Sunday, August 26, 2007

Some stuff

Started listening to a really interesting podcast that talked about this community called the Arch. It is a home where developmentally disabled people live and about the volunteers that live with them and about how their lives are transformed by the experience. I was incredibly touched by this.

Actually, I have enjoyed everything I have listened to on Speaking of Faith from American Public Media. I recommend their podcasts.

In other news, Mother Teresa's posthumous book is out soon, and the Oregonian wrote this big Sunday Paper headline advertising "Mother Teresa's doubts about faith". My lands. The media, if it isn't a gaggle of brainless, spineless nimwits, I just don't know what. Gasp! Christians wrestle with implications of their faith!! WOW! Is this news? Is it news to make it sound like Mother Teresa was less Christian because she, as a spiritual superior, would really grapple with some hard issues?

Finally, watched a movie called The Pursuit of Happyness. Was so hard to watch, all the bad stuff that happened to this guy, played really well by Will Smith. The movie is making me think about some stuff. I guess I could recommend it. I think I would have been able to deal with it better if I knew the ending, though.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Liberation Theology

At first it sounds like some deeply entrenched, even institutionalized thing to me. But then I read some more and it sounds like something more like what I am going toward...the idea that my religion is useless if it doesn't get played out by giving oneself to the work of the Lord.

But I read more I see words like Marxism and socialism and revolution and Jesus as a revolutionary and I wonder if that is what I really want. It isn't.

I just wanted to bookmark this interest. Not to go there, but to figure out what it really is.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


J is reading "God in the Dock" which is a collection of essays and other things from C.S. Lewis. It is spurring conversations, like the one we had the other night by our firepit. Our best conversations usually include at least a little CS.

I just finished that book (Beautiful Mess) by Rick McKinley. First, it made me think I need to read Heaven by Randy Alcorn. Second, it made me think that the time has come for us to look for a different place to worship. My heart has been so torn on this issue for so long, I felt like "Look, you just find a place and stay there, it doesn't really matter where it is, and then you go from there," I know that is right. But since our house is for sale and we are trying to move to another community, maybe it isn't so bad to acknowledge that pull in another direction. It isn't a new pull, it's been going on now for quite awhile. A slow transition, no fast moves...easing into something.

McKinley said in the last chapter that there were 2 different aspects in the protestant world, one that focused on personal salvation and ministry to those within the church primarily (he called this the conservative church) and a more liberal (gasp, did I just say that word?) church that focused on social action and salvation expressed through service. He said that the first one is very good at getting people saved and pulling them up into fellowship, and the other was better at the outreach and service, though perhaps not as good in some other areas.

This is a subject that I find really and truly bores most people I know to death. And there is a certain truth that one will never find this "perfect church" and so throw that idea out the window first off. Okay, that done, now what?

Well that's the flux of it, I suppose.

I recommend the book, though I wish he would address the fact that without community (which is a rare commodity), some of these wonderful ideas don't work. Church is a community, albeit a sort of artificial one. Some of my favorite people in this community live 35 minutes away. I can't share a lawnmower with them (read the book). When I mentioned some of these good ideas to J he said something along the lines of wanting very much to be involved with ministries that helped people and showed them the love of the Lord, but for each person to start one from the ground up? Well, I have to agree, it made us both scratch our heads.

Well, the book certainly promotes his church well, and it is a message that my heart loves. But I always want the "how" as well as the "what". I agree with his "what", now how...

This isn't really meant as a book critique, it's more just processing...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Beautiful Mess

It's light, it's nice, it's like a nice glass of fresh cold water on a hot day.

I am reading "This Beautiful Mess" by pastor Rick McKinley of Imago Dei. Apparently he is also interested in this "Simple Way"/new monasticism (a very fancy name for something very old).

Ideas rotating around the tension of the existence of good and bad in the world, the kingdom of God, service and "being the light".

He talks about coming to the Lord as children, which I seldom hear from the pulpit, refreshing, truthful and very appreciated.

