• art,  jesus,  spirituality

    Larry Saves- the spirituality of burning man

    While some people go to Burning Man looking for drug-fueled hook ups in the desert, there are plenty who aren’t.  One of the reasons my friends and I went to Black Rock City is that we believe it to be a spiritually rich place, a place where people haven’t given up on exploring life, experiencing something transcendent or being freed  shame in their lives and doing that in community. As my friend and mentor Rick Richardson put it, Burning Man “smells like spirituality” there is a quality about the festival makes people open up about their lives, give space to rethink their preconceptions or explore new ideas.  The daily grind…

  • art,  inner world,  jesus,  sex,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    nudity does not equal sexuality

    I saw a lot of peeps and boobs at Burning Man this past week. After a 10-hour drive in an RV Saturday night after the man burned, a 4-connection flight on Sunday, and a 5 hour drive home on Monday to Cleveland after picking up Reuben in Ithaca, I’ve had a lot of time to begin processing my experiences at the Burning Man arts festival.  Even now I’m in a hazy-tired-ear-plugged up from changes in elevation but I wanted to begin writing before I forgot all the cool stuff. So- back to the peeps and boobs.  Burning Man is a quintessential post-modern experience in community- “whatever works for you” is…

  • art,  grad school,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    the omission trip

    I’m going to Burning Man 2010- why? Because I think it is a place that Jesus would hang out. Along with all the freaks, artists, people wearing only body-paint, and cadre of mutant vehicles in this crowd of 45,000 that assembles in the desert to form the temporary Black Rock City Dave and I are heading out with 5 other friends to see what God is doing amongst “the burners.” Strangely enough this is considered a research and mission trip by the organization I work for, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, is sponsored by the Billy Graham Center and is being led by Dr. Rick Richardson, the head of the M.A. program…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Jesus and the vampires

    Recently Dave and I have been watching the HBO series Trueblood.  The premise of TrueBlood is interesting- in the show the Japanese have created a synthetic blood “trueblood” that enables vampires to be sustained on artificial rather than human blood.  In turn this allows vampires to begin to emerge into mainstream society.  Capitalizing on the current cultural fascination with vampires, the show is a commentary on how we treat people who are different than us, because of race, gender, sexual orientation, or because they are the living dead. As we were watching TrueBlood a few nights ago I was struck by a line spoken from Layfayette, the cook/local drugdealer/entrepreneur who…

  • inner world,  jesus,  pop culture,  spirituality

    rivers cuomo makes me cry

    I didn’t really care what other drivers were thinking as I blasted Weezer’s red album as I drove to meet my friend Ginny for dinner tonight. I didn’t mind if they saw me singing along at the top of my lungs and drumming on the steering wheel. I wasn’t concerned about who noticed when a few tears slid down my cheeks as I got caught up in the beauty and wonder of a timelessly moving three-chord progression. I was listening to the song “The Angel and the One” which by lead singers River’s Cuomo’s admission is a “spiritual reverie.”    Call it tiredness from a long week of class, being hopped…

  • books,  fashion,  grad school,  inner world,  jesus,  spirituality

    you know you’re depressed when….

    you have an irrationally sad reaction to reading that Kevin Smith has been booted off a plane for being too fat. I’m a fan of Smith’s work- my faves being Dogma & Mallrats, but really- getting sad for a day knowing that he was publicly shamed and embarrassed about having to buy two seats on a plane and then having a tweet-fest about it is a little odd even for me. I started to think about the other reasons I’ve been sad lately and how I’ve responded besides feeling ridiculous amounts of uncharacteristic empathy for Kevin Smith- things like: eating 1/2 a bag of Doritos (my go-to junk food of…

  • exercise,  friendship,  inner world,  spirituality

    so what do you do when you’re livid?

