Friday, May 28, 2010


"Man is a word for humanity or human being, which is rich with word connections: humiliation, humility--which means close to the ground (humus). Likewise, as we mentioned earlier, Adam is made from the adama (soil). Jesus is bringing the heavenly kingdom down to earth."
--Shane Claiborne

(regular posting should resume forthwith)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


"I am going to take this bucket of water and pour it on the flames of hell, and then I am going to use his torch to burn down the gates of paradise so that people will not love God for want of heaven or fear of hell, but because He is God."
--John Green

[thought this was interesting...]

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


“What we often do is reverse the creative process that God initated. We start with different cultural backgrounds and skin colors and nationalities, and it’s only when we look past these thinks that we are able to get to what we have in common— that we are all fellow image-bearers with the shared task of caring for God’s creation. We get it all backward. We see all the differences first, and only later, maybe, do we begin to see the similarities.”
--Rob Bell, “Sex God”

(Note: Although usually I have, I haven't actually read this book or anything else by Rob Bell. Makes me want to though.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

post-rockbridge thoughts (including a lesson in latin)

I've been back from Rockbridge for something like a day and a half, and while I've spent most of it in a cave recovering from being super social for a week, I don't feel quite ready to jump back into the real world. I'm not quite sure how to articulate that, but the best way I can explain it now is that the night I got back I checked my email and there was so much to respond to and almost immediately I felt like I was running behind on it all. Our schedules at camp are packed to the very brim, but it's a different kind of busy-ness here in the real world, and right now I'm feeling like I would trade it all in a minute.

Camp was good in a different way than it's ever been, at least for me. I did the small group leader track and it was great. I've said before that I'm not a very critical reader without being prompted with questions and I feel like this week helped a lot, gave me a good structure with which to look at whatever I'm reading. Already that structure is disappearing and becoming unconscious. Better than all of that, though, was my actual small group. I'm not sure what to say about it, but it was probably the best one I've ever been in. The whole thing felt like a part of something so much bigger than it normally feels like and it made me especially excited to be coming on Link staff. In fact, toward the beginning of the week, someone asked me if I was a student or staff and I had no idea what to say because I'm not really either right now and it horrifies to think I don't look fifteen anymore. Maybe horrifies is too strong a word... Still kind of crazy, though.

I think the biggest part of the week, though, was just realizing I won't be here next year for any of this. I won't be able work at things and help the evangelism team and just generally take care of people. It sounds ridiculous to type out. God was working in this chapter before I got here and will continue to do so long after I leave, but I guess the process is entrusting that to him. The part about all of this that surprised me most was the very last day, nothing left but worship before we all went home, my staffworker came up to me and said something and all of it just hit me at once, that really this is the end of it and it's being passed along to other people who will go on taking care of people, through whom God will do awesome things. And who knew? I'm not a crier, but for a couple minutes there, I was.

However however however, the best part of all of this is the students--my friends--that will still be here. I'm thinking of two girls who are gonna lead an amazing small group. I'm thinking of people who actually want to share the Lord with their friends, one in particular who sat talking with me about his friend for something like an hour because he cares about her so much, and who knew a year ago that this is what it would look like? This whole evangelism thing? It's such a heavy word, its connotations aren't always good ones, but this is it, this is what it is. And they've got it. When did that happen? More than anything else I'm excited about these things, and in the midst of being ready to move on to the next thing in my life--Romania for sure now--I know the things I'm leaving are going to go on well and I can't imagine anything better to leave with than that.

I'm not sure how to end this, but I read a couple of days ago this phrase in Latin: dum spiro spero. It means while I breathe, I hope. The coolest part of that is how close breathing and hoping are. Spiro like respirate, spero like esperar. I don't know nearly enough about Latin to know if the connection goes any further than just being a letter apart. The word spirit comes from the same root that spiro comes from. So does aspire, the definition of which tells me is:

"To long, aim, or seek ambitiously; be eagerly desirous, esp. for something great or of high value."

