When I was single

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My first time on European soil - Frankfurt Airport, 9-6-2003


When I was single I went back and forth feeling like I wanted more, and then back to being OK being single… obviously I realized at some point that I wanted a wife and family – so that’s what I have today. However, I seriously looked at being single for a lot longer than I was. Back in 2002 when I was first presented with the idea of serving over seas on a year-long mission I was at a place where I was perfectly fine being single, very much enjoying it, and wasn’t actively looking for anyone. Of course just three months before leaving for my year long Polish adventure I “ended up” courting Alexis… it was crazy, and I wasn’t that sure about it either…

The pros and cons of being single are all over the place, and much of the desire to either remain single or enter into a long-term marriage (or for those outside my Kingdom lifestyle, a committed long-term relationship) come down to a person’s life calling and/or goals. However, I think the world, culture, and society put much pressure on people to find that “special” person far too much, and for many far to quickly. Some people mature faster and can enter into a dedicated relationship at an earlier age, but many times I believe (especially in the Church) the maturity factor is looked over and we’re just looking to get people married (so they don’t burn with lust)… instead of focusing on character development we’re simply trying to prevent “embarrassing” sin? This is a bit of an over-generalization and simplification, yet the common approach for many people is still within this kind of basic frame work.

Being single has amazing freedom, and the ability to get up and go when you feel it is awesome. Of course you run the risk of feeling “alone” and “lonely”, yet with the right amount of connections, friends, and most of all, your relationship with Christ, the sky’s the limit. Let the world be your play ground, be content, and step out into new things while you can – heck maybe make a life of it – stay single! The life-long single person certainly is a different breed, yet I envy the idea at times – thankfully my wife and I share the adventurous spirit and call!

I spike… easily.


I started writing this post back in November, ’11 – yeah I’m that far behind… if there really is a way to “fall behind” with blog posts… At one point I had 57 “draft” entries. 2011 was a year which might be summed up as simply “thick”, no matter where I turned something was changing, just changed, or proposing a change and with it I had my own things to deal with and balance with a family in tow. It seemed hardships of all kinds were around me and us, although we didn’t have any direct hits this year, we’ve been licking our wounds for a while and have some relational business to continue working on, otherwise though, circumstantially we’re good.

However, through all of this I would have fairly dramatic spouts of frustration and anger, usually over environmental things, like cleanliness, organization, scheduling, etc. and boy did I show my wife how I can spike off the charts when I’m running on empty. Thank God we have some tools in our tool belt to handle it, and for me to cool down in a much more healthy way than years past. Still though I would often find myself stuck, unable to push past…

But it was just that, “pushing past” which was causing me to get stuck, rather than stepping back and analyzing the cause, I just wanted to get “to the other side” and move on… yeah, I know, it doesn’t work real well… but in the moment it’s hard to think like that. On one particular enlightening evening, as we were talking with our pastors Alexis had to bring something up from weeks before which I thought we “pushed past” – well I had, she hadn’t and I hadn’t let her safely express that.

The ability to stop, step back, and recognize what’s going on, who/what the real issue is (remember, our fight is not against flesh and blood) and see from another perspective is a huge asset, nonetheless I still find it hard to enter in to that mindset at the right time. Thankfully Alexis is a wonderfully patient bride, who cares deeply about our marriage and me.  So I write this entry months and months after the fact, realizing my silly spikes are not really all that silly, just an indicator of something beyond me.

This is why a life filled with grace and mercy is so important, as God pours His love on us in so many ways, we are able to learn, and be an even greater light to our spouses, families, and friends. However, most of important of all, we find God in us, working through us, and can do nothing else but reciprocate Him to those around us.

The big awkward silence….


I’m not a fan of the awkward silence, at least not among “structured” time, meetings, conference calls, coffee to have a “discussion”, etc. Also when I’m the one “hosting” a get together I’m even more annoyed by awkward silences, my wife on the other hand has no problem with them (weirdo!). For me, it’s a lack of relationship that causes these in social gatherings, because among good friends, a “silent pause” is rare, but when it happens among friends it’s OK, because normally it isn’t awkward, rather it is a thoughtful silence.

