On Christmas Eve, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 catch a glimpse of something that no one else had seen before. The crew was running experiments and studying the impact of orbiting the moon in the build up to landing on the moon. As a part of the experiments, they became the first human beings to orbit the moon, and thus the first human beings to travel to the dark side of the moon. Apollo 8 was about halfway through their mission when William Anders looked out the window and saw the earth rising above the moon, like the sun rises over the horizon on earth.
In an instant, the three man crew of Apollo 8 were the first human beings to ever witness an ‘earthrise’. They had witnessed something that no one else had. They frantically looked for their color film so they could try to capture the picture as best as possible. They understood that they had an obligation to share this sight with as many people as possible when they got home. It was too beautiful, too incredible, too important not to share.
Christians have a similar responsibility. Continue reading
I’ve gotten the sense that over the last year or so, God has been up to something in my life. I just wasn’t able to put my finger on it until lately.
I saw a really interesting segment on a documentary a few months ago. In the segment, they were showing two villages that lived fairly close to each other in a desert. Both of these villages had been established around a single well that was drawing from an underground river. These two villages realized that if they would connect their wells, there would be more water flowing, and they could almost create a network of wells.
In order to do this, each village had to send people down their wells and carve out a tunnel following the river toward the other village. The person who was digging this mud, rock, and dirt out was up to their knees in muddy water, taking buckets full of rock back to the well to be taken away by others up top helping out. It’s messy, dangerous work, where there is a risk of cave in each day.
I think there are two periods of my spiritual life that God is using ministry to carve a deeper well between. It’s messy, confusing at times, and glorious at others. Continue reading
So, I’ve been reading a lot this year. I have a goal of averaging one book per week. But I had a stark realization in the last couple of weeks. The reading has been helpful, but only to me. The books haven’t really begun impacting my congregation or you readers at all.
So, here is a quick overview of the things I took away from ‘Mentor For Life’ by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson. Please note, these are my interpretations and impressions, and so they are subject to my biases. Continue reading
A couple of years ago, I traveled to Berlin, Germany on a family vacation. There were a lot of incredible sites I saw while I was there, but one location stood out. In the heart of Berlin, there is a memorial aptly named ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’. (It’s the most German name ever: both a run-on sentence and succinctly descriptive). Truthfully, at first glance, the memorial doesn’t look like much. It consisted of a lot of nearly identical unmarked pillars, equally spaced out forming a grid of paths that ran from one side of the plaza to another.
When you stand on one side of the plaza and look out over the obelisks, they look to be relatively the same height as one and other. But when you look at the small, narrow paths that make up the grid of the plaza, you can see the decline that forms a sort of bowl in the center of the memorial.
To be perfectly honest, the whole thing seemed lost on me. It was a bunch of boxes evenly spaced out in the middle of a major city. Aside from the handful of signs telling a passersby that this was a somber memorial, you could easily have mistaken it for a weird piece of European modern art (I know I sound like a terribly uncultured American, and that’s because I am). The significance of the event the memorial represented wasn’t lost on me. I just couldn’t figure out a clear connection between the the event and the memorial.
Recently, I had four of my closest friends over to my house for a weekend (along with their two spouses and two dogs, it was a full house, and loads of fun). We spent the weekend playing board games for, quite literally, sixteen hours (it was probably more than that, but I wasn’t timing). Now, my house has the room space for this kind of shindig – kind of. I had one friend who was crashed on my sofa, but everyone else had their own room and bed/air mattress.
These friends know me fairly well. I’ve lived with them, gotten angry at them, laughed until I cried with them, and been my most ridiculous with them. One of them even tried to choke me one time (I must admit, I had asked him too). The level of intimacy we have with one an other is incredible, and it’s honestly why I value their friendships so much. (That, and the fact that they simply know too much about me, and it takes too long to break in a new set of friends).