Night in Old San Antonio

I'm in San Antonio this week with my teammates Nick and Bene'. Our client asked (well, insisted really) that we go with her to the annual NIOSA (Night in Old San Antonio) festival. For all of my family and friends in Iowa, picture all of the people, food vendors, drink vendors and stages at the Iowa State Fair packed into an area about the size of the Midway. That should give you an idea of the insanity.

It was so loud you couldn't carry on a conversation. It was so crowded that you could hardly move. When the crowd did move you could hardly stick together. Twice our group got separated and had to use cell phones to try and find each other. Part of the fesitivites involves people taking hollowed out egg shells filled with confetti and smashing them on your head so that the confetti and shell fragments fall down your shirt, in your drink, etc. And, of course, you can't actually enjoy your drink because people are bumping into you and spilling it down your shirt (see bottom photo).

We definitely have a few stories to tell that will become of the stuff of company lore years from now.

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Chapter-a-Day Job 9

"God and I are not equals; I can't bring a case against him. We'll never enter a courtroom as peers.
How I wish we had an arbitrator to step in and let me get on with life"
Job 9:32-33 (MSG)

There is a great scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry has been accused and is facing expulsion from his school, Hogwarts. He is called to a trial and feels completely at a loss. Just as the trial is about to begin, his schoolmaster, Dumbledore appears to represent Harry and intercede for him. The charges against Harry are eventually dropped.

It's nice to have an advocate, someone who will step in on your behalf. That's what Job is wishing for as he feels totally alone as he pleads his case to his friends and the heavens.

As I read Job's complaint, I suddenly realized that I, that we, have access to the exact arbitrator which Job wished for. In the spiritual court of law, God provided his own Son to step in and stand in our shoes, to take our punishment, and to intercede on our behalf!

but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:24-25 (NIV)

“Letters from Pella” Set for Tulip Time Peformance

Letters from pella cast 041309 Several people have been asking about the current Union Street Players production on which Wendy and I are working. "Letters from Pella" is a one act play that I wrote and which will premiering at Pella's annual Tulip Time festival May 6-9. I play the part of Pella's founder, Dominie (that's Dutch for "pastor") H.P. Scholte and Wendy plays Scholte's wife, Mareah. The play is based on actual letters written between Pella's first residents and their families back in Holland. It tells a forgotten story of the intense conflict between some of the early settlers.

The play will be performed at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday May 6th and at 4:30 p.m. each day of Tulip Time (Thu, Fri, & Sat May 7-9). Prior to Tulip Time tickets for the play are sold at the Pella Historical Village. During Tulip Time tickets are available at the Ticket Booth on the SE corner of the square and can also be purchased at the door. Tickets are $7.00. Running time is about 50 minutes.

Chapter-a-Day Job 8

See no evil. It's plain that your children sinned against him— otherwise, why would God have punished them? Job 8:4 (MSG)

My brother likes to relate a story from childhood about he and my sister sitting on opposite ends of a room in the house. Without warning, my sister would start screaming, "Mom! Tim's hitting me!" In fact, he was just sitting there quietly on the other side of the room, but my mother would come running in anger. Without even considering that my sister, five years Tim's younger and the only daughter, would lie and make up such a tale, mom would punish my brother for beating up on his little sister. [Authors note: I can neither confirm nor deny the truth of this story]

I find it interesting, as I make my way through Job, that not one of Job's friends grapple with the fact that there might be something at work in Job's story besides God. We are quick to come running and blame God for every bad thing that happens, but what about evil? What about Satan? What about the tragic consequences that follow fallen man?

We are told from the beginning of the story that evil plays a part in Job's tragedy, but evil appears to be completely absent from the world-view of Job's friends. Like a mother blind to the fact that her young daughter might be telling a fib, Job's friends are blind to a major player in Job's story.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and saz

Chapter-a-Day Job 7

Cry to the heavens. "And so I'm not keeping one bit of this quiet, I'm laying it all out on the table; my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest."

Job 7:11 (MSG)

On Wednesday night, my daugther Taylor and I had a daddy-daughter date. It's a practice I established with my girls when they were very young. She's almost 19 and engaged to be married, but they are still "daddy-daughter" dates. And, I still love them.

Taylor just returned from two mission trips. One extended trip to Morocco and another short trip to Haiti. Without going into it, I'll just tell you that her trips were more than a little challenging. Taylor came home with some intense, Job-like questions for God. As we had dinner together and talked, Taylor shared that she had spent some time that day at the Lighthouse, a special place in our church where people can go to pray. She spent some time writing. She wrote a psalm ranting her complaint. She had it out with God.

Good for her. One of the things I learn through the Psalms and through Job's story is that God is not afraid of, nor is he surprised by, our anger, frustration and disappointment. Too often, I think I let things fester inside. I think Job's rants are healthy. I'm glad he didn't keep quiet with his friends or with God. I'm glad Taylor didn't either. It's a good thing to let all of those negative emotions out in healthy ways.

There is a time for shouting to heaven in praise; there is a time for shouting to heaven in frustration.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickrand Bluecinderella

Chapter-a-Day Job 7

Cry to the heavens. "And so I'm not keeping one bit of this quiet, I'm laying it all out on the table; my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest."

Job 7:11 (MSG)

On Wednesday night, my daugther Taylor and I had a daddy-daughter date. It's a practice I established with my girls when they were very young. She's almost 19 and engaged to be married, but they are still "daddy-daughter" dates. And, I still love them.

Taylor just returned from two mission trips. One extended trip to Morocco and another short trip to Haiti. Without going into it, I'll just tell you that her trips were more than a little challenging. Taylor came home with some intense, Job-like questions for God. As we had dinner together and talked, Taylor shared that she had spent some time that day at the Lighthouse, a special place in our church where people can go to pray. She spent some time writing. She wrote a psalm ranting her complaint. She had it out with God.

Good for her. One of the things I learn through the Psalms and through Job's story is that God is not afraid of, nor is he surprised by, our anger, frustration and disappointment. Too often, I think I let things fester inside. I think Job's rants are healthy. I'm glad he didn't keep quiet with his friends or with God. I'm glad Taylor didn't either. It's a good thing to let all of those negative emotions out in healthy ways.

There is a time for shouting to heaven in praise; there is a time for shouting to heaven in frustration.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickrand Bluecinderella

Chapter-a-Day Job 6

Walk with me. And you, my so-called friends, are no better— there's nothing to you! One look at a hard scene and you shrink in fear. Job 6:21 (MSG)

Going through a divorce is painful in a myriad of ways. As I reflect back on my own experiences, I'm struck by the range of reactions from my friends. The vast majority of people simply ducked their heads and avoided me, and the situation, all together. Believe me, I understand. It's hard to know what to say. People feel like they need to take sides. I've been guilty of the "duck and cover" many times.

Some friends were like Job's three buddies, confidently striding in to tell me all the ways I was sinfully wrong and demanding that I follow their prescribed path. While frustrated by them, I understand their approach, as well. I have quite a few merit badges in self-righteousness gathering dust in my scrapbooks from the old days. I get where they are coming from.

Then, I recall the few friends who simply stepped forward to walk with me along that stretch of the journey. They did not seek to blame or take sides. They neither condoned nor condemned. They simply loved and listened as we walked through the days, weeks and months. They modeled for me the very friend I wish to be.

If any of you are reading this. Thank you, again.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and papazimouris