The Birthing of Thankfulness

On the day of a predominantly American tradition, I love to look back and remember the heart of a day like today. For centuries there have been celebrations during a year of bountiful harvests. Giving thanks to the one who gives rain and sun had always been a part of ancient and native living, especially when times are good. Thankfulness has always been the main reason for celebrations like our modern day Turkey day.

In 1621, however, there was an amazing harvest on the heels of one of the worst years of sickness that brought death to both Pilgrims and Natives alike. It was the companionship of sorrow and suffering that gave birth to celebration that we know of in the West called Thanksgiving. When the ground finally produced a plethora of crops again, along with the hard work of the newcomers and the Natives, they rewarded themselves with a unity meal of thanksgiving.


My wife is currently re-reading a book to our children called Hinds Feet On High Places. The story of the Natives and the Pilgrims and their year of great tragedy that gave birth to a thankful celebration reminded me of the two companions that the “Shepherd” in the story of Hinds Feet On High Places gave to “Much Afraid:” “Sorrow” and “Suffering.” It was “Sorrow” and “Suffering” that she was to grasp hands with so that she would be able to get to where she needed to go. This isn’t something that we like to talk about because of the tragic nature of suffering and loss, and it’s definitely not something we ask for. But none the less, sorrow and suffering cannot be ignored, as they are ever before us.

It seems that it’s the embracing of (not the numbing from) sorrow and suffering that actually produces celebrations of the heart. To focus on the abundance with a neglect of the loss and sorrow that came before the harvest would be to cheat ourselves of the depth of celebration that we were meant to experience. It is precisely the pain and death in various ways that gives birth to something new and fresh, but never disconnected from the loss. I believe it to be this way only because it was the Creator who became the one to lay his life on the line, to embrace sorrow and suffering for the abundance of everyone else, so that with him and through him, the tomb would become a womb, in which new life would come. It would be on the heels of defeat and death that a celebration of such great magnitude would erupt and bring for great joy and new life.

Today, I want to remember the heart of Thanksgiving, and to grieve that what happened on that day in 1621 did not continue and much more grief and loss was brought upon the Natives of this American land. I want to be intentionally connected to the pain and loss in my life and the lives of others throughout our world today, so that my thanksgiving would be rooted in the fabric of the sorrow and suffering of Christ, the one who gives purpose to our losses and gives life from death. In a day when suffering covers the globe and widows and orphans will go unfed with no homes, I want to stand in solidarity (even if it’s only through remembrance and acknowledgement of their pain and loss), that there will be a day of celebration for them and for their suffering and sorrow to make way for new life, that their tomb today would create a womb that gives birth to thanksgiving.

Until that day comes, I will always fight to hold the tension of all my celebrations in light of those who having nothing to celebrate at the moment, and eat with a heart of gratitude and remembrance of my savior who gave suffering and sorrow meaning and purpose, something that I don’t have to be afraid of, nor pretend aren’t happening on such a fun day of feasting. This scripture passage below has meant so much to me through the years, and continues to help me hold the tensions of suffering and celebration:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts usin all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (NIV)

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Community of Beings

Much ink has been used in trying to better understand relationships and beauty and meaning. I am using more digital ink as well, and by no means am I claiming to have anything that is totally different nor better than what I’ve already read. But I do want to add to what I’ve gleaned from others and possibly help others begin to reframe what it means to experience the beauty of relationships, something that I long to experience more myself in this journey of life’s ups and downs relationally.

Over the last few years I keep coming back to this Greek word “perichoresis” (perikhōrēsis). This is a term that many theologians have used to describe the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (the Trinity). From a psychological understanding, one could define this relationship as differentiated-selves, yet one; or in other words, unified, yet unique. Differentiation for humans is the process of becoming free from your family’s (or any other social group’s) definition of yourself, whether positive or negative. This means you are able to have different opinions and values than your family members (or social groups), without feeling shame or losing a sense of worth; and at the same time you are also able to stay emotionally connected to them.

A healthy view of a differentiated self is found in the relationship of the Godhead, where each person is separate from the other with distinct roles, yet are in a beautiful unity, a “dance of love” as many writers have put it, that honors and respects the other (mutual submission). Perichoresis comes from two separate Greek words, “peri” which means “around,” and “chorein” which means “to make way/space”. It could be translated as “rotation” or “a going around.” I likened it to professional dancers filling the floor yet each have made space for the others to fill the floor with them in symmetry and uniqueness.

