Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stupid Rosie, Tricks are for Kids

It seems Rosie has decided to become the spokesperson for millions of people who are just like her - wait, put down the bullhorn for a moment - are there really millions of people just like her? Some recent tirades of little Rosie:

It appears that she makes money by alienating people through hate. If I was the marketing director for the view I would fire her and get back star jones. While I am no fan of little Star, my knowledge of the american christian marketing machine tells me that Christian junk sells - lesbian junk does not. So if the view wants to cash in - it promotes just enough christianity to appease the oprahites and get rid of hateful lesbianism.

I will say that I am in no way trying to voice my support of christian television and am not trying to bash homosexuality. I love everybody - even crazy rosie! Wisdom says, however, that if you do things that people don't like, they will change the channel on you!

(editors note: if anyone ever finds my blog by doing a google search for lesbianism I will buy them a venti marble machiato and have quite an interesting conversation with them.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Every now and then people come into our office at the church that need help. Today, I got to put $5 of gas into a couple's vehicle. They seemed on the level and tried to set up a way to pay us back, which we refused, of course.

Then I went out to their vehicle -I accopmanied them accross the street to the local gas station to put the gas into their car. On the back of their car are stickers about a particular viewpoint on the world that I tend to disagree with. You'd think that'd be a whatever for me, but it was one that came a little close to home for me.

Hmmm...XXXchurch taught me that Jesus loves porn stars - but does he people who hate?

I decided Jesus probably does love people who live hate-filled lifestyles and I decided to allow myself to be used in that way. I spoke with them, they asked about our Christmas eve service - I invited them to come with their kids and tried to give them to opportunity to start having a friendship with me...

We can only imagine the peace that Jesus could give these people...May He do what only He can...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas is all aout RECEIVING

I am posting this in its entirety because it is awesome. It runs against the cliche with the sandpaper of can click the title link to see it in its original blog.

Christmas is all about receiving !

Christmas is all about giving!!
The lord loves a cheerful giver!!
Giving is better then receiving – or so they say
But what about being a good receiver…
It seems to me that receiving is much harder
And when we think about it isn’t receiving what Christmas is actually all about
Giving is relatively easy – it may challenge our selfishness or priorities
But giving doesn’t expose our needs

I don’t like surprises, why? Because I’m not in control..
What if I get something I didn’t like or want – what do I say?
Do I lie and say how much I like it, do I have to be grateful?
Knowing that I will either give it to someone else or give it to a charity shop.
Have you ever received a Christmas gift from someone you hadn’t expected one from?
What do you do? Do you feel guilty and rush out and buy them a token gift?
What happens if that gift is perfect, something you really appreciate and yet you had no idea that you would like it.

Mary was open to receiving an unexpected gift,
She welcomed and wondered at the gift given and created space within her to receive it.
This unexpected gift radically changed her life
She ultimately gave over her whole world to this gift.

Giving can make us feel powerful, competent, self-sufficient and capable sort of people, giving doesn’t expose our needs.
Learning the art of receiving calls us to intimacy, honesty, openness and evaluation.
To receive the love of another, calls me to intimacy, I have to expose something of my inner world, of who I am. To receive another’s love I have to allow my innermost self to be touched.
To receive I have to open my hands, ( I love the Eucharist in this sense, this childlike openness to receive the body and blood).
Inner growth comes from opening ourselves up to receive from others
Christmas is about receiving the love that Jesus offers to us.
To be loved means that I must bring myself with all my insecurities, pain and needs to be embraced by another.

To be on the receiving end of love requires that we see our lives not as our possessions, but as gifts. Emptiness is a gift, to have enough room, to not be too full. To be needy, poor, weak, can be a gift.
Ultimately the gospel is about receiving a precious unbelievable gift, the gift of God being born in us.
When Mary offered space, love and belief in her life, her life changed forever.
Learning the art of receiving is a powerful call to change.
In receiving I need to welcome the other
In receiving I need to make room and space to accept that which I frequently fail to realise I need.
In receiving – I change.

I do believe this will be used on Wednesday's Driven

Top 10 Bible Moments

with props to Json - here's my top ten wish I was there bible moments...

10. The Great Flood - except I want to be in Georgia when this happens. Then I would know if it was really the whole world or just the whole world.

9. In prison with Paul - just to hang out and talk and pray together.

8. David and Goliath - for two parts, really - I want to know what posesses a jr. high age boy to hack off someone's head and then I want to chase down the Philistines and play braveheart with them.

7. In the Garden - with Adam and Eve. What was that like?

6. The Parting of the Red Sea - I wonder if there were like walls of water on either side, or if the water just tidal'd away? If there were walls, then I wonder if any fish were just swimming along and just flew out?

5. Genesis 1:3,4 - What was light and dark like before god separated them?

4. Acts 5 - Annanias and Saphira - are people like giving hand signals and stuff to Saphira? no, no, no...don't say that!!

3. At Jesus' tomb - what did the resurection looks like? Was it bright and stuff?

2. Peter walks on the water...why did no one else get out? Would I get out?

1. At the writing of Hebrews. I want to know who she was...

what's yours?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Let's get together and get rid of the metaphor of a Christian walk. Walking is boring.

Let's make it a dance. Instead of asking people how their walk is going, we can ask how they are dancing? Can they feel the beat? Is the music moving them? What music are they listening too.

Why you ask? Two reasons:

1. I hate the way the word walk feels in my mouth (and group, pants, and shoulder too! ); it is just a yucky feeling word.

2. It's biblical. Luke 1, Psalm 150, I Thessalonians 4 - it's my teaching for tonight at Driven. We are going to have a dance. I know - it's crazy...

So - what do you say? Want to join the Dancing Revolution?

Monday, December 11, 2006


A rain has settled in today. Here in Oregon there's either on and off again rain or there's rain that has settled in. When it settles in it means we are getting 10 plus days straight of rain. Hopefully it won't rain the entire time the rents are here - yep - the rents are coming for Christmas, it's very exciting around our house because Christmas is only 20 chocolates away and Gramma Grandpa Jim are coming even sooner!

I did the Jesus Freakend this past Friday night. Great time. The 9th graders get an assignment to find Jesus in the mall - it's nearly impossible. Cara is on the upper level of the mall and sees me on the lower level and, excited because of her finding of Jesus, leans over the rail and yells, "JAMES! I FOUND JESUS!" She has no idea that all sorts of people are now looking at her and at me as if we are crazy...just one more reason why I love high schoolers - they don't care if you think they are crazy! Great weekend overall - fantastic first urban exposure for new high schoolers...we'll be looking for them to join God's mission very well over the next few years....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


So, recapping these events is taking me forever, but I will continue for posterity sake...when I'm all done, I put links up to conflagarate things.

10am - we rolled out for the 10am general session...missed the early 8 am seminars...too bad...then we noticed the speaker was Matthew Barnett from something called the Dream Center - this was not enough motivation to keep us away from Downtown disney

11am-2pm - Downtown Disney - my kind of dream center.

2-4:30pm - Afternoon Seminars. The first one I attended was MarkO's "Leading Change" It was nice and helpful with some key ideas for me to apply.
  • He took some stuff from Collins' Good to Great on Level 5 leadership and reconciled it with a gospel understanding.
  • he then talked about how most youth-pastors are classic self-promoters, which keeps them from level 5 leadership. This is mainly because youth pastors are always playing the martyr (see my notes on the late night future of youth ministry forum...)
  • had a great quote towards the middle:

Find the best person you can find and hire her/him; unless s/he's a jerk, then hire the second best person. Because life's too short too work with jerks.

About half way through I jetted (there were no more blanks, and the rest was referenced to books that I can pick up) and went over to the Marriot and picked up some starbucks and brought some too Heather. I got frustrated with the stupid Hilton lobby's lack of cell phone service and the absolutely ridiculous elevators. I learned the hotel's stair system.

We all went to disney again for dinner with everyone in our larger group - it didn't work as well in practice as in theory. Good to touch base though. Heather and Lacy bailed early to get to the rock show, and shortly thereafter the boys did too.

7:30-10pm - Front row for Crowder again - is Jeremy losing his sanctification by getting us these seats? One of the opening singers was Shaun Groves who is no longer with a label and so said he would email whoever wanted his album for free. I love that Christian musicians are acting more and more like givers instead of celebrities!! Then there was comedy and then, I think it was tonight, there was an illusionist and Lacy got up on stage as his volunteer. She was shaking, there's video!! I need to post in in you tube - right as soon as I feel like it. the Speaker was Mike Pilvachi - last time I heard him I was 7,000 people back - it's amazing what proximity can do. His talk was personally the best for me - I really heartly appreciated him and his communication with us.

