i love these voices

now that 90% of the "church makeover" is done, i can spend a bit more time back in the world of blogging :) so, i thought i would share with you just two of the blogs i have been reading as of late. ok, i love these voices;

lacey hearty:
this is the coolest thing i have seen writen in a long time - you have to check it out; head over to lacey hearty's blog and get a grip of what she is sharing - man, this is so very cool.

jeffery davis:
you have to read what this guy is putting up in the air - great thinking stuff - stuff i just love to either agree with, or disagree with, but mostly it is stuff that makes me think; and now he has a new domain :)


"faith forward"

i have been driving myself crazy this past month with doing some very cool things - first, we are moving the church i serve as lead pastor to a new location. we are the only church in the area that would willingly change locations with a bar....twice. we are excited about the move and what God is doing in our community of faith - check out our new site and new name [247thechurch.com]

second, i have been helping put together a site for the "faith forward" forum happening - in of all places - the crystal cathedial. it should be a very cool event one where they are trying to bring together the traditional, contempary and the emerging to speak with each other. for me, the excitement comes in the form of hanging out with some old freinds - len sweet, chis seay, jim palmer and the like and to make some new ones -

here is the very cool part - me and spencer burke [the ooze] will be running the blogger cafe and are so very excited about what is happening. it would be great to hang out with some ginkworld friends, and the ooze friends and make some new friends - so, drop by and visit if you are at the event - check out the site [tweeking it as time moves along] and register for the forum. i think this will be a great opportunity for the emerging/evolving church to set to the plate and take a swing at the ball - i hope to see some friends out there :)


going crazy

it has been a crazy past few weeks. about a month ago we were approached by a local bar owner about switching buildings, and it has been one wild, God filled ride after another.

we have moved to a very cool, new location that we believe will allow us to do so much more - and do it with the style and grace we desire. we have gone through some major changes [and i am in the process of writing more about that in an article entitled "the evolution of a church."] from our name, we are now "247 the church" to our look - but in all this, we have keep the core - in fact, we are become more committed to God and what God can do with us. in just this short period of time we have seen God work in some very powerful and eye opening ways - as for the future? well, we are all wearing shades :D


doing business

i just read an article about business and the like still sending junk mail and other mail to the world trade center. it has been five years, and the big business of "selling an address" is still focused on making money. i find this hard to grasp - now, i would think removing the world trade center from a data base would be hard if the trade center was "mixed in" with all the other local stuff - but the trade center had its own zip code - 10048. removing them from the data base would be simple, a few button and just a bit of time - but that would also mean the companies selling the bulk mail information would make less money - sounds like a case were "capitalism" is over caring.


world aids day?

this may sound like i am "bitching," and maybe i am, but i am not impressed with all the churches lighting candles for "world aids day." i find it insulting and all in the game of religious politics. what i have been able to gleam from all this is that denominations get a little press; religious leaders can look a bit more "jesus-like;" photo ops are posted on denominational news sites so the followers can say how impressed they are of their leaders; articles pour into the news services; but mostly i think those people get a kick out of hearing themselves speak.

if aids were truly an issue for the different churches making bold proclamations why are they not making them when the camera are facing the other way? why is this only "big news" when they can smile, have their picture taken and can say, "look at what we're doing - we truly care about aids people." where were they when my friend was in the hospital with aids and i was almost fired from the church because i hugged him and held his hand, while the denominational leaders told me that i should have never embraced the man, and i should resign - and then turn right around and say [in public view] that we need to work together to end aids. i find this pompous on their part.

for me aids is a all year long, every day event that is killing millions of people all over the world - one day of pictures and speeches is nothing, it is less then nothing; it is rediculas. i would love to see them put their money where their collective mouths are - spending on aids has declined, some churches still see it as a curse sent by God on those "gays." while many other just turn a blind eye, unless they can get their name in the paper. aids is killing people, and we need to get off our collective asses and move all year long. i find it intersting that the conservative churches do nothing because it does not impact then directly [if aids only killed old, fat, balding white guys and old over make-uped ladies they would be all over it] and liberial churchs do nothing because that would mean they would need to give up a "wine and cheese tasting night" at the church and get involved in something that mattered and could get them dirty [and that is what they pay others to do].

of all the denominations [i exclude the southern baptists from this because i felt they had too much on their plate, dealing with gay penguins, shunning 16 year old actresses, and and demanding that wally-world not give money to gays] speaking out this one day of the year seems so small, and insulting. to be honest, it is not even a good starting point. all it does is bring attention to how little they are doing throught out the year.


stupid on top of silly, on top of ridiculous

i have never been a big fan of what i call "jesus junk." i have always been under the impression that the "wwjd" was the "top" of the "jesus junk" marketing pile - that is until lifeways [and i am still not sure how i got on their email list] sent me a email about this thing called "birth verse" and the catch line is "everyone's got one; what's your?" WHAT? when did that happen, when did i get a "verse" assigned to my birthday? it sounds like a christian horoscope way to make a buck.

for example, mine "birth verse sign" is ephesians 2:5 [because my b-day is feb 5th] - and reads: "made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." but my question is what makes that "the" verse for my birthday? i can think of some better ones, like 1 chronicles 2:5 "The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul" or how about that classic verse in ezra 2:5 - "of Arah 775" - the fountain of verses is endless. how about going a little more in the "ouch" section of scripture and pick romans 2:5 "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed." now, that one has a real bite to it, a real "in your face you sinner" kind of punch. but why not find one with a little more challenge to it, like philippians 2:5 - "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." that seems to have a handle on can hold on to.

to me, this is simply more "jesus junk" designed to make money off people in the church - i have been growing more and more insensitive to this kind of garbage, but it simply echos the point that "christians have deep pockets." i am amazed at the level we are willing to go to "make a buck on christ."

i can see it now; [wavy lines, wavy lines, wavy lines] the music is playing, to coffee is brewing and at the corner of the christian coffee house is a hot blonde. slowly, mark picks up his caramel mocha whip frap ['goliath size'] and heads over. as he approaches, he checks his hair in the reflection of the chrome cross; winking and smiling he says, "hey baby, i'm galatians 5:13, what's your verse?" i find the idea of a "birth verse" stupid on top of silly, on top of ridiculous


they eat their own

i received a few emails today asking me about this whole ted haggard thing. most wanted me to share my views, and some wanted me to share more then my views. but, i have done neither in emails. let me share why -

in reading the reports of what has happened to ted, i have been shocked [though i should not be] by the reaction of other people claiming to be "pastors." some placed themselves above such a thing while others just wanted to distance themselves from haggard. some are claiming how "heartsick" they are over the allegations, yet none of them are truly standing with him. now, some may be "behind" him, but none are "along side" him. Instead of standing along side of him and his family, they are running away, or standing in the back ground - kind of the way evangelicals do when ever one of their own is wounded. over the past i have come to the conclusion that many leaders in the evangelical church simply eat their own when they are wounded.

i know the drill, because it has been the same drill over and over again; every time an evangelical seems to "shake" the same things happen. first, they put on a "united front" [never lasting more then a few hours[; then they run for the hills as soon as things heat up. soon there will be a power play in both the church and the nea - and they will toss ted aside like an old rag. they will offer little but "prayer" and bloated talk about how God can bring him back to "the right path." but never once will they make even the slightest effort to help him in his time of need. they will claim they have forgiven, but they will always look at ted with an eye that focuses on judgment. they will say they will help, but little will be done to truly help.

over the past years i have seen this with others in the evangelical community. those who "fall" become the butt of evangelical jokes and sermon illustrations by pompous pastors and "christians" alike. evangelicals claim so much about being a "bible people" and yet i would venture to say forgiveness for ted is not forthcoming.

