Hello. Welcome.

I'm a very determined kind of individual. Sometimes my determination is misplaced and things get very ugly. But, sometimes my determination leads to laughter, deep thoughts, and words on paper.

I write everything. I'm not very good at filtering ... so you will see it all. Maybe there will be a little inspiration for someone else along the way. I hope so. My sister also likes to guest blog and I'm sure you will appreciate her wit and wisdom.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


enough said.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

ashamed, a non-issue

I'm not exactly sure why I think adding a comma to my post titles will make them more interesting, but maybe it just says something about how my mind works.

Tonight at community group we started studying Romans. There is really never a bad time to study these letters that have since affected countless more than for whom they were 'culturally intended.'

As we read and talked through the first 17 verses, I devoted my brainpower to thinking as Paul might. Why did he devote an entire paragraph to his authority to write such a letter? Why was he so repetitive in describing what it meant to be set apart for the gospel of God? Why was he so thankful and encouraged by the believers in Rome? How in the world could he remember them in prayer with such loyalty?

So simple. So gloriously simple we seldom see the truest picture.

The gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. Romans 1:2-5
The gospel.

THIS is what the Jews were waiting for - all that the prophets had declared about the Messiah. THIS is the True Son, who took upon himself human likeness, a descendant of David. THIS is the one and only Lord, risen from the dead .

THIS same Christ offers grace, in spite of our deserving death, for His name's sake. THIS same Christ calls us to obedience.

The gospel.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.

I remember reciting this verse as a young AWANA Spark, along with the other sweaty kids in the basement of the armory. As a child, I needed no convincing, I was sure the world revolved around me. Now that I look back, my view of the gospel is shockingly still trapped in a very young mind.

Tonight, the words, "because it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes" seemed to raise off the page. I'm fairly certain I often stop after "I am not ashamed of the gospel" and try my very darndest to make my compelling argument for the gospel.

Yet, I've taken away the only Truth - the because. The gospel isn't the gospel because of me.

The gospel is the gospel because God. The question of my shame is really quite secondary.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

expelled, a review

Before I forget, I went to see the movie expelled last week. I went alone because I didn't want to worry about what other people were thinking. Sometimes when I go see a movie with other people I try to figure out how they are processing everything and forget to process it myself.

There was much to process! In the fashion we've come to recognize as Michael Moore (though absent some of his antics), we look at the controversy surrounding evolution, intelligent design, and science. I thought the film brought long-hidden things to light, such as the faith of the early brilliant scientists who saw science not as separate but as another means to bring glory to God. I also thought interesting and poignant the critical conversation with Richard Dawkins in the middle of the film when Ben Stein asked (I would say to the point of insult) if he believed in any God.

After Dawkins said he certainly did not believe in any sort of God at all, Stein went on to ask him how sure he was.. and Dawkins came up with something in the 90th percentile.. and when pressed he was unsure and it could be in the 50 percent range. And then when pressed further about the origin of life he said it could be possible that something or someone reached down and set life into motion.


The rest of the film moved to social Darwinism, seen as a very different animal. The parallels of the Holocaust and even the Eugenics movement were presented as natural steps from Darwin's Origin of Species. I think this could spark some very interesting conversation. Because, whether admitted or denied, we arrive at science from a particular worldview. A darwinist is not going to prove macro-evolution by way of researching Creation. No, normally one proves a point by finding research to support that point. I think this is where we see the suppression the film talks about. I am not sure of the exact instances on which these scientists were released from their contracts and positions, but I did hear something similar in their reactions. These scientists were not setting out to prove macro-evolution; they were setting out to find truth.

It seems that controversy it will remain, but I hope that we can see (as those brilliant beacons in our history - Pascal, Newton) that science and Christianity will not lead us to two different ends.

We will all arrive at Truth. Some will be dismayed and others full of joy.

Justin Taylor has references Joe Carter over at between two worlds in his discussion on this topic.

Also another reference site for the evolution/creation/intelligent design debate is the Veritas Forum.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

con poder

My new theme song is Con Poder by Salvador. They are ironically an Austin-based band I first heard while vacuuming the church auditorium a couple summers ago. I have since loved to sing and dance especially to their Spanish songs. When I decided officially on Honduras, I started cranking the Spanish music and this song keeps popping up on my playlist.

