Good Links (Front Porch Edition)

"From the stage, I am taught and I am so thankful for that. But on the porch, I learn.  From the stage, I am redirected where I need it.  But on the porch, I am restored. From the stage, I am enlightened and (often) excited.  From the porch, I get to enter into the story." ~Dr. Jacob Kaler, certified genius.

Last week, I made the drive past Bob's Stage 4 Cancer Sale, past (or should I say, "through") the In-N-Out restaurant, past the new Bears stadium in Waco (sick 'em), and deep into the heart of Austin (keep it weird, folks!). I attended the Idea Camp, where, as the fates would have it, a few old friends and a few new ones rented the house at 1900 David. It was part party house, part worship house, but all peace house, and it rested in the shadow of one of the most beautiful twisted Spanish oaks I've ever seen.  Each evening, after a day's worth of discussing orphan care, relief work, and other sorts of complex human care issues, we'd return to the peace house, friends in tow, and sit in the living room or on the front porch and unpack one heckuva good time.

I've found myself missing not only my housemates, but those who dropped in to wind down the evenings with us. They were good people from whom I learned good things. Today's linkup is dedicated to them.*

Links:

On the house: On spending time at the peace house, Mike Rusch, Idea Camp MC and best-brother to us all, says "[t]here are times in life when the way you walk changes, and there are times when you must stop and stack stones." Perhaps Sarah Markley feels the same way about our time at 1900 David. She writes, "It’s been a long time and now here, for whatever short time I am filled, I’m aware at how hungry I’ve been."

On the direction: Amber only stayed one night with us in the peace house. It's a shame, ain't it? Nonetheless, she was there, and as things go, she turned out one of the better posts I've read in a while on the direction of a life. See how she gives contours to her story? See how she writes with a poetic flair?

On orphan care ethics: If you read one thing from this linkup, please take the time read Kristen Howerton's piece, "How the Christian Oprhan Care Movement May be Enabling Child Abandonment." Kristen is a top-tier thinker who has spent the time to consider her position on orphan care ethics, and has the chops to put words to it. I learned a great deal from Kristen this weekend. You should, too.

On reclaiming evangelical roots: Preston Yancey is evangelical again. Well ain't that just a thing! That's really all I have to say about that. That, and that he's a gent and a scholar (literally on both accounts).

On being a Russian nesting doll: Heather King is a Babushka? Whoops! From a woman who claims difficulty fitting in certain circles, she sure did prove herself to be the missing piece of the Austin puzzle last week. Struggle with finding your fit? Read it.

On the good way: Know Karen Yates? You should. Let her lead you in the way forward.

On Tsh Oxenreider's generosity: I was floored by Tsh's generosity. (Man, were those breakfast tacos incredible!)  After the Idea Camp, Tsh invited me to share my new poem, "Nuevos Santos," at her place. Thanks, Tsh!

On the conference culture: Sarah Bessey dropped in on the first night, which qualifies her for this week's link up. This week, she deals with the conference culture and hero worship. Shake it up, Sarah.

It's been a joy knowing (and getting to know) these good folks. Give them a visit this weekend and enjoy their words.

Until next week, comma...
*Click the names to connect on twitter: Jacob, Mike, Sarah M., Amber, Kristen, Preston, Heather, Karen, Tsh, Sarah B.

Selah

We gather, hundreds of us, moved by what has been appropriately described as an "orphan crisis."  Conferences like this bring out the saints and the saints come bearing perceived answers.  Saints are, after all, only human. Tribe leaders, facilitators, wild-haired anti-trafficking experts from Connecticut (I'll storm the beaches with you, brother), show us the many facets of child-exploitation.  They undo our answers, guiding us through the mounting complexities--resource shortages, blind-eyed and corrupt governments, supply and demand curves that are fed by lustful depravity, the sheer statistical impossibility that adoption is the answer.

There is a mounting cognitive dissonance.  Issues of fatherlessness are complex and so it follows that the answer cannot be simple.

The Conference guide takes the stage, asks us to stand, requests a pause, a Selah of sorts.  In that moment I believe that many of us heard God's voice,

"Slow down; pause; pray; contemplate.  Let go of your ego and your answers.  Let me start a new work in you.  One with some deliberation."

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Are you at the Idea Camp/Orphan Care conference?  Did God speak in your Selah moment? If you aren't attending, watch the live stream today, starting at 9:00, central.