Nov 21, 2009

Call on Jesus

This is my sweet 9 year old daughter, Selah, using her God-given gift of song to glorify the gift-Giver.  This is some of the return on our (Bobbi and I) investment as Christian parents.  She is worth every second!

Sep 9, 2009

Children & Poverty in the U.S.

I am passionate about a lot of stuff.  Most of the things I am passionate about fall into 2 big buckets: Children (birth-young adults, really), and economics (local, global, you name it!).  So put them together, and one of my biggest passions is fighting Child poverty.  I used to think of this issue through an "across the sea" lens, but my worldview has rapidly expanded over the past several years to include the huge rate of Child poverty here in the U.S.

Today, I got an interesting email from The National Center For Children In Poverty.  In the email, an the corresponding website, there were some research findings highlighted that I found very useful.  Here are a few:

* Between 9.5 and 14.2 percent of children between birth and five years old experience social-emotional problems that negatively impact their functioning, development and school-readiness.

* Approximately 9 percent of children who receive specialty mental health services in the United States are younger than 6 years old.

* Boys show a greater prevalence of behavior problems than girls.
When Frederick Douglass said that "it is easier to build strong children than to fix broken men," he was spot on.  It is one of the truest statements about what I see happening to our teenagers in the U.S. than just about any other.  We do a lot of "fixing," (in theory), but how much time do we proactively spend "building?"  I know that in my house, we are doing our level best to be builders!
So back to Child poverty...Q: how can we invest in building and get less and less dependent on fixing?  Any thoughts?

Aug 26, 2009

Sabbatical & Update

As you know, I have taken a few months away from blogging. It has been tough, but I felt like God clearly instructed me to "decrease," and a blogging sabbatical was a major piece of obedience. It has been very healthy for me to have to keep my thoughts to myself, and not be updating this page a couple of times each week. It has been humbling.

Leaving the Willow Creek Association, where I served as the Business Leader for SHIFT was heartbreaking. I loved the work, love the people, and love the Organization. At the end of the day, my body could not handle the pace, rigor, and stress of the position. My body quit on me; I thought I was going to have permanent damage and/or die! (literally) But God had other plans...

Over the past 8 months, God has continually been at work in me, in Bobbi, and in our precious family of 4. Things have not gone exactly as we would have written the script, but God's ways are not always our ways, eh? My body has healed. I now work for the Minneapolis Public Schools, serving as a Dean of Students in one of our inner-City High Schools. Financially, it has been a tough summer, but we believe by faith that God will use even that as a piece of our future testimony and Ministry!

Bottom Line: We are back in the City we love best, surrounded by those we love most (except for our RC3 peeps and others we love who live in NYC, Chicago, Seattle, and other places), and at the Church we call home: Sanctuary! God is still @ work, and I am still not "officially" returning to the blogging world...yet.

There are some hard lessons that I am not yet done learning. There are some core values Bobbi and I have to revisit. There are some long-term dreams and goals that Bobbi and I have to talk about, and resolve to be our life trajectory. I remain in a season of sitting on God's Anvil. It is hard being hammered, but without it, we can all get rusty, disfigured, and dull. I want to be sharp and useful. I want to figure out how to best live each day in my passion for economic justice and whole-life transformation. I want to live a life worthy of my calling.

That's it for now. I'll be back. When? I can't say, exactly. But I'll let ya know!