The words are simple:
Se mueve la mano de Dios
En su palabra hay vida
Se mueve la mano de Dios
En su palabra hay vida
Se mueve, Se mueve, se mueve con poder
Se mueve, se mueve, se mueve con poder

Con Con Con poder
Con Con Con poder
Con con con poder
Se mueve la mano de Dios

I'm a little rusty, but the idea is this: there is power in the hand and Word of God... here there is life... with power the hand of God moves.

I know only the Lord can guide, sustain, and move in my preparation for Honduras and so this is my prayer: the power of the Lord be revealed.

I will be designing a newsletter (hard copy and email form) to send, but feel free to decline the imposed subscription! If you do nothing else, say a prayer right now for the people at Academia Los Pinares.

grace and peace.

classically inclined, a book club

Some may have already endured my excitement about the newest endeavor, but I'll try to sum it up.

Awhile ago my friend Jared (also developer of Wi-Fam) started pursuing the idea that highest quality should not always be completely separate from "Christian." Actually, he came to a quite opposite conclusion. Like others before him (among them Lewis and Schaeffer), Jared is convinced that Christians should be able to use their gifts at the highest level without compromising their love for God.

Jared did not have a vision for this idea to make ripples within Christian circles... no, Jared's vision was way bigger than even himself. He wanted talented artists and intellectuals to have a space to bring God the highest glory by doing the best work. This space became the Renascence Project.

I say all that as an introduction, because just about a month ago I had an idea about what I could contribute to this space called the Renascence Project. Now, I get ideas a lot, but this idea seemed bigger than most. I guess it came two-fold: 1. creating a website with my sister to bring together art and intellect and 2. to create a book club

I'm jumping to number 2. The vision... the really big vision may not make a whole lot of sense right now. So, here's the important part: I love books. A perfect day is curled up with a big, fat novel, a hot cup of tea, and any kind of weather.

I find myself drawn consistently to 'classic' literature (though I never took any courses), but I can't quite shake the thought that I am missing out on a most essential part. I just finished the book "The Idiot" awhile back and was sad to see such a brilliant book given so little of my time. I really believe that so much about understanding literature is processing it with others.

So, to fill the post-college void of discussion groups and challenging conversations, I (with the help of an enthused handful of Austinites) have formed classically inclined, a book club! This club will be many things, but first we will be a group of people who want to read and discover together.

This isn't a class, nor is it highly structured. The main goal is to use the minds God gave us and challenge ourselves through literature. We will read several books from classic authors to give us an understanding of both the writer's perspective and common themes. We also hope to vary the books with short stories and films.

We are beginning with George Orwell and his book "Animal Farm." Here is a tidbit:
"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself."
- George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 1
I realize 'classically inclined' sounds ridiculous, but I'm severely ordinary when it comes to these matters and so I choose to be absurdly so. We'll see how it goes over.

Monday, April 21, 2008

zonked and getting older

Man. I didn't realize how many muscles a good game of ultimate frisbee really required. I was made fully aware this morning when I woke up to sore back, legs, arms, and abs. Yesterday, I celebrated Amy's birthday at the park and we ended with a rousing game of ultimate frisbee.

Apparently, I felt like I had to show off some sweet catch-and-dive, reach-and-split, tuck-and-roll moves. I definitely didn't think I'd be using the phrase, "I'm too old for this," quite so fast!

Now, I can take this one of two ways: 1. I think I'm 'over' competitive physical activities or 2. Competitive physical activities should be the rule and not the exception. I guess you should ask me tomorrow when I have to walk again.

It's been a rough couple of days, with many goodbyes on the horizon. But, as my dear friend Grace tells me, it just means there will be more hellos.

apologies for no posts... I have been, well, severely otherwise engaged.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wi-Fam launched

I am so unbelievably tired, I can hardly think.

But, I wanted to share some very exciting news: Wi-Fam is now online! Some may not know this new techie lingo, but all you need to do is go to the site www.wi-fam.org and find out for yourselves.


