The origins of my blog name


Over the past several weeks people have asked me why I chose to name my blog "Broken Stained Glass." So, I thought since its been a year and a half since I last blogged about it I should let you all in on the story.

Originally, I started blogging here. My second post on that blog explained the story behind the name. Here are portions of what I blogged on June 17, 2004 concerning the blog name for all who care to hear:

"[Megan] and I just returned to the United States after leading a short-term mission team from our church community to South Africa and Mozambique. While in Mozambique, we were in a town in the mountains called Manica. One of the most striking images of the entire trip was a building I visited probably half a dozen times throughout the week. At one of the highest points of Manica, sits an old, abandoned, run-down Catholic church building…As you ascend the 100-plus steps to reach the church building, there are twelve small shelters…the stations of the cross… It is impossible to miss seeing this building.

"At one time, I would imagine, the building was magnificently beautiful with towering cupalas, beautiful stained glass windows and carefully carved pews. However, now the exterior white paint is peeling, the weeds are growing high from neglect and the interior is dirty and empty. Stray dogs have used the corners as a bathroom. Pieces of the stained glass windows are broken and lying on the floor. The building was forgotten. I was struck by how the building is both beautiful and broken, even now. It’s brokenness adds to its beauty and its beauty adds to his brokenness. It was magnetic. Many mornings I would rise early and make the fifteen minute walk through town to pray, journal and be quiet in reflection. It was attractive, magnetic, sacred.

"I spent a large amount of time reflecting on why this place was so magnetic to me. I realized that this building was a physical representation of my spiritual calling: I am to be both broken and beautiful. A city on a hill for all the world to see, but not that I may be glorified, but that Christ may be glorified through me. I picked up several pieces of stained glass and began to pray. I am called to be a piece of broken stained glass. I have been created so that beauty is only realized when God works through me, just as stained glass windows are only beautiful when light penetrates through them. Yet my life is filled with brokenness, due to my sin nature… Two shards of glass from the church building in Manica – one blue and one green – sit on my desk as a reminder. This image has stuck for me. It is the metaphor for which I live out my calling.

"It reminded me of the passage in Ephesians 2. Paul uses architectual metaphors for what God is doing in us and for what God was teaching me:

‘Consequently you are no longer foreigners or aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to be come a dwelling place in which God lives by his Spirit (Eph 2:19-22)."

Now, you can probably guess why I named my blog Broken Stained Glass. "