Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Standing over a golf ball, ready to hit, it’s prudent to look up and assess the situation. A few years ago, my mind was always focused on avoiding trouble. Don’t hit into that sand trap. Stay away from the lake. Keep away from the trees.

You learn, however, that problem avoidance is a poor way to approach the game of golf. It’s very difficult to program your swing to NOT do something and expect good results. Instead, you stay focused on what you want to do. Identify the target. Locate a safe place to land. Select the right club. Let your natural swing do the rest.

For six months now, I’ve been wrestling with (mostly avoiding) a tough question: what am I so afraid of? What is it that keeps me going all in? I’ve made mental lists of possible fears. Death. Being laughed at. Uncomfortable conversations. Loneliness. Poverty. Loss of status. Etc. Etc. (You can tell now why I’ve been running away from the question, right?)

So Monday morning, I’m spending some time before God and it suddenly hits me. I am totally focused on the hazards. The sand traps, water hazards and trees before me. The truth is – it doesn’t matter what I am afraid of. Because instead of trying to scurry away from fears – I should be running towards fearlessness.

So today I’m asking myself some new questions. What can I do to make myself bolder, more confident, more trusting in my walk with Christ. For I don’t need to overcome my fears – I just need to strengthen my resolve.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Time to get moving again (finally). For those of you coming in during the middle of this movie, let’s take a moment to recap.

Childhood Faith
Baptized into the Catholic church as a newborn. Catholic school. Did the alter-boy thing. But what I remember most is choir. We practiced every morning before school and sang at the 11AM high mass. I’m sure somewhere along the way there was penance, first communion and confirmation (but don’t ask me for any details.)

Going to a Jesuit High School in New York was both a blessing and a curse in terms of my faith walk. We were encouraged to explore, question, doubt and love. But the concept of certainty was hard to get your arms around when your teachers proclaimed “don’t believe all those stories those nuns told you in grade school.” I was disheartening to hear a priest say he could never tell the same lesson on Sunday that he told in our class because “those people don’t want to know the truth”. My knowledge of Christ grew during these four years, and while I can recall a few moments in my teens when I spoke with God, the relationship remained primarily intellectual.

Years of Distance
Like many, my “church experience” grew sporadic as I left for school and later married. My wife and I attended what we affectionately called “The Church of the Holy Convenience”. Holidays. Visiting parents. The occasional one-off Sunday. And that did not change much when we had children. Baptism. CCD Class. Or as they say, the minimum required by law. Always felt great when attending mass. But the feeling was short-lived.

A Reawakening
In my late thirties, however, I found myself wanting to go to church, to hear the Word, to receive the Eucharist. Getting anyone in my family to join me was a chore, so often I would just roll over and catch a few more winks. But sometimes I went. And I remember one particular Sunday, Father Anthony was giving his homily and something amazing happened. I could hear, through him, the word of God. I couldn’t wait to go back, but the following week, and the week after, and the week after, that voice was silent. So I got off my butt to find it.

In December 2001 I entered Crossroads Community Church, which held Sunday service at our local YMCA. When I returned home that morning and my wife asked what it was like, I said “no one wanted to leave. They came early. They stayed late. They wanted to be there.”

And yes, I heard his voice again. Week after week. I could not get enough. Sunday service. Wednesday night service. Bible study. If you’ve ever seen The Matrix, there’s a scene where Neo starts his training and he can’t get enough. “Mikey, I thinks he likes it.” That was me.

A Servant’s Heart
After nearly a year, I joined the tech team at church. And the following year, the drama team. And while attending an arts conference I again heard the word of God, but this time he was talking specifically to me (now how cool is that). That day, a new ministry was launched called Crossroads in the Community. We painted a homeless shelter. Served at a soup kitchen. Built homes with Habitat. Spent evenings with special needs kids. Raked homes for the elderly and disabled. And to quote the Bible, it was good.

I became connected with the church, with God and, in a way, myself. I began to create, write dramas (even a screenplay) and produced a documentary on community service. And I learned disciplines – Bible reading, small groups, spending time each day before Christ – that helped strengthen my relationship with God even more. And yes, I began last May to record my walk right here, and have come to know and love some amazing people. A year ago, I followed my youngest daughter into a lake, and in the presence of our community, baptized her in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Deepening
In March of this year, I spent a great deal of time reading and thinking about Christ’s closing argument—the three days between Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday. My approach to “spending time each day before Christ” changed a bit, too. Instead of saying prayers or having a dialogue, I would sit in silence. Listening. Listening. Quieting my heart.

The scripture certainly touched me, in a way I hadn’t expected. On Good Friday, I wrapped up my blog series by writing:

Dozens of significant, amazing, life-changing events took place in Jerusalem in the days before Good Friday. If you don’t have time to read about them today, here’s the five word summary: You can do more… watch. Then he picked up a cross, giving us all he had… and more.
One day near the end of March, my conversation with God went something like this:

God: Are you ready for the next step.
Me: What do you have in mind?
God: It’s a big step, are you ready?
Me: You haven’t told me what you have in mind
God: I just need to know if you’re ready.
Me: It depends… what do you have in mind?

The Crash
Thud. Whether driven by fear, embarrassment or shame, I ran. Over the next six months, I stopped serving. Stopped creating. Bible reading, prayer time and blogging became sporadic. Summer travels brought me away from church. Away from my community. Away from God. Away from me.

So we pick up today, this movie already in progress. Coming to the realization that I was lost and needed to be found was a first step. But to go forward, I need to go back to that day at the end of March. And address the question that I first recorded here.

What am I so afraid of?

These questions and more will be addressed right here on these pages. For while I had given up on myself, Christ has never given up on me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

i am lost

a few weeks ago i got up the courage to approach a friend and say "i am lost... please come find me."

here it is a few weeks later. i am still lost. but i know some people are out looking for me, and that's a good thing. peace to you. i miss blogging here. i miss reading your blogs. i am lost. but will be found.