Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The following is from Moby's web-site. If you don't know the guy he's apopular DJ with some pretty intresting thoughts. This was taken from moby.com in the journal section. (props to Mark Berry for mentioning this site in his blog)
Read it, pondered it, thought it might be worth discussing:
BTW, it's a little long but worth it:
"i don't want to burst anyone's(or everyone's)bubble, but i'm a weird sort of christian myself.i don't go to church.i find dogmatic and judgemental christians to be just as offensive as dogmatic and judgemental muslims, jazz fans, pure-bred dog owners, etc(for the record:nothing wrong with islam, jazz, or pure-bred dog owners. my criticism is reserved for dogma and judgementalism).i won't ever argue with anyone about religion or claim that i'm right and they're wrong.but in my own weird and subjective way i'm a weird little christian.i believe that there's something somehow divine about the teachings of christ, and the fact that christ's teachings compel us to be selfless and forgiving and humble and loving and non-judgemental.this is one of the reasons that i get so annoyed with contemporary christianity and it's seemingly comprehensive disconnect from the actual teachings of christ.but, nonetheless, i find it odd when people come to moby.com or myspace to say 'moby, we christians do this/that/etc'.i kind of want to say, 'uh, dudes(notice the contemporary colloquialism, that's me trying to fit in)i'm one of you, ok?'christ compels us to be better than we usually are.christ compels us to forgive those who've wronged us.christ compels us to love our enemies.christ compels us to be humble and non-judgemental.christ compels us to care for the neediest.christ compels us to be non-violent.christ compels us to recognize that the material world and all of our posessions will ultimately turn into dust, so we shouldn't get too attached to our bodies, our lives, and our stuff.and, most importantly(in many ways), christ compels us to love one another and look after one another, and to see all people as our own family.so when i call myself a christian it's because i find christ's character and teachings to be incredibly compelling and, well, divine(cos they're too weird/impractical/perfect to have ever been invented by a human being).all of the other stuff: virgin birth, apocryphal gospels, did christ have a wife/brother/twin/dog/etc?,i find to be interesting window dressing.if someone came to me and said: 'i have proof that there was no virgin birth and that christ had a brother and a wife and a boston terrier!' i'd say: 'ok. but his teachings are still pretty remarkable, regardless of the circumstances of his life, right?'i also have great respect for other religions, especially those that stress the virtues of love and compassion and forgiveness and humility.and i'll never, not for a second, say 'what i believe is right, and what you believe is wrong.' what i believe is what i believe. it's subjective and it makes sense to me and it changes as i change and as my experience in the world changes.constancy is not, in my opinion, defined through rigidity, but rather through love and adherence even through changing circumstances.and as for christmas, i hope that everyone has a wonderful christmas, regardless of how you choose to celebrate it(or not celebrate it).i always hope that somehow we can see past the fun and awesome pagan trappings of christmas(trees, mistletoe, december 25th, candy canes, etc) to remember that on christmas we celebrate the birthday(even if jesus wasn't actually born anywhere near december 25th)of a man who wanted us all to be more forgiving, more compassionate, less judgemental, less violent, and less materialistic.ultimately christmas is about celebrating the birthday of a man who wanted us to love one another and to look after one another regardless of our religious or political or ethnic or gender differences.thanks, and merry christmas.moby
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Stage one is the Intuitive-Projective stage. At stage 1 a child might have a view based on fantasy or what they have picked up from TV.
Stage two is the Mythical-Literal stage. By stage 2 children are beginning to take on the stories and beliefs of the community and are able to solidify them into some sort of narrative.
Stage three is the Synthetic-Conventional stage. At stage three many adults fall into the trap of thinking that any further change is unnecessary. People at this stage are loyalists who hold deep convictions but while their beliefs and values are often deeply held they are typically not examined critically and are therefore tacitly held to. That is, they know what they know but are generally unable to tell you how they know something is true except by referring to an external authority outside of themselves. The most common examples of this are “the Bibles says so” or “my pastor teaches this.”
Stage four is the Individuative-Reflective stage. At this stage people begin to critique the beliefs, teachings and practices of the group. Stage four is about the realization that what lies beneath the apparent simplicity of faith is unsymmetrical complexity. Anyone who has been through this stage or knows someone who has will know that it can be lonely and protracted. St. John of the Cross described this stage as the “Dark Night of the Soul.” This is a hard and narrow path that mystics from every creed agree is an essential part of the road to mature faith.
At stage four people raise doubts and call things into question. Churches that are stuck around stage 3 become intolerant and unchanging. Many Christians give up and leave the church at this stage.
Stage five is the Conjunctive stage. Stage 5 is a place of humility. At this stage doubts and criticisms aren’t extinguished, but people are able to hold things in tension and appreciate mystery. People at this stage have a deep simplicity, yet realize the “organic and interconnected character of things.”
Stage six is the Universalizing stage. The people in stage six are not perfect, but they challenge the obsessions with survival, security, and significance. They threaten the standards of righteousness, goodness, and prudence. People at this stage challenge the status quo and often die at the hands of those whom they hope to change. There are few who make it to this stage.
“It’s important to note that one can never force individuals from stage to stage. It is no good egging someone on to Stage 4; what is important is that the path is clear for them to travel when they find their way there in their own time.”
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
PTL upbringing gives Jay Bakker an unconventional view of religion
By AARON BARNHART
For Jay Bakker, the son of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, loving God meant always having to say you were sorry.
"I had this idea of an angry God, that everything I did was bad and wrong," he says about his childhood, which until the age of 13 was spent living, literally, in a theme park, Heritage USA, built by the millions of dollars the Bakkers raised through their Praise the Lord ministry.
Despite his seemingly idyllic upbringing, "I thought I was losing my salvation," Bakker says. Those feelings of guilt only intensified in 1987, when a sex and accounting fraud scandal brought the PTL empire crashing down.
Eventually his parents would divorce, Jim Bakker would go to prison and Jay would spend his teen years adrift in a haze of drugs and alcohol.
Now rehabilitated and married, Jay Bakker, who turns 31 later this month, is a minister of the Gospel himself. Tattooed, pierced, unordained, unshaven and unconventional, Bakker preaches out of storefronts to mostly 20- and 30-somethings who, like him, find the old-time religion has nothing to say to them.
And like his father, Bakker is on TV, though only for a few weeks. One Punk Under God, a documentary about his life, airs for six weeks beginning at 8 tonight on the Sundance Channel.
Q: What was it like growing up inside Heritage USA, a theme park with a 500-room hotel?
A: My life was very guarded, but we had a lot of fun at Heritage, too. We'd run all around playing cops and robbers. Some little old lady would come around the corner, and we'd be like, "Freeze! Miami vice!"
Q: You don't seem to have a lot of traumatic memories of that time.
A: I have traumatic memories of when we lost PTL.
But, you know, I was heavy as a kid. I got made fun of a lot. That was hard.
There were kids who said stuff. There was this (DJ) who would always make fun of my mom on morning radio.
There were still tough times. I got in trouble, got punished, spanked. I had to go pick my own switch once.
Q: What was that year like for you, the year it came apart?
A: I was losing my friends. I wasn't able to go back to school. I wasn't able to play with some of my friends because their parents worked for my parents, and Jerry Falwell (who was brought in to run the church) didn't want anybody to be seen with the Bakkers.
We went to live in Gatlinburg, Tenn. My dad owned that house in Gatlinburg. He owned the parsonage. Jerry Falwell kicked us out. They had the (Heritage) security guards make sure we didn't take anything out. I remember sitting in my room as a little kid crying because I couldn't stay in my house anymore. We were forced to leave, and I couldn't understand why.
