Monthly Archives: October 2008

I’m sorry Rays, it was all my fault!

I hate to say this, but I think the loss is all my fault.  I am so sorry!

Last night Amber and I went to Applebee’s for dinner with some friends and I made a huge mistake.  I was wearing my Rays shirt in support of the team and in hopes that the break had shifted the momentum in their favor.  I ordered my food and after the usual wait a waiter brought out our food.  At first he looked at my shirt then looked back at my order.  “Hmm, a Rays fan ordering a philly!  That’s kinda weird.”

CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I CURSED THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I didn’t even realize it or think about it when I ordered!  But I should have, everyone knows baseball is a superstitious game!

It was a good thing that MLB did not call the game and end the Rays season because of weather.  They made the right choice to let them play it out.  I just feel so horrible that their season ended because of my dumb choice.

Sorry guys.

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The Gospel and Culture

I decided to try and pick up where I left off with Missional Church.  So I am on chapter 2 which starts with this very rich and thought provoking paragraph:

“The gospel is always conveyed through the medium of culture.  It becomes good news to the lost and broken humanity as it is incarnated in the world through God’s sent people, the church.  To be faithful to its calling, the church must be contextual, that is, it must be culturally relevant within a specific setting.  The church relates constantly and dynamically both to the gospel and to its contextual reality.” (Guder, 18)

Today, when we think of the church being relevant we imagine the megachurch with the incredible graphic arts program and the best band in town.  However, I do not believe that is what the author is referring too (although I do not believe that can be completely ruled out either). I believe this goes much deeper than just finding new methodologies. The author goes on to say, “In order to contextualize responsibly, the church must assess its culture critically, discerning and unmasking (deconstructing – my addition) its philosophical foundations and values.”  So this issue is much deeper than just using new technology and a great speaker to reach our culture.  It requires a very deep understanding of the world around us (and especially within our own Christian culture). 

So Chapter 2 is a study of how North American (US and Canada) culture has evolved into its current state.  It begins going all the way back to the Enlightenment and analyzing the birth of modern culture.  Critically assessing how those ideas have established who we have become, both negatively and positively.  The author reminds us at the beginning that this is not something Christians can simply choose to do if we want to truly live out the Gospel in the US, it is something we must do for our own sake as much as for the people we are called to love and reach.

“…because culture is not neutral, this discipline will assist the church to discern how it might be compromising gospel truth as it lives out its obedience to Christ the Lord.”

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May the Spirit

I finished reading a book for my internship a few weeks ago called 11 by Leonard Sweet. This prayer/poem was at the end and I had to get it written down before I gave the book back. So I hope it is a blessing and that you would read it, reread it, pray it, and struggle with it.

May the Spirit
Bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and
Superficial relationships so that
You will live deep in your heart.

May the Spirit
Bless you with anger
At injustice and oppression,
And exploitation of people and the earth
So that you will work for Justice, equity and peace.

May the Spirit
Bless you with tears to shed
For those who suffer
So that you will
Reach out your hand
To comfort them.

And may the Spirit
Bless you with the foolishness
To think you can make a difference
In the world,
So you will do the things
Which others say cannot be done.

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The Table

Looking back, one of the most powerful and enjoyable times on the trip was during the meals. We always ate together, around a table. Not in a living room (except one night because there were so many of us!) but around a table where we passed dishes and poured each other’s drinks, a time usually only reserved for holidays in US culture. I am not saying that is Canadian culture, but Kingdom culture. I know I am not the first one to realize this, obviously Nieucommunities understands how powerful this time can be, but I think this is the first time I have deeply realized it. It reminds me of a book I read that emphasized the importance of meal sharing in the Bible. I can’t remember what book it was, but it was clear that it was the basis of acceptance and building relationships and community with each other. That is certainly what it did in our group in Vancouver. I will admit that when Amber and I arrived at the Vancouver airport we were getting grumpy and frustrated. The bus ride from Seattle had taken much longer than we expected and we did not want to be the last ones to arrive. Everyone knows that on Christian trips if you are the last one to arrive you are already out of the group. It just seems that if you miss out on those very first experiences then you will not form relationships because the cliques have already been formed and the lines drawn. So unfortunately, we were the last to arrive, but fortunately none of that junk happened!

