Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Free Music from Church of the Beloved

Church of the Beloved is a community of faith on the west-side of our state and they produced this album and giving it away for free. It's a very diverse cd, each song has moments that change and reflect a diversity of sounds. It's worth a listen, but one should do it while its quiet and contemplative to draw the sweetest nectar. Enjoy, I pray you will find some holy moments through it.

"We must first receive God's welcome, the costly inclusion that constantly comes to us in so many surprising and mundane ways, before we can, in turn, offer welcome to strangers and friends, called by God to the work of creating a place of radical hospitality." -from the Beloved's Vow at Church of the Beloved

3 movies on my got to see list...

Away We Go

500 Days of Summer

Taking WoodStock

Monday, March 30, 2009

Who are the sons of God...?

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God" -Jesus (Matthew 5:9) (via)

The Unknown, known Christ...

"While Jesus was praying, the appearance of His face became different and His clothing became white and gleaming...While Peter was saying things he didn't understand...a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud...and a voice came out of the cloud and said this is my My Son, My chosen One, listen to Him!...and when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone and they kept silent and reported to no one in those days, any of the things which they had seen. " -Luke 9:28-36

Sometimes the God that never changes...changes His appearance, right in front of us...and it's usually in the midst of a prayerful life. It's often with others and involves many arduous paths up to private places of solitude.

When the Lord unveils Himself in these life altering and profoundly transforming ways; the results are the same...it opens your eyes and shuts your mouth. Clouds form before...His form is only seen.

God descends onto mountain tops still...He calls us to journey up together, then isolates us in the moment of sight blinding revelation...falling tongues of fire always seem to divide and separate onto individual minds...and yet ultimately unify...all in a rush of mysterious God storms.

When God unveils Himself...there is always a Voice.

Sometimes it's languages that you understand...but the speakers don't...sometimes it's mysteries that envelope you and hold you in a creative, sustaining visitation of communication...your sprit prays...but your mind is clueless. In the beginning is always the Word....but the Word doesn't always come in the tongues of men...often its angelic. Shouldn't the restoration of earth...include the languages of earth and heaven?

Jesus still comes in parables...the upper room was filled with parable tongues...Mary thought he was the gardener at the empty tomb...Paul was blinded by His coming and could only ask: "Who are You?"...The disciples stood on the shore as risen Jesus cooked breakfast and whispered to one another about not asking if it was Jesus...the two traveling conversationalists hiking back to Emmaus talked to walking Jesus for miles and not until He broke bread, did they see Him...but then He vanished.

John saw Him as a lamb covered in all seeing eyes, as a bloody and slain sacrifice, star holding tattooed one, slaying the earth with poetic words that kill before they ever bring to life; He who all of the eternal bards compose songs for and the One who is a baby flying in the air amdist women with wings and dragons that drink the waters of the earth.

He is still Mystery to me....and in His darkness...I am seeing more and more light.

The emotions and the experience,
the gratitude or the terror,
associated with transformation
are very different from
what transformation actually is.
-Robert Kegan

(Excerpts from yesterdays Sunday messages)

Friday, March 27, 2009

What did they do before tv...?

Jim Gaffigan - Lazy - King Baby Premieres March 29th!!

Wishing I could of said...yes.

I was walking down the street of an upper-class area on the hill, lots of manicured yards, expensive cars, recessed houses with a moat of grass. Today, as most days, there was hardly anyone outside, surely they must be tucked away inside their beautiful homes; like nervous hermit crabs.

But today there was a little girl out in front of her home. I was approaching her driveway and instead of running off like a skittish deer, she approached me with a big smile and an arm full of barbies. I glanced around to see if her parents were present or about to come out, but she was alone. I kept walking, but slowed.

"Going for a walk?" she said with almost a giggle, her big eyes sparkling with memories of previous jaunts around the neighborhood, I'm sure.

"Yah, I am" I replied with a smile.

"You want to come to my house?" She innocently said, like I was 5 or something.

"No, I'm just going to walk...bye bye..." I replied, slightly remorseful.

I was bummed, because the first thoughts I had, were how all this interaction would appear to a concerned adult...even though it was brief and I had been walking past. I really did want to stop, talk and and see whatever she felt was worth showing to a complete stranger.

But this is a darker world than the light in her eyes and smile would allow...

I kept walking, thinking about how in all my walks, there's never been a strangers invitation to share a piece of their world. No request to show off a yard, a garden, a toy...nothing. No interest in sharing all the 'stuff' they have accumulated and nobody seems to interested in sharing themselves.

The loss of innocence is a tragic part of growing old...I think Jesus mourned the same loss, when He said that kingdom entering people will be those who return to such innocence.

I long for the day when saying "Yes" to a child's request to play, will no longer even be a question...

