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.