Monthly Archives: June 2010

Blog Break


I am on vacation… kind of.

Every few months I take a “blog vacation”.  It helps me stay fresh, focused, etc.  With the exception of those breaks, I have been posting daily for about a year.

I have two weeks left of class at culinary school. While I have enjoyed school a lot, the combination of full-time school and full-time work has been a bit much.  I am excited for classes to be over and to have a more normal schedule, with actual days off!

Anyway, this seems like a good time to take break… refresh… and think about where this blog goes next.  So I will be taking the next two weeks off from blogging. In the meantime, I will still be tweeting (of course!) and responding to comments and participating in discussions on the blog.

I will start posting new stuff in two weeks — I have some new things brewing and am excited to stat sharing what God is doing in the vision area of my life.

And let me also just say how thankful I am to all of you who read, comment and participate with this blog — you have become an important part of my journey and community. Thanks!

Look for new posts starting July 12!

– Ben

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Posted by on June 28, 2010 in Uncategorized


This Strikes Me As Crazy…

I have been following this story of a church who banned a softball team from its league because the coach is a lesbian. Is it any wonder that most gay people have concluded that the church wants nothing to do with them?

For a variety of reasons this strikes me as insane on behalf of the church.

Am I wrong? Anyone think the church is acting properly here? You can get a good rundown on the situation here.

I would love to hear your thoughts…

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Posted by on June 27, 2010 in Uncategorized


Spiritual Endurance

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Posted by on June 26, 2010 in Uncategorized


In the Weeds


In the restaurant industry, when you get buried in the kitchen and fall behind, we say that we are “in the weeds”. It is a bad feeling to be in the weeds and every chef/cook I know has been there.

It can be overwhelming and paralyzing — which of course, makes it worse. Often you can sense that you are going into the weeds before it happens. But there is an inevitability to it and often nothing you can do to stop it. And sometimes you don’t even know until you are buried that you are there.

If you are lucky and sense it early enough, you can call for help. But sometimes there is no help to come — because the whole kitchen may be in the same place.

This week I was working the line and we were all in the weeds — and it took 2 1/2 hours to recover. To be honest, it was as bad as I have ever seen it. In the midst, you have no idea how you are going to make it through… orders keep coming, there is no relief in site, you can’t keep up, and it all is going down.

One of my chef instructors at school had some good advice for what to do when you get into the weeds. He says, “put your head down and just work through it.”  In other words, don’t get to analytical about it, don’t panic, don’t freeze… just keep working as fast as you can — and outlast the weeds.  This same instructor has another piece of advice: “remember, it is just a movie”.  In other words, it will only last 2 hours (the length of a movie).  That is, hang in there and it will end eventually.

This is all good advice.

It strikes me that the same is true in life.

We often feel like we are in the weeds of life — overwhelming, paralyzing, etc. It is easy to want to give up, stop going, freeze.

Sometimes the weeds can be financial… or relational… or spiritual… or vocational… or…

But it always feels the same.

And sometimes all you can do is PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN AND KEEP GOING. And remember, IT ONLY LASTS A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME… (a movie… a mini-series… a season…)

It helps to remember these things when you feel like you are IN THE WEEDS.

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Posted by on June 25, 2010 in Uncategorized


Help With Important Research

From Andrew Marin:

As many of you know, over the last four years The Marin Foundation has been running what has turned in to the largest national scientific research study ever done in the LGBT community regarding spirituality and religion. We have over 2,000 national participants from all 50 States (51 if you include DC), and neither one of those figures has ever been achieved before in a LGBT study on faith.Our study in coming to a conclusion August 1, 2010. We need your help! This is our final push to have people participate!

If you have, or have ever had, a same-sex attraction to any degree (whether or not your consider yourself LGBT or not), please anonymously participate here.

Then, would you please email this post to everyone you know who fits our target audience for this study so they can participate as well. It takes about 5 minutes to complete, and all we are looking for is the dead honest truth.

Whether you are an atheist who hates everything God or religion, or you are a super Christian, Jew, Mormon, Muslim, or you believe in any faith at all (or anywhere in between), we need your experiences.

The results from this study will be published in peer-reviewed mainstream academic journals, as well as it will turn into my second book to be released next year. As for the data analysis, The Marin Foundation is working with two of the most influential reserachers in the country who are not only well known, but they are from different ends of the faith/sexuality spectrum and the two most respected researchers in the field:

Dr. Michael Bailey from Northwestern University (an atheist, his research and his provocative book) and Dr. Mark Yarhouse from Regent University (an evangelical Christian who researches on sexual identity and his books here andhere and here). 

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Posted by on June 24, 2010 in Uncategorized


Vision Brewing


For the first time in a long time I feel like I am getting some vision clarity from God… as always, God-sized visions are impossible apart from God.  

Interestingly there are two visions/ideas that God is working on my heart these days and I am beginning to see how they run in parallel and maybe inter-connect.  

I am not ready to write about them yet, but would appreciate your prayers for clarity, wisdom, a listening and obedient heart, and the courage to risk again.

I will keep you posted.

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Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Uncategorized


Eating w/Jesus, Part #2: Dad’s Party


Food and eating and celebrations were central to Jesus’ life (after all, he as accused of being a glutton because he went to too many parties) and his teaching. Food shows up in many of his stories, teachings and parables.

One of my favorite is in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:1-2, 11-32)

1Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”…

11Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

 13“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

 17“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’20So he got up and went to his father. 
      “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

 21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.[[24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

 25“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

 28“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

 31” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “

My small group has spent pretty much the past month reflecting upon this parable. I think there are few teachings that capture the character and heart of God better than this one.

I love that the culminating seen is a dinner celebration — the best meat, the best ingredients (local and organic!), the best everything!

The Father declares: we had to celebrate and be glad!

Note the imperative.  Not that it was a good idea… not that it was justified… but that joy compels it!

Here is something else that has really been striking me about this passage lately… it doesn’t go the way I think it should!

Don’t get me wrong… I want the father to accept the son back. I am totally into that kind of grace. But I feel like the follow up should be, “Yes, of course I welcome you back! And tomorrow we will sit down and draw up a game plan for how you are going to get your life together. We will draw up a budget, and then identify some ways you can re-earn some trust and ways you can pay me back… this will be a learning experience for you.”

And in our heart-of-hearts, I think that is what most of us think God is doing with us.

But it is not. His grace is lavish, unqualified and with no strings attached. There is no speech or sense of “at least he will learn from this”. The only thing we learn is the heart and character of our Father… he is crazy with love!

Just rest in that reality.

So often we think that it is grace that saves, but works that sanctifies.

But the message of Jesus is that IT IS ALL GRACE!

I am still trying to get my head around that reality… and I love it.

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Posted by on June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

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