i believe the possible outcome is less on ted, and more on us as a christian community of faith [even thought i am not evangelical] - do we forgive and help, or do we judge and feed on the carcass? do we offer of ourselves in honest, or do we offer him up for sacrifice? do we actually walk along side him, or do we walk away? are we willing to do anything to help as needed or are we simply going to offer lip service?

as i see it [being a post-evangelical] this is the way it can go - this is not on what ted did, but on how the evangelical community reacts to ted's needs. because, if there is one thing i have seen over the past - they do eat their own.


faith based math

before i get a butt load of people emailing me about this whole thing, let me say that i do believe in an expression of truth that could be seen as "absolute" [for a lack of a better term], i am just not sure i believe any human can know of, or even think they know of, what that “absolute” expression of “truth” can be. you see, i believe we are limited in the way we think, express and define ideas; we are human and in that "human expression" we can only see things through human eyes and human experiences. while we may "think" we know something as an "absolute truth," we are fooling ourselves and simply demanding our personal view be seen as an "absolute." this is the case, no matter how noble, or loving the idea is when expressed as an "absolute" that another must accept, love, grace, kindness and forgiveness are left to the side to make room for law and judgment. while i have no problem knowing that God is the judge, i am unwilling to accept that humans can judge for God. all truth is contextual in our humanity, and can only be "valid or invalid" within the context of that human expression - i am not sure who, but someone once told me that an "absolute truth" is that 1+1=2, but that is still a contextual truth and not an "absolute truth" as some may think.

the expression "1+1=2" is "true" because we define it as true; we place it in a context where we determine the meanings of the individual components, we define the terms of the expression. 1+1=2 is "true" when people are using the decimal system and simple mathematics, because in that context, we define "1" as a single item, and "2" as a couple of items. so, we can say that "one single item brought together with another single item can make a pair of items," within the decimal system, because we have defined it that way. but not everything is defined by using the decimal system.

what if some does not think in terms of a "decimal" expression [a "decimal context"] are they wrong when they disagree with the expression? if we see "1+1=2" as an absolute expression of truth we are saying, "in all cases, without exception or limit, the absolute truth is that 1+1 must always equal 2, no matter any other condition." many people who use a different math, let's take for example someone like a computer programmer who uses a "binary" number notation system, called "the binary system." in a binary system there are only two values, 0 and 1, the "number" 2 has no value or meaning at all in a binary system. so, in the "contextual reality" of the binary system "1+1=2" is "not true" because in an "absolute truth" 2 is not real. so, in a binary expression of "absolute truth" the expression "1+1=10" is true. also, within the binary system the expression "0-1=1" is also true, which "violate" the idea of an "absolute truth" in decimal system where 0-1=-1. yet, like the decimal expressions of "truth" these binary expression are only "true" because we define it to be true within that system.

1+1=2 and 1+1=10:
so, in reality "1+1=2" cannot be seen as an "absolute truth." its "trueness" is limited to only certain number expressions [contexts] within certain systems. so, what does that mean for a christian who desires to share with others who jesus is, and how we are brought into a saving relationship with God through a relationship with jesus? well, at some level i am uncertain what it looks like, but at another level i know it does not look like what many are doing today. you see for me, God is the God of scripture and Jesus is the only way - but that must be seen in context of my desire to be on a faith journey through christ. someone who is not on the same journey as i am does not see that as an "absolute." now, does that change my seeing jesus as the truth? not at all. does that stop me from sharing what i believe to be truth about christ? not at all. does it demand i simply accept every view point as "equally" true? no, it does not. but what it does do is tell me that the way i express the "truth" i know, it should causes me to think different when i share my faith with others. it means, for me, that when i share christ with others, i share my walk, my journey, my expression of that relationship and that connection to God and not some canned, program driven expression of an equation that is valid in limited context. i can only express the christ i know, and not the one of church marketing and franchise rights.

people who have the expression of 1+1=2 as "truth", cannot demand that those who think in the binary expression of 1+1=10 stop seeing there expression as "true." but this goes both way, and those who think in binary can not demand people stop thinking in a decimal expression, because in reality it can be said that, "1+1=2, true and 1+1=10, true." to demand someone change their expression and "start thinking like us" says that "only people who think like us are right" [or in the club] and that is not seen as a very positive thing. for example, to make someone who thinks in a "binary context" [their cultural view] to only think in a "decimal context" [another cultural view] is not "sharing" faith as much as it is demanding people change their "culture" to fit the culture of another. the idea is not to demand the "context" change, but rather to learn to work within the context and to gain an understanding of the way others see the expression of truth in their world. the "key" is to find an way to show the expression where "truth" is contextual and where the expression can be seen by those as "truth." the idea is not to demand that "1+1=2" as an absolute, nor is it to demand that people see 1+1=10 as "truth." the key, in my view [and i believe in a scriptural view] is to simply express the term "1+1" and allow different expressions of that term based on the cultural expression of others.

adding to the expression:
in some form or another, the idea of knowing "the absolute truth" is a power play; an "excluding principal" [i am in, and you are out] of many believers. for many, the idea is that if you do not believe in the "absolute truth" as they define it, you are not allowed into he club; or worse, you are actually seen as "anti-club." but i wonder if at any point that was the intent given by jesus? you see, when jesus proclaims he is the "truth, the light and the way" [in john's recording of the life of jesus chapter 14] i have no problem with jesus proclaiming he is the truth [notice jesus never proclaims he is the "absolute truth" - in fact, the term "absolute truth," and ideas many desire to express in the term, are not found in scripture at all - more on that later], in fact i agree that jesus is "the truth." if we look deeper into the reality that jesus is "the truth" we find some very interesting information. the greek "truth" used in this case is "aletheia" and actually implies an objective and subjective expression of "truth" [an "absolute truth" can not have both qualities] so, while jesus is saying, "i am the truth" that truth is both based as a "matter of fact" [but not an "absolute"] and also, at the same time, an expression defined by a personal understanding of what "truth" is in life. at a very real level, the statement is "1+1=2 and 1+1=10" where jesus is the term "1+1."

in luke we find a very interesting statement concerning "exact truth." in lukes recording of the events of jesus' life he says, "so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught." [in luke's recording of the life of jesus, chapter 1 - bold added]. the term "exact truth" is the closest we can come to to an idea of "absolute truth" in any form. the word is "asphaleia" and is used three times in the greek, here in luke, ones in luke's recording of the acts of the followers of jesus [chapter 5] and once in paul's first recorded letter to the thessalonians [chapter 5]. but, only in luke is it translated as "exact truth." in the other two cases it is seen as "security or safety." now, i am not as interested in the way the word is translated differently in different places, what does interest me is that in luke's opening he proclaims his recording of events as an "exact truth" which implies that the other recordings are not. can this be the case? can one version be "more truth" then the other? i once mentioned this to a professor who told me, "well, the differences in the gospel narratives can simply be seen as people seeing things different, having a different point of view or perspective on events. where one man say a mountain another saw a plain. it is not that one gospel is 'more true' then another. it is just the perspective of the author." which sounds reasonable to me, and which also sounds like "objective truth."

