Friday, December 17, 2010
My friend Matt took some pictures and videos with his camera, so I'll post some photos when I get them.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
But yet, often the answer is "I do." For some reason the Western world (and now seeping into the Eastern world) is obsessed with celebrity. We desperately need to know how this movie star or that musician is doing at all times of the day. When are they having their baby? Where are they going on vacation? Are they splitting up with their spouse? What did they eat for lunch? When I list out these questions, it seems so silly that we would care about the answers, especially since they are coming from a group of people we have never met. But yet, we are obsessed. We tune in to the newest reality TV show. We purchase the newest celebrity gossip magazine. We follow thousands of random people on Twitter. We talk about these folks as if we are best friends.
Monday, November 29, 2010
The message of Jesus, the message the preacher shares from the pulpit, was always meant to be good news for the world. It is a light, burden-less message that offers freedom, grace, and love to the hearer. This cartoon reminds me of the need to preach good news when I enter the pulpit, fleeing from fear while acknowledging the freedom that comes through Jesus Christ.
HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus
Monday, November 22, 2010
|my car this morning|
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Felix being voted this award marks a turning point in baseball history. Traditionally, the number of wins a pitcher has for that year is one of the primary statistics used in determining the Cy Young winner; but not this year. Felix ended the year with only a 13-12 record, while CC Sabathia had 21 wins and David Price had 19. The difference, however, is that both those pitchers play on significantly better teams that score significantly more runs. Felix plays for the Mariners, who scored the least number of runs of any American League team since the addition of the Designated Hitter position in 1973. LOWEST RUNS SCORED IN 37 YEARS!!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
This past year was a giant disappointment for the Mariners. They were projected by many to have a strong year, and possibly win their division and make it to the playoffs. But instead, they got off to a slow start and never rebounded. Players who had been previously successful suddenly slumped, a team that was supposed to play great defense had more than their share of errors, and a bullpen that was supposed to be incredible was far from good. The only strength on the Mariners' team was their starting pitching, but this was countered by the lowest run-support in the league.
While the Mariners will undoubtedly be rebuilding for the next few years, there is reason, however, for optimism. The Mariners just hired a new coach, Eric Wedge, who has been successful in the past, have a core of young players who are projected to have great success in the future, and have a definitive pitching ace in Felix Hernandez. I regularly follow the blog of a guy named Dave Cameron, who is a brilliant Mariners fan and does great analysis of the team. He has predicted some moves that the team might make in the off-season, and the possible team that the Mariners might field in 2011. Here is the chart that he put together of his best guess at the upcoming moves from the Mariners' front office. You can read the rest of his post HERE.
HT: USS Mariner
Monday, November 1, 2010
The day started with a sense of excited and anticipation, as I was scheduled to preach at the church where I am doing my internship. I had been wrestling with a passage from Isaiah 1 for about a month and it was ready to come out, ready to be birthed to the world. In our church the priest always reads the Gospel passage for the day just prior to the sermon. So as our priest was finishing the passage, I stepped into the fellowship hall, grabbed my Bible, notes, and the music stand I was going to preach from, and stood in the doorway ready for her to welcome me to the front.
But that never happened. Instead, she stepped to the pulpit and began to preach. She had forgotten that I was supposed to preach that Sunday. I was devastated, and slowly slinked back into the fellowship hall, eyes welling up with anger, disappointment, and sadness. I then spent the next 45 minutes hiding from people in the parking lot, bathroom, and Sunday school areas, processing my disappointment over not being able to share my heart, anger at her apparent thoughtlessness, embarrassment that some in the church had most likely noticed me standing in the doorway, and sadness over unfulfilled expectations in my internship. Obviously some of these thoughts were a bit over-reactive in the moment, but at the same time, I continue to be affected by these emotions nearly 24 hours later.
|It went something like this! Ugh!|
The day was partially redeemed by a fun evening watching movies with 2 of my best friends, but I don't think anything could have fixed the horror that was my day. On a day that is supposed to be joyous and fun, I definitely received more trick than treat.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
On Thursday I began a 3-day intensive class on the art of the sermon, with Rob Bell as the professor. While every moment was incredible, I was still exhausted at the end of each day as we spent 27 hours in class during the 3 days.
In addition to the 6 straight days of classes, I had a 4-page paper due on Wednesday and a 5-page paper due on Thursday. I also had my duties at church to tend to, including preparing music for worship and preparing my sermon that I am preaching twice tomorrow. Needless to say, I'm tired. And ready for Sunday afternoon. And heading to bed now before I fall asleep at the keyboard.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Stationed at the tail-end of the Modern period, it is still easy to see Christianity as mere cognitive assent to certain objective truths. Enlightenment mentality has trained our modern, Scientific-Method-minds to rationalize our faith.
If we see anything from the scriptures, however, it is a God who enters into the space and time of human existence (especially through the incarnation of Jesus), participating with us in our lives of faith. Christians must recognize the incredible event that happens when God enters into the human condition and partners with us in redeeming the world. Let us no longer linger in the world of rationalization.
Monday, October 25, 2010
This has been the case for much of my time in seminary as well. While I have learned an incredible amount and am so glad to be able to get my Masters, I still hate school and cannot wait to be done. Lately, however, I have been telling people that I have a different sort of disinterest in school, a new reason I am ready to finish. I'm ready to pastor.
For my first 2 years I was anxious for graduation because I would no longer be told what to read and write and would finally be done with formal, higher education. Now, I find myself ready to be done so that I can finally be a pastor. I'm ready. I'm excited to help shepherd a community of faith toward new life. I'm excited to enter the pulpit weekly with the opportunity of shaping and guiding our group through my words. I can't wait. But I must. Two more years, unfortunately, before this dream will finally become a reality. I hope I can make it.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Of course, part of my hope in writing this post is that I will once again fall into regular routine of blogging. Blogging has been an essential piece of my transformative process, and I hope it continues to be so. Here's to a great year of growth, fun, and abundant life!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
A few months after Laura's funeral, I went to the camping goods store to buy some sunscreen and after about fifteen minutes I left with one of those headaches I only get in the presence of too much consumer choice. On the first floor alone there were hundreds of different kinds of backpacks made of super-space-age bulletproof fabric with special zippers and pouches and solar water purifiers and GPS devices and headlights. I remembered how, when I was a kid, going camping meant we took a blanket to sleep in, and my dad maybe packed some marshmallows.
There seems to be an idea in the contemporary church that following Jesus requires a similar kind of outfitting and preparation. Apparently, Christians can't feed people without a permit from the state, a certificate from the church insurance fund, and a resolution at a denominational convention. You can't teach without audiovisual aids and rooms full of approved Christian gear. You can't touch sick people without 125 hours of supervised clinical instruction and latex gloves. You can't proclaim repentance unless you've been to seminary--and even then it's a bit dicey. And God forbid you should claim authority to act in Jesus' name without a feasibility study, a mission statement, a capital outlay of $10,000, and at least six months of committee meetings.
But ordinary people still hope, suspect, and believe they can be Jesus.
The formulas of religion may be so over familiar that many believers have a hard time acting as if this most surprising narrative is true. They may doubt themselves, and not understand why Jesus trusts us to do his work. They may be sick to death of the institution, tired of propping up a dysfunctional church, and trying to coast by without caring too much. They may, like me, be anxious because there's no way to be Jesus on your own private terms: you have to jump in and do it alongside your Boyfriend's (Jesus) other lovers.
But Jesus is real, and so, praise God, are we. Every single thing the resurrected Jesus does on earth he does through our bodies. You're fed, you're healed, you're forgiven, you're pronounced clean. You're loved, and you're raised from the dead.
Go and do likewise.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Mandy and I are leaving for our cabin in Glacier National Park next Wednesday, where we will be hanging out with both of our families for a week of needed vacation. I can't wait to relax all week, do some hiking and rafting, lay in the hammock, and sit by the campfire. Sounds like heaven. But for now...back to writing.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
So what does evangelism look like as I try to be a person who loves instead of judges, who cares instead of critiques? I'm still trying to figure this question out, but I know it can't be the way its always been.
