Friday, October 31, 2008

trio:: glass, stone, coin


I'm not a big fan of this holiday -- certainly not a fan of the way it has become second only to Christmas in consumer spending! That is ridiculous. And while I could get into a discussion of the reasons that followers of Christ should not celebrate this day v. why it is okay to let your kids go out and get free candy, that's not my intent.  

Here is what I think about when halloween comes around -- when I was a kid, I loved this holiday. It was not about the candy (though I did like that part) or the parties so much as the COSTUMES!!

I love costumes. I don't remember ever purchasing a costume (pieces, such as wigs and hats, yes) -- mom either made them or we created them from things we had in the house already.

Ahhhhh....the good old days. :)

And for those who don't know -- I still love costumes. Here is one I created a few years ago for a party (New Years Eve, actually) and then used again for a halloween gathering a couple years later. It was a lot of fun to make. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Global _________ Crisis

While in Asia this past Spring I was reminded the view of the world from the U.S. is very different than the view of the world from about anywhere else in the world. Now, I'm not a news junkie, so the fact that I miss some current events is not totally uncommon -- but I generally am aware of the big stuff (measured in breadth of impact or duration). 

So, watching the news (BBC World mostly) from one hotel television or another in the Philippines, I was introduced to the Global Food Crisis.  Did you know that there is a Global Food Crisis?

I am very aware of the Global Financial Crisis -- knew about it almost before it was yet declared a crisis. 

A blogger (known to me as "R") whose writing I enjoy commented on this very thing recently. She referenced an editorial cartoon that I've seen pop up in a few blogs this past week -- one that is poking a bit of fun at the ignorance of the wealthy.  (This cartoon appeared in The Daily Nation -- a Kenyan news outlet.)

This is just one more reminder that my perspective is so very limited. I must remember that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Made in Africa

While this video is about innovation and technology and Kenya, it also speaks beyond those parameters. If you like IDEAS or are motivated by CREATIVITY or if you love KENYA, you'll want to watch this.

The subject is interesting, but it is not important that you either understand the complexities of the technology or even see the importance of leveraging social media for the greater good.

What is important is how this will likely push you to take Africa out of the box you'd put it into. That alone is worth the 4:14 it will take to watch it.


Russ Hersman (friend and colleague whose office is next door to mine) sent me a link to this video in an email. He is the appropriately proud father of the speaker/storyteller in the video.

Edde Arthur (friend and colleague who is the Director of Wycliffe UK)
blogged about it. And now I'm blogging about it too.

Bible Translation + Literacy + Relationship = IMPACT

Nathan, from Ireland, recently led a short-term trip to Cameroon. This is the video he put together to tell that story. I found it because Jessica, who is living and serving in Brazzaville, Congo blogged about it. She knows Nathan.

This trip as sponsored by Wycliffe UK -- one of the dozens of Wycliffe organizations around the world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I wonder what would happen...

...if we invested as much time and energy into praying that God would soften the hearts of both major candidates running for the office of President as we spend blathering about things we "have heard" and that "they say."

Should we talk about the issues? Yes

Is it appropriate to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate? Of course.  

Could healthy public debate help us to not only identify our next President but potentially help us solve the issues that our nations faces?  I believe so. 

But we haven't done all that much of those things and a whole lot too much of substance-free noise-making  -- at least lately we haven't. I'm sick to death of posturing and spin, rumor and innuendo -- on both sides of the aisle and about both sides of this race. 

I do think that part of the issue is that this election cycle has been TOO LONG, but if we let that be our only excuse then I am afraid we will continue in the spiral that keeps us suspicious and dogmatic and unable to reason together. 

Anyhow, I'm going to try to stay out of the verbal fray this last week before the Election. I'm going to try to spend time praying for John McCain and Barak Obama (and Sarah Palin and Joe Biden). 

And when the dust settles and the votes are counted and we name a new President, I will thank God that we choose our leaders by casting votes -- that this imperfect system is so much better than many of the options -- and that in January, one President will peacefully move out of the White House as another moves in. 

