The Great Experiment: Post for The Rising

A couple months ago, I watched a documentary about the Tiny House movement.

It featured several people who are simplifying their lives by building tiny houses.  In addition the many advantages of living in a tiny house, such as designing your own space and avoiding a costly mortgage, one tiny house owner talks about “treating life as an experiment, rather than a series of dead-end decisions.”  When I heard that, something clicked for me.

Over the past few years, I have run into plenty of dead-ends.  Dead-end jobs, dead-end ambitions, dead-end relationships.  As hard as I’ve tried to make wise decisions, I keep coming back to “What did I do wrong?”  I assumed if I was really following “God’s will for my life”, it would be working out better.

But what if I wasn’t wrong?  What if I was supposed to try and fail?  Continue Reading

This week sounds like… the walls that divide

This week, I’m thinking of the walls that divide and the great distances that separate one person from another.  I’m thinking of the neighborhood lines in Chicago that cleanly divide one race from another.  I’m thinking of the disagreements between the Maasai and the Kikuyu tribe in Kenya.  I’m thinking about the cultural differences that separate the indigenous Mayans and Mestizos here in Guatemala.  I’m thinking about the ever-growing divide between progressive and fundamentalist Christians.  I’m thinking about the nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland, who literally separate themselves with a wall in Belfast. 

Belfast peace wall

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Thoughts on Expectations

Today, I was asked to give the message at my church here in Xela.  It comes from the lectionary text for this week, Matthew 21:33-44.  


Sometimes, I like to imagine there will be one defining moment in my life.  There will be a single moment when my life is completely transformed, and everything from that point forward is better than it was before.  I think we all want this.  We all want to have a before and an after. For example, “before I met the love of my life, my days were sad and depressing.”  “After I met my the perfect person, every single moment is like living a dream.”  This might happen in movies, but it isn’t reality. Continue reading

Thoughts on Prayer

This week, I’ve been exploring prayer.  Not because I’m an expert, but because I too often find myself asking “What’s the point?”  99% of the time, I’m asking for all the wrong things.   I don’t understand why anything I could ask would make any difference at all.

I don’t have it all figured out, but I can tell you that the times I have felt most at peace have been the times when I haven’t used any words at all.  I think that sometimes I forget that an important part of any conversation–even with the creator of the universe–is listening. Continue reading

This week sounds like… climbing mountains.

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous. – Thomas Merton

This week sounds like doing hard things, like climbing mountains (or in my case volcanoes).  It sounds like being cold, wet, and tired, but finding a tiny bit of hope at the end, just knowing that I did something I’ve never done before.

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Laguna Chicabal, Guatemala

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