I saw my dad cry for the first time. He was on the phone with Jerry Falwell, and he was saying, "I'm only asking for one thing. Take care of the partners. Just make sure you take care of the people." And he was bawling, and that scared the daylights out of me. My dad always had a heart for people, but I never knew how much.
Q: When you look at other TV evangelists, was your father like them or not?
A: Well, in some ways he was, and in other ways he wasn't. I mean, (there were) the constant telethons because you have to pay television bills and staff bills. But if you put his show next to Christian television today, there weren't a lot of gold and white and red Las Vegas-looking sets. It was, like, stucco and a couch (on the set). My mom did shows on penile implants and did interviews with people who were dying of AIDS in the 1980s when nobody was. They did comedy. They had a live band. It was almost like Johnny Carson.
Q: Your dad also hopped off the Pat Robertson-Jerry Falwell political express.
A: He did. I remember he was asked by George (H.W.) Bush to be mentioned because he had a lot of pull at the time. And he was like, "No." People were so fed up with all that stuff (preachers in politics) that a lot of people's anger was pushed toward my family. But they weren't involved in politics.
Q: I would think after all you went through, the one occupation you would cross off your career list would be "minister."
A: See, me and my dad and my mom, we've all had our downfalls and our conflicts, but my dad instilled in me to help people. I remember after PTL fell, he took me to the toy store and said, "I want you to pick out a bunch of toys. They're not for you." We went and spent Christmas with this really poor family. It made a huge impact on me. When I realized what grace meant — the unconditional gift, the undeserved favor, the reflection of God in our lives, and that God loved me no matter who I was or what I'd done — I realized I was going to be a minister.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Fortunatly I know some people who can probably put these guys to work tomorrow. But it makes me think about those that don't have work or can't get work for some reason or another. It makes me thankful for where God has led me. It makes me thankful for what he's blessed me with. Even when I'm pissin' and moanin' about my car not running right or my house doesn't look right or the dog tore a hole in the screen or the carpet is dirty I aught to be thankful.
So here it is Ken this is what I'm thankful for:
I'm thankful for a God that loves me (in spite of me being me)
I'm thankful for family that loves me (in spite of me being me)
I'm thankful for people who are willing to sacrifice there lives for our country (they're the real hereos)
I'm thankful for friends who accept me for who I am
I'm thankful for having something to piss and moan about.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
First, without the community we call Wellspring I would have quit long ago. I’m grateful to all of you for being willing to get out of your comfortable box and be on this journey with me. I know it’s scary, uncertain and often uncomfortable. Thanks for having my back. Thanks for trusting me. Thanks for making the ride a fun one.
Second, I want to say thanks to some friends who keep checking on us and who keep believing in us. Thanks for your friendship and your trust. Thanks to Rusty, Scott, Tom, Ben, Jim, Paula, Linda, Paulette, Bob, Robert, Galen, Rick, Karen and I’m sure a few others who I’m not thinking of right now.
Third, I want to say thanks to several family members. As with the others, thanks for believing in me and trusting me even though you don’t understand completely what I’m doing. Thanks for your encouragement and support. Thanks to Peggy & Don, Nancy & Larry. My parents are amazing – thank you.
Thanks to Rachel, Jason, Abby & Josh for being curious.
Fourth, I want to say thanks to my amazing wife Becky. Thanks for letting me experiment and be “out of the box” even though it means less security. Thanks for being patient with me. Thanks for having my back. There is no one that supports me or defends me more than you. You are the “lioness”.
Fifth, thank you God. Thank you for the gift of your Spirit that keeps guiding me. Thank you for “peace” that is beyond my ability to understand. Thank you for provision and protection. Thank you for letting “me” do this.
I’m thankful are you thankful?
Thursday, October 26, 2006
We believe in Jesus Christ who healed the sick, the blind, and the paralyzed and even raised the dead. He cast out evil powers and confronted corrupt leaders. He died for the sins of the world, rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father. He sent the Holy Spirit. We believe in Jesus who taught in word and example, sign and wonder. He taught the way of love for God and neighbor, for stranger and enemy, for those rejected and those ignored. We believe in Jesus, who called disciples, led them, gave them a new purpose and sent them out to preach good news. He celebrated, he sang, he feasted, he prayed and he wept. We believe in Jesus, so we follow him, learn his ways, seek to obey his teachings and live by his example. We have not seen him, but we love him. His words are words of eternal life to us, and to know him is to know the true and living God. We do not see him now, but we believe in Jesus. Amen.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Where is the awe and reverence of God in me, in the church?
As a young boy I can remember walking toward the alter and upon reaching it genuflecting in awe of God. As a child I did not have the baggage nor the routine that the priest must had and so this small but important act was genuine. My lungs would hold my breath in until I had passed by. This is God after all He created me and everything else. Does the emerging church care?
Where is the authenticity and love in me, in the church?
I did not start my quest to know Jesus until I found myself in Waco Texas in the mid 80’s. Young ladies whose fathers were Protestant pastors interrogated me poolside about my faith. Statements like “you are the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me” alarmed me at first. Was my mother, the Our Lady of the Lake nun, really going to hell? Should I remove the bumper sticker on my Camaro “Speed on brother hell ain’t half full”? What I did do was to buy a Bible and started to read it. I realized these Baptist whacko’s had more knowledge about their faith than me so if I learn more then I could argue my case just as they did. Funny thing was that people talked one way and acted out in daily routine completely opposite. I had to move to Houston to actually find a young guy, a peer living out a life with power who caught my attention. OK this guys different, he talks and walks this Jesus thing. Is there a seminar on Discipling Power and Conversion say WC 102-surely Hybel’s must have one and under 60 minutes! Does the emerging church care?
The Holy Spirit
Where is the power and authority in me, in the church?
About 3 years ago I expanded my worship experience to something called Intercessory Worship, a mix of prayer-intercession and worship. These folks are bonafide worship hounds and I started to see and hear terms like “angelic portals”, prophetic prayer encounters, and others. Having experienced a couple amazing signs and wonders I could not help but think that this was the missing ingredient in my walk-it was not. I happen to love Benny Hinn! Not even the juggernaught Joel Osteen ever packed 1.1 million people (in India) into a 3-day healing event with miracle after miracle. Who do I call to cast out demons or heal the sick in the church of 3 songs, prayer, sermon, offering and 1 song? Does the emerging church care?
The next time I make the sign of the cross and I don’t know when that will be I want it to be different, with awe, special, with power and authority, love and compassion. The right word might be wholeness.
Friday, October 20, 2006
and all can safely live.
a place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of christ shall end divisions,
all are welcome...all are welcome...all are welcome in this place.
let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true,
where all God's children dare to seek
to dream God's reign anew.
here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God's grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus.
let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine, and wheat;
a banquet hall on holy ground
where peace and justice meet.
here the love of God through jesus
is revealed in time and space;
as we share in christ the feast that frees us.
let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve, and teach,
and live the Word they've known.
here the outcast and the stranger
bear the image of God's face;
let us bring and end to fear and danger.
let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
all are welcome...all are welcome...all are welcome in this space.
karen read this a church one sunday. i believe it's from an irish song...? (help me out kc, i'd love to give credit where credit is due)
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Christians are not intellectually honest – they’re close minded and rigid.
Christians are legalistic – they make up rules and impose them on others.
Christians are not authentic – they are flashy, slick and showy but not real.
Christians are mean spirited – they lack love and are angry.
Christians feel the need to try to “fix” everyone else and are preachy, judgmental and negative.
The Church is an “organized religion” with a political agenda.
