Friday, December 30, 2005

You Don't Own ME!

I am a

Yet, I reserve the right to not be defined by emergent.

Emergent is a great organization that can help people, pastors and leaders who are moving in that direction. The problem comes when they become, usualy unintentionally, like a denomination. ("I belong to emergent").

but if that's our biggest problem...we're blessed. I say that because this kind of a problem encourages conversation, and conversations is what this is all about.

For me, being emerging used to be about an agenda, or "tricks" to get people to connect to God. Nowadays (and yes, that is the first time I have ever used that word) it's more about thinking theologically for a postmodern culture that I live in, instead of programming our way to a bigger church.

This is definitely not the end of the reorientation, though.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I have a commitment to not deleting things that I say online. If I have the stupidity to say it, then I have to own it.

However, I have a higher commitment to some people than my commitment to myself. And when one of these people asks me to delete a post - I have to decide who I serve - myself or them. This is the primary question of a love relationship.

Love means choosing someone else, instead of yourself.

If the answer isn't them, then I have to ask where's the love? Do I love my own (sometimes extreme) commitments? Or, do I love people?

So a post has been deleted on the reorient.

Perhaps more will be...we'll have to see how I feel about all of that.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tony Jones

If you are a regular reader, then you know that Tony Jones is a writer and leader who I really appreciate. His books on Postmodern Youth Ministry and Soul Shaper were not only informative for me, but also liberating.
Tony is a gracious man who returns emails - not only to me but to other regular youth pastors who are trying to muck through the postmodern shift that is happening all around us. He takes time for people and listens very well.
Tony is also sure of what he believes but holds his convictions separate from those of Emergent the organization because of the responsiblity he feels as the director of the organization that calls itself a relationship.
It seems that, because of his relentless commitment to the question being of more worth than the answer, and the journey of more worth than the destination, he comes under frequent attack by those who seem to be in fear of losing their faith to the "evil emergent." Just browse through the comments in his blog (which is way to smart for most of the haters to understand) and you'll see what I mean.

In light of all this - and as a favour (guilty - Canadian!) to Emergent - I have fashioned the following job description for Tony Jones, director of Emergent.

The Emergent Director/Coordinator will:

*Always have to be changing the title of his postition, because people will always be complaining about it, all the while undergoing constant criticism of your every word, action and thought.

*Work closely with the extended Emergent board and inform them of the number of complaints being lodged anonymously on blogs, all the while undergoing constant criticism of your every word, action and thought.

*Return emails, press requests, phone calls and other communications with various people from supporters to haters,all the while undergoing constant criticism of your every word, action and thought.

*Make decisions about events and gatherings in order to further the conversation and relationship that is emergent, all the while undergoing constant criticism of your every word, action and thought.

*Put up with people trying to change the name of emergent to something else,all the while undergoing constant criticism of your every word, action and thought.

*Connect with grassroots level leaders who are living amongst the realities that emergent can help navigate, all the while undergoing constant criticism of your every word, action and thought.

*Keep a healthly sense of humor or go insane because all the while the director/coordinator will be undergoing constant criticism of every word, action and thought.

In the words of Jim Carey, "May you have a Christity Christ Christ Christmas!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


My father in law is one of the wisest people I know. He is a minister at large for an "international" ministry called Believer's Dynamics.

Anyways - he preaches as good as you breathe and he has a website and you can listen to his sermons on it - so I am linking to it to generate a little more traffic for him and to bless you with some killer sermons.

Go ahead - click it up!!

Also - it's a minsitry that is totally supported by people's financial support - so this Christmas - why don't you support?

Winston Thurton

SACC is genius

So with all the debate that is absolutely raging about the church services on Christmas issue - I really think that our church is doing something wise.

We are hosting 3 worship services, 2 on sat night and one on sun morning that are all similar but different so that people could go to just one, or two or three if they really wanted a good seat in heaven. There's no child care - they are all family oriented and will pack the sanctuary out - but it keeps our church from pitting family against church.

Not that other ideas are horrible or anything. I just think our idea really works.

So go ahead - tell people you follow the South Albany model. Jesus will love you more if you do!

Friday, December 09, 2005


Sorry for the recent silence, had a baby - not sleeping - drinking lots of coffee.

Check back soon for a rant on tithing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Velvet Elvis

I have just finished reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell for the second time. The first time I devoured it in one night, but now I have grinded through it a little more so that it makes more sense.

I have bought 4 more copies and given them away. I can see McLaren's influence and clearly appreciate Bell's presentation of the Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic in a variety of context. There are moments and words that everyone should struggle with - which makes this book valuable for your oreintation.

Here's some quotes and questions:

p.21 "Jesus exposes us to reality at its rawest."

Can you be a follower of Jesus and not be real? Is fake the root of all sin?

p.28 "...brickianity..."

Are you on a journey or are you building a fortress?

p.33 quoting Sean Penn, "The mystery is the truth."

p.83 "Jesus is the arrangement. Jesus is the design. Jesus is the intelligence. For a Christian, Jesus' teachings aren't to be followed because they are a nice way to live a moral life. They are to be followed because they are the best possible insight into how the world really works. They teach us how things are."

How does Jesus' life on earth interact with the effect of sin on humanity?

p.85 "That is why it is impossible for a Christian to have a secular job. If you follow Jesus and you are doing what you do in his name, then it is no longer secular work; it's sacred. You are there; God is there. The difference is our awareness."

Are you moving slow enough to be aware? What are you missing in your speed? Are you addicted to speed and shallow? What are you scared of?

p.120 "I say the system has to be changed. It has to be destoryed and replaced not with another system but with an entirely new way of life."

p.165 "I am learning that the church is at its best when it gives itself away."

p.169 "The call of Jesus goes in the other direction. It's about making our live more difficult. It is going out of our way to be more generous and disciplined and loving and free. It is refusing to escape and become numb to and check out of this broken, fractured world."

Are you blessed?

You've got to read this book. Move.

A New Day

A new feature will be found in the reOrient!

As is my custom - I post a bunch of compelling quotes in order that you can see what I am thinking about.

Now: I am going to try to include some questions that ask what the next step is. I am sensing that in my interaction with the whole imergent thing (with an "i" on purpose) I am ready to start creating instead of just learning.

This is just a step in that direction.

May the progressions continue.

Milk Carton: My blog

So, I'm not posting as much as I should. It's a sign that I am getting a little overwhelmed.

Heather is having the baby any time in the new couple weeks, days, whatever.

We are planning 3 unique, yet interconnected Christmas Eve/Morning Services - a family service hosted by Scott and I - that's it - a contemplative 11'o'clocker - and a normal sunday service that I won't have to do much at.

We are moving toward planting a new congregation within our context.

My personal small group is bustling.

I am trying to recruit more leaders for Driven HS Ministry.

Oh yeah - and I'm drinking a lot of coffee.

Friday, November 11, 2005


We are at the point now where we are talking about creating a new congregation withing the context of South Albany Community Church. Just talking - but talking for real.

We are at the point where we have no desire to be "emergent". Rather, we want to be more than what we are. We want to find what is just past what we have right now. We want to see what happens when we let the restless evangelicals push the envelopes that they have been stuck in for so long.

Thing is - this is what makes us more emergent than ever before. It strikes me that, no matter if we start a new emerging service or not - I am what I am. The way I understand the gospel, the way I live in the way of Jesus, the context of my conversations, my approach to my understanding of all theology is different. And the modern church (read: my denomination) is not creating new categories other than fear of postmodernity.

So, we are trying to engage conversation with those who are like us - and in leadership positions - and there ain't many around Albany, Oregon. Many churches are sticking with status quo, but that just isn't what I want to tell Jesus I did with my life.

So we are looking outside of our town to help us engage the conversation - with the hope of finding a true (Albanian) expression of being a missional congregation. Right now we are answering a bunch of questions found in Kimball's book Emerging Worship. But we are purposely avoiding the chapters on ideas and common values in emerging churches. I know them. We know them. But the way that we have been trained tells us to model and to copy (pragmatism) - but we are refusing.

In that light - I read this quote last night and it really speaks to where we're at right now. It's an exciting time.

