funny, people try hard to "capture" the 18-24 vote, yet they have no idea how to do it - what i have found is that most people who vote the first time become so upset with the fact that the person lied that they never vote again; or it takes a long time to gain some kind of trust to vote again. i love it when modern people try to figure out why the postmodern/emerging person is so skeptical - could be because they made us this way :)

this time around is no different. i am not going to give you the "your vote counts" line because i believe it does, but that is my voice in this mess :) and i am not going to tell you that any of the people running are telling the truth, because i am a realist with life experience and i can assure you that in my past experiences they are not. so, what do we do? can we "vote for the lesser of two evils?" knowing that either way, you get what you vote for.

i know for me, when i do not like the candidates i wrote in a person i liked, but i am not sure all states allow you to write in a cadidate. the dems and the reps will tell you a vote for a third party is a waiste of a vote, but let me tell you this - not voting is a waiste of a vote, voting for who you believe is the right person for the position is never a waiste of a vote - and any dem or rep that says it is is not being truthful and simply wants you to vote their way - don't fall for that line of crap. vote, and vote your mind - not the mind of others.

over the past few weeks we have seen the voice of the news people and where they stand - giving half the story (cbs) and even out right lying (cbs) - and then expecting people to look past the lies and some how find the lost truth.

i will never tell you who to vote for, and i will never tell you who i voted for - and i will never get mad with the outcome of an election - but i will tell you to vote. but vote for the person you feel in your heart is the right person, not what ads tell you, tv news people tell you (except for the guys from the "daily show") - vote as you desire, for who you desire -



i know the reason why

i was going to write a short blog on how stupid jimmy swaggart is - but then i just figured, consider the source.

while i am sure i am not the first to say this, but here goes - i am sorry, mr swaggart does not speak for us, or for God in this (or any) matter. forgive the ignornace, and know that our God is a God of love, grace, hope, joy, trust, and openness - and not the "god" jimmy seems to know.



almost normal?

it almost seemed normal - but then again, what is normal? i think i have been confused as to the nature of it all, and yet i am constantly reminded that it is driven by nature. what seemed "proactive" turned out to be reactive, and even distructive in a "growth kind of way." nothing is right, and nothing is wrong; nothing is good, and nothing is bad; nothing is right and nothing is left; nothing is black and nothing is white - welcome to my world :)



refusing to get political

it is not secret, i am pro-peace.

i believe all war, no matter the reason is against the teachings of christ. i will stand on my faith and i will be willing to die for it, i am just very unwilling to kill for it. as we approach the 3rd anniversary of 9/11 i see more and more people claiming to be for peace, but in reality they simply are doing it for politics, and that is a place i can not go -

living very close to the capitol of california i was asked if i wanted to partake in the rally on the capitol steps in support of peace. when i started to ask deeper questions i got answers i was not happy with - it seems that the "rally for peace" was more "anti-war" then "pro-peace" - let me explain how i see the difference -

anti-war people seem to be a group that is more against the war because of politics, then because it is wrong to kill another human. they (mostly this group called "moving on") seem to be more against the political system, then in support of any kind of peace.

pro-peace people are people who stand against all wars, no matter who starts it, why it started or even if it seems to have a "good" end in store. i believe that no good can come of the taking of a human life.

there are those who disagree with me and stand firm on the fact that the war can be a "right and just" thing - and when i mention that i am pro-peace, they are quick to ask "then what do we do with the scripture in the old testament that speaks of war, and of just war and of going to war to protect the weak" - i say we simply ignore it - after all, it is not the first time we would ignore scripture.

what do you do with the scripture that allows the killing of infants?
what do you do with the scripture that seems to support beating a child?
what do you do with the scripture that supports the separation of the races?
what do you do with the scripture that allows for slavery?
what do you do with the scripture that supports being married and having girlfriends?

