Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Why am I a follower of Jesus? That's the question that's been running through my head for the past week or so. I could give the Sunday school answer and say that it's because he loved me first (which he did), but that's not the whole story for me. There's something that lies closer to the heart of the matter.

I'm a follower of Jesus because I'm fascinated with him. He's so counterintuitive. While the world tells me to fight, he tells me not to resist an evil person. When I want to hate those who have harmed me, he tells me to love them (and to take it even one step farther, pray for them). In a world that worships personal time and wealth, Jesus tells me to give freely of myself and my resources. Have you ever stopped to think exactly how counterintuitive that is? It's just crazy!

In Philippians, Paul shows another facet of my wonderfully counterintuitive God. Paul said that for him to live was Christ but to die was gain. Do you get what he was saying? Behind his somewhat fancy language, Paul was saying "Hey, if I live another day, that's cool with me. That's just one more day that Jesus wants me around to talk about him. But if I die, that's even better. That's the day that I'm really waiting for!" Who says that kind of stuff?

You may be thinking: how does a fascination of Jesus lead to me being a follower of him? Out fascination grows a relationship, out of a relationship grows love, out of love for Jesus and his less-than-logical ways grows a deep devotion.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Day of Friends

When I moved to Seattle, I wasn't worried about being able to handle my new job, being in a new location, or being able to take care of myself. My biggest fear was that I wouldn't be able to find a group of friends. Since I grew up in small-town Tennessee, I never had to worry about finding friends before. They just kind of came built into the whole growing up process. God has used today to show me that He is faithful in providing for my needs.
This morning I went to the Journey in Mill Creek. The Journey has become my church family on the west coast. Although I've only been going there for a few months, I don't feel like an outsider anymore. They give me a chance to serve without pushing me to do too much. It's the kind of relationship and balance that I prayed that I would find in a church.
After church, I went to a friend's surprise birthday party in Everett. I spent the afternoon playing Pit and video games with about six other people. Since my friend works with computers, his birthday cake message was written in hexadecimal :)
From the birthday party, I went to small group Bible study near SPU. The Bible study is with a great group of friends that I met while I was visiting different churches last Fall. We cook together, challenge each other spiritually, and hang out on weekends sometimes.

Why did I write this? Because meeting friends has been on the top of my prayer list for a long time. I complain a lot about things that I wish God would do, but I rarely tell what He has done. I just wanted to give God public praise for this one. Sounds sappy, but it's true.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Future of Ministry

I've been following a interesting conversation that has been going on via the blogosphere. It all started with a post that Chris Marshall made about the economy and the future of the church. Basically, he said that the Builder generation is dying out, only half of the Boomer generation is financially able to support the church, and the my generation is living in constant debt. Therefore, the financial stability of the church is going the way of the dodo bird. Many others have offered their own extensions of this thought including the fact that theological degrees are becoming less and less valuable. For a good summary and other thoughts, go here. Actually, I insist that you go there so you will fully understand what I'm about to say.

How do I put what I'm thinking nicely? If the major implications of this conversation are true, what the heck am I supposed to do about my future? All the posts that I've read have frowned on those with seminary degrees and no other marketable skills. An M.Div. has always been in my game plan for the future. I have a B.S. in History and no other valuable skills. I don't want to go into counseling because I care too much, I can't go into business because I just flat out don't understand it. What is a SBC girl whose only skills are reading books and analytical thinking supposed to do with her future if she really wants to make a Kingdom difference and enough money to live on? The answer of those from past generations apparently just won't cut it for mine.

And, current leaders of the church: what are you doing to really prepare my generation for the ministry of the future?

A Confession

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with word or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18

Lord, I have a confession. I'm a selfish girl from a selfish culture. I find myself reading passages like this and all I want to do is skip over them. I want to ignore the higher calling and the nobler purpose. I would like to believe that your death was something that I should deeply internalize without letting it spill over into my everyday life. It would be so much easier that way. Less pain. Less heartache. But you gave up your life so that I would know what love is. Therefore, change my will to follow in your footsteps, to give of myself so that those around me will know what true love is.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Little Piece of Happiness

My happy moment of the day: getting lunch from the taco truck next to Winchell's Donuts. It's like a little piece of Mexican greatness right here in Seattle. Now, I know that those of you from Texas or California will be able to name off a whole list of places that are better than the taco truck. That's understandable. All I'm saying is the rancho burrito (black beans, no tomatoes) is the best substitute for La Canasta that I've found in Washington.
Because I'm well fed by taco truck greatness I can say with a smile: I hope you too find your little piece of happiness for the day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

After taking a week off to rub elbows with the Dalai Lama, Top Three Tuesday is back. I know that I'm excited!

1. "In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India." I picked up this book at Borders on Sunday. It does an excellent job of describing modern day India with over-romanticizing the nation. Plus, it was written by a journalist so the story moves along nicely.

2. Chacos. Not only does Chacos make what some consider the best sandals in the world, they now make light hiking shoes. I've been searching for a couple of months for the perfect hiking shoe to take to India with me (sturdy but breathable). At REI yesterday, the hiking Chacos stole my heart. The kind that I purchased are made to fit a woman's foot and have the best arch support I've ever felt. If you would like to know what love at first sight feels like, click here.