More than that, I will thank God that He is still on the throne -- that the Kingdom will not be shaken by human politics -- and that for all of eternity, our God reigns. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Sacrifice of Obedience

Last September I blogged about my friends -- Mark & Charlene Canada -- who were taking the next steps in an long-time adventure of obedience. 

Today they mark another step as they will be commissioned by family and friends at Faith Missionary Church in Indianapolis. (Yes, that's the church where I was commissioned as I came to serve with Wycliffe almost seven years ago. They stood with me that morning.)

A life of obedience can be rich with relationships and experiences that are nearly impossible to measure in human terms, but it is not without challenge and sacrifice. One of the things they are experiencing these days is the sacrifice of saying "good bye" -- of relationships being redefined, to varying degrees, by the separation of miles.  

With this comes the burden of knowing that their obedience impacts the very people they love most in ways that they would not choose except that the choice to follow Christ compels them to do so. 

That may sound horrid to you if you have never followed Christ -- if you have never known his love and grace.  The wonder of it all is that this One whom they are following in obedience has the capacity and the will to care for those they "leave behind" in ways that are beyond their caring.  Mark and Charlene know (and they are not alone in this understanding) that it is Christ who has worked through them all along to extend love and grace to the people in their lives whom they have served so far -- that anything good that has come from them has really come through them from God. 

That does not make the sadness vaporize into irrelevance -- but it does make it possible to endure the sadness for a season.  To look forward to seeing, for instance, the way that God will provide.

And lest some of you start thinking otherwise, these are not things that "only missionaries" experience. Many of you who read this blog with some regularity have experienced this sacrifice of obedience -- you have had to place beloved family and friends into God's hands for care that you could not even be a part of providing. And you have found Him faithful beyond your imagining, yes?  I know I have.

[I snagged these photos of the commissioning service off of Facebook this morning and thought I'd add them here. Gotta love this about Web 2.0.]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ARTIST: Hyatt Moore

I find it difficult to describe some things. For those of you who know me, you may be mumbling that this does not usually stop me from trying and you'd be correct -- most of the time.

Some things knock the words out of me and leave me speechless (at least until I catch my verbal-breath). 

Some art captures me this way -- my mind and emotions and spirit all at once -- and when it does, it takes a while before I can "explain" what I have experienced. My response may be immediate, but it rarely comes with words because my mind spins with thoughts which I don't have good words to express. 

When I first saw this painting by Hyatt Moore (and then only digitally and therefore small) I responded that way. This past week I've spent more time than ever on Hyatt's website looking at his work as I've been working on a project for the Last Languages Celebration next month. (More about that project when I can share more details.)  It has been a delicious experience. Not ALL art speaks to me like this, of course. 

I sat with a friend and watched the sun set over the Gulf from the beach on Captive Island once and couldn't utter a word for quite a while. 

Mozart's Requiem. Yeah.

The water in a stream dancing over smooth stones.

I can try to predict the things that will silence me in this way, but usually there is an element of surprise in it all. Not shock...but surprise. Like a dear friend's surprise visit or phone call that is "just because" or a hand-scrawled note expressing genuine affection that wasn't prompted by a holiday or other event, there is something in the unexpectedness of it that makes it more delightful. 

When my life gets too filled up with stuff, I don't have room around the edges for these things to appear that fill me up with other than stuff -- and that is not a good thing. 

Like that...

Thursday, October 23, 2008


My friend Sandy was recently in Thailand and took a bunch of interesting and creative and sometimes silly photos illustrating my favorite number 47. Here are my favorite onese of those she sent to me. I just had to share them. Click on the image to see it full size in your browser. Can you see all the "47's" or not?

And, this gives me one more opportunity to remind those of you who need reminding (or beg those of you who need begging) that there is still time to post a comment on my September 22 blog post "47 days until my 47th birthday."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reaching the Last Languages

Because I've read the end of the story (in Revelation), I know that the Lord will one day be worshipped by people from every nation, tribe, and tongue.  The question is not whether this will be done -- but how, and when. I believe that God is bringing together all sorts of things -- technology, partnerships, movements, etc. -- that are providing the right environment to see the last language communities reached with God's Word and Truth in this generation.

