My wife and I do not have kids.

Try as we might.  We are among the ranks of “unwillingly childless.”  And all around us, our friends are popping out babies, left and right, almost haphazardly it seems.

A funny thing happens when kids come between friends.  And by the conversations I’ve had and the blogs I’ve read, children can be a real source of division, tension or just plain old awkwardness between the “haves” and the “have nots.”  New parents have nothing to talk about except diapers and earaches.  And non-parents are in this habit of calling their pets “kids.”

My blog pal, Zack Hunt of The American Jesus just had a super cute little baby.  Well, his wife did anyway.  And I am really happy for them (though now that you know I don’t have kids, that last sentence probably sounded really strained or sarcastic.)  And while he’s falling into the black hole that is diapers and midnight feedings, I’m helping him out on his blog by proposing the terms of a truce if you will, between our two kinds, the parents and the childless, the fertile and the infertile.  How can we ever come to reconciliation, to understanding, to empathy?

You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out.  I hope you’ll meet me over at The American Jesus on Thursday, November 20.

Timid.

Meek.

Humble.

Poor.

There are lots of adjectives we can pull from the Bible.  Words we are supposed to emulate and live by.

I think some of these words have given us some kind of inferiority complex.  It’s funny how words like “shrewd” and “power” don’t get quite the air time as the more “negative” adjectives.  So we walk around, half hunched over, maybe feeling guilty because we just aren’t quite humble, meek or peaceful enough.

But you know, when it comes to creating things, creating good things in a world that needs it, timid just doesn’t work.  You can’t whisper and hope to get a word in edgewise.  If what you are offering the world is good, then it will also be disruptive.  It will be bold.  It might be shocking.  Not shocking for it’s own sake, but shocking because the world is used to lousy.

I’m a guy who’s more soft-spoken in public than I come off online.  And this is my challenge this week.  I may not need to be verbally loud.  I may not need to have a crazy personality.  But I want the things I make to be powerful.  I want them to be strong, not weak.

That is what God enables us to do.  Not to be fearful.  Not to be hesitant.  To make good things, and then call them good.

spirit

What good things are you going to make this week?

Be bold, my friends.

It’s the end of another beautiful week.

Just a couple of days ago, I realized I just have a month left with my classes this semester.  It’s hard to believe we are looking ahead to finals already.  I’m sending my students’ artwork around the city for exhibitions, and my wife and I are starting to hoard Christmas gifts (we plan to skip black Friday.)

It’s definitely been a good week for reading blogs.  Here’s a few entries that fueled me this week:

The Gift of Helping

I feel like I’m kind of like Sarah Markley when it comes to accepting help.  I don’t like to do it.  I like to go it alone, be independent.  I guess I believe that accepting help makes me look less capable.  That’s why I really appreciated how she is rethinking the gift of helping.

A Public Exhibition

As a creative person, there really are few things I can think of that are more nerve-wracking than showing off your work.  It opens you up to judgment and scrutiny.  But it’s a necessary part of the creative process – the big reveal.  Kelly O’Dell Stanley really struck me with her words on publicly sharing our creative work.

The Worst Reviews

And when we share ourselves, make ourselves vulnerable, there are bound to be critics.  Some people won’t understand.  Others will understand; they’ll just hate what you’ve done.  Mary DeMuth shared some of the most scathing Amazon reviews of her books, and we were all a little bit better for it.  Let’s be honest, when someone gives a microphone to their biggest critics, the rest of us don’t think any less of them.  Our respect for them only increases.

How Feminism Hurts Men

By far, the most enjoyable, subversive, redemptive thing I read this week came from Micah Murray, about all the ways feminism hurts men.  I won’t spoil it.  Just read it.

Yes, there were lots of things that fueled me this week, like fall leaves and cold air, but you know about those already, right?  What fueled you this week?

What do we talk about when we talk about “non-negotiables?”6a00d834515f9b69e201310fc671c7970c-800wi

When it comes to our faith, what is not up for debate?

What are the hills we are willing to die on?  The lines we are willing to draw in the sand?

It seems we have a lot of those lines and hills.  Thou shalt not cross this line, or thou shalt be thrown out of the gates, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  The more complex our society becomes, the more choices we have, the more divided we can be.

A few weeks ago, a blog friend asked on Facebook if Christian unity were possible, without compromising “non-negotiable” tenants of our faith.  Those non-negotiables are important.  So I’m wondering if, in our sea of dividing lines, our nearly infinite “non-negotiables,” could we do it?

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It’s good to be amazed every once in a while.

It’s good to be in awe of something big or grand.  It’s good to feel a sense of mystery and wonder.

It also gets harder to feel those things the older we get.  At least it seems that way to me.

It’s gets easier to think we’ve seen it all.  There is nothing new under the sun.

I also think the older we get, the harder it becomes to surprise ourselves.  It’s easy to think we’ve reached our peak, there is nothing new we can do, there is no more mystery left in us.

That’s too bad.  Because I look at my wife and she is still a mystery to me (in a good way.)  She still impresses, even amazes me at times.  But I look at myself and what do I see?  Someone amazing?  No.  I just see plain old me.

What if we worked, really worked on surprising ourselves, on defying our own low expectations, on doing something new that even we don’t expect?  What if we actually did what we were capable of doing?

capable

How are you going to surprise yourself this week?

Hey everyone!

It’s the end of another week.  I’m already excited about the weekend, to be honest.  Tomorrow, I’m taking a few students out on a Saturday activity around the city.  (Every teacher at our school donates an item or activity to our fundraising auction.)  I’m taking a few students to see the best view, high above Kansas City in our Liberty Memorial.

I’ve got a great list of writers who really encouraged me this week.  Here are the highlights.

In My Inbox

First, I am so very thankful for so many messages I received in regards to my post on Wednesday.  They came in emails and social media.  I know what happened to me really isn’t that big of a deal (probably), but it always feels good when something happens to know that people care.  Thank you all so very much.

On that note, I saw my doctor yesterday, and I’m having a couple more tests which should clear everything up.

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