Sunday, May 6

My Grandfather

My mom was digging around through some old folders or emails or something and found some old papers I wrote as homework assignments. Here is one of them. I'm not sure when I wrote it, but I present it to you essentially unedited; most likely from my Senior year of High School, but maybe older.

My grandfather was born in the rolling hills of the Ozarks (which some mistakenly call mountains) and since then he has lived in numerous places, including California, Texas,  New Mexico, Georgia, Utah, Alaska, and now a mountainside in Colorado.  He has preached numerous sermons, worked with many good people, changed many lives, pastored many churches, and held many important positions, (including: Regional Catalytic Missionary, Language Missions Director, Director of Associational Missions, and Director of State Missions) and though those things are great, they do not compare to his work as a father to his four children (Audrey, Ken, Kerry, and my father William) and a grandfather to his thirteen grandchildren.
Grandpa was born in Whit Springs, Arkansas on October 26th, 1936, he told me "I was born at a very young age, I was actually an infant when I was born," which is an example of his sense of humor.  He was not expected to live, and neither was his mother, so that when his grandmother died on November 6th, his father did not go to the funeral, because he thought his wife was going to die.  But they did not die, they lived on and eventually returned to full health.
When he was a boy, his family traveled to California in the spring and summer time to do farm labor.  They chopped cotton, harvested potatoes, (which he told me was very dirty work, by the end of the day only your eyes and your teeth were white) knocked almonds from trees, picked peaches (this involved climbing ladders to reach the peaches in 112 degree heat, with no breeze and very uncomfortable itches) and other such labor.  When fall came, they would return to Arkansas, and he told me that they made very good money (for the times) by doing this.
He went to the same school in Whit Springs first grade through to his High School graduation.  The rooms were divided such that first-through-third grades were all in one classrom together, fourth-through sixth grades were in another class room together etc. etc. all the way up tenth-through-twelfth grades.  Each student heard the lesson of the others in his room as well as his own lesson, so every student learned each lesson three times.  Grandpa graduated from High School second in his class -- from a class of two students -- at Whit Springs High School.  His graduation picture (which I have not seen) is him and his classmate sitting on a couch in his classmates living room.
After graduating from High School he went to California and stayed with his oldest sister Wanda and got a job with a company that made swingsets, though he quit that job to work for a battery company as an Assistant Shipping Clerk.
At this time, he attended Grace Baptist Church.  One evening after Sunday school, he and some of the other young men of the Church were putting away the room-dividers when Grandpa saw three young ladies sitting at the back of the Church.  He sat down near them and introduced himself to them.  These girls were Mary, Barbara, and Susy Brisco.  That night after she returned home, Barbara Brisco told her parents that she had met the man she was going to marry.
My grandpa dated Mary, Barbara's older sister, but he wouldn't date Barbara because he thought she was too young.  (She was maybe twelve at the time)  Eventually though, Barbara asked Kenneth to the Sadie Hawkin's dance and he agreed to go, but then went to see his brother instead.  His brother asked him why he was there, and he said
"I was going to go to the Sadie Hawkin's dance with Barbara, but I don't really want to go."  Then his borther told him that he should treat her better, because she was the "best-looking girl in that church."
Later on Kenneth went with Mary and Barbara to visit a former girlfriend who was sick and on the drive there Barbara asked him why he hadn't shown up at the dance, he apologized and then he told them about what his brother had said about Barbara, and Barbara said
"Well, I guess we'll have to get married then," so Grandpa gave her his class ring and they began dating and spending time together, though the plan of them getting married and her wearing his class ring was just a joke between them.  But after a few months of dating, Grandpa asked Barbara if she wanted him to give her a real ring, she told him that he would have to ask her parents.  So they asked the Briscos if they could marry and the Briscos told them that you could marry in one year; they figured it would all blow over.  It didn't, and on June 28th --the day after Barbara's 15th birthday-- they got married in Texas.  (A girl the age that grandma was at that time could not get married in the State of California unless she was pregnant, and grandma wasn't)
Grandpa quit working with Trojan and went to California Baptist College; (now California Baptist University) he didn't know that he needed to apply, so on July 1st he just showed up on campus, he was asked who he was and he said "I'm Kenneth Chadwick, and I'm here to go to school."  They told him that he had to enroll, so he worked out all the paperwork and he was ready for class by the beginning of the first semester.
While going to college, he began working with Hispanics at the First Spanish Baptist Church in El Monte, CA as an associate pastor.  At first there were two seperate sermons in the morning: one spoken by him in English to the English-speaking congregation and the other spoken in Spanish to the Spanish-speaking congregation, but eventually they moved to one sermon in Spanish to the whole congregation on Sunday morning and one sermon in English on Sunday night.
When he finished college he went to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California.  While he was in seminary, he was pastor of First Spanish Baptist Church in Hansford, CA.  During their time in California, my grandpa and grandma had their first three children, first my Aunt Audrey in December of '58, then my Uncle Ken in January of '60 and a while later, my Uncle Kerry in November of '63.
After seminary, he took the family to San Antonio, TX for ten months for he and grandma to go to language school.  After this they lived in Las Cruces, NM (where my father was born in March of '70) and then Albuqurque, NM, Atlanta, GA, Salt Lake City, UT, and Anchorage, AK.  Grandpa served as Regional Catalytic Missionary, Language Missions Director, Director of Ethnic Church Growth, Director of Associational Missions, (for both the Salt Lake Baptist association and the Rainbow Canyon Baptist association) and Director of State Missions, respectively.
Grandpa retired in 2002 and moved in with his son Ken in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado.  In 2003 his house was finished, and he and Grandma moved in to their own home not far from Ken's. (though he has since sold it and moved to Longmont, CO)  Since then, he has done missions in New Mexico, had a short stint in Torreon, in the state of Coahuila, Mexico, and spent six weeks in the Arctic Circle in 2004.  He was also the Interim Director of Missions for the Southwest Baptist Association for nine months, and the Interim Director of Missions for the Longs Peak Baptist Association for another nine months after that.  He was the Interim Pastor for First Baptist Kenai for nine months, and is currently the Interim Preacher (not serving the other roles of a pastor) for Canyon Ridge Baptist Church in Bellvue, CO.
My grandpa is now a great-grandpa for the third time, the first time being last July when my cousin Kerrys's daughter Aithne was born, the second when my cousin Chad's son Trystan was born, and the third the day before I called him, January 25th, at the birth of my cousin Connie's daughter Drew.
My grandpa taught me many important life lessons, whether indirectly through my father (who often prefixes his advice to me with "My father told me...") or directly from grandpa himself.  Much of it was advice about girls ("Never date a girl you wouldn't want to marry," for instance) but a lot of it was also helping to instill a passion for God into my dad, who has passed that on to me.
Grandpa likes to spend his time reading, -- he reads the Bible several hours every day, and he also likes to read Louis Lamour, John Grisham and different Christian authors -- watching basketball on television, going on walks, (he walks several miles on days when the weather is nice) and most of all, spending time with grandma.  When grandpa is in a good mood, he often sings old hymns or bluegrass songs, and he likes to tell jokes and humorous stories.
I feel that Grandpa's greatest legacy is his trust in God and his deep desire that all may know Christ.
The view from my grandfather's wrap-around deck is amazing.  Below his house is a valley with a river winding through it, (the fishing is good in that river, and he has caught many fish there) at the far end of the valley is a shining lake -- "Crystal Lake" by name -- that is pretty enough by itself, but is absolutely stunning when the sun reflects off of it.  There are evergreens, short and tall, young and old, on both sides of the valley with small swaths cut through them for dirt roads and houses.
Above his house are several rock outcroppings with dead, gray trees on them; when climbed these outcroppings offer an even better view than that from the deck, and one can see mountains in all directions for many miles.
Looking at the beauty of God's creations surrounding my grandpa's house, one understands why he retired there.

