Friday, September 30, 2005

survey says

Snagged this survey from Drew's blog.

10 years ago I was:
...reading Pride and Prejudice for the first of many times and trying to adapt to Dundee Crown High School with no Crystal.

5 years ago I was:
...sharing a tiny little apartment above Francesca's Campagne with Steph and Gracey. Our kitchen consisted of a fridge, sink and hotplate, and we shared a bathroom with our recently parolled neighbor, Billy.

1 year ago I was:
...painting my head off and eagerly awaiting the birth of my nephew, Malachy.

Yesterday I:
...babysat Malachy, went insane from Diet Coke withdrawl, watched Survivor, spackled in the living room, went to bed. Welcome to my exciting life.

5 songs I know all the words to:

  1. Odious - Viglantes of Love
  2. Take me to Your Leader - Newsboys
  3. Strike While the Iron is Hot - Vigilantes of Love
  4. A Sort of Homecoming - u2
  5. Solar System - Vigilantes of Love

5 things I would do with 100 million dollars:

  1. Move the heck south!
  2. Pay off family's debt (boring and obvious, I know.)
  3. Start a llama farm.
  4. Study art.
  5. Build myself a decent studio.

5 places I would run away to:

  1. Arizona
  2. Texas
  3. New Mexico
  4. Ireland
  5. England

5 things I would never wear:

  1. Stiletto heels
  2. Suspenders
  3. Cone bra
  4. Fake rolex
  5. Assless pants

5 favorite TV shows:

  1. X-Files
  2. Lost
  3. Survivor
  4. Futurama
  5. Felicity

5 bad habits:

  1. Brushing my teeth in the shower (I've been told it's a gross thing to do.)
  2. Chewing on my lip.
  3. Falling asleep with my glasses on.
  4. Not putting CDs back in the right cases.
  5. Driving with the heat on and the windows down.

5 biggest joys:

  1. Malachy's birth on October 21st, 2005.
  2. All the kitties I've known (and some of the dogs too.)
  3. Calvin College
  4. Painting
  5. God

5 fictional characters I would date:

  1. Peter Wimsey (Can a skinny, rabbit faced, middle aged man with a penchant for bubble baths and silk pajamas be sexy? If he's rich and funny, heck yeah!)
  2. Gawain Harper (Gentle and introspective, the kind of guy you could sit with for hours and not have to say a word.)
  3. Will Hewitt (Leave it to former romance novelist P.B. Ryan to create such an endearing bad boy.)
  4. Noel Crane (Poor, poor Noel. The sweetest guy in the history of all WB television.)
  5. Fox Mulder (Probably not god boyfriend material, but those soulful eyes!)

from the sketch book

I'm getting the house ready for Steph and Mark to move in and haven't had much time for painting, but here are a couple from the sketchbook.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

25 Ways U2 Changed the World

Thunderstruck never ceases to delight me. In addition to a link to the new Franz Ferdinand album (it sounds great) they've linked to this little gem of an article.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Five Cleaning Products I'm Currently Loving

I've been tagged in Is that what their called? Anyway, here's what it says to do:
THE RULES: List five songs that you are currently loving. It doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions, the artists, and the songs in your blog. Then tag five other friends to see what they're listening to.

At any other time I might kinda dig this, but right now I'm busting my butt to get the house ready for the move, and music hasn't really been on my mind. So instead I'm gonna substitute "songs" with "cleaning products." Here goes...

  1. Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean
  2. Pine Sol by Clorox
  3. Orange Glo by Oxi Clean
  4. Febreeze by Proctor & Gamble
  5. Grab It by Pledge

Okay, now your turn. I tag Crystal, Sara, Steph, Lauren and Clint.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Friday's Random Ten

