20050422

what shape is water?

define the shape water takes? think about it for a moment, and tell me what shape is water? you can't, unless you know the shape of the vessel it is placed in, because water has no "shape" of it's own it takes the shape of the vessel. the same can be said of the emerging/postmodern conversation. i am asked all the time to "define what it means to be emerging/postmodern?" the best thing i can ever answer is, "what shape is water?" what i am asking the person is thing, in what context are you asking me to define the "emerging/postmodern conversation?" after all, to define something as fluid as the emerging/postmodern conversation one needs to fist know the shape of the vessel it sets in. but for many in the modern/evangelical movement do not like that, they demand a definition, a constant definition and one that applies to all in the emerging/postmodern conversation. given this, many in the modern/evangelical movement strive hard to define the emerging conversations, and never even strive to know the vessel. just as there is no way to know the shape water will take, there is no way of know the shape of the emerging/postmodern conversation will take. to me, that is the best thing about it. emerging communities forming out of a methodist tradition will be different then those growing out of a baptist community. this is hard for the "modern mind of reason" to grasp because they need lines, walls, boxes and definition to keep things in their respective places. to them it is hard to think of a community of faith that is "baptmetodepiscocathoreform" and where the people get connected. 

to the modern/evangelic church the "age of enlightenment and reason" gave birth to their world-view. with minds like kant and decartes they believed that the world could be defined by human thought, and that humans had total control over all they saw and desired. it was even decartes that offers us the very foundation of modern/evangelical thought; "cogito ergo sum" or "i think, therefore i am." this though gave birth to the reality that in the modern world, the method used is more important then the content measured, and also that a worldview is defined on the "certainty" of that method. the mind became the center of all that was, and platonic logic becomes the end all of end alls. over this time we raped lands, destroyed cultures and caused some of the most massive destruction ever seen on this planet. it was during this time, the that many of the great theologian formed much of what the current modern/evangelical church hold dear. it seems that the church was happy to "trade-away" the "doctrine of revelation" because, as they believed, they had a way of "proving" God was real, and that jesus is that God, and so on. it was simple, all they needed to do was put the method above the content, and then tell themselves that the "content" was right because it fit the method. that seems to be the heart of the problem they are having with emerging/postmodern conversation.
 
the problem that i see that they are having with us is that they are striving to define us via what they see in themselves. it is in the way they see the world that they are striving to "define" the postmodern/emerging conversation. while i understand that, and i do see where they are coming from, what they seem to be doing is try to "push" the emerging/postmodern conversation into the box where they make the "rules." they are striving to force the emerging/postmodern into the evangelical/modern, and it will not fit - so, with the same "off logic" that they created the evangelical/modern movement, they desire to "bring down" the emerging/postmodern. what they do not realize, is that if they look they will see the dna they placed in us. but they will not look that deep, because it is easier to dance on the surface then it is to swim in the ocean. and what they would like, is for us to get out of the water, get dressed and sit on the blanket, and that's not going to happen.
 
most evangelicals want us to be in one place, while we find ourselves in a very different place. now, that is not to say that "all" emerging/postmodern people do not "fit" into the "evangelical" mold, some do, and so do not. the issues is not "who is and who is not" evangelical, it is that those in the evangelical refuse to see even those in the emerging that are themselves "evangelical." it is also, that the evangelicals are striving hard to swipe all people with one large brush. to them it seems that on one end of the spectrum is what most modern/evangelicals desire and on the other end, what they desire to accuse emerging/postmodern of being.
 
here is what i see as the "lines drawn" by the modern/evangelical movement:

1. they desire to fight over what is the "certain" foundation
2. they desire to fight over what they see as the author's "true" intent
3. they desire to fight over how on defines "community"
4. they desire to fight over the idea of a " pastoral theology" (and leave it to the scholars)
5. they desire to fight over what logic to use, and they demand it be their way.
 
