April Fool

The biggest prank is that Jesus rose again from the dead, at least that is one of my core convictions (his resurrection, not that it was a prank). The internet is full of Easter-related discussion; that’s good to talk about as the Jahresuhr (the year) turns ’round and we reflect on it and reset. I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to visit church with a friend in a place far from my home – I guess that seems to be my new tradition on Easter.

“We have too many Christians who have Lent without Easter,” the pastor quoted (or something close to that, supposedly from the Pope). To those unaware the “season of Lent” is a time of fasting and reflection leading up to Easter, the day we celebrate that Jesus came back to life after being dead in a tomb for three days and thus sealing in the hope we place in him. “We are Easter people,” he continues, “and alleluia is our song.”

So I come into this church and reflect on God and his nature and pray out the liturgy with the congregation: “I reject evil…I renounce the sin in me…help me, O God, to be your servant of peace.” I reflect on the consistent ways I fail, the things I never grow through, the temptations to which I repeatedly return. And I know God sees me. I proclaim his goodness and say “God is great!” yet while I struggle inside to love the very creation he made in me. And here was this man, this divine man who came and empathized and conquered where I have fallen short and I realize that on this April 1 I am the fool. God knows the very thin line separating the innermost from the outside and he sees what lies behind it.

So as we direct ourselves to think on Ash Wednesday to consider that we are dust and so as we focus during Lent to refrain from worldly distractions then so do we celebrate on Easter that God saw our disgrace and he loved us anyway; he saw our repeated, infantile, willful, and horrifying failures and took us in anyway; he saw the fool in me and he lifted me up anyway.

In all my running to seek affection and to seek being wanted, when I’m tired, hungry, angry, or sick, in my trained misbehaviors, and when I’m foolish I can be reminded to celebrate, because the very God who conquered death – death in the body and death in the soul – didn’t flush me out with it. He saw strength hiding behind my weakness and beauty behind my tears, he saw victory charging through my retreat and he saw Jesus when he looked at me. God I reject evil and defeat, please lead me away from it.

My friend, I have seen many things, been on many adventures, suffered excruciating loss, faced my own malice and insufficiency, and from the best of times to the worst of time I can say that I am alive because someone saw the fool in me through it all and decided it was worth saving. There is no greater story in my life than that quintessential act of kindness. Today I celebrate the freedom I have from that fool because of that act. Today I celebrate that the things that I have messed up in this world have hope because of that act. Today I celebrate, and I hope you do too.

2017 year-end

another year passed and i like to share interesting statistics and thoughts from the year so here they are in no specific order

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over the past year i slept in or spent the night in forty different beds, five couches, four planes, three busses, twice in my car, one beach, and on the floor of one of the old Voice of America radio stations. that’s fifty six different places to spend the night for an average of more than one different locality per week.

Places-in-2017
the color of the dots corresponds to when in the year i was at the location

although i was on the run most of the year several of my travel statistics are down from the past few years: i visited ten countries (including the US) and about forty places total but only flew around 60,000 miles. because of their loyalty program I flew almost exclusively with American Airlines; it’s nice to have a reward status with an airline.

my reading and writing metrics are off the charts even though i have only shared a smidgen of what i have written; there’s been an abundance of quiet alone time.

despite that, i went out of my way at least fifteen times in order to visit and spend time with dear friends of mine.

oh, and i got on two separate boats for the express purpose of eating.

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lessons from USAF brutalism

IMG_6264

yesterday i spent a couple hours at the national museum of the air force in dayton ohio. military design and engineering is always a fascinating topic because of the varied constraints they deal with which are much less important for civilian designs.

websites are obese and getting heavier and there’s a fascinating trend which piques my interest called brutalism – inspired from brutalist architecture which itself was a response to more optimistic and opulent styles of previous designs.

in many ways the goals of brutalist web design follow those of military aviation – herein are scattered lessons i learned while touring the museum as they relate to software.

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i close my eyes

because they cry from all over, Lord
because they hurt and the world is breaking
because they keep on taking it, Father
because they ask, "how will we survive the night?"

dear God, please let us close our eyes
and open them again and find this no more
dear Mighty One, please consider your people
and give them breath before they drown

because every day things get worse and
because we are weak and saturated in grief
because more is destroyed and lost and
because there is no end in sight

dear Savior, please save and calm the waters
and give us hope that morning will come
dear Refuge, please move our hearts
and move our hands to the needy

what can we say, do, or think?

three hurricanes and another is coming in the wake.

a massive earthquake whose aftershock its own disaster.

three and a half million people in the dark with no power, water, or communication.

two mad men hurling insults at each other inching closer to nuclear war.

please pray with me for our world. in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus teaches us that wars and famine will increase before “the end” comes, a time when great distress will fall upon the earth before he reveals himself in glory and power and gathers his people. these things, though, are not the end themselves and are just “the beginning of the birth pains.” the beginning of the birth pains!

if we believe what is written in the Bible we need not be paralyzed, as God has been preparing us for these things and will lead us through them, but we should indeed grieve, because we are in the midst of great suffering and can do very little.

the same scripture says that the good news will be proclaimed as a testimony to all nations during these times. what good news could possibly pop up in the midst of all this junk?

i’m sitting here in Vancouver at the moment in tears as i read horror after horror in the news. i’m praying for relief. i’m praying that God have mercy on Mexico, on Puerto Rico, on Cuba, on Texas, on the North Koreans, on the US. i’m sitting here overwhelmed with a feeling of hopelessness, and yet… and yet i know there is hope. the good news? woven through all loss and all disaster and all miscommunication and all brokenness is a thread of hope i know is unshakable and unmoved by circumstance or plan. the God who established the foundations of this Earth can intervene and restore what is broken. this is not the end, not yet, and the Bible teaches us that it is never too late for God to save.

so please pray with me for healing on our planet. please pray with me for mercy. are you feeling moved like i am? please consider “being God’s hands” where they are needed right now and bringing tangible good news to the affected. large parts of Puerto Rico may be without power for months: they will lack clean water, warmth, lighting, means of cooking, means of transportation (even the gasoline network relies on electricity), means of communication, and hope. please consider donating to organizations which are gathering around these recent disasters to rebuild what was destroyed.

are you moved? are you an amateur radio operator or have communication backgrounds? are you mobile/remote/nomadic? are you wanting to share hope and good news to a hurting people? if so, please contact me; i’d like to talk with you.