Come, Lord, Jesus.

Signs of life...

As I was ascending my arduous climb up to the Ben Burr Trail, I was stopped dead in my tracks by this little fellow. After such a long and hard winter and a dreary few weeks, this little face was almost exciting. Quite joyful, peeking out of the earth, with his arms all open, as if praising God....or at least thats what I felt like, while looking down on his little resurrection. I felt like brother Frank, climbing around the rocks, slightly caught up in the warming of life starting to make itself known.

It reminds me of the prayer of St. Frank:

Praised be You my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth who sustains and governs us, producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs."
-Selection from the prayer/poem Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon of St. Francis of Assisi (The real father of the green movement)

I was equally thrilled to see that someone has been picking up garbage this week on the trail...I bless you, whoever you are! And across from the condom wrapper, buried condom and beer cans, that have been removed...was this little piece of art. Offered as a testimony of care, I am sure....or at least that's how I took it. Such acts matter...and when we do them, we might only think of the moment, but the ripple of that leads to many more places and actions than we ever will know, until we meet the Lord who will reveal to us the mosaic of connections our thoughts, prayers and actions accomplished or sparked.

Praise be to God for simple things...and simple people.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are...movie.

This movie looks like its going to be awesome.

The evil beginnings of CCM...

Oh how I want this album...

Bible & Prophecy Cartographer Extraordinaire..

All the charts you will ever need to diagram, explain and let others know you have everything figured out...well, I'm not quite sure about the accuracy of everything portrayed or the theology behind it...but dang this dude could draw..these are way better than my D&D dungeons on graph paper.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shaving accident....

Christian, my 16 year old son had a shaving mishap. He tried to clear the razor of whiskers with the tender soft flesh of his thumb...not, a good idea. I heard him downstairs with his mother, I came out of the bedroom and looked in the bathroom, because the door was open and the shower was running but nobody was in it...there was blood on the floor, the sink and in the tub. I was slightly alarmed until I got wind of how he managed to cut him self shaving...on his thumb.

The Pornification of our world...

I was taking my daily hike along the Ben Burr trail yesterday and as usual its a tip toe over and past the used condoms, beer cans, blankets and bathrobes, panties and today...a Hustler porn magazine.

It wasn't on the trail yesterday..but there it was, face down along the side of the trail. The day before I buried a condom that was right next to the trail...and then I found myself burying porn along the trail. It's careless displaying of pornography that got me into it as a kid and its was this kind of irresponsible behavior that would snare some curious kid meandering along the trail. I found myself disgusted, pissed off and mournful all at the same time. As I buried it, I was aware that it was the first time I've touched a porn mag since coming to Christ at 15.

It was surreal and vile...I was wishing for a sink to wash my hands and at the same time painfully and darkly reminiscent of the bondage I was in when I was saved. On the wall, in the room I surrendered my heart to Jesus, I had a cross made out of playboy centerfold's. I truly worshipped the flesh. It was a god to me...a slavish, demanding, foot to back of the neck, chain tightening, soul searing, woman dehumanizing...idol.

I was graced with deliverance and trained with ongoing wisdom in my unfolding walk with Christ. In Jesus, I found a strong and able exorcist for my inner cage of demons. I didn't lose the temptations, the lusts or the love of women...but the chain was broken, the captive was allowed to walk free, if I wanted too...and I did.

Porn is a big business and its claws grip both sexes...as a pastor, this reality has painfully been true.

"Every 39 seconds a new pornographic video is being made. There are 1.5 billion pornographic Internet downloads a month. Between the years 2005 and 2006 the pornography business increased by an almost a billion dollars. Men are viewed as having this addiction, but women are affected as well. 40 million adults in the United States regularly visit pornography sites. Of those 40 million only 10% (four million adults) admitted to having a sexual addiction to pornography. Of the four million adults who admitted to having a sexual addiction problem, 680,000 are women. 17% of the 680,000 women say they struggle with pornography addiction. This is the same number of women who are addicted to alcohol or drugs."

For many people porn is a drug...one that demands and derails, destroys and dements. It's both lover and abuser...it offers the world for free but takes the soul for payment.

It's a deceptive form of inner lithium.

As I reflected on burying the porn...I prayerfully remembered the Law's admonishment to bury our shit (Deuteronomy 23:13) as I walked home, past the condoms, the porn, the waste, the dog crap and the garbage...I found great wisdom in that verse. I also found a deep desire to see the Lord bury such sins in the depths of the sea.

"He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea." -Micah 7:19

If you are a sex slave...call out to Jesus. He can and will deliver you, exercise your inner demons and wash you whiter than snow and then put you on a path towards healing, restoration and purity of heart.

