Friday, December 23, 2005

If Christ Saved Fairyland

This is the title of an essay I will probably never write. I would talk about how deeply satisfying stories of magic are to the imagination. That we will always have ghost stories to explain the shadows created by objects in the light. I would end it with something like how Jesus comes into our world not as a creature unlike us, lets say like a lion, but as a human, who was tempted in every way and remained without sin. I won't do it for now because I have too many thoughts, too little time and no reason to other than to rant and get the frustrations of a shallow attempt at bible interpretation off my chest.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was enjoyable. Half way through the movie I felt like I was watching a LOTR/Harry Potter combo, which is unfortunate because Narnia is wonderful on its own. Some of the fx could have used a little more time and if I had to listen to the girls cry too much more I would have shut off completely. I didn't pay for the ticket and I am glad, I think it is worth a DVD rent.

I am glad that the church is trying to engage the world in art, but I wish we would stop puting so much stock into the Christian values of Narnia and Middle-Earth. At heart they are faerie places created by Christian men who really like Arthur and Beowulf and wanted to write stories they enjoyed reading. They talk about doom and redemption through sacrifice but they both fall short, just like every other myth. And that is OK. Just step away from Aslan as Jesus.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cell phone death

I am sitting in a coffee shop doing some work. There is a guy who is on the phone using a stupid ear-snot dangle thing, walking back and forth through the shop talking about his car. THIS IS RUDE. Don't do it. If you must use the phone, go outside. Is it cold, too bad. It will cause you to use less minutes, and that is better for you right?

Shaping

I like reading about the modern American church. It is my family. We can be ugly and insensitive with a strong pension for inflicting damage to those close to us. I like reading about church history too. It comforts me to know that we come from a long line of grace soaked people.

Currently I am in a book by two men from "down under" Australia way. Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch have written a book dealing with things to come in the western church, as they see it. There are many graphs, charts and lists that explain and compare many of the concepts they cover and I would like to share two that have stuck with me. I think they have done so because I have either experienced or would like to within a body of fellow fools (see 1 Corinthians 1).


The first list is as follows:
1. The missional church proclaims the gospel. (Jesus:Where have they all gone, will you go too? Peter: Lord, where else would we go?)

2.The missional church is a community where all members are involved in learning to become disciples of Jesus. (Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. Ps 119:2)

3. The bible is normative in this church's life.

4. The church understands itself as different from the world because of its participation in the life, death, and resurrection of its Lord.

5. The church seeks to discern God's specific missional vocation for the entire community and for all of its members.

6. A missional community is indicated by how Christians behave toward one another.

7. It is a community that practices reconciliation. (Having worked with student I know what a testimony this could be for those who live in so many broken relationships. Not to mention all the times I have watch brothers and sisters tear new wholes for each other in the name of Christ.)

8. People within the community hold themselves accountable to one another in love.

9. The church practices hospitality. (This is a gift I do not have and dearly wish I did have. I have a hard time sharing with my friends, never mind with strangers)

10. Worship is the central act by which the community celebrates with joy and thanksgiving both God's presences and God's promised future.

11. This community has a vital public witness.

12. There is a recognition that the church itself is a incomplete expression of the reign of God.

This is a list of attributes found in a missional/incarnational church. Quickly here are some definitions use in the book; missional: A church whose primary commitment is missionary calling of the people of God. Also it is a sent church with one of its defining vales being the development of a church life and practice that is contextualized to that culture to which it believes it is sent. Incarnational: in relation to mission it means the followers of Jesus similarly embodying of the culture and life of a host culture in order to reach that group of people with Jesus' love.

The second list has a set of exercises that I would like to practice in my own life. Then I would like to come together with others of like mindedness and do the same. Would I consider being a part of a "start-up" church? I don't know, but I wouldn't throw out any possibilities.

1. Keep that which is not unbiblical
2. Reject that which is unbecoming for Christians
3. Modify practices to give them explicitly christian meanings. (This is dangerous territory, for here is where many stupid church people are labeled. Sometimes for good reasons.)
4. Reject current unbiblical practices and replace them
5. Adopt rites drawn from the christian heritage
6. Create new symbols and rituals

This is a list of hard work. Lots of study, prayer and examination have to take place to make sure wheat is seperated from chaff. The result, hopefully, is a church that will be better suited to communicate to the world in which it finds itself.

