changes have been made :)

as you can see, we did change this a bit - and we will be spending some time "tweeking." we are trying to make it easier to do what needs - build community :) besides the look, we changed the comment section - now, if you like to comment on anything punk monkey has to say - you can do so at our forum - have no fear - you do not need to "join" to comment - you can comment as a guest without a problem. but if you wanted to join, feel free to do so - our forum is open to anyone.



buying a car

we went to a car dealership the other day looking to buy a new car - and i have to tell you, i do not like car sales people – or at least i do not like the kind that i ran into this day.

mistake one: we got out of the car.
we pulled into the lot, not really seeing anything we like we decided to get out of the car and look around.

mistake two: we make eye contact
as we were walking around and looking, one of the salespeople came to us and asked if we needed help. we looked in his direction and our answer was simple and direct, "no." that is when the onslaught started, the asking the same question but in different ways, thinking we would give a different answer; he asked if he could “show us anything,” and again our simple direct and honest answer was "no." then he asked us “what we were interested in,” and our simple and direct answer was, “nothing.”

mistake three: answering in more then one word.
Somehow, and i am not sure how, but when you step out of the “one word” answer, you display a weakness that shows the soft underbelly of a wounded animal. he then asked, “are you looking for a truck, car or van?” so i looked at him and said, "are you listening to our words?" he said, "yes." i said, "then please leave us alone." he added, "but i am only trying to help."

mistake four: we did not give an inch.
to that, i replied, "we do not need your help, we are just looking." then he said, "great, what can i help you find." i said, "nothing, please just leave us alone." he said, "so you are not looking for a car?" i said, "yes, we are looking for a car but we do not need help." he said, "so, you are looking for a car, how can i help you find it and make the best deal possible?"

mistake five: we made a retreat.
we had enough, and decided to just leave and head to another dealer. we started to walk to the car when the pack came in for what they were hoping would be a kill. just as we were rounding the corner to the car, two others came from behind and wanted "only to help us" - after being blocked from our path to the car i said, "look, please get out of our way, i am going to get hot in a second; please just leave us a lone."

mistake six: we spoke english.
something that i need to remember, but forgot, is that when you speak any language to a car salesperson you are opening yourself for attack, and they will twist what you say to fit their desires. After i mentioned that i was getting “hot” one of them asked, "do you want us to get you some water?" "no," i replied, "just move and let us go." then he turned to his pack member and said, "go get this gentlemen and his lovely wife some water." with that, one of them ran in to get the water. he tried to give it to us, but we refused...

mistake seven: talk to the pack leader.
just then the sales manager came out and asked if everything was all right - i explained what happened and that we just wanted to leave. he looked at me and said that i did not have to be so “nasty” about it all. he said, "well, they were just trying to help." i said, "we asked them not to." to which he replied, "no, you said you were looking for a car. all were being helpful, you were being nasty." i looked at him like a dear staring into the headlights of an on coming truck. then he added, “if you mellow out we can help you find that car you want and at the best deal in town, come on into my office.”

like all bad experiences in life, some good always pops-up – and in this case some lessons were learned. besides realizing that i will never buy a car from any of the folsom lake dealerships in folsom california. i found it is funny, how people can say they are kind (or helpful) and in reality be snippy, condescending and demeaning. kindness is not based on the words used, but the way the words are used.



being a pacifist

the question of being a pacifist has been brought to my attention again. let me share with you my personal view and see what you think

i am still amazed that christians would even think of violence as a solution of any problem, or as a retaliation to any situation. jesus, himself, was perfectly capable of self defense, yet he chose not to defend himself; he allowed his enemies kill him and even asked that his murderers be forgiven. we need to follow his lead.

i saw a gross bumper sticker that asked: "who would jesus bomb?" what would you answer? if looked at from another point, we can see something of value in those words. we are specifically called to follow jesus example of suffering love and non-retaliation (1 peter 2:21). when we ask the question "who would jesus bomb?" our answer can only be :no one." so my questions to you (and i would like anyone to truly answer these with their open hearts - respond if you think pacifism is wrong) are:

how would you think jesus would act to being attacked?
how would jesus deal with a person who was asulting his family?
how would jesus deal with violence?
would jesus fight in a war?
would jesus take the life of another if attacked?
would jesus beat a person up is that person was attacking him?
what would jesus do in response to violence?