I've been serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators since February 2002. When I came, I was more passionate about "missions" than I was about Bible translation specifically. Convinced, however, that the Word of God is critical to life -- not just religion -- I have been able to fully engage in this work that provides access to the Scriptures for all people on earth in the language and form they understand best.

Over time, God has used His Word and participation in the mission of this organization to deepen my conviction that God's Word in the heart language is critical if the Church's ultimate mission -- to produce fully devoted followers/worshippers of Christ from among all people groups and language communities of the earth -- is to be accomplished. 

That is the simple explanation of why Wycliffe is engaging in the Last Languages Campaign. This video shares some of that story and I'll be writing more about it in this blog from time to time. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Idylle * Idyll

I have a collection of places -- real and imaginary -- where "I'd rather be..." This has just become one of those.

Truth is, I REALLY want to be wherever it is that God wants me to be -- and I don't mean that to sound all Sunday school-ish at all. That is where I find true peace and contentment.

But sometimes I'd like to be transported to one of these ideal places for a short rest. These are places where taking a deep breath is easy and naps come without effort.

(Thanks Mali Anta for making it easy to blog your photos from flickr...)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beauty, Pleasure, and Enjoying God

I found this image on flickr. The photographer is named Joe Bollinger. I really like his work -- he has a great eye and enough photography skill to convey his vision to others. Very enjoyable. I found this and put it on my hard drive a number of months ago to use for wallpaper. After my 30 hours in Chicago in October and being reminded first hand of the wonder of changing leaves, I was drawn to this image again.

Sometimes beauty evokes from me a sense of joy and ahhhhh and wow! On rare occasions, that is not followed by much thought at all.  While pleasure is not a right, I believe that God created us with the capacity to experience a purity of pleasure that reflects His own ability to do so and that He intends for us to enjoy life. 

But here is where we get all mucked up in our thinking (my opinion). 

Sometimes we think that our enjoyment of life is on our own terms -- whatever gives us pleasure is good because it gives us pleasure. It doesn't take much discernment to see the holes in that thinking. Truly, there are things that can give us (temporary) pleasure that are not part of God's purpose for us. Left on our own, most of us become indulgent and then addicted. The Holy Spirit had Paul write about this in Romans. Our sin nature can eventually convince us that sin is not only acceptable, but our "right." 

Sometimes we think that because some things that do give us pleasure are not honoring to God -- they do not reflect His image in us -- we should avoid pleasure. All of it. In addition, because even the good pleasures -- that God created us to enjoy and, in turn, created for us to enjoy -- can become too important to us and can turn us away from right relationships with Him, we should avoid those. So, this thinking can lead us to throw it all out.

Other times we think that pleasure -- in small doses and with strict supervision -- is okay as long as it doesn't distract us from more important things.  

And how very human of us to think that some pleasures, because they are not sin outright, are therefore also okay in excess?  

I'm not sure where the bottom line is on this. I think that most of us have missed the mark and are, as we are in all things, dependent on GRACE and another chance to try again. I know that my natural tendency is to swing too far in either direction in ways that aren't helpful to myself or others. (Anyone else want to join me in that confession?  I thought so.)

It brings me around to the great Q&A of the Westminster Larger Catechism:

Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?
Answer: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

And that makes me consider that the key is to ENJOY GOD...FULLY. 

Now, what does that look like?  On some days, it means pondering a leaf on a rock and finding great satisfaction that the One who created that beauty created me and loves me beyond any imagining of it. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chicago's Millennium Park -- WOW!!

On Sunday -- when we weren't watching the Bears almost win or eating the best Reuben I've had in my life or driving north on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago Marathon Sunday traffic because it's worth it or sitting along the lake shore watching boats and geese and ducks, we were at Millennium Park. 

I want to go back.

(from the website:)

Millennium Park is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. The result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the 24.5-acre Park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers.
Among Millennium Park's prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa
(that would be the photo above with the face and the water and all the people interacting with it); the contemporary Lurie Garden designed by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel; and Anish Kapoor’s hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture (that is in the photo to the right and there is a reason it is hugely popular -- it is HUGE and cool).

