Wednesday, December 27, 2006



Everyone is invited, bring anyone one you wish. If you are bringing a big crowd give us a heads up so we can prepare.

e-mail us or Ken for Directions

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Thoughts to ponder this holiday season

Wellspring . . . Space

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 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 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 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

The Stages of Faith

About fifteen years ago I was introduced to a concept called “The Stages of Faith”. A breakout session speaker at a conference I attended spoke on the subject. I was intrigued by the content but it really didn’t connect with me because the timing wasn’t right. What is interesting is that I’ve not heard or read anything about the subject in any other place since that time. Until recently that is. In the book “The Complex Christ” Kester Brewin discusses the concept originally developed in the book “The Stages of Faith” by James Fowler. Here are the stages and some comments by Brewin. I would love to know what you think.

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

This sounds interesting

One Punk reveals an unlikely minister
PTL upbringing gives Jay Bakker an unconventional view of religion

McClatchy Newspapers

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.