Thursday, January 29, 2009

it begins in the belly

one of the most wonderful blessings in recent years for sherry and me has been to meet Simon Carey Holt.   he is a professor at a baptist seminary in Melbourne, Australia.  his recent book, "God next door" is simply one of the most compelling and gracious texts we have read on mission and 'everyday spirituality'.  we cannot more highly recommend it to you.

Simon has a new blog/web address... check it out here.

on a recent post one of Simon's readers (Geoff B) quotes theologian Jurgen Moltmann.  i thought this was a beautiful distillation of what we are fumbling toward in Lexington.

"participation [in the Christian faith and life] means in the first place to eat, to drink, to live in common. It begins in the "belly" not in the head. One must savour it before one can speak about it... this happens best through [local] communities and groups which live intensely with the gospel and their neighbours"

(Moltmann, J├╝rgen. The Open Church : Invitation to a Messianic Lifestyle. London: SCM Press, 1978.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

heat and ice

nasty weather here in kentucky.  it has been an odd couple of days.  our thoughts have been with the island continent as australia day (jan 26th) came and went.  melbourne has been enduring extreme heat .  here the ice keeps building up and now snow stresses the already burdened trees.  as a 'new american' i find January the most disorienting month.  for most of my life january has meant a new school year, days at the beach, tennis, cricket, and long, light evenings.  isaac has been out of school for two days because of impassable roads and he will be home again tomorrow.  we have been indoors working on emails and other computer reliant projects while isaac builds lego cities.  a long way from antipodean heat but starting to feel like home.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

co-workers with god

we never cease to be inspired by the words of dr. martin luther king who said:

"human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men and women willing to be co-workers with god."

-letters from the birmingham jail, 1963

it is a simple yet mindblowing claim.  that we are co-workers with god is such a measure of god's grace, goodness and mighty (and risky) economy.  it is a daily practice that geoff and i give thanks for the richness and privilege of our vocation as missionaries.  and this happens  even though i struggle almost continually between hope and despair, faith and doubt, trust and disbelief.  how good it is to know that god is never ceasing in reconciling, redeeming, and creative efforts in this world and we are invited to join in.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the good old muppets

thanks to the library's video collection, this weekend our family has enjoyed being reunited (and introduced to) the original muppet tv series.  last night, just before bed, we sat with isaac and watch an hilarious skit with peter sellers - he plays a german scientist giving a brutal massage to a pig.

today, as i'm trying to get some work done at our computer in the bedroom upstairs, i can hear isaac below, all on his own, rolling on the floor in hysterics as he falls for the sweet and witty humor of those dear puppets.  i am thrilled that this good stuff transcends generations.

at the moment,  isaac is participating in a program at the library  - read 50 recommended kindergarten books.  it comes with a poster and bookmark with a checklist of all the books.  in the last week we've read 15.  we told him if we finish them all then maybe we can buy a muppet dvd of our own.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a little red, white, and blue

our family woke with excitement this morning with the arrival of the inauguration of our 44th president.  isaac looked so smart this morning, dressed for school in his patriotic colors, belt and all.  we'll enjoy this historic day with a broadcast at the public library with a crowd.

seeds to come

seed party

it is so cold and dreary at the moment.  the best remedy for this, and the promise of things to come, is an order from a seed catalog.  this year, for the first time, we had the joy of doing this with some friends.  since you can rarely use all that comes in a seed packet, sharing is almost a necessity and from it creates a nice economy.

last night we gathered at the kochs (who must have hospitality fatigue from their unfailing generosity in making space at their table) with a samson family rep - will, and the colby family (community garden collaborators).  we read out all kinds of creative names of heirlooms and chimed in our orders as the list grew (included were merlin beets, bright lights chard, san marzano romas, parisian cucumbers, astro arugula, and butterball potatoes).  this year we'll try some new things - okra, peanuts, leeks, october beans, and a potted fig.

while there is still quite a lot of winter ahead of us (the sidewalks are frozen and snow is falling), our family came home with dreams of food in the backyard and green growth.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

rev. mlk

"Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured."

MLK Sermon Delivered at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on 31 March 1968. Congressional Record, 9 April 1968.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

christmas/new year break

we had a joyous break at the very beginning of the year.  sherry's dear family took us to disney world in florida.  apart from the predictably thrilling time we (especially isaac) had while immersed in the ethereal unreality of disney, the weather was a tonic to our bodies.  the memory of 5 days of warmth and sunshine bless us right now as we look forward to these temperatures in Lexington.

here are some pics from our holiday.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

the first egg

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such a gift of first fruits - our friends, ryan and jodie, shared their first chicken egg with us.  we've gone in with them and two other families to raise chickens together, although ryan and jodie are saddled with a bulk of the effort since the chickens reside in their backyard.  we ordered them back in may '08 as adolescents.  they've grown up, all 15 of them, with one ending up unexpectedly as a rooster (his name is dolly and he's quite aggressive).  we've waited all this time for these hens to develop and reach the point where they will begin to produce eggs that we will divide among us and savor.  last week, as a precious gift, our friends gave us the first egg laid.  the next morning we cooked it up for isaac as egg on toast, with promite of course.

in today's usa today, there is an article about the urban backyard chicken-raising phenomenon - http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2009-01-02-urban-chicken_N.htm.  at this point, we know several people with chickens as food-producing pets.  it's a part of a wider movement of sustainability and local food.  we're just glad lexington allows it.

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