If you want to read these ideas in more context you should get "The Shaping of Things to Come: innovation and mission for the 21st-century church" Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch. ISBN 1-56563-659-7

Any mistakes found here-in are mine, deal with it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Library

We have a humble library in LKWD. It is 1000 sq feet, maybe. It does have internet access and a small studio upstairs for quite meditation, both of which I use on occasion. When I walk in and see all the books on so many topics, I feel subversive. All this information is before me to use as I see fit. The power goes to my head.

Today I walked in and found the Utne Reader. It is a magazine of the left and sometimes has stuff that is interesting. For example, this month Utne has an article about Donald Miller. His is the guy who wrote "Blue Like Jazz." They gave what I thought was a fair review of his work in the one page review. (Side note: they were horrified that he held to some traditional Christian values, like Jesus' claims are true.) The fun part of the adventure was going over to the computer catalog and typing in his name and finding his other books. Which I promptly placed a hold on. Now all I have to do is wait for the magic call and I get to go pick up, for free, a copy of "Waiting for God Knows What." Sure I don't keep it, but that is ok. It's called recycling.

If you haven't been to your library lately, you need to go. They're cool.

Monday, December 12, 2005

kexp/kxot

Best radio ever-and now it will be pulling out of the tacoma area. It is a crushing blow to those of us outside of the seattle listening area, but it was a good ride while we heard it. Check them out at www.kexp.org it is the best radio, really.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Camp

Once a year we pull kids from life and stick them on a lake in olympia washington. During this week we run them nearly to dropping point with water skiing, inner tubes, games, and late nights in the cabin. It is a life changing experience filled with all sorts of joy, heart ache and healing. It is an event I look forward to every year.

Death by meeting. We are now sitting in a meeting talking about all the little details that it takes to make this camp so wonderful. Sometimes it feels like we are arguing over the color of the carpet. And my arse hurts. My eyes feel like they are being slowly squeezed from my head like two grapes. I wonder if they will bounce or just plop on the floor?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Some seeds taking root

Here are some ideas I am working on for later distribution.
1. Time
2. Helena, MT.
3. Travel

A quote for those who care: "Adolescence is, like, you know, the human condition on steroids."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Books

I am currently trying to weed out my book reading. I have a library very close to my office that allows me to check out many more books than I could possible read. I love it. Last time I was there, I got a book on the history of the oak tree (heard a review on npr), The Lone Warrior (a book about a famous seventeenth century samurai) and a book about imaginary beasts. All of these are wonderful reads! I never knew all the stuff that the oak has ment to human history. Samurai (one who serves) did more than just yell and make cool movies. And I now have more than the liger to draw in my notebook. Unfortunately I am also trying to read a book on Christ/the church/our mission before the end of the year. Since I don't have to read like a college student the day before the exam, I read slowly. The slower the better is my opioin. My wife chides me constantly because I will finish one book in the same time she can knock out three. So I am going to buckle down and stick to just one or two of them, and let the others slide, for now.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Dancing with my Daughters

We have an area rug in our living room that is next to the stereo. It creates just the right amount of dancing space in for the Olson dance troup. On occasion I will throw in a CD that has a beat and inspires a desire to move your body. The other day I got the urge to do just that. Inspiration came in the form of a couple of albums that have jigs, reels and stomp tunes that lend themselves to frenetic movement. Well, with the first note we got to dancing, stomping and spinning till it I felt like my head was going to fall right off. There was laughter and silliness pouring from all three of us goofs. My oldest daughter grabed hold of my back pockets and we had a two person dance line that twirled and snaked around the carpet, her sister and a million dolls. By the time we were finished making a joyful noise there was a pleasent stink from three very sweaty bodies. It was fun. I know that some day it will fall out of fashion to spend an afternoon dancing with their daddy, but until then...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Snow

I have a deep dislike for snow. To start off, yes it is pretty, magical, fun for kids and grown-ups alike. Many a wonder-filled day has been spent exploring new and old familiar places. Many of us owe our existence to a snow filled evening and a fire. I am not here to say that snow hasn't done many things for human kind. This doesn't change my opinion for the cold, death bringing ice shards that fall from the sky.

