29 November 2004

Defining ourselves...

I have been thinking about changing the name of this blog. When Rudy first told me about blogging I thought it would be a place of conversation between camp people. Come up with new ideas about camping in the emergent period of geoSpiritual formation. It really isn't that. It is only about my conversations with myself and a few others and I don't think camp people want to talk much to me. I don't think they know who I am. I find that sobering and freeing.

But I don't think I want to only be about camping. My wife and I were talking the other day about my funeral and what I wanted to wear. She asked if I was going to be in a suit or what. I said something that I could be eternally comfortable in like shorts and my crocs. She asked if I wanted to be buried in a Calvin Crest t-shirt and I thought about it for a while and said no, I don't want to be eternally identified solely (or is it SOULly?) on my employment with this camp. I want to be identified with the work that God is doing not what I did at a specific geographic location. I hope I am more than that (or is it less than that?).

Don't get me wrong. I love what I am doing and where I am doing it. But I don't want my life to be only about my work. Especially when I am a dad, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, an enemy, a priest, a child, a chosen one... I hope I am more than a baby boomer, a white middle-class, voter, licenced driver, taxpayer, over 50, male, with back problems, bifocaled, crooked teeth, balding, piano playing, Japanese food loving, Van Morrison appreciating, polyester hating... kindof guy.

I was driving to work this morning remembering when Bob Dylan became a believer in Christ for his salvation. I was thrilled because it increased my value because I believed the same thing Bob Dylan believed. A few months later he redefined himself. I felt somehow as if I lost value. I cannot draw my value from anyone but He who calls me His.

Therefore I am going to rename this blog, just reimagining...

Bush chooses Kellogg's CEO...

According to ABC News...
President Bush on Monday chose Carlos Gutierrez, a native of Cuba and now the chief executive officer of Kellogg Co., to be secretary of Commerce.

Another reason I like W.

20 November 2004

An open letter to an inquirer...

Dear friend,
I am sorry that I did not answer your email before I saw you. I am glad to know that you took the initative to bring your friend up with you to check out Calvin Crest and those participating in CommonFire.

I want to reiterate something...
CommonFire is not a program but a community. It is not meant to teach one anything but be there as they learn and help facilitate the questions. I have been doing a lot of thinking about it and I am not convinced that another program is the answer, rather what is needed is let's bring people to a place to labor and live who will love others and be loved by others. Young people will leave an academic environment, a huge program, and get out into society to live amongst people with differing views and beliefs. With reciprocity, they give and take, love and be loved, have dialogues, get frustrated and angry, invest and cashout, educate and be educated, eat and feed, clean up and make a mess, and a myriad of other things that keep the economy rolling.

To go from program to program is self centered and causes a stifled life. At some point we get on the merry-go-round and return with interest that which we have been given as stewards to make this life centered in the Kingdom of God. We pay back the investment!

I am sure you have read Ecclesiastes and know that there are seasons of life, filled with emotions, trials, successes, births, deaths, jobs, retirement, etc... and it is good to be programmed for a while. "Train up a child in the way..." is a good word, but there is a time when we need to leave and carry on the work God has for us. CommonFire is a safe, not easy, place for that transition to take place. Bosses will not always be Jesus, money will not always solve the problem, things will wearout, stuff happens..., but this should be a place to try out our hearts, spirits, and gifts.

We never ask anyone to check their flesh in when they come, so people will be themselves, and that doesn't always look "christian" nor nice. When people who's salvation is in the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Lord, don't get enough sleep they are no different that those who are without faith. Fear causes rust in the soul of all men and women regardless of faith. Crankiness, selfishness, self preservation are in the fabric of all of us, we pray that flesh would be crucified and rejoice when it is but I am never caught offguard when it isn't. We wrestle, struggle, and contend for the His Spirit to take that which we yield. We are a celebrated mixture of spirit and selfwill. Able to drop the enemy with one little word, if only we would speak from our spirit instead of our flesh.

Some of the men and women who are there model, I believe, a healthy life. Learning more of the power of God and letting Him demonstrate it in their lives. They are not perfect but they trust God to use them to love those He would give them.

I do love the men and women of CommonFire. I do hope you will come and join us next season.

18 November 2004

The great divide...