We need to recognize this and understand this. It is not dependent on people coming to our building and sitting in our meeting. After we think through the other building blocks, we can begin to design a worship gathering. To do this backwards is dangerous and will ultimately produce consumer-Christians who 'go to church' (a worship service), are not engaged in the mission, and don't see themselves as the church.
You may say, 'We know our mission isn't to start a worship service.' You need to probe and ask if you really do know that. What comes to your mind when you imagine 'success'? Is it a view of people all gathered in a worship service you have created? Or is it a view of a community of worshipers being missionaries in their world, being a part of community in smaller settings, and then coming together for a worshi pgathering? There is a huge difference between the two! Probably what comes to your mind and heart first is what you are building on.

-Dan Kimball, Emerging Worship, p.33/34

Death by Caffeine

It would take 146.02 cups of Brewed Coffee to put you down.

This just in from the death and coffee webpage - Death by Caffeine. This is funny, because part of my observation of Ramadan was to have no coffee. None. And I really, really like it. So, afterwards, when my lovely wife brought me a Dutch Bros. - it made my work day go by really fast.

Really, really fast.

Also - she found my glasses yesterday. So if I haven't seen you in a while I will now.

And - the final random note: Kelsey B. is the best.

Mad Props in the Reorient

I found this via (now on typepad!) and ran it through on the reorient.

This is the reorient if Aaron Swank wrote it all.


Just a warning...there may be some cussing in there, I really don't know what half of it says. So, if there is, don't read it!

James <><

Friday, November 04, 2005

Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way

I just recently picked up this book and read it in two nights. Nothing like a hip small book with huge print and large margins. I really really reccommend this book. To everyone. It's not preachy or anything, and gives it real, talking about what I dream of the students in the Driven youth becoming and staying.

Oh God, may they not become domesticated.

Here's some tastebuds:

p.5 "Thje tribe of Jesus, above all people, should rightly carry the banner, 'Forward'."

p.15 "A barbarian invasion is taking place even right now. They are coming from the four corners of the the earth and they are numbered among the unlikely...those who are most religious will be most offended and indignant."

p.43 "For years I have made it my mission to destroy the influence of the Christian cliche 'The safest place to be is in the center of the will of God'"

p.45 "God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance."

p.77 "You could put a suit on me, but underneath there would always be a savage."

There's lots of other stuff, ideas for new tattoos, really great understandings of Scripture, Nathaniel, Jephthah, and more.

Go. Now. But the book and read it. Trust me, the biggest books on my shelf are not the best. This book is more proof of that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Thirty Hour Famine

This weekend we are leading our students in the experience of the 30 hour famine. I love this weekend because it creates a way for the students to do something about something that they, and God, hate; world hunger.

We have some passionate students about homelessness and poverty and hunger and addiction and... The biggest thing is that they don't see it as a complicated problem. They just see it as a place to make the world more like God dreams of.

I see a huge problem. I see the way that extreme poverty, lack of education, racism/predjudice, hopelessness, family cycles are all working together to create this massive problem. It's this kind of a huge problem that paralyzes a lot of people. There are students in Driven (the HS ministry at SACC) who are paralyzed. And then this feeling produces guilt - why am I doing nothing? why am I not doing enough? how can God love me when I am paralyzed?

This huge problem also shows it's ugly head when people turn away from following Jesus alltogether. I don't understand the Trinity. I see too much hypocrasy. I don't fit in.

All of these, in both the case of world hunger and in the case of following Jesus, are (as far as I see) are miss-focused excuses. Focusing on the problem - oparalyzes people.

The challenge then, for leaders, is to help people move their focus to the good and not the bad.
To stand for something, instead of against something.

May God bless the Famine. In Albany and in the world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I should have known...

Wild Weekend.

I need to post on:
Meeting people who are breaking into the youth house wearing your jacket
Thirty Hour Famine

But right now, I want to point out some cool stuff. I have created some little links on the right hand side that I learned about from Bob up in Portland, whose link is also on the side.

One of the links tells me what key words people are using to search and finding my blog.

Here's the latest smattering. It's funny.

canadian in cuba
kenda creasy dean (which reminds me, I'm almost done Practicing Passion. Possibly the greatest youth ministry book in the world for me right now.)
rob bell mars hill
church sluts
learning about when people laugh at you and not with you
sluts of all kind

As you can see....some people (last search) are coming to the reorientation looking for something a little different.


Friday, October 07, 2005

reorient reader: You are Getting Stupider Every Time You Are Here.

Well, unfortunately, it might be true. The more you are goofing around on your computer, the lower your IQ is going. So, in theory, the more you are here, the dumber you are getting. Click on the title link for the news story.

I love IQ. I love it because I love to see the way that people talk about it. I love to ask people what there's is and I don't really care what the number is - I find it interesting when people are really excited about their number. High or low, whatever. I love when people ask me my number and there number is higher, but they are complete morons. I find it revealing to me as a warning not to place my self worth anywhere but on Jesus' inherent worth given to creation, in His Image.

I think the idol of finding self-worth in smarts, good grades, graduating high school is wildly prevalent in our culture. People look at me like I am crazy when I talk about my educational dreams for LJ - I hope he follow God's call. HS? Ok, whatever. College? OK whatever.

However, I don't endorse the, "I'm dropping out of high school so that I can go to Africa and be a missionary!" Unless it is surely God's call (which He has made crazier calls), then the 14 year old in Africa is just another crying mouth to feed. One without a decent education.

So if you are going to be stupid. At least be stupid here.

*This rant has been inspired by Irwin McManus' teaching at 722 in Atlanta from last week.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


If you are a frequent reader of the reorientation then you already know I am a Canadian living in America. Basically that means two things:

1. I can go to Cube and smoke all the cigars I want. However, I don't like Castro (I mean really, Che is just your Minister of Agriculture? - and then you leave him hanging in Bolivia? COme on!) and I don't smoke cigars. So that one is a bit of a wash.

2. I have the priviledge of riding out the storm of being the butt of jokes that Americans love to tell. Thing is, many of them are stinking funny. It's only annoying when people actually tell me I'm talking "wrong". Honestly, I'm not going to get a new accent - it's been 6 years I've lived in the USAmericas and I still talk "wrong". So, most people are not haters - they are genuinely funny.

All of this, because I got this list in an email from Kayla, and I thought it would be fun to post. I laughed out loud. Feel free to do so also, especially if you are in a public place - it always makes people wonder.

26 Signs Showing You Might Be Canadian

1. You're not offended by the term "HOMO MILK".
2. You understand the phrase "Could you pass me a serviette, I just dropped my poutine, on the chesterfield."
3. You eat chocolate bars, not candy bars.
4. You drink Pop, not Soda.
5. You know that a Mickey and 24's mean, "party at the camp,eh!!!"
6. You don't care about the fuss with Cuba. It's a cheap place to go for your holidays, with good cigars and no Americans.
7. You know that a pike is a type of fish, not part of a highway.
8. You drive on a highway, not a freeway.
9. You have Canadian Tire money in your kitchen drawers.
10. You know that Casey and Finnegan were not part of a Celtic musical group
11. You get excited whenever an American television show mentions Canada.
12. You brag to Americans that; Shania Twain, Jim Carrey, Celine Dion & Mike Myers are Canadians.
13. You know that the C.E.O. of American Airlines is a Canadian!
14. You know what a touque is.
15. You design your Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
16. You know that the last letter of the English alphabet is always pronounced "Zed".
17. Your local newspaper covers the national news on 2 pages, but requires 6 pages for hockey.
18. You know that the four seasons mean: almost winter, winter, still winter and road work.
19. You know that when it's 25 degrees outside, it's a warm day.
20. You understand the Labatt Blue commercials.
21. You know how to pronounce and spell "Saskatchewan".
22. You perk up when you hear the theme song from 'Hockey Night in Canada'.
23. You are in grade 12, not the 12th grade.
24. "Eh?" is a very important part of your vocabulary, and is more polite than, "Huh?"
25. You actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all of your Canadian friends! Then you send them to your American friends just to confuse them!
26. You know that it is a Zedbra, not a zebra.

