05 December 2007

The Rich Young Man - Stuff


        for most of the past few years, i have annually (if not more often) packed up my worldly belongings and relocated for a few months. most of this cycle consisted of going to and from school in chicago and camp in minnesota with brief layovers at home. following this was heading back to chi-town for a year of misison year and then down to the gulf coast and what has turned into four different housing situations in four months. all this is to say, that i feel like i’m pretty familiar with my stuff.
        and back to that rich young dude... jesus tells him (after the gentleman’s insistence that he has followed all the rules) that he lacks only one thing: selling everything, giving it to the poor, then coming and following jesus. now two of these things i feel pretty comfortable with. all my life i have been taught in various ways and degrees how to give to the poor and how to follow jesus. but never, ever have i been told to first sell all my stuff and then try doing these two. suddenly things get a wee bit less comfortable.
        I honestly don’t know what to do about all this. can we separate our stuff and jesus and live happily ever after? have we watered down this part of the gospel to make it more digestible both for ourselves and others?
        it’s easy to give to the poor when i know i have more back at the shack. it’s easy to “follow” jesus when i know that i have a backup plan in case things get just a bit too uncomfortable. but to do both with no backup plan, no safety valve? that’s craziness, insanity, but could it be good?

The Rich Young Man - Love


        The Mark passage states that Jesus “loved him” (Mark 10.21). Yet at the same time, the young gent’s contribution to the story ends in his choosing to walk away... and Jesus letting him. Huh?
        Part of my problem (yes, they are legion) is that i’ve been trained quite well in youth ministry. Never, ever, leave a youngin’ free to walk away completely from the ministry. There is always follow-up, both the straightforward and sneaky kind, to make sure that every ounce of energy is exhausted in an attempt to fully reach out to meet someone where they are at (we’re talking about needs here, don’t i have an obligation to meet another’s needs?).
        But Jesus let’s him walk away. There is no running after him, no shouting after him, no voicemails, no emails, nada. how could Jesus both “love him” and let him walk away?
        The reality of this really strikes home. So often when we receive responses that are less than enthusiastic we start to back-pedal. Changing language, technique, even practice in hopes of being more relevant, cultural or endearing.
        Yet Jesus sticks to his guns. There is no watering down, no easing the transition. He could have said “just kidding, all you need to start with is your bank account” or “really, that’s asking a lot today, especially in front of everybody. so why don’t you take some time to think about it and come back with an answer later.” Jesus says nothing more than what has already been said. He didn’t even say “forget about all of it, just start with 10%” (ouch). The response to Jesus sure ain’t cushy...

The RIch Young Man


I’ve been drawn towards the passages of the rich young man lately (Matt 19, Mark 10, Luke 18). The story is really simple enough. A young man approaches Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus, being a rabbi, responds in kind by calling the young man’s attention to the commandments (law). The young man proclaims his faithfulness to the commandments. Jesus then looks at the young man and loves him and then says that he lacks one thing: going and selling everything that he has, giving to the poor and then following Jesus. The young man becomes deeply troubled, for he has much wealth and his only response is to walk away from Jesus. This leads Jesus to exclaim “how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples are thrown for a loop, “who then can be saved?” To which, Jesus so kindly answers that on our own, it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Go ahead and tackle the passages for yourself. More thoughts to follow soon…

28 November 2007


Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. But the one who has love, courage and wisdom moves the world.

-Ammon Hennacy

31 October 2007

chaotic season (or more pointedly, kerry's spilling lots of words on the internet because people keep bugging him to)

for the second year in a row, i will be missing the beautiful fall colors of the north woods. there is much to love about mississippi, and more specifically now pearlington, but nothing can compare to the blaze of color that sets the trees on fire in the crisp fall air. after so many years of training, it seems that i cannot forsake my minnesotan roots and come to be grateful for the "seasons" as they are manifested down here.

in the northland, we have four distinct seasons. nobody ever seems to have a problem distinguishing between winter, summer, fall and spring. mississippi, on the other hand, seems to have only two: hot and not hot. here on the coast, there is no blaze of color to take your breath away on cold mornings. although lauren and i have been truly loved by one of our vols who bought us some fake fall leaves :).

there is something deeply rhythmic and deeply comforting about seasons for me. the ebbs and flows as time moves along are marked by some form of consistancy and expectedness is hinged upon concrete markers of the revisiting of the old: first snow fall, first day of shorts, first frost, first day at the lake, etc. maybe it has to do with the more i come to know myself, the less constant and reliable and faithful i seem to be...

ironically, part of what has made this fall such a struggle is that my life has been in a season of chaos. chaos is not rhythmic, chaos does not evoke memories of the past or projections of future hope. chaos dismantles and disintegrates the norm, refuses to repeat and reitterate what we hold dear.

yet i take heart in the story of jehovah (the god who is with us). for it was jehovah who spoke into the chaos in the creation account. it was jehovah who reunited israel following the chaos of captivity. it was jehovah who entered into the chaos of judiasm under roman rule. jehovah who faithfully stepped into the chaos of the early church (and some might say continues to get in the way today!). jehovah who continues to step into the chaos of the mississippi gulf coast...

i really had no idea where any of this was going when i began writing this, but as i pause and digest the words and thoughts swishing around, it appears that i have forgotten something. there seems to be a pretty distinct pattern here in the course of human life: humans live life - chaos ensues - jehovah steps in.

so in the midst of missing my seasons and lamenting what has felt like one giant season of chaos, i come face to face with the reality that there is a bigger season in the mix here. for we are in the season of jehovah. the god who entered into human history continues to speak, touch and enter into the chaos filling our lives today. at the risk of sounding trite: maybe it's time to look at this less and less as a season marked by chaos and more and more as a season marked by comfort...

