win)
Defensive MVP - Shaun Smith/Fanene (young DT's step up w/ big plays to stop the run)
X Factor - Chris Perry makes a difference with a long touchdown on a swing pass

And if Sunday wasn't already gonna be a beautiful day in the Nati, Chipotle has announced that it is giving away free burritos to anyone who comes in wearing Bengals gear. I think we just found our tailgating food.
Who Dey and may it be the best game of the weekend.

peace out,

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Code Orange: Warning to the City of Cincinnati

Be on alert for Steeler fan. He is not pretty. He is not a fashion statement. His elevator doesn't go all the way up to the top floor. His head is full of fumes from the steel factory where the rest of us carry our brains. He carries a yellow towel for wiping various body parts. Be on alert, any contact can and will result in you making excuses for not getting your job done. This is not a test, this is real. If you see another horrible mullet, you can assume its Steeler fan. The Nati needs to be on alert.

The Bengals are lying in the grass, awaiting their prey. Down kitty, wait for Sunday. You'll get your chance to feast on steel flesh, just be patient.
Fear da tiger.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Community as peace and comfort

I'm not sure I can say this with the right words, but we are experiencing a richness in Kingdom community through this tragedy that absolutely fills my soul. We were joined by another OCC house church last night (the equivalent of a mega house church) and had a time of corporate worship and discussion of the Scriptures. For those who couldn't sing, the community worshipped. For those who lack the words to pray, the Holy Spirit groaned for us. Prophetic words were spoken. A theme of battling the darkness in this world has been a constant. We war, we compete in moments on earth for the sake of the Kingdom and one another.

In the world of a church planter, there are many rough moments and many dark nights of the soul wondering about your self worth and if your out of your mind for suggesting that we could do church differently. In the midst of this tragedy, what I'm experiencing is that this is everything my heart has desired for a Kingdom community committed to God's truths and to the "one anothers" of Scripture. I'm living a dream, and its a dream of a real Church on earth. Thanks be to God.

On another positive note, I just got the word that I have been given a playoff ticket for Sunday's Bengals vs. Steelers game. I would be dishonest if I said I wasn't nervous about the Bengals performance. I think we have a 50/50 chance at a victory. That's enough for me to go absolutely out of my mind as a spectator. My last playoff game as a spectator was in 1988, I'm due.

Stop and notice the Kingdom amongst you today,

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Infants & Heaven

Had a rather sleepless night. I think I must have been so involved in care-giving the past couple of weeks that my emotions are just now catching up. Its back to school today, but my mind and heart are in a different place. I had anxiety all night over many strains of thought and I just wanted to say some things regarding that today. Here are my thoughts.

- I believe that infants are born with original sin because they have human parents. Unless there is a virgin birth (as with Christ), we are all born in the sin of Adam and Eve.

- I believe that infants understand and receive the Kingdom more naturally than adults who grow up into their sins of pride and control

- I believe that God's heart is welcoming to infants

- I believe that infants receive the love of Christ through their family and spiritual community

- I believe that Christ's death on the cross was for everybody. Those who believe in Christ find the entrance to the Kingdom of God.

- Infants, who lack the ability to choose Christ, are welcomed into the Kingdom not because of their innocence, but based on the Grace, Mercy and Love of God

- I believe that Heaven is the most misunderstood concept in Christianity. We see it in the western Church as a physical place in the sky we go to and is filled w/ mansions and earthly structures. Rather, I believe its a spiritual realm not far from our earthly realm here. It has physical properties, but are governed by a set of laws that shatter the paradigms of our earthly world.

- I believe that Heaven is not a place we go to, but the state of being in full communion w/ Christ. In this life, we experience Heaven in part. Then, we shall experience it in full.

- I believe that Baby Kate, also known by my girls as Ka-Kate, is in the fullness of heaven now tasting of eternal life not far from us. I also believe that while on earth, she already experienced the Kingdom of Heaven in part, through her family and her spiritual community known as Ordinary Community Church.

- I believe the American Dream is a lie and not a part of Kingdom theology. It is not about God Bless America, that we get what we work for, that we can control and secure our futures, that we are entitled to a certain way of life etc. etc. Its all a lie. And the sooner we wake up from being more American than we are Christ following, the sooner we grow up in the reality of the Kingdom.

- I believe we need a theology of falleness and suffering. Our worldviews have to be bigger than "do your best and God will do the rest".

- I believe we need to see the big picture that our world is being made new. That God is active bringing the realm of the new heaven and new earth onto this one. And most importantly, that He invites us to partner with Him in that Creation. So as we become and act like the people of God, we most literally are doing His will "on earth as it is in heaven".

These are just some of my thoughts today.


Sunday, January 01, 2006

So This is the New Year

The New Year, by Death Cab for Cutie:

"so this is the new year.
and i don't feel any different.
the clanking of crystal
explosions off in the distance (in the distance).

so this is the new year
and I have no resolutions
for self assigned penance
for problems with easy solutions

so everybody put your best suit or dress on
let's make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
as thirty dialogues bleed into one

i wish the world was flat like the old days
then i could travel just by folding a map
no more airplanes, or speedtrains, or freeways
there'd be no distance that can hold us back.

there'd be no distance that could hold us back (x2)

so this is the new year (x4)"

This is a great song and how I feel on a lot of days, including this New Years Day.