The Church is male dominated and female oppressive.
The Church is homophobic.
Christians think they know the truth and know the exclusive way to God and that everyone else is wrong.
Christians take the Bible too literally and are fundamentalists.
Monday, October 09, 2006
By M.I. Torres
Highly regarding conversation and dialogue, the "emerging church" has found its niche in coffee houses. Today’s Christians no longer have to separate daily consumerism and Sunday worship. A group in Tomball has joined the two in order to create a welcoming place for all people.
Main Street Crossing is a coffee shop and event facility located on Tomball’s Main Street. The establishment hosts a well-stocked coffee bar complete with full meal appetizers and desserts. You could walk in on Monday and order a chicken salad wrap and frapaccino. On Friday night, you could play Texas Hold ‘Em with Ken Shuman, the shop’s manager, or hang out and listen to a local musician. Sundays at 4 p.m., you’d find Wellspring, a community ministry that is led in worship utilizing guitars and bongos from the stage and then led in discussion by that same Ken Shuman.
The foundation of Wellspring was set five years ago when Shuman came together with 13 other believers in order to start a church in the area. The idea was to start a traditional church where the founding seven couples and their fellow Baptist believers could grow and reach out to the community. But the group had something different stirring in them, and they weren’t sure what to do or how to go about it. Their research took them to sources covering the postmodern emerging church. But even then, no one had any idea that that was the way they’d go.
“In order to go where we’ve gone, we had to become map makers rather than map readers. It takes a different kind of person to be a map maker. Most people are readers and they want the map,” says Shuman.
A Doctor of Evangelistic Church Growth, Shuman was familiar with the modern way of the Baptist church but not fully familiar with the postmodern. “For some of us, we felt that this was already in us or that God put it in us because we love this postmodern culture.”
The more Shuman and the group studied the postmodern community, the more it made sense to start such a community in the area.
Five years later, Wellspring and Main Street Crossing are still growing and inviting anyone who’d like to join. Wellspring's current community includes 22-year-olds discussing scripture with 60-year-olds. All share a love for the growth of their community as well as their own spiritual journeys. And no matter what age, they have come to agree on a nontraditional church reaching people on all levels of spirituality and faith.
Juli Allen, on staff at Main Street Crossing and an intern studying Wellspring's approach to ministry, sees the church/coffee shop merger as an open environment for nonbelievers and Christians alike. “Instead of separating the secular and spiritual realm that people are forced to do or choose to do, we don’t have to. People going to an emergent church live missionally. We see God and spirituality in everything.”
The Wellspring community tries to keep the setting as unprejudiced as the discussion needs it to be. Members and visitors are free to ask questions.
“It’s a safe place where people can be vulnerable to ask the questions all of us have but are too afraid to ask in a traditional church because we have to stay in a traditional box,” says Allen.
The regulars of Wellspring have grown to depend on such openness to keep their faith edified. When asked what the setting has offered as opposed to a traditional church, group member Diane Napier says, “Once you build true community, it doesn’t matter what happens. You just want to be around them. It gets in your blood. It’s just about being together and feeling safe when asking questions.”
The question-filled discussions have brought people from all walks of life to take a look at what true faith and true church mean to them. Coming from a traditional background, Don Reynolds states, “A lot of things taught in church aren’t necessarily right when you turn around and look back.”
Wellspring makes it a point to welcome such thoughts with open arms and leave them open when faced with these realizations. Many questions are echoed during the staple discussions. Becky Shuman, Ken’s wife, sees the questions as opportunities for everyone to learn. She says, “I don’t have a lot of the questions or issues as everyone in this room, but I might next week. And it’s very freeing to ask those questions. I think it’s really cool that we’re all so different and yet the same.”
Mark Topping, another regular at the home group discussions, agrees with the postmodern ideology and open discussions it allows, stating, “Most of the time in traditional church, you sit back and listen and if you disagree, you have to do it at home. For me, it’s about being here, being together, discussing.”
Rodney Mayfield, another intern who moved from California to be part of the Wellspring experience and a 20-something who is also on staff at Main Street Crossing, differentiates the work at the coffee shop from being on staff at a traditional church. “Kingdom living is so much simpler than what church has taught me.”
Allen agrees and places an emphasis on the opportunity of being involved with a new movement. When asked what realizations she’s had while helping realize Wellspring’s vision, Allen states, “In the Bible, when Paul would arrive somewhere, the first thing he did was build a tent, make some money and then spend his time preaching. Working at Main Street is like my tent. I can hold a job like the rest. I can choose to spend my free time planning sermons, but I’m still human. I’m not an elevated Christian.”
Combining sermons with the daily brew may create the liberated environment these believers seek and invite others into, but some may question if edification is as free to be had when the discussions include so many questions. Allen says yes, adding that she feels both privileged and challenged to be working in a place where she’s accepted for who she is as a Christian and as a seeker. “They ask, ‘Do you pray?’ ‘Why does God exist?’ ‘Who is in heaven?’ They challenge me and ask me these questions and I never was in an environment where that was thought to be okay,” she says.
The Wellspring community feels welcomed by each other and seeks to make all others feel the same when visiting their groups, joining their discussions or looking for a new community. Ken Shuman’s intended church from five years ago has become something he hadn’t planned, but the development is in spirit with the uncertain community that he is now reaching through his ministry. Says Shuman, “I’m not saying I’m right or that I’m doing it correctly. But I am a whole lot better than I used to be.” He treats the growth of his church the way he treats the community -- with open arms.
Main Street Crossing is located at 111 West Main Street in Tomball. Poker Leagues meet on Monday and Tuesday along with local performing acts Friday nights. Wellspring meets at the shop every Sunday at 4 p.m. and holds a home group on Thursdays. For more information, visit www.mainstreetcrossing.com.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The Roman Way: The Roman model for reaching people is:
· Present the Christian message;
· Invite them to decide to believe in Christ and become Christians;
· If they decide positively, welcome them into the church and its fellowship.
The Roman model seems very logical to us because most American evangelicals are scripted by it. We explain the gospel, they accept Christ, we welcome them into the church! Presentation, Decision, Assimilation. What could be more logical than that?
The Celtic Way:
You first establish community with people, or bring them into the fellowship of your community of faith.
Within fellowship, you engage in conversation, ministry, prayer, and worship.
In time, as they discover that they now believe, you invite them to commit.
In the Celtic model people are allowed to belong before they believe. The Celtic model reflects the adage that, for most people, “Christianity is more caught than taught!”
Most people experience the faith through relationships, they
encounter the gospel through a community of faith. Becoming a Christian involves a process that takes time.
The contention has been made that the Celtic way is more effective with postmodern Western populations than the Roman way. The ongoing contagious common life of a congregation that permits people to discover faith for themselves, at their own pace, now appears to be much more influential than traditional forms of evangelism.
We at Wellspring have embraced the Celtic way. In spite of any perceived “dangers” we believe that the Celtic way is the best way to impact people in our postmodern world.
Here is the rub. To be effective with the Celtic way we must be a “safe” place. We must be a people who allow others room to question, doubt, be angry and believe things we don’t. Most people I talk to aren’t interested in talking to a Christian because most Christians refuse to dialogue. So how can we provide a safe place and at the same time share what we believe without being offensive or condescending?
Is Wellspring a safe place? Would you feel comfortable bringing someone with different views to one of our group meetings? Why?