18 October 2007

luke day


On October 18 the Church traditionally celebrates the Evangelist Luke:
Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

12 October 2007


mystery yields expectation...

30 September 2007


“Surely We Can Change”
David Crowder Band
Remedy


'And the problem is this
We were bought with a kiss
But the cheek still turned
Even when it wasn't hit

And I don't know
What to do with a love like that
And I don't know
How to be a love like that


When all the love in the world
Is right here, among us
And hatred too
So we must choose
What our hands will do

Where there is pain
Let there be grace
Where there is suffering
Bring serenity
For those afraid
Help them be brave
Where there is misery
Bring expectancy

And surely we can change
Surely we can change
Something

And the problem it seems
Is with you and me
Not the love who came
To repair everything

And I don't know
What to do with a love like that
And I don't know
How to be a love like that

When all the love in the world
Is right here, among us
And hatred too
And so we must choose
What our hands will do

Where there is pain
Let us bring grace
Where there is suffering
Bring serenity
For those afraid
Let us be brave
Where there is misery
Let us bring them relief

And surely we can change
Surely we can change
O surely we can change
Something

And the world's about to change
The whole world's about to change
And the world's about to change
The whole world's about to change
And the world's about to change
The whole world's about to change
And the world's about to change
The whole world's about to change...

07 August 2007

me love mississippi.


Statement as of 4:42 AM CDT on August 07, 2007

... Heat advisory in effect until 7 PM CDT this evening...

The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued a heat
advisory... which is in effect until 7 PM CDT this evening.

A very hot... humid airmass has settled along the southeast
Louisiana and Mississippi coast today. Temperatures during the
pre dawn hours continue to hover around 80 degrees. High
temperatures are expected to rise into the middle 90s. These hot
temperatures will combine with dew point temperatures in the mid
70s to produce a heat index around 105 degrees.

Unfortunately... the hot humid airmass associated with a stagnant
high pressure system located over the lower Mississippi Valley
will persist into Wednesday. So its possible the heat advisory may
be extended into Wednesday.

A heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is
expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity
will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are
possible. Drink plenty of fluids... stay in an air-conditioned
room... stay out of the sun... and check up on relatives and
neighbors.


funny how this is normal...

04 August 2007

something new.


i am about to start on a new journey. the old is passing. a new light dawns on the horizon.

simply put, this is a journey of learning to love...

homeowners.
volunteers.
coworkers.
neighbors.
friends.
myself.

father,
grant me the grace to greet each morning.
grant me the strength to engage each day.
grant me the courage to be honest.
grant me the will to be obedient.
grant me the desire to be transformed.

that i may become love.

23 July 2007

pausing for a good cry.


mississippi is crying again.

practically, this means half of the streets in gulfport are flooded and my backyard is now a bayou, not to mention the waterfall coming off the roof and onto my front steps.

really though, mississippi has a lot to cry about (and if you’ve ever experienced a mississippi summer, you’d know how much rain we tend to get down here). the gulf coast is still in a world of hurt. far too many homeowners and families are still in fema trailers. far too little of the major funding has broken through the red tape and has completed the metamorphous into actual building supplies. far too many agencies and groups do not trust one another enough to extend a hand in partnership and collaboration. far too many concrete slabs remind all what kind of communities used to be...

mississippi also has plenty of joyful tears. with each passing day, more and more people are getting back in homes. more volunteers continue to show up with willing hands, hearts and wallets. more and more churches are starting to get their footing and start to reach out into their local communities again. more debris is cleaned up, more communities are coming back together, more than expected is manifested in countless thousands of lives. more continues to be enough...

yes, mississippi is crying again. and once the tears cease to flow (for today), we will all pick up where we left off. surrounded by so much good and so much bad, so much hope and so much despair, mississippi will continue to carry on (with many more tears along the way).

thanks be to god.

21 July 2007


too many times we see the fog in the clarity

(pax217 lyrics, not my own words)

30 June 2007

Musings from Minnesota (4)


Marriage.

initially, the “real” reason for this whole trip up north was to be the best man in my friends craig and shawn’s wedding. i’m definitely in a season of my life where many friends are getting married and it has been really incredible to see all that god has been doing in the lives of people i love.

one of the things that has made this wedding so special is that i have known both craig and shawn separately for at least 6 years. craig and i met the summer before my senior year of high school on a bwca canoe trip and shawn was a counselor at camp the summer after my freshman year of college.

i’m amazed at how these two people that i have known for so long have become so bound up into each others’ lives that they have now become one.

a-mazing...