Monday, September 26, 2005


I hate the saying, "It's not a religion, it's a relationship."

I hate it because it's not an either/or; the two are not mutually exclusive.

Fifteen seconds ago I created my new saying:

It's not about religion or relationship. It's about reality.

Mission Shaped Church

Mad Props to TSK for the link to a free download of the book, Mission Shaped Church. You can click on the title and go get the download for yourself. It's from the Church of England, so it's in a decidedly U.K. context, but it has some very important principles and helps for futuring here in the USAmericas. Mainly because I see Europe, U.K., Canada as a little further ahead in the emerging postmodern shift.

The book is timely for me as we (SACC's leadership) are considering what it would look like to plant a new congregation (more than a new service, less than a church plant) that is missional and moves, thinks, connects, teaches in ways that are relevant to people who are living life in the new postmodern world.

So I finished the book this morning and wanted to put some killer quotes up:

"the existing parochial system alone is no longer able to fully deliver its underlying mission purpose. We need to recognize that a variety of intergrated missionary approaches is required." (xi)

"The core value of socitey has moved from 'progress' to 'choice'" (9)

"forms of Christian community that are homes of generous hospitality, places of challenging reconcilliation and centres of attentiveness to the living God." (13; quoted from Transmission Magazine article by Brother Samuel SSF

"Frequent causes of [church plant] failure included poor planning, leadership issues, inward-looking focus, cultural blindness, part-time leadership and lack of resources." (22)

"Ecclesiology is a subsection of the doctrine of mission." (24; quoted from George Carey in a 1989 presentation)

"Today's young people are of a different culture, not simply a different age." (79)

"It is not the Church of God that has a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a Church in the world." (85; quoting Tim Dearborn in Beyond Duty)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Church Sluts

Honestly, this isn't completely my fault.

We're rolling in the Caddy south on I-5 after a day of emerging talk and Scott talks about a question he asked about wether people are married or just dating the church. It's a common metaphor about how people don't commit to a body. People, generally, commit to a style or a preacher or to convience. Rare are the people who commit to a body through thick and thin. Rare and wonderful.

So, then the conversation moves along the lines of the dating metaphor and I have an epiphany:

"So, the people who just go church to church in dating relationships, would those people be called 'church sluts'?'"

After we all recovered we kind of followed that line of thought and decided it probably wouldn't sell as a book but is a very true thing.

I think those who are in emerging contexts will need to address this because it is the sin of our modern western baby-boomer parents, and the effects will carry on for a couple of generations. How can church promiscuity be ministered to? I believe there must be a direct and authentic commitment to communtiy (not affinity; affinity deals with convience and friendships, community includes these but works through difference and inconvience because of authentic commitment) in a local context. There must be a commitment to a local body, which is commited to the individual believers.

I wonder if, in the future, we will look at church sluts (church-hopping, shopping for a church) as a terrible sickness that invaded the church.

Further, will blame be put on the Christians themselves, or on their leaders for making them what they are through their market driven church models?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Learning Party Review

On Saturday John, Scott and I participated in a learning party up in Seattle, hosted by the Church of the Apostles. It was a lot of theory and hard to get into the practical aspect.

The overall feature was how mainline denominations are emerging. That was interesting because there were several of us who are of a more evangelical persuasion there. There was also a Unitarian Universalist. I disagreed with most of what came out of his mouth.

For us here in Albany, it helped us to know and recognize that we will need framework (and to determine how framework is determined) and we will need to know our convictions, even if we hold them with humility, we do not endorse ignorance as a form of valuing questions.

Props to Bob Hyatt for his organization and participation. He came from a more evangelical perspective and was more like what we feel God calling us towards. So, it was a good day to help us define and a good day for networking within our staff and in our region.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Defeating Spam and other tastes

Just a few notes: I've added/deleted some links on the right due to new blogs I read and developing relationships and I've deleted some blogs that were dead.

Also, I've added word verification to blog comments. I'm just hating the spammers. Isn't there some terrorism law that we can use to get rid of them. Spammers are a part of the axis of evil.

I have a busy am today but later I'm going to try and post on:

* Learning Party at the church of the Apostles
* How God is leading our prayers considering a new ministry
* Consumer culture and Church Sluts

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Learning Party

People laugh when I tell them I am going to an emerging learning party this weekend. I think it might sound too much like Tupperware or Avon. But that is what is happening on Saturday.

John, Scott and I are going to the Emerging Learning Party hosted by Church of the Apostles up in Seattle. Karen Ward is the leader there. I originally heard of it on Bob Hyatt's blog, and he is going to be a tour guide there. Bob was gracious enough a year ago to share with our church staff some important ideas and directions for us to consider engaging the emerging community here in Albany.

Shoud be and interesting day.

Having to explain this stuff (learning parties, tour guides, emerge) to the average person in my (baby boomer) church is just embarrassing.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Watched Constantine super late las night - sweet movie - it was spiritual and dealt with a couple cool issues - like is suicide the unforgivable sin?

The effects and stuff are supposed to be scary, I guess. And it would be...if I wasn't so obsessed with a fascination that our culture has with spirituality.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Core


I'm taking my two brand new and improved interns (called Driven Ministry Associates) to their first youth ministry training seminar up in Portland.

The two are called Lacy and Aaron, but neither actively blog. It's sad, really.

We'll be attending YS's THE CORE seminar, which I have never attended. Interesting.

OK - Later-

James <><

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What a great Question

I really think questions are way better than answers. Questions show hearts. Questions reveal vulnerability.

Here's a question I got in an email from someone today:

It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or "In God We Trust" on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don't we just tell the other 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!

Although there is no question mark at the end, I thought this was seeking somekind of a response.

But, in the fashion of the Rabbi, I will respond with other questions:

Does the Bible not teach that 100% of the demons believe in God? If so, why is there such a mess in hell?
Do you think God wants to be in the pledge of allegiance?
Why doesn't the 14% tell the 86% to 'sit down and SHUT UP'?

Who types this crap?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Spam Part Two

Just so that everyone knows. All spam here will be deleted. Each comment is forwarded to my email, so all spam will be caught.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Pretending on Sundays

Nick (Thinking PAdre) has put up an interesting quick thought (dated: Friday, August 26, 2005) on the plight of the "associate" pastor who fills in while the "SR" is gone.

I empathize because I think it's true. I wonder how many people are pretending to listen on a Sunday morning. I also wonder how many people are in denial about how many people are listening on Sunday morning.

Also - I think another major difference in teaching adults and teaching students is that students don't pretend if you are boring. They haven't been conditioned into pretending on Sunday mornings. This is just another reason why I consider it a priviledge to be around teens so much. They are so core.

I wonder what those of us who are YP's can do to keep the students from being conditioned into pretending on Sunday mornings?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Pat Freaking Robertson

I've tried my hardest to ignore this guy, but it's just becoming harder and harder. Last night I watched a bit of Hardball with Chris Mattehews and he had on a token evangelical pastor, a token liberal author and Jim Wallis, who wrote God's Politics (which I have not/proly will not read/but heard was really great). Anyways, Wallis was calling for Robertson to retire and to stop being a goofball blemish.

For those of you who don't know, Robertson called for the assasination of the leader of Venezula. Dumb. Plain dumb.

I wish that he would stop speaking for so many people. Just because you are a millionare that gets other people to still donate money to you to run your stupid TV show doesn't mean you speak to me.

As of right now I declare to the world that I am not a conservative evangelical who has Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, or any Dobson for a spokesperson.

Call me progressive, call me liberal, just don't call me part of the conservative evangelical right wing moron political machine.

Dang this ticks me off. Put down the megaphone Robertson - nobody's taking you seriously anymore.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

SPAM Master

It had to happen sooner or later - the reorientation has been spammed! A bunch of comments came through that are just ads for other junk. I don't even know what/where they are, but I'll delete what I can.

Monday, August 22, 2005


While I was away at camp, the earth shifted. The universe changed. Reality was altered.

