Thursday, June 28, 2007

Christian Subculture...

The Christian subculture of which I am very much a part of, and currently trying to figure out how to escape, makes my head hurt sometimes.

My latest debacle had me picking up a magazine from my church mailbox. Someone in the congregation was nice enough to give me a free subscription to a Bible College's monthly publication, so I tend to flip through a couple pages before filing it in the little box next to my desk that magically disappears every evening. (Incidentally, I'm told it is also called a trash bin.)

Anyways, all I read today were the "Letters to the Editor" and words are currently escaping me. Or at least the words that are blog worthy are currently escaping me.

Rebecca St. James appeared on a recent cover and here are pieces of comments that were printed (you can read them all on page 3 here):
  • One woman (Alicia) makes a comment about Rebecca's attire, "...I used a permanent black marker to draw her jacket for her. (For my sake, yes, and my husband and 2 teen boys.) I would suggest discreet cropping in the future"
  • Another woman (Alice) says "...Rebecca St. James' comments about modesty and inner beauty are weakened by her tight clothing in the accompanying article"
I am dumbfounded. My initial response is to ask the first woman if she also draws in clothing on the models when the Victoria's Secret catalog comes. And I hope you don't have cable or the internet. And I hope you don't let your boys look at girls in public.

Seriously? This is what we've become?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

High school...

Do you remember you high school days? Were they a pleasant time in your formative adolescent years? Or did you just shudder at the sheer mention of high school as it brought back the countless hours of therapy that you have had to endure because of that dreaded time in life? Maybe the therapy is still continuing...

Anyways, I'm a few weeks away from a school reunion. It's a 20 year anniversary for the little K-12 school that I went to and my family has agreed to make the journey back to my old stomping grounds. Now, keep in mind that this was a "Christian school" and I've been asked to lead worship during the Sunday morning service as well as participate in some sort of interview during the morning.

I share all that to say this: Christian schools crack me up. I've recently discovered an online community (of sorts) dedicated to the School Drinking Team. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's not a school sanctioned activity, but nonetheless it exists.

Am I dismayed or shocked? Not really. Maybe I should be. But instead I find it a little bit funny while also saying a great deal about real life. But I'll let you jump to your own conclusions.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Yeah, it's Monday...

I was going to post some random stuff that's been happening or will be happening this week, but then I got bored with that.

Instead I will say that I had the chance to "preach" during the service yesterday. I use that term loosely because in reality I was only asked to prepare 5 minutes. I was bringing the voice of a generation that is currently missing from our congregation.

Like many churches across North America (and even the world to some extent), there are large numbers of people between the ages of 18-35 that just aren't attending what we might call the "traditional evangelical church". And like many churches, ours has gone through the ups and downs of music "discussions" over the last year.

This talk on Sunday was all about perspective, and the question was "what are we focusing on?". It was designed to bring a year of discussion about "worship through music" to a close. And my SP had asked me over lunch a couple of weeks ago to add my insight to the morning.

So I did. And wow...was I nervous. I've never been as stressed about a 5 minute time frame as I was this past weekend as I prepared and waited for the moment to arrive. It also turns out that my comments were the closing of the message portion.

But, rather than take the last word for myself, I quoted one of my students who just a week ago said this, "Aren't we all here for God, not music? We're one church, shouldn't we act like it?"

But that was not the real closing. Our church was then able to witness first hand what public repentance looked like as one man took to the stage to apologize.

I cannot help but wonder what things would look like if we did more repenting on Sunday morning than singing.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

YouTube generation...

We took our students paintballing last night and when all was said and done we invited some of our leaders over for pizza. As we stuffed our faces and pounded back the Cherry Coke and Mountain Dew we watched YouTube videos.

I am still completely amazed by the fact that we spent the better part of 2 hours laughing, giggling and questioning our sanity courtesy of YouTube.

To share in that, please watch this:

Friday, June 22, 2007

No snakes...

Well, Indy's back. Read it here.

All I can say is...Woohoo!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Reading list...

Well, the list shrunk a bit, but then it started growing again as a box showed up at the office again this week. Here's what I've been able to finish in the last week:

I'd heard from a few people that this book (Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal) by Christopher Moore was completely irreverent yet hysterical. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. I found myself laughing out loud at some portions but then shaking my head in others. Don't read if you get offended easily. And if you try not to take it too seriously you may just enjoy a laugh or two.

I have a friend who has a self-admitted "man crush" on Andy Stanley. What that has to do with my reading list, I have no idea. But it's a good intro. Either way, this (The Next Generation Leader) was just a plain good book. I always find that you get the straight goods with Stanley's stuff. Great wisdom about being a leader and what you need to be thinking about if you want to be a leader in today's day and age that really makes a difference. Quick and easy read.

