go love

so...i have a new address. well, more theoretically speaking, because we still don't have our p.o. box yet and we don't want to mix our mail with the churches. but i am living somewhere new.

that's right we finally moved into the church on sunday amidst a multitude of complications and difficulties. we have some electrical issues which compound the heat issues and sleeping has been a bit of a challenge, but it's getting better. we've had some wonderful support and help from various people so that has been a huge blessing.

if you are able i suggest you come pay us a visit and check out the place! it is a work in progress, but here's to building your ship at sea.

this is the door to my room. it was like that. you can probably figure out what it used to say. i like it how it is now though. and i like how it looks at night.

ps we don't have internet yet so i will be less available for some time. or it's called a phone.



i've been loving this band a ton recently. you should check them out, and you can get their whole album for free here. it has more great songs like this one, that kind of makes me want to go to...

"small coastal towns"


too horrific

ok so i haven't seen it and don't intend to, even if i hadn't read either of the following. my favorite lines:

"Director Michael Bay has accomplished something incredible with Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen. No filmmaker since Stanley Kubrick has so perfectly captured the zeitgeist of an anxious, enervated and testosterone-poisoned society. Bay’s crowning achievement with this cinematic landfill is that he managed to do it unintentionally. Beat that, Kubrick."

"Michael Bay’s 150-minute celebration of attention deficit disorder is like a July 4th fireworks display that doesn't end until July 8th and makes you swear off Roman candles for life."


and please read this entire joy of a review giving the film (if you can even call it that) an entire 8 out of 100--using the term "regrettable."


the bridges

"finding it hard"


"it doesn't feel right"

alright my female friends, or male cohorts--it's time to enlighten me on a little something. another humble submission that i have no idea in hell about a particular aspect of life or relationship or whatever you want to call it. so fill me in, or further echo your own exasperation along with me. thanks.

i'm talking about that phrase, "it just isn't right." this is death to a relationship. as soon as it is felt you might as well shake the dust and get it over with as soon as possible, right? if it's said then there is no turning back. try to fight it and you're only delaying the inevitable and causing more pain. at least that's how it seems to go. am i right?

unfortunately i've been the recipient of this phrase several times in my day. is this just the new "God is telling me I need to be alone right now" which was the middle-school way of getting out of dating with someone you didn't really want to date? "feeling" is more neutral and less authoritative, but just as passive and seemingly less hurtful. is that the case here? or does it really reflect an actual state?

i guess my first question is just, what the hell is "it"? the relationship or you? can't we be honest here people? oh but it's both isn't it? or neither. it's a compatibility thing. though in truth it's a feeling and it can't really be fully explained so you can't even really talk about it. damn what i wouldn't give for some telepathy.

what is this mysterious magical feeling that must overcome your senses by the third date? or even if it seems to be there the feeling can strike at any moment, this doesn't feel right all of the sudden. it is over! but that is all we have to go on right? that's how we judge isn't it?

you see they say that when it is right it will just feel right and it should feel right because that's how you know that it is right because it feels right when it is supposed to feel right. right?

that's what people say who are still happily married, isn't it? of course, i do wonder if the others said that too--the ones who are divorced now. and they just simply aren't still around to say that it felt right. or maybe they change their story though--like now they say they somehow always knew that it just wasn't right. it was those reservations from before. i wonder if the happily married couples had reservations ever. we just judge the means by end result, but what if our research methods are quite skewed? we believe what we want to believe. we find the support where we want to find it.

|insert disclaimer: i'm sorry if i sound a little bitter here at any point in time--it is not my intention and i don't really feel that way as much as exasperated. so put that fun tone on my sarcasm. cynicism maybe at times, but that also isn't the predominate emotion. got it? good.|

so let's get a little philosophical here. i'll leave the talking about the spirituality of such a phrase to your own judgment, though mostly i would strongly caution associating our own feelings with the will of God--as the two seem to often be the same for many. i guess the philosophical question here for me is what exactly dictates our decision making? do our feelings dictate our actions? or is it our will? is there a difference--yes. but do we just equate our feelings with our will--but only in certain situations? then there really isn't a will then, is there? or it is at least just a slave to our feelings. what constitutes the choices that we make?

some things we might call matters of the heart. these would tend to be dictated by our feelings, because we equate feelings with the heart. that may be misguided for sure. so also may be the distinction we try to make assigning some things as specifically to our heart and others to a more cognitive, scientific decision-making. i think there is truth in that to a degree, but no decision can be made entirely devoid of our entire decision-making faculties. even the most "scientific" decision must have some feeling in it. and vice-versa. but even that duality is oversimplifying. ok that's all for the philosophy--it's not practically helpful here immediately so let's leave it for now.

