perfect love

check this out:

[perfect love]

i love this, and i think it's what we should be sharing.


a sorry state of the...

you guessed it, "the church."

i was just surfing today and came upon the website for the american baptist church of the west; before i go on i need to express a "disclaimer" here; "of all the baptist groups on this planet, the "abc" is the one i hold the greatest respect for. in fact, i wanted to plant a church with the "abc of the west" but i took a position to plant a church in chicago before we could "come to a meeting of the minds." of all the places or denominations i can think of, i like this group the most. so, this is not ragging on them, but the sorry state of the church and the "leadership" [or lack thereof] of the church in general. their site just brought out some questions, and as you all know i do love a good question.

as i was playing around on the site, i came upon these three documents that they ask all people who desire to be a pastor in the church to sign. when i read these i was shock, hurt and disapointed in the quality of people thinking they can pastor a church, but then i was struck with a smack in the face by the holy spirit - and that smack was called "forgiveness."

these are the forms:

Self-Disclosure and Release Form
Covenant and Code of Ethics Form
Professional Church Leader Placement Form

now, i will have to admit that i am at different places with this, and this is more "feeling" than thought - but i am in a hard place. at one point i agree that we need to do this, but at another i question the idea of forgiveness and wonder what happens when a person fills in the questions with an honest and forgiving heart in mind - for example, one of the statemets is;

I have never been found guilty or pleaded guilty or no contest to felony charges or had felony criminal charges dropped because the statute of limitations had expired.

______ true _____ not true

now, the person answers "true" what do we do? do we reject them? does it matter what the charges were? can a person be a pastor and answer "true" to this question? you see, it deals with forgivness - i understand we need to "watch out" but does that me forgiveness is not in the game? does forgiveness mean we still remember the sin and keep counting it against a person? i wounder, is this kind of question truly one that should be asked by a christian organization?

I know of no facts or circumstances regarding my background that would warrant further review of my fitness for ministry before my being entrusted with the responsibilities of ministry on behalf of a calling body within this Region.

______ true _____ not true
this question seems to imply that that all the questions that came before would bar a person from ministry. i just wonder, at what point do we actually follow the teachings of forgiveness given to us by christ?

2005 top "14" posts

as 2005 five ends, and 2006 gets kicking, i thought i would list some of the "top posts" from ginkworld's blog. now, they may or may not be my personal favs, but they seem to be the others others liked; either by comments or by emails - so, here is the list

>> Why I am Emerging: A Brief Response to James MacDonald

>> what are we not doing?

>> are we ready to be a movement?

>> christian's who hate?

>> "postemerging?"

>> There is a healthy relationship with Jesus without a relationship to the church.

>> what shape is water?

>> if i filled in an app at cedar :)

>> theological vs. political

>> "grace" is harder then "law"

>> anarchy vs. accountability

>> moving can shake the crap out of you.

>> The Evolution of a Conversation:

>> funding or sales market [a rant]

you may, or may not agree - but leave a comment and tell us what you think :)

i could be "semi-rich"

dang, i missed the boat on this one. but it seems that over the past two months ginkworld has increased in value :) in october it was "valued" at a little over $35,000 - now look:

My blog is worth


How much is your blog worth?

too bad this is play money, student loans are killing me - sure would be nice to pay those off :)


a forgotten father

what does one do with the earthly father of jesus? make him older then his child bride wife? kill him off because the story does not mention him? ignore him and push him aside? make mary the "perpetual virgin" and make him impotent and old? what does one do with the earthly father of jesus? what is one to do with joseph?

history speaks little of him, except that the church killed him off early in its history, a forgotten father. but, in this day and age when families are blended, and men are raising the children of other men the idea of a "foster father" of jesus, to me, seems exciting - and the theological implications are
fantastic. i remember back in seminary i was speaking with a professor abut joseph and his response was, "let it be, there is little written about him. it is easier and neater to just have him be an old man who dies while jesus was a child. besides, we should not create assumptions where the scripture is silent." but we do that all the time, so why not for joseph? think of it, a man who loved a women so much, that he welcomed her
in and raised another mans [in his mind] son as his own. his love was great, his honor was strong and we as a 21st century follower of christ need to know more of this man, this person who can teach us to stand and love so deeply.


are we the same?

i have been thinking lately about what makes "us" different than "them." i mean, all i keep hearing are voices saying, "we need to be nice and not question them" or "we need to remember that we too come from the evangelical church." yet, i wonder.... i don't.

i was not rasied in the evangelical church; i did not find christ in an evangelical church; i am not evangelical and i do not see my faith as "coming from them." so i wonder, are those people asking me [or the "us" - the collective mouse in my pocket :) ] to "be nice" and "build bridges" are evangelicals thinking they can stop the voices, or are they truly emerging voices asking for calm? because, if they are emerging voices asking that we accept the evangelcial theology, than i wonder. if we truly are to develop a voice, a theology, a "movement" we need not be driven by those who want to settle and give in. if we feel it important to question, we must have the ability to question - and even piss some people off.

i might not agree with some of the things my emerging brothers and sisters are doing, saying, writing, thinking or expressing - but they are willing to jump into the water and question, and that is cool - and a move i support.

i do not fit the evangelcial mold, and that is cool - i am who God made. i am post-evangelcial, post-traditional, post-orthodox, post-right, post-left, post-conservative, post-liberial, post-denominational, post-structure, post-follow, post-industrial, post-mechanical, post-solid, post-logical, post-demanding, post-leadership, post-religion - i am a servant, fluid, organic, emerging, expressive, theological, spiritual, open, accepting, searching, finding, knowing, forgetting, questioning, wanting, loving - but most of all i am a child of God seeking to love God so that God can love me. i seek to journey where the path is filled with holes, weeds, rocks, dips and turns. and i desire others to walk with me. but it is hard to be on that journey with people who do not see the path, or even worse they do not see who they journey with.

if we are to be emerging, we are not to fall back into the trap of being evangelical - it might be easier, and it might even be "home" to some - but if that is the case, then we are no different than those we question from the start. it is impossible to place new wine in old skins, it will never work. if, anyone tells you it is possible, i would question the age of the wine. i am not evangelical, and it has take a number of years for me to be willing to stand and say that. as of late i have heard voices wanting to "slow down" and "get to know our evangelical" family - funny, i am "the red headed stepchild" and just never feel welcome in the evangelical home.


cow bell

who cares

today i need more cow bell



is the church "staind?"

i love staind, i love the music and the lyrics can be powerful. recently, in the every popular discussion of the church and her huge flaws, i started to think of the staind song "outside." as the words were dancing in my head, the song came on the radio on my drive home from the church building this morning - and they spoke to me in a great way.

i think many people look at the church and say:

I'm on the outside
I'm looking in
I can see through you
See your true colors
'Cause inside you're ugly
Ugly like me
I can see through you
See to the real you

this is a very powerful statement to the church, and i am certain staind did not intend it to be. but think about how many people are on the outside of the church looking in and asking the question, "if you are no different than i am, why should i join you?" think about that. what does the church offer people? what does the christian faith offer people? in a world of abuse, use, hurt, pain and anger at what level is the church different then the world around us? the idea that "we are a fallen people" does little to those seeking a safe place from the hurts of this world.

if we are no different then those looking in, if we are just as ugly as the world around us, what value does our faith offer to those around us? right now, i think the only thing many churches offer people is the opportunity to join a country club, and become a "wet non-changed person." we say, "come into a safe place" but when they do, they do not find safty. they find people who are willing to inflict pain on the hearts and spirits of others.

when we tell people our faith has meaning, it needs to be a real meaning, a real change - we need to be different people. we can not treat people like those outside the church, when people look inside they need to see beauty, and they need to see a difference. people are searching, looking for a place that is different from the world around them, and they are looking at the church and not seeing what they are searching - and we need to be asking why?

you see, we can turn away from this and write it off to the "fallen world" but that is an excuse and not where we are to be as followers of christ. we should use romans 12:2; "do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." as a people of christ we must be transformed, we must be different, we must be changed - not living in this world, but in the teachings of christ.

