29 August 2011

Photo of the Week: Irene and Moving

Here are two photos. One is of Ceara watching the wind from Irene whip through the trees in our current apartment. The other is the view from our new winter rental as Irene blew across the water.

23 August 2011

Reunion and Withdrawal (and with-drawl)

The past few days have held a mix of emotion for me. I have rejoiced at spending time with Courtney, Ceara, and Caleb. I have missed the 28+ people with whom I spent the past three weeks.

I celebrate the reunion. I mourn this feeling of withdrawal from an intense, intentional community experience. And while at the end of three weeks I definitely said certain things with-drawl (thanks to the Southern contingent), I'm glad that my speech has returned to its somewhat normal state.

I long for opportunities in the future when Courtney, Ceara, Caleb, and I could engage in intentional living with others. I am challenged to see how I can do that in our current context.

Not sure where the thoughts are heading now... until next time, peace.

22 August 2011

Photo of the Week - YAMs get Commissioned

This is a photo of the Young Adult Missionaries with Thomas Kemper, who is the General Secretary of Global Ministires. They were commissioned on Thursday, August 18th, and now they head out to 8 U.S. States and 11 countries.

15 August 2011

Photo of the Week - 5 years ago...

This past Friday marked our 5th Wedding Anniversary. WooHoo!!!

Another Prayer for the Young Adults


Great I AM,
You give us a name of seeming ambiguity,
Yet you give us a name of Promise, Hope, and Possibility.

We read and hear about aspects of who you were and what you have done.

Sometimes, in moments of faithfulness we proclaim who You are,
and, unfortunately, in moments of arrogance we expound upon who we think You are or how we think that You should be.

Thank You for times when in moments of doubt and/or faithfulness we can still proclaim that You are.

Other times we feel like You are not,
or that You are - but for other places and other people and not with us here and now.

Forgive us, Help us, Heal us, Be to us,
for Your glory, honor, and praise,
because You were, You are, and You will be for us forever.

*Another "prayer plainly spoken" for the US-2s and Mission Interns based upon reflections around Exodus 3:14 in which God's response to Moses' question of, "Who shall I say sent me?" is, "Tell them, 'I AM that I AM has sent me to you.'" This is the English rendering, yet the Hebrew has a fuller sense of continuation in that it also could be translated, "I was that I was, and I will be what I will be."

13 August 2011

Redeeming and Recycling God: another prayer for the young adults

This prayer needs a bit of an introduction both for its style and its content. I experienced this style of prayer with different people and in various communities, yet most formative for me was Stanley Hauerwas praying this way before each ethics class for an entire semester. Some of these prayers are collected in a book titled " Prayers Plainly Spoken."
This prayer results from various thoughts and images coming together: One) our move to Maine where one pays a deposit on cans and bottles; Two) the image of the man who walks through the neighborhood and the sound of him rummaging through garbage cans searching for cans and bottles he can take to the redemption center and earn a little cash; Three) the young adults who have a passion for breaking cycles of injustice, abuse of power, and poverty, yet who also wrestle with their own brokenness; Four) the verse from the Bible found in Micah chapter 6 verse 8 which says, "God has shown you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? Do Justice, Love Mercy, and Walk humbly with the Lord;" Finally) the style of prayer in which we use words intentionally to name God, reflect upon an event or circumstance, express what we feel, and remember the call to love God and love neighbor.


Redeeming and Recycling God, sometimes we can feel like the empty Coke can cast aside. Used and discarded, we long for someone to search for us, to find us, to redeem us, and to recycle our lives into purpose again.

Other times - by our actions and our inactions - we treat others like Coke cans.
Awaken us to when we cast aside others unaware.
Help us, for even in awareness we might try to "recycle" others, yet discard them nonetheless.

Forgive us, we pray.
Empower us to do justice and live with those cast aside;
to love mercy and speak prophetic words for those casting aside;
to walk humbly and become aware of when we perpetrate and remain aware that You are (and we are not) the redeemer.

Thank you for redeeming us for value with the deposit made on the cross.

