Tour of Homes

October 8, 2012

Or as our friend called it the day after, “The Hyde Park Tour of Covetousness”.  Lots of people walked through the 10 or so best looking and most beautiful homes in the neighborhood next to our new place. (didn’t we tell you that we moved to Squier Park? no?? oops.)

I had a sick wife and a sick 2 year old, so that wasn’t going to happen for the Janii this year.  But thinking about it the past two days has made me realize that I am less excited about doing it in the future.  I love old homes, and I love spaces that make it easier to be myself as a human.  The weirdest thing about the tour of homes is that the people who live in the houses aren’t even there when you are on the tour.  The very thing that makes that building a home is missing.

I’ve been thinking about home ownership. I’ve been thinking about what it would mean to own a home in the city.  To be a homeowner in midtown.  About what it means to buy your first home at 30.  Or after 30.

I helped our friends remodel a 4600 square foot house this summer. And after we moved them in on Saturday morning my friend Josh was standing with me when Kevin thanked us for all the hours we gave to the house.  And Josh didn’t hesitate when he said, “I didn’t give my hours to the house, I gave my hours to you.” That’s really how we both feel about it.  People are more important than things, even their homes.

A house isn’t a home without a family in it.  It’s the people in these spaces that make them beautiful.  I would rather live in a dump with a happy heart than a mansion with a empty soul.


Lots of things I could write, but I have Leviticus 4 on my mind.  I’ll come back to that in a second.

Leslie is watching Downton Abbey and I’m blocking it out with headphones and blogging.  We’re both happy.

Dear ESPN, I don’t care about basketball… so call me when hockey playoffs start.  Thanks, ~jesse
Oh, what’s that? no hockey on TV in Kansas City?  Nevermind.  No hockey playoffs for me.

It did actually snow in KC this winter.

Shep really likes the snow

I’ve built a desk since I last wrote some words. It looks like this —


An update on that last post, most of the stuff at Mars Hill is less than it was originally made out to be in the particular case that was “newsworthy”.  Even Slate wrote a piece on it, and Mars Hill gave with a lengthy response online.  A couple of odd things that remain, the person that Slate talked to was their PR and Marketing guy…..which is an non-traditional job at a church, and not the ideal face for a church discipline issue. Also, the staff responsible for the decisions that led to the issue have been removed.  This is where the church is supposed to be different as I understand the gospel. When you make a mistake in the financial world and lose money…you get fired.  But when your pastor doesn’t fulfill his role as shepherd of your spirit in the way he should, there is a remedy in forgiveness and a way to reconciliation. There are things which disqualify a person from proclaiming the gospel with integrity as a leader, but over eager enforcement of the rules isn’t one of them that I can find.  So here’s the transition;

I was searching for the word “hidden” early today and got sidetracked in Leviticus 4.  The entire chapter is the prescription of what to do when a sin is committed through ignorance and it becomes known later.  It’s an unusual situation to be in, to be guilty of something ex post facto and have to make atonement for the thing you didn’t know was wrong when you did it.  Here’s what the text says, “If one of the people sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering…”.

Even more surprising is that there are 4 levels of culpability in this chapter; the high priest, the whole nation of Israel, a ruler, and a common person.  The higher up this scale, the costlier the atonement that has to be made.  The high priest must sacrifice an unblemished bull, the entire nation a bull, a ruler a male goat without blemish, and the common person a female goat (or a female lamb if he can’t afford it).  The result being that the more you “ought” to know the law, the stiffer the penalty for being unaware when you have violated it.

Matthew Henry is helpful to point out that these “are supposed to be sins committed through ignorance. If they were done presumptuously, and with an avowed contempt of the law and the Law-maker, the offender was to be cut off, and there remained no sacrifice for the sin (number 15:30)”.

The point I’m getting to, the one that has held my attention through this, is that when we sin against one another it isn’t always immediately recognized.  I can hurt Leslie with words that I said without knowing the harm it caused her.  But as soon as she tells me, and my guilt becomes obvious, my response isn’t to play a “get out jail card” on the basis that I didn’t mean to hurt her. No, I have to recognize that even though I know the law and know her, I can still hurt her in our life together.  The move I make is bring peace, thankfully not through sacrificing an animal but by looking to the sacrifice of Jesus’s body and blood.