Thinking back on it now I still can’t believe the conversations we had over a table just about every night. Whether that was at the dinner table or a coffee table we listened to each other’s stories and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. So we are going to do that here in Spring Hill too. After small group tonight we invited all of them over for dinner on Sunday. We are going to invite others too, to build and create relationships and community here. I believe that is what God put in our hearts while we were there. To build community here, in the burbs, where we live far apart and are busy and have a million other commitments. But we need each other (and Chris if you read this, we can’t wait to have you back!).

So thank you to Becca, Jenna, Russ, Jason, Colletta, Kelsey, and Heather. It is amazing what a week can do and I am still frustrated that I cannot articulate the experience very well. But the conversations were full of life and his Holy Spirit is still with us! Thank you to all the staff there as well. You all helped Amber and I grow and hopefully will continue to do so.

“Time spent around the table with each other in time spent with God.” Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis

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A Rocha

One of the days was quite different from the rest.  Instead of going into the city we went into the country to discover another part of God’s Kingdom that is often either not thought about or thought about in very different ways.  We drove to a place in Surrey, B.C. called A Rocha.  A Rocha is a non-profit Christian conservation organization that seeks to protect and learn about God’s creation.  They have several areas on their property, including a small education building/store, organic garden (which we would get to know real well!), orchard, and an area they use for scientific research to help protect local watersheds.

We began the morning by getting lost on our way there, which was fine with me because I played with Sam, the Moser’s amazing baby boy, and had plenty of political conversation with Emmanuel (from Cameroon), Jason, and Colletta.  On the way we were able to see the gorgoeus northwest/Canadian countryside.  When we finally arrived we started with a tour of the grounds.  The main house was the first thing we came too when we pulled up.  To the left was a large barn, a couple of other buildings, an orchard, and a large area with trails and ponds that they used for research to protect the Little Campbell watershed.  Back behind the main house was the educational center/store and to the right was the large garden and animals.

The small educational center/store...and Kelsey

The small educational center/store...and Kelsey

We spent the morning in the educational center with a deep study on God’s creation.  How much does God care about his creation?  If he loves it and finds it beautiful and sees it as good, then what does that mean for us?  We read through a lot of scripture on how God loves his creation and I would post many of them but I forgot my little packet at A Rocha that day and did not get another one, sorry!  But we came to the conclusion that our faith needs to be more holistic, needs to include more than just what we believe.  The way we approach the environment needs to reflect the way God loves his creation.  Yes, that does trickle down to our everyday decisions.  For us in the US, especially in the south, that is a very hard concept to swallow.  What does that mean?  While this may sound like a bunch of environmentalist propoganda to some, I am more and more convinced of this truth.  One of the subtle yet profound conservation practices that we noticed in Vancouver was the lack of paper products (yes they still used toilet paper!).  In every home we ate at and in most restaraunts there were no paper napkins, only clothe.  In every locally owned coffee shop, and there were a lot, if you did not specify to go then you recieved your latte in a mug.  Some of the locals were amazed to hear how often we use paper plates!  So right now Amber and I are looking at our lifestyle and trying to find ways to be better stewards of this beautiful place, even in the little things!

The rest of the afternoon was fun,  and something that I had never done before…farming!  We weeded and hoed garden beds, laid a cover crop for the winter, picked beans and peppers, and got dirty!  It was a wonderful time and we really had some good conversations over those weeds and beans.  I have always heard that gardening was peaceful, now I know that it is (thats not to say it is not hard work still).  So enjoy the photos of our labor and begin to look at your faith more holistically and ask how God would have you treat his creation.

The Garden

The Garden

Emanuel, playing pool?

Emanuel, playing pool?

 

Amber is proud of her catch!

Amber is proud of her catch!

 

Jason doing it the old fashioned way!

Jason doing it the old fashioned way!

 

Amber, Heidi, and Becca putting their back into it!

Amber, Heidi, and Becca putting their back into it!

 

Go ahead Sam, slobber that green bean!

Go ahead Sam, slobber that green bean!

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