Thursday, December 25, 2008
Like all years since we moved to Wisconsin, Sarah and I are not returning home for the holidays because we have a student conference that takes place after Christmas and before new years that we need to be ready for. A coworker set me strait the other day when we were all complaining about not being with family at this time of year (he is also from California, Northern California actually but we will not hold it against him) He said that serving these conferences is the perfect task for this Christmas season, yes we want to be with family but isn’t serving others exactly what Jesus did? Isn’t that what we are celebrating? I dug my toe into the warn carpet and thought about that…as hard as it is to accept, he is right, I feel that God has us right where he wants us, and for me that means driving a big truck down to Atlanta Georgia the day after Christmas to help facilitate and tech InterVarsity's Black Student Conference; and Sarah will be driving to Chicago to organize childcare at InterVarsit's Grad and Faculty Conference.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Many people have asked for a picture of our new car…well here it is. Since I (Matt) was in California this last weekend, I noticed that the Pontiac Vide (essentially a Toyota Matrix by the way) is not very popular out there because I didn’t see a single one, and they are pretty regular here…unfortunately.
Also for those of you that are still in shorts and sandals, this is a little taste of what life is like in Madison…that is not snow by the way, but ice. The 12 inches of snow that are falling today will not touch the car though; it is safely inside our underground parking.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
After almost a year absence, the many feathered birds of the Midwest are back on our balcony…I think it is mostly due to Sarah’s bird-feeder and its new treats. I haven’t seen any birds eating from its bounty yet but the evidence is conclusive that they have found the apricot strawberry goodness in the feeder and are liking the new nutrition.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
This year, Sarah and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house. We invited anyone that was not going home to join us for a huge turkey (Sarah got a 20lb-er) and way more food than necessary. We all comforted each other in missing home since all of us have family out of state, so we made due with friends.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
- Car salesmen are really desperate right now. In fact, we're on first name basis with many of them because they keep calling with new deals: especially Billy, the tattooed salesman with cool glasses. He almost had Matt convinced to become a car salesman so he could be just as cool.
- It takes much more time to look at cars than we realized. It took around 20-30 minutes per car that we looked at.
- Everyone has opinions about buying cars ranging from don't buy anything and keep the Jeep running...to buy something but don't go into debt over it...to buy something and who cares how much it costs. We went with the middle option.
- It's a lot harder deciding on a car when there are two of you involved and you're a one car family. I didn't get my mini and Matt didn't get his hummer.
- If you keep looking, have people praying for you, and stick to your list of things your looking for rather than your emotions...you'll eventually find something that meets almost everything you are looking for.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
This book in combination with Andy Crouch's new book Culture Makers, has gotten me thinking a lot about the various subtle ways I have chosen culture as a religion over God and what is my role in changing it. I feel that given today's strange economic circumstances both books are very relevant to where I and many around me are at. Specifically given that one of the main religions in American culture, "money", is now failing...it's a good reality check to think about which religion am I really buying into.
It's been interesting to listen to various responses to the economic turmoil...most of which are either of despair , avoidance or forced/shallow hope. Tom Sine writes that "The biggest lie of our modern global empire is that no God is present in the world. Of course the empire allows us to worship a God, if we choose, as long as we recognize that the God who shows up during worship and at our bible studies has little power to actually change the world. The message is clear: The world is governed by the forces of the global free market, political and economic power, and random mutations of nature-period.
In spite of this message, I am finding growing numbers of Christians who believe the God of the mustard seed empire is actively at work in our world. Our wild outrageous hope is that through the death and resurrection of Christ, our God will write the final chapter and make all things new, not just personally and spiritually but also culturally, economically and politically; he will transform every dimension of our global society."
One voice I have felt strangely absent in all this economic turmoil are Christians who still have an "outrageous hope" that God is still at work. Not a hope that God will make our economics secure again necessarily, but a hope that we are secure in God despite whatever happens in this world. It's my prayer that I can continue to believe in that hope.
