Archive for November, 2009

Books / Readings

The Justice Project

I just finished reading “The Justice Project” edited by Brian McLaren and others. I received the book a few weeks ago from the Ooze Viral Bloggers and it took me a while to work through it because of my schedule over the last few weeks, with work for Veritas, my job at Starbucks, and watching the kids while Kim has been working more hours. So it has taken me some time to get around to blogging about this book.

The book is divided into five sections. The five sections are: The God of Justice, The Book of Justice, Justice in the USA, A Just World, and a Just Church. Each section then is broken down into a number of chapters each written by a different person, each writing about a different aspect of justice.

The first section regarding the God of Justice is all around God’s heart for the needy, the poor, and the oppressed. The second section revolves around how the theme of justice runs throughout all of Scripture, from the prophets, to the Gospels, and the rest of the New Testament. The third section revolves around issues of Justice in the USA, including Racial issues, elections, liberals, conservatives, family values, and border issues. A Just world revolves around issues that are broader than just the USA and includes chapters on becoming just global citizens, business of justice, just ecology, just religion, just cities, justice in the slums, and justice in the suburbs. The final section deals with Justice in the church and includes evangelicals awakening to the justice issue, planting justice churches, parenting and justice, and some other issues.

It was a great read and opened my eyes to some justice issues that I hadn’t thought about before. It also helped formulate some other things that I have been thinking about for awhile. One chapter that stood out to me was the chapter on parenting and justice. I have thought about how can Kim and I parent Kaiden and Trinity in such a way that they have a heart to work for peace and justice in the world. That is alot of the reason that we do service projects at Veritas with whole families, so the kids can realize that they bring a real contribution to the church and the world.

Here are some quotes that stood out to me throughout the book:

“The practice of justice is at the center of God’s purpose for human life. It is so closely related to the worship of the living God as the only ture God that no act of worship is acceptable to him unless it is accompanied by concrete acts of justice on the human level.”

“In The Politics of Jesus, Dr. Obery Hendricks underscores this point by putting the Lord’s Prayer in the political context of Caesar’s empire in order to shed new light on its seditious and subversive nature.”

“Jesus inaugurates God’s realm of justice on and for the earth. His entire life, death and resurrection unveil for all people in all times a true portrait of God’s justice. Justice empowers the wronged by making wrongs right. Jesus’ teaching and ministry shows us waht justice looks like in every dimension of human life- individual, social and economic.”

“Christ’s peaceable kingdom will only materialize in the Americas as emerging Christian communities disrupt the logics of racism, nationalism, materialism, and militarism and form counter-imperial communities of justice and hope.”

Probably the one quote that stood out to me in the entire book was this one, and I end this blog with this one, “Too many Bible readers have been trained, as I was, to approach the biblical text through the priestly lens, not the prophetic one. That is, they look at the priestly theme of personal justification and ignore the prophetic theme of social justice. They’re concerned about pleasing God with personal piety rather than public policy. They are more interested in being blessed than in being a blessing, quicker to bomb their enemies than to love and serve them, more preoccupied with evading justice than with seeking it first.”

Community, Leadership, Young Adults

Leading with diversity

After lurking here for quite a while and having posting privledges for over a year, I finally have something to share!

I was writing this post for another Brethren-related blog where I am an contributing editor and I thought it might connect with some of the folks on this blog as well. The site is called Already and Not Yet and was an  outgrowth of an Office of Ministry-sponsored young adult forum on ministerial leadership held almost a year ago. While most of the posts are written by young adult, Brethren-oriented thinkers, anyone is welcome to come join in the conversation. As for this re-post, feel free to comment here, there, or everywhere!

I don’t think anyone will argue we live in a diverse world. Today’s technology and culture have made amazing advances in connecting us to others who are very different than we are. However, the church (worldwide, denominational, and local) has been reluctant, hesitant, and at times flat out refused to embrace this diversity.

Thankfully, some of these trends seem to be shifting. I read with great interest about the “emergent/emerging” church that is growing in recognition and numbers. Part of my affinity comes from strong similarities I sense between their commitments to living out the life and teachings of Jesus in the midst of community. Yet one of the distinctive elements of many (most?) of these groups is their tolerance, acceptance, and comfort with diversity. Not just racial or cultural diversity, but also political and theological differences. It’s not just a “check your differences at the door” kind of diversity, but one that welcomes people to bring all of who they are as they gather around God’s table. By committing to this as a part of their identity I think they are modeling a deep, authentic way of living together as the body of Christ that those of us in the “existing” church could learn something from.

This raises important questions for leaders seeking to nurture this kind of diversity within communities of faith. How do we lead out of our own beliefs and values while leaving space for those who may believe (very) differently? How can we provide a sense of centeredness and direction in such diverse communities? Is there less space for prophetic leadership amidst this kind of diversity?

If we are to truly embrace the beauty, wisdom, and mystery that living in such deep, authentic, diverse community can bring, we will need new visions of leadership to make it work. What do these new visions look like to you?

(Original post – Already and Not Yet)

Church Planting, Missional, Special Announcements

Advent Conspiracy

Over the last 8 weeks, since we officially launched Veritas back on September 13, there have been so many things that have been exciting. The launch day, people visiting, new people becoming part of Veritas, alot of interest from various places, and the freedom to pursue missional kingdom life in a new way. One of the upcoming things that has me super excited is our Advent series called Advent Conspiracy.

Last year at Hempfield COB, I wrote an article for their newsletter about Advent Conspiracy. I knew then that our first Advent as Veritas, the church plant, that we would undertake our own Advent Conspiracy. And now that Advent will be here in a few short weeks, we are working on various plans for how Veritas will live out its own Advent Conspiracy.

Some of the ways we are going to live it out include:

Worship Gatherings: Over the course of 4 weeks (November 29-December 20) we will be covering 4 themes. The four themes are Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All. Next week a few of us are getting together to plan our worship gatherings for those 4 sundays and I trust that this group will come up with awesome ideas to make our worship times interactive, experiential, visual, and meaningful.

Offering: The other week during our Leadership Team meeting our group decided that we will be giving 100% of our offerings for the 4 weeks to 2 different organizations: one local and one international. So each organization will receive 50% of our offerings from 4 weeks. The international ministry that we will be supporting is Living Water International ( and works on getting clean water for villages in third world countries. The local organization is still being decided but will either be Music For Everyone or possibly The Gathering Place, a local HIV/AIDS ministry in downtown Lancaster.

Interview: Just yesterday I received an e-mail from a reporter from CNN wanting to talk with me about Advent Conspiracy and what we as a church plant will be doing during those 4 weeks. I’m not sure where she got my information, but I am super-excited to talk with her about Veritas and our Advent Conspiracy plans. I called her this morning, and am waiting a return call. So if something happens with an article on, I will post it here for all to read.

Anyway, may we all live out the Conspiracy to take Advent/Christmas back from the consumer holiday it has become and put it back to focusing on the infant King Jesus, who says, “Why do you go into debt to celebrate my birthday?”