when we look at the world around us and we see all the hurt and pain we are fast to think that we need to get people thinking "1+1=2." at some level it is easy to tell people what to think, how to act, and what to say. people seem to like to be told how to think and what is and is not an "absolute truth." many humans like "absolutes," they like the "certainty" of what is expected. the idea of only God knowing what is and is not an "absolute" bugs us and causes us to think we can know as much as God. while it is easy to demand people follow a set of rules and laws, we are called to be much different then that. what we need to do is find ways of expressing our faith, our journey, our savior, our salvation in a way people can understand without demanding they "do it this way." we need to not find fault with how they view "truth," instead we need to see how "truth" can be expressed in their ideas and expressed in their culture. i personally believe that the debate over "absolute truth" is something God sees as silly on our part and i believe it removes from us the responsibility to interact with others in an open and vulnerable way. you see, i believe that "absolute" remove our vulnerability cause us to go into a situation closed. they remove from us the ability to truly address the needs and desires of people based on life huts and pains. "absolutes" have cause us to be a callous and closed people of faith where striving to know a person for who they are is beyond us. while we are debating which expression "truth" is true, people are walking by our communities of faith wondering if we will ever speak to them in terms they can understand; actually, i think people are walking past our communities of faith and thinking we are completely irrelevant to their lives; as one young man put it, "if it is absolute truth that God is absolutely in control, and has absolute power to change anything, and there is an absolute truth that God loves me, why is my life such shit?" think of it this way, while many are debating if it is "2" or "10" what we all have in common is the reality "1+1" all we desire is to find meaning in it.


we were hacked

well, we think we have it all - alan hartung has been great and so has stephen miracles [stephen helps develop ideas and code, just wait he emailed me during this entry with a very cool up coming idea] - but we got hacked :) it may sound silly but for some reason i have seen this as more of a learning experience, a "good thing," as opposed to a pain in the ass, a "bad thing." we were hacked by some islamic group, or a group that is claiming to be islamic, who seems to be against the pope and a whole grip of other things. here is a copy of the text that was on the screen:

Tarihim, şerefim, şiirim, her şeyim:
Yer yüzünde yer beğen !
Nereye dikilmek istersen,
Söyle, seni oraya dikeyim !

Musul Türk tür Türk Kalacak

Tüm Türkmen kardeşlerimize selamlar

Fuck you fransa, papa and vatikan

- La France a assasiné ler Turcs à Gallipoli 1915
- La Frane a teé des milliers Algériens en 1945. Les saldats Français antmontré le courage de se photograpier avec les jeune Algeriennes nues qu�ils ses ant forcement couchés.
-La France a toujours soutenu le terreurisme ils étaient avec les terreurists depuis des anneés.
-La France estun pas impérialiste
- Fucked France

Metlak marque du monde, présente ses salutations à tout le monde.


interestingly, i have tried to find out about this "metlak" and from what i have found out i think i agree with some of the stuff he has been posting on the net - while the hacking part that drives me crazy, "his" words are very clear and on the money. i think he has a voice worth hearing. "he" [not sure of the gender, or it metlak is a group] is anti war more then anything else he is speaking against the killing of the innocient people in the wars in his area. i agree with him 100% on stoping wars, stopping the killing and stopping the genocide that seems to be running through the area.

i believe certian people, and certain policies desire to keep the killing. they see it as "ridding the world of evil." but in reality, the average person is not "evil" and is not trying to kill anyone - many are simply trying to live, work and raise a family in a part of the world where we fight for something as stupid as oil. then, to add insult to injury, our "religious leaders" insult their faith and never even come close to saying "sorry." here is a very simple message he wrote on another hack:


how can anyone be against something so simple, so basic and so true - his cry is that we stop the killing, stop the opression and stop the hurt. why is that so hard to grasp? have we become a people so caught-up in our own "system" that we forget the words of our master, jesus the christ? have we walked so far away from the ideas of peace and love he gave us? are we so close to having a country based soly on the call of politics, economics and power that we forget to love, give and walk in peace?

sure, the hack is a pain in the ass, and i would rather his voice be heard in another way - but i wonder if we would listen if he simply had a blog? we are in the process of rebuilding our search area, because that seems to be the last effected area - this has been a very interesting adventure, and one that opened my eyes. i have always been against war [as many know] but now i can place a "name" to another, on the "other side" who has the same heart. -


in and of itself

how do we define morality? what makes one thing moral and another thing "not" moral? what is morality? what is "moral?" now, i am not looking for the "webster definition" of the word, i want to know what is moral? do we get the idea of what is moral from scripture, or do we decide what is moral and then look for scripture to support our view? does morality come from our faith, or does our faith come from our morality?

if something is seen as moral in one culture, does another culture have the right to say it is not moral? can one view of morality be seen higher then another view? can one group place their moral views on another? if morality is based on religious convictions can people have different views of morality and yet hole the same faith? can one gathering of christians have a different view of what is and is not moral? do we all need the same moral reality?

is smoking a moral issue? is drinking a moral issue? is "cussing" a moral issue? is dress a moral issue? if they are, can we see them all as scriptural issues as well? for example, drinking. can different communities have different views, and both be right? what if your community says it is wrong, and the community next to you says it is right, can you both agree that the others point is valid? what about cussing? if in a community words like "shit" and "crap" and "pimp" and "bitch" have a positive meaning, and in another they have a very negative meaning whose morality do we go with? who gets to decided the use of a word in community?

if you were to go to a place where the word "the" was considered the greatest insult would you use it and simply think "man, these people need to get over this stupid 'the' thing." would you insist that your morality of the word "the" was the right morality and theirs was the wrong morality? what if you were from the community where "the" was considered a great insult and found yourself in a community where "the" was the greatest complement, what would you do? how would handle the use of the word?

how do you define morality? is it defined in culture, or in scripture - or is there a difference?

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we can help

the aleutian & pribilof peoples of alaska have decided not to take citgo' offer of free, or reduced heating oil. these people, because of where they are located, pay between $5 and $7 a gallon for heating oil, their average bill could run hundreds of dollars a month, and in a culture that does not have much this is hard.

i am not interested in the politics, but i care about the people - we should all care about the people. they need our help - and you can give directly to them, and go through no middle-man.

to help, visit this site - they truly need us to help as we can. please share this with your community of faith and see how they can also help.

contemplating your navel

ever just get in one of those "i am thinking moods?" you know, the ones where you want to say something but you are filled with questions and no answers? like, how do you define friendship? what elements need to be there for a friendship to develop? does one need to be in contact all the time? does one need to touch? can friendships be developed over the internet? what defines friendship for you?

i am not sure i have the answers, because as soon as i do i notice that people who claimed to be my friend - are no longer my friends. people who i could email and have conversations fall off the face of the earth and when i email, nothing. or when i visit, there is no mention of our friendship - how does that come to be? what quality in friendship makes it cheap and short lived? what quality of friendship makes it shut down soon after it's started?

i have always been a rahter feeling kind of guy, and i value my friendships so when one seems to go away, for no real reason, i feel hurt. how does one value a friendship? are people friends because they can offer you something, or are they your friends because you simply desire friendship?

i think for most people friendship is rather cheap and meaningless. for me, it is the greatest thing i have to offer, me.


i'm green

i'm green, and i have been green for a very long time. i am a firm believer that we are to care for this world so that our children can have a place that is safe to live. so, i believe in being a green christian.

i was watching a moyer's pbs show "God is green" and i have to say i think he did a great job - but one thing truly got me upset - and it was not moyer at all. it was based on some of the stuff the "iecs" puts out - calvin beisner, the "creator" of the cornwall declaration said that it really did not matter much to him if the earth was polluted or not, because he was saved and would be in heaven anyway, even if he was wrong [now i am not quoting word for word, but that is the idea behind his words] and i have to say that this is just another case of bad evangelcial theology.

now, it bugged me, not because of the poor theology concerning salvation, but because it matter little to him if, for example, children died drinking lead filled water; well, i guess it is his theology. you see, for him he is "saved no matter what he does to this planet" i believe this to be poor theology. "don't even think of hurting a child, because you will answer to me for it and the result is not 'salvation'" seems to me jesus said something like that - right?

the idea of the cornwall signers is that they think if we call people who are green "liberal" then it will shame them into not talking - well, i guess that makes me liberal - and i am still green :) but what drives them the most is not theology, or science - what drives them the most is money, and the greed they have to see this economy strip the world of all it's wonders.

if you want to know more about being green church out this [click here]

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An “Obvious” Foundation?

