Thursday, August 27, 2009

In Kansas City

Well, kind of. Actually I'm in Lenexa, KS this week for USA Canada Council meetings. They have graciously created space to keep me around for four more years, really had to twist my arm. I love this group who help to shape events like Nazarene Youth Conference and District Leadership Conference. Besides the work, they are a fun group to be around. We work hard, laugh hard, and sometimes even play hard when time permits.

This week we begin planning on NYC 2011 in Louisville, KY. Head to the GMC this morning, and work all day today and tomorrow.

Couldn't sleep very well last night. Finally gave up the fight and got up at 5:00, and by 6:00 was already on my second cup of coffee. Might be a four cup morning before 8:00, that should keep me wired for a while.

I'll fly home Saturday, and Terry is picking me up to go downtown Chicago and spend some time with Chris and Kelli. In case you haven't heard, both of our girls are pregnant. Kelli is due some time in December, and Kristin is due some time in January. Gonna be a fun month for the Holcomb clan.

Also, I'm glad to report that as of September 24, we will no longer own a home in Indy. We sold it this past week, after four years of trying, so needless to say, Terry and I are thrilled. We are cutting our last material ties to a town we thoroughly loved living in, but have friends that give us a reason for return visits.

I've also gone public with the fact that this is my last year to be an RD. With some of the other responsibilities I've taken on at Olivet, there is too much going on for me the first couple of weeks before school starts and the first week. The fact that I'm writing this from Kansas City the first day of my Fall classes verifies that. I love what I do, and love being an RD, but something has to give, so that is it.

Well, guess you're caught up for now. Finishing my second cup of coffee, ready to fill it up again. Today I'll need all the artificial stimulant from caffeine I can get.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The summer is over!

Well, yours might not be, but mine definitely is. Terry and I got back last Thursday, and I hit the ground running. I'm excited and overwhelmed with what the Fall has for us. It will be busy, but life with college students is always exciting. Let me get you caught up on the new things that have taken place this Summer into this Fall.

Both of our daughters are expecting. Kelli is due the end of December, and Kristin is due early to mid January. Needless to say, our Christmas break will be more than eventful.

Luke, our son-in-law has been in Iraq since June 6, 2008, with the exception of a three-week leave, explaining #2 coming in January. Well, after a long wait, he finally arrived home on Tuesday. Terry and I made time on Sunday to welcome home a National Guard reserve group from this area on Sunday, and both stood on the side of the road, crying like babies thinking ahead two days to the homecoming that would be taking place in Killeen, TX with Luke, Kristin, and Brayden. Welcome home Luke!!

I took on a new role at Olivet last year, to develop leadership initiatives on campus. They won't fully kick in until next Fall, but I am taking on some responsibilities that I've not had before, like training student mentors for our incoming freshman class, the largest in the history around here. It's fun, challenging, and scary all at the same time; but I'm having a blast.

I'm still teaching, looking forward to a hopeful deer hunt in October, counting the days to welcoming into the world two new grandbabies, and hanging out in the NYI world of our church. Life is good, Terry is still just as beautiful and fun as ever, our girls are healthy and happily married, (duh), and we're about to become grandparents again.

Pics later. Hope you're life is full as well. God is good.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Santa Fe

There are two places that words and even pictures can't do justice; Sedona and Santa Fe. They are both incredibly beautiful towns, and filled with history. Santa Fe is preparing to celebrate it's 400th birthday next year. Names like Coronado, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, and the Trail of Tears, bear some of the history that is centered on this town.

This is where the Santa Fe trail, that starts in Olathe, KS, ends. Guess you don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure that out. This is where the army came over the Santa Cristo range and drove the Navajo nation into what might have been the first concentration camp. 90% of the Navajo people died in that camp.

One of the oldest missions is here, and it's surrounded by incredible scenary. It's just a great place, full of a wide variety of people. This is one of the places we would like to return. The picture show you why.

Not much from me over the next couple of days, just some hard driving. Home on Thursday. I'm ready for regular life to kick in. Happy trails.

Flagstaff to Santa Fe

Yes, that's a really big hole in the ground!

