Monday, November 28, 2005

Friday, November 25, 2005

hey check this out

a girl in my brother's youth group wrote this paraphrase of Luke 15
come on go see it fo shizzle

Oh yeah and have you heard of Death Cab for Cutie and James Blunt
What about the National Playlist...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Song to the Silent God

My seed faith cannot raise
A whisper from you
Just a whisper
In my buried heart
Where no one can laugh at your riddles
Oh bang and clatter
Flail myself against the alter
Demanding your fiery voice
Dance my devotion down your throat
Just to hear you cough or sputter
Give me what I deserve
Jumped through hoops of pretentious contrition
Just like the rest of them
They hear you
They say
Stomp my feet and grab you by the tail
Fling you round to my mercy
My submission
My request
I expect
From you – right where I want you
This feeble thing this mind
you made
you gave
you chained me to
Brief glimpses of a fleck of you
that is all this mind gives me
And it is such hard work fighting,
arguing truth and consequence
Then it foils me again
Just when I thought I was getting somewhere with you
My thoughts are overwhelmed
And I am stymied
NOT for some great revelation of yours
But from the trite
all too simple question of my brothers
I should thank you I suppose
for the mind you gave me
Wandering as it has for so long
And still it finds
Nothing in the pain –
I missed the ‘message’ that the pain brought
Nothing in the joy –
oh the joy the most dangerous of all
In the joy – I squealed with delight
And I almost lost the faint signal
I thought I had you dialed in
So that's it...
I’ve written letters sent out postcards
They’re the ones with the pictures of me in Hawaii
I’m not really there but apparently
You know where I am
I am waiting
Stay silent if you wish
Stay quiet if you like
But if you were to speak
I would love you for it
And love you now
I still do…


Thursday, November 17, 2005


So this is my starting point today:

“This is the world of fundamentalism, of sectarianism, of certain kinds of conservative Christian religion. And, for many Christians, it is a world they are happy to have escaped. Now they don’t have to kowtow to authority figures. Now they don’t have to mindlessly agree and joylessly obey. Now they are free. They are free from an authoritarianism that kept them in perpetual spiritual childhood. But this freedom marks only a beginning, an opportunity. What are they free now to become and to do?” (John Stackhouse - Evangelical Landscapes)
Stackhouse says people have entered a state of spiritual adolescence – and perpetual at that…
I’m just as happy as the next guy that we can (although not in all contexts) escape the authoritarian mentality of many churches. I guess I just think that it is still far more pervasive and insidious than we’d like to admit. I would say we used to know who the authority figures – they were clearly identified and had matching roles. Now we still have authority figures - it’s just that they are not nearly as clearly defined and their roles no longer make a difference. We have been affected by two things: 1. the fact that nobody has to deal with anybody else’s work unless it strictly supports their position. So anybody can be in authority. Usually the qualifications are personal preference and the ability to have the latest ‘thing’ out there. So if I can just ‘mint’ something new and get people to consume it I am the authority. 2. Consumerism – So that the authority on anything becomes the thing that makes me happy. Preferably right now! Especially if I am going to fund some part of church activity I should be heralded as the next greatest guru, leader, and authority.
I can see how Stackhouse is approaching this but I don’t think we are through the woods yet and question that pops into my mind next is:
So if this is Christian adolescence and that was childhood, what will adulthood look like?
You know the Catholic church has the pope and we jump up and down about how ridiculous it is to have one single authority figure in the church. We scoff at him being the voice of God etc. And while I am not interested in aligning myself totally in that direction at least we can say that the authority is pretty well defined. The big problem I have is that we may very well have entered into a time when suspicious motivations rule the lines of authority in Christianity. Money (book deals and other shitty propaganda (like glow in the Dark WWJD bracelets), Fame (like Stackhouse says, “Just as popular culture has its trendsetters…so do evangelical Christians have their authority figures…without a critical thought in their head…”), Personal preference (again here it based on what ever will meet my Dial-A-Faith Mentality (meet my desires, justify my behavior, etc) And really that is no different that the dubious behavoir of an emporer imposing Christianity on his empire...
The problem is I know I don’t want to go back to the way it was but I really don’t know what the landscape should look like.
The other factor is (then I’ll shut up) while in know that faith needs to be internalized to be authentic I know that we are never finished with learning and growing in our faith. Is there some one out there who we can trust to help us grow? Will we be there to other grow as well?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

This is NOT a dictionary...