Here are some folks that spend a lot of time and resources on helping people find freedom and balance in their inner lives.
http://xxxchurch.com/ and here is a online program to help you begin the journey out of darkness and into the light: http://x3pure.com/

God speed.

Spokane Gentleman's Society Breakfast...

We had 18 brutha's out this morning to our SGS breakfast at Marie Calendars. There were 5 churches represented and a whole lot of man talk: Cow Mastaitis, bathroom talkers, Asian communal toilets, unintentional gay bar ministry, Pastor Peacocks, leotard bathroom controversies, theological tensions and generous orthodoxy, cults and praying naked, prayer, bad hollandaise sauce, God-Guns and Gi....and that was just our side of the table...

Last nights Community Dinner...

We served around 80 dinners last night and about 20 of those were to neighborhood visitors. Fo some reason we had a lot of people come to dinner last night that had never come before or ever been to the church. It was cool to see people utilizing our clothing area, eating food, meeting one another and even checking out the church meeting area. It's was a madhouse of activity, the kind you pray to see unfolding. I kept looking at the food to see if we were out...because the prep people had seemed to make a little under what we normally might serve, so I was a tad nervous. We are trying to do these dinners via donations, sharing and little cash if possible, so what comes in, is what we try to utilize, sometimes its more or less. In fact, I didn't eat anything, hoping that it would stretch for all. I heard someone pray over it and joke that God would have to multiply it....I really think he did. I kept going up to the counter to see if we were out...and there was always just a little more there. By the end of the evening...we had one plate left for neighborhood delivery, which the rain persuaded me to can. Not sure if that was a food miracle...but it was weird...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Homeschool Family...

Come on, don't get cranky, you know its true...or at least kinda true...sometimes...oh, and we have home-schooled too. I still think its funny.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Yes, many have converted and the flock is growing, but in the midst of the world shaking, nation taking dominance of the Twitterdome...please heed the wise words offered in this video...if you do not know what Twitter is...it will inform you.

Condom Catalysts...

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are
Princesses who are only waiting to see us act,
Just once, with beauty or courage.
Perhaps everything that frightens us is,
In its deepest essence, something
Helpless that wants our love.

This is a picture from the Ben Burr Trail where I exercise. Today as I was going along the far end of the trail which is about a half mile from our block, I noticed how clean the trail was. I came up to the trail from Liberty Park, and that part was a mess, with garbage strewn all over from the long winter. But as I got on the trail, I noticed all the litter had been removed. The trail was clean, greening and looked natural. I was enjoying the labor of someone else for sure. But as I approached the half way mark, the covered bridge, I wondered what the other half of the trail would be like. A major road sepperates both sides of East Central and one side is often different than the other.

Sure enough, soon as I came out of the covered bridge onto my side of the neighborhood...the garbage was there. In fact, there was a number of beer cans littered across the trail, a garbage bag and of course...a used condom and wrapper.

I was disgusted, but not surprised, its a common site around here. In fact I saw another one by the time I had exited the park. People get it on in 'dem thar woods. In fact I found a condom in the wrapper in my drive way the other morning too...got to love it.

I found myself a bit frustrated as I covered the condom with a big rock...what do people think when they are just strewing such a beautiful place with such crap? Below is the beautiful part of the trail...as it should be and how our end should also be with care and consideration. So in response to this little experience and series of observations, I am going to organize a UnderHill Park & Ben Burr Trail Clean Up Day in the coming weeks.
This will accomplish two things:
1. Expose people to the wonderful Park & Trail and hopefully encourage people to include it in their recreation and...
2. Help maintain a sense of pride and responsability in caring for our neighborhood and the treasures such trails are.

Amazing what a condom can do...

Simply amazing...

Thanks Jim for the heads up.

Holding hands....

You were pretty as a picture
It was all there to see
Then your face caught up with your psychology
With a mouth full of teeth
You ate all your friends
And you broke every heart thinking every heart mends

You speak of signs and wonders
But I need something other
I would believe if I was able
But I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table
-U2, lyrics from the song: Crumbs from your Table

I've been thinking about a simple gesture that is often absent in the rhythms of our church life...It's the act of holding the hand of someone next to you...whether it be in corporate prayer, or in a unifying act of presence.

Oh, I know theres hand shaking, it's done in greeting...or as a proper hello among semi-acquainted people...but that often seems so cold and impersonal in most instances. It just doesn't seem to embody the true feeling or expression I feel.

Then there's hugs, but they also get redundant, meaningless or become some kind of awkward anti-sexual endeavor: the pat on the back, the side hug, or the equally odd lean forward, butt out, absolutely no boobie touch thing. It's comical to watch and looks dumb...but I know it's a creation of fundamentalist fear of igniting sexual experience within the holy place. So we play out these mannequin like gestures of supposed intimacy or implied affection...in the end, we miss it more than express it.