  1. Subtarranean Homesick Alien - Radiohead (OK Computer)
  2. Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand (Franz Ferdinand)
  3. Downtown Lights - Annie Lennox (Medusa)
  4. How it is Between Us - Sara Groves (Conversations)
  5. Kit Carson - Bruce Cockburn (Nothing But a Burning Light)
  6. Lonestar - Norah Jones (Come Away With Me)
  7. I Can Wait - Steve Earle (Transcendental Blues)
  8. Sick of it All - Vigilantes of Love (Killing Floor)
  9. Climb On - Caedmon's Call (40 Acres)
  10. Full Force Gale - Van Morrison (The Best of..)
  • Best Song to Paint To - #1, Subtarranean Homesick Alien (When I was at Calvin I didn't take any art classes, but I did clean the bathrooms in the art department five days a week, and this album was ALWAYS playing down there, so I know I'm not the only one that feels this way.)
  • Song That is So Good it Makes You Drool - Take Me Out (Mark your calendars, new Franz Ferdinand coming out Oct. 4th!)
  • Best Album - Killing Floor (Motel Room, Earth Has No Sorrow, Strike While The Iron is Hot, River of head's gonna splode just thinking about how awesome that album is!)
  • Artist Who Talks Like My Sister Val - Sara Groves. Minnesota accents are so cute!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Katrina Update

The Hurricane Katrina: A Call to Action is being updated all the time. There is some useful information and some interesting things under "stories" (including a heart wrenching letter from a New Orleans book seller and fund raising announcement from Ben Greeno of Alive and Redwalls fame.)

Piper's Kids III

Piper had a very unpleasant visit to the vet's yesterday so, to make her feel better, I'm posting some new pictures of her babies.

This one is Tutters. He lives in St. Louis with Meghan.

He apparently enjoys destroying things. He has that in common with Piper.

This is Shadow who lives here in IL with Teresa and Stephen.

This is Whisper who lives with Teresa's parents. Whisper is Piper's Grandbaby. Beautiful eyes!

Thanks for being such a good mama and a good kitty, Piper. We love you!

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

With the number of books on my shelves that I haven't finished, and the list of books I still want to get from the library, I should never have an excuse to walk out of a store with a new book. But I was at Target the other day and picked up a great big, fat paperback with this review printed on it:
"A literary triumph...ravishing...superb...a chimera of a novel that combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien." -Time
I'm not used to selecting my reading material based on the recommendations of Time magazine, but how do you resist a review like that?! Jane Austen and Tolkien?!

I quickly did the math ...850 pages for less than $13...that's less than 2 cents a page! What a steal!

So I got myself a new book called Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. And it was just as awesome as the guy at Time made it sound! Here's an excerpt:
Mr Norrell determined to establish himself in London with all possible haste. "You must get me a house, Childermass," he said. "Get me a house that says to those that visit it that magic is a respectable profession - no less than Law and a great deal more so than Medicine."

Childermass inquired drily if Mr Norrell wished him to seek out architecture expressive of the proposition that magic was as respectable as the Church?

Mr Norrell (who knew there were such things as jokes in the world or people would not write about them in books, but who had never actually been introduced to a joke or shaken its hand) considered a while before replying at last that no, he did not think they could quite claim that.
Here's another one:
"I should like to do magic," said the fox-haired, fox-faced gentleman at the other end of the table. "I should have a ball every night with fairy music and fairy fireworks and I would summon all the most beautiful women out of history to attend. Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Lucrezia Borgia, Maid Marian and Madame Pompadour. I should bring them all here to dance with you fellows. And when the French appear on the horizon, I would just," he waved his arm vaguely, "do something, you know, and they would all fall down dead."

"Can a magician kill a man by magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange.

Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. "I suppose a magician might," he admitted, "but a gentleman never could."
But this is not just some cozy comedy of manners. It's a rejection of comforting, optimistic "modern" thinking, and at times it's tragic and terrifying. It's written in a quasi-academic style (complete with the best footnotes you've ever read) and as if it is contemporary to the events described (early 19th century,) which gives its rejection of Enlightenment philosophy a bit of a radical feel.

Not to make it sound like a manifesto or something! It's incredibly entertaining. It's a bit of Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald, JK Rowling, and CS Lewis all rolled into one.

Time Flies When You're Watching TV

September Twenty-What?! Where did the last week go? Oh yeah, I think I may have seen it pass in the corner of my eye while I sat transfixed by the flicker and glow of my tv set. Didn't Thoreau once say, "I have watched prime-time television and made myself cheap and vulgar?" Something like that.

TV So Far:
Thumbs Up
  1. NBC's The Office (the BBC version is brilliant, but watching it had the surprising effect of dampening my anglophilia [maybe it was the inflatable penis.])
  2. Gilmore Girls (the premiere was gloomy, but last night was much better.)
  3. Survivor (Go Stephanie!)
Thumbs Down
  1. Arrested Development (the premiere wasn't even funny! I hope next week is better.)
  2. Medium (I think it was the soda-jerk outfits that did it for me, but the failure to cash in on last season's great cliff-hanger by jumping three months into the future was a little lame too.)
  3. Supernatural (maybe it's the Vancouver sets, but all I think about when I watch this show is how much I miss X-files.)
And tonight Lost is finally back!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Plymouth (Vacation Pictures Cont.)

