Things are never black and white

On our way home from the park yesterday, we ran into an old friend who lives around the corner from us. This friend was standing outside of his house holding a beautiful baby boy. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, and we were so excited to meet his new son. The baby is five months old, and so the conversation very quickly turned to the kind of story-swapping that parents do: is your baby sleeping through the night? How much does he weigh? Does he cry a lot?

It turns out that as far as first time parents go, he’s having a pretty easy time. His son is sleeping great at night, and the little guy has a great temperament. The baby smiled and laughed frequently when we were with him, and I have never seen our friend look happier or more proud. Our neighbor hadn’t seen our two for a while and he was amazed at how big they both were. I am pretty sure that the last time he saw them, Mercy was still mostly bald and Aaron was just a little lump in our Baby Bjorn. As we were getting ready to leave, I told him that if he ever needed a babysitter, I am home a lot and would be happy to take care of his little one.

As we turned onto Kenwood, I marveled at the complexity of the issues in our neighborhood, and at the humanity of them. You see, this friend is one of the young men I talk about who is at the center of much of the criminal activity we see here. The reason he has not seen our kids lately is that he has been incarcerated, and only recently released.

I am going to go through the boxes of Aaron’s clothes that he so quickly outgrew and pick out some outfits to take over this week to our friend. I hope that our family can be a part of this little boy’s life here.


  1. I often read your blog and I always find you comment fascinating and insightful. I look forward to them. Thank you for challenging me in the path you have chosen to walk.

  2. Thanks, Kent. If I am correct, you are the pastor at Naperville Cov.? I used to spend a lot of time out there when I was at North Park because our really close family friends were a part of that congregation (they have since moved back to Seattle). Naperville (and their house in particular) was like my “retreat place” for many years. Blessings to you in your ministry there!

  3. Yup that is me. What church do you and Doug serve? I did the “Covenant” thing and tried to look you up in the “book of life” yearbook but to no avail. You are always welcometo retreat here any time.

  4. Our church is called “Church of the Redeemer”, but the Covenant has it listed under various names at various times. I think one of their listings is “Covenant Church of the Redeemer.” We are a four year old church plant, and our Senior Pastor is Danny Martinez. We serve alongside him on the pastoral team. We are being formally accepted as a Covenant Church this spring at the PSWC annual meeting, so maybe they wait until then to put you in the Book of Life 🙂

  5. Ohhh, you are in the “book of life” page 135, green edition, and you are listed as the chairperson! Impressive, very impressive. They just don’t have you or Doug in the pastoral roll called up yonder. Their loss. I hope the plant thrives and prospers.

  6. Thanks, Kent! Good to know our names are indeed in The Book of Life 🙂

    Danny is the only paid staff person, and I am learning that “the paycheck” is the significant distinction in the Covenant in terms of identifying who the “pastors” are. Our situation doesn’t so much fit that model!

    Thank you for the encouragement!

  7. Were your friends the O’Donnell, the Staubs or the DeGrados? The DeGrados and Staubs went to Seattle area before I arrived in 2000, and Marty and Marcie left shortly after I arrived.

    I love the Covenant, but imagination in the ministry models has never been their forte. That you serve without compensation is awesome. Blessings.

  8. The Staubs. Kathy and Dick are like second parents to me. They are also my daughter’s Godparents. I grew up babysitting their children, and they moved to Chicago my freshman year at North Park, much to my mom and dad’s great relief! They are now back in Seattle at the church I grew up in.

    And I of course know the O’Donnells and the DeGrados also, though it has been a while since I have seen either.

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