red eyed return

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Jan 292004

spent a few days in the Bay area (Oakland, Monterey) as part of a focus group, aka marketing study, for an upcoming event.. and perhaps it should be no surprise, but it was to me, that the fast pace and widely pervasive technologies of the online world is not being used by significant numbers of people.. so for me to contribute a few common terms like viral, evite, buzz, and blog, it wasn’t venacular for them. Okay, guess that makes me the resident “expert”, to use a positive spin, or the marginalized geek, to be more realistic. :(

Good to visit with a couple of old friends, Joe & Tina, and greet their new blogging baby Maddy (tho’ I think it oughta be renamed to Mother of Maddy’s blog, with its motherly realism coming through much more than the baby’s voice).. and, thanks to Joe, I’m now IN! I’m connected to that exclusive Orkut network :)

Jan 252004

just got an email invite to a full day of motivational speakers ranting and pumping you up : “Get Motivated Seminars want to give YOU the best seats in the house on Tuesday, April 6th, 2004 at The GET MOTIVATED Seminar with Zig Ziglar [and team] at the MCI Center Arena! ” Knowing that at moments there’ll be the infomercial-ish sales pitch for additional resources and seminars, I’d still like to go — drop me an email to come with my troop: I’m looking to get a block of 10.


#1 Motivator Zig Ziglar will be joined by this dynamic team of experts:

- Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will show you how to lead in difficult times!
- Peter Lowe, America’s Success Strategist, will inspire you to reach new levels of achievement!
- Tom Hopkins will show you how to strengthen your sales and negotiation skills!
- Rick Belluzzo, former President and CEO of Microsoft, will give you his top business strategies!
- Goldie Hawn will teach you how to attain and exceed your goals!

Jan 232004

now wouldn’t it be great if there were a contingent of missional + spiritual + emergent bloggers at JournalCon – it’ll be in Washington DC this year, some time in the August-October time frame.. to be determined by your survey responses.. see you there, if they pick a weekend when I’m in town :)

another sneak preview

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Jan 222004

nobody asked me, but I would have flown halfway or all-the-way cross country to get in on it :) ..fellow blogger Scott Hodge saw it too, and then I found another person who was in on the sneak preview of The Passion movie.. Dave writes: “I happened to see the screening at Willow and was very moved by it. The word movie does not really capture it – “experience” would be a better word. I wept while I watched – I can’t imagine not weeping while watching such graphic images of our Savior bearing what should have been done to us.”.. [update: and 5,000 pastors saw it in Orlando yesterday, and the Washington Times picked up on it a day later]

“Perhaps as striking as the depiction of suffering were the flashback scenes
of His earthly ministry. The portrayal of Jesus in those scenes is so
compassionate and mild – so attractive and winsome. It is hard not to be
attracted to know more about this Jesus. If anyone goes into this movie with
preconceived notions of who Jesus was and what He was like, I believe they
will be challenged to change.

I appreciated the interview Mel Gibson gave after the screening. I got the
impression that his faith is genuine and his motivation in making the film
was very sincere. It was an expression of his own faith – a compelling need
to see on film and in reality what lived only in his imagination.

Although many are excited about the film’s potential as an evangelistic tool, I
got the feeling that it was more a part of Gibson’s genuine spiritual journey – a
movie made for God and for his own spiritual growth. Yes, he wants people to
be challenged and properly disturbed, but I didn?t get the sense he wants this to
become the new Jesus film for the next generation.

One thing Gibson said in the interview particularly struck me. He said that
most Christian films are hard to watch because they’re made so poorly. They
suffer from such a self-conscious hyper-reverence and such a sense of agenda
that the audience is made to feel like they are being preached at rather
than witnessing something that is real. I think his reasoning speaks to a
postmodern generation who is looking for authenticity in art, not art used
simply as a means to other ends.

There is not doubt that this film will cause people to have an emotional
reaction and ask serious spiritual questions. It will make the Christian
remember things long forgotten about the price of our salvation and the
centrality of Jesus in the Christian life. It will make the unbeliever
wonder if he should read the Bible for himself and investigate this Jesus
more thoroughly.

As a pastor I want to be ready to minister to those who come seeking answers
to the film. I am also prepared to recommend the film to people because it
is an experience not to be missed. But I would hesitate to call the film an
evangelistic tool because it feels somehow that such a label would cheapen
the experience. I think God will use the film mightily to move the gospel
forward. I hope that the agendas of eager Christians will not somehow get in
the way of that.

Just my two cents. A wonderful movie overall. Two thumbs and one heart way

In Christ,
Dave Lee
Harvest Community Church

church as junket

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Jan 212004

Fascinating to me how the distributor of the Mel Gibson funded (produced, is the more proper word) movie about Jesus Christ has tapped into a zealous market, the evangelicals, and I’m anticipating they will easily recoup the costs and make some good money on it.. got this junket write-up about the forthcoming movie from some connections at CTi via Helen Lee (who gave me permission) and Mark Moring (who did the write up).. [you know how celebrities hit the talk show circuit to promote a movie or book, well, how about hitting up megachurches, the new frontier for media blitz, which they did indeedy, at the 2 crown jewels of the megachurch, Willow and Saddleback]
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asking great questions

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Jan 192004

Brian McLaren shared these great questions yesterday, to ask in a kind and listening posture, towards normal people and fellow disciples (tho’ Jen would prefer to blur the distinction)

Questions for normal people:
1. Where are you in your spiritual journey?
2. Tell me about your spiritual life or religious background?
3. Do you have any kind of belief in God?
4. Have you ever felt you experienced anything like a miracle or intervention by God in your life?
5. Tell me about some of your heroes or mentors in life.

