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Last Post until August July 20, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

Northern Minnesota, here I come!!!!!!!!!!

What so impressed me with Ghandi was his ability to resist power in all of its forms. He could not be compelled to obey nor could he seduced to gain power. I got to thinking about this as I read Messy Ministry and the Joel Osteen article to which it referred.

When I see the life of Ghandi, I see a man who took the life of Jesus seriously. Yes, I very much differ with Ghandi on the conversational, theological level. I believe Jesus is the Son of God and Ghandi didn’t. And yes, that’s a super-duper important thing. At the same time, when a Hindu does the Christian life better than Christians, you have got to wonder about that.

I am not suggesting that we all wear a loin cloth and walk with a goat for milk. What I am suggesting is to observe power and how it is used. In the USA, money is power. Look at the church and its use of its money, its power. It is used for comfort in many, many ways.

Rarely does a church use money for lifting up the oppressed, for opposing the oppressors, for liberating the slaves, blessing the world. You listen to Joel Osteen and it sounds like the end purpose for “blessing” (wealth and health and comfort) is for the Christian to enjoy them. I’m not saying “have no joy,” but I am saying that we are blessed for the purpose of sharing, not hoarding.

Ghandi refused to be oppressed and he refused to be an oppressor. He refused luxury until everyone had luxury. The greatest power Ghandi had was the power of refusal. He would not be oppressed and he would not be seduced.

He took on more burden than just his own. He took personal responsibility for the injustices of his day. No, not that he created injustice, but rather that avoiding it adds to it.

So a couple of you out there might say, “So, is Ghandi in Heaven? Because, in the end, that’s all that matters.” To anyone asking such a question, I will say this: “If actions speak truth, then I will sit with Ghandi in Heaven.” But I will also say, “Unless you have given of yourself like Ghandi did, then you don’t even have right to ask the question.”

Now that you have gone deep within yourself and pondered Ghandi & Jesus, take some time to read something else that will have a long, lasting impact on your life. This should keep you busy at 650+ page (unless you’re under 18 years old, then it’ll take 14 straight hours).


Subject and Verb Agreement July 19, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

Register for Zoe Conference here.
I just finished wathcing the movie of Gahndi. Amazing. He was more Christian than I will ever be – which is weird as he was a Hindu and all. He had subject and verb agreement. His words of peace matched his actions. Peace was his subject; peace was his verb.

The problem with Christianity is not our subject, Jesus, but it is our verb. Look at church budgets to find their verb. Look at their end “user” of ministry to find their verb. Look at that to which the resources of time, money and education are channeled to find their verb.

In short, a study on how Jesus used his resources comapred to how the church uses its resources will expose no true sense of harmony. Rather there is little similarity whatsoever. When we buy more bricks for ourselves than we do for the homeless, when we spend less than 1% of our budget (if that) to feed to hungry while accumulating expensive curriculums, when we support defining ourselves over developiong freindships with pre-christians…when we spend ourselves into these things, yet say we are all about what Jesus was all about, our subject and verb do not agree.

If we were not so wrapped up, sealed up, and packaged in this problem we would see clearly how ridiculous we appear to those looking for Jesus among the Christians, but not finding Him.

We need to find a way to decentralize everything that is not Jesus. The building is not central. The worships service is not central. The doctrine is not central. Even morality, for as valuable as it is, is not central. Jesus is central or he’s nothing.

We need to choose verbs that match our subject. But since our churches refuse to do so, I wonder if we really know our subject.

Empathic Prayer July 18, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

Have you ever prayed for someone? No, I don’t mean, “Dear God, please be with Susie…” What I mean is praying instead of that person or as if you are that person? I did for the first time today.

I prayed for a depressed person as if I were that person. I imagined myself as that person and then prayed from that perspective.

Yes, it was kind of weird, but at the same time, it pushed my imagination beyond any previous point with this close friend of mine. Somehow I understood this person better by, in my imagination, becoming that person for a brief period of time.

Has anyone ever done this?
Is this sane?
What do you make of this kind of prayer?

Psalm 121 (Rewrite) July 17, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

(A quick side note: Zoe Conference Blogger gathering click here)

Psalm 121 (rewrite)
When I look at the city skyline,
The towers of wealth to which men cling,
Their hope rests in the towers,
But I look at them from the outside;
My hope isn’t in them; they are the Enemy.
But where does my hope rest?

My hope rests in the God who lives above the towers.

When I hope in money, I slip, I fall, I am disappointed,
But with God it is easy to stand.
He’s got his eye on me – His gentle, loving eye;
Whether I’m awake or asleep, He’s protecting me.
24/7 he’s engaged and active in my life.

If the sun’s too hot, all it takes is Hia hand to give me shade;
He’s my light at midnight;
Here,there, and everywhere, I’m covered.

