Oct 302003
 

freshest thought, hot off the presses, just crossed my mind, while waiting for my laptop to boot up.. noticed this common theme among many Christians (when I say “many”, I don’t have a empirical quantitative measurement on it, whether it’s 30-50% significant numbers of, 50.1% simple majority, 66.7% majority, 85-90% overwhelming majority, or 91%+ almost all) that they value heart attitude and sincerity over all else, well, not just over all else, but to the detriment and neglect of other aspects of a person’s actions and thoughts..

one prominent communicator (former pastor, and I won’t use the word teacher here) often quips, “Your attitude determines your altitude!” Nice kitchy rhyme, but only a part of the picture.. it takes personal capacity, ability to work with others, quality control and planning, timely execution, for something to be achieved, something to be accomplished.. sincere attitude alone doesn’t do all that much. And for good people who have a quality standard, working in a Christian environ, some semblence of a non-profit organization, their call for higher standards gets chucked aside as “bad attitude” or “contentiousness”, when in fact, the attitude is genuine desire for excellence to the glory of God, and the substance of the matter is terribly mistaken for insincerity.. the tragic end result being, more often than it should, is poor qualityprograms all done in the name of sincere faith.. [cnx courtesy of Panera Bread's free WiFi]

something about faith

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Oct 282003
 

came across some (old) poignant reflections about faith from outsiders looking in to the faith community.. I appreciate their honesty.. 1 Peter 3:15 says that normal people will (1) ask about the hope we Christians have (2) then, we are invited to give an answer; instead, people see rules and rituals and anti-intellectualism that stifle + hinder their quest for that intangible something..

enjelani: I’ve never been religious, but I’ve tried mightily to understand people who are, mostly without success. I can understand the sublime comfort one can find in ritual, the power in a daily affirmation of faith, the value in striving to be constantly aware of what life is about. That’s all marvelous stuff; sometimes I wish I’d be raised to practice these things. But I could never get past taking ancient documents for absolute truth, or as a set of rules to follow literally regardless of social or historical context. The absolute truth part doesn’t work, because so much of religious doctrine has been thoroughly disproven by science, and the set-of-rules part reeks suspiciously of surrogate parenting.

eching (in response to enjelani): It’s interesting. “…there must be something to it that I’m not getting.” I often think that. I’ve read articles about the demographic statistics of devout religious people that state that in general, religion falls off as education increases (I’m not sure what metric they use for “education”), except for a sharp spike in people at the top, whom are considered the most educated (the article stated high incidence of religion among brilliant minds of the past). In fact, an old high school friend whose brilliance I have yet to see surpassed turned to the ministry briefly after studying physics at Princeton. There must be something I’m missing.

www.iraqprayer.com

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Oct 242003
 

Dave Lee is abroad in Iraq on a vision trip, October 20th to November 6th. He’s posting real-time updates from Iraq at www.iraqprayer.com . He’d covet your intercessions! And please pass the word along to others.

Oct 212003
 

Here’s my recurring meta-theme, the intrigue of the interconnectivity and interplay of churches and cultures, and that’s one reason why Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives is a watershed and critical book to me.. I like it that a mainstream conversation is willing now to wrestle with this interplay, rather than to lock it away in academia — where I do not have access b/c I’m not pursuing a Ph.D. and don’t care to.

one thought on the book, then my own rant.. the 2×2 matrix is a stifling grid, and fails to pull in another dimension; we find it more helpful to think of it as a cube, there’s a 3rd axis for “form”, the look & feel of the worship experience and theological ruberic.. for R being the artistic soul, she gets stifled where the message and method aren’t aligned with a form that engages the culture, for her strategically urban + cosmopolitan.. and I’d imagine there are more dimensions (but with this being a blog entry, thoughts are not well-formed nor edited.. they’re just expressed in the moment..)

See, it’s this whole interplay of between churches and cultures that permeate my mind’s backburners.. why is there such a lack of dialogue about this interplay in my contexts (or any context, for that matter), among the Asian American, multiracial, postmodern, and theological diversity of the world.. the world is comprised of many cultures and sub-cultures, and yet most constructs and models of doing church, be it a denominational form (cf. Baptist cookie-cutter units in the Bible belt), liturgical form (cf. Orthodox), a modern boomerish megachurch form, an ethnic form, a demographic form (cf. young adults night worship), segment the body of Christ into small-minded narrowband morsels. We (R & I) want to experience the bigger wholeness of the Body of Christ and its multi-faceted expressions of worship, and in the reality of this world, it looks like multi-churching – on a good weekend, it’s getting in 3 or 4 worship services.. and this is not consumer-mindedness mind you, this is to awaken our souls to the fuller-ness of who God is, and how he is expressed in and through the lives of his peoples!

