With Death Comes New Life

Recently, my grandmother passed away and while I am saddened by her death, my family finds comfort in the fact that she is now in a better place, especially given her dementia towards the end. In addition, the following letter that I wrote for my family sums up my thoughts perfectly, including the announcement at the bottom. Enjoy!

I wanted to propose a toast of sorts, although with the events of the last month, the tones and themes have changed for me, which is why I was moved to write it down. I am forced to eulogize my relationship with my grandmother, whose passing was an event for which I was ill-prepared. How fitting, then, that Lexi and I have been convicted about family this Lenten Season. Lexi and I face the fact of our distance from the rest of our family each day, a fact that is made all the more poignant after the events of the last week.

My grandmother loved family and she loved food, especially when she was able to share in both at the same time. She was a good cook and was amazing at spoiling her grandchildren, even if it was as predictable as bagel chips, jolly ranchers, and donut holes. She loved Chicago-style pizza and was born and raised in that great city. She lived through the first depression and unfortunately, got to see the second one in action.

But I should count myself blessed since my grandmother was able to see many of the most important moments in my life. She got to see me play baseball as a kid. We were able to watch late-night movies together and fold bulletins every Sunday morning. She saw me graduate and she made it to many a family vacation. She got to see me grow into the man that I am sure she hoped I’d become, mainly because I was more like the best of her husband every day. And finally, she saw me married to my lovely wife, a woman that she readily approved of.

So, as with the Lenten and Easter Seasons, with death comes new life, a fact under which all Christians unite during this time of year. And although my grandmother would not have remembered the next important moments in my life, it would have been nice to have her here for one more, because by October, my grandmother would have been able to see me become a father.

So there you have it! Lexi and I are pregnant and looking forward to our next adventure, which will begin October of this year. Since it is officially announced, all those people that knew before this post can pontificate on social networks and tell others if they’d like.

Thanks for keeping the secret and we look forward to sharing in our excitement moving forward!

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.