My parents made me come home from college to participate in my high school graduation ceremony. I'd finished high school a semester early so I could dive into college life, and the thought of getting on a train and heading home for a stupid ceremony commemorating a milestone I'd passed a month earlier really annoyed me. I went, of course, striding across the John Hersey High School auditorium stage on a snowy January night in 1977. I went because my parents insisted. The whole thing seemed … [Read more...]

Talkin’ `bout my/your generation

A good percentage of us boomers who came to faith in Christ in our teens are the the Jesus Movement's direct offspring. But we know that our offspring are increasingly distancing themselves from the kind of faith practice that grew in the rock-n-roll soil of this hippie-style revival. (Check out the trippy chart accompanying this sad, sobering blog post that tells the story of nextgen faith migration.)So I wonder...what is the legacy of the Jesus Movement?CCM?Church buildings that look like … [Read more...]

Waiting at gate C-8 at Ben Gurion Airport

- Did you know you can get corn on your pizza in Israel?- The day before Israeli Independence Day is a solemn day known as Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day). At 11:00 AM, the air raid sirens sounded. Everything in the country comes to a halt. Cars stop. People freeze in place on sidewalks and in office buildings. They stand at attention, in silence for two minutes. Remembrance is personal in the country, a present-tense reality instead of the domain … [Read more...]

Shalom from Jerusalem!

We made it after 24 grueling hours of travel. It feels like we never left Jerusalem, perhaps because we left a piece of our hearts here in February.We at dinner looking at a view like this one, and we tasted the goodness of God. More to follow. Time to have our friend, the cheerful blue butterfly named Ms. Lunesta, flutter in and sprinkle some of her pixie dust on us so we can get some sleep. … [Read more...]

Hit ‘shuffle’ on the question play list

So many questions...Feel free to give me some answers. Or add some random questions of your own!Do you view yourself as a spiritual settler, a wanderer, a pilgrim or an exile? None of the above? All of the above?I would like to propose a new rule: the only church leaders who are allowed to complain about church-hopping congregants are those who have been with their church for at least 7 years. Agree or disagree? Why?I have been hitting "repeat" on Audra Lynn's song Psalm of Abraham all day. Do … [Read more...]


Tomorrow is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day - and in light of the staggering hatred of that era, and of the genocidal, demonic activity that has anhiliated subsequent generations in places like Bosnia and Rwanda - I found myself pondering Pastor Martin Niemoller's words today. Niemoller spent 8 years in prison during the second world war, and survived his time in the concentration camps. Remembrance means more than recalling information. It is courage to act now on what has come before.So … [Read more...]

Chez Van Loon

We'd been living in a rental townhome in Gurnee, IL. It had its charms: it was on a golf course, which meant that the grounds were pretty well-kept. But it had its downside, too. The complex was built for some swingin' empty-nesters in the mid-1970's, and our unit hadn't been updated since then. As in, we had harvest gold appliances and laminate faux butcher block countertops in the kitchen, and a 2-story Fred Flintsone fake boulder fireplace. The place could have been designed by famous TV … [Read more...]