Alister McGrath writes this about what the word perichoresis which has some of the same overtones of a healthy, differentiated human: “[Perichoresis] allows the individuality of the persons to be maintained, while insisting that each person shares in the life of the other two. An image often used to express this idea is that of a ‘community of being,’ in which each person, while maintaining its distinctive identity, penetrates the others and is penetrated by them.” Christian Theology: An Introduction, 325

In the New Testament it is clear that God glorifies himself which to some may sound weird. If it does, bear with me for a moment. In Scripture, the book of John’s is important in understanding how Jesus and the Father connect with one another. An important passage in John is John 17:1, where Jesus prays, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” When this passage is put next to John 16:14, where Jesus says that the Holy Spirit “will glorify me”, we begin to see a perichoretic (big word that I made up!) understanding of God’s glory. In other words, we are seeing the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) reciprocating love and glory and intimacy.

Perichoresis is the fellowship of three co-equal beings (a unique unity) perfectly embraced in a symphony of love and harmony, expressing an intimacy that is beyond human comprehension. The Father sent the Son (John 3:16), the Spirit came from the Father as the Son submitted to the Father’s wishes to leave earth and sit next to him until the final hour comes (John 15:26; John 16:5-7; Rev. 3:10)—another example of perichoresis, with the result that God’s people are blessed and are able to be caught up into this dance of love, by God creating ‘generous space’ (grace) for us to join him, and to be formed into a ‘community of beings’.

This perichoretic (differentiated) relationship can be imagined as a Venn diagram as others have stated, showing three circles intersecting in the center with each circle intersecting the others perfectly and multi-dimensionally, as they go around and around, like beautiful dancer moving harmoniously across a dance floor, not stepping on each other’s toes and moving to be beat of the music, a yin and yang of sorts. Such an understanding of glory (which also means ‘beauty’) displays the love expressed within the Godhead by Father, Son and Spirit as they display the beauty and worth of one another.

So on the journey of a study of beauty (which I have personally been on) I believe this is a great place to start. This perichoresis, being differentiated humans, unified and unique, is at the heart of us, as a community of beings, knowing who we are and in time, being consumed by true beauty, and not getting caught up into all the other false displays of beauty. There are many false (fraudulent) beauties that steal and twist our desires and affections, making us impotent and unable to reflect the beauty and worth of Jesus to a humanity in desperate need of finding and experiencing beauty again without consuming it. These fraudulent beauties are displayed to us in ways that teach us to consume them, and any beauty this is being consumed has in that moment, become tainted or twisted. This is the beginning of my attempt at a type of resistance to that which is destroying life.


Being Faithful in the Darkness


Darkness is a weird thing. In our Christian worldview, it never seems to be used positively, but it seems I’ve been in darkness (or fog or some kind of unknowing) for a while and I don’t believe it’s because of my unbelief or anything like that. My tendency in life is to assume that if life is dark and dreary, there must be sin in my life, or the evil one must be causing this darkness.

This certainly can be true of darkness at times, but is it always the case. Can darkness be good? Could God be the one leading me into the dark? After all, it was Jesus who led his disciples at an hour of darkness, to boat across to the other side of the the great sea.

So as I ponder this darkness, the ways of God, and the position of my heart and mind, it must be dark because there’s something in the dark that I can only learn here, where the lights are off, or really dim, and clarity is not a close friend. 

On a positive note, I can see stars at night only because the dark sky and the moon looks much more extravagant with a dark back drop. I sleep (and rest) better in the dark; I usually don’t labor physically when it’s dark either. I love the coolness of the dark in the spring and fall in Phx. 
The darkness is refreshing after 115 degrees heat all day in the summer, even if it’s still 105 degrees at midnight. Darkness gives plants and animals rest from the scorching sun all day. Fires and fireworks are much more enjoyable in the dark. The darkness humbles me as it exposes who I really am–all my fears, insecurities, and–and it also gives me a sense of comfort, knowing that the day of toiling is over and rest is coming. 
Those are some things I’m realizing that are better in the dark, so maybe this season of darkness that isn’t lifting (for over 2 years) is more purposeful than I believe it to be. I hope it is, but I have to admit that I hate it at times. I’m tired of being in this place of unknowing that only offers a visibility of 24 hours or less. I long for something new and fresh, something to come in and sweep me off my feet, something that is more intimate and deeper than ever before. 

