Archive for July, 2004|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2004 at 4:06 pm

a plagiarized confession and poorly metered supplication

Loving Father,

Alongside my sister Teresa I confess that “I don’t love you, I don’t want to love you. But I want to want to love you.”

Teach me how to submit, shut my mouth and listen, speak of you as a person, not a proposition.

I am so far from who I should be. Through your Spirit teach me to shun self and let Christ be the shape of me.

Today, as I struggle to be responsible with the work and relationships you have given, render me sensitive to the voice of the Spirit, vulnerable to the shaping of Christ, subservient to your rule.


In Uncategorized on July 29, 2004 at 1:39 pm

an unexpected devotional

i bummed sarah mclachlan’s afterglow from my coworker and compatriot rhys yesterday. i was shocked by the beauty of these lyrics this morning and thought you might enjoy them as well.

world’s on fire

Hearts are worn in these dark ages

You’re not alone in this story’s pages

Night has fallen amongst the living and the dying

And I try to hold it in, yeah I try to hold it in


The world’s on fire and

It’s more than I can handle

I dive into the water

(I try to pull my ship)

I try to bring more

More than I can handle

(Bring it to the table)

Bring what I am able

I watch the heavens and I find a calling

Something I can do to change this moment

Stay close to me while the sky is falling

Don’t wanna be left alone, don’t wanna be alone


Hearts break, hearts mend

Love still hurts

Visions clash, planes crash

Still there’s talk of

Saving souls, still the cold

Is closing in on us

We part the veil on Archille’s sun

Stray from the straight line on this short run

The more we take, the less we become

A fortune of one that means less for some

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2004 at 5:15 pm

fighting against the afternoon anesthesia

  • is there a better nickname in baseball than ‘the big unit?’

  • what would you made george say?

  • take a moment to carefully read this proposal by the anti-manicheist. this kind of ‘above the line’ approach could help reframe the abortion debate and, perhaps, even start to unthaw the 30 year cold war between the opposing ‘pros.’

  • obama lit it up last night. edwards will undoubtedly do likewise this evening. will the last night of the lefty convention be a letdown?

  • i am really enjoying ben folds’ rockin’ the suburbs at present. props to rick and ryan for the recommendation
  • this ministry would provide an excellent internship for a late 1990’s holer

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2004 at 3:55 pm

you know you’re a book whore when…

  • you find yourself gawking at what hollywood believes like a commuter fixates on a car wreck.

  • you torture your co-workers with innumerable questions related (do you know what tom cruise believes? do you know what sammy davis jr. did with Jesus Christ? Did I tell you what jack nicholson believes?) to the aforementioned book.

  • everyone you are remotely connected to, from african seminarians to spanish speaking pastors, ask you to utilize your discount on their behalf.

  • you get excited about cross promoting product on

  • you are ordered to develop a plan for marketing the way of the master on your site.

obviously my hypocrisy knows no bounds.

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2004 at 5:36 pm

‘returning’ as a spiritual discipline

the cliche proclaims that ‘you can never go home again.’ i think the cliche is a crock of shit. my experience suggests that the opposite is actually true. you must go home again. the fact that the journey home is often complicated, and filled with as much pain as pleasure, probably inspired the cliche. however, in most cases, we should not let the complications deter us, for returning is one of the disciplines of the spiritual life.

the complications we face upon returning are undoubtedly unique, but i think that i can summarize mine in the following way: returning requires me to reckon with who i once was and realize who i have become. last weekend i had the honor of participating in my cousin Amy’s wedding. over the course of our terribly abbreviated trip (in on friday afternoon, out on sunday morning) i encountered individuals whom i once led into rank disobedience and whom still seem to be entangled in its grasp. moreover, i spoke with others whose ambition and resultant success encouraged me to question the direction of the life i currently lead. as i reflect on the weekend, i am lead to confess that i once was a preacher of license, an incarnation of lechery and a slave chained to my ambition. i realize that by God’s grace and because of my participation ‘in Christ,’ i am not that man any more. yet alluring voices, which are louder and more distinct than the one that speaks of life, still whisper to me in the dark of night, telling me that i will never be anything more than a lecher, ladder climber and a man who leads the young astray.

by returning, i am enabled to face who i was and proclaim who God has   (re)made me to be. hence, by the grace of God and through the enabling power of the Spirit i will not surrender to the subtle persuasion of the voices, but will continue to be reshaped into the image of the Savior i follow.

i do not intend these thoughts either an invitation to a ‘pity party’ or a subtle request for encouragement. rather, i share them because i truly believe that uncle henri and ani are right when they say:

“The great paradox of the spiritual life is, indeed, that the most personal is the most universal, that the most intimate, is most communal, and that the most contemplative is most active.”

~Henri Nouwen

“Cause to me, it’s, there’s nothing that’s personal and private, it’s all universal. There’s no experience that I have ever had that’s unique. And the fact that there is just certain stuff that we share but don’t admit to and don’t talk about. You know, what is that about?”

