Sunday, April 30, 2006

There is a season...

It's been a weird collection of days. Thursday was full of tears. Friday was full of laundry. Saturday was full of service. And today was full of fun. I am down with the writer of Ecclesiastes 3: "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..." That's a huge bit of wisdom I've seen borne out in my life recently.

Despite the intensity that often surrounds me, I'm so thankful for every moment God has given me in Boston. The things I described above are all a part of the mosaic that is Him at work in and through me here. It's a beautiful thing to see. God is wondrous and His ways are far beyond mine. He works every instant out to His glory. Each moment forms my life and equips me to serve him better. How amazing!

In honor of formation, I want to declare to a broader audience an announcement: I am going to attend seminary. I'm not sure when I will start (fall or winter), but I'm looking seriously at Gordon-Conwell's MDiv program in Urban Ministry. I'm praying about this and am asking for the prayers of the rest of you as well. As far as I see things, I won't be quitting work since the classes are at night or on special weekend sessions. But...if God wants me to quit, that's what I'm going to do. More than anything, I want His wisdom in this situation. I'm rejoicing that God is opening this door, but I don't want to be blinded in any way by the enemy.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

poured out

i am so tired. the fatigue is emotional and physical. i'm being poured out like a drink offering and it's painful. my fabulous to do list for the week has nary a slash mark to be found. and i'm leaning hard into Him. He is the only way i can press on through the interruptions, allergies, and unmet goals. i need to remember how He was poured out for me and be a willing vessel. this is His mission for me this week--that's very clear. but right's really hard.

Monday, April 24, 2006

soul longing

occasionally i look back and remember my teen years and the angst they included. how important everything seemed. the little dramas that rocked my world. how devastating situations looked at the time. truly, some of those moments were soul-crunching, spirit-dampening, character-forming. but they were all so felt. in maturing, did we lose our ability to be honest about our emotions? are we all a little bit numb?

looking back, i see i was the most numb when i was farthest away from Christ. i was so drawn up and worn down by my own drama that i wasn't touched at all by the pain of those around me. i didn't care too much about anything other than me. and even at that, i threw myself into more drama just so i could feel something through the callous.

then something happened. the layers were painfully torn away. the scales fell off. my old, scarred heart was replaced with a new one. the Holy Spirit rushed in. Christ's recapturing of my heart was dramatic and humbling. and i could feel it all--the painful change and the overwhelming joy. i was given a gift to see people and empathize deeply. that's something i never knew before my life became His life. sometimes that gift is distracting and embarrassing. sometimes i cry on behalf of strangers, but sometimes i labor in tears with a friend. after living for years selling my emotions short, i daily praise my Father for giving me a means to minister sometimes without words. what a precious gift. what a beautiful Savior.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

swan lake gone wrong

due to kim working at broadway in boston, i was able to see matthew bourne's swan lake for free last night. we had more than decent seats in the small theater (which i commented later was smaller than the auditorium in my high school) and i was prepared to see my first broadway performance since a trip to nyc during undergrad. i haven't seen the original swan lake production--the classic ballet version. i didn't know the story at all, but i'm sure what i saw last night was not it. i believe the original is popular for children (like the nutcracker) but i would not bring children to this 'revival!' i can see the director was trying to update the story for modern audiences, but i didn't know it was contemporary until one of the characters had their cell phone ring. the costuming never portrayed a modern setting--it was a bizarre mix of 50s, 60s, and 70s clothing that pranced around on stage. odd.

well, that's not really the heart of my review. the dancing was really quite good. the swan troupe could have done better to be synchronized when needed, but the principal dancer was amazing. i was completely in awe that a male body, not intended for so much grace, could move and bend with such lightness. unfortunately, about 120 minutes of the 140 minute running time was dripping with all sorts of sexuality: hetero-, homo-, bi-, trans-. it was all there, glorified. as if the entire story revolved around sex.

the way i saw it (there were no speaking parts like a traditional ballet), the prince (who i assume to be in his 20s) desired to be loved by his queen mother and was not. he had a nightmare about swans one night and his mother refused to comfort him (a weird scene of oedipal-type wrestling around with the prince trying to hug his mother). the prince dates a socially inappropriate girl he likes but the queen doesn't. the girl gets paid off to leave the prince alone by the queen's secretary. the prince gets drunk and experiences a swan fantasy in a park--afraid of the swans and eventually loves them. (this scene lasted WAY too long and was more than a little homoerotic. there were several points where i was literally biting my lip to keep from laughing.) intermission. (i almost left, but my curiosity won out. it starts again.) everyone important in the kingdom goes to a ball at the palace. lots of very sexual dancing. a 'stranger' shows up (who is the same guy as the principal swan) and tries to lure everyone's woman away. he comes on to the queen and is successful. the prince freaks out and pulls a gun. the girl the prince dated before tries to stop him. the queen's secretary also pulls a gun. the girl gets shot and dies. the prince somehow ends up in a mental hospital. (i question if the entire show is the fantasy of a mental patient). he is given some drugs and ends up in his (the prince's) bedroom again. the swans come out from under the bed. the prince dances with them. the principal swan comes out through a hole in the bed (very cool and also kinda gross at the same time). he has cuts on him--weird. the other swans try to attack him and they are fought off eventually. a weird love dance with the swan and prince. (i am worrying that this is going to end up IN the bed.) the other swans come back and attack the swan again, eventually making him disappear (we were getting pretty close to some Christ-imagery here that was bothersome). the prince looks for him and passes out on the bed. resolve to morning. the queen comes in to greet the prince and finds him dead on the bed. then you can see above the bed, backlit behind a scrim, the swan holding the limp body of the prince. end of show.