10-11pm - Late Night Theology Forum with Tony Jones - I said hi to Brock Morgan on my way up to this one, hea taught Aaron, Lacy and I at the Core a while back. The talk was nice because it was YP's talking theology with published authors in the room and professors at Princeton and students at Princeton there also. It ended up focused on prayer though, which I thought was an unusal choice...but the important thing is that a theological discussion is going on at a youth ministry convention - moving our vocation in a healthy direction. Also - I noticed there were basically two kinds of theological discussers: those who try to pin you to the wall and those to try to move forward with you...I hope to be the latter, I'll have to watch for that in me.

11:45 - picked up our pizza in the lobby and had a little pizza, pop and heartburn party in our room with the whole sacc gang. Went to bed around 2 am.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I am still trying to get rid of those heaven forsaking pop-ups. It's like the reorient is working hard to please you. And...they are driving me crazy...

Thursday, November 30, 2006


When I was in high school I loved Shawn Kemp for his basketball skills and for his commitment to only endorse snakers that were under $100. Then I loved Shaq for his bball skills and for his commitment to offer Starter brand (a subsidery of Nike) kicks for under $30 at Payless. Now, I have fallen in love again. This time it is with Stephon Marbury. While I still struggle to understand his move out of Minnesota where he was teamed with KG21 (other than the snow), Starbury has now put out a line of shoes and clothing that are all priced at a little under $15. Stephon does not have to be doing this - he could have a big old shoe deal (of course, he may need to get out of the Knicks locker room to make that a Here's his quote:

“It costs less than $14.98 to make a $150 shoe. That’s not what people are being told. We are allowing kids to become more edu­cated. Through this world of trying to live an exclusive life, kids are being lost in translation. Kids are not allowing themselves to see the big picture. And the bib picture is not having a $200 pair of sneakers when your mother’s income is $15,000 to $20,000.”

I've looked, but I can't seem to be able to purchase them online. Looks like a trip to a washington mall is in order...

I hope that his shoe line does fabulous and becomes a move that forces the big three (nike, reebok, addidas) to acknowledge the cause and effect relationship that they are a part of that is detremental (sp?) to youth culture.

ps. as a side note, I wonder what a guy like Shane Claiborne does with something like this. Surely these shoes were made with cheap labour, but does making them affordable for the poor carry some weight?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Catching my son's puke in my hand is one of the specialist moments in my life. My son has taught me more about God and Jesus than most of you who read this ever will - most likely because God chose to reveal Himself to us in a Father/Son/Spirit trichotomy (prolly not even a word). So, being a father teaches me about the Father.

A prayer for today...
God, thanks for catching my puke in your hand.
thanks for wiping my chin and giving me juice.
thanks forlaying next to me while i sleep.
thanks for taking me out and treating me well and carrying me when i am tired of walking.
thanks for loving my son.

Friday, November 24, 2006

you're welcome

I got rid of the pop-ups. I think.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I love learning new things. Yesterday I learned that when people call me a relativist (unjustly for sure) I can counter by asking them about their addiction to absolutism. By then, the conversation will be over. Sometimes I make short posts that say very little, but say it so dangerously....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Baptism Cannonball!

Ht to Debbie for sending me this.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Adamic perfection does not imply a lack of imperfection. At the very least we must admit that there was relational lacking in the pre-fall garden. Adam was alone and it was not good. Adam was perfect in a holistic manner; not in a individuated manner.

PESM 2.3

I finished the emerging church book by Gibbs and Bolger last night at dinner. Then went through 30 minutes of the biographies at the end. One said that when he went to Seminary he learned that it is not a place to develop and grow imaginatively theologically; rather it is a place to reinforce already held belief systems. hmm.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Day 2 - Friday, sunny but windy

NYWC – Day 2 - Friday –

10-1130am – Heather bailed on her “leading students in worship” course because it really had nothing to do with leading youth – it was just worship leading in a general sense. For us, it was the biggest disappointment of the entire convention. Won’t go into it too much, but it wasn’t worth it – and joined me for Dan Kimball’s seminar on changing youth group kids into youth missionaries. I already agree with Dan, but wanted to sit under his humble, wise teaching. Here are my gleanings:

Ø What is the role of missions trips in youth ministry? What is the next step?
Ø 1 Chronicles 12:32
Ø Judges 2:10
Ø Citizens of the Bubble vs. Citizens of the Kingdom
Ø The American Idolzation of the Church: we evaluate the services instead of praise God for encounters
Ø Bono’s quote: “Christians are hard to tolerate. I don’t know how Jesus does it.”
Ø Dan’s story of telling the girl at the gym his vocation as a pastor and tripped up reaction
Ø A question that I continued to struggle with is how to address when students are saying, “That other church over there does this – I want to go there.”

I think this comes from their own parents church shopping consumerist mindsets, but I am struggling with how to turn students from consumers to missionaries and this seminar was a huge help. Dan has powerpoints available from the Vintage Faith site. It’s not there yet, but he said it would be. I’d look after the last conventions are over.

11am-1pm – lunch at ihop. Eating anywhere with Jeremy is so much fun.

1-330pm – we rolled into General Session 1 late and ended up sitting up pretty high. Crowder led worship though and I was pretty overwhelmed during the song, “You Are My Joy” – if you know me, it wasn’t crying, it was overwhelmed. I am so glad that God is my joy – and not anything else. Then Kendall Payne sang – she’s awesome, every girl who follows Jesus ought to buy her albums – Khobi will definitely own Kendall Payne and Pink albums. Then Kenda Creasy-Dean spoke. I was pretty cranked for her teaching because of my appreciation for her books. Here’s what I gleaned in her message:

Ø An original idea of mine: BURST – an evangelism movement focused on getting out/popping the bubble mentality…needs more thought, maybe a good book title
Ø Doing theology sideways
Ø Presbycusus: inability to hear certain frequencies
Ø 1 Samuel 3:1 – while, today…80% of people don’t feel the presence of God in worship, 50% have had no connection with God in their worship service in the past year, 75% think worship is for us and not for God. The theological implications of that thought line is very dangerous.
Ø St. Benedict: “Go often reveals what is better to the younger” – he often included the youngest monks in the most important monastery decisions
Ø Eli’s ministry had become an embarrassment to God – He chose Sam to tell him that, yet Sam needed Eli to discern God’s voice.
Ø Leadership knowledge: 10% school, 20% other people, 70% past failures. So if you are always successful, you are 70% bad leader…addendum added by me.
Ø Nothing but Nets – stopping malaria worldwide

4-5:30pm – Seminars. I first dropped by Dan Kimball’s “The Importance of Theology in youth ministry” The hand out seemed like some rehashing of his thinking from the NPC that I was at in San Diego last February. So I nabbed the handout and bailed. I ended up in Tony Jones’ seminar on adolescent neurological development and recent developments in research therein. I always appreciate Tony and his deep thinking influence on youth ministry. Here’s my gleanings:

Ø Spoke of Erikson being the prophet of adolescence and his thoughts on moratorium. I think that, if Erikson has any validity, that moratorium in decreasingly available to adolescents today – which contributes to the abandonment dysfunction that is rampant in western adolescents.
Ø Carol Gilligan as a critique of Erikson (because all of Erikson’s research was done on males) and her book “In another voice” – which purports that girls are beings in relation.
Ø Another author was Emmanuel Levanis who wrote on a relational ontology. We are who because we exist in relationship. I need to read this in order to further form my thoughts on the necessity of the Trinity for the very existence of God.
Ø A woman’s brain is more active during sleep than a man’s brain is while watching tv. Think about that next time you change the channel.
Ø Jones mentioned a Columbia (Colorado?) University study that showed that kids learn better from teachers of their own gender. Right away I think of our church’s children’s ministry and it’s staffing of near 100% women. Is it any wonder that the percentage of mature Christians and the percentage of church attendees and the very percentage of Christians in our culture is a majority of females? How can we complain of the spirituality of males when we do not have males teaching children in our churches?
Ø Jones brought up “Harwired to Connect” – a new study from medical doctors and such that is finding that the mental and behavioral health of American children is deteriorating because, as a society, we have failed to recognize broad societal environmental problems because of a lack of interpersonal connections.
Ø Neurologically the brain stops forming around the ages of 15-16, I think that, if this is true, then there should be a major split/change in paradigm in youth ministry around the age of 15/16. I will email Tony about this.
Ø Jones had some further points that were really detailed and involved the prefrontal cortex. If interested, he offered to email the powerpoint to people who were interested. You can find his email on his blog.

4-730pm – skipped dinner, hung out, watched Jeremy and Aaron sneak in a side door to the general session. Met Marko when he asked me if I was the high school guy that belonged to this middle school guy, pointing at Jeremy. It was hilarious. Watched Jeremy sneak backstage looking for Crowder. Man.

7:30pm – sat in the front row for general session. Family Force 5 preformed. Dang they are a wicked live set band. Totally great – deny categorization. Then Crowder led worship – again really great. I have to youtube some of the video we got of “I saw the Light”. Then Effrem Smith spoke. Really great. Gleanings:

Ø Colossians 3:1ff – What do you love most? Is my loving watching kids grow a dangerous idol?
Ø Matthew 9:35
Ø Matthew 1 – Jesus was an Iraqi – Abraham was from Ur in Genesis 11
Ø O.I. = God wants to love the hell out of you.

