Wednesday, January 21, 2009


The Lie of the Vacation

The problem with vacations is that they end. I am convinced that the reason so many people want to move to CA or Florida is because they vacation there. When you're on vacation, the world is idyllic. For the last two weeks, I have enjoyed time with family, old friends whom I have not seen in years, and been engaged in wonderful conversation and fellowship. Who in their right mind would not want that to endure?

For the last two weeks, the stress has been reduced, and while life always has at least some worry, most of that has been gone as well. But what happens (I think) is that people think that the weather of a place brings joy, and so they move to a "better" place, thinking that it will fulfill their needs, but life with all its stress follows them.

We have lived in Minneapolis almost 3 years now. The novelty of the place has worn off, and the more established we get there, the more stress comes with life. We are members of a church that is trying to nominate officers, our kindergarten aged daughter is receiving home education and violin lessons, we have a 16 month old who is asserting himself more each day, and my work continues to have unanswered questions, as new stores loom on the horizon. And this time in SoCal the weather comparisons were particularly on display. Since there was an 80 hour period in Minneapolis when it did not get above 0 degrees, we not only had to hear about how awful that weather must be, but we were also able to be on display for inquiring minds who wondered how a human being could live in such a place. The contrast and self congratulatory nature of some in SoCal made the contrast even more pronounced. At times, we felt like we were under scientific observation.

So this vacation taunts me. The weather was warm, but never materialized into a severe heat wave. And it was remarkably clear for SOCAL, with the mountains on display pretty much every day. We spent time with friends we have not seen in years, I finished 2 books, ate at some great restaurants, saw two movies, and napped quite a bit. The challenge that I feel that God is giving me (one that I could never face while on vacation) is to rely on him with all the uncertainties that continue to show themselves in our future. Minneapolis is a wonderful home base for us, as we cannot live on eternal vacation. But I cannot help but have my position supported: that work and the stress of life is not natural, and that at times like these when we can focus on friends and family are the times when God reminds us what we indeed created for.

So as we say hello again to the snow of Minnesota again, we say hello this time not as foreigners, but as an old friends coming home. We love our home, and we love all that it has provided. Minnesota is a place of endless beauty, much of it only made possible by the harsh winters. We are thankful for the time we could have here. We are thankful for an idyllic time of rest. We now prepare for the trip back north, and we look ahead leaning on God to help us through the uncertainty of the next year. Thanks to all in SoCal for a great time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Two Kingdoms

Well, we have had a good trip to LA. We go back to Minneapolis in a day and a half, and we have had some good times. The time with family has been good. The eating has been good. But the time we have had with friends has been uniquely good this time. But today was a unique day in our nation's history. As I watched the inauguration today, three things struck me.

First, I have had some extraordinary interaction with brothers and sisters in Christ who do not share my political opinions. This has been enlightening and engaging, and it has also given me a sense of optimism concerning the new president who took the oath of office today. But more than that, it has further reinforced the notion to me that Christ's kingdom is different than the kingdom of this world, and how we achieve justice in this world can be viewed differently, even by brothers and sisters in Christ.

Second, the ordinariness of the transfer of power spoke to the extraordinary nature of the moment. The oath was the same. The ceremony was the same. This all matters because the 44th president is like any other president...a private citizen who has been chosen by his peers to lead the country. The fact that President Obama is African American is both monumental and ordinary. It is monumental in its trailblazing nature, but ordinary in that he took the same oath that has been administered for over 200 years. I think that this peaceful transfer of power in part speaks to just how important a step this administration is. Obama won fair and square, and he has assumed the office as the 42 men before him have but his ascendancy is remarkable given our nation's demons concerning race.

Finally (I know I repeat myself), despite the hope and determination President Obama brings, I still lack idealism. I believe in the preeminence of Christ and His Kingdom, and I pray that the kingdom of this earth will become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. How an Obama presidency fits into that only God knows, but it is vital for us to remember that those of us who adhere to the Christian faith should first be loyal to Christ. I pray for our new president, that he can lead us in a greater sense of justice for all, and that more people can come to a knowledge of the kingdom that is not of this world.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Number 200

I just noticed that this is my 200th post since I began this blog almost 3 years ago. Nothing special, but I guess it is noteworthy.

This year I have only one thing that resembles any kind of New Year's resolution. I would like to come up with a group of 10-15 books to read this year. Since I have very little time to read, oftentimes I find it very frustrating to actually choose something. So far, I have this list:

-What's So Great About Christianity, D'Souza
-The Letters of John and Abigail Adams
-Out of the Silent Planet, Lewis
-Perelandra, Lewis
-Knowledge of the Holy, Tozer
-I want to find a biography of JS Bach
-Young Restless and Reformed (I have heard of this through my friend Darren Prince, and since I have settled into reformed theology, it sounds interesting)

This is my list so far...I am open to suggestions.

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