Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Much to say

Just f.y.i., I've never allowed myself to be censored and at times I have been known to cross lines and been a little liberal with my speech and writing. I want to state for the record that I have been prevented by the powers that be from posting any visual representation of Barb being pregnant. She says it's dumb and she's fat. I say it's elegant and that, of course, she's bigger because she has a human inside of her--head, shoulders, knees and toes.

Soon and very soon we will be seeing our daughter. Can't really imagine what that'd be like. Just visited my old friend's myspace page and saw his two boys and 6 month old daughter. Quite a family.

Trying my hand at gardening this time around. I'm growing about a dozen or so strawberry plants, which are doing quite well, watermelon, bell pepper and something else I can't remember. I guess I should throw away the seed pouches so quickly. Well, if you see me on the news you'll know it was the forbidden plant.

Much is going on but it's too much to say right now. Learning brand new things--home ownership, starting over in an unfamiliar city, becoming a better pastor/teacher, starting insurance business too, and becoming a daddy. I think this is the perfect time for a vacation . . .or to grow a forbidden plant.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


The Bible says that God is omni-present, that is to say, that God is everywhere at once. This to me is astounding in and of itself, but when I think about the graciousness of God it makes it even more so. For if God is gracious and God is omni-present then that means that God is with us not matter the circumstances. God is with us when we worship, when we work, when we need consoling, when we need encouragement or even when we do wrong. God is there, waiting, patiently waiting.

That is not to say that God is not disturbed by our wrong doing. The Bible clearly states that our wrong doing, our sin interrupts our relationship with him. Just as I can't be with my wife in the closest sense relationally and at the same time be rude, arrogant or condescending to her, so it is with our relationship with God. But God doesn't walk away. He doesn't hide. We do that. We do that just like Adam and Eve did. We are afraid of someone knowing us completely, sin/warts and all. We hide out of fear, shame and/or guilt. Yet God habitually comes to Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening, even after he knows they have sinned, to converse with them.

Could it be that we could actually take such a risk and be known, utterly known by someone, even God, and still not be weighed down by guilt? But we put on the veil and mask ourselves. We maintain the veil that separates us from God like the Old Testament picture of the Temple, that gigantic curtain separating us from the holiest of places? Interesting that at the substitutionary, atoning, reconciling death of Jesus, Scripture states that the curtain was ripped from top to bottom to signify that God himself was stepping out from the veil to be with us. Hebrews says that we have an anchor behind the veil/curtain and that it is Jesus. No hands are big enough to remove that curtain except the benevolent hands of God. God wants to be known. He is in his nature one who reveals. The Apostle Paul calls Jesus the "mustarion," the "open secret." And God wants to know us.

That's so profound. Some people want to be free. Some want to be known. I think that all want to be both to some degree--to be known and free. That to me is the beauty of it: it can be, it should be, it is.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Lost Art

Thursday was Barb's birthday. She is very young still. Her parents drove down from Plattsburg, Mo to be here and to help us with a home project. They are very giving, self-sacrificing individuals. I have known them for 6 years and they have consistently proven this. I am very blessed and thankful to have in-laws of this stature. We sent them off last night completely appreciative of the time well-spent with them. Can't wake 'til we see them again. The next time we see them they will have another grand-daughter.

During our prepared birth class on Thursday night we took a tour of our hospital, Germantown Methodist. We have been impressed with the class, hospital and doctors, oops, I mean "health care providers" thus far. There are about 15 other couples in the class: some beaming with excitement and others already tired with the preparatory work that is necessary. It is great to be surrounded by such excited people, each couple encouraging the other, swapping war stories. I can imagine that more stories will come.

The due date is April 17, so we are only 6 or 7 weeks away from Violet's birth. We are so excited and nervous! The thought of having the child, staying in the hospital for a few days and then being allowed to go home with the child seems like it should be illegal! Wait! I haven't done this before. Are you kidding? You should send her home with someone who is experienced! Ha.

Some people have said to us, "Oh, just wait. Your life will change so much. You won't get any sleep . . ." They go on to list several negative things about parenting. I know that their words are well meant, but I wonder why they think we haven't considered that yet, as if we get a lot of sleep now or haven't suspected that things will change. We have seen many friends have children and have seen their selfless giving in order to rear their child. It is not like we are living on a deserted island where no children dwell. The typical situation in some cases is that they highlight the negative and hard aspects but then say, "Oh, but it's worth it . . ."

This is the same thing that occurred when we were engaged. Numerous people felt like they needed to say, "Marriage is extremely difficult . . .but it's worth it." Most of these people, then and now, are believers and seem to not grasp the Scriptural concept of rejoicing with those who rejoice. I just don't get it. Why must there be so much party-poop from these people? Perhaps these people are frustrated and tired and want their sacrifices known, which is understandable. But to pile a bunch of negativity when we are celebrative is not only inappropriate but rude, calloused, and stupid. At times it seems like parents talk down to couples without children like married couples seem to talk down to singles who are engaged. I just don't get it.

There have been bright spots, though. We have talked with several parents who rejoiced with us without turning the situation to themselves. They shared with us their joy of discovering they were pregnant, asked us questions about our experience and gave advice when asked, a lost art it seems. Through the example of these couples I have learned a lot about relationships and how to not only listen to people but to hear them as well. I hope that God shapes in me more of that and helps me rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.