Perhaps the most famous attraction in Plymouth is Plymouth rock. It's housed inside this neo-classical temple thingy. They have to keep it in a pit because folks were carrying off chunks of it.
You file into the little temple and look down into the pit, and there it is. Pretty exciting.This is the Mayflower II, a replica of the original Mayflower. That's one tiny little ship (use Malachy for scale:). Can you imagine 102 people living on this thing?
The second story of Mama Mia's has large windows on three sides so that you can look out over the water. The first time I ate here was in January, 1998. The view was gloomy (gray sky, gray Atlantic) and the food was gross. This time the view was lovely but the food was still gross.

Friday's Random Ten

Once again, did the shuffle on Friday but couldn't post it until Saturday. Sorry about the delay!

  1. Cornelius - Newsboys (Thrive)
  2. Red Hill Mining Town - U2 (Joshua Tree)
  3. Tell Her Tonight - Franz Ferdinand (Franz Ferdinand)
  4. The Prodigal Bride - Lost Dogs (Green Room Serenade)
  5. Jupiter Rising - Emmylou Harris (Stumble Into Grace)
  6. Maybe There's a Loving God - Sara Groves (All Right Here)
  7. Certain Slant of Light - Vigilantes of Love (Blister Soul)
  8. Worry Too Much - Buddy Miller (Universal United House of Prayer)
  9. Sail to the Moon - Radiohead (Hail to the Thief)
  10. Take me to the River - Talking Heads (Sand in the Vaseline)

Best Use of Emily Dickinson Poem - #7

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses like the weight
Of cathedral tunes

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'T is the seal, despair, -
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

-Emily Dickinson

Best Song to Include a Cheer - #1. Lyrics by Steve Taylor, of course!

The "cor" is before a kneel, a kneel
The "i" is an "e" in us, in us
He's ready to fight but not to fuss
We like, we like Cornelius

Best Song - #4

God knows you've tried to close your eyes
To secrets everybody is onto
In your shadowed brow the demons growl
They've left furrows in all the faces that you've gone through
But you still wear the wedding dress
Though it hangs like tattered sheets
Beyond the flesh that is revealed
I only play for keeps
And you know it

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Stuff

For those of you who call Willow home:

Willow has got a page up for it's Katrina stuff, including some info about Greg Hawkins' vist to Waveland. And if you weren't at this weekends service and didn't get the list of needed materials you can check it out here.

By the way, reaffirmation due today! Get on it, you slackers! (Does anybody else feel like they are putting a little too much trust in us this year?)

Mia Painting

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Friday's Random Ten, Pt 3

I know it's Saturday, but I did the shuffle deal on Friday so I'm still calling it Friday's Random Ten. Better late than never!
  1. Brian Wilson - Barenaked Ladies (Rock Spectacle)
  2. Everyman's Daughter - Over The Rhine (Good Dog Bad Dog)
  3. Help - The Beatles (1)
  4. The Last Laugh - Mark Knopfler with Van Morrison (Sailing to Philidelphia)
  5. Wild Honey - U2 (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
  6. Who Knows When the Sunrise Will Be? - Vigilantes of Love (V.O.L.)
  7. Loneliness - Annie Lennox (Bare)
  8. Billy Brown - Third Day (Wire)
  9. Down and Out of Time - Sixpence None the Richer (Divine Discontent)
  10. On Every Street - Dire Straits (On the Night)
  • Coolest Duet - Last Laugh. And that album is pretty stinkin' awesome too!
  • Album I Played So Much I Actually had Dreams About It - V.O.L. (it was my first vigilante's cd)
  • Song That Always Cheers Me Up - Wild Honey
  • Voice to Launch a Thousand Girl's Ships - Mac Powell, Third Day, rrrrow
  • Most Beautiful Sad Song - On Every Street
Good shuffle this week!

Howard had a good shuffle this week, plus he links to other FRTs you might want to check out.

Friday, September 09, 2005


I was at White Hen the other day, jonesin' for something to read. They didn't have O Magazine, but they did have Psychology Today. Go figure.