We got our snow for the year up here in Lakewood, so the police and fire folks have been busy running back and forth trying to save us from our non-snow driving selves. The schools have been canceled so the kids are on every non horizontal surface with any sliding device they can find, rushing toward their next adrenalin high. I am nice and warm here in my office, drying out listening to the hum and purr of central heating. I would go out for a mocha, but that would mean having to enter back into the world of white tragedy. So for now I will stay here and wait for the thermometer to rise.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Office space

Sometimes I need to get out to see the world beyond the 2 x 3 foot window that is my world view from my desk. So I come to Forza and enjoy a steamer and some wifi. It relaxes me and I get to say hello to many of my friends that also haunt the spot. (I was disappointed that Nashville had so few coffee shops downtown.) It is nice to have a penny university so close.

One of my fellow conventioners bought the DVD of Louis Gigglio's talk. Basically he says all the trappings of worship don't matter if there isn't a response to the Holy God. We sat in the convention a week ago listening to it and there was still so much to take from his time. I hope that I will be able to learn more each time I hear it.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Season of Advent

I think it is my favorite season. This didn't used to be so. I would spent the holiday feeling sorry for myself and whining about how the world was corrupt and not concerned with me. I was a teen.

Now I know that the world is corrupt and the world doesn't care about me. But Christ. He didn't count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the for of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. He did this while I was still a sinner. This is a good thing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

How sweet it is

I am home and it is so nice. In just a few minutes I will be heading over to my daughters pre-school for a Daddy Day presentation. On the way to school she was telling me that I am her hero for taking care of the family. That got misty eyes.

NYWC was refreshing and I am glad I was given the opportunity to attend. I hope that YFC and YS continue to partner in the gospel. Both groups have so much to offer each other, it would be a shame not to have a continued relationship.

Tonight there will be resting and going to bed before mid-night.

The convention finis

The convention finished and we stayed to the very end. Tic, Carla and Marko said their good-byes and we walked out of the convention center into a very cold November afternoon.  We wondered around until we found the safety of a Starbucks and hid there until we got desperate enough to get to the airport.  I usually can’t afford the plane ticket that gets me out of town in the early afternoon, so it is the late in late out track for me.  We are desperate to get to our families.

The airport did afford us a great time to talk about what we had taken in at YS.  During the talk a switch turned in my head and I have an idea for a student I work with at LC.  I am thinking of having him lead the prayer time before our small group.  The thought is to have him take the requests, right them down, pray for them and follow up the next week.  He is a seventh grader and really needs to have some of his energy channeled in a constructive way.

All in all I will not come back to a YS/YFC convention unless I have my wife, or other volunteers to share this with.  To come by myself or with only other professionals is no longer useful or productive.  There is too much time spent pinning for the company.  Besides she is an experienced volunteer and could in a matter of months have a fully functioning club up and running.  With that I am going to recommend to YS a few ideas.

I might post them later.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Good times, Fun Times

Today was an emotional day at the convention. I spent most of the worship time fighting back tears. Nearly every tear-jerker story that was used brought a tear to my eye. I am not a crier unless it deals with my family. So I have been a bit put off guard. The evening speaker dealt with worship and the heart. There were no pulled punches, every defense that people use about why they can't worship was shot down. He spoke about how worship is a response to the glory of God and I was crying. He told a story about a mom with a severely handicapped child at a worship service, who spent the time singing into the ear of her child and standing full of radiance in praise. I was weeping. He talked about the woman who wiped Christ feet with her hair and I couldn't hold back the tears. I am amazed that I am still able to think. I think I might have some issues I need to deal with.

I had a conversation with my dad last month about the church I attend. It ended with him saying that if I can't worship there, why am I going. The speaker says that regardless of the style or environment, my response to God's glory is my choice. In fact if I am living a life of worship it doesn't matter because I am being used in the worship. I am being spent as a sacrifice.

I am not used to crying in worship. I used to blame it on being tired. Maybe that is a lame excuse. Lord, here am I, spend me.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Oh I don't know what to title this.

I am feeling pretty good about the time I spent today in the sessions. I finally feel comfortable about the emergent movement. I don't agree with much of what they have to say about many things. But, I do respect the open conversation that has begun because were tired of hiding their questions behind fear. I hope that they will be a model to the rest of the north American church community to discuss with love and humility the things of Christ. And I hope that those of us who don't agree will have the common courtesy to respect their right to question and test the things of Christ.

