Friday, December 17, 2010

Time in the Trash Leads to Time in the Snow

For those who didn't know, I've taken up a new hobby in the last year...dumpster diving. Now I'm not some crazy hippie who's getting his food and clothes out of the trash, but I am searching for outdoor gear. A friend told me about a few dumpsters behind outdoor supply companies where they had scavenged for some sweet deals, so my friends and I have been doing the same. We haven't been incredibly successful, but the one thing that we have been able to get is snowshoes. So far we have garnered 5 sets of snowshoes from one specific dumpster--all of which are in good, working order.

Yesterday we finally had the chance to try out our find. I had never been snowshoeing, so it was quite the adventure. We found a good trail in Snoqualmie Pass and spent about 3 hours in the woods, covering 5-6 miles. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. Snowshoeing is a great workout and it was nice to get outside and enjoy nature during this depressing rainy season here in Seattle, but it was also really fun. The best part was finding little cliffs or downed trees that we could jump off of into feet of powdery snow. While I would still prefer skiing to snowshoeing, snowshoeing is a much more affordable option. I look forward to more snowshoeing trips throughout this winter season.

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

Our Strange Celebrity Fetish

I was just watching the news while eating my lunch and was reminded of America's odd fascination with celebrities. A caption flashed on the screen that there was a "breaking news story." I assumed it would be news of some large-scale, world-wide event, but was shocked to find out that they were simply announcing a new reality TV show on teenage mothers that will air on MTV. Wow!! Great news!! Who cares?!?

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.

I wonder if we are so fascinated with celebrity because we have often failed to build strong, healthy, real-life relationships. Few of us are really interested in getting to know others in an honest and intimate way, and even fewer of us are willing to be vulnerable with our friends in allowing them to know us on the deepest level. My opinion is that if we were actually courageous enough to bare our souls to our friends, we would realize the abundance of life that comes through these intimate friendships, and would no longer be interested in trite, pseudo-relationships with celebrities. May we have the courage to bare our souls to others, and the curiosity to allow others to be bare before us.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Harsh Prophetic Criticism

Obviously this cartoon is extreme hyberbole, but there seems to be a bit of truth here in this message. There are plenty of pastors preaching similar messages on Sunday mornings, messages of terrible news rather than good news.

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

I Thought This Was Seattle??

my car this morning
In rare Seattle fashion, we are in the midst of a snow storm. Its quite funny when Seattle gets snow, because people freak out like its the end of the world. At the first site of flakes, many schools and workplaces are almost instantly closed. Mandy's work has closed already. My school is closing at 6pm. Seattle Public Schools closed hours ago. All over a little bit of snow that isn't even staying on the ground. Quite comical.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Congrats Felix!!

Seattle sports fans finally have something to cheer about. Felix Hernandez has won the American League Cy Young Award. This award is given out to the best pitcher in the league for that year. In the midst of a terrible year of baseball for the Seattle Mariners, 'King' Felix was the lone bright spot. Each time he took the mound, he offered the team and the fans a chance at victory. For that, we are incredibly grateful.

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!!

Meanwhile, Felix dominated in nearly every other statistical category for pitchers. He pitched the most innings of anyone, had the lowest ERA, and was second in strike outs. He also led the league in 3 or 4 other more complicated (yet quite important) statistical categories. He deserved to win this award, and in doing so, we have seen that the voters are no longer stuck in their traditional thoughts of merely basing their votes on the win-loss record. Thanks for making history, Felix. You earned this award. Thanks for giving us Mariner fans something to cheer about and a reason to show up at the ballpark.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

So Funny...Hilarious Quote


"When you look like I do, 
its hard to get a table for one at Chuck e Cheese." 

- Zach Galifianakis, 
in his comedy video  
Live at the Purple Onion

Saturday, November 6, 2010

An Important Off-Season

To my surprise, moving to Seattle quickly transformed me into a Mariners fan. I previously had no baseball team that I actively followed, so I guess I should have seen it coming. But I didn't. And my fan-dom continues to grow each year.

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

More Trick than Treat

Yesterday was Halloween, a traditionally festive day of fun and celebration. And it had a bit of that. But mostly, it sucked.