I find myself aware of the isolation that is present in the crowds of worshippers. People have internalized the "Jesus & me" religion and now journey alone in churches. Sure we gather but it's more often the back of someone's head not their eyes that we are getting to know.

The act of reaching out and holding your neighbor's hand is a act of community. It's an expression of the fact that we are in this together. The road ahead is one that we will face as a family. It's sacramental in the sense that I connect with Jesus in you and you with Jesus in me. It's a reflection of identifying His Presence among us.

It's a humble confession of need. I need the person next to me...not just the songs and words being offered from the front.

I plan on finding ways to enculture these values more and more in my own life and the life of our community. It's a step...a far cry from the call of scripture which tells the church to exhibit a greater visibility of love when it encourages us to:

Greet one another with a holy kiss.- 2 Corinthians 13:12

But we got to start somewhere...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Eden's dream....

I took this picture on my way down to Portland from the car window. I love the covenantal truths and just plain artistic wonder of rainbows. They are glimpses of God's flamboyant extravagance and unabashed love of beauty. How they are found only in or after moments of darkness, gloom or dreariness or on the heals of heat drenching rains that quench the ground and douse August foreheads is so very motherly of God.

Nature is sacramental to me. He reveals Himself in and through it...or as Paul put it: "...since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made...-Romans 1:20

I think we can draw wisdom from His creative ways in the Earth and use those values to reconnect our communities and churches back to creation values that restore, replenish and rejuvenate. We can creatively work to surround ourselves with ways of living and being that produce "sabbath" moments. In hectic cities, there need to be not only parks and green spots but sacred places that provide truth, contemplation and prayerful opportunities...."public monasteries" if you will.

I plan on continuing the goals of incorporating the artistic work of faith into our church block, garden and buildings. The missional and artistic influence of my Celtic, Orthodox and Catholic brothers have taught me to value nature, sculpture and beauty as a work of creating sanctuary. A garden is an experience of grace in itself but there are additional ways to incorporate contemplative aspects into space. I always enjoyed the Catholic gardens, monastery and chapels at my favorite place in Portland OR...The Grotto...their gardens, plants, sculptures, ponds and prayer spots, were a sooting place of reprieve in various moments of my young adult life. I would go there, walk, pray, draw, write or just breath and leave feeling more whole, or at least more gathered.

I think the Church as an expression of the Kingdom of God; should outwork in a visible way, tangible opportunities to encounter biblical truths. We can do this by providing invitational and experiential opportunities to encounter the blessings of the Kingdom...art, sculpture, music, space, architecture, food, gardens, writing and design can all facilitate or spark such moments. Peace, joy, love, depth, meaning, wonder, mystery, passion, wisdom, time, eternity, culture and sounds are all material to work with. They are universal languages to be used in communicating with the people God has called us to care for and influence.

Gardens can become that kind of sanctuary by providing peaceful meditative spots, enjoyment of beauty as a sacramental experience and food as a gift of pleasure. They are healing gifts that a local community of faith can incorporate in its work of caring for the space God has called them to live and worship within and around.

All these actions are part of the Domestic Arts and too many people have been ignorant of their powerful means to introduce people to the Kingdom and then to the King of such a glorious place. Such should be the process of one standing in the beauty of this natural world...it should lead one from the creation...to the Creator.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Neighborhood Creation Care and Mission Focused Industry...

"Build houses and live in them and plant gardens and eat their produce." -Jeremiah 29:5

If you look behind our church van and measure from the left where the two trees, the one closest to the van and the other one across the yard; then all the yard to the right, all the way to the wooden fence on the right, is the area that will be our new Jacob's Well garden. We will remove the fence behind the van and stretch it across the yard or build a wood fence to mark off this new project. We will remove the cement path and the old metal shed as well. We are arranging plans now for the work and materials and layout. The landlords of the house have arranged for the separation of the yard to allow us the opportunity to begin this garden...they attend the church and are leading the project.

We look forward to producing fresh food on the church block and sharing it though our Community Resource Center and incorporating the produce into our Tuesday night (5-7PM) community dinner. One of the challenges in neighborhoods that access Government food programs; is the lack of fresh produce. This is one of our attempts to supplement those needs. We are also working on a relationship with some CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture); which are farm based programs where you buy a share in the harvest for a certain amount of money. We are aiming to partner with Brian at St. Margaret's Community garden in Vinegar Flats, to provide additional access to fresh produce this season.
This is stage one of our rain water retrieval project that will help water our garden by collecting rain run off from the roofs on our buildings. The barrels were donated by another church. This is the mastermind behind the project, Daniel Dailey, he's building this water retrieval system and working on our "Alternative energy project" which includes possible wind energy and solar panels that will help (if everything works out with the fabrication and implementation of the first panel) us reduce our energy costs and model purposeful Creation Care as a local church.

