Tag Archives: travel

boxed in


This morning I write surrounded by boxes. It really is amazing how much stuff we humans acquire. Here’s a test for you. If you think yourself a minimalist, just try moving once. It really can be mind boggling. So here I sit surrounded by cardboard and chaos. But it really is a picture of something much larger than myself. Over the last almost sixteen years of marriage my wife and I have had the privilege of living in Tennessee, Florida, Michigan and Texas. And you know what we’ve found? People are beautiful and amazing and incredible no matter where we live. We have found more in common with people we never thought we would connect with because of our ability to experience different cultures and communities all over these United States. The scary thing is that it seems like these days we are led to believe there is more that separates us than unites us.

But let’s be honest for a moment. The way in which many of our lives are lived today only helps to contribute to the ease of which we are divided. We listen to the same news sources, we dine and discuss with the same folks, we read the same literature, we go to church with similar minded people and we rarely break out of our routines. We are boxed in more so than my current writing environment. And so, if we are led to believe that there is more that separates us, than unites us, then it becomes easier to embrace as a mindset. In his travel book Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain had this to say about living our lives boxed in, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” And honestly, you don’t have to travel across the world to gain these perspectives…sometimes you just need to go to the other side of town.

We who claim the title of Christ should be very careful how our worldviews cause us to perceive one another. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul writes this, “Since you have taken off your old self with its practicesand have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” – Colossians 3:9b-11 Because of Christ these labels that society is quick to pick up and employ do not exist anymore. We don’t see each other through the lenses of mass media or liberal or conservative or democrat or republican or citizen or refugee or rich or poor or whatever the dividing line might be. We see all as if we are seeing them as Christ in flesh. But in order to do that we have to get outside of our boxed in worlds and realize Christ has called us to so much more. So I sit this morning surrounded by boxes…but I know they are about to lead me to new people to love through Christ.


love loosely

This morning I said goodbye to my wife for a few days and watched her drive away to the airport that will wing her away to Atlanta for some time with her mother.* I never really like being apart from my spouse…in fact I hate it. The house feels different, I don’t sleep that great and it feels as if something is missing. But at the end of the day, who am I to control what may or may not happen while we are apart. I don’t want to get to morbid here, but my wife may not make it back home. Then again, when she drives down the street to go to the grocery store there is a chance she might not make it back. I am not even guaranteed the next moment with my kids for that matter. You didn’t see that coming did you?

The writer of the book of James in the New Testament put it this way. “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. – James 4:13-14. But we don’t really like to think about that do we? We like to look around at our life and cling to it as if it will go on forever. We like to pursue immortality in all of its forms of diet, surgical, fitness induced spectacle. We even hold on tightly to our spouses, our kids, our friends, our houses, our hard-earned money, our possessions, etc. But that’s the thing…these things are not even really ours to begin with. In fact, that same writer put it this way earlier in this letter, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” – James 1:16-17. All that we are and all that we “have” is a gift.

So what am I saying? Don’t love for fear of being hurt or fear of loss…by no means. In fact, your love should be even more wild, extravagant, logic defying. We love because we don’t know what tomorrow may hold. We make the most of every opportunity with our loved ones, our family, our friends, our neighbors because that is actually what love does. It enjoys and treasures the gift while it can. I think about the two little foster boys in our home now. There is a chance that they could be with us for up to a year and then be restored to their bio-family. And the question is always, “Aren’t you afraid you will get too attached?” And my answer, “I hope so”. Because love works that way. It’s extravagant and wild and at the same time open-handed and loose because we never know what tomorrow holds. So today I pray that you love big, bold, extravagantly, loosely knowing that it could hurt, you might suffer and you may grieve because love endures all things.


*For those of you concerned for my well-being, don’t worry. I only got left with 3 out 4 kids. I got this.


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