HT: Naked Pastor
Monday, July 12, 2010
Rev. Jackson has an interesting take on Gilbert's reaction. He says that Gilbert's words were "mean, arrogant, and presumptuous" and that he is treating LeBron like a "runaway slave."
"He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave. This is an owner employee relationship -- between business partners -- and LeBron honored his contract." - Rev. Jesse JacksonWhile I have not given theses words ample time to soak in, I think I initially agree with Jackson. We suffer from a high sense of entitlement here in America, and I feel like this is what is happening here. LeBron was a free agent and had faithfully fulfilled his duties as a Cavaliers employee, so I don't see why he wouldn't be free to make whatever decision he wants. For some reason, though, Gilbert thinks that LeBron owes him some sort of extended loyalty, even though Gilbert recently fired his general manager and head coach. Where is his loyalty?
Saturday, July 10, 2010
- Passed 2 or 3 transvestites on the way to my milkshake.
- Had a car pull up to me seemingly needing directions, only to have the girl say "We're looking for Uranus (you should hear 'your anus')...are we going the right way?"
- Watched a massive dodge-ball game at a park near our home--probably 20-25 people on each team, with many of the players wearing head bands and knee pads...super intense.
- Played basketball with some 'questionable' fellows until about 11:30pm.
- Had the game interrupted at one point because someone across the street had thrown a huge glass bottle full of blood...yes, blood...against the wall.
- Won the game and made my way home.
Friday, July 9, 2010
The Mariners traded to get Lee this past December, thinking it had a shot at the American League West title. These hopes and dreams have sadly passed in the this first half of the season as we are currently sitting at 16 games back in the division...that's right, 16!! On paper, the Mariners should have been good, but the players have simply not played up to either their potential or their career averages. Part of the plan in getting Lee in the offseason was the awareness that if the season was going awry prior to the trade deadline, we could always get a bunch back in return for trading him away.
I think that happened today. Justin Smoak is a 23-year-old, power-hitting first baseman who is suppose to be a stud for years to come. The other 3 prospects are all lighting it up for the Rangers AAA club, so hopefully they will all make a difference for the Mariners in the near future. While I really hope this trade pans out, regardless of whether it does, it is still fun to be cheering for a team who takes some risks and actually appears to want to win. As a die-hard Denver Bronco fan, the Broncos could take some tips from the Mariners in what it looks like to be aggressive in trying to improve your team. I think the Mariners have succeeded in that quest today. Go Ms!!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I'm no different. This last week's weather appears to have brought the official beginning of summer and I have been taking advantage of the sun. Yesterday I spent the day disc golfing and rock climbing, tonight I am going to watch the Mariners play the Yankees, and Saturday I am going out rock climbing again. Life is good here in the summer!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
But the Heat might not be done making moves. Wade, Bosh, and Lebron James are all close friends and have said from the onset of this free agency conversation that they would love to all play together on the same team (and were even willing to take pay cuts to do so). Now with Wade and Bosh in Miami, I fear that James will decide to join them, making Miami an unstoppable force in the NBA and a sure-thing for multiple championships over the coming 5 years.
I sincerely hope he doesn't join them, for my sake and for his own. I think this will make the NBA boring, as one team will have a monopoly on three of the best players in the league. I also think that Lebron will regret this decision later. He cares a lot about being the best player ever in NBA history, as he has been drawing comparisons to Michael Jordan since he was a freshman in high school. If he wins a bunch of titles in Miami, I fear people will always say that he needed Wade and Bosh to win them, not being able to win on his own. I really think this move will tarnish his ultimate reputation in NBA history. Don't do it Lebron. Go play somewhere else and beat these guys. Don't manipulate the system in order to win your rings, because everyone will see through that and not give you the respect you deserve. Don't resort to that way of winning.
Monday, July 5, 2010
"I wanted to say even though it may seem like I am making a big deal about not believing in evolution or an earth billions of years old, I personally think that God can save a person that does believe these things or is maybe not sure or decided about these issues.I can barely believe that there are still people who would make this sort of claim. If you want to hold to a certain belief, fine, but please try not to throw millions of Christians for thousands of years under the proverbial bus so casually. Please try to not sentence millions of people to eternal damnation in one, hap-hazardous statement...it just looks silly, judgmental, ignorant, and unthoughtful. And most of all, it looks incredibly unloving, which is the entire point of the biblical text.
But I am also certain once a person is indeed truly saved, the Bible will truly become that persons authority and not man’s word, and since a true believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who is the spirit of truth will show that person that Genesis is indeed true and that God did create everything in six days and that it was only about 6,000 years ago.
This leads me to believe people that believe in evolution still have a “dead engine” in them and need God to have mercy on them and give them spiritual life, to give them spiritual birth or they will remain dead in their sins and continue to believe man’s word (evolution) instead of God’s word (creationism)." -blog commenter
*You can find the original conversation by clicking HERE.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
"...the emerging paradigm sees the Bible's status as sacred, as "Holy Bible," as the result of a historical process, not as the consequence of its divine origin. The process is known as canonization. The documents that now make up the Bible were not sacred when they were written, but over time were declared to be sacred by ancient Israel and early Christianity...By declaring these writings to be sacred, our spiritual ancestors declared them to be the most important documents they knew" (Borg, The Heart of Christianity, 47).After reading Borg's thoughts, this seemed so obvious. If the sacred-ness of a text does not from the communal affirmation of it through canonization, then any other 'gospel' or writing would need to be seen as sacred too, including the Gnostic Gospels and anything else someone has said "came from God" or "came from the Spirit." This communal affirmation of a text's importance seems to give it much more credence and respect.
Friday, July 2, 2010
But the reason we are all congregating for this holiday is to visit my grandmother, my dad's mom, perhaps for the last time. She has been relatively unhealthy for years but has taken a turn for the worse in the past week and no one really knows how much longer she can continue to fight this illness and pain. A few days ago my aunt was not even sure she would make it through the night. It will be great to be able to see her this weekend and to possibly say goodbye. Closure is always bitter sweet.
Death is new to me. One of my best friends died in a car accident when I was 16, which was incredibly tragic and terribly difficult to handle as a teenager. Other than that, however, I really have not had to deal much with death. I'm beginning to realize as I age, though, that my family will not always be around. I'm learning to treasure them while they are here. I look forward to time with my grandparents over the coming years because I believe I will savor that time more than I ever have before. That said, I pray this is a wonderful weekend with my nuclear and extended family, and that my time with grandma is a blessing to both me and to her.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
The primary importance of blogging for me comes in its ability to craft my vision, allowing me to see the world differently. When I am actively blogging, the world becomes a potential post. Songs I hear preach, movies I watch teach, people I meet transform me. I am a better person. Over the past year, however, my life has become increasingly hectic and busy and blogging has been one thing that has gone by the wayside. This has affected me as a person. I've become too busy to see.
I have noticed this lack of vision lately in my hurried pace and inability to enjoy the journey. I truly believe that life is more about the process than the destination, but I have not lived this out well over the past year. I have been more impatient than ever. My road-rage is worse than ever. I struggle to just 'be,' instead, needing to always be doing something. While this change in my character is disheartening, I am optimistic that I can reclaim what was once important to me. I am optimistic that I can once again walk the streets of Seattle and interact with my city and its people. I am optimistic that I can see again. Lord help me.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of four books, including the widely popular Velvet Elvis. He was also the face of the first segment of short films in the Nooma series. His love for the biblical text, awareness of 1st century and contemporary culture, and unparalleled communication style make him one of the leading voices in the church today. Time Magazine has even gone as far as calling Bell ‘the next Billy Graham.’
For many MHGS students, Bell has been a voice of hope in the midst of personal doubt, questioning of faith, and uncertainty about the future of Christianity. Many of us came to this school out of disillusionment with the church, having been burned by the trappings of religion. We love the church but still desire more for her, and Bell has been a guiding light, helping lead us down paths of reclaiming and restoring her for the good. For me and my wife, at various times of difficulty in our life, Rob has served as my pastor in more ways than any local pastor with which I was in relationship, speaking truth into our lives through weekly podcasted sermons and periodical pilgrimages to his faith community in Michigan.