Fire in Philly...

A fire ripped through the The Simple Way community (home of Shane Claiborne and company) yesterday. You can see some pictures and video here. It made my heart sink. There's some ways for people to help out, so check the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'll be honest...

I'm one of the world's biggest procrastinators. Seriously, I'm beginning to recognize that I may need professional help. Here's one main goal/task/problem/adventure/nuisance/dream/dilemma/obstacle that is beckoning for my attention:

Student Ministry Model

We haven't changed much about the student ministry since I came on staff, but one of my goals for the year was to evaluate our current ministry model and try to determine if there was a more effective way of running some aspects of our ministry. So, I've asked the questions, hosted the meetings, collected the surveys and put all the results on paper.

We looked at four potential models (midweek split, small group focused, weekend service, midweek combined) and then had the parents add a fifth which was really a combo of 2 or 3 of the first four.

As you can well imagine, everyone has an opinion and none of them are the same.

But now I'm stuck. I've reached that inevitable leadership conundrum where a decisions just needs to be made. The problem is that as a world-class procrastinator (and I don't take that position lightly) I'm ignoring the file that is calling at me from the mess on my desk.

I can't take an easy way out as a leader this time and just go with the majority. I can't hope for a consensus on behalf of everyone else. I can't ignore it and hope it goes away. I will not settle for status quo. I guess that's what makes me a leader.

But that means I may have to get off my butt in the very near future. I'm sure it will be good for me and for all involved.

In the meantime...look, there's a book I've got to read.

Death by Ministry...

Allow me, in advance to apologize for my proliferation of Driscoll-esque material over that last little while. And while I was hoping to fly under the radar with some unimportant posts like the current state of the bat suit, I feel like I can't pass this one by.

If you know someone who has been eaten alive, swallowed whole or just beaten to a pulp by ministry, you may want to look at some of these resources. There's a good chance that most people in ministry have felt this way at one time or another so you'll likely get something practical out of it. If you don't get something practical, at least you'll be more informed when it eventually happens to you.

I was sent a link to the original blog post sometime last year. You can find it on Mark's blog here.

And just last week Mark started posting some video clips of a talk he gave by the same title at a recent conference. The nice part is that it's split up into small portions and a new clip is posted every couple of days.

Here's where you can find it:

Friday, June 15, 2007

It's Friday...

Since I have nothing more profound I'll opt for solidifying my case for "Dork of the Year". My humble opinion is that the best Batman ever is of course the newest one with Christian Bale. This morning I came across an image of the newest batsuit which is going to appear in The Dark Knight. So here's a quick recap on the evolution of the batsuit.

Adam West:

Michael Keaton:

Michael Keaton:

Val Kilmer:

Val Kilmer:

George Clooney:

Christian Bale:

And here's the most recent one for Christian Bale:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Emergent vs. Emerging...

I read a doctoral dissertation this week that had some pretty critical things to say about the emerging movement, even though the paper itself was not about the emerging church. Maybe I'll post more about the paper later. One of the biggest pet peeves was constantly seeing the author refer to the whole emerging movement as "emergent", and at one point even referring to the whole movement as a denomination.

So, what's the difference? I think Driscoll does a good job summing it up:

Monday, June 11, 2007


I don't have anything profound to ask or state. I just found this today and I thought it was blog worthy because I haven't had a comic posted in a while...if ever.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Lazy blogger...

I have a confession to make. I'm a lazy blogger.

A couple of weeks ago I finally decided to give this whole RSS thing a closer look. So I signed up to Google Reader and the rest is history. However, it means I've become a little lazy. I find that I'm reading more blogs but I'm not taking the time to comment as often or to follow up on other comments made on some posts.

Does this RSS thing make you lazy too?

Friday, June 08, 2007


Ever heard of Albert the 5th Musketeer?

I remember catching a few episodes of this show (you can read a bit more about it here) back when I was in college and it always seemed to crack me up. I'm not sure that it's quite as funny as I remember it, but I did get a little flashback when I found this clip on YouTube.

Am I the only one that has seen this show?

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Last week we were talking about Matthew 25 with our High School students and we were trying to find out what it means to actually look after "the least of these". So, we sent the students out with this simple homework: look for an opportunity to show love.

Last night we wrote those ideas down and tried to pick a few that we could focus on as a group. But then came the interesting part. I thought it was important that the students be mobilized and that they do the leg work on getting this stuff up and running, so I threw it at them. I sent around a piece of paper and told them if they would like to be part of the team that would put the plans in motion, that they should sign up.