for me, this fight is just getting silly, and one i am not sure i want to get in the middle of. to me, what seems to be the case with the modern/evangelical movement is that they have exchanged a faith in jesus christ for an epistemological system. i think this is one of the main reasons (cores) that form in the "emerging conversation" and one of the reasons i think most of us are not comfortable with many "tag" - because when we are tagged, we are associated with another philosophy we may not desire to be connected to. this drives many modern/evangelicals crazy, because it seems that (to them) we are a mixed bag, and to be honest, we are. while all that is true, let me share with you what i think most people in the emerging/postmodern conversation are, and "are not" about:
 
1. they see us as "emotional and stupid": for some reason, and i am unsure why, many in the modern/evangelical movement see us as "touchy feely" and even "stupid." many of us are rather smart (myself excluded :) ). while we have a large share of "advanced degrees" we have even a larger share of people who know life, and have experienced a particle side of living the faith. i think the reason we are seen in this light, is because we truly believe that the faith can be lived, and lives can be changed. we honestly thing that we can love everyone, live in peace, forgive and live in grace. we are seen as being "idealistic" and that is fine, because we feel that jesus was also very idealistic.
 
2. they see us as "young": some are, and some are not. this has never been an age thing, it has always been a thought thing. i am amazed at how many people think emerging/postmodern is a "college" thing, or a "youth group" thing. yet, when they come to an emerging service, they see people of all ages, and they are surprised.
 
3. they see us as not committed to scripture: this one is the funniest every, because all the people i know in the emerging/postmodern conversation are fiercely committed to scripture. while we many not get the same stuff out of what we read, we are very connected to the scriptures of the faith. while we think that people can read, talk and discuss all parts of scripture, we strive hard to come to a community consensus of what it mean. many are tired very tight to orthodox christianity.
 
5. they see us as individualistic: this is the farthest thing from what is real. we are totally committed to living in a biblical community and team ministry. we think accountability to that community is something we all need, and we have no problem with having accountability structures. i think this is one of the problems, modern/evangelicals desire us to be accountable to them, and we desire to be accountable to our community. just because they are "leaders" in the modern/evangelical church does not make them a servant in my community. for us, the "class" system created in the church is wrong, so the laity/clergy gap is something we desire to remove. remember that the modern "superhero" is superman; and the postmodern are "the x-men" - being the "lone gun" is not our style, we love the team and the community - the more the better.
 
6. they think we are all liberals: while we may reject any universal human experience as "the one we all must share" that does not make us "liberal." in fact, i know many in the emerging that run the spectrum from conservative to liberal, and to group us into one area is something we will reject. i believe the idea is that if we disagree with the evangelical/modern movement we must be liberal - because they see themselves as "the true center" and they are wrong.
 
7. they think we believe "anything goes": for some reason many in the modern/evangelical movement think we believe that "anything goes" and that "everyone is right" simply because we are unwilling to condemn the thoughts of others. well, that is not a reality we live in. many of us hold fast and hard to what we believe, and as a group we are very willing to accept the thoughts of others - we do not have to agree, but that does not mean we have to condemn. the idea in the modern/evangelical movement is "if you disagree, start a denomination." but for us, it is "if you disagree, cool let's go get a coffee and talk about it, i want to know what you think."  
 
the bottom line? the emerging/postmodern conversation is deeper then the modern/evangelical movement desire to make us out to be. they attack us, ridicule us, and demand that "we change to fit their shape." yet, when we stand our ground and express the shape we believe God has lead us to, we are tagged "argumentative." then, when we hold to how we see it, they claim we are not being open. for us it is simple, the church must be church - not a social club, not a production, not a fashion club and not a huge building where they spend more on upkeep then on feeding the hungry. we have no desire to "sell" our faith to others, and we are very willing to let each community develop in the shape set before it. so, what share is water?
  