i live what paul writes in his second letter to the corinthians [3:18] "and we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." when we walk with christ in our hearts, we are changed, new, differet - if not, than we offer nothing to those seeking to know God. paul shares this even deeper when he writes to the romans, "so what do we do? keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? i should hope not! if we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? that is what happened in baptism. when we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace--a new life in a new land!" [6:1-4] too many churches and "christians" still desire to live in that "old house."

i find it funny that when i call into question the "evangelcial church" those who are "evangelical" try hard to justify the actions of the church with "cultural reasoning" and not a bibical stand point. and they rag on us for not being "bible centered" - so figure.

what do people see when they look into your church, from the outside?


a work in progrees

well, we keep playing with the coding to our blog - and we hope it is not smacking us in the face :) but we are still doing it, and we are in the process of fine-tuning the look. in time it will look like we desire, then we will have a new desire and recode again :)

a recent question:

i was recently asked by a friend, on the postmodern theology egroup, why i seem to "lump" all evagelical churches into one grouping, and to be honest that grouping is not very positive. here is my response:

"i just do not have the respect you seem to have for the evangelcial church, becuase all my past experiences with them have been negative. now, i may not have had negative experiences with individuals 100% of the time, but i can assure you that every pastor i have ever met on a personal basis and sat down with and had coffee [with the exception of one - todd [a freind over at saddleback]] has found a reason to place a divide between the emerging and the evangelical church - it never seems to fail. i don't need to do anything but sit and listen, and they do all the wall building. for a long time i thought it was me, but i have spoken with thousands of other pastors who have felt the exact same judgement on them - sure, most of the evangelcial churches speak a good game, but many do not set-up to the plate. finding one church that may, or may not ["peace" [rick's new program over at saddleback] is too new to determine if it is working - besides, more people are kicking in money to fund it then are going to help - and that is a sign, in my heart, of a modern program [added for the blog, the idea of a "program" for me is that it is a church sponsered, church supported, ministry driven instutitionalized gathering - and is not organic from the people - if "peace" was not a program it would be something built into the fabric of every lesson, and people would beable to do something of "peace" in their area, their community - not overseas, and not "give money and let's help send others over."] be doing something does not prove your point - for every "one" you find, i bet i can find "10,000" that do nothing, for what ever reason they have.

one of my biggest compliants about evagelcial theology [and grouping churches with the same theology is not as "bad" as you seem to want to make it - they all have the same basic theology] and the evagelical church is that they speak well, the dress well, they talk of caring and concern, they speak of opening our homes, our hearts, our lives to those in need; they shout of God's love for all - but they do very little, if anything, because of the mindset of the people based on the theology they have -

-- for them, writing a check is equal to them "doing" a ministry
-- they think that "praying for a ministry" is the same as working on a feeding line
- they think that having a church program for a certian group is the same as them acting out their faith, because their gifts and tithes pay for the program.

they use the scripture that says "some are...." [added to the blog: ephesians 4:7-13, but all that is is a "semi-list" of positions, and not something that removes us from living the faith. also when we speak of "gifts" they also are not a "one thing for one person" gift - we are still required to care for others - people with a "gift of giving" still need to serve others and embrace the poor, with their arms and not their chrckbook.] and they never go past that point and realize that that is not the only thing they are to do. as a christian i must say we are called to action, called to be outside the church helping people [other then family], called to be doing something in our community - think about this, if all the "christians" of this area [your area, or my area] got off their collective ass and did something to help others we would have almost no problems with the poor and the hurting - i think jesus said "and the poor with be with you always" because he knew christians would never get off their collective ass to do anything - he knew that they would be all talk and no action."

i think as emerging people in christ we are changing a great deal of what the evagelical church holds as "truth" and we are questioning many of the assumptions they have - in that, we are the bad guys, and that's cool. as we move along in our redefinging what it means to be a follower of a glorious master, we need to remember that to act on our faith and not just talk about it - and we need to stop finding excuses as to why we can not help, and find reasons why we should.


an open position

i received the link to this via a email from a friend looking for a position. he was shocked and even insulted by the nature of this ad. he could not believe that any church would have such a position while there are people starving, homeless and hurting in this world.

me? i found it mostly funny. why? well, mainly because it's the crystal cathedral, and the "b and b schuller" boys [or as the site likes to say "drs. schuller I & II] are only life-like blowups of humans - so, can we actually expect them to care about the poor and the hurting? please, this is a church that has a "travel ministry" so you can get discounts on airfare. this is a church that has a gift store, because one can never have enought "power of positive thinking" t-shirts and coffee mugs.

now, we also have to remember that the pastors and exectutive of this holy and grand church must have the right to have a person drive them around - after all, have you ever driven in la traffic? i mean, it's hard work and these great and powerful leaders of the church have more important things to do with their valuable and holy time, right? do you truly think the "b and b" boys could drive themselves? think about the dextarity needed to opporate a car, fix your hair and make an appointment for a nip and tuck.

think of it this way, as a pastor in the crystal [or an excutive] you have this great idea to get a bit to eat. now, the place you desire to eat is a block away from the holy grounds of the crystal. so, you call for your driver to meet you in the front of the building to drive you the block for that quick bite. now, your happy - you eat and did not have to break a sweet walking one block.

when you have such great, holy and powerful godly men like steven curtis chapman or mike gottfried or jack brown or charles billingsley [men who would willingly give the time of day to a homeless family] do you think they should drive themselves around? any church that would make these men even think of driving themselves should hardly call themsleves a church - me, personally, i am waiting for the possition of "executive ass wipe" to open at the crystal - now, that would be one i apply for - except i am not sure they would hire me, my finger nails grow too fast :)

Executive Driver
Garden Grove, CA

Denomination: Non-Denominational
Worship Style: Traditional
Church Size: 1501 to 2000
Job Status: Full Time

Job Summary:
Responsibilities include safe and secure driving and escorting of ministry guests, executives and special ministry visitors including the Founder and Senior Pastor. Requires close coordination with Security Department and flexibity to work in ususual [unusual], emergency or unpredictable situations. Prepares proper route planning and assists with personal requests of guests and passengers. Maintains proper operation, appearance of executive vehicles, and log information.
Supports the Crystal Cahtedral [Cathedral] Ministries Statement of Purpose and Mission.

Must possess and maintain valid California drivers license with acceptable driving record. Must be able to read maps and be computer literate. Must maintain highest professionalism and confidentiality, including proper decorum, positive and pleasant attitude and approrpriate [appropriate] attire at all times. Position offers medical and dental, paid time off (vacation, sick leave, holidays) and a 403B plan.

Church: Crystal Cathedral Ministries
Contact: George Napper
Email: Click Here to Email
Phone: 714 971 4332
Address: Crystal Cathedral Ministries
ATTN: George Napper
13280 Chapman Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Website: crystalcathedral.org


what is the core of faith?

over the past year i have asked this question a few times to many different people. while it may seem like a silly question, you would be amazed at the lack of answers, or the "atuomated corporate line" answers i get. and to me, both responses seem to side step the issue by either not answering [i think people think it will go away if they do not answer the question] or giving some "corporate line" in response. but i think many people are looking for us to go a bit deeper then the surface. here is the question i think is important for us to have an answer to.

