Nov 292003

question >> Just wondering if you have ever used McLaren’s “More Ready Than You Realize” in a discussion/bible study group? If so, what was the response? What were the themes the discussions centered around? What was the overall response?

djchuang >> No, haven’t had an opportunity to use that book in a group setting, tho’ I read it (devoured it) very quickly when I got a copy of that book. I’d think the book would be great for discussion starters, b/c of its provocative questions and thoughts. I’d imagine it’d be most useful for people who are open to discussion and exploring ideas, and I’d suggest adding some supplemental text so the discussions may be more informed than speculative.

virtual relationships

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Nov 262003

one recurring question I get occasionally here is about my relationships how do I know such-and-such a person? I often reply that I hadn’t met them in person, but relate to them virtually.. and, then the followup, how do I build relationships online, if I haven’t actually met a person, in person face-to face? This study shows that it is possible, and I quote this excerpt: “… distributed learners communicating predominantly online can indeed sustain intimate, personal relationships …

couple of thoughts of how to build virtual relationships.. first, people have to want it, 2ndly, it takes effort and intentionality – just as physically + geographically proximate relationships takes doing things together and talking with one another, so does virtual online relationships.. there are so many technologies to use: IM, email, chat room, web forums, mailing lists, etc.. and relating personally, whether nearby or virtual, is about conversation and dialogue, sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings.. so if you want to go there, you can go there, and you’re not bound by physical or geographical boundaries!

American as apple pie

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Nov 252003

just don’t drink it.. on the extended long commute home (2 accidents en route, as I heard on radio, so I was among the bailout), stopped by 7-Eleven b/c I was reading some recent buzz about its innovative flavor shots to go with your Big Gulp fountain drinks, tho’ nothing prohibits you from getting some shots in your Slurpee or coffee along the same aisle.. I gawked at the flavor shots, and decided to go for a bottled one.. picked up a limited edition “Snapple Pie”, their version of an apple pie drink..

and, how weird is that?! I’m into experimenting and all, and occasionally don’t want to be chewing, but drinking an apple pie was frankly too weird for me.. yes I bought it + tried it.. what’s next, steak & cheese?!

a business idea: I won’t be pulling thisoff, but would like to see them happen (and an acknowledgement to this blog would suffice)..

how about a movie portal where I can get the rottentomatoes ratings, theatre locations near me by zip code, and one-click online order of tickets.. I don’t like scrambling from fandango to moviefone to whatever-movie-online-tix to find the theatre that matches the movie I want to watch at the time I want to watch it.. there’s plenty of travel (air, car, hotel) portals that aggregate fares and rentals, why not movie tix?

faithful to pragmatism

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Nov 172003

Jordon Cooper rightly observed from the reading lists of Catholic, mainline protestant, and evangelical pastors, that they’re faithful to pragmatism (“what works”) more than they’re faithful to theology, values, ideas, and truth::
Unfortunately, these preferences leave out works of serious theology, biblical interpretation, history and social analysis. Although one hesitates to pass judgement on pastors with busy lives and constant interruptions, the overall impression is that clergy do not read very deeply. Although they may read regularly, what they read seems to be relatively light fare and pragmatically focused.

See the full report from Pulpit & Pew titled “Pastors’ Picks: What Preachers Are Reading

now you know my bias, for ideas, so I’m not going to kowtow to pragmatism, and now you also know that I bowed out of the pastorate as well as resisted ordination to stick to my ideas and ideals.. as an aside, perhaps not too far down the cyber road will be a list of “what blogs pastors are reading” or “what blogs preachers are writing”..

JP teachin’ the Bible

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Nov 132003

bloggin’ these sermon notes from the Cyber Cafe’, while John Perkins delivers the Word at CCDA 2003

most organizations don’t survive or lose focus by the 2nd generation.. what causes that? “ungrateful” and “unthankful”.. those are 2 signs of people turning away from the truth [in an organization, the original intent and vision, in God's kingdom, from the Word].. people are like sheep, and they follow the leader.. it’s always the leader who turns away from God..

CCDA is a different kind of organization.. not a hierarchy.. to activate the church.. to mobilize the church at the local level..

the Gospel is the love of God lived out.. people have to see our good works.. faith and works together.. Christian conversion is a new life, experiencing a God who loves you [and in response] live your life in gratitude for God saving you.. love and obedience are one and the same.. “love of God” becomes “loving God”.. then you know for real that you love God..

(from Psalm 116) God always hears, is always listening to the prayers of His people (v.1).. we need to keep that sense of humility (v.6)..

bayou by you

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Nov 112003

hailing from New Orleans these few days, touched down last night to attend the AC4 conference.. stopped by the hotel hosting the event last night for early registration (after getting on the St. Charles streetcar going the wrong way, so essentially we rode that line from end to end), to beat the rush.. then stopped by the cyber cafe, which has like 20 high-speed internet-enabled PCs, very nice.. was about to make a blog entry, and then Rudy walks in behind me with his warm Latino smiley greeting.. enjoyed great Cajun cookin’ today at lunch, with sweet dessert.. plan to take in some more this evening when they set us loose for dinner-on-our-own.. (okay, so this blog entry is very event based and not particularly pensive, but boy was that bread pudding dessert delish!)

service-oriented church

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Nov 072003

talking with some church ministry leaders and hearing their frustration of how many people are consumeristic, seeing churches as a vendor of spiritual services and products, go church-hopping / church-shopping and show a lack of commitment to a church for a longer length of time, and I had this epiphany, with a small E, that maybe what churches (and church leaders) need to rethink this.. after all, where did churchgoers get the idea to be consumeristic, aside from the market-driven society? Perhaps it also comes from the church itself? Could it be that churches that see their members as volunteers who can run their programs + attend their events + give their offerings, and reinforce the mindset of consuming THEM? Are churches consuming their members, putting them into service and defining their “ministry”, burning them out (a common problem among committed church goers), leave them be, drop them, and go on to recruit new and fresh volunteers, in turn consuming them? Shouldn’t the church be a place a person can go to both give and to get, rather than only a place to give & to serve?!

what if churches were to learn from the shrewder market-economy, from their good side, that the customer is always right, (ok, maybe adapt it as the customer is right most of the time; and even so, this can simply be the priesthood of believers)… and the church can go beyond “seeker-sensitive” or “seeker-friendly” (replace “seeker” with “customer”, for those of you not familiar with Christianese), and become a service-oriented church that actually serves its people and its community, without the overt agenda.. and by actually becoming a serving organization, perhaps that’ll develop genuinely serving people, who don’t burn out and get consumed.. rather than challenging (boy, I am so tired of that word! so overused! so overbearing!) people to rise to the occasion, to give more, to sacrifice more, ad nausuem rah rah rah, how about serving the people better and lavishly and generously, members and non-members alike..

elsewhere, I like Jen’s comment about emotional honesty that we adults can learn from children::
Sometimes I wish we as adults were able to express our emotions as intensely as children. Wail when our feelings are hurt, shout when we are angry, and whimper when we fall down. Maybe then we wouldn?t push that lump down in our throat when someone hurts our feelings, use weapons instead of words or even act brave when we really just want to fall apart.