Recycle us and transform us to see how You want to reincorporate us into Your story.
Resurrect us and grow our imaginations for ways to reincorporate those cast aside into Your story of love, compassion, truth, and grace.
In the name of the resurrected Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, Amen.

12 August 2011

Aslan is on the Move

"Aslan is on the move."

This line from "The Chronicles of Narnia" started coming to mind a couple of weeks ago, and since then it has continued to pop in and out of my thoughts on a daily basis.

"Aslan is on the move," is what the Narnians said to each other when the snow started melting and they began to see glimmers of hope as pockets of resistance would rise up against the White Witch. (I know that is not a great synopsis, yet it will have to do for now.)

About a month ago I spent a few days in Grove City, PA at a gathering of folks who had a passion for reclaiming the terms Church, Christianity, and Missions from the negative and wounding ways that many people associate with those words.

"Aslan is on the move."

A few weeks ago I attended a conference with about 95 campus ministers who wanted for their campus ministries to rupture the narratives of cultural and civil religion that also promote the negative impressions of Christianity.

"Aslan is on the move."

For the past two weeks I have had the tremendous privilege and opportunity to share life together with 26 (including one via Skype) amazing young adults who have decided to give the next two or three years to live with communities in poverty working for justice, mercy, and peace, and in so doing provide a tangible witness and experience to people of God's love, compassion, presence, and grace.

As I hear their stories over meals, in large and small groups, and in one-on-one moments, I cannot help but get excited for their lives, the communities where they will live across the US and around the world, and for the way they will join in God's holy work of healing the world.

"Aslan is on the move!"

Click here for information about the United Methodist Church's Young Adult Missionary Service Programs.

Click here for a story about one of the young adults named Wil.

09 August 2011

The Great I AM: A Prayer for the Young Adults in Mission

May the Great I AM
Hear You
Deliver You
Protect You

May the Great I AM
Provide for You
Nourish You
Guide You and Lead You

May the Great I AM
Teach You
Train You
Transform You

May the Great I AM
Redeem You
Restore You
Rejoice over You

May the Great I AM
have all of your lives -
all of your faith, hope, and trust,
all of your doubt, anxieties, failures, and shortcomings -
that you may know the Great I AM in ever deeper and fuller ways
because the Great I AM - the triune God - was, is,
and will be for you...forever.


*This prayer of blessing, in the Celtic Tradition, was written for the young adults currently being trained in Stony Point, NY with the United Methodist Church. The story of Israel's Exodus and Exile and relationship with God ("I AM" is the name given to Moses by God in the book of Exodus, and it is a name by which Jews and Christians continue to call on God today) as seen through the stories of the Old Testament.*

08 August 2011

Photo of the Week - One Year-Old

Caleb celebrated his first birthday this past week. Courtney drove Ceara and Caleb down to Stony Point, New York (where I am co-facilitating a training of 25 young adults going into mission service with the United Methodist Church) so that we could celebrate together.

01 August 2011

A Distinction between Missions and Mission

I was pointed to this quote today from Leslie Newbigin, and I found it a helpful distinction between words often confused.

"Mission is the entire task for which the Church is sent into the world. By 'missions' I mean those specific activities undertaken by human decisions to bring the Gospel to places or situations where it is not heard, to create a Christian presence in a place or situation where there is no such presence or no effective presence."
(Leslie Newbigin in "The Logic of Mission," p.20)

I don't think he is referring to proselytizing, rather he is recognizing that Christians do have a viable, authentic, and alternative way of living. This living is not over and against other cultures necessarily, rather it is recognizing the opportunity to: live peace into places of violence; work for freedom in places of slavery; restore dignity into places of marginalization; live in solidarity with those who are oppressed; etc. And the reason Christians can live that way is because of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ that provides a the hope, freedom, and strength to live life in such a way.

I know that is not an exhaustive list, but I'm just trying to wrap my head around this quote.

Photo of the Week

Ceara loves to dress herself before we go out. She chose the sweater Grammy made even though it was a hot day.