Friday, September 22, 2006
"to log in...choose an identity"
i like that. i like that the thing i see right before i log in to our wellspring space is "choose an identity".
that's what you guys are doing. you're allowing me to grow and to figure out just who "juli" is. you're giving me space...
some of you may not know or not have noticed, but i won't be able to be with you guys for the next two weeks. count it...that's 3 thursday and 2 sundays. that's ridiculous. thing is, i agreed to help nanny for some friends. they're in italy and i've got their 3 kiddos.
(yes becky shuman, juli is playing mommy. who would have thought it!)
so i'm sad...and kinda lonely. i read ken's blog today about y'alls discussion group last night and i almost teared up.
i miss my family.
so there. nothing profound...simply wanted to say thanks for always allowing juli to be juli and for letting me fail, and grow, and apologize, and learn, and back-track, and experience.
i love you all. so much.
We’re so tempted to preach. We’re so tempted to try to “fix”. We’re so tempted to get angry, to be offended, to disengage. We’re so tempted to go somewhere where everyone sees things the way we see them. But this is community! This is a community that offers space! I hate it, oh but I love it!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Why is it that we are so rigid and narrow minded that if someone disagrees with us they become the enemy?
Why is it more important to us to be right than it is to be loving?
Why is it that we are so afraid to dialogue about anything other than what we already believe? Why is it that we’re so sure of our beliefs that we won’t even consider the fact that we may have gotten some pieces wrong?
Why does it seem that the "gospel" isn't "good news" to many people anymore?
Have we done something to distort or miscommunicate the original message of Jesus?
What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?
What should a discipled of Jesus be doing?
How do you make a disciple?
Where do you start - if you want to address the injustice in the world?
How do I make the world a better place?
Why is it so hard to really live in community?
I have other questons - but these will do for now.
Monday, September 04, 2006
That rooster crows a thousand times a day and I cannot even hear it anymore.
I realised this about 5 am this morning. Ken has a big echo and what we may not hear at first, may be heard as it is reflected back.
I heard a sermon this morning about Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. I've heard the story many times, but it seems that each time I hear it something new comes of it. Maybe I'm just learning to pay attention better. The speaker drew a parrallel with the Emergent Church. Jesus spoke his message to her in a way similar to the way the Emergent church is passing the message to all who will come and listen. Without condemnation and judgement. A message for all who will hear. The woman spoke with Jesus and asked questions of Him without fear of being wrong or not using the "right" language. She was so excited about the message that she forgot the reason she was there and ran off without her bucket to go tell everyone. I know this is probably not WOW material to alot of folks but for me it confirmed again the journey I'm on with Wellspring.
Then to go sing and praise and worship this afternoon.(I think if you want to see what heaven wili be like, come sing and praise and worship at Wellspring) This afternoon I saw again how much God is willing to put up with from me and still call me His own. When Ken asked how we might have denied Christ, it made me think of the many ways I deny Him and sometimes I don't even realize it. Do I deny Him with actions, words or the lack of actions or words. It's comforting to know that as much as I mess up and turn my back on God, His grace covers me.
And finally to top off the day, a TV version of Braveheart. I'm sure there are parallels with the Modern church and the Emergent church in there somewhere but I'm too tired to try and figure them out. What sticks in my head is a quote by William Wallace:"Every man dies, not every man really lives." My prayer is that I would strive to live every day for the Lord and that His glory be the goal. That doesn't always happen. Some would even say I fail at that more often than not. I'm praying that I get better at it.
I sure hate to miss a good weekend camping. And I hate that Baby Girl's asthma is acting up and she's not feeling well(please pray). But I'm sure glad I was able to hear several good words and alot of good worship.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Hey everybody! I just wanted to let you know that I will be meeting with Paul from CMS (church missionary society) tomorrow at 3pm UK time.
This is about the possibility of me getting my visa through CMS. I would really appreciate your prayers for this meeting and for a wide open door of invitation to be here!
You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Click on this link and listen to this report from Iraq. I heard this on NPR this week and it has stuck with me. I'm not interested in the war aspect of the story but the religeous. How can folks follow the laws and dictates of a religeous leader when more and more repressive and oppressive proclamations come out? I cannot believe that anywhere in the Koran does it say you must avert your eyes from a goats behind or be condemned, and then murder the shephard. Or you must arrange vegetables in a certain way that do not suggest ...something. And that people will take up arms and murder those who "tempt" you with these displays is even more outrageous.
I'm not looking to point a discussion a certain direction, just to get your opinions on this.
Monday, August 07, 2006
tuesday the 8th: becky's bday-we'll be celebrating at papadeaux off 1960 at 6:00pm. if you'd like to join us, let someone know so we can include you in the reservations.
thursday the 10th: pat's bday-becky's parents are coming into town and we'll be joining the shuman's at their new house in tomball for group and celebration of pat's birthday. ken's planning on grilling so join us around 7.
saturday the 12th: not juli's bday (it's actually ryan's)-we're going to be hanging out in the houston area if you'd like to join us. karen's helping plan the event so you know it's gotta be great.
hope everyone can join in on some of the bday fun!!!
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Just follow these directions to get insight into life, or maybe not:
* Go south on 249. (Juli, that means take a left if you were driving down 2920 from Mainstreet)
* Take the Grant road exit
* Turn right onto grant road
* Turn left onto Copeland/Balcrest.
* Turn left at Mist
* Turn right onto Timbermeadow
* Go to the back of the street, our house is on the left. Look for the truck.
See everyone at around 7:00. We'll throw on a pot of spagehetti.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Monday, July 31, 2006
is wellspring all talk?
i've been thinking about school starting soon and the fact that everyone will be busy as bees once again, and i'm worried.
what will happen to our day laborers? what will happen to the fire we all had in our bellies??? now, i know that everyone has been out of town, out of the country, or just plain out of it (i blame those crazy drugs they gave me for my silly wisdom teeth) but c'mon guys-let's get it together.
karen mentioned during church this week that we should put a face on the injustice that angers us and then focus on that. (at least i think that's what she said, only not quite as eloquently of course) so where did our focus go? i'm not talking about intense emotion or anything-i think that love is more of an action than a feeling, but it was as if we had finally found our place...somewhere to help the world. make things right, or at least try to.
perhaps i'm just venting about fears that aren't even there, but maybe i'm right. i told ken today that i think we need a revival. he laughed at me. just know that i'm thinking about all of you along with everyone else that hasn't joined our blog yet and i hope that all of you are just as passionate as we once were.
i think this is something we really have to commit to. we pick a day to be at MSC, we show up for a couple of hours and we serve. easy as that...right? we're all going to get busy but i think if we really want to make a difference we have to first start by making a difference in our own lives and in our own daily schedules...mine included.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
As you all know, John and I have sold our house. Unfortunately until we figure out where we are going to land, we need a place for our puppies. We would like to keep them, but in order to do so we need to find someone willing to keep them for us during at least a portion of August while we figure out where to go. If we can't find a temporary shelter, I suppose we will have to adopt them out.
If you or anyone you know would be willing to house two wonderful, loving dogs - all food, care items and even rent will be provided :-)
Please send me a message if you know anyone interested
jeanshp (at) hotmail.com
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Tuesday August the 8th: Becky's bday
Thursday August the 10th: Pat's bday
Friday August the 11th: my bday
so during the week we're hoping to go to a 'stros game (we have tix the 8th-12th) so if everyone could kinda give some imput on what night would be best. we'd also like to hit up downtown for dinner and maybe a bbq at some point during the week as well. so lemme know everyone's schedules....how exciting!!!