"what are the 'cores' to being a christian?"

now, this is the hard part - ready? :)

there needs to be a scriptural back-up for what we see as a core - and a reason why that scripture supports your view - for example, if you believe that believing in a trinity is a core to being a christian, you need to have scripture to back it up - and you need to have your words explaining why that scripture backs it up. that seems only fair to me because we often say "this is important" and then we can't really say why it is important or we say, "this is important" and then pop some name and numbers [mark 4:2 - for example] without knowing the scripture or explaining how it truly is important.

so, let me start by saying that i believe one of the cores of being a christian is LOVE.

for me, this is centeral to our faith - without it we are only posers to a faith that requires that we love, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," [matthew 5:43-44]. this may sound harsh, but people can tell me all day long they believe in jesus as the christ, but if they do not show love, live love and practice love then they are just speaking empty words. love is the core of all our faith and it should be what we see as the center, the starting point, of all we do, say and strive to know

given that that entire section of scripture deals with how we are to love others - even those who hate us and wish us harm - we are called to walk with love as a guide. when we think of "cores" many do not think love is a core - but i think it is the very core of our faith. in my mind, i do not believe we can say "i love jesus" if we do not love others.


the curve

sometimes i am amazed at how far behind the learning curve i can be; truly amazed. take for example "myspace." ok, everyone in the whole world had a myspace account but me - why? because i had no idea it was even around.

think of it, ever not get invited to a party you found out about three weeks after the party took place? ok, that happened once and it was a long time ago and i know i should let go - but hey, this experience is nothing like that, i just felt it would help if i vented :) well, one thing good came from it all, i did get a myspace account :)

if you are interested, and what to join and "be a friend" - here is the link [link]

also, the church i am the lead pastor at has a myspace as well - it helps us bring in bands for the asylum and 247unplugged - here is the link for that space [


in a matter of time

it had to happen - the evangelicals twisting the tragic death of kyle lake. my stomic turns with the garbage that they say - the half truths they share and the graceless minds that produce such hatred - all i can do is say, pray for them. they need it big time.

proctor's garbage


who do you worship?

over the past, from when i wrote that "iam no longer a christian, but i am a follower of christ," people seem to be a little "off" on that. while ihave not recieved death emails, or people sending me chicken parts in the mail, there have been some interesting emails.

one person said, that i said, "christ is great, but christians suck." well, that was not what i said, but i think it is a very valid point to say "christ is cool, but christians suck" because i think that is something the church needs to know - even if you disagree with it, people think that way because experience tells them that it is a reality they live with. one may not like it, but it is the reality of the way they see the world. one of the things i strive to be in my life is more like christ and less like a christian - because i believe that they seem to be exclusive of each other. it seems that this idea that "christians are off limits" develops from a very distorted "christology" and one we need to get a grip on.

i am not seeking to have a "high christology" because i think it leads us to a place where jesus did not want us to be. instead of a "christology" focus i am seeking to walk closer to God. now, some may say that they are one in the same, a "christology" is equal to "walking closer to God" but i wonder if that is the case. what we must remember is that jesus never said "worship me" - jesus said, "follow me" [matthew 8:22; matthew 16:24;matthew 19:21;mark 8:34;mark 10:21;luke 9:23;luke 9:59;luke 18:22;john 1:43;john 10:27;john 12:26;john 13:36;john 21:19;john 21:22]and then he told us to "worship God."

i believe, that when we seek to walk closer in christ and know the path we are to follow we naturally get closer to God. i seek to follow jesus and walk in his path, that path leads me to a closer relationship with God - but if i worship Jesus, then i miss out on the path and the teachings to walk in the way. no place in scripture are we told to "worship jesus" or "worship christ" - so, that becomes a very interesting starting point in our walk of faith. the starting point, i believe, is that we see christ as our path to God and follow the teachings of jesus to the face of God.

keep this in mind, it is easy to spot the difference between a christian and a follower of christ - because as jesus told us, "they will know you are my disciples by your love." when we strive to follow jesus and worship God, love will be a product of our lives and we will see the truth expressed in the life, words, deeds, and sacrifice of our lord jesus the christ.


just a thought

jesus is the christ - i will never change my mind on that
jesus is the son of God - i am good with that also
christians do not always follow the teachings of jesus - given
christians allow culture to determine their faith - given again

so, as a follower of christ i must be different:
as a follower of christ i must change my life - hard, but a relaity
as a follower of christ i must stand against injustice - even if i go to jail
as a follower of christ i must speak against povery - even if i become poor
as a follower of christ i must stand against war - even if i die
as a follower of christ i must hold back anger - even if i self explode
as a follower of christ i must think kindly - even of those who are not
as a follower of christ i must go the extra mile - even without shoes
as a follower of christ i must be willing to give my coat - even if it is raining
as a follower of christ i must work to change the hearts of others - by living an example


more on pat - again.

here is one reason i no longer desire to be called a christian:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting "intelligent design" and warned them on Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck. [link]
i have come to the conclusion that people like pat robertson are not the people i desire to walk in faith with - our thougts are different, our actions are different, out core is different, our desires are different and most of all our view of God is very different. when a man proclaims that disaster will fall upon a people because they did not do what he thinks God desires, is a man proclaiming some power he does not have - and it is a man that if following a faith far different then the one i follow and the christ i know.

my robertson can do as he desire, but it is men like this that cause more people to walk away from christianity - my hope is that they walk into the arms of christ. because in my heart, while i will pray for pat, christ is not seen in his words.

the link: more on pat

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shameless plug

our local paper did a great full page article about 247connection and what we are doing.  here is a link that you can see a short part




i am giving up christianity...

today during our weekly staff meeting i was talking with our "worship arts illustrator" [amanda crump - who is a great worship leader and one heck of a creative person] and i said, "i am giving up christianity to become a follower of jesus." at first, the implication of such a line did not effect either of us, but as we sat and thought about it and talked about it - many things started to deconstruct.

think about it, it is freeing - to reject "christianity" to be a follower of jesus, that is so refeshing. i will be blogging more on this over the next few days - and maybe weeks.

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joining or giving in?

over the past few years i have been a voice that has spoken out about the idea of becoming anything other then a conversation - and while i still feel that that is the case, i believe i need to let my voice be one of unity, calm and direction - and the best way, i believe, i can do that is to "join" the "E"merging.

now, i will admit that i feel like i am "giving in" at some level, but over the past i have been hearing the voices of those who have been emailing me asking that be a voice of unity. so, to be a voice of unity means i join, i join :) while i will continue to ask questions, and i may even be "on the outside" more then others - and my voice will always lean more to the "conversation" then to the "movement" - but in that, i strive to find unity. over this past year i have seen and heard those of us in the emerging church desire to "take sides" - and while i will admit to being part of that debate - it is now time for a deeper understanding of unity.

being united does not mean we all have to think the same, or that we have one "set of things" everyone "must" agree too - but it does mean that we catch the crap others are passing our way, and that we have each others back. over the past years i have been a voice for change in the church - some listen to me and it always suprises me that i am known by others outside my mind. i recently came to a realization that in that comes responsibility. if we are claiming to be a "different kind" of church, then we need to be more then just a voice claiming it - we must live it. so, it is with that heart that i decided to "join" the "E"merging.

here is what i did - i eamiled the "E"merging and asked them how i join and "become a friend." i also asked about the idea of a "cohort." so, now i wait - i wait to hear from them concering the next step. if unity is, then unity will be :)


can one be a butt kisser while giving an enema?

i was reading "the chronicles of numbnuts" blog today and came upon this little gem. while watching it, many questions keep floating through my mind and the one that keep coming back time and time again was, "can one be a butt kisser while giving an enema?"