would you deny that jesus died for the life of his enemies? (rom 5:8-10) keep in mind that jesus gave us a specific reason to love our enemies, "so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven" (mat 5:45), to be like him!

let me share a little example with you that most christians support, the death penalty. if a man kills another does that man deserve the death penalty? if you take a life do you deserve to die in return? of course he does, but does it make it right to kill him? must we all receive what we deserve in the form of a punishment? remember, jesus was questioned concerning the death penalty (for a crime God specifically commanded the death penalty for in the old testament) and what did jesus say? jesus did not say it was undeserved; he said to those gathered with stones in their hands, "he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone." (john 8:7). does not the same reasoning apply to a others, and nations, seeking to "punish" another "evil"? can any person you know of truly cast the first stone? can you cast the first stone?

if we believe, and trust that God will take care of us, we must work by faith; God is fully capable of handling those who do evil and does not need our help. we should not fear others, even those who could, maybe, possibly kill us or do us harm (matt 10:28). what you need to remember is that "loving everyone" is the basic truth, not some sweet catchy cliche, of the message of christ. we have to stand by our faith and realize if we are truly conquerors in all things by being in jesus, then nothing can separate us from the love of God. (rom 8:37-39)

i find it unfortunate that it is too easy for us today to fall to the reaction of violence. it is a belief of the modern popular culture that the only way to stop people from doing evil is with violent force. we need to remember that according to scripture God's truth is that our real enemies are spiritual, not physical (eph 6:12); so they must be opposed with spiritual means (2 cor 10:4), not violence.

scripture teach us to oppose violence with love and peace, it does not teaches us to oppose evil with violent force. we are not to live in accordance with culture (rom 12:2), so we need to remember that God, who created this universe, tells us that the world was not found on violence, it was found and designed differently, out of love, peace, grace and forgiveness.

here are some scripture to think about and pray over:

"love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you." (mt 5:44, lu 6:27, lu 6:3)
"do not use force against an evil man." (mt 5:39)
"do not resist evil with evil." (mat 5:38-40)
"forgive and you will be forgiven." (lu 6:37)
"do not be anxious about your life."(lu 12:22)
"he who lives by the sword will perish by the sword." (mat 26:52)
"in everything do to others as you would have them do to you." (mat 7:12)
"do not return evil for evil." (1 pet 3:9, rom 12:17, 1 thes 5:15)
"overcome evil with good."(rom 12:21)
"beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." (rom 12:19)


still, the passion?

the funny thing about all this "hoop-la" (one of my mom's favorite words) about mel's movie "the passion of the christ" - is that while many evangelicals and fundamentalists are debating the movie it is playing, and people are going to see it in droves. let me share with you just some thoughts off the top of my shiny-shaved head :)

postmodern/emerging people are visual - "don't tell me directions, give me a map" - if we "see" it we get it - that is why we show video, power point and other visual media in our churches - it works, we connect, we get it -
postmodern/emerging people are skeptical - "we don't believe everything we see" - while we get visual media we are not driven by it. we were raised on tv, we get advertising, we know the value of art in life and the projection of art on the screen - we are not looking for perfection in film, we are looking for an expression of faith

postmodern/emerging people are connected - "we gather for coffee to talk about what we see" - we hang-out with each other and we go to the movies together. we discuss, debate, argue and even argue with vigor :) then when it is over we drink coffee, or beer, and talk about the new xbox release of halo and why it's taking so darn long :)

postmodern/emerging people are not concerned with "exacts" - "nothing is perfect" - we are not seeking "evidence that demands a verdict." we are not looking for you to follow the letter of the book - no movie maker has ever followed the book, andy book, 100% - it can't - it's impossible - and let's be honest - if you followed the scripture word for word, and added no "extra" stuff - no artistic value - the story would be "bibicaly correct" but very boring -

if you do not like it - cool
if you won't see it - cool
if you think it's wrong - cool

remember, it is attracting people in droves, and all you need do is be ready to speak to people who have seen it and have questions - and to be honest, if you have not seen it (for what ever reason) and a postmodern/emerging person asks for your views - no matter what you say (short of, "i have no view because i did not see it), holds no value because you did not see it, so you could not know what it's about - even if you think that you can get information from second hand accounts - for us, you are not being transparent, open and honest - if you have not seen it, please make no calls on it - because you are not making a call on what you saw, but on what others told you to think, and that's not cool.