Friday, July 07, 2006
as i struggled into main street with my t-shirt & jeans, 'stros hat, and no make up... ken let out a hearty laugh (perhaps i'm not cute at 6am, oh well.) and as our gang began to gather the wheels started turning. mark and ken were already getting things in order when i showed up. soon we had terri davis, al from one of the hispanic churches here in tomball, julie b, dana, and pat. what an awesome bunch of people, right? s o we giggled and we yawned and we baked hot pockets and the midst of all that...the Kingdom was growing. we had finally stopped talking about it, and we had finally started doing something.
while we filled our bags with hot pockets, apples, and OJ we would sometimes look out the windows of MSC to see men walking in the deep blue hues of morning. these were the hispanic men we wanted to love. it burns somewhere deep inside to realize where they're headed. as they walk, they almost appear like zombies. if you were to look down main street you'd see dozens of these guys... most walking alone and silent and all to the same destination. now, i realize there are so many political and social issues revolved around this, but it doesn't matter. some of these men work hard all week and still don't get paid. i don't care what color your skin is or whether you deserve to be in this wonderful US of A or not...but that simply isn't okay with me, and i'm not sure that jesus is okay with it either.
i'm really glad we had al in our ranks. we may have had food to give but we also had a message to give to these guys..."we care". so we crossed the tracks and rounded the corner and found ourselves on brand new territory. these men were at least able to gather on picnic tables on a sort of pavillion to eat their breakfast, but it still didn't change things. some of these men were still being abused. after we passed out the breakfast, al began to explain that there were cards in the bottom of the bags and small golf pencils that they could use to write down the vehicles info. that they left with. it also had main street's number along with al and his wife's numbers. some of these guys actually looked surprised and some put them in their wallets. after al translated one of the older men that appeared to be in charge stood up and said some words of thanks to al and the rest of us. they appreciated what we were doing. there are several other details of this story that most of you will get later-like the beer cans and trash we hope to clean up, the one white guy hanging out over there, and the rest of the actions we'd like to take to help these men. hopefully some of you guys can join us later as we continue serving the day laborers.
as we walked away from the men and made our short trek back over the tracks to main street, my heart was warmed. the sun had risen on our first day as servants and i felt somewhere in me as if the Kingdom was rejoicing. it's such a simple thing that we're doing, but we're doing something and more will come later.
amen to that you guys...amen.
amen. amen. amen.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Just a short note from Casa-Del-Napier:
I hope that everyone in Houston is well. We have seen some beautiful stuff in our journey across the middle of this great land. Judging by the remarks on Sundays gathering it looks like we missed a good (or challenging) discussion and time of gathering.
Our journey really started this past weekend in Arkansas. We stayed in a Christian missionary alliance camp ground and there were several things that got me thinking but one in particular:
Is there really anything better than simplistic living? This camp is run by a very few people who give it there all to make it a wonderful experience. This camp is not modern by anyone's standards. It reminded me and my brother-in-laws of the movie "The Village." We half expected there to be legends of creatures in the woods to keep people from wondering off. But as I roamed the campgrounds and the trails surrounding the grounds I forgot about the clamoring for the ways of modern culture. My phone had no service, we had no cable or TV (No World Cup or Astros highlights), and the sleeping arrangements were as basic as it comes. But in the short time that we stayed there all I could thing about was God:
*God the Creator, no matter how he did the creation thing it's a pretty cool creation. Hopefully we don't screw it up to soon.
*God the lover, the people who worked this camp love God and I think really reflect the love God has for us and the love he wants us to share with others. The were servants and it made me realize how reluctant I am to serve.
*God the mystery, we got into some good discussions on this trip. Several people we talked to held some very strong beliefs that I either question or don't agree with, but the fact is that we both could be wrong and maybe some day we'll get the answer.
I've gone over my time limit. We miss ya'll and hope that all is well in H-Town. We are in North Carolina and I think we'll have some great stories to share when we get back. BTW, simplistic is great but I'm not going to be able to shake my addiction to my Ipod anytime soon. That is the coolest thing ever!!!!
Monday, June 26, 2006
juli cares more for others than for herself. (she is kind)
juli doesn't want what she doesn't have. (she doesn't envy)
juli doesn't strut, (she doesn't boast)
juli doesn't have a swelled head, (she is not proud)
juli doesn't force herself on others, (she is not rude)
juli isn't always "me first," (she is not self-seeking)
juli doesn't fly off the handle, (she is not easily angered)
juli doesn't keep score of the sins of others, (she holds no records of wrongs)
juli doesn't revel when others grovel, (she doesn't rejoice in evil),
juli takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, (but she rejoices in the truth)
juli puts up with anything, (she always protects)
juli trusts God always, (she always trusts)
juli always looks for the best, (she always hopes)
juli never looks back, (she always perseveres)
but keeps going to the end.
-the message (and the NIV)
it's horrifying how untrue this is...disgusting at times... and yet, this is my humanity. some days i do some of this pretty well, and other days... i just don't. some days i just don't even care. some days my heart is bursting with the love that christ has called me to have for God and neighbor, and those are the days i hang on to. this whole "following jesus thing" isn't easy and sometimes the reality of it is disturbing, but i'm thankful that i have a place where i can go and be honest and disgusting and i know that i'm still loved. thank you guys for committing to this community and this journey...and to me.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Monday, June 12, 2006
"Fools will be fools
And wise will be wise
But I look this world
Straight in the eyes
What good is a man
Who won't take a stand
What good is a cynic
With no better plan
Take your face out of your hands
And clear your eyes
You have a right to your dreams
And don't be denied
I believe in a better way"
Friday, June 09, 2006
so the greatest part about it is that the last response to mark driscoll's piece was done by chris seay. he's the one that we spoke about last night in group that leads ecclesia in houston. it's funny to see all these people i respect so much come out of the woodworks for this. i like what he said here:
"1) We are conversing in a way that only polarizes people and opinions and this is a big mistake. We should be having a thoughtful and passionate midrash about this and many other issues with the humility that says we have something to learn. If you don't have something to learn about this issue you are utterly arrogant and completely un- teachable. Listen.
2) This issue is real for people and it is only wise to have the patience to wait for people to genuinely meet Christ and ask the gay question sincerely. If someone is baiting you into a fight do not take the bait. Instead, talk about Jesus, and extend a hand of love. If you follow this path (and I have many times) you can focus on the gospel instead of morality. Then when the gospel is central, morality will eventually become an issue."
i agree with him. something that has been so hard for me to learn in all my young, naive, argumentative way is to be humble and patient. ken has really been working with me on that, and i'm glad that chris called everyone out.
i want to "talk about jesus, and extend a hand of love" and i'm so glad for all of you that are helping me do that. thanks rodney for posting that & welcome to the family.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
we've got a lot of great ideas on how we want to help and i'm hoping that someday we'll get to do all of them. for the time being, we're going to start taking the day laborers breakfast on fridays and saturdays. we're also going to provide them with a card that they can write down the address or license plate of the places they go to work. we found that some of these men have been taken advantage of and we're hoping to gain their trust by helping support them. we heard that some of these men only work 3 days and week-if they're lucky. i'm hoping that all of us at wellspring can get out there and help serve whenever we can. i know it's going to be tough with all of our busy schedules, but now we have the opportunity to serve christ in a brand new way. i hope all of you think this is as neat as i do...
i want us to pat ourselves on the back for us. i think it's a huge thing that we're embarking on and i'm proud. i think we've finally stopped talking about how we can do social service and we're finally getting our hands dirty. we're not just writing checks off to other people so they can go a serve while we continue our lives as usual, and we're not avoiding the issues that are literally right here at our back door. we're serving where we are in this moment in time, and i'm so happy to be a part of it.
i don't want us to congratulate ourselves too long, though. we've still got a lot of work to do and i really don't want any of this to fall through the cracks. there is still a lot more out in the world to do and as we move forward i'm hoping our service only continues to grow. i especially don't want us to get content and happy with where we are. i don't want to just feel good about myself...i want to honestly be serving christ. i don't want that burning discontent to go away just because i've decided to do one thing. i want that aching for social justice and for christ's kingdom to grow even stronger. i'm so happy we're doing this i could cry. thank you guys so much for being out there....i'm glad i found all of you.
this weekend is going to be awesome! we've got the game, kemah, modesto kids and maybe a few tattoos/piercings! yay us! there are going to be some new faces which will be really neat (i'm kinda gettin' sick of looking at ken-jk!) and i think we'll have a blast. i'm just going to be happy to hang out with my family :) for those of you that can't make it...we'll be thinkin' about you. we always do. love you guys!
