April 2008

1 Corinthians 13:7 says “Love believes all things.” Really, all things? Now there must be some allegorical, some mystical view of this verse. A literal interpretation on this verse makes me feel uncomfortable. Come on Paul, you really can’t be asking me to believe all things. We have a words for that kind of person. Gullible. Sucker. Really Paul, you must mean something different than this. Really, does Love believe all things?

Must I believe my friend who I feel has hurt me and when confronted tells me that was not his intention.

Must I believe my wife when she tells me that she did not mean to spoil our monthly budget, but was trying to feed our family with healthy, organic food.

Yes, I have to believe Paul knew exactly what he was saying when he said that Love is believing.

Cause that is my Lord.

My Lord is believing.

He believes me when I recommit myself to Him, knowing that I am going to fail.

He believes me when I ask forgiveness, knowing that I am going to falter.

He believes me when I say I want to spend time with him, knowing that I am going to sleep in the morning.

Some may call Him gullible, some may call Him a sucker.

But I call Him Love.

And He’s my Lord, who is my Love, and He believes me.

And so I must do the same…

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My wife, Toree and I have decided to sell our van. Although finances play a part in us making this decision, it has largely been part of my wife’s seeing the Kingdom of God invading her life. Since we’ve surgically impaired one of us(yes it was me 😦 ) to stop having more children, a large van just doesn’t make much sense, especially at 16.7 mpg.

So the attractive choice in front of us is to go biodiesel. 45-50 mpg, environmentally sound, what more could one ask for. Yup, that is it! Decision has been made, I am ready to pull the trigger… until I read this article this morning with the following quote.

“Ethanol was initially promoted as a vehicle for America to cut back on foreign oil. In recent years, biofuels have also been touted as a way to fight climate change, but the food crisis does not augur well for ethanol’s prospects.

It takes around 400 pounds of corn to make 25 gallons of ethanol,” Mr. Senauer, also an applied economics professor at Minnesota, said. “It’s not going to be a very good diet but that’s roughly enough to keep an adult person alive for a year.”

Now, I’ve heard in the past how the future of our great earth will greatly be benefited by us using Ethanol. The only thing is that it takes 400 lbs of it to make enough gas for me to drive to my favorite mall and back.

Someone needs to get fired. Who was the mathmetician who figured this out (more likely politician with some great kick backs). Yes, let’s take 400 lbs of edible, usable corn to make fuel. Do we not know people are actually dying of starvation. A person dies every 3.6 seconds. Every 3.6 seconds! That means in my 45 minute trip to my favorite mall in my ethanol juiced car 750 people will die of starvation. Again someone needs to get fired. Really. Seriously.

So back to my dilemna. Biodiesel. What evil is lurking behind that. How many vegetables am I killing in order to get to my Starbucks in the morning?

Guess this is another reason to ride by bike to get my coffee in the morning.

If you want to make a difference, I have just recently been introduced to a group that is getting their hands and feet into real life situations.

LifeWind International – The Village Changers

Village Changers is an exciting new way to join the circle of people who are transforming villages by giving food without foodlines, help without handouts and aid with dignity.

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Richard Rohr comments in his book Jesus’ Plan For a New World, “Every town has the hard-to-get-to spot where the teens pain graffiti, late at night, at tremendous risk. Yet when the soul feels utterly insignificant, it writes its name where you can’t miss it.”

I have always wondered what drives someone to dangle above a freeway, nudging themselves along a concrete precipist, with a couple of cans of spray paint(probably made this mistake of not bringing enough spray paint only once) to get to that billboard and tag it with some unintelligible graffiti. I mean really, I don’t like graffiti(it messes with my sense of order), but I have to admit there are some taggers that I consider absolute rock stars for their incredible sense of daring.

Yet really, isn’t it a desperate cry for attention. “Look at me” it screams. It forces the attention of the world of commuters to view at the ‘art’ of one desperate individual.

But back to the quote above. Really am I any different? Yes I don’t hang over highways or slip into tunnels in the cover of the dark. Yet I have realized that when my soul feels insiginfcant, ignored, repressed, or not affirmed that I have the tendancy, even the propesity, to write my name where you can’t miss it.

To scream, “Look at me”, To demand attention. This is what we graffiti artists do.

The spray paint that we use is just a colorful as the graffiti artist’s pallete of colorful cans. They are,

Anger, gossip, arguing, withdrawal, sarcasm, hypocrisy, bitterness, attention, ignoring, disconnection.

(just to name a few)

(my favorite colors are withdrawing and disconecting if you really need to know)

We all do these things. They are as second nature to us as breathing. But the important thing is this

not to know what I do, but to know why I do it.

I know what I do, I know what I do when I get frustrated or annoyed or fearful, but to understand the why, now that really gets to the heart of things.

I guess I have come to this realization. We all have different forms of graffiti. You have soul graffiti, I have soul graffiti. And I am ok with that. And I am confident my Lord that he will clean up our graffiti in his way and in his time. Lest we forget, that love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith and meekness and temperance are called the fruits of the Spirit and not the fruits of my hard work and sweat. They are the fruits of the evidence of the Spirit movement in you and me.

P.S. For what it is worth, I have heard the book Soul Graffiti by Mark Scandrette is just awesome. I have not read it so I have no idea if it has any relation whatsoever to the above. But I have heard it is a must read.

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seeker of truth

follow no path
all paths lead where

truth is here

Poem by E.E. Cummings

This poem is touching something in me. Thought I would share.

Lord help me to realize that where I am is not as important as where I am going. You said, I am with you always. You accept me fully for where I am now, today, in this moment. Thanks.

A week ago I set out on an Experiment in Hope. (view part 1) Here is what I found as the thread of hope in my days.