Sunday, April 15


Margins have been on my mind lately. Katie and I had a conversation the other day about our plans for the next twelve months. We're trying to decide how many credit hours I should take next year, among other things; I'm concerned about our margins. I hate being busy, so one of my goals for the next year is to minimize busyness as much as possible. Katie pointed out that no matter how many things we're actually doing, we always manage to let our current tasks expand to fill all available space so that we always feel busy.

Which brings me to margins. How do I set margins and live within them when I feel busy no matter how much I do? The answer, of course, is self-discipline*. Living with margins takes discipline; mostly, it seems it takes the discipline to say 'No.' Yes, the discipline to say 'no' to other people, but mostly the discipline to say 'No' to myself. I would like to think there is some other way to live with margins, but that seems to be what it boils down to. Hopefully, when I learn to have the discipline to say 'no', I will find the freedom to say 'yes'.

*I say this answer is no fun, but life must be more than fun (unfortunately).

Thursday, April 12

On Reading, Writing, the Malaise, and Fantasy Literature

I am currently reading Luke's Gospel, Tolkien's Roverandom, and Rossignol's This Gaming Life. Luke is challenging me, but I'm not sure I'm rising up to the challenge. I like Roverandom so far. It is much more whimsical than Tolkien's other pieces as it is a children's story, even moreso than The Hobbit, in fact. The introduction to This Gaming Life seems to be out to prove a point in defending the value of games by arguing for their ability to sharpen the mental reflexes of gamers and increase their ability to process information from multiple sources simultaneously. That's all well and good, but I look forward to seeing what else he has to say about video games and gamer culture.

