Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


What does Christmas mean? Spend, Spend, Spend???

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were asked to create prayer experience stations for a worship service that focused on caring for God’s creation. Part of the experience was a good reminder of things I know, and part was a new learning experience of ecology facts I wasn’t aware of (like if everyone on the planet lived like we do in the U.S., it would take 4 Earths to supply all the resources).

As we draw closer to our Savior’s Birthday, this thought of recycling and caring for the earth, is feeding a growing unrest in my heart with Christmas. We are all aware of how our culture drives us to spend, spend, spend in buying presents for your loved-ones. Our extended families have fought this trend by drawing names and buying presents for just that person, instead of for everyone. To help facilitate this, everyone is supposed to make a list of what they want for Christmas. I’ve been non-cooperative. Making lists of what you want just doesn’t feel right. What ever happened to, “Because I love you, I want to know you. Because I know you, I will know how to bless you.”?

What is the best way to celebrate our Savior’s birth? Is it in buying lots of stuff? Recently I ran across the following Where Did I Say. This comes from the website:
There are several more posters like this available to download for free.

This poster has fueled my discontent for our current celebration for Christmas. Some emergent churches are also apparently discontent. One in San Diego has used this image to advertise their messages: Advent Conspiracy. Dan Kimball is preaching a similar sermon series this Advent at his church in Santa Cruz, CA.

So, how can we best celebrate our Savior’s birth? Is spending less and giving more the proper way? Is spending more time with friends and family and less time running around shopping a better way? (Shopping less doesn’t just save money, it can reduce the amount of resources used to make stuff in addition to saving all the carbon dioxide your car produces as your drive around.) What about shopping at your local thrift shop as one way to recycle when you purchase gifts? I’m sure the Salvation Army or Goodwill can use your money more than the big box stores that we shop at.

How do you celebrate Christmas? What’s most meaningful for you at this time?

Blessings to you as you prepare for Christmas!

Community, Leadership, Missional, Uncategorized

Will the real fascists please stand up!

Someone wrote me this week asking a curious question. The email read, “Do you believe we are at war with Islamo-fascists?”

The following was my answer:

You and I, (and the Church in general), are not at war with Islam… and I am certain that God is not at war with Muslims. If we have a responsibility with regard to other religions, it’s to ensure that when they encounter us (you and I) they see the real Jesus, not the version that confuses civil religion (patriotism), with following Christ.

Just like all real politics are local, so are the most effective missionaries. Whatever we do, wherever we go, if we do it in service to God, we are emissaries of Christ, and are therein missionaries of his Gospel. And if it is true that all mission is local then, where, how, when and why the American system confuses or confounds that Gospel is definitely our concern. I for one am VERY troubled by the global rise of corporate imperialism.

Having spent nearly twenty years as a counselor, I am capable of using the DSM VI to assess the “personality” of the corporate “person.” By employing that checklist as a diagnostic tool, I believe the operational principles of most corporations result in highly anti-social “persons.” They are: self-interested, inherently amoral, unfeeling and devious; they breach social and legal standards to get their way; they do not suffer from guilt, and yet they can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism.

This point-by-point analysis results in a disturbing diagnosis: the institutional embodiment of imperial capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a ‘psychopath’.

Without a moral compass, and neither corporations nor capitalism are instilled with one, extreme, exclusive profit motives are inescapable. In fact, Capitalism as an economic philosophy is intentionally amoral. And today, Capitalism is a global theology. As such, the postmodern world has a international belief system, that is absent morality, absent the bible, and absent the teachings of Jesus.

What was so seductive about Marx and the theory of communism was the fact that it was as much a moral treatise, as it was an economic theory. No such moral treatise exists for postmodern Capitalism. And if the unchecked, unbridled, savage aspects of corporate imperialism become ever more triumphant, I don’t know how we can hope for a world where democracy, equality and freedom are the norm, not the exception. What we need today is a moral manifesto for capitalism; something that can reign in the ever increasing power of international corporations, something spiritual, something Christlike.

And with regard to capitol, I think the Roman Catholic priesthood got that ‘vow of poverty’ thing wrong. The world would be much better off if we all took vows to generously share our wealth and its creation… as much, and with as many people as possible. And not just in terms of legal tender, but wealth in the forms of equal access to health-care, quality education; fair and safe employment standards, and ecologically sound environmental habits. I believe that these are some of God’s goals for the Mosaic Generations; 21st century expressions of authentic Christian piety. And as such, they require that we practice these things missionally, not isolating ourselves from the world, but rather working for the healing and blessing of God’s beloved creation.

Pietism and piety, are masterpieces of Christian tradition. But even the most genius masterwork needs generational reinterpretation for it to remain historically relevant. I for one am tired of hearing that disavowing homosexuality, supporting lower taxes, and condemning Islam are the touchstone missions of the American church. Instead, we need a new kind of piety, one that combines the Sermon on the Mount, with the issues of the day. If we can accomplish that, the juxtaposition would transform the Church from an arm of the Republican Party, into the voice of God Almighty.


Another site to check out…

I am a big fan of Rob Bell’s of Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He has done two sermon series in the last year that I think Cob’s would really find helpful… here is the link to his site and the series are God is Green and Calling all Peacemakers.  

 I automatically download his sermons each week to my ipod and listen to them when I walk.  A great way to kill two birds with one stone… get feed spiritually and get exercize… something most pastors need.

 Also, while you are on their site, check out their xyz plan!


Len Sweet and an interesting conversation about emerging church

Here is a link to an interesting conversation Len Sweet had about emerging church


Report from “Off the Map Live” Conference – Revised

Its late on Thursday night, but I was really inspired and had fun at the opening session of “Off the Map Live” in Seattle. The details of the conference can be found at I was attracted to the conference for a few reasons: 1) I’m always attracted to an event that has Brian McLaren speaking. 2) Russ Matteson has said great things about Diana Butler-Bass. She’s here too. 3) Jim Henderson (Off the Map founder) has a great sense of humor and a very disarming way of pointing-out some of the things that need changing in the church. 4) Its always fun to come to an Off the Map event. 5) It was cheap– $79 for 2 full days.

Here are a few random quotes from tonight’s opening session that made me want to stop and think while the speaker kept going. . .

From Diana Butler-Bass:
“Every 500 years, there has been a major shift in Western Culture. Starting with the birth of Christ, 500 years later the Roman Empire fell. Afterwards, we entered the dark ages, followed by the Reformation (beginnings of modernity) and now we live in a time when another major shift is going-on.”

“Modernity is a culture of hubris — our ways are the right ways. For Christians, postmodernity opens the door to a spiritual culture of humility instead of hubris.”

From Brian McLaren:
“The Church impacted the Roman Empire into Christianity, but the Roman Empire impacted the church into empire-ism.”

From Richard Twiss (a native American):
“Native Americans are marginalized by the dominant culture church as a perpetual mission field.”

“When the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.”

From Todd Hunter:
“Fear is an evil master.”

I’m attaching a Word doc that has more thoughts by Brian and Diana. Brian said he dropped his prepared notes and spoke about 30 minutes off the top of his head. I found the comparison of traditional church to classical music to be very helpful.

More Thoughts by Brian McLaren and Diana Butler-Bass

Jeff Glass

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