Millennium Park is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It is bordered by Michigan Avenue to the west, Columbus Drive to the east, Randolph Street to the North and Monroe Street to the South.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My kind of town, Chicago is...

I flew to Chicago on Sunday morning (with Erica and Nancy) for an all-day conference on Monday and was home to sleep in my own bed Monday night. 

Quick trip. 

Good trip.
Good because I got to spend time with women I like a lot in a city I like a lot doing things I like a lot. Good because the trees were beautiful. 

Good because the sun was warm and the sky was blue on Sunday. 

Good because even when the Bears lose in the last 1 second after a nearly-miraculous come-back, it's better when you experience that with a pub full of Bear's fans in the Loop.

Good because of God. 

Really no more and no was all Him. 

The people, the weather, the beauty and wonder. Even the glimmers of community found in a pub over common experiences -- even in that, God's character reflected in it is what I'm drawn toward.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why "word for word" translation isn't always a good thing...

I follow a few blogs and often those lead me to other blogs. It can be a wild goose chase down many rabbit trails (and mixing metaphors may be against the rules in some worlds, but occasionally setting them right up against one another is just convenient). Today I followed one of those trails and found a delightful illustraiton of why literal, word for word translation sometimes leads to miscommunication.

A blogger working in West Africa sharee the following on her blog recently:

Last night I went to a Tex-Mex restaurant. They had tortilla chips on the menu, which was even in English. So we ordered them. This is what we got.

A fried tortilla with fries on top.

Fries=chips in British English

So, tortilla chips.

Word for word translation can lead to serious miscommunication.

The fries were good, so this was not a serious miscommunication, just a good laugh.

Thursday, October 09, 2008



Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Far Country (by Richard Foster)

Today the heart of God is an open wound of love.
He aches over our distance and preoccupation.
He mourns that we do not draw near to him.
He grieves that we have forgotten him.
He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness.
He longs for our presence...

For too long we have been in a far country:
a country of noise and hurry and crowds,
a country of climb and push and shove,
a country of frustration and fear and intimidation.

And he welcomes us home:
home to serenity and peace and joy,
home to friendship and fellowship and openness,
home to intimacy and acceptance and affirmation.

--Richard Foster, Prayer

Lucy, whose blog I follow thanks to the wonder of RSS feeds and Google Reader, shared this on her blog today. I loved it so much I wanted to share it with those of you who read my blog (or who might, for some reason we may not be able to understand, read this particular blog at least).

Saturday, October 04, 2008

"There is a frog on your nose!"

This is Kate. She's been one of my favorite people since before she was born. 

When I was in Indy last month I got to see her and, well, she doesn't have a frog on her nose any more. (This photo is quite a few years old -- Kate is in the 6th grade now.)  

She STILL has a way with words that cracks me up. Always has. I think she always will. 

One thing I didn't get, though (her mom and grandma were both equally baffled by this) -- she didn't like the grilled cheese sandwiches at camp because there was "too much cheese."  Really, is there such a thing as too much cheese?  

Thursday, October 02, 2008

2008 INDIANA: New Friends at the Retreat

On Saturday night we did the "skit in a bag" thing where every group got a bag with an odd collection of stuff in it and then had just a few minutes to make up a skit using all the stuff.  Our skit was outrageous non-sense. I played Dr. Ruth and this spider is the baby we delivered using salad-tong forceps. The baby was named Touchdown!  (Long story you really don't care to hear, I promise.)

In the lobby of the Inn there was a very large Smokey the Bear. I love Smokey. Always have -- at least as long as I can remember.

One of the women in my small group brought her 5 week old daughter to the retreat. She and I had a lovely time on Saturday morning while others sang. Actually, we were singing along.  She is really beautiful...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

THE BIBLE: A Quote from Desmond Tutu

“There is nothing
more radical,
more revolutionary,
and nothing
more subversive
against injustice
and oppression
than the Bible.”
-- Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu