Thursday, March 27, 2008

downward mobility

I've been thinking a lot about living simpler over the past year. It started by trying to ride my bike to work as much as I could last fall. (And I hope to start again next week if it ever stops raining.) Then a few months ago I saw the video of the Story of Stuff and that kept me thinking about how much we consume and keep buying more and more and more STUFF. It's started to make me sick as I see how much my middle school students are already shaped into never-satisfied consumers. Even Gabriela is passionate about more and more stuff! It's sickening!
So, we had opportunity to downsize and took advantage of it. This used to me my run-around vehicle:
Now THIS is my run-around vehicle!

It's 9 years older and worth about $4000 less but, it uses less gas and still gets me from point A to point B and after all that's what matters isn't it? It's not 4 wheel drive, not cool looking, it won't "turn you on" like the Cadillac commercial wants you to think that a car ought to do, but it runs and it even got me through the 12 inches of snow we had the other week!
Viva el Ford Escort!!!!

trip to PA

Here is Naty's wonderful presentation of our trip to Belleville. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

pictures from Virginia

Naty put together a slide show of our trip to VA. Here it is for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

on the road again

We're traveling again! Gaby and I have our spring break from school so we decided to make good use of the time to travel and visit with some of our dear friends in Virginia and Pennsylvania. We left from Columbus Saturday the 15th at about noon and made our way down though southern Ohio and over the mountains across West Virginia and up to Churchville,VA where we spent the night with George and Betty Yoder our pastor couple here.
Sunday we went to our church in Elkton and shared with the people there during the service and then went out to eat with some of our friends at a Chinese restaurant. After lunch we took Gaby and Marcus up to Massanutten Resort to see the snow and watch people ski. They really wanted to go tubing, but we didn't bring along any good tubing clothes! We then went over to Harrisonburg and met up with our good friend Antonio who has just moved from Columbus to H-burg to work on building several apartment buildings on the east side of town. We had supper with him and another Honduran man that he met who is a Christian and we are hoping that Antonio can get connected with his church or another church here.
Yesterday, Monday, we enjoyed breakfast with George and Betty and then went to the RMH wellness center to join Gaby and Marcus' little friend Loretta (and our "big people friend" Melissa) for her tumbling class. After that we got together with Melissa's hubby Russ at Rockingham New Holland where he works and then all went out for lunch at El Charro Mexican Restaurant. After that we traveled back to George and Betty's to play outside a while and then we went to visit the Leon and Ida Heatwole family in the late afternoon. We had supper with Jake and Bobbi Carper and their two girls Salina and Adria and then headed over to Jill and Obe Hosteters' to spend the night.
This morning after breakfast with Jill and Obe, they needed to leave to go to work, but we decided to stay here at their place and babysit Karla and Ryan, their two kids, instead of having them go to the babysitters. Gaby and Marcus have had great fun playing with them all day and Naty and I have enjoyed having internet access to catch up on E-mailing, pictures and blogging.
We are off to see Dan and Gwen Horning and their family tonight for supper and then will be back at George and Betty's to spend the night.
Tomorrow we are planning to head up the road to PA to see more family and friends there! I'll try to get some pictures posted eventually so you can see some of our fun.

March Update

I try to send out an update "letter" every quarter, so here is what I sent for the beginning of 2008:

P e a c h e y T i m e s

News from Dion, Natacha, Gabriela and Marcus Peachey

Winter 2008 136 Darien Ave. Columbus, OH 43228 614-922-0996 Vol. 2 No. 1

Ending 2007 in Venezuela

We had a wonderful time in Venezuela for Christmas and New Year. Naty and the kids spent an entire month there, from mid-December to mid-January and I joined them for the two weeks around Christmas and New Year.

This was the first trip that we really didn’t do a lot of traveling around the country, but just stayed in Boconó with Naty’s family. Since we have made the decision that we will not be moving to Venezuela in the near future, we were able to focus on enjoying our family and friends instead of travels and plans. It was by far the best trip to Venezuela yet as far as relating to our family. We were able to enjoy our time more than ever and we are now looking forward to Naty’s parents coming to visit us in Columbus for two weeks in April!

Christmas Eve in Boconó. Marcus fell asleep! Gaby and Veronica enjoyed the sparklers.

Kid’s Korner

On February 27, Gabriela had an eye muscle surgery to correct a “lazy eye”. The surgery went well, but they overcorrected her eye so now she is wearing glasses to get both eyes working the way they should. Gaby, as usual, was a very good patient and has been very upbeat throughout the process. She can see better without her glasses now, but she says that she still “sees double” right when she takes her glasses off.

Marcus has turned into quite an articulate talker and is starting to get more interested in reading and writing. He likes to “draw” and color more now as well. The most fun has been helping Daddy with all kinds of chores like fixing the car, running errands and shoveling snow. We had over 14 inches of snow on the weekend of March 8th!

Gaby’s check-up after her surgery

“What are you doing?"

Since we have decided that we will not be moving to Venezuela, many people have been asking us, “What exactly are your plans now?” We really sense that God has called us to keep doing what we have been doing in Columbus. We have been learning so much by being part of Christ’s Church in a much simpler setting and know that we are right where we need to be. Discipling has become our focus as we endeavor to build strong friendships with the people around us and share the Jesus walk with them. We have come to value our friends so much more and are excited to see God’s activity in their lives. We have met several new people over the past month and some of them have joined our church and others are interested.

When we gave Venezuela back to God, we heard him telling us that he is going to use us where we are to reach many more nations by our staying instead of going. He has been fulfilling that promise over the past few months leading us to many people from many places that are looking for Him.