Announcing the launch of:
The Pickled Anthology of Words
This is my little attempt to fight with words.
So if you care about language at all maybe you will find some room for interest – seriously and or humorously.
(click on the link below or see it on the side as well)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

+ + Quotes for the mill + +

"The comparison of adolescence to slavery has more relevance than revealed at first glance. While many in mainline Christianity have become aware, however incompletely, of the dangers of racism, few have become sensitized tot he dangers of viewing the institution of adolescence as natural to the life cycle. Our churches and youth risk naturalizing the situation and institution of adolescence - a thoroughly social and somewhat oppressive construct."
-David F. White
-I'm not sure if I agree. hmmm!
"The greatest mistake that youth pastors have made is to try to understand all of their students' past experiences. The past does influence us but that is not where the problems lies. Kids are messed up because they have no clear vision of what they want to become in the future. Our job is not so much to analyze the past but to provide options for students to make a dynamic assessment (decision). Human beings can make choices – the past can limit your options. Martin Luther King presented himself for arrest because he knew the options – keep the law or go to jail. There is always an option. Always a choice. The great counseling always comes when we ask a student – “what are your dreams?” What does the future hold for you? The people perish otherwise. The church doesn’t do this much at all. The movies do it all the time. Christianity is built on a vision of the future. One of the things we have not done for young people is sufficiently define for them the Kingdom of God."
the question: is there a future for kids (adulthood) or just more of the same?

Wednesday, November 9, 2005


Apparently I am in dis ‘hood
You know da adult hood
But I feel like being an adult is a bad thing. I talk to other people who are close to my age and I find that they are having a hard time admitting that they are adults. Makes me wonder if they feel like adulthood is a bad thing, too. So much effort is directed at holding on to the vestiges of youth (why else do you see 40 year old women wearing navel revealing t-shirts?). Used to be adulthood meant something important – something respectful. But then maybe adulthood became something too much like living in a different reality. Adult talk, adult fashion (slacks), adult activity (jobs, marriage) – kind like another world! Can’t say as when I look at the adult reality at least how it used to be defined I am really excited about becoming one – or more precisely admitting that I am one.
But come on - how do you really know that you’ve become an adult anyway. Used to be 18 was the marker. Now it just means your teacher won’t go to jail for sleeping with you (Hamilton ‘04) – oh yeah and drinking. Sorry! Adult is nothing to aspire to for people who are younger. Adults spending all their energy staying ‘young’ reinforces the notion that adulthood should be avoided. And like I said maybe becoming an adult is stupid cause the whole ‘hood is corrupted – spoiled.
The researchers tell us that adolescence is expanding especially at the top end. Are we cool with that? I don’t know. Are we cool with the idea that maybe eventually there won’t such a thing as adulthood? Does this mean I might have zits all my life?
I’m so confused…

Thursday, November 3, 2005


“…you might be lost. The best strategy to take at that time, is to stop hiking and think carefully about your next move. The worst thing you can do is keep walking. You may only be just slightly lost; if you keep marching on, you will only make a small problem worse.” - - - (Michael Mouland The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Great Outdoors as quoted in This Way to Youth Ministry by Duffy Robbins.)
So the question is: are we lost?
I guess postmodern thinkers in the church would say YES – I think…
Are we not to some extent perpetually lost?
Maybe postmodernism is the, “stop hiking.”
Maybe we do need to, “think carefully about (our) next move.”
Maybe that is what McLaren is trying to do…
To me sometimes about the best we’ve done in postmodern thought in the church is point out that we are lost. I’m really ready to starting thinking and taking the NEXT move.
That doesn’t make me anti – postmodern – I think it makes me whatever-the-snot-comes-after-postmodern.

Anyways Proverbs here has some timely advice for all us Blogger types…..

Tuesday, November 1, 2005


If I could design a church’s gathering strategy it might look something like this…
1. The central gathering time would be only about community
It would be a potluck brunch on Sunday morning. There would be some strategy to mix up generations and cliques so that it would be a good opportunity to get the group interacting with each other. There would be announcements, a time of sharing and prayer, testimonies, and a benediction.
No music, no preaching.
2. Instruction: this could be done in affinity groups or generational divisions, but it would not be with the entire collected body. The lead pastor would oversee this instruction to make sure that there was direction for this instruction. He/She might be a primary instructor but would also teach others how to teach. No music here either
3. Activity: this would be a variety of events both for the larger group gathered (ie missions presentations, or goal setting rallies) or smaller group events. These would be mainly strategizing meetings that would help focus the service of the church in its community. Coordinated by Pastor
4. Celebration/Spiritual Formation: this is where music might come in. these would not be events where the whole congregation would be expected to attend but would be opportunity for people to celebrate their passion for God, practice the spiritual disciplines, and be motivated to in their daily walk.

#1 everyone is expected to attend
#2-4 is optional
A vibrant small group ministry would be essential for accountability in this system.
What do you think?
What are the weaknesses?