Archives For family

Jesus Peed His Pants!

March 18, 2013 — 2 Comments


Sydney, my eldest child, sat next to me during our community’s worship gathering this weekend. She had a cold and her sister and mom were in with the younger kids. It was just me and her. We sat near the back where she could doodle while she listened to the sermon and where her incessant nose blowing would be less noticeable.

Each week, after the sermon portion of the gathering, we take communion. Sydney and I went up together, knelt, and partook. Back at our seats, I continued to stand and sing. Sydney’s eyes wandered over the walls.

Spaced equally around the sanctuary hung fourteen rectangles of muslin, each with a duct tape cross in the center. Each piece of fabric was decorated differently, some ornate, others simple, some with images, some with words. Together, they make up the fourteen stations of the cross.

I leaned down to her and said, “You can go check those out, if you want.”

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Today we joined a couple dozen folks from Theophilus Church to rake leaves and clean up trash at Grover Cleveland High School in Portland, OR. We spent five hours raking wet leaves, scooping them into bins, and emptying those bins into trucks. And we did all this with our two daughters, 6 and 7 years old.

They were amazing. Sydney, our oldest daughter, grabbed a rake and jumped right in. She absolutely loved making neat piles. That totally fits with her personality. What was astonishing is that she also picked up a lot of those piles and put them into bins and buckets. She is a child who hates being dirty. With one pair of gloves that she had to share with her sister, I am still bewildered that she thrust her hands into the muck without batting an eye.

Rylee quickly tired of raking, but she found her place as a toter of buckets. Whenever we’d fill up one of the plastic containers, she’d muscle it off the ground and carry it over to the truck. One of the guys there would take it, empty it, and hand it back to her. Then she’d run in her little rain boots back to the pile we were working on. 

The girls took breaks to play games of hide-and-seek and to splash around in puddles on the sidewalk. Overall, however, they worked. And they knew why they were working. We were joining our church community to pitch in and serve our neighbors. No one from the school was there. The parents who come for conferences with the teacher next week won’t know that our girls circled that building with giggles and smiles and grubby hands.

As we drove home I found myself hoping that the memories we created today will mean something. By serving as a family, I hope our girls will be able to recall this experience, and others like it, as times when we put our bodies where our beliefs are. That we live our faith in dirty, unextraordinary ways.

The Crooked Mouth?

July 31, 2011 — Leave a comment

Ever wonder why this site is called “The Crooked Mouth”? Well, it is a reference to the origin of my surname, “Campbell”. The consensus among many historians and genealogists is that the Campbell name can be traced back to the Gaelic, “caimbeul” which means “crooked mouth”. It can also mean “curved” or “twisted” mouth. 

When I started this site, I did so under the cover of a pseudonym. You can read more about the reasons that led to that on the “About” page. Even though I was needing to create anonymity on this site, I couldn’t get away from having some sort of link to me. So I chose the site name, “The Crooked Mouth,” as an obscure reference to my real name.

When I think of the image of a crooked mouth, I imagine a wry smile. Indeed “wry” is a good substitute for crooked or twisted. Usually a wry smile is associated with displeasure or condescension. However, it can also be found on the faces of those who recognize the dry humor present in challenging conventionally held beliefs. 

As a follower of Christ, I often find myself with a crooked mouth when talking about the differences between typical American church-going and participation in a community of people earnestly desiring to live out their faith in Christ as Victor and Reconcilier. Rather than become despondant, angry, hopeless, or cynical, I try to keep a smile on my face and press in to the foot of the cross, even if that smile is a rather crooked one. 

I hope that you will continue to enjoy the posts here. For lighter fare, please do check out my blogs on running and on family.

Most wrly,

Anderson “Crooked-Mouth”