Musings from Minnesota (3)

different.

i’ve changed. it’s more than just having a nice tan or short hair for once or the fact that i say y’all with regularity or that i now have a cell phone. i’m different than i used to be.

people ask me lots of questions now. trying to peel back the layers of intrigue, trying to understand who i’ve become. i’ve had the chance to hang out with family and friends quite a bit (much to the chagrin of my introvertedness) and everybody seems quite confused as to who i’ve become.

most people have known me as an athlete, or a student, or an assistant program director, or as a child... the thing is, i don’t really fit those molds anymore. i guess it’s hard to place someone when they no longer fit into the kind of life you knew them to live.

more people seemed concerned with what i’m going to do next after mississippi, then want to understand what my life is like now. almost as if this part is just a fluke or and aberration to how the rest of my life will be lived. this has started to bug me. mississippi is the life that i choose to live now and for now, it’s all i shall know...

29 June 2007

Musings from Minnesota (2)


Minnesotans.

most minnesotans have a very distinct accent. if you’ve ever seen the movie “fargo” or watched the “red green show” or spent much of any time with a minnesotan, you come to realize that, more often than not, we talk pretty funny.

for some reason i’m more towards the accent-challenged end of the spectrum, but i’m still amazed after spending a few months in the deep south just how rampant quality minnesota accents run up in this neck of the woods.

the best part about all this is we minnesotans tend to like it this way. “sven and lena” jokes just don’t have the same ring to them without the long o’s and flat a’s. and nothing beats listening to a bunch of old farmers swapping stories in town while drinking coffee and eating rusks.

there’s another peculiarity to minnesotans. my peeps are just so doggone nice all the time.

it’s so hard to take a drive and rock out to music because you spend all your time waving. every house you pass, people going for a walk, even cars passing in the opposite direction. everybody waves, with a smile even. i’m so out of shape i’m gonna need rotator cuff surgery before my break is over.

another example of this crazy niceness is the pleasant conversations that spring up everywhere. when i lived in chicago i couldn’t get anybody to say three words to me and got plenty of nasty looks for trying. then i moved to mississippi and if i happened to venture a simple question of “how are you today?” i had to block off 40 mins just to hear the short answer. minnesotans seem to have perfected the art of pleasant conversation: not too long, not too short, but just right. goldilocks would love it here.

i’m not gonna take the time to go into the peculiarities of the way everybody fights to hold doors open or the way people will literally pull over and stop so you can pass them, or the other things that make us just plain weird (i have an image to keep and expectations to keep low ya know), but if you ever get the opportunity to trek on up to the northland you may want to jump at the opportunity (but don’t forget to pack your bug spray)...

28 June 2007

Musings from Minnesota (1)


gravel roads.

it has been a long, long time since i’ve so much time on gravel roads. even though they are bumpy and dusty and often times under-maintained (although, compared to half the roads in gulfport, they’re looking pretty great), there are many, many benefits to gravel.

for instance. if you happen to be traveling on a gravel road, chances are very, very good that you are out in the middle of the country and there are no vehicles (and most importantly very few cops). not that i’m saying i ever intentionally break the laws of the land, just that less drivers means more open road for me.

when in the country and on gravel roads, there is also a looser interpretation of all postings (speeds, stops, etc.). signs with white borders tend to become optional and this greatly speeds up the commute.

corners. there is something amazing about taking corners on gravel roads. no matter how hard you try, you often squeal the tires and kick up rocks all over the place. eventually, you quit trying to not spit rocks and start trying to see how many you can give wings to. if you couple this with enough acceleration, there is even a little bit of fish tailing that takes place... no snow necessary.

i really don’t know why people complain about them so much. they’re actually quite enjoyable and freeing, really. so next time you find yourself staring down some gravel, rev that engine, lets some rocks fly and enjoy the ride (but don’t forget of course to roll up your windows first)...

25 June 2007

Come.


Come, O Holy Spirit

Come open us to the wonder, beauty, and dignityof the diversity found in each culture, in each face, and in each experience we have of the other among us.

Come, fill us with generosity as we are challenged to let go and allow others to share with us the goods and beauty of earth.

Come, heal the divisions that keep us from seeing the face of Christ in all men, women, and children.

Come, free us to stand with and for those who must leave their own lands in order to find work, security, and welcome in a new land, one that has enough to share.

Come, bring us understanding, inspiration, wisdom, and the courage needed to embrace change and stay on the journey

Come, O Holy Spirit, show us the way.

24 June 2007

drip. drip. drip.


so i realize that i’ve been kinda sporadic on the whole posting thing as of late... the marbles upstairs have been pretty scattered and not much has been coming together into anything real concrete. i think that in time words will come again, but for now i’ll just be content to let things percolate and see what drips down (hey, if it works for coffee why not my brain)...

14 June 2007


the one thing i dislike the most about sanding drywall: white boogers...

12 June 2007

God be in my head and in my understanding.
God be in mine eyes and in my looking.
God be in my mouth and in my speaking.
God be in my heart and in my thinking.
God be at mine end and in my departing.