Monday, October 20, 2008
2. You should never leave an ink pad on the floor open while making cards. While the floor is still ink free...my socks are not.
3. It's nicer to go car shopping on a Sunday when car dealership are closed. You can look at cars and no one will bother you!
Monday, October 13, 2008
To celebrate my birthday I finally broke down and got snowboots. I've managed to go two years in Wisconsin without them but decided that if we really are going to get the predicted 120 inches of snow this winter...it might be a worthwhile investment. We also went out and saw "Get Smart" which I have to admit has become one of my new favorite movies. Matt's still trying to figure out how I can like that movie since I'm not a huge fan of slap stick comedy. I guess it'll just be one of life's mysteries!
Monday, October 06, 2008
- make sure to check with your airline about flights. We thought we had checked but somehow we missed that a flight had been canceled.
- MidWest Airlines is not so friendly on the ground...after finding out that our flight was canceled, the counter help just handed us a 1-800 number and then disappeared!
- it helps to be a prefered member of a car rental place. After spending an hour on the phone with the airlines at LAX, it was nice to call the rental place and get a car within 1 minute!
- People drive crazy in LA. I had forgoten that.
- I'm grateful my parents only live 40 minutes away from the airport and don't mind two stranded kids showing up on their front porch! :) Thanks mom and dad!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Apple picking is starting to become a tradition for me and our "adopted" kids. This year we added on raspberry picking. I've decided berry picking is a lot more time consuming than apple picking. But it was still fun and it made a good cobbler latter.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
-Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
-GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
-The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their
-The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
-The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
-Off-shore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
While I'm sure that many of the things he points out are not exclusive to white culture nor do they apply to every white person, it does bring up a lot of things that I have to admit I, as a white person, have bought into far to often! And because I often have bought into these things, I enjoyed the reveiw.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Funniest part of the weekend was trying to get out of the city and missing half the exits, getting on the wrong freeways and spending about a hour making u turns and nearly circling the entire city. It's like we've forgotten what freeways are!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
"fairy tail good"
"I think my grandma could anchor this race"
I'm not sure what I like better, the competition or the commentators.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
An advantage (among many) to the Midwest is that we are that much closer to real BBQ. On my recent trip to North Carolina I was introduced to the beauty of real BBQ. I have learned that what we call BBQ in California is just grilling on an open flame, and I still love and miss that, but real BBQ is slow cook with great sauces. Also a classic BBQ place needs to conform to several rules that are better explained by on a co-worker on his blog here. Sarah and I visited one of Madison many BBQ places this past weekend and although it was not the best we have consumed it was sure good for the BELLY.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
The book "The Key's to My Neighbor's House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rawanda" broaches the topic of what does it realistically look like to seek justice in the aftermath of human suffering and wrongs. As a Christian it left me wondering if justice really is something attainable this side of heaven or something that an earthly court can bring about. The author, Elizabeth Neuffer, did not shy away from the complexities of war's aftermath particularly in today's global society and gave me a much better understanding of the UN and evolution of war tribunals.
It's a very real and stark look at how war and war tribunals opperate in todays world. It's a challenging read and definatly not one for the faint of heart...but I would highly recommend it as it's left me with many more questions than answers (something which I appreciate).
Because of that, I'm highly looking forward to reading Gary Haugen's new book next entitled "Just Courage". I'm hoping he can bring a bit of the Christian perspective back in the fight for justice.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Mix 1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
Add 1/2 cup milk
1 heaping Tbsp melted butter
Pour mixture into a greased pan or bowl.
Spread 1 pint of berries over the top (I used 1 bag of frozen black berries slightly thawed)
Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar over berries.
Pour 1 cup boiling water over the top of the berries/sugar.
Bake at 350 for about 40-60 minutes
I'm always surprised by this recipe in that it seems backwards and pouring boiling water over everything seems strange....but the result is worth the weirdness.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
To be honest, I was a bit shocked to see a motorcade like that since no one really famous ever comes to Madison. The President? I wondered. A Presidential nominee? Bono?