Wayne Gretzky is assigning himself as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. This changes everything. He is taking on the role knowing that the general rule is that great players don't make great coaches but, aware of this, Gretzky intends to, once again, rewrite the rules of the NHL. Without argument Gretzky is the greatest to ever play his sport, many others have tried, but Wayne did it all - He would be the all-time point leader if he never, ever even scored a goal. Yet, he also scored more goals than anyone in history. And made more assists than anyone in history.

Indeed it is an exciting time to be a hockey fan.

This post is made with apologizes to dummies who think that Jordan was a better athlete than Gretzky...can Jordan even skate?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mayfield Madness

Still recovering a bit from high school camp. I think there were a bunch of girls stampeding through my cabin at about 5 am on Saturday! Whatever...

I finished Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis really fast and will go back through it before posting on it. Currently I am still working on Andy Stanley's "Next Generation Leader" which is really not hitting it with me. No turntables, if you know what I mean...

I am also straining my way through Practicing Passion by Kenda Creasy Dean. IT IS ABSOLUTELY FAB!! If you are in youth ministry and believe there is more to this calling than lessons and games - this book is an absolute must.

A'ight - I'm out - trying to catch up!!

Monday, August 01, 2005

It's Official!

As of last Thursday night I am an official licensed minister in the Evangelical Chruch of North America. That means I can marry people, bury people, give them communion in church without any red tape and baptize people with the "official" blessing of the denomination. I really could have done all of those things before, but now I carry an implicit stamp of support from the denomination.

Denominations are great. Sure, they provide buttloads of red tape and reports and seem to be full of busybodies...but they are also full of really godly, wise men who encourage me and promise to pray for me and support me and keep me level headed; I do the same for them. Doug Padgit once compared a denomination to a family, with all the baggage and all the great stuff that goes along with that.

So that's it.

Communion anyone?

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Present Future, Reggie McNeal

McNeal's book A Work of Heart was assigned to me as a part of my capstone internship program at TFC, so I went into it with a bit of a negative attitude (which I have towards most things I am forced to do, something I still work on to this day), but it surprised me...a lot. It remains one of my favorite books of leadership in the church.

So, on that knowledge and from Nick's whole blog on McNeal's new book, The Present Future, I picked up McNeal's latest and here are some great quotes and things I learned. There are some parts that really affected some of my thinking that I won't post here, because some of the thoughts are deeper and longer. But, if you are concerned with the future of the church (meaning: you are called to lead her) then this book comes with two reorienting thumbs up!

On the "refuge" mentality: which is touchy because the former yp here at SACC named the youth group refuge, and now has named his new church refuge. So when James agrees against the refuge mentality, it's touchy. Welcome to the reorientation!
p.8 "Many congregations and church leaders, faced with the collapse of the church culture, have responded by adopting a refuge mentality"
p.9 "Evangelism in this world (refuge world) is about churching the unchurched, not connecting people to Jesus...Refuge churches evidence enormus self-preoccupation. They decieve themselves into believing they are a potent force."

p. 17 "He (Jesus) preached that God was for people, not against them. He defined the litmus test for genuine spirituality in terms of one's relationships."

p.27 "The North American church culture is not spiritual enough to reach our culture."

p.36 "The power of the gospel is lost on church memebers who can sign off on doctrinal positions but have no story of personal transformation."

on John 8,

p. 39 "In the ensuing dialogue with the crowd of would-be executionsers Jesus proved that he is for the woman, not against her. He becomes her champion...Then after everyone is gone he tells her, in effect, 'Why don't you quit living like this? It's going to kill you.' No shrinking back. No 'I'm OK; you're OK' stuff."

p.50 "I am proposing that missiology come into prominence, both as a theological pursuit and as a guiding operational paradigm."

p.71 "People don't want to be assimilated."

p.73 "I think the solution is an abandonment of the church culture idolatry and a radical reintroduction of spiritual formation."

p.81 "The devil knows more Bible than most church members in North America and can sign off on our doctrinal statements, but this knowledge has not transformed him."

One big idea I will share and hopefully you will go out and buy this book because of this: McNeal shares and semi-develops and idea for Spiritual Development Coaches within the church. Much like the "life coach" idea that is so popular (and effective) today. Insteads of a "mentoring program", what if the church had a small army of people who were qualified to be a spiritual development coach for younger beleivers? It'll get you thinking!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Other reflections on Vancouver

Here are some links to some other peeps' reflections on the missions trip to Vancouver:



If there's more just post them in the comments.

PDX and back in 2.5 hours.

Last night Nate and I drove up to Portland and back and had the most awesome discussions. I am a process salvationist, which I'm not sure what that means, but it's where all of my suspicions about Jesus' teachings lead me. Nate is even more suspicious than me.

Nate and I have the kind of relationship where we are allowed to make observations about each other and each other's lives. It's really valuable to me - and it helps us to form sound theology as we wrestle through postmodernism and Christianity.

Last night we processed a bunch more of the theology of process salvationism in light of the redemptive movement hermenuetic and Nate's thoughts on the circle of eternal life returning to the garden (as it was in eden so it will be - ish stuff).

Anyways, we decided that one thing we'd like to see return to the church is the marker of baptism as the marker of a decision to follow Christ permanently. I had been taught that people should be given doctrinal classes before being baptized, but I really think the people who taught me were wrong. I think in a post-God society, baptism is an experiential way to show one's commitment to following the ways and teachings of Jesus.

For Nathan and I, we think people should be allowed to try out Christianity before having to say the "sinner's prayer." In fact, we kind of think baptism shoudl replace the sinner's prayer.

Put that in your denominational report and smoke it.

Becoming a Pastor

Since I got the little Nedstat button in the right hand column I can see how people are ending up at the reorientation. The funniest thing is that my most popular search that brings people here is "pastor jeremy gange"!!

One person ended up at my site when they asked yahoo about becoming a pastor. may God have mercy on the person who is coming here to find out how to be a pastor!!

Monday, July 18, 2005

I left my heart in Vancouver

I'm just getting over a minstry hangover.

We spent the last week serving and loving in the inner city of Vancouver, Canada. It was an experience that will, no doubt, provide for many opinionated blog posts.

Right now there is still much blur. Some students are posting and I'll link to them later, but right now I am back. And that's the best I can do.

The team felt overwhelmed by the concentration of addiction and poverty in the East Hastings area of Vancouver. Many expressed feelings of hopelessness and having no chance of making any difference. There was the feeling of trying to empty the ocean with a thimble. We all felt it. We all felt it deeply.

Yet we were reminded that our calling was to love. It was expressed in many different ways (serving, cleaning, feeding, praying, etc.) yet the core was the same.

We are Driven. by love and by Christ.

And after everything, love wins.

We did not condemn. We did not fix. We did not save the inner city of Vancouver.

We feel in love with it.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Cool Stuff

There's a new little check mark on the sidebar - it's a bunch of code from a guy I really like: Bob Hyatt from the evergreen community up in PDX.

The little checkmark is a boatload of information, like who visits my site, from where and when and blah blah blah. Really, it's just fun.

Anyways, I'm also realizing I need to organize my links in the right column. And, apparently, I need to write another blogpost on not cussing, b/c that really gets the comments flowing. Instead, I'm working on my new t-shirt company, which I have not given any advertising too. I won't even do that here...not yet anyways.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Terror Attacks

We all awoke this morning to find that London has been hit by what seems to be an organized terror attack.

Our prayers will continue for our friends and our enemies.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


When I moved into the US, I lived in GA, where I learned I was a ferrrrrnnnneeerr. Later, I learned that was slang for "foreigner."

So, I live my life as a missionary to teens in a country that doesn't think it needs missionaries. I am a missionary to a Christian country, is it any wonder that I am often frustrated?

Anyways -

July 1 was Canada Day. A day where Canada celebrates it is it's own country, as long as the Queen allows it to be so.

On July 1 I received an email from the Canadian Ambassador to America, Frank McKenna. He just became Ambassador on March 8th. I've lived here 5.5 years and he is the first Ambassador to contact me.

He invited me to register at a site called, Connect2Canada - so now I am connected.

Isn't great belonging somewhere?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic

As happens to me frequently, I think something, wonder if I am crazy, do some checking and then find I am not the only one that is crazy. I need to put that on one of my t-shirts.

