A Prayer on Earth Day

Yours —we gladly attest—is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory.

Yours—we gladly assert—are the heavens and the earth.

It is you who made all that is,
sun, moon, stars,
rivers, forests, fish—
and us.
We say, “in your image.”

Yours the kingdom and the power and the glory—and then us.

You do not will us to be powerless either,
so you endow us with power to work
to rule
to govern.

We reflect you in our working
in our ruling
in our governing.

Ours is the chance for justice and/or injustice
for mercy and/or rigor
for peace and/or war.

We grow accustomed to our power,
sometimes absolutizing,
and then are interrupted by the
doxology on which we have bet everything:

Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. And we are glad.

{Walter Brueggemann’s prayer “On Creation” from Prayers for a Privileged People}

Good News

The ubiquitous blogger J.R. Woodward is the architect for an intriguing blog experience over the 50 days of Easter. Each day, a different voice will join in. Here is J.R.’s introduction:

In this blog series each of the contributors (authors, bloggers, professors and practitioners) will be summarizing their understanding of the Good News in 300 to 500 words. Each author is writing their entry as if they were invited by their city newspaper to write an article on the Good News…

Today was my day to join in. Take a read, join in on the conversation and enjoy some of the other pieces as well. It’s a thoughtful conversation.

Good Bishop Wright

Last April, I had the opportunity to sit down for a conversation with N.T. Wright. I promised to write about the experience, and I have no idea why it has taken ten months. Even though our conversation is old news, I still wanted to share a bit about this man I have come to admire.

For those unfamiliar, Wright is the Bishop of Durham in the Anglican communion. I’m sure that some of my interest in Wright must be connected to my respect for Anglican theology and narrative (which has had an enormous influence on me, but that is for another day…). However, I‘ve stuck with him because he invites me into the broad, sweeping, dangerous gospel narrative in ways that stir my heart, move me toward repentance and (at the risk of sounding cheeky) simply take my breath away.

Wright has this uncanny way of being a provocateur while simultaneously holding us to the oldest truths. Wright embodies an imaginative fidelity (and the beautiful thing is that neither fidelity or imagination suffer – a difficult feat). I think of Wright as a faithful poetic theologian, and for me, that’s about as high praise as I know how to give a religious thinker.

Bishop Wright made first waves with his Biblical history trilogy (The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, and The Resurrection of the Son of God). These mammoth volumes are not for the faint of heart, hefty reads. They were critical, timely pieces – dealing with questions raised about the historical Jesus. Since those treatises, waves continue. Current controversy surrounds his views on justification (for instance: he says Wright is dangerous; Wright says his critics aren’t listening well). We’ll see how it all plays out, but Wright’s impact on me has been primarily in other veins (though I imagine he might well say it’s all interdependent – and I think he’d probably be right).

I’ve appreciated (even if not always agreed with) so much of Wright’s thinking and writing. However, when I got my hands on Surprised by Hope, it went into deeper places, putting words to some of my truest hopes. So, on so many levels, I was excited when Wright was heading to Atlanta and I was able to arrange an interview for a piece that eventually landed at PreachingToday.com.

I arrived early at Wright’s hotel, the Four Seasons on 14th Street. Wright arrived exactly on time (punctuality is a British virtue, after all), and we made our way to the lounge. Nursing a raspy throat, he ordered tea (English breakfast, of course) with honey and lemon. And there I found myself in Nirvana, knee deep in theological conversation with a guy who has the kind of accent that makes every conversation seem more interesting, more important. I declare I was born on the wrong side of the pond.

We chatted about resurrection, about death and life, about hope, about the stunning vision (and promise) of God’s recreation. At the end, I saved 5 minutes for personal questions. One of the questions had to do with my pull toward the Anglican communion, complicated by the reality that there are a few concerns that would most likely prohibit me from being able to be ordained (at least for now). “Could you be Presbyterian?” he asked, only half-jokingly. I loved the humility and openness and graciousness that came from this man whose life is immersed in a particular tradition (I mean, his official title, after all, is: The Right Reverend Father in God, Nicholas Thomas Wright, by Divine Providence Lord Bishop of Durham) but who sees the wide vistas.

We all need guides, faithful voices who can point out the signposts, help us ask the questions, and encourage us to ask better questions, to hope for better answers. I’m thankful to Bishop Wright for being one such guide.