~Ani Difranco

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2004 at 1:52 pm

growing young

yesterday i went lobstering on the edge of the atlantic with cynthia and tina delgado, two of the afterschool kids, and Phil, a software engineer who is an amateur lobsterman and a long time bootstraps volunteer.

after baiting the traps, gawking at skates and naming the lobsters (jeff, thomas and sheldon–insert when harry met sally dialogue here) i realized for the millionth time that i love children. their bright eyes, ever ready sense of wonder, infectious joy and even unrepressed sorrow remind me of what i lack.

perhaps that is the reason that rich’s growing young often leaves me on the verge of tears. growing young is such a wonderful metaphor for salvation! my eyes go blank when people start talking about ‘saving souls,’ but the hope of recapturing the light in my eyes, rediscovering wonder and setting aside the self-rejection that regularly keeps me from truly expressing the joy and sorrow of human experience, inspires me.

Lord God, please enable me to set aside the cynicism, relational retardation and emotional indifference that are part and parcel of ‘maturity.’ i long to become a child, your child, once again.

thank you for tommy, who once tried to teach me about growing young. it took me four years, but i am finally starting to respond to those lessons.

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2004 at 8:16 pm

it’s official


we are now ‘landed gentry.’


on a less ecstatic note, the cards are in the process of dropping one to the cubs. but i really don’t mind all that much. splitting the series and maintaining our prodigious lead is good enough.

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2004 at 1:36 pm

zambrano’s blues

(sung to the tune of where oh where could my baby be)

oh where oh were could my baseball be

jimmy edmonds took her away from me

she went over the bleachers so i better be good

so i can stroke her seams when i leave this world

i gripped her seams on my big start

my fastball didn’t get me that far

there at the plate

straight ahead

stood renteria looking good as dead

i gave him the cutter

it didn’t swerve to the right

i’ll never forget the sounds that night

the crackin’ wood

the ball whistling past

the painful screams that i let out last

oh where oh where could my baseball be

renteria took her away from me

she went in the basket so i better be good

so i can stroke her seams when i leave this world

when i woke up

the runs were raining down

the redbirds were trotting all around

fear drippin’ down my leg, water in my eyes

but i still had a chance that night

i gripped her seams

looked rolen straight in the eyes

i even ventured a sinister smile

i knew the game was close

i offered one more pitch

as soon as it was gone i knew i’d missed

now she’s gone

faded into the night

i lost the game and my mind that night

oh where oh where could my baseball be

rolen took her away from me

she’s gone to the bleachers so i better be good

so i can stroke her seams when i leave this world


we’re 9 out oooooooooooooooo

i got tossed out oooooooooooo

prior’s flaming out oooooooooo

we’re looking wild card ooooooo

it shouldn’t be this hard ooooooo

it’s bartman’s fault ooooooooooo

we shouldn’t have destroyed that ball 


In Uncategorized on July 19, 2004 at 10:46 pm

stuck between sublimity and sorrow


tomorrow morning at 11am e.s.t. kellie and i are going to close on our first home. we’re purchasing a quirky, 2 bedroom condo that is just off cabot street and right behind the majestic cabot cinema. we’re thrilled about settling into our new home and finally having space for relational ministry (our current residence is about the size of the closet in my parents master bedroom…hell, i’ve lived in dorm rooms bigger than this apartment).


the previous owners of the condo are andrew and megan defranza, who are close friends and absolutely remarkable disciples. megan was the registrar at gcts for several years, where she worked with the ‘incomparable’ bill levin, recently finished her mdiv degree and is on her way to ph. d. studies at marquette. she is one of the most thoughtful, engaging thinkers i met during my time at gcts. if they don’t hire her at some point in the future i am going to summarily withdraw my non and probably never-existent contribution to the seminary’s endowment. evangelicalism need more female theologians like meg and less upper middle class white guys debating the merits of patriarchy, oops…i mean complementarianism. andrew is one of the most aggressive, effective proponents of christian compassion that i have ever met. for the past five years he has been the outreach coordinator at beverly bootstraps where he has pioneered the afterschool program (that i serve in), kept dozens of benevolence programs running smoothly and responding to multiple crises every day. i wish i could provide a more adequate description of andrew, but his character and passion refuse the limitations of words. perhaps the highest compliment i can give him is that he is, like my papa pep, truly a man above reproach. i have never heard a negative word spoken about andrew or papa, and i doubt that i ever will. so, needless to say, we, as well as the rest of the beverly community, are torn up about the defranzas departure. i would live in this rat trap apartment for another five years if it meant that we could keep them in the community.


thus, i find myself in the midst of another tension. i am incredibly excited about our condo, but am heartbroken about their departure. of course, true to form, through their generosity the defranzas made this purchase one of the greatest gifts i have ever received, but i’ll save that story for another entry.


thank you andrew and megan for who you are and what you’ve done for this community. damn you for leaving us!

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2004 at 2:16 am

i am proud to provide you with engaging, witty and biblical devotions that will bless your week.

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