Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the role of land in blessing

i'm reading the foundational text of deuteronomy at the moment and it is reminding me of god's sovereignty, fidelity, and grace.  grace probably isn't a primary thought for most in reflecting on this book of law, but the book is rife with it.  it is nothing short of stunning that in this part of israel's history, when the people have gone after idols and infuriated god, god's mind is changed midstream by the intercession of a human (that hard working priest, moses).  but that another story.

today i came upon a passage in chapter 11 that brought me sweet surprise.  in this bit, as the people are learning what it means to love and obey god, they are promised that they will receive

"a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end."

now i find that enormously reassuring and my comfort from this would only be as recent as my passion for my own garden and our community garden.  working the land and recognizing more fully our dependence upon it have taught me look to the sky for rain and sun, to trust cycle and season for the crops to grow.  my faith in this God of land and place hasn't been robust enough to see and rest in the knowledge that god's looking over it whether i wait anxiously or sleep in.  who would have thought that part of what god is up to in the world is to lovingly look over land. what good news.

and the passage goes on in verse 13 to link obedience and blessing to land and food -

"So if you faithfully obey the commands i am giving you today - to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul - then i will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.  i will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied."

for years this kind of promise would have been missed completely on me.  in fact, if i'm honest ,i think i would have begrudged such a thing and wished for blessing to be manifest in entirely different forms.  but the way we see the world is different now, even from five years ago.  we are thinking in new (or old) ways about faithfulness and what it means to be blessed. most certainly we have begun to reconcile with creation as we take responsibility for how much damage we've done to the created order around us. this daily sense of our connection to place and creation comes as grace and acts, despite myself, to make me a better gardener and resident of god's good world.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

conference in chicago

nothing like a road trip to a conference on missiology to bring out the wild side. professors samson and pavey, farmer porter, intern k-rice, sherry and i set out today for the fair city of chicago. we are attending the ASM annual conference. should be a good time of catching up with some of our professors and meet many of the authors of books that have shaped our imaginations. we'll also enjoy meeting with al hirsch, doug pagitt, and jonathan wilson-hartgrove....they are all presenting papers here. sherry will also present a short reflection on communality on friday night (if you are the praying kind, say a prayer of courage for her as it can be intimidating to stand up in front of you mentors...essentially your bookshelf).




Monday, June 15, 2009


Sherry, Isaac and I went to the Juneteenth celebration in our neighborhood on Saturday.  a very moving occasion and we learned a lot about this important annual gathering (see here and here for more info).

the highlight was to meet an elderly woman who had a very old photograph of her mother standing on a wagon celebrating Juneteenth in 1910 in Texas.  an incredible picture of people 100 years ago who were all too aware of the tragedy of slavery for the immediate generation before them.  this energetic woman delivered an impassioned exhortation to Isaac about the importance of going to college (her mother had graduated in 1915 and she had graduated from college in 1941...remarkable achievements for their respective eras). 

here are some pics.


juneteenth 09

juneteenth 09



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

birthday girl - 39 today

happy birthday, sherry.  isaac and i are very happy you were born (and thanks paul and subie for making this wonderful lady).

pea pickin party

pool lads

i took the lads to the pool.  it was crowded and wild and there were way too many people in a little splash of water.  these little boys loved every minute of it.  there is never a dull moment at a crowded city pool...fascinating to watch the variety of parenting styles on display and the ways children make friends with each other so easily.

pool lads

another garden party

here's sherry instructing a group of kids at the london ferrell community garden yesterday.  a large VBS group exploring what it means to be "stewards of creation".  thanks to seedleaf and christ church cathedral the kids a had a great morning.  sherry chatted with the kids and read "frog belly rat bone" (a brilliant book given to us years ago by the dear gladdings...check it out).


Monday, June 8, 2009

pea party fun

we had a wonderful time with neighbors at the community garden over the weekend.  there was a crew of trainee chef's cooking food growing in the garden.  can't get any fresher than that! 

see here for more details...

and here for more pictures...

pea pickin party

pea pickin party

pea pickin party

pea pickin party

pea pickin party

Friday, June 5, 2009

family time

we had the remarkable blessing of a family reunion last weekend.  We (Sherry's parents, her brother and sister and their families) met up in the beautiful town of Cashiers, North Carolina.  the mountains were stunning.   the grandchildren enjoyed swimming in the lake and running on the trails.   our accommodations were just perfect - no TV, Internet, and almost no cell phone coverage.  it is always a joy to be with family but even more so without the intrusions of modern technologies.  here are some snap shots that give a sense of God's creative grandeur in NC.







and here's the whole tribe


and here's sherry and isaac reading and doing numbers work at a little coffee shop in Cashiers