Holy Ghost Enema (1999)
In times of trouble, many people turn to their Faith for sustenance. Others follow the advice of Preacherwoman Suzanne Hinn, who recommends taking it a step further. Well, a couple steps, really.
(2 min 6 sec)

i am not sure i have the answer - looks like i will need to pray over this for a while :)


what are we not doing?

while i think this is a personal rambling, and even a personal kick in the ass it seems to me that, with the exception of a few, we have not done much in the emerging church to truly take a deep look into the theology of the evangelcial church - many simply take it, accept it and pass it on to others without thinking. sure, we can point to ideas on what i think is "the safe stuff" - you know, the definations of hell, or how we can look grace and forgiveness - what i am talking about is deep, real and solid look into the core of the evangelcial church - and if in so doing we come up with the same stuff, cool - and if not, cool -

i think we need to look into such things as:

what is salvation?
are there requirements of salvation?
the humanity of christ.
the divinity of christ.

i am not talking about just "thinking" that we need to get into it - and truly go to the root of it all. i have heard some speak of change, while many simply desire to dance around the issues - i am not suggesting we deconstruct for the sake of deconstruction, but i am suggesting we take a long and honest look at what we are saying and back it with more then words.

if your interested in rolling the ball with me, let me know and i would be happy to see what we can do


loss of a new friend

i was driving to our men's gathering this morning when the dj's on the radio were making fun of a baptist minister who died sunday while doing a baptism. my first reaction was, "man, how tasteless of them for making fun of this" and i drove to the meeting.

when i left the meeting, i came home to "read the news" - life on a laptop is easy if the place you eat at has wifi - and this one did not. when i got home, i found out that the minister who died was a new friend, someone i just started to get to know and someone i respected deeply - kyle lake over at ubc waco. kyle and i just started to get to know each other, via email, and i have to say, i am shocked - and not sure how to process this [we are not old enough to die]. i feel empty that i will miss developing a deeper friendship with a man of God who was reaching past the "norm" and into the heart of God.

it was just a few weeks back that kyle emailed me and asked if i would review his new book, [re]discovering prayer, and at first i was not hot on it - because reviews always seem like judging - but there was something in his request that made me say yes, so he had a copy sent to my house; i was very impressed - we started to email each other over these past weeks and we developed a "standing invite" to each other - if i was even in his area, or if he was in my area, we would hook-up and just spend time sharing and getting to know each other deeper.

i was impressed by kyle's love of his family, the love of his church family and the love he had for his God. his wife jen, his daughter and twin sons will be in my prayers. i am comforted in knowing that kyle IS with our Lord. his faith was secure, firm and solid - he impressed me, and that is something not many "in the church" can do.

kyle, you will be missed - but you will not be forgotten


profit or greed?

is there a difference between profit and greed? with "the cost" of crude oil going down, why are companies slow if lowering the price? they are quick to raise the price when the cost goes up, or even "might" go up - here is a bit of news:

Exxon Mobil Corp. rewrote the corporate record books Thursday as the oil company's third-quarter earnings soared to almost $10 billion and it became the first public company ever with quarterly sales topping $100 billion. Anglo-Dutch competitor Royal Dutch Shell PLC wasn't far behind, posting a profit of $9 billion for the quarter. [and there is so much more...]


Why I am Emerging: A Brief Response to James MacDonald

Let me begin by saying that I do not walk in the same circles as Mr. MacDonald or those he might call friends. I have never met him, talked with him or ever had the opportunity to hear him speak. I walk with a different set of people, a different gathering of followers. While I have never met him, nor read anything he wrote [with the exception of the article I am commenting on] I still hold a respect for him, because even if does not think so we in the emerging would see him as a brother in Christ. While he may not see us the same, we would wish no ill will upon him or his ministry. What Mr. MacDonald needs to understand is that we do not seek his approval, or his acceptance of what we are doing. While I would never dream of speaking for the whole emerging church, I believe I do speak for some [even if it be a small and faithful band] who seek to develop a deeper walk in faith, even if that means people like Mr. MacDonald misunderstand what we are saying.

So, given that and all I have stood for in the past [and will stand for in the future] let me say that I am emerging for many reasons:

Because observing and making comments are not always bad:
MacDonald says, "Knowing the soup is bad does not make one a chef. If successful diagnosis was a license to treat the patient every lab technician would be a surgeon . . . scary." To help Mr. MacDonald with this, let me say that I do not need to be a chef to know the taste of bad food. I find his statement to be both arrogant and self-serving. Does it imply that only those with Â?special trainingÂ? [like DR. MacDonald] are the only people who can see a problem in the church, or speak against what they see the church doing? His argument against the emerging is one of the reasons I am so strong for the emerging. Just because I have a MDiv does not make me better then a person without a degree. I think we can all learn from each other. While Mr. MacDonald does not see that as a reality, we in the emerging welcome all voices, and encourage those who have a desire to speak to do so, regardless of education.

His desire to claim that those "who protest" never get invited to the party may be true, but then again I am not sure I would want to go to his house for a party anyway.

What I find interesting in MacDonald is that he starts ragging on us, but complaining that we rag on the western church - go figure.

Because God is looking for sincere people to express the reality of who God is.
One of the things I am very impressed with people such as Chris Seay, Carol Childress, Dave Travis, Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren and Rob Bell is that they are people who desire to express a reality of who God is. While I do not personally know all these people, I do know many of them and count them as friends; but more then that I see many of them as people I find express a desire to walk deeper in Christ. I have found them to be people who deeply seek to help others walk a deeper faith, and trust in a loving God.

In that, I have never found any of those people degrading, insulting, or even demoralizing of any other person. In fact, I can say in my dealings with the people I know I have never heard them speak poorly of another person. Because of their hearts, I see a deeper expression of who God is in the lives of people, and for that I am deeply moved.

I have never been moved by any member of the "evangelical church." Now, that does not mean I will question their faith, their walk or their expression of who God is Â? as Mr. MacDonald desires to do of those he lists. But it does mean that I have not been impressed with the words of the "evangelical church."

Mr. MacDonald says, "We are expected to obey our Master and to accept His Word without equivocation. Cavalier questioning of the explicit statements of Scripture regarding the necessity of the new birth, the priority of biblical proclamation or the binding authority and sufficiency of Scripture cannot build a stronger, more Christ- honoring church no matter how sincere the messengers. Critiquing the church is good, disregarding or diminishing the revealed truth of our Founder is not good, no matter how Â?niceÂ? the people are who do it." Yet I wonder if he truly knows what the emerging is about? Or is he just striving to "get in" on debating us so he can look good in "evangelical circles?"

Because it IS substaMacDonaldstyle
Macdonald says, "Candles and bells, paintings and sculpture, incense and chantingÂ?great! Let's bring back the best of all those offerings of worship, but letÂ?s not confuse style and substance." Yet again I wonder if he has ever even been to an emerging service, or talked with emerging pastors. Because if he had, he would know we are so not about "style" and we are all about substance - in fact, I would say we have a deeper desire to substance then most "mega-churches" that tapes a message and then sends them to "satilite churches" and think that is church.

He seems to forget that the contemporary church is the one who centers on style over substance, and many in the traditional church are stuck in style, old style. The emerging is striving to see past the "style" and get closer to substance. One of the things I share at staff meetings, and everywhere else i can, with our worship leader at 247connection [Amanda Crump - a great worship leader, with a great heart for worship] is that she takes me from the streets to the face of God during worship. Something I have never experienced in a contemporary church or a traditional church - and I started to follow Jesus at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas [Gene Apple's old church], and i never experienced it there either.

MacDonald seems to forget is that God is a God of creation; in that we are beings of creation. Art expresses who we are and how we relate to the world around us. Art is not designed to "be truth" but is designed to express a reality we live, know and understand.

MacDonald asks the question [even though he did ask it with a sarcastic heart], "...was it the form that was powerful or just the broken routine that allowed my heart to worship with fresh sincerity?" And to that I say, "Yes." Does it matter which is the reality, if the end result is a deeper worship experience and a lasting connection to God?

Because the answer is Jesus, without western cultural.
What MacDonald seems to forget, or maybe he just choises to ignore, is that the USAmerican church sees Jesus through Western eyes - we see Jesus in terms of a western church. The Eastern church has a different view of Jesus and the Church then we do. To ignore culture is to ignore a major reality of our faith. To think that culture does not matter simply shows that Mr. MacDonald is not in touch with the world around him.

To think culture does not matter means he does not see the reality we live in, and sees what he thinks is a "true church."

Because Jesus IS the party and is never hidden.
MacDonald writes, "Why do so many of the emerging church websites speak of God/Father and less overtly or not at all about Jesus Christ the Lord?" Well, he has never been to Ginkworld.net, or The Ooze, or Next-wave, or any of the 400 emerging churches listed on Ginkworld, or the other sites. He must be confusing the contemporary church with the emerging church, again. Many, heck all, the emerging leaders I know and count as friends are very into Jesus. We would never think of hiding our faith, and many of us have it tattooed on our bodies for all to see.

If there is one thing I see alive and well in the emerging church is our desire to truly get past all the market crap and get to the real Jesus. To express a deep desire to know and follow his teachings, without the cultural stuff that the evangelical church has strived to shove down our throats.

