Friday, December 30, 2005
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
We have all met people who lie. Most likely, we see them every time we look in a mirror. But today I found myself in uncommon ground. Someone lied to me. No, that’s not the uncommon part. I’m sure it happens far more often than I realize, but normally it doesn’t matter to me. Today stands out because the person lying was so clearly trying to cover something up. And on top of that, the subject being discussed didn’t even have anything to do with me. It made me sad really, because this person was so desperate to construct this world that doesn’t exist.
And it leads me to ponder a few things:
What worlds have I created for my own comfort? What is it about reality that leads some people to flee from it? And is there anything we can do to reach out to those people and show them that in the real world, their paranoia and fears will dissolve? Is there a kind way to show them that the truth really does set you free? And when they consider themselves Christians, but they don’t have any kind of a relationship with God anymore, is it possible for them to find peace in this world – a peace that will last?
As I ponder these things, there are some points of comfort for me. I remember when I constructed my fantasy world and I am thankful that it is so far in my past, I don’t even remember what my role was in it. I know that no matter how bad a person I can be, I can’t hide that from God, so hiding it from a mere human seems a bit pointless today. I know that I still lie, for whatever silly little reasons, but the reasons are silly and not a construct of my reality. And I Thank God for that.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
So anyways, I thought it was a wonderfully Christmas non-Christmas service that fit us better than we thought it could. it was a bit dark and a bit different and to be honest, I don't look forward to the same carols and kids-in-bathrobes every year. So whether or not Ken planned it, it was a Christmas service I'll not soon forget.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Last night we worshipped in the coffeehouse. There were new faces and familiar ones in the crowd of about 50. The emphasis was on Doxology . . . what is our act of praise when we realize that every day we could lift up even the ordinary as an act of worship. We heard from an artist on a journey of his own. We experienced/connected by creating a work of an art from ordinary objects. And we were led on a visual exploration of creativity with images and music that would blow your mind.
But it was afterwards . . . when I let go of the idea that there was some kind of timetable and just listened to the troubled young woman grappling with friendship and faith issues, voiced a blessing to a dear woman who will face many new opportunities in the coming days, prayed with a guy whose mere presence blesses me, and engaged with several others. Noodles and mushrooms at 2 a.m. topped off the evening.
I don't know how to bless this group who struggle with financial concerns while absolutely serving as a voice to a community only a few blocks from the red light district and a few minutes from a nearby university. But I pray I can.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Changing your worldview/paradigm is never easy. There are real costs associated with it. There is something to be gained but there are also things that must be given up. One becomes spiritually homeless.
“To really get the impact of how different the medieval model was, we could imagine what would happen if we could take two of you students and send you back into the fifteenth century. Nobody could possible believe that you could be Christians. Of course, first there would be the obvious cultural issues – for example, even a medieval prostitute wouldn’t have been seen in public dressed like you – and your fine haircut would have made people either laugh at you or fear you were a witch of some sort. But on a deeper level, if you told them you didn’t believe in the pope and you didn’t accept that kings ruled by divine right and you didn’t believe that God created a universe consisting of concentric spheres of ascending perfection, and if you let it slip that you agreed with Copernicus that the earth rotated around the sun, you would surely be tried as heretics and perhaps burned at the stake.” To the Christian culture of medieval Europe, none of you today could be considered real Christians.
Is it possible that we moderns have similarly intertwined a different but equally contingent worldview with our eternal faith? What if we live at the end of the modern period, at a time when our modern worldview is crumbling, just as the medieval one began to do in the sixteenth century?
“Most modern people love to relativize the viewpoints of others against the unquestioned superiority of their own modern viewpoint. But in a way, you cross the threshold into post modernity the moment you turn your critical scrutiny from others to yourself, when you relativize your own modern viewpoint. When you do this, everything changes. It is like a conversion. You can’t go back. You begin to see that what seemed like pure, objective certainty really depends heavily on a subjective preference for you personal viewpoint.”