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Anyway, we've been thinking about this whole day laborors thing, and I was frustrated because I got the feeling that as an english speaking female, there wasn't a whole lot I could do, but I am not going to cop out of this one. I am thinking maybe a few more women and men wouldn't be a bad thing, that we just could use a few more people. I wouldn't mind seeing us at Wellspring get connected with another church in Tomball, maybe the African American church, and go serve together to help the day labors kids or something. Now that school is out, I wonder what the kids are doing. I don't know, all I know is, is that I want to get my hands dirty. I have to be honest, I don't have near the passion for the poor and needy that I wish I could have, but sitting on my butt all summer isn't going to help the issue. Just some thoughts. What can we do??????????? Can we afford not to do???????????
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
some of us are currently reading the book "irresistible revolution". both the community and the book sprang from this idea of community and here's some of what they have on their website:
Our Mission is: "To Love God. To Love people. To Follow Jesus." We're giving that our best shot.
We are the simple way, a community of faith.
Each of us is created for community, and in the image of community. And yet everything in the world tries to rob us of this Divine gift.
The life of the simple way is the story of that struggle to love and to be loved.
The most radical thing we do is choose to love each other... again and again.
If you are a seeker of the Way, may our story feed you hope... or at least keep you from making all the same mistakes.
"Life in community is no less than a necessity for us, an inescapable 'must'... all life created by God exists in communal order and works toward community." -- Eberhard Arnold
these guys are also holding a weekend festival/get-together thingy...ha. here's what it's about:
PAPA FEST Some of you are aware and some are not… a summer gathering is in the works – P.A.P.A Festival – June 23-25, 2006. The People Against Poverty and Apathy Festival will be a convergence of communities and movements coming together to share, dream, and create together. Several hundred folks from across the country will be camping out in the hills of TN in a little village of subversive friendships to conspire together in learning workshops, roundtable talks, over campfires, and on hikes through the woods. The PAPA Fest has emerged again, after several years of feeling the itch to gather a larger group of friends and communities, more than we can accommodate at the annual “Family Reunion” hosted each February in Philly. We hope to have folks from a variety of dazzling circles of hope – from the Community of Communities and new monasticism, the Christian Community Development Association, Emergent, Jesus Radicals, the Relational Tithe, Ekklesia Project… we will set up a little village of learning, art, and music. So this is a mega-Family Reunion of sorts.
i don't know if any of our group would be interested in going, but i think i'm going to take a trip out there. it's only a weekend, and it might be a nice vacation. let me know what you guys think! hope everyone is having a good week...yay for summer :)
Friday, May 19, 2006
Don't blame Ken for this, I'm still trying to figure out how to contribute as me.
Fair Trade, The Environment, and stuff.
I found two links that might add to our current discussions on the environment and fair trade.
1) The first is a review for clothes on “tree-hugger (an eclectic review of things)” that discusses an environmentally conscientious clothing label glossed Howies. There are several things that caught my eye in this short article. One is how they do not consider their clothes to be fair trade and the reasons they give for that rational. Maybe you consider these reasons to be cop-outs but I defiantly think they add to the Fair Trade discussion. The second thing that stood out to me was their “Rocking chair test.” I think that the RCT should not only be used in making clothes but in our daily lives as well. Even if you don’t agree with the company’s fair trade and environmental policies there is something to be said for the philosophical idea of being content with your time on earth.
2) The second link is not really thought provoking and doesn’t even really say that much……. but it’s still pretty nifty. A few surfer/adventurers/hippie types took a truck outfitted for bio-diesel and ran it from Bend Oregon to Baja Mexico. The site has some info. on the why and the how they converted (the truck) and also has some journals and videos about their trip. I might be the only one in our little community who gets jazzed over this stuff but if you have a minute or two I think it’s worth looking at.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
We have met many fellow travelers in this journey of faith from around the globe. We have instantly experienced deep community. It's as if we've met family members that we haven't seen in a while. Our new friends from Germany are part of a church called Kubic. Kubic is so much like Wellspring that you would be amazed. The Germans have talked about the deep community they are experiencing in their church. We've had an instant connect with Rob and Amie who are Londoners. Rob and Amie are spiritual seekers who are just beginning to pursue Christ. Today we went to their church (they've only been attending sense Lent) St. Luke's Anglican. It was a wonderful experience (connecting the old and the new). Rob is the artist that did the Doxology paintings that were on exhibit in Houston last fall. Rob and Amie have become part of our family.
I can't wait to see all of you and tell you about you're new relatives.
Grace and peace,
Thursday, May 11, 2006
when Jesus was talking to the rich, young man and he told him to go and sell everything...do you think he was talking to us too? when he said "everything" did he seriously mean everything? i'm pretty sure i know the answer to this, but maybe i don't want to hear it. perhaps i'm ignoring it even. seeing as how i don't technically own most of my things (thanks mom and dad) i'm not sure that i could just walk out and sell it all right now. i'd need a little something to eat and something to get around with-but that's it right? being a "token-twenty something" kinda sucks sometimes. i'm in that part of my life where all i care about is me and what makes me happy. i hate it. and i'm kinda mad at Jesus for saying this because now it's got me all torn up inside.
i don't want to let it go either. i really, truly want to know where this leaves us. i don't want this to be some whim or some phase. i really, truly want to live the way Christ is asking me to. hmmm...alright, help me out guys.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Purpose of the trip – We’ve called this a “different type of mission trip.” In fact, mission agencies often send teams to provide what they call “member care” to missionaries on the field. While the folks we’ll be meeting with are not under the “umbrella” of a mission agency they are no less missionary so our purpose has to do with supporting them and their ministries. But we are also creating a new kind of learning experience. While it’s not a conference with workshops at pre-set times, we will be sharing learning via conversation and specific dialogues. So frame this experience either way or make up a new word for it! The agenda, like the participants continues to “emerge”. We know that we are going to cover four areas:
Doxology -- how God can further use an art project to both create spiritual dialogue and perhaps a source of funding;
Protest4 -- assisting those who are engaged with advocacy regarding human trafficking;
missions messaging – how we can tell the stories of the emerging church around the world so that the established church understands and supports it (and we’ll be experiencing examples of this)
ministering to ministers – each of the team members have something to offer the folks we’re meeting with and they have something for us on our journey as well, this facet of the trip is really up to the team members.
Our U.S. team consists of Ken, Becky, me, Larry Jay . . . all folks you know. Larry is starting a new ministry called re:creation whereby he's going to connect folks with spiritual experiences in the great outdoors. San Francisco may be the next stop on the Doxology tour and he and Robin Paoli are representing that venue. Robin was a pastor at Houston's Harbor Church and is now living in San Francisco and looking for what God is going to do next regarding her leading a community of faith. She's a marketing guru and will especially be helpful with Doxology and Protest4 discussions. Trisha Taylor is a therapist and an ordained minister who is married to a Clear Lake pastor. She's going to be very busy with the "ministering to ministers" portion of the agenda. Steve Johnson is a former missionary who has experience with assisting artists in becoming more self-supporting so that they can then support the church. He's also into relief and development work. He's from University Baptist out in Clear Lake. While Margaret Menger of Copperfield is not traveling with us, she's been super supportive of what we're doing and will be stateside if we need her help with marketing questions that may come up.