Sarum Primer, 1527

30 May 2007


Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

(stolen from the episcopalians)

29 May 2007

on war (or "once again i present my jumbled thoughts for the enjoyment of the blogosphere)


i’ve been stuck on this whole war theme quite a bit lately. my thoughts have been drifting through everything from why we take the time to remember war, to questions about whether our nation has really been warless, to whether it is really possible to have a “strong” nation state without a premise of being superior at war, and even as far as wondering if we mere humans can ever live on this planet without warmongering...

but the biggest curve-ball of all came in trying to reconcile both memorial day weekend and the church celebration of pentecost...

out nation is a war machine... the birth of this nation came not on some nice little piece of paper from some delegation, but in the bloody sparring that ensued. since then, we have been involved in conflict after conflict with no end in sight. we have even gone so far as to unite patriotism and faith into one tidy little package.

but then i take a good, long look at myself and wonder if i am perpetually at war as well... it seems that there is always somebody to be hostile towards, someone who is out of favor, something to pour out hate upon, always another enemy.

now pentecost. as far as i can tell, pentecost is the proclamation that war is finished. “you killed him,” peter proclaims, “but god has raised him from the dead. therefore, the spirit has come to show us a new way how to live.” pretty impressive words to a nation that was also marked by much conflict and also currently under occupation.

but is is enough to simply not be at war? is it really possible to be neutral? oh yeah, that silly thing called love. as far as i can tell, love is not a violent aggressor. nor is it a passive bystander. love dives into the midst of struggle and strife and conflict. love does not buy into the myth of redemptive violence, but proposes and alternative...

i think that’s the beauty of pentecost... jesus lost to the hatred and fear and warmongering, but love still one out. love proclaims that another world is possible. it is not easier than war (it may actually be harder), but it offers more than just living to die another day. love allows for life to be fully present now...

let us choose love over war. let us choose trust over fear. let us live fully present as those who choose to mourn the reality of war, yet doggedly proclaim that there is a new way to live, a way of love...

26 May 2007

memorial weekend


i find it slightly ironic that we get this weekend to hang out with friends and family and have a good time, yet the time off is due to the fact that we live in a world of war that has claimed way too many american lives (and way, way too many non-american lives)... i think we should do something about that. let us not only remember, but also grieve, and then imagine a different world together...

25 May 2007



It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.
  - Aristotle

...although i’m not so sure it’s a good idea for older folks to either...

20 May 2007

just some thoughts...


several people lately have been asking my why i insist on fighting through all of this. why i still go about intentionally seeking conflict in certain situations. why i desire to keep at it even if the way i approach things makes other angry or uneasy or upset...

i have come to realize that my answer is simple: ‘cause i would rather feel the pain involved in all of this messy business than disconnect completely and feel nothing at all. this realization came while on a run today. i’ve realized that my going for runs have become a way of feeling. especially when things get rough, i can go for a run and feel something. often times it is quite painful, especially since i’m not in the best of shape and it’s freakin’ hot here all the time now. but i also feel more in tune with my body and create a whole new way of connectedness. to feel something instead of nothing at all. i shall call this my “manifesto as to why i would make a bad buddhist”...

this also leads me to revelation number two as of late: i have become convinced that peacemaking involves more conflict than war. counterintuitive? (that depends on your intuition). war is simply saying, “i don’t think you have anything good to offer, so instead of trying to hear you out and understand you, i will simply shut-down all means of working through our differences and try to wipe you out of the picture” (simplistic, i know). peacemaking says, “let us try our hardest to make room for everyone to have a place in this existence and continue to work through each and every issue (a.k.a. more conflict) until we can reach a point where we can trust, love and respect each other. suddenly the foundation for so much more has been laid, but alas, that foundation comes on the other side of openness to conflict and not the disconnect of war...

i have no way to unite these two yet or much more depth for processing this, just some thoughts tumbling around upstairs. all i can say at this point is that there is definitely quite a bit or risk involved in both feeling and peacemaking...


16 May 2007

love bug guts...


the number of love bugs splattered on my windshield is directly proportional to miles driven plus the aggregate sum of days since the last good downpour...

(sum multiplied by 2.3 if said days include at least one trip to pearlington)

14 May 2007

gratitude


one of the things that has really cut me to the core down here is the deep, sincere gratitude displayed by so many for the simplest of things. so many have lost so much, and most people have chosen not to simply be victims, but be grateful for help that they see as pure gift... and are grateful.

case in point: i was talking with one of the homeowners i have gotten to know over the last few months today. this was a rare opportunity for me to talk to a homeowner after they have moved out of their fema trailer and into their new home, since in this construction business we often find ourselves rushing on to the next job to be done. she is so grateful for so many things and so proud of her family’s new home.

but here’s the kicker, regarding her fema trailer she said, “i don’t know which is a better day, the day i seen it comin’ or the day i seen it leavin, for both of those days will forever be two of the happiest days of my life.’”

11 May 2007


happy birthday minnesota!

10 May 2007

food for thought...


these words are not my own, but a random aggregate of others’...

Zealotry = going beyond the Bible and thinking one is immune for doing so

Zealotry, at its bottom layer, is the unwillingness (1) to trust God to work in others, (2) to trust others to listen to God, and (3) to trust ourselves to do what God wants. The ambiguity created by freedom is fearful to many, so they make fences and laws — and in so doing, they create a bounded society of zealots who convince themselves that, even though the Bible does not say something, what they are saying is really what the Bible wanted after all.

G. K. Chesterton’s idea of “making room for good things to run wild.”

The freed know the tranquility of where they belong in God’s society; zealots don’t know where they belong and therefore do not know where others belong.

