Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Stay tuned, more information about the book will emerge in the near future. For now, back to writing it! It has been such a huge blessing to be involved in this project and to be personally challenged by the amazing example of so many missional moms I have gotten to know. I can't wait to share more of those stories with you...so I better get back to work! Blessings to you and be missional wherever you may be right now!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
My friend and fellow writer Tracey Bianchi recently wrote this post, which ties in well with themes that will be in The Missional Mom, themes such as living more simply and resisting the pull of our consumeristic culture. Read, enjoy, and check out Tracey's book, Green Mama!
Living a Sustainable Faith
by Tracey Bianchi
My four-year old has endless questions about traffic these days. Why do cars stop or go? What about caution signs? Why do we either slam on the brakes or go crazy fast at yellow? What is rush hour? The one signal he has no query about is green.
“Green means go, go, go!”
He often hollers this as if our trip to Target was tantamount to the Indy 500.
Green means go. Whether traffic signals or that childhood game, Red Light/Green Light. Green is associated with movement, activity, permission to get on with it. Even our money is green and with the right amount of that hue you can sprint off to just about anywhere.
But can green ever signal slowing down our lives?
With the burgeoning green trend in our culture, the one connected to eco-friendly, save the planet chatter, living into this new shade of green might offer us more than new products and ideas. At the heart of this movement is an opportunity for spiritual transformation and a deeper connection to God.
Perhaps you simply think about recycling when you hear the words green living. You may also associate the trend with a new “to do” list that now includes organic gardening and composting. Many families I know find eco-ideas incredibly guilt-provoking and stressful. The pressure feels like anything but a spiritually refreshing opportunity.
However, an honest, greener faith is actually about embracing simplicity. Overhauling our lifestyles so that we can pursue healthy families, build deeper communities, and enjoy God’s planet. It is about slowing down to see what is truly most important by tapping into God’s Creation and his rhythms.
To “go green” is to reflect wisely on what we buy, how we shop, where we drive, and how we move through life. Which is to say, going green is also slowing down and taking in all that God has presented us each day. From sunrise to sunset.
For people of faith, caring for God’s Creation is an opportunity to stop chasing after the chaos, the narcissistic ideals, the over-commercialized culture that glistens all around us. “Going green” provides long overdue opportunities pull off this grid, to soak in the sunshine, rest in the grass, watch those clouds take dinosaur shapes like we did as children.
So, what does a slower, greener life look like?
A greener afternoon might be one where you or your family walk to your destinations rather than drive. Take your time, talk as you saunter along and save on your CO2 emissions in the process. Green might mean staying out of the malls and playing at home. Curbing our consumption is one of the most planet friendly maneuvers we can make. Buy less, shop less, stick together at home more.
Plant a tree, spend the day at a park or take a hike. All less anxiety producing than jockeying for position on three traveling teams in one afternoon.
Get your hands muddy or let your children get dirty. Help them to fall in love with God’s Creation, with the mud and the muck, the dirt of the earth. Live into the Genesis narrative by enjoying all that God says is good. Muddy faces and skinned knees indicate time well spent. Enjoy moments in the trees rather than in classes, traffic, or the over-achieving lane.
So take another look at “going green” and in it you might find a deeper invitation to slow down a bit and breathe deeply of God’s green life. A creative invitation to rest, renewal and transformation in God’s Creation.
Tracey Bianchi is the author of “Green Mama: The Guilt Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet.” She is the mother of three and an author, speaker, and women’s ministry director. You can find more of her musings on life, faith and sustainability at http://traceybianchi.com/. You can find her new book here: http://tinyurl.com/3xzvpnx
Monday, April 19, 2010
(I recently wrote the following post for the weekly blog of Elisa Morgan's new digital magazine, Fullfill. And as I'm allowed to cross-post on my own blog, here it is. It touches on a topic I'll go into in more depth in my upcoming book on missional moms. I've been slow to post entries on this blog of late, but as I begin to finalize more and more content for the book, I hope to post here more regularly. Enjoy!)
Remember that hit song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”? I recently listened to an interview with Bobby McFerrin, who wrote and sang that catchy tune. McFerrin, who hails from a family of singers, initially thought he would be a pianist, even though his distinctive, resonant voice indicated that he was vocally gifted. It wasn’t until he was close to 30 years old that he recognized and embraced his calling as a vocal artist.
God has a calling for each and every one of us as well. Of course, the primary calling for all Christians is the same: we are called by God, to God, and for God (to paraphrase Os Guinness in his eloquent book, The Call). But how we live that calling out differs for each and every one of us. In the same way that a relationship with God is unique and personal, so too are our callings. Are you pursuing the discovery of what your calling is?
If you are unsure of what your calling might be, Guinness gives a suggestion on how to approach the search: “Somehow, we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us. And often we get a revealing glimpse of these gifts early in life.” What did you love to do when you were young? What gifts and talents were evident in your childhood, and have you continued developing those gifts over the years? Perhaps as you think back on your life, you’ll discover talents that were affirmed long ago but that have been laying dormant, buried by the demands and expectations from your subsequent life circumstances or relationships.
When I was five years old, I wrote a story about a family of rabbits who survive a big storm and live to tell about it. My kindergarten teacher told me that the story was “special”, and so I gave it to her. I’ve never seen the story since, and I had nearly forgotten about the incident. But thinking back to this moment in my life, I realize that although I have always enjoyed writing, I never devoted myself in any serious way to fiction-writing. Whenever I think about trying it, I tend to focus on my fears and self-doubts: “What makes you think you can write fiction?”
In Scripture, we read the numerous accounts of people who experience God’s calling and whose initial reactions are to deny the calling in one way or another. Moses expresses his feelings of inadequacy. Sarah laughs at the implausibility of God’s plan for her and Abraham. Jonah runs as far away from Ninevah as he can. And yet we see that as God’s servants display openness for his plans, he leads them towards the calling that he intends, despite their initial disbelief or inaccurate understandings.
We need not worry about outcomes or adequacy. As we keep ourselves open to his calling, we discover that through his strength, we can achieve much more for his kingdom than we ever would have imagined, more than we could ever have done on our own abilities. Who would have believed that inarticulate Moses could lead the Israelites out of Egypt, or that ancient Sarah could have a baby, or that rebellious Jonah’s words could help turn around a wicked nation?
Sometimes our calling is clear and we merely have to embrace it, as Bobby McFerrin did. Sometimes, the calling seems outlandish, and we have to have faith to accept it. Perhaps the more improbable the potential outcome, the more evident it is that God is the one who has called us in the first place. Ultimately, our job as Christ-followers is straightforward: answer God’s call. Don’t worry about the outcomes. And be happy for the unique gifts and abilities we have been given to further his kingdom. That is something worth singing about.