ok. just bizarre, full of agenda, and bleak. i saw some good dancing, but i didn't learn anything new. the show said to me: 'if the primary people who are supposed to love you don't do so in a way you need, go out and find someone else (anyone else) who will. it's especially good if they sacrifice a lot to love you.' but then there was nothing. lots of big, dramatic 'loving' and dying, but that's all. so very self-focused. the one character that cared about others even a little bit (the rejected girlfriend) was murdered and never mentioned again. hmmm... yet another illustration of the realization of the world i live in. i'll chalk the experience up to keeping my eyes open and out of my own little world.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

the weather...and other thursday randomness...

it was another gorgeous spring day today. it was a shame to be inside working all day, but everyone's spirits were high. it's going to be colder tomorrow, but we have to take the mundane with the amazing!

so, tomorrow night i'm going to see this broadway version of swan lake in boston. it's supposed to be a pretty good show. and even better--i'm seeing it for free! i have a friend who works at broadway in boston and gets tickets to random shows. this is the first time i've been able to get to see one. another good part is being able to eat at silvertone (my new favorite boston eatery) before curtain time. i'm ready for a good evening!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

reading vs. work

do you ever wish you could read faster so you could read more books? i'm in this phase right now where i have a huge queue of books to get through. they are all so compelling that it's hard for me to have the patience to finish one at a time. can i just quit working for a little while so i can catch up on my reading?

Monday, April 17, 2006

the fight to see the transcendent

sometimes keeping your eyes on Christ is hard. sometimes life gets bizarre and you see everything but Christ all around you. it's hard to focus then. it kills me that i can have a couple hours that totally disorient and distract me from Christ, but when i get my bearings i can see the enemy's hand all over it. and that reminds me that i bear the mark of Christ--i am His and because of that i'm dangerous. the fog clears and my feet are on solid ground again.
i finished up donald miller's book "through painted deserts" tonight. the entire book is about simplicity and how that can help you see God more clearly--especially through nature. it's been a great respite in my generally crazy life. this is a passage that spoke to me:

"I start realizing that this is the first time I've encountered beauty in nature. I've read poems that have made my heart race. I've read scenes in novels that have caused me to close the book, set my head in my hands, and wonder how a human could so brilliantly orchestrate words. But nature has never inspired me until now. God is an artist, I think to myself. I have known this for a long time, seeing His brushwork in the rivers. But the night sky is His greatest work. And I would have never known this if I had stayed in Houston. I would have bought a little condo and filled it with Ikea trinkets and dated some girl just because she was hot and would have read self-help books, end to end, one after another, trying to fix the gaping holes in the bottom of my soul, the hole that, right now, seems plugged with Orion, allowing my soul to collect that feeling of belonging and love you only get when you stop long enough to engage the obvious."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

here is love

i think easter in the northeast (or any cold place) is that much weightier. it comes at a time where it can still be cold or a time when life is bursting anew from the earth. the resident of colder climes welcomes (even yearns for) any sign that the weather is turning for the warmer. we eagerly watch for the crocuses and robins. much attention is paid to every budding tree. it's almost as if every citizen wants to scream out "You are my joy!" but most of them don't know whom to praise for the annual rebirth. so easter comes. some notice and others do not.

i did my usual sunny sunday walk this morning to grab some coffee and a bagel. the time gives me space to think, pray, and observe my neighborhood. the sun was bright, the trees budding with crayola 'spring green', growing flower stems reaching for the sky, and the breeze blowing cold to remind us all it's not quite summer. more people than usual were dressed in their best. neighbors next door honored an elderly neighbor with an easter lily. the resurrection is present in each of those moments. my prayer for today is to be thankful and grateful for rebirth, but remember the stinging breeze points to the cost of that rebirth.
Here is love, vast as the ocean
Lovingkindness as the flood
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout Heav'n's eternal days

On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God's mercy
Flowed a vast a gracious tide
Grace and love, like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
And Heav'n's peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love

No love is higher, no love is wider
No love is deeper, no love is truer
No love is higher, no love is wider
No love is like Your love, o Lord