Apologies for lame-ness. I'm just so tired!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Here's a shameless plug for a film that's got me interested. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed stars Ben Stein (of "Bueller, Bueller?" fame), who "blows the horn" on the suppression of creation views in academia.

The sub-heading reads, "Big Science has expelled smart new ideas from the classroom. What they forgot is that every generation has its rebel..."

Like I said, I'm interested. My hopes for quality films from conscious producers have been dashed many times, but I am willing to try once again.

I speak with a lot of college students... I guess you could say it's my job right now.... and, well, I am overwhelmed at what they are asked to consider fact. I hope this film dispels some of those myths.

Check it out - theaters April 18th. Be interested at least.

Here's a little warm-up. A youtube video on atheism.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I was pulling out of the parking lot with glazed, occupied eyes when I saw this bumper sticker in a series on the back of a jade green Honda Civic.
The sticker stuck beside another, which read
I'm a tree-hugging, dirt worshipper
I thought in layers and examined the silence between my steering wheel and the bumper ahead. What response have we? What discourse?

I found an extensive, intelligent response from Philip Vander Elst over at the bethinking.org resources website.

Monday, April 14, 2008

my outside weeps, too

Tonight, after hosting the first inaugural Community Appreciation Dinner, I was walking back with one of my favorite students. She is a joy; she is sunshine. I was burdened with bags and boxes, but somehow mentioned Bible study as my next destination.
"You're going there right now?" she said.
"Yes! You should come... do you want to come?" I asked.
"Oh, I have to write a paper for tomorrow. Shoot. Is it every Monday? What about next week?" she asked.
"Yes, it will be next week. Man! I can't believe I haven't asked you before!" I said.

And that was it. I made it to Bible study, unfashionably late, and looked at the scribbles on over-sized post-it notes. "Creation, Fall, Redemption, Our Response" it said.

The tears came - outside tears this time. I had just shared with my 6th grade girls on Friday that the most selfish thing we can do with the Gospel is to keep it to ourselves.

And what a fool I've been! These aren't just words in Romans and John and 1 Peter. These words - these scribbles - are LIFE. God have mercy on me when I make life about less than the Gospel! A whole semester and only now the invitation is an outward, open gesture.

Lots of outward tears this time. Weeping for those without life.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

art fairs and the greatest inheritance

It seems a week since I woke this morning! I woke up for morning church, greeted by the bright sun. I have been carpooling with my beautiful neighbor and her children Ingrid and Oliver. This Sunday was special because Bernardo, her husband, joined us.

We studied James 1:2-8 and praise the Lord! Afterward, Bernardo had so many questions about the pastors, the prayers, and the real-life application. I was praising God all the time for His tearing the curtain and allowing us to come into community with Him. How beautiful and glorious and dreadfully undeserved! But, every time I explain or hear our salvation my inside weeps with joy.

After church we decided to check out an art fair downtown and it turned into an afternoon event! We perused the artist's tents lining the streets and lingered to stare at creativity in color and form. My mind wandered, danced across the poses of pain and pretense. I know little of art, except that my soul seems to sense beauty as it reflects my Savior... when I see before me a new window opened to breathe in even more of my Creator.

Yet, as I listened in the Gathering service, I settled down slowly, as a feather falls. Looking about I saw these gifts and reflections fall solidly in the periphery. My heart stretched toward the small gate on the narrow road because this is LIFE. Everything else - absolutely everything - is penultimate. Though beautiful reflections are indeed signs of an even greater and more glorious Creator, they are still merely signs. Every gift points not to itself, but to its GIVER. And how much MORE wonderful must the GIVER be to give such gifts?

Through the perfect sacrifice of Christ, we have been given an inheritance greater than any gift earth could ever hold. We have been given GOD. When I heard this tonight, all the gratitude and awe redirected to its rightful place, whirled up in exaltation to a throne on high where my Savior resides.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

One Hen

This is the story of how one hen changed the life of a small boy, his family, his community, his country, and West Africa. The story of one hen. I shared this with my Student Service Council students this past Friday to help create a vision for next year... to challenge them (and mindself) to continuously stretch our idea of community and humanity outside borders. Did you ever think microfinance would make it into a children's book? I certainly did not!

