Thursday, June 30, 2005
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Founding a democracy, rather like living in a democracy, can be very tough on friendship. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson began as friends. The tensions and frictions of the early Republic took care of that. Then, after years of silence between them, a mutual friend persuaded them to write to each other. In 1812, they launched into a correspondence that continued until it was ended by their deaths. That ending point was on their minds and drove their correspondence. As Mr. Adams wrote Mr. Jefferson, "You and I ought not to die, before we have explained ourselves to each other."
This made me write a letter that I have not written but knew I needed to. I hope it inspires you to reconnect or make an attempt. Life is too short to harbor pain, resentment and I think living with regret would be even harder
I have one message and that is: Do something with your life and don't expect to enjoy it. Your ministry does not need to fulfill you. You need to fulfill your ministry and be prepared for rejection and be prepared for people not to understand� why you want to minister sacrificially. -Larry Norman, at last American Concert, Assist News June 27th, 2005.
Where are the Fathers? I mean where are those that have a fathers heart for the emerging generations? Why are a few workers left to fight the rising tide and pull in the harvest while many qualified and strong hands are available for the work? Where are you? What are you doing?
I fear that a generation of harvest is being wasted because the workers are more concerned with making money, entertaining their flesh to death, primping their bodies and sucking from the bile filled breasts of this world system.
It is a critical problem in the church�an absence, actually a complete disregard of owning a fathering dream and life ethos for this emerging generation. We are called to disciple the emerging church. We are called to walk with them, nurture them, listen to them, teach them, train them, laugh with them, eat with them, pray, love and care for them.
Some in the rising generation will fill the hole or gap of lack of fathers, but many are living with the gap and passing it on as normal. It is like the kid who was raised in a home with an abusive father or mother and ends up becoming abusive himself.
It is scary the amount of vacancy I see in the emerging generation. I fear for the types of relationships that will become normal in this generations sphere. Some will become happy opposites of the unhealthy relationships they knew but many will also be brutally void of nurture, generational vision and ability to connect, mentor and break the cycle.
It's nice to talk about God being able to Father orphans and help them heal and become fathers themselves but the church is still suffering from the hands and hearts of men...who are supposed to be healed, redeemed and new, but...are still sowing and reaping death.
It is a real challenge, worth fighting but not with idealized eyes but with perseverance, faith and tougher skin.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Christi and Scott Pattershall. Great friends from back in Oregon, came up to Hoopfest this weekend. It was good to see them again and share a load of laughs together, a much needed reprieve from the daily grind. Christi was in my Aloha youth group back in the early 90's and now she is a mother of two and happily married to one of the best guys around. Sure great to see some good fruit from those days.
Sheri (used to be Wolf) from our old Aloha Christian Life Center days back when we were youth pastors with the Assemblies of God. I had the privilege of marrying her and her husband Frank a number of years ago. It was fun to hang out this weekend at Hoopfest. good memories...this is the girl that I scared into hyperventilation for you that know that great youth pastor horror story...I was an idiot. I feel sorry for these poor utes that had to suffer under me as a leader back then...19 and a youth pastor...yikes.
Hoopfest, the worlds largest three on three basketball tournament was this weekend here in Spokane. Around 100,000 people involved and a blast to watch or play. We had a number of friends playing in different teams this year and I spent all day Saturday watching, cheering and supporting them. It was a lot of fun. That is Scott Patershall in the picture, for you that know him.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said to him, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN."
Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?" They answered, "He deserves death!"
Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, "Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?" -Matthew 26:63-68
For some reason I have been greatly moved by this passage of scripture in the last few days. Each time I read it (the last few sentences), I am moved to tears. My spirit reacts to it quickly. I think in part I identify with some of it on a deeper level. Jesus said that if we follow Him we should expect the same results. That is a part of living in Christ that we don�t hear much about but experience quite painfully the longer you walk this road, especially in ministry.
Misunderstanding, rejection, betrayal, anger, misrepresentation, verbal attacks, bitter sarcasm and continual challenge to who and what we are called to be, can be a wearying path.
I am feeling the spit, fist and slap in the face this year. I am not asking for sympathy, I am just stating what I am coming to see more clearly.
I offer it back to You Jesus�as an offering, given in pain but given nonetheless and I thank you for being able to taste an infinitesimal bit of your sufferings. You were a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief and I understand that more today than ever before. I pray I would be able to walk with such scars in a manner worthy of the one I seek to follow.