I thought I'd be working with 3 or 4 at the most. I'm now left with a list of 11 students. A bunch more committed themselves to helping out whenever we got something off the ground.

I heard someone say a few weeks ago that they believe the younger generations are a more selfish generation than in the past. I didn't buy it then and I definitely don't buy it now.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Not long division, but destructive division. You know, the type that breaks apart churches and destroys friendships and families. The non-pretty kind.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately (my wife seriously asked me "when did we switch places?" as she is typically the one with a book in her hand) and my head is absolutely left spinning as to the sheer number of times I've heard someone completely call another person's faith in Jesus (and even their salvation) into question based on what they have heard or what they assume of another person.

I've heard more strong opinions lately than I would normally care to hear in one lifetime, but I can't help but wonder what drives this stuff. He/she said "this" so they must believe "this" which makes them Satan. And that's not even an exaggeration.

This tends to be an argument/accusation that is primarily floating around blogs and books dealing with the emerging church its leaders. People are being so quick to jump to a conclusion based on what they hear from one or two individuals, who may not even necessarily be representative of a larger group. But then what happens? Anyone who decides to agree with even a portion of what those original two said gets clumped into the category of "heretic" as well.

Today I was reading Paul's letter to the Corinthians. His words, not mine:
Now let's talk about food that has been sacrificed to idols. You think that everyone should agree with your perfect knowledge. While knowledge may make us feel important, it is love that really builds up the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn't really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one God knows and cares for. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3)
I think that sums it up so nicely. So many of these conversations end with accusations and labels and there's no sign of love anywhere in them. It's usually a case of one person deciding they know it all and therefore they should let it rip at the person who obviously doesn't know it all.

I don't care if the person beside you is the biggest bonehead on the face of the planet and is completely out of touch with 90% of reality, you are still called to love them. Sure they may need some outside input, but where are we told that we have the right to do that without love?

If people in general could just stop their yapping for a minute and ponder the fact that they just might not know it all, I think the silence would be deafening.

I don't have my faith all figured out. I've got a long journey ahead of me. But if I for one second become one of the people that claims to have all the answers, or I begin to act like I do, can one of you please give me a punch in the head?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

One of those days...

Ever have those days when you feel like you're kicking things into high gear? They're rare for me so when it happens I tend to soak it up, just like today. I've been involved in some very heartfelt discussion about church, faith and all things emerging while also being able to carve out some time to interact with the Word and process the thoughts of some other smart people who wrote words in some books.

But at long last, my brain feels like it may explode. Corrine Bailey Rae is playing in the background. Half the family is feeling a little under the weather. The sun disappeared again. And there's no House to watch tonight.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Another guitarist...

I stumbled across this guy, Marcus Eaton, the other day. Now I'll admit that his studio stuff isn't really the greatest and nothing much stands out, but you'll have have to watch some video of him playing live. He uses a lot of loops and I've even seen some video of him and Tim Reynolds playing together. Not the most amazing lyricist, but his guitar skills are worth checking out.

To fully appreciate this, you should watch the last 2-3 minutes of the song.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Brain rush...

I spent 31 hours in the state of Washington and got lost more times than I care to remember, but I did have the joy of sitting in on Emergence 2007 which is a conversation about the emerging church.

I'll admit that I was hoping for a bit more verbal sparring and maybe even a bit more passion at times. It occasionally felt like the moderator (who I completely can't recall a name for right now, but let's call her "radio lady") was completely taking the steam out of things. Come on, I paid good money (and traveled a good distance) and wouldn't mind a heated debate between Mark Driscoll and Doug Pagitt about the innerancy of Scripture. (Wow...I never thought I'd say something like that. I nearly bored myself to sleep writing an ordination paper on the subject of innerancy. I'm rambling...)

With all that said, this was a fascinating event to eavesdrop on. I wish I could summarize it into one blog post, but I have about 8 pages of my own notes (sheesh, when did I become such a nerd?). But I think anyone who has issues or questions about the emerging church should sit in on one of these.

I know a good deal of people with some serious baggage about the emerging church movement that should have sat in on this too so it could break down some of their misconceptions. Misconceptions that they probably share with a lot of other people who raise their eyebrows at the very mention of the word "emerging".

At the end of the day I'm convinced that these four people (Driscoll, Pagitt, Karen Ward & Dan Kimball) are just trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus. Are they confused and off base on some stuff? No more than the rest of us. Let's be honest, who really has this whole Jesus following thing figured out?

Anyway...if you have the chance, pay your $49 and go sit in on one of these things.