October 17, 2005

Been thinking about risk the past few days and how it is part of our lives and how we react to it with our choices. I see God taking a huge risk in his giving us free will. He created us with the intent that we can dismiss whenever we want. At the time God created the universe he allowed us, his creation to reject him in total. He took another risk when Jesus Christ came to earth. Not in the whole salvation sequence but in the fact that Jesus came and left and put us in charge of building the church and the faith. It seems God has a high level of ability when it comes to risk taking.
There are stories throughout the Bible about God allowing us to make choices that are contrary to his ideals.

So I started thinking about my life and how I am able to take risks. It has actually been easy for me to make a choice that seems risky and at times it has been frustrating when friends try to talk me out of a risky choice just because it doesn’t seem that the outcome is certain. Yet, when I think about how we create relationships in our lives it can not be done without risk. At some point if a relationship is going to have any depth you need to take some risks. You need to open yourself up to the other person. Open your self up in ways that expose your inner self and expose it to the level that the other person can crush it if they choose. But then I started to think about how many relationships I have where there is actually that intimate level of risk I realized I don’t have but a few.

The first is with Sydney my wife, she knows all there is to know about me. Then I think about other friends and there are maybe two or three other people I would say I have taken that risk with. I think about what those relationships have meant to me and how I needed those people having an intimate knowledge of whom and what I am to save me from destroying myself. So my question is how many of us are willing to take a risk the way God did and enter into a commitment to another in a way that allows them to have the ability to destroy us if they so choose.

Are we willing to put our entire being on the line with another person to the point that all the therapy in the world couldn’t fix the damage? God did it over and over again. Jesus did it over and over again. Maybe our controlled world of comfort has destroyed our ability to take any risk. Maybe our need to plan and ponder every step we take has allowed the bridge God built to rot into uselessness. Maybe our need to have the outcome known has quieted the Holy Spirit within our communities. Maybe that is why the church has lost its place in our culture. What if we have become so distant from the act of taking a risk that we have forgotten how to do it?

Remember the first time you rode a bike and how scary it was when you thought about falling. Remember the hand of your mother or father on the seat and how that gave you the confidence you needed to fail. Remember how it felt when you turned around for the first time and rode full speed back toward your mom or dad with their arms in the air in excitement. Remember how God instilled a spirit inside each of you so you would never live a life of timidity but one of boldness and power. Remember what it felt like when you allowed someone inside your soul for the first time and how they loved you with all they had. Remember how you felt when you realized God gave everything he had for you so you could give it to others. That is what it means to take a risk. It means you take a chance that everything you give away might be rejected or mocked. But it also means that in that risking and giving you may save another persons life the way someone else saved yours. If we are to lay claim to the power that God plants in each and every person created we must start taking a few chances and stop worrying what the outcome will be. God gave us everything and all he asks in return is that we do the same so another might live.


October 14, 2005

ok here comes a long post just wanted to write some ideas down about our life since we started adopting,

I am not sure why but my life as a Christian has been filled with turmoil. Maybe it’s me and my odd personality but I seem to have been traveling a road that is hard and sometimes overwhelming. Most of me believes that this is what it is suppose to be like. When Jesus talked about picking up our cross daily maybe that’s exactly what he meant. You see picking up that cross is supposed to be difficult and at times pain filled. When I began to follow the risen Lord about 10 years ago I was inoculated with a theology of ease. Let Jesus take care of all your worries. Study the Bible, pray regularly and you will be blessed. I did all that diligently and have never seen the blessing in the terms it has always been portrayed. Today I am at a point where I don’t read the Bible or pray regularly yet feel connected to God in a powerful and intimate way. I remember reading an article by Mike Riddell about how he stopped praying and how nothing seemed to change. So here I am 10 plus years into this adventure of following Jesus and it hurts, hurts deeply. I have been able to respond to what I believe God is asking of me with a willingness and passion that amaze me at times.

I began my journey by driving back and forth from Cincinnati to Chicago each week for four years until I got my MDiv. I thought I had been called to be a pastor in the traditional sense but alas after four years of seminary and listening to my classmates and their inability to have honest and open discussion about what they believed and why I knew I would not be a pastor any time soon. During my tenure at seminary my wife and I began to feel lead to adopt. We had four biological children yet felt God pushing us toward more. Our adoption journey began with Noah. We brought him home at 2 months. About a year later Cecilia came to use at four days old. So there we were with six kids me trying to figure out what it is I am suppose to do with my degree and we start looking to adopt from Africa. We found a woman in South Africa, Thea Jarvis who had begun a work to take in orphans. The Love of Christ is a home based mission house that rescues children left alone via HIV or any other reason. Thea has done amazing things with her call to help these kids and you can see more at her website. We meet Thea via the Internet and had to convince her to let us take two of her beautiful children. Well after about 15 months of paperwork and emotional turmoil we got a plane for South Africa. Two weeks later we arrived back in Cincinnati with Isaiah, 8 months and Micah, 5 months both abandoned at birth. You see my wife had this theory that it was better to adopt two kids from South Africa so they would have another person that was like them in our family. Noah and Cecilia are both biracial. So now we had 8 kids and I thought we were done with God asking us to parent more kids. Then came Ethiopia. Our quest to adopt another child began with a search that lead us to a group in East Africa. We identified a child and began the paperwork. Well after another 18 months we were up to four kids and trying to figure out how to get them back to Cincinnati without going broke. After sending out about 90 letters we were blessed with over $9000.00 in donations to cover most of the costs. That’s right we adopted four kids from Ethiopia for about 10k. It seems kids from Africa are cheaper than anywhere else. So we brought Senait, Melena (biological sisters), Kisanot and Solomon home. Sydney ended up having to travel to Ethiopia to finalize the adoptions. Well God wasn’t finished with us and more kids. After the four from Ethiopia had been home about a year Sydney got pregnant. Pregnant 12 years after I had a vasectomy. We were overjoyed. We were going to name the child Isaac if he was a boy, Sydney was 46 and I was 44. All this to say that I think our living out God’s call to adopt has been painful and hard and not what I thought Christianity was about when I began to follow. But when Quinn showed up perfectly healthy and so beautiful I knew God was honoring the commitment we had made to follow him no matter what was asked. After a visit to the urologist and a very low sperm count it was clear that it was miraculous that Sydney was pregnant. For me Quinn is the fulfillment of God giving me a gift beyond my wildest dreams just because I said yes. After all the pain and hardship I know we are doing exactly what God wants. Our family has become an amazing symbol of what God can do with people who are willing to follow no matter what. So if you feel God has asked you to follow a path that seems hard and daunting continue, continue with the hope that the joy on the other side is beyond words. It is the embrace of God each time Quinn wraps her arms around my neck. And by the way we have also welcomed two more children from Ethiopia into our family since Quinn arrived. Maybe another baby is coming soon.


October 04, 2005

surprised by bush, john roberts surprised me as the choice for chief justice i thought bush would nominate someone with a more established conservative pedigree but roberts seems fair and open minded for the most part and a good choice. then miers comes along and i wonder why, yet it seems that she may be a good choice also if bush is not looking for a fight. maybe the republicans are to overwhelemed with other things to fight about this. i dont like it when i have to rethink my views on someone or something i like being able to dislike bush but this has upset that balance isnt life grand. kind of ironic isnt it with all the rhetoric about the impending celebration the consrevatives thought they would enjoy after bush got re-elected. timing is everything and it seems the timing isn't working for the conservative mavens of the political world.