I'm considering enrolling in a course on Creative Fiction next semester as an elective, so I've been thinking lately about what kind of fiction I might write. I would like to write about the Malaise, but I'll have to come at it from my own angle. How does one such as me write about the Malaise in a way that people understand? The Malaise, for me, seems to stem out of tasks of mental abstraction. Ironically, some of the things I most love--computers and games--seem to be the triggers for the abstraction of my self from itself. If I want to write about the Malaise, I will have to relate it to those things somehow.

Of course, I could also make an attempt at fantasy literature, as I have had an interest in doing since my childhood. I tend to feel very critical of modern fantasy literature. Tolkien invented the genre and very few have done anything truly original with it since then. For some reason, fantasy novelists seem incapable of separating the genre of fantasy from the epic scale it participates in within Tolkien's literature. My theory is that most fantasy novelists would be better off sticking to smaller adventures, or fantastical travelogues, rather than trying to create their own worlds. Maybe I just feel this way because Fellowship was my favorite of the trilogy and I think a lot can be done with the journey theme, but I also know that Tolkien spent years crafting Middle Earth, and he did it from his viewpoint as a linguist--it seems a little foolhardy for so many authors to try to start where he finished.

Friday, January 13

On How To Relieve Guilt Without Doing Anything of Substance

This morning I went to Wal-Mart to get some lunch foods. As I was leaving I saw an older man standing on a corner by a stop sign on the way out of the parking lot. I turned around and went back to Wal-Mart and bought him a jar of peanut butter, some granola bars, a pack of water bottles, and some plastic utensils. When I brought it to him, I noticed that someone had given him a cup of coffee from McDonald's. He thanked me for what I gave him and I turned around and left without saying much.

I thought to myself as I drove away "I should have prayed for him." Then I did pray for him.

But I don't know if I really helped him. It seems to me that if you really want to do something for a homeless man, you should take him to a home. Let him take a hot shower and a sink where he can make use of basic hygiene tools. Let him sleep in a warm bed and feed him good food. Make him feel welcome and give him some privacy.

I gave him some food that might last him a few days because I felt guilty. Maybe it relieved my guilt a little, but I don't really feel like I did much for him. He's still in the same state I left him in.

Saturday, November 5

Life, Lately

I feel different about life than I ever have before. I am working 25-32 hours each week while also going to all of my classes and doing a full-time students' work-load. It feels like a lot to do, and it is, but I am doing it all so that I can marry a sweet girl that I met a year and a half ago. Even though I'm the busiest I have ever been and should be really stressed out, I really don't mind.

Life with Katie is moving forward as it should. We have found a place to live and have budgeted out our income to ensure we can actually live there. I miss her more when we are apart than I used to, and I appreciate her presence for its own sake in ways I did not before. Unfortunately, I do not get to see her as often as I am accustomed to seeing her because of the times that I work--she works in the mornings and afternoons, and I work almost exclusively in the evenings. After homework is considered, we have practically no overlapping free time. But still, it is not so hard. Maybe this is what Jacob felt like when he was working to marry Rachel--he probably did not see her very often either, if he was working as hard for Laban as I have always imagined him to. Of course, he had to work for 7 years, and I am getting married in less than two months, so I suppose I have the easier deal.

In the meantime, my spiritual development (which was just beginning to blossom this time last month) has come to a dead halt again by nature of my absence of discipline. Of course, it does not help that I am also addicted to a board game and I find myself thinking about it when I wake up in the morning, or even as I drift off to sleep at night; while I find that disturbing, I do not find it as disturbing as you probably do--you must understand, the game in question is really cool.

But even though I feel like my spiritual development has halted, I know that it hasn't. The season of my life right now seems to be one of knowing God's presence without feeling it. Every time I get a paycheck, I thank God for the ways that He is providing for us, and I take comfort in knowing that He is taking care of me. Part of me would like to say that there is some great struggle inside me, but on this matter there is none. God is providing enough for me.

In some sense I feel that I have reached a point of spiritual maturity, but I know that if I were also self-disciplined I would be grounded in the spiritual disciplines. So there is a conflict within me, it is just not an impassioned one. I am comfortable in my spirituality and content to let God do the work of coming close to me, but I am not going through any of the motions that will let me draw closer to Him in turn. I know this is awful, but I don't feel bad when I try to do anything different and fail. God's grace is more than anything I can do, and it is much more than a free ride out of sin.