We are also working on plans for some Neighborhood Recycle Bins as options for neighbors to discard used appliances, various metals and other material that we can sell at a local recycle center for cash. This will help in improving the neighborhood by removing unsightly household waste and help us raise funds through earth friendly industry.

I get such joy seeing different gifts and talents, visions and passions merging together in a cooperative synergy for mission, it's an exciting work to be part of. Please pray for us as we aim to not just "Move" but "Mobilize" one another for mission, in practical, creative and fruitful, God glorifying ways.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ancient paths....

"This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' -Jeremiah 6:16

One of my hearts desires in planting a church, was to be able to corporately resurrect the dead and invite them back into the life of the community of faith. To sit again at the feet of the masters, hear the ancient poets, minstrels and sages whose paths have been too hidden in these days. I longed to break open the books, journals and writings of faithful men and women who have gone before us on this long and difficult path. There's such a great cloud of witnesses that have both sung and testified, proclaimed and produced some of the best offerings of truth the church has seen or heard.

They are as David called them:" Ancient doors" that need to be opened...or like Jeremiah said: Paths that need to be rediscovered and followed.

I've sought to unearth the great truths of the Reformation in our teaching life as a body, not that the reformers were the pinnacle of thought and theology in my opinion but they are desperately worth reviving and learning from. But there are other voices, eras and teachers and saints that we should hear again.

This is also true of the ancient Bards and Troubadours. It's not as easy to reweave or revisit music from past eras...but it can be done and we are prayerfully and honestly seeking how to reconnect with the Old as well as the New wine in worship, practice and truth.

This article is a great discussion about Worship if that is one of your passions and call.

One of my favorite Hymns is O Sacred Head, now Wounded" and Fernando Ortega's version strikes me in deep places and evokes wonder and worship. Check out his 'Beginning's" hymn collection if you desire some rich music.

O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown
How pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish
which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
T'was all for sinners' gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever,
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love for Thee.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Peter Rollins & Phyllis Tickle

Plumbing problems again...

My buddy Daniel in the pit of despair, helping me repair a broken
sewer pipe. These 100 year old houses can be a lot of work. This pipe
problem keeps happening, roots, old & wrong materials used, all
contribute to this ongoing mess. So far we have not had to dig up the
major line but I'm nervous. We will see what the next plumber says
today...easy fix or major.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Modernized Hymns

Check out these great modernized Hymns for a new generation. free for a limited time.

Net Ninjas, webcasting witchcraft, spiritual porn and community...

A Dialogue is different than a monologue and one has to determine as a commentator on a blog, if you are seriously interested in conversation or would rather engage in proclamation. They really are different beasts, both are valuable and have their place..the trick is realizing when one is working against the flow of the purposed endeavor.

Some blogs or blog posts are meant to become anvils that will draw the blows of hammers. But not just for hammering sake...hopefully some item of thought, some value, doctrine or issue is drawing those blows to refine, sharpen, blunt or thin the chunky unformed idea or belief. The work of the strong forceful thundering makes something in the foundry of bloggerville.

But other blogs or posts are meant to facilitate something more than just the forming, reforming or refining of things. These blogs become a further conversation rooted to real people. They are extensions to having face to face relationships furthered not intended to be replaced by the blog. These are conversations that are meant to build up the body local. Places where a group of people are enfleshing the ideas, putting skin on them...not just trumpeting phrases, quotes and ideas out into the net air. These places become "open-sourced" endeavors that combine the wisdom of the many into the life of a community wrestling with truth and life. They are ingredients in the ongoing fermentation of communal life that needs all kinds of catalysts to become what God intends us to be. The blog serves "us"...

Its the balance of not allowing technology to rule us and not becoming servants of the technology.

Visible church, day to day community becomes a safeguard against the temptations associated with internet anonymity. Too many people hide in the internet, they become "net ninjas" who only come out of the shadows to strike, slash, burn and stab. They lurk behind the conversations and posts. Stealth, secrecy and obscurity are their cloak. Their comments come like arrows shot from some dark corner of the roof from which they have perched themselves to look down on the ignorant masses...or victims to be.

Their comments are not rooted in the work of localized, community building; which has the boundaries of accountability, place, context and continuity...we see each other this week. These safeguards, become the sides of the riverbank, they hold the flow of conversational water....and the river has less chance of becoming a death dealing flood, instead of a life giving source.

Some of my blogs are meant to be a "free for all" type of experience...others, like the Christ & Culture" blog are for in-house church relationships that have the disciplines in place mentioned above.