Being true to our "catch phrase", we made a 5 hour drive into a 10 hour adventure. We decided at the last minute to go to meteor crater in no man's land Arizona. We had already planned on going to the petrified forest and the painted desert, but made the crater an extra stop. We also drove through "Winslow, AZ," where the Eagle's sung about standing on the corner, and some chick in a flat bed Ford checking them out. I know those aren't the words, just didn't want to sing the whole song, you get the point.

What we discoverd was the crater was worth the trip, Winslow wasn't. The petrified forest was worth the trip, and had the painted desert not been included, we probably could have done without it, especially experiencing the drive through the valley between Gallup and Albequerque, New Mexico; never get tired of looking at the mountains and those incredible red rocks.

We were tired when we arrived in Santa Fe, but had a blast, as you can see. Day two, one more to go before our trip changes gears.

Payson to Flagstaff

Terry and I started our journey home after working on her mother's home in Casa Grande, AZ. It has been quite the journey, I might add. We're spending three days playing on the way back, with our catch phrase, it's more about the journey than the destination, then changing gears and playing from the other side of that coin, making it more about the destination then the journey. We want to be home by Thursday, the 30th. Then life kicks in.

I'm a couple of days behind, so bear with me. We'll pretend like today is Sunday, with our trip from Payson to Flagstaff, AZ. By the way, Arizona is much more than dessert. It's quite the state. And for the record, Sedona is B-E-A-Utiful!! Terry and I have decided that much beauty in one place is just not fair.
Check out these photos, and come back tomorrow to check out some more on our trip from Flagstaff to Santa Fe. Have I told you it's hot out here? Oh yeah, but it's a dry heat, sorry, I forgot.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hey, made me laugh. Two posts in one week, beggars can't be choosey.

In Dallas this week for Terry's Mary Kay Seminar. We head to Phoenix arriving on Thursday to get her mom's home ready to sell. Meeting her sister and one of the brothers there to work on Saturday, then head home on Sunday for life to get as back to normal as it gets.

Had a great couple of days playing with "Bubby", that's Brayden if you're not aware of the nickname. He is talking up quite a storm, and Kristin has done an incredible job holding the fort together with Luke in Iraq. They sold their home this month, so Terry was there the last couple of weeks helping Kristin move into their new/old rental home until Luke finishes his four years of service to the army.

I'm very proud of my daughter, and my son-in-law for the sacrifice they have made for country and freedom, whatever you think of this war. He has served well, and she has lived well. He'll be home in the next three weeks, and then life gets back to normal for them as well, or as close as it gets when your husband is in the army.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hey, what's up?

I was scolded today by one of my friends, reminded that some of you actually come to this for, whatever; comic relief, information, ranting, etc.  Well, there has been a lot going on in my life over the last month, as their has been yours.  I'm currently on my way to pick up Terry in Killeen, TX, to take her to her Mary Kay convention, then go to Phoenix to get her mother's home ready to put on the market.  Not my idea of fun, especially driving through west Texas and southern New Mexico and Arizona in July.  

What's been going on the last 30 days:  Kristin and Luke have sold their home, and we've re-listed ours; General Assembly has come and gone, with one of the most eventful ones in the history of our church, with Dr. Bowling elected, accepting, and rescinding the nomination.  It was truly one of the most courageous things I've ever seen done.  I can't help but admire a man that has the integrity to remain true to who he was created to be and do.  Way to go!

I was also honored by being elected the Global President for NYI, one of the greatest honors of my life, next to marrying Terry, the birth of my two daughters, their marriage and gaining two sons, finally, and the birth of my grandson (think I sufficiently covered the family).  It will be an absolute honor and privilege to serve the young people of the church for the next four years.  I get to stay around, and I'm thrilled with the opportunity.

I was able to reconnect with many friends, and be a part of the best NYI convention ever, with 7 sites outside the US, with full voting and floor privileges.  It was incredible.  

Well, I'm driving the other half tomorrow to see my wife, Kristin, and Brayden.  Excited to be with them, but already thinking of what is waiting for me when I get back home on the 30th.  

To the four of you that read this, I'll work on being more consistent, and more substantial.  For now, know that I'm alive and well.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

We Still Have Work to Do

Read an article from the New York Times about a high school in Georgia, that still has segregated proms. Guess I've been living with my head in the sand, but thought those times were long gone. You know what the sad thing in this was, and I guess not surprising to me, it wasn't the kids that wanted it that way, it was the parents.

Can you imagine, as an American person of color, showing up to a prom on Friday night to take pictures of your friends as they walk on the red carpet, into "their" prom, and after taking pictures, having to leave, and wait until Saturday night for "your" prom.

They talked with frustration about how they wished their friends, who were now 18, would stand up and change this, but confused by the acceptance of the way things were, especially considering some of them wouldn't be able to attend prom with the person they were dating, because they were at the "other" prom.

A couple of things.

One, WOW!

Two, it reminded me that there is no ministry to students that doesn't include ministry to parents.

P.S. The white students were invited to the Saturday night prom, the students of color were not invited to the Friday night prom, and would be escorted out by parents if they tried to go in. No white students showed up.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible

Thought this was pretty interesting.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Olivet Pong Shots

You've got to check this out, seriously.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

NW Nazarene

I'm heading tonight to Boise, ID, and the regional event for NW Nazarene. Never been to that part of the country, and I'm looking forward to being with old friends, and making new friends.

I'll give you a full report. Pray for me that God communicate his heart as I have the privilege of speaking at their event, and in chapel for the university.

REPORT: Two of my new friends from the NW Regional event. I had a blast, thanks Ed for the invitation. My faith and confidence is always affirmed in our church when I'm exposed to the younger set. They can be trusted.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Concerned Nazarene

I just went to the web sight called, Concerned Nazarenes. I have heard a lot about it from friends, and wanted to go there to form my own sense of what it was about. Not sure I was able to do that, and here is why.

I don't doubt their love and passion for the church, it is shared by me and many others I know. I'm a fourth generation member of this great group of people called Nazarenes. We all love our church, and share our indebtedness to her. Does our church have issues and problems? You bet. Doesn't make me love her any less.

I do doubt the sincerity of the dialogue, because as far as I can tell, it isn't one. There is no where to post a response to what is written without being edited out if not agreed with. The sight is quite clear that this isn't the place to "debate" emerging church issues, to post disagreement with their opinion, so my question is, what is it?

So, am I to assume that those on the Concerned Nazarene sight have the theological debate all figured out? Is this an open dialogue or closed?

Am I to assume that there is nothing good in the emerging church movement? Have you read Dallas Willard's book, Divine Conspiracy?

Am I to assume that any form of spiritual formation and Christian practice that even predates the Roman Catholic church is heretical and/or New Age? Do you realize that if it weren't for the Monastic movement, the church as we know it and the reformation might not have happened?

Am I to assume that anyone who I may disagree with doctrinally has nothing to teach me?

As one who loves my church, am forever indebted to her, and believes in heart holiness, I also believe that this is against the Reformed and Wesleyan spirit our church is built on. So, I am doing what I was directed by those on the Concerned Nazarene sight, blogging about some of my concerns as a fellow Nazarene.

I don't lay claim to having all my theology figured out, but like one of my friends likes to say, at best I'm reformed, and at the least orthodox. I don't agree with Borg's assessment of scripture either, so on that I'm with you. But I have read Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, and Dallas Williard. Do I agree with everything they say, no. Not agreeing with them doesn't diminish their place in the conversation or in the body of Christ. My hope is that as I continue to grow, listen, read, learn, that we are as gracious with "them", as they are with "us".

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter in Michigan

It's been a long two weeks for our family. It's almost been two weeks now since Terry's mom has passed away, and a week ago was her funeral. It was a tough, long day.

With Terry in Phoenix for the better part of the month, I decided to come to my mom's for our Easter break. I did something from my bucket list, if I had one. I've heard everyone talk about Redamak's, a burger joint in New Buffalo, MI. So I stopped and got a burger. Not disappointed at all.

Also took some time out tonight to do some deer watching. Again, not disappointed at all. They are creatures of habit, and I was able to get pretty close before some crazies decided to chase them with their video camera. It has been a restful, fun 24 hours. It's always relaxing to come to mom's.

Three more weeks of school, and then we're out for the summer, crazy. Time flies when you're having fun, and as fast as this semester went, we must have had a blast.

He is Risen!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Saw this on another friend's blog, and stole it. Thanks Darrel.

To journey without being changed is to be a nomad.
To change without journeying is to be a chameleon.
To journey and be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim.

Mark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk

Friday, March 13, 2009

Last Full Day in Florida

We head home tomorrow.  Here are some pictures from our last day.  We had a great week, the weather couldn't have been better.  Rain moves in tomorrow, just in time for us to head home. We're driving all 15 hours tomorrow so I can teach Sunday School, and then back to the grind Monday.  We're ready to come home, not sure about coming home to winter, but we're ready to be in our own bed.  

This next week I'm staring down at Makom, our on campus, student led revival.  I will be speaking four times, two on Wednesday, two on Thursday.  I'm looking forward to working with Joel Bubrink this week too.  Should be a great time.

Like I said last week, I'm feeling the weight again of this.  I love our campus, our students, and would love for God to make himself known in a new way this week.  I don't want to get in the way.  I guess it's official, vacation is over.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's Crab Trap Day!

This has been the calmest day yet on the beach. The first two days, the red flag was up and you couldn't wander out past your knees unless you wanted to be knocked over by the rip current. It was pretty intense, but the surfers loved it.

Today, it was really calm in the morning and as the tide moved in continued to get rougher throughout the morning until around noon when the tide was highest. It was a lot better than earlier in the week. It never ceases to amaze me how powerful the surf is when its up.

Our tradition is on Thursday night of our trip here to eat at a great place called The Crab Trap. I don't like Crab and Terry ate her fill at the buffet the other night,(I know, I know) so tonight, she got fish toes, and I ate some incredible shrimp. We ate until we were full, bought a couple of t-shirts, so we're doing our part to help the Florida economy.

We've met some great people down here, and this time of year the mean age is 70, seriously. They like to fish, shell, and walk the beach. They also like to talk. Met a couple today from Toronto who live here every February/March, and head home before the pricing jumps for all the spring breakers.

We also met a Korean vet, who spends his days watching the end of his fishing pole. I guess the Pompono are just starting to run, and he said he's been out there most every day the last two months, and has caught 4. Two of them were too big, and he had to throw them back. The others were "quite tasty", to quote him.

Again, today was around 72, sunny most of the day. Fog rolled in today around 1:00, and hung around until 3:30, so Terry and I got a pretty good nap in, her after reading, and me laying on the couch watching conference tournaments. I go from spring break, to March madness, what a life (oh, back to work too).

One more day on the beach, and then we head home and back to "real life". A couple new pics taken today, but basically it's the same pretty much every day. Sun block, a beach chair, my shelling net, a book and reading glasses, and the sun. What more could a guy ask for.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fourth Day in Florida

Another perfect day in Florida.  We actually saw dolphins, but I didn't have my camera with me on our morning walk.  I'll not make the same mistake tomorrow.  

I'm reading a great book by Eugene Peterson, Tell it Slant; you'll have to read it.   He is teaching on the parables and prayers that are unique to Luke.  As usual for Peterson, it's a great read. Giving me a lot to think about.  

One of the things I'm learning here on this trip is just how little I need to be content.  Just give me a chair, sun block, a shelling net, a good book, Terry, and oh yeah, the ocean, and I'm good. Seriously, I'm learning some valuable lessons on humility and contentment.  Still thinking and reading, so will write more later.

Thought I'd share a couple more pics from today.  The pace of this trip is perfect.  Not too fast, not too slow.  The scenes and weather have been perfect.  Today, I'm burned, and very happy.


Monday, March 09, 2009

From Morning to Evening

Got some incredible shots beginning this morning, and ending with the sunset. The colors were incredible.

This has been exactly what we needed. Tonight we ate crab and shrimp at one of our family's favorites, Captain Kids in Destin. It was one of the places my dad loved to eat at, and a buffet to boot. Drank some sweet tea and ate some hush puppies for dad.