And even as I write this, I’m reminded that deeper almost always means darker before it can be translated into something good. The deeper you dive into the ocean, the darker it gets, but then again, some of the most precious pearls are forged in the pressures of deep, dark waters. But those places are scary and not desirable, unless there’s a guide, a trained professional to lead me down there. 

This is where God’s role comes into play, as well as a community of friends and family who are courageous enough to walk with you and sit with you on the bottom of the ocean. God will make his bed in Sheol for his children. 

I hate the pain and fear of the dark and God’s seeming silence is horrible. It’s as if I’ve had years of tender care as an infant and toddler and now God, as a good parent, re-fathering me if you will, is putting me up on my two feet and telling me to walk, trust, to remember that I’m done nursing and I need to trust that he’s always near me even when it’s dark and he’s silent and I can’t see his face, or even see what tomorrow holds. I hear him saying, “I’ve got this Jeff. Trust who you’ve become. Be patient and faithful in the darkness. I will not disappoint you.” And my heart’s response is “Ok, I don’t want to refuse you anything you ask God, but I have to be honest, I have fear and doubt and need you to meet me at those places.” 

So for now, darkness is a companion, one I don’t want to scorn or make to be an enemy of light, nor do I want to wrongly celebrate. But I think maybe it’s only through being in the dark for long periods of time where we can actually long for the true light. Or maybe it’s in the dark where we learn that the true light is in us and we can be okay when darkness comes and stays for a while. Maybe darkness wasn’t meant to be a bad place. After all, it was darkness that arrived first in the Genesis narrative, and all that God had made was good. Who knows? 

St. John of the Cross likens darkness in the life of someone pursuing Christ as moments of mysterious and divine closeness. He likens it to the sun, if it were to be stared into with our eyes, it would make our senses go dark, but that would joy mean the sun stopped shining; it just means that our senses are limited and can only take in so much light until God graciously clouds his presence to not overwhelm or destroy us. 

I trust this graciousness today and hold onto the hope that light is always shining, and my senses are being refined more and more to take in this beautiful, life-giving light.

Are You A Leader?


Leadership is a funny thing. Everyone’s got a different idea on how to lead, or different philosophies of how lead a business or a group of people. It’s hard these days with all the digital content flying in cyberspace onto our computer screens. Who’s right? Who should you listen to? Do you even care?

So, if you’re still reading this, I’m assuming you sort of care, so I have put together a list of quotes from various high capacity leaders that I’ve collected over many years, and they all capture something about what they think leadership is. So read on, but at the end of the blog, please leave a comment or two about what you would add to the question, “What is leadership?”:

Peter Drucker: “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.”

John Maxwell: “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”

Warren Bennis: “Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.”

Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester: “Leadership is the process of influencing the behavior of other people toward group goals in a way that fully respects their freedom.”

Larry Osborne: “Leadership is having a message, sharing that message, and living that message.”

Dave Kraft: “Great leaders: 1. paint a picture of a compelling future that allows others to see what could be accomplished; 2. equip their team members by giving them tools, resources and training to fulfill their responsibilities; 3. release their team members by letting go of the tendency to micro manage so that others can learn how to lead.”

Andy Stanley: “Leaders don’t let success or momentum overshadow their vision, they’ve got to keep the vision out in front.”

Theodore Hesburgh: “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.”

Andre Maurois: “The most important quality in a leader is that of being acknowledged as such.”

Eleanor Roosevelt: “Leaders do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Theodore Roosevelt: “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss… The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

Henry Miller: “The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way.”

Dwight Eisenhower: “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

Lewis H. Lapham: “Leadership consists not in degrees of technique but in traits of character; it requires moral rather than athletic or intellectual effort, and it imposes on both leader and follower alike the burdens of self-restraint.”

Walter Lippmann: “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on… The genius of a good leader is to leave behind him a situation which common sense, without the grace of genius, can deal with successfully.”

Jesus of Nazareth: “You’ve observed how godless rulers (leaders) throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.” Mark 10:42-45 (The Message)

Max DePree: “A friend of mine characterizes leaders simply like this: ‘Leaders don’t inflict pain. They bear pain.’”

Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin: “Ah well! I am their leader, I really ought to follow them!”

Peter F. Drucker: “Charisma becomes the undoing of leaders. It makes them inflexible, convinced of their own infallibility, unable to change.”

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf: “Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.”

Albert Schweitzer: ”Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.”

Martin Luther King, Jr: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

General George S. Patton Jr: “Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader.”

John F. Kennedy: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Stephen R. Covey: “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” (This is one of my personal favorites!)

Grace Murray Hopper: “You manage things; you lead people.”

Ralph Nadar: “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”

Bill Gates: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

Harvey S. Firestone: “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”

Max DePree: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.”

Richard Nixon: “People are persuaded by reason, but moved by emotion; [the leader] must both persuade them and move them.”

To close it out, I’ll share a few of my own I’ve put together from gleaning from others: 

“Leaders are good listeners, then they will know who they are leading to better motivate them to accomplish what they all really desire.”

“Leaders walk with a limp, but they don’t let the limp define them.”

“Leaders are vulnerable enough to be real and authentic, and thick skinned enough to keep being vulnerable.”

“Character defines a leader, not charisma.”

“Leaders never grow out of being a servant.”

“Those who are die, and are willing to die for justice are leaders.”

Hope this has been fun to read. I would love it if you left a few of yours to share with us as well!

Knock, knock. Who’s there?


Growing up, I was a sucker for “Knock, knock” jokes. I didn’t like all of them, and many of the ones older adults told went over my head. But for some reason, I wanted to hear more. One that has stood out to me is this:

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Dozen who?
Dozen anybody want to let me in?

Such a play on words for my mind as a child was half the fun (or challenge), learning how it makes sense, stopping to think and put it all together. Sometimes I’d even process out loud, “Oh yeh, ‘dozen’, as in a dozen donuts! Ha! I get it!” The goal of most of the jokes for me was to conquer it, to understand it, to get it; ultimately, to be “let in” as the joke is humorously referring to. I wanted somebody to let me in, maybe sub-consciously to let me in on the secret of who I really was. Isn’t that what these jokes are getting at, the “who”, not the what?

Before I left on a family summer trip to a Young life camp in British Columbia, I met with Dr. David Beyda. I had heard him speak at a graduation ceremony and was moved to tears while he was speaking. As he shared beautiful stories of death and resurrection, he had an emphasis on the “who” of a person, not the “what.” “Who are you?” he asked all of us, from the power of the podium, and tears started water-falling down my face.

“Who am I” I asked myself internally. Now one thing you have to understand about me, I have spent years teaching, coaching, and counseling people along the lines of finding their identity based on “who” they were, not by “what” they do. So this wasn’t the first time I had heard this. “I’m a veteran at this” I told myself. “Why am I crying? Come on Jeff, you know who you are. You know your identity is not found in having something important in life to do. A title is just a title, it’s not what defines you.”

But the honest truth that evening was I realized how much identity I still found in my “job” or “title”. I could preach the best sermon about finding your identity in Christ, calling others out on not looking to false idols to feel worthy or valuable, or reminding a congregation that Jesus is all we need. But over a year and half out of not having a “real job,” with no “title”, having walked away from pastoring a church that I had started years ago, and struggling financially, I was at a pretty dark, low place. My good friend and mentor Jerry Price, calls this a “Zero-State”.

For whatever reason, that night at the graduation ceremony, I was brought face to face with the sober realities of who I am in life. I was face to face with all of my failures, all the broken relationships that swirl around in my head, and the struggles of not being a very good provider for my family. As these realities confronted me, I knew then, that I am not defined by all of that.

The “who” of who I am is full of dark ugliness that brings death to those nearby, and at the same time beautiful budding flowers that bring about life and joy. This lesson was brought home to me later in the summer, at a Young Life camped called Beyond Malibu.

It was a couple weeks in, during our assignment there, when some of the death that Jesus wanted to renew in my life would be exposed. The “who” of Jeff, behind all the masks of pretension would come blazing out and I couldn’t deny it anymore; Jesus wanted to deliver me from the false “who’s” and bring me into the “who” that gives, not takes.

It was a weekday, the day after I had a very fulfilling day of work and investment in young men’s lives. I felt valuable and worthy because of what I was able to offer. But the following day, I was with all my kids, most of the day, while Amy had her turns. It was the end of the day and I had lost it with the kids and was sure to show Amy that I was done.