The beauty and tragic thing about blogs is that they often represent both the abundance that is present in ones private or community life...or they represent the poverty. In some places, especially churches, there is hardly many people willing to engage issues, ideas, movements, films, books, music or sadly, even God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and scriptures. Blogs can become unhealthy substitutes, alternatives, overdosed-supplements or even for some their daily bread.

Blogs can end up being pumped breast milk from surrogate mommies in the faith. There is a absence of touch, breath, warmth, voice, eyes looking at you, hands and arms coddling you. Blogs or video venues, tv and webcasts become our modern form of incantations...we bring up the dead, or we commune with people in modern forms of astra projection...going places, transporting into one another's presence...but its almost dangers on an unholy lack of boundary. We have to be careful that we are not practicing an advanced form of technological witchcraft or high tech necromancy.

Some times death is God's way of putting an end to conversations that shouldnt continue beyond their context of time.

Now obviously all of this thought should be tempered with the realties of some peoples lives. Shut in, people living in spiritual deserts, missionaries, or physically challenged, handicapped or people dealing with health issues are all able to derive life sustaining help from these forms of technology. But other people can cheat on one another with this cheap, easy, always waiting, stimulating mental and spiritual pornography...all pleasure...no commitments or faithfulness required.

Place, time, life, faces and relationships...help ground us in the ancient practice of localized community.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Christ & Culture events blog...

Ok, we launched our first "Christ & Culture" Discussion event at Jacob's Well; with a showing of the film: "Lord Save Us From Your Followers". We had around 25 people show up and about 15 stayed for coffee & conversation. I think it was a wild ride for sure, great thoughts, sharp disagreement, valid concerns and opposite positions. Over all it was civil, but more tense than I would of liked, but considering the hot button issues addressed in the film, I understand.

I've started a Christ & Culture blog that will be for anyone, anonymous or not, post event ruminations and ongoing dialogue for those so interested. Some people sit and listen but need time to chew on things and maybe this can be a format for unpacking stuff more. But let me please say, dont use the blog as a smoke screen to hurt people or stab them in the back anonymously. Sometimes bloggers get a little more bold than they would be face to face...that can be good and bad.

So be kind.

So let the comments begin if you desire to engage more on various issues brought up by the film by going here.

And to get the water boiling here is an article written by a Christian who calls himself a celibate, christian gay man and his thoughts on the loneliness such a position has demanded.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Wittenburg Door...

If you experience a gagging reflex, episodes of rage or prolonged self-pity; if you experience a sudden decrease of irony or a dead certainty about your beliefs, consult with your minister, guru or spiritual practitioner immediately. The Door is not advised for Pharisees, Fundies, High Church Whiskeypalians or those who have experienced a recent upsurge in attendance at seances. The Door website should not be taken with The Purpose-Driven Life or Catholic Digest. A rare side effect in women who attend Marilyn Hickey seminars has been determined to be harmful to the ability to read Pauline epistles without extreme homophobia. Men who march in Fred Phelps demonstrations should not take The Door. Men who are members of Promise Keepers should enter the 21st century. If you experience a paroxysm of LOL that lasts for more than four hours, call Benny Hinn and give him all your money. —Legal disclaimer prepared by Dr. Skippy R, Dr. J.B. Briggs, and Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart mentioned in the apocryphal book of Britney

Go here and read at your own risk...

Friday, March 13, 2009

The story we find ourselves in...

"Confine not yourself always to one sort of company, or to persons of the same party or opinion, either in matters of learning, religion, or the civil life, lest, if you should happen to be nursed up or educated in early mistake, you should be confirmed and established in the same mistake, by conversing only with persons of the same sentiments. It is said, when the King of Siam first conversed with some European merchants, who sought the favor of trading on his coast, he inquired of them some of the common appearances of summer and winter in their country; and when they told him of water growing so hard in their rivers that men and horses and laden carriages passed over it, and that rain sometimes fell down almost as white and light as feathers, and sometimes almost as hard as stones, he would not believe a syllable they said, for ice, snow, and hail, were names and things utterly unknown to him and to his subjects in that hot climate. He renounced all traffic with such shameful liars, and would not allow them to trade with his people. See here the natural effects of gross ignorance." -Isaac Watts

It amazes me the more I ponder the wonder of the scriptures and the fact that they are stuffed full of mystery, humanity, sacredness and a multiplicity of journeys that all seem to weave together like a divine mosiac that say something eternal and yet...so relevant to earth. The use of story and all the elements, genres and ingredients of the craft are called upon to tell something more profound than anything ever spoken and yet as common as anything ever experienced.