Also if you want to laugh go buy Steve Case’s “A to Z” Guide to Youth Ministry and look under F.


10:15pm – went to the future of youth ministry forum with Lacy. It wasn’t that fantastic. Alright host though. Young youth pastors with a lot of zeal, no experience, lots of complaints about parents, senior staff, school sports, etc. I hate sitting around and complaining, it doesn’t get anything done.

11:59 sleeping.

Zondervan Youth Specialties National Youth Worker Convention 2006 Anaheim

I am going to record here by day my experiences, teachings, ideas and questions while at the NYWC in Anaheim, November 2-6. I’ll go by hours so that it makes sense.

NYWC – Day 1 – Thursday

12:00am-3:15am – I packed and stayed up and took care of my household. I had a few construction type things to take care of so I was up working like a meth addict in the middle of the night.

3:15-4am – Sleep. With the lights and tv on in my clothes – I was nervous of sleeping past my 4am wake up time.

4am-6am – travel to airport

6am-11am - flying

11am-1pm – travel from airport to hotel

1-5pm – wandering, reading, sleeping, eating

5-7pm – bought the noomas for a significant discount

7-9pm – a vague nothingness. Walked around the vendors.

9pm – went to see Leeland. I like them. But they are really freaky. They make me feel weird. I bet their mom finds this and comments me really nasty stuff about homeschooling gone wild.

Later – went to sleep

Cottonpatch Gospel

This is Romas 6 from the cotton patch gospel. Read it until you see why I like it...

So what are we advocating? "Let’s wallow in sin, so more grace may pour forth"? Hell, no! How can we who died in sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that we who were initiated into Christ Jesus’ fellowship were initiated into his death realm? Therefore, through our initiation into the death realm, we are entombed with him, in order that, as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been fellow plants in the garden of his death, we shall also be fellow plants in the garden of his risen life. We are convinced that the person we used to be has been strung up with him, so that the sinful nature may be wiped out, and we no longer need be addicted to sin. For in dying, one is released from sin’s claim on him. Yet, if we died with Christ, we believe that we also shall live with him. It is clear that Christ, who was raised from the dead, doesn’t die any more. Death no longer has a grip on him. As far as sin is concerned he died once and got it over with; but as far as God is concerned, he lives and lives. In the same way we think of ourselves as being dead in relation to sin but very much alive in relation to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, don’t let sin be king of your fragile group, so that it becomes obedient to sin’s desires. And don t hand over your members to sin as tools of wickedness, but hand over yourselves to God as people who were dead but are very much alive. Commit your members to God as instruments of justice. Sin shall not lord it over you all, for you are not under compulsion but under kindness.

You can get it here.

PESM 2.2

Day two of session two - early start.

Yesterday was prayer filled, lots of circling around and filling the echos of the throneroom with our voices. Nice.

Great discussion with Darrell, Jeremy and Dr. Odell about the Albany multi-site revlution. Great stuff - Dr. Odell also gave some understanding on my prof's understanding of holiness. The difference between a theological and a devotional presentation of the holiness movement's tennants.

And! Josh brought me a gingerbread latte! Who cares if I am sitting in a chair all day!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Best Life Possible

In reference to my previous post on James 3:1 - it is such a blessing to see those we have been entrusted with teaching develop to the point where they are discovering truth themselves. Click on the title link to see a true and honest post by Theresa, a brand new freshwoman at OSU.

This is where, i think, a lot of youth ministries eat it. They teach the kids to know/believe/do all the right things - my goal, however, is to teach students to figure out how to know/believe/do all the right things. So, maybe my students don't listen to Christian radio, have fish bumper stickers, yell stupid chants at rallies, hate sinners, etc. like yours do...but Driven students develop and keep developing and love like they are completely nuts for the gospel.

A blessing for the Driven:
May you love to love.
May you learn to learn.
May you think about thinking.
May you worhsip your God like a nut.
May you be Driven.


I am blogging from PESM, my master's program through my denomination. I am quickly coming to the conclusion that if I had wireless internet in my early morning classes in college I would hve failed hard. Today we are doing lectures on holiness theology in the Old Testament, especially in the books of Moses. I am actually cranked about this. Question: How do you make an xperiential learning process out of holiness in the OT?

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Sometimes I really really think something is true, but I can't figure out if I am crazy or not. This is the way I feel often around the emerging conversation. I'm pretty sure of what I am thinking and believing, but am I crazy? Thankfully, the vast majority of the time, I find out I am not that crazy.

Tonight I have decided that I will need to spend some of my "fun-study" time on Apophatic theology. It is really interesting me; and not the least by this statment, which fits in the category found in the first paragraph:

God is not conceptually confinable to assumptions based on time.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

U2/Green Day - LIVE - Whole Set

Ok - here's the whole set. Yesterday U2 was Green Day. So guess what's going to happen tommorrow. Also - it says a lot that Billie Joe leads this off instead of Bono. What is it that Bono sees of himself in Green Day? hmmmmm.....
U2 and Green Day

this is a video of Green Day and U2 together - y'all better recognize.

Must be Preached

More and more I am trying to view Scripture as something that is happening, as well as something that did or will happen. The stories and the prophecies, in many ways, are current truths for me. Here's another example; last weekend I had the opportunity to enjoy the National Youth Workers Convention, taking my wife and two interns down to Anaheim. It was amazing to me to watch the development of my interns, but also very scary. You see, I have two interns who committed to learn under me - which generally means they committed to become like me as a youth pastor. Both of them are different, but have similarities with me. James 3:1 kept going through my head, where it talks about not many of us should presume to be teachers because they are held to a higher standard and judged more strictly. This seems like a future tense prophecy. But, over the last weekend, I came to see it as a current truth as I was judged by my interns development. I could see myself in them - both in good ways and in ways that will get them in trouble later. You'd think I would sit them down and warn them, but I realize that I didn't listen to those warnings...

It is such a priviledge to watch the future develop. As a parent, teacher, pastor and leader it is easily my favorite pay-off. So this past weekend was judgement for me. If I want my interns to come out a particular way, I have to be that way. Correcting them will just turn them into more of what I currently am - and I want to help them (and my students) become what I am trying to become.

So, my sermon that needs to be preached is this: Judgment is a good thing for the righteous. So the righteous should be seekng leadership opportunities because that will give them fast and harsh feedback/judgment on themselves.

I want to post a bunch on the NYWC, but that will have to wait. I think I am going to schedule my reflections for next week.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


So the grand total for October is 609 - and the random keywords in the previous post didn't even notch one extra hit. It represents a 60.3% increase from last October.

So, I now have 1 hit for November. I am currently 99.7% lower than last November...looks like it's time for some inflamatory posts!!

Last's night's h@#%^ll@$*n/harvestoween party was great at the Boys n Girls club. It's a lot of fun seeing the kids growing and developing. Life moves fast, and the last few days have been really fast. It's hard to find a moment and just breathe, but I am doing it. I am looking forward to this weekend, partly for that reason.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Busiest Month Ever

So, this has no officially become the busies month ever in the reOrientation with the hits going over 570! And there is still one day left, giving a chance for the luminous 600 hits in a month. So, in order to steal a couple hits I am going to post some random words that people will search for and click on this site and be disappointed.

Rob Bell nooma nywc emergent emerging andrew jones nano technology.

Thanks for being here!

Friday, October 27, 2006

lax preview

I bet you almost forgot...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

EDS - Airplanes

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Colbert Report: Richard Dawkins

My guest tonight is a scientist who argues that there is no God. Well you know what? He'll have an eternity in hell to prove it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Heather Webb, Small Group Leadership as Spiritual Direction

I picked up this book to help me in my training efforts for the new congregation. Since finishing, major paradigm shifts have helped to form more of these ideas. I also wanted to read a book written by a woman. That's good for me. Webb doesn't prescribe a church-wide or church based programmatic approach. Instead, she develops various kinds of groups, models and describes the influences of postmodernity and spiritual direction on small group dynamics.

Here's some flak for your jacket:

Webb opens with a discussion of a clip from Dogma. I will be using this clip to ramp up the new congregation leadership team. Then she follows with:

p.22 "These characters ask the crucial question, 'Does the church do anything for us?' There is a sense that both Bethany and the Angel with the answer were yes."

p.23/4 "Gen-X-ers can hold two opposite concepts of something with equal validity, not either/or but both/and. Reality needn't be defined in black and white."

p.29 "Imagine life in the early church: offering all you've earned to the communal pot, living by a code of behavior that defies everything you've been taught. Community life demands that we live in ways that go against our human nature."

p.104 "...there is an increasing need for small groups to expand their reach and become places with no agenda but to draw people closer to God and each other."

