waterslide lines, or any kind of line

I went to hang out with Anna. People watching is an added bonus. The local waterpark just happens to be the perfect place to do both.

We were standing in line yesterday, waiting for a slide, when some guy made a really strange comment to Anna about her being a competitive swimmer, then proceeded to tell us that the slides were so crazy he sometimes screams four-letter words. We weren’t impressed. We went down the slide and thought we were done talking. Lo and behold, we see this guy and his friend again, in another line, another opportunity for a short conversation.

It was typical, until we asked when they had come to the waterpark today. The guy said 2:00, because they had been drinking the night before and slept in late. Not impressed again, either of us. We tried to end the conversation as soon as we could. The slide line couldn’t move fast enough.

After it was over, I looked at Anna, and we both had the same look on our faces. I asked her why people always feel the need to brag about cussing and drinking. Is that really supposed to be impressive? Maybe so, maybe the world is impressed by these things. We are different. To the world, we are supposed to look weird, the be strangers, to be aliens.

After the fact, once Anna and I had walked away, we thought of several good things we could have said to these guys, things that would have made them second guess what they wanted to tell us. We were too put off in that moment to take the opportunity to talk about why those things don’t impress us. But next time, in whatever line I find myself in, I will carry on that conversation.

There’s always opportunities to shine the light in a dark place, to explain why we are like aliens in this world.


tiki huts and carpet rolls

Tiki huts and carpet roll trees were the visible signs that VBS was going on this week. The invisible signs were my brain getting ready to explode and my heart overjoyed that VBS was actually happening.

The week was crazy, crazy in a good way. It was the kind of crazy that I love. The kind of crazy that has attached to it beautiful moments engineered by little kids. There was the little girl that made Tangi wear the sparkly star-shaped sunglasses, the little kid named Matteo who spelled out his name before he said it, the way the little kids chased Chris around the playground, and the way the 6th graders got so excited about whipped cream shots from Phyllis.

But VBS definitely is not all about the funny and wonderful moments with the children. It is about sharing with them the most important thing of all time. We traveled through the Bible via the Amazon and ended on the last day with the story of Jesus. There was the skit, being acted out in front of me, re-telling a story I have heard more times than I could count.

And as I stood in the back, hanging on to a chair, I found myself crying. I listened to the story again, and I found myself overwhelmed by the gospel, again. It has happened before. The greatness of the story, the immense love that is God, physically shakes me, and tears start rolling down my face. There were two women crazily dressed up on stage trying to tell kids about Jesus, and they touched me too.

I still get overwhelmed, and I love it. The Word is alive and has the power to overwhelm me every time I hear it, or tell it.


23 places... or just 2

"The opening greeting (of Colossians) closes with a most significant placing of two things side by side. He writes to the Christians who are in Colosse and who are in Christ. A Christian always moves in two spheres. He is in a certain place in this world; but he is also in Christ. He lives in two dimensions. He lives in this world whose duties he does not treat lightly; but above and beyond that he lives in Christ. In this world he may move from place to place; but wherever he is, he is in Christ. That is why outward circumstances make little difference to the Christian; his peace and his joy are not dependent on them. That is why he will do any job with all his heart. It may be menial, unpleasant, painful, it may be far less distinguished than he might expect to have; its rewards may be small and its praise non-existent; nevertheless the Christian will do it diligently, uncomplainingly and cheerfully, for he is in Christ and does all things as to the Lord. We are all in our own Colosse, but we are all in Christ, and it is Christ who sets the tone of our living."

-William Barclay (in his commentary on Colossians)

2 places. 2 dimensions. Duties here and duties in Christ. Our own Colosse's.

Today and for the next week, my Colosse is VBS. The rest of the year is still a mystery.

Hopefully starting January 1, 2010 my Colosse will be in 11 different countries next year. (my interview for the World Race is tomorrow. for more information, go to www.theworldrace.org)

But for now, I'll realize that I am in Christ, and this one thing, I share with millions of people all over the world. So no matter what city or town I am currently in, I am connected to the body of Christ, always.

*I'm just learning to be 23 places...* (or just 2)