    Now that I’ve had a chance to retract my adamantium claws after some frustration recently, I’ve been thinking about the process of healing after a difficult incidents like this.  Thank you to everyone who wrote encouraging comments, emails, called me & sent me carmels via carrier pigeons. I’m thankful for your kindness and the pigeons only ate 1/2 of the carmels! What do you do when you’re angry? hurt? frustrated? bitter? Why would I bother to even write about difficult experiences, or how I’m dealing with them? why? Because I’m betting that every single one of you have some sort of shizzle you’re dealing with in your life too. And…

  • inner world,  jesus,  justice,  spirituality

    Urbana 09 aka- the life chiropractor

    This week I get the privilege of working at InterVarsity’s Urbana Missions convention- an international gathering of students who are asking- “what in the heck does God want me to do with my life?” You can check it out at www.urbana09.org and actually watch to the sessions online! This is my fourth time working at/attending Urbana.  The first time I attended the conference in 2000, I had such an intense experience with Jesus that after listening to a talk about the servant leadership of Jesus, I walked out of the auditorium in a daze on the cold, snowy night towards the busses waiting to take people back to the dorms.…

  • fashion,  spirituality,  writing

    mental hurdles

    I hate it when I really need to focus on something (like work) and am so mentally distracted by other things that are exciting or inspiring me (writing) that I can’t do anything else. For the past week and 1/2 my brain has been buzzing with ideas for a book I have been inspired to write. Why do I say inspired? It felt stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced before- I’ve had a torrent of ideas that I can barely contain. Whether I’m doing dishes, driving around doing errands, eating eggs, all I can think about is this book I want to write! Amazing that it is coming right when…

  • art,  grad school,  inner world,  jesus,  mom blogs,  spirituality,  working moms

    enter the chaos

    I stared at the painting for a full three minutes before I became self-conscious of the desk attendant wondering if I had entered into some sort of trance.  Even after moving on to look at some of the other paintings, capturing the essence of Jesus’ ministry in scripture I kept wandering back to snatch glimpses wondering if I had really seen what I experienced as I gazed at the image of Jesus surrounded by little children. On a lunch break from a class in the M.A. program I’m in at Wheaton, I wandered into the Billy Graham Center Museum, curious to see which artist was featured this month.  I’ve always…

  • exercise,  parenting,  Reuben stories,  spirituality

    monkey see, monkey do

    Parents- are you ever terrified when you realize that your kids are picking up your bad habits? Or conversely that you have enough good habits that they’ll learn what’s important to you and emulate these good habits? The other day I trotted down the stairs & Reuben looked at me in our foyer with a big grin on his face and yelled “SHUT UP!” This was so disturbing! Right away I told him “no, we don’t say shut up!” and gave him a time out. I didn’t know that this phrase was going to be one we encourage him not to use, but hearing him yell it sounded so wrong and…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    water over stones

    In October, the Sidewalk Theologian challenge was to incorporate prayer into our daily rhythms. I found it to be deeply unsatisfying. And I had to assume that you did too if you participated. Whether praying before meals, praying the daily office from the Northumbria Community or finding new and creative ways to pray like through making something tangible I had hoped that this challenge would remind us of what God is doing internally. Maybe it did for you, but as I was thinking about how unsatisfying it was, I felt nervous- if prayer is connecting with God shouldn’t it be exciting? fullfilling? something? anything? I think one of the difficult things…

  • marriage,  sex,  spirituality

    the toys in your room

    This post is exactly about what you think this title means. One of my friends hosts an adult equivalent of a tupperware party for people who want to liven up their marriage and try some new things. All the ordering and shipping is done completely privately and the hostess shares the products which range from tame to things I’ve never even heard  in fun and informative ways. I brought this subject up with a friend who is married and a Christian. I said that I thought it would be fun to host a party like this for my married friends and would be great especially for Christian people who often…

  • inner world,  nature,  prayer,  spirituality

    the flushing sanctuary

    Recently I saw this painting in the bathroom of my hair salon. It was too good to not take a picture. If you can’t read the text it says: “Today the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that the only place sacred from interruption is the toilet.” I thought the caption was so true. So many of us work hard to care for our homes, friends or kids, our jobs but our inner worlds are in shambles. Even when we catch up on sleep we still feel exhausted because we’re “soul tired.” Have you ever felt this way? Where do you find solitude in the midst…

  • art,  inner world,  prayer,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    what is your word of the day?

