Eleven ???? Tuesday

Spending time with my four year-old grandson Gabriel means that I become an instant authority on the way the world works - just for the day. "What do cars drink? Why can't the cat eat my soft taco if he likes it? What is grandpa doing right now?" I am required to have some snappy answers ready for him - or a very convincing "I don't know" that staunches the flow of further inquiry on a topic. And then I wondered why kids get to ask all the cool questions. Here are a few of mine:Why do cars like … [Read more...]

Motherless Mother’s Day

This Sunday is one of those "firsts" they talk about in the aftermath of a significant death. It's the first Mother's Day I'll experience without a mom. My mom died last September. Though it has been years since I was able to share the day with my mom in person, there is something achingly sad about not being able to celebrate the relationship this year. I think that's because after a difficult relationship with her that spanned most of my life, the connection and healing that took place during … [Read more...]

Should a tabernacle have a zip code?

Within the last few weeks, I've heard reports of renewal bubbling up in a couple of churches in the southeastern U.S. (I hesitate to use the term "revival", because right now, the people who are experiencing this particular nearness of God here are primarily Christians. In my head, "revival" is something that explodes out of the four walls of the church and impacts society.) I saw some video of a service at one of these churches, and before I even knew the source or location, I exclaimed, … [Read more...]

There’s no one at home…

...and there hasn't been for at least a year and a half.When we moved into our townhouse in June of 2006, one of the things I liked about our location was the fact that there were single-family houses across the street. And a good number of those houses were full of noisy kids.The house directly across the street, in fact, had 3 or 4 young kids living there, and the backyard was full of the kind of equipment suburban families buy to keep their kids entertained: plastic kid-sized picnic table, a … [Read more...]

Right between the shoulder blades

Tagged! In real life, it means someone is gonna slug you right between the shoulder blades as you're running away from them. In cyberspace, it means that a fellow blogger links to you and asks you to tag 6 of your buds (something impossible to do on the playground).This game: 6 random things about me; tagging 6 random friends/fam members to keep the love going like a crazy chain letter. The rules:a. Link to the person who tagged you.b. Post the rules on your blog.c. Write six random things about … [Read more...]

Church R Us

Within a 30-40 minute drive of my home, there are at least 3 non-denominational evangelical megachurches with multiple sites. (If you're unfamiliar with the concept of multi-site churches, you can learn more here or here.) Detractors use words like "McChurch" or "Microdenomination" to describe these efforts, while champions of these plural congregations celebrate the big church/small church organizational benefits inherent in their franchise structure. What's interesting about the multi-site … [Read more...]

Hey writers!

If you're a writer living within driving distance of Chicago, here's something just for you:I'm a part of the team coordinating this year's 14th annual Karitos, the Christian Arts conference to be held July 31-August 2 in Bolingbrook, IL. Last year, nearly 500 people attended Karitos, and attended workshops taught by expert instructors in creative disciplines including literary arts, dance, vocal performance, the music business and worship. You can learn more about the conference here.This year, … [Read more...]

My brain is fellowshipping with…

...these recent reads:Writing Tides: Finding Grace and Growth Through Writing by Kent Ira Groff(Because I need an occasional writing book to push me in new directions as a scribe)11 Indispensible Relationships You Can't Be Without by Len Sweet(Because Len Sweet is a master of synthesis, a good thinker, and sees the world in fresh ways. The title makes it sound like a John Maxwell book, but thankfully, its not)Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson(Because I'll try fiction from time to time, especially if … [Read more...]

Marking time

At the end of this month, it'll be four years since we left WI. Depending on how you look at it, it was either a hasty departure (our house sold one day after hitting the MLS listings) or a long time coming (we lived there for 9 challenging years - and those years were shaped by our leadership roles in 2 wildly different congregations). We initially considered trying to return to Chicago in 2000, but chose to stay in order to serve at the second church. Some amazing things were happening there, … [Read more...]

Gather up the fragments

I was reading John's account of how Jesus turned the ancient equivalent of a Fish McNugget Happy Meal (sans the movie-themed toy) into a party for 5000 men, plus the women and children accompanying them.Today I was struck by these verses:"When they were filled, He said to His disciples, 'Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.'So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten." - John … [Read more...]