I remember a time about 10 years ago where I invited a whole bunch of friends over to my apartment, but didn’t really have a plan, we just wanted to hang out… but once we got there we had nothing to do, and didn’t even have much of a conversation, except “now what?” – boy did I hate that. We went from one awkward silence to another, until finally we all left to do something – wow… what a host I was back then.

I’m more comfortable these days, and don’t always have to “do something” – and usually I can start a conversation rather easily, even with people I don’t know all that well. Still though, I find myself, even in business situations where I think to myself “I wish I would’ve said this, or that” – but I don’t have that “oh my God I was so awkward” feeling about it anymore.

Thanks for reading a random thought about life, until next time. Happy Friday!

Marriage, what does it mean?


So what is “marriage”? Actually the question I really am asking, is “is marriage something for the Church AND the rest of the world, OR is it something for just the Church?”  Basically my point (if you don’t want to read further) is that for people who are “outside” the Church (belonging to Jesus the Christ as their Lord) can not possibly be held to our values, we should treat them with the same basic values that any human deserves, love, respect, and equality among all. I know, this sounds almost heretical, but seriously, can we really even expect someone who does not call Jesus their Lord to understand the blessing? NO, of course not. Therefore instead of fighting over values which are almost impossible to understand, none the less live, when not belonging to Christ, we need to focus on evangelism, discipleship, and worship of our Lord – and then we’ll see people’s values dramatically change.  Now read the rest if you wish…

With the same-sex marriage issue hot underway, I have a harder and harder time with our institutionalized version of marriage. We’ve taken (one of many things) a biblical principal and turned it into a law for the land.  While this is most likely the most ancient of traditions, and therefore seeped in emotions and dogma, is it really necessary for the government to be involved?  Why must marriage be law?

To take this thought further, I wonder how much stronger the Church would be if marriage had remained only within the Church and the government simply provided the benefits of “marriage” (tax breaks) to registered households, since essentially this is what the marriage “benefit” essentially is (I’m in no way a tax expert, however). Forget legalized unions, marriages, etc… leave those titles up to us to decide.  Let us be married before our God.

There’s a lot of issues which could arise from this, one being the idea that “marriage” is only for Christians… and that’s not what this blog entry is about, and not sure how we would walk that out, I fear it would simply become another thing for Christians to demand that “marriage” be trademarked or some crazy idea like that.

All of this to say, if people who do not have Jesus as their Lord, want to be together and have a ceremony of some type, leave it to them to do, and leave both the state and Church out of it.  As Christians we ought not busy ourselves with “fighting” the culture, for our fight is not against flesh and blood, it’s spiritual – so let’s focus on winning souls and living as Jesus, who did not come to judge (as we do many times) but rather came to convict (point out, guide away, lead towards the light) us of sin.

In this way the Christian marriage would be unique, mean something more, and most of all, a truly different covenant defined by biblical standards, not governmental, cultural, or traditional definitions.  I understand this doesn’t “solve” all the “problems”, but it’s at least a direction which firstly allows “us” (Christians) to walk the high road in humility, Secondly, it’s a graceful step out of the argument and allow the Christian marriage to be what we believe it to be – a covenant between a man and a woman to love, cherish, and support one another for our rest of our lives; all other unions can remain whatever they want to define them as, and we can befriend, and show that love is stronger than human will.  God is much bigger than definitions of marriage, his love lives loud when we focus on walking with him instead of “proving” and “legalizing” “his” ways to the rest of the world.