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!
My day quickly improved through a great second worship service and some mountain biking on a beautiful Seattle day. But the day didn't stay good for long. As I was returning from mountain biking, I drove straight into our parking area with my bike on our roof rack and ripped the entire roof rack off the car. I was listening to the radio and hurrying to go hang out with some friends and simply forgot that my bike was on the roof. While my bike is fine and most of the roof rack is not damaged, the car has some scratches and scuffs and I will have to replace some parts of the roof rack before it can be used again. So frustrating.

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

Craziest Week in a While

The title probably speaks for itself, but this last week has been INSANE!! And I don't say that very often. But this week truly was the busiest week I've personally had in over a year. It started in normal fashion, with my typical schedule of work on Monday morning and then one class per day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But that's where the normality stopped.

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

A Participatory Faith

"Christianity is not an intellectual system, a collection of dogmas, or a moralism. Christianity is instead an encounter, a love story; it is an event." - Pope Benedict XVI

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

A Different Sort of Dis-Interest

It's no secret to those who know me well that I am not a great student. Never have been. Never will be. I procrastinate terribly, even to the point of turning in assignments late. I rarely read what is assigned. I struggle to be interested.

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

The Ease of Narrow-Mindedness

This cartoon once again reminded me of how easy it is to put on the blinders and fail to see anything but what I want to see. These are encouraging thoughts to open my heart and mind toward learning from others, even if they are people with whom I might normally disagree.

HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home

As you may have noticed, I have been absent from this site for quite some time now. It isn't that I've been purposely neglectful of my blogging desires, but simply that I have been out of town. I was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for 10 days, was home doing laundry for about 4 hours, and then whisked away to Raleigh, North Carolina for another 4 days. Needless to say, while both trips were incredibly fun, I was glad to finally be home in Seattle.

I was in Sioux Falls for the wedding of my best friend, David. He had been in Africa all summer, so it was great to finally see him again and to stand beside him as he married Michelle. What a blessing! It was also great to see my great friend Nate, as I stayed with him and his wife all week. We don't see our friends from Sioux Falls very often, so it was nice to have some time with a group of folks who have been highly influential in my life.

I was in North Carolina for a conference called Big Tent Christianity. Many of my favorite authors were speaking there, including Brian McLaren, Peter Rollins, Phyllis Tickle, Greg Boyd, Shane Claiborne, Tim Conder, and many many more. These authors have helped shape my life and worldview immensely over the past 5 years, and it was incredible to have them all together at one conference. It was also great to travel with my friends Matt and Jev and to get to visit the Duke campus (including Cameron Indoor Stadium). As a lifelong Duke basketball fan, my pilgrimage to Krzyzewskiville and Coach K Court was quite memorable.

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 Wonderfully Refreshing & Encouraging Read

The following are the concluding words of Sara Miles' book Jesus Freak. These words serve as a helpful synopsis of the book and a gracious reminder for me to make my faith practical and not simply theoretical. Enjoy:
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

Boring Certainty vs. The Adventurous Unknown

To risk is frightening. To wonder and dream is freaky. To go out on a limb takes total commitment. And most of us aren't willing to go that far. Following Jesus asks everything of us, while religion often merely pacifies us into routine. Following Jesus might get us killed, while religion might even help us get elected into office. Oh that we would all be willing to take the grand risk that comes with following Christ, daring to move past the routine of religious duty into the radical freedom that Jesus offers us and others as we willingly (or even unwillingly) take up our cross and follow.

"...As Jesus teaches, it's easy to be threatened by the reality of the complicated, messy, syncretic, God-bearing truth that becomes incarnate among us and makes things new. We'd rather have a dead religion than a living God."
- Sara Miles, Jesus Freak

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Few More Days & I'm Done

After quickly glancing at my latest blog post, I am realizing that this will now be 2 straight posts where I am informing you as to my insane amount of writing I have to do before an impending deadline. By Tuesday I need to have another 5500 words written for my class on the book of Romans. Once this one major research paper and 3 small reflection papers are written I will officially be finished with my second year of seminary.

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

Be Back Next Week

Just when I had redeveloped a rhythm of blogging regularly, life happened! I'm busy finishing up all my papers from this summer term, so I have barely had time to breathe, let along blog, this week. Just to give you a little perspective...I've got 4100 words due tomorrow at 5pm. I've got about 3000 down, but still have a ways to go tonight and tomorrow to finish by the deadline. Wish me luck. Talk to you soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The American Lifestyle

This basically sums up most Americans...unfortunately. Here's to living simply!

