Monday, September 27, 2010

No impact man?

This was the book I just finished this weekend. Great read. I'd recommend it to anyone for multiple reasons.

I've discussed the premise before, but essentially this guy is chronicling a year of his life in which he attempts to have no impact, environmentally, on the planet. This means no carbon emissions (no car/airplane/train/even elevator! travel), no electricity, no trash (think of the difficulty in buying food!), amidst other things.

It's a rather funny book at times, and Melissa and I found ourselves thinking some funny things while reading(more on this tomorrow I hope). This guy starts with the idea that to be someone that constantly complains about the environment's demise, perhaps he should actually DO something instead of just commenting. I wish this were true of so many others and commend the author for his action.

It felt like essentially reading a series of blog entries, and it well may have been, but they were a fun read. He deals with questions like: Can one man really make a difference? Is the care for our planet really worth it? and probably mostly, Is it practical at all for us to happily live in such a way as to have minimal impact on the environment?

Ultimately, I think he'd say that no, one person can't have that big of an impact; though he may inspire others. He would probably also push back on the individuality of the questioner and get us all to see ourselves as more of a unified group than individuals. We can make a difference.

And what makes happiness? My favorite part of the book was his mining for what ultimately leads to happiness and fulfillment. Do we consume more and more things (trash, cars, other waste) because we truly belive it will make us more happy? Do we eat more and watch more tv because it actually does lead to a happier life? Throughout his year on the project, it seems, the answer to personal happiness is in relationship. I agree with this, to a point. The author gives no straight answer, but the hints would say that the way to find satisfaction and peace and joy in your life is to cherish better the close people in your lives. Turn the tv off, put the ipod down, talk more, play more. This is close to the mark, but still will leave us wanted, I believe. What if we find the very people we're seeking our fulfillment from are the very people bringing us the most pain? It's because of his line of thinking many young women want to have babies, or get married. Life is about relationships, they think. I just need to find the right guy, or after they find a guy and realize while he may be a fine fellow, he is not the pinnacle of creation; so, now I just need a baby! Life is about enjoying family, right? To many moms then find themselves desperately wanting. I'm not in bliss! Why isn't my husband and my baby making me the joyful, happy person they're supposed to? Maybe the problem is with them? Maybe divorce is the best option? Should I just try again?

No, tv isn't what makes us happy. Eating inordinate amounts of crappy food won't make us happy either. But I submit that neither will asking our families to be something they're not designed for give us ultimate happiness either. Yes, we should value relationship, and we should cherish our friends, but I think we're missing the bigger story. I wonder if the author is asking us to replace a few things we use to numb the pain of our lives (tv, food, etc) for another (family/close friends)?

We were created specifically, and for goodness and joy. We were told to be stewards of the earth and care for it. We abandoned the creator and forsook the earth. We went our own way in rebellion. Now we are on a constant path to try and reclaim that missing joy, that emptiness that everyone feels to some degree or another; and we look anywhere we can to fill it. All options leave us wanting except the option to return, again, to the creator. He has been ever near, never leaving. God is not distant and remote, but is active and present. He has never turned us over, but has always remained passionately close, despite our rejection. We have continually turned to other things and spit in His face, yet he remains steadfast with his lovingkindness towards us. Let us go to Him now! Let us finally throw up our hands in our seeking after worldly gain and worldly pleasure! Let us look Him in the face. In Him we find joy and peace. He will never fail us; He will never leave us. He has come to rescue His people and taken their just punishment upon himself. He has begun a new day with His new people to reclaim the earth, to be stewards once more. He sets our hearts to singing at His faithfulness and goodness. He has set the captives free! He brings peace to the brokenhearted and will wipe away every tear.

Join me in true joy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

We're diseased

Yes I know that many of the pictures I put on here have nothing to do with the entry that follows. I'm cool with that; the kid is just cute and I can't NOT litter this blog with pictures of him.

Melissa and I are getting really excited for the beginning of the school year. We have a friend who has graciously been offering to babysit for us everyone now and then and last night we spent a few hours over some coffee and hot chocolate just talking about the next couple weeks and preparing our hearts for what is to come. I think maybe what we both didn't anticipate was that God had plans to search our hearts and dig deeper as to certain fears that we both have and how we can allow Jesus to minister in those areas.

We spent significant time talking about father/daughter and father/son relationships and how we've been affected by those. See, we know that all people are affected in huge ways by their relationships with their parents, but, at least for me, I just don't think about it very often. We just don't spend enough time trying to become more aware of the patterns and thoughts of our hearts. We sort've just live without much thought. Last night God allowed us to dig really deep and expose certain things about the ways we work and think and love. It was great. I love my wife and know her to a far greater extent this morning than I did yesterday morning. And I was quite smitten with her already!

That God allowed us to have that time was perfect timing. A huge part of ministry is just an outpouring of our hearts into the lives of students and this university. We meet with students to just allow our love for Jesus and our zeal to overflow into their lives. We want to let them see our love and get infected with it. Through working through some of our deeper issues, God allowed his light and love to penetrate. Today we feel a greater awareness of him and a greater care for the world and its people that we did before. Let's hope it's contagious.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Transition time

Still can't believe that little man is 2 now.