The other day I was going to Mars Hill Michigan, where I frequently download the teachings of Rob Bell. I close to wholeheartedly agree with the teachings of Rob Bell. I find him not trying to be "emergent" but rather emphasizing living in the way of Jesus and following Him closely.

Anyways, I always get their url wrong, so I yahoo searched it and saw a link to it from a gender magazine. Thinking that was interesting I read the article. Ends up the magazine is very complementarian, which means they hold to an understanding of the Scriptures that ignores cultural influences. (For example, if it says women shouldn't be elders in the New Testament times, then women shouldn't be elders now either.) They also rip on Mars Hill and on Rob Bell personally. It's an interesting read if you'd like.

For a long time I have held to male only elders, though I thought women pastors were fine as long as the SP was male. I held to that, because I thought that if I allowed women elders, then I had to make other concessions to the Scriptures as well, including allowing homosexuality. So, I was, basically, opposed to women church leadership because I was pretty sure that God didn't like homosexuality. that I write it out. I'll have to call my mom - we talk about this often.

So, from the article I also found that Rob Bell holds to a hermeneutic called "Redemptive Movement" that has been brought further into the mainstream by a professor William Webb (who is working in Canada, thank you very much).

It seems this Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic is focused on the desire of God as it moves through the Scriptures. It then extrapolates to find the heart of God in the "ultimate" desire of God.

So, I have to do some more reading on this, but I think it might help me explain what I am thinking in process salvationism. I am going to have to email Brian McLaren and William Webb to find this out. But you can check out some of the links and comment about what you think...

Save the Forest

Last night we had a youth ministry Capture the Flag style game up in Millersberg - it was super fun - our group is really learning how to have fun together and play. When I first came to this church, little clicks were having fun together but there was no group - it's really turning around. For the Sonlife among us, we are developing a loving environment and a Biblical Ministry Image.

This morning I was unloading the shuttle bus of 1,000 feet of police tape and other pairfinalia. I picked up a box of fire wood at the store before heading out yesterday and when I was unloading it this morning I noticed, in big red writing, on the side of the box,

Inside the box are some logs made out of wood. Apparently this is a special type of wood that is not made from trees. And, thanks be to the manufacturers, because they also made the cardboard box out of a material that did not us tress.

Gotta love that modern technology.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Breakout Chruches, by Thom S. Rainer

Based on the coporate mega-hit, Good to Great, this book follows the travels of 13 churches who went through dry times and came out ahead. While I am naturally adverse to using coporate business books as church growth material, I tried to approcah this book with an open mind, especially after hearing what the notorious Jeremy Gange had to say about it.

The book is a research report more than a prescription on how to grow your church. The research group of doctrinal students under Thom Rainer interviewed thousands of churches and 13 breakout churches looking for common themes. The 13 churches chosen had to fit certain criteria, including keeping the same senior pastor through the dry time into the breakout times. I thought that was awesome, b/c it gave hope to pastors to stay where they are and not be constantly looking for greener (easier) pastures somewhere else.

So, I would pick up the book if you are a church leader, or want to support your church leadership in moving from good to great.

There were, of course, a couple of things that didn't sit well with me. The biggest problem I had was with the statement that good was a sin if we are called to great. I just don't see that as I look at the Scriptures. It sounds really motivational and all, but is it real? So, this book is not the gospel for me, but it is encouraging in a John Maxwell kind of way...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Just a tool.

I'm nothing, hear me, nothing but a tool;
If God wants to use me I just say cool.
I'm not a ballonhead who thinks he's on the rise,
If you're thinking that then, pop, yo, surprise.


I woke up this morning, prayed, visited the lab at the doctor's to give blood, drank coffee, read Nick's blog, and went on with my day.

Little did I know that this morning God would be working in a man's heart to call the church, ask to talk to a pastor. Without going into personal details, this man has suffered some personal loss and came in to my office, prayed and became a Christian. It was unbelievable. I basically just sat there and watched the Holy Spirit enter a man. I ministered by offering kleenex, telling him how amazing God is, told Him about the story of the prodigal son, and hugged him.

no one has ever taught me how to share the gospel in the story of the prodigal son, it just came out because it just lives inside of me.

It's awesome to just be a part of God's redemptive plan.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Midnight Maruaders

So Saturday morning I woke up and found that the youth house (which I like to call the cave, in recognition of the saints who meet in the catacombs before us) was broken into on Friday night. Thieves made off with ~$1500-$2000 worth of music and AV kit. If you've ever been robbed from from a B&E you know that feeling of violation that you want revenge for. I find myself having to remind myself that the best life for me does not include revenge. In any way.

I think practicing the Jesus Prayer over the last while will help me through this. It really helps to turn my focus from myself to the reality of the God-world.

It's still annoying that people would steal from us. At least that's how I feel; they didn't really steal from us, they stole for themselves, trying their best to get their best life possible.

So the question I find myself asking is this: Do I love the people who stole from the youth house?

It's convicting.

Crap! I'm not postmodern!

Like everyone else that circles the emerging church blogs, I have taken the Theological Worldview test. Originally seen at the Dead YP site, I ended up Roman/Catholic and Weslyan. I'm cool with that. I have never prayed to Mary or the saints though, so that part of the quiz is a little off. Whatever.

Alright -

You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Roman Catholic




Neo orthodox




Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


Reformed Evangelical




What's your theological worldview?
created with

Friday, June 10, 2005

Authentic Sin

I wish we would stop referring to Christians as "sinners who are forgiven." I wish we would see the calling of being holy, separate as a way of life. Following Jesus instead of natural tendencies.

I am prompted to this wish by a few factors, reading the forum boards about an article on slacker-leadership, my own blog post on cussing last( two weeks?) week, and feeling a growing distinction between those who live for and against Jesus. I don't work hard to classify people into Christian/not-Christian, but I do point out obvious traits that work for/against a person, or myself, being whole in all aspects.

It seems the current buzz-words of "real" and "authentic" are being thrown around in conjunction with sin. For example, it's considered real, by one forum poster, when people around a church swear and drop the "f-bomb" about once a week. That line of thinking says that those who don't swear are not real. That just doesn't line up with Scripture. Romans is clear that we should not go on sinning just so that the grace of "realness" abounds.

I dare say that "authenticity" and "realness" may be the false gods of our time. They are very good attributes, but they are not to be worshipped. Why should they be the measure of a Christian or a church? Of course, this coming from someone who really values an insistence on reality, I am not advocating for the fake church.

I am advocating for God's people to be holy and allow that holiness to be the "authentic" reality in their lives.


I'm planning for this weekend's culmination retreat for the inVert spiritual formation class. We're taking the 7 students on a weekend adventure with the focus on Discovering your LifeCalling through Spiritual Disciplines.

We're introducing the Daily Office, Sacred Reading, The Jesus Prayer and Spiritual Gifts, your SHAPE, your life missions statement. It should be an interesting weekend.

I also feel incredibly underqualified to lead this weekend. But, that seems to be a good theme for my life right now, I guess.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Miami Heat

So the Heat lost last night - it was really their own fault. Detroit kept them from putting the perverbial (props to Ricky B.) nail in the coffin.

So it's time for us Sahq fans to rest up and hope that Shaq has another great season in him. For the Heat, this offseason they need to:

> Figure out Zo's plans for next year
> Get a back-up playmaking point gaurd
> Figure out why Dooling takes those crazy shots
> Give Dwyane Wade a raise

Friday, May 27, 2005

New Links -

I've added a bunch of new links on the side column - Nick (thinking padre) and Jason, who I went to school with, Kimball, Mark O, also.

Cool blogs that resonate with me.

There are also some Albany blogs in there for the local love. REPRESENT!!

Anyways - today I am breaking a bit of a blogfast I guess - after a trip to Canada, a wedding and announcing my wife and I's new preganancy ----

It's busy season, but I have some heated blogs brewing that should come out soon.

Why do we swear?

Recently I've been thinking through swearwords. It's seeming to be a hot issue in my context right now. Students in the ministry often ask me, "Is it ok for a Christian to swear?" To which I wonder - what kind of a jacked up question is that?

