“Perspective”… ASL Gets It Right

if we’ve learned anything from this election it’s that the issues at hand are complex. i’m still amazed how surprised people are when i explain to them how i voted, which btw definitely did not fall in the norm for a white male with the evangelical (hate that term) label often tied closely around my ankle.

the thing is, there’s more than one way to look at the issues.

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and we often don’t want to admit that there are intelligent people who love Jesus and are genuinely following him on all sides of the debate.

there are multiple ways to look at…

  • immigration reform
  • health care
  • foreign policy
  • abortion
  • guns & violence
  • the death penalty
  • gay marriage
  • you name it

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in a word, you could say we all need a little more “perspective”.

american sign language gets this term right. in fact, the english term really doesn’t come close to doing it justice.

a friend of mine showed me this sign a couple months ago, and it’s profound. the sign is 2 eyes pivoting 360 degrees around a single point.

how often do we look at an issue from the angle we’re most comfortable? or an angle we “inherited” from our family of origin?

what if instead, we took the time and invested the emotional energy needed to truly view it from all other angles?

true perspective is looking at an issue from every single vantage point.

when you do that, you just might be surprised how your perspective changes.

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2 Callings, 1 Marriage

our marriage is not perfect. we love each other deeply and are committed to one another no matter what. but it’s messy. and, like anybody, if you look at the pictures we post on social media and assume that represents our every moment, you’d be sadly mistaken. in fact, we had such a good fight the other day (2 days ago) that i finally had to just leave the house and throw some things. (it actually turned into me throwing a lot of things in a pile in our back yard and setting the whole thing on fire, nearly torching the whole friggin’ forest behind our house, but that’s a post for a different day…)

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amidst all that, there’s something i think we’re actually starting to get right. at least conceptually.
it’s still messy, though.
and we still have A LOT to figure out with it all.

2 callings, 1 marriage.

i watched this video by shauna niequist a year or so ago, and then promptly passed it along to shanna. that video, along with a couple formative books and blogposts that we had read, drew us to something we had somehow missed all of our years growing up in the church and learning about ministry and marriage.
here’s the script we inherited and lived from for 10 years, the one we now are questioning:
  • man gets called into ministry
  • man finds a wife
  • wife drops what she’s doing (or planned to do) and follows him
  • wife helps husband by cleaning the house and writing notes to women in the church
  • if and when the kids come along (cuz, of course they will, right?) her help shifts to taking care of the kids full time and continuing to clean the house
  • meanwhile, he pursues his calling 100%, and she supports it
of course these are generalizations, but you get the idea:

HIS calling trumps her calling. end of story.

but what this video did for us was simply beckoned us to ask a different question:

is it possible to create space for TWO callings in ONE marriage?

 we didn’t know… but if there was, we wanted to find out!
again, it’s messy… but here’s where we are right now:
while we continue loving and leading our kids together, and while i continue pursuing the calling God gave to me for the church, shanna is pursuing a completely different and equally important calling. and it has helped her come ALIVE! her purpose bucket is much more full, and it’s so fun to watch her passionately lead.
what does she do?
she’s serving as an advocate for children’s relief international, an organization we’ve fallen in love with over the years, one filled with great people doing some great work for some of the world’s poorest. she spends her days identifying stateside donors and vision casting to them the role they could play in meeting the needs of those in deep poverty by…
  • providing college scholarships for young people graduating high school with a vision to reach their community for the common good
  • spreading awareness about a fantastic work called spark of hope
  • helping new ministries for AIDS orphans get off the ground with the proper resources and funding
  • interfacing with national leaders and CRI staff
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she was even able to jump on a plane this past summer to spend 10 days in mozambique while i took some time off and finagled my schedule to catch up on work while also keeping the house and kids going.
again, it’s messy. and every day seems to present a new challenge with this dynamic.
it’s definitely not the easier path.
but it’s so refreshing.

and it just feels right.

 

 

Silent Too Long

Silent Too Long

i’ve been silent too long.

i’ve had a lot to say but i’ve been waiting for the perfect words. i’ve drafted the posts, reworked the wording again and again and again and again. and then i’ve deleted those posts time and time again before tapping “send”.

there’s a lot of reasons for that, but i’m coming to realize they’re all pretty much rooted in pride and selfishness.

i don’t want to be polarized. i don’t want to be misunderstood. i don’t want people to get the wrong idea. i don’t want them to think bad of me. i don’t want to be disliked and rejected.

and it seems that anything that is said these days within the race conversation does all of that and more, the minute you start engaging.

but no more.

no more!

shush

the legitimate hurt facing my friends and brothers and sisters in the black community is grievous to me. and what i now realize is that my silence has actually been speaking for me. my silence has put me in a camp. and it’s not the camp i want to be in.

like at the republican national convention last night.

trump walked out to queen’s song (without permission), giving the perception that the band was part of team trump.

