Thursday, November 30, 2006


It is a cold, icy, wintry day in Kansas City. Children rejoice across the metro as schools have closed. They are liberated from oppressive school work to enjoy the first real snow of the season, which is actually more ice than anything.

I'm often reminded of Robert Frost on days like today. I'm not exactly sure why that is . . . probably just because of his name. However, his poem "Dust of Snow" has helped to lighten an otherwise dark and hardened day.

Dust of Snow
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued

And so I will rejoice in the ice and the snow because the Lord's mercies are new every morning. Wintry days only foreshadow the life that will break forth in the Spring. The sun is just beginning to break over the horizon, it is a new morning, a new day. A day to be celebrated.

Isaiah 43:18-21 (NRSV)
Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
The wild animals will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches;
for I will give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.

The wilderness exile and the frozen winter, we might understand as symbolically representing the same thing - death. Yet, the promise of new life is ever with us, so we might find joy and peace even in the dark, cold valley. May we see the signs of life that break through the winter frost, and rejoice with all of creation. Soli Deo Gloria.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


As a disclaimer this picture and information comes from the Prisim ePistle, an online journal published by Evangelicals for Social Action. ESA is an organization that is headed by Ron Sider a leading evangelical and outspoken advocate for social justice. He has written a number of books, but I would highly recommend that you at least read Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and Just Generosity.

December 1st is World AIDS Day. Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent to AIDS. We all experience the chaos of such suffering, even if it is experienced from a distance.

Compassion, as Henri Nouwen has helped us all understand, is a word that simply means to "suffer with." God has compassion on us and has engaged in our suffering. Through the revelation of the incarnation we witness a God who is intimately connected to the suffering of His creation. The One who experiences the telos of our brokenness on His paradoxical throne. That symbol of suffering, death, defeat, and God-forsakenness has become a symbol of grace, forgiveness, victory, and reconciliation for those "in Christ."

We can no longer hypothesize the concept of a distant, removed god, for then we only speak of the "no-god." They shall call Him Immanuel, which means "God-with-us." The image of the invisible God bears witness that God is compassion - that compassion comes from God.

Those of us, then, who carry the banner of this God, who are called to become authentic expressions of the Kingdom, should be shaped into the life of compassion - the parabolic sacrifice that engages in the life of the "other." We can no longer safely distance ourselves from the brokenness of our world, but must engage in lives of compassion.

Okay, I know that I'm using a lot of technical jargon, forgive me, what I mean is this: God is compassion, therefore, we should live lives of compassion. Someone who claims to be a Christ-follower but is not shaped by compassion is simply lying to himself (John makes a similar point).

We should be leading the way. But, I must confess that I'm often overwhelmed by the need and end up doing nothing. I'm often tempted to lie to myself, following the natural "fallen" way of self-protection, ease, and comfort. My heart continues to harden as I witness the immensity of the problem and experience a small taste of the worlds suffering. There may be others out there that have gone through the same struggle. Where do we begin? Prayer.

As the World Vision suggests: "Pray! It all starts here, because the One to whom we pray is truly the only One who has the power, ultimately, to bring this crisis to an end. Pray for the tens of millions of children whose lives have been affected by AIDS. Ask God to show you what you can do. Pray that our leaders will make decisions that put children first." Join with others in praying for this immense world need.

Allow such prayers to move you to action. One of the primary ways to get involved would be through World Vision's Hope Initiative. You can check out more information here:

You can also find information at the World Vision Blog:

Most importantly do something . . . whatever it is that you can do. Don't allow the hardness of our hearts to petrify us, keeping us from right action (orthopraxis). Instead, may our faith guide our action leading us into a deeper knowledge and experience of God's love, that is God's being. Blessings ~ RLS


This is a new endeavor for me - an exploration of sorts.

One might ask, "Why do we need another blogger in the blog-o-sphere?" Well, "we" don't (whoever that pronoun might be referring to). It is not necessarily that cyberspace needs more thoughts, opinions, or information floating from one bright screen to another. There is certainly enough in the river of hypermedia to quickly drown the unassuming traveler.

However, I have come to believe that communication is at the centre of personhood, it is at the core of our being-in-community. And the cyber community has become a place for the free flow of that human communication to occur. I simply hope to engage in the ongoing dialogue (or multi-logue as the case may be).

One of my favorite philosophers, Michael Polanyi, has spoken about epistemology as personal knowledge. In some sense, this blog will be an exploration into the tacit dimensions of that personal knowledge to explicitly articulate some of that implicit experiential understanding, to the degree that articulation is indeed possible. And through this heuristic process I hope to grow - building on that foundational fiduciary framework.

In other words, I hope to engage in theology at its best - that is "faith seeking understanding." And if my journey is of any benefit to you, then that is a bonus, for my role is simply to bear witness. Blessings ~ RLS