Well, last night after the 3-hour meeting with the Student Service Council I literally ran to the store to pick up a few things before jetting home to have a few minutes to breathe before the wonderful 6th grade girls started showing up. That's right. We had a slumber party! I haven't been around such screaming and laughing since, well, since I was their age. It was a headache easily endured for the sweetness of this dear group.

This morning we made cinnamon apple pancakes from scratch and they were delicious! I finally got everyone off in time to take a shower and meet up with my friend Joy, who was hosting a tea party for her birthday.

I. am. exhausted.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

into the wild

Where to start? I can only say that as I flipped through the pages of this truly journalistic endeavor last January, I found (as many will and have) that place in my bones that thirsts for this freedom.

This book, Into the Wild, was written about a young man, Chris McCandless. This young man grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in Virginia with parents whose lives succumbed to the 'dream' which kept them working into the morning when they would wake to start again. This young man seemed to develop at a young age a distaste for the unnecessary and a hunger for the most raw qualities of life. Only at his parents insistence did he consent to go to college, where he continued his pursuit of life in its mystical, raw form. But, after college he decided to adventure. An adventure (as I have gathered) about which many fantasize and few find.

It seems like Chris' purpose was more in getting lost in adventure than finding anything at all. I got caught up in the intrigue, the shock of decisions that thrust a fist at culture - at norms and white picket fences. Intrigued... but sadly stirred by each desperate page of Chris' story.

You see, at the end of it all, Chris McCandless found death in his adventure's end in Alaska. The brilliant works of Tolstoy and Thoreau his only companions, this young man disappeared from this world.

Don't we all wish we could ask him now, "Was it worth your life to go into the wild?" ... but I would want to know, "Was it worth souls?" Granted, I have no idea the condition of Chris' heart when he died. But, I would still want to know if he felt like his life happened for a reason beyond his desire to live it.

When we decide to give up everything for adventure - to live in the rawest form of life we can find - we are still no closer to true life. Unless... well, unless you purpose yourself into the wild for the sake of something greater than yourself.

For the sake of the Gospel, perhaps?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

LINKS for Wednesday

Today I just want to share a few links that have caught my eye recently or are old favorites:

Swiss Miss: this is a sweet design website that my friend Jared showed me... I defer to my sister on all things design, but this makes me think I could learn a thing or two and surprise her!

Justin Taylor: a wonderful blog to get a little taste of the theological without getting too weighed down by language.

Gospel Coalition: I still can't believe I was in on the groundbreaking conference last year at Trinity... this website is an outstanding resource for those who want to make life and the church about the GOSPEL

I've been wanting to post this video for awhile to see what people think, so here's the last link to John Piper's "The Gospel in 6 minutes." How does this strike you?

Okay, I've got to get some shut-eye. I'm waking up EARLY to do the Homeless Breakfast with some unusually eager students at 4:30 am!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

in a word: entitled

check out the gathering blog this week.

We've been talking about and this past week we looked at the parable of the loving father.

Monday, April 07, 2008

the first official meeting of the gloriously beautiful club

I know this sounds pompous and lame... But if you had just spent the last 4 hours with the same girls I did, you would walk away with the same impression: beautiful.

Tonight Dawn and I took the bible study girls to a cemetery. We spent some time reflecting on some saints of the faith, people we see as pilgrims and as sojourners. We talked about Corrie Ten Boom and the drastic, faith-filled measures she went through to proclaim Christ in her life, even in the concentration camps. We talked about William Wilberforce who, after experiencing redemption, fought to make his passion for speaking a part of his new life in Christ. His 18 years of toil finally brought the Slave Trade Act, but not without suffering.

Of all the saints and all the pilgrims, one humble figure surpassed all and that is the person of Jesus Christ. Holy and blameless, we will never find a better example of what it means to live purely to the glory of God.

We reflected on how we might respond to Jesus' last words in the Great Commission. How exactly are we to go out, making disciples of all nations? What does that mean outside this 'reflective' conversations in a world that forgets to stop to breathe?

Looking around the cemetery, we saw rows and rows of flowers. Some were fresh, others fake, others old and weathered. In each of those graves rested someone whose physical body had passed. Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord is forever." Everything, absolutely everything in this world will pass away, except for the word of God. Our souls are preserved only because (and if) the Spirit is alive in us.