At the conclusion of the book, Webb discusses 3 models of small groups. They are defined by being story, text or prayer centered. Each is different and each has great merits.

Missional Halloween

Bob Hyatt posted some thoughts from someone else that is a more redeeming and less seculsion view of Halloween. This is a great example of what I am talking about in what I see the church (american version) doing that seems to run counter to what I see in Jesus. We change the name to harvest party and run our own mirror event that is much "safer" - I don't uinderstand why the heck we can't just call it halloween - do we honestly think that if we change the name it changes anything (note: we can email NBC 750,000 times and get them to bleep out the world "Hall@$%^#n")?

This really matches me and Heather's view of the old trick or treat night. We bought a monkey load of candy the first year we were in Albany and had 2 kids come - from next door. And we watched for them - nobody...

In our town everybody gets in the car and drives to the new subdivisions and gets the good candy. I guess I live in the hood? I think that says something sad about my town, also, about how we don't gather together as a hood and try to live. Instead we get in our cars and go get from the rich....interesting...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fun Times

This is always a fun little post. Here's some words from recent searches that have landed at the reOrient:

1. Rob Bell ways to heaven
2. pat kane play ethic
3. having seen how secrets can be traded for celebrity, teenagers are selling their own experiences before
4. total money makeover
5. tim condor
6. publisher sweepstakes

Thursday, October 19, 2006

People find out they're Christians...

Last night the high school group whose numb I break joined with the middle school group from our church to go around in local neighborhoods to pass out fliers for a food drive pick-up happening on Saturday. I was really proud of the kids (obviously I wouldn't blog here if I wasn't) for three big reasons.

1. A large number of them showed up. We've never done this kind of a "mini-missions" trip on a Wednesday night before, so we weren't sure who would really be into it. We had a "high" attendance night (which is not our sole indicator of success, but every "number" is a teen we love)! This blessed me and I hope each other - it also furthered my belief that the teens in our group/town are tired of talking about it and being intellectual Christians - they want to put wheels on the car and go somewhere. Our teens are not stupid about theology though, they know the great schism and the 95 thesis and routinely talk eschatology...they are missionary minded theologians.

2. Many of the high schoolers acted very graciously towards middle schoolers. I have two fears: sharks and larage groups of children under 13. Thankfully only one of those was a reality last night. And since we are an hour from the ocean, I have to say that I love seeing high schoolers care for "the least of these"; in their world, this often means a 6th-8th grader.

3. One of the drivers was a teacher from one of the local high schools and he made a point 2 or 3 times to tell me how much he loved these kids and how they were a great group and etc. etc. After a lot of the kids had left I got to engage him in a bit of conversation and ask about his remarks. He told me that the thing he liked most about the Driven (no, he didn't use the word Driven) high schoolers is that they don't go around school being bible thumpers. He said they are just kind students who are open to people and show love in ordinary but real ways. He said, then other people find out they are Christians and they are pleasantly surprised. I almost teared up. Not only are Driven students loving others, but they are changing the negative perceptions of Christians. Not bad, not bad.

This needs preached...

My life calling has been the same for a long time, but it seems to be adjusting a bit. Really, it's the same, just I am expressing it with different words. For a long, long time I have lived like this:

When I die, I hope teenagers cry.

You might think that's morbid, if so, google the James is wierd club to meet people just like you. For the rest of us it makes sense that if a person invests his life in teens consistently they will cry at your funeral. It reminds me that I want to influence teens for my whole life.

Somehow I need to add:

Break the numb.

I really think that the western world (wealthy) is numb to much of the kingdom of God - and it seems to be the prophetic job of 'pastors' to break through this and help people see the kingdom here and coming.

Along that line, I need to preach sometime about how we have taken the statement about being in the world, but not of the world and changed it into being like the world but not as bad as the world. For evidence, look at contemporarty christian music, the christian publishing industry, coffee shops in churches, silly slogans on signs, the way church leaders dress, christian celebrities, church buildings, democratic church leadership, etc. The negative effect of this is an isolationism and elitism that is causing many people to no longer look at Christians as lovers of all - instead they think we love their stuff, ideas, and anything else we can copy; yet we can do without those heathens who negatively influence our market share.

break the numb.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pragmatic Pope Phishes phor Promulation

The title link goes to a london times article about the pope, Benedict 16, making some changes to the unofficial Roman Catholic doctrines. Specifically, the Catholic church no longer puts unbaptised babies (i.e. stillborn) into the "limbo" zone; now these children will go on to heaven. You can read the article for details on the shift. There are some specific ramifications here that should be thought through. and, I don't care if you think you are protestant and so the pope doesn't matter - tell that to the 1 billion catholics on earth - and to your ancestors pre-1500 who would pretty much call you a heretic for not venerating the pope.

Notes of Interest:

  • The pope may be bowing at the altar of pragmatism. In thrid-world, muslim countries, Islam says that babies go straight to heaven, so, they seem like the more loving religion. If your baby died (with high infant-mortality rates in the third world, this has either affected you or a close family memeber or friend) wouldn't you want a religion with a god that had mercy on your child? So, the pope may be changing doctrine to create a more attractive Christianity. Personally, I hope that he's right - because that would make me more attracted to God.
  • The Catholic church seems to spend too much time talking about who's where after they die. This move by B-16 makes it seem like the children are being freed today! This is a perverted form of dispensationalism, if that is the impression. Instead of the pope granting anything, they should be putting out statements that say they were wrong for the last however many years - and now they think they got it right.
  • Lastly, I think it is good to make our religion more attractive, but I don't think doctrine is always the best way to do that. Perhaps, the pope could increase humanitarian aid to muslim countries. Then there would be no doubt on what the message of the gospel is.

I love the pope. Jesus loves the pope. You should too.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Taylor, The out-of-bounds Church

I was drawn to this book first by Jeremy and then by Scot McKnight. It is an interesting journey through emerging expressions of church around the world. Steve Taylor, a dedicated blogger, goes through the way birth, pilgrimage, community, creativity, DJing, leading and following. This book is intimate in its observation of the emerging church, while, at the same time, wise and insightful in its conclusions.

Here's some fodder:

taylor begins with an examination and comparison of Zeffarelli's 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet with Luhrmann's 1996 version. Remarkable.

p.26 "In many ways, body modification is the natural offspring of a culture in which identity is found in how we look and the experiences we live out."

p.53 "The church is experiencing this transition as well. When to push toward birth and when not to push? Some things said in transition are best left in the birthing unit. Times of transition require grace, sensitivity, and multiple mission strategies. They require the help of midwives."


p.104 "the point of redemptive community is not community. The point is to send you somewhere, to reveal the body of God in the world that God loves."

The side-notes, by Taylor and others, are worth the price of the book on their own. If you are wondering what emerging churches are doing around the world. Buy it.

Ramsey, Total Money Makeover

I have been getting lots of comments lately, time to blog about a couple books - surefire comment killers!

Giving to churches is on a definitely downward slope and the financial health of young people in churches is doing the same. Many think we need to teach theological principles to stem the tide. I think a more holistic approach would be to help young christians develop financial health. Most efforts of christian organizations in this drection look more like amway than John 10:10 - so it is up to pastors to teach financial health and freedom to their people.

Here's some notes of interest:

1. I didn't underline a single thing. It would be more beneficial to read this book and make a list of the steps that Ramsey is suggesting.

2. The book has tons of stories of other people who were successful using the program - see the amway note above. I don't get cranked by others' stories - but if you do, there's some here.

3. Ramsey points out that many in our congregations/society who look rich are actually drowning in debt. In a society were image is everything, it is an ugly image that we are presenting when the exterior is shiny and white and the interior is a rotting pit of bondage debt.

4. What happens if the christians stop incurring debt? Including home mortgages? Impossible? perhaps. Would it be a revolutionary witness? for sure.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I really don't like anonymus comments. Whether on the blog or on some comment card or whatever - I just don't like contextless information or opinions.

This is not an attack, it's my preference and my blog.

So, I think I am going to disable anonymus comments. Can you give me a reason to bring them back?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Only the good die young

It seems that NBC has a tracker on my TV and notices when I watch a show and quickly decides to cancel it. The new show Smith has become the latest victim. Sure, it had a generic title, but it was pretty cool - lots of action and such...

Because it only had 8 million viewers last week it is being replaced by reruns. Imagine having your product watched by 8 million people and then being told you are a failure....crazyworld.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Just when you thought I was nutty - NUT-O #1

I think I am going to set up a new feature on the reorientation: "NUT-O's for Jesus"

This guy is the first, and he is a classic. thanks NBC!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I still don't know if I will ever vote again...

For a long time the way I formed my political beliefs from my theological understandings has caused me to struggle with the polarization that I see in polotics in America. I won't go into what I believe here, because of my pastoral role and the jeopardy that such a discussion could put my church into.

