An Evangelical Pilgrimage
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Posts from — October 2009

Checking In from the Balcony


Portland, OR :: So, I’ve had a lot going on these last few weeks. Jordan and I relaunched the main site for Burnside. I am writing a longish profile of an author for the January/February issue of Relevant, along with two short book reviews. I also signed a contract recently (with two co-authors) to write a book with a title I can’t tell you on a topic I can’t divulge for a publisher who will remain anonymous. All this on top of grant writing, which has been sporadic.

The manuscript for the book is due at the end of February, just before Kate and Molly and I head east. The profile and the book reviews will be done next week. I will have a few other assignments for the month of November, but nothing major. I should soon be able to settle back into a routine of writing for On the Narrow Road.

I appreciate Kate’s posts. She is picking up the slack on the blog, as at home, so I can get all my writing done. Thank you, sweetheart.

In other news, it’s good to be back in Portland for the evening, sitting next to Dave on our bench at 39th and Sandy Starbucks, heckling the baristas (Natalie and Ashley) like Statler and Waldorf in the Muppets. I’m going to Jon R.’s house later for a party sponsored by Tostino’s (Pizza Rolls and nacho cheese) and farewell butt-kicking in Halo.

October 30, 2009   4 Comments



Keizer, OR :: I have spent the last five years of my organized spiritual experience in home groups and not inside structural and institutional churches. This reality has created a small language barrier that I need to work on. I will need to relearn Christianese.

In my experience a lot of Evangelical Christians have a vocabulary and way of speaking that I have distanced myself from on purpose. While I was in college I participated in a few campus outreach and evangelism projects. I realized I was not really speaking clearly to the people I wanted to share my story with. It was like me trying to evangelize to people who didn’t speak my language. After this realization I began to listen critically to the words coming from my mouth, those used in the prayers at church, the lyrics in the songs we all sang, and in the sermons I was being taught. Although I did not disagree with the heart of the message I started to see how powerful language can be and how specific words can influence entire doctrine, meaning and social structures, culture and people’s lives.

Now, as we enter back into churches and institutional Evangelical communities I will need to practice using this language to relate more effectively with others. Even though some of my word choices have changed (possibly forever) I find that with a little practice I can slip right back into my Christianese.

October 29, 2009   2 Comments

Encouraged by Generosity

Keizer, OR :: I expect to post many stories under this title. Today I’m excited about going home. Home for me is in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Nevada City and Grass Valley, California. Although it’s likely that home will mean a lot of different things over the next year.

Since we left our rented home in Portland we have been blessed and cared for by John’s family in Keizer. We are now making our plans to stay in NC/GV for November and our family and friends are offering to be some of the first who house us on our journey. This entire adventure will not be possible without accepting offers of generosity from others. It’s humbling and encouraging.

October 28, 2009   3 Comments

Willamette Mission


Keizer, OR :: We visited the Willamette Mission State Park twice this month. It’s a beautiful park full of filbert groves, corn fields, river beds, the largest and oldest black cottonwood tree in the nation (over 250 years old) and trails that wind around trees and meadows. As the leaves change colors and blanket the ground with color it is especially gorgeous.

John and I daydream about homesteading when our year on the road is finished. And if we settle in Oregon I would like to be in this area. John, the visionary and dreamer, often makes our homestead all-encompassing and painted over tens of acres. He has big dreams much like the people who came to this area in the early 1800′s. These settlers had a very hard homesteading life – plagued with constant illness and hardship. I’m up for adventure and hard work but I look forward to tractors and power tools and doctors nearby.

I’m currently reading Homestead by Jane Kirckpatrick. It’s fitting.

View from the car on the way in

Close up of the mission outlines

John and Molly playing hide-n-seek around a tree

The two gals

October 26, 2009   1 Comment

tiny rocks


Keizer, OR :: The other day John helped his dad unload a cubic yard of pea gravel into a newly landscaped section of their garden. All of the boys were helping and John thought it would be great to do some math with them.

The problem to solve: How much did each tiny rock cost?

They knew the following: The cubic yard of pea gravel cost $29.

I helped John find a good container to measure the tiny rocks in. We used a little nails box that measured 1″x2″x3″. After it was filled with rocks someone had to count all of the rocks…guess who ended up counting? Yep, me! 403 rocks later, we could do the math.

It turns out that they dispersed at least 3,133,728 rocks, each costing about $0.00000925.

Here is the final product. Pictures of smores to come soon!

October 4, 2009   2 Comments