Anyway . . .
I am not impressed with MacDonaldÂ?s arguments against the emerging. not because he does not have his point of view Â? he does and he can - but because he is wrong in his views. It shows that he is getting his information from Carson, Mohler and others who do not get us. What I find disingenuous is not that he does not agree with what we think, he has that right. What I find disingenuous is his desire to condemn us for having an honest concern for the church - while doing the same thing he is claiming we do.

What he, and others, desire is that we "change our waysÂ? and be more like them, as if Â?they got it right and everyone else got it wrong." That kind of logic is not in my way. MacDonald, while claiming to be open, is in fact very closed to other possibilities. I love what Brian is writing and what Bell is writing and what Len is writing, because they are stripping away the myths of the church and the faith Â? and allowing us to see and express a faith that shows the real Jesus, and not the western Jesus the evangelical church demands we believe. While he is calling for revival, he is pushing aside the revival that is happening all around him.

He writes, "We need a renewed vision of God's exalted, infinite holiness." And he is right, and it is called "the emerging church."


how much is ginkworld worth?

i was over at the ooze blog today checking comments when i saw jordon had a "how much is the ooze worth" and i thought that was cool - so, i went to the same place and found out how much ginkworld is worth - pretty funny stuff :)

My blog is worth $35,001.48.
how much is your blog worth?


"a conversation"

we are in the planning stages at 247connection about hosting a day long learning event [called "a conversation"] for emerging planters, partners and others interested in getting involved in the emerging church. we are praying over the direction and focus of this event. we are planning on a one day event, with labs and breakout sessions dealing with worship, structure [or lack there of], design, servanthood, and other areas we think are needed to help others in this process. we desire it to be practical, informative, connective and supportive.

while we know where God is leading us in this, we also know that we need others to help give us ideas and lift us in prayer. so, i think the question is, "what do you want in such an event?" longer? shorter? connections? a different time? do you have an idea you would like to see expressed at such an event? we have very little set in stone, but we do know we are looking to form a positive conversation with people. we are not looking to bash, or be bashed. we are striving to stay close to Christ, and seek God in all this; our goal is not to tell you what you must do, but rather to share with you our failures and sucesses, our ups and our downs, but mostly to let you know that it can be done - if you have an idea, let us know and we will look into making it happen.


[re]understanding prayer - a great book

it has been a long standing "idea" [not into policies] of mine not to write comments on books - i tried to do it on ginkworld, but that fell apart quick - because we kept thinking we were "judging" others, so that is not our style. but i have to say, it is books like the one i will share with you that make me break my "long standing idea."

kyle lake emailed me a week or so ago and asked if i would read his new book, and let others know what i thought - kyle lives dangerously, because one never knows what i will think - not even me :) but i have to give kyle props - the book is great, and one i think everyone should read.

the book is called "[re]understanding prayer; a fresh approach to conversation with God" and is put out by relevant books - it should be out very soon - BUY IT [see, i like it so much it got me to use the cap key :) ]

why do i like the book? not being raised in the church, and having all the baggage that come with being in a youth group - this book expresses pray as a natural conversation with God - not a "follow this pattern" or "do it this way" approach to prayer. kyle "gets it." his idea that prayer is simply talk with God without the dram is refreshing and expressive.

the part that grabbed me the most, and several parts definitely grabbed me and made me think, was the section on "avoiding autopilot." when i read that i was shoved back to my days when i first started in ministry and the senior pastor of the church would spend time looking over my prayers to see if i had "the right words" in them. kyle's approach is to break the "secret language" of the church and simply express a love for God that is real, open and honest.

i think you will get a great deal out of this book, so i am going out on a limb and suggesting you buy it, read it and see how it will effect your prayer life. i know it is helping me figure it all out.


the latest art work

my newest tat.  while it is not 100% finished, we need to add some blue water - the colors are great, and i love it.  the artist is a member 247connection and his name is kao.  when it is all finished i will put up the pic.


funding or sales market [a rant]

it is so hard to realize that there are more people out their striving to make a buck on church planting. they claim to help fund church plants and in reality simply see church plants as a funding source for their business - when did honesty and grace fall out of "para-ministries?"

as we search for funding at 247connection [where i am the lead pastor] we keep hitting walls of "sure, we can help but first you need to come to "our boot camp" [at a very hefty cost] and buy our stuff [at an additional hefty cost], and we will think about giving you a stippen to get you buy as you plant the church - and then you will need to pay it all back, and tithe to us for the next five years." [and if anyone can point to the bibical model for this, that would be very cool] which is just crazy. you see, we are three years old and just moved into a leased building where we were hit with some very large and unexpected outlays of cash [$80,000] which hit us hard, and most of our savings - so we are actively looking for a loan of $50,000 to help pull us over the hump. we are even willing to talk with denominstions and join if they could help. so, if you know of one willing to take a 9,000 sqft coffee shop with alternative music, a tatted pastor with a shave head and a growing gathering, tell them about us and let's talk.

because we do not "own" the building, we have nothing to give in exchange for the funds - except a promise that we will pay it back - and elders who will sign on the dotted line to do so. yet, even in the christian community, where christians should help each other, we find "business" as the center of what is called grace. for me, not being raised in the church, i had very different expectations of how this would come to be and how the church would help. boy, did i not expect the disconnect.

here is what i would love to see happen. a new gathering of churches who would pool their funds and help plants get over hard spots - without asking for a building, blood, or the first born; a gathering of all denominations who did not care about what "theology" you followed, but would care only that you were reaching those outside the church; a gathering of churches that would say, "let's help and get churches going" - because today more churches close then ever before. and when organizations that are suppose to help, turn a blind eye we will not gain a footing in the communities we serve." i know, i could be dreaming.

if you are interested in helping get this off the ground - spread the word and let others know - because if we all just pool a bit of cash we can do some very cool things - let's get action and stop the talking. if there is a person in a church with a butt load of money looking to "bank-roll" such a cool thing as this - let's talk and get this happening.

at 247connection we know that God will provide the funds [and that person you know with a butt load of cash can help if they desire :)], and we pray that it happens soon :) but more then that, i pray we can come together as a emerging community and help others in their time of need.

and a note: for all your organizations that want to charge for "coaching" and "advise" and offer for sale some book by some guy no one knows about - shame. shame on you for taking advantage of those in need, those called by God to plant a church and reach those outside the church. i am sure you think you are doing good, but please stop looking at us as if we were an untapped market to take from - but rather as a gathering of people looking to do as God desires - you are like snake oil salespeople seeking only to gain from a pot that is very low.


The Evolution of a Conversation:

All conversations evolve, that’s a given. I mean, everything evolves so it stands to reason that a conversation should also evolve. But I think the question is, “what do we evolve too?” If we look at the “natural” evolution of the Christian faith do we see a model of what the evolution of a conversation is, or should be? Let me explain how I see it.

Christianity started as a conversation in Bethlehem, moved to a movement in Jerusalem, developed into a philosophy in Greece, became an institution in Rome, organized as a tradition in America, and truly needs to return to the conversation and not to the movement stage.

Let’s Talk:
When Christianity was a conversation, Jesus was the key spokesperson for that conversation. Others, while having a voice, were not the guiding force of the faith. Others spoke, and even added to the conversation, but all eyes where on Jesus. Then, after Jesus left, the conversation stopped and the movement started. You see, while Jesus was alive, the movement could never happen – once Jesus left, then a movement could be formed. I fear that if we become a movement, we will no longer seek to see Christ as the center of what we talk about – we will turn to the voices of others to guide us.

When the conversation turned to a movement, the voice of Christ was filtered thought the voices of others. We no longer look at Jesus as the core teacher, and we started to look to people [like Paul] for our faith walk. We took the words of Christ and filtered them via Paul, as opposed to taking the words of Paul and filtering them through the words of Jesus. But movements do that, they replace the founder of the conversation with others who they see as “just as important” and we are on the verge of such action, and that frightens me greatly. Because one of the next steps is to become a “philosophy” and then an “institution” and I am not at all willing to head in that direction.