Bell will be a teaching a class this fall on homiletics, the ‘art of the sermon.’ He hosted a conference in Grand Rapids this past summer called ‘Poets, Prophets, and Preachers,’ where he explored the lost art of preaching for three days with thousands of pastors from across the country and around the globe. I was privileged to be there and will be forever grateful for the immense wisdom he shared with us. I cannot wait for Rob to grace MHGS with his presence and to be able to explore these profound ideas further with my fellow students. What a blessing this course will be.
Monday, June 28, 2010
"A question that these observations raise concerns the profound limitation of the idea that listening to another person’s story will turn a stranger, or even enemy, into a friend. In light of the above there seems to be a problem with this statement, not in terms of its actual claim but rather in its desirability."
Click HERE to find the entire blog post.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
As Mandy and I left that barren, empty, lonely dwelling this evening, we did so with somewhat heavy hearts. We recognized that this last year and a half has been an adventure, a good story, and that as we drove away we were officially ending that tale. It was a good adventure. Donald Miller talks about writing better stories for our lives in his new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He says that the best, most-memorable stories are those that are out of the ordinary, that are a bit unexpected, that are both joyful and painful all wrapped up in one. This was one of those stories. We took a risk. We went out on a limb. People thought we were crazy (or swingers!). But it payed off in the end. Not every day was roses, but the experience was incredibly positive. I don't know if I would do it again, but at the same time, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
Thanks for the adventure Chris, Meggie, Brian, and Nicole...we love you guys!!
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
We at Mars Hill Graduate School quickly develop a new language in our brief time at the school. Within months of enrollment we are all constantly spouting off new words from our new-found vocabulary, one of these words being 'hermeneutics.' Hermeneutics is simply a way of seeing. Traditionally this word has mainly been used to talk about our way of seeing the Bible, often with hard and fast rules about proper biblical interpretation. At MHGS, though, we are less interested in developing prescribed rules for seeing the Bible, and more interested in having our vision crafted in a way where we see everything differently, including the Bible, our community, and the world.
One way that this vision-crafting has happen is through my process of blogging. I began blogging a few years ago with some sort of idea that I had something to offer to the world (which I still believe). I had no idea, though, how much I would be shaped through this writing process. I assumed I would be the one doing the shaping through my insightful thoughts and witty rhetoric, but I quickly realized that I was being transformed far more than I was transforming others. I was being changed.
Blogging has developed within me a heightened sense of awareness to the world around me. When I am consistent and regular in my writing, the world becomes a potential post. In some ways this could compare to a sort of spider-sense (borrowing from the comic world), as I am increasingly and acutely more alert to my surroundings. Each encounter on the bus has potential to teach. Each conversation with a friend is an opportunity for transformation. Each movie I watch or song I hear has potential for deeper understanding. Blogging has helped craft my eyes to better see the world around me. It has altered my hermeneutic. It has changed me forever.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Some people seemingly live life better than others, and Wooden is one of these people. He carried with him each day a card from his father with 7 wonderful pieces of advice for living well. I had read about these rules to live by years ago, but was reminded of them this past week and thought I would pass them along to you. While these might seem a bit cliche, I have a sneaky suspicion that we would all be better people if we adhered to these pieces of wisdom.
- Be true to yourself.
- Help others.
- Make each day your masterpiece.
- Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
- Make friendships a fine art.
- Build a shelter against a rainy day.
- Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings each day.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus
Monday, May 24, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
In about 2 hours I get on a plane for Washington DC and will be there until Monday for a pastor's conference called TransForm. I am incredibly excited about learning from this group of people who passionately care about breathing new life back into the church. Two of the keynote speakers are Brian McLaren and Peter Rollins, both of whom I have an incredible amount of respect for as men, authors, and prophetic voices for the church. I can't wait to hear what they have to say. And to top it off, my friends Jev, Isaac, and I get to hang out with Brian and Pete!!! Awesome!