Tomorrow I would like to return to my roots and attend some middle school sessions. I am starting to miss the fellowship of confusion that is the middle school worker. We are a dazed and funny group of people. And really a seventh grade boy could hardly care less about esccetology. It is good to have a kid keep me humble.

Now for a little pining for my wife and children. I miss them so. I have a picture of them in a prayer book that I brought to the convention. As I was praying I was able to look at them and be reminded of how beautiful a family can be. The picture of my girls captures the sister relationship perfectly. They love each other dearly.

Let me leave on this note. May your relationships with your church family be redeemed. For all the rest, I pray that Christ will show His mercy, grace and peace.

Hide and seek wifi

This is not how I wanted to up-date.  I am too cheap to pay for access and too lazy to walk to a site that I think might be free.  So I am taking notes on my day and sessions I have attended and the plan is to post when I get home.  So this might be read on Tuesday after the convention.  Oh well.

I have finished the second of several talks on post-modern thinking.  The first one was with dan Kimball, the second was with Duffy robins, Dan Kimball as moderator and Tony Jones.  Duffy offered an alternative view of where post modern thought might take the church.  Walking out of this session I felt more comfortable with Duffy’s opinion.  Tony used the bigger words and maybe had more training in philosophy but Duffy seemed to have more common sense.  (if I am to believe mark twain, common sense isn’t common)  All that being said I am enjoying the theology discussions more than the ministry skills.  If I have a right way of thinking my actions will follow.  That is my hope anyway.

There are 7500 people here and 500 of them are from YFC.  I was afraid that “Big Brother” would be watching as I spent my time enjoying the convention.  But truly it has been a blessing to be with others that understand campus ministry in a CL context.  There hasn’t been a controlling presense from YFC in what we need to go to and when we need to be somewhere.  I have had the freedom to experience the NYWC both with YFC and by myself.

I have one more observation.  One the bottom level of  the main convention site they have set up experience station that take you though different creative exercise that allow a person to be contemplative and prayerful in what might be a “safe play” environment.  It is cool to see these being offered.

Joy of Joys, I found a cafĂ© just down the street from the convention center.  For the price of a mocha (a good one at that) I am now able to publish these entries.  Unfortunately they are not open tomorrow.  Sad.

21 floors up

21 floors up and I walked them all, and only once I might add.  I don’t feel that it is necessary to do it again.  I will avoid making analogies to my spiritual journey being a mountain that I am climbing.  The stairs were entertainment and a long walk up a tower.

Travel

Travel is not all that it is sold to be.  It is more like commuting to work over thousands of miles instead of tens.  The journey was made with a travel buddy and that has made it more pleasant.  Tomorrow I have a meeting from 8:30-11:30 am and then I am off to the rest of the NYWC.  There are a couple of YFC events that I will take in with the other guys in the group.  Tony Jones and Efram Smith are two speakers that I have a desire to see.  They offer two sides of ministry that I encounter in my area.  There is the middle class bedroom community where money isn’t the biggest worry and I have students that need a place to stay because they have been evicted from their trailer home.  So many ways of thinking and I get split going from one group to the next.

Also these two men represent two groups of people that are moving to the bleeding edges of ministry.  So I will sit and listen to their stories and hope to take back some to make my own.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Time for Travel

I am going to Nashville this next weekend for the Youth Specialties Youth Workers Convention, And to the YFC National Convention. I am looking forward to "the meet and mingle." I don't get to see many of my fellow conspirators in the gospel.

I am continuing my love/hate affair with Emergent movement. I have become more comfortable with missional living as a way of describing what I hope to do. But honestly, there was a time when I heaped much mockage on "missional living" as a description of faith. But, what am I going to do?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

An idea to ponder

www.newmonasticism.org

I will come back to this more during the week as I have collected more thoughts.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Laundry List

Here is a small taste of what I am reading and listening to:
  1. The history of kalendars

  2. Working Man Blues by the Grateful Dead

  3. The Shaping of Things to Come by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch

  4. The Crusades (Since I was a boy I have been interested in medieval life.  Recently there have been many books that are re-examining the facts and taking into account new finds.)

  5. The Path to Rome by Hillary Belloc

Thursday, November 10, 2005

November 10 2005 4id

November 10, 2005 4id – Technology and Toasters, when I reach to use either, I want them to work, no questions.