heading west :)

yea, that's right we are moving back to cali - we tried the southeast, but we soon found we were ducks out of water. we have nothing against the southeast, it is just that we did not fit in it - we tried, we tried hard - but it is hard to take the cali out of us :) we are west coast people -

so, we are heading back to sacramento - while i will be starting my dmin soon, i have no idea what i will be doing - maybe some more web design, some more graphic arts and the like [would love to teach at a university or college] - or, if God is willing and you know of a community of faith looking to reach the "misfit" in us all - i would love to know about it. while we are sad, and we have made some great friends here, we know that those friendships will carry no matter where we live. so, we leave "norcar" for "norcal" :)


me a meez

ok, so here i am playing around the net when i cam across this cool thing called "meez" - i just thought it was so cool. anyway, here i am in a "meez" kind of way - my goat is not that long - it's about half that at this point :)


a new myspace group.

i have been thinking about this for a while, and i have "given in" to the realities of my world - i have started a new myspace group called "the church of the misfits." here is what the "description" says:

"the church of misfits is a gathering of people who want to ask questions, have open dialog and truly make a difference in this world. this is a community seeking to know what it means to be on a faith journey towards God. if you have all the answers, this is not the place for you - we are looking for people who truly desire to ask questions - to seek out answers together - not to be manipulated into making a decision based on what is predetermined by some organized religious group - we desire to ask, seek, question and wonder. while we will start as a online community, our desire is that we meet every once and a while in our respective cities and areas, and we actually do something with our faith - we actually become what we claim we are."

i have been praying a great deal as of late over the condition of the institutionalized church. i have come to the realization that i do not fit - and that is the truth for so many others - we do not fit - we do not feel welcomed - it could be because we are divorced, we are single, we have no kids, we have too many kids, we are black, we are white, we are asian, we are hispanic, we are mixed, we are native, we are new, we are young, we are old, we are fat, we are skinny, we are short, we are tall, we have tats, we are pierced - what ever it is, we are just not made to feel welcomed when we visit a church - we are excluded - it could be for theological reasons, political reasons, emotional reasons, or other reasons - it matters little, we are made to fell unwelcomed in what is suppose to be "the house of God"

recently i heard a pastor say, "i am tired of people saying they are unwelcomed in my church. my congregation is very friendly and welcoming, people who feel unwelcomed need to ask themselves if it is us, or them, that make them feel that way" - to which i reached back and punched him square in the mouth [not really i am a pacifist, but it did cross my mind :)] - i looked at him and said, "if 10 people visit your church and 9 of them do not feel welcomed, who has the problem?"

if your a misfit and would like to connect with this group - and you dear to join myspace :) - come on over.



first, let me get some "likes" out of the way:

i like myspace - i have a myspace, and i belong to a few groups - not as active as i like, but i go and read as much as i can [my favorite groups are "revolutionaries wanted," and "the movement project" - they are two of my favorite groups]. i also have friends and family with myspace accounts - and it is easy for us to stay in contact with each other - so, yea i like myspace.

i also like youtube - i love my trip to candy mountain on youtube, and there is just something very cool about four guys singing and dancing on exercise equipment that can make you just smile and enjoy a good song - some of the funniest stuff i have seen in a very long time is on youtube.

i also like facebook, and i also like linkedin - i have accounts on both and some very good friends left some very nice comments about me on my linkedin account - i like the connection and the ability to be out past my little world.

ok, so those are just some of the things i like about the web, in fact i like the whole idea of web 2.0 - love it - well, you got me, i don't "love it" all. now, here is where i earn the label "heretic" and have others seek to remove me from the book of life; hold on, this is a big on in the evangelical wold - i am not a fan of "mychurch" or "godtube." there, i said it - i am out of the closet and i feel a thousnd pounds lighter.

