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For Those Who Run and Those Who Don’t

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I used to view marathons though the lens of two categories: the people who run them and the people who don’t.   I happen to fall in the latter but I love watching marathons.  You’ll find me hanging out with the other “don’ts” cheering while happily drinking coffee and eating doughnuts.

Simone Halpin runs marathons.  She’s legit.  She’s also a wife, mother of three, director of women’s care at Moody Church and through that role has been working to launch Naomi’s House a residential home for women who have suffered sexual exploitation and trafficking.  The home (scheduled to open in 2016) will offer hope and healing through recovery, residential living, and reintegration, all centered on the transforming grace of Jesus.

I spoke with her just a few days before the Chicago Marathon last week and asked the obvious question- Are you ready for Saturday? Her response was something like:

Ready or not, I’m running anyway.

Pray for me, she added.

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When Summer Gets Cloudy (Part 2)

city(In case you missed it, here is Part 1 of “When Summer Gets Cloudy”).

How do I do justice, love kindness and walk humbly while planning vacations and taking my kids to the pool? What does it look like to enjoy life while others are suffering? Where does this heartache/gratitude tension leave us and what do we do with it? Is it possible to rest in good things when there’s so much unrest for injustice?

This summer I’ve felt a lot of tension around brokenness and blessings.  As I welcome with open arms all the good and rest that comes with summer, I’m also burdened for the immense amount of suffering going on in the lives of strangers and people I love.  I’ve encountered and experienced at least three ways to respond: avoidance, guilt, or gratitude.

Last month I was at a fundraiser for an organization that works to fight human trafficking, talking to a man about the mission of Rooted Chicago and he said,

“Let me ask you, how do you get people to really engage in causes? Because you know what I’m thinking? These things that are happening to these people are terrible. They really are…but how about them Blackhawks, right?”

These things.  These people.  It’s bad out there; let’s change the subject.

Avoidance.

Continue reading When Summer Gets Cloudy (Part 2)

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When Summer Gets Cloudy (Part 1)

As a kid, I still remember the magical feelings that stirred up around the start of summer break.  The anticipation of two and a half months of freedom felt like a potential eternity of freeze pops, sleepovers, family vacations and lemonade stands.   Scorching hot days spent living in your bathing suit and peaceful, dreamy nights camping under the stars.

My oldest son just finished kindergarten and as the school year wound down I was pumped for summer.  More than ready for moments like this:

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I was simply going to crush it this summer.  Freedom from The Schedule and the forecast of warm weather gave me visions of waking my kids up each morning by pulling back the curtains in their neatly organized room.  With the sun streaming in, a hot cup of coffee in hand and a smile on my face I would announce the summer-y activity for the day.  Their sleepy eyes would light up and we’d inevitably break into a dance party followed by a pillow fight, lived out in slow motion and forever engrained in their little minds.

“Wasn’t Mom awesome during the summer of 2015?” they would say to each other in 20 years.

Yes, kids.  Yes I was.

Continue reading When Summer Gets Cloudy (Part 1)

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Loving our City: Will it be Fiction?

What does it mean to love our city?  

This weekend I traded the snow for palm trees with a team from Re:source Global to help run a conference called Together LA.  My friends think I’m at the beach, my kids think I’m with Lightning McQueen at the Championship Race.  Where I really am is sitting in the back of a darkened cathedral flooded with deep conviction.

The 3-day conference hosted at West Angeles Church-Cathedral sought to ask and answer the question, “What does it mean to love our city?”  That question alone raises several more questions: How do we start to see more communities of faith living missionally, improving the conditions of those living in the margins, and developing cross-cultural relationships with one another?  How do we integrate faith and work? How do we take into consideration the pervasive influence of culture on society?Photos: Henny Wong 

I stepped in Friday’s session as the focus shifted to what it looks like to show the love of Jesus in the messy, seedy, difficult, dingy spaces of our cities.  The conference was specifically for Los Angles, a city that massively influences American culture and beyond.  But the message translates to anyone living in a city with social challenges, which I would guess is nearly every major city in any part of the world.

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