"Much of my growth in the Christian faith has been provoked from places far outside the Christian church."
(Tony Kriz. Neighbors and Wisemen)
"When you begin to think outside the box, you often become some other "leaders" lousy follower. That usually costs something" (Andy Rayner)
"Our guardian angels are bored." (Mike Foster)
It's where I feel I'm at these days. “In the second half of life, it is good just to be a part of the general dance. We do not have to stand out, make defining moves, or be better than anyone else on the dance floor. Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition” (Falling Upward. Richard Rohr.120).
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Second Agers are prone to get stuck on “by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread,” (Gen 3:19) rather than “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory .” (Phil 4:19)
(Leonard Sweet. The Well Played Life)
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
What is more foundational that all this talk about the church suffering from a lack "leadership" and "vision". Those are the easy things....
<blockquoye>"Those who desire holiness must learn and relearn to play with God. God-pleasing and Godplaying replace goal seeking and vision casting. Does your church life revolve around goals? Do you go through a vision-casting process every five years? Or do you seek to be quick to fall on your knees and spring fast on your feet to be the people of God in every walk of life? Participation in God’s nature is the true goal of human life"
(Leonard Sweet. The Well Played Life)
Right or wrong, and not suggesting that making plans is evil, but for a long long time i have felt the real issue is not lack of vision, nor lack of leadership from people like me, or a lack of leadership toward me from others...
There is something deeper, more guttural we are not addressing with the bows and ribbons we are constantly playing with... Well the bows and ribbons I played with for 15 years..... Anyway, How do you measure transformation? The only thing Jesus said is "by their fruit you will know them." How do we lead, and vision cast a people who lost their "spring" and their "fall"? - that Leonard writes about...
If they have a living "spring", "fall", and "walk" my experience is they have no lack of vision and no need of my leadership.
The book of Collosians may have the only answer. When the people are off track, there is immorality, false teaching, a loss of love for others and for Jesus.... Paul's solution in Colossians was simple... to unfold a greater revelation of the person of Jesus. The only one who gives "springs", fixes "springs", and invented "springs"... no reason to spring without him. Can't help but "spring" with him....
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
"Whereas a First Ager discovers his or her song and learns to sing it in the world, a Second Ager learns to dance with a partner and to make music within a symphony of voices."
(Leonard Sweet. The Well Played Life)
Sunday, April 19, 2015
"Exuding a brisk air of professional enthusiasm and a suffocating spirit of hubris, I expostulated so brilliantly on the mystery of God that after one semester, there was no mystery left.
When I heard an elderly and saintly friar in the monastery comment, “The older I get, the less I understand about God,” I assumed that it was his sincere attempt at modesty. Secretly, however, I pitied his shallowness. Looking back now, I shudder at my “profundity"
(Brennan Manning. Ruthless Trust.)
"The treasury of a people’s memory is found in their songs. If we want to teach First Agers to play with God, to play in God’s Garden, to “wake up” and go out in mission into the world for service in the “playing field of life,” then we must teach them the songs of our faith, along with their narratives and metaphors. These are the songs that make the lips quiver and the spine shiver and turn acts of faith into acts of art."
( Leonard Sweet. The Well Played Life)
"Sacred scripture is too important to be left exclusively to biblical scholars. Theology is too vital to be consigned solely to the province of theologians. To explore the depths of the God who invites our trust, we need the artists and mystics."
(Brennan Manning. Ruthless Trust.)
Friday, April 17, 2015
"God has a way to nudge you into life.....To know this, God is at work in the world, He's at work in your life. If you don't see it right now, it's not because he is not doing it, it's because you want it to be something other than it is. And If you relax into this, and let it be what it is, he will lead you into a bigger space than you ever dreamed of, or would ever find on your own. "(Wayne Jacobsen The God Journey Podcast, April 17, 2005))
Thursday, April 16, 2015
"Meanwhile there is Jeremiah, and the people like him who keep showing up in our homes and communities and churches, who go beyond the boundaries of what is safe and comfortable, learn new languages, discover alien cultures, brave hostility and misunderstanding, and who have the scars and tell the stories that prove that the life of faith can be lived in every place and among all peoples— must be lived in every place, among all peoples."
-- Eugene Peterson, "Run with the Horses"
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Monday, April 13, 2015
Sigh.................. "In crowds the truth is flattened to fit a slogan.... The crowd makes spectators of us, passive in the presence of excellence or beauty. The crowd makes consumers of us, inertly taking in whatever is pushed at us. As spectators and consumers the central and foundational elements of our being human— our ability to create, our drive to excel, our capacity to commune with God— atrophy.