There is a whole other crew coming from Austin and Germany so it should be really interesting.
Oh! and Becky has graciously consented to coordinate the kitchen for the 20-30 people who may be at the table at any given meal. There's a prayer request if I ever heard one!!
Thanks for being our supportive community!!
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
In response to what we're blogging about lately, I've found some interesting web-sites:
The first one is a whole document put out by the NLC about what's going on in Jordan. It's 168 pages, and is painful to try to go through, but informative nonetheless:
This is the actual NLC website, and I think it's full of a lot of the info. we're interested in:
I also simply typed in "free trade" on ask.com and it came up with several websites. One in particular was on the NY Times site and a specific article dealing with conditions in Jordan. It's titled "An Ugly Side of Free Trade: Sweatshops in Jordan" and definitely worth reading. I was shocked to see names like: Target, Wal-mart, Jones Apparel (which owns Gloria Vanderbilt and Jones New York), JC Penney, Sears, Gap, and Kohls.
Below are some quotes from the article, but I definitely recommend going and reading it.
"Some people are always making allegations," said Karim Saifi, the owner of United Garment Manufacturing, a factory near Amman that workers criticized for long hours and wage violations. "As far as we know, we follow all the labor laws here. If we were not abiding by all of the local Jordan laws, we would not be able to operate."
But Mohammed Z., who has worked for more than a year at the Paramount Garment Factory, said that even though he worked more than 100 hours a week — normally from 7 to midnight seven days a week — the company refused to pay him overtime when he did not meet production targets. He asked that his last name be withheld for fear of retribution.
Mohammed Saiful Islam, 30, a Bangladeshi who was production manager at Western Garment, said that several times the workers had to work until 4 a.m., then sleep on the factory's floor for a few hours, before resuming work at 8 a.m.
"The workers got so exhausted they became sick," he said. "They could hardly stay awake at their machines."
This is crazy. I can't believe that all of this was going on and I never knew. It's frustrating and exhausting. I'm so small and insignificant, how can I possibly do anything? Now is decision time...something has to be done. I can't live in my naive little world anymore. I'm hoping to find some companies that aren't involved in all of this, and ways to help support them. I have a feeling Karen could help with this. In the end, I know of one thing I can do....pray. I suppose that's the best place to start right now. This will get better. It has to.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
We've been talking some about a subject that I don't know much about. What do we do about the many people who work around the world in "sweat shops" for very little pay?
What would Jesus do if he were living today? I want to do something - but what? This week I bought a new computer from Dell - (at a great price) I naively assumed it would be made in the US. No - it was put together in Indonesia. I wonder what Dell pays its workers in Indonesia? At the same time I couldn't have gotten the computer without the good deal. What do you think an apprentice of Jesus would do?
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I wanted to share with you all something that I found interesting at Pathway this weekend. They had a guest speaker – the father in law of the regular pastor was visiting from DC. He is a pastor on Capital Hill. He explained to us how he talks about God in non-churchy terms to the politicians who may not have been exposed to Christianity much or who have a different focus. He explained it like this…
Think of heaven as a place. Think of where you are now – that’s a place too, right? So basically what happened was God was at his place. Decided to come down to our place to hang out with us for a little while. Took our place. So he could bring us back with him to his place when we get done here.
I just thought it was interesting. I’m probably not doing it justice, but it does help to just think about the language we use when we talk to people who don’t have a church background. We have to meet them at their place, you know?
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Wow, what a week this has been. Work has been keeping me very busy, but I’ve caught up so much I’m afraid there is bound to be an overdose of free time this weekend. So, I have asked some friends for ideas of what to do and if the weather holds out ok I’ll be heading for a nice hike in the mountains.
The church group that I met last Sunday was really nice. There were just a few people, younger couples mostly and about 6 toddlers running around. It was amazing to see so many kids all running around. I knew a few of the songs, which was nice, and the message was on prayer which is always good to refresh about. After service the group goes to lunch, I passed last week, but I will join them this week. Then on Tuesdays the ladies get together for coffee and that was a great opportunity to get to know each other better. So, all in all, I’m glad I found the group. They are friendly and welcoming. Their basic premise is similar to ours in that church isn’t about a building, it’s about building a community.
One thing I was reminded of again through this is how unique Wellspring is. I know Ken says it a lot – but you know, he says so much sometimes I don’t pay attention – Just Kidding! Sorry, had to take a minute to remind Ken how much I love and miss him :-) But where I was going was how much I love our diversity at Wellspring. We have people from so many different backgrounds and experiences and I love to hear what Mark and Don bring to our conversations because they have such a different perspective than I do. I love to listen to Pat and Karen with their views as single women making their way in the world. I admire Lita and Gary for breaking away from their strict up-bringing and reaching out to something new. The music that we are blessed with from John and Kevin and Don is so inspiring in and of itself – it is so heartfelt and passionate. And the way that everyone participates and gets involved – what a treasure we have. I think about going to Deana’s father’s funeral last year and just being there for that few hours, somehow I felt closer to her and her whole family and it’s like we have a bond now that just grows each time I get to hold Karis :-) And then there is the whole aspect of family and friends. It started with Deana who invited Carrie who invited Julie and me and now we’ve invited Dana and Wiley and it’s like our family grows from the inside out. And that is it, we are a family. Not twins, not all the same, sometimes we love each other and sometimes we may get on each other’s nerves, but we are there for one another. And in the end, isn’t that what the church should be?
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Just wanted to let everyone know that since I didn't lose 2 days this week traveling, I actually have a weekend free! Well, not free since I do have homework - but I'm not working - yippee! So, what does that mean, it means I had time to go online and find this church...
I'll head over there tomorrow to see what it's about. I find it interesting that for us "connecting time" is when we connect with God and for them it is when they connect with each other. Funny.
So, I'll let you know if it's a cult :-) Whatever it is, it can't replace you guys, but hopefully it can help me keep my connection with God strong during this trying time.
And you know, I was thinking... has anyone sent a meal over to Bill and Gayle lately? I really miss them and I hope we are staying connected. They are such amazing people. Of course, I haven't done very well at that myself. Well, maybe since I have some time tomorrow I can make a few cards and send them one. Anyway, if anyone talks to them, send my love please.
Well, I suppose that's all. I'll get back to watching Star Trek. I'm such a geek. Oh well, God loves us - geek and all!
Friday, March 24, 2006
Posted by Steve Paynter on Mon 20 Mar 2006 - link
If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish somewhere, you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you more blessed than million's of people in the world.
If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.
We are hugely blessed.
We need to remember it and keep our lives in perspective and our hearts open to God.
Jesus too has something to say about who are the truly blessed. Matt.5.
They are those who know their need of God.
Those who mourn for what is not right in them and in our world.
Those who are teachable, and hunger and thirst for a better justice and righteousness.
Those who leave behind a preoccupation with self and look outward beyond themsleves to see God at work in our world and its trouble.
To see the beauty, mercy and grace of God in the unexpected places of life and follow Jesus there.
Our lenten response (fast) could be as follows:
Fast from discontent.
Feast on gratitude.
Fast from worry.
Feast on God's providence.
Fast from complaining.