building bridges?

over the past year i have been hearing a great deal about "building bridges" between moderns and postmodern/emerging. yet i still have no idea why. think about it, to build a bridge requires that both sides be willing to give and take; my experience with moderns is that they are very willing to give and take - as long as we are giving and they are taking.

in the modern conversation a bridge is always one way - we must give up our views and fall in line with their views - and when we refuse, we are called "radical" and "not interested in building a true community" and "we do not practice what we claim as a core belief." if we stand our ground we are tagged the "bad guys" who refuse to give an inch (so they can take a light-year). well, ok i am very willing to be the poster child for the "radical postmodern/emerging" conversation; as i am certian many others are as well.

i get offended when modern thinkers call themselves "bridge builders" (while claiming to be "postmodern thinkers") and then get mad when we will not give them what they want. they throw-back into our face words like "compromise" and "unity" and "community" as if they have some magic right to the ideas and all we are doing is distroying the church at its core - to me, community is built on a mutual trust, with a mutual vision and a mutual goal - while we may have the same goal (to some degree), we do not have the same vision and the trust level is way short in my view. this could be due to broken promises made by moderns in the past, and then them making excuses and blaming someone else for their failure - or it could be just a cultural thing where all the heroes have fallen and fall short of trust. to me, compromise is a 50/50 deal - i am willing to give in, are you? don't just tell me yes, then never intend to do it (turst issues again). are you willing to meet me half way, with all honesty? are you willing to give us 50% of what i want? are you willing to take only 50% of what you desire?

here are some questions:

how can we build a bridge when trust is not to be found?
how can we build a bridge when we have differing points of views?
how can we build a bridge when we have differing starting points?
how can we build a bridge when we are not understood?
how can we build a bridge when our ideas are not even accepted?
how can we build a bridge when what we believe is not in line with what they believe?

building a bridge is a great metaphor, but like all great metaphors it breaks down at some point - and in this case the point it breaks down is the point where it is trying to start. over the past year i have heard many in the postmodern/emerging conversation say that a bridge is needed because the moderns are the ones with the money and the building - well, if selling out what i believe God is telling me to do for the sake of money or a building is needed to build a bridge - i want nothing to do with building a bridge.

i believe in a multi-generational community of faith, and i stand by that. but in being multi-generational it does not mean i need too build a bridge, sell my beliefs, or compromise my faith to "allow older people" in to the community - not at all. we believe what we believe, we are who we are, we like the music we like, and we dress the way we like - and if you can accept that you are welcome into the community - but if you desire to join us, to change us - that is wrong and at that point you are not building a bridge, you are starting a barn fire.



community? kingdom? whatever

the other morning i was at my local starbucks getting my regular fix of venti bold (always enough room for cream) when i sat down with a small group to begin our normal thursday morning scripture study - as i was looking around, as i normally do, to get a fix on the room i noticed that there were several other groups of people reading and studying scripture - i thought, "very cool" - but soon i realized that they were sending mixed messages to the rest of the gathers - in fact, one of my friends noticed it also - here is what we noticed....

pockets of communities studying God's word - but in doing so they were very "exclusive." there was no interaction between the groups at all - none - we noticed that none of the groups talked with each other, or even noticed that the others were around. we tried several time to make eye contact with the other groups, we even did things like (speaking just below normal) "hey, did you read the first chapter of john for our study today?" all we got for that effort was a look that said, "please be quite, if you speak too loud people will know we are christians." it was heart breaking. on one level they were deep into the study, yet on another they would not talk with each other. one of the people in a non-study group next to us over heard our conversation and said, "it's that the way all churches are, each thinking they got it right and they just don't like talking with those outside their group." wow - truth in a starbucks. (just a side note: the "non-study" groups around us were great and we all started to joke around and have fun.)

one last time:
i gave it one last try - as we were leaving i went to one of the groups and said, "looks like this is the place to gather to be in God's word." and the response was zero - nothing - i soon found myself drinking ice coffee - it was heart breaking - so i smiled, said thanks for their time and went my way - they did not even acknowledge i was alive.