It’s Been a While

Well friends, it’s been a while.

Work busy-ness and other life events (I’ll get to that in a moment) have left me with precious little time to write over the last several weeks. Let’s be real: when I have spare time to read OR to write, I’m going to choose to read every time. I have, thankfully, still been able to read during the past few months, and I’ve encountered a lot of fascinating ideas—everything from rocket science (literally) to the role algorithms play in our lives to the proper way to interpret the weird results of quantum mechanics. Life is calmer now, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to process and engage with these ideas as I get back to writing regularly.

For now, though, I wanted to say a little bit about where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to.

Last week my wife gave birth to our third child, a daughter. A date night to see Captain Marvel turned into timing contractions during the movie, which turned into an excited couple and a midnight trip to the hospital. We got to finish the movie, and baby girl arrived healthy the next morning. All in all, an exciting and deeply fulfilling 12 hours.

We already had 2 small kids, so needless to say life was pretty busy in the lead-up to labor and delivery. I had to set my writing on the back burner for a bit. Instead, we got a nursery ready and dug out the baby clothes. We got our 2 older kids settled into a shared bedroom and started potty training the younger one (still a work in progress). We bought diapers, after much procrastination, and installed a car seat. (Actually I did that in the hospital parking garage after the baby was already born, but who’s keeping track?) We did all the little things that need to get done when a baby is on the way, which take up far more time than you realize, and leave you exhausted—and that’s before the older two jump on your lap and ask for the attention they deserve, too.

In the meantime, I’ve had to confine my contributions to religion and science to getting our kids to church, looking up at the stars with them, and teaching them some early math. Those are the little things that are really the big things, after all. I figure if I focus on teaching my kids to love God and value learning, it’ll be time well spent.

In reflecting on all this, I’ve realized that so much of my reading and writing involves looking ahead to the future. I’m asking what changes might be coming in human life and society and how people of faith might respond and engage with them in a way that’s rooted in the Christian story and promotes love of God and neighbor. My reading and writing are my attempt to wrap my own head around these things and share them with others. Such thinking and writing is an act of service to future generations, providing some guidance either by exploring fruitful ideas or through illuminating some dead ends by my own trial and error. I write to help other Christians anticipate and think through the exciting changes that are coming and indeed, already here, so that people of faith will be prepared and not surprised by them.

But really, the top priority is always to serve those who are closest to me, the ones over whom I have the most influence and responsibility. It’s always above all about the two, now three, little ones in my life who will inherit that future, for good or for ill, and will need to be equipped to live in it with faithfulness and integrity. Their lives will be conditioned by technology in ways that mine will not. It may be that they will be the first generation to see a person land on Mars or even colonize Mars. It may be that their generation will first discover life on other worlds, fly by a distant star, or directly image another planet. Preparing them for that, or even just for plain old life with all its obstacles and delights, is plenty exciting for me. So a deep investment in those two, now three, young lives will always be worthwhile. I can only hope to invest faithfully.

So instead of writing, I’ve been reading Paw Patrol and Spiderman books. I’ve been using a rubber duck and plastic cups to conduct fun “experiments” in the bath tub, illustrating gravity and Archimedes’ principle. I’ve been quizzing my 5 year old on math (he’s getting where he can handle multiplication) and starting to introduce it to my 2 year old as well. And I’ve been reading them Bible stories, praying with them, and taking them to church.

As we settle into a new normal with our third child, I’m going to take up writing again. But it can’t be at the expense of teaching the most important people in my world what it means to enjoy learning and above all to love God and neighbor.

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