(Eugene Peterson, "Run With the Horses)
Thanks Karl Ingersoll
Sunday, April 12, 2015
"The relationship between grace and law is a central issue for almost anyone involved in religion. Basically, it is the creative tension between religion as requirements and religion as transformation. Is God's favor based on a performance principle (Law)? Or does religion work within an entirely different economy and equation? This is a necessary boxing match, but a match in which grace must win. When it doesn't, religion becomes moralistic, which is merely the ego's need for order and control. I am sorry to say, but this is most garden-variety religion. Real love of God or neighbor is much too dangerous.
In Romans and Galatians, Paul gives us sophisticated studies of the meaning, purpose, and limitations of law. He says its function is just to get us started, but it too often takes over. Yet Paul's brilliant analysis has had little effect on the continued Christian idealization of law, even though he makes it very clear: Laws can only give us information; they cannot give us transformation (Romans 3:20; 7:7-13)
__ Paul says, "Israel was looking for a righteousness derived from the law and yet it failed to achieve the purposes of the law. Why did they fail? Because they relied on being privately good instead of trusting in God for their goodness! In other words, they stumbled over the stumbling stone" (Romans 9:31-32). Law is a necessary stage, but if you stay there, Paul believes, it actually becomes a major obstacle to transformation into love and mercy. Law often frustrates the process of transformation by becoming an end in itself. It inoculates you from the real thing. Paul says that God gave us the law to show us that we can't obey the law! (See Romans 7:7-13 if you don't believe me!) In several contexts, Paul even says that the written law brings death, and only the Spirit can bring life (Romans 2:29, 7:5, 2 Corinthians 3:6). This man is religiously dangerous, but it did not take churches long to domesticate him.
Ironically, until people have had some level of inner God experience, there is no point in asking them to follow the ethical ideals of Jesus. It is largely a waste of time. Indeed, they will not be able to even understand their meaning and purpose. Religious requirements become the source of deeper anxiety. Humans quite simply don't have the power to obey any spiritual law, especially issues like forgiveness of enemies, nonviolence, self-emptying, humble use of power, and so on, except in and through union with God. The Spirit in me awakens the only power that can obey the law or know its true purpose.
(Richard Rohr. Grace and Law, Part I
Sunday, April 12, 2015)
Friday, April 10, 2015
"This is one of my favorite Bible College stories.
He said, "Class you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here. So please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam though his ass, and he has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself."
"What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use —men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men, men of prayer."
Sunday, April 5, 2015
There are two kinds of people in the world—those who live the adventure, and those who read about others’ adventures.
"My brother and I were about the same age and of the same upbringing. But whereas I came home from that trip (a Safari in East Africa) lucky to have all my ﬁngers and lots of stories, my brother had spent most of the trip reading a novel about adventures in Africa!
We both had a great time, but only one of us came home with stories to tell (and, obviously, I still do). There are two kinds of people in the world—those who live the adventure, and those who read about others’ adventures. I determined a long time ago that I wasn't going to be someone who only read about the adventures of others. I would live the kind of life others would want to read about."
(Journeys To Significance. Neil Cole)(Journeys To Significance. Neil Cole)
Friday, April 3, 2015
He takes it beyond sentimentality.
"The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die…What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God's future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it…). They are part of what we may call building for God's kingdom.”
(N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church)
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
"The church is the face of Christ, but only Jesus is the face of God. In the past, the face of the church has been the Avenger, determined to root out all transgressors and transgressions.. "
( Leonard Sweet. The Well Played Life)
"Fledgling disciples need wings to fly and roots to fasten if they are to live missionally, relationally, and incarnationally in the world. Our natural habitat is the world, not the church."
(Leonard Sweet. The Well Played Life)
Monday, March 30, 2015
Yes..... Oh what we learn from the despised ones...... "Those at the edge of any system and those excluded from any system ironically and invariably hold the secret for the conversion and wholeness of that very group....
Only as the People of God receive the stranger, the sinner, and the immigrant, those who don’t play our game our way, do we discover not only the hidden, feared, and hated parts of our own souls, but the fullness of Jesus himself. We need them for our own conversion." (Richard Rohr)
Sunday, March 29, 2015
"Searching for someone to miss me." (Paul Theroux)
This letter, written on March 20th, 1999, was handed to me today..... The letter was found in my my wife's late mother's things, who passed in 2011.
"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." - Mark Twain
But I have to say.... I am still searching for someone to miss me.... But my hopes are set too high...