I've started spending a lot more time with some of the guys that are in my Bible study and man has it been refreshing. It's just great to come along side and encourage them in their depth of understanding and their faithfulness. It's also super encouraging personally. Statistically things you teach you remember (and affirm) 90% of the time while things you hear only 10% of the time. I've definitely found in ministry that the more I pour things out (teach) the more I remember and affirm them in my own life. The more I talk about faithfulness and service and love the more I want to do those things better personally.

I've mentioned that I'm reading "No Impact Man." Good book so far. This guy has set out as a goal to live one year, as close as he can, with virtually no impact on the environment. No trash, no electricity, no carbon means no cars, no tv, and no toilet paper to name a few. I'll probably talk more as I get further but one thing in particular has been on my mind as I read, well, besides the obvious that we (our family) uses tons of trash and waste tons of stuff and are generally terrible stewards of the family. I've been thinking about his goal and the way he goes about it. He basically starts with a simple assertion, "I need to take care of the earth," and then he actually goes out and does it. For whatever reason, I seem to talk way more than I act. This guy begins something that is pretty hard, but he starts it nonetheless. Contrarily, I seem to talk about the Kingdom (Of God) life and how great it is, but sadly I just don't find myself acting like I truly believe it. I'm a commentator on truth rather than a partaker. I think I downplay my capacity to engage and make a difference; I fail to believe (outwardly) that it truly is more blessed to give than receive. I fail to act in like with the claim that "the least is the greatest." Not only do I just fail to live the kingdom life, but some days I just don't even try. Consider this a corporate confession.

Now I choose to act.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Noah's birthday!

We can't believe the little dude is two years old already! You know, I always thought those 'older' people that would say things like "cherish every moment because it goes so fast" were just people with misplaced priorities. Honestly. I just thought they didn't spend much time with their kids and they just look up and poof! their kids are bigger and they regret the time missed.
I've had a change of heart over the last two months, since Leah's birth. The thing with babies/toddlers is that almost every day they learn something new. It's just hard to keep up with. Daily Melissa says something to me like, "Did you know that now he says "hey dude?" Or "Yeah he has been doing this lately. You didn't know that?" NO, actually, I didn't because I can't keep up!
The little man is just awesome. Just plain awesome. A rather large part of my heart gets sad at school starting soon and "papa" having to spend more time away. I just don't want to miss a single thing.

What's he like now? Well he is quite a cautious little man. When we take him anywhere around other kids he usually just stands beside us for a good 10-15 minutes just taking everything in. I'd love to hear what's going on inside his head when he watches kids go bananas at the library or at a park. Eventually he'll join in buts its never the full-flight craziness that other kids seem naturally inclined towards.

He loves cars and trucks and points them out all the time. Big trucks or big cars especially get his attention.

The little man is really cuddly which is great for us! Hes like that with Leah as well, always wanting to give hugs and kisses. Mostly it's because he mimmicks everything we do, which is also quite fun. Also humbling, to be honest. Sometimes when I'm sitting there watching a game or something he'll just come sit beside me and watch. Not quite the family heirloom I'd like to pass down. Nothing wrong with tv, don't get me wrong, but I'd love the boy to have better/more constructive forms of rest. I'd like this big boy (me) to have better forms of rest as well.
He got lots of toys from his little birthday shindig yesterday. Last night he particularly liked the baseball bat and ball. We let the no throwing balls rule slide a bit last night and he had some fun with it. He also got cartrackthingamabob that he enjoyed. Hes sick today and was yesterday as well so hes pretty mellow but we could tell he liked all the new stuff. Man do I love that little guy.
On a totally different note: I've decided to start using a handkercheif. I'm fairly certian reading "No Impact Man" is going to make me a hippy. More on this soon, I just thought Noah's birthday warranted this post.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Staff reconnect

I am increasingly finding that the more I get older the more introverted I become. That, to me, is strange considering I work with students all the time and I'm under pressure to become MORE extraverted. I just find myself longing for that alone time a little more than in the past. I just long for time with the Lord and perhaps my journal and my thoughts. Life just comes at us so fast and I desire more and more solitude and quiet.

We have started staff meetings again. We've spent a good amount of time in the Bible and in prayer for the upcoming year and just the unity and peace on our team. We've also had a fair amount of just community hangout time. I love these times. They also drain me quite a bit. Put me with 3 or 4 other people and I'm great. But put me in a situation with 20 or so people and I can become a bit drained after a time. With all the staff stuff recently let's just say I've been trying to fight to get alone. Also a difficult task with two kids under two.

I started a book that Melissa has been reading called "No Impact Man" and it's been pretty intriguing. His desire is to live an entire year having as little impact on our environment as possible. I've been dwelling on one thing in particular about the book that I'll talk about tomorrow.

I've heard the Buckeyes looked great last week. We missed the game because we don't have the Big Ten Network and with work starting up we all needed some family time. The transition to much more child-care has been ok for Noah but it seems he just really wants to soak up his mama and papa time more because he gets less of it. As for the Buckeyes this weekend should be good. Melissa has family that are Miami Fl grads and I'd like nothing more than bragging rights. One uncle continues to adamantly declare OSU's national championship in 2002 was a cheat because of a pass-interference penalty in overtime.