Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I stepped inside my apartment about 20 minutes ago, so I'm officially home again. It's about a million degrees in here and I need to get to work, but I figured I'd post to let everyone know I'm home. If I'm not completely exhausted after work I'll post about my trip. I bet you're all waiting in anticipation!! ;)

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Everything that's going on has worn me out. I am poured out. I've been sitting in mourning over Rebekah's death since Thursday afternoon and it's sinking in. I haven't been overwrought about it since Friday afternoon--I'm healing and seeing God work through it, though I'm not quite rejoicing yet. I'm still kind of numb about the whole thing. I've had a lot of opportunity to be alone with my thoughts and alone with God the past few days.

I'm taking it easy at this conference overall. I don't have a passion for the smoozing aspect of what comes along with climbing the ladder in my field. So, I'm opting out of that, just going to presentations to get the continuing ed credits I need. I'm seeing old friends and that feels good. But I'm still so tired.

I'm going to Buckhead Church this afternoon. That's the closest I can get to home while I'm here in Atlanta. I'm praying for rest and a little bit of peace in all of this chaos. I'm praying to see how He is choosing to work in this situation.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Monday, May 22, 2006

something someone else said (part 2)

Mitch Hedberg says, “I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.”

But I share his sentiment. I went to go see the DaVinci Code on Friday (I would not recommend it, 2.5 hours of talking and vapid acting) but anyway there were protestors out there with picket signs. I was like…. “Picket signs?”

Does your church honestly think that picket signs are the answer? Do picket signs reach anyone anymore? Is this still a methodology that works? That people respond to? And should this be the church’s line of action? I don’t know…it seems really….well, I want to say “Old Fashioned,” but let’s say “Stupid” instead.

And then at Starbucks, I saw those picketers on the front page of the newspaper. I think if that paper hit God’s porch in the morning, he would throw that days paper in the trash. I doubt He’d be saying. “Well done good and faithful servants. I am so glad you all took this passive stance using archaic and outdated methods.”

All I can think is, “Oh great, more bad press for Christians.” I don’t think non-believers look at that and say, “Wow, those people really stand up for what they believe.” I think they think, “There they go again, pointing fingers…..”

John Burke says, “Everyone knows what the church is against. But do they ever hear what we are for?”

So, I want to picket the picketers. I want to make my own signs that tell the picketers that it’s all going to be ok, and that God loves all people. God loves people who see the DaVinci Code, God loves homosexuals, God loves women who get abortions and God loves abortion Doctors. I want my signs to be bigger than their signs and I want to stand right in front of them, so that all they see is me, and all the world sees is the back of our two signs.

Do I think a picketer ever made a homosexual turn from their orientation? No…

Do I think a picketer should be in the front of an abortion clinic as hurt and confused girls run in? No, But what if we all put our signs down….and left the entrances to these places alone and all met back at the exit.

People don’t need picketers in front of the theatre as people are going in; they need people to meet them on their way out. Not to condemn them, but to help them with their questions, and to invite them to fellowship where their questions can be answered.

People don’t need picketers out in front of abortion clinics. No, but they do need to be there for the broken women who are walking out. Where do these shattered lives go? Can the church be the hospital that it should be? Can it be there to help these people put their lives back together and invite them into fellowship?

Hey picketer! Put the megaphone down, fold up your director’s chair and meet me around in the back. Let’s talk to people, not yell at them. Let’s meet people, not accuse them. Let’s welcome people, not scare them.