But no, it was the Dali Lama who was in town giving a speech to a large crowd at the fair grounds. And there I was 50 feet away in my swimsuit as he was escorted away to some undisclosed location.
And that is probably the closest I will ever be to being near the Dali Lama.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
My apologies to those who have already discovered this fun site...I'm a bit slow on the web band wagon.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Maybe now we can get back to a more normal summer (of wedding photography, concerts in the park, killing mosquitos, catching fireflies).
Sunday, July 06, 2008
6 months later we did it…well Sarah did...I offered to help but she was having so much fun i didn't want to take any of that away...seriously. We have been deciding on several different colors and finally settled on Honey Butter (basically a pale yellow).
We like it so don’t tell us you don’t
Friday, June 27, 2008
This is Matt by the way…
After looking at some cool soccer pics I found that I have had several soccer dreams lately, and I just found this video on a photo blog I visit.
It really makes me want to play soccer again, but I know that I would really have to work at it to get back to the shape that I was in and obtain the agility that my mind thinks it still can do…plus I don’t think that I could ever play in the European Finals like I had always dreamed.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I recently saw a twist on this at a friends house where their kids earn a couple cents for every page they read and then they can specifically use this money to buy snacks on an upcoming vacation. I thought it was pretty cool idea. Much cooler than a pencil.
Anyways, it made me realize how little I have ready over the past months. So I pulled out my library card for the first time in over a decade am attempting my own summer reading program. I think this will probably be a bit ambitious, but we'll see.
So what am I planning on reading?
MeVille by David Zimmerman
Take This Bread by Sara Miles
Just Courage by Gary Haugen
and some book about Bosnia
Monday, June 09, 2008
For a true and tried way to make your party a success and provide ample entertainment allowing your guests to comfortably interact, we highly suggest scheduling a tornado during your event. Not only do the tornado sirens provide ample excitement, but turning the TV on to track the storm and then running outside to look at swirling clouds makes a wonderful conversation starter for those more introverted guests who may not know everyone else at the party. Even if it's just to say "Those crazy idiots!"
In all seriousness, it was quite the weekend. Saturday we went over to celebrate our friend's recent graduation from college with his MA in physics. While there, the storm of the decade hit. Matt and I both admitted that we don't think we've ever seen clouds do the things they were doing that day. There were a few times clouds would actually start swirling in the sky and often in opposite directions of each other. But despite record rains, tornado sirens going off, and incredible lightning, we were quite far from most of the action and sustained no damage.
Although I do have to admit that I seriously wondered as we raced home during a 15 minute lull and the car radio began playing that old hymn ("I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away;
when I die, hallelujah, by and by, I'll fly away") if the song was being prophetic or just a bad choice by the DJ.
Other Party Tips
Friday, June 06, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
(Note: I think you need Quicktime to see the video...and I know that on our computer it took about 5 minutes for the video to load...so the screen looks like it is stuck or downloading something for a few minutes).
Monday, June 02, 2008
- people in early American history used to sleep sitting up. That meant they could make a smaller bed. It also was supposed to keep the fluids from building up in your lungs while you slept which would potentially kill you (according to tradition). Our Norwegian house guest was quick to point out that this is a very American tradition and has nothing to do with Norway.
- Garden Nomes are a good thing. For some reason I think I always thought these little guys were trouble causers...but I guess not. According to Norwegian tradition they help your garden grow. They only get pesky if you forget to thank them...and then they'll tie your shoes together while you're eating or something like that so you'll trip. So make sure to thank your nomes tonight.
The coolest building on this property was an old replica Norwegian church that had been build for the world fair in Chicago. Lots of wood carvings and things like that. The funniest part was that sometime after the world fair it was bought by some rich guy who used it as his poker house since his wife wouldn't let him gamble in the actual house. All I can say is that it would be a very sweet poker house.