practically though you can't go forward if it doesn't feel right. you can't force it. it just won't work. and this is true. i think it's a matter of our framework though in many cases. we can't force it through because we have created a pretty narrow doorway through which we must pass. and say the opposite extreme would be arranged marriages, which would have a very wide doorway (though i'm not advocating that). our framework so often is something like seeing God's will for us as eerily similar to a great chick flick. throw a little fear in there about not finding mr. right and perhaps the doorway widens a bit. or worrying that we are settling and it narrows. we have become so diluted as to think that it's all about the perfect romance and everything fitting together so naturally and it being all easy at the start--sure it will get harder but it should be easy at the beginning. because easy is synonymous with good. because it's all about us and how we feel and our comfort and what this other person is going to offer me. ok that might be a bit too far as it isn't always like that of course.

can we change our doorway? our framework? maybe God is far more concerned about you doing his will than finding mr. or mrs. perfect that feels so great. sure God wants to give us good gifts, but we can be pretty picky about what he sets before us. i don't mean to downplay the importance of this decision--indeed our framework has made it even all the more important if we don't want broken homes and pain for our children. it just doesn't seem to be working. romance as we are approaching it has some major flaws, and no one seems to be willing to look at the results and put two and two together.

how do we change our framework? well that is too specific to each one's situation i think. but i don't think a super narrow or extremely broad framework is healthy in any respect. this "feeling right" thing is just one issue that i think is narrowing a lot of frameworks and maybe keeping some people away from the other side of that door. and they can do something about it. don't try to force your way through, but take a look at what you've set up before you. it may not be as sturdy as you may have imagined. and changing the framework just might take you to a very different place once you pass through it.


confessional corner

i went to hawaii. last week. it was a late-breaking development. there, i said it. now you all know.

of course you may ask, "how did luke go to hawaii?" well, a cheap ticket plus a borrowed tent plus meeting up with old friends and new makes for a very doable trip. camping is totally the way to do hawaii. in fact, i want to do it again--maybe next year. who's with me?

it was an incredible and crazy week. if you want to know more, i suggest you ask me about it.

mahalo my friends.


a dream at sea

i woke from a dream today.
not this morning--nor last night,
for some dreams take a greater rousing
than one day can manage.

a dream of the grandest sort--
a great story,
the stuff of novels and fairy tales;
full of twists and surprises,
heartache and longing,
rendezvous and restoration.

a dream persisting through fits of waking,
unsure whether it was better to sleep or to rise.
but dreams cannot be held;
they come and go as they please--
and you poor fool are the victim,
not the author.
unable to lay down it all.

a dream that would not die.
how long can life-support last?
and is it right to hope for a revival?
i couldn't seem to help it,
to try to close my eyes once more and see
something different.

or even the dream of future dreams.

but a dream none the less.

the thing is,
we all need to wake up sooner or later.
the sweetest dream is still a fiction.
and i say,
give me the ugly truth over the most beautiful lie.

and sinking beneath the tide,
let me come up for air--
and wake like a burst through the surface of the deep,
still alive
and able once again
to see
to breathe.

ready for the next plunge.



we're 4-0. softball teams beware. long live the corked bat.

(don't worry, it's legal)


a moment

every now and then when i am washing my hair, i find myself trying to shampoo my beard as well. and then, upon realizing that it is gone, one small sob escapes me. and then i turn my face beneath the spout.



not long ago i had the opportunity to spend the weekend in chicago for a good friend's wedding. while i was there i had the opportunity to talk with a man who is a part of reba place fellowship. this is one such community we hope to learn a lot from as we enter into the experiment of intentional christian community life.

the man to the left is tom roddy. he is an extremely interesting man, as you might be able to tell simply from his picture, though i wish i had a better one to show the character in the lines of his face. he is 78. he has been through much, including a time as a monk, marriage to a widow with 6 kids, great financial success sacrificed to join reba, time in mental institutions for clinical bipolar and depressive episodes (of which he was very open about and has been better for many years now), and a member of reba place church for over 40 years. he is the subject of a local chicago documentary entitled "the renegade monk," and his story is told in the book the new monasticism. all of these things matter and they don't. to talk to the man for a few minutes is to see the peace and happiness he exudes still even after all the many years. he attributes this to his practice of daily meditation and silence, insisting that it is essential for any sort of self-knowledge and clarity. young people are drawn to him. he is an example of the wisdom of years we far too often ignore or marginalize. i consider myself privileged to have spent a couple hours with him.