Is there anything better than losing your first tooth? The hope of getting older. The hope of something new coming in. I find it ironic that children lose teeth and adult don’t. Quite frankly I don’t think an adult could handle the fragility of looking different, having to change the way I would eat (how dare anyone tell me to change!). An adults self esteem and ego would be crushed. But a child celebrates it! And their hope is rewarded by the faithful and elusive tooth fairy.

I was sitting in Powell’s Books, (the largest used bookstore in Portland). There I saw a young artist. She had a sketch book and graphite pencils. I walked up to get a coffee and passed by her. She was drawing. What I do not know. But in that I saw hope. She wasn’t reading to gain knowledge, she was not involved in some deep theological and esoteric conversation, she was simply drawing. Cause she could. There was something coming out of her. I love artists. They inspire me. I feel artists are people who the DNA of hope. May their tribe increase among us!

I just need to say that I don’t like fishing. I think it is one of the hopeless activities in life. (Much of this feeling is likely due to my own lack of success.) This time of year on the Columbia River there is a chinook run of salmon. There are thousands of boats on the river, all lined up in neat rows. All with hope of catching that illusive salmon. To me this is hope shared. To know that they have hope somehow makes me feel more hopeful.

Almost every telephone pole in downtown Portland is covered like this. Advertisements, bands, garage sales, events and special occasions. All saying something, all wanting attention and specifically my attention. They are tattered, partially covered, faded pieces of paper. But these mini-internet telephone poles scream what hope is to me. Hope is always fading. The moment I cling to a moment of hope a little too tightly it slips away from me. My hope of yesterday is tattered and needs to be replaced with a new hope event.

And that is what I came away with about Hope. Hope is only good for this moment. When you see Hope breathe Him in deeply. And then exhale. Ready to take your next breath. For in the next breath of Hope, He will be all your breath can handle. In fact He may even take your breath away.

Hope. Def: “A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.”

Hope is such an interesting thing. I clamor for hope. I complain that the news is filled with bad news, depressing situations and general hopelessness. Anyone who looks around can easily fill their can of hopelessness. A small sampling of what I see: The congeniality of the Olympics being disturbed by an oppressed people trying to have a voice, the violence of Darfur and the rather cold shoulder the world gives, that a child dies every 6 seconds due to hunger, the continuing wars that litter our world in Pakistan, Chad, the Mexican drug war, The Gaza Strip, North Niger, Mali, Thailand, Chad, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia and of course Iraq and that I can’t sell a house in Vancouver if my life depended on it!

But maybe, just maybe I am looking but just not seeing. Maybe hope is more like the threads that hold the seams of my clothes together. The threads, so small, so insignificant, so overlooked and yet so important.

So my experiment today. To look for the thread of hope. To look in the corners of life. To look in the common, overlooked and simple places. And see what lies there. Is there Hope that is hidden?

My little girl, Charlotte, drew this beautiful picture of a rainbow. (is there anything better than a child’s artwork?) I asked her, “Charlotte, what are those things in the middle of the rainbow?” She quite confidently said, “Daddy, those are steps, so you can see the rainbow better.”

Of course, steps, why hadn’t I thought of that. In fact in all my thinking about rainbows I can quite assuredly say that I’ve never thought about steps. I’ve thought about pots of gold, where do rainbows start and end, how are rainbows made, lucky charms, noah and the flood and the theological ramifications of rainbows, but never have I thought about desiring steps in order to see a rainbow more closely. All my rainbow thoughts are focused on what I can get from the rainbow. Gold, theology, promises and destiny.

And my little girl wants to build steps into the rainbow to see,

the depth of green,

the fire of orange,

the brilliance of blue,

the passion of red,

the glory of yellow,

the royalty of violet,

the mystery of indigo,

Not that she knows any of those things. Not yet, but she will. The more she enjoys the rainbow, the closer she gets, the more she will see.

And the more I see that I need to stop and enjoy the the Lord for who He is, not for what He gives and not with what I can get.

But to discover Him and the closer I get the more I see Him as,








Not that I know any of those completely.

Not yet, but I will, and I am. The more I enjoy the Lord, the more I will see.

So why a blog? Really does the world need another presumptuous voice, spewing more thoughts and opinions into the blog-o-sphere. (this is especially concerning as I needed my spell check to spell “presumptious”)

But yes, and here are the reasons…

1. I am a rationale, emotion stuffing mennonite. It’s not that there are not things going on in me, but the things that are there I’d rather not share. At least out loud. And so in my natural extremism, what a better medium to share my thoughts and feelings than a blog in which anyone can view my inner dialogue. Many of my thoughts/feelings will likely be in a form of roadkill. The problem with ignoring the dead things along the road is that it makes things a lot messier than they need to be.

2. It is setting the stage for my macbook pro. I need reasons to get a macbook. Really good reasons. Every good toy starts with an even greater excuse for getting that toy.

IE. “Honey, if I get a macbook I can spend more time with you since I will be more efficient with work. It will actually be a time saver.” Funny thing is I actually believe this.

3. Because I can. Now I don’t say that as a smart-donkeyed response to the individualism and self rights that possesses much of the western world.

I get to speak in terms of my relation and correlation to this beautiful world. No one has has the oldest son-Canadian-mennonite-bible school-christian and missionary alliance-pentecostal-fundamentalist-ex youth pastor-american-father-2 kids-home inspector-ex capitalist-cell group-house church-emerging church-Jesus centered history that I have. I realize that my life is a map.

4. I need to express. I don’t play music, I’d don’t cook(other than a great eggs and bacon breakfast), I’m not an artist, but I’ve come to realize that I need to express. Something needs to get out of me to make me sane. (BTW, I think that is the same for you, for all of us, we all need to express.)

So there it is.

Out of the desert and into the Sun.