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it's a small world after all

Yesterday was our first family outting. I'm still getting used to the idea of being a family--rather than the slightly more youthful adventurous identity of being a young married couple--and I must say that I've lagged quite a bit in the vacation planning department. It's difficult to travel with little ones, and it's not like we have a ton of discretionary time. And we never will, unless we plan for it--so we did.

For the better part of this month we've been planning to take Selah on her inaugural trip to Disneyland; so I took the day off yesterday and we went.

It was a blast, but it wasn't easy. Selah has a standing disagreement with us over whether or not her stroller is a suitable napping environment. After several attempts yesterday to convince her otherwise, we did what any rational parents in our situation would do: pulled her out of her stroller and beat her senseless before Cinderella, God and everybody. Just kidding. We conceeded that she should forego her two scheduled daily naps, and that we would subsidize her energy level with food. She was a mess.

We still had a great time though; even though Selah was cranky and refused to go on the "adult" rides (such as the carousel). I had fun on so many different levels: as a kid, a husband, a father, and a dreamer. The trip reloaded my own childhood--road-trip wagers on which of the siblings would see the Matterhorn first, ice cream, long lines and left turns and space mountain and fireworks and...

...and the uncomfortable paper rodent hat that I insisted wearing under the sweltering heat.

It was as I was riding Small World with Regina and Selah that I was reminded of how beautiful my life is. Selah refused to sit down for the ride--instead she insisted on pacing back and forth, down to the floor and back up on the bench seat. Gina and I sat on either side of the bench in our little boat in order to prevent Selah's pacing from becoming a swimming expedition. Every few moments, she would pop up over the back of the seat to say "HI!!!" to the boatmates that sat behind us, making sure they knew they were welcomed in her small, small world.

I began to think about the richness of my small world, and how much I learn by watching my daughter. There was a strange synergy between the message of global unity sung in that ride, and the voice of my daughter that let complete strangers know they were welcomed and accepted. I like to believe that her abandon says something about her future--something about what she was created for. She is enthralled with meeting other people--over and over and over again.

As her little voice merged with the song of those of the brightly colored, multi-ethnic dolls, I was reminded of the truth of the kingdom of God, revelaed in the child. Selah loves people. She really does. She may not even understand what love is, or what people are--but she is crazy about them, and must introduce herself to them everywhere we go.

As we entered the final bend on the ride, I realized: "My daughter always notices the people." They aren't trees to her--or the reason the line is moving slowly, or the reason I'm late for work, or the reason I can't sleep at night, or have to listen to cell phones ring in movie theatres. They just are, and she is enthralled by them simply because they exist.

God, I want to be like that. Don't allow her to develop the same callouses that I have...fill her always with your perspective--and refresh mine.



the searching

Questions. Questions are so important--they define us, not just our answers. Questioning is process; one in which the means are as important as the end. Christ loved to ask questions, and he was hesitant to provide answers.

Why? Was it that he loved to be cryptic? Mysterious? Unreachable? Beyond definition?

I don't think so. I think that maybe Christ loved asking questions, because the wanderer was indelibly shaped by the way she would answer him. And maybe the answers to the questions he asked weren't as important as what they revealed of the heart of the listener. Those recorded in historical dialogue with him were either liberated or enslaved by the way they responded.

I love the profound simplicity in the Biblical narrative that we have of his life. Even the narrative itself, though not to be subjected to our narrow scopes of clouded definition, has a poetic irony that I'm really beginning to enjoy.

The question was asked of the bridge communities this last week, "What was the very first thing that we have record of Christ saying?" And without cheating, I'll pose the same question here. Don't look--see if you can recall it. Ideas?

The very first thing we have record of Christ saying was a question. And that question was, "Why were you searching for me?" How beautifully profound. The Messiah, the promised one of Israel that would come and deliver mankind from its own destruction, asks "Why do you search for me?" Whether or not at age 12 he had any idea of the staggering scale of that question, I don't know. But I love the beautiful irony of that phrase in the Story, and I believe that it's intentional that it wound up there.