So when our leaders sin against us, there is a stiffer penalty, but still a way forward because God has provided one.  There is a difference between sinning with a high hand, and sinning without knowing.  When we find out that we’re guilty of a past sin, it’s just as real as a sin in the present.  We can still benefit from reading Leviticus because our Father wrote it, and he’s always telling us about himself.

Matthew Henry has some good things to say about how to apply the remedy for the whole nation to when an entire church is guilty of sin, but that’ll be for another Sunday.

in other news

February 7, 2012

I know that you wouldn’t normally see this.  We don’t read the same news. In most people’s lives, it’s not even news. Some friends on twitter were asking about what I said earlier.

Over the summer, a pastor named C.J. Mahaney took a leave from absence from his position as the head of a group of churches called Sovereign Grace Ministries.  There are lots of aspects to this story and plenty of important characters.  Lots of taking sides, and deciding who’s telling the real story.

I heard about this from christians who blog and have some connection to this ministry.  Mostly because C.J. Manahey is a part of the Gospel Coalition.  I even saw him speak in person at the TGC conference last year and have read some of his books.

He was accused of treating other leaders in his ministry in a very worldly fashion, rather than a loving gospel centered fashion. If you are interested, you can read what I read from these links.

So it wasn’t a big secret that this was happening.  Sovereign Grace took this seriously and set up mediators and agents of reconciliation to hear stories of people hurt by the unhealthy way the organization operated. That was August.

The big push for this to happen was that it wasn’t a single person making waves (though there were significant individuals), but that someone started a different kind of blog for those who had left those churches.  They called it SGM Refuge.  You can read any number of their stories, including the pastor who helped start the first Sovereign Grace church with C.J. Mahaney and didn’t talk to him for more than 10 years after they split.

So why today? Why is this important now?

Because some Christians from a different group of churches on the other side of country just started doing the very same thing. They started a blog for people to tell their stories about why they left Mars Hill Church.  There isn’t much overlap between these two groups of churches.  There are general similarities, but no real connection.  Different men, different circumstances, different people…..same result.

I haven’t read all of those stories, and I don’t know which ones are the real story of what happened. Mars Hill hasn’t recognized these in the same way SGM did.  What is scary to me is that they sound so similar, and all of them are stories of people being hurt.  By their church, by their leaders, by the other Christians they were trusting in community…..and what to me sounds like being hurt in the name of that community. That the church collectively was more important than the individuals, and so those people needed to go.

Maybe I’ll write more about this if you’re interested.  I certainly have been thinking about it a lot over the past month….or 6….or 12.

One last thing.  A friend pointed me to this on twitter, it’s an article in a Seattle paper written about the Mars Hill thing.  However, it’s obviously written with an agenda by someone who has issues with more than just this one church.  You can see it here-

I can’t believe that it’s already 10:30pm.  I am not ready for Monday.

I am carrying a lot of stress around.  Mostly because I have a stressful job, but regardless of where’s it’s coming from, it’s not a fun thing.

When talking about the year ahead with Leslie and any goals we might want to make, I realized that there is very little that I am actually looking forward to.  Maybe it’s part of growing up, but I am not overjoyed about even things like heading to Texas for 2 weddings in one weekend in March(which I am pumped about).  I am thinking about the travel, and asking off for work, and trying to squeeze in everything in 2 days, and the pain of having to prioritize people, and do it all with a 1.5 year old.  Liz Lemon needs to come tell me how to have it all.

Shepherd has graciously allowed us to have a social life once again.  He fell asleep in a pack-n-play at a friends house on both Friday and Saturday night, making for a very fun and friend-filled weekend.

Shep has also exploded in the number of words he knows.  He’s been babbling constantly since before Christmas, but we made a list of the words that he could say when we got home and the list was 15 words total.  I now have trouble even remembering all the words that he can say at this point.  It’s enough that we’ve both been convicted about what and especially how we say things when he’s around.  A one and a half year old should not be picking up sarcasm.

