Showing posts from February, 2013

Come Fly With Me

Last year I applied for funding for a three-month sabbatical that would have taken place this summer. My plan was to travel across the country and explore other churches similar to Oak Lawn: historic, inclusive, urban. Funding was denied by the Lilly Endowment-- not because the project was not worthy; it did not meet their qualifications. Lilly sabbaticals are more personal in nature-- renewal for the pastor, while our proposal was more of an academic model for sabbatical. I was pretty upset for a few weeks, because I was very excited for what we would have learned.

Later, a family in the church came forward with a special gift to send me on a mini-sabbatical to explore churches. So this week I have been making plans for a couple of learning trips this summer. One trip will be to Los Angeles, the other Washington DC. I'll share more about this later, but the short of it is: the DC trip I'm taking the family with me-- we're driving. The LA trip is a solo-- meaning I will f…

Remembering Rebecca Wriker

We celebrated the life of Rebecca Bell Wriker (5) at Oak Lawn yesterday. These are the words and prayers I offered at the service. Her parents, Matt and Samantha, gave their permission to post them here, hoping they may be a source of comfort to others.

Last week I sat with Samantha in Rebecca's room at the hospital. We talked about finding meaning in all of this, and I gave her permission to go to the roof of the hospital and shout, "THIS IS NOT FAIR!!" to God. We could probably line people around the block today to shout at God. It can be a cathartic thing to do- God can certainly handle it. Rebecca's illness, metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), was a tragic reality. It is not fair for a life which began as most other girls' to end in this way. Let us not define her memory by her disease, but rather our remembrance of the joy she shared with us. Every time we see a ladybug, let's remember how that was Rebecca's trademark. Every time a child shouts alo…


"A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No [one] can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire."
- Thomas Merton
(stolen from a friend's Facebook wall)

The other day James asked me to look over his math homework. There was a chart of different foods: meats, vegetables, and desserts (I actually do not remember the third category so I am guessing). It looked something like this:

Steak Mashed Potatoes Chocolate Pie
Spaghetti Lima Beans Pecan Pie
Meatloaf Corn Peach Cobbler
Brussels Srouts

Anyway, as I remember it the instructions defined a meal as consisting of something from each category. Then there were questions like this: "Billy doesn't like lima beans or Brussels sprouts. How many meal options does he have?" Or "Jessica is a vegetarian. How many meal options does she have?" Ja…