Say hello to my friends Lamar and Scott. They are beautiful pair, no? These are just two of the talented and creative folks that allowed me to tag-along with them to Ethiopia last week. I hope to write more about the trip and the work of Help One Now in the coming days, but for now, I hope this photo suffices. Yes, I returned from Ethiopia and broke my blog fast. It was a good two month break, one in which I sorted some things out and got a few things straight. (We all need to do that from time to time; don't we?) And when I came back, lo and behold, the internet had kept on a-goin' without me. What's more, there's been some excellent content generated in the last week or so. Allow me to share some of my favorites with you.
Even though it's early in the year, Amber has taken to more intentional writing on her blog, and let me tell you the truth--she's on a roll. Yesterday, she shed her inhibitions and wrote, "Even in my youth, snorting powder off a stranger’s bathroom sink through a rolled-up dollar bill, I knew even then that God was about shaping me. I knew He would eventually make me His friend." You won't want to miss her piece, "To Love the Shape of Your Life."
Ah, the inimitable Preston Yancey! Yesterday, he came out swinging (at himself) on Deeper Story. He wrote "When This is my Best Life Now," an honest piece, one in which he threatened to write plainly about the questions that haunt. He threatens; he threatens; then he leaves us only with this:
"But I’ll tell you now, here, the current questions, the things that keep me up at night:
██████████████████ love ██████████████████████████████████
███████████████████████████████ God ████████████████████████████
█████ always ████
[Some content redacted to protect the author.]"
Thanks for the good words, Preston. This was, by a long shot, one of the cleverest pieces I've read in some time.
Who would I be if I didn't leave you with a little poetry? This week, Suzannah Paul pens "Playing for Keeps," a poem that tests the tension between unity and safe silence. She writes:
One-size-fits-few and yet we clip each others' wing to suit our style, curse the gifts another brings: a Trojan horse! a trick! a trap! Cast aspersions, try to flatten nuance, dulling spectrums, shrink to fit. Weary, wear, until we quit, but what if
Bless Mandy Steward (have you read her book yet? Why not?!?), who generously shared the following link with me. It's Walter Brueggemann on "prophetic imagination," poetry, and imagery. In the interview, Brueggemann claims, "the poetry keeps opening, and opening, and opening, whereas the doctrinal practice of the church is always to close, and close, and close until you are left with nothing that has any transformative power." An audacious claim?
This week, I'm taking the cheater's way out. On Monday, I put out a call for book recommendations. Many of you have responded with some great suggestions (see the comments). It's a good list. Feel free to add your picks, too!
I can't stop listening to this album by Robbie Seay. It traveled with me to Ethiopia, and in the evenings, while swinging in my hammock, I listened to it under the stars. More than once, I also used it to drown out the sounds of hyenas. It was a good traveling companion.
Do you feel like I've missed any great links from this week? Feel free to recommend your favorites in the comments below!