A brief rundown of what my life looks like these days. Last updated April 2, 2022.
I’m not a big fan of traveling — my idea of a good vacation is staying home surrounded by good books and movies — but we took a short trip to Omaha a few weeks ago for the kids’ spring break and had a wonderful time. My wife and I are both originally from Omaha, but we’ve lived in Lincoln for so long now that Omaha feels like an entirely different city. We enjoyed exploring some new places while revisiting some of our favorite museums and restaurants. (And picking up some cool candy.)
Out of that experience came the Cultural Diet, which I created to help me keep track of the movies, books, TV series, etc., that I experience without having to rely on third-party services like Goodreads and Letterboxd (read more here).
Soccer season is finally upon us. Our daughter is the only kid who plays now, which dramatically reduces the number of games and practices in our lives, but it’s still a big commitment. Fortunately, she’s been with the same team for several years now, and has developed some really good friendships. (To be honest, though, I do miss my boys playing soccer. It makes sense that they’re not, but I miss the camaraderie and community.)
I’m still making my way through the Expanse novels, and I’ve been indulging my inner fifth grader and buying old Choose Your Own Adventure books — which I still find quite enjoyable. (I choose to fully live by these words from C.S. Lewis: “When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”)
I have also been delving into various Church writings, specifically the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, like a good Presbyterian. Lots to think about, of course, and they’re reawakening some age-old theological questions and tensions to work through with the aid of others in the community. I also read Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus, and jotted down this quote (emphasis mine):
Christian leaders cannot simply be persons who have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time. Their leadership must be rooted in the permanent, intimate relationship with the incarnate Word, Jesus, and they need to find there the source for their words, advice, and guidance. Through the disciplines of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen again and again to the voice of love and to find there the wisdom and courage to address whatever issue presents itself to them. Dealing with burning issues without being rooted in a deep personal relationship with God easily leads to divisiveness because, before we know it, our sense of self is caught up in our opinion about a given subject. But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative.
That feels rather apropos given the spirit of our present age, and in light of any “leader” status that I might have, I’ve been trying to take Nouwen’s words to heart as often as possible.