22 July 2005

The back row...

It is easy to sit in the back row. No one expects anything from you back there. No one sees you. All eyes are forward. You think it is safe. It is not.
There are a lot of distractions in the back row. People can get attracted to every thing but the intent of the time. We come with our own agendas.
The back row demands nothing of people. Only to show up and sit through the show.
You can put in your time in the back row. Safe. Unchanged. Not responsible. Lots of opinions, no action. Last ones to come, first to leave.
The plate is already full by the time it gets to the back row. No one knows what's given.
The message is stale by the time it reaches the back row. Too many ears steal the words. Little left to consider.
Pictures drawn, lists made. Heads counted. Hangman. Tic-tac-toe.
The back row has a life of its own.
No one knows...

21 July 2005


This morning at 4:30ish there was a roll of thunder and the flash of lightening and then a light sprinkle began. The occurrence lasted just a brief moment. Even though it was humid it cleared the air nicely. I got up and walked around because we had some young campers sleeping outside that I was wondering if Lily and her team needed help. They had everyone moving into an available cabin and within a few minutes all were back to sleep. I am very impressed with Lily and her team.

I continued walking around watching the sky. It is my favorite thing to do in any storm type situation. I love watching the cells develop, rain approaching, sky breaking through, etc. I am a big fan of the sky. Whether clouds on a sunny day, stars at night, rain storms developing, whatever. It is fascinating to watch the sky to see what is developing.

I first start noticing a change in the wind, a slight breeze or the new direction. I like being aware of the wind. I am fascinated by the whole idea of wind. In this area we don't get a lot of wind. One of my favorite sounds is the wind moving through the trees. I can't describe the sound but it has the feeling of the breath of a loved one. You have to listen for it. Feel it. It has a delightful smell as well as an added dimension to sight. It seems almost like it is a fourth dimension.

Which makes me think of the Fifth Dimensions who sang "Up, Up and Away" in the Sixties.

I can make this spiritual sounding because it makes me think of the Holy Spirit, but I would like to just think about the sky, wind, rain, thunder, lightening, smells, sounds, only as those things in and of themselves...

18 July 2005

Good night...


I am not very postmodern...

In the previous post, there were some kind words said for which I am thankful and some comments that I didn't enjoy. I felt the direction of the final few were were off the path. It caused me to quit wanting to blog and then I remembered a friend once told me... "this is your blog you can do what you want. Erase them..."

I did.

As one eloquently put it, "...If that was the case, I will relegate myself to the back row and just listen to the lecture from now on."

My response... in my theatre you may sit in the back row, but feel free to open a theatre next door for your show.

I am not interested in the conversation that is mad at me or antithetical to my beliefs. Those can be done on your own blog and if I wish to read them I will read them ON YOUR BLOG. I felt attacked by some of the words that were used and decided that I did not want to read on my blog things that were against me or my ideals. I am all for freedom of the conversation, but I view this blog as my opinion, as small and insignificant as it may be, and a place I can get out on "paper" my thoughts. I enjoy people's contrasting opinion and choose to read them from another's blog occasionally. I just don't want my blog to be a place that you feel you have the freedom to tie up a whole lot of bandwidth with your opinion against me or my thoughts.

I do enjoy the conversation that corrects, sharpens, broadens the theme, but not the attack. I vowed a year ago that I would not attack another person's opinion on their blog but would write an email if I felt the relationship was stable enough for that. I was deeply sorry for a loss of a friendship because I had written a public attack.

I will continue to delete any comments that attack me or anyone else and, in my opinion, is offensive. I am grateful that anyone cares what I think and is willing to read it and engage in a brief conversation.

I know this may cause a new group of people to be against me but hopefully I have given you something to blog about...

15 July 2005

Simon says...

I enjoyed myself this week as my son, Simon, spoke to the junior high camp. He said an incredible thing the other night. "God went to great length to prepare us a place of love."

Well said...

10 July 2005

Making our theology humane...

There is a lot of talk about relational theology, incarnational theology. I would like to start talking about humane theology.

Is our theology humane. Does it consider the least of these? Does our children's ministry consider the children... globally or just the children of givers? Are we teaching towards something or are we just teaching because we give people degrees in teaching. It is time to start giving degrees in doing so that we can teach people to do rather than just sit through another teaching and think we are doing the will of the Doer. We hire people who talk not people who do. We are suspect of people who do.

