Re-engaging

I'm back stateside. Had quite an experience in Honduras. Much different that last year, but altogether meaningful and transforming once again. Looking forward to filling you in on the adventure soon, but for now I am preparing for SNG on Saturday where we'll be sharing stories from our missions trips and I'll be doing a short teaching on "Compassion."

Happy Birthday To You

In case you missed it, my blog turned two years old on March 4.

I was anticipating making this big post on the actual day, but I forgot. I can hardly believe that I've been rambling on this page for over two years now. Sometimes, more consistently than others, but I still feel pretty committed. This is a good outlet to flesh out the questions of life, as they come to shore with the tides of faith, politics, poverty, art, humor, relationship and more. So, I think I'll try and make it to birthday number three.

To celebrate, I thought I would take a few of my next postings and just post a few of the more interesting posts from the past.

This one, from March 13, 2006:



It's amazing how significantly music influences what I decide to write. Right now, I'm listening to Ray Lamontagne. A little soul. Good beat. Easy on the ears. I have no agenda with this post, I just felt that I was due. It's a creative outlet, and I find myself looking for such outlets more and more these days as I am living at home in grand ole Sparta, Illinois. Already over the past 6 weeks as I've been back in the old stomping ground, here in the home of the 1967 academy award-winning In the Heat of the Night, I've had much to face.

Throughout this adventure of raising a support team in order to return to the U of I campus as a missionary with Great Commission Ministires, I've had to ask the question, "Who is Jonathan King?" Maybe I dont' look in the mirror repeating these words, but there are bound to be times in all of our lives when we must face ourselves. My six months in southern Africa was one such time. This is another. I grew so used to the community of friends that I had as a student at U of I. I'm normally a fairly gregarious person, so being back here in Sparta, without that close community of friends my age (i.e. peers), and friends who are in this struggle to follow Jesus Christ with me, I find myself writing a new chapter on how to depend on God. No, I suppose I'm not all alone. Me? Overdramatize? No way.

In my current situation, in which I often feel a bit of isolation, I have had the opportunity to dive into some books and other things that I'm finding out I enjoy, like Adobe Photoshop. I currently have my nose in Don't Waste Your Life, by Piper. Read it. Seriously, who wants to waste their life?

Sycamore trees have always intrigued me. Besides the ever-so-catchy children's song about that "wee little man," I've only ever seen huge sycamore trees and they have this unmistakable white bark. Most striking to me though is a sycamore tree in the winter time. Every other tree, save conifers, appears dead, but the sycamore stands out among the crowd with its white bark. I took this picture today on the farm. And there are many others. We don't have any sycamores that are bunched together; nope, everywhere I find one, they stand alone. Bright. Brilliant. Broad. Tall. and True. Unmistakable. I'm listening to Sigur Ros now, its peaceful and contemplative ambiance causing me to think very meticulously about the image of the sycamore tree and its relation to my life. Quite relevant for this whole period of self-discovery (ooh, did I just say that?) that I find myself in these days. It's time to catch some shuteye...

River-Brew

A group of guys from Noel's church up in Michigan (a sister church) has started a "beer ministry" called River-Brew : Quality over Quantity.

Read this. http://www.walktherazor.com/2008/02/29/riverbrew-makes-the-paper/

Let's just be honest. This is pretty sweet. Pretty unique. Definitely edgy. But we need more people willing to step out there and connect with the world and reduce the stereotypes about Christians and alcohol. Haven't formed a complete opinion about what they are doing, but I really wanted to pass the word around.

What do you think?

Why do men have nipples?

My amazing wife gave me a desk calendar with aforementioned title, so I thought it would be fun to just pepper in some occasional odd questions that I've gotten on it.

What do the following people have in common?

Pierce Brosnan
George Clooney
Jean Chretien
Rick Savage
Ralph Nader
Gordon Lightfoot

Guesses?...

Retreating from the noise

I recently took a short personal retreat in southern Illinois at this spacious cabin near Marion, IL. This guy has refurbished several cabins originally built in the mid 19th century and turned them into a bed n breakfast set on some private property with a little lake. I got this entire cabin to myself and a hearty, home cooked breakfast. Yum.

The owner of the place, Jim, was an interesting fellow. He felt like an old friend right after meeting. We sat on the front porch and talked politics and he talked to me about how I should get out into the real world and find a real job...that was fun :) If I wasn't there for some solitude, I would have enjoyed talking with him more. If you're ever down south and need a quiet, unique getaway, check this place out.

http://www.oldesquatinn.com/index.html

Sigh.

Perhaps I am just naive. Or maybe I am justified in my sadness and unease with the Pentagon's latest defense contract. Our nation has just inked a $35B contract with the European defense contractor, EADS, who will be producing some fueling aircraft for our military. EADS has contracts with Britain, Australia, UAE and Saudia Arabia for similar products. Products?...what am I saying. It sounds like some of it justboils down to serious "business interests" and being a "good American citizen through investment."