Zealots judge and sometimes condemn others who do not live by their rules, who explore things they are uncomfortable with — not because they’ve thought through it but because they don’t trust others to make good decisions. The freed, however, can live with the ambiguity that freedom in the Spirit creates: they can trust God to work with others, they can trust others to be responsible, and they can trust another group to
discern its way in this world. The freed can render judgment as discernment, the zealots only judgment as condemnation. The freed can say “that’s not good, that’s not wise,” the zealot will say “you are bad.”

07 May 2007

celebrity look alike contest


volunteer: “you know who you remind me of?”
me: “uh, nope”
volunteer: “c’mon take a wild guess”
me: “uh, nope”
volunteer: “tiger woods”
me: “i didn’t think i was that tan”
volunteer: “not in that way, just every other way”
me: “oh, thanks. that’s a new one”

for some reason i don’t think i’m gonna go buy a whole bunch of nike apparel and quit my day job...

06 May 2007

Sound Off


our local newspaper, the SunHerald has a “sound off“ section. we, the selection committee (myself and the lovely linda) thought we should share some of the goodies...

Need to empty this nest
I lost my home in the hurricane, and I now live with my parents. Please, for the love of God, build new apartments.

Crawfish Robbery
Now Katrina, you have gone and got my goat. You did a very bad act. The worst place to be is between a Cajun and his crawfish. You done crossed that line, you wench.

Shoe Critique
I saw somebody today wearing the ugliest shoes I have ever seen in my entire life. It just made me want to say, ”Oh, baby, them shoes you wearin’, honey, they just make me want to smash your toes, baby.“

Katrina Mouth
Well, I went to visit my dentist, and he told me I had a Katrina Mouth. I told him, what’s a Katrina Mouth? He said, ”You need two bridges.“

True Colors
The aftermath of Katrina has given me an opportunity to measure the character of my neighbors to an extent that would not have been possible otherwise. My neighbors are made of iron - except their hearts, which are made of gold. I will never see my neighborhood as an ordinary place again, for I live among Titans.

27 April 2007

i lament...


people living in trailers

broken and messy people

being broken and messy

leadership that fails when needed

communities lacking a voice

work that trumps people

20 months of storm damaged lives

ears that do not listen

voices that remain unheard

leaders not rising from within

redemption that seems so slow

tears that will not flow

assistance that yields dependance

amateurs believing they have to be professionals


Let Your Love Be Strong


In this world of news, I've found nothing new
I've found nothing pure
Maybe I'm just idealistic to assume that truth
Could be fact and form
That love could be a verb
Maybe I'm just a little misinformed

As the dead moon rises, and the freeways sigh
Let the trains watch over the tides and the mist
Spinning circles in our sky's tonight
Let the trucks roll in from Los Angeles
Maybe our stars are unanimously tired

(chorus)
Let your love be strong, and I don't care what goes down
Let your love be strong enough to weather through the thunder cloud
Fury and thunder clap like stealing the fire from your eyes
All of my world hanging on your love

Let the wars begin, let my strength wear thin
Let my fingers crack, let my world fall apart
Train the monkeys on my back to fight
Let it start tonight
When my world explodes, when my stars touch the ground
Falling down like broken satellites

(chorus)

24 April 2007

your thoughts?



intriguing... yet so simple?


“Fasting is never the central spiritual discipline of the Christian life. Fasting is not a separable spiritual discipline like prayer or study or solitude. Instead, fasting is a physical condition in which all the disciplines can occur. Fasting is not effective in and of itself but is the expression of the kind of person – a person who has given all of herself or himself to God – that stands before God in trust and obedience, yearning for what that person wants in the face of God in the hope that God will hear that yearning.“
Scot McKnight (thesis from his soon to be new book)

22 April 2007

my poem


the name i did not choose,
        nor the charge it bears
through all the twists and turns in life
        it is my constant tare
‘til one day i become the man set free
        from this fallen plight
Kerry is my name;
        the “dark one seeking light”

14 April 2007


“if i don’t have red, i use blue”
~pablo picasso~

10 April 2007


me likey rain (especially the torrential variety)

08 April 2007

03 April 2007


why do mosquitos bite with their two back legs in the air?

01 April 2007

palm sunday


so today is palm sunday, and for the first time that i can ever remember, the text for the day was taken from mark and not one of the other gospel accounts. scott talked a lot about the significance of the mundane when talking about the story today. ya know, the things like stealing a donkey, throwing clothes all over the ground and waving branches at the dude; the usual king treatment. but one of the things that really struck me today is how all these people were so excited to have a king come to town that they could overlook the absurdity of the donkey and all the other things jesus had been saying and the fact that probably didn’t really look like much of a tough guy. so they yelled “hosanna,” save us now. as if this crazy carpenter dude could just march into jerusalem on a donkey and fix everything (insert “bad-ass” pun). ironically, when he went for to do just that, everybody just cuts and runs leaving him on his own. i think we’re the same way. we want the king, but not the kingdom. the king saves us, rides on in and represents all our hopes and dreams and expectations. but then when the king get to work setting up his kingdom, we want nothing to do with it. maybe that’s because the kingdom involves imprisonment, beatings, a cross, and a tomb. these are irreplaceable parts of the story. the kingdom is messy, sometimes hard and definitely flies in the face of what we want reality to be. we want the luxury of designing the kingdom ourselves for the king. Hosanna, save us now, but don’t you dare meddle with the rest of things.

so this is my question... can we really, truly celebrate the kingship of christ without the cross, without the tomb, without the kingdom?

thanks be to god for an empty tomb and a resurrection to ensure that they cannot be separated... easter is a pretty special thing...