Redeemer started 1st Corinthians today and it’s a welcome return from the Advent season and exciting to know the direction we’ll be headed for the next 18 or so months…..but it’s a serious book full of serious words from God about serious stuff in our hearts.  We’re seriously not ready.

Leslie hasn’t shaken the pie thing.  She keeps dreaming of a pie shop.  She’s also dreaming of a house.  Hopefully I can convince her a pie shop out of our home would be enough.  The future? no, that’s not contributing to my stress……..

The news in Kansas City is unbelievably bad.  It’s a reoccurring joke in our house, especially on the weekends when the put in the “B-team”.

Leslie got a sweet deal on a gym membership because her friend Molly is moving to Argentina for work until May. She went for the first time tonight, and was super excited. Something about “thank God i’m not doing crossfit”. I don’t get gym humor.

I’ll leave you with two photos from our outing this afternoon to look at Downtown KC from a really cool statute of an Indian riding a horse (feathers not dots).  Kissing Shepherd


yes, i know it’s monday. but i drove overnight twice in four days so that i could see my family for christmas in jackson mississippi.  so my body still thinks that it’s sunday.

and no, i’m not doing that again. and i don’t suggest you try it.  Shepherd did do his part and slept during the trip.  it’s leslie and i that are giving the executive veto.

i’m very experienced driving long distances overnight.  i have a game plan, and i’ll share it with you. an early evening nap works great for me, which works well as leslie will drive until tired and then wake me up.  once i’m driving, there are a few things that help keep me alert and awake.  i like to have my ipod for two types of audio, the first being interesting spoken word stuff (sermons, this american life, radiolab)that gets my mind working and heaps of music to shuffle through.  i don’t often listen to a whole song, as that’s when your mind starts to wander and you’ll drift off into sleepy land.  i’ll shuffle through hundreds of songs, making connections and thinking of memories i associate with them. familiar songs work best for this. i also have a hard candy to suck on (cherry lifesavers), something sweet (hershey’s bar), something salty, and something with protein (salted almonds for this trip – 2 for 1). I suggest a caffeinated soda over coffee, as you won’t drink the coffee once it gets cold, but you’ll drink the soda even if it’s no longer cold.  you want to space out the caffeine and interject it with water.  yes, drink water on a road trip. it really keeps you awake and you’ll have to stop for gas anyway. move your body in any way possible.  I drum, dance, run in place, and click my jaw with the music.  and if you didn’t think ahead enough to put on comfortable clothes that match the weather your driving through, then this list isn’t for you.

i really love the west wing.  Molly let us borrow season two (she has the box set), and i still love it.

funniest tv character= liz lemon
tv character i would most like to be friends with= jeremy from sports night
tv character i most want to have dinner with= josh lyman and toby zeigler

i found out who had my paperback copy of pilgrims progress. it was my brother jon. i’m pretty bad about remembering to whom i loaned my books.

as amazon prime gets better and better, i get closer and closer to getting rid of netflix.  i’ve already given the axe to the dvd service, but my prime renewal is 2 weeks….. decisions, decisions.

also, i’m probably going to get rid of facebook.  but i’m thinking about upgrading to the new timeline, then organizing my digital life on facebook, only to download it to my computer and ditch my account.  Instagram and twitter have already replaced it in practice.

blogging for me is more about consistency than content.  if i get myself into a rhythm of putting sentences together, i will have something to say.

winter has been very mild here in KC so far.  but now that we’ve got Shepherd some boots (thanks grandma), we’re ready for the snow.

we’ve been watching the harry potter movies in sequence, and tonight we watched the half blood prince.  i had already seen it, and it is not the best of the lot in my opinion.  i haven’t seen the deathly hallows part two, so at least there’s a reward at the end of the it.

our christmas tree was VERY dead when we got home left.  i had to take it onto the balcony to take everything off the tree, as the rainstorm of needles would have been the undoing of our vacuum.  next year we are going to a christmas tree farm and coming home with a freshly cut tree. decision made.

i successfully surprised my wife with several presents she had no idea about (she loves surprises), and she got my a bottle of Glenlivet 12.  I guessed that it was scotch the minute i picked it up, but was very happy that she choose it’s contents so well.

i’m looking forward to epiphany.

we had a lovely time having dinner with craig short.

i found out tonight that our friend gloria furman is writing a book for crossway.  i’m very excited about this.

i have a silly way of thinking and or talking in hashtags. even when they are called for.

that about does it for tonight. i have an 8am meeting.

