God Loves Women.

…And so does Mercy Ships.Congo Mercy Ships Crew

Videos like the four-minute one below, make me so grateful for the small role I play on the big, white ship.

You know you can join us right? You can volunteer on the ship for a short-term mission of as little as two weeks. But if you commit to a post of 10-months or more, you have the added pleasure of coming to Texas first for training.

That’s where you’ll see me.

Happy Friday y’all.


On Yosemite, Zambia and Smog

Years ago, I spent a whole summer high in the Yosemite back country, eight miles from the nearest road, at a place called Sunrise High Sierra Camp. Watching these crazy wildfires threaten that place breaks my heart. Prayers for you brave firefighters!

My God I love this place.

Cloud’s Rest. Yosemite. Circa 1999.

Back then, when I wasn’t working as an employee of the park, I played frisbee golf with my co-workers, using ancient Sequoia trees for holes. We ran everywhere, swam in sapphire glacial lakes and camped out at night. Flanked by mountains in every direction, we climbed them in the dark, just to watch the stars come out and the moon rise over them.

Here's what I mean.

View from Sunrise High Sierra Camp.

But then the earth tilted. The meadow grass gave way and what leaves there were, turned red and fell, and we knew we couldn’t stay.

Driving home along the Merced River, high above the Sacramento Valley, I saw the smog and bustle below and sighed. Life in the manifest presence of God, unspoiled by the tyranny of civilization, was over.

I wasn’t thinking in those terms at the time though, because I was mostly ignoring God. I just had grief I couldn’t explain.

I didn’t know I was leaving Eden.

For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification]. Romans 1:20 AMP


Upper Cathedral Lake.

Coming back from Zambia has been like that.

When you throw followers of Jesus into a foreign country and ask them to do difficult things, they cling to Jesus like a needy kid clutching his father’s leg. In Zambia, my regular boundaries between sacred and secular disappeared. We hugged, wept, sang, laughed and prayed like our lives depended on it – every day.

Then we came home, to the smog.

Here, in our workaday lives, our radical dependence fades and we forget how sweet the unbroken presence of God is. Here, naked vulnerability before God is a little too “out there” “too wacky” for an increasingly post-Christian culture.

So we cover it up and grieve.

Love DinnerThat’s why Christians love conferences. Thousands of people worshiping God, changes the environment in a football stadium so thoroughly, you never want to leave. It’s a reprieve from the daily catastrophe of Syria and climate change and incessant global poverty. It feels like hope.

And that’s why I’m starting Love Dinner.

I want to remember that God is the same in Texas, in Zambia and Yosemite. He invites us to erase the boundaries between sacred and secular and recognize it’s all His. But I think that takes practice, especially for those of us who grew up in secular America.

At Love Dinner, eight of us will create a mini-kingdom, practicing God presence so we can live as beacons in the smog, just like Jesus said to, and invite others to light up as well.

Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” – Jesus. John 12:36

If you want to join Love Dinner Online, follow this blog or Erin Kirk-Writer on Facebook.

Two Lessons from a Mud Hut

The girls' hut.

These women are dangerous.

See this little hut with the grass roof and mud walls? I can hardly believe it myself, but for seven days, eight women called it home.

It amazes me now, solitary as I am, that I didn’t throttle anybody or succumb to panic in the suffocatingly close quarters. In fact, I thrived there. The midnight prayers that rose from that hut were so precious, I keep admiring them like a handful of emeralds.

Pray, then balance sandwiches on your head.

Pray, then balance sandwiches on your head.

Here are two things I learned in that hut.

1. We are stronger in tribes – even independent Americans.

While I prefer to sequester myself from other humans and their intolerable messes, it makes me weak. In Africa, I allowed older, wiser women into some deeply shaded parts of my life, allowing their years of wisdom and experience wash over me, and I finally understood what it is to rest for a moment in someone else’s faith.

See, when we go deep with people, into their triumphs and messes, when we witness their failures and are not scared or offended, we grow in community. Perhaps that’s why Jesus told us to stay in church, so we can deal with the inevitable conflict of being human and learn what grace really means.

The reward for the effort is deep affection for one another, and the experience of God’s grace. I love these women now in ways I can’t fully describe.

2. Prayer with a group of woman all kneeling at the feet of Jesus, works.

One night in that hut, we gathered under sleeping bags and headlamps and prayed for things some of us have never spoken out loud. I saw icebergs calve, skyscrapers of hidden guilt and fear, shearing off those women and crashing into the water below, melting in the light of God’s grace and mercy. Jesus told us to do this because He knew it would make us lighter, more nimble, and dangerous to the enemy, but I had to go to Africa to take it seriously.

After all, what scares you doesn’t scare me, so in the name of Jesus, I can walk into your dark corners and kick some ass for you. Then you can do it for me.

And something changes between us forever.

Hubbard Glacier - "Calving"

Hubbard Glacier (Photo credit: roger4336)

I wonder if our independent streak is sometimes a cover for laziness and fear. Of course it’s easier to mind our business and small talk each other to death, but who will slay your dragons when you’re too far down to do it yourself? Who will call that thing you believe about yourself the bald-faced lie it is? Who will say, “You’re drowning in Scotch but I love you and I’m here?”

So if I must choose between a lovely stone manse, with silent wings and empty grounds, and a tiny, mud hut with your socks on my bed and your burdens in my heart, I’m taking the hut. Because I need you, and you need me. So let’s do this thing together.

Do you have a small group you rely on? How did you meet them?