31 March 2007

love grieves and waits...


Love grieves and waits. It waits above all for God's intervention. God, who has moved in love through his Son and by the Spirit, we know on that basis will continue to act on the grounds of what he has done and accomplished in Christ. So we wait, knowing he is faithful to change us first and to change another as he sees fit. We wait for restoration and reconciliation.

It doesn't matter whether or not we like someone. Someday we will. Why? Because God made all things good and in Christ he is remaking all things and all who are in Christ. We need to reach out at least in hope and prayer as to what God can do in ourselves and in that other who may or may not be alienated from God. Is he able to make all things new, including the longning for relationship with that other that is in our hearts? Yes, of course.

And I can grieve when I don't seem to care anymore about a broken relationship, that God would renew my hope and faltering steps to both pray and to reach out in love. After all we know in the end that it is God who can take us both in into the joy of the perichoretic dance of love that is at the heart of who he is, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This will ordinarily happen in humble human ways, but isn't that what God is all about? He became human so that we might become one together with him. And it is to begin now, grounded in our relationship to God in Christ.

Let's therefore not give up. Let's reach out in love, and especially in hope and prayer to God. Someday we'll fully be realizing the love and potential that relationship brings, together in our God. But through Christ that can begin now.

~Ted Gossard~

28 March 2007

we were meant to live for so much more...

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

(sometimes a little reminder is necessary)

26 March 2007


trying to hear what is really being said...

(although that sometimes leads to a much lesser view of humanity than i want to believe)

Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 2 Timothy 2.23

24 March 2007

what a week


4 trips to new orleans
georgie getting roughed up by his innards
parents, grandparents and little bro in town
850+ miles driven for work
locked keys in car
birthday party for mommy
beautiful weather (again)
steaks with family and friends
grandpa on bourbon street
long days and late nights
switchfoot

yup... i’m officially exhausted, yet so thankful

22 March 2007

breathe slow


Until my body cracks the pavement and shakes the face of the basement
Lacing the foundation with scars that sacrifice is bound to leave
Break inner-city boundaries so suburbanites are down to see
This cultural way of life and how music is more than sound to me
But freedom's lungs are heavy from pushing these smoke signals out
And we've become so disillusioned that we're scared to notice
The eviction notice speaking its clout with screams and shouts, but trust me
Clarity's waiting there on the other side of your focus
So snatch the breath from blasphemy emphatically
Transform naturally, control the art before it masters me
Breathe slow and hold the hand of whoever you can reach for
Touch the ones you've never seen before 'til the common good is restored
'Til the homeless are all execs and capitalism yields to ethics
'Til janitors live in mansions and schoolteachers can push a Lexus
'Til beef is deaded and debt is erased or collected
'Til the projects and country clubs are now and forever connected
I'll speak my messages 'til they get it
Until you're touched by something sacred and love is all that you're left with
Blessed is the head that shares the crown that he possesses
Consider yourselves my brethren and this song is my confession
'Cause man shall not live by the bottle alone
I keep a fist raised to the sky so you can follow me home
And all your problems can't be solved by one call on the phone
I keep a fist raised to the sky so you can follow me home, it goes..

18 March 2007

Canticle of the Turning

Canticle of the Turning
Lyrics: Rory Cooney
Music: Irish Traditional, Star of the County Down, Arr. By Rory Cooney

My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on the servant's plight, and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest. Could the world be about to turn?

Refrain:    My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
                Let the fires of you justice burn.
                Wipe away all the tears,
                For the dawn draw near,
                And the world is about to turn.

Though I am small, my God, my all, you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame, and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight, for the world is about to turn.

Refrain

From the halls of power to the fortress tower, not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears ev'ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn;
These are tables spread, ev'ry mouth be fed, for the world is about to turn.

Refrain

Though the nations rage from age to age, we remember who holds us fast:
God's mercy must deliver us from the conqueror's crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard is the promise which holds us bound,
'Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God, who is turning the world around.

Refrain

15 March 2007


Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistence
The tension is here
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be

I dare you to move
Like today never happened

can we say messed up?


so one day i’m told that i’m incompetent and can’t make decisions and the next i’m told i’m supposed to babysit a 50+ year old man who just doesn’t want to do his job... this morass of genuine leadership is killing me

11 March 2007

camping


seven of us went camping this weekend at a state park about an hour away. so much fun just to enjoy the beautiful weather, play some disc golf and enjoy good friends late into the night (oh yeah, and amazing stars). refreshing indeed.

03 March 2007


long hours on the porch + great people + lots of laughter = sore tummy muscles :)

01 March 2007


welcome back to the mississippi gulf coast, mr. bush. i’m so glad that you were able to take the time and come look around. we are so grateful that you needed to shut down our main highway for your tour knowing that you did so in order to take the best look possible at things. we did not mind one iota that the transportation of volunteers and materials was drastically complicated by your presence.

for da birds


there sure are a lot more birds singing in the morning down here in mississippi than up in chicago this time of year...