This wasn’t the first time I had played this manipulative game to make Amy feel sorry for me and see that I had “suffered” for the good of the family. Even as I type this, I cringe at how selfish this sounds, but it’s all true… this is what I was feeling and thinking internally. It was this day that my wife offered me a gift, a gift that has kept on giving.

She had put together that evening this behavior of mine and was done! This is coming on the heels of many years of her supporting “my vocation” and raising children with me being there in person, but not always present in spirit. This is after years of Amy sacrificing many of her dreams for me to do what I love and feel passionate about, and today was the last day that she would let me power play her with my lame attempt to regain any dignity I thought I had lost that day from letting her use her gifts.

She looked at me at let me know more or less, “On the day that I am needed and able to use my gifts, and you are with the kids, you are unhappy to be with them. It seems a good day for you is when you are being used outside this family. It is my turn. I hope this isn’t a competition against me because I was ‘used’ today and you ‘weren’t.’ ”

Ouch! She was so right. This was “who” I was inside, and it came out like acid in the eye. Painful. And instantly I felt like defending myself in the past, but I knew that Amy had called out my “Knock, knock” jokes, and saw past my attempts to make myself look better than I really was right then. I had no other option but to hang my head and admit that she was right. I had to face “who” I really was behind all the proper relational etiquette I had learned with spiritual language.

I was found out, and you know what, I loved it! This has happened before in our marriage, but not at a point where I had so much to lose. I was the pastor, the one who taught people how to live a “gospel-centered” life, I wasn’t supposed to be struggling with this. But there I was, struggling with it, and I was brought to a “Zero-State.”

I could go lower, but at this point it would be below ground, with darkness and coldness to look forward to. Or I could admit I was somebody I didn’t want to be and decide to be responsible. Amy offered me a huge gift that day. She offered me grace, grace that said, “I won’t put up with your crap anymore because I love you and want to really connect with you. This game you’re playing isn’t connection. I want intimacy with the true Jeff.”

I got answers this summer to a deeper level of “who” I am because of my crap being called out. And now I have the chance (and I hope I’m making good use of the opportunity) to drop all the false self’s that I had built up around the insecurity and shame of my life.

I know the world is a much better place when I am truthful with the masks I wear, for honesty and confession is the only way to truly strip ourselves of the false persons we have tried on over the years to cover up the parts of ourselves that we’ve been told were unacceptable and shameful.

I wish for you that you find hope in my journey, and that you have people around you who are as loving and courageous as Amy is. Maybe you may even be the one to be loving enough to say enough to someone in your life, of course with grace and love.

The Evolution of Kineo

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Kineo. This was the name of a church plant that I pastored for 5 years. It’s a name loaded with meaning to me personally. It’s bigger than just what Kineo Church meant to me though. It’s a Greek word that literally means “to move” or “to put in to motion”. I have a good friend who mentioned this quote below years ago and it ‘moved’ me:

“If you claim to stand in a rushing river, yet you are not moved, then you are not standing in a rushing river.” Unknown

This impacted me greatly, as I was someone who claimed great things about God, who He is, and what it meant to be a worshiper of God, yet I was unmoved and uninspired most of the time in life. The word Kineo came to mind when I looked up what the phrase “to move” meant in Greek literature. This first ‘moved’ me years ago, and continues to move and shape me to this day. So I wanted to share with you the evolution of what this word has become to me.

Kineo. It is not really an entity, although I often dream about a non-profit called Kineo. But even if it never becomes an entity, it will always be an idea, an ethos or lens with which to view life. Kineo, “to be moved”, is not concerned with the type of movement that explains the “How do you become successful” questions, nor is it the kind of movement that answers the “What do you do” type of questions. No, the movement of Kineo to me is an ethos (look up what ‘ethos’ means in a dictionary if you have to… there’s no shame in that… I had to do that when I first came across the word). Kineo is an ethos which is radically committed to answering the “Who are you” and the “Why do you do what you do” type of questions in life. If the “Who” and the “Why” are covered, you can handle any “What” and “How” in life. This is a new/old way to be human; it’s an habitual spirit of a community of justice and love, displayed in what it desires and how it behaves.

Kineo is a call to move.

To listen.

To see.

To stand.

To hold.

