Sunday, July 30, 2006


The Weight It all converges everyday. But sometimes it seems to converge more than other times, if that makes any sense. This week was one of those times. The fact that our house closed during a particularly difficult week at work was ironic to me. I work for my house, my command to work is informed by my faith, my house and family and how I treat them are linked to my faith, and my house and family are supported by my work. But it is only at times like these where the necessity of all three becomes real to me. Only when there is struggle on every front does the necessity of each become so apparent.

Work takes me away from family, yet my family cannot survive without it. My family needs the home we bought this week, but my faith challenges certain elements of my job, and since my job supports the house and the family, all becomes heavy and confused.

I can hear Levon Helm singing in the distance...take a load off.

It seems as though it should be simple. The reality of Ecclesiastes is there. I need to work, and come home and enjoy my family. But sometimes the harsh reality of work is a weight that is difficult to bear. I should be simply grateful for the ability to support my family, but that reality does not sink in. My job is unfulfilling to me, but it allows me to take part in the most fulfilling part of my life. The thing which causes the weight is that one cannot very well exist without the other.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Why I Love the Trinity

I graduated from Biola University in 1998 with a Biblical Studies major. I picked up my alumni magazine today, and the cover story dealt with a movement away from theology in modern evangelicalism. It seems that some among us are beginning to question matters of theology, such as the Trinity. To quote Bishop TD Jakes (not specifically on the matter of the Trinity), "I am too busy trying to preach the Gospel to split hairs...people are dying without knowing God not for lack of theology, but for lack of love."

I also know very little concerning the emerging church movement. What I do understand is that it focuses on relationship, and might be more inclined to speak less of theology.

I see a problem.

The core of Christianity is indeed relationship, as these folks are correct in pointing out. The model relationship is that of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, a model that is decimated if we leave out Theology. In many ways, I loathe systematic theology. I think it attempts, too often, to shoe horn preconceived theological understandings into the Bible. But please, give me the Trinity. Where are we without it? What basis have we to proclaim any truth in Christianity (the love of Christ, loving each other, feeding the poor, being peacemakers) without the fundamental, beautiful relationship of the Godhead. Why do we need to take our focus away from the Trinity to focus on relationship, when our relationships should be defined by the Trinity.

I once heard talk radio personality Dennis Prager (by no means a Trinitarian) say that people are only bored because they are boring. Well, if a disciple of Christ is not invigorated by the core relationship which brings all of our relationships into their proper context, then maybe the doctrine is not the problem.

Please, think about the Trinity. You won't ever be able to fully understand it, but affirm it we must! For in its intricate balance, we see Christ's nature explained. Without that explanation, what gospel have I to preach? Why should I imitate this Jesus who healed the sick and gave comfort to the poor? Why should I care about this man who, in one majestic and seemingly unjust moment, took upon himself all of my ugliness?

Because God is Triune. Let's not lose that. I hate the fact that people don't live by their theology. I hate when I don't live by my theology. But please, it is our lifeblood. Without theology, we are as chaff, which the wind will inevitably blow away.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall without end.

Monday, July 17, 2006


The Dog Days

The salad days...the dog days...they both apply right now. The heat has subsided today in the Twin Cities, but we still have decided to stay inside for most of the day. Here's what's going on:

-The Dodgers have decided they don't want to win in Missouri, as they lost 4 straight to the Cards. The Twins are now 6 1/2 behind the White Sox for the Wild Card. At least both of my teams are in contention.

-Trevor Hoffman blew the All Star Game for the NL. Why can't he get the save the one time I am rooting for him?

-I was in Chicago again last week for TJU, a special training program for Trader Joe's full timers. The highlight? Chicago Pizza. Good training, but oh that pizza.

-I turned 31 last week-so far, it feels the same as 30.

-As we inch closer to our big move to Minneapolis, the attention has turned to home furnishings, a subject that has always been riviting to me. It is fun to imagine the possiblities, and my wife finally has a blank canvas upon which she may paint.

-As I look back, it has been 10 years since I went to Israel, and now Lebanon is the hot spot again. There is so much arguing about who should do what, and all the while innocent people are victims. It is so hard to watch.

-The kids are continuing to grow so quickly. The boy still isn't walking. He is able, but doesn't want to. Watch out world when he decides he wants to walk.

-Corrie Hesed is in a testing mode right now. It seems every time we turn around, she is giving us yet another reason for a "growing moment". At the same time, her propensity to show more and more affection also grows, and that endears her to us.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


You're not my father...and other observations

-I think that the boy was angry with me today. By this, I don't mean that I took away a power cord again and he cried. No, this time I got the sort of steely glare that is usually reserved for mature adults.