you see, we are willing to ignore some scripture because we just don't see that as a christian reality - it would be unheard of to teach that whites and blacks should not marry - it would be seen as not very christian to support slavery - it would be seen as very unchristian to think in terms of being married and having girlfriends on the side - even thought an old testament argument can be made for the killing of children, racial separation, slavery and even the "christian" understanding of infidelity. we have said that the new covenant of christ changed those and opened out heart - yet, for whatever reason, we hold on to the doctrines of war and the inhuman, unchristian idea that violence solves any issues -

just my opinion


Church, in a connection context

I have always like the idea of p2p network (peer to peer or person to person) in a community of faith. A p2p relationship in a community of faith speaks of a decentralizing control and allows for a free flow of ideas and creativity in the structure to flow from person to person. It creates a paradigm shift in the modern/traditional evolution of the church structure from a unidirectional (television-like medium) into a bi-directional (computer-like medium), collaborative relational structure – it “removes” the idea that all information flows from one person (a pastor) to all others in the connection.

Now, I will admit that it scares the heck out of those who live in, or understand, a more modern/traditional view or the church structure and the way modern/traditional relationships are created. P2p is a “communications model” a “relationship model” where each “peer” (person) has the same capabilities and each person has equal access to the basic structure; no one person is more important then another. Older modern/traditional models of a church structure/relationships are more in tune with a client/server relationship (a master/slave, pastor/pastored, boss/employee relationship structure model) were one person dictates the actions of others, and “leadership” is found in a central location (mainframe).

The modern/traditional model of structure and relationships is less natural and more cultural in its development; being based on a hieratical structure and military model. The modern/traditional structure does not allow for, nor can it encourage, a free flow of information, ideas, relationships and connections. In all cases, giving each person in the relationship the capability to connect in open, honest and transparent ways starts a p2p structure. In a community of faith a p2p structure is a type of free flowing structure that allows people, or a group of people with the same interests, to connect with each other without central approval; ministries form, deform and reform based on the needs perceived by the people in the structure and not by the central “leaderships” desire to create and develop a program. This allows for direct develop in structure and relationship outside of the modern/traditional models of structure within the community of faith. The advantages of using p2p structure, as a way for people to share lives without the energy involved in maintaining a centralized mandated structure, is that people connect with people and lives are shared, information given and bonds are developed. Let me share some differences between the modern/traditional structure in the church and the way p2p is redesigning then in a postmodern community of faith.

Traditional vs. P2P
Traditional church structure tends to have a static, standalone and self-contained in structure. Everything is centralized and controlled by a body of “leaders” who oversee all aspects of the church. This creates a hierarchy where a select few govern and allow others into that process only upon approval of the other “leaders.” For example, in most modern/traditional churches a “working class guy” would never be selected as a Board Member. Not because they do not have the ability, but because they do not have the pedigree. So, with few exceptions, most Boards are made up of a rotating selection of a certain group of people, usually those who hold executive positions, own their won business, or have an independent source of income. Because of this, the “Leadership” becomes self-serving and self-centered. While in a p2p structure a more dynamic relationship is encouraged. In fact, without that dynamic component a true p2p can never happen. It is networked and people based. It is designed more for service then for application.

Traditional churches tend to let information flow in one direction, from the top down. “Leaders” make the decisions and pass that information on to those “under their control.” While in a p2p relationship communication happens in two directions; because of its connective nature a p2p relationship allows information to flow equally in both directions. This relationship empowers everyone equally. A more traditional minded church finds this relationship unacceptable, because they believe that certain people “MUST” be a boss, and others must follow that boss’s directions. P2p assumes that knowledge flows in both directions and that all people have value and have information worth sharing. The ability to share knowledge is not based on traditional education, position in the community, income, age or anything else. It is assumed that all people have information that can be useful to others in the p2p structure. Which brings us to the next point.

Traditional churches tend to see the role of some as better then others. The “Leadership” see’ themselves as “better” then the others. They believe that the buck stops with them, and that they have the ear of God in all they do. They do not see those outside the leadership circle as anything but “information pods.” Even in a congregational church setting, “Leaders” believe they are to gather information from a select group of members and then to take that information and create a “plan” based on their understanding of the people. While in a p2p all people are seen as completely equal. It is believed that all ideas are equal, and that while the process seems chaotic it is not 100% chaos, ideas come out and the best will naturally float to the top. It is amazing, but given the power of the Holy Spirit (and trusting in that power) people find common ground, and God’s work gets done.

