Category Archives: Mission Year
We’ve spent the first six weeks of Mission Year practicing a “technology fast.” The idea has been to disconnect us from our normal comforts and force us to confront the realities of our neighborhood more plainly. As a software developer by career and nature, I was less than thrilled at the idea.
Our Technology Fast didn’t mean living an Amish lifestyle. We still benefited from a great deal of technology: books, lights, kitchen appliances, the laundromat and more. Our fast was specific to the computer and, in particular, the internet. We were asked to avoid computer use altogether while at home and abstain from sites social, news, and those consumer related. In addition to computers, we were asked not to use cell phones. Whenever possible, we left them off or at home.
As young adults growing up in a digital age, connectivity with family and friends via cell phones and internet usage feels natural. By severing these connections, we were forced to pay attention to one another, to rely on each other, and to engage the community around us.
Our fast was practiced every day but on our Sabbath (which is Fridays). On those days, internet and cell phones were permitted.
A week ago we had a ‘solitude retreat’. It was one night spent about an hour outside the city in a beautiful park. Our purpose was to practice some of what we’ve been reading in Henri Nouwen’s The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry.
I found the book to be a good reminder of fundamental spiritual disciplines: solitude, silence, prayer, and retreat. Though it’s targeted more toward ministerial staff, I benefited from it and think newcomers to the disciplines would benefit too. You need to like his writing style to really get into it.
This talk was one of three primary motivations for participating in Mission Year. Though not a “fun” talk (the beginning is rather comedic), the reality of the challenges he described connected with me.
It’ll be the best thirty minutes you spend today.
I’m excited to announce the launch of a new website designed to help us with fundraising for Mission Year!
Good Shoppr is a fun new shopping site that aims to give you a great shopping experience: a wide range of products, the ability to influence what we carry, and the knowledge that every purchase is in fact a good deed. You can browse and shop on Good Shoppr knowing that a portion of your purchase will go to the not-for-profit organization we highlight at the time.
We started Good Shoppr as a creative way to raise funds for charitable organizations. We are not in it for personal gain (other than the ability to support causes we care about), and all our proceeds will go to our chosen charities. (As we grow we may need to offset some taxes and expenses, but our aim is to keep those to a minimum).
Our affiliation with Amazon assures you of secure purchase transactions and reliable shipping. When you are ready to checkout, you’ll actually use Amazon.com and enjoy the benefits of your existing Amazon account.
Shop for goods, shop for good on goodshoppr.com.
A few months ago, I filled out an application that wanted to get to know me a bit more. I thought the questions were interesting and worth sharing. I’ve included my answers too. Feel free to share your answers in the comments.
In one or two sentences, what is your favorite “secular” movie and why?
I’ve always had a fascination with problem solving, machines, and learning. The movie “War Games” has elements of all three while teaching an important moral lesson about the futility of war.
Complete this sentence: “I think others would describe me as…”
I think others would describe me as driven. I can have a pretty intense focus. (Sometimes, I’ve rightfully been called a “bulldog”.) While being driven can mean passionate, it can also mean restless. I’ve also been told I’m “deep”.
In one or two sentences, what is your favorite “Christian” book (besides the Bible) and why?
My favorite “Christian” book is “The Great Divorce” by C. S. Lewis. No book has ever painted a clearer picture of Heaven and Hell for me.
A poem about yourself from an eight-year-old perspective instead?
Still lives with K’nex in the house
My wife is prettier than a mouse
I love to play about and hop
I’m often found on my laptop