As I’ve grown closer in my walk, I’ve come to realize “our” (I can hardly say I’m a part of “them” but can’t exactly divorce myself, since the body of Christ is ONE) methods need to change, and we have all heard it, if there is not love then there is no reason to claim Jesus as lord.  This means we live by the spirit, in love towards everyone, and turn the other cheek when others mock or take offense, but we don’t bite back, and we don’t argue back – we walk the high road, and allow people to make their choices, we can’t make it for them (forcing “our” laws and viewpoints) – we can pray, we can talk, and for those that want to hear and see we can be a witness to Christ’s glory.

The path of least resistence


Something I observe multiple times throughout my week is that people fall into two camps, either they are “go getters” or “resisters” and in most cases, people attempt to take the “path of least resistance”.  In nearly every job or role I’ve been placed in I’ve seen this phenomenon, and I’m guilty of it as well… “what’s the easiest,  fastest, and most ‘avoidant’ way of getting X done?” and man it irks me.  It seems to be an especially strong disease throughout my generation.

This is even stronger when it comes to relational dynamics, I see it so many times, people going to all kinds of lengths to avoid a possible “conflict” or “situation” – in my mind though, this kind of avoidance makes waters down our relationships, and actually breaks down the desire for strong friendships and family that we actually want.  It certainly takes guts to overcome our cultural boundaries, and most of the time takes courage since most of us have not been shown how to healthily confront awkward (or simply saying no) situations.

A lot of the time when I’m faced with the decision to resist or “go get it” I have to ask myself, what is the pro-relationship path I could take? What will build up the relationship? What decision might tear it down, or leave it flat? As a person who looks to Jesus for direction, I usually can’t choose to skim past a relation-building choice… (of course if it’s unhealthy and not safe, then that’s another ball-game which actually might be just as challenging to make the choice to step away from a relationship). Often times I find myself wanting to avoid talking to someone because it’s harder than just making my own choice to “skim on by with what’s acceptable” – however, I’m not so sure this is how Jesus goes about ministering to us, and I want to reflect this. I want to go above just the “satisfactory” and I want to be a servant, even when it’s not exactly pleasant for me.

Not being cool


Well, hello, knock, knock… anybody there?

Yeah, it’s been since October since I posted anything of any substance… except for automatic “weekly summaries” of my twitter feed…  Trust me this is not a ghost, it’s really me.  Recently I’ve been doing a lot of reading, researching, and in return being stuck. I just don’t want to be “cool” and fall into the same noise.  I want my words to mean something (even if only to myself), and at the same time I don’t want to write just to “be something”. This whole paradoxical position I’ve placed myself into is rather… sticky and narcissistic… So, I’ll just start writing, and see what happens, because it doesn’t matter, if it’s “not being cool” then it’s not about anything, right?

My motivation for writing anything always needs to line up with my desire to encourage, engage, and have people think about their lives, see Christianity in a different way, and most of all at least ask questions about walking with God.  Although I meander down different idealistic topics, transportation, land use, education, health-care, and other topics which are typically not highlighted in Christian circles, my most basic idea is to engage the Church culture in thinking about our communities, otherwise, I believe, we can easily become irrelevant to the people around us.

Granted I live in a mostly white, suburban, evangelical, bubble, I keep trying to push the envelope and be some kind of social-church-community-livability-avangelist to the suburban-white-evangelical church-going circle I find myself in.  If God wasn’t so clear in having Alexis and I be where we are, trust us, we would be in an urban, multi-cultural, and very different circle.  In some ways, this blog entry feels like a “coming out” post… which has some fears attached, but since I know this is a two way discussion, and not the “end all” judge me post, I’m ok with it.  I try to not jump to conclusions, nor try to judge people based on one facebook/twitter status update, blog entry, or quote… so I ask the same of my readers…

Congrats, if you read this far… then, well, maybe we have a chance at understanding more about the world we live in, and “not be cool”, together!

Pseudo Military Dream

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Back in October I had a very strange dream that I was going to share on here, and well, sadly, I’ve once again neglected this little space of the Internet that I own. So, without further ado I’ll give a play-by-play account of this dream.  Any dream interpreters out there?