However, I will post a couple links to a new organization that is wholly Christian and not Democrat or Republican. I think it's a good time for this conversation to finally be taking place. I first heard of this on the Colbert Report when Campolo was the guest and was very intrigued. It seems to be picking up steam. The ramifications are also interesting.

Tony Campolo on Red Letter Christians

Tony Jones

I wonder what will come of all it seems Emergent is moving in a political direction...

As far as the title of this post, I'm 29 and have only voted once. It was for a guy that promised us improvements to the higway - and he came would think I would vote more...but now I'm not a citizen where I live, so it's not even an option...


There seems to be a growing movement in emerging circles toward a spirituality that is simple, organic and natural. A view on spiritual disciplines that seeks not to define and separate, but connect and draw out. It is an interesting movement because for a long time spiritual disciplines have been a measurable thing that you do; under this line of thought spiritual disciplines are things you are becoming.

To the point where traditional spiritual disciplines are only needed for the immature int he faith. That's a soakable thought!

The latest contribution herein is a book, Off-Road Disciplines, by Earl Creps. I've never heard of him, but the book is published by Leadership Network, so it won't be a bestseller, but it will be a fantastic book.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mad Props to Chuck Colson

There's not a lot of Chuck Colson that I am that into. I've got an inch and a half book about Being the Body that he wrote (a gift) that isn't that high on my list, even in my book buying fast (the two inch Josephus has to come first...). But, Colson has hit a dinger on this one. The title link will open a CT article he wrote that all mankind needs to read. Even if you just read the beginning and picture the story - you will laugh.

Colson's frustrations are shared by me. That is why I was so super amped to see David Crowder Band last week and will at the NYWC. That is why I think Bono is a worship leader. That is why I liked the Newsboys before they put out worship albums. That is why Mat Kearney, Coldplay and P.O.D. are staples for me when I am worshipping (How P.O.D.'s song "Goodbye for Now" isn't an Easter classic by now...I have no idea!). These bands/singers/songwriters write from talent and say something that is worshipping God from the relevance of world my soul lives in. Problem is, these are also very talented musically and don't write G-C-D songs. We did U2's Beautiful Day for a church youth service - and it was hard. Our student worship team is learning a DCB song - and having a hard time. But with the complicated music comes valuable lyrics that are moving a generation.

One disclaimer, however. Colson's statment:

the gospel above all else is revealed propositional truth

Had me scratching my head. Does he really think Jesus died on the cross to make a propositional statement? Puh-leeze.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Interesting things

I am going to post a couple of interesting things. I am not going to post my thoughts on them. If you want to know my thoughts, post yours in the comments.

1. Mars Hill Michigan: In this week's message Rob Bell tells the people that they need more volunteers in the children's ministry because the last couple weeks they have had to turn kids away. He says that it is wrong - they need to take care of their own children. What are the implications of telling this (being honest) to your congregation?

2. Leadership Network: Has put out a report on finances in larger churches. Our own church is facing some similar are our finances helping/challenging us? It is a question that SACC'ers have to answers.

endnote: Sacc'ers? What a dumb term James.....but better than SACCians, or SACCites, or SACCese...I guess.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Walt's blog

Here's something to sit up and take notice of. Walt is the leader of the Center for Parent Youth Understanding. He's pretty good at reading the culture and helping YP's sort through it and redeem it for the gospel.

This blog post of his implicates Americans. He's pretty daring to write this stuff, I think.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

McLaren on emerging obligations

On page 256 of A Generous Orthodoxy, McLaren develops 8 (9 really) "emerging obligations of a generous regard to other religions in God's world. He admits to building on the work of David Bosch, a missionary in Africa.

1. We must willingly accept the coexistence of different faiths in our world willingly, no begrudgingly.

McLaren uses the analogy of a parent loving a child being different from approving of what they do. This seems like a simple task in theory, but in practice we know that it is not. The whole 'love the sinner, but hate the sin' really falls apart in conversations like this, because the sin is the identfier of who the sinner is. The two become inseparable. So we are to love the whole package with the mature understanding that love is not equivalent to approval. I think this has even further implications if we want to talk about the western church culture that gives love if they approve (of your dress, habits, culture, skin color, political views, etc.). There is a sick under-culture that surrounds Christiamericanity that witholds love from those who are unapproved, making me a judge of who God loves and who He doesn't. This may be sin in its ugliest form.

2. Having acknowledged and accepted the coexistence of other faiths, Christians should actually talk with people of other faiths, engaging in gentle and respectful dialogue.

In a modern context, dialogue and debate are engaged in with the intent to conquer and colonialize. You argue in order to defeat (humiliate) the other person, and turn people over into your particular viewpoint (can you see why I don't like talking to most advocates of calvinism?). This viewpoint rolled over into evangelistic methods, which created a divide-and-conquer method which sold very well.
In a postmodern context, dialogue and debate is engaged in for mutual benefit. If I engage in discussion with more poeple who disagree with me, I can understand them better and, perhaps more importantly, I understand my own positions better, irregardless of their conversion. This does not mean that I do not want others to convert. It does mean that I am not interested in humiliating people into the kingdom of heaven. Rather, I am interested in people knowing me for my love of them, their position, even their identifying sin and then wanting to know where that love comes from - the saving love of Jesus.

3. We must assume that God is an unseen partner in our dialogues who has something to teach all participants, including us.

Many Christians think we own God - like He is a good and service that we are peddling to the world. These people are wrong. That's as blunt as I need to be.

4. We must learn humility in order to engage in respectful dialogue.

We do need humility but, like McLaren, this humility can quickly look like arrogance. I have heard comments from people who sat under Pagitt's and Jones' teachings and thought their apologies were a bit patronistic. I am pretty sure that this would not have been their intent, but people will not always take it the way it was intended. When we are talking about a new kind of Christianity, we must be aware that we are changing something that is very close to many hearts and will cause passionate reactions and discussions.

5. We must realize that each religion is its own world, requiring very different responses from Christians.

It is interesting that the assumption is that all people prescribe to a religion. This is more and more true in our more and more postmodern world. Especially here in the pacific northwest, where their are more and more who choose "none" as their religious affiliation. People here are not institutionalized Christians, but they are spiritual and many love Jesus.

6. Only at this point are we ready to reassert that conversation does not exclude evangelism but makes it possible.

Once again, in a postmodern context, listening earns trust. There is no substitute for showing value in another person than giving them our most precious commodity, time. We must earnestly hope for the salvation of all people - knowing that listening to them and learning their story is more than a good method of saving people. Know this: listening = knowing = loving.

7. We must continually be aware that the "old, old story" may not be the "true, true story."

This one hurts the most. Many times we are not aware of the misconceptions that other religions have on Christianity. Some believe that God had intercourse with Mary to produce Jesus. To those of us old in the faith, this sounds silly, but for many it is what they have been taught since an early age. We must be aware that re-education may be an early step in evangelism.
Also, we need to be aware that we may have misconceptions about other religons that actually hinder our evangelistic efforts. Our old stories about them may not be true either.

8. We must live with paradox.

There will be people in the world who are more in tune with the song of God than us. Some who live more lovingly than me. Some who show more mercy than me. Yet, when I speak of my faith, it is a loving, merciful faith. How do I put this together? One would naturally assume the answer is to work harder, creating a works based faith. Or, perhaps, we would speak of the forgiveness of God, yet we must be sure not to cheapen our Savior's sacrifice on the cross. Many times, our best response is going to have to be humbly living in paradox. This goes to the point of Dwight Freisen coining the term, "paradoxy", meaning paradox and orthodox at the same time.

9. If members of other religions are under threat, we must seek to protect them.

Were the wise men Jews? Were they following God's leading or astrology? What are we going to do with the apparent fact that God draws all men unto Himself? As a nation full of Christians, known as a Christian nation, what are we doing to help Arabs come to the Lord?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

McLaren, a Generous Orthodoxy

It has taken me some time, due to my own slacken-ness to finish this book. It has an interesting full title:

A Generous Orthodoxy : Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant,
liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative,
fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, catholic, green,
incarnational, depressed- yet hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian.

This book took me a very long time because the first half was less motivating to me than the second half. Or, maybe, I was more ready for the second half? Either way...

McLaren, a fantastic thinker and teacher, begins with 100 pages on Jesus, including a warning chapter (chapter 0), that kind of sets the stage. Then he takes each adjectif and builds a chapter around it. It seems very much an apologetic for McLarn himself, after having recieved harsh criticisms regarding his theological questioning. After reading this text however, I don't see how people are pegging him as a universalist, but peggers do like to peg.

Anyways, here's some motivating quotes and questions:

p.23, "...clarity is sometimes overrated..."

How badly do we need to know before we believe?

p.111, quoting a mentor of McLaren's, "Remember, in a pluralistic world, a religion is valued based on the benefits it brings to its nonadherents."

p.160, "...we wanted clear assurance that God didn't like the people we didn't like, and for the same reasons we didn't like them."