Thanksgiving is finished.  We had a delightful time with Leslie’s mom & dad up from Texas and her brother, his wife, and two sons who drove down from Chicago.  Kansas City turned out to be the perfect meeting place.  It had been 10 years since the last holiday when they were all together (he’s the chef at this restaurant).  His wife Shari and I sat in the corner playing cards and asking ourselves “what did we marry into?!?”

Christmas time approacheth.  I am eager to see the decorations on display at church (I heard some of the planning with a local seamstress – think huge ribbon banners). It will also be exciting for us to participate in keeping Advent with the rest of our church family.  We had picked up the tradition of Advent readings and thinking only a few years ago from our friends the Daskams and Blacks. This year will be different with so many people keeping these holiday traditions together, and I am looking forward to the newness this difference could bring.

I had a jarring thought about the nativity story that I have overlooked until tonight.  It’s so shocking to think about someone coming to your door and asking for help and turning them away.  If got a knock on my door, even in the middle of the night, and there was someone crying for help that their wife was going into labor, I wouldn’t think twice about helping them. How awful would it be to not only refuse to help them, but refuse on the grounds that you disapprove of their lifestyle choices? sheesh.

Those were longer sentences.  Here are some shorter ones.

Shepherd is identifiable in his nursery classroom as the kid who drools a lot. very proud.

We decorated our Christmas tree tonight.  Our family tradition of dead trees by Christmas looks pretty solid for 2011.

Leslie has joined both twitter and instagram in the past week.  Results are still pending.

Discovered this morning that Seryn will have a Christmas album. Also noticed that they spelled Julian’s name wrong on their website.

I went 48 hours without a work email.  That was a first.

Only 19 days until Ben Warren and the Smiths come to visit.  Only 4 days until Handel’s Messiah.  Only 2 months until Lady Smith Black Mombazo.

I mixed the sound at Redeemer during the 9am service for the first time.  Ruined the audio recording with a click track for an unknown length of time.  Turns out, accidentally pressing the c key on the keyboard in front of me turns that on.  blerg.

You may have noticed that some of these sentences were typed prior to sunday.  i cheated.

questions in the comments will be answered.



sunday evening sentences

November 14, 2011

I don’t always tweet, but when I do, it’s like 5 times in under a minute.

My wife has a big crush on Beyonce, and I approve this crush.

It was fun to be hired to do the lighting at the Hotel Phillips Re-Launch party. It was more fun to attend said party. Chocolate whisky = good times.

Gonna get pyscho-analyzed this week for a project that an addictions counselor friend has to do for grad school.  We’ll see how deep the crazy goes.

We heard the best preaching on Jonah 3 this morning. Salvation belongs to the Lord.

Record day for use of the term “for realsies”.

Leslie is still considering chopping off all her hair.

A stressful yet successful trip to the outlet mall merited a knee length camel coat for Leslie and a Columbia fleece for me. Total spent? $70.

And if there is anyone from KC that reads this blog, I am now the de-facto sales rep for production services at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  Yes, that does mean I can attend any dress rehearsals I want.