If our lives are built on anything other than the person and work of Jesus Christ... if we try to fulfill the Great Commission any other way (with gold or silver or hay or wood), our lives will count for nothing. But, if we live as Paul encourages the ministers of the new covenant in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16,
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.
Before people come to our graves and lay flowers in remembrance we can exude the fragrance of the knowledge of him. Though the flowers fade and the grass withers, the word of the Lord stands forever. The legacies of saints remains because they purposed their lives to reflect something greater - something outside this world. We, too, can decide for our lives to point to something greater... and the eternal fragrance will be unmistakable.

After our beautiful reflection in the cemetery we reconvened at Magnolia Cafe to chat about life. We all poured in to one another with joy and grace. We made very close friends with our server, with whom we shared that it was the first meeting of the gloriously beautiful club. We ended up asking him what it would take to be a part of the club and he said,
"well, evidently you have to be gloriously beautiful... but not wear too much makeup...apparently... and glow. .. you have to glow. okay."
And that about sums it up, folks. Weems (for this is what his friends affectionately called him) saw exactly what we see that makes us gloriously beautiful - the unique glow of God our Creator, Christ our Redeemer, and the Spirit our Guide.

So, with a little song and dance we concluded the first meeting of the gloriously beautiful club. But, my, how I hope for there to be many, many more.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

made up stories, baby showers, and garbage bags

Okay, so I thought I'd let you in a bit on the quirkiness of my days. I usually try to be level-headed and logical. Most of the time, I think the act is believable. This weekend was not one of those times.

Case #1 Good Stories can actually be more trouble than they are worth
Well, let me first start with yesterday. I had my Saturday packed back-to-back from 9 am - 9 pm. I biked across the neighborhood to babysit and the morning really started out well. I love the three kids, especially the little one who insists on wearing one pink sparkly shoe and one regular blue croc. I'd forgotten all about that until I had him on my shoulders and we were all on a walk. I started to see people give sympathetic waves and stares and then I realized my little guy with the mismatched shoes and it made sense.

Anyway! They were getting antsy, so I made up this whole story about a treasure hidden by the lone family living here before they were scared away by the big, new development. In their haste, the sweet family forgot the treasure they had buried. The kids really got into it; before I could tame down the story, the oldest girl was stopping at every crack in the cement, claiming it was a sign to the treasure! She was actually convinced there was a giant, priceless stone in my backyard and she enlisted the help of her siblings to uncover it. I couldn't crush the dream by this point, so I continued to add to the legend, saying the family would feel so bad if they came back to get their treasure and it was gone. I finally persuaded them home, but I've really got to be careful about those stories!

Case #2 Don't throw garbage at an unmarked trailer
Last night, after meeting up with some students in the park, I came back to attend a beautiful baby shower my housemates were hosting. I was excited to celebrate and practice my Spanish (more on that later!) with the ladies from Nueva Vida, the spanish-speaking service at my church. My good friends Norma and Monica cherished every teachable moment and my attempts were full of laughter. At the end of the night after washing dishes and loading cars, everyone was exhausted and I slipped away to my room to breathe, in English:).

So, today I wanted to help with any of the leftover cleanup. I saw an enormous garbage bag in the backyard where multiple bee families had decided to spend their afternoon. I calmly tried to consolidate the trash and tie a knot (my cousin used to keep bees, so I'm pretty qualified in bee-ing). Having succeeded, I thought the best place for this smelly bundle was in a dumpster. There's a builder site right across the street with a green, unmarked trailer and so I heaved as hard as I could (it's a big heave from 5 feet) and it just barely reach the top. It was sitting kind of precariously, so I went back to fetch a rake and push it more towards the center. I felt pretty accomplished... until I told my roomates and they just stared back blankly.
"You know that's the builder's trailer, right? It's all locked up on top."

