Skip to main content

highlights from a road trip

We just returned from a road trip that included New York City, Philadelphia, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Toronto, Ontario. Here are a few of the world famous things we saw: the Statue of Liberty, the National Constitution Center, Niagara Falls, and Cassie, the best dog in Brooklyn. Okay, Cassie might not be world-reknowned, but she should be. If you asked me what the highlights were of the trip, however, they would probably not include these famous sites. They would include brunch with Mike and Char who always manage to mix fun and wisdom in wonderful proportion. They would include making a helium balloon bouquet for Ryan and chasing it down the parking lot (alas it was lost in an updraft). They would include cooking a French meal for Constance who was somewhat confounded not to be in the kitchen but just able to sit and talk while someone else did the serving for a change. They would be listening to Jana talk about her confidence in Jesus to guide her future. They would be seeing the look on Greg's face when he received the gift of a beautiful musical instrument. They would be noticing Dean relax more and more each day as the company of good friends and the extravagance of a good God erased all the worries and responsibilities of business and church for a time. It would be a short motorcycle ride with Dean that reminded me of all the good reasons for being on this unpredictable journey. It would be going to sleep every night with contentment and rising every morning with expectation. It would be knowing that there are more people in the world who love us and consider us part of their family than I had thought us worthy of. It would be the stretching of my heart as once again I see how much bigger God's heart is than I could ever imagine. *sigh of gratitude*


Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.


When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

theology from the margins: God of Hagar

Our contexts have major implications for how we live our lives and engage with our world, that much is obvious. However, we sometimes overlook how much they inform our concepts of God. For those of us occupying the central or dominant demographic in society, we often associate God with power and truth. As a result, our theology is characterized by confidence, certainty, and an expectation that others should be accommodating. For those of us living on the margins of society, our sense of belonging stranded in ambiguity, God is seen as an advocate for the powerless. Our theology leans more toward inclusivity, and we talk less about divine holiness and righteousness and more about a God who suffers. On the margins, the priority is merciful and just action, not correct beliefs. 
There are significant theological incongruences between Christians who occupy the mainstream segment of society and those who exist on the margins. The world of theology has been dominated by Western male thought…

the movement of humility

We live in a context of stratification where much of society is ordered into separate layers or castes. We are identified as upper class, middle class, or lower class. Our language reflects this up/down (superior/inferior) paradigm. We want to be at the top of the heap, climb the ladder of success, break through the glass ceiling, be king of the hill. This same kind of thinking seeps into our theology. When we talk about humility, we think mostly think in terms of lowering ourselves, willfully participating in downward mobility. This type of up/down language is certainly present in biblical texts (James 4:10 is one example), but I believe that the kind of humility we see in Jesus requires that we step outside of a strictly up/down paradigm. Instead of viewing humility as getting down low or stepping down a notch on the ladder of society, perhaps it is more helpful to think in terms of proximity and movement.

Jesuit theologian, James Keenan, notes that virtues and vices are not really…