20050420

i am emergent, i am not Emergent

does anyone know the difference? i often wonder if people do. does any modern person know the difference? i often wonder if they do - and more then that, i often wonder if they care - not because we are not to be worried about, but because they cannot see the difference.

being "emergent" - with a "lower case e" - means, to me, i am part of the "emerging/postmodern conversation" - it means i voice my voice in the realm of church change and reaching a people unreached by the evangelical/modern church. it means i desire change, and i am "emerging" from the teachings of christ, the way i see them. it means i am post-evangelical, post-denomination, post-show, post-disconnection and that i believe that a community of faith is something 24/7 - it is not "american" or "ethnic" at any level, and it is life changing, life transforming and always christ centered. it means, that i seek a deeper walk with christ, a stronger faith in love, a sweeter voice in grace, a large view in forgiveness and mostly, i seek to know jesus as a real friend, savior, companion and mostly christ. it means i seek to be in scripture, and find the real meaning of that scripture in a holistic way - and not on a "one line" basis. it means that i strive to be "pro" and not "anti" (i am not "anti-moder" i am "pro-emerging"). being "pro" i see the possibilities and the positives, while being "anti" means you can only find what is wrong, and what is negative. i do not find comfort in the "anti" world - it means i am called into accountability by those i live in community with, and not those outside my community. it means i seek to know those by what God placed in them, and not what the world sees as "negatives" about them. i seek to love the ugly, the hurting, the homeless and the annoying and not just the cute, the friendsly, the rich and the powerful. it means i am willing to die for those i love, and those i do not love. it means i am willing to forgive those who harm me and truly walk in the faith that christ sets before me - i am willing to give my coat along with my shirt, and i am willing to truly walk that extra mile with others. it means i seek to be part of a community of faith that lifts me up, hold me when i shake, pushes me when i stop, that pulls me when i walk to far and mostly never, never harms me - because anytime a community causes pain to its members, it is not of christ.

i am not Emergent - with a "upper case E" - because i do not belong to the website that is called Emergent Villiage. that does not mean i do not support them, because i do - and i consider them my friends. now, can one be emerging and be Emergent, of course - many of those i call friends are in the "Emergent" group - many of the people i respect are in that group, and i value them all as a voice worth hearing - but, does being in Emergent makes you emerging? not at all. no more then belonging to ginkworld will make you a "gink." i know of many people who are "anti-emerging" that join emerging groups.

one thing that needs to be stated again, and again (a third "again" would be too modern :) ) - and in light of this "d. a. carson" guy it needs to be expressed one more time (notice, i did not say "again" :) ) - no group speaks for those of us who are emerging, no group not Emergent Villiage, not the ooze, not next-wave, not ginkworld, not any of us - no person speaks for us either - not brian, not doug, not dan, not jordon, not spencer, not charlie, not malcolm, not me - no one speaks for all who are emerging. at best, we can voice an idea and some my join us in that idea - but that does not mean "we" speak for them. all it means is our voice empowers them and gives them voice, and that is very cool. there are many things brian shares, or doug shares, or dan shares or others share that i agree with, and there are something i do not agree with - but to box all who claim to be emerging into the "Emergent" group is at best, disingenuous.

scot mcknight seems to be wanting to dialog concerning this little reality - and as long as he can see the difference, i think dialog would be a good thing. as i mentioned before, i do not "hold" carson in the regard that many seem to do - i have not read his stuff, and attending drew for my mdiv he did not influence me in the development of my theology - you see, i am not "post-evangelical" i never was evangelical, so his voice is not inside my head. if the dialog is truly a dialog (two way conversation) then i think that would be wonderful - but (and this is a big but and may be hard for those who desire to speak in the emerging conversation) you must realize that no one speaks for us all - we speak in a loud, collective voice at times but we always speak with many tones, many scales and many hearts - are you truly ready for that conversation?