There are several blogs out there that talk about variuos levels of swearing, from the god understands view to the there's swearwords in the Bible view. And there is a whole myspace blog (which will remain linkless) that is becoming dedicated to showing how much you can love Jesus and swear too....I put it under the God understands category too though.

While those explanations may be fine and good to others - it just doesn't make any sense to me.

I don't see how swearing helps you to be a better person.

And isn't that the point - that the way of Jesus is better? In the past few months I have been becoming more spiritual, more disciplined and I have become a strong believer in impulse control. What is the impulse reaction? And is it controlled or does it control.

I think for many potty-mouths the deeper question is what is controlling? Are there moments of loss of control, sure - but God doesn't want to understand - he wants to transform.

So, bluntly, swearing is stupid. Plain stupid. Whether or not it is a sin is a useless waste of time arguement - people who disagree with me can feel free to flame me on myspace, though. Swearing doesn't help your faith, so I'm not going to waste my time with it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Welcome to the Family

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And you thought your family had problems.

Monday, May 09, 2005

It had to happen...

This past weekend our church received our monthly regional Christian newspapers that sit in the office waiting room where people pretend to read them, but this one had quite the interesting article. The paper has had a couple of mentions of the emerging church movement, mostly observational, and they have finally published one in outright opposition to the emerging church. Titled, 'Emerging church' wrongly defines our faith, it is written by a woman named Deborah Dumbrowski.

The article is not a very strong arguement and relies heavily on words like "aligns himself with" and "is associated with" to put together a weak link of emergind chruch leaders. At one point, the article condemns Rick Warren for teaching after a yoga workshop - like he had authority in the schedule of a convention he was speaking at. So, it's ridiculous. Unfortunately, the article is not yet online, but hopefully will be, because I imagine it will generate some buzz.

However, the greater disappointment comes in the fact that the emerging church really has to work hard to get some decent criticism. The
American church, in varying degree, seems to be attacking the "emergents" in the traditional American way (if you don't understand it - kill it or enslave it).

Dumbrowski owns a small publishing company called Lighthouse Trails Publishing but has a separate research site designed to fight contemplative spirituality as a bridge to other religions.

So you can check it out and decide for yourself. Comment here if you'd like, I'll be busy doing my lectio divinia tonight, though....

Friday, May 06, 2005

Lambs Among Wolves

A couple weeks ago, I gave the teaching at our church - on youth, missions, sheep and the church.

It was a presentation of sorts on this summer's trip to Vancouver to become and serve the people of Vancouver.

The teaching was called, "Lambs Among Wolves", a phrase I totally plagarized from Jesus. so much ups to JC -

Anyways, you can listen to the teaching and talk about it here -


Monday, April 25, 2005

Why Benedict

Figuring out a pope's name is rough - but I really don't think it gives the pope any street cred that he chooses his own nickname. But, how much street cred does a pope actually need?

Check this out: Why "Benedict"? (Keith Olbermann)

Big Question:

Who has more street cred, the pope or you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Dangerous Wonder, Michael Yaconelli

Last night I blasted through Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli in preparation for Sunday's worship gatherings. You need to get this book into your hands.

Yaconelli is one of the most influential people in my life. His views on life and following Christ and youth ministry helped to form me and build me into the (hopefully) dangerous youth pastor that I am today. He passed away before I ever met him in an auto accident around the Oregon/California border. He might be the only person who I never met whose death brought tears to my eyes.

He was an excellent man and his influence lives on. You can visit his online memorial, hosted by Youth Specialties.

In the tradition of the reOrientation, here are some memorable and influential quotes from the book.

"I want a lifetime of holy moments. Every day I want to be in dangerous proximity to Jesus. I long for a life that explodes with meaning andis filled with adventure, wonder, risk and danger. I long for a faith that is gloriously treacherous. I want to be with Jesus, not knowing whether to laugh or to cry."

"...children's questions are more than a request for information. Their questions are an act of affection, of communion, and of trusting."

"The trouble with children is they believe you."

" the process of socializing our children to follow the rules, do we rob them of the discernment needed to know when to follow rules and when to break them?"

And finally, quoting Will Willimon,

Just when I get my church all sorted out,
sheep from the goats, saved from the damned,
hopeless from the hopeful, somebody makes a move,
gets out of focus, cuts loose, and I see why
Jesus never wrote systematic theology.
So you and I can give thanks that the locus of
Christian thinking appears to be shifting from
North America and northern Europe
where people write rules and obey them,
to places like Africa and Latin America

where people still know how to dance.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Benedict 16

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany has been selected by the Roman Catholic church as the new pope. - CNN

And we were all looking for a black latin american?

Just a few hours ago the cardinals elected the new pope. Many who read this blog don't give a rip, but I do. I think the last pope was a great guy to advance the kingdom of God, following a couple popes who had more struggles. Even as I struggle through some catholic doctrines, I think the catholic/orthodox/protestant convergence/healing that is occuring after ~1000 years of splitting is a really good thing.

A big question, thanks to Andrew Jones, has to be what does the catholic church do to engage the future?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

ATF reflections

Here's some links to variuos reflections on Acquire the Fire on the weekend - and if you are an Albany HS'er be sure to check this thread on the Driven Forums.





Add link to your in the comments if you've got'em!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Acquire the Fire

This past weekend I led the group up to PDX for a weekend Acquire the Fire conference.

ATF is run by Teen Mania ministries, and they do advertise the snot out of their products, but the weekend is the best I can get in the pacific northwest.

So it was a super weekend and many kids made new or renewed commitments to following Christ.

I don't have time know but I will post some links to reflections from students. Or, if you were there, then post your links in the comments here.

out like American Idol -

Church Marketing Sucks

Chruch Marketing Sucks is a website that is dedicated to making fun of churches that have spasm marketing campaigns. It is a major error the American church makes, mistaking evangelism and marketing for each other. It isn't even a site that says marketing is bad, it just points out how bad churches are at marketing.

I have blogged about this before, Christian Marketing Machine is Killing Kids, and I feel pretty passionate about it all.

So the quest for the reorienting church and Christian is, "How do we improve marketing while improving witness?" And, "What is the difference between the two?" And, "What are the results of bad marketing and/or bad witness?"

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Great Commission

After further reflection, I think the last post was a bit of a rant, but I am revisiting this thought day after day. I was reading last night, a book that I will definitely post on, and it asked the question, "how are postmoderns to fulfill the gospel?" And I couldn't help but deconstruct that thinking into asking why the word fulfill is used? I think the emerging church and its leaders must ask some big questions about the great commission, especially in light of the reforming of the gospel and re-understanding of salvation.

Is the great commission a task or a way of life? Are we to "do", "be", or something else with the great commission?

Will the great commission ever end, or will it continue in eternity?

I contend that the GC is a way of life. The kingdom of God is now and we are to be disciples. Disciples who make other disciples. Sorry, no mention of converts there. But, beyond this, if I beleive that the GC calls us to a lifestyle of making disciples, then I have to believe that this kind of activity goes on for eternity in heaven/new earth.

So, as a way of life, and not as a task, the GC will not be the prevailing theme of the emerging church, yet disciples, and converts (and yes that word is problematic also) will become.

So, go ahead and take it off your church letterhead, because no body is going to care about your task anymore. Just help people become

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Commission

What has become known as the Great Comission or, in Sonlife circles, the Everyday Comission does not need to be fulfilled.

I spent last night reading and working thorugh Robert Colemans' The Master Plan of Evanagelsim and grew increasingly concerned that modern American Christianity see Matthew 28:18-20 as something to be fulfilled.

It is, I believe, way closer to the truth to see Matthew 28:18-20 as a way to live. The goal is not world evangelism. World evangelism comes when people are living GC lifestyles. World evangelism is a by-product, not the goal. The goal is holy living (has anyone else noticed how Wesleyan I am becoming?). Connection to God. Repentance. Obedience.

So, people, please stop witnessing to people with hopes that Christ will come back if we just tell everyone about Jesus. That's stupid.

Just live. And be the witness. People don't need another prescription plan, they need to see Jesus - so ask yourself the question, as I am, where is Jesus seen in you?

