So you wanna know the differences between N. Idaho and W. Washington?

2 years ago we moved from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to Bellingham, Washington… and I thought you might enjoy the contrasts. I know we have!

N. Idaho – Republicans Everywhere.
W. Washington – Democrats Everywhere.

W. Washington – Recycle, ReUse, RePurpose everything!
N. Idaho – Don’t bother trying to recycle – it all goes to the same burn pit.

N. Idaho -Most popular vehicle is a Chevy Suburban.
W. Washington -Most popular vehicle is a Toyota Prius.

N. Idaho- 6″ inches of snow… you still have school today
W. Washington – 1/2″ of snow… shuts down the city.

N. Idaho – Homeschoolers everywhere.
W. Washington – same

W. Washington – other ethnicities and cultures are abundant & celebrated.
N. Idaho – you NEVER see 2 minorities on the same day.

N. Idaho – Everyone shoots and kills animals.
W. Washington – Animals have sweaters and ride in purses and strollers.

N. Idaho – Dress code is blue jeans and Carharts.
W. Washington – Dress code is skinny jeans and black frame glasses

N. Idaho – Traffic means you had to wait 45 seconds to turn left onto Hwy 95
W. Washington – Traffic means you’re going to be 45 minutes late today for no apparent reason.

W. Washington – Speeders are from Canada
N. Idaho – Speeders are from Montana

W. Washington – Highest Minimum Wage in the US
N. Idaho – Tips are subtracted from minimum wage server jobs

W. Washington – Bike riders are people who want to be healthy
N. Idaho – Bike riders are people who’ve had their license suspended for DUI

W. Washington -Wolf Lodge is a great place to vacation as a family
N. Idaho –  Wolf Lodge is the best steak house in the area.

N. Idaho –  Deer dart across the road in abject fear.
W. Washington – Deer lounge in the road and look at you like… “Get out of my yard!”

N. Idaho –  4 Seasons: Spring, Summer,Winter, Fall
W. Washington – 2 Seasons: Rain and August

And don’t get me started on the the annual multi-level marketing epidemic that invades N. Idaho every winter like an invasive species; or the fact that in my current city of Bellingham, it’s illegal for stores to put your groceries in plastic bags. I love dolphins too, but seriously people, this is inconvenient!



Texas can’t secede and neither can you.

After the election, you and 125,000 disappointed others signed a petition to secede from the rest of the country. I get it. You are frustrated with the election. You want to live where people reflect your values. You are tired of the constant assault on your belief system. I live in Washington State, where gay marriage and pot smoking were just legalized by the populous. You’re a conservative Christian. I get it. I’m just sick of the conversation.

I wonder how Dietrich Bonhoeffer would respond to our society today. I wonder how Christ followers in Egypt or India would respond to our woeful missives. I’m tired of hearing from Christians that are myopic and egocentric. I just don’t think the conversation plays well with Christ followers in other parts of the world or in other epochs of Christian history. Suffering is part of being a Christ follower. Not that I love suffering, or look for it, but it’s usually part of the deal.

So why choose suffering when we don’t have to?
Suffering produces a strong faith.

Why aren’t we more missional as Christ followers today? It’s as if we’ve forgotten what we’re here for. We are to be light in the darkness. Have you ever been in a cave? A place where it was so dark that when you held your hand in front of your face you could not see it? Even the smallest light shines brightly in the darkest places. In fact, one could argue that a light in a well lit area remains unseen.

Have we bought into the lie that we are here to create Heaven here on earth? Disappointment comes from unmet expectations. Said another way, disappointment comes from unrealistic expectations. Did Jesus come so that we could be comfortable? Did Jesus die so that we could create our own little slice of heaven here on earth? Were we promised a life from pain and conflict where we live in idyllic subdivisions that reek of Stepford?

Has our #1 value become the “pursuit of happiness?”
Have we become mere acquaintances of Christ instead of disciples?

You can move to the woods in Idaho or the suburbs of Dallas but sin and pain will still find you there. It is a misnomer to think that you can create a little utopia for you and your family anywhere on earth. And if you could, what kind of faith would develop in your life and that of your children? What is life without challenge? What is faith without challenge? It’s the wind that creates strong roots. Faith that is not challenged remains inert. Inactive. Look at the stories of faith that we admire and teach to our children… Joseph, Daniel, Peter; people who’s faith rose above their circumstances. And our heroes of faith from recent days: Corrie Ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Elliot. Would we have seen their unquenchable faith in happier settings?

Your faith does not need to be coddled. On the contrary, faith thrives in hard places. In fact, one could argue that faith’s light needs the dark to be seen.

Embrace the challenge. You are stronger than you think.
Your faith will thank you.

There may be good reasons to move to Texas or the mountains of Idaho: your health, the weather, a weapons friendly environment… But finding a safe place for your families’ faith isn’t one of them.


2012 Blogstats for

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for which began August 28, 2012.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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