And what do you suppose he was doing in the temple for those 3 days while his parents searched for him? I had always thought he was teaching (probably misinterpreted sunday school lessons), but as I re-read the story after sunday night, i found a much different telling of it. He was listening and asking questions. Wow.

. : : . Father, continue to lead me in the questions you've asked of my life--whether progress has been made, or if in fact I've regressed in some of the process. Continue to lead me ever in the searching for you--I never want to rest in that I have achieved, come to know, or that my searching has been completed. I want to become a man that is ever-squinting through the dim glass i hold, visually & soulfully groping for your image in the pattern of life you place me in. Teach me to be one who engages the questions, rather than one who alleviates them; and teach me how to ask the questions that you would ask, in the way that you would ask them. : : .



Manning on Grace and Spatial Hospitality

Just left a post on the controversy of Levi's Table at the Bridge Blog.
...The shared table symbolizes a shared life... The inclusion of sinners in the community of salvation, symbolized by table fellowship, is the most dramatic expression of the ragamuffin gospel and the merciful love of the redeeming God...
Check it out here.


referral reads

Steve, the emergent kiwi, has a great post on language.
the little boy emerged from the mud grinning.
soundbites were stuck to his ears and
video loops were scribed to his fingers

he was followed by a community of other grinning kids.
they had found life and were having a ball.
new games to live in
fresh expressions of church to narrate...
And Beth Ann, a frequent Bridge Blog author, has just posted what michel calls a "naked plunge into poetry".
a dark complexion

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I was a child and my dad was not at home
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I saw my mother being abused by my dad
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I was a virgin and raped by a man
I am sick with love...
Go explore the rest of the poems--they are moving.



street hospitality

Beth Ann has just written a great story over at the Bridge Community Blog.

Go read it.



C.S. Lewis on likeness to Christ

"Our imitation of God in this life -- that is, our willed imitation, as distinct from any likenesses which He has impressed upon our natures or our states -- must be an imitation of God Incarnate. Our model is the Jesus, not only of Calvary, but of the workshop, the roads, the crowds, the clamorous demands and surly oppositions, the lack of all peace and privacy, the interruptions. For this, so strangely unlike anything we can attribute to the divine life in itself, is apparently not only like, but is, the divine life operating under human conditions."

... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Four Loves



a bit on community

Steve Taylor got me thinking this morning. Here's a bit to chew on:
Modernity sold us a pup. It sold us a belief you needed truth as all-encompassing and systematic. Modernity took truth and wrapped it in culture and then sold it to us as a cultural syncretistic product: truth as pure, abstract, timeless.

Yet, the God of the Bible was a God of community … moulding community in the desert, moulding community in the church … urging community through the broken body of Christ…..telling story after story, narrative after narrative of the actions of the communal God … refusing to sieve narrative into doctrinal purity, God took the risk of letting stories serve as the interpretive vessel for the body of God.

For where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there is Christ … he broke bread and gave it to them … then their eyes were opened and they recognized him ….

The God of all, revealed in community…
Sure, modernity has its share of problems--we all know that. But that's not what grabbed me about this post. Community, the essence and revelation of God's very nature, is something we've been discussing within our community for sometime now, but I'd never considered those last few images...where 2 or more are gathered...the breaking of bread in community...the revelation of his ressurection in community...interesting.

Thanks to Phil at Signposts for the link.



Beautiful Post

Michel Cicero just left this post on The Bridge Community Blog--and I was so moved I needed to share it.
My own tears left me swollen and speechless as my consciousness was flooded with images of loneliness. I saw highways crammed with individuals separated by steel. I saw ailing people, aging people alone in their homes watching TV. Babies crying. I heard moaning and shrieking. It was very dark and my own body ached as the worship music seemed to take me deeper into the abject pain of humanity. The misery of man's crimes against man, against God.

But as I wandered the human landfill, the face of compassion emerged. And what I heard Him say was that His work was done, but our work in Him was not.
Check out the rest of the post here.


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