Saturday, February 25, 2006

too tired to write more

Please welcome Rebekah Hope Marvel, born February 24, 2006. Bekah is great and Misha is now much better.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

good things that come from waiting

  • eventually stewart's puts chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream on sale
  • there's more time for Charis to be an only child

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

a prayer during a time of anxiety

Father of mercies,
God of all comfort,
God of love and Author of life,
in whom we live and move and have our being,
comfort our minds that they may concentrate on you
in hours of sickness and when we are plagued by fears.
Let us be still and know that you are God.
Quiet our anxious thoughts.
Take from us all worry and care.
Give us rest of spirit.
Good Shepherd, make us to lie down in green pastures.
Lead us beside quiet waters, and restore our souls.
Hear us in this our prayer, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

shaking the tree

Listened to Peter Gabriel's shaking the tree the other day and realized that fathers of daughters leave a far greater legacy than our name.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

lost and broken and so loved by God

Now, the Lord said, "Church, you better love,
'Cause it's a wounded world that needs a healing touch."
And he gave us a promise and he gave us a job;
He'll be with us but the rest is up to us.

(Rich Mullins, Alrightokuhhuhamen, c. 1989)

Friday, February 03, 2006

it IS about justice

Bono spoke at the White House prayer breakfast Thursday, Feb 2. Here's the speech.

the night i slept with chairman mao

Misha and I had a fight ten years ago. What is significant about the fight is not what it was about, but when it happened.

We were traveling in China at the time and by train and then by bus had found our way to Lijiang, in the southeast corner of the country, near Sichuan, Tibet and Burma. We took a room in the newer part of town, in a hotel overlooking Mao Square (named for its three-story tall statue) and, according to my journal, planned to catch a bus the next morning to hike parts of Tiger Leaping Gorge, larger than the Grand Canyon and arguably the deepest gorge in the world. But our argument went late into the night so by the time we were making up, it was late and we decided to sleep in and go on the hike the following day. We spent the next day exploring the old part of the city and were eating dinner at Mimi's Cafe when the cook and kitchen staff suddenly ran yelling through the dining room toward the front door. Backpackers from around the world started pointing and yelling and talking and I heard in English over the babble: “Earthquake!” Diners elbowed our way outdoors and streets emptied out of Old Town, our paths lit by sparks from falling power lines.

We slept the night in Mao Square, every aftershock rattling people’s nerves. In the morning, a couple of us crawled into our hotel to get our gear, jumping over an 18 inch gap where two parts of the building were separating. We bought tickets on the second bus out of town and while waiting, walked back into the rubble that had been Old Town. At that time, I hadn’t seen death before an undertaker cleaned it up. When I saw a mourning family carrying a body, I realized how fortunate I was to be alive.

Stories, some of them true, travel quickly among backpackers. We heard the earthquake was a 7.0. We heard thousands of people died. We heard people who were hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge during the earthquake had to be airlifted out. We also heard not everyone hiking the gorge got out alive. If we hadn’t been fighting, we might have been camping in that gorge when the quake hit.

Ten years ago I missed my chance to take a hike, but on that day, when I came close to death, I realized the life I have is a gift of which I should take full advantage. Every moment I have is an opportunity to touch another person, to push myself further, to experience more of this wonderful world God has provided. I try to live each day in gratitude and wonder and joy. And someday, I hope to return back to Lijiang, catch that bus to Tiger Leaping Gorge, and hike deeper into this beautiful world.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Remember the faith that took men from home
At the call of a wandering preacher.
Our age is an age of moderate virtue
And of moderate vice
When men will not lay down the Cross
Because they will never assume it.
Yet nothing is impossible, nothing,
To men of faith and conviction.
Let us therefore make perfect our will.
O GOD, help us.

(From Eliot's Choruses from 'The Rock,' VIII)

I prefer being the deferential, cautious and politic attendant lord... but I'm called to disturb the universe.

"Will you baptize my baby girl?" ... "Why don't you come to church sometime and we'll talk about it?" (i.e.: "Break bread and coffee cake with us and then we'll talk some more.")

I struggle to balance the tremendously high calling of faith with the tremendously rare gift of grace. In the church, baptism isn't something we sell or perform; it is a celebration of a beginning. The beginning of a life of faith, the beginning of nurturing relationships; this is the high calling. Yet we are called to compassion and love and grace and other ethereal, less measurable outcomes; these are increasingly rare. In an age of moderate virtue, I am called to the faith that takes us from our homes to assume our crosses. How can I promise to give the strong support of God's family to one I will see again only when she wants her baby baptized? How to balance faith and conviction with grace and love?

I'm not sure there is a balance. Maybe there is only a disruption that somehow transcends our too small ideas of the universe. Where stands the Invisible Church?

Perfect my will and help me, O GOD.