Sunday, September 27, 2009



It’s terribly destructive. You probably know that from experience. The feeling that everyone is a part of something exciting, everyone but you. It stings your self worth. It’s the constant reminder that life used to be better. You once belonged. Now you don’t.

We’ve all experienced the pain of loneliness. When time stands still after a breakup. Or a move into a new city. Or empty nests. Or graduating college.

Months ago I read this Kurt Vonnegut quote. It's bothered me ever since.
"What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured."
Pursue the lonely. Invite him to your small group. Buy her coffee. Help them belong. Change their life.

It’s that simple. It’s that powerful.

*Pic used by generous permission of Alex. Check out the rest of Alex's photography.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Perspective. My car is usually dirty. But instead of cleaning my entire car, I just clean my windshield. Approaching my car, I notice it needs to be washed. But when I sit down and look through the windshield, I think, “Ah, clean!” Simply cleaning my windshield changes my entire perspective. It changes the way I see everything.

Mentors help change the way we see the world. They change our perspective.

I met with mentors. I grew. I changed.

I began to wonder, if I could have coffee with any historical figure, who would I pick? C.S. Lewis? He could read the culture and offer extraordinary perspective. Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, with his talent to find grace in the most bleak of circumstances? Or the Greek poet Homer, who although blind could paint a story so captivating it would be retold for thousands of years?

We allow mentors to shape perspective. How we spend our time, talents, energy, and money.

I was caught off guard the day I realized the wisdom I was searching for was hidden in the Gospels. I simply forgot his advice was there. I re-read the Gospels, discovering my mentor’s advice.

Jesus taught me to keep a heavenly perspective.

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29)

He taught me to find grace in the most bleak of circumstances.

‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ (John 8:7-11)

He could paint a picture so captivating, so rich with irony, that we would retell it through the ages of the church.

The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:21-24)

Who influences the way you see the world? Through what lens do you perceive your circumstances? Are you like me, and forgot that we can find the wisdom we were searching for in the words of Jesus? He spoke of a world in need of grace, of forgiveness. He gave freedom from material possessions. Given the chance, what would you ask him? Has he already told you your answers in the Gospels?

And this week, I am going to clean my car. More than just the windshield.

*Photo belongs to Rain. She let me use her work. You can see the rest of her work here. She was generous enough to let me use her pic, so please check out her other work.

P.S. Cait asked if I noticed the title of last week's post could be a double meaning. I picked the title specifically. The double meaning was intended.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Brittani's Escape Plan

Growing up with only an older brother, I always wondered what life would be like with a sister. It’s not that Brittani and I we were long lost siblings, but it sure felt that way.

I met Brittani her freshman year of college. I was a junior. We grew close quickly.

It being a private Christian college, the campus was run under certain restrictions. Namely there were to be no girls in guy rooms, nor guys in girl rooms. Yet one day, the four of us guys and Brittani wanted to play Poker. Easily enough, we could have used any community center facilities, but we were a bit more adventurous. We decided to play in my room.

Sneaking Brittani in was the easy part. It was a simple glance down the hallway, followed by a sprint and a locked door. We dealt chips and cards, and our gambling began. A few hands in, there was a knock at my door. It was my RA. Worst case scenarios began to flood my mind. At best I would be charged a fine. Worst, I could lose the various positions I held in Student Life. We quickly threw Brittani under my comforter and she hid between my couch and corner. Rylan, my RA, stepped in.

“Texas Hold ‘Em? Deal me in!”

“Um, well, Rylan, we’re out of chips. We can deal you in next game.”


But he didn’t leave. He continued to stand there. Watching. Our hearts were pounding. Our hands sweaty. Certain, I knew our poker faces would betray us.
Brittani would later tell us that she held her breath for minutes as Rylan watched our game.

“Rylan, do you want us to call you when we start a new game?”

“Sure guys.” And with that he left.

Sort of.

He stepped outside, but stood by our door, talking to passersby. A small crowd formed on the other side of my door. We uncovered Brittani. Her face red from fear, lack of oxygen and regret.

I suggested that we tie my bed sheets together and lower my little sister out of the second story window. There was a strategically placed bush that would break her fall. Out of the five of us, I was the only one who thought this was a good idea. She refused that escape plan.

We decided to call a fellow hall mate, and convince him to fake a crisis. He would then call for Rylan to help 'counsel' him through this crisis. The moment Rylan left the hall, we threw the bedsheets back onto Brittani and ran her down the stairs, passing by a dozen confused onlookers. I turned to them, put my finger to my lips to quiet their questions, and ran down the stairs to retrieve my bed sheets.

I told this story from the stage of Brittani’s memorial service. My little sister was killed in a car wreck on May 2, 2009. Three days before her 23rd birthday. One week before her college graduation. A few short months before she left for training to enter the mission field. On dark days like May 2, 2009, when you lose your little sister, God doesn’t make sense. The most loving, graceful, talented people are killed in accidents so seemingly preventable. I have little advice on how to deal with these situations. I turn to Jesus’ Beatitudes. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

If you have suffered a loss so confusing, so painful, take comfort in that you are not alone in your suffering. Others who have suffered will mourn with you, and you will find comfort. Because of the cross, we can look to Jesus for comfort in our mourning, for he too has suffered. If you find little comfort in others, search for comfort in him.

Finally, read 2 Corinthians 1:3-6. I think you will be surprised at what you find.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

a boy and his God

Through success and tragedy, I still feel like a little boy, following the steps of a big God. This blog is confession, mistakes, observation, and relationship. On our individual pursuits of God, I think we share a lot of similarities. Here is my opportunity to share what I’ve learned to encourage you on your pursuit. So let’s be brutally honest. To God, to each other, and hardest of all, to ourselves. You are invited to speak your mind and heart.

Today, when I woke, I was hit with the idea that I am still a kid, a boy. Apprehensive about the world and it’s ways, longing for the safety of grade school. From time to time I watch my favorite boyhood TV show, The Adventures of Pete & Pete. When I do, the nostalgia hits me. Staying up all night, summer vacations, bullies, best friends, slurpies. Now life seems to revolve around resumes, experience, budgets, bills, long term goals. I’m not naive. I know those are important. It’s just a struggle to balance boyhood and manhood.

As an idealist, spirituality is risky business. Unfilled expectations can leave an idealist feeling betrayed. Big dreams become flirtations with failure. So I need your encouragement just as you can benefit from mine.

I will do my best to update this blog every Sunday. I aim to be brief yet thought provoking. If you connect with what I write about, please pass this blog on. This is a boy and his God.