The kingdom of God is like...
There once was a man...
Camels crawling through needles...
Boys eating in pig pens...
Finding buried treasures...
Dragons, four faced-multi-eyed angels,
gates of pearls, cities without suns, dead people coming alive, naked people having picknics in the garden, people eating thier children, old folks making babies, talking animals, men going to the bottom of the ocean in sea creatures bellies, flying pegasus of fire carrying prophets into space, fortune tellers, witches and ghosts from beyond, sordid love affairs, heart breaking murders, vile sinners and inspiring saints...

Who wouldn't be intrigued about such a path...?

All the stories we know or themes that we retell...seem to be shadows of the greatest story unfolding...the characters, villains, heros all seem to be but a reflection of their greater counterparts. In fact the more we read and come to understand within the scriptures the more we see that we too are found within its pages.

Simply amazing if you really meditate on it.

(props to Fred and Melanie for the quote and added inspiration in this post)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

pleasant places...

"You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed, my inheritance is beautiful to me." -Psalms 16:5-6

Coming off of a weekend of hanging out in the already lushing beauty of Portland; with its funky cool houses, hip architecture, gardens full of sculptures', art and various evergreen flora...it makes for a hard walk in East Central.

The beauty around here has to be rediscovered. It takes baptized eyes to truly see glory in broken pots. One has to have his heart infused with redemptive light to see flesh growing over rusted out cars, garbage strewn streets, the old couches in yards and porches...the retched, old city bones.
In my morning devotions I read this celtic prayer for my own:

"The vitality of God be mine this day,
the vitality of the God of life.
The passion of Christ be mine this day,
the passion of the Christ of love.
The wakefulness of the Spirit be mine this day,
the wakefulness of the Spirit of justice.
The vitality and passion and wakefulness of God be mine,
that I may be fully alive this day.
The vitality and passion and wakefulness of God, that I may be fully alive."
I found myself seeing the side streets more in this light and vision, as I carried the above verse and prayer in my mind and heart. I found myself inviting a sense of gratitude for the treasure found in discarded vessels all around me. Prayers for places of gathered worship form as I walked past empty churches. Longing, yearning, dreaming, hope sprouting, mustard seed sized faith replacing prolonged dreariness. Moments of apprehension and gentle revelation find their way into uttered supplications and spiritual thoughts woven with spiritual words.

This inheritance becoming truly beautiful to me.

Sunlight Photograph from http://blanklinestudios.com/

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Most of the people drown....

Wine....in the promised land.

On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the LORD, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. The whole Babylonian army, under the commander of the imperial guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had gone over to the king of Babylon. But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields. -2 Kings 25:8-12

I am reading "What did the Ancient Israelites Eat" and in one of the chapters, it mentioned this verse in referencing the famous wine production of the promised land. It was so good...the Babylonians made sure to keep the wine makers busy at work. Im not a huge fan of wine, except with a real good meal that would complement the kind of wine served. But I thought the above verse was interesting.

They will meet cruel enemies...

"Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean two things. They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he can't bear to think of. Or they may mean (2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil. If they mean the first I agree with them: but not if they mean the second. The second would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense. There is something ludicrous in the idea of so educating a generation which is born to the...atomic bomb. Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker." -C.S. Lewis

A great Hobbit picture from here http://quickhidehere.blogspot.com

Monday, March 09, 2009

Deep calls unto deep...

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. -Deuteronomy 8:7-10

I thought of this verse to go with the picture I took of Multnomah Falls in the Colombia river gorge. This passage of scripture is pregnant with promise for our communities that have had the kingdom of God sown into them. The fertility of the Kingdom, the fruitfulness of the Spirit is the fulfillment of all these ancient promises of days gone by. These were shadows of a dawning day, a coming One, an in-dwelt people who would manifest a eden like restoration. A people who would pour out living water from their innermost beings that would revive, heal and nourish all the dry wastelands it touches. Life giving waters that grow trees of fruit bearing nourishment. A people that would be a kingdom, a temple, a garden, a city...that would become home for a King, a Savior, a tree, a sun.

Standing in the mist of this cascading torrent, I can still hear the echoes the warrior poets pleadings in Psalms 42:7:

Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.

God, it turns out...is very unreliable

"Moment" was played just one time — the band improvised the version on the album from thin air. "This kind of spirit blows through every now and then," Bono says. "It's a very strange feeling. We're waiting for God to walk into the room — and God, it turns out, is very unreliable. So you don't have the right to imagine you can make a great album. But what you can do is create the conditions where it might happen." From this article.

Portland trip...

