Saturday, October 18, 2008

Swallow Hard

Someone I love is graduating from this life to another. 

My respect for this warrior is beyond words.

Tears are shed in the midst of this passing, ... but they are for us, not for him.

It is difficult to make sense of this through my earthbound viewfinder.

Like many others, I feel cheated because I want more time with him, ... more of him.

He impacted my family and I immediately, profoundly, and in a completely honest way.

Spencer Henderson is one of the greatest men I have ever known, and I fully understand why Heaven needs him now.

With that said, God’s Speed is sometimes hard to swallow.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

this hurts me more than you

My son came to me with a splinter in his foot today. Actually, Jen brought him to me as he was screaming bloody murder. Long story short, we got the splinter out. But not before my son cried, squirmed, screamed, pleaded, moved, dodged, snorted, screamed again, etc., …tears and snot, …as I am trying to pry the tiny peace of wood out of his foot.

All he wanted me to do in that moment was stop what I was doing, …to leave his little foot alone. But, I love him too much and I knew that if the splinter stays, it would have gotten infected, and eventually hurt him more.

This experience made me wonder what splinters God will be pulling from my family, my community, and me.

Today, someone in Cincinnati said to lots of listeners: "It's important that you hear my heart."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Who has cold hands?

Always remember that you need good, adjustable feet. 

Perhaps "balanced" is best.  

If this part is taken care of, the drive band tension rod will govern the flyer whorl and bobbin just fine as it sits and spins in the flyer orifice.

If not, regardless of what you do with the T-knob, the brake tension rod, and the brake adjusting rod, your rear and front maidens will be all mussed up, which will in-turn throw the whole system off-kilter, ... making the flyer and bobbin useless.

It goes without saying, then, that when this imbalance happens, the Mother-of-All will not hold the drive wheel correctly, which causes the Footman to go bonkers, ... and your treadles will not do what they are built to.  

You can keep stepping, but you'll just create a giant, unplanned, and misdirected mess.

This can make for a sad day.

And mittens aren’t made with sadness, are they?

Some people from Cincinnati asked themselves today: "Am I just spinning wheels?"

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

get off the fence

For most of what I have called my “Christian Life,” I have basically just paid lip service to what Christianity is all about, and I have usually not done a very good job of even that.  I've followed when it's convenient, ... and then I've ignored the responsibilities of following when it's inconvenient.  When the spiritual nudges come, I nod the other way.

I've been riding the fence, ... one foot in my world, one foot in God's.

But for whatever reason, I really am feeling like that it is time to “go all in.” For the first time in my life, I think that I am getting it. Whether I am beaten, or just surrendered, or both, …I am feeling like God is really working me over right now.  The messages at the Vineyard Westside, the people I'm running into, the events occurring in my life, ... these are too much to ignore or dismiss.  I feel my heart cracking.

Please don't get me wrong: I haven’t arrived yet, plane hasn't landed, but I really feel like I am finally in line to buy a flight ticket with my own money.

CS Lewis writes:

“This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal…

…It is different from the temptations that met us at the beginning of the Christian life. Then we fought (at least I fought) against admitting the claims of the eternal at all. And when we had fought, and been beaten, and surrendered, we supposed that all would be fairly plain sailing. This temptation comes later. It is addressed to those who have already admitted the claim in principle and are even making some sort of effort to meet it. Our temptation is to look eagerly for the minimum that will be accepted. We are in fact like honest but reluctant taxpayers. We approve of an income tax in principle. We make our returns truthfully. But we dread a rise in the tax. We are very careful to pay no more than is necessary. And we hope – we very ardently hope – that after we have paid it there will still be enough left to live on” (from C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory).

Someone from Cincinnati today is misusing the word "CHOICE."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ready, Fire, Aim!!!

Great things are about to happen at the Vineyard Westside.  How do I know, you ask? One of the pastors, Ryan, touched people today. Many laughed, listened, and were obviously moved by his message. He reminded me of something, stirred something up, that I wrote a while back ... having to do with fear, having a plan, and taking action.  Here it is

Being available is new to me in the sense of “doing so lacking fear,” and without a plan or map.

To say this differently, …I often find myself “being available” for things, people, and situations because I am afraid of what might happen if I am not available, and this has been done haphazardly and usually from the perspective of cornered-fear.

So, this means that I have been making decisions in this space, meaning fearfully lacking faith. I have been simply and selfishly reacting to what is going on around me.

Not to over-simplify this, but the fallout has been less than great. Far too often, I have fearfully been available, and have hesitated to speak truth, or listen, or take action, or not take action. And to over-simplify this intentionally, …I have taken the easier way out in my pursuit of “being there” in the perceptions of others.

I have not been following God’s plan, …I have been following my own, or the plans of others, which is clearly without courage.

To intentionally be available must include having “uncomfortable fear.” Anything else is selfish. So, I will work on being just this, …uncomfortably pursuing Jesus, the pursuit of His plan, regardless of what may be easier or more comfortable. To step one pace outside of fear and toward him is the path that I choose.

All nudges, all stuff, …simply listen and listen, and courageously listen, …follow the map, and (dare I say) battle when needed.

In “Mere Christianity,” CS Lewis writes:

“Now, Theology is like a map. Merely learning and thinking about the Christian doctrines, if you stop there, is less real and less exciting than the sort of thing my friend got in the desert. Doctrines are not God: They are only a kind of map. But that map is based on the experience of hundreds of people who really were in touch with God – experiences compared with which any thrills or pious feelings you and I are likely to get on our own are very elementary and very confused. And secondly, if you want to get any further, you must use the map. You see, what happened to that man in the desert may have been real, and was certainly exciting, but nothing comes of it. It leads nowhere. There is nothing to do about it. In fact, that is just why a vague religion – all about feeling God in nature, and so on – is so attractive. It is all thrills and no work: like watching the waves from a beach. But you will not get to Newfoundland by studying the Atlantic that way, and you will not get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music. Neither will you get anywhere by looking at maps without going to sea. Nor will you be very safe if you go to sea without a map.”

Someone in Cincinnati said today: "Yep, that's Oh and Five."

Friday, October 3, 2008

check out these pictures!

Many of you who read this blog are aware that Jen and I have befriended a couple going through very difficult times. Spencer Henderson is a 40-year-old Cincinnati Police Officer who has been diagnosed with stage IV cancer in his lungs, brain, bones, and organs. He has a beautiful wife, Tracy, and family that we have truly grown to love. I am including a link to a website here (to the right, top of page) that is hosted on The American Cancer Society’s Mosaic of Hope webpage.

Here are pictures (to the right) of Spencer, Tracy, and their family taken during a camping trip we all took several months ago. In the above picture, you’ll see some of their children: Nina is the second from the left. She sang for us that night, which made chills run down my spine and the hair stand up on my arms, and I wasn't the only one. This young lady is bound for something great. Sage is sitting next to Spencer, and he is one of the most respectful and polite young men that I’ve ever met. He wants to be a chef when he grows up, but his mom is pulling or politics. He'll do both. Brody is sitting on Tracy’s lap, and man he is fearless (just like his dad and mom). When Brody falls down like little boys do, the saying "rough and tough" is the next thing said. My son and Brody are fast friends and it is great to see them running around playing. Not pictured here is Ricky, who is bound for the NFL, and Spencer III. Like Sage, the oldest boys are two of the most respectful and polite young men I've ever met. It is quite apparent that Spencer and Tracy are doing something right.

Thank you for keeping Spencer and his family in your prayers.

Someone from Cincinnati said today: "You are Welcome."