Dad Died with Dirt on His Hands

Not many of us get to die the way we wished. But my dad did. A man of the earth, he had a great passion for plants, a love for flowers and trees and all manner of flora. He saw the beauty in each of them, the unique promise every one held to make this world just a little brighter, a little more beautiful. He committed the best part of his life to gardening, and though he was gifted at …

My Father Has Gone To Be With the Lord

Yesterday morning my father sent a quick email to ask if he could call me later that evening—he wanted to hear about my experiences in Africa, I’m sure. Yesterday afternoon my sister made a tearful phone call to say that she had found him unconscious and unresponsive. There was nothing she or the paramedics could do—he had very suddenly and unexpectedly gone to be with the Lord. This has come as a terrible shock to the entire family—my mother, the …

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Updates on Life, Health, Travels, and Family

I thought I might break into the regularly-scheduled programming at this site to provide a few updates on what’s going on in my life, vocation, and family. I’ve got a few updates on health, projects, travel, and so on. Health Quite a number of people have asked about my health, and especially about the strange and lingering issues with my hands. That situation is largely unchanged. I continue to try various treatments under the guidance of skilled specialists. Each treatment …

These Have Been Good Days, But Hard Times

Not so well, actually, though I’m truly grateful you asked. I’m not sure if it’s pride or privacy that usually compels me to say “Fine” or “Good” when asked that question, but today I’ll just level with you. “Not so good.” These have been hard days—or maybe better, hard times lived upon lots of good days. I don’t wish to make my life sound tragic. We are just wrapping up our summer, and we enjoyed some tremendous times as family. …

What I Pack In My Spiritual First Aid Kit

Last year, before I set out on my journey round the world, I did a bit of research on the first aid supplies I ought to bring with me. After all, at some points I would be pretty far off the beaten path and pretty far from emergency care. I found all kinds of recommendations and put together a little kit to carry with me. It wasn’t much, but it was only ever meant to tide me over in the …

At the End of a Long Journey

This flight from Kansas City to Toronto is uniquely significant to me. Though on one level it’s just another uncomfortable short-haul flight on another rickety regional jet, it marks the end of a journey that has taken me to the ends of the earth. Almost eighteen months ago I boarded a plane to Israel to mark the beginning of this journey into the history of the Christian faith—a journey I codenamed “EPIC.” It took me to 24 countries across six …

Travel Tips from a Journey Round the World

I spent a lot of last year traveling the world to carry out research for my forthcoming church history project–a project that took me to 24 countries across 6 continents. Now that the travel is winding down, I’m beginning to think about a few of the travel lessons I learned along the way. I decided to jot them down and share them in case they prove helpful to you next time you set out on a journey of your own. …

Desiring the Approval of Others

During a recent trip to China , I was invited to spend some time with some friends who live there. They asked me questions that ranged far and wide, but here they asked me “as a public persona, do you struggle with desiring the approval of others? How do you deal with it?” Here is my answer. Transcript As a public persona, do you struggle with desiring the approval of others? How do you deal with it? No, it’s a …

A Wee Health Update

Hi, everyone. This is Aileen writing today. On behalf of Tim I wanted to let you know that the ongoing issue with the nerves in his arms has flared up badly over the past week. He is also having some issues with his back—we are not sure if the two are directly related although we suspect they are not. What it all means is that Tim can’t type and he also can’t sit at a desk (or anywhere else for …

I Want To Buy Your Cheapest Phone!

A few weeks ago I walked into my local Best Buy, marched up to the counter, and said “I want to buy your cheapest phone.” The guy looked at me quizzically for a moment, then wandered over to the shelf and returned with a box labeled “Polaroid A300.” “Forty-nine bucks. That cheap enough?” “Let’s do it.” Then and there we swapped the SIM card out of my iPhone and popped it into that new flip phone. It hasn’t budged since. …