My return to Seattle on Monday will mark the beginning of my summer term where I will be taking the classes Romans, Leadership, Theology & the Artistic Impulse, and Philosophy II. Should be a good term. I also look forward to being more active in cyberspace, more regularly sharing with you the things I am thinking and dreaming about. And with that, my ride to the airport is here and I must depart. Grace and peace.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus
Monday, March 22, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
During the break between terms I will be spending one of the weekends in Washington D.C. at a pastor's conference. The conference is called TransFORM and is for "pastors, prospective "church planters," or anyone simply interested in finding out more about transformational missional communities of practice." I am incredibly excited about the opportunity. The speakers include Brian McLaren, Peter Rollins, and Tim Conder. I will be going with 3 of my closest friends in the world, so that will be amazing. I have also only ever been to D.C. once, so I am looking forward to taking in a few days as a tourist.
This evening Mandy and I are leaving Seattle for the weekend, heading to Coeur d'Alene, ID, where we are meeting my parents and spending time with some other family members. It will be great to spend time with my parents, aunt and uncle, cousins, and grandmother. I am also excited about this trip because my parents are bringing me my new MacBook that I had sent to them. I have been anxious about getting my new laptop since ordering it a few weeks ago, so tonight is the night.
Well, I think that is all for now. Talk to you all soon.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Mark Driscoll on Hell
Greg Boyd on Hell
HT: Out of Ur
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Bishop N.T. Wright's Thoughts on Hell
John Piper's Thoughts on Hell
HT: Modern Worship
Thursday, March 11, 2010
"God presents himself to us in the history of Jesus Christ as a servant: with that before us it is easy to assume the role of master and begin ordering him around. But God is not a servant to be called into action when we are too tired to do something ourselves, not an expert to be called on when we find we are ill equipped to handle a specialized problem in living. Paul Scherer writes scathingly of people who lobby around in the courts of the almighty for special favors, plucking at his sleeve, pestering him with requests. God is not a buddy we occasionally ask to join us at our convenience or for our diversion. God did not become a servant so that we could order him around but so that we could join him in a redemptive life." (emphasis mine)
Do I even need to say that the bold section is stinking amazing? I doubt it.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
"Worship gives us a workable structure for life...How do we get that framework? Christians go to worship. Week by week we enter the place compactly built, 'to which the tribes ascend,' and get a working definition for life: the way God created us, the way he leads us. We know where we stand."
If worship is meant to give us a 'framework' for life, then just singing a few songs and hearing a little message does not seem as important. Community seems of primary importance if we are to engage our world communally: communal meals, communal scripture reading and interpretation, conversation and dialogue around issues in our world, etc. Notice that all of the traditional elements of worship are still present, but each is undergirded with a focus on relationship and community.
Diversity in worship and fellowship also becomes immensely important if worship is to be a sort of role-play for how we might act in our diverse world. We must recognize the obvious diversity of our world and commit to being people who will bridge gaps and break down walls of separation. We come together in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, education, etc., and offer one another grace and peace as a means of preparing ourselves to offer grace and peace to our world.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
I must admit that I found myself caught up in the hype of the Obama presidential campaign...and I knew better. Now don't get me wrong, I still believe he was the best candidate for the job. I still believe that people like him can begin to right some of the wrongs of this country and world, can move our nation toward justice and equity for all. I still believe that people like Bono and Jeffrey Sachs can move us toward the elimination of global poverty. I still believe that governments and institutions can, and should, be instruments for good in this world. I just can't buy into the hype, though, the empty promises inherent in any kingdom of the world.
I put my trust, rather, in the kingdom of God. I trust that the upside-down way of life that Jesus put on display for the world will ultimately transform this world. I have seen enough to know that by giving up all that I have, I will have so much more, and so will everyone else. I have seen enough to know that loving my enemies and praying for those who persecute me will always result in less bloodshed than a life of seeking revenge and redemption through violence. I have seen enough to know that the way of Jesus Christ is the best possible way of living and that I would give my life to this dangerous, compelling existence any day over an allegiance to even the best possible kingdom of the world. I choose the world of grace.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
It is not difficult in such a world to get a person interested in the message of the gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest...Religion in our time has been captured by the tourist mindset. Religion is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I would say to young people a number of things, and I have only one minute. I would say let them remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do, everyone, our share to redeem the world, in spite of all absurdities, and all the frustrations, and all the disappointment. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to build life as if it were a work of art. You're not a machine. When you're young, start working on this great work of art called your own existence.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
In our culture, we have learned to operate under a paradigm of boundaries. Some people are IN and some people are OUT. We are quick to create rules and regulations about who belongs in Christian fellowship and who does not, about who is saved and who is not. Of course these are unwritten, unspoken rules, but they exist nonetheless. Everyone who is part of the ‘in-group’ knows well who does not belong within the community, who is not invited to the table of communion. Most often, our words will ring strong with inclusive language, yet all can sense the unsaid ‘boundaries of belonging.’