Traditional churches view people as consumers, and only consumers. In a p2p structure relationship people are seen as both a consumer and a producer. P2p allows people to be creative and allows that creativity to be seen, they can create. It is not assumed that only a select few can be creative, and have that creativity show – some people can sing, while others draw, write, paint, weld, carve, and more – a p2p relationship allows this creativity to occur and encourages its development. Why not show the creative work of those in the church? Because in a traditional church “singing” and “preaching” are seen as the only valid ways of worshiping God; while in a p2p, any creative art is seen as a way of worshiping God.

Traditional churches tend to create false relationships for long periods of time. P2p allows for short-term relationships based on need. Some relationships can lasts a short time and this relationship can occur among a group or individuals, but it is always based on the fact that each side is equal. In most modern/traditional structures to create a ministry involves a vast amount of approvals; deforming a ministry is virtually impossible. But because a p2p structure is relational it centers on the ability to create and form based on needs.

How to change to a p2p setting:
Change needs to take place in a healthy and supportive environment for a church to move from a modern/traditional structure to a p2p structure. In a modern/traditional church structure model, knowledge flows in one directions, providing a context that lacks any relationships between people. In this directional flow, a p2p is hard to develop because it requires that the top let go of their “perceived power” base and allow for a new way of connecting to form. I believe that there are several characteristics of the modern/traditional church structure that needs to be changed before a p2p relationship structure can develop and work at its fullest potential. While these can be “forced” changed, when it happens spontaneously, that it is transparent and honest, it flows better and allows for a deeper root of the new structure. Here are just a few things I believe the traditional church needs to change before a true p2p can be developed.

Develop a comfortable place for change: all “leaders” need to be on board with the desire to change. A “change environment” must be developed for this change to truly happen. To have a “spontaneous” development of a p2p structure one must develop an atmosphere that allows for change; a fertile ground for the birth of new ideas and creations.

A willingness to truly share: people need to be willing to hook up and develop. P2p is connective, by nature and by definition. The environment must allow for people to hook in and see the connections, and develop other connections themselves. This is the hardest part because it removes a “central” command structure and replaces it with a “connective” self-structure.

Allow the spontaneous to happen: don’t fight change let it happen. Sure, some may “lose power” but the true power in the church belongs to Christ, not man. I am amazed at how many times churches claim to “allow” change only to find they truly do not allow it at all, in any level. Remember, change is not moving from red curtains to blue curtains – change is removing the curtains altogether and not replacing them at all – not even with blinds.

Convert from “control” to “connect:” connections cannot be forced, they simply must happen, and for them to happen control needs to be removed. Some churches like to “place” people into “cell groups” based on zip code, and that is doomed for failure – they should be allowed to freely form and freely develop as the people see fit – not as the “leaders” see fit.

Involve as many people as possible: do not limit the involvement in a p2p structure, encourage people from all over to hook in – even new people. By getting as many people involved as possible in a p2p structure people will feel free to connect and create new connections. This will allow the p2p to develop freely and completely and all the time bringing in new connections and new ideas – encouraging growth and creativity.

Occur among peers (all sides are "equal"): a true p2p structure must start and develop among equals. Meaning that no one person or group in the church is above another person or group – equals means equal. People who think they belong to “one class” of people and cannot connect with “another class” need to review scripture to see their place in the kingdom.

P2p is not the “cure all” for the churches ills. It is a way of thinking in the church that will allow people to connect and grow in Christ. Structure based on connections and not on a military/cultural understanding of leadership is central for the church to reach a new generation, in the communing centuries. If we think we can simply redress the old form and give new names and new titles to “leaders” we truly need to get our heads examined. “A rose is a rose is a rose” Shakespeare wrote; we paraphrase it as “a rose by any other name is still a rose.” Leadership, by any other name is still control.