Put differently, the struggle is this: there is no reason not to memorize Ephesians (a very real goal of mine), and there are many reasons that I should, but I don't need to do so, so I do not. What I need is the self-discipline (or a smack up the side of my head) to do the host of things that I will need to be in the habit of doing later in life. But how do I get self-discipline? There doesn't seem to be a switch in the back of my head labeled "Self Discipline: on/off," because I have tried to flip it a number of times to no avail. Do I wait for God to flip that switch in me? Because I'm already doing that. Here I am again at the same conundrum I have faced over and over again for countless months. God is good though, and He is bigger than my conundrums--that is what keeps me from losing my head.

Monday, August 15

God's Provision Through the Summer

Over the course of this Summer, God has sent constant, material reminders that He is in control, that He cares for me, and that He will provide for my every need.

At the end of the school year I knew that I wanted to stay in Shawnee, but I didn't have a job or a place to live. Per suggestion from my girlfriend, I got a job at the same place as her brother. Around Finals week at school, I mentioned to a friend at church that I needed a place to live and he told me that he had a place up for rent. He gave my roommates and me very cheap rates on it and we got the first half-month free for cleaning the house before we moved in. After about a month at my job, the company sent everyone home while it dealt with some internal legal issues.

The day before I lost my job, I bought an antique ring with a petite diamond and proposed to my girlfriend. She said yes, and now we are getting married at the very end of December; our engagement is probably the biggest "I love you" that God has given me this whole summer.

After I lost my job I was discouraged in my job search, but my fiance encouraged me to keep looking for jobs and pointed me to Freedom Personnel, where I got a job as a garbage man. I worked about 20 hours a week as a garbage man for two or three weeks. I was miserable, and I hated it, but I was (and still am) thankful to God for it because it was a job. With some encouragement (again) from my fiance, I found a temporary job as a Web Developer and IT guy for a local company while their Web Developer was on maternity leave. It was a great job, it paid well, and I learned a lot while I worked there.

After that job ended my landlord offered to pay me to paint the house I was living in because he wants to sell it after we move out. Although this series of odd jobs in rapid succession may not look great on a job history sheet, I do not remember a single week in which I did not have a paying job.

A week ago, my fiance's brother-in-law and sister told us that someone in their church was told by God to give them a car. They weren't sure why God wanted to give them a car at first, but then they realized that they should give it to us. My grandparents moved to Alaska for two years while my grandpa served as an interim pastor there. My family was staying at their house at the time, so they left all their appliances there and bought duplicates while they lived in Alaska. When they returned they had double of everything, so their extras are being passed on to my fiance and I once we get married. My parents were, at one point, going to move into a house with two living rooms so they acquired two sets of nice couches. They ended up in a smaller house with only one living room, so the extra couch set is also going to my fiance and I.

My fiance and I are under no illusions that we won't have to work to provide for our needs, but we are realizing that it is God who really does the providing.
Lord you are good and your mercy endureth forever
People from every nation and tribe
From generation to generation
We worship you
We worship you for who you are
And you are good

Friday, December 10


I read an article recently that blew my mind. I do not think I had ever heard this said before and it turns a lot of things pop-Christians are saying (and things I have been thinking) upside down.

These are the parts that jumped out at me:
All this talk about engaging culture and being missionaries to your culture is a contradiction of terms, and, I believe, is why evangelicals tend to lose sight of the value of art and creativity and why, now, they’re desperately trying to get it back. But as long as this reclaiming of culture is done under the auspices that we have to somehow engage with culture, it’s a long way off.
So, what’s the problem with this view? It has become so pervasive to talk about culture as some thing that Christians are outside of and that we need to interface with, that we miss the obvious: we are a part of culture. Culture is not a freestanding institution that we plug into, rather it is something we create, shape, and move. Certainly there are things about our culture that we don’t like, but we don’t fix culture by creating subcultures, or by engaging culture, but by living inside culture: making art, writing words, playing songs.
... a lot of evangelical theology (until recently) tended to ignore the two thousand years of church history that preceded it, so too does this movement to bring art into the church forget that art has always been a part of the church. And, that is because the church is a major part of culture.
This is why I bristle at statements like this, found in the mission statement of an online Christian magazine: “We oppose our culture, not out of juvenile nonconformity, but out of acceptance of the fact that Christianity is countercultural to a world populated by the half-hearted, the double-minded, and unbelievers.”
We can’t oppose culture! We are culture!...
... Missionaries go to different cultures and, often, their greatest challenge is fitting in to the culture and thus gaining the trust of its participants. There are countless stories of this attempt to engage other cultures going horribly wrong, and egregious acts being committed in the guise of missions. The same is true when Christians imagine that we must engage our own culture. We become hostile outsiders.
Wow! "We can't oppose culture! We are culture!" This throws "in it, not of it" into a new light for me.

P.S. Mark Driscoll is incidental to this post. I have no beef with the guy.