An Indefinite Hiatus

My last post on this blog was in March.

Then I started dating, working overtime, committing to spending time in this community I live in and and trying to figure out how to create a culture that seeks and displays the Kingdom of God, and serving in the college community at my church. 

Mandatory overtime is complete, and a summer of 48-hour weeks winds down. 

As I look at life, I see clearly that I can pursue many good things.  But if I pursue everything I've been attempting these past months, I will not be able to do all of them well. 

And so I am taking a break, for some time, from this photography business.  I've loved the ride, the people, the experimentation.  This has been a great learning experience and I hope to order my life so that I can return to photography - it's such a joy to create these images with my clients.

There is too much going on for me to do this photography and to do it as well as my clients deserve.

Pick what matters most.  Chase it down.  Do it well! 

Shrink your Circle

Why do we live in one community, drive two or three counties over to work, get gas here and haircuts there, and worship at a church several zip codes away?

Not everyone does this, but many do in this Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.  Apparently (at least in 2010), less than 20% of Maryland residents had a commute time of less than 15 minutes.  Everyone else is sitting on the Beltway or ICC, and maybe there's a couple oddballs (affectionately, this!) biking their 10-mile route every day.

My drive to work averages around 45 minutes.  My drive to church averages 20 minutes.  This is probably average for this area.

My roommate walks or bikes to work, is thinking about committing to the church that's maybe half a mile down the street, and chooses to purchase groceries and other needs as close to the house as possible.

How would the culture change if instead of a vast interconnected (shallowly-connected?) network, we shifted our physical lives into a vast number of tightly-knit smaller communities?

How much more effective would the church be in its obligation to care for the poor, widows, orphans, foreigners, needy, neighbors next door, if all Christians shrunk their circles so as to have more time (and money) and peace to spread into their ministry?

I am where I am supposed to be for now. Nevertheless, my next season of life - and all the rest of them! - will have, in some way, an intentionally-pursued smaller circle.

Wanderings

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The snow, fallen; the evening activity, canceled.  What now?  A camera, warm clothes, and the forest beneath a full moon yet half-concealed by swift wisps of cloud.

He walks, pausing occasionally.  A dog barks down the street, children play in the cul-de-sac around the bend.  But the forest is quiet.  He sees the tracks - a fox walked past some time ago.  A rabbit bounded through the yard.  Deer trotted off to a place of warmth.  But now, amidst the trees, only silence.

He walks past the stream and up the embankment to the railroad tracks, to the bridge he has been to countless times.  Sets up the tripod and camera, takes a photo, adjusts, another photo, adjusts again until satisfaction hits, the camera is placed elsewhere, and the process begins again.

Each image, thirty seconds of light waves hitting an electronic sensor, recorded to memory.  Thirty seconds to think - what's next?  Where is he heading?  An impossibility becomes possible with unforeseen suddenness.  Habits, expectations, processes change and mold to a new 40-hour workweek life.  Jesus Christ is making all things new and he can never let go of that, but his heart breaks for the brokenhearted who can't see hope and he fights the feeling -the lie- of uselessness as he wonders how he might be a part of restoration.

The shutter closes; another image appears.  Adjust, reposition, again.

Back to thoughts of change and the unknown.  Back to the house. 

The forest is quiet.

How to Eat

I just read The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer over the past week, having heard about Joel Salatin and Polyface Farms through a random decision to watch Food, Inc. two years ago.   He makes an incredible array of assertions, which I am inclined to trust from the outset, though I wish he did footnote something and cite some sources.  High school research papers come back to haunt, it would seem!  That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed his book and his thoughts.  Maybe I'll start farming some day.

Regardless, I am excited to start taking deliberate steps to eat better food from local farms.  It's frustrating to know that many choices I make as a consumer can aid injustice in some form - clothes I buy may be sewn by faraway peoples receiving less pay than they ought, food I eat may be farmed in a way that destroys the land and imprisons farmers into indentured servitude for a large agribusiness company.  I'd love to be sure that the workers making the clothes I wear, tending the crops I eat, building the mechanical devices I use are justly compensated. The more I learn, the more I'll have to change habits, I suppose.  If we Christians believe we're part of God's mission in healing the earth, restoring people to right relationship with Him, rescuing the captives, breaking every chain - everything comes under scrutiny.  How then shall we live?  I will constantly be re-answering this question as I grow older. 

Right now?  I'll buy some more of my food locally, from farms that are taking deliberate steps to heal the land and do agriculture in holistic ways.  I'll take the time to cook most of my meals (this I have been doing fairly consistently over the last two years).  And hopefully a few friends will make some small decisions along the way and things will snowball.

There's enough disjointed rambling for now.  In the meantime, Howard County folks, check out some neat sites:

Howard County Conservancy

The Zahradka Farm

Clark's Farm

Love Dove Farms