The Nature of the Beast:
No matter the intentions of the people involved, moving out of the conversation means we will move to becoming an institution. When I look back at the institutional church in my life I see flash back of hurt, pain, greed, selfishness, oppression and judgment. That is a norm for an institution. It must have “guidelines” and if one does not fit, one is not welcomed. If we look at “why” the emerging needs to be a “movement” we see that it’s because of the need to keep things more “centered” and “easier” to get out the word. But is that a reality? What I see is a gathering that sees itself as “The Emerging Church” and others who see themselves as “the emerging church” and how does a movement bring those together? Becoming a “movement” will not bring unity, and moving to an institution will never cause unity. So, how does it happen? I think it happens because it must happen, and I believe that the way it happens is we stay a conversation.

Keeping the conversation as a conversation is the only way it can happen. I think it is done, not with big national events that are smoke and mirror designed to sell books and “programs” aimed at an emerging people. Rather small gatherings of people in areas where the emerging is taking hold – and then spreading to the world around. Small, regional events, not designed to sell book, hype an author, or make money – but rather gathering where people can connect, make friends and learn from each other. When we have rings of interconnected, organic, and self developing small groups we connect with each other a core levels. we have an opportunity to truly be what we are claiming the church needs to be, relvant, organic, connective, group center and expressive.

Possible? Impossible?
I am certain that some would say, this is impossible – and for them it is. Yet, many will say that it is very possible – but how does one do this without people to “put it together?” I think it is simple, and that is usually the best when we think in terms of “organic.”

Vintage 21 in North Carolina is hosting a lunch and is asking people from about a two hour drive to come and talk – no program, no speakers, no “sales pitch” – just voices, sharing vision. 247Connection [the church I am the Lead Pastor at] is also willing to do the same. Now, all we need is another willing to do the same and the process begins.

The Turn Out
While I am certain that this will not make people any money, and the book publishers will not have big gatherings to hawk their wears at – but I could care less. I am not in this to make money, or sell books – I am in this to share Christ with others, and the way that is done in via an honest, open and organic network of conversations – no “guideline” no “definitions” of what it means to belong, or who is and is not emerging – just a gathering of people wanting to share Christ in a relevant way with others.

I truly have been praying over this idea that we “centralize” the emerging church, and I am very uncomfortable with what seems to be the way it is going. I am one voice, loud sometimes, but still one voice. I can only speak for myself and no other – I strongly desire to remain a conversation, and I am fearful of the idea that we become a movement. One thing those who desire a movement need to know, many of us who are in the emerging do not do well with movements and we have been kicked out, ignored or shoved aside in movements. Me in a movement is like a geek in the middle of a jock convention, not going to work :) – we have a very clear and real dislike for the idea of a movement [because it always leads to an institution] and it will not fit for many of us. It seems that we are selling out our vision and call to meet the needs of the book sellers, the organizers, and those who are striving to bring us “back” to the evangelical movement.


stupid is as stupid does

i came across this while i was playing around today, you know, as i was "mindless surfing." it struck me as funny, so let me share with you the story.
i had a long day, and it was filled with things most people don't deal with - well, let me change that - it was filled with the thing we call life. i had just "finished" redesigning the church web [247connection.net] and up-loaded it to get people to look it over so we can "tune it." when i felt the need to do what i call "mindless surfing" - it is where you google a bunch of things and see what comes up - you just type in words, not meaning or reason, and what comes up you visit - it's fun, and as you can tell i was very bored. in this case the search was "poverty, monkey, freak, sally" - and i am not sure of the site address or i would share that with you - but like i said, it is a mindless game - i am not even sure if it was a link off a link [lol].

well, in that search i came upon this pic - and it's a very interesting pic. it shows a "capitalist" with a gun to the head of a "regualr" person. in that is is speaking in terms of being "anti-capitalism" - which is cool and all, but do you see the problem? in their desire to "be against the capitalists" it broke a very important rule - they "trade marked" the symbol :) sometimes stupid is stupid, no matter what.


it's not politics

while i can not call sean penn a friend, nor will i say i agree with everything he has done in the past, i will say that i am greatly impressed with his actions as of late. what am i talking about? let me explain -

over the blogsphere there seems to be a "anti-penn" reality growing. and in the more conservative parts of this community there is a fever of "anti-penn" going around. as i read some of those blogs, i am amazed at the hearts of some who claim to be christian. they are willing to laugh and poke fun at penn for doing something i do not see them doing. radio people, conservative bloggers, tv persons and the like can all ride sean penn for "having a hole in his boat" [not true by the way] but they can not say he was unwilling to get dirty and help people - so, as he bloggers sit at computers at home, radio and tv people sit in offices, sean was actually doing something - and what were we doing?


something interesting

well, a bit before i decided to just let ingrad do her thing and not worry about anything - i created a "new person" and i posted a comment on her blog, after i posted one under my real name and as the new lead pastor at connection - my desire was to see why i was not posted [she approves all first time posts]. well, funny thing - "bob" got posted and i did not :) i think it is because "bob" was giving her props - but she had no idea that i was "bob" and this was a test - and she failed, big time.

Wow, in all my 52 years I have never see so much truth. Thank You
Posted by: Bob at August 31, 2005 10:53 PM

now, i know i tricked her, and that may seem childish, but it does prove a point. i am not 52, my name is not really bob, and her site has noting to do with truth - but i find it interesting - when one agrees, the post is made - but when one desires an honest and open debate, she [like most of those like her] ignors those who can stand-up to her. this i think proves one very big point.


a slice of what?

well, it is not secret that i am the lead pastor at connection church in hickory, nc - and i might add that i love it :) i got a email from a bud, bob hyatt over at evergreen at the other side of the world [in portland] letting me know that "ingrid" was dogging connection church again - because we have a picture of a girl sitting between two guys on the front page - she thinks it has "sexual over tones." well, i did post a comment on her blog, and i guess we will see if she posts it [she approves all "first time comments" to her blog]

but now here is the dilemma i find myself in. with a new lead guy [me] and a new building, we are developing a new site - and that picture is not in the mix - but if we keep it off the mix, will she then claim it was her voice that changed our minds? do you see what i mean? do we do as we were doing, and just be who we are? for us, the picture expresses community and relationship - nothing sexual at all. then, if we do not use that picture do we look at every picture we then desire to use and think "could this be sexual?" - man, this can be a mind-blowing and weird experience. what is a off centered, connective, relational, loving, accepting, forgiving community of faith to do?

i know, while we encourage her to have her own thought, we accept the fact that her thoughts do not drive us as a community of faith. we will design the site as we desire, and use the pictures we believe best express our community. if we worry about what every person will or will not like we will be placed in fear and never move forward. we encourage her to continue to express her voice, but we also stand that we do not have to agree with her - or allow her to determine the path of connection church -

the "phone poll"

i received a call last night from a young lady who introduced herself as doing a "AP Poll" - so,she asked to speak with a male in the house over 18 who just had a birthday - and that would be me. granted, living with all women, it's a given in my book, no matter when my birthday falls.

she started to ask questions on the way things were going in our country, and i found myself not able to answer them - not because i do not know what is happening, but because the questions seemed to have openly two answers - meaning that the results could be saying one thing, while people claim another - let me give an example. the question was, "should the u.s. senate approve brown as a supreme court judge?"

this question could be taken two ways, procedure, or political. let's say i was not a brown fan [even though it is not may place to vote on him] - so, i could answer yes, because if "procedure" we need to remeber that is their job, and "no" because i do not want them to do that - which do you answer? when one asks for the question in a "clearer form" all they do is repeat it. now, one could say, "it obvious, it's political," but is it? even if that is the intent of the question, is it that obvious? if, the ap were conducting the poll [and they never tell you who they are conducting the poll for] for the political department at a university, is it that obvious?

one thing we need to do in the church, and this gave me the seed; we need to make our questions clear. the answers can still be "both" - but the intent of the question is what drives the answer.