For other fun pictures you can see some of the ones Matt has posted.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
We spent the week mainly with Sarah's family and I'm happy to report that we all still managed to like each other at the end of the week. So much so that I think we'd actually do a week long vacation with my family again if we ever get the chance.
Matt's beginning to post a few of his photo's on his photo blog. And one of these day's I'll have to put together some of my favorite highlights.
But currently Finn, our house guest, rented The Pink Panther and is watching it....so I must go indulge my need for a yearly slapstick comedy film.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
And, in case anyone is still wondering what matzah is, let me know...I can send you a box.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
If we really are to use the rebate money to “stimulate the economy”, Matt and I have been challenged to think of ways that we could actually do so with the rebate. I fully recognize that for some people paying off a debt or loan might be the wisest thing to do. I recognize that some people might actually need to use this money for basic necessities (which would be a good thing). But for those of us who really don’t need this money to get by each month and are viewing this as an early Christmas bonus, here’s some ways to spend your rebate check in a way that might do more for the economy than buying a new ipod.
1) Give a large potion or all to a local food bank. Food banks are being hit extremely hard right now and with the new economic uncertainty, demand on their services is only increasing. For many food banks it takes around $300-$500 to operate one day of service or more. That one day could be the encouragement or support needed to get an untold number of people back on their feet.
2) Invest in a community development investment funds/accounts. Sojourners recently highlighted this type of financial investment. I feel they state clearer what the impact of spending a rebate this way might be better than I could:
"According to the Calvert Foundation’s online Social Return Calculator, your $1,000 deposited in a [community development fund/account/bank] could build .19 affordable homes or finance .32 microenterprises (while creating .53 jobs) over the three-year term of your loan. You did not give the money away to do this; you simply moved it to a financial institution whose primary lending mission is to serve low-income people."
To learn more about these types of investments or how to do so, I suggest taking a look at the links at the bottom of the Sojourner's article. For those of us who are drawn to the saving for a rainy day principles, this might be a great option. You may not get as great of a financial return, but just imagine the human impact return.
3) Give an extra gift to a local missionary. Like food banks, many local missionaries are struggling to make ends meet. Working where we do (at InterVarsity), we hear of this quite often. Your extra gift may be the answer to prayer for a local missionary and may help them continue to purchase their basic necessities. We’d love to pass along names of those who would be blessed by some or your entire tax rebate.
4) Spend your money at a non-corporate business (mom and pop store) or a local artist. Since many of these folk cannot compete with big businesses they often have a harder time making ends meet. Choosing to spend your money there can have a greater and more immediate impact than spending at a bigger cooperation.
5) Find 10-15 other like minded people to pool their rebates to help a single mom at your church put a down payment on a house and expect no repayment. Talk about helping someone gain a bit more financial stability in their life (and their kids).
There are many more ideas out there. For some other ideas check out http://www.jesusmanifesto.com/index.php?s=tax+rebate
So how will we use the rebate? The jury is still out, but we're leaning towards one of the above ideas.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
In thinking about the money coming our way, I am surprised not only by how much desire was awoken.....but by how much confidence and stability just the thought the rebate brings me.
I think of the $600 and I take a sigh of relieve. It's almost as if having unexpected money and the ability to spend that money will "fix" problems in my life and lead to a more fulfilling life. In listening to many of the remarks by politicians in regards to the stimulus package...it seems our government feels the same. The ability to spend money will "fix" our economic problems.
In realizing this about myself and our country, it's cause me to question if it is right that our country's health/stability (which is largely based on economic indicators) is based on how much money we spend? Consider the encouragement the nation received from Pres. Bush after 9/11:
“tell the traveling public: Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.”
“I have great faith in the resiliency of the economy. And no question about it, this incident affected our economy, but the markets open tomorrow, people go back to work and we'll show the world.”
In a time of economic uncertainty, yes there was encouragement to mourn, yes there was encouragement to pray for those affected by the tragedy but there was also the encouragement to return to life as normal. To work, to earn money and to “enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.” I like how the author of servingbread.net put it. In the face of uncertainty, America was encouraged “to go shopping and spend their money to show the terrorists that they will not break us.”