The cover promised an article on 10 Soothing Truths About Pain so I bought it. Turned out to be false advertising (not that soothing), but still very interesting.

1. "Heartburn and Heartbreak: It's All Connected." There are interconnected parts of your brain that process pain. They call it the "pain matrix." Some parts of the matrix provide descriptive info about the pain - intensity, type, etc. But another part of the matrix, the anterior cingulate cortex, "registers the unpleasant 'hurt' of pain. It connects the physical sensation of pain to feelings of distress."

What is significant about this is that the anterior cingulate cortex doesn't distinguish between emotional and bodily injury, and so emotions can effect how "hurt" you perceive yourself to be. "Change the mood, and it changes the pain."

2. "The 'Pain Personality' is a Myth." Dang straight it's a myth, what's wrong with you people? How about trying a little thing called empathy? Jeez!

3. "The Bad News: You Learn to Suffer." This is one I have a little experience with. The backs of my arms, neck, and the sides of my legs have become incredibly sensitive to pain from, of all things, wearing clothes. Here's what the article says "Through the same neurological process that makes you gradually get better at hitting a racquetball or driving a stick shift, your brain 'gets better' at perceiving the pain - you become more sensitive and more likely to register a poke or a twinge as painful. Eventually, people with chronic pain disorders such as fibromyalgia...can find even mild sensations agonizing."

4. "The Good News: You Can Learn Not to Feel the Burn." Amputees that were given a memory impairing drug right after their surgery were less likely to suffer from the phenomenon known as "phantom limb." Research has also shown that amputees fitted with a prosthetic limb begin to lose the pain of the phantom limb. And the recent study of FMS sufferers and dextromethorphan showed that dextromethorphan seemed to block "learned pain." Unfortunately, the doses used can cause hallucinations and memory problems. This isn't quite the good news I'm looking for - give me a bottle of O24 anyday!

5. "Being Cruel to Be Kind: Don't Indulge Your Partner's Woes." This one is pretty straight-forward - by babying someone suffering from chronic pain one can become the dreaded "enabler," allowing them to live a truncated, sad little life.

I think this warning is especially relevant to folks with a codependent streak. However, in my experience, most people's problem is not that they are too good at empathizing with their loved one's chronic pain, especially if that pain is what is commonly referred to as an "invisible illness."

At the onset of a chronic illness, most sufferers experience denial. If their loved ones are also happy to ignore the illness, the sufferer is likely to get stuck in that stage for a very long and very counter-productive stretch of time. Keeping hope and seeking treatment are essential to a happy, productive life with chronic illness, and, at least in my experience, the engagement of friends and family members is the difference between success and failure in these endeavors.

6. "Sex is the Opiate of the Masses." Orgasm doubles the pain threshold, but only for a short time. There's also some stuff about vaginal and rectal pressure dampens pain reception.

7. "Why Women Don't Fear Pain - and Why Frightening Pain Hurts More." "In response to pain women initially report stronger sensations and higher anxiety than men do. As the hours go by, though, while women still say they hurt more, their anxiety decreases, whereas men's increases."

What I have noticed is that the most debilitating aspect of pain is not the pain itself, but the fear that accompanies it. While I don't think it's possible to "get used to" pain (as we just read, you become more sensitive to pain over time) it is possible to get over the fear. The first couple of years after my FMS really flared up, a brand new, often breathtakingly intense pain was being added to my repertoire every week or two. With each one I had to wonder "Is this the FMS or something else? How long will it last? Is it gonna get worse? Is it safe to drive a car while I experience it? Is it gonna spread?"

It took time to answer these questions, but once I did, the same pain would not cause nearly the same amount of distress, and as long as I stayed within my boundaries (for example, some pains just require puttin' down the pen, while others require calling for a friend to come pick you up, 'cause you can't operate a gas pedal) I didn't feel afraid.

I can't speak to why the anxiety actually increases in men, except that maybe what they fear is the pain itself.

8. "Drugs Don't Stop the Pain - They Help Us Ignore It." Hmmph. And they are addictive, make our stomachs bleed, and our brains mushy. I'm all about the O24 (a topical analgesic with no reported side effects - plus it really works!)

9. "Don't Tough It Out." Because it's difficult to "unlearn" pain, prevention is the way to go. "The longer and more intensely the pain is felt, the more likely it is to become chronic." So treat your pain. If your doctor won't help you, go to a doctor who will.

