these people and god

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These people are my heart. These people are why I no longer work full time. These people are the ones who make me want to live life rather than just watch it. These people are my investment. These people are my legacy. These people need me. These people make me want to be generous, and kind, and forgiving. And these people help me see God.

Here’s how I see God in them.

Mark: liturgy

Jessica: encouragement

Scott: patience

Tobin: wonder

Ryan: daring

Claire: compass

Fischer: infectious

Aimee: joy

Phil: communion

Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes I don’t know my own mind … or my own faith. But I see God anyway … through these people.

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$7.99 Rain Ponchos, Texting, and Making Memories

About 4:00 yesterday afternoon I flipped on the TV and was greeted with the always exciting news of a tornado watch. My first thought: Awesome. Normally tornado watches don’t bother me too much – after all this is Kansas City – but Mark and I had tickets to an outdoor concert last night. Compounding the tornado threat was the forecast prediction of 3-5 inches of heavy rain. Awesome again.

Since the tickets were part of Mark’s year-long 50th birthday celebration (!) and for a couple of his all-time favorite bands, the Doobie Brothers and Chicago, there was no way in you-know-where we weren’t going. Being the always prepared and industrious person that I am, I ran to Target and purchased two $7.99 rain ponchos, and at the appointed time we loaded up the car with the new ponchos and umbrellas and headed out. Of course, we took the trusty Lancer in case of hail – wouldn’t want to damage the pretty Passat.

With threatening skies and a few lightning flashes we watched the first act (a cheesy one-man Il Divo ripoff lounge lizard type – what a waste!) and settled in for the Doobie Brothers set. Sidebar: I’ve never been a huge fan of the band, but they are incredible musicians – they were pretty much flawless. About halfway through their set, I began receiving texts from Aimee and Jessica: tornado warnings in Johnson County and two small touchdowns at the airport. Now we had a trifecta of weather awesomeness.

We managed to stay dry, texting for weather updates all the while, until the very close of the Doobie Brothers set – then the heavens opened, the new rain ponchos came out of their bags and onto our bodies, and the concert was put “on hold” while we and 3,000 of our closest friends huddled under the small pavilions at the amphitheater’s side.

After about 50 minutes of waiting, we noticed activity on the stage. Although it was still pouring, the show evidently would go on. When the music began, Mark and I stayed under the pavilion like weenies, but finally we said “what the heck – it’s only water” and ventured back into seats.

It wasn’t just the music that transported us backward in time last night. For about an hour we were kids – it didn’t matter that it was wet, cold, and uncomfortable…to say nothing of the fashion statement our rain ponchos made. I will always treasure the memory of singing “You Are The Love of My Life” and “Saturday in the Park” at the top of my lungs, soaking wet, squeezed under a partially broken umbrella with my husband, with rain beating down on our Target ponchos and the scent of new plastic in the air. Life just doesn’t get any better…

j

Psalm 146:1-10

1Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD, O my soul!

2I will praise the LORD as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

3Do not put your trust in princes,

in mortals, in whom there is no help.

4When their breath departs, they return to the earth;

on that very day their plans perish.

5Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the LORD their God,

6who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them;

who keeps faith forever;

7who executes justice for the oppressed;

who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;

8the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.

The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;

the LORD loves the righteous.

9The LORD watches over the strangers;

he upholds the orphan and the widow,

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10The LORD will reign forever,

your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the LORD!

Steeple Inn and Anniversary

My husband and I will celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary on Friday. 28! Not sure how it got to be that long (or how we got to be that old) but ’tis true.

I’m thankful for my husband, his love, his support, his encouragement, and his cheerleading for me all these years while he waited for me to grow up. He’s my biggest fan (like I have lots of fans…ha). I tell him all the time that love really must be blind because he thinks I can do anything. But that just makes me realize how lucky I am to have someone who feels that way about me. And he knows me better than anyone. That’s just cool.

To celebrate our anniversary we’re getting away for a couple of days to an inn that’s an old church. Check it out! Mark has always had a dream of renovating a church and living in it – this is probably the closest we’ll get.

later

j

Weather FREEEEEK and Blogging

I am a weather freak, nerd, geek, whatever you want to call it. I’m a walking 7-day forecast, and I actually pause the weather segments on TV if I can’t watch them. (I have NOT yet resorted to DVRing the news so I can watch the weather segments at my leisure, but I do confess to DVRing seasonal specials put on by my favorite local weather team, NBC Action News.) I’m by no means scientific about it, but I do know what isobars are … if that gives you any indication of my geek factor. And Gary Lezak, the chief meteorologist at NBC is pretty cool…at least to a weather geek like me.

But I digress … Anyway, the station has a weather blog. I am obsessed with this blog. I read it at least five times a day. No lie. It’s most fun when there’s a big storm forecast. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a blizzard or severe weather, people go crazy speculating about what they think will happen. Some people even ask the team what the weather will be like for their kids’ birthday party at 2 pm two weeks from Saturday at the park a mile from their house. Pretty insane.

Here’s the weird thing though. Even though I read this blog all the time, I have never commented. Not once. I’m a part of this community without being a part. I even feel like I know some of the posters, but they don’t even know I exist. I’m an insider, but a silent one.

I guess that pretty much sums it up. I’ve always been a little bit of an insider who chooses to stay on the outside. Anyone else ever feel like that?

Revolution…or Not?

So, I just finished this book by George Barna called Revolution. The whole book is built around the premise that there is a growing group of people who are reducing their affiliation with a local church and growing their faith elsewhere – through house churches, service groups, parachurch organizations, or accountability groups. Some of them have left their churches entirely – others still attend with some degree of regularity. Barna calls these people “revolutionaries” and asserts that they will radically change the landscape of religion in America over the next 30 years. Knowing Barna, he’s probably right. To make things perfectly clear, these are people committed to Christ, just not to a local church. To call them disgruntled with the church is probably not accurate – a more apt description might be dissatisfied.

I identify with their dissatisfaction – I “get it.” I am so there. 100%. But I finished the book feeling even more dissatisfied. And I’m not sure why.

Maybe it’s that I’m not sure these people can truly be called “revolutionaries.” For someone following Christ, is it “revolutionary” to want to know him more deeply? To feel great compassion? To work to right injustice and inequality? To be concerned with the disenfranchised? To live in community? To worship with other believers? To not want a status quo life? Aren’t those things what Christ called us to in the first place?

Granted, these folks are waging a revolt against the local church in America, NOT against living out Christ’s example. So many churches are marketed, sanitized, politically correct (as long as you vote Republican), and well…comfortable. That’s what Barna’s “revolutionaries” are fleeing. Comfort. Safety. Security. The “known.”

It still leaves me a little cold. Maybe it’s that Barna, once the champion of the church growth movement, is now on the other side of the fence – not just tracking a trend, but joining the “revolution” himself and trying to convince others to do the same. Seems like a little self-promotion here. Or rationalization. Maybe it’s my overexposure to marketing – do we really need a book about this? What’s the point? To sell more books? To “warn” church leaders of the exodus from their congregations? Maybe what’s bugging me is deeper than that. Maybe it’s that people are “fleeing” rather than “fixing” – running instead of rolling up their sleeves and doing the hard work of reformation.

Anyway, I guess you could call this a bit of a rant with a dash of cynicism thrown in. I’m not as angry as I sound. Really. But I am frustrated. And I’m not quite sure why.

peace,

j