Two full days in the sun, and not burned too badly, at least not for this northerner's lilly winter white skin. Day three tomorrow, and supposed to be 74 and sunny, can't wait.

Also bought a net today so I can join the ranks of the sea shell collecters. I'll post some of my booty tomorrow. It's another excuse to get me in the sun and water.

Thought I'd throw in a shot of our first "dolphin" sighting. Hoping to see the real thing soon. Our balcony is a great place to look for them, but the seas have been a little too rough for us to see much to this point. Not seeing many dolphins, but the surfers are a plenty loving the surf.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

First Day in Paradise

Well, Terry and I are on a much needed vacation. Here are some shots from our first day, and some scenes of our balcony view.

This is a much needed vacation for both of us. Terry's Mary Kay business in Brasil is going better than we ever dreamed. We were hoping to go back together in May, but it looks, now, like she will have to go back in April. That's good, but bad for me, cause that means she's going without me again. Toni and her team there in Brasil are growing like gangbusters, and Terry wants to support them, and the best way to do that, is to be there. Frequent flyer miles, here she comes.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. 74 today, sunny most of the day, and the same for the next four days. As I type this, I'm listening to the waves, watching Monk, eating kettle corn, and looking at the pictures from my new camera. Man, do I ever love Florida in March.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Feeling it!

I'm feeling it again.

I've been asked to speak at Makom, the student-led, on-campus revival. So I'm feeling it again.

The weight.
The anxiety.
The concern.
The need to draw near.
The nerves.
The closeness.
The desire.
The inadequacy.

I feel like I know where I'm going, planned from this end, but I'm excited about where God is going to take us. Places where none of us could have planned to go. I don't want to get in the way of what God wants to do, and where he wants to take us.

So, I'm feeling it again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mark Freezing, Terry Melting

Well, such is the way of the world. Terry is doing great in Brazil, having met with over 300 women yesterday at their meeting. They gave away door prizes, and she said it was like The Price is Right, when they would call a name with no reponse, they would start shouting, draw again, draw again. She is having a blast. She and Toni are doing some follow up meetings today, as well as attending all their services, which I'm sure are changing her view of the church.

She did say that her face is melting off. It's summer in Brazil, which to many who are reading this post would not mind in the least. Winter has been brutal. Terry is melting, which means she's having a bad make up and hair week, with the temps around 90 every day, and extremely humid; whereas it's all of 25 here today, and at home they got about 4 inches of snow.

No wonder I'm ready for Spring break, and no wonder Terry loves air conditioning. I look forward to pictures, and will share with you all when she gets back.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Terry in Brazil

Well, Terry is on her flight to Brazil. She will will arrive around 5:00a our time, and be there for 10 days, continuing to work with the women there sharing the Mary Kay opportunity, while spending time at camp for Campinas Central Church. They take approximately 2000 people to a camp the last weekend of Carnival (Mardi Gras) because of what happens in the city before the beginning of Lent. Kind of a sick time of the year.

She's learning portuguese, and is acclimating herself to her new friends. Or maybe I should better say, they are acclimating to us. They continue to be gracious people, who will be friends for life. They are stuck with us, and I hope they're okay with that. For more on them, you can read our original Brazil postings from May of last year.

I'm praying for a safe journey, for safety while there, and many good days as they continue to build the Kingdom in their corner of the world.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Whirlyball is life!

Had my first go around with some real hacks on a Whirlyball court, or whatever you call it, while in Kansas City.  One, I didn't realize that the wickets you use to throw and catch the ball should be registered weapons; thanks for teaching me the tricks of the trade Kenny. 

I also didn't realize that life lessons on power and authority play throughout this game.  You know, like once you get someone trapped in a corner, you don't let them out.  Or if someone has the ball in their wicket, you whack them with yours until you get the ball out or cut their hand off, whichever comes first.  Or when you score, you catch the ball, and keep scoring until someone rams into the back of your car, giving you whiplash, and causing you to drop the ball.  Oh, and my favorite, blood means nothing.

