Monday, September 23, 2002

HOMELESSNESS. About 260 homeless neighbors came to Horizon House day center today. Forty percent do not stay in any formal shelter like missions, family shelters, transitional housing programs, or halfway houses. They stay in abandoned buildings, under bridges, in the woods, on the streets. Until we end homelessness, I am restless.
RETHINKING PROGRESS. Progress was the mantra of the 20th Century. It was to be a march forward into ever greater level of quality of life. It was a misnomer. Many accomplishments and advances in the name of Progress were made--mindboggling things, really. But we regressed or failed to surmount some very basic human foibles and barriers to our sustainability. See
COMMUNITY IMMERSION. I am quite self-conscious about being a Christian. Not because I desire to hide my faith, but because I do not want to hide (and be lost) in a facsimile of it. Not because I want to fit into the mainstream without distinctions, but because most of the distinctions Christendom has drawn are superficial and not distinctive enough. Actually, I become less self-conscious about being a Christian the more time I spend in the so-called "secular" side of the community. I am convinced that grace is greater than the church will "permit" it to be. But grace is grace. It is out of the box, beyond the walls, being accessed, apprehended, and expressed self authenticating ways.
GRACE NOTES. I posted Grace Notes ( this morning, even as I e-mailed this weekly reflection series to several hundred subscribers/friends. My absence from blogging is not an absense at all. It is a focusing on one large blog over a period of several days.
TREE FALL. The enduring question is: If a tree falls in the forest of my blog, will anyone else hear or care about it?

Friday, September 20, 2002

BIKING IN THE RAIN. You've got to bike in the rain. No matter that it wears on your bike's bearings. Drenching, splattering, puddle jumping, soaked to the core--this is good for the biking soul. Can't be a fair-weather biker. Besides, the best riding stories come out of bad weather conditions.
SUBCULTURAL BLISS. I think folks who have accepted themselves as subcultural and embraced their ghetto let go of self-consciousness to a great extent. They are odd. They are peculiar--for legitimate or shallow reasons and in legitimate or silly ways. They are not mainstream; they are not intended to be. They know they do not fit in the mainstream world and they have effectively removed themselves from it. They have limited their range. They are satisfied to be odd. They separate themselves emotionally and often geographically. I imagine these folks to be relatively happy in life.

But I have not accepted my role as a subculturalist. I don’t see separateness as my lot. My understanding of witness is much more incarnational than to allow me to separate myself from the warp and woof of the American marketplace, community struggles, and cultural milieu.
A SELF-CONSCIOUS CHRISTIAN. I am a self-conscious Christian. I have always felt like I somehow look so obvious, no less so than one of those Hassidic folks with long curls and black fedoras that you see on TV and in the movies walking the streets of downtown New York City. They seem to be ever present on the street, a part of the backdrop in which they look both entirely out of place in the modern world of cursing cabbies, gaudy shoppers, consumed cell phone talkers, and skyscrapers, and yet they belong because they really are there and they do get by. But, for the most part, as far as the plot of a movie or TV program is concerned, they are a caricature for a cynical audience. I sometimes feel that self-conscious about being a Christian.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

BIKING. A Cannondale for the road and a Raleigh hardtail for off-road riding. Primarily a road rider. One of those cars pass at high speeds without moving an inch to the left. I try to stay out of your way, hugging the sideline and curb. I also wear a helmet. And some reflective gear. You'll have to be blind to not see me and swerving badly to hit me. I've ridden thousands of miles now, all mostly close to home, and had no incidents. I'm grateful. In spite of a few road jerks, most folks share the road we all travel.
TO INTERVENE OR NOT TO INTERVENE. That is the question for a parent whose child is apparently being mistreated by an adult or, in this case, school personnel. More precisely, "to what extent should one intervene?" It is impossible for me to not intervene, even if at a conversational level with my children. What do they expect? When they say they don't want help do they mean it? What might come of a conversation with a coach, athletic director, teacher, or academic dean? I have no easy answer, but heart pain.
MY KIDS. People who treat any one of my kids bad...suck. There, I said it. For the most part, all four are treated well at school and among friends. They are bright, athletic, good looking, well-adjusted. But currently there is a varsity soccer coach who has turned my freshman son's confidence into jelly and an English teacher who has decided to make it really tough on his class just because they are all supposed to be "gifted and talented." Now I have officially whined. I feel better. Wish my son did.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

BIKING. Biking is not what one does with one's extra time for recreation. Biking is a way of life. A good therapist would say, ''Consider rephrasing to say: 'Biking is a way of life for me.' Speak to your own experience.'' Right. Okay, so I am a biking enthusiast. I think I fall short of being a fanatic. You have the right NOT to ride, but, hey, it's your own loss.
FOR BLOGGINGS' SAKE. What are the chances of blogging for the sake of blogging?

Monday, September 16, 2002

TRUST GOD AND SIN BOLDLY. By fits and starts. That is how I begin. If I wait until I have all the data and have my act together, I will never begin. This is, to me, one of the challenges of overcoming fear of technology. Technology is still very intimidating and "inside lingo" and mores develop quickly. Breaking in is a real challenge. So, you've got to hang appearances and just begin. Make mistakes. "Trust God and sin boldly," said Martin Luther. Meaning, I suppose, "you are going to make mistakes, errors, and poor judgments; you may even be thinking you are doing the right thing and inadvertently hurt yourself or others. Just the same, launch out, as if in faith. No, in actual faith."
FRAGMENTS FROM THE MARGINS. Like I said, I am slow. Or something like that. I've been at this, more or less, for several years. I post collections of fragments of a week full of reflections on a page I call Grace Notes: Weekly Fragments from the Margins of a Graced Life. It is currently a GeoCities site, My entries are truly fragments from the margins of my life. The kind of things I note while I am on the job, at my kids practices or games, in church, etc. And I am looking for signs of grace in nontraditional places--particularly outside the walls of the church. In the community. In a conversation. In dialogue with a homeless neighbor. In doubt. In fledgling hope.

WHAT ARE THE RULES? I do not yet know "the rules" of blogging. I am listening, watching, learning. Perhaps someone will point me in the right direction.