1.27.2010

nouwen says it better

Four months ago, four of my dearest friends in ministry sat around a table of home-cooked food and dreams. We knew that within hours people from all over the country were coming to a gathering of our doing. This reality baffled us, inspired us, and scared our tiny little egos into total submission.

As we sat around this table finalizing logistical and minor details of hospitality and ministry, our hearts settled back on the conversation of purpose. Why did we call these friends to come and join us in the first place? Why did we send countless emails and peddle our pipe dream like a gaggle of cookie-selling scouts?

We each had our reasons to ask for a gathering of ministry leaders. We hoped for Gospel and compassion and heart. I hoped for the anti-professional gathering, a gathering that wouldn't promote a product or another event or even an adherence to a brand of theology.

Ultimately, our gathering* was wildly successful in reminding most of us that Christian people need to hear the Gospel on a daily basis. It reminded us that we are more fully human when we hear of God's love. It reminded us how wonderful it is to healed of our infirmity.

--

Today, seeking respite from the newly bitter cold, I climbed into a hot tub with Henri J. Nouwen's The Wounded Healer. I've owned it for months, failing to read it in fear of obtuse and inaccessible language. Quickly realizing my fear as needless, that fall day's meal came to rest in my mind. His words express our hopes for that gathering so well:
Jesus was a revolutionary, who did not become an extremist, since he did not offer an ideology, but Himself. He was also a mystic, who did not use his intimate relationship with God to avoid the social evils of his time, but shocked his millieu to the point of being executed as a rebel. page 20-21

Professionalism without compassion will turn forgiveness into a gimmick, and the kingdom come into a blindfold. page 42

The Christian leader is called to help others affirm this great news, and to make visible in daily events the fact that behind the dirty curtain of our painful symptoms there is something great to be seen: the face of Him in whose image we are shaped. page 44
Nouwen in 1972 wrote my deepest concerns in ministry. Perhaps it is his critical contemplation of society and God's Word and gave him such foresight. I can only hope that I will listen and follow his lead in healing our world.

--

*We gathered under the name Regeneration and will be gathering again this spring in Milwaukee. Find information here. I'd love for you to join.

1.26.2010

nouwen on juxtaposition

"Through mass media he is confronted with the most paradoxical human experiences. He is confronted not only with the most elaborate and expensive attempts to save the life of one man by heart transplantation, but also with the powerlessness of the world to help when thousands of people die from lack of food.

He is confronted not only with man's ability to travel rapidly to another planet, but also with his hopeless impotence to end a senseless war on this planet. He is confronted not only with high-level discussions about human rights and Christian morality, but also with torture chambers in Brazil, Greece, and Vietnam.

He is confronted not only with incredible ingenuity that can build dams, change riverbeds and create fertile new lands, but also with earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes that can ruin in one hour more than man can build in a generation.

A man confronted with all this and trying to make sense of it cannot possibly deceive himself with one idea, concept, or thought system which could bring these contrasting images into one consistent outlook on life."

--Henri J. Nouwen "The Wounded Healer"

1.25.2010

empty fields

She drove us into a neighborhood. A neighborhood that was once filled with homes on top of other homes, people filling the rooms and streets and sidewalks. Today it is filled of empty concrete slabs and grass and a construction truck or two. It's infamous number nine hangs heavy in the air.

The wreckage is gone, but the people are still wandering far from their homes in the some proverbial desert.

A few homes sprinkle the fields, but they are the exception, the result of someone's goodwill and hard work.

--

There is a city rejoicing because it's player kicked a ball through steel posts and won the game. But it is not a city that has healed. Its wounds have bled so wide and far, the blood is gone and dry.

Pain is made evident in the absence of life.

1.24.2010

juxtapose

Five steps on the treadmill, water sipped, music playing.

Looking up, there they are. Ten screens whirring their images ahead. The pictures of children crying. Lost. With their parents. Women singing in grief. Reporters grimacing past their hair gel.

On the other side, a mother and daughter recovering from rhinoplasties, contemplating the next extravagance.

The band keeps spinning. I keep running. The urgency of need numbing.

1.06.2010

favorites moments from the holidays

Waking up early and taking pictures of my favorite toddler before the chaos ensued on Christmas morning.



Reading Curious George at the Parade to said adorable toddler.



Spending time with the Swisster. Seriously, I love that girl. She might be Swiss and not genetically related to me, but I love that girl like a sister.



Getting to know some of the sister and new brother's favorite people.



Hanging with the family.



Showing the kiddies how it's done.



Getting fancy with my sister and her best friends.



Loop-di-looping all 456 buttons on her dress. Yay crochet needles!



Being with my sisters. Even in iphone blur.



Sharing the weekend with Christy and Kameron. Love them!

they are married!

My sister and her now-husband were married over the weekend. Between the typical Christmas festivities, wrapping up wedding details, New Year's Eve fun, a hilarious bowling rehearsal dinner extravaganza, and a very long and wonderful wedding day, I'm still tired.

Even still, the matching bowling shirts my sister got were pretty hilarious. I don't think either of them can bowl over 100... ever.