It's also a safe zone for saying things about and to people you probably wouldn't other wise say and do.  This isn't an activity for building community or for the faint of heart, it's all about stress relief.

So, have you played?  Are you a Whirlyball 'playa', like Tim?  Aficionado, like Kenny?  Rookie, like me?  Biggest loser, like Brooklyn?  Expert on maneuvering their car like Stu?  Passing wizard like Blair?  Scoring machine like Chad?  Or maybe a 'playa' in waiting?  Either way, I'm sure it won't be long before there are volumes of books written on this, sport?  Because like I discovered earlier this week, for some, whirlyball is life!

P.S.  I love my wife!! (it is Valentines Day, you know, and she might read this)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I heard this yesterday, and I cried!

How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you!
You have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you!
I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand sanctity.

I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, although not completely.
And where should I go?

- From The God Who Comes - Carlo Carretto

Thanks Brooklyn!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Defending mediocrity is exhausting"
Seth Godin, Tribes

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mary Kay in Brazil

Just read my blogs from our trip to Brazil last May.  Made me miss my friends, and also realize that I haven't updated you on Terry's exploits.

Well, if you remember, she was going there to see if she could share the Mary Kay opportunity with some of our friends down there.  Well, not only was she able to, but went back there last November, and we just booked her next trip.  She leaves on Sunday the 15, and comes home on the 26.  

During Carnival down there, or Mardi Gras as we know it, they take people to a camp, away from the city because it isn't safe to stay in the cities during the partying.  While there, Terry, Toni, and the other four consultants she has down there, will be teaching on outer beauty with the ladies, and potentially doing the faces of up to 500 women.  She is going to have a blast with over 1000 people from Central Church in Campinas, as well as work to continue to help Toni build her business. 

Pretty exciting stuff for Terry, Toni, and her other consultants down there.  I'm really jealous that the timing hasn't enabled me to go with her, cause I'm more than ready to go back.  Er, to hang with Alex, Flavio, Tiago, and Lico, not for the facials.  I'm hoping to go with her when she goes back in May.  

Terry, the new world traveler.  You go girl!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If we must!

I sat next to a guy, who happens to be the father of one of our basketball players here at Olivet. I never met him before, but have seen him at every game, so I proceeded to introduce myself. We moved from the name exchange to some casual conversation about what we both did, and I told him I was a prof, teaching in the School of Theology.  He said, "Great, at half time we can talk about Calvinism vs. Arminianism."  

I think he could tell by the look on my face that wasn't what I expected him to say.  Being a quick reader my response, which I tend to wear on my sleeve anyway he said, "You know, as iron sharpens iron.  It will be a great conversation."  My response was in the classical, jousting, early english mode; "if we must. . .!"

After again, wearing my feelings on my sleeve through my deep sigh, I proceeded to watch the first half of the game, not really able to concentrate on what was happening on the court, but more distracted by the conversation we were about to have.  When the buzzer sounded, I so wanted to get up and go to the bathroom, which the coffee I had been drinking through the first half had created a desire for me to do, but I decided to sit and see what was next, not wanting to be rude and obvious in my deflection of confrontation.  He opened the door with a "well", so I decided to jumped through.

I told him of a friend that I had in Ohio, a youth pastor at a southern Baptist church.  We both had a large number of students who attended the same high school, and were talking about doing some events together.  Our conversation began by talking about how our relationship could be defined by focusing on what we have in common, which is greater than the sum of our differences.  I didn't want to have the "once saved always saved" debate with him, for the sake of our kids and the students we were trying to reach.  We came to an agreement, that reformed and wesleyan men could have a relationship that was more about the Kingdom, than our own.

Well, it was a great thought that was not too long afterward headed off by the powers that be saying they thought it better that we keep things localized to our own churches.  We maintained our friendship, but never did any of those events together, choosing instead to keep things "localized".  Not sure what could have happened on the campus of Butler High School in Vandalia Ohio had we combined our resources, guess we'll never know.  

I wish some of our lines were a little softer, like the grassy line above.  It's apparent to me that there will always be some who are more concerned with our differences than what we have in common.  I guess that's the reason why on our 2-mile jaunt every Sunday, we drive by 7 churches on the way to ours.  And we do it because we "must"!?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Shaping Culture with Language

Call me slow, but this week has just raised my awareness concerning the way we shape culture and belief around how we use, or misuse, language.  