i am sorry, but you can't convince me that they are not "christian rip-offs" of the original. even though "mychurch" spends a whole lot of time saying "we are not a christian myspace" - that is exactly what they are - and they can shout all they like that they are not, they are [a rose, is a rose, is a rose]

i need to explain that i am not a big fan of the mychurch and godtube sites, not because they are ripping off other sites and then claiming they are not [that's marketing,and its a game the emerging mind understands] - i am not a big fan because it creates a very big "us and them" thing that i am striving hard to find biblical support from [and can't]. christians are living closed, exclusive lives - and we all know that is a reality.

well, let's look at the reality of it all; visit any evangelical church you like, on any sunday you like and grab ten people and ask them, "can you name five non-christian friends you hangout with on a regular basis?" here is what i think you will find - 9 out of the 10 could not give the name of five people they consider friends who are not christian, because the evangelical church has become an exclusive club, where they only hangout with other members of the club. some will say this is a good thing, what they calim is "christians need the support of other christians and we are called to be separate from the world;" but christians are hanging out with christians, and in turn not being a light to the world, they are shining their lights in each others face and trying hard to see who can have "the brighter light." what they are doing is simply hiding their light under their laptops. it is easy to hang out with people that think and talk like you, and it is hard to go past your comfort zone and truly share your life and faith with those who may not understand you, or you may not understand them - but that is what Jesus did for us.

christ calls us to "go and make disciples" - instead, the amercian evangelical church is now saying - "stay, and make christians" - so, for me i like myspace - i connect with people who are asking questions about faith, about God, about christ, about the journey - and the really cool thing is that not only are they hearing my voice, but others - my faith is placed in the market place of ideas and it can hold its own. to me, and this is just my opinion, i find places like "mychurch" to be "hiding places" for christians, where they can hide behind the "it sounds good and logical to hang out with each other" and not hear the life pains of a person who does not know of a loving, graceful and kind God - and the way i see the journey is that i would rather be a sheep among wolves, then a sheep among goats :)


tired of crap

i am tired of all the crap - ok, you can email me later about the use of the word, but it is how i feel - i am tired of crap - the crap the church hands out and calls "theology" or "community;" the crap the others give out and call "love" or "forgiveness" or "acceptance;" the crap some hand out and call "christian living" - i am tired of all the crap - the garbage we are handed and just expected to "take" and "not say a word" - and if we question another point of view - they jump up and down and get all bent out of shape - man i am tired of crap -

what is community? as a human i am starving for human contact; as a christian i am starving for human contact - we all are, or we all should be; as a follower of christ we should be willing and ready to stand before each other in an honest and open community, with love and grace. we should be open and honest in our quest to know each other. we should get past the crap, and into our lives. we are connected, united, made of the same space dust that make all other humans our dna is the same - with the exceptions of height, weight, hair color [or lack there of] eye color and foot size our dna is the same - we are driven, passion, movement, thought, distance, closeness, wanting, giving, asking, different, wondering, knowing, open, expressive, seeking, thinking, hurting, mad, loving, needing - but most of all we are starving for community, open honset community where we share all the crap of our lives and we come out the other end healed and loving. so, if we, as a human race, are starving for community why is it so hard to get past all the crap?

why is it hard to love the unlovable, touch the untouchable, embrace the embraceable, desire the undesirable, seek the unseekable, want the unwanted? why is it that when every i walk into a church i see far more barbie and ken, and very little sponge bob and patrick. it is amazing how much crap their is and how little we do about it - but then, if we look at the "christian" book line-up we are fed that crap on a regular read - we are fed the "look at me, i am cute and i have a cool church" line of crap from people who would never give a homeless guy a second look, or the time of day without bragging about it to the world around them. our daily diet of christian books is filled with the crap of theology, useless stuff that is designed to make us think we are better, but there is no teeth to what is being offered - there is no bite, heck there is very little bark as well.