What? We looked out the window and saw a monstery white thing conspicuously waving in the wind in the middle of an otherwise picturesque development. Ooops! So, I decided to go back under the cloak of night to retrieve my mistake and take it to another dumpster. After I got back from church tonight, I grabbed a shovel and started across the quiet street. RIGHT as I set foot on the pavement a car turned on to the street to get a headlight-framed picture of me, in a dress and carrying a shovel in the dark. Creepy. Then, when I reached the unmarked trailer, I realized what a good job I had done earlier by pushing the bag further back. So that now, even with the shovel, I could not reach it! So, I had to go back to get a stepladder and walk to the trailer again. This time, right as I set the stepladder down, another pair of headlights illuminated the scene, this time capturing a lone figure, shovel in hand, standing next to a stepladder in the only vacant lot. Creepy. I finally procured the package and heaved it in to the real garbage dumpster and called it a night. Hopefully there won't be rumors circulating on the Homeowner's Association forum about a 'shovel lady,' that would be too much!

Well, who knows if either of those stories were worth telling, but they are lighter than most of the thoughts I am thinking right now. And if I get any feedback from the blog at all, it usually has to do with it being 'heavy', so here's to the readers who just need to know I am foolish most of the time!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Thinking Thoughts

I was just browsing today and stumbled upon the L'abri Newsletter. I wondered why I hadn't subscribed. Then I remembered how difficult it is to trudge through the newsletters, magazines, and updates I already get in my inbox.

Well, I read it anyway and I'm glad I did. I was reminded of the subtleties of deception in this world. Almost imperceptible are the lies, but of such severe consequence! The ministry of L'abri was born out of a desire to meet the hard questions of faith with answers that satisfy the soul. Francis and Edith Schaeffer began in the 1950s and there are now eight study centers! This quote from Francis Schaeffer explains exactly my awe of beauty and creativity.

How beautiful God must be! And what a special gift Fyodor Dostoevsky possessed, to create the closest I've read to pure beauty.

"The Idiot" ended without flair. I finished this past week, but without ceremony. Usually when I turn the last page I feel some emotion strongly, but for this novel I was content to see the words wander off the page. For the life of such a splendid man to trail off in a severely unsplendid way seems unfair. But there was beauty in the unsplendid-ness.

This masterpiece deserves much more than my waning attention and energy and I will have to postpone a full report.

The Texas sunshine today, with bright children, friends, and a baby shower has "plum-tuckered" me out!

Friday, April 04, 2008

jeans are for fridays

Fridays are jean days here in the Student Life office. It's usually a pretty exciting day.

But, more exciting than the jeans is a wonderful little thing I like to call Liana. Liana is a first year student and the glorious sunshine of my week. We meet on Fridays in the afternoon to talk about life. She always surprises me with questions, insight, and her capacity to love. My favorite conversation might have been when she called this past Tuesday and I could barely make out words between the high-pitched squeals. .. she had just been accepted to the Ozark Lakes Summer Project with Campus Crusade.

Liana is like opening a gift every time I see her!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I declare a moratorium!

Do you remember being a kid and trying to play the silent game? A bunch of sugared whipper-snappers with imminent giggles bundled up underneath osh-kosh overalls. I can see our little group huddled around, "Okay, we're gonna start...now" and then moments later, "but Sam you have a bug on you!" and then "OH! Now we have to start over," and the giggles erupt again.

Elusive Discipline

It seems like every time I want to find discipline in my life I have the less giggly conversation in my head of, "I'll start ... right... now.. oops! No, I'll start riiiiight now." Then moments, minutes, or days later, "Oops again! No, I never really started on that. I'll start riiiiight now."

Still not understanding me? Well, let's get specific. I'm pretty good at making resolutions. I even have a detailed history of past resolutions bound up in pages of journal entries. Some make a lot of sense and others seem very foolish now. One of my reoccurring resolutions is healthy eating. I am always a very well-intentioned eater. I love my greens, don't get me wrong (see post on lima beans!). But, for some reason my discipline dies every time at the 4th week mark. I'm not as enthusiastic about my exercise, not as decisive about deferring sweets. It's one thing to lose at the silent game, but it's not near as cute to consistently fail at these resolutions.