Much of what someone believes can be quickly misrepresented by the way we use language.  I was made aware of that the last two days as I listened to the language on TV regarding Sanctity of Life week.

This week is typically the week that those who are pro-life, or against choice depending on your side of the argument, try and raise awareness of the tragic practice in our world called abortion.  It's a practice that has been around for centuries, not just since Rowe vs. Wade, and one that has strong opinions represented from both sides.

One of the issues I see with this whole discussion is how we label each other in the process of working through it as a society and world.  For instance, have you noticed that if your position on this is pro-life, the other side labels you against choice.  If you are pro-choice in your position, the other side labels you pro-abortion.  I hear a difference in the language that tends to place the chosen position in a place, and representing a position they might not want to represent. 

Maybe someone who would be pro-choice, would argue that they aren't pro-abortion, they just believe that "every person has the right to choose what they do with their body."  They might state that, while at the same time counseling against abortion in favor of other options, but having the fundamental belief that it is ultimately the persons choice.

If the shoe is on the other foot, and someone is pro-life, they are seen not only as anti-abortion, but anti-choice and anti-liberty (I didn't list one more here to express a bias, its just the way I see it).  Again, this same person might be stating their belief in the sanctity of life, while honoring the God-given freedom that we all have to make choices, even though, from my perspective, they may be destructive and harmful.  These are the kind of choices that are made every day in every realm of life.

The problem I see in these arguments, is there is cruelty on both sides.  One believes in procedures performed even late in the third trimester, while others are exercising their "rights" by blowing up clinics where abortions take place.  Every position has it's extremes that doesn't necessarily represent the argument accurately.  Language and story not only influence how we are perceived, but also how we are shaped as people and as a society.

For me, I write today a firm believer in the right to life, for everyone.  After yesterday's chapel message, it's even clearer to me why I am this way.  If I can quote my friend, "I am pro-life because I believe in a God who redeems bad situations and makes good out of them, regardless. There is nothing that has been done that is too bad for God to redeem."  He then led us through the stories of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheeba.  

I encourage you to check out the message I'm talking about.  This doesn't do justice to the shape and spirit of our service yesterday  It's the chapel from Thursday, January 22.  You can get the podcast on Olivet's web sight.  

I want to give a shout out to Dr. Q, and his conviction to speak the truth.  I know what you might be thinking, "who's truth".  Again, there's that "language" thing.  I realize we all hear different things for different reasons when words are spoken.  I get that, but I encourage you to give it a listen.  Ask God to open your heart and ears to what He is saying through this servant and his Word.  If our culture is shaped by language and story, then this is the story I choose to be shaped by.

Thanks Q!

P.S.  Do you think we can find this restaurant with the "dancing sandwiches?"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"We're all Ethnic"

This week I was able to spend time with some good friends, who happen to represent the church I'm a member of from 20+ countries.  We are having a global convention this summer, with 10 sights all over the world in places like Manilla, Philippines; Quito, Ecuador; the Dominican Republic; to name three.  We have been experiencing growing pains the last 10 years together as we try and see each others as equal members of the church.

I don't think, or at least I don't want to think there has been anything done to make anyone feel not equal, but that would be ignorant.  Even the fact that we call everyone from outside the US when they come to this convention, "International", leaves the impression that "they" are and "we" aren't, whatever that means.  We have a room for "international delegates", where they can eat, but if you're from the US, you can't go in there.

So, I'm already thinking about this stuff spinning out of last week, and I start reading a new book called, Culture Making, and read this:

"In many American supermarkets you can still find an 'ethnic food' aisle - as if only some kinds of food participate in a particular cultural tradition.  Nonsense - all food is 'ethnic.'"

So are we, my friends, so are we.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Great Day

Had a great day with some youth workers in Indiana.  It's one of my favorite things to do, talking with laymen about youth ministry.  

