Monday, August 28, 2006

My daughter, Abbie, moved into Willcuts Hall Saturday as she starts her sophomore year at George Fox University. The name of the building isn’t anything more than an identifier for most students, but I feel good about her living in Willcuts Hall. Jack L. Willcuts gave me counsel and encouragement that left a permanent mark on my life.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. Pews on the main floor at Hometown Friends Church are fairly well filled considering this is the last weekend before the Labor Day weekend. It’s cooler in the mountains or at the beach.

We’re invited to compare our story with God’s story. When we align ourselves with God’s good purposes in the world we begin to see God at work in new places and in new ways. I'm not sure I know how to objectively examine my life to find the places where my story and God's story don't align.

Friday, August 25, 2006

An amazing thing is happening today a couple of blocks from my office. It’s the process of starting the college experience for freshmen at George Fox University. In about 8 hours parents and students will be sitting on the lawn sharing prayers of dedication and then students will start building their dorm “family” and parents begin learning what it really means to let go of the reigns that have held that son or daughter close. “Lasting Impact” is the orientation theme. All that has happened in the freshman’s life before today will continue to have a lasting impact. The next four years will certainly have a lasting impact on the student and I trust that the experience will shape these students for a lifetime of significant influence on their expanding world.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My granddaughter in Arizona is already back in school. On Saturday daughter Abbie moves into the dorm as she starts her second year at George Fox University. And a week after that the Labor Day weekend tries to pull the curtain on summer.

It’s time to ignore the fun and accomplishments of summer days and concentrate on the projects we didn’t get done and the fact that we didn’t fire up the barbeque often enough. It’s time to grow morose about shorter daylight hours. It’s time to create mental clouds to block sunny fall days and changing colors. Hardship builds character so let’s prematurely turn our back on the warmth of summer and embrace the cold, gray days of winter.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I noted on our birthday card to my dad that a lot of what I am is because of who he is. Saturday we had an open house at the recreation hall in the mobile home park where he and my step-mom live in Caldwell, Idaho. In my part of a short program I shared some words and phrases that people had used in describing characteristics of my dad and relationship with him: exemplary Christian life, sense of humor, good friend, good example, Christian love and testimony, teacher and mentor, he took a genuine personal interest in me, prankster and lover of jokes, Godly life, quiet humility, integrity, service. Some of these words come from people whose lives have wide ripples and I find it very interesting that an unassuming farmer has had a meaningful role in these people’s lives.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I saw part of Grey’s Anatomy on television last night. They did a mediocre job of asking the question, What would you do if you knew this was the last day of your life? The depictions of cowardice and bravery were perhaps the best part of what struck me as being a rather contrived story. Those who put the welfare of others in front of their own safety looked like role models and the self-centered doctor who said he had to think of his kids as he left a young nurse to face the bomb threat alone looked like a weasel.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My dad is a very unassuming guy. On Saturday we will celebrate his 90th birthday. (His actual date of birth is the 28th.) As we compile words of appreciation, my summary of what people are saying is that Lawrence McCracken has lived a life that speaks louder than words.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. My body is sitting on a pew in Hometown Friends Church, but I came unprepared. I’m tired and my body wants to sleep. My ability to listen and to really engage is impaired. I’m afraid I’m not much more than one more warm body and head count isn’t the purpose of this gathering.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

All medicines are dispensed by the camp nurse and at the end of Surfside this morning my wife, Cindy, was part of the checkout process as medicines were returned to the camper or their parents. I don’t know how she knew already, but one mother commented to Cindy that her child had changed during camp. She was obviously happy about this, and so was I.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Each cabin at Surfside (Twin Rocks Friends Camp for high school students) has a counselor. One of the beautiful things I’ve seen several times this week is a counselor and camper talking. The one-on-one time is among the many things these counselors do. It seems like an opportunity for campers to be much more transparent about their struggles and questions than what they can be in a group. For the counselor, these interactions get to the core of why they are here.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My preference is generally to hang out with the movers and shakers. This is one of those places where I know I don’t conform to the image of Christ. But I think I’m beginning to see the misfits and weirdoes in a more accepting way. Time will tell if this is the beginning of real change.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sesame Street has the “one of these things is not like the others” jingle and kids watching try to figure out which item is different before the tune ends. Here at Twin Rocks Surfside camp I’m with (1) paid Twin Rocks staff, (2) volunteer Surfside counselors and staff, and (3) high school aged campers. I fall into group 2 as I try to assist to my wife—the camp nurse. But I am the one who is “not like the others.” Everyone in group 2 (except me) has at least one of the following: passion for Christian ministry with young people, teaching and counseling expertise, or a necessary professional service. It’s wonderful to be with these people and either they haven’t noticed or they are politely ignoring the fact that I’m different.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I’m updating my stereotype of who attends church camp. My wife is the nurse for the Friends (Quaker) high school camp and I’m here on the Oregon coast trying to assist her as she serves the medical needs of campers with her right wrist in a cast. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the wonderful mix of campers is as varied as the Breakfast Club students and all are searching for the answers to life’s persistent questions.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. This morning the average age of people around me is probably half my age. Surfside staff is a young group. They have to be in order to have the energy and relevance to minister with more than 200 high schoolers who will arrive in the afternoon. I’m with people who are willing to give of themselves to make a difference in other people’s lives. These are people who are serious about following Christ. This is the place to measure whether the church is healthy.