Let’s use Christ’s approach. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. You and I have the answer to life. You and I hold the keys to the Kingdom of God. So let’s open doors.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

new beginnings

i've been back in boston for nearly 9 months now. enough time to have a baby--so weird. in a lot of ways my time here has been a birth. that imagery has been present with me in a very real way the last few months. so much is growing now--work responsibilities, personal ministry, church ministry, professional opportunities, ministry education. it's more than a little overwhelming. i knew God was preparing me for something big, but this feels so beyond me. my life seems to be moving faster than i am. there haven't been many days in the last few weeks where i felt like i got ahead of the game. and maybe that's the entire point--maybe i'm not supposed to get ahead because God's path for my life can't be accomplished by me. it has to be by His hand alone. this is the same old struggle again, but i get refined more every time. i have my lists every day, but i'm more apt to pay attention to how He's moving and deviate when necessary. some days i'm better at it than others, but i always learn. i'm a ragamuffin who's glad that Christ walks with us on all types of roads.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I See the Light!

My drive home today contained something I haven't seen in days--blue sky. There were little glimpses of it between the clouds that have hung over us for what seems like weeks. Bits of sun reflected magnificiently off the Hancock Building as passed through my favorite overlook in the Blue Hills. It gave me hope that everything that's raining down on me is going to eventually break to reveal the light.

Monday, May 15, 2006

something someone else said

the following article is copied from a blog i read on a regular basis.
Simply Available

‘If we never take time, how can we ever have time?” The Merovingian asked Neo in the Matrix trilogy.

I can’t just talk about having personal quiet communion with God, I have to plan it into my day, or it’s not going to happen. And if I want this to become more adopted in my life, I need to be comfortable developing this habit in my own settings. So, I went to an empty room at my church, locked the door behind me with a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door for any busy custodians and quietly sat on the carpeted floor with a lit candle in front of me.

As my eyes closed, I picked a focus word: Available. It has been becoming more and more relevant in my journey as of late. How can I be more available to God? Not as a tool, or a teacher or a busy-bee, but just as an accessible disciple? How can I be more available to the people in my life? Not as a mentor, or a preacher or a distributor of biblical advice, but simply how can I be more obtainable for their needs? Can I sit still and wait on Him? (Psa 27:14) Can I be a soldier in waiting? Can I be a sentry alert and ready? Otherwise, if I am not available and waiting for commands from my Lord, how will I hear Him if I am too busy following my own decrees?

At first, I fought off anxiousness. “Here I am Lord, available.” I seemed to be thinking. I wanted a theophany or a vision or a feeling similar to John’s revelation. Perhaps I felt that simply by creating the environment, I could create the experience. I could feel my spirit becoming restless. But, this did not seem to fit the idea of being available to God. Was I only available to God, if He was available to me? Why do I feel my relationship with God is contingent upon anything I design? If the Lord said, “Wait here” and pointed to my seat, who am I to become fretful for my orders or apprehensive for His return? My duty is to be present; my obligation is to be offered.

As I sat there, I began to be aware of the spirit of waiting. I was waiting for this moment to pass. I was waiting for the clock to tell me it was over. I was waiting for a personal communion with God. I was in a character of impatience, I was not available. I shook my head and tried to refocus. “I’m waiting.” I heard.

‘That’s true,’ I quickly thought. I had an image of a child sitting in the corner with the extended finger of a parent behind the words, ‘You sit there and think about what you have done.’ No, I was not being punished, but I was being reminded: God waits for me all of the time. God waits for me here in this classroom while I am running around the church hanging signs and getting things ready for Sunday. God waits for me in quiet meditation as I busily teach and hurry through lessons and bible studies. God waits for me in scripture as I race through homework and personal devotions before I collapse in sleep. God waits for me to realize… God waits for me to come…. God waits for me to awaken… God waits for me to see… God waits for me to hear… God waits for me patiently.

Am I as patient? I want to hurry up and graduate, I want my students to hurry up and grow. I want to hurry up and get a full time ministry, I want to hurry up and actualize my future. I want to hurry up and have a child, I want to hurry up and conquer my sins. I want to treat my relationship with God, the way I treat my life here on Earth. I want to get to the next stage quickly. I want to pass the next car. I want to take another step forward in line. I want to progress.

Waiting feels like wasting.

Availability feels like abandon.