This was convicting to me. How do I really love the people I don't like. More than being a horrible cliche?

p.195/6, redoing TULIP, "T = Triune Love ... U = Unselfish Election ... L = Limitless Reconciliation ... I = Inspiring Grace ... P = Passionate, Persistent Saints"

p.240 "I must admit that, apart from a miracle, I see no human power capable of standing up to the expanding empire of global consumerism, which author Tom Beaudoin ominously calls "theocapitalism."

p.256, eight thoughts on postmodern evangelism - this will be a separate post with thoughts

p.267, "In the previous chapter, I suggested that Jesus didn't come to start another religion, which would include the Christian religion."

First thoughts: Uh-oh...but after reflection I have to ask, then why did Jesus come? To seek and save the lost, right? To begin a disciple-making movement right? To bring fulfillment to the law right?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Trendy Justice

The title link is to Dan Kimball's post on the trendiness of social justice in american/western churches. I have noticed this ever since I heard it remarked that "missions trips/service projects" are the new "worship" for youth ministry.

Brown is the new black.

This worries me on a couple of levels:

  1. I worry that as a trend that it will lose its emphasis. I worry about this because of my own personal passion for the poor. Oppression against the poor is a worldwide issue and fighting it has become a major part of my philosophy of youth ministry. Perhaps because of my early involvment with world vision, or just because of God-given desire, I try to leave a wake of students who are passionate about serving the poor because they see Jesus in the eyes of those they serve.
  2. I worry that this movement in youth ministry is cheapening the mission/service trip. Much like, I think, the youth ministry worship movement cheapened worship. We ended up with songs like, "coming back to the heart of worship" that revealed the way we betrayed with our worship. Perhaps some day we will need to get back to the heart of social justice.

These kinds of concerns beg several questions that I think are relevant:

  • How do youth ministers engage social justice issues? How much do we remain counter-cultural when the culture is about AIDS in Africa and the invisible children? Do we fight AIDS in Africa, like Bono? Or do we educate ourselves and do things about AIDS in China and India? Or do we find other less popular areas to serve in? Areas that the world is not noticing because the light of celebrity hasn't yet shone on it?
  • How do we treat trends in youth ministry that affect the very theology of salvation working in the students we are entrusted with? Do we pragmatically use trends? How much do we interact with them?

And then practically,

  • How do we bring this home? What does it look like in my town/school/church/home?
  • How long are these trends (games and fun>>>worship>>>missions trips>>> ???), and how do we adapt earlier?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

I preached this past Sunday here at home. It was on Acts 8:26-40 on Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch - the link is for my friends who are still wondering what that means. I don't manuscript - so you can download and listen online. But hurry, because it'll be gone in like 6 weeks.

I don't know if first or second service made it online - there's a couple gooders in each service though.

Also 8 people were baptized on Sunday - and I barely cried at all....I must have been a bit nervous?

On my train

If there's a train from here to heaven, I really think that we may have to share the car with other Christians that we struggle the most to love. If you read this blog, my opionatedness tends to get the better of me and my train car will be full - of people who frustrate me and, more importantly, people who I frustrate.

Many in my car will be Calvinists. I just can't bring myself to see the world the way that Calvinists do. I really appreciate a great many of them, both through online ministries and through personal friendships.

Currently, Scot McKnight has a post on the rise of young evangelical Calvinists, especially in the emerging church scene. I guess it's the cover story of the latest CT. Scot also has a long series of posts on his own personal post-calvinism.

Often, we Wesleyan/Armenians feel like the last ones on the face of the earth. We talk about our missions being fueled by holiness and people look at us like we've never read the institutes! (I haven't...) The Baptists are great folks - but they are large and powerful and boycottish - which is not where I am inclined to be. This, however, is more my fault than theirs. I honestly like the subversive nature of Wesley's ministry. The way he was bold and country and just...

So this one's for the Wesleyans (and the emo kids) who don't think that Calvin was such a bad guy, but who really do appreciate the movements and development of methodism, wesleyanism, and armenianism.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I have been aware of what Robert weber has been doing with the Chicago Call and the new Ancient Evangelical Future Call for quite some time now. I even volunteered some input into the process. Now, there is this article in CT magazine that has an interesting note at the end:

The call says some harsh things about "separatist ecclesiologies." But can a separatist ecclesiology be a temporary expedient?
Just today I picked up one of my favorite books—The Principle of Protestantism by Philip Schaff. Schaff does say that there is a principle of separation to bring about a correction. When that correction has been achieved, we ought quickly to unite again with the group from which we separated. He was using that with regard to the whole Protestant world and saying the Protestant world left the Catholic church for a correction. Once that correction has been made, he said, we should reunite again with the Catholic church.

It makes me wonder. One of the major things I like about my young denomination is having convergence and merging (in addition to the regular splitting away to start a new denomination) as a part of our story. It's rather nice I'd say.

So I wonder at what point the church will re-merge and become more united. Can this even become true for the west/east split of 1057? I would pray to that end.'s a great truth.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

For future reference...

Amazingly many people look at me weird when I tell them that our high school summer missions trip was to a corner in Pasedena called 'blood corner' and to a church on Ward Street in Compton, which happens to be one of the worst for gang violence.

To my surprise, people wonder why we went there. The best answer I have thought of so far is that to ask the questioner why they don't go there...

I haven't been convinced yet...

Stray thoughts on a tuesday morning...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Watch Out!

The one thing that older leadership needs to know is that younger leadership isn't even asking the same questions anymore. So older leadership's answers aren't cutting it.

That's my quote - what questions are you asking?

High School Camp

I spent the last week at Mayfield camp - my first year not as a counsellor and got to be int he "leader" group. It's been interesting watching the younger generation of youth pastors take the reigns as the olders move on to new things that the Lord is calling them to. Many changes to many different parts of camp. One of my favorites was the willingness to create artistic stations (they did look a little ghetto, but nobody told me to bring my

In a horribly scary moment a student named Bryan was severly injured and remains in the hospital at this moment. Your prayers for him and his family are appropriate and appreciated.

I taught two classes, one called "My Jesus can beat up you Jesus" and another called "Go to church or go to Hell". If those make you nervous, you can relax, they weren't exegetical theology classes, they were practical theology classes. OK - so maybe you shouldn't relax. Here's some of my favorites from the week:

"Christine Brinkman is so hot."

"Am I fired yet?"

"Throw it up one more time."

"What?! No flips or pyramids, that's weak. 6."

"Mary was pregnant and didn't even get to have sex for it." (That one surprised even me!)

"Fricken Wicked."

"$#@%&^!" - said by the speaker...

"So, do y'all have room on your bus for about 14 kids?"

"No, I'm not actually from California..."

"How do they all know this dance?"

"I'm staying in the honeymoon tent..."


OK - so most of my classes were videotapes by Jon, who I have to get in touch with through Josh, so I'll try to get those on utube and posted here as soon as I can.

K - later-

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dumb, but you know you like it

1. One book that changed your life:
Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christian

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
The Poetical Works of Byron

4. One book that made you laugh:
The Pulpit Commentary Volume 1 Genesis

5. One book that made you cry:
Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel

6. One book that you wish had been written:
Stanley Grenz, The Trinity and Relationships

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Tim LaHaye, Left Behind

8. One book you’re currently reading:
Kenda Creasy-Dean, ed., Starting Right

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Josephus, The Complete Works

You live, you learn, you stop being a moron

Last night about 10 I was driving back into town accross the bridge and the truck next to me had stickers on the back tail gate that said:

Nuke 'Em All
Let Ala sort it out

So, to my new friend Mr.Dumb Redneck:

Learn to spell. Ala is a commune in Italy. Allah is the Islamic name for god.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sabbath Keeping, Lynne Baab

Sabbath is a popular buzzword right now in most evangelical circles, thanks in no small part, to the emerging conversation. Most people are reading another book called The Rest of God, but it wasn't available in my book club when I needed to buy a few books to fulfill my obligation. Also, I wanted to read this book because I am reading so many male-authored books, that I thought a woman's voice on Sabbath would round me out a little more.

Baab's book is written from a lot of experience and in a very historical faith (postmodern) context. She keeps it real, saying that the Sabbath is not a new gimmick for those emerging kids, yet, at the same time she doesn't give as many concessions for different lives and lifestyles as I would have liked - but I still really appreciated this text.

I still wonder, however what Sabbath looks like for parents with small children? Especially for single parents with small children? Isn't a little pie-in-the-sky? I imagine Israel was able to keep it as an entire nation was keeping it - so there would be a familial context that would help each other out - but in the western world today? I'm not so sure it's a direct cut and paste...