blog worship #1

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Oct 192003
 

in this moment of communion, and reflecting on the spoken word (Brian shared themes from the HBO movie Wit, incredibly powerful). And how death gives us a fresh perspective on life.. I like how he weaved the metaphor of baptism and communion into that story, and how sacred those 2 things are in our story.. And how now we can live.. My heart gravitates back to the fullness of Jesus, full of grace and truth.. And as we have 2 eyes to gain perspective, we need to have more than 1 voice, 1 perspective to grasp the whole truth and grace of God.. It’s not only rational and logical, not only mysterious and beautiful.. Both/and! [either WiFi at church was turned off today, OR my T|C's WiFi is flaky, so while written "in the moment" this was actually uploaded later, and post-dated back to its actual timestamp]

Oct 172003
 

when I thought it couldn’t get any better this week, a pre-ordered book wrapped in corrugated brown with a swooshed smilie on it approached me after dinner: Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives.. now this is THE watershed book of our times!! Having enjoyed the privilege of having met 4 (of the 6), hung out with 3, dined with 2, see 1 regularly, the people that put this collaborative effort together did a tremendously phenomenal work: can you imagine this, having them in the same room — Leonard Sweet , Andy Crouch, Brian D. McLaren, Erwin Raphael McManus, Michael Horton, Frederica Matthewes-Green — talking + interacting with each other, well, it happened, and this book is a snapshot of that dialogue (and captures it well visually: interspersed montage photos, chapters with interjected comments by each other, incredible introduction)..

while being tempted to rip through the book, bubble it to the top of my priority list, and inhale it like the best of stuff, I’m going to let it simmer and seep into the fibers of my emerging perspective.. so, I gave in & stayed up, watched the game up to the 11th hour, tragically inevitable end.. sigh.. [being in blog time, the rush to get the earliest timestamp is one of those I-blogged-it-first-right-here braggin' rights; so did I make it?]

after skimming, touch + go, around 20% of the book, a couple of thoughts emerged: (1) wonder why they didn’t get Tim Keller to rep’ the reformed voice, that would’ve been sooooo good; (2) why didn’t they identify each perspective representative with the quadrant of the message vs. method matrix.. while not identifying them compels you to read the texts, it sure made it hard work..

and, just found Frederica’s chapter online (without interjections), courtesy Brad Boydston; and from Frederica‘s essays list, her response to the dialogue that ensued

getting high

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Oct 162003
 

this is a good week for me, a number of things humming along, getting to hang out with what they call high capacity people.. which is just a fancy word for energetic & active achievers, or passionate and intentional.. whatever it’s called, you know when you’re around people who bring out the best in you without running over you, and willing to connect & relate with an average joe like me (that’s how I see myself).. it’s gotten me up at 2am for a third day now, and the ideas are just bursting around in my head, and it feels good.. so much better than the nightmares that was waking me up 2 yrs ago..

I feel like what does it for me is that I want + need to be liked by capable people (the word “like” works well for me, much better than “respected – too formal and distant, or “loved” – expects too much of others, and people don’t know how to love me the way I want to be loved anyways), and then I can contribute all of my latent + untapped potential, and that makes work a whole lot more palatable.. I don’t like to be out front and in the spotlight, and probably don’t have the charisma and polish to be that magnetic personality that lights up the room, but I think I’m a good connector (cf. Tipping Point), and that’s a great role for me to enjoy and contribute..

Oct 152003
 

The Atlantic decided to show some honesty amidst mass media + political correctness’ lip service to diversity, but lack of real life daily diversity: Maybe it’s time to admit the obvious. We don’t really care about diversity all that much in America, even though we talk about it a great deal. Maybe somewhere in this country there is a truly diverse neighborhood in which a black Pentecostal minister lives next to a white anti-globalization activist, who lives next to an Asian short-order cook, who lives next to a professional golfer, who lives next to a postmodern-literature professor and a cardiovascular surgeon. But I have never been to or heard of that neighborhood. Instead, what I have seen all around the country is people making strenuous efforts to group themselves with people who are basically like themselves.

poncho, porch, & more

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Oct 142003
 

okay, so I couldn’t find a 3rd P.. i’m not into that alliteration jive.. I got the green light this morning, to give a prop and shout out.. this warm & enthusiastic blog link to my friend, and yours, Jen Lemen [now at www.jenlemen.com], an emerging voice for our time and our generation.. here’s a sneak peak at her recent thought:

in that poncho, i could see myself traveling the world’s cities. in that poncho, i could see myself cozy on my porch writing books. in that poncho, i could see my crabbiness slip away as my children delighted in its magic, the miracle of no sleeves and all the places inside to snuggle up to me and be warmed.

normally, when i encounter this kind of redemption screaming my name, i put it back on the rack and walk away forlorn. but not that day. i bought that poncho without a second thought, and the very thought of it in the bag put a jump in my step all the way home.

I find myself strangely warmed by her authentic voice, and how she’s able to find the redemptiveness in a poncho, on her porch, and of her life as a mother of two younguns, and all the more as she navigates through life in our loosely connected faith community, perhaps all the more loosely b/c we’re geographically and psychographically marginalized, but we hang out there weekly since it’s the only place we’ve found safe enough to believe + to doubt.. (and while she doesn’t have an email or comment link on her blog yet, you can comment here, and I’ll see to it that she gets your perculating responses)