I sometimes wonder if modern shoes have undermined the effect of Maundy Thursday.

Hear me out: I have observed Maundy Thursday for several years now. I've participated in my fair share of foot-washing services, whether that practice takes place around Easter or other points of the year. These are often meaningful, important moments in life and faith, a reminder of Christ's extreme humility and his heart of service.

And at the same time, the people whose feet I wash are normally pretty clean. (And yes, I blame shoes for this fact.) It often doesn't seem like a big deal to wash them. Today I served my roommate by washing her feet. I know exactly how often Sara showers (answer: far more often than I do). The discomfort I felt wasn't because I had to lower myself to the part of a servant, though I do not do that as often as I should. It wasn't because I was face to face with my roommate's dirt-- there wasn't even any visible.

It was uncomfortable because it was…

The Pastor Who Weeps

I got on the train last Friday, destination in mind. I stayed on until the L slide softly back into place at the very stop where I had boarded over an hour before.

I live near the last stop of the Brown line in Chicago. That day I had little homework and no appointments, so I climbed the steps of the Kimball station intending to go out and explore. I curled up in my plastic seat, backpack resting against my feet, staring as the houses out my window slowly grew larger and more industrious, as the buildings changed from family dwellings to places of business. The stops I had so carefully planned to get off at came and went, and still I sat there, just observing.

My life the past few years has been punctuated by the act of moving. In undergrad it was the constant changing of dorm rooms, the packing up of all possessions for the summer as I galavanted off to be warm again --finally -- in Wenatchee. The level of packing changed over the years, from the simple suitcases I dragged with me to…

Community Looks Like...

Google defines the word community as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” 
On television, community is often seen as a group of friends who can simple stroll through one another’s doors at just the right moment to provide comedic relief.
In Acts 2, community is described as being a group of people who “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” 
At Moose River Outpost, community looks like throwing on life jackets and piling into a speed boat to watch the sunset. 
It looks like music blasting in the coffee shop while you run frantically around a ping pong table, enthusiastically attempting to win a game of Polish. 
Community looks like the small children who make birthday cards and baskets for those celebrating.
It looks like co-workers who support one another when people are sick and hurting, stepping up to fill in holes even when the tasks are way outside of their …

Under-qualified and Over-appreciated

As of today, I’ve been at Moose River Outpost for a month. Like most of the times I’ve moved in my life, it simultaneously feels like I’ve been here far longer than four simple weeks and as if I pulled in only yesterday. It’s my day off today, which naturally makes me more contemplative (partially because I actually have time and space to think), but the completion of a month here dramatically increases my nostalgia levels. We’re one month in, one month to go, and I already don’t want to leave. 
This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I knew it would be tough when I took it, thought it a bit ironic even that they would put the introvert who always finagled her way out of camp games in charge of the camp program. In many ways, my fears have been confirmed. I am often tired and struggle to find time alone. I feel out of my element trying to explain to campers the rules of a game that I have never played myself. Most of the campers have already outdone my meager skills in any of the activi…

Home: Part Three

I first wrote blog posts about the sense of "home" in November and December of 2012. Nearly four years later, I still haven't figured it out.

A little less than two weeks ago, I took a right turn off highway 201 onto Moose River Outpost’s three-mile long dirt driveway, and I came home.
It was 12:30am and so dark that the high beams from the fifteen passenger van I was driving barely cut through the blackness of the forest. In the first row of passenger seats, one of my dearest friends, Joanie, sat, excitedly talking with me about our hopes for the summer and how good it was to be back at camp. She had picked me up at the Boston Logan airport at 8am, and we had spoken of little else in the hours since. My co-leader for the summer, Sam, had landed at the airport at 2pm and dozed at that moment in the passenger seat of the van. Though he had insisted he could co-pilot just fine, he had only returned from his study abroad trip to Scotland four days before and was delirious fro…

The Reset Button (Or: Why Camp Can't Get Rid of Me)

When I was a junior in undergrad, I took an information technology course and subsequently went through a phase where I was obsessed with the British television program The IT Crowd. The show, which follows two traditional IT professionals and their accidental, completely-technologically-incompetent supervisor, is most known for the bored way all three employees would answer the phone:

"Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Ever since I was twelve years old, my chance to turn my soul "off and on again", my opportunity to hit my internal "reset button", so to speak, has happened at summer camp. Whether in Canada or the States; whether I was a camper, counselor, worship leader, retreat attendee, chapel speaker, office manager, or had some other hat on; whether I was thriving in my faith or crippled with overwhelming doubt, camp has always been a place where God could slow down my anxious mind and capture my heart again. Over the years, He h…

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like...

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went out and sold all he had and bought that field." 

The kingdom of heaven is like a church fundraiser, where a cake was auctioned off for €135 and then left by the winner for the whole congregation to enjoy.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." 

The kingdom of heaven is like a missions concert in Galway, where "How Great Thou Art" was sung in Zulu to the sound of Irish congregation members clapping and swaying.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you…