and now…

and now...there is time to sit on a swing next to a little one and listen for the sound of what comes next.I'll let you know what I hear. Transition in progress. More to come.Photo courtesy of my talented son Jacob Van Loon, photographer and illustrator extraordinare. … [Read more...]

Liturgical people: a question for you

Intercessors who attend liturgical churches - this question is for you:As part of our Sunday morning liturgy, we have a time for guided corporate prayer. A person from the congregation leads us in praying for the needs of leaders, the congregation, the nations of the world. The scripted prayers read by the leader are general, focusing us on a particular category. There is time immediately following each general prayer for people in the congregation to pray a brief prayer around that theme.Some … [Read more...]

Int’l Women’s Day Synchro-Blog

In honor of International Women's Day, uber-blogger Julie Clawson has invited faith bloggers to post something about the impact women in the Bible have had on the kingdom...on each one of us. My story comes from my first book, Parablelife: Living the stories Jesus told in real time, and though this woman described below resides solely in a story Jesus told, she is as real to me as the couch on which I'm sitting as I type these words.THE STORY OF A WOMAN WITH A ONE-TRACK MIND Then Jesus told his … [Read more...]

Selling short the Gospel

"These troubling economic times are an unprecedented opportunity for the Gospel."This sentiment bugs me. And I think I have figured out why.I have been hearing variations of these words for the last few months. It is true that as our culture's false gods of materialism, greed and pride are being exposed as modern-era golden calves, many people are asking different questions about God and life than they may have asked before. The recession (which appears likely to be headed into a full-scale … [Read more...]

A sweet little story

I'd been driving around with the box for the last few days. It was a gray shoebox, imprinted with wedding words on the cover, and decorated with a sheer white wire ribbon. "Can you be there at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and give this box to her?"I assured the focused young man that I was on mission. I'd be there.The drop point was a deserted dog park near the Lake Michigan shore. I was one link in a day-long scavenger hunt chain that would lead to his marriage proposal, stop number two on a journey … [Read more...]

Church 4 $ale

Once upon a time, a group of friends got together in a living room to pray, to sing, and to have a meal together. Their community was contagious. Others began to join them until the living room was packed to discomfort each time they gathered. Eventually, the friends realized they needed to rent a more public space for their gatherings.It was a Big Adventure with Jesus as they inhabit the auditorium, 3 classrooms and a hallway (for the nursery) at the local junior high school. The congregation … [Read more...]

Which kind(s) of skeptic are you?

A couple of years ago, I was contracted to write a book which would be a part of a series targeted at skeptics. My subject matter was the church; the book's title is The Church For Skeptics: A Conversation For Thinking People. The publishing biz is going through the same painful contractions the rest of the economy is experiencing. As a result, this book has had quite a journey on its way to being born.The wait continues as the book's story has taken a new, promising turn in recent weeks.The … [Read more...]