• 4 ways to jumpstart the last minute holiday spirit.

    Whew!  So that was the longest night of the year.  I am not at all unfamiliar with its is like to be stuck in a night that does not seem to want to end.  Sometimes the darkness is a habit of thinking that is hard to break. This far in to the holiday season there are always a few folks who want to be in the spirit of things but just haven’t got there yet. Well the night is over.  The sun returns and I think surprise is an important part of a complete breakfast.  So here are a couple ideas to get the ball rolling. 1) Shock yourself: Some gifts you…

  • The Better Angels of Juarez’ Nature

    I always thought glitter would play an important part in the revolution. In Juarez, Mexico members of a small church put it on their faces and their hand made wings. This is standard for for a lot of Christmas pageants but these angels aren’t about to sing in the annual cantata. They are headed downtown Juarez. What they are planning to do really puts teeth and nails in hope.

  • Actually, Yeah. Mary Did Know.

    I love the songs that capture what horror it must have felt like to be a teenage girl who God had chosen for, well, anything.   I feel both a sense of honor and terror every time I think that there is good on earth God would have me do. So songs like “Breath of Heaven,” by Amy Grant and “Mary Did You Know,” by Mark Lowry tap into our sense of how overwhelming we would have been and how overwhelmed we are right now.  Through our eyes we can only imagine such a call to be suffocating, full of fear.  This, however, is not at all like the song…

  • 29 Days of Hope: Day 17, Ten Years of Christmas Eggs

    Ten years ago this year, Christmas was trying its hardest to suck.   With one family member in jail, this was not going to be business as usual and so we knew there was a lot of work to do to make sure the holiday didn’t crash and burn. More importantly we had to still be attentive to what the holiday means for us as a family.  It turned out to be one of the most memorable Christmases ever, and not in a horrible way.

  • 29 Days of Hope: Day 15, Pink is the New You.

    In contrast to American Christmas traditions, for Christians, Advent is a season of repentance, or paring down, making room.   It might seem like a bummer to have to dial back when all of the holiday festivities are just winding up. But there is a rhythm to this madness that has made Advent my favorite times of year and  it has a lot to do with the color pink.

  • 29 Days of Hope: Day 10 Saint Nicholas’ Can of Spray Paint.

    Today is the feast of St Nicholas.  The human who gave rise to many legends that have become, among other things, Santa Claus.  What the legends of St Nicholas have in common are both a compassion for the poor and a wit of execution.  The Old St Nick, apparently had a knack for cleverly executed charity, sometimes with a little cheek.   Sneaking gold dowries to the daughters off a poor man though an opened window, or more famously leaving gifts of one kind or another in stockings or shoes of those who needed them most was entirely his style.

  • 29 Days of Hope: Day 9, The Gift of the Mad Guy.

    “Allan” greeted me at the door with an enthusiasm that frankly would have scared me if it hadn’t made me so happy to be alive.  He was in his late fifties 6’3″ thin like a coat rack with a smile that made his eyes disappear.   This time of year I can only think to call him jolly.  Allan has a unique way of lighting up a place.    It was hard for me to believe that he was anything other than a ray of light, but he once was something else, which only makes his story that much more beautiful…

  • 29 Days of Hope: BABIES!

    * I wrote this yesterday evening 12/1/11. To my great surprise (chronological) baby #2, Matthew, was born at 11:45 last night. It is to him I promise to share his hope and to whom I dedicate todays reflection… Babies Lately, there is a lot of them in my neighborhood. WIthin one mile of my house three babies are being born in as many months. Three. I feel like even I am going to be changing a lot of diapers just by law of odds. I think having babies is an extraordinary act of hope. This is, of course, true because it is some kind of faith in the life beyond…

  • 29 Days of Hope: World AIDS Day, We Do Not Have To Settle for the Spirit of Death

    I graduated a semester early from high school and tried getting work as an actor.  I was cast in an educational film which provided the opportunity to meet a person with AIDS for the first time.  Something clicked in me and I felt an enormous deep inner compulsion to held ease the suffering, for at the time the best treatments would only add a handful of painful years to one’s life. That was then …

  • Turn, Turn Turn: Mexican Bees Know When to Dance on the Graves of the Martyrs

    To everything there is a season. A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance -Ecclesiastes  3:1,4    The “Desplazados” varied group of Mexican citizens who for a variety of reasons since 1994, including fall out from NAFTA, have been “displaced.” hence the name.  You may have heard of the famous masked resistance group called the “Zapatistas.”  Since 1994 Chiapas, Mexico southern most state has lived in low intensity warfare, struggling to preserve their ways of life, culture, land and health    I went there with a Christian Peacemaking Team to visit the area of conflict and to meet, “Las Abejas,”…