The whirlwind of life
May 31, 2008, 11:08 am
Filed under: uncategorized

I’m flopped her in my big squishy comfy chair, across the room from my lovely bride, but we’re both dialed in on our laptops for the moment.  I should be talking to her, given that I’ve barely seen her over the past couple of weeks. 

I’m feeling a tad bit overwhelmed for the moment.  Having been away, and largely out of contact with phone and internet, I’ve gotten well behind on e-mail, important items on the task list, and voice mail messages.  I’ve got my work cut out for me over the next couple of weeks, just catching up.  Unfortunately, on top of catching up, I need to move forward on many fronts.  Our trip to India is right around the corner, which means in the next few weeks, I need to:

– listen to about 25 hours worth of class lectures, write a short research paper, and take an exam for school.

– bring our first year of inter::mission to a good, healthy close as school winds down at UW.

– Take a quickie out-of-town trip for denom. work.

– make final preparations for India . . . lots of details are hanging on that one.

– welcome a number of visitors and summer tenants to the Purple Door over the next week or so.

I really don’t think anything is truly overwhelming, but I’m definitely exhausted.  Fortunately, I’m tired from having spent time in good places with amazing people.  I’ll try to sit down and record some of those experiences over the next few days.

I’d love to take a nap now, but it’s time for the next task.


Cannon Beach Getaway
May 22, 2008, 5:12 pm
Filed under: uncategorized

We (my co-conspirator staffers and I) rolled back into Seattle a couple of hours ago  after spending the past few days on the Oregon coast – Cannon Beach.  We got to attend our collegiate ministry network’s annual retreat for campus ministers and their families.  It’s a gorgeous location, but when I go to these things, I never, ever go sight-seeing.  Too many people I love sharing ministry with, but rarely get to spend time with.  Smiling faces of friends beats large beautiful rocks sticking out of the beach any day.

We were privileged to be joined by Hugh Halter, author of the freshly published book The Tangible Kingdom.  I’m 20 pages away from finishing it, but I’ll plan on posting a quick book review soon.  Hugh is originally from Portland, Oregon, but now lives in Denver, where he helps lead a collective of missional communities called Adullum.  He’s a shoot straight from the hip sort of guy, which makes him refreshing in his honesty.

So much of what he shared is right up the alley of what we’ve been doing this year with inter::mission.  It was good to get affirmed in some of those directions . . . as well as to get my butt kicked in some areas that I give lip-service, but not behavioral service to.  I’ll save the rest of my words on this for the book review.

Yesterday during some free time, I ducked into a little coffee shop to catch up on some e-mail.  I was sitting alone at a table for four, which was fine when I got there, and the place was mostly empty.  After a spell, though, it filled up, so I offered a guy some table space to catch up on his e-mail.  That guy happened to be Organic Church guru Neil Cole, who was there to speak at a church planters training at the same conference center we were at.  I think we have something like 15 common friends, but we’ve never met before, so that was a fun surprise.

But now we’re back, and getting ready for our family meal time at The Purple Door.  I’m tired and have a lot of catching up to do before the next big thing.  At least this time I can say that it’s the good kind of tired.

Quick apology – apply as needed
May 19, 2008, 2:45 pm
Filed under: blogging

So, after about a week of downtime for some readers of this blog, I finally got my URL fixed.  If you’ve been trying to access this site via the spiritfarmer.com address, and have been unable to reach me, I apologize.  Those reading via feedreaders or WordPress should have experienced no problems.

For those who haven’t been able to access the blog, one thing you’ll notice is that there’s not a heckuva lot to catch up on.  I’m not very wordsy these days.  That reality is unlikely to change over the next couple of weeks . . . just so you know.

Have A Tat for Humanity
May 16, 2008, 3:45 pm
Filed under: the purple door

I may have mentioned this in passing, but this evening, we at The Purple Door get to participate in a fundraising event to benefit Habitat for Humanity.  Several months ago, one of the young, creative folks around here came up with the conhavatat_t_frontcept of hosting a big henna tattoo party that would raise money for Habitat, but we’d call it “Have A Tat for Humanity.”  The UW campus chapter of Habitat loved the idea, and so we’ve been working toward tonight’s event.

So, we’ll be doing a nicely catered event at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on campus, wearing some custom t-shirts (pretty cool design, doncha think?), and get our henna on.  We found a group of 6 or 7 professional henna artists to donate their time to the cause.  Hopefully, we’ll make lots of money for them, and have a fun time.

inter::mission . . . another update
May 16, 2008, 8:13 am
Filed under: friends, inter::mission, music, the purple door

The days are blowing by me sooooo fast around here. It seems like just a couple days ago, the inter::mission gang was over at The Mustard Seed house. Alas, that was two weeks ago, which means that last night was time for the next teach-in. As we move toward the end of the school year, this was our last time having an outside guest come in to share with us.

jeffgreer My good buddy, Jeff Greer came to hang out with us last night. Jeff’s a church planting, kilt wearing, bartending, U2 loving, singer-songwriter who I met a couple years back. Good man, with a good, honest heart.