Taking some down time tonight, writing from a bed in the Courtyard in Valparaiso.  Going to church with some good people here tomorrow.  It's good just to veg before the sprint starts Monday.  Did a little reading tonight, watch Juno, and plan on falling asleep really fast.  

Terry is in Phoenix this week, so I'm trying to fill the time without her here.  I usually find ways to divert my attention in her absence, but I certainly don't  have much of a life without her around.  I realize how fortunate I am to still be married to my best friend after 27 years.  

Don't want to bore you more with my life tonight, just leave you with a quote from the book I just finished:

"Perhaps it's time to go beyond the 'love the sinner but hate the sin' and simply become accepting of sinners - as Jesus was."  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Week to Remember

This has been an incredible week with my friends.  The friendships I've been able to make through my involvement on the Global NYI Council have been special, and will be missed.  I'm in my last global council meeting in Orlando this week, or have been, it just ended today.  Mixed emotions on this one.

Also get to fly back to the tundra today.  For the first time in history, Olivet has cancelled classes for the second day due to the cold weather.  It's been cool in Orlando, only 55 today, but even as I type, I'm looking at my weather bug temp for Bourbonnais, and it says -13.  Can I just say, I don't want to go home.  

Lots to reflect on from the last 8 years, but that will come later, and possibly often.  For now, hitting the hay, and trying to psych my body up for the cold I'm going home to tomorrow.

Saturday I'll be in Indy for a training event, Sunday in Valparaiso to spend some time with good friends, and then home for some football and my regular life.  Haven't missed much at Olivet with classes being cancelled, but haven't been able to take advantage of the down time that comes when the weather shuts everything down.  Hope there is one good snowstorm left this year for me.

Leaving friends and warm weather.  Guess I should stop complaining or move, and like my job too much to do that, so it's grit my teeth and bear it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

While the upper midwest is getting slammed by snow and cold weather tonight, I'm in Orlando, where it's still around 60 at midnight.  I guess I picked the right week to leave town.

Thought I'd share a quote that I read today from the book I'm reading.  It's a quote from How to be Evangelical Without Being Conservative, catchy title, huh?  Frederich Buechner said it, and I thought it was worth sharing.

"Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith; they keep it awake and moving."

Taking that one to bed with me.  Night.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I refuse to lower myself to the level of mediocrity that it appears Notre Dame fans have by celebrating a 7-6 season, with a win over Hawaii, by being happy that we beat the spread with Texas this year, and were "at least close", as one of my friends said.

Well, I appreciated the words intended to be comforting, but I'm tired of losing bowl games. Yes, I know, we've been in the national championship game the last 3 out of 6 years, but only won one of those three, and lost the last 3 BCS games. Can't blame Beanie for leaving.

Can I just ask:

Why are you bringing the safety's up when all we have to do is keep them out of the end zone!!!???
Why are we going for two, when if we go for one, a field goal wins if they score, doesn't just tie!!!???
Why can't we build a helmet that keeps Beanie in for a complete game!!!???
One of my friends suggested we take a knee three times, taking time off the clock, and kick a field goal. I objected, until I saw Texas streaking into the end zone.
And Big Ten; 1 and 6, PLEASE!!

There, I feel better. Not really, but kind of. At least until we kick off against USC in the shoe next year. Oh, please, please, please, show up.

I'm alive

No problems, I'm alive. I've been on Christmas break, and I guess I decided to turn the brain off too.

I'm prepping for a trip to Orlando this week, and as cold as it's supposed to be in our beloved tundra, that will be a nice break from the weather, although I love the snow. Going there for Global NYI council meetings. I love that group, and sadly, this is my last meeting with this group since we have sights outside the US for convention this summer, and they won't be coming to Orlando.

Read a couple of books over break, The Shack, and Sex and the Soul. Both books were really good. I'd recommend The Shack, and if you're interested in sexual behavior on college campuses, Sex and the Soul is a pretty quick, easy, and informative read. It fits with some of the other research coming out. I like the way it was written.

I'm currently reading, How to be Evangelical without being Conservative. Not bad so far, don't agree with everything, but there isn't much I read that I do.

Well, I'll try and catch you up from warmer climates later this week. Thanks for checking in.