No such thing as coincidence?

Has something like this ever happened to you?- My Bible reading plan just started me reading the Gospel of Mark.- They've just begun preaching through the Gospel of Mark at church.- I've just begun a freelance writing assignment that has me working through the Gospel of Mark. Some would dismiss this confluence of Scripture study focus in my life as a coincidence, but I think that by doing so, they silence the whisper of God. There's a materialistic, pragmatic way of thinking about these events … [Read more...]

One rich day

We've been to Israel three times in the last two years. Bill has been there because he's serving a three-year term on the board of the Caspari Center located in Jerusalem. And I have been there because there's no way that I'd miss going to the Promised Land.While Bill's been in his meetings, I've put together my own freelance small serving opportunities, prayed at a couple of prayer ministries based in Jerusalem, visited with a friend who lives in the country, and done a lot of solo wandering … [Read more...]

Tidbits from yesterday’s journey

Yes, Israel was amazing. And yes, I'll have more to share about this trip in weeks to come. But after yesterday's grueling trip back to Chicago, all I have to offer you today are some random observations penned while sitting in Terminal 3 at Heathrow:(1) Anyone who complains about O'Hare has never been to Heathrow.(2) European news channels (France24 and BBC) appear to use news stories as filler between the really important story - the upcoming World Cup competition.(3) No matter how savvy you … [Read more...]

Ben and Sarah’s wedding

Ben and his best man Jacob waiting at the altar.Rachel escorting her ringbearer sons.Do you? I do!Famile Van Loon, May 22, 2010 versionWe're so grateful for Sarah - she's a gift to Ben!Jacob sandwiched between Tom and Bubba, some friends from Boston. It was a blessed, beautiful day - and I am grateful that my children, grandchildren, sister and life-long friends Scott and Karen were there to share it. … [Read more...]

Book review: An Army Of Ordinary People

Go.Be. Christ's.Church. Those four words sum up Felicity Dale's An Army Of Ordinary People: Stories Of Real-Life Men And Women Simply Being The Church (Tyndale/Barna, 2010). Dale and her husband have been involved in the simple church/house church movement for many years, planting organic faith gatherings in neighborhoods and workplaces in the U.S. and U.K., then coaching people hungry to be the church without the institutional constrictions of "legacy churches", as Dale calls institutional, … [Read more...]

A sixty-second lament

Please. Read this. I wish someone could have explained this phenomenon to me three decades ago as lucidly as Naked Pastor put it in his post.  I’ve been fooled again by relationships I thought were friendships, but those relationships withered (and in a couple of painful cases, incinerated) when one or the other of us left the congregation that first brought us together. I’m amazed that the kind of intimacy that grows when you’re in the trenches of one another’s lives is not able to survive … [Read more...]

Book review: I Am Hutterite

Most of us know a few bits about horse-and-buggy driving, technology-shunning Amish and conservative Mennonites. But unless we've grown up in the Dakotas or on the Canadian prairie, it is unlikely that we know much about their Anabaptist cousins, the Hutterites. The Hutterites share a common spiritual heritage, but are distinguished by their distinctive communal lifestyle. Canadian author Mary-Ann Kirkby's memoir of her experience growing up Hutterite - and then leaving the community at age ten … [Read more...]