Sometimes when we stop to take a breath, we focus on the mountain and are disheartened at the remaining cliff yet to scale. ‘I’m wasting my time,’ we think. ‘I should be climbing.’ But rests and breaths are important for life. They serve a function that although unseen is crucial. My function is to be a disciple, a learner, a sitter and a listener. I receive my climbing orders as the Lord doles them out. My heart and mind and spirit rest in a state of availability. My rest begins with my words, “I am here.” And I sit and wait for his words to mirror mine.
i resonate with what he's saying and try to do that--to make space for God. but it always seems to be on my schedule...i am the person looking at the huge mountain and thinking it's insurmountable. i am the person who thinks the stopping is a waste of time. maybe if i stop i won't ever climb again. so i'm brought back to that same old reminder that God calls us to let go of whatever is comfort to us. and for me it's never stopping. Lord, please let me stop.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


i have officially been added to the national autism center's senior clinical staff page. this is a slightly bizarro experience since i'm listed among the literati at the may center. i guess i just don't see myself that way. i posted the link to my bio page if anyone's interested...http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/bios/johnston.html

Saturday, May 13, 2006

home depot has more than tools

so, rosana and i went to home depot today, on the search for electrical plugs, flowers, and other sundry home improvement items. we stopped by the paint section to check out some wood stain for her futon. we mulled over the choices a little while and then i saw him--hot joe the paint guy. way back in november when jess was visiting, we debated paint choices for my kitchen at this particular home depot. and that's when we met hot joe. he helped pick out 'bookbinder' for the walls. needless to say, it was a nice experience. the next time i was in home depot, he was there. another time, i saw him stopped at the same traffic light as me.

well, i wasn't counting on seeing hot joe today. he greeted me in the paint section and i smiled. i'm sure i blushed more than a little bit. rosana gave me a hard time about this guy. he is a boy though. probably no more than 23. but dang, he made me act like a high schooler for an hour this afternoon...

Monday, May 08, 2006

once and never again

United 93 was one of those movies that everyone needs to see once and never again. I rank it up there with The Passion and Schindler's List. All are brutal and dramatizations of real, gut-wrenching events. We have to see those things to remember that life isn't all about our new cool stuff, our jobs, or an argument over what kind of pizza toppings to order. Life can be dark, unfair, and out of our control. Pain happens. It's a part of what we have to experience to be human beings.

American culture shelters us from a lot of that. We medicate ourselves from all kinds of emotional and physical pain with drugs, food, sex, relationships, entertainment, exercise--distraction. But to be really human, sometimes we just have to feel the anguish with those passengers calling their loved ones to say last goodbyes. With Jews in concentration camps burying the fetid bodies of their friends. With Christ being flogged for no sin of His own.

That's why I drove home from the movie without the phone on or any music playing. I wanted to sit with that pain for a little while. I cried out to God about why something like 9.11 happened. I remembered that my anguish wasn't new--that the Bible records the pain of many, many people who asked why. And I thanked God that my little moment of pain took me back to Him.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ok, so it wasn't a total disaster...

apparently i'm an egomaniacal control freak. people at work like my hair--a few even complemented me on it before i could ask for their opinion. i was literally obsessing over it all last night, all this morning, until someone said something about it about as soon as i walked into school. how could i be so distracted by such a stupid thing? it's not that my hair looked bad, it's just that it came out differently than i'd been expecting. maybe this is a little object lesson for me that's much larger than hair color. could i be dissatisfied with my life, despite things being ok, just because it's different from what i think it should be? could i be dissapointed with God for not doing what i want Him to do? it's not just hair dye anymore...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


i've just experienced humbling at the hands of a box of haircolor. it turned out awful and i wasn't even trying to be adventurous. just a slightly lighter brown with some highlights. ha! apparently that means light brown with too many copper penny highlights. argh. i'm just going to make it through work tomorrow then dye it back as best i can. the whole idea of it makes me exhausted.