20050416

whose on first?

ever wonder who is watching all this stuff? before i go on, let me say i love andrew and all he is doing in the emerging conversation - and that goes without saying, even though i said it :) here is something funny i found out:

some guy named "d. a. carson" (and to be honest, i never heard of this guy before all this) is attacking the emerging in some new book he is writing (funy thing is that while he is attacking, he has never even been to an emerging church or to an emerging gathering), so andrew is defending the emerging, while another group attacking carson, is attacking carson for almost the same stuff that he is attacking the emergent for - so silly st some level.

i have been giving this some thought, and i wonder where it all ends? it seems that we have to keep defending our point of view, or thought patterns and our heart on a regular basis - everytime we turn around, some wise guy from the old guard have to take a stab at us and draw blood - and they never once realize that others are doing the same to them. to us, their attack do hurt, because they are our parents, and grandparents. it seems that when we stand on our own, they strive to knock us down, and kick sand in our face -

in all this, i have to give anderw big props for his way of handling this - because if it was me, i would have been a lot stronger, a lot harder and more "in their face."

20050414

accepting?

recently (in the postmodern theology egroup), we have been discussing the actions of the episcopal diocese of connecticut and the actions of their bishop (bishop smith) to "fire" six priests that disagreed with the election of an openly gay bishop - now, i am not going to get into the "gay/straight" thing because i think that would take away from the real issue at hand - the power of one person to effect the lives of those who disagree with him in such a hurtful and mean way - and then to fall back on his office, power and christ to justify his actions.

if, those in church "leadership" abuse their power to "remove" people who disagree with them, that is disheartening and not the way of christ. i believe it is something everyone in the emerging/postmodern community should stand against. in my opinion, his actions are not christian at any level and are abusive. in the emerging/postmodern conversation we are quick to jump on the actions of the "evangelical" for the "disconnection" they cause in the body of christ - i think this is something that needs to be addressed. this bishop's abuse of power is disgusting, and so not in the walk of christ.

accepting?

recently (in the postmodern theology egroup), we have been discussing the actions of the episcopal diocese of connecticut and the actions of their bishop (bishop smith) to "fire" six priests that disagreed with the election of an openly gay bishop - now, i am not going to get into the "gay/straight" thing because i think that would take away from the real issue at hand - the power of one person to effect the lives of those who disagree with him in such a hurtful and mean way - and then to fall back on his office, power and christ to justify his actions.

if, those in church "leadership" abuse their power to "remove" people who disagree with them, that is disheartening and not the way of christ. i believe it is something everyone in the emerging/postmodern community should stand against. in my opinion, his actions are not christian at any level and are abusive. in the emerging/postmodern conversation we are quick to jump on the actions of the "evangelical" for the "disconnection" they cause in the body of christ - i think this is something that needs to be addressed. this bishop's abuse of power is disgusting, and so not in the walk of christ.

20050411

so, $3.00 a gallon for gas is high?

diet snapple 16 oz $1.29, which come to $10.32 per gallon
lipton ice tea 16 oz $1.19, which come to $9.52 per gallon
gatorade 20 oz $1.59, which come to $10.17 per gallon
ocean spray 16 oz $1.25, which come to $10.00 per gallon
brake fluid 12 oz $3.15, which come to $33.60 per gallon
vick's nyquil 6 oz $8.35, which come to $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85, which come to $123.20 per gallon
Whiteout 7 oz $1.39, which come to $25.42 per gallon
Scope 1.5 oz $0.99, which come to $84.48 per gallon
Evian water 9 oz $1.49, which come to $21.19 per gallon

The funny thing is that “evian” spelled backwards is na├»ve

20050402

if i filled in an app at cedar :)

brian's church (cedar ridge community church) is seeking a senior pastor. now i truly love brian and all his writings, so i thought i would have a bit of fun. when i first founded ginkworld he was quick to take the seven questions, and i truly thought that was great, and his voice is one of the voices i listen too. i found out of the opening via a email from a friend who suggested i apply - well, i am good, and i am looking, but i am not sure they would be interested in me. do you really think they would be open to a radical, shaved head, earring wearing, tattooed wild-man on staff? i love brian, i love what i think the church is doing, so i decided not to even send a resume, but i could not help but answer the questions in my own way, here is what i would have said: (questions in bold, my answers in "italic")

