Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2007 at 2:13 am

in honor of our weekend guests…

my second favorite bit about oklahoma. i wish i could find my first favorite bit, which is a fantastic rip on oklahoma delivered by anthony clark on the 1995 young comedian’s special on HBO, but apparently that clip is not currently on youtube. obviously, someone needs to get on that.

anyway, you gotta love ruprecht just like you gotta love family.


In Uncategorized on June 22, 2007 at 11:55 pm


“it’s great that you got a job there, just don’t get stuck,” he said. “excuse me,” i countered, “what exactly do you mean.” “well, don’t take this the wrong way,” he opined, “but i’ve known a number of seminarians who started lightway as a means to an end only to find out that it was more of the latter than the former.”

of course no one really talks like that, slinging terms like latter and former into informal conversation, but that’s how i remember it. it was early fall in the year of our Lord 2000 when i met this stranger at a seminary ice cream social – which is pretty damn close to my idea of hell – and before i knew it he was offering unsolicited advice on my life. i don’t know about you, but i hate it when people do that.

provided, of course, that unsolicited advice does not emanate from me.

anyway, at the time i scoffed at the guy’s advice and i forgot to heed the warning. in the end it took a five and a half years and an unexpected firing to set me free from the bonds of lightway and another year or so for the wisdom of that guy’s words to hit home.

i wish i would have listened to him as well as to the advice of the long-term missionary who encouraged me in the midst of my college years to choose the pastorate over academia and the accompanier who suggested i stay at l’arche instead of subjecting myself to seminary.

but so it goes. you make your choices, some good and some bad, and then spend years trying to bind the bits together by remembering the wisdom of unsolicited opinion, learning from the road not taken and perhaps even praying if that’s your sort of thing.

maybe it’s just the influence of sacred games and the yiddish policeman’s union but lately life feels a lot like an unsolved case that it’s going to take a holy sleuth to unravel. on my better days i believe that ultimately the criminal will be caught and convicted and whatever is beautiful, good and true will be set free. but on my worst days, i have my doubts whether things will conclude as cleanly and quickly as a hardy boy’s mystery. i think that’s what faith is for me, namely, trusting that once again the holy sleuth will get his man.

one way or another, here’s to the mystery.

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2007 at 1:35 pm


“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.” – Lk. 6:32

somedays we meet and other days we don’t. somedays are the result of her seeing me first. other days occur when i spy her first and quickly change my scheduled route.

her name is helen. she is kind, has a face inscribed with lines and lives at teh bottom of my street. she is a recent retiree from beverly hospital, spends her summer vacation in st. lou and cannot stand her sister. i know the latter facts because she has told me time and again. God knows, i never would have asked.

i really wish that i could love helen by listening to her stories time and again. i would like to be the kind of person who could stop fidgeting long enough to look into her pale blue eyes and read between those aged lines. but i cannot.

if helen was one of my clients, i would work with her and if she was a distant relative i could learn to love her but, as she is neither, i flee from her.

in truth, i don’t feel convicted about my lack of love, but i am burdened with a fair measure of fear. for as the story of abraham and the men on the road to emmaus reminds us, to listen, welcome and express love to the stranger is to do a favor for, and perhaps even invite oneself into the company of, God.

i wish i could welcome helen on account of christian love, but i guess holy fear will have to do.

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2007 at 2:37 am


i’ve been thinking a lot lately about: the deeply meaningful yet not quite fulfilling employment accompaniment work i’ve been doing at rectangle; the quirky and potentially viral nature of a-institutional, incarnational structures such as the home church; and the suspicion that i – along with pix, pres and diz – will eventually be plugged back into the evangelical matrix.

anyway, upon this journey i’ve been nourished by a number of conversations with close friends and, more recently, provoked by a couple of assertions i’ve stumbled across on the web. here are the aforementioned quotes. if they incite any ideas within you, feel free to drop a comment below.

“A church, much like any other organization (which is what we are even at a local level, whether you like the term or not) needs its balance of dreamers and managers. The dreamers have high ideals and flowery language on their side. After all, who would disagree with the dream of creating a Jesus-loving environment. But in my meager experience, dreamers without managers are bound to suffer from limited efficiency, frustrated partners, and plenty of rhetoric without follow-through. This is especially true of any church plant that desires to grow beyond the living room/coffee shop phase. Good leaders can be methodical without becoming mechanical and spiritual without becoming lazy.” – professor chad ragsdale, as buried in the comments on

In Canada there are close to 24 million people who do not have a personal relationship with Christ!…Canadians dying without Christ: 165,000 souls each year” – jim tune on the impact canada home page.