more on patty

robertson's latest is that he is now saying that he never said "assassinate" and that "take him out" could mean a great deal of things including "kidnapping" [which is another crime he is asking people to commit] i wonder what he said about clinton and his famous "that depends on what you mean by 'it'" statement - oh, yea robertson said clinton knew the "it" thing, but was trying to get away with bad behavior - patty, sounds like your doing the same - here, let me refresh your memory and give you the transcript of what you said:

"He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy and he is going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and, and Muslim extremists all over the continent. You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we are trying to assassinate him I think we really aught to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper then starting a war; and augh I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger, and the Unite...this is in our sphere of influence and we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced and without question this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil that can hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out [IN CONNECTION TO ASSASSINATE HIM" STATEMENT MADE BEFORE], and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another 200billion dollar war to get rid of one, you know, strong armed dictator. A whole lot easier to have some covert operative to do the job and get it over with." [bold face and cap face comments were added]

so, patty now you lie about what you say, even when it is on video with you mouthing the words - bad form bro.

robertson never apologized for calling for the death of a leader, and he only side-stepped the issue by lying about what he said in the first place. this is disheartening. robertson, even though i disagree with his theology, is a person in the public eye concerning our faith - and if he is unwilling to step to the plate and admit wrong doing, he is no better then those he is condemning for lying and not following christian teachings. robertson has moved from a voice in the church, to a voice for terror and violence.


foot in ass = robertson

now, i am not a big fan of the 700 club, and i do not put much stock in the words of pat robertson [in fact, he was the one that cause me to switch parties] but, when something as stupid and as hurtful as this comes out, we need to collectively give the boy a "raspberry." not being part of the "evangelical in" i am slow at getting the latest on evangelical doctrine - but i was wondering when the official doctrine of the church changed to, "kill leaders of countries we do not like before they cost us money?" - again, not being a insider i might have gotten the particulars wrong [not getting the memo can do that], but i am sure there must have been some change in the doctrine of peace - after all, part robertson is one of the "evangelical darlings" and he thinks it is what we should do.


not being part of the "in" i guess my vote does not matter much, but i vote we ask pat to say he's sorry, admit that his views are wrong and not reflective of Christians all over the world, then for him to get off the air and give-up his ordination - i may be more of a radical then most, but i have some major problems with robertson's views and his mouth:

1. how can a christian, and even a minister, call for the death of another person? being who he is, he has power over the hearts of many people who call themselves christian and value his words. his call to such an action could actually cause one of his followers to kill someone.

2. what teaching of christ is he quoting when he shares such information with the world? i would love for robertson to share with me, and others, exactly which teaching of christ he is using when he makes such a statement - i might have missed that in my reading, so i would love to know the passage where jesus teaches we kill leaders, or anyone, from another country.

3. he is a terrorist and needs to be arrested and charged as such. only terrorists call for someone to take the life of another person. robertson will need to explain the difference between his statement and a statement by an islamic cleric who calls for the death of one of our leaders.

as a christian, and as a minister, i am upset with this call for violence to another person. his call shows how irresponsible he is, how out of touch he is and how he is unable to see the expressed faith of christ in grace, peace, love and forgiveness.


current happenings

as many know, i am the new "lead pastor" at a community of faith called "connection" - and we are located in hickory,nc - and we are loving it all. but i wanted to share with you an update on how everything is progressing -

we are leasing a building in the downtown area, and we are in the process of gutting it and turning it into a "third place" - coffee shop, hangout, art center for the community we are serving - and all is going great - sure, we could use some extra money [and if you like, you can make a check out to "connection" and mail it to po box 1046, hickory, nc 28605 - we sure could use the money] - but God is leading us to do this, and i have never felt more "connected" with a group as i do with this gathering - i know God placed us here to minister, grow and share - and all that is happening on great levels.

as we progress in this exciting and spirit lead "third place" - keep us in your prayers. the process is long, hard and blessed and we know we are doing what God is asking of us -

ps - just in case it came across as a joke, we sure could use a little extra :) keep us in your prayers :)


moving can shake the crap out of you.

it seems the best way to get a new look at life is to move cross country. now, i am not sure if it because i spent the better part of the day team driving with my wife; or that we had to deal with three kids and a dog; or if it was the fact that we were not connected for over a month - we did not have lap tops at the time of the move; or if it was just that i got to see some amazing things on the drive and spent a great deal of time talking with the women i love - who knows, all i can say is moving sure does shake the crap out of a person.

on the trip i came toa realization that living on the edge is f fun, but rather hard to deal with at time. but more, i even think that what we see as the "edge" is simply a bad spot to be in. so, one says, 'welcome to the edge.' keep in mind, being on the edge means you have people behind you wanting to push and people in front of you wanting to pull - and it takes all you have to simply hold onto the ropes and find a place to stand.

i think the idea is to just be the one God called, and let the others be the others, and let them flap all the gums they desire. for awhile there i was concerned with what cason and others say - and i found myself "picking sides" - and soemtimes i did not agree with the side i picked, but i picked it because it was against the side i did not want to belong too; or felt i should not belong too. then, i drove cross country and took a new position - i think it was all the time away from the "in your face emerging" that changed me and mellowed my thoughts - but for me, the "edge" is not the radicals on either side; they are simply voices that hold no meaning to me, so i let them go; they are the ones with the rope. for me, the edge is a place where God moves us to be and see the vast open spaces before us - and share his vision with us. it is a place where we come to the realization that who we are is based more on our standing with God, then with what someone else thinks. i have come to the conclusion that in that stance i need not defend, define, or explain my views - they are what they are. some will agree, some will not- but all in all i am the one God made and called to this path - and God is the only person i am accountable to.

man, moving can truly shake the crap out of a guy :)


i am back :)

i am back online and it feels good :) if there is one thing traveling 3,100 miles with three kids and a dog will do for you - it will give you a grip of stuff to write about. so,over the next few weeks i will be posting as much as possible. i will also be sharing about 247 connection [the community of faith i am not the lead pastor with] and how this is all progressing - it's a great "third place" and a community gathering place - pictures and more to follow.


la quinta - the way to go!

while this is not a plug for any one chain, we have had great stays at the la quinta hotel in gallup nm, and [believe it or not] "econo lodges" [clovis nm was a great experience]- the service has been great and the people wonderful.

i have come to the conclusion that this experience will produce a wealth of articles, examples and expressions of my faith. travel can do that, and that is cool. here are a few "truths" we have come to so far:

1. three kids + 2,500 miles = hardtime for the parents
2. dogs are great, but....
3. some of the meanest people work in hotels
4. some of the nicest people work in hotels
5. God's plans are not always ours.
6. trust in God makes the trip so much easier
7. portable dvd players are required for a good trip :)


no mo hojo

well, we made it to gallup, and let me tell you - if you are ever in las vegas keep far away from the howard johnson' - man was that a bad experience, to the highest degree -

the air conditioner did not work - in a heat wave of 120 in vegas
the fan would shake like it was falling off - over the bed where the kids were not getting sleep because of the heat and the air conditioner not working. then, even though we told them how many there were in the room - 2 adults, 3 kids - they gave us one set of towels - and when we asked for more, they gave us on more. i guess that was ok, because no one wanted to use the bathroom anyway - can things like that grow in las vegas?

i think the topper came when we tried to go swimming. it seems they close the pool at 7:00pm - in vegas?

needless to say, this place is not high on our list of places to stay in vegas - over priced, under cleaned and without a care in the world. when we would say we were not being treated right, all we got from anyone at the place was "ok, by now. ok, by now."

lesson learned :)


viva las vegas

we made it to vegas and spent the day with family. we had a great time, all the kiddies running around and playing - life is good, and get's even better.