Questions for fellow disciples:
1. How’s your soul?
2. How would you describe you relationship with God and your neighbors since we last met?
3. Have you experienced God in some fresh or memorable way recently?
4. Has someone expressed God’s love to you recently, in word or deed?
5. Have you been able to express GOd’s love to someone else recently, in word or deed (especially to someone poor, elderly, lonely, or needy)?
6. What good things in life are inspiring you with gratitude to God and others these days?
7. What have you been worrying about lately? And how could you turn those worries into trust in God?
8. How have you cared for your soul in some way recently?
9. What spiritual practice are you concentrating on, and how is it going?
10. Have you forgiven or asked for forgiveness since we last met?
11. How have you been practicing joy? What good things or moments can you celebrate?
12. What small acts of kindness have you been able to practice lately?
13. Did a Bible passage help you in any way this week?
14. What experiences of prayer, meditation, and/or spiritual reading have you had lately?

Jan 182004

Question >> What is it exactly that offends you about the Rickshaw Rally series. I am a Southern Baptist and we have used themed VBS curriculums for years. Previous years have been western oriented(cowboy stuff), space, mountain climbing, sea adventure and most recently Lifeway has put out themes that were centered around the Amazon, an Egytian based theme,and one more I cannot recall. We have found it a time to introduce our south Texas
children to other cultures and help them to experience a life and world
completely different from their own. We also use videos from missionaries
who minister in the areas mentioned.

djchuang> thanks for kindly writing.. in short, the curriculum
reinforces some stereotypes of Asians that are largely untrue or
caricatured. In my opinion, they are not overtly racist as slavery was to
the African American population the 1700-1800s; but for significant numbers
of Asian Americans, the VBS portrays Asians in an unfavorable stereotypical
manner. Comparable to how historically, in the movies, how “black-face” was
drawn on white actors to portray black characters, or “slanty-eyes” were
drawn on white actors/ actresses to portray Charlie Chan.

Over a thousand people have signed an online petition, voicing their offense
at the VBS curriculum. You can see a more more detailed explanation of the
insensitivities and offensiveness of the curriculum at

In addition, the best way to confirm whether this curriculum is offensive or
not, is to take a few samples of the official curriculum’s website, show
them to some Asian Americans in your local community, and ask them if the
curriculum’s portrayal of Asian culture is one that uplifts them, or if it’s
one that doesn’t represent them.

the divergent churches

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Jan 162004

lots of books recently published about the church: the emerging church, the connecting church, the contagious church, the emotionally healthy church, the equipping church, the ripple church, the liquid church, the eternal church, the very large church, the market-driven church, the cell church, the church of irresistible influence, church for the unchurched, rediscovering church, faking church, Escaping from Church, Inc., leading the team-based church, the dishonest church, the naked church (real title), and the best-selling Purpose Driven Church [I won't even bother linking to for the 5% referral], and then all the still growing buzz about the emergent church..

with some 3,000 denominations and sects in the US alone, and over 30,000 denominations and sects in the world, what’s a couple more, number 3,001 and 3,002?

my sense of things is the church on the whole are diverging, that people are moving towards several gravitational pulls: yes, many seem to be clamoring for emergent churches (but reality is, they aren’t magically mushrooming, and probably even harder to get off the ground — see previous entry), so that’s one of them that’s on the innovative margins, but there’s also magnet pulls towards these (you can Google for the supporting data): fundamentalist churches, reformed churches, Orthodox churches, megachurches, and deinstitutionalized house churches.. quick possible explanation: people are picking their favorite-century church, be it 1st century, patristic period, 10th century, 16th century, 19th century, or 20th century..

not to mention the de-churched, one estimate upwards of 55% of born agains are de-churched.. plus, I hear of burned out Christians nowadays, don’t recall reading any burn out phenomena in older Christian books; what is it that churches are doing to its people?

still need the leader

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Jan 152004

a lot of me loves the conversations about the emerging church and how it’s asking great questions + rethinking + exploring ideas + reconfiguring + having an edgy attitude + prying out raw honesty + deconstructing + admitting brokenness.. and looking at the leading conversationalists, while the dialogue is open to all b/c of freely available technology, it still takes an articulate person to join and to parlay with the meandering mix of feelings and thoughts..

and it still takes the leader to form the community, to guide the conversations, to manage the people that want to gather for exploring and/or sharing their spiritual journey.. I’ve yet to see a more corporate model of leadership where a plurality of leaders, much less the whole (or majority) of a community group (aka “church”) gives the direction or vision or cohesion to making that journey meaningful and going somewhere; conversations can easily become like wandering in the desert, raising lots of questions, not willing to risk putting lives and resources and energy into an answer for fear of failure or unexpected outcome, or worse, wind up in crisis management, putting out one fire for the next – no fun for anyone who’s been around the block.. so, (one of) the big empty void is still -> the leader.. if my experience as a dialoguer and listener gives me a valid (large enough of a) sampling, then there are lots of voices who have desire for a safe place to experience AND to explore their spirituality, but very little significant happens because there’s not the leader to spearhead that movement, that community formation.. and the leader has to be resourced in the reality of this real world (aka “money”) and the leader has to be able to do the public speaking bit (do you know of any community group where the leader doesn’t bear the voice on a regular basis?!)