Post-Restoration Bloggers Meet At Zoe? July 15, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

Hey, if you read this blog, then you likely also have heard of a thing called the Zoe Worship Conference AKA Look To The Hills. The main conference happens in Nashville the first weekend of October.

Wouldn’t it be great to know which bloggers are going to be there, and then meet up some time?

So, if you are a blogger and planning on going to the Zoe Worship Conference in Nashville in October, and want to get together with some others, then post a comment on this blog and let’s work a time to meet each other at the conference.

Idealism and Acceptance July 15, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

“The problem with young people, people your age, is that they are too idealistic. Young people need to learn to accept some things are not perfect.”

This comment did not come a mean and crotchety old grump. It did not come from someone bent on maintaining the old order of things. It came from a loving and caring person concerned with the future of the church. We were discussing how to help our church grow, improve and be better.

“What I think it is going to take is to completely re-define the word ‘church.’ A free association of that word would conjure up an image of a church building or Sunday morning worship service. That’s not church.”

This comment did not come from some punk who wants to destroy the church as usual and reconstruct it in his own image. It came from someone who cares very much about the future of the church. It came from me, as you have probably already guessed.

This was a cross-generational conversation of two people who love God and love the church. We both see trouble, big trouble as the future presses in on us.

How do you get 1000 people to rethink church not just from what they have always known, but from what everyone they know has always known? How do you adjust centurues of inertia to a more functional and healthy track?

I think a consistent experience in small, missional communities of friends is a start. I’m not talking about adjunct small groups that are fit into schedules already obese with too much. I mean this is church. Sunday morning at the building is more like going to the commons that has some good stuff, but the real playing out of the church is in these little communities. Church is word more like “family” or “close friendship” than it is “building” or “worship service.”

In the same vein, I think a massive wave of church planting needs to happen – which is actually not all that different from what I said in the above paragraph. Yes, we need to plant churches within our churches in order to make the church accessible to people who do “go to church.”

On a side note, we say “go to church,” and it sounds normal, but we never say “go to family.” We are family, but we go to church. Please, tell me we don’t think of church as a building. We do.

We do not need to abandon the large gatherings. What we need to abandon is the idea that what happens there is the definition of church. That’s like saying what happens during a Christmas holiday is all that there is to being family, or celebrating a job promotion with a group of friends is all there is to a friendship.

Nope, the essence of family and friend is discovered in the daily, the routine, the common interactions. Special events are great, important, and I would say that they are necessary, but we make a deadly error when we identify and define these relationships only by these events. Community is the daily, not the occasional.

I don’t think that this is too idealistic. And even though I don’t like to argue on this level, it is far, far, more Biblical than building-centric, event-centric ecclesiology.

Dr. Phil Ripped July 14, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

The Psychotherapy Networker, a magazine for therapists, rips Dr. Phil a new one here.

Weird and Glorious Clarity July 13, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

So I’m jogging this morning, suffering badly because something’s wrong in my gut, and this thought bubbles to the top.

“My wife is perfect for me.”

Now, we’re knocking on the door of 9 years of marriage, and I have known from day one that I married the right woman. I have had no regrets, no second thoughts, and no questions. It has been right always. I have had the unusual luxury of a very good marriage. For this I am most grateful. I thank God regularly for this.

So what gives with this “revelation?” I mean, I have known this for a long time. Why did it feel like something new when it was not at all new information?

For right now, my best guess is that I am coming to realize that my wife is the safest place in the world. This is at least part of the answer to the mystery. What a comfort to know that there is a safe place in this world. It’s reassuring and humbling. Extravagant safety. How many people really get that?

Oh God, thanks for this wonderful gift.

Any of you married people out there ever get a “revelation” about your spouse after being married a while? I’d love to hear about it.

The Blue Before Me July 11, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.
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My melancholy mood
A simple sadness, blue;
Lake Superior blue;
The world’s ships leave
Laden with ore
Carving the blue
Cutting it in two
And disappearing into
The horizon,
Carrying bits of me
They all go home
And I watch them go
Waiting my turn
From this rocky shore
I want more
The Noreaster gathers some blue
And blows it right through my bones
Leaving me alone
Longing for home
As another Winter invites me to wait
Standing ankle deep
Feeling so cold
As far as I can go
Hands in pockets
Don’t know what else to do
Eyes glued…

Name These Babies July 11, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

Below are two babies. Neither of these babies (lists) have names, but they need names. Please help me name these babies.

Baby #1

Sin reduction
Decrease the evil
Being right
Justice = Paying For Sin
Trust is earned
Grace = Forgiveness

Baby #2

Love Proliferation
Increase the good
Being good
Justice = helping the oppressed
Social Justice
Trust is squandered
Grace = Generosity