More with Less…

Yes, the economy is having an effect on us all. In hind sight of Advent/Stewardship Season/Christmas, a lot has been said to the effect of “Generosity, generosity, generosity.”  This theme is at the core of what it means to be submitted to God.  While many in this world are hoping for “things to turn around” economically, the fact is that there are so, so many signs out there that it may take a lot longer than anyone would like (personal debt, governmental debt, institutional debt). 

In my humble opinion there may be two clear options forward economically for our society and the people within it, 1. austerity and 2. pushing the collective debts forward (okay a third option may be to offer up a combination of the two).  In all, there are some serious decisions to be made by all of us in the near future.  What is more, every one of us will be effected by these decisions.  Everyone of us, even if we’re debt free with money in the bank, our institutions, our ability to invest and the general value of the dollar will be impacted – THE ECONOMY OF THE CHURCH WILL CHANGE. Continue reading More with Less…

“phew…”

“…For a minute there I lost myself,” says Thom Yorke.  I take that sentiment personally to the feet of Jesus this New Year’s Day.

Without elaborating on 2010, may 2011 be one of:

1.  Hearing to the One True Voice more clearly (I mean really hearing it…not just listening but hearing it).

2. Moving to the rhythm of God (not just going the motions of the short-cut pathway; actually trusting that God does NOT need me to do what it is that he is doing – rather, he wants me and everyone else to partake, co-create and collaborate).

3. Being okay with being (turning away from doing – because far too often I’m contented to do).

4. Entering into Christ’s hopes. (listening for his voice, listening for his will; and being completely embracing of that, no matter what).

5. Imagining new dreams. (This one is my final hope…and this is my greatest prayer/hope). Continue reading “phew…”

…the Church’s struggle

Thoughts on the role of the Church have been swirling within me for a while now.  For years I struggle with a much more personal bout with my own calling.  From age 17 until I was about 29 I wrestled God and self over what it meant to be called and, ultimately as I found out over time, what it means to surrender my own desires for life to the desires of God (whatever they may mysteriously be).  Well, ever since I accepted that, there seemed to be forces greater than me calling me to serve my call within the Church (i.e. to actually participate among the community of believers, rather than rejecting them as I had done for years), I have spent more time observing the Church, her beliefs, her habits, her strengths, her weaknesses and how they interact with the western world AND HERE’S MY THREE SIMPLE OBSERVATIONS:… Continue reading …the Church’s struggle

…re-newed society, false-self; industrial design

The macro-thinker within has recently been hearing a lot of talk about the ways that the world is shrinking, the world is communicating ideas and the world is becoming individualistically empowered.  All of these movements are going to “revolutionize” how we do life.  Recently, I watched a documentary entitled “Objectified,” a clip on the study of industrial design, its effects on the world and unintended side effects as well.  One of the designers made a comment about the self that resonated profoundly with my soul and my understanding of the journey of life from the context of a Christian in 2010.  When discussing the automobile, its power in the market place and the fact that the market continually demands them he said, “Cars become a sort of avatar for how we wish to be seen in the world.  The problem is that we don’t really care what our cars look like for others…we really place ourselves in particular cars to tell ourselves who we are.”

If this is the case, do we create our own lives simply to convince ourselves of who we are? Perhaps, we only dress our lives with things and ideas so that we can convince ourselves of who we are…and so the idea of new becomes moreso an idea of “neos” or brand-newness and not so much about “kainos” and re-newal (to swipe from a recent Rob Bell sermon I heard).

The reiteration of the same things that the apostle Paul was saying emerge.  There is a false-self and real-self.  By surrounding our lives with the images that we wish ourselves to communicate perhaps are simply a measure to convince ourselves of the lie.

Is it wrong to wear the freshest ties and polished shoes?

Am I driving that shnazzy SUV to impress myself?

Do I identify with my alma mater only to convince myself that I’m worthy?

What does this all mean?  Am I going to give up my possessions and follow Christ (as Jesus badgers the Rich Young Ruler in Luke 18)?  Maybe I should.  Because maybe, after it is all said and done…perhaps the only person impressed by my false-self…Is me.

Perhaps design is not so much about what is on the outside as it is about what is designed within.

the ankle…

This morning was the coolest, crispest morning in months.  That’s why at 5:15 a.m. rather than getting a few minutes more sleep before heading to the 7:00 a.m. men’s breakfast, I decided to go ahead and get up for a short 2 mile run.  It was great!  I started out as faster than I can remember.  I even said about halfway through, “I think I’ll pick up the pace” and I did…

…about 45 seconds later in an attempt to “hop” onto the sidewalk from the blacktop, everything came crashing down (and I mean all of me) when I sprained my twisted my ankle like never before.  What I mean to say that I heard a POP or two and I hit the ground.  Lying there I was just CERTAIN that I had broken a bone.  In a desperate attempt to just get up and pretend nothing had happened, I did just that.  In a fervency of prayer I said, “dear Lord, please don’t let this thing be broken”… Continue reading the ankle…

Disconnecting Freedom

“Why is there so much emphasis these days on our differences!?!”  This is the question that came up a few Fridays back over dinner amongst friends.  The response returned, “Because so many people are so connected to information like never before.”  I’ve pondered this statement ever since.  I think he is right.  People are connected now more than ever.  When people can sync up to the web of infinite-info with the touch of an iPhone, knowledge is just there.  But it seems to me that now more than ever the mood for McCarthyism has returned to the scene.

When did political views become so polarizing and why do we care so much?  Well, the more I observe the perceived division the more I think that either we have too much time on our hands or perhaps we are listening only that medium for which we choose.  When “fair and balanced” have become words that indicate a political agenda and when CNN has been dubbed communist, I’m left asking myself ‘what’s the point of trying?’

Incidentally, more out of determination to simplify and pay off those lovely student loans from seminary, my wife and I cut cable about 3 months ago, and my perspective on seemingly everything changed.  From the moment we pondered disconnecting from cable, even the initial proposal sounded bizarre and wrong.  We mulled over the idea for two months despite the fact that our “minimum” package was costing us over $70.00/month!  Time and again we said to each other, “are we okay with this?” and “are we going to be able to make it?”  Our parents though we were slightly odd, I’m sure.  My mother asked if we were okay – like, really “are you guys doing okay?”  The cable company representative thought we were in a tough spot financially – he was awestruck by my nonchalant response of ‘not-at-all.’   Continue reading Disconnecting Freedom

The New Economy

Today’s posting is non-scientific.  Today’s posting does not have a lot editorial flashes attached.  Today’s posting is just my ramblings about the Church, something almost as near and dear to my heart as God (mind you that the Church is not God nor does it even come close to God – but I love as much as anyone).

At this time in the Church’s history we stand on the brink of a shift that, based upon history, is due to happen.  Every 500 or so years our church moves forward with reformation.  Creeds have caused shifting.  Luther’s 95 theses tipped the world’s hat to the last major one.  But in 2010, we are due for one. 

While at 2010 Georgia Pastor’s School this week, I heard a lot of discussion about the imago dei and about pastoral self-care (very important shop-talk).  In all of the discussions I heard one sentence from Steve Harper of Asbury Seminary that put all of the puzzle pieces together for me – “The Church is in the beginning moments of a new reformation and what it looks like nobody is yet quite certain.”  So what is this new reformation and what will it look like? Here are my thoughts…

Continue reading The New Economy