Declaring moratorium

So, I found a grown-up word for this game. Maybe if I attach a little more accountability in word, I'll see a better effect in deed. And.. so.. I declare a moratorium!
mor·a·to·ri·um [mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uhm, -tohr-, mor-]–noun.
1.a suspension of activity: a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons.
2.a legally authorized period to delay payment of money due or the performance of some other legal obligation, as in an emergency.
3.an authorized period of delay or waiting.

[Origin: 1870–75; <>morātōrium, n. use of neut. of morātōrius MORATORY]
It sounds pretty severe, I know. But, how else will I get the results I want? How else will the resolution stick?

A good idea, in theory, Caroline. But, by definition, moratorium seems to come with some severe authority, to enforce the suspensions, legal authorizations, and to decide what qualifies as an emergency. I guess that's where you could say I have been the most wrong. I've always tried to enforce my own discipline - decide my own moratorium.

And every time I end (begin) with the same phrase, "Oops! I mean I'll start riiiight ... here."

My hope, my anchor
Every time I watch my resolutions float further and further out to sea, I realize I have pulled out the anchor. How can I expect to achieve any resolution if there is no authority? The only authority in my life - how I hope to measure my days - is found in the LORD. I believe God's authority reigns supreme, above any earthly power and definitely above my foolish judgment. If I believe that - if I believe like I say I believe it, than my anchor will find its way firmly into the deep sands of the shore and the resolutions will turn into glorious praise.

Because, you see, I think resolutions are misplaced in their origin. Usually, when I make a resolution it is to make my life better... for me. I seek out something I don't like (my weight, perhaps?) and then I muster all sorts of resolve to change that something into what I want. Now that I'm writing this out, my resolutions look so ugly and self-absorbed!

If instead I resolve, as Paul did, to know nothing but Christ and him crucified, the origin is quite a different matter. I can live for that! I can put my hope in that!

I love the last definition above for moratorium, "an authorized period of delay or waiting." So many of my me-originated resolutions begin with action (eat less, run more). Sometimes, though, I think I need a God authorized period of delay or waiting.

Sometimes I think resolution should start with a moratorium. Maybe then I'll be able to return to those innocent childhood giggles!

Listening to: He Will Come by Waterdeep

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wednesdays are for REJOICING

Put yourself behind a camera, filming a close shot of a lone figure. With face raw and eyes inclined, the figure firmly stationed on an obscure precipice, looks to be the center of the shot. The expression; exhilarating, the mood; thrilling.

The blushed colors of exertion are bright in contrast to the understated tones of nature. Then, the camera pans out and the lone figure appears smaller and smaller until finally you hardly notice a break in the rocky formation.

With these two lenses I take in my new station: Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I will actually quite literally find myself on a mountain, about 5 miles above the city. But I suppose I need to speak in less specific terms.

In "Don't Waste Your Life," John Piper writes about the differences between a telescope and a microscope, in terms of magnification. In a 1997 lecture at the Passion conference (which was ironically in Austin), Piper again cites the illustration to describe how we must magnify God. He says,
"This conference exists to light a fire in your bones and ignite a fire in your minds and in your hearts to get you ready to meet King Jesus, so that you can continue throughout all eternity doing what he created you to do, namely, to marvel at him and magnify him."
...to marvel and magnify him. Even as I write this I can feel its challenge to the Spirit inside me. Oh, that I would get up and follow like a curious child into this marvelous light!

Piper describes magnifying with a microscope, where you see something very tiny made much larger through a lense. To do this to God, Piper says, is blaspheme. To think that God is so small that we have the capacity to make Him bigger is horribly self-absorbed and (sadly) our natural tendency. But, to magnify with a telescope is to see something that is great, immense, even beyond grasp and stand amazed. Because, though we see the stars as pinpoints, we know that they are part of something gloriously enormous.

So, as I think about the first excitement of the Lord's leading I see the temptation to think singularly - to dwell in a world Caroline-centered. But, by God's grace the camera pans out! The scene changes and I dissolve into the landscape. The mountain is no longer my backdrop, but I its humble visitor.

I am deep in the midst of sharing the news, writing letters, making phone calls, thinking about what I am choosing and what I am leaving behind. Oh, that I would misplace my microscope and in its place see the universe in light of the Masterful work of the Living God.

I think, maybe for a moment, today I saw this sight. And that's why Wednesdays are for REJOICING!