one of the fun things was to discover a literary kinship with this 78 year old man. he was quite delighted by it as a matter of fact. 50+ years apart and we love the same books. so fun. there were also a few things within the conversation that really stuck with me. there's something to a man living all that time and still seeking after God, still finding the joy despite the many hardships he's faced in life. something that compels you to listen and gives gravity to his words. in a world where we seem to only be able to speak to others through the credibility of our own experiences, then i would have to say this guy takes the cake.

the thing he said that struck me probably the most was his statement that in all his years of life he's learned that the only thing really worth it is face-to-face, interpersonal relationships. which of course adds irony to this blog post. the other things he spoke to me were less in words.

i also was able to have a short conversation with an anglican bishop from uganda just the other day. he too exudes a peace and wisdom, a spirit of grace and goodness. he read an excerpt from a prayer that was very powerful. but beyond really anything he said simply his presence seemed to draw me into a space where God was near. that is powerful and indescribable, and it would be a great hope for myself someday. while i was in this place, with this man, i seemed to come to some sort of realization. maybe it is profound. maybe it is just a simple truth whose key fit the grooves within me at that moment.

i realized that true wisdom is the melding of our head to our hearts. the problem with american christianity is not its lack of understanding (indeed you could say that about many things in america), but the lack of heart. which makes you wonder why our churches continue to preach sermons week after week that are mostly teaching, titillating the mind with little bits you may not already have known. exhortation is generally unimposing and individualistic--if it's any more it has to be rare otherwise the independence of the listener will just start ignoring it completely.

our passion, if we do find it, is generally short-lived. there are numerous reasons for this. but rather than diagnose the problem--perhaps it is better to just focus on learning how to cultivate an engaged heart. it is so easy to slip away into entertainment that numbs the passion, or lets out just enough vicariously to make you feel like you are really living. so how do we learn to truly engage our hearts? if i had the answer to that then i would be a wise person. i'd ask someone older.


the wire

"the wire" is an hbo show that examines the nature of inner city life in a penetrating and profound way. generally told from the perspective of the drug culture and the cops who investigate it in the city of baltimore, each season focuses on a different aspect of the nature of this lifestyle and culture. it is an american culture that is marginalized and of ignored in the mainstream of american life. but you cannot watch this show and not be impacted by the stories of how life is in many of our major cities, usually just on the other side of town.

i've been watching this show now for the past few months, and i just finished watching season 4--it was the best yet. there is one season left in the complete series, which i plan to watch soon. it has by numerous people been called "the best show on television," and i have to say the same thing myself. watching this show makes heroes or many of the other shows i have watched just look amateur. i mean really--they don't even compare.

now i have to say off the start that i can't really give a broad wide-sweeping recommendation for anyone to watch this show. it is graphic in many ways, especially in violence and language. the earlier seasons also show some skin from time to time. but it is not gratuitous. it is there because that is the reality of the world this show is portraying. i understand the idea that what you put into your brain usually finds a way to come back out--and that we are encouraged to think on the good and wholesome things. but if you think phil. 4:8 is admonition to shut your ears and eyes from the reality of the evil in this world, then you are not seeing the rest of scripture and denying that it is the sick who need the doctors. though there are sensitive spirits out there, and the graphic nature of this show would be too much for those perhaps. though the unwholesomeness or whatever you want to call it is never there for the glorification of it, that's for sure.

i started watching this show on the recommendation of others who have been spending time in the inner city of kansas city, testifying to the many similarities between the show and the lives of the kids they interact with in real life. along with its accuracy and exposure the show is exceptionally well-done from a story-telling perspective. it usually takes a couple episodes to really get into the story, as it doesn't tend to rely on cheap hooks and suspense-driven plot. like most really good things, it demands work from its observer. in that way each show is usually very "literary" in a sense, in that it uses themes and motifs to make points and tie together ideas and realities. it is a show of great substance even beyond the extremely well done storytelling. again it makes other television shows look like cheap entertainment. but then again i don't watch a lot of other television.

i felt compelled to write a post about this show after watching season 4. it has stayed in my head and really greatly impacted me. season 4 followed the lives of particularly 4 eighth-graders and their coming-of-age into the "manhood" of inner-city life. this is the first season to explore the education side as well. it is haunting to see what these kids go through, the choices that they are forced to make, and how hard it is to overcome. if you ever had any need to challenge your prejudices about poverty and "the american dream," the ideology that america is a land of opportunity and anyone can pull themselves up and become the great "self-made man," then you simply need to watch this season. though of course to really understand it and fully appreciate it you have to watch the first three. and then of course you'll be compelled to watch the last one.

do i think you should watch this show? yes, if you have the time. it is a big investment but the expanded time allows for such a greater depth of insight than just a film can portray. i think despite the violence and language and whatever impact that might have on you, i believe it will enrich your life and greatly benefit you as a human being--in a way that few other shows or films can do.



"patience lies"