I had left my shoes next to the coffee table to enjoy the World Cup Final today (Bravo Italia), and at one point, my son fell down on one of them. He whimpered a bit, but that was just the beginning. He picked up the shoe, and proceeded to stare at me, with out the customary grin, even when I tried to incite one. It was as though he was thinking, "Sir, I believe you dropped something-don't let it happen again."

It only got creepy when the glare continued for the next few minutes. Then, he went back to his normal self. Even so, I have the sneaking suspicion that won't be the last time I see that glare.

-The weather here in Minnesota has been glorious. Warm, but only pleasantly so. Mid eighties, beautiful in the shade, and not oppressively humid.

-I felt right back at home last night, as the Steph and the kids and I went to a cheesecake cafe in Minneapolis (complete with 170 flavors of cheesecake and toys for the kids), and then took a walk in the same glorious weather around Lake Nokomis. This is the same Lake that will serve as our extended back yard for years to come (we hope).

-Being back at work has gone well this week. We still face a lot of challenges, but continue to make progress.

-We are pulling out all the stops tomorrow for an early birthday celebration for yours truly: breakfast at Mickey's Diner in St. Paul, and dinner at the Green Mill in Maple Grove. Eating out is always fun for me. Maybe I'll have pie too.

-Incidentally, if you're ever in St. Paul visiting us or for any other reason, do yourself a favor and go to this diner. It isn't a fancy experience, and they want to hurry you through (being as it's an actual dining car from a train, it's small), but their food is amazing.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


4th of July in the Sky

A couple of sound bites from our flight home Tuesday:

The NWA Captain: "Folks, if you look off to your left, you can see the fireworks over Lake Minnetonka."

Corrie Hesed: " was red, now its green. Look at the fireworks...are we going to bump into them?"

Our flight home Tuesday granted me this see fireworks from an airplane. Those of you who know me know that I am not a patriotic person. My affection for this country springs mostly in traits I find endearing, not from the so-called virtues of which people speak. Having said that, the bombs bursting in air in complete silence was enchanting. You could see the Great American Celebration going on, and in the quiet of that plane far above the ground, there was a strange stillness to it. In our attempts to show our might and our pizazz (Americans are not a subtle people), it was ironic to feel that what I saw Tuesday did not stir me, but it did give me a sense of solace and peace. Strange indeed.

I want to see the fireworks over Lake Minnetonka from the ground next year.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Back to our home on the Prairie

It is never easy to close the book on a vacation. I think it is even more so this time.

We have had a busy week and a half. Steph's brother was married Sunday, and we had a wonderful time on the boat where he was married. As I consider our first trip home after our move to Minnesota, many things come to mind:

-For many reasons, it is harder to go back home this time. We love Minnesota, but you never can have quite enough time to relax.

-I saw Superman Returns on my own last week. Good, but nothing compared to Richard Donner's version (w/ Christopher Reeve), a masterpiece of cinema that, to me, has never been equaled by any other comic book film.

-My son has just taken his first steps, here on his grandparents living room floor. This continues a precedent. Corrie took her first steps on my parents living room floor, and Jack has now taken his first steps on Steph's parents' living room floor.

-It was too hot during our visit. Even my daughter asked to come inside-something we have never heard before.

-We were able to spend some precious time with our dear friends Eric and Josie Oldenburg, two missionary friends who are home from Ukraine to have their first child. It's been two years, but we picked up right where we left off. We have much in common at this stage in life, and it was great to spend time with them.

-I got to see the Dodgers wallop the Angels Friday, only to see the Angels return the favor the next two days. The Twins have won 11 straight, which (not to be too self centered) makes me feel like I should stay away for their sake.

-One neat thing at Matt's wedding was that the DJ did some things that really celebrated marriage. The way they decided to give away the bouquet was giving it to the couple who had been married the longest (turned out to be Bob and Elaine Elliot-he is my father in law's fishing buddy, she played the organ at our wedding, and they got their groove on out on that dance floor on Sunday)

-So we go back to Minnesota, our tanks full with our time away. We are not quite ready for what lies ahead. We go home to a one year old starting to walk, a home in escrow, a busy Twin Cities Trader Joe's, and so much more. It seems overwhelming. Can't we stay here a bit longer?

No, it turns out. We go back to our home on the prairie with the most important thing in tow-each other. My daughter's ever expanding vocabulary, my son's ever expanding world, my wife's strength and my desire to explore our new home more. All these traits come together to make us a family unlike any other. We look forward to starting our life in our new home, to spending our first summer on the prairie, and to finally having a home to call our own. As we begin more fully to build our lives in Minneapolis, we feel stronger now. God has been good and in the business of our vacation, God has been forgotten all too often. I thank Him for our families, our friends, and the opportunity he has given to build our home in the Twin Cities.

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