This is the Hawthorne District in Portland Oregon, a strip of culture, hippie chic, multiple choices of shopping, art, cafes and lively street music...and plenty of eclectic people to gawk at. Oh and they even have a smaller Powells books too. My dad and I hung out here on Friday, enjoyed the sun, good food and the joy of finding almost all the books on my "Find and Buy" list. Saturday, the Dailey family and I discovered that you can purchase "Elephant Dung" paper in the Hawthorne District; yes, it's true, I wouldn't lie about such a fact.
This is Powell's books, a mecca for any book lover. I was able to find the remainder of my book list purchases and a few other choice finds that I've been wanting to read. I cannot express the deep inner angst that I wrestle with because Spokane doesn't have anything close to this bookstore...but...it does have a darkside...in fact, I think it rivals “Mos Eisley" in Star Wars, though not a "spaceport"...I am sure " You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” at least that's true in the restroom on the Gold room floor. Yes there in the crowded restroom, I saw (only by chance of course) a man ( I say that hesitantly) taking a leak next to me at the urinal and to my inner horror...he placed his bare naked hand, right on the cold, dirty, yellow stained porcelain of the urinal! Now, any man knows that standing and peeing is an art and sometimes one might be unsteady if one has had a few beers or is fighting with vertigo; but minus those challenges, there is no excuse for one to do such a thing, while doing before mentioned business. I almost reached for my light-saber to cut off that vile and forever infected hand...but instead, I backed out in a daze of unbelief not wanting to leave a mess....
This is the Hawthorne Fish House a great stop for good fish, dark beer and good times with friends. No urinals...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Hawthorn Fish House

Us traveling Spokanites hung out in the Hawthorn district this evening
after visiting Powells books and doing some shopping. We ate at The
Hawthorn Fish House...pretty good fish & really great beer.

Elephant dung paper

Who would of thought...

Sushi roll master

This man was awesome, making his sushi, talking about each item as he
made it, not really talking to anyone but enjoying his craft. Portland
is too cool for itself but it's fun.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

You're going to Hell....

If all things shine upon my little path, while in Portland, I will make my annual visit to the Mecca of the Northwest and purchase Four Views On Hell and an arm full of other unpurchasable books in our bibliophile anemic area called Spokane.

Why you should stop listening to online sermons...

"...You probably at least should pray that you don’t become an online sermon elitist who wishes you lived in [insert preaching hero]’s city so you could go to that church every Sunday. You have a church. You have a minister. If the man’s not a heretic, commit yourself to prayer, that you would be content—even happy—with where God has you." Read the rest here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Very cool pics....

Who needs photoshop...?

Neko Case

I love Neko's sound...you can take a free listen to her new cd here. Thanks to Steve's tip.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The great Physician....

A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse--after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. -Mark 5:25-36

Many people could read the above story and relate to the crushing weight of financial impoverishment that comes all too easy today by the hands and systems of the medical, pharmaceutical and nutritional industry. As people struggle to find or afford health care, as our elders approach the season of life when health problems tend to increase and as disease and obesity issues escalate...we may find ourselves forced to look to Jesus more than the Physicians in the days ahead. Which if we truly study the scriptures and allow the truth of both covenants to open our eyes, inform our minds and encourage our hearts...we might even discover more healing for our bodies. The scriptures say that "the Lord is for the Body (1 Corinthians 6:13). He created it, He inhabits it, He will raise it anew and be glorified through it. He has instructed us on how to eat for it, rest with it, work it, dress it, care for it, pray for it. If there is any Physician that we should be consulting, visiting and seeking the wisdom and prescriptions from...it should be the Great Physician (Mark 2:17). But unfortunately we tend to be more earthy minded and trust more in men, like King Asa, who...:

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. -2 Chronicles 16:12

As I seek to understand, realign and honor and worship God with my body; I begin to see his desires for it:

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. -3 John 2

If you journey through the OT and spend time in the shadows of the NT realities...you discover so many dialogues, laws, intents, promises and hopes for our lives, bodies and health.

And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer."..."But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst.-Exodus 15:26, 23:25

Listen to the mystical prophet Isaiah, who propesied a many sided diamond of truth about the Messiah, when he said:

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. -Isaiah 53:5

And even if these promises are but the shadows of what is found in Christ...the reality must eclipse the shadow. The spiritual truths that were often hinted at in the physical works, must encompass more than mere lessons of virtue or anticipations of an age to come...And I think a simple reading of the Gospels clearly unveils that truth.

Jesus healed "all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." He went forth "healing every sickness and every disease ... " Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 11:5; 12:15; 15:30-31

When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." Matthew 8:14-17

The point of this little Sunday school lesson is to open our eye to the often missing ingredient in the health and fitness discussion...and that is, Christian spirituality...which includes the sacraments for health (1 Cor 11:27-32). It includes the role of the faith community in our spiritual, emotional and physical health: "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." -James 5:14,15
. Jesus is the Lord of life and following Him in His way, truth and life...leads to abundant life.(John 10:10). I would encourage anyone who is pursuing a more healthy lifestyle to spend time in the biblical story and rediscover the deep sources of wisdom found there for life and godliness.