I feel like I could leave a million entries today. But seven is a number of completion; so I will limit myself to one scattered and unorganized entry that goes in approximately seven directions.
1. My Brother is home from his trip. He seems much more healthy, and for that I rejoice with him. He also came home with a new found love for Portland, OR. I've never really spent time in Portland but I find it interesting that despite having more Restauraunt/Brewerys than most cities, Mens Fitness rated it one of the "fittest cities" in America.
2. 303 - the magic number
This is what my scale read this morning. Down 57. 53 to go by Labor Day. I'm hopeful, and I feel good.
3. Went to my first ever book club meeting. I was there about three and a half hours. Felt too short, kinda like listening to Rob Bell. I am so thankful for the fellowship, challenges, and even just the space. It was wonderful! I tell my geek friends it was Thursday night D & D gathering. My cohorts are named Damien and Dan. Looking forward to a larger group next month. Just one thing I wish had been said... see #7.
4. One story I shared at the book club...
I have the great privledge this year of being someone's mentor for the notorious Valley View High School Senior Project. I had taken my mentee along with me to do campus ministry at the local middle school, (in all fairness he drove so I guess he took me). Any way, this is one of my core kids, one who I feel like "gets it", who's actually thinking through stuff, and hearing God speak. We were sitting in his car, between the school's lunches, eating our own lunch, just chillin, talking about life, dreams, ministry, etc. And this truck pulls up and offers these four girls a ride. I made some comment like, "get a load of this guy, what do you think his real motivation is?" Sam (not the student's real name) says, "I know that guy. He goes to my school. He's the coolest guy! I would totally trust my sister with him. He's probably just trying to help. More than anyone else I know he totally goes out of his way to try to help people" I said, "that's cool, sounds very Christ like". Sam says, "Oh there's no way he's a christian, he cusses all the time"
I was dumbfounded. I have failed. In hindsight I wish I'd gone off, "What the @#$%! Thats Bull@#!%" But I didn't. I largely let it go to be followed up on later. See #7.
5. My son Isaac, recently watched Charlotte's Web giving him a highly tuned radar for all the cobwebs in our house. Leah was cleaning them, and Isaac was helping with his questions and encouragements. Why are you taking those down mama? Why don't ours' have letters in them? Where is the spider going to live? Did you get it all? There's some! Get that! You did it mom! Finally, they were done, and Isaac waves his hands in the air and says "Praise Mama!" Leah quickly corrected him and said, "Isaac, We praise Jesus...not mommy".
Got me thinking of a metaphor for Jesus... Is he LORD? Is he my Homeboy? Maybe he's my MAMA? Like a mother hen protecting her nest...I think that's in the Psalms. Anyway... Who's yer Daddy? And what kind of legacy am I leaving my kids?...see #7
6. So last week I finished three books, (add a check mark next to "read more"). One was by a "fallen minister", one was by a "catholic priest", and one was by a guy who knocks suburbia but lives in the OC. After removing my tongue from my cheek, I realize God is using these three distinctive books to collectively speak to me where I am.
"Fly fishing, Dog Training and Discipleship..." by Ted Haggard was tough to finish. Mainly statements like "No one on our staff has secrets" and "I get frustrated when ministers don't handle their own issues first" were difficult to swallow in light of recent events. HOWEVER, I enjoyed the book. The idea of "free market" groups, was intriuging, and I'm ready to think of discipleship differently.
"In the name of Jesus" by Henri Nouwen is a classic that cut to my core. It really is all about Jesus. I was reminded of the importance of doing ministry...together...with others and was totally refreshed and renewed. Everyone considering christian leadership should read this short but weighty book.
"The Jesus of Suburbia" by Mike Erre was the launching point for the book club. This book had few original ground shaking ideas, however it was an effective summary of many other voices I'm listening to. Mike comes across as a real person and presents the material in a easily accesible manner. Drawing all these thoughts together, connecting the dots in a sense, and pointing to this false Jesus, was helpful though, and I appreciate his observations. Like alot of what's out there, it was lacking a little in the "what should we do different category" but at least it seemed headed in the right direction. It was a great read...see #7
#7 So here it is... #7. In Erre's book, I was most captivated by the statements that began something like "As a parent, I hope...".
While I struggle to find answers to what "church" should be like now, maybe the better questions are; "What kind of church do I want to leave for my kids?", "What pre-conceived notions, if any, do I want them to have when they face their own challenges of faith?", "What legacy, heritage, and traditions, am I leaving that might direct my kids to Jesus, the Kingdom, and being a blessing?"
Through out our discussions last night, It kept coming up... "How are they paying for that?". "What about providing for your family?", "Can I be SURE, because my decisions are going to affect other people?" With three kids, these questions are ones I've asked and carry with me most days. This morning the fear I'm feeling is not so much "not providing", but "not demonstrating Jesus". I want to introduce my children to the wild and dangerous adventure that is following Jesus! I want them to know what it's like to be the friend of sinners, and to face head on, the risk involved with that. I want them to know that being a Christian is so much more than "not cussing or drinking". I want them to know why they believe what they believe. And I hope they never stop asking "Why Daddy...?" May it be so.