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Clear as Mud

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve made any New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I am opposed to them. It’s just that living within academic and church ministry year cycles, an early or late summer date tends to encourage contemplative assessments and reconfigurations of how I am going to live for the coming year. Continue reading

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Listening to the Rocks

This post is a reflection I shared with the elders in my church this week as we prepare for the launch of a new ministry year.
IMG_2190[1]  I am intrigued by the repetitive act in the Old Testament where God’s    people would erect stone monuments. Most of the time, these monuments  were nothing more than a few large stones gathered into a pile. They  served as a visual way of reminding themselves (and sometime future  generations) about God’s acts of faithfulness in their lives.

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Silence

“How do you break silence?”

I suppose the words would flow more freely now if I had planned this silence. “Four Months of Silence” has a bit of intrigue to it. But when I last posted here, I did not imagine going 120+ days without posting. In fact, I had planned to write several posts while on vacation in August, reflecting on the missional church through the lens of travelling, being away from home, and experiences of hospitality. I even thought there would be a reflection or two spurred on by extended time in the car, at museums and parks, while playing with our kids. Silence was not in my plans. Continue reading

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Muddied Prayers – beginning again…again.

I’ve been playing around with Muddied Prayers for close to three years now. The first contours of what has emerged here were the results of a rather sleepless night. I wanted to write something catchy and still authentically in my voice. An initial attempt to organize a few random thoughts about prayer and encountering God in the ordinary moments dotted the landscape of those few original posts. I soon realized, however, that I was little more than a kindergartner grabbing a rather stubby piece of charcoal and rubbing it all over a new canvas: I was playing with a medium I really did not understand. Before too long, I put the blog back on the shelf and returned to the much more familiar mediums of sideline commentary with friends over food and a good drink and my academic coursework. Great ideas, but all kept relatively close and quite safe.

A second iteration of Muddied Prayers emerged a year later as I prepared to attend the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. I held to a much narrower focus that time: prayers mingling that broken earthiness of life freshly fertilized by loss with the often tear-filled longing for a flourishing further than I could see. The dozen or so posted prayers reflected my responses to times when God’s apparent absence seemed more accessible than God’s presence. It’s now been more than a year since the last post went out.

As I return to these Muddied Prayers tonight, my desire for authenticity remains, as does a longing for all of life to flourish. I still find that God tends to open my eyes in the most ordinary and unexpected of moments. From that perspective, I imagine that some of the elements that marked the earlier renditions of my blog will continue to find their way into the posts that follow this one. Yet, Muddied Prayers will be a different space this time around, quite simply because I am in a different place. I’ve cleaned out all the old posts and changed the layout. I’ve been told that when company is coming over, especially for the first time, it’s good to tidy things up a bit. It won’t last – trust me. Things will get messy here. I’ve also started to integrate the other places I camp out online with this space. Over time, I imagine it’ll get cluttered with all sorts of useless stuff, but that’s to be expected. Have a look around, stay for a while, and feel free to keep coming back. Welcome to Muddied Prayers.

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