How different would it be if our country’s health was measured based on how we treated others or how much we gave away rather than how much we spent on ourselves.
Even with this current economic stimulus package, the motivation is highly based on America’s desire to consume. In fact, as most of us are well aware, the government would like nothing less than for all of us to go out and spend the rebate on new toys. It’s just amazing that the solution to having a healthy nation/economy is to encourage people to spend more (even when most people have an average of $8,000 in credit card debt). This stimulus package doesn’t seem to address the real problem causing our economic stability. And would it really be a bad thing if the economy corrected itself and as a nation we learned to live within our means?
Furthermore, I’m quite skeptical if the rebate checks will really help in the long run considering that most people will spend this extra money at some big corporation. I’ve have particularly enjoyed Dave Berry’s comments regarding this very phenomenon:
"Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal
government will send to taxpayers.
Q. Where will the government get this
A. From taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own
A. Only a smidgen.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set,
thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy
A. Shut up. "
to be continued tomorrow...
One of the hotter topics around the Kirk table these days is what to do with the rebate check coming our way (or at least we think is coming our way). Opinions have ranged from giving it all away to a struggling food pantry to buying a new wardrobe to a new camera lens. And yes there have been weeping and gnashing of teeth. However despite all the "discussion", both of us always come back to the fact that we are Christians and we want to honor God in using this money. But with competing personal desires, it’s hard to sort out what is “right” in God’s eyes with what tickles our materialistic fancies.
In many ways I resonate with a recent John Piper blog entry where he comments that
The moment I heard money was coming our way, desires were not just awoken, they exploded. I can’t tell you how many hours have been wasted visioning of new gadgets, new cars, and fun vacations. As I flirt with these desires, I can help but realize how much materialism has been ingrained not only in my personal life, but in our country as well.
“Nobody in the world will see you spend your [rebate check] on yourself and conclude that Christ is your treasure. They will assume you are just like them, no matter how loudly you thank God for this boon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend it on yourself (the way we do with most of what we earn). Not everything we do can look different from the world—eat, pay utilities, fill up the car, wear clothes (even thrift-store clothes). And yes, we hope (somehow) that spending on ourselves in some way contributes to our being more Christ-exalting people. But do we really need this money? Very few do. We would have gotten on fine without it.
If we didn’t know it was coming, we wouldn’t even be feeling the desires we are feeling right now.”
to be continued tomorrow...
Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Most the time I laugh at all these terms because in some ways it seems they are all trying to do the same thing. Or it seems like a trend that will die off and be replaced by some new term. More out of skepticism rather than a desire to learn about these movements, I picked up "The New Conspirators" by Tom Sine which just came out not to long ago. I was pleasantly surprised. Tom does a fairly good job summarizing what each movement is about and the heart behind each movement.
I'm not necessarily ready to jump on board with any certain movement...but I like the challenges each of these movements pose to the church at large in America.
While the statements are still hard to hear, the context was extremely helpful to hear. If you're like me and want a different take on this whole controversy than what the mainstream media is offering, I recommend taking the time to watch this interview. It's a bit long but I think worth it. And I think it offers some food for thought for those who of us who are Christian.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Anyways, the one we found was great! Not only could you get an omelet, toast and coffee for $4.35 (when was the last time you have seen prices like that), the coffee was amazing! So amazing that we had to go back the next day just to get the coffee and enjoy both it and the atmosphere.
The restaurant was called The Modern Diner, complete with not so modern decor, the locals to match, good coffee and instructions on how you should behave while there. If you're ever in Wellsville, I'd highly recommend this place.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
The town was fun, local people interesting, wedding beautiful and weather excellent. I'll post some of our highlights over the next few days.
But now it's back to normal life which means Matt is off again traveling for the week. This week he's in Chicago conducting interviews at Northwestern College.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Matt had the chance to get up at 5:00am this morning and go catch the sunrise over the Atlantic ocean. While I'm sure he'll pay for it later today :)...I'm sure it was good for his soul.
