check this out:
i love this, and i think it's what we should be sharing.
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:
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
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
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
you may, or may not agree - but leave a comment and tell us what you think :)
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:
too bad this is play money, student loans are killing me - sure would be nice to pay those off :)
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.
voiced by john o'keefe on 24.12.05
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.
voiced by john o'keefe on 22.12.05
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?
voiced by john o'keefe on 20.12.05
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 :)
voiced by john o'keefe on 19.12.05
"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.
voiced by john o'keefe on 19.12.05
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 :)
Garden Grove, CA
Worship Style: Traditional
Church Size: 1501 to 2000
Job Status: Full Time
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
voiced by john o'keefe on 10.12.05
"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.
voiced by john o'keefe on 9.12.05
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 [
voiced by john o'keefe on 2.12.05