the unleashing of ‘unstained’

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep onself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).

i secured the name for this blog – unstained – about two years ago after reading james 1:27. it was a time in my life when i was struggling mightily with how to reconcile my normal, everyday, middleclass lifestyle (nothing dreadfully sinful – just unengaged day-to-day coasting on auto-pilot in the confines of my office by day and in the comfort of my couch by night) with christ’s call to a not-so-normal, everyday, wartime lifestyle (everything always about the dangerous duty of delighting in christ and being supremely satisfied in him above all things). 

i now know that their is no reconciliation to be found between the two, only complete rejection of the former and consistent risk-taking rejoicing in the latter. but coming to the knowledge of that is one thing; living it out is an altogether different matter. so, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, i settled back into the same old same old and i never started chronicling that journey that i believe we all need to be on if we claim to be followers of christ – the journey from a life that is indistinguishable from the world to a life that is unstained from the world.

that’s what i want to unpack in this blog on many levels and in many ways:

  • what does it mean to be unstained from the world? should we withdraw from society and go live in a cave somewhere? (check out my next post, “unstained ≠ unengaged AND engaged ≠ enmeshed” for how i address this issue.)
  • how is it even possible to really be unstained from the world?
  • what’s so bad about the world anyway?
  • isn’t the american dream based on a judeo-christian ethic that is good?
  • what does all of this mean in terms of how i relate to money and stuff?
  • who am i? why am i here? what’s wrong with the world? how can what is wrong be made right?
  • what is all of this reference to “wartime lifestyle”?
  • what is an unwasted life?
  • how do we fight this battle? where is the battle to be fought?
  • what is risk and how does it come into play in all of this?

a lot has changed in the two years since i secured the name for this blog. since then, for starters, my wife gave birth to our biological son, griffin everett, on march 9, 2007, and on march 31, 2007, i boarded a plane for guangzhou, china to complete the adoption process for our little girl, ainsley xia’an, who is just 11 months older than griffin (you can read more about all of that at our original adoption story website and our current family blog). pretty big changes!

but there are also a lot of things that have not changed in those two years – namely, my restlessness with my risk-less life that looks so much like the rest of the world and my absolute fear of totally wasting my life. there is nothing i fear more.

it is time to unleash ‘unstained’! and i don’t mean just writing about it; i mean living it out in radical decisions that i will be chronicling on this blog. so, follow me on this journey. it won’t be safe. it will likely get ugly from time to time. it will be war. but it will be worth all the risk if i can only say at the end of my life – whether that is next week, next year, next decade, or whenever – “my life was not wasted!” 

and don’t worry…while there is nothing more serious than living an unstained life and not wasting your life, there is also nothing more exciting, adventurous, fun, and happy! “sorrowful yet ALWAYS REJOICING” is how paul put it. and i think that included a lot of laughs along the way! so, we will also have fun and laugh a lot on this blog!   


~ by david on April 22, 2008.

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