Friday, January 20, 2012

Seattle Is A Wimp?

The Ken and Barbie wise-guys in Los Angeles called us Seattle folks “wimps” yesterday because they heard we were crippled and grumbling from the horrific snow and ice storm which is finally now on the melt.

O yeah? I’d love to see how they would handle the barrage of elements that hit us during the past three days. Tinseltown comments, by the way, are pretty much ignored up here in the real world.

Pictured above is what happens when a tree becomes snow-laden and then slightly melts in the day-time sun but then re-freezes in the night chill. The heavy ice that accumulates becomes too much for the tree to bear, and it comes down – not caring what is in the way. Pictured at the top, in contrast, is a sample of the beauty that can be gleaned even from adversity – both photos taken by

When a tree falls on power lines, people are suddenly without electricity. Right now (Friday evening) almost a quarter of a MILLION homes still are in the dark. We were without power for 15 hours on Thursday, and that seemed like an eternity. But we were among the first to get our power back. I can only imagine how these folks are feeling as many of them are now approaching 48 hours of heatless homes.

Above is what our town house complex looked like on Wednesday morning looking out from our garage. Still tonight, the now solidly frozen, tire rutted snow is 6” deep – making it nearly impossible to even walk on. Yesterday, I could not navigate the 200 feet to our mailbox on the slippery ruts, grooves and frozen slush.  I simply didn't trust my decrepit knees to hold me up in the wind.

And I don’t consider myself a “wimp”. I grew up in Chicago which can have pretty hideous winter weather, but add steep hills nd an abundance of tall fir trees, and then you have what we have experienced here.

Temperatures finally rose above the freezing mark this morning, but it’s still looking like another day, if not two, before the melt-off is complete. More rain and slowly rising temps tonight are creating more havoc in some areas. Early today when melting snow caused a nearby river to rise suddenly, a car was swept away into the fast-moving water, and lives were lost.

We’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost eight years. We’ve had longer winter storms in that time but none this intensely devastating. We’re thinking tonight of all of those still without power. Crews are coming in from out-of-state to help get things back to normal. It isn’t going to be easy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

In His New Book, “Simply Jesus,” N.T. Wright Suggests We May Miss the Essence of Christianity If We Don’t Understand the Implications of Who Jesus Is

I just finished reading Simply Jesus by Anglican theologian N.T. Wright over the holidays, and, once again, he has radically disturbed my very Western, Americanized perception of Christianity.

On the other hand, in doing so, he has offered a vision of Jesus that is much more compelling, and, which, according to the author, deals with the right questions and enables us to gain a fresh worldview – that of first century Christians.

Wright points out that the questions we ask about Jesus as 21st-century American Christians are very different from those asked by those in the first century. Our questions are generally quite direct: Do heaven and hell exist? How do I get to the first and avoid the second?

Back then, he suggests, the questions were very likely quite different. First century Palestinians had quite a different worldview than ours, and we need to understand their worldview in order to understand what it meant for Jesus to be born, live, die and be resurrected in that period of history. Only then can we understand enough to ask the right questions today.

And so for most of the book, Wright weaves an intricate thread consisting of the strands of history, culture and religion that formed the genre of first century Christianity.
What emerges is an understanding of Jesus that you or I likely did not learn in Sunday School. But it is a powerful and enlightening tapestry which is woven. We learn, according to Wright, that Jesus himself, by his death and resurrection, established the kingdom of God on earth which continues now and will be fully known at his second coming (in spite of the predicaments we find our world in today).

Of course there is considerable theological discussion on the whens and wherefores of the kingdom, but Wright weaves a tightknit and comprehensive brief for his views.
I found the book a fascinating read. But keep your mind open to fresh gleanings. The Jesus you meet in this book is one you’ve likely not seen quite this way before.