Monday, October 22, 2007

Just Tell Me... I'll Believe You

In Mel Gibson's movie, A Man Without A Face, there is a young boy, Charles, who seeks the help of Mr. McCloud to get ready for an entrance exam into an Academy. Now Mr. McCloud is a man of mystery in those parts, largely because of his recluse lifestyle and disfigured face. But as it turns out, Mr. McCloud was a teacher once and longed for the opportunity to teach again. Out of that teacher-student relationship, a friendship was formed.

Unfortunately, Charles' home life is a mess and one night after an episode, he flees to Mr. McCloud's home. An awkward scene follows in the morning when the police come to pick Charles up. You see, Charles' family was unaware of his relationship with Mr. McCloud. The situation is exacerbated when it comes to light that Mr. McCloud's disfigurement was the result of a car crash which claimed the life Mr. McCloud's passenger, a boy who was one of students. Allegations of sexual abuse came up in Mr. McCloud's manslaughter trial.

Charles is shocked. In the following clip, we see Charles stealing away to Mr. McCloud's house because he's determined to find out the truth...

In Matthew 11, we see that John the Baptist is in prison and his death is drawing near. Earlier, he had baptized Jesus of Nazareth, sure that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. But in the depths of a dungeon, doubt grew. So he sent of his disciples to inquire as to whether Jesus was truly "The One."

Check out the whole chapter @:

John's disciples ask Jesus point blank, but Jesus puts the ball back in their court somewhat. He doesn't just "come out and say it." Oh, he gives them ample evidence, but I can sense John's disciples' consternation... "Is that a 'yes'? I think he said 'yes'? Did you hear him say 'yes'? Oh, come on Jesus, just give us a 'yes' or 'no'!" But Jesus doesn't make it so easy. Now by the end of the chapter, Jesus is perfectly clear. But at the same time, he leaves that little margin of space over which his inquirers must step. He forces them to come to their own conclusion.

Just like Mr. McCloud did with Charles. Jesus provides more than enough information, but he will not "fill in the blank" for those who "want to know". Why is that? I'm convinced it's not because Jesus is being coy or evasive. Perhaps he pushes the burden of decision back on his inquirers because something inside of us happens when we're forced to make our own minds up. We own those kinds of decisions. We move from the realm of shallow belief to that of bedrock conviction and that, I think, is what Jesus is looking for in us.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Family Getaway: Superior North Shore

This August, Michele and I took the kiddos up along the North Shore of Lake Superior. The trip was meaningful for several reasons. The first time Michele and I had been to this area was three years ago when we celebrated our 10-yr wedding anniversary (very romantic). Second, Michele and I had a chance to take 6 of our youth camping up in this area last year (a very thrilling, yet challenging spiritual adventure). Lastly, this trip was meaningful because joining us on the trip were Michele's folks, along with her brother and his bride. This area has become very special to us and it was great to share some of the sites with our loved ones.

We camped at Gooseberry Falls State Park. We stayed in the sites nearset the shoreline. They're sheltered enough from severe winds, but you still get the benefit of some air movement along with the relaxing sound of the waves. The State Park is beautiful, featuring several gorgeous waterfalls, a very interesting visitor's center and several incredible Civilian Conservation Corps buildings.

After hiking around Gooseberry, we took in other sites along the North Shore, like SplitRock Lighthouse, Cascade River State Park and the lovely little harbor town of Grand Marais. Another fun place to check out is Palisade Head, a nice scenic overlook area along a 150' high cliff. (There are lots of big cracks in the rock there and I had a little fun freaking out the kiddos by pretending to fall into one - see right). We also spent a morning in Duluth, checking out the novelty shops and watching the huge freighters coming in and going under the lift bridge.

If I only could check out one thing along the North Shore, it would be the Split Rock Lighthouse. The history is fascinating. The setting is stunning. The origincal craftmanship and restoration effort by the Historical Society is remarkable.

It was a special time with the family. We had a ton of fun, even though the weather didn't always cooperate.


  • I was thrilled to see our kiddos enjoy God's creation. They would have been content to roam the shoreline the entire week. They too were mesmorized by the pounding of the waves against the volcanic rock.

  • I found myself wishing we could live closer to a place like this (It's a 8 hour drive). The time was relaxing and just had a powerful sense of rightness to it.

  • Those who the least desire to see a bear are the most likely to see one. My sister-in-law had reservations about camping in an areas where it might even be possible to encounter a mammal larger than a cocker spaniel. She even inquired about the bear situation when the registered for their camping site. Of course they hadn't had a bear in the park for two years. Well, guess who saw one on the way to freshen up?

Websites to check out