We’ve loved the snow!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Obstacles to Mission

Sorry for my looooooong absence from the blogging world, but I'm finally back.

I started a post about a month ago highlighting points from Deb Hirsch's insightful talk in California and never finished it thanks to a project I had to do at OSU. Now I'm finished with my project so I hope I have more time to do some writing that I actually want to do.

Here are the notes that someone else took of Deb's talk that I got through an E-mail. They are more complete than what I was going to write anyway. You can find them here if you want to download them in Word.

7 Obstacles to Engaging in Mission, Deb Hirsch February 8, 2008 Ontario, CA

The fall away rate for people who continue to be really involved in mission is very high. People get older and become church attendees, but lose their enthusiasm for mission. What's the motivation that keeps me going? "Once I was lost; once I was blind." His grace opened up our eyes. So, when we come together and are tired from ministry, we encourage each other to keep going. It's all about mission and getting out there and helping people find Jesus.

We find obstacles that stop us from being engaged in mission. Some are about external circumstances and some are internal.

7 Obstacles to Engaging in Mission:

1. Distorted view of Jesus. "If your conception of God is radically false then the more devout you are the worse it will be for you. You are opening your soul to be molded by something else. You had much better be an atheist." William Temple

A lot of Christians are trying to find who this person of Jesus is. His heart, life, love, and what He stood for. When our vision is blurred, it mucks up everything else. It's important to go to the Gospels again, and again, and again to encounter Jesus.

I fear that a lot of Christians are not seeing Him clearly. We see Him in our own image. We try to tame Him or domesticate Him. We try to keep Him behind the stain-glass walls. The Jesus of the Gospels was quite unruly. He didn't care much for social graces; often impolite or outright rude. He always seemed to be hanging out with the wrong people at the wrong time in the wrong places. He was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton. We have made Him meek and mild, polite, never offensive, and always at the right place, in the right time, with the right people.

The reality is, He was born in a dirty shed and died on a dirty cross. We have cleaned these images up because they offend us. But when we follow a sanitized, cleaned up Jesus, then we become like that. A lot of Christians look like that: tame, sanitized people who never offend anyone. We become "nice" people. We equate niceness and politeness with holiness.

If we follow a Jesus that does not get his hands dirty, we are not following the real Jesus.

2. Distorted views of self

How we define our self impacts our behavior. If we see our self as a doctor, we are going to care for people in the way that doctors do.

What we think of our self and have been told by others, we act out of. Much of discipleship is to put on the new labels of the true identity that God has for us.

The foundational identity that we need to live out is that we are disciples. Churches are full of Christians, but there are not a lot of disciples. Christians believe, but disciples follow. A sacrificial motif. No sacrifice, no disciple. If we see our self with this identity, we will walk out our purpose: "to go out and be missionaries in the world."

3. Distorted views of others

I started in ministry with a "worm" theology. We are all bad people. We end up focusing on people's negative behavior.

We need a paradigm shift. The primary truth is that people are created in the image of God. Look at other people I encounter and recognize that this person, no matter who it is, in some way reflects my God.

4. Distorted views of love

We are totally saturated in romantic notions of love. Most people can grasp a romantic notion of love. But Christians are called to a sacrificial love.

C.S. Lewis says that self-giving love is the most fundamental of all loves. " For in self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm not only of all creation but of all being. For the Eternal Word also gives Himself in sacrifice."

Romantic notions of love do not cut it in the mission field. It's "fun" to get out there and have a romantic notion of the being out there. But real love is what is needed to sustain mission. "To know love one must know pain."

5. Distorted views of the world

Where you stand determines what you see. We need to make intentional choices about where we stand and what we see. Too many of us keep ourselves cocooned in our safe lives and houses. How can we respond to the needs of the world if we are not out looking for them. To understand the pain of a city, you have to go to where the pain is. We have to move out beyond where we are to see the pain.

We bought a house with five people in a red-light district. Every time I walked out of my house I could see a prostitute on one corner or another. We have to place our self where we can see the needs and the pain or we become lazy.

Jesus did not take Himself away from the needs and the pain. Jesus did take breaks, but He spent most of His time with people's messes.

6. Distorted views about money, consumption, and status

"No one can serve two masters…"

Martin Luther said three conversions were necessary--heart, mind, and wallet. Money has the capacity to ensnare us like nothing else does. Jesus talks more about money than any other topic except the kingdom of God. He knows the power it has to wield over us.

"Money is not neutral but is and of itself… engergized by power It is an idolatry we must be converted from in order to be converted to Him. Money has many of the characteristics of deity: power, omnipresence, security, etc. We attach importance to it far beyond its worth.

For western Christians money is our greatest blindspot.

We have also been seduced by consumerism-- the alternative religion of our day. Sociologists say consumerism has become the "new religion." This is the greatest competitor to Christianity, yet we don't see it because we live amongst it. We have to repent of the idolatry.

7. Distorted views of the family

We have become captive to the construct of the nuclear family (mom and dad and 2.2 kids) as the ideal family structure. We have set this up as an idol. We have ministries based upon this as the ideal.

This is not a biblical notion of family. In fact, nothing like it. This notion of family has only been known for the last 40-50 years with industrialization. Prior to that, people lived much more in a village-type family structure.

The biblical notion of family is very inclusive-- households-- many, many uncles, brothers, sisters, parents.

Family idolatry is a mis-directed form of religious worship.

The kingdom is a big inclusive family.