Thursday, May 28, 2009

Abiding in the Vines

When I was twelve I thought it was a good idea to swing from a long vine that was hanging from a tree at the bottom of a ravine on a cold winter night. Some friends of mine and I during the summer months had done this many times. We would scale down the steep slope, retrieve the vine, carry it back up to the top and jump while holding on tight. At its highest point the individual would be 40 or 50 feet in the air. This particular night the cold temperature had frozen the vine to a brittle state, rendering it susceptible to breaking. That's just what it did as I held the vine, it couldn't handle the weight of my 12 year old structure.  Unfortunately the vine waited until I was suspended about 30 feet above the ground for it to break.  Luckily I was able to break my fall with my left arm, and luckily I landed on some bricks instead of the soft snow covered ground.  In the end I had a fractured left arm and a large gash on my forehead which required 13 stitches.  

Sometimes it seems like I'm always grabbing onto vines, swinging even though the danger seems obvious.  They don't all break, but many of them do.  The trick is to try to judge the sturdiness of the vine before the leap - that's the hard part.

I'm thankful for all the vines I've swung on - even the ones that broke...

Extended metaphor over.

Go with joy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Apostle Paul in Naperville, IL

On Thursday a missionary from TEAM spoke at Tyndale.  Soon he and his family will be moving to begin assisting a church planting ministry in northern Italy.  He described Italian culture, joked about some of the quirks of the people, and gave us a general sense of what he and his family were going to be doing.  When he was wrapping up his speaking time he quoted a verse from Romans.  I can't recall what the verse was, but something interesting struck me - Paul wrote Romans for the Romans living in Rome, which is in Italy, which is where this guy and his family are going.  I'm pretty sure that was part of the reason he chose a verse from Romans, but still an interesting thought.

Today when I was at a lonely park in Naperville shooting hoops, trying to reenact Lebron's amazing buzzer beater from game two of the Eastern Conference Finals, I was thinking about what Paul's letter to Naperville would be like.  Then I was thinking about how he would send it - email, Facebook wall post?  Then I was thinking about what Paul's Facebook page would look like.  Then I was thinking about which of those funny quizzes he would take, or what five things he would choose as closest to him, or who are the 5 people he'd most like to punch in the face.  Then I was thinking about whether or not he would Tweet from his iPhone while in prison, or maybe he would text advice to Timothy on the road.

Then I wondered if Paul were there right then if I could beat him in a game of one on one.  I haven't been to basketball camp since 6th grade, but yes, yes I think I could beat him.