At ginkworld.net we have been spending time cleaning up the back door and adding some new features. One of those features is a php list program that enables us to develop a solid email list for “the evolution” our monthly enews letter. In looking over our back end we noticed we had “too much junk in the trunk.” We found over 4 separate lists of people for different reasons; so we thought bringing them all into one would be a very cool and simple thing to do – well, cool yes, simple no. But in digging deep, we found some very interesting things..

In our moving the lists around I noticed an old email list [going back some 5 years] of some 20 names [I am always amazed at how we have grown from 20 names to thousands of names]. In looking over the list I noticed a person I had not spoken to in years – many years, maybe some 5 years. So, I took the last part of the email and check into what he was doing [you know, taking the part after the “@” symbol and placing it in the address window, add the “www,” to see who comes from where]. In my search I found he was no longer with the organization so I will need to do some hunting. But, since I was there I figured I would do some reading. In my reading over some of the stuff the denomination put out, I noticed the “church planting” page – and being the forever church planting geek I am I had to hit it and see what was up. In that I was reading some of the stuff the organization puts out, and I was greatly confused. Here is something I read:

“The first and foremost element is the foundation upon which the entire structure depends. For a bridge, that would be solid stone or soil in which the structure would be anchored. In the case of church multiplication the foundation is obviously the word of God. [There was a picture connected with this and it was a picture of an open book – later pictures built a “bridge” across the open book.]”

At first, this may not seem like a big deal, and seems pretty straight forward, but it just did not connect for me; it seemed disjointed and disconnected. For some reason I was not able to get that out of my mind, and as I read more and more I kept coming back to that opening statement. After reading it several times, I figured out were I was having a problem. It was in the statement, “In the case of church multiplication the foundation is obviously the word of God.” What? It hit me like a ton of feathers [I know, a ton is a ton, but feathers are softer then bricks], the foundation of the church is not “obviously the word of God” [the bible]. The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ. Sure, we can see the scripture as a kind of “blueprint” for helping us build a community of faith; but not as the foundation.

I think too many churches actually think this way, that “the bible” is the foundation of the church, but that is not what scripture teaches [I would call your attention to Peter’s first letter 2:4]. Jesus is the foundation, the stone on which all things in a community of faith are built upon. Granted, the scriptures are important, but they are not the “obvious” foundation of the church, that again is the role or Jesus [this can also be seen in Matthew’s version of events, 16:17]. For me, I think building a foundation on the stone of Christ is far better then building on the paper of a book; stone is solid, paper shifts with the weight of life.

Some Shifts in Events:
When we see the bible as the foundation of the church we shift from being “Christian” or a follower of Jesus, to being followers of a book, or what I see as “biblicians.” We shift from finding meaning in Christ, to finding meaning in the words of a person who reads it for us. Here is what I see as some of the major issues of placing the “word of God” as the “obvious” foundation of any community of faith.

We shift from grace to law. When Jesus is the center, and we seek his words and lifestyle to guide us, we live in grace. We seek to forgive, love and understand others. We do not judge others because we know that is not our place. We read scripture and see it as a guide to our faith in Christ; we filter all the words we read through the grace, love and forgiveness of Christ. But, when we see the book as our foundation we shift to seeing things as “black and white” and we see things as law. We hold it against people – we beat people into Jesus and use scare tactics to insure people do not leave the faith. We replace the love of Christ with an “obedience” to what others see as rules and law.

We shift from “We are all followers of Christ, with differences” to “We are true Christians and we got it right and you got it wrong.” This is the hardest thing for me to grasp. Not being raised in the church I could never figure out the differences between denominations; to be honest with you I still have a hard time knowing the differences between some factions in the Kingdom. With each claiming to “be right” and each claiming the others as “wrong” it is a wonder we claim anything as a foundation. When we use “the book” as the foundation we bicker over little things like how many times a person should be dunked to be a “true baptism;” or, if a child being baptized is “right.” I know of churches in my area that will not even think of talking with other churches because one church dunks and the other sprinkles. I know of churches in my area that will never see any other church as “truly Christian” until the other church sees things their way and reads the scripture their way.

We shift from being the Body of Christ, to being a ‘congregation’ of church people. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians states pretty clearly that we are the body of Christ, and not simply a gathering of people in a church building [read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5]. When we shift from being the Body, to being a “congregation” we lose sight of what is happening to the Body, and we miss the problems we are causing to the Body.

We move from unity to disunity, and focus on the disunity. When we see ourselves as people “of the book” we lose sight of the bigger picture. We forget, or we ignore the words Mark shares with us about others who are doing things in the name of Christ, and yet not part of our community; Mark writes:

“John spoke up, "Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn't in our group."

Jesus wasn't pleased. "Don't stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he's not an enemy, he's an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.”

I am often drawn to what many denominations call “our distinctives.” I am drawn because I am never sure what it all means, or why we need to say “what makes us different” [and in many cases it sounds more like “what makes us better”]. To me, it is another layer of disunity formed in the Body of Christ; it sounds more like, “this is why we are the true church, and they are not.” Think about the words Mark shares with us, all we have to do is share a cup of water in the name of Jesus and we are on his side. Kind of blows what some see as “distinctive” out of the water.

[Random side note: This may be a bit on the side, but a funny thing hit me when I read that scripture; Jesus is saying that “apostolic secession” does not matter.]

When we see Christ as a foundation of the church we see things very different compared to if we see the bible as the foundation. While I have no problem seeing the bible as a blueprint, a guide to building our walk, I have a very hard time seeing the bible as the foundation of my faith. You see, if we see the bible as the foundation we will argue over which translation is better or which is a paraphrase and which is not. We find reasons to argue and find differences in each other that cause disunity. We find reasons why we are right and all others are wrong. We turn our back on each other and walk away saying that the other is not a “true Christian.”

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i am iron man

robert downey jr will be playing iron man - i like it. tony stark, who is iron man for all those who were not raised on comics :) was a man haunted with demons. downey will be a great stark,and i think that will turn into a great iron man. it should be worth the wait - it's coming in 2008.

click here for more info


the jesus i know, or the one i think i know.

over the past year or so i have been in process of trying to define the jesus i know. unlike many i know in the church i am not the kind of guy who will say "i got it right, and you got it wrong." at best, i can say "i think i got it right." in my mind, anything more makes me more important then i think i am and places all that i know on me; i define jesus as i desire if i am the center of that view. in that, there is one thing that has turned my stomach more times then i can think about - and that is the "wwjd" thing. it just burns me every time i think about it, and the way many people use it as if it is the "holy trump card" in the game of faith. let's be honest, it has zero meaning. i could care less what jesus would do in any given situation, because in reality the people who shout it the loudest never do what i think jesus would do anyway. so, my question is not "wwjd" [what would jesus do], it's "wwyd" [what would a YOU do?]

you see, telling me that "this is what jesus would do if he was alive today" is meaningless. sure it sells book binders, pencils, note pads and the occasional bumper sticker, but other then that what has it done to change the world? i know of nothing that has changed because we spent millions of "jesus junk" called "wwjd." given that, the first thing i would have to say about the jesus i know is that it does not matter what he would do, but what he did to change my life and caused me to act in a different and new way.

i could care less about the car he drives, the food he eat, the cloths he wore, the money he had [or didn't], i could care less about his political views or who he would or would not vote for; i place zero value on how he would have recycled paper or plastic and he would have insisted we not pollute the waters. while all of these are good things, they have nothing to do with how my life is, was and will be changed by knowing jesus. i hope my theology is not based on any catchy and quick slogan we can develop - i hope and i pray that my theology is based on how i see christ and how christ changes my life and makes me move in the process. how i am moved in my faith is not by cute slogans and catchy marketing which makes others millions while others starve. the jesus i know is not a slogan, or a bumper sticker - the jesus i know changes lives and helps people move in faith as they strive to see how to live a christian life in the 21c.