recently, i have been emailing a publisher about a book idea - and i will admit i stole the title from a good friend [jim palmer] - now the idea of the book is great, honest and healing. the idea was to share life and share times when i, and others, were left "standing naked" before others - times when our lives fell apart, where we were "over flowing" in crap and how community helped me and others to take a hard look at who we were, who we are and who God wanted us to be - a open and honest look at the hurts of life, and the healing of community. you see, i am tired of the books that say "we stand before God naked" because we do not need to, God sees us naked no matter how we stand, or where we stand. we, as christians, need to learn to stand naked before each other. it's one of the "great myths of the evangelical church" [another one is when we are told "God love you" - heck, God loves everyone, that's not a big deal. it is not "God loves you" that matters, but how much do you love God] designed to keep a distance between people. we need to stand naked before each other, and love each other to health - now they like it, but when they read the title - well, that was another story - you see, the title was "unzipped; learning to stand naked before each other" - they felt it was "not right for a christian author." they suggested i change the title, and make it "more sellable" and less "sexual" - what? well, crap!

looks like another book that will not be sold at the local "lifeway" book store - bummer, hummm........... wonder how i go about publishing an "ebook?"


church of misfits

it wasn't that long ago when i was asked by a pastor of another church if i did not pastor the church i was currently at, what church in town would i attend? the question tossed me back a bit, but got me thinking; and i did not have an answer. so, this pastor looked at me and said i could "give him an answer in a few week" - basically he gave me some time to "think it over and get back" with him. while i did not think it was a very important question, i did want to answer it; so it took me a few weeks to think of all the churches in the town, all the pastors and all the people. a few weeks later he came to the church for a visit and asked if i had thought about the question - i did and i told him, "none."

it seemed that was not the "right" answer, but it was my honest answer. he asked why none? so i told him - and this is what i shared -

i am a misfit. i do not fit in the normal church, and i do not think like a normal church goer - i act different, think different and see things different, so i know i would not fit into any other church - because i am a misfit and i pastor well to a church of misfits. for example -

i tend to think outside the box, and when i am told i have to think "inside the box" i tend to not desire to be involved. it is like chaining me to a pole and telling me "this is the way we do things around here" - i do not do well in that kind of church.

while i would not say i was "liberal," i would also say i was not "conservative" either; and i would not say i was "middle of the road" - i just tend to see things with the heart of grace and forgiveness. i do not like pointing fingers and i do not like gossip - in fact, i find both to be church killers.

i am, what some call, a "red letter christian" - meaning? i tend to take the words of jesus over any other words in scripture. i do not care what moses said, or what paul said - i care about what jesus said - i filter everything through the words of christ - everything.

i am a misfit - i know it, i have accepted it and i trust that God made me this way for a reason - so, i live the life of a misfit. for some, to think themselves a misfit seems wrong, well for me it is just being honest with who i am - i am a misfit - just that simple - and i minister well to "the church of misfits"


arby's and racism

in this day and age i am amazed at the lack of respect there is for racial groups - how the stereo-types are played to on the tv and in advertising in general - for me, the latest is the new arby's tv ad [created by merkley and partners, which is owned by the "omnicom group" ] - the one where monkey's preform a traditional irish step dance to traditional irish music.

you see, this is hard for me because over the past the irish had been viewed as being closer to monkey's then to humans; they were called a "simian race" or a "simian people" - through out recent history cartoonists would portray the irish as having "monkey features" - at one time they were thought to be "hairless monkey's" - not too long ago in our history there were signs on business saying "help wanted, irish need not apply." while the irish, as a group, have made some fantastic strides in overcoming such ignorance, i am amazed that an ad agency would think such a display of racism would be funny. a tv commercial where monkey's step dance to irish music, seems a bit over the top - would they have thought about turning the station to a "traditional mexican" music station and have the monkey's dance a traditional mexican dance? how about with doing the same thing with hip-hop? i am not sure that would have gone beyond even a conversation; but to open old wounds and do something as insulting as showing "monkey's acting irish" seems all right in their eyes.

what i find interesting about this, is that when i contacted arby's about it - they were sorry, but they could not see what i was talking about. in fact, everyone said they never heard anything like this before and no one ever heard of "irish need not apply." for some, the response was one of "surprise" that any irish person would have contacted them and thought it was insulting - the assumption was that the irish are a "humorous group" and "good natured" so they were confused that i would even take the time to call.

well, you eat where you desire - as for me and my irish-self - i think arby's is not even on my list.