10. "Exercise May Work Out the Kinks." If you suffer from chronic pain you'll probably have to relearn how to exercise. Playing basketball or riding a bike may no longer be a good idea. If you don't have a physical therapist to help you develop an exercise regimen I highly recommend "Sit and Be Fit" on PBS.

So thanks to Psychology Today and Maia Szalavitz for an interesting article.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New Community: We've Got Mail, Part I

Mike Breaux launched a new series at New Commuity last night. It's called "We've Got Mail" and it's about Christ's letters to the church in Revelation. The first letter was addressed to the church at Ephesus.

Mike talked about this pizzeria back in Kentucky that used to be an old church. He said there's nothing sadder than eating pizza in a church where the light has gone out. Ephesus was in danger of its light going out, so Jesus dictated a letter to John for them, and you can read it in Revelation 2:1-7.

Here are some of my notes:

This church was 40 years old at the time and complacency had set in. They were doing everything right but not for the right reason. Jesus told them "you have left your first love."

It is easy to get so busy serving God that you stop seeking him. But God wants us to be in love with his person, not just his purpose.

When we study the book of Ephesians (Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus) we tend to focus on the practical exhortations in the second half of the book, but we risk missing the essential first half, which is all about the person of God, and knowing Him better.
"[I] get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit - not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength - that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its lenghth! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Life full lives, full in the fullness of God. " -Eph 3:14-19 (msg)

Our first goal should be to know Him, not to check off a list of spiritual good deeds. When we try to put our focus on the "purpose" and not the "person" we set ourselves up for failure because it is the intimate, dynamic relationship with God that produces fruit in our lives and keeps us going.

How do you recapture that love? Christ gives three directions to the church; Remember, repent and return. It is obvious by the strength of the language used that this falling out of love is not viewed as just a natural part of the church getting older, but a serious sin that needs to be repented.

When you look at Jesus' life his greatest passion wasn't teaching, or healing, or leading, it was his relationship with the Father. Intimacy with God should be our number one priority as well.

If it's not, we are like travel agents handing out brochures to a place we've never been.

Other Stuff:

The church has donated $100,000 for Katrina victims and raised another $110,000 that has yet to be disbursed. As soon as the church gets word on more we can do (supplies and volunteers) they will let us know. Meanwhile evacuees are coming to two local mental hospitals for shelter (won't that be lovely for them) and they will keep us updated on that.

This weekend Bill's giving an updated version of the Holy Discontent message that brought the house down at the Summit. And making a big announcement about something or other.

Then next week Mike continues the We've Got Mail series.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Shane Claiborne on the cover of CT Mag

Steph pointed out to me that Shane wasn't just the subject of the article we discussed last week, he was the cover story!

Check that out!

If you still haven't read the great article, here's the link again.

Mia Sketch

Remember Oscar? This is Oscar's roommate, Mia. Sketched this one on cheap Walmart watercolor paper and I like the effect.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Vacation Pics Part IV: Plimoth Plantation

The day after the wedding we headed south to Plymouth for a little sight seeing. We hit the re-created colony (Plimoth Plantation) outside of town first. Steph and I are descended from Governor William Bradford, and here we are in the crude little cabin that represents what his home might have looked like fairly early in the colony's history.
The best thing about Plimoth Plantation is the actors. They know their stuff, and they are very good at what they do. I knew I was getting sunburned, but I was so enthralled by this man and his story that I couldn't tear myself away.

Vacation Pics Part III: Aunt Ann's Wedding

After spending the night with Noah and Lauren at Fort Drum (and playing a mean game of "what if") we headed east, to the burbs of Boston, for Aunt Ann's wedding. She and John had a lovely out-door wedding where they exchanged rings that they had purchased that very morning at a local pawn shop. Uncle John's ring still had another woman's name engraved in it.

Here Ann's daughter, Aidan, comforts her new nephew, who is a little overwhelmed by all the excitement.

Congratualtions Ann and John!

Vacation Pics Part II: Headin' Out

In July Steph, Mark and I headed out for our first vacation with baby. Because Lauren had so generously offered us the use of her Ford Escape in New York and Boston we decided to take the train from Elgin to Syracuse. I took this first picture as we sat on the platform at the downtown Elgin station. It was a beautiful, sunny day. The second picture is of Elgin's handsome like train station. It's not so cute on the inside. I haven't been inside in years, but I seem to remember the strong odor of urine last time.