3. TreeHugger.com. In honor of Earth Day, TreeHugger.com's Go Green site makes my top three list. It gives tips for making everything from your meals to your wedding environmentally friendly. If nothing else, some of the lists are great for a good laugh.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Week in My Life

Sunday: SAM. That's the Seattle Art Museum. I went with a couple Purple Door people to see the Roman art exhibit on loan from the Louvre. Mostly, they had marble sculptures and jewelry. I took a Roman history class in college so it was interesting to be that close to the history that I had studied.

Monday: Staff Meeting. We ventured out of the house and went to Lounjin, a coffee/sake bar on the Ave. I got my usual decaf vanilla latte. (Job security: No, I did not have the sake.) I really liked Lounjin because it was comfortable, not too busy, and has free wi-fi. I think that it just might become my new place to go when I really need to get work done.

Tuesday: A Day of Surreal. Wednesday's post kind of covers what Tuesday was like for me. In the morning, I went to the Seeds of Compassion prayer breakfast where I got to see the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Archbishop is now one of my new favorite people ever. In the afternoon, we went to a interfaith panel discussion on compassion at UW. At night, we went to a Off the Map deal. I think that the OTM gathering was one of the best times of fellowship that I've had since moving to Seattle. It was amazing to spend time with s omany like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ. I also got to talk to Sunil Sardar, the man that we're going to be working with in India this summer :)

Wednesday: Candy Caste System. Since some of us from the Purple Door are going to India this summer, we decided to do a social experiment about caste on campus. At our table, we set out three different types of candy bars: mini candy bars, full sized candy bars, and the deluxe you-paid-how-much candy bars. We put out a sign that advertised that we had free candy. When a student came up to our table, we would ask their first name. If their name started with a consonant, we would give them a mini candy bar. If their name started with a vowel, they got a full sized candy bar. If their name started with a U, they got a deluxe candy bar. Some of the students that got mini candy bars got truly offended that they couldn't have a full sized one. We just smiled and pointed out that like our candy caste system, the caste system of India is unfair and holds people back.

Thursday: Teach-In #2. After an amazing supper of Lemon Pepper Chicken, Tali Hairston, the director of the John Perkins Center at SPU, came to talk to us about urban leadership and reconciliation. The main point that I brought out of the discussion was that we need to learn other people's stories. When we learn their stories, we are able to understand where they are coming from and are able to build solid relationships with them. Learning the story of someone with a different background (whether it's based on race, ethnicity, or religious background) is the first step toward reconciliation. I really wish that there were more centers like this in the South where racial reconciliation still hasn't fully taken place.

Friday: More "Have-a-Tat". We're still working out the plans for the joint Habitat/Purple Door fundraiser. This week we are praying that sponsors will step up so that the event won't cost as much as we're anticipating.

Today: I went to the farmers market this morning. It was just kind of misting when I left the house, but by the time I got to the market it was raining/snowing. Yes, snowing. Seattle weather is throwing me for a loop. Will it ever get warm?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Emerging Compassion

I meant to post this yesterday but it ended up being so busy I didn't get the chance. Yesterday was an incredible day in my life. Almost surreal.

Yesterday morning, I went to a Seeds of Compassion prayer breakfast where I got to see the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. To be in the same small banquet room with these two men was something amazing (I had to pinch myself to make sure that I was really there and not dreaming). Both men have gone through so much in their lives that could have left them bitter at the world but they are joyful. They kept making fun of each other and cracking jokes. The Dalai Lama commented on how the archbishop had put on a few pounds since they had been together last :) From observing them, I decided that all great world leaders have three things in common: (1) They truly see the needs of the world and are willing to adjust their lives to meet those needs. (2) A life of prayer. (3) A sense of humor.

Last night, I went to an Off the Map gathering at the Vineyard church in Shoreline. A lot of emerging church leaders were already in town for the Seeds of Compassion stuff so they put together a relatively small gathering to discuss church topics. Some of the people that shared were Jim Henderson, Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt, Todd Hunter, and Rose Swetman. So many good thoughts came out of the gathering. The topics ranged from women in ministry to the decline of the church.

Lately, I feel like I should constantly have a pen and paper with me so that I can write down my thoughts when they happen. So many questions have been brought to my mind at the stuff that I have been attending recently. Even in my time alone with God, He has brought my attention to things that I've never seen in scripture before. It feels really good to be in a place where I feel free to ask questions and seek answers. It's like my soul is shaking off some old cobwebs and is reaching for new heights.