Sounds like hoping to me. Sounds like a good way to leave all of this, hoping like breathing.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Well, I feel like I'm on the edge of death, so maybe this won't be so long a post, but the last few days have been a hurricane. It was touch and go for a while, my mom and brother coming down for my graduation, I mean. And somewhere in there one of my roommates got me sick so yesterday I had a fever something like four degrees higher than it normally is. The weirdest part about that was I was just in another world with it, my brain was doing crazy things. And so I had to drive to my hometown to go to a funeral visitation with people I sort of lived with (sometimes) growing up and being there felt like a whole different life. Like some dream I'd forgotten about and remembered halfway through the day. This is where I came from? This is where I came from.

Out of everything though, out of graduating and some sort of fever-induced road hypnosis, a few brief hours someplace that was home in the most initial way, there was also home in the sense of "home is whenever I'm with you." What I mean is:

And so I'm headed to Virginia in the morning for a week of Rockbridge. Until then.

Monday, May 3, 2010

hippies, beach camping, and cool stuff God's doing

I think somewhere along the way my roommates turned me into something like a hippie. I've had some tendencies since I was a kid: I never wear shoes at all if I can help it and, as I like to make known frequently, I don't like wearing pants, and let's be honest, I don't always shower every single day. But over the last few years I've started recycling. And sometime this summer I picked up the habit of turning the water off while I wash my hands and now if I hear water running for more than a few seconds it drives me crazy. And after my friend Sara Cafe told me not to get a plastic bag at the grocery store when I have few enough things to put in my bag, I just hate using them. Craziest thing. Who knew? I better be careful, is what I've been telling myself, before I turn into a trendy hipster who actually cares about the planet or something.

And as far as the planet goes, I felt like I was on another one the other night. The roommates and some friends and I went camping on the beach, and let me tell you, it was a dang adventure. We had the unfortunate combination of not owning a vehicle with four wheel drive, not realizing how far down the beach we'd have to hike before getting to the camping grounds and underestimating how much all of our stuff plus a giant metal bucket for the fire plus several bundles of firewood would weigh. Yep. My arms are still sore. It was such an amazing workout, though, and despite the fact that my arms were basically useless for the rest of the night, it gave me so much energy.

When we started to put our tent up, we looked over the ocean and we saw the moon rise really red. Being outside with all those stars and the ocean and the moon so red it made an orange-ish triangle on the ocean from the horizon to the shore--felt like another world altogether. Sleeping outside the tent was the best, though. It got so cold with the wind that I had to wear a couple of layers plus my beanie but waking up throughout the night and just getting to look at the whole sky makes me want to live somewhere with an optional roof. Or just go live in the woods. What was that about becoming a hippie again?

There's something to the feeling of that though. I can't figure out how to describe it. Exposed is one word that almost gets it, but without the associated fear, without the negative connotations. Open is another. I'm not sure how to say it, but the feeling of laying in the sand with nothing around me but more sand and ocean and sky makes the world seem so huge. I think there must be something in this, something about how we make our worlds seem smaller with all the things we have built around us. I don't mean this in a bad way. Only that being there at night, when normally I would be safe in my bed (or on my couch) in a way that, safe as I was, is more vulnerable, made me realize that the world I live in is a very different world than the one I live on. I hope that makes sense.

What else? God's been doing some interesting things lately. I've missed church the last two Sundays for various reasons and it was really good to be back. And as always, he has the habit of getting to the heart of things. Sometimes it's so hard to make good decisions all the time, especially relationally for me, and I don't even mean the particularly destructive or unhealthy things. I mean the little things--it's easy to get in a kind of rut that way. But then there's that nudge and there's God and then people do things that blow my mind and I am reminded of how, yes, we are all so very broken, but how he is working such good things in the people who are running after him. This whole sharing life thing, redeeming all of us, forgiveness and grace and love--it is really real, and he is at the very center of it.

And on top of all this, someone pledged my second donation (and first monthly one) for Romania so far and it was pretty dang generous and I'm so excited. I haven't been freaking out this time around like I was last time, and somehow there's a general peace about the fact that God will provide. I don't want to think about it too much because I'll just psych myself out and I do also recognize that there will be times when it's really difficult, but somehow it will happen. I'm sending out my letters this coming week and the whole thing is kind of crazy but, again, this time is different. I'm ready to do all the work, to meet with people, to make the calls and trust that, like my coworker always reminds me, this is the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

And just to end on: I'm graduating in less than a week and get to see my brother and my mom. Pretty dang awesome.