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Balm for yesterday’s post

July 13, 2008

“For you will not abandon me to the grave nor let your holy one see the Pit.” Psalm 16

That post yesterday stirred up some hard feelings for me and evidently for Alan too. I am not fully healed from the death’s of Mark Palmer and Chad Canipe. I may never fully ‘heal’ if by heal one means to forget or that it has no influence over the present. At the risk of another day of quasi-depression I want to tell the story of meeting and getting to know Chad.

Chad and Renee lived only a couple blocks from me when I first them. I met them ‘by accident’ as I was taking a walk around our neighborhood one Saturday morning and they were having a yard sale. The yard sale was one of the ways they were raising money for a church planting adventure they going on in Seattle. I had really mixed emotions when they told me this. For one i was stoked they were moving to a new city to plant a church. That is always an adventure and a challenge that yields great stories. But i was bummed to realize there was 2 blocks from me a couple with all the gifts and capacities to head off to another city to plant and we were at the time a struggling plant ourselves and would have loved to partner with them. Anyway, that brief introduction was but a tiny blip on my screen. We both mostly forgot about it and moved on.

Then they came back to Cincinnati to work with their college friend Tom Plank on a church plant here. VC had just put up a website and as a designer Chad appreciated that we took time to make it beautiful – thanks to Owen Brock. Put differently, his artist’s soul seemed to resonate with the call we were hearing to make beauty a core part of who we were and are. So we met. He emailed and reminded me of our brief meeting in his front yard. I reciprocated and volleyed an email back and we set up a time to hang and catch up. unfortunately I can’t remember that meeting. I know it happened and likely it was at a Starbucks but the details are lost. The things I remember next are going together to a conference sponsored by the called Seed Stories. This is also where I met Neil Cole and Paul Kaak and started a friendship with them that continues to this day. One conversation from that time stands out among all the others and I even remember what the scene looks like as we were walking across a street in so Cal as it was getting dark. Chad was into weight lifting and so was I (albeit many years prior ie Jr. High school) and we were talking about the spiritual disciplines and how in how in both weight lifting and spiritual disciplines you have to go to ‘failure’ – where you can’t lift or do anymore – if you want to grow muscle/virtue. We talked about the importance of tearing muscles down through lifting and then through rest letting them repair themselves. We talked about the cycle of strain and rest and how that applied to both strength building and character building. In short I had the feeling of finding someone who ‘got it’ and who ‘got me.’ We didn’t have to explain ourselves at every turn. There was an implicit understanding between us since we had similar upbringings, training and passions.

I also remember going to hear him speak at Tom’s church and then getting to know his family afterwards at LaRosas. I have since gotten to know them very well and just a few days ago took his sons out with my son for Pizza (Dewey’s nowadays) and then to Gameworks where his boys rocked skeeball and got plastic prizes that barely made it home before disintegrating.

Anyway, those are my earliest memories of Chad. I miss him everyday. I pray daily (luke 10.2 at 10:02 am every day) that hundreds of others will be raised up to carry on his vision for missional communities. His vision was/is unique and I’ll post about that some other time. Or you can listen to it for yourself. It has shaped and inspired my vision. While others are being raised up to carry on his vision nobody will ever be able to to replace his unique presence while he was with us physically. He is sorely missed…

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2008 4:47 pm

    “go to failure” – that’s good stuff right there. I actually used to lift weights, a loong time ago, and I remember that being explained to me, the tearing of fibers, the building back up in rest. Good memory – solid wisdom for all of us.

    Yes, their passing was a rupture for us, a tearing away. It will never not have effected us. Hopefully, in some odd way, it will be worked into the mixture of all that forms us into HIS Image. My own faith is that both Palmer and Chad are still working with and for us in that, praying for us in ways that they couldn’t in this realm.

    Grace and Peace to you and your family, man. I love you and yours.

  2. July 14, 2008 4:25 am

    peace and joy!

  3. July 14, 2008 1:57 pm

    the pain of missing them is as present with me today as ever. grieving with hope, but the pain remains.

  4. July 14, 2008 11:55 pm

    How strange that you posted this yesterday.

    Yesterday morning I had the privilege of helping serve communion at our Worship Gathering. One of the last people that came through my station looked unbelievably like Chad. As I offered the cup with the words “The blood of Christ, shed for you,” I was overcome with emotion.

    I am among the community of those who still grieve the loss of this brother!

  5. dougie permalink
    July 15, 2008 6:31 pm


    this was such a poignant post…i was thinking about chad yesterday as i got the phone call about the passing of our friend katie reider. it seems like more often than late death seems to consistently find his way crashing our party and causing the music to stop.

    i miss chad, i miss my best friend ‘thumper’ who passed away when he was 16… there are so many i miss. what we should do is begin to miss those that are still with us and spend as much time with them as possible. reminds me… i miss you kev and the good folks at vcc / st.e. i am thinking a guiness and hookah / cigar night should be scheduled. i have some cubans…just give me a shout.

    thanks again for your post…it touched me.

  6. July 23, 2008 5:03 pm

    Chad’s been on my mind a lot the past couple of months. We joined with Chad and Renee to plant the church in Seattle and now, ten years later, we’re launching a similar ministry at the church we’re currently attending. It’s amazing to me how much of the current “trends” (I don’t like that word but it’s the best I can come up with right now) are things Chad was talking about ten years ago. I miss him often, and wonder about how his family is doing. It’s comforting to read your words; it sounds like they are surrounded by people who love them.


  1. A Chad Canipe Moment
  2. A Chad Canipe Moment | Embrace the God LIfe

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