Three

My daughter turned three today. She woke up and said, “Happy birthday, myself.”
The last three years have been an all-consuming tumult of joy and disruption. I did not realize the depths of my self-centeredness until someone entered it who demanded or called for my attention in every moment. She is the joy of my life and worth every bit of trouble and the much, much more trouble I know is to come. She flits a spark of mirth and hearth that drives your legs in the bitter cold to push every step until you arrive safely at home, to protect her, to laugh beside her, to hang colors all over the walls with her.

Habitual family radicalism.

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My wife and our small group (big shout) have been going through this book by a favorite of mine, an intrepid purveyor of down-to-earth radical and experimental Christian faithfulness, Mark Scandrette. It has been inspiring to see, and has challenged me against what I have often taken for granted, that it’s not possible to live a life of upside-down priorities, joyful simplicity, and self-giving generosity in the context of suburban family life. I want to figure out how to live in Habitual Family Radicalism, a kind of lifestyle we choose as a family that affirms that God provides all we need and disabuses consumer culture, that identifies and stands in solidarity with the least and the margins where Jesus walks, that is more concerned with peacemaking than moneymaking and poverty of spirit than popularity. I pray our girl grows up in it and sees that it is profoundly meaningful, not a drudgery of self-inflicted and arbitrary deprivation, but profoundly satisfied and happy, a joyful dance (literally, not just metaphorically), and full of adventure and risk and immeasurable worth.