Monday, November 16, 2009


Before I leave the house for my long runs I let my roommates know where I am going to run and a timeline for when I will be home. This isn't because I am worried about my safety (although I probably should be) Rather, I am never confident that I will be able to finish the mileage. It gives me comfort to know that I can stop anywhere along the route and in a few hours my roommates will come find me, peel me off sidewalk, and carry me home =)

Last week I had an 8 mile run to complete--it was very difficult and the first time I had to walk some in order to finish. This Saturday I ran 10 miles without needing to walk. The difference was that this time I had already run the route (it was the same as the 8 but with an extra loop at the end) so I had some perspective of where I was in my mileage, I knew where the water stops were, and I knew where I would need some fuel.

I wish life was as clear and as easy as my 10 mile run! I long to be in familiar territory--to know where I was going, to know when I would get a break, and to know when I would need and get some help along the way. At the end of acts Paul tells the people in Rome that they are "Ever hearing but never understanding, ever seeing but never perceiving, and developing calloused hearts." Often times I am like the people of Rome. In theory I understand what Paul is saying and the warning he heeds. But right now it is hard for me to understand and know how God is at work in my life and even harder for me be open to His calling. I am thankful today for a patient God who is with me even when I am like the Romans, for a community of friends who understand what I am feeling, and for all the people willing to be there along our journey.

PS I have posted a new photo album on facebook. Here are a few highlights:

Community Day: working at Second Harvest Food Bank

Our first New Orleans parade

Dinner at the Dolfsma's house. My friend Paulus took this picture (he is 5)

Our second community day at the New Orleans Mission--learning about homelessness
At the Hornets game

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stewardship Season

This Sunday the pastor preached about stewardship. I have heard the message before and I am sure to hear it again--several more times this year and then several more times every stewardship season for the rest of my life! Eachtime I hear the message it is a little different--each year it has a new spin to it. As I listened to the sermon I couldn't help but wonder how much time pastors and commitment committees spend trying to invent new and convincing ways to ask church members to tithe. How much time is spent looking over the budget--making sure everything is distributed well and cost-efficient? More than anything I wondered why we don't take this sort of approach to all aspects of our Christian lives?

Imagine a church that consistently re-examined all aspects of their faith and community. We could have a "worship season" in which we asked ourselves if our worship is meaningful to the members, attractive to visitors, and centered on God. We could recruit teachers and train them and call it "nurture and growth season." The possibilites are endless! Imagine a church that never settled into a comfortable routine but instead was open to change as it's members change and the needs of the world change. What if the church regularly asked, "are we doing the best we can--for each other, for the community, for God?" What if we habitually examined and renewed our faith? I am not saying there is a constant need to reinvent the wheel.

I am not saying that change is always the answer. I am simply suggesting that individuals and the church could benefit from reflection, examination and creativity.