Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I need a new friend.

A book coming out in October brought me to this discovery. The book is Ending Hunger Now by George McGovern and Bob Dole. McGovern, Dole, and theologian and activist Donald Messer believe that helping the millions who lack the basic provision of adequate food is a religious imperative and human priority. I’d like to have on the Barclay Press Web site a good review of this book written by someone who is “hands-on” involved on a regular basis in alleviating hunger. I know some people who once a month serve lunch to the homeless at an urban park, but right now I can’t think of anyone in my circle of friends who has an active passion for ending hunger, nobody who is working on the front line, nobody with enough personal experience in addressing hunger to have expert status.

It seems like I should have at least one friend who is investing a substantial amount of time or money into feeding the hungry.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I’m on vacation today.

Not from work, but from my “critical voice.” A friend asked me this morning, “Do you ever give that critical voice a rest? Maybe you could invite it to go on vacation now and then.”

One of the reasons I feel good about myself is because I’m created in the image of God. I haven’t figured out all the implications of that, but I certainly know it’s good.

I expect I’ll reflect more on being made in the image of God, but that will be another day. It might take me into comparing who I am with who I believe Christ wants me to be and we can’t go there because my “critical voice” is on vacation today.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I’m long on information and short on compassion.

Last night I heard a presentation about the sex slave trade in Thailand and Cambodia. Then later in the evening I was absorbing information from the television about hurricane Katrina. I’m not really able to get my head around the devastation of either one.

I like being informed, but information that doesn’t create compassion and action doesn’t do the victims any good and I’m not sure what good it does me.

One of the impressions I got from Carl Ralston last night was that the sex slave trade is fueled not so much by moral depravity as by poverty. I understood better the depth of the poverty when Carl commented that here in the United States he could lose everything he has and make it all back within five years. But the situation in Cambodia is so systemic that it cannot be solved even with an unlimited checkbook.

Perhaps information has some value if it moves me away from indifference and pushes me toward active compassion.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I’m a lousy son.

Today is my dad’s 89th birthday and I didn’t send a card or present. That’s not the big reason I call myself a lousy son. Yesterday I phoned him to visit and gave him my birthday wished a day early. The reason I’m a lousy son is because it was the first time I had been in touch for weeks. My dad is a good man who has lived an honorable life. He deserves better treatment from his son than what he gets.

My inattention is one of my warts. I don’t know where it comes from and it shouldn’t be difficult to remove it, but there it is.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I’m contemplative.

Twelve years ago today I got the call. My daughter was on the final phase of her journey here on earth. We all knew the time was short, so the call was not a surprise. Before I got to her bedside one more time, she had moved from the temporal to the eternal.

She was nearing her thirteenth birthday when her brain tumor was first diagnosed. Surgery, treatment, and divine intervention gave her another ten plus years.

Death and grief are something I can contemplate, but I’m not anxious to speak. I really don’t know enough to say anything and what I do know isn’t necessarily relevant for others.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I’m the parent of a George Fox University freshman.

This morning we made the 2 mile journey to campus with the back of the van full of boxes and clothes on hangers. The day went smoothly. The hard work had already been done—selection and registration for classes, calculation of fees, purchase of books, financial arrangements—and much of it was done online. When the time came for students and parents to go their separate ways, we said our prayer together and shared hugs. I had hoped this would not be sad, and it wasn’t. Our daughter is confident and she is doing something she has wanted to do. She knows our love for her is not contingent on living under the same roof. And we are glad she is starting her college education and making a step toward more independent living.

I’m a parent and I’m proud of my GFU freshman.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I’m out of shape.

I never was in great shape. I grew up on a farm and could lift a milk can, stack hay, and dig a ditch. But I was never athletic. In PE I was one of the last chosen and one of the last to finish when we ran laps.

I’ve probably been more athletic as an adult than I was in high school. I did some running for a while and enjoyed the benefits. But it’s easier to get out of the habit than to get into it and I now have a personal history and familiarity with the term “sedentary lifestyle.”

Several weeks ago I learned there would be a Live Strong bicycle ride with Lance Armstrong. The event is a fundraiser for cancer research. My interest in cancer treatment, admiration for the sport of cycling, and respect for Lance Armstrong stimulated an impulse to sign up. I was smart enough not to register for the 100 mile ride or the 75 mile version. My ego told me the 10 mile route was too wimpy, so a signed up for the 40 mile option and vowed I would start getting in shape.

Now the ride is a month away; I’m still out of shape; and I’m wondering why I thought I was too good for the 10 mile route.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I’m a publisher.

Publishing is such a unique industry. We get to build bridges between the mind of a writer and the life of a reader. We get to turn ideas into product which then get turned back into ideas. We find it easy to convince ourselves that our work makes the world a better place.

Publishing operates at the intersection of commerce and art. Controlling road rage and keeping the traffic flowing smoothly is a challenge.

I’ve wondered how much simpler life would be if I just made widgets. And then I quickly realize how glad I am to be a publisher.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I’m a Quaker.

I grew up in the Friends (Quaker) Church, but my identity with Friends is due to my personal convictions. However, I realize I might not have found the Friends Church on my own. Friends as a denomination are small and diverse. We are everything from conservative evangelical to universalist. I’m a Christian and from my perspective the fundamental beliefs of Quakerism involve being a follower of Christ. Not all Quakers agree and I want to be as accepting of them as they are of me.

I hesitate to call myself an evangelical Christian, particularly on the same day that Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Using the same term to define my faith as what is used to identify Pat Robertson makes me uncomfortable today.

I wonder if Jesus is sometimes embarrassed by what we do and say.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I’m a husband. If it weren’t for my wife, this would not be true.

For 19 years she has enriched my life with her example of unselfish love. She is intelligent enough to be a registered nurse, detail oriented enough to be in charge of infection control at our local hospital, consistent enough to have worked there for 25 years, and enough of a fighter to be a cancer survivor.

If marriage has a cost/benefit ratio, I’m receiving a healthy net gain.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I'm a dad.

My oldest child is now 37--a son; my youngest (also a son) will be 15 in three weeks. And I have four daughters. One died of a brain tumor 12 years ago. She was 23. Two daughters, both married, work in downtown Portland. The other daughter will be moving onto the George Fox University campus on Friday to begin her college education.

I begin this blog by identifying myself as a dad not because I consider myself to be a great dad, but because it is an important role. I have plenty of shortcomings as a parent, but I like to identify myself in relationship to my wife and children. Community is important and family is community at its most basic level.

I love each individual in my family. And I should admit I like the fact that they make me look better than I am.