I am reminded of my time as a youth pastor. We used a myriad of inclusive language, strongly emphasizing that everyone belonged and all should feel welcomed in our group, but everyone could sense this was not true. We had one student who was a self-described ‘Goth,’ and it was clear early on in my ministry that this student did not feel welcomed in our ‘normal,’ straight-laced meetings. As much as my words spoke of inclusiveness, our attitudes of exclusivity were clearly seen in this student’s quick departure from our community. He was not welcomed to the table.
We create these divisions out of a spirit of necessity. When you operate within a ‘some are in, some are out’ system, in order to be ‘in,’ some must be ‘out.’ In order to prove our own belonging within the community of faith and the realm of salvation, we must operate within a system where some people are not invited into the life of faith. This way of thinking has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is a place where everyone is welcome at the banquet table, where none are excluded from the table of fellowship. Throughout the gospels Jesus is constantly telling stories where the people who would never be invited into fellowship are the very people who are the honored guests. Jesus continually challenges the assumed ‘boundaries of belonging’ within his own culture, asking his followers to be boundary-less people, welcoming all to the table of communion. I wonder what it would look like for individual Christians and communities of faith to be places where everyone is welcomed, where no one is excluded. Would it be possible to address the unwritten, unspoken rules of our communities in an effort to allow everyone access to the Kingdom? I pray we will have this boldness.
HT: Experience MHGS
Saturday, January 30, 2010
The problem with postmodernism, however, can come in how it is often unwilling to make ANY sort of truth claims. This can seem so wishy-washy, like the postmodern thinker has no real thoughts of their own. The postmodern thinker must find a balance between seeking truth and make truth claims without appearing to have every answer and closing themselves off to learning from others. For a much more intelligent and lengthy conversation on this topic, please check out Richard Dahlstrom's blog post on the subject HERE. Richard is a pastor here in Seattle and is brilliant. His way of talking about the pros and cons of postmodernism are fascinating and very helpful. I strongly encourage you to read his thoughts on this subject and others (great thoughts recently on the Supreme Court decision that corporations should be afforded 1st Amendment rights) at HIS BLOG.
HT: Richard Dahlstrom
Friday, January 29, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
HT: ASBO Jesus
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
"Health and peace begin each day, in every community, with how we treat one another. How we act on the larger stage of human affairs is rooted in the ways we have practiced at home and on the sidewalks and street corners of our communities. We cannot ignore our sister or brother's suffering, we cannot turn away from the stranger in need before us and expect that we will somehow have the knowledge and skills we need to create well-being and lasting security on the national or global level. A peaceful world grows only on the foundation of compassionate community, laid down as generations of humans cultivate and spread the practices of companionship, the art of hospitality, the gift of listening, and the capacity to walk with one another--and especially the stranger--toward a shared well-being."
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Community has always been a gathering of people who get along, who are like-minded. If difference arises, eventually one or both parties will check out and escape to more like-minded groups. It has been a place of trite, surface conversation, where no one really knows anyone and "how are you?" means "hello." Community has been just connected enough to talk about the struggles of those close to you, but not connected enough to talk about your own struggles. My confession is that community has never had anything to do with confession, because that would be far too intimate, risky, and vulnerable.
I would hope more for community. I would hope it to be people who really know each other, who share life, who share things, who share food, who share space, who share tears, who share trials and tribulations, who share joys and celebrations. I would hope it to be ongoing and lasting, not temporary and situational. I would hope it to be full of diversity, where regardless of difference, people can set aside that which divides and sing and dance and laugh and cry and eat and drink and live and love. I need that. The world needs that.
Friday, January 15, 2010
HT: Hilary Golden
Monday, January 4, 2010
HT: Eugene Cho