HT:  Naked Pastor

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Helpful Documentary

The following is a short documentary on the prosperity gospel and how it is taking root in Africa in an unhealthy way.

HT: Christian Nightmares

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thought I'd Let You Know

Found out these important dates today, so looks like we have about 9 months to get our things in order and ensure we don't get 'left behind.'

HT:  Christian Nightmares

I Fear This Is Us

Evangelism is such a tough arena to navigate for me. I still believe in it. I still see it as important. I still believe that we have a story worth telling. But I've seen evangelism hurt people. I've seen it be done to make the evangelizer feel better about themselves. I've see it done for selfish purposes. 

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

LeBron as a "Runaway Slave"?

Often when Rev. Jesse Jackson makes a public statement it simply seems like he has an axe to grind, but his thoughts on LeBron James have me intrigued. In the wake of James' decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat, the owner of the Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert, lashed out at LeBron verbally, calling his decision "cowardly" and saying that everyone was finally seeing "who he really is." I was shocked when I heard Gilbert's words as he was incredibly mean and judgmental of LeBron for his decision.

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 Jackson
While 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

Craziness of the City

I love living in the city. I love that there is always something going on. I love how diverse your life can be. With Mandy out of town this week, I found myself a little bored on a Friday night and decided to walk to a hamburger stand nearby us to get a milkshake. I had no idea how the next few hours would unfold. Here's how it went:
  1. Passed 2 or 3 transvestites on the way to my milkshake.
  2. 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?"
  3. 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.
  4. Played basketball with some 'questionable' fellows until about 11:30pm.
  5. 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.
  6. Won the game and made my way home.
So that was my night. Completely random. Completely unpredictable. Completely spontaneous. And it was great. I love living in the city!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Big Mariner Trade

Today was a big day for the Seattle Mariners as we traded our Cy Young pitcher Cliff Lee to the Texas Ranger for Justin Smoak and 3 other prospects. While I am sad to see Lee traded because he has been so good for us and a true joy to watch pitch every five days, this was something that simply needed to be done.

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

The Trump Card

"And because Christians find the ultimate disclosure of God in a person and not in a book, Jesus is more central than the Bible. Jesus trumps the Bible; when they disagree, Jesus wins."
- Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity

Enjoying the Sun

Living in Seattle, you learn to appreciate the sun. With so much rain throughout the winter months, the summer here brings a new-found excitement throughout the city, with everyone clambering to parks and beaches to soak in the good weather.

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

Don't Join Them, Lebron

I don't write much about sports on here, but I am an avid sports fan and simply could not avoid writing about the recent NBA news. This offseason has been incredibly hyped for over two years because there are an immense amount of highly talented free agents on the market, including Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire, and many many more. NBA teams have been clearing room in their salaries for over a year now just to be able to sign some of these players. Some teams even traded away their own talented player last offseason (basically forfeiting any chance of being good this last year) in order to be able to sign one or more of these mega-stars this year.

And now the much-anticipated 2010 free agency period has begun with a bang. Amare Stoudemire signed with the New York Knicks yesterday in a deal that makes the Knicks much better immediately. The biggest story so far, though, came this morning when Dwayne Wade decided to re-sign with his previous team, the Miami Heat, and Chris Bosh decided to join Wade in South Beach. This decision, I believe, instantly makes Miami the favorite in the Eastern Conference to make it to the NBA Finals this next year.

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

Essential-ing the Non-Essentials

I was just reading a blog discussion/debate on creation vs. evolution and came across the following quote in the comment section of the blog. Bear in mind that the blogger's entire point of his post was to say that this issue is not really essential to the Christian faith and that it is easy to get bogged down in the non-essentials of Scripture and fail to fall in love with the God in which the text refers.
"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.

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
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 just looks silly, judgmental, ignorant, and unthoughtful. And most of all, it looks incredibly unloving, which is the entire point of the biblical text.

*You can find the original conversation by clicking HERE

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Bible as Sacred Scripture

Often postmodern Christians (whatever that really means anyway) get accused of not taking the Bible seriously, as sacred. I would strongly disagree though. My experience with the emerging church movement has been one of intense love and respect for the biblical text, just not for the traditional biblical inerrancy that is prevalent in modern Christianity. Marcus Borg says it this way:
"...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

Ambivalence About the Weekend

I get to see my family this weekend. This rarely it should be good...and it is...and it isn't. It will be great to spend the 4th of July weekend with my parents, my sister, and my niece in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. I have not seen my niece, Abby, since Christmas and she is at an age where she will be completely different now than she was fun!