Can we raise up people to treat people humanely in the workforce, marketplace, classroom, restaurant, neighborhood, parking lot, highway? Redemption on the sidewalk, in the checkout line, in the cinema, dinner table. More than an hour on Sundays.

We are the most educated nation on earth and the most churched and the most prolific in religious education and religious messages and we are not seeing much a different in the lives of a church member than a pagan. Why? Because we think it is about teaching and not doing. Our teaching needs to lead to doing. Lecture then the lab. Not lecture then lecture. We have enough info, enough input, enough polls, enough commentaries, enough... South Korea is sending missionaries to us. Ethiopia is starting censure us. And we think we are the super powers.

Are we teaching our children to respect women? Do we teach young girls more about their roles than their identity? Are we putting the responsibility on women for the way they dress instead of we men who must take responsibility for how we look at them? You may say I wouldn't lust if she wouldn't wear that. I say take responsibility for what you think of women and their bodies first. A tribe in the jungle where women and men don't wear much, is there lust? Why not? I don't think they started lusting until the the civilized taught them. I am learning from the women up here a lot of what it means to be female. I did not know a lot. A lot of pain and a lot of anger and a lot of resentment. Do we teach anything, or better do we model anything different than an old stereotype model. We talk about an emergent worship when do we talk about emergent humanity?

We are not addressing the problem. We are not spending the time to bring this message to our youth to make changes. Let's start teaching young and teen boys how to treat women. Let them be men who allow women to be what God has created them to be. How can we empower people, male and female to do the will of God. Let us begin to teach about respecting each other instead of talking about worship experiences. How can we worship Him who we do not see and disregard our sister who we do see?

07 July 2005


Today I went to many meetings. A supervisors meeting. A counselor meeting. A meeting with a person who is with FCA and up here as a counselor. I taught from Matthew 4 at a meeting with 250 people. I had a meeting with my friend and pastor Rick Irish. A meeting for clarification on some rumors I heard. A meeting for redefinition of job responsibility and a clarification of expectations. A meeting with two friends under a big oak tree. A weekly meeting that changed my life.

I am suppose to be mentoring this man, but his heart and soul is mentoring me. Michael continues to open my heart to a meekness and perspective that I feel like I am meeting with Christ. I like the way he is living his life and today I hope that the rest of my life would look more like his. It is his virtue. He does the right thing.

God has brought a few men and women in my life with the same heart. These people after I hung out with them I felt like they didn't suck me dry but left me in better shape than how they found me.

I hope you know who you are. You have taught me to do the right thing. Buy fair trade coffee. Read good books that I never thought I could. You gave me gifts because you knew it would affect my DNA. You taught me to use my position to do the right thing with people who were powerless to do anything. You took me with you in a truck to town and it wasn't about what we bought but the conversation in the truck. You moved into a cabin to stay with tough campers when it was not your job and you still did your job. You ask questions that demanded Jesus' answer and not just something I could throw out there to satisfy you. You demanded me to think from my spirit not my head. You followed me out the door when I was acting restless and goofy. I like meeting with you. Thank you for being a gift from God.

You know who you are...

05 July 2005

We are trying to live the truth...

I think one of the things that I am trying to do with the staff up here at Calvin Crest is to live it out, not just talk it out. How does a ministry live it out. I don't think it is programmatic but relational. However in our programs we need to be relational. In the "Word" time we moved it to the morning. A little singing and then the teaching. It starts with me being honest and asking the students to be honest. NO Formulas! Tell the truth. Where are you in living out your beliefs. FAITH. And the students have been truthful. Great times of prayer from Sunday night. I am wonderfully surprised by the real life in these people. The other thing which is very important, it is not about me, the speaker. It is about the counselor and their camper. It is not a mass market approach it is a relationship.

Then we go from the morning Word time to small groups for them to talk amongst themselves. The staff facilitate the dialogue between the campers and the counselors. We don't teach, we let them learn. We want to give the Spirit room to work. This conversation last the whole day between camper and camper, and also the counselor.

At night, we gather for worship. And we let the camper tell stories of what God did that day. And we celebrate. It is not always about my story, but theirs. It is a different phenomenon. We have been trying this for a few days. I will let you know how it works.

04 July 2005

Why do we do what we do?

I appreciated Roger's comment to me in the previous blog. I have been questioning why I am doing anything. Is it for my glory? Yes, it is. Is it for His glory? I hope He receives glory, but I don't think I have any control on what He receives from anyone other than me. I thought I did, but now I don't think so. I think what Roger is asking me is am I burned out of doing something that is hard and I think I am a bit. And for that I am taking full responsibility. My question is, is burned out a reason for stopping. Maybe it is reason to keep going, but use a different approach.

