Sunday, January 18, 2009

Words or Actions

I just finished another book today called "Silence." The author is Shusaku Endo and it follows the fictionalized life of a 17th century Portugese priest in Japan during the great persecution of Christians across the country. Endo, of course, based his writing on actual history and so it is easy to read this book believing you are reading actual events.

Initially the plotline of this book may also sound a little slow. I found it to be anything but that.

If you are looking for an inspirational, pick-me-up, feel-good book choose something else. If you are looking for a book to challenge you in how you live your faith, welcome! One of the central questions at the core of Endo's writing might be posed as, "Is it more important to share our faith through words or actions?" You may have answered this question on other occasions but I guarantee you will moved to look at the issue in a different light by the time this reading is finished.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hot and Cold

Over these last days we have had the kind of weather people think we have all the time in Southern Califoria. While most of the country was thinking about ice tonight I was sitting OUTSIDE Starbucks with some high school students in my shorts and t-shirt. These are the moments where I get to "gloat" and so I admit to enjoying it.
I have lived here so long many forget I spent the first half of my life living in Pennsylvania (near Lake Erie no less!), Maryland, Illinois and Kentucky. I remember snow drifts, icesickles and freezing cold and . . . I don't miss it.

Some would say they love the seasons. I get that. I do miss the colors of fall. I do miss the emerging of spring but to be honest I would be happy with a wardrobe of board shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops year round.

I would love to have days like this everyday but even in Southern California we get rain (thankfully!). We occasionally have some "cold" and in late May, all of June we get invaded by fog for most of the day. Earthquakes, fires and droughts are a part of our profile as well.

There is no perfect place on earth. As a Christian my eternity with God has already begun. I'm okay with this place for now. I can only imagine what is to come.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Good Read

I love being around college students. In their classes they are often referred to books or ideas that run under the mainstream radar. Having two college students in our own house gives us opportunity to hear about the newest resources.
Our son recently came home from Gordon College and brought us the little book, "The Illumined Heart," by Frederica Mathewes-Green. The book really is small at only 102 pages but she hits hard in asking and answering the question, "Why are modern Christians so indistinguishable from everyone else?" In addition, she offers many other questions in dealing with the topics of prayer, fasting, repentance, relationships with others and comparing our faith to that of the early Christians.

In this frantic Western culture I find myself often perplexed on how to apply the disciplines of a vibrant faith into my everyday life. It is easy to say "that was then and this is now." Mathewes-Green proposes there is no difference when "we no longer live but Christ lives in us." It's more about me walking with Christ than He walking with me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

When We Were Happy

It's a new year and I am resolved to picking up the blogging pace a little bit. It's been a once a week (if that) kind of thing. I am going to try twice a week and see how that works!

I had last week off for work so our family took a day and went to Disneyland. As our kids get older the times of just the five of us are inching toward a close. Nancy and I treasure each time we can take our children away and just hang out together.

We had a great day there. We never feel too old to be at the "Happiest Place on Earth."

Spending this day with the people I love the most is always a reminder to appreciate the present and leave room for rest and fun with my family (and the many other people who surround me). Happy days like that carry me through the more challenging days in the real world of pain, bills, deadlines and separation. They remind me of the eternal happiness to come.

Living in Christ will lead me to more "happy places" and "happy moments." I will be looking for a lot of those this year.