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.