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a stand on peace

it is no secret, i am a pacifist. i hold to the teachings of christ, and seek to truly be a peacemaker [matthew 5:9] a son of God. my stance is not based on the politics of the day but on the teachings of jesus the christ in scripture [matthew being just the start of it all]. i believe the teachings of jesus are peace, grace, forgiveness and love and war has no place in those teachings because the core teachings or war are not peace, love, grace and forgivenss. i find the taking of any human life, for any reason, violates christ's teachings and flies in the face of the standards jesus set before us as followers of "the way." over time, many have tried to turn my pacifism into a political stance, and they have gotten angry with me because i refuse to make it political. i refuse to partake in marches that have a political overtone, or speak against, or for, one party or the other. i hold that my pacifism comes from my faith walk and not my politics. now, that being said again, let me add more.

i have been asked if i believe all christians should hold a "pacifist" stance, and my reply has always been "yes." let me explain. i believe that the core of christ is that of peace. i love the response jesus gives his followers as he is being arrested, [taken from luke 22, in the message] "no sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, judas, the one from the twelve, in the lead. he came right up to jesus to kiss him. jesus said, "judas, you would betray the son of man with a kiss?" when those with him saw what was happening, they said, "master, shall we fight?" one of them took a swing at the chief priest's servant and cut off his right ear. jesus said, "let them be. Even in this." then, touching the servant's ear, he healed him." in the process of being arrested, knowing he was going to die and that his followers would fight for him, jesus said, "no fighting, even in this situation." think about that, jesus taught peace even to the point of his willing to die instead of starting a fight - violence for jesus was never the answer, and jesus knew it held no value. war and violence are simply ways of "taking what you want" and james [jesus' brother] teaches us that fighting is caused by our desire to "have things" and because we are not asking God to help with the right motives, [4:1-3; niv] "what causes fights and quarrels among you? don't they come from your desires that battle within you? you want something but don't get it. you kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. you quarrel and fight. you do not have, because you do not ask God. when you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

paul, also speaks of living in peace and not going to war [when we place the words of paul through the filter of christ]. in his second letter to the corinthians [10:2-5; niv] paul writes, "i beg you that when i come i may not have to be as bold as i expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. for though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. on the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." while this is hard to do, it is still something we must live by.

so, why this blog entry? recently i was sent a article written by a tony perkins' at the family research council that completely tossed me back and hurt so deeply i could not believe a man of faith wrote it. how could a man who claims to be christian, hold such hatefilled, violent views? how can anyone who stands for christ speak in terms of violence, war, fighting and killing and claim them to be positive things? granted, perkins' was ragging on mike wallace because perkins' did not like what wallace had to say about the iranian leader ahmadinejad. but the part that hurt the most was his desire to turn the teaching of christ [pacifism] into some twisted, evil idea. he seems to be more concerned about working in the culture then walking in a relationship with christ. he wrote this:

"A better journalist wrote this in The Washington Post: "If Americans do not fight, the terrorists will attack America again. And we now know such attacks can kill many thousands of Americans. The American pacifists, therefore, are on the side of future mass murderers of Americans. They are objectively pro terrorist. There is no way out of this reasoning. No honest person can pretend that the groups that attacked America will, if let alone, not attack again. Nor can any honest person say that this attack is not at least as likely to kill thousands upon thousands of innocent people. Not to fight in this instance is to let the attackers live to attack and murder again; to be a pacifist in this instance is to accept and, in practice, support this outcome." Those are the words of Michael Kelly, prize-winning author, editor, and columnist. He died on the road to Baghdad in 2003. Let's honor his memory, by heeding his warning."

i guess people can have any feeling they desire, but to be the head of a "christian" group that has a connection with focus on the family one would think they would have a kinder view, a more christ like stance then simply "kick ass and take names." it is funny because the website for this group claims the following, "God exists and is sovereign over all creation. He created human beings in His image. Human life is, therefore, sacred and the right to life is the most fundamental of political rights;" and "Life and love are inextricably linked..." how can a group claim that all life is sacred, and them proclaim killing others has value? how can a group that claims "life and love are inextricably linked" put forth a call for christians to leave behind the pacifist teachings of christ and take up arms against an "enemy?" how many thousands of innocent people have died on the streets in a war zone started by people unwilling to follow the heart of christ? i think peter said it wonderfuly when he wrote, [in his first recorded letter 3:8] "summing up: be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. that goes for all of you, no exceptions. no retaliation. no sharp-tongued sarcasm. instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. you'll be a blessing and also get a blessing. whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here's what you do: say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you're worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he's asked; but he turns his back on those who do evil things."

the part i love best is the ending line, when perkins wrote, "He died on the road to Baghdad in 2003. Let's honor his memory, by heeding his warning." wow, how about this mr perkins' "he died on the cross in jerusalem 2003 years ago. let's honor his memory by living his teachings."

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what it is, and more :)

it is the bend knee of our worship leader, taken by josh, her boy friend.

what i found interesting is that many who read this post and either commented here, or in community or via a email saw what i was trying to say - they got it, they grasped the idea that we jump to a conclusion based on what something looks like - mainly, we do this with people - and they get the idea that if we do we are not looking at things the way jesus wants us to look.

if we see a black teen wearing fubu and a head cap do we assume "gang member?" when we see a man from the middle east walking in an airport do we assume terrorist? when we see a man with tattoos do we assume prison? when we see a women dressed in a short skirt and walking into a night club, do we assume "easy?" you see, we assume many things about people based on what we see and not what we know.

now, some may see this as "juvenile" or "childish" when it is pointed out - for what ever reason they may have - but is it? is it juvenile to say, "making assumptions about a person based on looks is wrong?" is it juvenile to show a picture that gets the point across? if it is, then i welcome being called juvenile. if walking in the teachings of christ is childish, then i desire with all my heart to be a child.

you see, you can insult the person but you can never discount the reality that we are to look past the outside and look to the inside. in that, when we can truly do that as a people of christ we will find that our communities of faith will be a place where all people are welcomed. a place where we go past the idea of saying "all are welcomed" to become a place where all are truly welcomed. juvenile? i am cool with that.