Monday, March 28, 2005


I've been mulling this one over for a while. The use of the internet as a neo-confessional amazes me. And I think I am making some connections.

I believe the future holds a return to parish style ministry. Where I am not the youth pastor at South Albany Community Church, but I am the youth pastor from the south side of Albany. I live in and minister in the community. This, of course, requires huge institutional changes, the biggest of which is measurements of success, but that is a huge digression.

In conjunction with this return to parish style ministry, I think the present holds a revolution of confession. The glossed over stainless steel of modernism has been found wanting and the "next" want to see what the dirt under the concrete looks like. And they want to be comfortable in it. Together.

So, here's a remarkable website involving confessions: PostSecrets.

Confession make us weak. And that...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


This past week we did a passover simulation at Traffic, the worship ministry of Driven High School Ministries (a ministry of South Albany Community Church, a memeber church in the Evangelical Church of North America...been working on my licensing, is it obvious?)

So it was one of the best nights of worhsip I've ever been in. We did an intergrated teaching with pizza and communion with twix and coke. It was one of those nights where it just seemed like everyone was there, really engaged. And then we ended up with some really worthwhile commitment times.

Tommorrow, the actual day for the passover (according to the catholic calander) I am celebrating the Seder with my small group. I've never done it and I am the small group leader...should be interesting.

It would be interesting to do a Biblical study on food and worship: is eating worship?

Shalom - (aren't we all in the mood?)

Terri Whoever

So there's all this buzz about Teri Whoever and wether or not they shoudl pull out her feeding tube.

Secret: I really can't car less.

It's so funny what can happen when the media controlled america goes out and starts reporting on a story that really isn't big news, and the country gets all worked up on it.

Honestly, my life doesn't change either way on this one.

So, go buy the latest green day album and get over it. She lives, she dies, two months later no one will remember her name.

this post brought to you by James' sympathy black hole.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


I began Lent last night to identify with my Eastern Orthodox brothers.

In the middle of this over busy time (Good Friday services, Easter preparations, licensing work, missions trip organization), I'm looking for Lent to help me to move slowly and intentionaly.

No fancy mystery or interesting posts to look forward to. Just simple.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Becoming a real Pastor!

I have been working on my licensing for our denominational credentials and it occurs to me - how is this training helping me to become a minister in a postmodern generation.

I don't think the whole church will engage the emerging world until the educational institutions, including boards of ministry, are turned in that direction.

This is the reasons the western church is always a few years behind the culture - we are so deathly afraid of heresy that we end up Amish. Is heresy really the ultimate evil?

nope. The easter bunny may be though.

Also - Eastern Orthodox lent starts today. Gentlemen, start your engines.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Go to church

This is a special present for my dad - he always wanted this - you can click on the title link and make your own...

See ya Sunday!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Jesus is not a Fat Coach

This is today's post of the day winner (ok there's no contest, it's jsut a cool post) - from Mandy ---

click on the title link and see how Jesus isn't a fat coach.

Are you a LOSER?

It's funny I found this after last week's traffic - I had to try it out, even though I dislike most of these silly little things. Sometimes even I have some stupid fun.

I am 47% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!

comment on your loser-status...

Friday, February 25, 2005

Film & Theology: Napoleon Dynamite Night

tonight is the Napoleon Dynamite film and theology night...

It should be cool,: great prizes... think fishing line, bicycles and teather ball!!

Who knew theology was this fun?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Emergent Celebrity

So there's not going to be an emergent convention for the next couple of years and I think that might be really, really good.

Emerging things seem to be such a market driven piece of property that it is becoming hard to know what is going on out here. To me, emerging is about a community becoming, not about attendance at conferences.

Which brings me to that which prompted this. Our church is looking at the addition of a worship pastor (focus on the pastor part more than the worship part) and one of the good looking applications was from a former YP who turned into a worship pastor. He had Sonlife advanced one and two, both of which I'd love to learn in, and He had been to the past two emergent conventions (which, from some reports were heavy on the convention and light on the emergent - which adds even more problems to my gut reaction). when I saw that I was, to my horror, jealous. I had to actually ask myself what was going on inside of me -

I figure that I had become enamored by the celebrity of the emergent group. They've got books and conferences and appearances on Larry King...and really...really...what does that mean?

I am going to try and get past the celebrity worship part of my life...which getting older is really helping...but it is going to read it's ugly head again (no offense intended to the good looking fellows at emergent). I don't think the fellows at emergent want to be celebrities, but that's what us americans do, right? Take a good thing and market it...

Just another step in the reorientation -

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Hitch - great movie - it's about a youth pastor who learns to stop making little people who love God and start just loving God himself and allows other men to follow him.

youth pastor is played by a date doctor
little people are played by single men
God is played by women

Nice movie.

Good theology.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Google Ads

Hey - new to the reorientation are google ads - it's a way for the reorientation to pay for itself so that I can move to a better blog hosting software.

Not that blogger hasn't been very very good to me...

So go ahead and click on the google ads - every click pays a little more into the reorientation, which helps get better websites!! And it ain't your money anyways -

ps. please don't do a bunch of clicks for no reason, that would be stupid and would violate the spirit of the agreement with google.

That's all - later-

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Relevant Church, Jennifer Ashley ed.

Great leaders don't always make great writers.

This book is a collection of stories from church planters of "emerging" churches. In some cases, really great, in other cases, it's like reading the diary of someone I want to emulate, but they just talk about crap. It's a really, really easy read, especially when you skim through the chemical waste.

This is the first book I've read from Relevant Books, which makes me nervous that Relevant Media Group has so filled a gap in Christian marketing that they think they can get away with anything (ring a Bell-South?).

Meanwhile, there are some great people writing in this book, and they have some great quotes, with the appropriate writer attributed.

- Brian Kay

"It is impossible to be a follower of Christ and not be a part of a local church. There, I said it."

"...others go from church to church in an effort to put together a smorgasboard of the best teaching, best music, best small group, best whatever. Church hopping is the only tolerated promiscuity in Christian culture"

- Alex McManus

" 'Creativity is the natural result of spirituality' "

"We would have to be Rafiki...we shake a coconut, throw some dust, do a little dance and can't figure out how to cover our butts."

- Jason Zahariades

"Yet, over it's ling history, Israel distorts its vocation as a blessing to the nations. Rather than being an inclusive transformative community, it accentuates its distinct ethnic identity in order to keep the other nations at bay."

not bad. but not that great.

reorienting the reorientation

some site changes - new links, a couple new blogs and a few sites that are interesting - massive change, ten by ten, 722.

got rid of the future books section - Lord knows I have a way to long reading list, but I am getting on with it. I'm going to keep the past books link for now though, we'll see how long it takes for me to get rid of that.

OK -

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The evangelicals are screwed! Part Deux!

Last night Larry King hosted a discussion with a few of the most influential american evangelicals on his talk show. Each of them was a included in TIME magazine's 25 most influential evangelicals in America list, which is from their most recent issus, dealing with the power of evangelicals in the American political world.

On the show were Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Franklin Graham, T.D. Janks, and Brian McLaren. Of course, it was easy to see who was going to be relevant, and who wasn't.

The LaHayes are sure doing a great job at whatever it is they are doing, but heck if I know what that is!

Franklin Graham was his normal stuff, giving the gospel message in a very humble way, but giving it none the less.

T.D. kept his patience even though Larry King talked to him about the evangelical track record with racism (which in case you haven't noticed - sucks - America was not built on biblical principles, it was built on the backs of black slaves).

Brian McLaren, perhaps the least evangelical of them all, was what was expected as well.

No big surprises.

One caller in to the show did make me think though, and then another did too.

First, one caller commended McLaren and Janks for being open-minded. It made me wonder why we have to be polarized into open- or closed-minded...

I think it is the real call of Christians to be known as compassionate, which may well go beyond the open/closed minded discussion. Compassion is like the flavoring in the dish, because being open- or closed- minded without compassion is pretty much the same thing isn't it? And perhaps, people who commend Christians for being open-minded have no idea what they are talking about and really just admire the compassion with which the person responds.

