Archive for February, 2007

Putting The World Back Together

Posted 19 Feb 2007 — by nick
Category Jesus, Light, News, Social Justice, Spirituality, Videos

I’ve been listening to a provocatively titled teaching series by Rob Bell lately – Jesus Wants to Save Christians – given last fall at his church Mars Hill. I downloaded it then and it has since become unavailable online in order to make room for more recent teachings. While listening this weekend I heard Rob describe his Church as

“Counter cultural insurgency who actually believes the world can be put back together because we think that’s what Jesus has in mind.”

I find this description delightful – it pulled to the front of my mind the University of Illinois Board of Trustees decision last week to end the tradition of Chief Illiniwek. While the Board of Trustees doesn’t serve as a group of Jesus followers we can still celebrate the putting-back-togetherness of the world in such instances of social justice. Part of seeing the world put back together involves hearing the voice of the marginalized, fighting for equality and righting the wronged.

This decision is no doubt controversial – the debate has been raging for decades. Prior to arriving on campus in ’01 I had decided to reside on the “anti-chief” side of the issue (how we refer to those not supportive of Chief Illiniwek). I attribute the heartache and sensitivity to this issue to a work God did in my heart on a missions trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the summer of ’01. This is the location of the Oglala Sioux Nation whom the University received a set of Chief Regalia from and argues that it is in part honoring in the Chief’s Tradition. A recent quote from the Native American House at the University of Illinois in reference to the January 17, 2007 Oglala Sioux Resolution concerning Chief Illiniwek speaks to the level of “honor” these people feel:

There can be no misreading of the Oglala Sioux Resolution—those to whom the Lakota regalia belongs and whom the Board of Trustees claims to be honoring have clearly requested that the performance and charade of “chief illiniwek” end.

Just one month later they found their request granted. Further thoughts and press releases form the NAH on this issue can be found here.

Simply put I find it hard to follow Jesus and support the oppression and degradation of another people group and I believe it naive to claim the Chief an honoring symbol of a living -breathing people. I don’t believe this issue stops with Chief Illiniwek, how about the Spartans, the Fighting Irish?

Do you have thoughts on the issue, I’d love to hear them? Never seen the Chief dance: click here

News from Lake Wobegon

Posted 16 Feb 2007 — by nick
Category Fun, Podcasts, Poetry, Technology

Many thanks to Beno for bringing this to my attention: The great story teller Garrison Keillor finally available on iTunes. Listening to GK serves as a reminder of his mastery of comedy and story. Check out A Prairie Home Companion – the APM radio show he anchors and source of the podcast. The segment on iTunes is “News From Lake Wobegon” – a standard segment of each APHC installment.

Occasionally I listen to The Writers Almanac by GK, another production of American Public Media. It highlights a poem each day and gives history on literary figures.

“That’s the news from Lake Wobegon where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”


Posted 14 Feb 2007 — by nick
Category Darkness, Jesus, Light, music, Spirituality

It’s cheesy and cliche to post song lyrics on your blog :

I wish I had what I needed
To be on my own
‘Cause I feel so defeated
And I’m feeling alone

And it all seems so helpless
And I have no plans
I’m a plane in the sunset
With nowhere to land

And all I see
It could never make me happy
And all my sand castles
Spend their time collapsing

Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
And let that be enough

It’s my birthday tomorrow
No one here could know
I was born this Thursday
22 years ago

And I feel stuck
Watching history repeating
Yeah, who am I?
Just a kid who knows he’s needy

Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
And let that be enough
~ Switchfoot “Let that Be Enough”

Such a simple, beautiful song, yet wonderfully true to what it feels like to be in the darkness of aloneness, wanting so badly to escape it. This is life more often than I would care to admit. I believe this to be a trait of a person who wants to follow Jesus – acknowledging I’m a kid who knows he’s needy and desiring so strongly to know that God loves me. Aloneness plagues us all, since the fall we’ve been desiring to be restored to God, to walk in-step with the living God.

All around me lay things falsely claiming they can make me happy. We’ve been down that road before, we’ve used that to try and kill the pain, to try and get out of the darkness. Jesus is the one true way out of the darkness.


Posted 13 Feb 2007 — by nick
Category Creation, Technology, Winter

Remember how fun snowdays used to be as a kid? You know the routine, wake up as usual but make sure to take your time getting ready. Watch the school closings scroll across the tv below the morning news casters – “I didn’t see district 300 that time, maybe the next time around, or the one after that. Surely they can’t be expecting us to go outside in this!” When in reality all you can think about doing is climbing the biggest hill in the neighborhood sled in hand – heart racing as you head for the enormous-very-dangerous-looking ramp the older boys built.

Years have passed since the snowdays of youth. Today I learned something about snowdays in the adult world that caused me to long for the ones of childhood. A blizzard-ish storm started beating on Chambana last evening and supposed to continue on through the tonight – resulting in the University of Illinois closing for at least today, maybe tomorrow as well. Since I work for the U of I that meant I was sent home this morning after working just a few short hours.

That’s how I learned that when you’re an adult a snowday doesn’t mean sledding, hot chocolate and naps, but instead means your home becomes your office. Here is a picture of my new office:

Comfy huh? It doubles as a bedroom – which is convenient for those long afternoons after a big lunch.

When you work in IT as a Network Nerd you are the people responsible for making it possible to work from home. Translation : there is no good excuse for me to not be working today. The change of scenery is nice though.

As A Mirror

Posted 07 Feb 2007 — by nick
Category Jesus, Light, Scripture, Spirituality

I’ve been meditating on these verses recently – they cling to the back of my mind. I find myself wondering if I am reflecting the glory of the Lord, how changed am I?

“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
2 Corinthians 3:16-18

Ah… Norah

Posted 01 Feb 2007 — by nick
Category music

The lovely Norah Jones released a new album: Not Too Late a couple days ago. It should come as no surprise to know I pre-ordered it on iTunes about a month ago. iTunes tells me I’ve listened to the album 5 times from start to finish – with the 6th time beginning as I write this post. She sang me to sleep last night :).

There is something captivating about her voice, something beautiful, something alluring. This holds true in this album, however it does have a different feel than the previous two. I’m pleased with it, you should check it out!

Favorite Tracks: Wish I Could, Wake Me Up