28 February 2007

value


i’ve been really wrestling with the concept of value lately. we live in a culture of sales and good deals and are obsessed with getting the best price possible. in our thirst for more and more, we stretch each precious dollar, not because we need to for survival, but because then we can buy more things with the money “saved.” is this good stewardship? what if we actually paid the true value of what things were worth (materials, labor, relational cost, etc.). would we be more likely to take care of what we have if we had less do to having to spend more to pay the true cost of our things?

since living in a disaster zone, i have become concerned about how this kind of attitude affects how i respond and care for people. in my desire to help as many people as possible get into their homes, the cost-benefit ratios always take the side of what is cheapest and fastest and easiest. but what does this say about value. how much am i really valuing homeowners if i make no effort to connect on other levels besides the construction aspect of things. are they simply relegated as a means to an end (keeping volunteers happy and busy)? how much am i valuing people if i do my best to see that they get a house built, yet do nothing to address the fact that they cannot afford to keep it up? or if we put the cheapest, easiest and quickest things into a home only to see our hastiness lead to congestive failure 10 years down the road.

christ came to this earth to pay the full price that each and every one of us are worth. it cost him everything; family, career, even his life. i want to learn to value people what they are worth; homeowners, volunteers, coworkers, housemates and friends. to not allow cost, speed or difficulty stand in the way of taking the time to do things well. all of that takes time, costs much and means that in the broad sense, i have less (quantitative, but more qualitative)...

26 February 2007


converge |kənˈvərj| |kənˌvərdʒ| |kənˌvəːdʒ|
verb [ intrans. ]
(of several people or things) come together from different directions so as eventually to meet

25 February 2007

who knew


snow is good for my soul, but my heart is still tied to mississippi something fierce.

23 February 2007

sankofa


sankofa - an Akan word that means, we must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today

i’m on a sankofa. this trip has been one of rediscovering and reconnecting with pockets of my past here in chicago. north park, reba, austin and the great collective of friends and people who interconnect those past realities. along this journey i’m realizing that i’m rediscovering myself. for in each place i had different dreams and joys and stuggles and in each place i had different hopes and prayers and life. so as i reconnect to these places, i find different parts of me and am reminded of how i’ve come through this journey and am starting to see clearer glimpses of the hand of god intricately weaving people and places and events into the collective “my life.” such goodness, such grace.

so why do i fear and fret? why do i feel at times that god is absent in my present circumstances, why can i not fully trust that god continues to do what he has been doing all along and fully dive into faithful living in the here and now? these questions abound and inevitably lead to wrestling with the future...

looking backwards to move forwards... such goodness, such grace.

22 February 2007


currently: sitting in carabou coffee with chicago trib... ahhh

19 February 2007

my morning


5:00am - alarm rips through the peaceful morning silence
5:05am - the lovely roommate linda takes me to the airport
5:15am - arrive at gulfport/biloxi international airport
5:24am - arrive at security checkpoint
6:32am - clear security, instantaneously board plane that should have left 15 minutes ago (plane half full, other half still hanging out with tsa folks)
7:03am - departure (plane full of tired, grumpy people who are simply relieved that it didn't leave without them)
8:00am - arrival in memphis
8:46am - departure (plane full of much less grumpy, more wakeful personalities)
10:31am - arrive at ohare via beautiful city fly-over. peel butt out of seat i've been in for 4 hours and head to baggage. my suitcase is the first one out (i am both surprised and pleased)
11:28am - strolling through north park. sweet home chicago .

18 February 2007

13 February 2007


gospel tuesdays are good for the soul

09 February 2007

breath

breathe in.
breathe out.

so simple. so pure. so rhythmic.

breathe in.
breathe out.

so basic. so ingrained. so necessary.

breathe in.
breathe out.

ruwach...

06 February 2007

words along the journey


fallout...
disillusion...
awakening...
spinning...
amateur...
dream...
try...
lament...
trust...

05 February 2007

moving thoughts...


-no matter how hard i try, i still end up accumulating so many things i don’t need
-four blocks might as well be forty when it comes to loading and unloading truck loads
-everything we buy comes in way too much packaging
-a tiny porch filled with great people is ridiculously fun
-space to be is a must-have for introverts
-carpet makes tootsies smile
-floors to lay on are a good, good thing (especially when your lower back is sore after moving)
-newness allows for big dreams and lots of creativity
-this process will be good for our entire household

03 February 2007

home sweet home

we in the new pad... finally a sanctuary and a home :).

31 January 2007

'tis my life



kerry + heavy equipment + power pole + height = quality friday afternoon

30 January 2007

what is "it?"

what are we chasing? we fly through our days hoping to finally lay our hands on that last intangible, that moment of arrival, when we have finally attained "it." is "this" all there is? "it" cannot be love, for we pass up the opportunity in a seemingly endless progression all day long. we cannot want to become lovers, for that would mean that we would have to stop and smell the roses, stop and seek to put someone ahead of ourselves. "it" cannot be acceptance, for we refuse to accept even ourselves. we cannot bear the thought of people knowing who we actually are. to let down the masks of achievement, beauty and indifference. "it" cannot be understanding, for we do not really care to understand. almost as if that would mean that we should then be forced to care and take a stand about what is. "it" cannot be wonder. for wonder necessitates that we recognize that we are nothing compared to all that is and control is nothing but an idea we use to cheat ourselves out of contentment. what are we chasing then? what is "it" that is always there, always beckoning us forward, onward, higher?