His trip is going well and he's gotten to see history (former slave markets, plantation houses and things like that). For us as Californians, this is a lot of history we've only read about so I'm sure it's been interesting to actually be in these places and hear stories about the impact that part of history has had and is still having on that part of the world today.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Finn is also off (our Norwegian roomie) and about. He was a bit more ambitious and went to Thailand for a week.
If you thin of it, please keep them both in your prayers. Matt has still been fighting a stubborn cold and I'm hoping the airports germs wont make him worse. You can pray also that he will be able to film with God's eyes and not his own.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Nehemiah heard of the desolation that Jerusalem was still in and he was moved deeply to pray. In many ways I understand that as I hear of friends in anguish or situation around the world. There is often a gut instinct to fall before God in prayer. However, what struck me this time is that Nehemiah continued in that prayer for four months! We only get of three paragraph's of Nehemiah's prayer, but it sums up what he prayed to God over the course of four months. It makes me wonder how much his prayer changed during the course of that time. Did he begin by praying asking God to fix the situation. Did he ask God to send other's to rebuild the city? I wonder at what point Nehemiah began to ask God what he could do?
It's so much easier to pray for God to fix a situation or pray that He would send others to fix what distresses us. It's a whole other thing to ask God how he wants us to be involved in the situation. To do that is just down right scary. But I wonder how much more God desires us to pray that prayer. To ask how we can be used.
I think about some of the prayers I have prayed for four months or longer and know that I have not always asked God if I was a part of the solution. Or even if there were ways he wanted me involved. I'll be curious to hear God's response as I begin to shift my prayers and ask how he might want me to be involved in the situations I care deeply about.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Anyways, this past week we were looking at Abraham's conversation with God where God decides to tell Abraham of his plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham then goes back and forth with God asking God if he would spare the city if 40 or 30, or 10 people are found to be righteous. A few things stood out to me as we went through the passage.
1) It's really cool that God decided to tell Abraham his plans. God didn't have to do that....so he must have done so for Abraham's behalf. It makes me wonder if I'm close enough to God that he would consider telling me his plans.
2) God starts the conversation and then ends the conversation which I think that's pretty cool. I've often felt God prompting me to pray...but it's not very often I've felt God end the conversation.
3) I've always looked at this passage as Abraham bartering with God trying to convince God not to destroy the city. But I'm not so sure anymore. The study referred to a comment made by John White that Abraham's prayer "is not as some scholars suggest, a mere reflection of the bargaining practices among traders in th east. Abraham has nothing to offer in trade with God. More over the stakes are to high. He is not haggling with God. He's desperate to understand God." To understand God's sense of justice. To understand God's mercy. To see if God really is a righteous, fair God. And Abraham seems convince that God is not unjust or unfair and seems to leave the conversation in peace. As I think of how messed up the world is today...this passage does give me hope. That God will take care of things in a just/righteous way.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
This year I've been struck by how great a parallel horseradish is to sin. In it's raw form, horseradish is not enjoyable. Yet mixed in with mayonnaise, sliced deli meat, some tomatoes and lettuce and put on a nice toasted bread bun...it's less noticeable and perhaps even a bit enjoyable. How true is that of sin. In it's raw pure form, I doubt any of us would ever embrace sin. Yet throw in a little church, your family, work, TV, the gym, pomegranate blueberry lattes, sin doesn't taste so bad.
As we head towards the crucification, the horseradish is going with me. I want to remember that is was for no light thing that Jesus died. Sin is bitter and something I need to be freed from. If you're feeling like you've forgotten or become jaded to the bitterness of the slavery/sin that Jesus has freed you from, I suggest opening up a jar of horseradish and taking a big bite.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Would find a way to break his "non-breakable" tungsten wedding ring. And how might he have done so? By jumping off a cliff to save a baby? By fighting a ferocious pit-bull who had attacked his wife? By breaking glass with his bare hands? Nope...by knocking on a window trying to get someone's attention.