Here's some other notes of interest:

p.65 "What activity in your life has lost its value because of overuse? What is in danger of losing its value?"

p.94 "we say, 'I got a lot done today. I justified my existence on the face of the earth.' Our joke reflects an unfortunate reality that both of us battle."

p.123 "notice"
Rob Bell once taught that the greatest teachers are those who are moving slow enough to notice....hmmmm...

Finally, a long quote(p.121/2):

In the twentieth century many Christians adopted a form of spirituality that began with knowledge. Study the Bible; learn themajor precepts of the Christian faith; say the acurate and true things about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Christian life. This kind of spirituality asserts that after we have the basic truths straight, then we can begin living a life that honors God.
The sabbath works the other way around. It invites us to participate in something without totally understanding it. In fact, many faithful sabbath keepers say that only after years of observance did they begin to understand the profound lessons God was teaching them through it. Receive the gift of the sabbath over time. Embrace the sabbath without knowing everything you will learn from it."

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Rejuvenile, Christopher Noxon

I picked rejuvenile after seeing it, I think, on Marko's blog. The author was then on Colbert Repotrt (a forgettable interview) and did a little TV tour. The book didn't get to where I hoped it would. Telling a lot of stories and using the "if it's true once, it must be true 100 times" theory to prove its points. The overall thesis for Noxon is that adults are holding onto things of their childhood in increasing numbers here in America, and , quite possibly, around the world. He dabbles a bit in what I think is a major factor in this phenomenom, economics, but prefers to tell a lot of stories and create an overly long essay.

But, this book did help me through Annual Conference, so it isn't the most boring part of this past week...

Here's some quotes and such:

p.4 "rejuvenile describes people who cultivate tastes and mind-sets traditionally associated with those younger than themselves."

p.51 "Some people like golf; I like tag."

p.58, there is a discussion that leads up to, and disappointingly avoids, the interaction of play and spirituality.

p.61"[Huizinga] proposed that the name 'Homo Sapiens' (Man of Reason) be replaced with 'Homo Laudens" (Man the Player), because 'we are not so reasonable after all' "
my idea: lose the Homo part too...

p.63, discussion on Pat Kane, "militant postmodernist", creator of the Play Ethic; "Kane argues that the Protestant work ethic is a relic of the Industrial Age, that we'd all be better off if we reduced the number of hours we work...and used our free time and new technologies to engage in creative, fulfilling play."

p.75, quoting a dedicated, adult, dodge-ball player;

"Once you get hit in the face, you're fine."

p.139, quoting a Disney fan; " fantasty life keeps me sane in my real life."

p.140/1, interesting notes on completeness and satisfaction, especially considering Matthew 5:48, understanding that perfect=completely whole...

p.246 "When you boil it down, i think we rejuveniles are attempting to hang on to the part of ourselves that feels most genuinely human."

This book is a good discussion starter, especially for young leaders and young pastors who don't want to suck. I'd say, read the book and then spend some time trying to figure out how the gospel of Jesus can be good news to the rejuveniles...because it is, and they aren't going matter how long we have to stay in Neverland...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Contemplative Youth Ministry, Mark Yaconelli

I first came accross Mark's work when I found the Youth Ministry and Spirituality project that he was heading up for SF theological Seminary. I was attracted to the works that they were exploring and have lead the last two youth ministries that I have been leading into some of the practicies and rules of the old, beautiful ways of Christianity. This book is a real culmination, a sort of "Purpose Driven" except is driven by contemplative living and seeing that work its way into a youth ministry. Very educational and very practical and very easy to read, this book is a real asset to all sorts of youth pastors who are trying to be faithful to the calling God has put on their lives and to the students they love who are living in an increasingly postmodern context.

Here's some quotes, thoughts and Q's:

p. 21 "[Jesus'] ministry, it seems, doesn't come from a pre-planned formula but instead arises in response to the real situations and relationships he encounters."

p.25 "Contemplative youth ministry honors the desire to listen as well as teach in our interactions with kids. It grounds our ministries in prayer as well as evangelism - in silence as well as acts of justice."

p.33 "Congregations and church leaders find themselves relying on the media to learn about kids." This underscores my thinking on youth pastors taking advantage of every preaching/teaching opportunity in front of adultsto teach them about teens and culture so that they can love and minister to those younger than themselves.

p.42 "When kids learn to live in the Pirit of Jesus, they may no longer fit in...They may develop a costly compassion for others. They may become more vulnerable to the pain and loneliness of the world."

p.43 "Being a Christian isn't safe." It isn't the safe alternative, no matter how many times K-Love tells you that...

p.72 "Once we admit that we are powerless to turn kids into Christians, we can recognize that ministry is a series of small acts of trust."

p.79 This page contains an amazing chart that revelas the differences in anxiety/fear motivated youth ministry and Love/contemplation motivated ministry. Oh God, motivate us becuase of love...

p.140 quoting Michael Warren "One cannot be concerned about the spirituality of teens without being at the same time concerned about the spirituality of the entire community...the message embodied in a community's WAY is more powerful than any message in a textbook or on a blackboard."

Even going back through this book right now, it reminds me of some tweaking that we are going to do to make our ministry more about Jesus...more and more and more...isn't that a good idea!

The Ragamuffin Gsopel, Brennan Manning

I originally tried to read this book while being indoctrinated in fundamentalism at my southern bible college (mostly the culture's fault, not wholly the school's). that being said, I quickly put it down when I saw that Manning thinks God's love is unconditional. That didn't work for me then...however, now I have read the Scriptures for myself and I think that God loves everybody...unconditionally. I think, perhaps, the biggest folly in humanity's history is the people of God (Adam, Israel, Church) thinking that God's favor being on them is synonymus with being God's favorite.
Today, I much appreciate the Ragamuffin Gospel's availability and vulnerability to me. And when I hear people say that they heard that guy is a liberal and dangerous...I pick it up and read it again...

Here's some quotes, processes and questions (pages are from the 1990 Multonomah version):

p.11 First off, if you can read the word before without feeling conviction, put the book down, go pray for a few years and then come back. Or as Jesus says (p.19) "Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice. I have come not to call the self-righteous but sinners.' "

p.22 "Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer."
This is the quote that caused me to put the book down in judgement so many years ago. I have moved forward and am more able to accept others' faults now. Where have you been? Where do I need to move next?

p.25 quoting Paul Tillich "Simply accept the fact that you are accepted."

p.32...go read Job 26:7, then tell God what you think. See if you aren't changed.

p.42 "When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited."

p.53 "For the disciple of Jesus 'becoming like a little child' means the willingness to accept oneself as being of little acocunt and to be regarded as unimportant."
Are you important? Really? Are you answering from your dreams or from your reality/actions?

p.72 "The trouble with our ideals is that if we live up to all of them, we become impossible to live with."

p.74 "The tendency in legalistic religion is to mistrust God, to mistrust others, and consequently to mistrust ourselves...Do you really believe that God is love?"

p.85 "When a man or woman is truly honest (not just working at it), it is virtually impossible to insult them personally. There is nothing there to insult...people who had nothing to be proud of."

p.134 quoting Jean Danielou, " 'Truth consists in the mind giving to things the importance they have in reality.' The really Real is God."

and finally to end with...

p.29 "My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace."

Great stuff - go at it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Annual Conference

Some pastors are good at meetings. Some pastors are good at reading during meetings. Guess which category I fit into. I'm up at our annual conference, a meeting of all the pastors and lay leaders from all our churches in Washington and Oregon. Lots and lots of talking, most of it is important, but it is all run by rob's rules of order and that fails to crank me up. There is also a lot of talk about new things that churches are doing, not unlike what our church is doing with the new congregation idea that is bouncing around.

My son and I are in the hotel right now having a quick conversation about saying, Oh my God, and why that is wrong and why oh my Jesus is too and so is oh my Mary. And then Heather tells me that LJ doesn't even know what venerate Mary means. So, I've got to go, aparently my son needs some more theological training.


Thursday, July 20, 2006


Today I sent in my application for Pacific Evangelical School of Ministry. It's a Masters of Ministry program to further my education. While it's not the kind of masters that I can get a doctorate off of, I can transfer to George Fox and get a Masters of Theology and never have to worry about an Masters of Divinity (nothing against them, I'd just prefer a M.Th. to a M.Div.).

It's a three year program, after which I can answer a doctirnal statment to my board of ministry and become fully ordained. I will do this because I honestly believe in our denomination, it's leadership, theology and (most of it's) structural systems. I don't believe, however, in the baby-blue background on our deonminational's kind of calming, yet I am suspicious of that blue...

Plus, we have a history of unity instead of division and I think that's a beautiful thing.

Friday, July 14, 2006


this is the number of emails in my inbox. This afternoon I will get this lower. If I don't get to yours today, much apologies.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Emerging Frustration

One of the things I don't like about the emerging scene is the way it celebritizes some and the minions follow their interests. The agenda of the mass of emergence seems to be played according to the desires of the celebrities.

