Tuesday. Two stories on NPR this morning gave me pause: Graphene and At Home: A Short History of Private Life. Rolling around in my head was an essay I had read on Monday evening, which raised the question of whether practical theology might best be thought of as art or science. In The Challenge of Practical Theology, Stephen Pattison argues that “sciencism” has run rough shod over, well, nearly everything. We are so enamoured by science, he says, that we measure most everything else against it.Read More
Going to Seed . . . We made what will likely turn out to be the last big harvest of the season at the garden today. My husband and daughter dug two tubs of peanuts and 10 crates of sweet potatoes. (One sweet potato was as large as my daughter’s head! Most were just average size.) I picked a bag full of okra, reaching over my head to pull plants down and clip the pods.Read More
A Walk Down to the Lake
fill my mind with words and work
and give me tunnel vision
So when a small break between projects opens up . . .
When I travel especially on vacation, I find myself drawn often to the pottery of a place. It seems to me to be a melding of a place’s natural resources and it’s local artists in a form of beauty I have a hard time resisting. Maybe I romanticize the authenticity that a bowl or mug can offer, but nonetheless I’m drawn to it. This summer was no exception. On both family vacation trips I found myself buying up small pieces of pottery for gifts and for use in my office and kitchen.Read More
One of the central metaphors for my work and sense of vocation is a bridge. This summer I saw one of the most iconic bridges of the American imagination: Golden Gate in San Francisco, California. Both days we got close to the bridge it was shrouded partially in fog. Not unusual in the Bay area. Not unusual for the work of bridge building and walking.Read More
I am not a coffee drinker. But I’m pretty happy to smell a pot of brew perking along. A few evenings ago I found myself standing at the threshold of many a coffee drinker’s holiest of grounds. The original Starbucks is located in Pike’s Market in Seattle, Washington. However by 8 pm no one is around to partake in the daily grind, so they close up shop.Read More
Last time I checked in, I was still in a state of dazed confusion. But grateful for the disorientation of not knowing and on my way to part two of the celebration of Eid ul-fitr. My pastors and I had been at a gathering of several thousand Muslims for their prayer service following on the end of Ramadan.Read More
Cultural Daze (Part I): I’m not in culture shock exactly. But I do feel a bit dazed after spending most of yesterday in situations where everything was new and unfamiliar to me. I was in a minority. I stood out in ways that made me feel uncomfortable. I did not understand most of what I heard or saw. I tried to prepare, but reading and asking a few questions was not adequate. I tried to participate, but I kept feeling like I was getting things wrong. In fact I was getting things wrong.Read More
One of the delights of my vacation this summer was building rock cairns along the way. The first I built were on the banks of the South Fork of the Kings River. We were at the far end of Kings Canyon National Park, the sometimes ignored sibling of Sequoia National Park. My family and I spent a long stretch of one late morning in the Zumwalt Meadow just tossing rocks in the river, wandering along the bank, staring up at brilliant skies.Read More
One of the joys of my recent family vacation in California was seeing the amazing redwoods and giant sequoias. One of this week’s lectionary texts is Psalm 1. Here is the translation . . .
Packing Tonight we packed up for a trip. I do this a lot, but it still isn’t automatic. Thinking about what to take for the weather, the planned events, unforeseen needs. Do we have the camera and batteries? Sunglasses and…Read More
Wash It Out: One day while I was at Asilomar I was trying to explain to someone why I try to practice detachment. I said something like, “Well, it’s just important to me for everything in life. And I’m not very good at it. That’s why I have to practice.” We laughed. “It’s important for everything, huh?” Yep. I hang on to all sorts of things. How about you? Clothes become the days that I wore them. . . .Read More
Freedom to Worship
I accidentally heard Neal Boortz (had to look up the spelling) for a couple of minutes on the radio yesterday. I was immediately searching for a place to vomit. He literally made me feel ill. His invective against all people of Islamic faith is astounding. Really astounding.
From the Back Seat
Recently we were out riding on a Saturday afternoon. We had two three-year-old girls strapped securely in the back seat. We stopped at a neighbor’s farm and got a good look at some chickens.
We asked the first little girl, “Do you know what chickens give us?”
While I was away from blogging a lot happened. Life has a way of carrying on, whether I write something down about it or not. Of course. (Smile.) A few moments from the past six weeks seem worth revisiting . . . for what I learned from them. There were some important personal discoveries, not all of which need air time on a blog. Other moments keep sending sending their messages along. So here is one. I fell. I fell down and I can’t believe I didn’t break anything.Read More
The beach is awash in rocks. Each one a solid idea. Some round. Some fitting perfectly into an open palm. Others jagged. Miniscule. Others large as islands. Piles of ideas rolling around in the sea of time. Bumping into one another until no sharp edges remain.Read More
Postmodern Superpowers: If I were going to order up a postmodern superhero persona I would want the following: a really cool costume – one that smoothed out bumps and blemishes, of course. A way to fly – because of course I love that, so I’d put that on the list. And I’d want a really good set of superhero friends who had nicely matching powers and of course coordinating but not matchy-pooh costumes. And what other powers would I want? Well . . .Read More
Today I went to hear Alan Roxburgh at the Leadership Institute, a pre-meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m constantly bumping into the ideas in the “missional church” movement. I find the ideas somewhat interesting, but rarely do I experience them as dramatically innovative. Usually I walk away from such engagements feeling mostly skeptical. So I decided to take another opportunity to listen in on a presentation and see where it led me.Read More
I’ve been contemplating the many “parents” that have shaped and formed me this weekend. I’m grateful for the parents who gave me birth and brought me up in the world. I’m especially grateful for my dad who sticks with me and always tells me he’s proud. He’s recently retired from more than 40 years of teaching. For a long time I resisted that family inheritance. Lots of of my great aunts and their children were also teachers and school administrators. But eventually I saw that it was my calling, too. And in the last 10 years I’ve embraced the role with joy.Read More
On Sunday night I had one of those privileges of a life time. I heard Dave Brubeck play live at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City. He was my second jazz crush (after Louis Armstrong) about a dozen years ago. Brubeck, who turns 90 this year, sounded amazing, and was charming as he told a few stories. As I watched his hands move over the keys I was amazed at how he creates a kind of sound from the piano that for me pretty much defies description. Each note is clear, yet together a sound rises up that goes beyond the individual notes.Read More
“When we see the world as an end in itself, everything becomes itself a value and consequently loses all value, because only in God is found the meaning (value) of everything, and the world is meaningful only when it is the ‘sacrament’ of God’s presence.” – Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the WorldRead More