29 January 2007

who is a christian?

http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=1977

so simple and yet so compelling, so refreshing and yet so open...

28 January 2007

freedom


G. K. Chesterton talks about freedom as “making room for good things to run wild.”

awesome!

27 January 2007

the consumer disconnect

it hit me today how that our society has completely lost any and all respect, ability and desire for craftsmanship. everything comes to us prefabricated, uniform and easily replicated. maybe this is the consequence of a consumer based society. when something breaks or wears out or we just tire of it, we simply go buy another with no real understanding of the time, energy, skill and creativity necessary to bring into being the things we find in our lives. this disconnectedness cannot be good for it only leads to misuse and abuse (of both things and people) because we cannot see the connections or relationships. i lament my ignorance and lack of desire to learn to embrace craftmanship as a way of connectedness to life...

25 January 2007

a blast from the past...

http://www.xanga.com/secondman/483283557/item.html

24 January 2007

it could have been me...

i have been wrestling with one thing quite a bit lately: the five simple words of "it could have been me."

i do a lot of work with homeowners and have seen more than enough here on the coast in almost five months to have a small taste of the devastation that has forever altered life here. i have seen the wrestlessness of those living in tiny travel trailers as a family. i have seen the frustrations of homeowners trying once again to work one more angle with their insurance company. i have seen people apply to any and every organization that they can find in hopes that someone will take notice and help. i have seen people living in front of their homes with all the funding necessary to restore what was, but no knowledge, skill or help to get the work done. i have seen and heard much, and lately i have been haunted by the reality that it could have been me...

i used to try to insulate myself from that by saying that i would have up and left for good, or that i would have done the work myself, that i would have been able to fight the insurance companies on my own, or that i would have somehow found the funding and help necessary to be back in my home living in some semblance of normal life. that somehow i would have been the exception to the norm, that somehow i am more special... nothing but big fucking lies...

for reasons beyond my control i was not born here nor did i ever have any life here. for some reason katrina devastated this region and i had absolutely nothing to do with the immediate or the long term chaos, suffering and reality. i will never be able to ever really identify with everybody who has gone through and continues to live in the wake of such a catastrophic event. i am forever an outsider here, fully responsible for having chosen to come, fully capable of leaving when i would like, free from the scars and fears and challenges... and this is the reality that i must live in and wrestle with each and every day here on the mississippi gulf coast...

letter

Dear President Bush,

I know it must have slipped your mind last night, but i thought i would remind you that approximately 17 months ago a category 5 hurricane named Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast states with catastrophic wind, water and lifestyle damage. I know that you have been spending a lot of time and energy fixing our national health care and educational issues, building walls on our southern borders, and ridding the entire world of evil people, but as President of the entire United States of America I simply ask that you do not forget to help those that are still living in travel trailers outside their homes (or what's left of them) with no money and/or help to put them back together. We appreciate your constant care and concern for the citizens of this great nation and rejoice in your buddy Trent Lott winning his personal battle with the insurance companies and look forward to your remembrance and recommitment to working for a better America here on the Gulf Coast.

Sincerely,
Kerry Herdegen

22 January 2007

momentum?

today was the first day in a long, long time that i felt healthy again... it's been a long, hard haul the last few weeks and it was so amazing to feel energized and invigorated and even joy-filled. god's moving in some pretty incredible ways down here and it's nice to feel like maybe, just maybe, i'm in a position where i can jump on board with what he's got going on.

20 January 2007

awakening

i was overtaken by the "need" for a run today. i can't remember the
last time i ran, nor can i remember the last time i ever really
desired to go for a run. it was not fun, it was not easy and it
wasn't even very long, yet it awoke something inside of me. a person
of years past, an awakening of part of me i have denied, stunted and
buried for too long...

19 January 2007

tactile prayer

In addition to reinforcing what is prayed, physical prayer becomes the prayer itself. Distance runners know well the experience of the body overcoming the mind’s desire to quit in the midst of a marathon. Music lovers know what it is to be consumed by the feel and rhythm of a live symphony. An artist senses that her body is ready to create even before her mind is certain what to make. In the same way, our physical expressions of faith lead the mind in deeper and more meaningful prayer.
-Doug Pagitt

18 January 2007

pondering faithfulness

i've been diving a lot into the word faithfulness. it seems that so much of my culture has lost the ability to even desire this word be a part of our vocabulary. webster defines faithfulness as "loyal, constant, steadfast... true to the original." so much of my time and energy is spent seeing how much i can "get away with." or ways that i can bend the rules and still get by, but this is right along the lines of promiscuity (latin root - indiscriminate). my life is shaped by many different covenants at the moment: my relationship with god, my family, gulf coast mission, living in community, friends, etc. i cannot help but think that maybe, just maybe god has designed me in such a way that i may come to find the deep, hidden richness and fullness of life not in finding ways to simply get by in my covenantal duties or ways to lower standards to make fulfillment so much easier, but that as i seek to become more and more faithful to the covenants i have made. i want christianity to become more than an adjective in my life. i want to stop trying to see what i can get away with, and start seeing just how faithful i can be. it's time to step it up, swallow my pride and dive straight into the realm of striving to become a faithful person...