It seems like since the election the conversation has been on the red states and the blue states, the president or a republican senator needs to reach out and serve the other side, we are a country divided, etc. A lot about how divided we are, us and them. It is very understandable since the election is about two parties (sorry but the green and independent party are small blips on the political screen) one will win and the other loses. Many different elections with differing results except one, one guy or gal wins and the other loses.

But the past few weeks, I have heard more conversations about a division of the same magnitude in the church. For many years it was the youth and college age types complaining because they are overlooked and rarely considered in the mainstream church. They became parents of young school aged children and moved to churches that had great programs for their children. I heard that over the past ten years in this presbytery about half of the members have left or died and were not replaced by a new crop of faithfuls. HALF!

I went to a fiftieth birthday party of a friend and some other fifieth types were talking about starting a new church. Why? It is red state / blue state stuff. A large group of people who don't like the trend of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, and other mainline Churches not valuing the same thing as them. The general assembly or conferences are changing the rules on them, developing a Us and Them feel.

These are good people who are sticking with the traditional values but with a new feel of less churchishness. Relationship was a key word. People would get to know each other, trust each other, be accountable to one another, a place where they can bring someone who is hurting. These are not the pomos but people who are living midway to or near retirement and who's children are grown and leaving soon or have left the nest. It is the same conversation I have had with pomos. The emergent church is not age exclusive. The conversation is springing up in more unlikely places with people I never thought wanted anything new.

These guys have the money to do something. It will not be a afternoon service in an established and dying church, it will be in a new place that has a monthly rent that these guys can afford to pay. They have been tithers and understand Kingdom principles of giving. They don't get scholarships, grants, allowances from home, they are and have been the givers of the church. They have been paving parking lots, serving in the children's education programs, singing in the choir, serving as elders and deacons. This group, when they move their capital from a denomination to a neighborhood fellowship, will send a huge message to denoms - its over.

New to the blogsphere...

Go see my friend Sean Oldroyd's ruminations at his new blog.

11 November 2004


The past few months, since summer, I have been looking at changes in the way we do ministry. I like where we are moving in high school ministries and program (AIM and High School Camp) but there are some needed changes in other areas. Retooling the support teams and programs. That will take better people than me (or is it I)

I am looking for talent. Not the "American Idol" type but the kind that are doing more than just existing without trouble. Using the metaphor of playing the guitar, people like Stevie Ray instead of chord players. People who have some ideas and track record or accomplishment. Thinkers AND Doers. It is easy to be mediocre but to excel is phenominal. Someone to say I have been thinking about a different way that solves this problem. Not one who will do the same old, same old, but someone who adds to life.

I don't want to do something new to sell something new, I want to do something good. Not big, not a lot of people big but that the people we do have coming will say, "this is right, this is important, I see Jesus in this."

I am not bored anymore...

08 November 2004

Coming late to the party...

As I said a few blogs back, we had dinner with Dan and Suzanne Kimball one night and we started talking about Stevie Ray Vaughan. I told Dan that I had heard of SRV but never heard his music. Dan looked at me like I had never tasted chocolate and that he gets to introduce me to a fine experience.

He gave me some Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble CDs and I have been playing it for the past few days with much enjoyment. I shouldn't say enjoyment because it is more than that. It got into my DNA, my soul, my rhythmn, my heart beats in time, my face scrunches up and eyes close. Some may call that a demonic possession but I don't think so.

I stopped listening to music during the 80s. A little Micheal Jackson but not much else. I hated the music. A lot of disco and polyester sounds. That is when I started reading Clancy novels. Oh if I only knew about Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble I would probably been a lot cooler and happier.

Thanks Dan for inviting me to the party...

03 November 2004

Ok, I am announcing my new church...

After many months of planning, talking with bankers, lawyers, a few denominations and many people, I have decided to start a church. However I will be starting it at my home in Coarsegold. I will also be able to have it in other locations as I travel. I am arranging it with some people I don't know at all but will watch them grow.

I am not going to mess around with real people. Too many problems, ideas, political views, musical preferences, Bible versions conflict, morning or evening services opinions, pews vs. chairs, overheads vs. powerpoint vs. media shout, etc...

Yep, I am going to start it with Sims, the simulation game. There are some adult themes and situations, but I think I can handle it.

A great day...

As you would think I am very happy that Bush won. I am sad that there wasn't a better turn out from the young voter. Again. What does it take for someone to vote? What I liked the best of this election was Rudy Giuliani. I hope he runs next. That is what I like about Bush, the people he has around him.