I have been singing  i’m so tired by the Beatles today, and now it’s time to mean it. Goodnight.



homecoming day

August 29, 2011

on august 29th 2010 we woke up in a hospital. shepherd’s doctor told us that he wasn’t coming home that day because he wanted to keep him for more observation because he’s eating skills still were not as strong as he would like. after the doc’s had changed they’re minds on shep’s homecoming date twice that week we were not happy receivers of this news. we stomped our feet and talked to our nurse lauren. she talked to the charge nurse tara (our hero) who told the doc that we felt his reasons for keeping shep were lacking and that we wanted to take shep home that day. he came in a while later looking frustrated with us and told us that he was not aware that we wanted to bring shepherd home. as you can imagine, my first thought was WTF?!?! why did he think i was crying? why did he think i got so furious when he told me shep would have to stay indefinitely to “wait and see” 5 days earlier? this man was CLEARLY out of touch with his patients. we then told him that we did indeed want to take our little guy home with us that day (DUH!) and 3 hours later we were doing this:

our little shepherd came home after 66 long, amazing, dark, hopeful, hard, faith testing, life changing, marriage strengthening days. its been one hell of a year for sure. it’s taken a looong while to come out of the sticky funk that sort of settled on us in those days and the days following. but shepherd has been such a beautiful testament of God’s faithfulness. through all of the muck that has been thrown at us this last year we were able to take it and say if God got us through those 66 days He can get us through anything. He has and will continue to prove this to be true.
here’s shepherd’s homecoming video. definitely just cried watching this again.


shep @1 week with archimedes:
shep today with archimedes:
we’ve come a long way baby. so proud to get to be this little guys mama.
we love you all and wouldn’t have made it out on the other side without all your prayers.


odds and ends

August 11, 2011

these are the blogs i regularly read:

Tim Challies – content Jesus blogger/ author
Justin Taylor – pointer Jesus blogger/ publisher
Kevin DeYoung – content Jesus blogger/ pastor
Instapundit – pointer news blogger/ law professor
Hot Air – pointer political news blogger/ journalist
Drudge Report – pointer news blogger/ ???

I think I’m going to quit doing that soon.  What’s the point? You’re not informed… you don’t care that I’m informed… you’re never going to value it… and there’s little value for me personally outside of feeling superior because I know and you don’t.

I’ve come to the personal conclusion that JFK was not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone.  Whether or not the government knew about it? I don’t know.

Shiner Bock is still my favorite beer.

There’s nothing as good as a Whataburger anywhere in Kansas City. Though I am becoming convinced that the BBQ is better.

Today is my 28th birthday.

At this point in my life, I think the two groups most misunderstood due to stereotypes are communists and fundamentalist Christians.

Even though there are many things that I enjoy that throw me into the realm of hipsterdom, I know that I am not a hipster for the simple fact that I bathe.

I went to chick-fil-a today and was the most professionally dressed person in the building.  This says more about the other people than it does me, but it’s interesting to watch people look at me and think so differently of who I am because I’m wearing slacks.

Most of these could have been posted to twitter, but the idea of tweeting kills any enjoyment i would have had.

Facebook sucks now, and has for a long time.  I went from over 1000 friends down to 348 as of today.  It would be lower except I lost steam somewhere after the m’s.

You’ve read 300 words off the top of my head and are non the better for it.

Leslie and I have been on a kick taking in books and films about history.  She’s watched a documentary about the Weather Underground and she’s wrapped up in the miniseries on the Kennedys right now.

While watching World War 2 in Color, I learned that the top American fighter pilot shot down 40 enemy planes. Then I learned that the top German fighter pilot downed 357 planes, and that the next 100 pilots on the list were also German.  My interest piqued, I started a biography of the top scoring ace in the history of air combat, Erich Hartmann.  Not only did he wreck shop on the eastern front, but he did it in only 2 1/2 years.  He surrendered at the end of the war, but choose to stay with his men and ended up convicted in a kangaroo Russian court and sent to the Gulags for 10 years. Turns out that killing all of those Russians made him not so popular in Russia.  He survived and went on to lead the new West German airforce.  Pretty interesting guy, thought the book is hard slogging because the writers are also pilots.

Next book on deck will be a biography of J. Edgar Hoover.  I was dumbfounded when I realized that he was the one who created the FBI in 1924 and ran it until 1972.  Almost 50 years! sick.

more adult learning yet to come.

tell me what you have always wanted to learn about.