Tuesday, January 20, 2009

at the corner of 44th and 1st

We woke up early this morning to a world covered in snow. It reminded me of a blog I read recently from my friend Beka Dean: "There really is something hopeful about a landscape completely covered with snow; everything is clean; everything is new."

It's true. A blanket of snow enables you to see a familiar landscape in a fresh light.

Kind of like today. The inauguration of President Barack Obama helps us remember a history we've always known, while seeing it a different way. Now the stories take on a surprising shape, draped in unique meaning. Your eye picks up emerging contours of hope and possibility. And a feeling of something new.

It was striking to think of him standing on the steps of the Capitol, looking out across the sea of citizens, and catching sight of the Lincoln Memorial in the distance. He had to be reminded of two men whose legacies echoed back from those steps, across the crowds and generations.

A proclamation. A dream. And an oath.
Converging at the corner of 44th and 1st.


Sunday, January 18, 2009


We're often told we should remember the past, so we won't repeat it.
True. But we should also remember the past so we will repeat it.
Recalling people of courage, love, justice and mercy. Memories that carve out a better way, and teach us how to walk well in our own time. Today's a good day to remember.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

i love you europe

The greatest acceptance speech in history? I dare say yes, my friend.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

the long road to yes

On the cover of last week’s Relevant Magazine was Pete Greig, founder of the worldwide 24-7 prayer movement. (Just don’t call him that to his face. He doesn’t seem to like it very much.)

Pete is cool for many reasons. Mainly because he’s British. Which means he has all sorts of cheeky sayings (like “cheers mate”) and he adds flavor and color to otherwise bland words by spelling them with the letter ‘u’ (flavour and colour, for example).

Pete came to Asbury last year to encourage our fledgling little campus house of prayer. Hearing him speak was an important experience for me. It stirred and provoked desires in me that weren’t really dormant, but had certainly been stealing a nap. I already read (mostly) his book Red Moon Rising, and resonated strongly with the story—a story of a truly significant move of God… the kind that starts small but swells so fast you can’t possibly keep up. You can try to stay ahead of it, but you just end up bent over, holding your side, huffing “Go ahead without me. I’ll catch up later.”

I’ve always wanted to be part of something like that. Always. Since I was a kid, my favorite stories have always been about a small group of friends facing ridiculous odds. Their only hope is a fool’s hope. But they risk it, and somehow come out on the other side. Looking back, it seems like the end is inevitable. Meant to be. But in the thick of it, you have no clue how things are going to turn out for good. (Think Sam and ‘the stories that really mattered.’)

Seeing that cover immediately sparked a memory. Early last spring I spent a day with a mentor and a friend at the Abby of Gethsemane, tucked away in the Kentucky hillside. It was raining hard, and we were walking a trail surrounded by trees. I was wrestling with what to do after graduation, a months long struggle. Sarah and I were still unsure if planting a church was the right thing. There were so many unknowns, so much fear, so much potential for flat out failure.

That’s when I thought of Pete. And his story. How I had always wanted to be part of a story like that. Always. Was this that chance? Was it worth the risk of failure?

I knew then that my heart had taken another strong step toward Chapel Hill. And it wanted to drag me along.

I was so deep in thought I didn’t see it coming. But at that moment—exact moment—the trail led us out of the trees, a wide clearing opening up around us. The gray sky made the green field seem that much more vibrant and fresh.

The same thing happened in my heart. Something opened up. My will baptized beneath the first rain of spring. It wasn’t the moment, but it was a moment on the long road to yes.

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