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what is it you see?

i am always amazed at the people who claim to know something, or about someone, just by looking at them or it. most of my life i have had people "look" at me and make some very wrong conclusions.

when i was younger, the conclusions centered around my weight, and how lazy i must have been because i was over weight.

when i was in seminary, i "looked" the part of the most part and everything was cool - people had no problem with me - i looked like i fit the picture of a pastor.

soon after, as i became more aware of me as a person, the conclusions centered around my shave head, my earrings, my tats - many people look at me and ask if i ride a motorcycle - because "you look like a biker" - people look, and without thinking, or worse yet - with thinking - spout some very ignorant stuff.

the thing that truly hurts the most is that most of the judgments i have heard in my life come from people who profess christ as their "lord and savior." most of the people who judged me in my life are people who profess to be "christian." the people [the christians] who hurt me the most, are people who should not be hurting me at all.

interestingly enough, many of the people who do not go to church and are not "followers" [as they define it] have been the most open and accepting people i have met. why? why are christians so judgmetal and so closed, when they should be the most open.

in his letter to titus, paul says "everything is clean to the clean-minded; nothing is clean to the dirty-minded unbeliever. they leave their dirty fingerprints on every thought and act. they say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words. they're real creeps, disobedient good-for-nothings." - so, what do you see? let me know, and i will tell you later :)

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some of my best thinking comes from mistakes i make in life. i get a butt load of ideas just because i can not spell, i have zero ability to frame a sentence and my english is limited to words most 6th graders can grasp. i have never been called a "intellectual" and i am not know from my scholarly work on any topic; i am the kind or writer who just says it like it is and moves on. i make a mistake, i ask a question and i just figure it out and get others thinking in the process. well, it happened again, God is good to those of us who have a hard time tying their shoes while holding a coffee cup and striving to hold a conversation, something will spill, someone will trip.

it happened a couple of days ago while i as i was writing the phase "emerging/evolving." in ny haste, i soon found myself writing "emerging/involving" - wow, how cool; evolving soon became "involving". but no sooner did i write it then i realized that it just how wrong the church has been over these many years. the idea of "church" in any form and "involving" just do not seem to mix well in my mind. something that has come to me over this past year is that many churches i see, visit and share with are not very inviting, involving or innovative, and it pains me so deeply.

not very inviting:
a community of faith that is "inviting" is a community that goes beyond the idea of being a "welcoming" or a "friendly" place - heck, any church can be friendly, but few are inviting. few actually take the time, in true love and grace, to know you for you. few, actually desire to go deeper then just the "hi, what is your name?" and move on line. to be inviting a community needs to truly be a place where people feel welcomed, and are not just welcomed. the community should be a place where a person can join in, and where they can see themselves as part of the fabric of the community. some of the churches i have visited over this year are not inviting at all - many are so closed and cold that even the thought of welcoming others with an honest heart seems crazy to them. one church i visited thought i was a person looking for a recovery group- and they actually told me to come back thursday night because that is when "they could help me." when i mentioned i was a visiting pastor, one of the pastors said, "it's a natural mistake, i mean given the way you look." what? i look no different them many of the people in the community, but i did notice i looked a lot different then the people in that church.

not very involving:
there are people being left out of the loop, and most churches do not care. people who have value, people who have a reality to share that can help change lives. the reality is, hearing the same voices all the time is getting boring - at best. over this year on ginkworld we have published voices no one had heard about, the ooze has done the same - we need to hear all voices, all peoples, all groupings - all voices. even those we disagree with. i disagree with some of the stuff that goes on ginkworld, but i will stand by every author and i will never put a "disclaimer" anyplace that says i, or any editor, disagree with something - our goal should be to encourage voices; to allow others to express who they are and what they are thinking. giving people the freedom to be involved means allowing people to express what they think is right, and helping them find the light of christ.

not very innovative:
much of what i am hearing coming from many in the church world is just a rehash of old ideas and expressions - nothing new. i call this the "three book deal rut." one author writes a book and the publisher wants the person to write two more, just like the first one - it has gotten to the point where i am not even interested in reading much of what is being offered - the church is playing it safe and has lost it's edge. it has lost the ability to truly question and go deeper into what might be seen as "hearsay" - it needs to get it back - we need to be innovative in our thinking, speaking and life.

how do we break this cycle?
i think the first thing we need to do is get out of the towers and admit that most of what we are offering in the way of church is "middleclass, white, suburban and male" and it's getting boring. we have to get past this idea of our conversation being a "homogenous" conversation because we "like talking to people like us" and get our collective asses out in the streets and see the church for what it is, a heterogeneous community, a cosmic collection of God's creation in all forms, in all it's colors and vast wonder - in all it has to offer, where people explore faith and move in life to the light of christ. we need to be ready, willing and able to look at others and say, "i do not understand you, but i truly desire to understand - teach me how." and then let it happen - be open, be real and simply be.

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the role of a parent?

i am not real big on this nebulas thing called a "family church." it never seems to truly be anything "family" - when a "family" walks in the front door, the kids go one way, the teens go another way, while mom and dad head off to different directions themselves. during worship, mom and day may sit tighter but the kids and the teens are not in sight. in fact, the only time the "family" is together as a "family" is in the parking lot - coming or going. now, that is just my personal bug on this thing called "family church," and some people know that - so a good bud in az emailed me this because he knew i would get a kick out of it; the ad reads:

"Camelback Bible Church is prayerfully seeking either a pastor or director...Individuals interested in this position [the position is called "pastor of children's discipleship"] should be committed to leading children (birth through 6th grade) to embrace a vibrant and biblical faith in Jesus Christ and to equip them for a lifetime of service to the glory of God."

wow, i always thought that was called being a parent, guess i was wrong.

i am uncomfortable with the idea that a church is wanting to take the place of the parents in this. now, it could be that the church has figured out that its adults are unable to teach their faith to the kids because the adults do not know what their faith is, but then teach the adults. i think we miss something very important when we do not have parents who follow the teachings of christ, and are examples of our faith and who take the time to truly speak in loving ways about God and christ - we have left it to "the experts" to teach our teens and our kids about christ; we have walked away from our responsibility as parents.

i have heard many a parent blame the "youth pastor" because their kids are not dedicated followers of christ; or because their kids are not going to church any more. as a consumer church we desire to blame others for our inability to take the responsibilities God has give us - we fail, so we blame another.

i wonder what it would be like if the pastor stood up one sunday and said, "we are no longer looking for a pastor of children’s discipleship because it is your responsibility as a parent to disciple your children and we will be offering a class on how to do that - and we would like to see everyone who has a child in the class to learn how." i bet hardly anyone shows, heck i bet he never stands up and says it.

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the sons of God

i have been listening to the news concerning the war and it got me to thinking. i got to thinking about is how horrid humans are. it seems that hate runs deeper then love, and violence runs deeper then peace. vengeance is the food that feeds the human soul and drives the human heart; with greed and self desires the spice that seasons the meal. my stomach turns at the thought of a human taking the life of another human and we call ourselves civilized. a great deal of what i have been hearing lately is dealing with "the cost of the war." many are talking about the political stuff and some one mentioned how much this war was costing in dollars. one of the panelists on one of those "news" shows mentioned he felt the price of gas could hit $5.00 a gallon soon and that other things would start to rise. they talked in terms of how this war is helping boost the economy in certain cities, and how it is helping certain companies hire more workers. it spoke in terms of the "true cost" of war and how it is helping the economy - needless to say i have become sick, and i vomit out the poisons placed in my system by such concerns. watching fox [ever so shortly] one day i actually heard the announcer say to stay tune to hear how the war was effecting "your" stocks and other parts of the economy. i believe we do not desire peace, we talk like we might but we don't - if we had peace, armies would get smaller, diplomats would be out of work and big business could not cash in on the wars. we do not want peace because it is bad for the economy, and bad for big business. the "cost of war" in dollars is nothing, because it is going into the pockets of companies out to make a buck on the true cost of war.