It was once said, We are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth�but we are to remember that those hands have nail prints in them�they are crucified hands.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Friday, June 17, 2005
So...you know you have become a true Spokanite when you build a horseshoe pit in your back yard...oh, by the way, did I mention that Dan Williams has a horseshoe pit in his backyard? Is someones neck getting red? LOL, just kidding bro, but if the toilet seats come out...than I am out of there!
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Destiny had an orchestra recital last night. She plays the Viola. She has come a long way this year and it was awesome to hear her play. I only play classical music while I work in my art studio and lately I have been really enjoying this style of music, it fits perfectly for the art mood and our home...sometimes melodic, sometimes chaotic and always lively.
Micah found a black ant home in a stump in the backyard. He was pretty excited, so we took a picture to show everyone his find. During the day when the other kids are gone, he spends a lot of time hunting around the yard looking for bugs. We have four frogs and they need to be fed a lot of bugs, so he is perfect for the job.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Without missing a beat, the old man replies: "Yeah. Back when I was young and in the Navy, I got really drunk one night in Singapore, and had sex with a parrot.
-Steve Chalke & Alan Mann from The Lost Message of Jesus
I know this is a controversial subject to some but I am fascinated by the discussion. I am interested in the large overarching influences of western thought vs eastern as described above. I look at how we raise children and think about how one perspective would influence the overall child rearing tone. I wonder if this applies to much more as well, like self thought, ability to hope and believe in all things vs dealing with a general sense of hopelessness since all is fallen. I wonder what life could be like theologically and interpersonally if such a point of view was the center vs a rotten center that we have in our western view of mankind. I know there is plenty of evidence for such a view both within and without but the thought is still there nevertheless.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Well, today Alicia graduated from highschool. Words cannot express how proud we are of her. It has been a long road full of ups and downs but watching her pass this hurdle was amazing. She is the first in her birth family to graduate and first in ours. Seeing God take this young woman out of hell and begin to fashion her into such a beautiful young woman has been so rewarding. Today made it worth the tears, trials and the sacrifices. Not that it has been all trouble, it hasn't, she is a gift from the Lord. She has been in our home for two years and in our life for about 6.
As I watched her today, I remembered going to her promotion in 8th grade. I remember watching her then and realizing that her birth mom didn't show up for it and how it was real important that I was there. Today I was really aware of how important that moment was for her life. We never know what kind of impact we will have on peoples lives when we say yes to Jesus. I would have never thought all of this was going to be apart of Gods plan when we decided to move to Spokane by faith. God is good.
I love you Alicia and I am so proud of your courageous faith and commitment to go forward when everything says to stop. You are a blessing that I don't feel worthy of receiving but am so thankful for. Congratulations girl, you made it.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
An old Jewish Joke tells the story of judgment Day at the end of history. God summons all the people who have ever lived. "Here's what we are going to do," he explains. "Gabriel will read out the Ten Commandments, one by one. As he does, those who have broken them will have to depart into everlasting darkness." Commandment number one is read out and a number of people are led off. The same thing happens with each of the commandments until, having read eight of the ten, only a small crowd remains. God looks up to see this handful of stern, smug, grim-faced, self-righteous, joyless miseries staring back at him. He pauses and contemplates the prospect of spending eternity with this lot. "All right!" he shouts, "Everybody come back; I've changed my mind."
Friday, June 10, 2005
Priest: Having in remembrance, therefore, this saving commandment and all those things which have come to pass for us: the Cross, the Grave, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the Sitting at the right hand, and the second and glorious Coming.
-St. Chrysostoms Liturgy A.D.347- 407
I have been doing studies on Eschatology (the study of the last things) for a series of messages I am doing at Jacobs Well, our Sunday evening congregation. In my reading I came across this portion of early church liturgy. I found it to be quite enlightening. Much of the debate centered on the apocalyptic scriptures comes down to realized prophecy or futuristic prophecy. Are the prophetic portions of the prophets, the gospels and the revelation futuristic or realized truths or both?
I find the study of such things in their historical context to be most stimulating. I think we often fail to read the scripture with the hearers in mind. The question must be asked, "How did they understand what was being taught"? When we wrench conversations between apostles, churches and individuals out of their historical context and force them to speak or apply to us; I think we are in danger of misinterpreting the passages.