Word to the wise...tungsten can actually break! All I can say is I'm so glad our marriage isn't based on a wedding ring and I'm glad the ring shop (who was likewise quite amused that tungsten can break...supposedly it's the first time they've ever seen this happen) is replacing the ring for free.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Helping serve food that night, I'm reminded again how much easier it is to ignore poverty and just focus on my own "grumblings" and frustrations with feeling like I do not have what I should. Ignoring poverty seems to make my own grumblings much more valid. Which at that point I realize how human I really am.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Anyways, I'm looking forward to celebrating Passover. If anyone is ever interested in getting a copy of a Passover meal, let me know.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
It does make me rethink how I view my things.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Matt's perspective: Since I have never been to a political rally and we are hosting an intern from another country, I thought attending the Barack Obama rally in Madison last night would be a cultural experience. We waited in line outside in the bitter cold for about 30 min, raced to barely get seats, waited another hour and a half for a 30 min speech. This is an interesting country we live in. Aside from any political feelings for and or against him, Barack is an amazing speaker; articulate and personal...like a small town pastor speaking to his congregation. It was a lot of fun and I am really glad I went but a little disappointed my request for a press pass was submitted to late. Click here to see more photos
Sarah's perspective: So I have to admit, I've been very intrigued and excited about the overall presidential election campaign. I don't remember ever being so excited about a campaign since I was required to pay attention to the Clinton/Bush/Perot debates back in Junior High! Regardless of my political leanings (which I wont divulge here), it was fun to go to the rally. Other than watch a few debates on TV, I've never attended anything remotely resembling this in my life and it was fun to watch a master orator at work.
It's been interesting to see how much the idea of hope/change has become a part of all three of the major campaigns. And while Obama has defiantly capitalized on that the most, all three have in many ways tried to instill a sense of hope in the future. Even at the rally, you could sense how much people desired hope and were looking to grasp a hold of a better future. The fact that more than 19,000 people of a very mix age group showed up, waited in line for more than 1 hour in 5 degree weather just to get in, and then another hour just to hear a guy speak for 20 minutes has got to say something about how much people are looking for hope.
In regards to hope, I do admire what Obama said in regards to hope during his speech. It's something I haven't heard many people (political or non) admit about the reality of hope. Obama stated:
"Hope is not blind optimism. I know how hard it will be to make these changes. I know this because I fought on the streets of Chicago as a community organizer to bring jobs to the jobless in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant. I’ve fought in the courts as a civil rights lawyer to make sure people weren’t denied their rights because of what they looked like or where they came from. I’ve fought in the legislature to take power away from lobbyists. I’ve won some of those fights, but I’ve lost some of them too. I’ve seen good legislation die because good intentions weren’t backed by a mandate for change.In today's world, continuing to have hope is something that is not easy. Yet I believe we can still have hope, as long as we are willing to take a stand in the ways God calls us to. I still have hope, not because of any politician but because of God and because of the remarkable things students and the alumni I work with have done because of God's call on their life. While the rally was remarkable, I left saddened that very rarely do you see such similar passion from an entire city searching for hope where true hope lies: the church.
The politics of hope does not mean hoping things come easy. Because nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened unless somebody, somewhere stood up when it was hard; stood up when they were told – no you can’t, and said yes we can."
Friday, February 08, 2008
And the above is all from one small paragraph in the book! The whole book is just as challenging. If you're looking for a good book, check it out.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
John Stott's book in particular has been very helpful to me in thinking about by own thoughts towards today's church. In many ways, I sometimes feel I could honestly walk away from the church as an institution (not God mind you) and join more of the underground church movement going on in America. But Stott's book brings me a lot of hope that the American church can change and provides a vision for what the church should be. But more importantly one of the articles in the appendix's clarified for me for the first time the dangers of both leaving the church or choosing to stay in the church. Paradoxical huh? You'll just have to read it to understand. It's made me realize that while staying may not be my favorite option, it may be the more worthwhile one as long as I can guard myself from mentally checking out.
