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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Thoughts on Community

I live in a community.  Literally, as in I share a kitchen and two bathrooms with six other people.  Seven people, sharing space, food, and a shower that you have to light with a match.  (That’s what “gas heated water” means in Guatemala). 

Community has meant lots of different things to me over the years.  Community has meant and summer cookouts and movie nights and Goodwill shopping.  Community has meant church. Community has meant shared meals and $3 bottles of wine.  

Last week in my little church in Guatemala, the lesson was from Romans chapter 12, and it reminded me of some thoughts on community I wrote a few years ago while I was living in Indiana.  Continue reading

Singleness and the Enneagram (New post for Single Roots)

I really hate it when people tell me I need to work on myself before pursuing a relationship with someone else.

Seriously, it’s probably one of my top ten pet peeves, next to guys who ask me out on Twitter. It always comes off as slightly condescending when another person assumes that because I’m single, I don’t possess some vaguely defined amount of self-knowledge and superior morality that every married person in the world must already have.

But even so, I am reminded nearly every day that a part of me is fundamentally broken. I don’t think this is a singleness problem, but a human problem. Continue reading