My latest picture inspired by a picture I took of a horse statue in a water fountain that I saw in Lyon, France. I am starting to get addicted to pastels. The more I have been using them the more I am enjoying the interchange between paper and pastel. When smeared they feel like paint but dry. I am enjoying letting go of realism and not getting hung up on exact reproduction. Its like being told its OK to get muddy or jump in the puddle. Telling yourself its OK to explore, try, bend reality...its liberating...like burning bras...I guess.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
This is my current work in process, an acrylic painting. It is from a totem pole hidden away in downtown Spokane. I took a picture of it last year and loved the shot, so I thought I would paint it with my new paints. I have been wanting to paint with acrylics for a long time. So here is entry number one so far.
I hope to be a part of restoring the totem pole to its former beauty someday. Currently it is worn away, dull and chipped, so I painted it as it appears to have originally been. Why our city has allowed such decay on such a beautiful piece of art baffles me. It's a shame. It reinforces to me the cold indifference we seem to have as a culture to the First Nation people. It is a sin that I feel in my heart for some reason. So I do this piece in honor of those people who lived here before me, your work inspires me.
Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He is alive!"
I think we as the church are guilty of putting too many of the emerging generation into a deep sleep with our meetings. As a result they are falling out the back of the church in hemorrhaging numbers. We have talked them to death and until we realize that mere talk is not going to engage this generation, we will continue to produce a sedated generation.
What is interesting to me is the answer to the problem isn't a flashy new program or expensive new facilities filled with heart pounding, cutting edge sound systems, throbbing lights and state of the art video wizardry. It's not going to be goatee-toting hipsters able to communicate in all the hottest lingo and culturally relevant mumbo jumbo that brings this generation back to life.
It's going to be desperate spiritual fathers and mothers embracing a dead generation in all their fallen, bloody mess. Paul went from executioner to resuscitator after he threw himself on the young man. We can't just preach them alive we must embrace them. Gather them up into our arms, ignoring all the nasty gore that has resulted from the great heights from which they have fallen. We must envelope them in a resurrecting embrace that is emanating from the heart of God and potent with life giving power.
Come down from your ivory tower Paul.
Stop your eloquent and painfully long sermonizing.
Open your eyes, the emerging generation is falling asleep and falling out.
Stop talking and start embracing...your love is so much more powerful than your words.
Come down to the street again...
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Here is my latest piece of art called...Amsterdam.
Inspired by my many trips there and a couple of my photos of her canals.
I am also pleased to see a slight Van Gogh influence as I look at this picture, I did not intend for that but looking at it, I can see some similarities. Which is fine with me since I love his style. I have been working at doing pieces that are not copies of other peoples work. It is much harder for me but I enjoy it far more. -eric
When I see young painters compose and draw from memory, and then haphazardly smear on whatever they like also from memory, then keep it at a distance and put on a very mysterious, gloomy face to find out what in Heavens name it may look like, and at last and finally make something from it, always from memory, it sometimes disgusts me and makes me think it all very tedious and dull. They can not understand that the figure of a laborer, some furrows in a plow field, a bit of sand, sea and sky, are serious objects, so difficult but at the same time so beautiful, that it is indeed worth while to devote ones life to the task of expressing the poetry hidden in them. -Vincent Van Gogh
Monday, June 06, 2005
Friday, June 03, 2005
I am starting a new series of messages on Sunday nights at 6:00 PM from the book of Revelations called: Cliff Notes To The Apocalypse: The Unofficial Guide To The End Of The World. I hope to help bring some fresh thoughts to the painfully complicated and misunderstood subject of the end times and with God's help reconnect us with the CHRIST of Revelations Vs the revelations.
With so much hoopla around the subject these days in books, TV and movies, I think the subject is in deep need of some biblical scrubbing or at least an attempt to bring some historical balance. Many people are not even aware of the 6 different interpretations of Revelations and get so frustrated or spooked by the book that they leave it alone except for maybe the first and last few chapters.
I don't claim to be an expert in eschatology but I think as a pastor, artist, poet and musician, as well as one who has studied much on the different views of Revelations, I can bring some helpful perspectives on spiritual themes and truths that run through out the book. It's a daunting task but I believe it will be a spiritually enriching conversation that will challenge our minds and views concerning this amazing mystery of a book.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
My goal is to explore and challenge myself to break out of the narrow confines I have allowed myself to create within. There are too many mediums available to restrict myself to just a couple. I know I can't be a master at all but I feel inside that there are some that once I get in the flow with, I will discover more affinity.
I am almost done with a self portrait.