And, he endorses things that are really just happiness to my ears and heart, like getting the focus off consumerism at Christmas, and supporting environmental issues ...Restoring Eden is an organization by Richard Cizik who is also the vice president of the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals) and who promotes considering environmental conservation, despite some strong lack of support from the Dobson ministries of Focus on the Family.

Okay, and before I close, I have to include a really amazing find... A guy named Eugene Cho in Seattle runs a church called Quest. He was visited by an journalist/gay rights advocate to "rate" his church, and the following Pandora's box ensued. The really gritty stuff is in the comments section. Alot of pain out there from the GLBT community about the "welcome but not affirmed" position of the church. People don't like it when they are told "God doesn't love you". Imagine that. The thing I found most compelling is just how much there is out there on people's minds-hurt, anger (not so surprising) and this need for God.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

6 AM on a Sunday morning.

Last night I got a terrible throbbing headache and a bunch of nauseas. I was really awful not very common I get anything. Was wondering what I ate.

So went to bed early, hoping just to make it all go away.

And so I woke at about 3 in the morning. I tried to go back to sleep but kept having wierd dreams that J and I lived in a hovel of an apartment with leaky pipes and newspaper spray painted to the walls and teenagers tipping 40's of 8ball outside my window. Yeesh. I sat on the couch and tried to think how I got back there. I say back, because I thought my days of living in dumps were over.

So I got close to the person next to me and looked up out that window at that cloudy sky early morning Sunday sky of August when everything was all silent. All that was there was a tall cedar from our backyard against the grey. Standing at his usual tall, maybe he too just waking up. Or maybe not.

This week, after our house being on the market for a very long time, dangling in a way, me to start a new job, us needing to move, the offer on our house fell through.

Everyone who comes through this house says how nice it is. It's hard not to say "So then buy it, &*%$!"

I didn't think much about this scenario, aside from being a little bummed, but then as I layed there and stared at this tree against the silent cloudy august early morning sunday sky in bed next to J, I started to feel that sense of how unbelievably fragile everyone's lives are. Maybe more so since I now have 2 people that I value so much, and I know that in truth, there is just so very very little we control or have influence over about our own lives. I felt pretty powerless to protect/help or otherwise do anything good for the only things that are valuable to me. And isn't that just life?

That whole notion of just how excruciatingly little we control in life, and how the stakes are so high for us...we have no other option but to let go or go mad trying trying trying.

We do not control who our parents are, where we are born, how much money we had as we grew up, how much money we have now (for the most part), our mental makeup, our heritage, our legacy, our children, our leaders, our planet, our birth or our death. Whether we drive across a bridge and it crashes down on us crushing our family (! ack! just kidding! sort of!) And there are a bunch of other things we don't control either, those are just the first I can think of.

We do control um, what job we have (sort of), what we wear (sort of, unless we are poor), how we speak, how we treat others, our choices of good or bad, our integrity, what spouse we choose (sort of in some places), our habits, how we spend our time, or whether we choose not to destroy our own life or another (and how we do it)...

When I look at these options, it seems to me that this is perfect design by God to show a person what is important, and what isn't as much...or maybe, what is important to Him.

Still the frailness of life combined with the quantity of love in a mom's heart is a reality cocktail, to be sure. I don't think God meant anyone to dwell on it too much. But it is there, in the background as we go along, wondering whether we are going to buy this or that, deluding ourself about how much control we really do have.

I have no really good way to end off here, but that it is going to be a beautiful day, and I will spend more time with the people I love and try to sell my house some more...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Korean missionaries

ABC News is following this story.

From what I am getting, Korean medical missionaries went to Afghanistan to do some medical missions work. They were taken hostage by Taliban and now there are negotiations to trade the hostages for some prisoners.

Situations like these... People who are not Christian can't imagine how death loses its sting when a person turns to Christ. The World cannot possibly comprehend the motives of missions workers, and they uses these opportunities to rip into Christians (not a terribly hard thing to do, you'd think they would find a more challenging target).

As for the missionaries, in these circumstances the power of prayer is the power we have.