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

Too Busy To See

As I said in my recent post on the importance of blogging, I fully intend to work my way back into a regular rhythm of blogging throughout this summer and coming school year. I love blogging. I began this online journal a few years back assuming it would be a fad, not something that would last. Blogging, however, quickly became a highly spiritual activity for me, and one that I am not ready to let dissipate into non-existence.

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

Rob Bell Teaching at MHGS

*I originally wrote this post for my school's Experience.MHGS blog. I bring it here to let you know of my incredible excited about Rob Bell coming to teach this fall.

When Rob Bell visited Mars Hill Graduate School in January while in Seattle for his ‘Drops Like Stars Tour,’ he created quite a buzz around campus. When it was announced a week later that he would be teaching a class at our fair institution in the near future, excitement and anticipation erupted within the MHGS community. Needless to say, Rob Bell is highly respected at our school, myself included. He’s sort of a big deal!

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

Tricking Ourselves into Passivity

Over the past few years a number of theologians and writers have had drastic impacts on my life. One of those thinkers is Peter Rollins. Rollins is the founder of the iKon community in Belfast, Northern Ireland and is the author of three books, including How (Not) to Speak of God. I strongly encourage you to follow his blog and check out his books. He recently wrote a blog post called "Mobsters, Paramilitaries, Children's Books and the Refusal to be Someone's Friend" that is incredibly insightful. He asks the reader to consider the ways that we perpetuate oppressive systems by our desire to befriend the individuals within that system. I appreciate Peter's willingness to make the reader think about whether we ought to take bolder stances against these abusive, systemic evils. Here is a brief snippet of his thoughts:

"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

The Closing of a Chapter

Today marked a somewhat official end of the previous chapter of our lives. For the past year and a half my wife and I have been living in intentional community with 2 other married couples. While we had moved out about 2 weeks ago, we spent today cleaning the old house and getting all of our final possessions moved to our new apartment.

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

Caution Often Needed

Unfortunately this is often true, that caution is needed when approaching some churches. May the church continue to move toward being good news to the world and not bad.

HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blogging My Way to Spidey-Sense

*Note: the coming weeks will bring a number of posts about my lack of blogging over the past year, why it has happened, and how I intend to return to this rhythm of life that was once so important to me. I thought I would begin this return to blogging, however, with a post that has been a long-time-coming about why I see blogging as so important.

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

Life Lessons from John Wooden

This past week marked the passing of John Wooden, the greatest college basketball coach of all-time, perhaps the great coach of any sport. As an avid sports fan and someone who grew up playing basketball, Wooden has always been someone I greatly respect. As a coach he won 10 NCAA National Championships in a 12 year span, a feat that no one else has come close to reaching. As a human, though, Wooden greatly inspired the people he was in relationship with, helping everyone and anyone through life transformation.

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.
  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Help others.
  3. Make each day your masterpiece.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  5. Make friendships a fine art.
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  7. Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings each day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kids Don't Deserve This

I regrettably report that during my time in youth ministry, I sometimes felt like this was the cry of the students I was working with. Unfortunately they often get forced to the margins in our churches and treated as nuisances. I hope we can see our youth as more than trouble makers who need to behave.

HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

Monday, May 24, 2010

Christianity as Ir/religious

"Christianity finds its radical message as a religion without religion. Christianity grounds us and yet invites us to gaze beyond its walls. As we attempt to understand our faith, we will develop ideas and practices that help us. Yet the point is that we must always be ready to critique these ideas and practices, for they are forever provisional. To display our fidelity to them we must always be ready to betray them."

-Peter Rollins, The Fidelity of Betrayal, pg. 133

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Be Back Soon

Hey everyone (the few of you who actually check in here). I realize its been forever since I've written on here and I am finding myself missing the blogosphere. The last few weeks have been amazing as I am on a break from school between my spring and summer terms. I've been rock climbing, disc golfing, camping, mountain biking, and all-in-all just loving sorry if I haven't found myself to the computer too often.

