Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Marriage R&D

I am in the process of laying out a marriage-focused series in the new year. I am looking to you for your thoughts on the question below:

What are the biggest challenges facing marriages today?

Thanks for helping shape the series,
sd

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bookfest

As the end of 2007 comes rushing toward me, I am making a resolution to read more in 2008. I already have the books - I just need to finish them/start them/reread them.

Here is my starting list of books I'd like to get to.
I am sure some others will jump in and others will jump out...

Non Fiction:
> The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer
> Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Lencioni
> Simplicity by Rohr
> It's All in How You Tell It by Robinson
> Writing about your life by Zinser

Fiction:
> Black by Dekker
> Godric by Buechner

How about you? Any good books?

Reading Rainbow,
sd

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday Snow Storms

I don't like snow. Snow is bad enough by itself, but when it chooses to arrive Saturday late/Sunday early it makes my sleep patterns suffer. So now, I wonder how much snow we will get... I wonder other things like:
> Will this be a big storm or a lot of big news hype?
> Will the High School Parking lot be plowed before we gather?
> Will we be able to get both trailers to the high school?
> Is it too dangerous to travel - aka: do we cancel? Watch what other churches do.
> What time should I get up to find out the scoop?
> Why don't I like somewhere warm?

Anyways - I don't see too bad of a storm coming, but these Saturday night/Sunday storms are always a bit more anxiety producing than any other.

O the joys,
sd

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How long are your bootstraps?

What is the difference between the kids in these photos?














The three on the swing are my kids. They live with my wife and I and have all the food, clothing, shelter, running water, educational opportunities, family and friend support they need to live comfortable and healthy lives.

The four children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and live with their grand mother in a shanty town outside of Johannesburg. The don't have running water and lack many of the basic support systems we take for granted.

One of the most common values of the culture is the rugged individualism that honors the person who picked themselves up by their own bootstraps. We value the person who works with what they've been given and carves out a life of success and doesn't need others to prop them up.

We may feel like not getting involved in the needs of the poor because we worked hard with what we were given and they should do the same.

However, what if you weren't given much to work hard with? What if you were born into the situation of these children - in poverty - without parents - without the same opportunities we have been given? Did these kids ask for this? There is inequality and injustice.

My kids have a gigantic advantage over these kids.

We are not self made people - yes, we work hard with what we are given, but what we've been given is enormous!

So when we don't feel like getting involved because the poor and oppressed should just work harder and pick themselves up by their own bootstraps maybe we should look down first to make sure they are even wearing boots.

I need help with this.

Excuse me little guy what size do you wear?
sd

Psalms 113:5-7
"Who can be compared with the Lord our God, who is enthroned on high?
He stoops to look down on heaven and on earth.
He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Back home

I am back from a ten day trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. As I stated in a previous blog post I went to partner with Vox United.

I don't have the energy or wisdom to lay out the many different experiences and corresponding threads of meaning at the moment, but I wanted to share one thing that God reminded me of. Every person is valuable and is to be loved.

Some of the experiences we had:
> Visits to multiple townships (shanty towns).
> Museums (Soweto and Apartied).
> Trip to a Hospice to visit those dying of HIV/AIDS and dealing with other issues.
> Sharing with local pastors and hearing their vision and challenges.
> Preaching with an interpreter at Soweto Vineyard Church.
> Learning about the injustice, oppression, poverty and disease from people.

Through the visits, the discussions, the sharing, and the walks through townships I began to see people more and more as God saw them... as His children - His beloved - the apple of His eye - those made in His image - each having value and cherished.

On my return I don't feel more guilty for eating what I eat or living where I live, but I find myself looking more people in the eye. Taking a little more time with the drive through woman at Arby's to smile and see the spark of the divine in her. All people are valuable and should be loved.

This supreme ethic of loving others as we love ourselves was embedded in me more on this trip and I hope it overcomes all of me.

Anyways - I may share more in the future, but for now I say hello again - you are beloved.

Blogging aint easy fo sheezie,
sd