Wednesday, May 24, 2006

secrets and sparks

"You can't talk about this thing with just anybody. People worry about you. They may think you're changing sides, turning traitor. They may talk about you as if you came down with some communicable disease. So you keep this sort of thing like a dirty secret, this doubt that is not really a doubt about God or Jesus or faith but about our take on God, our version of Jesus, our way of faith. You let it out only when you feel you have found someone you can trust." -from the introduction to A New Kind Of Christian

Monday, May 22, 2006


i have just returned from a men's retreat with my church vineyard city church. the main discussion was about integrity. integrity when you are going about your daily business (do i even consider that the way i drive affects more than just me); integrity when you think no one is watching (do i even consider that looking at porn degrades my wife and our relationship, every other woman on this planet and myself); integrity when everyone is watching (do i even consider my motivations when i am interacting with people). bottom line for me is do i do what i do because i was made in the image of a personal, loving god or because somehow i believe that whatever i do is for the betterment of me and affects only me. sometimes i need the reminder that ALL people are made in the image of god and they have value in that, irregardless of whether or not they claim to know or follow god. when i remember that, my behavior, or character and integrity, will reflect it.
throughout this conversation about integrity another thread of thought continued to pop up. that was community. without community, it is difficult to reach the wonderful depths that can be reached through integrity and love. without community you begin to justify all of your actions based on how you feel. which brings me to the main reason i started this blog. this blog was about an idea that we (christy and i) had while we were reading some wonderful books, but we didn't have an outlet to really discuss them. so we posed the idea to some friends who don't live in the same state (and in one case, the same country), that we could start a blog to discuss some of the ideas that were coming from the pages that were challenging us. most of the friends we posed this to are really busy (i.e. studying for the CPA exam, studying theology in grad school) so their involvement would be limited. but our friend kara has decided to join us in this. she is one of christy's best friends from college and she and her husband, mitch, have been a continual godsend to christy and i throughout our marriage.
so this is how it is going to work, with obvious room for lots and lots of revision and change: we will read through a book together and, by way of team blogging, will post comments about that chapter that challenges, stretches, intrigues, whatever adjective applies. the book we have decided to read through first is the "A New Kind of Christian" trilogy by brian mclaren. because kara and christy have lots they are doing outside of this we haven't given ourselves any other parameters besides what i just stated, but, each one of us will be writing posts. NOW, here is where you come in. whoever you are i invite you to get this book by brian mclaren and join along with us, it will require an open mind to be able to DISCUSS some of these ideas. we are not interested in entering into anything other than a dialogue about ideas (read "comments are moderated and we're just not gonna get into the arguing thingy") but we are VERY INTERESTED in hearing what each other, and maybe you, have to think about ideas and issues that are challenging us in our faith and beliefs.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


please read the comment from my sister amy in the previous post. i am in no way blaming president bush for all of the scrutiny that christians receive, either justly or unjustly. but because he is our nation's leader and a professing christian he will be the ultimate scapegoat and fall-guy. there are a number of institutions, pastors, priests, lay-people and otherwise, including myself, who are doing a poor job of being christ-like. not to mention any number of historical figures or institutions who, to the absolute glee of christian detractors, have fed the flame of disparagement. it is true that we have an enemy as followers of christ, but sometimes that enemy is staring us in the face as we are brushing our teeth. so rest assured, although i will continue to ask questions of people in high places who "represent" christ, i will be subject to the same scrutiny.

above reproach

i know for myself, i've had some trouble voicing my unsettledness about our current president and the war. i do not hate george bush, but i hate that there is some distrust of christianity, at least the conservative-evangelical branch, because of president bush and his unwavering, unquestioning christian supporters. here is a great essay from donald miller about our commander-in-chief and americana-christianity. i realize that i don't know the first thing about being president or the responsibilities and expectations therein, BUT i believe that if christians begin to take following jesus more seriously in all aspects of life radical, kingdom-of-god stuff will happen.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

feed the hunger

check this article out. it has some great things to say about the jesus-followers response(s) to "the davinci code" and "the gospel of judas" hype.

Monday, May 08, 2006

culture observed

if you get a chance check out dick staub's blog. he has a lot of great things to say about the culture at large and the meager amount of christian "creatives" that are engaging it.

blue pill or red pill?

my brother-in-law eric has asked some good questions about being a christian in america in his new post. check it out.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


recently christy and i were at the bank for a somewhat lengthy document signing. the bank was very busy with people lined up almost to the door. after we had been there for about 10 minutes a mom came in with a toddler and a newborn. the toddler was NOT happy and let everyone know it. instantly, i think, everyone felt sorry for her but then when the kid would not stop you could see and hear everyone change. THEY were irritated and indignant that she would bring him in there and that they would have to suffer the noise because of her lack of wisdom in bringing an unhappy, loud kid into an overcrowded bank. i admit that i was getting embarrassed for her but stayed in my chair. next to me my wife, whom i have seen very impatient sometimes, even with kids, said, "someone should help her." after a couple of minutes more of this both my wife and the bank manager approached the woman. the bank manager to bring her to the front of the line, looking very displeased, and christy to offer to take the toddler and hold him while she did her banking. INSTANTLY, the boy stopped crying and put his head on christy's shoulder. i can't tell how overcome i was that christy did this. she thought it was the right thing to do and did it. stinkin' cool! i believe that this was a glimpse of the kingdom of god and i was very grateful to see it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

haggard love

i think about our relationship with god and others a lot.
how can god care about billions of people and not see them as billions of people? i look at grass and have such difficulty focusing on just one let alone a few or some. even as i get closer it almost becomes more frustrating to try and do so. yet i believe that god cares for me. the individual me. i don't know how, i don't always understand why, but i believe god does. if i didn't believe that, i couldn't keep my faith that helps me to love others. when i believe god loves and cares for christy that helps me to transform my thinking and actions towards her (i have been snappy, cranky, and selfish lately, having a hard time vocalizing, at least appropriately, what is bothering me)when i believe that god loves and cares for my neighbors and their neighbors and their neighbors and their neighbor, who happens to be merle haggard, i can believe that i can also. they all have names, they all have parts of them that still identify themselves with god, somehow, if they pay attention. i have to believe god loves merle, because god knows merle, not just the famous country artist, the merle that is merle when no one else is around. it's mysterious and incomprehensible to us, because we base so much of what we do on earning. merle, to us,is merle because of what he accomplished. he has value based on his notoriety. merle is merle to god because he was born, he has value to god based on being. merle's value is equal to that of the homeless person, the politician, the religious person, the dalit in india, the tibetan monk, the drug czar in columbia, the oppressed woman in africa, the homosexual prostitute. he has the same value in god's eyes as adolph hitler had and as mother teresa had. unfortunately, for whatever reason, people respond to that love differently or not at all and do harm to themselves and others.
why chose pain and fear over love?

traveling mercies

i have been reading anne lamott's "traveling mercies" recently.
amanda: thank you, thank you, thank you!
i enjoyed her from the start. anyone who can reduce all the baggage we've packed into the "sinner's prayer" down to "fuck it: i quit." "all right. you can come in." is someone who might understand me. someone who might become a warm friend. and she is, although it is a one-way friendship right now.
i recommend this book, highly.

maybe not for all of you.