the true cost of war is in the death of innocent lives; the children, the elderly, the sick, the helpless, the disabled, the ones who never pick up a gun or strap a bomb on to kill others. the ones who are playing in the streets one minute and lying dead in the streets the next. the ones who are walking home from the store with bread and food who find them selves without a home to return to. the ones who sit on a couch nursing a baby when a bomb rips through the house killing all. the cost of war is found in the lives of those left to pick up the pieces of loved ones after a bomb takes out half an office building. the cost of war is found in the lost childhood of many who, on both sides, grow to hate and see vengeance as the only way of evening the score. the seeds of this war are being planted to become the wars of the future. war solves nothing, it never brings about peace and it is never fair at the end. the cost of war is always the winner over the loser and the loser desiring to "get even."

i will admit that there are times when i think we must fight, but then i realize i am falling into the trap of darkness. you see, war is darkness and peace is light - God can never be found in darkness, God does not live in darkness - God is only found in light and peace is light. war is destruction and God does not destroy, God creates. in creation God being about life, love, peace, and grace. the tension that is real in this for me can only be solved in the words of christ, and not in a loyalty to a political party or a country. for me, i find comfort in the arms of christ, and not wrapped in a flag or ideology. the sad part is, we will keep count of the soldiers who died, but we will never keep count of the children, the elderly and others who die in their path. the cost of war is great and it is too high a price to pay. as a christian minister, as a person who follows the teachings of jesus i believe we must stand against the cost of war and proclaim the price is too high. in matthew jesus says, "blessed are the peace makers for they will be called the sons of God." for me, i desire to be called "a son of God."

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the problems with the standard evangelical doctrine of "sin."

from my understanding the evangelical doctrine of sin is:

all sin leads to death
it is our nature to sin
we will continue to sin no matter what
we can not stop our sin nature.

so, no matter what we sin - and we keep sinning according to the evangelical doctrine - but, what do we do with things like this:

1 john 5:16-17 "If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death."

1 john 1:6-7 "If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teethÂ?we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin."

1 john 5:18-20 "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is trueÂ?even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life"

if we read the scripture above we see that not all sin leads to death. so, the idea that we are "dead in sin" seems to go against what john is saying in his writing. we also read that if we are truly born of God we can not continue to sin, it is impossible. if we do, if we keep sinning we are not truly of God and we are lying through our teeth.

how do we read these scriptures in light of the idea that scripture is "infalliblele, inspireded and innerant?" how do we see these scripture in light of the evangelical of sin? what, if anything, should we rethink and consider different? how are we changed when we enter into a relationship with christ? how do we allow God to change us? if we are claiming to be christian can we honestly treat people poorly and simply put it off to a "sinful nature?" when we do, are we simply making excuses for our bad actions and misguided theology?

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the journey

Life is a journey, a process, and apprenticeship where we strive to go deeper and seek to walk in light. I was raised a non-Christian in the post-Christian world in New York, Florida, Las Vegas [a place not given to traditions] and California. I have a very different view of church and the faith then many in the evangelical world seem to have - and I am ok with that, I truly am [they may not like it, but I am ok with it] in that, I see things differently. I do not make friends to "share my faith" - I make friends to make friends, and I live my faith. If in living my faith [being incarnational] they desire to know more about what I believe I am happy to share. I think it’s a difference in starting points; in a traditional approach the starting point is the person wanting to share, in what I see as an emerging/evolving view the starting point is with the person seeking the information.

It is my personal reality, chaos is where I function best - and so do many of the people I know in the world around me - "linier" is not a thought pattern I understand, and many of the people I speak with daily have the same view I do. I think my bud Leonard Sweet wrote it in one of his books that 95% of life is non-linier, why do we strive to place our non-linier life into a linier pattern? Gleick, in his classic book "Chaos" writes, "Non-linier terms tend to be the features that people want to leave out when they try to get a good, simple understanding. Friction, for example. Without friction a simple linier equation expresses the amount of energy you need to accelerate a hockey puck. With friction the relationship gets complicated..." the reason it does is because one then has to take into account all “small things” that we desire to ignore. While chaos can be hard to deal with, I believe one can never truly see the world as God desires it to be seen if we seek to have a linier understanding of who we are in relationship to God and to each other.

So, in viewing life as a journey, we see different paths to take. Which path we take is based on all the information at hand. We think in different waves, we see in different colors and we like the smell of different flowers - we look at our world in very different views - we see life in a very different way. This is not "bad" but it is different. We use different words, and we express in different realities. I would venture to say that we have very little in common, with the possible exception of Christ. in that, I am very willing to give a great deal of room.

what needs to be remember, and seems to fall way short, is that to reach and emerging/evolving/postmodern mind the old ways have very little effect and are having even less of an effect as time goes on. for many in the modern/evangelical world an "emerging" church service is just another "style" like offering a "contemporary, traditional and blended" service; “emerging” has become a new program in the modern church - they think they can add an "emerging" service and all will be fix - many in the online ministries seem to think the same way - add an "emerging" looking site to ours and we can reach "the next generation" [not knowing this is far deeper then a generational thing] - never once thinking that they are not even close to reaching anyone with such a site - because people see through it. it is not about having a cute design on your site, or hiring some blue haired 20 something to "lead" the service - it is about truly changing, truly becoming different, truly being missional [which has nothing to do with missions work or writing a check], truly being incarnational - truly being more then what is.

just so you know, we [I do take a strong objection to the word "unsaved" because it is "christianees"] are walking by the church not because people fight over the color of the carpet, or the style of music, or what you call the service - we walk past because we are the great "unnoticed" and we believe we are of no value to the church except a number, an offering, and a cheep form of day labor. You need to understand, it has nothing to do with fighting, that happens in families all the time - it has to do with the modern church is completely irrelevant to our lives and just does not get us and is unwilling to change.

In my view the church has become its own best listener and voices from the outside are not of value to people inside the church. It needs to learn that to truly reach us, know us and think like us - or move out of the way for others who do.

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looking at myspace

i like myspace, i have one and so does the community of faith i serve. i have found it to be a great place to meet people and extend connections. i love all the fuss about myspace, and all the hype some modern christian leaders are trying to bring out. while i am certain they believe they are doing good, i wonder if they realize how disconnected they sound, how out of touch with culture they sound, how distant they seem from my life, and how off they seem from what is happening. i wonder if they even care they sound as they do.

while i find the conversation interesting, i am not sure i get all the negative hype about myspace and the "fall of the human race" because of the community that is forming on places like myspace. it seems that if you listen to some, myspace is filled with porn, weird language, sex freaks and child molesters. while i will not doubt that some of that takes place on myspace, the last five cases of child molestation i heard about centered on teachers and elementary students. so, given that, i suggest we close all public schools. then there are all the cases of priests, pastor, minister and such using children as sex toys, looks like we need to close all churches - do you see how silly the argument is to close places like myspace because a few people are sick and twisted. people are sick and twisted all over the place, do we close everything?

why are they so against it and things like it? why are they so driven to "close" [as if they could] opportunities to build community such as myspace? over the past few weeks i have read and heard modern church leaders suggest that the church create a "christian myspace" and "compete" with myspace head on. i think that is the funniest thing i had ever heard. they could never do it; they could never build a "christian myspace" even if they wanted to - and here is why:

it would be too rule structured:
any christian community site i know of has never matched the growth and depth of places like myspace, blogger [got them too], facebook, xanga, bebo, friendster, linkedin [i have one of these too], or orkut. mainly because they would never allow community to form. they would only allow you in if you followed some very strick guidelines that would never allow for growth or the exchange of ideas. they would limit the creative side, and structure it to be more like a church and less like a community. in reality, most christians have no idea how to live in a community like myspace - they see it as a place to make converts and preach; not a place to make friends.

it would not attract those outside the club:
because it would be so controlled, it would attract very little from outside the church [and i think not much from within the church either]. it would be more of a "club" then a community. it would have very little appeal to those looking to make friends, because people who were "outside the community" would see it as a way of "beating people to jesus." think of it this way, not many people i know are looking for a community where you get to share your favorite bible verse and debate the issue of hymns or no hymns.

