Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Shrewd by Rick Lawrence

I just finished reading this book by my dear friend, Rick Lawrence. In a way that only Rick can, he targets and exposes one of the most unsettling and perplexing parables of Jesus: Luke 16's Parable of the Shrewd Manager.

I caution you, this book is also unsettling and perplexing. It must be taken as a whole. That said, Shrewd did for me what few books nowadays do: it helped me know Jesus better. 

Once again, I was astonished by a simple yet profound reality: Jesus is not who I expect him to be. He is altogether unique. This might not sound very profound, but to me it is one of the most incredible truths in life. Jesus is a unique personality. He is not all things to all people. He is one of a kind. And therefore, he can be known personally and as an individual. And Rick does a great job of unpackaging this strange parable in a way that shines a spotlight on the true nature of Jesus, the "Sensei of Shrewd." 

I appreciate Rick's bravery and tact as he dances on the knife's edge. As he points out, shrewdness is neutral - it's how one uses this tool that makes it destructive or redemptive. The examples we see of shrewd behavior are so often manipulative, conniving and cruel. The life of Jesus, however, tells a different story. Jesus uses shrewdness like a surgeon uses a scalpel. He cuts you open, for sure, but he cures you, too. 

Shrewd surgically cut, exposed, and ultimately helped me gain a new appreciation for how ruthless and relentless Jesus is willing to be in order to rescue hopeless causes like me. 

Thank you, Rick, for putting it all on the line again. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Here is an observation: Why is it that when a person sees a pregnant woman that person seems to forget all social norms and mores and proceeds to rub their hands all over the pregnant woman's belly?

It's pretty invasive when you think about it. (And I've done it. It's like a brain switch turning off.)

I've also experienced it - because the same phenomenon occurs to people who buzz cut their hair.

If you buzz your hair, whether you are meaning to or not, you are basically inviting anyone and everyone to run their hands all over your head.

Last week, I experienced a third type of unintentional intrusive invitation - I wore a ruffle shirt. We were at Sharp Top Cove, a Young Life camp in North Georgia. It was an unbelievable week. I had a great cabin of dudes that I can't wait to continue to get to know. And I can't tell you how pumped I am to be a new leader at FCDS - go Furies!

But I was not prepared for the chest rubbing I endured after donning said ruffle shirt. I felt like I was a sheep at a petting zoo.

It was a little creepy.

All this to say, if you are missing out on physical contact, do one of these three things: get pregnant, buzz cut your hair, or put on a ruffle shirt. I promise, it works every time.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Two Amazing Videos

Brian Mendenhall, one of the greatest guys you could ever ask for to be your neighbor, brought along his cool new little Kodak toy camera to Anna Rose's birthday party last Saturday. Here are two of the coolest videos.

The first is an underwater shot...

That's off the diving board through the hula hoop for two points!

The second video is Anna Rose versus the pinata (imagine one of those ~ over the n).

That's right. She decapitated that poor puppy. Thank goodness Lia was smart enough to get two pinatas!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Face

We were packing up from the Upper Arlington 4th of July parade when this man started pointing at Lia. Lia shook her head. She didn't understand, beside the fact that the man was unable to speak. 

He touches her arm. He points to her camera. It is then I stop trash collecting and begin to watch. 

Lia nods. She lifts the camera and holds it up to the man - this frail, thin, hunched and carrying a limp stranger - she checks to see if this is actually what he wants. 

He smiles toothless. He takes two steps back. He poses. Lia takes the shot. 

The man bows as if to say thank you. He disappears in the crowd. 

Lia and I look at each other. "What was that?" she asks. "I don't know, but I can't wait to see the picture," I answer. 

Looking at it now, I don't know exactly what to think about it. Other than it brings me to tears. It's beautiful. This man's face. I don't know how to describe it. His eyes firm like earth, warm like amber honey, strong like polished river stone. They cannot be contained by the screen. They come at me. They draw me in. I love his eyes. I love his face. The wrinkles. The big one curved like Half Dome, curled like a bent reed. There is a ladder of wrinkles rising above that deep one. Like ripples. Like heat waves. Rising on his dark face. His wizened face. I like that word. Wizened. Toothless man. He has a big nose. He has a W of a chin. A double-U. He has apple cores for cheeks. He reminds me of Jesus. Of what Mother Teresa said, how "the dying, the cripple, the mental, the unwanted, the unloved they are Jesus in disguise." Is that who you are, beautiful man? Is that what you are trying to say to us? Is that what you wished my wife to capture? the face of Christ?  

to read an amazing interview of Mother Teresa go here:

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Simple Gifts

Lia's family is very generous. But when it comes to gifts, sometimes it's the simple ones that work best. Like when Cara lent us her Wiggly Worm Sprinkler Head on a 97 degree Columbus, Ohio 2nd of July.

Thanks Cara!