Pre-Screening Employment Questions
Please Submit with Resume
Position: Senior Pastor


Candidate's Name: John O'Keefe
Day Phone: yea, right so people could call :)
Evening Phone: that would be the same as the day phone
Mailing Address: Some where in Sacramento, CA
Email Address(es): jxpxus@yahoo.com (but you have to promise not to add me to any emailing list)

Please offer brief (one to five-sentence answers) to the following questions, which are arranged in random order and which vary widely in their relative importance. Wherever appropriate, include specifics (numbers, dates, results, etc.). These questions should accompany your resume and serve as supplementary information.

1. How did you find out about this job opening? someone told me

2. A. Have you _YES_ studied our website, _NO_ visited the church, _YES_ become familiar with our founding pastor’s books?

B. What about Cedar Ridge most interests and attracts you? What about Cedar Ridge most concerns you? what interestes me is that it seems to center on doing things a different, and seeks to know people for who they are, and not what others want them to be. what concerns me is the chance of losing the connection with people as it becomes too big - or too "traditional" in it's drive and function.

3. Describe your current position (i.e. title, direct report, organizational culture, responsibilities, etc.). unemployeed (is that a title?)

Why are you interested in a new position at this time? because i would have a job? not really, because i believe i have the mad skills to be right for it.

What about your current situation is unsatisfactory to you? what part of "unemployeed" needs explaining? :D

4. What can you tell us about your personality type and work style? (If you have recent results from common instruments -– MBTI, DISC, enneagram, etc. –- we would appreciate having those results.) ENFP, with a worped humor and twisted view of reality - and why would you want a copy of the results? what would you do with them? -

5. Tell us about your availability. When is the soonest you would be able to start? is "yesterday" too soon?

6. Please describe your demonstrated ability to recruit, train, support, motivate, reassign, and mobilize volunteers. i'm good at it.

7. Please describe your demonstrated ability to recruit, train, support, motivate, reassign, and mobilize paid staff. i'm good at it, too.

8. Have you ever worked in a growing and innovative church environment before? Describe your experience. yes, it was fun.

9. Describe the largest church you have worked with (or attended). What were its strengths and weaknesses? 8,000; the strength was that it had the money and people to do great things for christ. the weakness was that it never did great things for christ (that is, unless you call building a huge building a "great thing for christ."

10. Describe the smallest church you have worked with (or attended). What were its strengths and weaknesses? 50; the weakness was it never had enough money or people to do great things for christ. the strength was that it did not know that, and it did great things for christ anyway.

11. What is your desired salary range (please offer a range of $15,000)? since i am not making anything now, 15,000 sounds good, not great but good. how about doing better then most churches and offer enough to live in the area, and buy house, a cup of coffee for my wife or shoes for the kids.

12. What would be your desired vacation or other benefits? that would be nice, vacation and benefits - sweet.

13. Since this job requires considerable leadership and management responsibilities, please tell us about your leadership and management experience: How many people reported to you, did you do performance reviews, were you responsible for setting goals? How effective have you been in these roles? Why do you think so? wow, all that in only one to five sentences, not sure i can do that - yikes, i lose on this one - unless i use run-one sentences - but then i would be rambling, kinda like i am now...

14. What kinds of plans or systems or projects were you responsible for developing in your previous work? Did you have to design the plans/projects or implement them or both? Can you tell us about one of the most effective planning and project management processes you were involved with? Can you tell us about a system you created or improved that you are particularly proud of? sounds like "programs" to me, we just give them a different name

15. Do you have the ability to prepare and analyze annual budgets? yes. Tell us about some of your experience. What size budgets are you accustomed to working with? it was budgets, not exciting and not a great joy and it was only 12 million.