The next picture is from Union Station in Chicago. This was the Thursday before July 4th, so the place was packed. We stood in line for about an hour just to board the train, and once we got on the thing was so packed that many passengers had to spend the first few hours in the lounge and dining cars.
The fourth picture shows Malachy and Steph on the train the morning we arrived in New York.

A Prayer for the aftermath of Katrina

How do we respond to something that we can hardly even fathom? I think that prayer is the first step. The prayer below is a great tool to focus your personal prayer. As you pray may your love for others be unleashed in supernatural ways, may God give you wisdom about what you can do to help, and may you find peace in Him.
- Be present, O God, with those who are discovering that loved ones have died, that homes and jobs are gone. Embrace them in your everlasting arms.

- Be present, O God, with those who suffer today in shelters, hot and weary from too little sleep and too much fear. Let them know they are not alone.

- Be present, O God, with those who wonder what they will find when they return to homes battered by wind and engulfed by flood. Teach them to hope.

- Be present, O God, with those who have not been able to reach loved ones, who are frantic with worry. Offer them consolation.

- Be present, O God, with those who have hardly recovered from last year’s storms, who are unsure how much they can bear, who yearn only for quiet. Grant them peace.

- Be present, O God, with all who respond - mayors, police, firefighters, FEMA employees, Red Cross workers, pastors, church disaster response coordinators. Their work is just beginning, and will not end for many months. Strengthen them for service.

- Be present, O God, to each of us as we pray, that distance may not deter us from generous giving and enduring companionship. Help us remember tomorrow, and next week, and next month.

- Be present, O God, with all affected by Hurricane Katrina. May Immanuel, God with us, our precious Jesus, take every hand and lead us home. Amen.

John H. Thomas
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ
August 30, 2005

Thanks to Chuck Currie for posting this prayer at his blog, God is Still Speaking.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw in the News: The New monasticism

The New Monasticism:
A fresh crop of Christian communities is blossoming in blighted urban settings all over America.
by Rob Moll

What is New Monasticism? Scott Bessenecker, director of global projects for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, describes it like this; "an emerging movement of youth taking up residence in slum communities in the same spirit that I find in the start of the Franciscans and the early Celtic orders, in the Nestorian mission, and in the Jesuits."
Bessenecker is working on a book about these "new friars," as he calls them. There's a similar spirit among communities like the Simple Way, who call their movement the "new monasticism." Like earlier movements, the ones today attract mostly 20-somethings who long for community, intimacy with Jesus, and to love those on the margins of society. And they are willing to give up the privileges to which they were born.
The article includes profiles of a couple of these "new friars" that are familiar faces to many of us -Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw.

There's some great stuff about Shane's community, The Simple Way, including the story of how The Simple Way stood up to the city of Philadelphia's discriminatory laws against the homeless.

Chris Haw is introduced under the title "Willow's Environmentalist Disciple."
Haw's concern for the environment began when he was a high-school student in Crystal Lake, Illinois. At Willow Creek Community Church, Chris first learned about social injustice. A group of interns, one of whom was Claiborne, "started asking questions about our way of life as contrasted with the call of the kingdom. I was taught about sweatshops, injustices, homeless people, mercy to the outsider, and other things unfamiliar to me." Haw learned to be a disciple of Jesus. "Willow Creek taught me that 90 percent discipleship is 10 percent short of full devotion," he says. "I took them at their word and set out to work through giving all."

Chris is living out his passion in Camden, NJ, one of the most dangerous and polluted cities in the nation. The local factories "spew so many toxins on the neighborhood that when Chris, a schoolteacher at Sacred Heart's Catholic school, takes his students outside for gym class, children sometimes throw up."

To read more about the "new friars" and the ways they are bring hope to America's most hopeless urban settings, check out the entire article at Christianity Today.


I've spent most of this week blowing my nose and watching the Katrina aftermath on TV. It's hard to think of pleasant things to talk about. And since I'm not home I can't do the Friday's Random Ten thing.

I was too sick or too medicated to do any painting this week, but I did some still life studies 'cause I desperately need the practice. Most of my paintings are way too simple, I need practice at relating objects one to another, and practice with light and depth and stuff like that. So here they are, crappy, but that's why I'm practicing.