Saturday, February 19, 2011

Don't Be a Squirrel

I have to confess that I have a love-hate relationship with squirrels. I love them because they're just so darn cute. I hate them because they're mean. My track record with squirrels is that they don't like me much either. At my undergrad, we had squirrels everywhere. They thought they owned the quad and woe to anybody in their territory. I remember one day I was walking across campus to deliver something. Out of nowhere, I felt something hit me in the back of the head. I turned around and there was an acorn at my feet and a squirrel staring me down. Okay, it may not have been staring me down, but it was pretty close. And that wasn't the only time it happened.

But this post isn't about my somewhat amusing history with squirrels. It's about something I heard at church way back at the beginning of the school year. I wrote it down because it hit me between the eyes and I knew I would write about it someday. Here it is: "Don't be a squirrel." Profound, huh?

Here's the gist of it as explained by my pastor. "Squirrels are cute and fluffy and they're rodents!" Squirrels spend their lives gathering nuts and twigs and whatever else squirrels collect just for kicks. They gather, gather, gather, and the only form of giving away they do is throwing an occasional acorn at a stranger's head. The American church is full of squirrels (and let's just be clear that I sadly fall into this category at the moment, so I'm not trying to be overly harsh on the squirrels of America). We take and take and never give away. When we do give away, it's usually begrudgingly. We don't think that building Christ-centered relationships that last should entail any work on our part.

It's time that Christians, myself included, stop being squirrels. It's okay to be cute if it just comes naturally, but the hoarding needs to come to an end. We need to get out there and share ourselves with others. This week take the challenge that I'm giving myself: don't be a squirrel. Share generously with those around you even when you just want to throw acorns. Go beyond the expected in the name of Jesus.

Have a great weekend! Don't be a squirrel.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Top Three Thursday

I thought I would bring a classic back today. It's Top Three Thursday (because I forgot on Tuesday). In case you're new to the concept, it's like my weekly "happy things" list. So, here are three New Orleans restaurants that rock my socks off...

1. Juan's Flying Burrito. Right now this is my favorite place to eat in New Orleans. I frequent the location on Magazine Street, which has an unique personality and look to it. I usually get "The Flying Burrito" which has beef, chicken, and shrimp packed in with traditional burrito goodness. When I was vegetarian for a couple months last year, I got the Super Green (with dairy, because I didn't give up all good things in life) and it was also tasty.

2. Babylon Cafe on Maple Street. This is my favorite Mediterranean restaurant in the city. I used to get food from this place all the time when I worked at a coffee shop nearby. Every Tulane and Loyola student knows this place for good, cheap food. My favorite is the gyro on homemade bread. Their hummus also makes me smile. It's all good.

3. New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood. I feel like kind of a loser for putting this one on the list because it's a chain restaurant. But the Shrimp Creole is sooooo good. I think they have other food too, but I wouldn't know because the shrimp creole wins the ordering debate every time. Oh, and they have free ice cream for dessert. It doesn't get much better than that!

I'm not a New Orleans native so I don't feel overly guilty about not putting some hole-in-the-wall poboy place on my top three list. Maybe someday.

If you're ever in the city, check these places out. They're worth the trip away from the overpriced touristy stuff. Toodles!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Sundays always make me think about church. Not just "going to church" (which I do every Sunday these days, Mom), but "the church." How sometimes I think we just don't get it. How we don't need to be cool to have community, instead we need to have real community and "cool" will just sorta happen.

I pray everyday for a church planting movement in North America. I've been praying this way since I first heard of the concept. I heard about thousands of churches made up of mostly new Christians popping up in countries around the world and my initial thought was "Why isn't this happening here?" My conclusion: North American churches just aren't born that way. It's not who we are. This does not equal me saying we should be this way. I'm just stating a fact. How many of our churches are started with intentional splitting worked into the mission statement? Of those that do, how many actually follow through?

I recently finished the book "The Forgotten Ways" by Alan Hirsch. One of my professors indulged my need to study the edges of Christian thought (or at least the edge of what I usually study) and let me read it for a book review focused on transcultural communication. One concept I picked up was "sneezable" church. Churches that spread wide and fast because they are theologically centered on the most important parts of the gospel and easily reproducible across cultures. How I wish...

I'm sorry if this has seemed disjointed or incomplete, but sometimes our deepest longings are those that are hardest to express.