Second, a caller asked McLaren about his view on the war. I love going to listen to Brian speak, simply to hear the people try to peg him down with their heretic darts. McLAren wasw wise though, and stuck by his views, being a little sneaky about not saying whether or not he supported Bush, but being outright in saying that he does not support Bush's actions in the world.

I think we're all very, very grateful for the initial good results from the election, so I have nothing but gratitude that went so well. And I think we're all so proud of the Iraqi people for, at great risk, going out to vote. But I think we still, many of us who are Christians are not spoken for, by a lot of the most public voices. And a lot of us are raising very deep questions about the U.S.'s role in the world, and is this really a sensible role for us to take.

So, it was an interesting night, and will be good conversation for the small group this week...

Friday, January 28, 2005

The evangelicals are screwed!

You are not going to believe this! Well, you probably will, but it will make you wish something bad.

James Dobson has gone ahead and labled SpongeBob as not only having an oddly square private region (which he did not say directly, but is rather true), but SB is a pro-homosexual advocate!

Man, those Dobson's just ain't going to be friends with me.

So, Dobson has called out SB's participation in a video which he says is going to promote homosexaulity. I know whenever I see a sponge wearing pants it makes me gay as a $3 bill. What a swearword joke. What's next? Dora is into beastiality!! Look at her relationship with that monkey wearing boots!!

This is why the general public hates Christians. We allow this guy to be the leader and he does stupid stuff like this. It is no surprise that the term "Christian" may be beyond recovery, as is suggested by McLaren.

So click on the title link and go down and watch the's an absolute joke...Dobson picks out SB from all of the characters that have children's shows...simply b/c SB is easiest to pick on b/c he is known to adults.

It appears Dobson's real concern is in being known by adults, not saving the children from the evil homosexual spnge.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Countertop Theology

LJ, Heather and I have got four fish. They live on our kitchen counter (in an aquarium, duh) and we take care of them. We're even members of PetCo customer program now.

The reality is that we are revisiting what a Christian's interaction with creation says about God. How we treat living things has to say something about God. It is a major part of reorienting our faith to get out of an industrial age in our religion.

So we care for some fish, and it helps us to become the people that God originally created us to be. Working out our salvation with some goldfish. Taking a quiet time, where all I do is watch the fish and interact with them for a while.


The postmodern novel will have no climax

It's just true. Look around and see what is happening in popular media and the way it is being reacted to. In the past, people wanted a story to take them somewhere uncomfortable, and then resolve it. Today, and in the future, people want to go somewhere and that's it.

What else is there?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Best compliment I ever got was from my current Senior Pastor.

After interviewing (auditioning?) for the youth ministry position (part?) out here in Oregon he called and told my wife that we "are....very...real."

We thought that was great, because that is the image that we really want to project. Moreover, it is who we really want to be. One of my big struggles is to balance that realness with love. I see lots of people who claim to be "real" but they're really just jerks.

Jerks in sheeps clothing, sounds like the Bible.

The way that the millenial generation (now showing in a youth group near you) uses the interent as a virtual confessional. It seems to be the modern equivalent to the Catholic confessional booth. Where you couldn't really see the priest, though you knew who he was. The priest was like a guide for your confession to God. Everyone has seen the movies, maybe some have actually been to confess, you know what I am talking about.

Recently, I was asked if the leaders in our church read my blog, or if I keep it a secret from them. I hope they read my blog. I doubt they even know what a blog is. But the bigger question exists still, "Do I get a rush out of confessing what might be read?" Even more so, is that a prevailing reason why this wired-confessional is working the way that it is?

Perhaps that is the way God designed human beings. It is supposed to feel good to confess our sins, not only to God, but to one another, to true friends. To be willing to admit why we hate ourselves and what we suck at, but can't seem to overcome, no matter how hard we pray. Maybe God was thinking we could help each other.

Nevertheless, the virtual confessional continues and I am amazed by it. Kids who want to allow people into their hearts, but are afraid that heart will get stomped on. Afriad because their heart has treadmarks on it already. Pre-stomped by friends, teachers, parents, pastors, themselves. If this is even a bit true, then it is no surprise that blogging is turning into a virtual millenial confessional. It is no surprise that kids hide their blogs from their parents/authority figures.

So what to do about it?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Post Industrial Christianity

Today I pray that I will be able to outlive industrial, market-driven Christianity. Pastors have attempted to become professionals and have given away what makes them distinct in the process. I digress...

>>>The United Church of Canada's pastors are seeking to join the Canadian Auto Workers Union. For protection from their congregations.

>>>Pastors read business management books as the key to becoming better pastors. I don't like this very much at all. It reminds me too much of a quote from the book "Dining with the Devil" by Os Guinness (which I have not read, have only read this quote),

Whenever I met a Buddhist leader, I meet a holy man, Whenever I meet a Christian leader, I meet a manager. ---comment of a Japanese businessman

>>>In an industrial society, value is measured by production. Western Christianity needs to be reoriented and corrected to see that production is not success in our mission.

>>>I think many leaders in modern western Christianity read the Great Commission to say to go into all the world and make lots of disciples. They have inserted the word lots. Of course, I hope that all would come to follow Jesus in the rythyms of God's grace and experience the best life possible, but we have added the word lots and created a culture, influenced by the modern, western industrial revolution, that values production.

Can I read a book by a youth pastor who has an average suze youth group? Good luck. The only one I have ever heard of is Tony Jones (and he is an excellent writer), and even he got ripped for writing prescriptive material when his youth group was just average size.

The world of western Christianity values larger churches and larger ministries more than smaller ones. We think the church in S. Korea with 75,000 members is a great thing. And we have no biblical reason for thinking this way.

If God thought this way,

There would have been more animals in the ark.
Earth wouldn't be so freaking tiny in comparison to the universe.
Jesus would have been taller.
Jesus would have had more than 3 people who cared about him at his execution.
Judas would have been fired/laid off/let go a whole lot earlier.
The number of people who became Xns at Pentecost (3,000) wouldn't relate so dang exactly to the story of the Levites when Aaron built the golden calf for the Israelites.

If God thought this way, he would actually want to know how many people you witnessed to before you died. Is that biblical? NO. NONONONONONONONONONONONONO. NO.

That's just industrial Christianity.

Addenum: I must be feeling good. I shaved all up and am ranting profusly. Must be that freezing cold Canadain air.

Postmodernism and the Death of Honor

This links you to a guy that I don't even know. He plays guitar for someone I do know. He is on

Here's the issue. He is claiming that he is a believer and follower of Christ, and a minister througth music, yet he objetifies women and degrades them by putting up pix that are "unmotherly" (OH YES! I made that word up!)

Here's the issues: I don't even know who this guy is, and I probably don't even think he is a bad guy. He is simply a perfect example of a personal (read:extra-biblical) version of Honor in a postmodern context. I actually wonder most, what exactly is going on inside his thoughts. He blogs on love and poetry, but, really, that kind of stuff is usually 99% crap.

I hope he is in process, I really do, but, the theology on his page is rather choiceful (another word I made up) and creates a religion that is a version of Christianity, but seems to be a choose your own adventure version of the Christian religion.

Again, I have no beef with whoever this is, I simply found his and thought it was a perfect example of postmodernity and theology causing a trainwreck.

Addenum: Don't even bother commenting anything similar to "it's about a relationship, not a religion." That's 99% crap also. Christianity is a freaking religion. A relationship is what you have with a person, not a gathering of enabling criteria to live life to the fullest (that's Christianity).

Monday, January 03, 2005

2005 - the year of laugh my guts out

Drop your food. Pick up your mouse.

Two very funny lines today!

1. Over at B & E....
In which real world do you have to be home at 9? In the I'm on crack world?

2. And over at liquidthinnking, via someone else,

Dear Jon,

Remember: Whenever we say "Christmas," Christ always comes first. And whenever we say "X-mas," X comes first. Not many people know that Jesus Christ's real name is "Jesus Little." He changed His name to "Jesus X" to show that He was His own person and didn't need the white man's slave name... He was His own man. Which explains the meaning behind X-mas. It's just short for "X-Man's." Because the X-Men had superpowers... just like Jesus.


Very funny at 1:45 est.