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

Funny Pics

"This was my Christmas card to Americans one year." -Jesus
"So what are we doing today? A trim? Maybe a few highlights... you need a change, girl." -Jesus

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Typical Christian Outreach

Some churches are good at reaching out to the world with acts of social justice, but very few do this outreach without strings attached. We tend to think that we also need to share the "gospel," but fail to realize that this act of justice actually IS the gospel, not just some presentation of the 'Four Spiritual Laws' or the 'Romans Road.' May we be people who act compassionately and generously just because it blesses the world not just so that we might have a chance at evangelizing.

HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

Monday, March 22, 2010

The "Paralysis of Polarity"

I just read a helpful blog post from a pastor here in Seattle named Richard Dahlstrom. Enjoy these thoughts on the "Paralysis of Polarity":

"Sunday afternoon watching the best Ice Hockey game ever (and I’ve seen many), I posted a tongue and cheek comment on my facebook page, indicating that Canada had both the gold medal and health care. The comments that ensued were a reminder that Christians are as deeply divided and entrenched on this issue as everyone else. We’re red Christians and blue Christians – big government Christians, and small government Christians, and we’re good at pushing each other’s buttons. I’m pretty certain though, when the comments were done being posted, nobody had changed their minds, or changed anyone else’s mind either. Perhaps the only thing that happened was a little bit of grace and charity was lost. All this leaves me wondering if there’s value in the dialogues between blue and red Christians. I think there can be, but only to the extent we hold these truths to be self-evident:"

A Growing Awareness of Me

"Whatever I don’t like in somebody else is something I don’t like in myself. I’ll go to the bank on that every time."

~O'Donnell Day

HT: Hilary Golden

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Brief Update on Me

I've been trying to get back into the rhythm of blogging regularly lately, but have not told you all much about what is going on in my life. So I thought I would share a couple quick details. This semester has been incredibly busy and hard as I had 5 classes up until a few weeks ago, but still have 4 classes each week...and one of them is Greek. Last semester I only had 3 classes each week, so this has been a tough term. I can see the end of the tunnel, however, as the end of spring semester is April 14, followed by a 2 week break. That break will be much needed, and then the summer semester to follow will be much more relaxed than my current term.

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

A Hell (of a) Series...Pt. 3

I thought this post might be the conclusion of this series, but it may not be after all. Here are 2 more videos about hell for you to watch. The next few posts on hell will be my own thoughts. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go down that path on here, but I think I will. Hell is such a controversial subject that I find myself vulnerable and exposed when sharing my opinion. Hopefully you are gracious people. Look for those posts in the near future.

Mark Driscoll on Hell

Greg Boyd on Hell

HT: Out of Ur

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Hell (of a) Series...Pt. 2

Here is part 2 of the series on hell as promised. Enjoy 2 more videos on the difficult subject.

Tim Keller on Hell

Erwin McManus on Hell

HT: Out of Ur

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Hell (of a) Series...Pt. 1

The website Out of Ur recently did a series on hell where they included six different videos from six different theologians with thoughts on the controversial subject. I found each video interesting at worst, and helpful at best, so I thought I would share these theological snippets with you. I definitely find myself resonating with a few of these speakers more than the rest (if you know me and my theology you may be able to figure out which ones), but this does seem like a fair representation of many sides of this issue. I will divide this series into three different posts, offering two videos for each post. I will be listing the videos in the order that Out of Ur listed them, so these are in no specific order and are not necessarily listed based on my agreement with the opinion. Enjoy!

Bishop N.T. Wright's Thoughts on Hell

John Piper's Thoughts on Hell

HT: Modern Worship

Thursday, March 11, 2010

God as Anti-Puppet

Beautiful thoughts from Eugene Peterson in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction...again:

"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

A Framework for Life

"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."
-Eugene Peterson
I agree. But the way I have always worshipped has failed to give me much of a framework for living life in the world. If anything, my worship experiences have sheltered me in the illusion of safety and security, making me timid about engaging the 'dangerous' world. If anything, my worship experiences having given me a new set of language that makes me incapable of conversing with the very people I am called to 'neighbor.'

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

Worst Worship Ever

I came across this video of worship today and was laughing from the first second. weird!