Feast on appreciation.
Fast from unrelenting pressure.
Feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from self concern.
Feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety.
Feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement.
Feast on hope.
Fast from endless noise.
Feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm.
Feast on prayer that sustains.
Which one of these is for you? Or write your own.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
I seem to be catching up on the work finally. Not having to get on a plane this week really did help me to stay on top of things, so I am really glad I’m not making the back and forth trip for once. Of course, I miss you all greatly, but I am happy to have the time to think while I am out here. I seem to have had a lot in my head lately about my spirituality and my marriage and my career and last night, for the first time in a while, I really had a good chunk of time to just sit down and pray about it. It’s amazing how helpful that can be.
Of course, I have no answers, just more questions. But I do have calm and peace and love and that feels pretty good.
I had to get a new cell phone since I killed my old one, Jules has the number if anyone want’s to give me a call. I feel so high-tech, I even got a Bluetooth headset so I can talk hands free while I’m driving – I spend a lot of time on con-calls while I’m driving up to San Francisco. For this weekend I’ll probably spend most of Saturday studying and working on my research paper, but I’m hoping it will be nice on Sunday and I can find a mountain to hike.
Have a great week. I’m sorry I’ll miss our discussion tonight and our service on Sunday. I’ll be home soon!
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
In my mind the ideal seminary would be one part monastery, one part mission agency, and one part seminar. Here’s what I mean.
By monastery, I would want the seminarians to live in community of some sort, to experience a real sharing of life and of “the offices” of shared spiritual practices. It strikes me that a retreat is like a short-term monastic experience. It’s intense – and intensity is an undervalued key to spiritual growth – and it’s holistic: it’s not a matter of just adding some Bible onto a busy, fragmented life.
The mission agency part is closely related. In my mind, while modern Christianity was fixated on systematic theology, the erection of a conceptual cathedral that would comprehend all truth, so postmodern Christianity will focus on mission, on our role as agents of God’s kingdom. This would mean internships in churched, soup kitchens, youth center, refugee camps, church-planting projects, etc. My seminarians would be sent out on several missionary journeys during their apprenticeship.
The seminar part would be different form a traditional school, which assumes that people learn best by listening. My students would read or experience something and then they would discuss it with their fellow learners, with the teacher present. We wouldn’t stop with information transmission, of course; that would only be the beginning. More important would be integrating that information into our understanding of the story. By story, I mean the story of God’s work in the universe and in particular, the story of God’s work in the human community.
Ultimately this transition into the post-modern world is not about changes in musical style, preaching style, liturgy, or architecture, although all of those things may change. At heart, it’s about attitude, theology, and spirituality. Maybe that’s why the traditional-to-contemporary change was so disruptive – too often we tried to change exteriors without changing our attitudes, theologies, and spirituality.
I think you could be an architect of a new kind of faith community. I firmly believe that the top question of the new century and new millennium is not just whether Christianity is rational, credible, and essentially true, but whether it can be powerful, redemptive, authentic, and good, whether it can change lives, demonstrate reconciliation and community, serve as a catalyst for the kingdom, and lead to a desirable future.
In my thinking, church doesn’t exist for the benefit of its members. It exists to equip its members for the benefit of the world. To do that, it is about three things: community, spirituality, and mission.
Community means that we create a place of belonging where people can learn to believe the good news belong to a community that is learning to live it, and become together a living example of it. We accept anyone whom Christ accepts.
Spirituality focuses on the holy part. But it is not just about individual spirituality. The spirituality itself is communal. What we experience with God in secret must be brought to the community and shared like a common meal.
In my thinking, both spirituality and community flow into mission. We are sent not to be served but to serve, and we are sent not to the healthy but to the sick. The church doesn’t exist to satisfy the consumer demands of believers; the church exists to equip and mobilize men and women for God’s mission in the world.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Friday afternoon my father passed away. He had been sick in the hospital with pneumonia. However when I spoke with my mother Friday morning my father seemed to be doing better. The tube in his throat had been removed because his lungs were clearer, but his kidneys were not working. They were going to start him on dialysis Friday. My mother signed the papers and talked about my father coming home in a few days. That afternoon while she was visiting him he coded. He did not want to be kept alive by machines so my mother told them to let him go. Even though we believe dad is absent from the body and present with the Lord it still hurts. Please pray for my mother. She has taken care of my dad and done everything for him for 28 years. I'm not sure she understands how much of a void there will now be.( My father had lost both his arms 28 years ago.) Thanking you in advance for your prayers and so thankful for our Great God!
I recently closed down my own blog because it had become a bit too "all over the place" and wasn't as much fun. However, I don't want to lose the outlet completely because that blog allowed me to share some interesting findings on the church in general. So, if you guys don't mind and think you might enjoy it, I thought I'd post cool things I find about the emerging ways of doing church right here on our very own Wellspring space!
Today I'm passing along a prayer request . . . and maybe a call to action? Shannon (our partner in London) shared this with me. Some of you know that she's part of an advocacy group trying to stop human trafficking. When I told her Kevin wanted to know about her sports interests she admitted that she hadn't learned the rules of London's football. Then she told me about the following. Don't know if you'll be shocked or just shake your head in that kind of knowing way we all do when there's little left to surprise us about how far humanity will go!
For the articl, click here.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
He said that if the new kind of Christianity we had been dreaming about wasn’t radically generous, it was a waste of time. He said that we live in the most affluent culture in the most affluent period of human history. If we can’t discipline ourselves to learn the joys of generous living, we are an embarrassment to the gospel. The “Caesar” of our day is our economy of consumption, greed, and materialism.
Spiritual Formation: Postmodern is post-Protestant, I think that our forms of spirituality and spiritual formation will be more like the ancient and medieval church and less like the modern church. I think we will welcome back tradition and saints and liturgy and holy days.
How can we keep prayer and Bible reading as key to our spiritual lives without turning spirituality into spiritual techniques, duties, and legalisms- still more to feel guilty about? I feel that most preachers don’t preach good news about grace; they preach bad news about inadequacy and pressure.
How do we develop a more holistic, balanced spirituality in people without a boatload of guilt?
1. Future approaches to spiritual formation will be more akin to ancient ones. There will be more short-term monastic experiences. People will be together in simplicity and in community and practice spiritual disciplines together like prayer, Bible study, and solitude. Retreats are an example of this.
2. Short-term mission trips are modern examples of the missionary journeys of Paul or of the Celtic monks. In a way they are like pilgrimages – journeys undertaken for a spiritual purpose.
3. What are small groups and one-on-one mentoring relationships but echoes of ancient training method, before we slipped into the modern misconception that the best education takes place in sterile classrooms? Small groups and mentoring – filled with give-and-take, personal as well as intellectual interaction, formation as well as information – recall the old images of the apprentice training with his master or the disciples following Jesus.
4. What is getting people involved in ministry – but an echo of the many biblical stories where God taught people to swim by throwing them into the deep end? I think of Moses, feeling so inadequate, or even the disciples being sent out two by two, after only several months of training, to learn by success and failure the lessons that can only be learned by doing, not just listening or studying.
So my guess is that teachers of the future will spend less time giving out information and more time helping students learn how to find what they need when they need it.
I want to mention on other area of spirituality that I think we must rediscover: creation spirituality. Modern men and women have lost their connection with creation. If I could live another life, I think I would devote it to ecology, because I also believe that this is a truly spiritual and Christian work. Genesis begins with our mandate to take care of God’s creation, and never has our failure to do so been more acute than now. Learning to live as caretakers of creation and friends to our fellow creatures must be at the core of a new kind of Christianity.