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
I'm trained in theology, missology up the wazoo. God has made it clear to me that what we view as our style of leadership in the west is not needed to advance the church. After working in pulpit ministry, and four pioneer works in French sub Sahara West Africa... The mass people movements taking place have many united characteristics (With asian people movements as well). The most interesting, and humbling, is that every one of them spread apart from theological school trained people or in association with theological institutions.
In Mongola the Gospel was spread by young chtistian school girls. On weekends and school vacations one girls family would invite another friend home. And the young girl would tell their other friend the bible stories while they played. Not a planned thing. It just gappens, right.
The adults over heard them tell the stoies and listened in the yurt too. how do you get away in a yurt:-) By this the Gospel spread in a formerly inpenitrable region to foreign lead mission activity.
There is no talk about APEST gifts or leadership in these circles.
Old women, of no apparent leadership attributes have planted more churchs than I have. I've come to believe (shoved down my throat) no gift qualifies or disqualifies anyone from loving others, sharing Jesus, or from church planting. Church planting is the result of sowing Jesus....
We turned over a new work of eighteen communities of believers to a mission agency, and moved to start another new work. The agency sent five mission families in... and the expansion of comminites stopped instantly. Four years later the westerners asked me to come back and do something, anything, to get mission and church planting to begin again. I spent 30 days in the bush with the local men and listened and listened some more. Did the same after that with the westerners... they were very critical of one farmer.
Finally, I asked the five families how many church communities they started here. "None", they said.
"How many communities have you started anywhere in your life?", none they said.
I said, well, that farmer you are criticizing has brought the gosoel to nine villages. With no pay, no salary, no expense money, no bible college training, and he did it without your fancy training programs designed to teach him, and the others how it's done. (Same for every community. No western money was used for salaries, positions, constructing church buildings etc.) I share his story, and how this farmer has more gospel living and church forming experience in his pinky fingernail, right now, than all five western families will ever have in a lifetime, combined. So why don't we get out of the peoples way.
The uneducated rural farmers were defaulting to the educated imporant people, as they always do in those cultures. The farmers were submitting to all of the westerners meetings, classes, and training programs.. but for four years the advancement of the Gospel slowed to a trickle. not one new community
Anyway, the five mission family team agreed to step back. So we went back to the bush, and all of the villages met. Within thirty days a new community sprung up, and by three months there were four new Jesus communities.
One of the worst men I know, he is an unusually large man among his ethnic group. He is brash, a big village bully, drinks a lot, and screws around with dozens of other women, sired children, gave his actual wife a STD because of it. He and I locked horns many times. We loved, and hated each other at the same time, at various times. But coming from a fisherman family i'm used to brash burley men.
He is not a leader, as he does not qualify in character. But the gospel is in his village because of him, and spread to four others because of him. Sometimes, I've seen him do it when visiting him, telling other men the stories in a drunken stupor over too much palm wine that fermented a little too long. You can't kick him out of the local church, as church discipline, because he rarely attends one because of his life. You can't tell him, or make him stop talking about Jesus, because he sees the church men as brothers, not authority... who can deny a man the right to talk?
So he keeps talking about Jesus.... and the church spread where ever he goes, but he never leads the new groups, and is rarely part of them...
APEST, who's authority he's under, leadership traits, rights or qualifications were never discussions in these circles. We were unable to stop him from sharing Jesus, even though, as we would point out, he was "unqualified"
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Last line changes perspectives. .. does it not?
"I am 41 years old, and I’ve worked since getting out of college as a computer programmer. I’m in decent shape for a person who’s been holed up in an office for so long. I’m married and have three little girls. Our fifteenth wedding anniversary will pass in my absence. Nothing is wrong with my life. My family is outstanding. I have what most people would consider to be a decent job. I’m not unhappy, and I’m not hiking to escape from anything. My life is precariously normal. I’ve been told that taking this trip at this time in my life is irresponsible, a charge I won’t contest. Maybe doing it later in life would make more sense. But my father had bypass surgery and my mom is fighting cancer. My opinion of “later”is jaded.
I’m headed for Maine.
(David Miller. AWOL On The Appalachian Trail)
There are so many problems with a question like, “Is Church Attendance Mandatory?” Why is church about attendance at all. It’s a family not a meeting and there are many ways to assembling with others in our hearts is far more important than sitting in a meeting together. (Wayne Jacobsen)
"I've met people in the last year or two who have stopped going to their local church because people have started singing new songs and dancing in the aisles. And I've met others who have started going for precisely the same reason. It's time to give ourselves a shake--to recognize that different people need different kinds of help at different stages of their lives--and get on with it.” ― N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
In the same way many Christians--whole generations of them, sometimes entire denominations--have in their possession a book which will do a thousand things not only in and for them but through them in the world. And they use it to sustain only three or four things they already do.” ― N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
Friday, March 20, 2015
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
21 Mistakes l Made As A Senior Pastor:
Putting church over community.