i have a younger brother who has been fighting addictions for a while, and it looks like he is winning. we lost touch with him, and it seemed that we would never find him - but it turns out he is living in florida with a family member and doing great - living life and getting clean. he is hiv positive, but is doing some very cool changes in his life - can't wait to see his face and know the addictions are being delt with. very cool - good news on the road -

well, tonight we sleep, for later we drive to gallup, nm :)


the adventure begins

today is the day we pack the truck and send it on it's way. we will be leaving behind this chapter of our lives and moving to a new chapter. as we close out the california chapter and open the north carolina chapter i have a great many things to be in praise over, God has blessed me in many ways -

my family; my wife tina, a great and supportive lady whom i love dearly. she supports me, reads what i write and even will help me work out ideas. she cares about what i do, and is a very supportive part of my ministry and my walk. our children, heather and steve, veronica and lauren - three bright spots in a day :). the rest of the family, mother-in-law, brothers, sisters, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunts, cousins and more - a large and supportive ring around me as we move into a new phase of life.

our friends; people who are willing to go out of their way to help us see the possibilities of what community is and can be. the people of connection church and their hearts and spirits.

over the next year i will be growing as a husband, father, friend, pastor, person. i will be looking deep into my personal walk of faith as i seek to start a dmin in 2006 [over at george fox with len sweet] and pastor with the people at connections. this adventure marks a great point in my life and my walk. i thank God for all the blessings he has given to me over this year - as i seek to hold those blessings with respect and grace i ask that all keep us in their prayers.

we will be "off-line" for a while as we have a family time trip across america - we will post as we can [family over posting ;)].



while playing around

i was playing around today and i came across this at blogger.com - now, i am not certian who wrote it, but i was honored and greatly moved. wow.

ginkworld; inside the mind of punk monkey This is ginkworld's new blog and gives you a look inside the mind of the Punk Monkey, something that has mystified us all for years. What makes the Punk Monkey tick? Is it true that he was involved in the Willi Plett incident? Forget the X-Files, the truth is in this blog.

ginkworld is one of those sites that carries the strong presence of an individual that gives it a great voice. I have seen a plethora of sites trying to be the next ginkworld or TheOOZE and they come up short because they don't have the passion and the voice of a person behind it. They end up being bland and lifeless and feeling kind of cold and commercial whereas ginkworld and other cool sites like it keep the personality of their architect.

Whenever someone asks me to review a site or a design, I keep telling them to keep it real and keep it personable... there are thousands of corporations out there, I prefer to hang out online with cool people.

makes me feel good to know someone thinks this way - i am greatly moved, and encouraged to keep the faith - thanks, who ever you are.

following is hard.

to follow - to allow another to lead, and simply follow behind them. what does it take? what does it mean? are you willing to do it all? are you willing to take the leap and follow the leader? here is a very interesting story i ran across that might get you thinking...link


the cost of a movement

what is the cost of a movement? we can see the cost in economic terms. we can express it in the nature of what it costs to attend a convention, and what we spend at each convention buying books and stuff by the publishers that seem to "support us" [or see us at the great untapped market for a dying book industry].

but for me, i see the cost so much more then that. i see it as the cost individuality. to me, a "movement" can becomes a firewall that does not allow dissent. it sets it's parameters to high and blocks all possible differences. one would need to "fit in the lines" drawn by some, and even if supported by the many, before they could be seen as "part of the movement." it has the potential to cause those on the radical fringe to lose voice in something they believed in - we would be no better then the modern/traditional/evangelical church that does not allow us to be comfortable in their walls.

when i was a kid, my father always said, "there is nothing worse then an irish boss." meaning? my father was irish, and he said that it meant that under english control the irish were subject to some very hard stuff, but when an irish person was made "boss" they treated the others twice as hard. Because they wanted to prove something. while voices say, "this will not happen" - history has shown that there is a very good chance that it will happen.

if the cost of becoming a movement is the cost of one person who questions and does not find a home in us, then the cost is too high. if the cost of the movement is that one voice is blocked from being heard, then the cost is too high. if the cost of a movement is that those on the fringe are not invited, not welcomed and not encouraged to speak, then the cost is too high.

the true cost will be seen in the coming months. the "board" of the "E"erging will be expanding. that is as it is, and i for one will see this as a major reality check to see how inclusive they will be to all voices. if the "board" is simply a "whose who" of evangelical, moderates and "the published" then that will speak volumes. but, if voices from all sides are joined together, then that too will speak loud.

a letter from a friend, and a possible reality:

i think this thing of the "emergent southeast" is a very good and very cool thing. it seems that the news is getting out, and people are emailing me about it. here is an example of one such email [and a great site] from one of the people who i think has some very cool ideas:

camp is a place i have grew up in and now a place I am attempting to rethink and reimagine. i've been doing some alt worship (form and theology) during various retreats and camps and have gotten some fascinating feedback from the mostly small, conservative churches that attend. camp is such an important part of the south's religious experience, part of its very foundations back in the 19th century revival meetings.

For a while, i've been dreaming about the possibility of a southeastern emergent gathering and would like to suggest the possibility of a camp setting..the intimacy, community and historical significance would serve as an interesting background to such a gathering..just throwing out a feeler to see what some others think..of course there is the possibility of our camp in SC, but there are plenty that would seem to facilitate such a gathering..

obviously, emergent in the south (especially the rural south) is going to have its own characteristics and theological directions. Thank you for setting up this blog as a way of letting many of us come together to continue the conversation in a very specific way..

well, i think that is a great idea. to see an emerging event that is dealing with the needs of the people is great - there are a great many "small" towns and suburban centers in the south that are very different from those on the west cost, or the midwest. our needs are different, and at some level our "historic starting point" is different. as a person who grew-up in the west (nevada and california) i can attest to this reality. many of the emerging events that are taking place are designed for the urban centers, and they all focus on the same things.

if, the idea of an "emerging gathering" is something that will be useful, i am all for helping getting one off the ground. we need to spread the word of this blog, and let people know we need voices - no emerging gathering can be formed if we do not hear the voices of the people we seek to hear.

if we get the word out, connect with other voices, and seek to know where God is leading, then i think we can get something happening by the summer of 2006. the possibility is to have a "ochlos" [one of the greek words for a 'gathering' {ock-los}.] it is used by mark [and others] to describe gatherings and crowds as they came to here the teachings of Jesus, "then Jesus went again to walk alongside the lake. again a crowd came to him, and he taught them."

who knows, the possibility is endless :) pass the word.


i love the way jordon handles things.

What kind of e-mail do you hate?
a) E-mail lecturing me for not responding to my e-mail.
b) E-mail telling me everytime you have updated your blog (very high chance of having your e-mail blocked)
c) E-mail that makes assumptions about my theological beliefs that are totally wrong and based on one post.
d) E-mail that is looking for a debate or wanting to attack. It isn't that I don't enjoy debate, I really do but I don't have the time to do as I once did. If you want some excellent theological discussion, head on over to Stephen Sheild's site Faith Maps and sign up for their discussion list or John O'Keefe's ginkworld.net's postmodern theology discussion list. Another great place for discussion is TheOoze's message board and Emergent Village.

jordon has a great way of putting things :)


are we ready to be a movement?

the idea of a " movement" disturbs me, not that i am 100% against it, but i would be less than honest if i did not say it disturbs me. now, before i go on let me say this is not a rant against "E"mergent of tony and what he is being called to do. tony has asked that we "take a break" for a while and see where things rest in a few years. i admire tony enough to honor that request. after all, he has the rather large task of trying to gather all our voices and see if we can be on a common track - a wide track.

i think, for me, the idea of becoming a movement is disturbing at a core level, because i have felt the sting, slap and insults of the "modern church movement." my concern comes from the idea that some heavy "formality" will form from what i believe should remain informal. as we discuss the possibility of morphing from conversation to movement i am concerned about some very important realities.

who will determine what the movement looks like?
who determined that one group speaks for all?
who will determine what the movement believes?
who will determine who will speak for who?
who will determine how the movement moves?
who will determine why the movement is?

i keep hearing that "many" want us to be more "organized." yet, i do not hear those voices. i hear the voices of those who fear this idea, and they fear it for many reasons. while some may see our voices as "trivial," i hope those who desire a "movement" do not. because if they do, then they are no better then the modern church we strive to move past. if they are unwilling to hear us, then they are no better then those they have questionsed in years past. they have replaced themselves with the likes of mohler and carson. if they are unwilling to bring all voices together, or unable to... [more]