Monday, April 14, 2008


In my 22 years, I've managed to learn how to walk, talk, eat with utensils, put on my own clothes, read, write, do math, and play a couple of instruments. When do I learn how to live life? I mean REALLY live life. Sometimes I feel like I have it mastered. But then decisions have to be made, lines have to be drawn in the sand, and I'm left wondering what just happened.
Just food for thought. Lots of thoughts.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Everything Must Change

Last night I went to the "Everything Must Change Tour." I'm supposed to be there right now, but obviously I'm not. I've decided to take today to do some of my own spiritual seeking about the questions that were raised last night.
One particular part of what Brian talked about last night is sticking out to me right now. When Brian was a youth minister, he did something interesting. He asked the kids what their churches had been arguing about for the last few weeks. He listed their answers on a big piece of paper and put it on the wall. Some of the answers included: free will vs. predestination, music styles in church, and whether it was okay to wear jeans to church. Then, he asked the youth to tell him what were some of the things that kept them awake at night, the things that ran through their minds that worried them. Some of the things they said were overpopulation, homelessness, communism (apparently Brian was a youth minister a long time ago), and war.
The point that he was trying to make hit home before he even got to the end of his story. What we're having the deepest conversations about in church and the biggest problems facing our world today are two very different things. Yes, having right theology (orthodoxy) is important because our theology shapes our lives, but doing the right thing (orthopraxy) seemed to be important to Jesus also. Feed the hungry, comfort the mourning, promote peace. Jesus taught all of these things. In a society where everything is very individualized, we forget that promoting peace doesn't just mean being nice to your sister or not punching the person that is driving you crazy. It means urging leaders to avoid war at all costs. Feeding the hungry goes beyond giving a couple of cans to the food bank to caring for victims of famine in other countries. We live in a global era and Jesus has global solutions.
Jesus, what are your solutions to the world's biggest problems? What can I do to be part of the solution?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

1. "Almost Live". Almost Live was Seattle's version of SNL in the late 80s and early 90s. It had a brief run on Comedy Central but people apparently didn't understand the Seattle humor. Now that I've lived in Seattle for almost nine months, I'm beginning to understand it. If you would like to see a sample, click here.

2. Cherry blossoms. I know that I've already talked about the cherry blossoms on UW's campus and around Seattle, but I just can't get enough of them.

3. Pike Place Market. On weekends and during the summer, it's a huge tourist trap that I usually can't wait to get away from. On weekday mornings, it's a whole other story. You can see fish being thrown without a million people with cameras trying to get in front of you. It's easy to shop for fresh, local fruits and vegetables. You can stop and smell the tulips without getting run over. It just makes me smile :)


Monday, April 7, 2008

A Week in My Life

Sunday: Lots of church. I went to the Journey in the morning and Mars Hill at night. Mark Driscoll is starting a new series on Christian doctrine that I'm interested in hearing on podcast.

Monday: 1. First day of the Spring Quarter at UW 2. Donut Wars (Part 2). If you don't remember my intro to the Purple Door donut war you can click here. I got the Boston Creme donut and my supervisor got the Apple Fritter. I'm happy to report in both cases the Krispy Kreme donut won :)

Tuesday: April Fools Day. One of my co-workers kept telling us for about a week or two ahead of time that his birthday was April 1. I believed him (stupid!). I got up on Tuesday morning and made my coworker his favorite kind of cookies (snickerdoodle w/white chocolate chips). He came into the kitchen, figured out that I was making cookies for him, and told me that his birthday is really in September. Revenge is currently being plotted.

Wednesday: The Dentist. I'm happy to report that I'm cavity free and my teeth are a little whiter than they were a week ago. I found a really great dentist a couple miles from my building. She's a little Korean woman which means that I've finally found a dentist with little hands (to go with what I've been told is a really small mouth). She gave me a free teeth whitening since I was a first time patient. How awesome is that!

Thursday: Food and Fun. We had our first family meal of the quarter and then our first teach-in. Our speaker was Benson Hines. He is visiting as many campuses as possible on a year long road trip in order to study the different ways of doing collegiate ministry. UW was campus 87 or so.

Friday: "Have-A-Tat for Humanity." My supervisor and I met with the president of Habitat for Humanity (UW chapter). We are doing a joint fundraiser (with all the profits going to Habitat). It's coming together nicely. We're just trying to figure out the cheapest way to have a quality event.

Saturday: Games and a Concert. In the afternoon, I went to Gameworks with a friend. At night, I went with my roommate to a Rascal Flats concert in Tacoma. My roommate is friends with one of the sound techs for the band so we got to see the show for free which was pretty cool. I'm by no means a huge country music fan, but getting to experience the bigsexyrockshow (credit for that word goes to Steve) was fun.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

1. Baseball Season. Yes, it's finally that time of year again! Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks (or a hot dog and bottled water). I'm cheering for both the Cardinals and the Mariners this year. I figure that I won't have to choose between the two unless both teams make it to the World Series (which I highly doubt).

2. "Greater Than Us All". That's the name of the Daniel Doss Band's new CD. It's awesome, wonderful, magnificent...you get the point. Go on iTunes and purchase your copy today. You won't regret it :)

3. Britta Water Filters. I finally got one last week on sale for $8 (apparently nobody liked the nifty green lid). Now, Seattle's tap water is better than most but once you put it through a Britta Water Filter it's absolutely yummy. Also, using a water filter and Nalgen bottle is more environmentally friendly than drinking bottled water.