Wednesday, August 27, 2008

blow win blow, burn fire burn

lately i have been getting up early to pray the daily office. when i get the chance, i have also been listening to funeral by arcade fire whenever i wash the dishes or do my chores.

clearly, neither of these practices are remarkable.

what is weird is that almost every morning over the past two weeks, i have woken up two or three minutes before my alarm blares with the following fire lyric pulsing through my head: sleeping in is giving in. no matter what the time is.

have you ever had a lyric infect your mind in this way? if so, please share what, how and when. if you'd simply like to affirm my sanity, i would appreciate that as well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

three cheers for city mission of schenectady!

when one reads stories about pentecostal pastors faking leukemia in order to cover up sexual sins and focus on the family "humorously" calling for its rapidly diminishing audience to pray for rains of biblical proportions to wash away obama's acceptance speech it is easy to lament the current state of evangelicalism.

fortunately, as i was reminded today, there are still thousands of integrous, passionate evangelical organizations such as city mission of schenectady that are serving both their communities and Lord remarkably well. today the entire quadrilateral development crew had the privilege of touring city mission's remarkable campus where the formerly homeless and working poor are offered a home, given opportunities for holistic life development and are sent back into communities as contributors and healers. throughout the day mike, their executive director, and liz, their development director, taught us not only why relationships are the key to mission, but also taught us how to establish relationships as the key of our development program.

i would like to thank jim, liz and everyone at city mission for hosting us for the day and providing me with the most amazing illustration of john perkins' and the christian community development association's focus on redistribution, relocation and reconciliation that i have ever experienced.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


in milan's majestic, facist inspired train station there is an enormous, flip character train schedule that rat-a-tat-TATs the day away. one muggy july afternoon, damn near a decade ago, i sat directly beneath the board as strike inspired delays bore the day away. after the second or third hour of frustration, i noticed a cute little girl peeking and smiling at me from around her mom's shoulder.

once she directed her attention my way, i did my best to maintain it by crossing my eyes, flipping a coin as high as the board and generally just goofing around. eventually, with nothing else to do, and with her parent's tacit, if unspoken, permission, i spent the next few hours ignoring the board entirely as i challenged the girl and her brother to "quarter basketball," gave them airplane rides and found any number of ways to keep us occupied. as the evening came to an end and the board finally announced my potential departure, the parents used the few english words they knew to tell me that they were croatian refugees who were fleeing the serbian campaigns of ethnic cleansing, which were apparently proceeding even throughout the american bombing. that chance encounter taught me how small the world really is and ended up being the most meaningful experience i had in two weeks of european travel.

right now i'm not stuck in a milanese train station, but i am adjusting to a demanding new job where the incessant rat-a-tat-TAT of the clock reminds me of grant deadlines, donor events, and quarterly revenue reports that are constantly drawing one second closer. i hope in the midst of the swirling excitement and fear i don't miss out on the relationships and chance encounters that will ultimately mean so much more than one more personal win or loss.