HT: Jesus Needs New PR

Monday, February 22, 2010

Life in the Two Kingdoms

"A person has to be thoroughly disgusted with the way things are to find the motivation to set out on the Christian way. As long as we think the next election might eliminate crime and establish justice or another scientific breakthrough might save the environment or another pay raise might push us over the edge of anxiety to a life of tranquility, we are not likely to risk the arduous uncertainties of the life of faith. A person has to get fed up with the ways of the world before he, before she, acquires an appetite for the world of grace."
~Eugene Peterson

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

A New Read

I have just embarked on a new book and already find myself needing to stop and blog about its importance. We were tasked (for a class) with reading and reporting on a spiritual classic. For some reason, however, we were allowed to read Eugene Peterson (I would think the author would at least need to cease breathing before they can be a 'classic'...but I digress). I have always heard great things about Peterson's book "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction," so I have cracked its cover this evening. So far it is amazing. I am sure I will be blogging about it and including quotes for the next few weeks, so I hope you can enjoy it with me. Here's one quote to get us started:
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

The Art of Existence

Rob Bell used this quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel tonight at the Seattle leg of his Drops Like Stars Tour. I thought it was SO meaningful as I think about what sort of life I want to be living. The last three sentences blew my mind. Enjoy!
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

Who's Welcome at the Table?

The follow is a post I wrote for my seminary's blog. I am one of the new editors of the site so I will be writing for them as well as on here. You can visit the MHGS blog HERE.


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

You Can't Just Say Nothing

While the concept has been met with a good deal of hesitancy and criticism, especially in the Christian realm, I don't mind being labeled as 'postmodern.' Postmodernism, in reaction to the 500 previous years of Modernism, has ushered in the beginnings of a new way of being in the world, a posture less consumed with having all the answers and more interested in conversation and mutuality with others. Postmodernism assumes that 'we' (this can be any group 'I' am a part of, including Christianity) do not have a stranglehold on the truth and that there is much to be learned from 'them.'

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

A New Gig

Since beginning as a student at Mars Hill Graduate School I have been interested in finding my niche at the school, the place where my interests and abilities can best serve and be utilized by the school. There are plenty of ways to be involved in areas like student council, but that has never really interested me.

Recently, however, a great opportunity finally arose. I was contacted by the editor of our school's blog and asked if I would volunteer my time as a co-editor of the site. He had seen my own blog and had asked me to write a post for the school's site once before, and was interested in my services in this role. I jumped at the opportunity.

My responsibilities in this role will be to write posts for the site (maybe once every week or 2) and find other students and faculty to write for the site. Already I have become more aware of the things people are saying and writing in classes, asking them to write posts for me based on their thoughts. Many of the posts I write for the MHGS site will also be included here on this blog, but please visit this other blog HERE.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great Thought from Anne Lamott

"You can tell you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."
~Anne Lamott

Monday, January 25, 2010

Harsh Words Against Passive Faith

I debated about whether to post this picture on here because of its more personal nature. I'm not one who typically supports the belittling of others, especially other pastors, and this cartoon would be especially controversial here in Seattle because Mark Discoll happens to pastor here. While I do agree with the cartoon, one could easily substitute 'Driscoll' with most Christians, as most of us claim to want to help but usually fail to offer any real support. I hope this cartoon serves less as a criticism of one individual and more of a critique of Christianity as a whole.

HT: ASBO Jesus

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thoughts on Health & Peace

We are talking about war tomorrow in my 'Essential Community' class and were required to read a chapter of a book by Craig Rennebohm called Souls in the Hands of a Tender God. This quote stuck out to me as being vitally important for working toward health and peace in this world.

"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."
~Craig Rennebohm

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Confession & Hope for Community

The following piece was a writing assignment for one of my classes this semester called "Essential Community." We were instructed to think & write for 15 minutes about our 'confession and hope for community.' I thought I would share my writings with you. Enjoy.
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

A Creative Kind of Hotel

Would be a sweet place to stay!

Welcome to Das Park Hotel in Linz, Austria. This unique hotel has transformed standard concrete sewer pipes into hotel rooms, simply by giving them a back wall and large front door, and drilling a window in the side for a little bit of natural light.

HT: Hilary Golden

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Compelling Picture

I recently came across this image on the blog of Eugene Cho, a pastor here in Seattle. The picture is of Jesus carrying the gear of a Nazi soldier. I love art that asks you to think hard, that doesn't allow you to just pass by without deep contemplation. I wonder what you think about this picture.

HT: Eugene Cho