Have you ever raised money? yes, i was director of development and public relations before ministry

Can you read or create spreadsheets? yes

16. What is your exposure to "emerging churches?" not much, i planted a few ("the point" and "praxis"), founded ginkworld.net and do a bit of writing

17. How much experience have you had in evangelism, disciple-making, small groups, and leadership training? a grip on them all, but i beleive all "leaders" must be servants, and not "servant/leaders" - because we forget the "servant" part and always seek to be the "leader" part.

18. Because compatibility with fellow staff members is so crucial, could you tell us what characteristics you would be looking for in colleagues you could work well with? they need to be cool people, and ones i can be friends with - oh yea, they need to like to have fun and enjoy a killer bbq

19. Could you tell us what other people would say about your spiritual maturity and health? they would say i was ok, and getting "ok-er."

What adjectives would others use to describe your relationship with God? exciting, real, shared, connective, expressive, funny (not sure they are all adjectives, never was very good at english)

20. Tell us a little bit about your non-preaching communication style and ability. Do you prefer written communication over in-person communication? not into the "either/or" this projects - too linier

Telephone over email? there it is again, i am a both/and kind of guy

In public speaking, do you prefer extensive preparation or think-on-your-feet? both/and - not comfortable with the "either/or" thing

Do you prefer scheduled communication (monthly letters or meetings) or spontaneous, ad hoc communication (when needed rather than scheduled)? both/and, here is that "either/or" again :) (not too emerging) :)

Would you be more likely to be called "blunt" or "indirect?" both/and, here is that "either/or" again :)

21. What management tools do you use to organize yourself and your work? i live with my palm and cell - connections is the blood that holds us united :)

22. Computer skills: Could you list for us the software applications you know well? yes, i could list them

23. Preaching/Teaching: Give us a summary of your preaching experience and style, and the kind of feedback you receive from people – positive and negative. i get both kinds of feed back. i have been teaching for about 10 years, not everyone likes everything people say - if they did, i would not be helping them to grow and streach past the comfort zone of the livingroom

Will you be able to supply YES audio or NO video samples of your preaching?

24. Critique: Share with us three instances where you received substantive critique, your assessment of the validity of that critique, and how you responded to it. first, i would need a definitions of "substantive" and "critique" to make sure we were on the same page. second, are you sure you want "three" - sounds so traditional and "three points" to me.

25. References: Please supply us with six references:
A. Someone you have helped spiritually. that would be doug
B. Someone who has been a mentor/example to you. that would be shep
C. Someone who has been critical of you or an antagonist toward your leadership. that would be any modern thinker
D. A peer or colleague. that could be anyone
E. Someone to whom you reported and who had professional oversight for you. that would be jesus, one heck of a jewish carpenter
F. A friend or neighbor who does not regularly attend church. that would be most of the people i hang with.

another new one

i got some email asking if i could give jesus a better haircut - so, here is a newer one - the page is almost done, and whe it is, i will link it here as well as on ginkworld

20050401

god of the right-brain

i am very much a right-brain person. the idea of a "left-brain" world tosses me off reality. recently on the postmodern theology group the idea came out about "God of the right-brain" and it got me thinking, "that is why i do not get 99% of what evangelicals are saying, i think with a different part of my brain." most churches and theologies tend to have a "left-brain" view of God and theology, and my "right-brain" view of God and theology just does not seem to fit. let me see if i can explain what i mean.
 
picture this (for all us right-brain people this is easy), start to talk about God is terms like "creativity" and "sensitive" and "emotional" and "random" and people in the church will freak out. most with a modern mind, like to see God as a logical expression of the left-brain, most churches are very comfortable with a "God of the left-brain" but they do not know how to deal with a "God of the right-brain." the God of the right-brain is the one that pushes us past the idea that we need "human securities" and places us in the middle of the messy, dirty, hurtful lives of others where...link