Now either this first part was a completely separate dream, or just a strange seemingly unrelated beginning…. it starts out with me, my daughter, and my bride at my parents house with the rest of my mom’s family for some kind of holiday get together, suddenly my Grandma says she needs to take care of some animals, Alexis volunteers to help her, and they take off.


I get up and go, and am walking around with an ex-coworker (who at the time was a current coworker) at some kind of semi-festival, we watch watch as a group of pseudo military guys and girls in uniform do some kind of very rehearsed routine of choreographed exercises (like a cross between a high school color guard and dance team).  They stop and we realize the group just learned these routines an hour or so before, and it’s some kind of competition.

My coworker talks me into doing this, and so I volunteer for the next round (knowing there wasn’t much time until the next round starts), while changing into the uniform I run out of time, but I wasn’t told there was a time limit, or missed the memo, I get yelled at by a drill Sargent kind of guy in public, who continues to humiliate me while I frantically change back into my regular clothes. I’m upset and embarrassed, and frustrated at myself.


After quickly changing back into my own clothes we appear to located right next to some kind of cafeteria, in this cafeteria we run into Alexis (my bride), a friend of hers, and some other friend of my coworker. Also in the cafeteria is an old family member who Alexis and I haven’t had a lot of contact with due to some relational upheaval in recent years, this causes us to say our hellos and “miss ya” then be on our way.


We all (minus the old family member) decide to leave, and apparently the only way “out” is on a ferry boat, a passenger only ferry.  As we are waiting in line, Alexis and her friend are talking and having fun, not paying much attention (nor even really near me and the guys). I’m beginning to get sexually advanced on by my coworker (who, in no way, in real life ever even hinted at such a thing) and his friend (also male, but unknown to me) – they are serious about talking me into a threesome… immediately I think about stuff from my youth, and decide this isn’t going to happen again.

As the ferry approaches, we all begin to board, and I decide to run and get as far away from these guys as possible. As I run aboard the ship, I run for the bow (we boarded at the stern), turns out there’s a five-star restaurant at the front, and I must sit down NOW, or else by kicked out. So I sit down, soon I learn all the patrons are AIDS victims from all over the world (probably about 50 people).  I order a meal, eat it, then excuse myself and find my wife and her friend in another section of the boat, sit down and tell them about the AIDS victims, we pray (I don’t remember what the prayer was about), then I wake up.

The dream place

The picture above may not look like much to you, but it’s part of the dream I (and my wife, Alexis) have. It’s part of the dream given to us years ago by God to be missionaries to Poland (to learn more what our missions is visit REACH Polska). The dream for us is focused around people, and that apartment building pictured above is a tangible representation of the mission.  From time to time Alexis and I look at possible places to live in Krakow, for that final day where we are launched into the promise land.  On our last trip there as a family, we went to different neighborhoods in Krakow, and that apartment building above is from one of the places we visited.

As with every marriage, there’s a number of things that Alexis and I have our disagreements over… but one of the areas where we are in line with each other, is the kind of place we want to live. Because our mission is people focused, we want to live where the people are.  In Poland, and especially in large cities like Kraków, the people live in apartments, quite nice ones – these are not your standard cookie-cutter American sub-burban apartment complexes.  These apartments are really more what we call condominiums, they are built to own.

And because we also believe in being sustainable Christians, stewards of of what we have been given, we will be living car-less, which is quite possible in Kraków. When needed we’ll rent a car, or join a car-sharing program (if one exists), but we’ll mostly get around by foot, bike (Kraków does have a bike-sharing program), and transit.  We are very excited about this kind of lifestyle, and know that it will open up opportunities to meet our neighbors, and others, and build new friendships quickly and naturally.