it would be moderated and imposing:
with the idea of being "beat into jesus" any myspace style christian community would be very imposing and heavily moderated [causing a natural anti-growth reality]. if anyone tried to "go outside the box" they would be asked to leave - and even if that was by other members of the club, there is a very imposing reality to that. people would be "removed" for questioning standard evangelical doctrine and for asking questions that can be seen as "wrong." the idea of "being free in christ" would mean "freedom" as long as you towed the mark.

i can speak for myself, but i know i have no desire to live in a "christian myspace" like that. what we need to do is simply get involved in the cultures that are forming around us and make friends. truly live past the boundaries of the couch and connect with the people who are striving to make friends. think of it this way, with over 46 million people connected to one of the online communities, people are desiring community. you see, while most churches are losing people, places like myspace and facebook grew [in one year] from 4 million, to 38 million, they are doing something right.

with the idea that christians have no idea how to live in a place like myspace. they are trying hard to figure out how we "minister" to them and "preach" to them and not enough time just living in the space and getting to know people.

picture this, a "christian myspace"- a light blue page with spinning cross, flying doves, twisting fish and the standard jesus picture smack in the middle of the page; and as it loads a "carman" wrap [sorry, i just can't use the word "rap" or "hip hop" in dealing with a old white guy from new jersey] - and then ask the skate, or goth kid down the street to join and create a profile.

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a new look for me :)

this past sunday dan bolick, a friend from out community of faith [and one of the best tattoo artists i know] - was showing us his new apple - and in so doing took some pics of us - this is that i would look like if i were from another world, like cleveland :)

i love the head size. i have always said that "large white males with shaved heads all look the same" - but this would make me look that much different :)

here is what i think i would look like if i decided to go the "michael jackson" path and get my nose fixed. sure,other features will look very weird, but hey - it's a look, right?

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going to korea

i was directed [misdirected if you ask me :) ] to a website that seems to not like anyone - or at least not many people - well, maybe they just don't like the people who differ from them. now, as i have said before i am not interested in giving out a name of a site - because i just have no desire to give people like that any kind of exposure - misguided words need to remain silent. let me say this about the guy, i have no idea who this guy is, what he has done, who he is connected to, all i know is a friend [and gary, you owe me for that one] pointed me in his directions. now, i would never have come across him in my walk, because we walk in a whole different direction - i tend to walk towards love, grace and forgiveness.

recentley, this person decided to rag on rick warren about his invite to preach in korea. i will admit that i am not following the story because it just does not interest me. i am not a big fan of all rick has to offers; i do respect the man for what he has done and seems to be saying about getting off our collective asses and into helping others. so, i do not see a reason to rag on the guy for wanting to help and do good. i may differ from rick on some issues, and to be honest that does not mean much - because, as i see it, we are still brothers in christ. i may see things radically different then rick, and i may be closer to the edge then he is but we still see jesus for who jesus is, was and always will be - and in that, i need to strive to give rick all the help i can. while some seem to desire to rag and rip on rick, we should be vocal enough to support him in his reaching others. so, his ripping rick a new one does not connect for me - and let me share why.

he rips rick for knowing famous people:
to be honest, i could careless who knows who, or how anyone knows another. to me, it is no big deal - people are people, and no one is better then another. my dad use to say, "we are all pink on the inside." with that said, i have to say that i have never heard rick share a story of the famous people he hangs out with as if he was bragging on who he knows. while i will admit i am not a member of the church rick serves so i do not hear him speak a great deal, i have heard him speak in interviews, and most of the time he does speak about regular places and regular people.

he rips rick for selling books:
i love this one, because on the page where the article is listed there are 9 books you can purchase from the website - so, it seems that while it is bad for rick to sell books and make money, it is not bad for the site that publishes this guys stuff to sell books and make money - i am confused on that one.

he rips rick for giving money to his foundations:
this one just made me laugh, because as he is rapping rick a new one on this, the site he is on has a ad [in the middle of his article] asking for a donation.

look, i am just like the next guy when it comes to things that are a bit off, but i think there is a point we reach when we have to look at what we are saying, in connection to what we are doing. some forget that we are not called to rip each other apart, but we are called to build each other up - that means we should be showing some kind of unity, some kind of connection.

we should be offering rick our prayers, our support, our voice in this - we should be lifting the opportunity to share the our faith with others and we should be asking "rick, what can i do to help?"

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my faith is not political

my faith is not political: my faith is not based on the call of anyone on the "right" or on the "left" of anything they call politics - my faith is spiritual; my faith comes from a relationship with God and not a political rally cry. my spiritual walk determines my life walk, how i act, how i relate to others and how i see myself and others. my spiritual walk is not political, i will not march for it, i will not speech for it, but i will die for it.

i am unwilling to die for a political stance, be it on the "right" or on the "left;" i am unwilling to die for a political party, a country, a government, a ideology or a campaign. i seek to live in my relationship with christ, walk in the light of the son and seek to be the incarnation of christ in the world - i desire to love others, forgive others, accept others, walk with others, know others, sit with others and most of all get to share with others. i desire to be the incarnation of christ, not the incarnation of political rhetoric designed to control. i desire to stand for all human dignity, and allow others to come to find what that means as they explore their spiritual walk. i do not desire to be more then who i am, by speaking a game i am unwilling to play -

if you see this as political, then you see this through the eyes of a human seeking to define me as you desire, and out of some febel desire to contol my life. it is done to place me in either a "right" or "left" box, to tag me as "liberal" or "conservative." to not see me for me, but to see me as you desire to define me. when you do that, you insult me and show a desire to control and a want to move me into some definable group you like to think you can control. i seek to walk with God, and God is not a politician - God speaks with honesty, in love, in grace, in forgiveness, in harmony with all that is around us - God unites and seeks to do what is right for us, not some special interest group. politicians divide, because for them power comes when people are divided and fragmented. in God, "grace" is seen as serving others and in uniting the hearts of all the people.

in that, two things turn my stomach - religious "leaders" who desire to act like politicians [when i spell check this the computer change it to "pollutions"] and politicians [pollutions, here also] who act like religious "leaders." neither know the heart of God and both seek to control, misuse and abuse the people around them.

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the superman effect

tina and i went and saw the new superman movie the other day, and i have to say i was not impressed. everyone i spoke to about the movie said it was going to be great. the critics loved it, the hype was over the top and people were flocking to see this great new story of the man of steal - but it turned out to be a disappointing rehash of the first superman with christopher reeves. heck, even much of the dialog was the same. i was not impressed, it was the old superman disguised as a new superman - but i was not fooled. it had nothing to do with the actors or the director, but it had everything to do with the story line.

this got me to thinking - how many "emerging/evolving" churches are simply a rehash of the old modern church? many emerging/evolving communities of faith say they are "different" but they are simply the same; sure some minor changes - but the dialog is much the same - ok, there are newer actors, some set changes but that is about it. i remember looking at tina when superman and louis went out for a "fly" and i said, "if i hear the 'who are you' poem we walk out of the movie." i have felt that way in many emerging/evolving communities of faith i have been in also. as i sit, i wait for them to do what every other contemporary, modern, evangelical church would do - and i am seldom disappointed.

i am not sure i would be willing to trust the next superman movie. i wanted so much more, i was expecting something very different and when i experienced a flash back to the first movie, my trust level dropped about 100 points. just think of al the people who are hearing, "our church is different" and when they come in, it is no different then any other church - think of it as "the superman effect."

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