He did some of his songs, so it was part music-in, part teach-in. He didn’t sing pretty songs, though. Not that I don’t like Jeff’s voice or guitar work . . . but as he shared with us, the past couple of years have been quite a roller coaster of life for him, with more downs than ups – so the music he played came out of that place. As he talked about these experiences, it was refreshing, if even in a painful sort of way, to hear someone be real enough to say, “Yeah, life’s hard, and I don’t really need to candy coat it or be fake about it. I’m hurting, searching, and feeling a little hung out to dry right about now.” That connected well with our students.

Jeff also talked about the Celtic lifestyle of integration – everything is worship: work, play, family, love. He brings that into music beautifully and turns everything from Muse to The Cure to Coldplay to Deathcab to Ben Harper into real worship of God, except not in a cheesy, Christian ghetto sort of a way.

‘Twas another good evening for us.

(Photo credit to the excellent, and occasional kilt-wearing photographic stylings of Mr. Pat Loughery)

It’s a bit busy ’round here
May 13, 2008, 6:49 am
Filed under: blogging, friends, India, inter::mission, school

Sorry for the quiet blog of late.  It seems that multiple things are converging on me at once, which does happen.  Lately I’ve been hunkering down on some school stuff that I just plain need to get out of the way before I plunge headlong into my dissertation writing this summer.  I’m reading hundreds of pages per week for school, and adding some “work” stuff on the pile for good measure.  I love reading and learning, but I do occasionally hit points where the eyes glaze over and I need a break – otherwise, a large chunk of what I’ve read just goes away, for lack of processing.

Over the past weekend, a few of us did some physical training for our upcoming trip to India.  One of the potential activities we’ll be doing in Maharashtra is a 100K solidarity march with the farmers (that’s 62 miles).  Saturday, we walked about 18 miles along the Burke-Gilman trail.  We clocked in at around 7 hours, which includes a stop for lunch.  Sore feet and legs, but I’m pleased that aside from some blisters, we’re feeling pretty good afterwards.

As of one week from today, I’ll spend the better part of two weeks away from home on a couple different trips.  I’m looking forward to both of these a lot, as each will reunite me with people I love and respect and don’t get to see as often as I’d like.  They are both intended to mix work with pleasure . . . I just hope I can dial down my pressure gauge enough to focus on the pleasure part.

All that, and we’re still rockin’ the inter::mission rhythms, and prepping for version 2.0 in the fall.

Mostly boring updates here.  I’m not complaining about being busy – I know plenty of people who have more on their plates than I do.  I’m not bragging about being busy either – sadly, I know some folks who wear their workaholism as a badge of honor.  This is a season I’m in, and I realize it’s unsustainable over the long haul.  Fortunately, I’m not planning a long haul at this pace..

A little bit about why we’re going to India
May 6, 2008, 12:08 pm
Filed under: India, inter::mission, social action, uncategorized

I’ve mentioned a few times over the past couple of months that a small group of us from The Purple Door will be traveling to India in June, as part of our inter::mission project. While the details of visas, travel insurance, plane tickets, immunizations, and fundraising have occupied a good bit of our time lately, it’s important that we not lose focus on why we’re going.

One of the big reasons is that we place a high value on global connectivity, and are trying to take ownership of how our local lives and choices impact people and cultures around the world that we don’t even know about. We’re going to learn, to hear stories, to pray, to offer hope where we can.

India is in dire need of hope. While the popular media in the West (especially in the U.S.) gives a lot of focus to the rapidly growing economy and technological advances taking place there, we rarely hear about those who are on the underside of the boom. And we almost never hear about issues of caste, which continue to control so much about India’s culture, politics, and economy. Caste is officially illegal . . . but it continues to devastate millions.

U.S. news outlets are completely worthless in telling the story of India, which is part of why I’m glad for the BBC. Yesterday, they reported that “Some 10,000 farmers a year are estimated to commit suicide in India.” On April 7, they reported that “Officials in the western Indian state of Maharashtra say nine farmers have committed suicide over the past week.” A year-and-a-half ago, they reported that over 200 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra in the two months following a visit from India’s Prime Minister to announce a “relief package.” While the BBC is to be commended for their coverage of this crisis, they draw no connections to the ways in which caste plays into it. These farmers, in their desperation, take loans from upper caste people, who use heavy social pressures and aggressive interest rates to further drive the farmers down. This, of course, makes the lives of their widows and children crushingly difficult.

In June, this small group of us will go to Delhi for several days. We will spend time with Sunil Sardar and his team at Truthseekers International. Sunil is a tireless socio-spiritual activist who rallies for change and a true end to caste. After spending time with Sunil in Delhi, we will be going to Maharashtra state, in order to give support to the farmers. We will walk with them, and hear their stories, and do what we can to give aid.

As I’ve noted, there are many many issues in our world that are worthy of our time, attention, prayer, energy, and resources. This issue is ours for the moment. And so I’ll do what any activist for the other good causes will do – plead for your prayers, your concern, and whatever help you might have in you.