There’s a few requirements our little place in the city will need, one a balcony, and hopefully a fairly large one, we like balconies, and we like plants, so a balcony is a must.  Second, we need to be near a park – Poles like parks, and especially in a city we know we’ll meet people there on a regular basis, and of course Emma and our other future children will love it too.  Thirdly, a spare room, we know we’ll be hosting people, and having a spare room (which will double as a meeting/office space as well) is a must in providing the ultimate in Polish hospitality.  Even if we don’t have all these things at once, we know that our city living will be exciting and beneficial for expanding the Kingdom in new and different ways.

Rubiks cube generation?


A few days ago I was on the train heading into work, there were a couple of ladies a generation or so ahead of myself who were talking about “kids these days”.  I would like to say they were talking about the great possibilities… sorry, instead they were more concerned with the fact that all “they” do is complain, demand, and “play” with their iPhones and technology. Alas… I feel like many of “them” in “that” generation are like a Rubiks cube… with every turn you’re further away from the solution.

These ladies continued to talk about how they were afraid for their futures, how both had children that would probably “stick them” into nursing homes, or worse “let them die in their homes and no one would know until a few bills went unpaid” – they actually laughed at that… I was beginning to wonder if they even noticed I was near them… probably not. This conversation continued all the way in (about 40 min) – and let’s just say, the only thing positive they had to say was “at least they know how to make themselves happy”.

There’s so much out of this conversation that I wanted to puke at, some of it generally “true”, some of it is their own perception and experience (and sad ones at that), but mostly I wondered how much of it was self perpetuated… considering I see the generation(s) ahead of me jumping at the opportunity to mentor us all the time (sarcasm).  However, I know “we” can’t be all that fast to blame either… as I know I certainly haven’t jumped up and said “pick me, I want to be mentored” all that quickly – although I do hope for it…

It seems there’s a paradox at work here… “we” want “them” to ask, and “they” want “us” to ask… not gunna happen very quicly if we’re both expecting/wanting the other “side” to ask… Sure, there’s a lot of trust to work on, but someone’s gotta make the move! I’ve made a few baby steps recently, but gosh, do I feel small and insignificant (which isn’t true… it’s a feeling though) when it comes to my “place” in the world after hearing that conversation (and other tidbits from time to time in other places).

Sustainable Christianity

Created to sustain?

Genesis 1:26-31 [NLT] Then God said, “Let us make human beingst in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” 29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened. 31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

If the above passage isn’t one of the most “green” passages of the Bible, then I don’t know what is. I’m tired of American, suburban, “mainstream”, evangelical, “conservative”, “Christianity”. I love the Church, but I don’t love the stereo-type “Christianity” that is so prevalent in America, and unfortunately has a loud (and humiliating) voice. As a Christian I see nothing in scripture (nor do I ever hear from God) about politics, lifestyles, or a myriad of other “campaigns” our American evangelical “christian” circles tend to stand (quite strongly) behind.

The translation I used in the passage above uses the word “govern”, other translations say “subdue”, “rule”, “have dominion”, “be it’s master” – etc. It doesn’t say “strip it”, “rape it”, “be greedy and multiply”, “destroy and conquer”, or any other number of things that some of my brothers and sisters would never admit to, but support through their campaigns and political nonsense.

Now, I could continue on and be very critical, and beat up on my fellow believers… many of whom are my friends as well. But instead, I want to point out that I believe (and am convicted and urged by the Holy Spirit) to do my best in sustaining what resources we have (both natural, and human). We, as a Church, should support (and am convinced we are obligated) fair and green trade initiatives where possible and sustainable. The Church should be in support of moving our people around (read: public transit) efficiently, sharing resources where possible (Acts 4:32-37), and realize that we were created to sustain the planet, not abuse it.

There’s a lot of talk about this subject, for now though, I will do what I can.. because ONE (or three) does matter and make a difference. We are working our way to living in a place where we can live as we were created, and govern our lives in a way according to how we were created. Living near our friends, our church, our work; shopping near by from local/fair sources; using renewable sources to power our lives; reusing/recycling what we have; and reducing our footprint in more than just carbon emissions.