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not so, and they were (rightfully) pissed.

by simply doing nothing and saying nothing, i have said something.

and i’m no longer ok with that.

to those in the black community who are hurting and grieving right now, i want you to know that i am hurting and grieving with you. i want you to know that i recognize that you live with a reality i personally have never had to face in my lifetime. and i want you to know that you do not stand alone right now.
i want you to know that i do not believe we need to just get back to normal, as one politician recently said. normal got us to where we are today. we need to create and carve out and slug out a new normal.

a new normal that gets us all honest about prejudice and preference.

a new normal that attacks and dismantles the implicit racial bias we all experience, whether we know it or not.

a new normal that allows us the freedom to converse without being polarized.

a new normal that somehow brings us to true equality and freedom, the mutual respect and dignity that all humans have been given by their creator.

a new normal that genuinely celebrates and embraces the many different cultures within our communities.

i’m sorry for the silence.

no more.

#blacklivesmatter

The Lesson I Learned When My Son Wouldn’t Fall Asleep

last night was supposed to be a night where i got caught up. or, at the very least, it was supposed to be a night where several items on my “get it done or you’re screwed” list got checked off.
a little background: bedtime routines for us have been a tad difficult lately. they seem to last longer than they should and the stall techniques coming out of our 3 year old right now are impressive. i swear sometimes it feels like she’s collaborating with her little 3-year-old friends at MOPS on how to outsmart me after 8pm.
but for some reason… and we’re still trying to figure this out… adelina decided to put herself to bed last night. and quite a bit earlier at that. once we discovered that she was already out and sound asleep, and after we got over the shock of it all, shanna and i agreed i’d put cooper down while she went to Starbucks to enjoy some downtime without the kids. he’s the easy one at bedtime right now. piece of cake.

this was a very rare night, and i was very excited.

[now hold on – don’t judge…]
if you have little kids in your house, you know that you can love them to infinity and back and enjoy spending hours upon hours upon hours with them. in fact when you’re at work away from them you crave that time with them more than anything. but at the same time, stuff has to still get done. the reality is that having little kids means there’s MORE to do and LESS time to do it in. so, on those rare nights when the kids happen to go to bed early, there’s a party happening inside you.
[thanks for letting me clear that up.]
as i was saying, this was supposed to be the night to get crap done.

except it wasn’t.

he wasn’t going down. it was like someone slipped about 54 coffee beans in his apple juice. i sang. i rocked him. i cranked the sound machine up. but the stinkin kid just wanted to smile, laugh, and show me how many things he could climb.

i should have seen this time with him as an opportunity.

an opportunity…
…to connect together with no one else to distract
…to play legos
…to listen to him jabber and watch him learn
…to shape his character
…to influence his heart
…to love more deeply
but i didn’t see it that way in the moment.

i saw him as an obstacle, not an opportunity.

i didn’t engage or interact with him; i kept him from getting into my stuff. i didn’t sit on his level; i sat on mine. i didn’t see it as an opportunity to connect deeper than normal, but as an obstacle to get around.
finally, about an hour and a half later, as i’m finally rocking him to sleep for real, it all hit me.

i don’t want to treat people like obstacles.

i definitely don’t want to treat my family as obstacles.
i want to see every person i interact with, whether it’s planned or whether it’s spontaneous, as an opportunity. if they’re on my calendar, it’s certainly easier to do this… but what about the people that just “drop by”?
i guess the thing i’m thinking today is this: maybe God allows certain people to interrupt our plans because he knew we wouldn’t ever “plan” to connect with them on our own. will we see them as a person to love on and build into simply because they’re there, or will we see them as an obstacle to get around so we can get back to our list?

Now

now

no matter what your past has looked like, you are worthy of acceptance and love.

not when you get better.

or sober.

or put together.

you’re worthy of it now.

Prayer Requests: 5 days out

leaving for Mozambique in just 5 days with an amazing group of teens from our youth group. check out http://www.makingwavesinmoz.wordpress.com for updates while in-country.

Making Waves in Mozambique

we are now just 5 days out from the trip – we leave on thursday, july 18 at 6:00am!

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here’s 10 big prayer requests we’d love your help on as we make final preparations.

Please pray…

1. …that we’re able to rest amidst the stress and chaos of packing

2. …that we continue to open our spirits to all that God has to show us and that we’d receive it with soft hearts

3. …that we’d all be able to spend some extra quality time with family

4. …that God would give strength to parents and family members back home – this is a big faith step for everyone

5. …that our trust in God’s protection and provision would increase

6. …that we wouldn’t forget anything that needs to be packed

7. …that we would be able to fit all the supplies and donations in our 20 checked bags without…

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