Overall, "The Living Church" is a challenging word and much wisdom from a man who has survived his whole life serving the "church".
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
There are some things that I am destined not to succeed at. Tonight I add with great fan fare cheesecake to that list.
I have been eying a recipe for a double layered chocolate mocha cheese cake for a while. I mean with a title like that, who wouldn't. Two hours later after burning out two mixers and blowing an electrical fuse twice, I decided cheesecake is just not my thing. It's in the oven baking right now but I'm fully expecting it to explode or have the oven fall though our floor into the basement below.
The only good thing coming out of this experience (besides an ugly looking, but hopefully good tasting cheesecake) is that Matt now has some great Valentines Day gift options.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I drove in hail for the first time in my life yesterday. That was fun, it was kind of like driving on marbles. During this experience however, I came to the realization that I think I pray more in the car now that I've moved to Wisconsin than I ever have in my entire life. Other than the 5 minutes of hail...it's been pretty cold. Matt and I like to call it booger freezing cold.
Matt takes off tomorrow for Indiana. He's helping tech InterVarsity's national Greek Conference (for students involved in University fraternities or sororities). Out of all the conferences InterVarsity does, this is probably one of the more powerful and interesting ones. The likely hood of many of these students going on to be politician's, lawyers or some other community leader is quite high so it's my prayer that God will work powerfully in many of their lives and that they will catch a vision of God's plan for this world which includes the many places of influence they may end up in.
Anyways, that's a quick update on the Kirk household.
Monday, January 21, 2008
The first being that this holiday still remains one of the few non-commercial holidays left in our country. This was pointed out by one of the key note speakers. That struck me as significant because of my second observation. That this holiday often has more powerful religious/spiritual undertones and a call to action according to what is right (aka what God honors) than Christmas or Easter. At least this was the case with the commemoration at the capitol.
It was hard not to walk away from watching this program without feeling spurred towards surrendering my individualistic tenancies to pursue action and the greater good. I admire King for the legacy he has left this country and am grateful his prophetic voice and vision given to him by the God he trusted still has the power to call people to action and bring hope that change is possible.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
1. What university was founded by the American Baptist Education Society and the oil magnate John D. Rockefeller?
a. Harvard, b. U of Chicago, c. Boston U or d. Emory?
2. Athletes were known as the Fighting Methodists?
a. Duke, b. Oberlin, c. USC or d. Syracuse?
3. This school was founded by evangelist and abolitionist Charles Finney.
a. Oberlin, b. Northwestern, c. Harvard or d. U of Illinois?
4. In 1868, daily chapel was required, Sunday worship was required and a lecture by the President on topics such as "Was Jesus more than a man?" and "Is Christianity true?" was required at this university.
a. Cornell, b. Duke, c. U of Virginia or d. U of Illinois?
Answers: 1. U of Chicago, 2. USC, 3. Oberlin, 4. U of Illinois. It's amazing how much has changed within the college world.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
The first interview with Kathleen Hall Jamison was very informative. She mainly is commenting on the New Hampshire race and some of the craziness that went along there. Mostly it was nice to get a slightly less mainstream look at the race there.
The second interview was with a guy named Shelby Steel. This one was quite provocative as he basically critiqued Obama and the role race is playing in this election. Overall, the interview is more of a blunt look at the reality of race in America and how much mistrust still exists for both blacks and whites. As a Christian, it challenged me to think about the ways I myself am prone towards mistrust and made me realize how little I acknowledge that mistrust or submit that to our Lord. While I am still very unsure of Obama in general mainly because I can't seem to figure out for sure his stance on what I feel are more of the bigger issues (such as education, HelthCare/Social Security, our current shaky position as a country in the rest of the world), it did make me realize that out of everyone running, he's probably the one who is and will be under the most scrutiny, pressure and attack. And that has got to be a hard place to be. This one is well worth the watch.