Monday, April 23, 2012


I don't recall breathing
Today or the first time.
My heart went on beating
Without a bat of my eye.
I must have blinked.

All the while, You
Kept me together,
Every atom
Pulsing with life more alive
Than breath and blood
Blowing through my being
Like the Spirit, where it pleases.
I have no say
And did not then see
All that is not contingent
Upon me.

"O my God, even then Thou wast my keeper."
- St. Augustine

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Perpetual Novelty

"God alone is the perpetual novelty."
- Ravi Zacharias

I have a tendency to be impulsive. I get an idea, and then I obsess over that idea until I act upon it or am absolutely prevented from acting upon it. This practice works well when I have a really good idea. The problem is that not all of my ideas are really good.

For example, I once visited a local music store in Tennessee about the same time I started listening to the bluegrass band, Nickel Creek. Inspired by Sara Watkins, I decided that my life was not complete until I owned a fiddle. Katie was not convinced that I needed to purchase a fiddle right at that moment, so I waited and bought one online as soon as we got back home to Alabama. I can't remember which lasted longer after that, playing the fiddle or paying for the fiddle. I still have the instrument though, and maybe one day I'll get the impulse to pick it up again.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Most Important Thing About My Life: Thoughts on Turning 33

Today I am 33 years old.

Perhaps there is nothing particularly special about being 33. The ability to drive a car has long since lost its novelty. I have endured enough long lines to know that while democracy is a privilege, it is not always enjoyable. I already can drink alcoholic beverages if I want to, and it's too late to act like that's a big deal. And fortunately, I have a few more birthdays until I'm "over the hill," whatever that means.

But for me, there is something more special about this birthday than every one of the typical milestone birthdays. For me, there is quite a significance in turning 33 years old. As far as we know, this is the age at which Jesus Christ was crucified. I am now the age Jesus was when He laid down His perfect life for my sinful life and reconciled me to God.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Other Side of the Mountain: Solitude vs. Isolation

Jesus went up the mountain alone. He climbed among the crags and trekked beyond the trails in search of solitude. Here the noisy and needy crowds would not follow. Here no one would find Him. Here there is momentary rest. He sits down upon a lofty ledge and slowly inhales the mountain air. Alone at last. He closes His eyes and exhales the very breath of God. Jesus is alone with His Father.

This was not the first time Jesus had sought a solitary place to worship and pray. He had often come privately to the mountainside, and He had just recently spent forty days in the wilderness apart from any human company. It seems clear that these habitual times of solitude were important in the life and ministry of Jesus. And many of His followers have learned from their Teacher the value of solitude in the Christian life. Most of us are at least familiar with the practice of a "quiet time." It is indeed very good to be alone with God.

But Jesus did not stay on the mountain. He did not build a cabin. He did not become a hermit. He did not forsake the crowds for a cloud. He always came down from the mountain and lived among the people once again. In fact, this time He climbs down from the cliffs with a certain twelve of the people on His mind. In just a moment, He will call the Twelve by name, and they will come to Him. On the mountain Jesus chooses solitude. Here in the valley, Jesus chooses His new family. He is most certainly choosing not to be alone. Jesus knows it is not good to live in isolation. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sanctifying Spaces

All is yellow. All is wet. These alternating truths can only mean one thing: spring has arrived.

It's the time of year when lawnmowers and weed-eaters emerge from their hibernation, ready to feast on winter weeds unwelcome in the newly green grass. There is work to do in the world just outside our doors, and the song of spring beckons us to begin.

There is something sacred to me in all of this cutting and cultivating that happens when things once again begin to grow each year. It reminds me of the relationship I have to this place where I live. Most days, I drive my vehicle right into its midst, step out onto the paved driveway, and am indoors within a matter of a few steps. I have barely breathed the air. But now my feet are once again on the grass. My hands are once again in the earth. I am now in the sunlight, and now in the shade of the trees with which I share this space. My task is to care for it all, to do what I can to make it beautiful.