To fight.

For the vulnerable.

For the marginalized.

For the broken.

For the grieving.

For the lonely.

Kineo is a corrective voice to the dominant culture, to help open eyes and ears to voices and stories that have been lost in the wreckage of Western development. It’s a corrective voice for entrepreneurs of the future to consider a new way of business and profit, of shared values and community engagement that gives birth to new types of partnerships. It’s a corrective call to break the silence of the powerless, and to pave new ways of success and healing from trauma. It’s a corrective voice to the old forms of the gathered church to consider alternative communities: slow, organic churches, neighborhood parishes, shared living communities, communities that rediscover the power of proper lament, rest, and the sacramental life, but not dismissing the old forms either. It’s a corrective voice to the consumer model of living that has left sabbath on the dusty shelf of life.

It is within this idea, this ethos, that Kineo was birthed. It’s been my desire for this ethos to penetrate hearts and minds, to begin to take shape in neighborhoods and businesses, families and faith communities, cities and states. It’s a movement with no real form, and is already happening regardless of myself or this blog post. It’s an underground erosion of the soul that moves people to begin alternative ways of doing life, caring for the marginalized, regaining hope, experiencing beauty, resting and playing, and boldly loving which brings about change.

Will you be a part of the movement? It requires great costs. It demands you drop the act and begin to be honest with who you are. It’s terribly scary and will wreck your status quo agenda in life. But it’s essential for those who are longing for more. It’s your choice. This is your world. You’re shaping what it’s like every day you’re alive. Join the invisible movement today! Tell me about your “Kineo” story. I would love to hear.

Finding La Querencia

Last summer marked the beginning of a new pace in life, well, at least an attempt for a new pace in life. I’ve struggled to understand sabbath in my life for over a decade. I think I’m just now scratching the surface of its purpose. And so it was, that last summer we were able to take 2 months off from life, rent an RV, and cram Amy and I and our 4 kiddos into a small space and drive. Crazy? Yes! Necessary? Absolutely!

We traveled around the country chasing good weather, family, and friends who were intentionally living out the mission of God in diverse contexts. This was a trip of a lifetime for us, a trip where I began my search for la Querencia wherever it is God has me. 
It was last summer when I first read a copy of a book called Slow Church, and there is a chapter where Smith and Pattison talk about sabbath rest and they quote the American author Barry Lopez, writing about the Spanish word querencia which is sometimes translated as the “haunt of wild hearts”:

“[He] describes la querencia as a place on the ground from which one draws strength of character.”
It is clear to me, after another season of being able to serve at a Young Life camp and another 2 months off of routine life in Phoenix, that sabbath rest is really resting in who Jesus says I am… He was meant to be our querencia. He’s the one who truly gives rest that strengthens my character. 
In a world full of busyness that drives us to live at a pace that is not based on a biblical worldview; and a culture that “forces” us to eat whatever is placed before us (or is cheapest and easiest to buy); and a society that has placed work and money at a level that turns people and places into commodities to be consumed… we are in desperate need of alternative lifestyles that display a different kind of pace, a different kind of patience, a different kind of work ethic… all of which are not possible if we are not a people who know how to rest and trust during the seemingly “unproductive” days of rest.
Time. It is time once again this summer that has reminded me that God is not in a hurry and rest is a way of trusting Him in the midst of a world that feels like there’s not enough time in the day. Time reminds me that we are living in eternity now before God. Time reminds me that God shows up in the now; he dispenses grace, mercy, forgiveness, reveals beauty, and matures us in the “now”. Time allows us to enjoy moments and to have fun, but it was not meant for us to base our lives on or to drive into a pace of life that drowns out real life. 
Learning to live in the present, pacing myself, eating slower and being more aware of what I am eating are all being sharpened and awakened as I slow down, rest and trust God in the seemingly “unproductive” now. 
This second summer trip is the result of a commitment to live differently. The difference… hopefully it’s a new kind of sabbath, a sabbath that leads me to places of Querencia that I believe God wants me to inhabit with him daily. A Querencia that was always meant to charge up God’s people to live holistically productive lives which means a healthier pace, more responsible eating, divine rest, more fun, deep healing, and a holy patience with work, people, and life in general.
So for today, I’m finding my Querencia with my daughter Mia at Magic Mountain screaming our heads off, feelings sick, and eating churros!