Putting orthodoxy over love.
Putting certainty over wonder.
Putting teaching over conversation.
Putting polished over real.
Putting answers over questions.
Putting membership over friendship.
Putting Christianity over Christ.
Putting knowledge over action.
Putting style over substance.
Putting appearance over authenticity.
Putting functionality over beauty.
Putting religion over spirituality.
Putting numbers over faces.
Putting holiness over humanity.
Putting accountability over acceptance.
Putting heaven over earth.
Putting reputation over risk.
Putting charisma over compassion.
Putting the Afterlife over the Herelife.
Putting thinking over feeling.
- Jim Palmer
Sunday, March 15, 2015
"Jesus said you must deny yourself to embrace Truth. This is letting go of your insistence that the spiritual path be a certain way, and that it uphold your comfort and preferences. The Truth will challenge your most deeply held ideas. You must set aside all the things you think you know, and be willing to start from a place of not knowing. Count on this being thorny. You are vested in what you know, and have built your life around your beliefs."
(Jim Palmer. Notes From Over The Edge)
"The reason why so few find the Truth is because we impose our conditions and preferences upon it. We insist the Truth must look a certain way, including the path we take to get to it."(Jim Palmer. Notes From Over The Edge)
"You have a “Yeah, but ”problem. You say you want to know the truth but you have conditions....."
Yeah, I want to know the Truth…
BUT it must nicely fit into, complement or be consistent with certain beliefs and understandings I never plan on giving up, BUT it must not put me at odds with my family, friends, or faith tradition,
BUT it must be something I can figure out in, with, and through my mind,
BUT it must produce the outcomes I want on my terms."
(Jim Palmer. Notes From Over The Edge)
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Wow... what a story.... too focused on a goal when we disregard human life, value, and worth all to achieve our objectives.....
I see it in celebrity church leaders too.
"On May 16, 2006, David Sharp lay with his life in danger at twenty-nine thousand feet in the infamous “Zone of Death”on Mount Everest. It isn’t clear what ailed Sharp. Some say he had used all his oxygen, while others say he was suffering from standard altitude sickness. As Sharp lay fighting for his life it is said that no less than forty-two people passed by him. Many of those forty-two passed by twice—on the way up and down. What was their response? In most cases they did nothing. One of those who passed by Sharp was Mark Inglis, a forty-sevenyear-old New Zealander. Inglis had already lost both legs to frostbite on Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Now he was gaining national attention for his attempt to summit Mount Everest with two prostheses. Interviewed about the episode, Inglis said, “We talked for quite a while and it was a very hard decision.”They radioed down to their expedition leader who said the situation sounded hopeless. With that, they did what everybody else did. They left Sharp to die. This incident stirred an international debate about outdoor and mountaineering ethics. Edmund Hilary, the legendary New Zealander who was the first person ever to summit Mount Everest was outraged. “The people just want to get to the top,”Hilary fumed. “They don’t give a damn about anybody else. I think it was the responsibility of every human on that mountain to try to save his life, even if that means they don’t get to the top of the mountain.""
(Bill Walker. SkyWalker: Close Encounters On The Appalachian Trail)
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
"To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known."
(Henri Nouwen )
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Jonathan Merritt: "You say that the way to stop the exodus of millennials from churches isn’t cosmetic–better music, sleeker logos, more relevant programming, etc. Why are these methods ineffective in your mind?"
Rachel Evans: These aren’t inherently bad strategies and some churches would be wise to employ them. But many church leaders make the mistake of thinking millennials are shallow consumers who are leaving church because they aren’t being entertained. I think our reasons for leaving church are more complicated, more related to social changes and deep questions of faith than worship style or image.
If you try to woo us back with skinny jeans and coffee shops, it may actually backfire. Millennials have finely-tuned B.S. meters that can detect when someone’s just trying to sell us something. We’re not looking for a hipper Christianity. We’re looking for a truer Christianity. Like every generation before and after, we’re looking for Jesus—the same Jesus who can be found in the places he’s always been: in bread, in wine, in baptism, in the Word, in suffering, in community, and among the least of these. No fog machines required."
"I think the change we’re seeing around us might one day be viewed on the same level as what happened to the church after Constantine’s conversion or after the invention of the printing press. Whatever the change looks like when it’s done, it will register as a seismic shift from what we’ve known." (Carey Nieuwhof)