Monday, January 21, 2008

a different world?

i spent a fair amount of time today reflecting on the legacy of martin luther king jr. given my relatively rudimentary knowledge of his life, he's as much a symbol to me as an actual man. but his vision, his courage, his willingness to risk, his sacrifices -- and that of all those he represents -- inspire, challenge, and even (in a healthy way) shame me.

among the things i contemplated today was this newsweek photo essay entitled "segregation nation." it's an interesting composition, in particular for the ways it contrasts america's racist past with its present. imo, it paints a pretty optimistic picture of how much has changed -- too optimistic, if you ask me.

it's hard to disagree that progress has been made. when the secretary of state and a leading presidential candidate are black americans, when there's oprah and tiger and clarence thomas, you figure that some things have changed. still, there's enough that routinely happens in the u.s. that it's hard to declare "mission accomplished." some it is personal, serious, and deadly; some of it is structural. some of it reveals the on-going stupidity and ignorance that makes the other kinds of racism possible (for a sample, take a look here.).

i wrote about these issues at length this summer after our visit to the king national historic site in atlanta (find the post here), so i won't go over that ground again. but on the holiday that honors king's life and work, it's appropriate to ask: how much progress have we made toward making america a nation where all people have equal opportunity, and where people are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character? in 2008, is that a goal for which we are willing to commit substantial resources and make serious sacrifices?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

baby columbia

every once in a while, i get reminded that some things that seem random maybe aren't...

when b was little, she named this little bunny 'baby columbia.' it was a little weird, frankly. we didn't even know that she knew that name. but it was cute, if seemingly off the wall. apparently, m has a sense for these things, though, because she kept baby columbia all of these years, until the opportune moment.

that moment came in mid-december, when b learned that she had been accepted early decision to columbia college. we like to say that the photo above is 'the two baby columbias.' as you may have read in a previous blog entry, that was a great day, followed by weeks of anguish after the financial aid package arrived. we began praying every night for God's provision and for his clear leading.

that was over a month ago. and yesterday, after much prayer and many long discussions, b accepted the invitation. what has changed? not much, in terms of the financial aid offer. this is going to be a faith walk, as so many things in our life seem to be. i wish i could say that i was rock solid throughout this process. nothing could be further from the truth. other than b, i am certainly the one who has agonized the most over this decision, going up and down, wondering what in the world God wanted us (and me, in particular) to do. you could be excused for wondering why i didn't already know the answer, since it never seems to change: trust him. trust him with my daughter. trust him for the money. trust him for our future, including retirement. trust him to lead us in the ways that give life.

so here we are again. and even though we've never been in this exact situation, it all seems very familiar. and not random.

for i know the plans that i have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for calamity,
to give you a future and a hope.
then you will call upon me and come and pray to me
and i will listen to you.
and you will seek me and find me
when you search for me with all of your heart,
and i will be found by you
declares the Lord.
jeremiah 29:11-14
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Sunday, January 06, 2008

friends and family

this is us with our friends the h family. as you can see, they're quite photogenic. :-) they're also part of the launch team for the bridge christian church -- the church we'll be planting in renton later this spring.

yesterday, we had a chance to hang out over at their place while n and b babysat the little ones. there was a little drama early and late, but on the whole, it was a fun and pleasant time.

we're grateful our new friends and partners here in the pnw. we've endured a variety of hardships as we try to start this new ministry -- lots of spiritual resistance -- but we are learning to face them together.

put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth and having put on the breastplate of rightousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. with all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
ephesians 6:10-18
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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

eight hopes for 2008

we rang in 2008 with a family new year's eve party, complete with our trademark snack foods (dry salami, sharp cheddar cheese, a variety of crackers, tater tots, chili fries, silly tilly punch, and martinelli's), a collection of board games, old (scrabble and boggle) and new (a family sudoku board?!!), and the dropping of the big ball in times square (by television tape delay, of course). we also added auld lang syne and shout from one of our favorite movies of the past year, the temptations (if you haven't seen it, you can find part of the video here).

we also took some time to share what we were looking forward to in the new year, and i thought it might be nice to share our hopes with you. so here are our eight hopes for 2008:


  • liking school better
  • making new friends
  • finding a great ballet school
  • taking self-defense classes
  • more babysitting
  • being less anxious
  • excelling in school
  • seeing the launch team of cpr (church plant renton, a.k.a. the bridge christian church) grow closer together like a real family


  • going to columbia and getting settled there
  • planting a new church
  • getting to know God better
  • becoming more involved in the community -- in kent, at church, at bcc, at columbia, in the neighborhood of lower manhattan/harlem)
  • graduating from high school (again)
  • tips internship
  • becoming less anxious
  • getting back into shape
  • meeting my goal of reading ten just-for-pleasure books of my choice by my birthday in 2008
  • seeing b off to columbia
  • seeing n feeling at home in every aspect here in washington
  • seeing the bridge established and growing, thriving
  • seeing b enjoy his job
  • m getting well
  • n finding things to enjoy
  • b going to university
  • n excelling in school
  • the bridge finally starting
  • preaching on a regular basis
  • becoming more established in the pnw
  • being more centered in Jesus -- full of faith and at peace, less anxious
wishing does not make things so. but the desires of our hearts matter to God, so we entrust them to him in faith.

delight yourself in the LORD;
and he will give you the desires of your heart
commit your way to the LORD,
trust also in him, and he will do it
psalm 37:4-5

may 2008 be a year of faith and fulfillment for you and yours!