What I mean is, we wonder what Rob Bell is reading and then we read that so that we can be like him.
When the whole point is to be us where we are!
Or, we get interested in quantum physics (Pagitt), or have a theology pub (many), or listen to rockabily music (Kimball) or wear hats (A. Jones) or understand Moltman in a single cursory reading (T. Jones).

I totally respect all sorts of the leaders of emergence - and some I think are nut-o's so I like them even more...but I think the emerging community betrays it's lack of emergence when it merely copies the vision and desires of celebrity emergers.

So, hear it here first: I will not be swayed from being the best James Carmichael possible. I will not grow my hair longer because of the last nooma. I will not wear a faux-hawk because of the Axis leader (and they were cool in for English soccer hooligans 10 years ago, which is when I wore one...silly Americans, try to keep up!), I will not say there are mulitiple ways to heaven and make Jesus Christ a mere prophet so that I am edgy like some in Seattle. I will not swear to try and pretend to be relevant, for that matter, I will not worship at the altar of relevance. I will not name drop. I will not. I will not. I will not.

But, I will go out for lunch today and develop future leaders. I will live missionally and holisticly. I will raise my kids with a knowledge of the Scripture and a relationship to the Triune God. I will push. I will change myself and change the church in accordance with the historical nature of our faith to meet the culture with the good news of Jesus. I will be a heretic if that is what they want to call it. I will see the kingdom of God and move in those waves of light. I will. I will. I will.

Tim Conder, The Church in Transition

This fab book is written by Tim Conder, who is a pastor of the Emmaus Way church in Chapel Hill, where my friend Michelle goes.. This church is a congregation of a larger church, Chapel Hill Bible Chruch. This is fascinating to me because they are doing some of the very things that God is calling us towards. The most major difference seems to be leadership structures. Chapel Hill Bible Chruch is non-denominational, so it has a a more fluid, co-pastorship, leadership structure. The structure of leadership within our denomination will not lend itself as easily to what we are endeavoring to do. However, as I read from Tom Hurt recently, 'God has not cancelled the Great Commission' - we cannot afford to not follow the leadings of the Spirit of God!

The book is a bit about what it takes to transition in all forms, from worship to leadership to mission to whatever. It's more than some candles and U2 - and this book details that kind of thing.
Here are some interesting quotes, notes and questions:

p.8 "I believe we are living in an era when the church must open itself to change if it would fulfill its calling."

p.16 - excellent notes on defining postmodernism and its tennents of finititude and suspicion.

p.21 "Perhaps most of all, the emerging church is a missional church."

p.25 "Like many of Christ's followers, I have many frustrations with the existing church...certain late night religious broadcasts...the U.S. presidential election of 2004...cultural anachronisms...thus diminishing the voice of the church in a constantly changing world."

p.37 excellent notes on the postmodern worldview having a disbelief in - goodness of knowledge - certainty and rational nature of truth - objectivity of knowledge.

p.45 referring to C.S. Lewis (the apparent O.G. of emergence) "[the Christian faith] is entry into a relationship in which we are joined mysteriously by God's spirit into the 'three-personed,' triune community life of God."

p.99 refering to a Paggit statement, "Wouldn't the world be better off if you spent two hours working on the sermon and the rest of the week feeding the hungry in your community?"

p.114 " Awareness of the depth of our sinfulness can stregthen our connection to those around us and eradicate the self-righteousness, entitlements, and fears that prevent relational hospitality."

go ahead and get this book - I got it free at the NPC, but you should pay!


Here's a big long post with lots of stuff:

OLD PEOPLE: I have a growing fascination with old people. I think the most major social transition period in the west is adolescence. The second most major is retirement. I am finding that old people are just like teens only slower. There's the same sub-groups: not goths and skaters, but singers and weirdos and populars and rebels and hypers. So, perhaps a better transition for aging youth pastors is to seniors ministry, not senior pastor? I think this might help, because not all old people are cranky - and some of the crankies need a bold youth pastor to call them out and ask them why they are cranky...just like a teenager...

LAX06: We took 18 kids and 9 leaders (7 rookies!) to Pasedena and Compton for 9 days of being in the music of the kingdom of God. We worked and worked and prayed and were among people who live in the most dangerous areas of our country. It was really amazing to see the way that God can listen to the sermon here: LA Sermon - it'll only be up for a few weeks, so check it now.

BUSH: if you haven't seen bush singing U2's sunday bloody sunday - google it and you will see.

GETTING LOST: try it. I've done it a few times in the last few months - it's good for you.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Trying to get back in, with 6 books to blog on my 50 books in 2006 tour. I want to talk about old people. About the LA missions adventure. About getting lost. Bush singing. Lots of stuff.


I am going to edit out the blog roll on the right, I have some peeps who don't post and I'm going to eliminate a few dead links. Don't be surprised.

Seacrest Out.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Pat Freaking Robertson is a saint

...these people are devilish. You've got to love the little question by Hannity at the end of this...I won't give it away, just watch.

baptist hate group on hannity and colmes


ht: Driscoll

Friday, June 09, 2006

Lj - emerging theologian 3

So last night LJ and I were doing our evening prayers, complin, if you will. We ususally say the shema, the same prayer and have a 4 sentence conversation about our commitments to each other. Recently, however, we have added Psalm 115:1-3 to his memorization. Here's a little tidbit from last night:

LJ:Why do the nations ask, where is their
Jesus...God?..Jesus..our...uhhh...He is in heaven, he does whatever he

Me: great job, let's pray.

Lj: I said Jesus, not God, oops.

Me: That's ok - they're sort of the same.

LJ:...(puzzled look)...

Me: Well God is like the Father and Jesus is like the Son (using the
word like to try explain the intricacies of explaining unexplainable truths
about God using the English language

Lj: Like me and you!

Me: ...(hesitating...considering the implications of my son comparing
himself to Jesus and me to God - what's good and what's bad about it

Lj: Who's the mommy?

Me: ...(considering my options: 1. say God, let my child in on the
majesty of God's motherly loved that is expressed inthe Scritpures; 2. say
the Holy Spirit and get into a conversation about the Trinity and later have to
explain that the Holy Spirit is probably not a boy or a girl; 3. Say Mary
and let my son revere her
)...(my answer...) Mary, the virgin Mary,
she is Jesus' mom.

Lj: ok, let's pray

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders

This book was one of my assigned books read by our staff and discussed in staff meetings. This one actually worked better than most - it didn't turn into a karioke evaluation after the middle trying chapters that are found in most books.

i am trying to process this one, though. I am living in a context where Rob Bell tells me, Everything is Spiritual, yet, if there is a such thing as spiritual leadership, then it follows that there is a such thing as unspiritual leadership. So how can I say everything is spiritual, when apparently it is not? Then, (using Bell's logic of everything being spiritual because there is no Hebrew word for spiritual - thus everything is spiritual) possibly, can it not be true that nothing is spiritual? I can't believe that, though, because then God would be a liar. As a point of note, apparently Bell has merely borrowed a phrase that Schaffaer used before him, and explained a little more cartesianly.

Anyways, I am beginning to sound like a Nate rant when he has overdosed on

So, I am living in this tension of everything being spiritual but assuredly old-school (read: reductionism) Sanders says, apparently, that it isn't. I have a hypothesis - maybe everything is spiritual, but sin rips the spiritual out of things. And then, the regeneration/renewal/salvation of all things that Jesus is doing could be described as working the spiritual back into all things.

So here's some quotes contributing to the tension:

> p.18 "True leaders must be willing to suffer for thee sake of objectives great enough to demand their wholehearted obedience."

> p.28 "A true leader influences others spiritually only because the Spirit works in and through him to a greater degree than in those he leads."
So, then, why? Doesn't this mean a pastor cannot spiritually lead those who are more spiritual? Isn't there a problem in this somewhere when we have 26 year olds graduating seminary and pastoring people who have been following God for fifty years?

> p.32 "Spiritual goals can be achieved only by spiritual people who use spiritual methods."

>p.53 on young leadership, "...pray while others daydream..."

>p.75 "Any position of leadership involves a considerable amount of correspondence, and letters are self-revealing"
I ripped on this section in a staff meeting - it's all about how writing letters is so important. Hello?? email!! Anyways...

>p.85 "The spiritual leader should outpace the rest of the church, above all, in prayer."

>p.87 "Jesus performed miracles without a sign of outward strain, by 'he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears" (quoting Hebrews 5:7)

p.157 "Many influential Christians have fallen before this temptation [indispensability]. It seems that Christians are especially prone to it. They cling to authority long after it should have passed to younger people."
I think this is going to be a trying point for much of the modern/baby boomer leadership in existence today. Even more so because of a lack of understanding and suspicion that leads to a dismissal of postmodernity.

Good stuff. I wouldn't have read this book if I hadn't been told to, but if I only ever did what I wanted I would only grow in some areas. This book helped to balance me and see through some biases that I had been reading in other texts.