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2007 at 10:31 pm

billy graham’s talking cow

as steve over at knightopia reports, in the wake of ruth bell graham’s death, billy graham announced that he and his wife had decided to be laid to rest at the brand new billy graham memorial “library” in charlotte, nc. this announcement signaled the cessation of a fairly public power struggle between ruth bell graham, who wanted to be buried on the site of the cove training center, and franklin graham, who was the driving force behind the library in charlotte.*

i mean mrs. graham no disrespect. she was by all accounts a strong, amazing woman who shared a ministry with her husband that was quite unlike any the world has ever seen. however i am a little put off by the penchant we as evangelicals have for commodifying everything, including the remarkable lives of the grahams, in the name of “evangelism.” i shudder when i wonder what we will think of next. will it be a death defying, drop of the holy spirit ride on the site of the azusa street church? an interactive, laugh-in musical comedy at the toronto vineyard? the purpose-driven plunge at saddleback? when it comes to evangetainment, the sky is probably the limit.

* which is located near other significant cultural sites such as the forthcoming NASCAR Museum.

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2007 at 9:46 am

short form prayer

rewire the circuit

drop the sauder, step away

pentecost today

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2007 at 4:35 pm

in appreciation of professional christians

i am relationally exhausted. between my beautiful family, 40 hours of job placement work, 24 of customer service, home church and regular connections with kindred far and near i have precious time to stop, listen, learn and pray.

don’t get me wrong, i’m not turning into dante hicks* or anything. this week i’ve had (personally) unparalleled success at placing clients in jobs, my wife and child are utterly remarkable and just last night alex and aime lavished us with the most amazing steak and wine dinner. however, i am realizing how relationally exhausting full time accompaniment and advocacy can really be.

the latter realization makes me appreciate the work of full-time professional christians all the more. as a child and, okay, occasionally as an adult i have been hyper-critical of the way particular full-time pastors and ministry leaders conduct their daily lives. but the relatively short amount of time i have spent in equipping ministry here at rectangle has taught me to appreciate and respect the incredible choice that pastors make to love, listen and entangle themselves in people’s beautiful but confounded lives on a daily basis.

so here’s to you professional christians! we often cannot conceive of, and (probably) far too often criticize, the sacramental lives you lead. i appreciate (most) of what you do.

* pop quiz: who’s a whinier little b*tch: luke skywalker or dante hicks?

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2007 at 10:24 am

memorandum from captain random

question: if you walk the dog at different time, in a different place, could you wake up a different person?

“i am a straight up, hard-core facist. facism is perfect, it’s perfect. think about it, you enslave people and send them out to build the GDP and if they don’t succeed you send them out to fight a war. facism is beautiful. it’s perfect.”

the preceding political rant was brought to you by:

a) heinrich himmler
b) dwight schrute
c) hooper x, my evening supervisor
d) robert paulsen

for some reason, i really want to see knocked up sooner rather than later. i’m not only interested in this comedy because it provides a humorous perspective on an epic experience in my near past, but also because i think jud apatow is brilliant. one reviewer said that apatow’s comedies, which include the forty year old virgin as well as the tv series freaks and geeks and undeclared, are remarkably traditional stories that unfold in a slightly perverse setting. i can only hope that someone will someday say the same about my preaching.

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2007 at 3:51 pm


my little man turned 2 months old yesterday. in the past two months there have been many moments when the demands of fatherhood have left me bitching like dante hicks,* but there have also been moments when i’ve understood that fatherhood is a unique invitation to sacrificial service and opportunity to enter into deeper communion with Christ and His creation.

the longer i live the more i suspect that almost every moment is a key moment insofar as it is an opportunity to serve, connect and create. as both preston and i grow older i hope to improve my response rate.

* i.e., when kellie asked me to change a diaper on sunday, which is currently my only day off, i almost felt like saying i’m not evening supposed to be here today!” moreover, in the midst of almost every day since his birth i’ve whined to myself, and far too often to others, “but i’m f*cking tired!”.

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2007 at 2:04 pm

“the new testament proclaims that at some unforeseeable time in the future, God will ring down the final curtain on history, and there will come a Day on which all our days and all the judgments upon us and all our judgments upon each other will themselves be judged. the judge will be Christ. in other words, the one who judges us most finally will be the one who loves us most fully.

romantic love is blind to everything except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ’s love sees us with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ’s love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. the worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering that Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. the justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.”

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