I believe that the modern version of Christianity that you have learned from your parents, your Sunday School teacher, and even your pastors is destined to be a medieval cathedral. It’s over or almost over. Most of your peers live in a different world from you. They have already crossed the line into the postmodern world. But few of you have. Why? Because you want to be faithful to the Christian upbringing you have received, which is so thoroughly enmeshed with modernity. One of the most important choices you will ever make will be made in the next several years. Will you continue to live loyally in the fading world, in the waning light of the setting sun of modernity? Or will you venture ahead in faith, to practice your faith and devotion to Christ in the new emerging culture of post modernity? I want you to invest your lives not in keeping the old ship afloat but in designing and building and sailing a new ship for new adventures in a new time in history, as intrepid followers of Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Wish you could see the coffeehouse community I am in at the moment. The guy i am staying with used to be in a hip hop group . . . was once offered opening act to LL Cool J in his rap days but turned it down bc it didn't align with their principles. Now he runs a graphic design group (he began as a graffitti artist) and this coffeehouse and is trying to build a community via this place which is not too many blocks from the red light district and about 3 min walk from a university campus. Pretty cool!
Blessings on you all!
Monday, December 12, 2005
Tents: Wow, for those who were able to get in the tent it was really a great way to experience a little something different. I know Ken was going for a hey, how would you like to live in this for 40 years atmosphere, but to me, it was something else. When I sat in there alone, I felt isolated. I moved to the back and all I could see was Tent – and the screen with the words to the songs – but I couldn’t see anyone sitting around the church. I was alone in that tent, even in the midst of people. And I thought, boy, how isolating it must have been to travel in a tent for 40 years. To know that somewhere out there is a promise of salvation, but here, now, and for another – who knows how long – you have nothing but you and your faith. Then I thought how different it would be if everyone from the church crammed into the tent. Not a lot of breathing room. And you know, in 40 years, families grow and parents and children and aunts and uncles may all be living side by side with no room to move around. So the tent is a place that can isolate you, or confine you, depending on the circumstance. I’m glad I have air conditioning…
Evil: So, when Ken asked what we wanted to talk about and he gave us 3 questions to choose from, forgive me if I don’t remember them as well as Ken stated them in the moment… A)Was Jesus a public figure like our current televangelists, or did he stay behind the scenes, B)What evil pretensions did he expose, C) Why did the Jews say he was selling snake oil? I commented back that I think it’s a trick and the 3 are tied together. Honestly, I still think that is true. Jesus didn’t make himself famous, he continually pointed everyone to his Dad. He said, “Hey, it isn’t me – check out the guy in charge – He is the one you should bow down before – I am a man on earth like you.” He exposed the men who instead of glorifying God, glorified themselves. He spoke out against those that said “We are following this and that law and we should be crowned for it and treated better because we are religious leaders”, because they took the glory to themselves instead of directing it appropriately to God. The reason the people spoke against him is stated in the text – the Jewish leaders were intimidating. So, in order to be sure to stay on the good graces of those in charge, people had to say he was a scoundrel – because if he was right, that meant the leaders were wrong and let’s face it, standing up to a leader isn’t always easy – can we say “Modern church”?
But then, listening to Lita, I do have to remember something very important… I am no better by condemning them than they are for condemning me. We each have our path to God and instead of looking at the toothpick in their eye, I have to take a good long look at the telephone pole in mine – not to mention the wires dangling from it with deadly electricity ready to shoot out and hurt those around me. What snake oil do I sell? Who’s back to I speak behind? Who do I draw attention to instead of focusing on God? Yeah. Ouch.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
I just started a new book written by two professors at Fuller Seminary and found this quote.
"The church must recognize that we are in the midst of a cultural revolution and that nineteenth-century (or older) forms of church do not communicate clearly to twenty-first-century cultures. A major transformation in the way the church understands culture must occur for the chruch to negotiate the changed ministry environment of the twenty-first century. The church is a modern institution in a postmodern world, a fact that is often widely overlooked. The church must embody the gospel within the culture of posmodernity for the Western church to survive the twenty-first century."
This quote adds more to the growing body of evidence that says that what we're doing at Wellspring is the right thing and is the future. I'm really glad that we're not lagging too far behind. I'm also really glad that you're making the trip with me. I know that sometimes if feels scary - but that's o.k. - because I think we're on the right path.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Wellspring has the opportunity to assist a new group in getting started. This is a group of young adults that I met last spring when I was in Modesto. I am really jazzed! This really fits my personal calling and vision but I want you to share in it with me. I want this to be a ministry of Wellspring not just of Ken. I'm sure this raises many questions so fire away. We'll talk face to face about this often in the coming days.
