Sunday, July 24, 2005


Last week, I joined the over 9 million world-wide potter-ites, by picking up the Half Blood Prince. Some say (especially religious types) that literature can’t compete with video games, movies, computers, etc., etc. Maybe its’ time to admit that the problem isn’t a lack of reading, but the lack of good story tellers. I give mega kudos to JK Rowling for her amazing ability to tell a wonderful story. I admit I’m hooked… I’ve already finished the book. And I’m a bit challenged by how I communicate.

Chances are, emerging generations don’t stray from the Christian community because of video games, movies, or computers… but because we’ve failed to tell of the wonderfully mysterious, scary, thrilling story of God. If we communicate that all the Bible is, is “God’s Instruction Manual for Life,” we deserve the yawns we get. Worse, if we “preach the word” with no imagination, we deserve the protest we get, too.

Friday, July 15, 2005

doctrine... belonging... and a song in-between

We had an awesome time togther at our Emergent West Michigan group this past Wednesday. Kudos to Dr. Mike Wittmer from Grand Rapids Theolgocial Seminary for his insights, cheers, and challenges toward the emergent expression.

I walked away pondering one particular idea that pertains to the inter-relationship we face in our ministries of believing, belonging, and behaving (for lack of sexier terms). It seems to me that there is much discussion about which comes first and why. Lest you think I’m going “linear,” let me take this further by asking waht you think the blur of these three essential elements look like in our communities of faith?

My observation is that many have reacted to "starting with believing” because it makes doctrine seem like a “line in the sand” that we draw and creating an in/out, us/them division that many of us are trying to avoid. I think this leads to a slow death of ecclesiastical insulation, chosen navel-gazing, and "Left Behind" dementia .

The challenge by Dr. Wittmer was, “why do people have problems with in/out?” Theologically, is there not some point where a distinction becomes important (in membership, communion, church discipline, etc.)? And… does not some element of “believing” give us some starting point for what our expectations are for “behaving” (ie. There are certain things I expect of a professing believer that I don’t with one’s who’s journey is on the fringe)?

I've been pondering the metaphor that expresses doctrine (ie. the story of God) more like a song. There are some that know the song so well that they know the words while there are others that are just learning to hum the tune. Is not the role of the church to embrace the song, sing it often and ask people add their part?

Does this help us at all in thinking through what Jesus followers are to be like and how they embrace a belonging-believing-behaving matrix? I’d love your thoughts, your critique, and how your naviagting this in your own corner of the world...

Thanks all. Rock on…

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Love and prayers for London and the world...

top.bus.07.ap.jpg, originally uploaded by Run Steve Run.

I'm a bit numb as I heard of the bombing this morning. I feel frozen to go about my daily activity while people, hours away, are pulling out of the carnage. I'm embarrassed to say that it's hard for me to slow down and consider the hurting, exploited, and dying in our world. God, help me to face it... embrace it... do my part to bring peace, protect the innocent, reject all forms of oppression and violence.

Maybe it's hard for me to stop and consider it all because so often I feel like a walking contradiction. God have mercy on me...

"Only a suffering God can help." – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)