When You're Golden...

We've got this gorgeous Golden Retriever named Hannah. When I picture her, I see her in two very different postures: most frequently, I see her lying on her side on the floor of our house, napping. To be honest, she looks a bit depressed. The other way I envision her is off the leash, out in the open space running with giant leaps and a great big grin. It's this last posture that makes me smile (and alleviates much of my owner's guilt). When I see Hannah do what she's been designed to do (run out in the open, off the leash, apologies to the Homeowners Association), I get this picture of freedom and joy. I smile--and so does her Creator, I believe. I wonder what the human equivalent is for such freedom and joyous release? When was the last time you lived "unleashed", exuberant, and fully you? How did it feel? What were you doing? Any chance you can do more of it (legally!)?

Burnin' Love

Recently, I drove past two burn zones, places where brushfires had come dangerously close to housing subdivisions. I had viewed these spaces in weeks past--all I saw were big, charred plots of land testifying to the fury of fire and its taming by brave firefighters. However, on this most recent viewing, I was startled to see that in place of blackened prairie was instead new, lush, verdant growth. This was in stark contrast to the brown, dead brush from the surrounding space which hadn't been burned earlier. This newness out of devastation, this life out of death, was a concentrated reminder to me of what spring communicates persistently each year: life is stronger than death. Sometimes it's necessary for the fires to consume--and when such purging is governed by a God of Love, good growth can result. I wondered to myself: is there a message for me here? Where do affliction and hardship seem to threaten--and what might be the surprise results in the good hand of God's Providence?

Lattes, Life, and the Crossroads

One of my favorite pasttimes is searching for and enjoying the perfect cup of coffee. Freshly ground, French-pressed, deep-roasted Peet's Coffee from the Bay Area is pretty hard to beat. I've been drinking it since college days at Berkeley and it's literally followed me around the world. But as good as Peet's is, there's this little spot in Boulder, CO that may have the best cappucino on the planet. It's called Joe's Espresso and they pull the finest espresso shots I've ever tasted. Their baristas consistently create latte art (like the rosetta on this blog). It may be a hole in the wall, but Joe's on 30th is the place. For my birthday recently, my wife surprised me with a visit from Joe himself, who taught me to improve my cappucinos at home. But I digress...

Coffee, for me, fine coffee, that is, creates an ambience that blends friends and good conversation. Coffee is not so much a beverage as it is an invitation: an open door for others to come in to a peaceful place where life's better things can be savored, even if only for a little while. Coffee is also one of the ways I like to show my love for people. Making coffee for my wife, cappucinos for friends, decaf for dessert. I'm no Mistress of Spices, but I aspire to be a Master of Beans.

I want this blog to be a crossroads of coffee, conversation, culture, and contemplation. I find I am wired to be at the crossroads, at the juxtaposition of extroversion and introversion, of reflection and practical action, of academia and the pastorate, of the serious and the silly, of people and projects, of John Calvin and carbon-fiber racing bikes. I do my best work when I live life seamlessly, when the personal flows into the professional, when there's no demarcation between the church and the world. I'm just me, you're just you, and somehow, in the midst of it, God is present and at work.

This is where I want to be and I invite you to join me. Decaf or regular?

Cappucino Contemplatives

I find that compelling Reflections are best nourished by fine espresso laced with perfectly steamed and frothed milk. A reflective rosetta garnishes this cappucino to get us started...