Looking Back – July 2006

Here’s another blast from the past; dated July, 2006, here’s a look back at what my kids were doing – and how I felt about it – three years ago. Some things don’t change a whole lot…

My children have surpassed me in experience; they have done this thing you see in the photo above (though those are some other mother’s kids in this photo – my kid took the picture). All four of the older kids rapelled down either a 40 foot or 70 foot drop while at camp this week. I’m stunned. I’m glad I wasn’t there to watch; I’d have chewed my fingernails off and peed myself, probably simultaneously.

I picked them up this morning and was initially a bit unnerved by the laid-back, old-fashioned environment at the closing assembly. Southern Baptist sponsored, it was simple and fundamental – somewhat cheesey. Lots of happy smiles and a declaration of the number of rededications and salvations read by the camp leader (Baptists love numbers, as I recall…) They sang several old worship songs, played energetically by the leaders but sung reluctantly by the campers.

However, as the morning went on, the energy level quickly rose. The power point show elicited cheers and screams as the kids had a quick tour down memory lane, and the parents and friends caught a glimpse of what they’d been doing all week, and how they’d looked doing it.

On the way home, and even after we sat down for dinner, I heard them relate every silly camp song ever sung, tales of rain storms and mountain climbing, emotional conversations, bonds with younger children, songs inspired by the week and the mountains and some unbelieveable interaction between my kids.

They have shared something together as siblings that will serve them well as they grow into adulthood. Another step towards independence, I guess; memories made and experiences shared that built strength and a committment towards one another. It’s very weird that I wasn’t there at all, only to drop them off and pick them up.

They had a great time.

Looking Back: June 06

I blogged my way to health through another medium for a few years. My current blog – this one – is reflective of my current state (of mind and being). The first blog was full of a lot of painful processing. I “met” some amazing people through that work, and many have remained friends – some I have even met personally.

Recently, I thought it would be helpful and informative to remind myself of where I’ve been.
And I thought maybe, occasionally, I’d offer a look back via this blog.
So here’s a clip from June, 2006; I was alone at the Willow Creek Arts Conference in Chicago. It was a powerful but challenging experience. I wrote, a lot.
In re-posting here, I’ve highlighted a few things that occur to me to be pertinent, in retrospect.
June 2006: To Bring Your Best, You Must Bring Your Worst

…Two very interesting speakers took the stage today: Dan Allender, who started his time with a bang when he declared a lack of confidence by our culture in today’s “truth spinners” (pastors). He stated that, for the 21st century, the core isse will be BEAUTY, and that artists are now the evangelists of the next century. “The sermon is now an adjunct.” I found that a rather bold statement, one that was no doubt disturbing to several of the pastors in attendance – especially those not from Seattle or San Francisco or Chicago…life in the heartland and the south doesn’t necessarily reflect those same cultural shifts, I think.

Allender stated, “To bring your best, you must bring your worst.” He encouraged us all to be willing to be honest about your mental and spiritual state, your exhaustion and your brokenness. “God intends – through the creation of art – to expose. When artists create, we are stripping before God. He will wrestle with us (as He did Jacob) and expose us. God will always take you to a draw – no winning, no losing, just brokenness and then a touch to the hip.”

It was a fascinating perspective, peppered with much encouragement to accept – even trumpet – inadequacies and shy away from striving for perfection.

This is all so drastically different from the culture even 10 years ago that I’m not too sure the pendulum hasn’t swung to the extreme. I appreciated and agreed with much of what Allender said on a personal basis; but it does seem a bit touchy-feely.

It’s amazing to me – in hindsight – how this set the tone for the environment in which I am presently working. The level of authenticity that was impressed upon me has carried through into the culture of PCC.