We will meet on the Doxology art project with other Doxology partners -- Rob, the artist; Aimee, the co-curator and his partner; Mark, the pastor and multi-media expert; Shannon, the project manager; and whoever else may come into the dialogue. The discussions for 3-4 days will be around next steps for taking the experience to other locales in the world. These folks love each other but like all communities made up of humans we'll need your prayers as we hash out directions, potential new directions, details, etc.
I'll enjoy the sites and sounds of Germany with this crew and then Mark, Shannon and a newly arriving Roger and I will spend a long weekend exploring the nearby Alps, Black Forest, and local culture.
Roger and I depart for Vietnam on Dec. 20 and will arrive on the 21st. We have a great itinerary worked out and Ken and Becky will have details should anyone want a peek. After a short hop over into Cambodia, we leave that part of the world on Jan. 6, overnite in Frankfurt and return home on January 7.
I'd appreciate all prayers you might offer for traveling, interacting with people, and being wise enough to take in all that I'm being blessed to recieve!
Blessings on you all as you make your way through the coming weeks. ENJOY!
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
This Sunday we will be hosting a group of pastors from out of town again.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Now we've done it.
Please note that this is not Ken's blog or Karen's blog or insert name here's blog. This blog is for the Wellspring community to share thoughts, ideas, questions, concerns, etc.
You can invite others to join in. Comments can be added anonymously or you can use your name. We hope "Wellspringers" will feel free to use names! But do as you wish. If you want to add a post (an entry like this one), contact Ken and he can give you the details on how that's done.
I wonder if I’m underemphasizing the ways that modernity twisted and deformed the Christian message.
All of our “Christian” institutions – seminaries, radio stations, denominations, Bible studies, and so on – are in fact modern inventions. Within the world of the church, almost every influence is a modern one.
I feel that we are potentially on the verge of a genuine spiritual awakening. The spiritual resurgence that I see brewing is unconventional and even irreverent at times, largely developing outside the boundaries of our institutional religion.
There is a story about a guy who had two objects hanging from his rear-view mirror: a Christian crucifix and a Native American dream catcher. My guess is that this driver respects Christianity but finds something lacking in the modern version that we have presented him with. Native American spirituality, represented by the dream catcher, is more connected to creation. It’s more holistic, more mystical; it fulfils what he feels is missing in modern Christianity.
I’m scared. The kinds of things I’m thinking will surely be considered heresy. How many Christians do I know who could accept that there is a difference between “our version of Christianity” and any other version of Christianity that could possibly be “right”? Even harder to accept might be the idea that while the modern version was right (by “right,” of course, I mean appropriate, not perfect) for five hundred years (just as the medieval version had been appropriate for a thousand years), the modern version might not be right for the next leg of the journey. Wow, that sounds relativistic.
But maybe I’m still not going far enough. Maybe talking about our version of Christianity being appropriate to modernity is a cop-out. I can’t get the thought out of my mind that our modern version of Christianity may have been so shaped by modernity’s pressures as to be severely deformed, distorted. But we can’t even see it.
Lord, can I trust you beyond my own theological understanding? Can I acknowledge you even in the midst of what feels a lot like doubt?
• Dan is a pastor who is thinking about quitting. He’s struggling with his own faith journey.
• This guy is safe to talk to – he understands.
• It was a simple matter of intellectual honesty. My faith has plenty of room for science, and my science only strengthens my faith – and I guess that just flows out of who I am.
• What makes you so sure I’m a liberal? I used to be a fundamentalist. I’ve found that liberals can be fundamentalist too. Liberals are often just fundamentalists with a different set of beliefs.
• You have a modern faith, a faith you developed in your homeland of modernity. But you’re immigrating to a new land, a postmodern world. You feel like you don’t fit in either world. You can’t make the transition to the other side alone. You need a sponsor – someone who has already settled and acclimated, who can help you do the same.
- 2500 B.C. Ancient World
- A.D. 500 Medieval World
- A.D. 1500 Modern World
- A.D. 2000 Postmodern World
• To be postmodern doesn’t imply being antimodern or non-modern.
• Discuss ten characteristics of the modern age.
• I believe it possible to describe postmodernity – the broad culture defined by its having moved beyond modernity – without having to go too deeply into postmodernism as a philosophy.
• Whatever postmodern philosophy is, it is still in its infancy.
• In a new philosophy’s early stages, it tends to be negative – to focus on what’s wrong with the prevailing school of thought. It takes time for the phase that deconstructs the prevailing view to give way to a phase where a new view is articulated, a new vision is proposed. We aren’t in that phase yet.