Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Uncategorized, Understanding Context

Surreal Experience

“My First allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man. My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood. It’s to a king and a kingdom”- Derek Webb “A King and a Kingdom”

The other week as I was on vacation I was reading these words on the page of the book Jesus for President. My wife and I and our two kids were vacationing for a few days at Virginia Beach before heading to Richmond for the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. As I sat on the balcony of our hotel room reading Shane Claiborne’s book (which is all about justice, peace, the empire, etc..) I heard a rumbling noise from the air. At least once every hour a military jet (or two or three) came flying overhead making a ton of noise.

I kept thinking, “How much money is being spent on these flights? How much does jet fuel cost? How much of my taxes are going to fund the machines of war?” I tell you what… it was a surreal experience to read about the kingdom of God and the desire that God has for his people to be people of peace and to hear the war jets flying overhead.

Leadership, Uncategorized

Great American Novel

I was born and raised an orphan
In a land that once was free
In a land that poured it’s love out on the moon
I grew up in the shadows
Of your silos filled with grain
But you never helped to fill my empty spoon

When I was ten you murdered law
With courtroom politics
And learnt to make a lie sound just like truth
But I know you better now
And i don’t fall for all your tricks
And you’ve lost the one advantage of my youth

You kill a black man at midnight
Just for talking to your daughter
Then you make his wife your mistress
And you leave her without water
And the sheet you wear upon your face

Is the sheet your children sleep on
And every meal you say a prayer
You don’t believe but still you keep on
And your money says ‘In God We Trust’
But it’s against the law to pray in school

You say we beat the Russians to the moon
And I say you starved your children to do it
You are far across the ocean
In a war that’s not your own
And whilst you’re winning theirs
You’re gonna lose the one at home

Do you really think the only way
To bring about the peace
Is to sacrifice your children
And kill all your enemies

The politicians all make speeches
While the news men all take note
And they exaggerate the issues
As they shove it down our throats

Is it really up to them
Whether this country sinks or floats
And I wonder who would lead us
If none of us would vote

Well my phone is tapped and my lips are chapped
From whispering through the fence
You know every move I make
Or is that just coincidence

Well you try to make my way of life
A little less like jail
If I promise to make tapes and slides
And send them through the mail

And your money says ‘In God We Trust ‘
But it’s against the law to pray in school
You say we beat the Russians to the moon
And I say you starved your children to do it

You say ‘all men are equal, all men are brothers
Then why are the rich more equal than others
Don’t ask me for the answer I’ve only got one
That a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son

Larry Norman, the artist that wrote this song, passed away on Feb. 24, this year. Even though the lyrics above sound as if they were written to reflect the way of the world in 2008, Larry actually wrote this in 1972. Larry was a poet, a preacher and a musician… which is to say that Larry was a prophet in the truest sense of the word. As much an activist as he was a pacifist, he had the courage to walk the talk. That kind of authenticity is contagious. People can tell the difference between a ‘Christian’ and a Christlike’.Sadly, genuinely Christ-like people are so rare that they tend to stand out pretty quickly.

I bring this up because it begs a big question. How much of what we do in our lives or in our churches is best limited to Christian audiences? When I first became a Christian, inviting people into a relationship with Jesus was easy. Like the woman at the well, I encouraged everyone I met to meet this man, “who told me everything I ever did”. Now though it’s much harder, and I know the reason. When I talk to people about God, I rarely invite them into a relationship with Jesus; instead I invite them to church. And because I know I worship in a church that has a history and a continuity of racism, sexism, homophobia, hyper-capitalistic selfishness, and warmongering, it’s pretty embarrassing to invite people in.

Just in case you haven’t figured it out, I’m talking about the WHOLE church of Christ on earth, not just my little Pomona Brethren.

And so I’ve decided to take a stand. Where there is injustice I will speak out, where I see inequality, I’ll step in. Those willing to publicly utter racist comments, sexist comments, ageist comments, or condemn gays and lesbians, within shouting distance of my two ears, will have a mouthful to listen to before I am finished.

I am no longer a pacifist, I am an activist. God gave me elbows for a reason, it’s time they were put to good and permanent use.

Change!?!, Uncategorized

Red, White, or Blue (or even purple)

As our country gets closer and closer to the November elections and now that we finally have two candidates, things are heating up in the political realm. As a Christ-follower, I know that my hope is not in either political candidate or politicial process or political group. Obama talks alot about change, but real change can only be brought through Jesus and followers of Jesus who live out the kingdom of God in the here and now.

But back to Republicians and Democrats… I was driving somewhere recently and saw a sign that said, “Seeing Red, Vote Blue” and I thought to myself if I’m not red, and I’m not blue, what am I? So I thought I guess I’m white. I’m not fully comfortable with either candidate, as I mentioned in a previous post. So I guess I’m more independent than anything, though I am registered as a republican.

Recently though I heard another way of putting it. Marcia Ford wrote a book entitled “We the purple”. This is what I found on that idea,

“Independent voters like Ford have been dubbed “Purple” voters for their penchant to blend Red- and Blue-State politics (not to mention Green and all manner of politics that have avoided a primary color designation). But far from being indecisive or non-committal, Ford contends that Purple voters are passionate about politics, so much so that they’re unwilling to passively play into the two-party system that stifles real dialogue and effective governance. She writes, “When a candidate is not beholden to a major political party, that candidate is free not only to speak her mind but also to engage in more creative problem-solving.”

Ford also points out that the two-party system has been especially poisonous for faith communities who are often held hostage by religious political rhetoric that tells voters they risk spiritual and/or personal failure by voting the wrong way. Ford, who left a church that became politicized, writes, “While pastors were preaching the Republican line, the spiritual life of their congregations was draining away drop by drop.” And it’s not just a problem in conservative churches: partisan politics plays out in liberal mainline, African-American and other churches. “As paradoxical as the image may seem, if Christians remained morally centered, their votes could swing all along the political spectrum.”

So I guess I am either white or more likely purple….I just don’t fit nicely into either republican or democrat. I have been encouraged, challenged and deepened in my faith and in regards to politics from reading Greg Boyd’s awesome book, “The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the quest of political power is destroying the church” I would encourage everyone, whether red, white, blue or purple to read this awesome and challenging book.


Has Anyone seen LTQ2

I have been seeing adds for LTQ and LTQ2 for a while now and I was wondering if anyone has actually worked with it. It is a small group program that is $$$cy and you can’t get it in small parcels. Thanks for any insight you might have.


Any one familiar with Reveal???

Any one familiar with Willow Creek’s new study out called Reveal?  It is not a bible study, but an assessment study.  I am interested in hearing more… don’t really want to buy it but would love to hear your thoughts?  Jeff… you probably should buy it and let us know what it is about!  It might be helpful stuff for some of the churches you work with.

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