Enter the Slave Garden

photo by Tulay Palaz
photo by Tulay Palaz

Living Hope Community Church meets at Ironwood Elementary School, and to enter, you must pass through a small gated courtyard before you reach the doors to the worship space.
Every Sunday we are able to come to our church space, pass through the gates, enter through the door, and participate in the worship service. There are no requirements, no check points, no guards at the door who require you to prove your worthiness to enter. You are not restricted by your age, your gender, your education, your finances or your past. You aren’t stopped because of who your parents are or were. You don’t have to present papers, or pay to enter. You are welcomed in freely.
But what if that weren’t the case? What if you showed up and there were chains on the gate? What if, suddenly, you were made to enter though a side door, and wait for the chance that you might (or might not) be allowed to enter? What if someone or something owned you, and you weren’t free to worship how or where or when you wanted, because the one who owned you had forbidden it?

Continue reading “Enter the Slave Garden”

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Questions from NYC ala Brehm Center

You may remember a few months ago I posted some questions for your consideration.  This week, as we went around the group to introduce ourselves to one another, I couldn’t help but really stand on that leg for a moment.  I want to know what the questions are, specifically for people who are in my position, or positions similar to mine.  What are we dealing with?  Struggling with? What have we learned the hard way, and what were we graced to know without having to pay a costly price to learn? Continue reading “Questions from NYC ala Brehm Center”

Look UP


Before I left Idaho I would frequently look up and catch sight of an osprey, or from time to time and eagle, and think to myself “here’s one way I will miss Idaho. Surely I won’t be able to look up and see birds of prey in the sky above LA.”

As I became aware of this thought, I started purposefully looking to the sky to see if I might catch a glimpse of something large and majestic in flight. The more I looked, the more I saw. I looked for sentimental or even spiritual significance that could be attached to these sightings, and thought of a few. I cherished each sighting as a treasured parting sight of my home, as an encouragement from God, and as a reminder of promise.

When I drove out of Idaho, I chose to ride the first shift alone (with three of us traveling in 2 vehicles, there was always someone alone) because I was sure I’d probably get a little emotional. I thought about the goodbyes left unsaid, the relationships I’ve nurtured and the ones I’ve neglected. I chased the promise that the discomfort of change makes room for the fulfillment of God’s bigger plans. And as I drove the lonely stretch between Boise and Mountain Home I saw what I believed would be my last bird of prey.

I’ve been in California three weeks now. My birds were in Idaho, and I am not, so I stopped looking up.

For a while.

But something caught my eye not too long ago. Just as I was leaving the Santa Monica beach, I looked up, and there it was. The largest bird I had ever seen in flight (I am pretty sure I was a condor, based on the markings. I had to look it up). At first, I thought it was a small plane, but as I continued to stare, it happened: wings flapped, and I knew it was a very large bird, much closer than the distant plane I had taken it for.

Today, as part of a class requirement, I spent about three hours alone with God in silence at a beautiful convent. I spent most of the time just listening, and abiding. And I just happened to look up. Circling the convent as if simply waiting for me to notice, was a golden eagle. It circled a few times overhead and then, making a few large grand passes, it flew away.

I mention all of this only to point out that I had no expectation to see such majestic birds once I was in the middle of such a big, busy city. But my experience continues to defy expectations, and I will remember, and continue to look up.

Did you know?

That everyone is experiencing their story, not yours, and not mine?

Sometimes we need to remember that everyone else isn’t a surperflous character in the story of ME. Rather, we have the opportunity to be an excellent supporting character in the story of Them + God.

We also need to recongize the people who are being “excellent supporting characters” in our own lives. Not to make it about us again, but rather to acknowlege that even when it is kinda about us, we aren’t in a vaccum. Other people are involved in our lives.

Over and over again, God called his people to erect memorials to events where God interviened for them. He understands the necessity for us to recognize and remember far better than we do.

Who do you need to recognize has having a signifgant impact on your life?