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...]

Singing in the key of autopilot :: (part three)

To read part one of this sorta series on corporate worship, click here. To read part two, click here. What do these two anecdotes have in common? Alice (not her real name) is a cast-iron, old-school prayer warrior. She knows the prayer needs of those in her church by heart, and works though the list as she drives around town running errands. She starts her engine, clears her th roat and begins singing her intercession to God, usually to the tune of old favorite songs she’s known since childhood. … [Read more...]

Singing in the key of autopilot – Part Deux

Click here to read part one of this series.  The church was a massive cathedral, constructed on a prime plat of rich farmland over 100 years ago in order to provide a house of worship for the German farmers who’d settled the area. Suburbia tried to swallow it whole, but didn’t seem to be able to digest the massive steeple, European stained glass windows and beams hewn from ancient trees that once clustered near the town’s cold, still lake. Up in a loft is an ancient pipe organ, no doubt the … [Read more...]


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