Clean Head on the Cheap

I’m not too great at keeping New Year’s resolutions. But when a funky idea hits me – and it will save me money – I’m in. On January 1, 2007, I noticed the large pile of shampoos collected from hotels and motels across this great country of ours. And I decided to see if, using them, I could make it a whole year without buying shampoo.

Well, let me tell you, I did. And I’m still going strong.

A few observations:

[1] Among large scale hotels, Hyatt Place has the best shampoo . My opinion might be skewed by the fact that I think this is the coolest chain (when you must do a chain) hotel in the world, hands down, but still…

[2] The motels that pass out the little squeezable tubes where you can barely scrunch out enough for one wash. Cheap, man. Cheap.

[3] Niwot Inn wins best shampoo among independent / boutique establishments.

[4] I have discovered a moral dilemma: is it inappropriate manipulation to work the system in order to get multiple shampoo bottles? Once I embarked on this challenge, I found this constant urge to gather as much shampoo as possible. Amazing the many forms greed can take.

Still, my challenge continues. How long, I do not know. If you wish to send me your samples, feel free.

That was Quick

Well, It didn’t last long. Twitter: not so much. I’m not knocking it for others, but it’s not my kind of gig. I think I still have a little too much cultural orneriness – for instance, I’m bemoaning the slow death of newspapers and hardback books.

I wiggled my toes in the water, but … it’s just overload. I don’t need more reasons to live my life with the jitters (I mean, the twitters). I don’t need to have any more reasons to be distracted. You can’t have much of a conversation with 140 characters – and really, do any of you care to know where am I or what dumb thought I’m thinking at any given freakin’ moment? I doubt it – and if you do, email me. I’ll be happy to tell you.

Besides, Miska said I was sleeping on the counch until I was Twitter-free : )

I probably won’t delete my account (though I will be deleting it from my phone), but if anyone waits to hear from me via Twitter, I’m guessing you’re going to get mostly silence.


So…I’ve finally tilted into Twitter. A few of my friends hit it like crazy, but I’ve resisted. Twitter seems like it has the potential to be the Jolt Cola of technology – and that I don’t need. However, I’ve also seen potential for added relational connections.

If you Twitter, why? Sell me on its value.

Oh – and you can connect with me on Twitter here.

The New Pirates

“But a pirate spokesman assured The Associated Press on Sunday that the 20 crew members [from the ship they had captured] were doing well.” ~msnbc.com

Pirating ain’t what it used to be.

Divine Scrutiny

Lots happening around here. All Souls begins it’s weekly gathering at our house this Sunday. I’ve missed this regular, disciplined form of community. I need it. I really need it. Wyatt and Seth received a couple new games for Christmas, and we’re learning them. I’m currently the reigning champion of Blokus.

I’m trying to figure out where I want to go next with writing. After more than 5 years, I’ve finished my gig @ Relevant – and I’ve pushed Holy Curiosity out of the nest. I have a few small projects going, but right now it’s pretty much just you guys and me, here on the ol’ blog. It has purpose to it, I’m wanting a break. But, also, I’ve felt stilted recently, tired. I’m sure it has shown. I’m eager to see my art take new shape and have fresh breath. I’m ready for some new life in the words.

Biggest of all, Miska and I are entering a new season. A few weeks back, we had a heart-to-heart where we both put voice to a feeling that was a little scary: we were both bored in our marriage. Not something you want to say. Not something you want to feel. But since that tough conversation, a spark has lit. We have turned our face toward one another again. I like where we’re going. We look at each other differently. We touch differently. We listen differently. We sit together on the couch differently.

And one more thing – I am aware of a strong longing for this year to bring deep healing in me. I want to be more free, more full of love. I want to walk with lightness and joy – and strength. I want to see those around me. I want to be a better husband, dad, friend. I want to be a better man. This is a work God must do. But I have to open myself to it. I must stop flailing about. I must open myself to God’s ravaging love, his gaze penetrating into my shadowy corners.

Last night, I read these words from Richard Foster and they won’t let me go: If certain chambers of our heart have never experienced God’s healing touch, perhaps it is because we have never welcomed the divine scrutiny.

Well, I am welcoming divine scrutiny. I probably don’t know what I’m asking for, but in faith and hope, I ask anyway. Anyone with me?