Saturday, April 15, 2006

breathe it in

the trees are budding. the birds are singing. the plastic is off the windows!! spring must be here!

enjoy this gorgeous holiday weekend everyone. :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


i was thinking about that quote i have written on my bedroom mirror, "catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn." more than anything i want that enthusiasm to be for Christ. it can come out in other ways, but i want it all to point to Christ. the way i do my work, how i interact with my peers, how i respect my superiors, how i treat my employees, how i love my students. my life isn't all about my job, but i spend most of my time there--most of my pivotal influence occurs there. i can see God moving people's hearts there. one of the senior teachers i supervise came to my office today to say that she's the happiest she's been since we moved to the new building in september. she said she was so happy to be working on my team--that we were the best to work for. praise God! that's so all Him! work isn't perfect and it won't be. it's still a daily effort but i see a lot more laughing going on. people are banding together. thank you God! that's an answer to prayer. so i'm going to keep prayer-walking those halls, begging God for revival. i know that every week won't show results of those prayers like the last 2 have, but by His grace i will be faithful despite the results. He's called me to labor in prayer for my workplace and as a servant, i need to do just that.

Monday, April 10, 2006

i miss jeremy kennedy!

in the course of the last few weeks, i've been thinking about how much i miss those kennedy boys...and then relevant magazine (where jeremy works) posted pics from their yearly staff version of field days. Check him out doing the surfer sign in the 7th pic down.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

what a week!

i've spent this entire week in awe of God and humbled at how He's used me. at almost every corner i turned, God had His hands all over me. i knew i came away from thirsty with a renewed sense of purpose, but i had no idea He would work like He has this week. i am so overwhelmed by Him that i can't even begin to express it. the song "everything glorious" by david crowder band has been playing in my car and in my head this whole week as a soundtrack for His work...that's as close to an expression of how i feel as i can get.

the day is brighter here with You
the night is lighter then it's You
would lead me to believe
which leads me to believe

You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
what does that make me?

my eyes are small but they have seen
the beauty of enormous things
which leads me to believe
there's life enough to see that

You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
and I am Yours

from glory to glory
You are glorious
You are glorious
from Glory to Glory
You are glorious
which leads me to believe
why i can't believe

You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
and i am Yours

from Glory to Glory
You are glorious....

Monday, April 03, 2006

praise You like i should

remember that song? it's not ironic to me that lyric resides in a secular song. no matter who we are, we were created to praise. the difference only is the One we choose to praise. and i want to praise God today. He just plain rocks!

i've just come from a spiritual high place and had to dive right into the mundane today. i have to say i was more than a little concerned about how the day would play out. and it was more than challenging with a time-sucker training and an extremely long and contentious meeting right after. it was bad. but i got to minister to my staff. i had encouragement and exhortation to give that was not possible in my flesh. i left work at work when i walked out the door. praise Him! the other cool thing is i didn't leave the people at work--i feel a new-found impression from the Spirit to surround them in prayer individually and by prayer walking the building at least once a week. that's what has to happen to make that place resonate for His glory. and God's got me working there for just that purpose. He showed me 2 other christians at the crowder concert in october for a reason. what a beautiful mantle! what a beautiful Savior who desires all to be drawn to Himself! Lord, i want Your humility more than anything...i want to walk without fear about Your call on my life...i want to hear your Name praised rather than cursed. i want You to start a revolution in my office and i know You can.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

guess who's back...

travelling back to boston from atlanta was interesting. jess had some trouble with her flight (it ended up leaving 1.5 hrs late), but other than that the travel went well. i sat with a cool woman on the plane who used to work for the may institute and enjoyed overhearing 2 teen boys behind me discuss relationships. i actually slept for 20 min during the flight (a rare occurrence for me) and had a creative brainstorm about the church public. a good trip back in all.

so things are smooth right now, but the real test will be me allowing God to continue to bring buoyancy to my life and perspective. i understand what john piper means when he talks about fighting for joy. this conference helped me to get through some of the things preventing that joy, but maintaining it requires trust and faith. my prayer is to have that. and to have the confidence to be who God made me to be.

let stress at work not steal my joy and ability to serve others as Christ did!!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Blessed Be Your Name

matt redman sang Blessed Be Your Name at thirsty yesterday. i love that song. it has ushered me through more than one spiritual revelation and i just saw another level in it. how can a song that i've labored with for more than 4 years suddenly become new? it's very cool. so, the part in the song that says, "He gives and takes away, gives and takes away, blessed be your name" always meant to me that i need to praise God no matter the circumstances. and the giving meant blessing and the taking away meant losing something precious. the first sentence is true, but the second one has a new layer now. the giving can be the placing of something laborious into my life and the taking away can be removing something painful or scar tissue that needs to be healed. that's an entirely new perspective and one that's quite relevant for me right now. blessed be Your Name.