Supporting the McKowns

Lynn and Richard McKown — my aunt and uncle — have moved into a new apartment in West Linn with assistance from their renters’ insurance policy. They lost all possessions in the church cottage fire on Monday, August , and are gradually piecing their lives back together. They continue to welcome financial support. Tax deductible donations can be made to the West Linn Lutheran Church community assistance fund, which is the church’s outreach fundraising focus during the month of August. Donations can also be made directly to the “McKown Fire Relief” account at any Wells Fargo branch — please note that these private, direct donations are not tax deductible. 

On behalf of the McKowns, thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Simply a (Really Quite Amazing) Example

What Christianity means to me is… well, complicated isn’t exactly the right word. My views aren’t especially confusing, unclear, or difficult to explain. Perhaps “radical” is a better word. Radical as in “way different than normal”. I’ll write more about that soon.

For now, I just want to share something I saw recently that seemed to gel with my thinking.

I was impressed with the sermon notes my friend Eric Mann posted recently, especially his conclusion:

So today there are really three points you need to remember:

  1. That we were made expressly for the purpose of working
  2. That we were made to do specific good works that were prepared in advance
  3. That we were given the model of Christ to follow as we do these works in the service of others

I trip over #1. I’m skeptical that we “were made expressly” for anything. But! It does seem to me that work is a compulsion most of us have. If we were made for something, it is evidently to work.

I can also quibble with #2. I’m skeptical that some benevolent and detail-oriented deity has a master plan for you and for me. But! I feel compelled to take opportunities to do good works, and I see that is fairly common, and I think it’s remarkable (if not entirely magical) that there is no end of opportunities for us to exercise that compulsion.

But that’s all beside the point. Eric and I may not see eye to eye on my quibbles, but that’s fine with me. I admire him for his ethics, and for preaching them.

Number 3 is spot on. It is one of the tentpoles of my own personal religion.

If that is all Jesus was — nothing metaphysical about it, just a model Really Good Guy — that’s interesting enough for me. The guy was amazing.

One thing at a time

After a fire, replacing one thing at a time.

After a death, we talk about taking one hour at a time. After a fire, we talk about replacing one thing at a time. Whatever the displaced need next to overcome the latest inconvenience becomes our focus for an hour or two.

Men’s shoes, size 10 1/2.
A blouse, business casual and loose.
Woman’s business casual shin-length pants.
A drivers license.
A pre-paid cell phone.
A wallet.
A dog leash and harness.
Dry dog food — brand doesn’t matter.
Another dog leash, this time with a more comfortable handle that lets you control the length.
A spiral stake to anchor the dog’s chain.
A muzzle.
Reading glasses.
Another set of women’s casual business clothes for another work day.

One thing at a time fills the days quickly. That’s a complete list of material needs we’ve had time to address in the three days since the fire. You can imagine the difference two dozen hygiene products from social workers made on Monday.

PS — Thank you everyone for the many offers of help. To be clear, this is not a plea for donations of stuff. We are dealing with needs as they come up. If you are local to West Linn, one way to help now is to join the Meal Train, a schedule of donated meals allowing the family to focus on all the other details. Market of Choice in West Linn is collecting donations. We are currently working with West Linn Lutheran Church to set up an official avenue to provide financial support and will have announcements soon. Please contact me if you would like to receive updates.