    Do you remember being a kid and just getting lost in coloring with crayons, pasting construction paper shapes on a page or feeling the waxiness of modling clay on your fingers as you rolled a ball of clay against the table? During this month of spiritual challenge of incorporating prayer into our lives, I’ve found a few different practices that have been greatly helpful for drawing me to be more aware of the presence of Jesus.  One of these practices includes doing art projects that hearken back to grade school art class. The first practice has been to identify areas in my life where I tend to worry rather than pray, plot…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    friends, let us invoke M.C. Hammer together

    As we kick off this month of spiritual challenge, I only thought it appropriate to take a minute to enjoy the 1980’s glory of M.C. Hammers hit song “Pray.” I totally rocked hammer pants in the 80’s. Anyone else fall prey to that fashion back in the day? How about skidz? Ok. Enough about bad 80’s pants. Last month on Sidewalk Theologian I challenged people physically to Strive For Five fruits and vegetables a day to try and eat healthier.  If you participated- keep it up! If you didn’t, there’s no time like the present to make healthy choices 🙂 This month I’ll continue to blog about healthy eating on…

  • books,  jesus,  pets and animals,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    stray cats

    As I was sitting & reading in our backyard I had a knot of anxiety in my stomach that I was trying to ignore. We had just received a letter informing us that an annual grant we receive of $4,000 wouldn’t be given to us any longer. I was trying to calm down and let my mind stop spinning with questions like: how are we going to replace those funds in this crappy economy? and the questions went on and on like this until and long after I ate a raspberry cream cheese muffin and washed it down with a mug of decaf vanilla coffee. I hate when I emotionally eat…

  • inner world,  jesus,  sheer vanity,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    subversive humility

    Stick it to the man- learn how to subvert the system through practicing humility.  Check out my podcast to learn how at the link below! I initially preached out of this passage, Phillipians 2 at Cedar Campus to a group of about 200 college students from InterVarsity chapters across Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Recently I spoke on this same topic at my church, Madison Square in Grand Rapids, MI where this was recorded.  My pastor who introduces me at the beginning of this recording even plugged my blog much to my amusement and surprise! Enjoy!

  • food,  inner world,  nature,  spirituality

    channeling my inner 5th grader (or how I lost 20 lbs)

    What helps you to stay motivated when you’re working towards a goal?  For me it had to do with some stickers…and a little reminder from cookie monster. (if you don’t think you have time to click on this link, just doooo it- trust me it will be a highlight of your day.) Thanks for the encouragement cookie monster- “cookies are sometimes foods, fruits and veggies are anytime foods.” 🙂 Besides setting a goal of eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day I also knew that I’d need a little visual encouragement to help me track my goal.  Many people advocate for using a food diary, but that seemed like too…

  • jesus,  spiritual conversations,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    regret

    Recently I did something I wasn’t very pleased with. If I’m really honest, I was ashamed and disturbed that I did this thing.  Though I didn’t end up acting on the thing I was thinking about, there was an internal boundary I crossed. Whenever this happens to me, which is pretty regularly; I say something I regret to someone I care about, I mentally playback  a conversation I’m anxious and upset about, I do the very thing I tell myself I’m trying to resist. I know this is fairly cryptic- but hey, there are some things even I can’t share in bloggy-dom! A little while back I spent some time…

  • pop culture,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    all we need is just a little patience

    It’s only 11am and today has been a really rough day.  Things just seem to pile up when even just one thing is going poorly. I was thrilled to see the sunshine on this brilliant yet cool morning as I settled onto my porch with my coffee, journal & bible, watching kids with their little backpacks set out for the walk to school.  I was trying to meditate and pray and just invite Jesus to calm my heart and mind.  But all I could hear was the guys down the street yelling at each other while they leaned over the hood of one of their cars. And the giant blue…

  • food,  spirituality

    baked

    There is nothing I like more than sinking my teeth into a warm chocolate chip cookie. Unless I’m smacking my lips after scarfing down the yummy goodness of a homemade coconut macaroon. Or savoring the tangy tartness of a piece of rhubarb pie. Well, if I’m really honest with myself, doesn’t matter what it is- I love to eat baked goods and I love to make them.   Over the past few years one of the ways I’ve found that I decompress after an intense experience is to bake. I don’t know if it’s because my job often doesn’t yield tangible results- it can be hard to measure leadership development in peoples…