I am not as articulate as i would like but I enjoy the conversation. My issue now is not with the Corporation but with the Kingdom. I was a bit confused for a long time that the two were always connected. And I do not feel that anymore. I am not trying to judge anyone in particular but I am finding myself at peace with not trying to change anyone else except me. I did not mean to judge any committee in particular. Even though I have been spending time in committees as of late. I was wrong thinking my way was the right way for the corporation. The Corporation is doing what it needs to do to keep doing what it is doing. Who am I to say that it is not working? It seems to be working for them. It just isn't working for me. Therefore it is my problem.

Let me tell you a story...

When I was young, I attended the sunday school program at our church from 5 years old through my sophomore year in highschool. I started having some different questions than what the teachers could answer. I did not feel that they were bad, they just didn't answer my questions. They were trying to ask me the questions they had the answers to but that wasn't where I was. I had other questions. I saw a depth of something that wasn't acknowledged in my youth group so I walked away. I started looking into the deep thing without knowing what it was. Some called it by different name, mysticism, spiritualism, etc. I did look into a depth of darkness, but it was of the enemy. Different kinds of hallucinogenic drugs, free living off the land (and off of someone else's dollar), I astro-projected. I hung out at communes and concerts. I was trying to find out what the deep thing was. I felt its power. I wound up with walking pneumonia. My life stopped. I was very sick.

I went home to live with my father and mother for a while to get better. My mother put me on the couch and turned on the old "700 Club" television show... and left the room. In my sickness and no one had invented cheap remotes for TV yet, I had to lay on the couch and watch this tripe. I hated it the first couple of times she did that, but something started being attractive about it. By the second week I then started telling her it was time for her show. The Spirit was moving... (the show was not getting better) and I found myself wanting to know this Jesus character they were talking about. I went out into the back yard and started to pray. I received Jesus' friendship, I began to understand what he did at the cross and wondered at the resurrection.

I worked at Calvin Crest that summer. But then I started having the same questions. What about the other stuff I see in the scriptures. The Deep Thing - The power. The reality. The Immanuel. I knew the enemy was real, I had experience the power of it, but rarely did I see the power of God in His people. I was told that it ended at the last Apostle, that was confusing because was it only for one generation and the rest of us get religion? What? I prayed that God would reveal Himself and answer these questions of mine. He began a slow conversation for the past thirty-two years. The "deep thing" was Him. And getting into the deep thing required deep time with Him. More than just Bible Studies, book readings, youth groups, Sunday morning worship, etc. It was being aware of Him and what He was doing. All I heard from people at that time was "...do more, ...try harder, ...be better..." Be religious.

Then I started having this long conversation with God. He was telling me, "Do this, try this, be this." It felt like I was having a long walk in the woods, as He did with Adam and Eve. And now He is telling me do not worry about the Organization but the Body of Christ.

Then I grew up, had a family, became an elder, became the Program Director at Calvin Crest, and still having the conversation with the Father. I would try to explain what I am see but people would listen. This was frustrating because for a long time I thought it was because I was a kid and someday I would grow up and out of it and go along with the crowd. I would love to be compliant and go along with those in authority. I got a good rebuking from Him and some friends.

Now I am 51 and I have a voice and I am not going to rely on an organization to tell me what the Father is wanting of us. I will always gather with a group of people (some in the organization, some in other organizations, and some who have left the organization) who are deeply involved in seeking God to correct me. And they do. I will always have people around me who question me and discipline me. I welcome your concerns and corrections but not your criticisms. I am not going to try to convince anyone of anything I see anymore unless they are interested in my opinion. That is all I am saying. This isn't about a committee, this is about me so i don't burn out any more.

Roger, I don't know which was darker for me, the time away from God or the time in the Organization.

02 July 2005

A decision...

Many things are starting to get to me and the lack of authenticity of the actualization of the power, grace, mercy, will, and presence of the Spirit is at the top of my "let's not go over their house anymore" list. When the Organization (my new term for the church without power but plenty of committees) is about perservation of their power and authority instead of the release of actual ministry.

I have also decided not to worry about that which I cannot change. The serenity prayer is a good one even if one is not inflicted with "the disease."

I have decided to spend more time in solitude and quiet than in meetings and trying to get people to change. I had lunch with Sheri Wiedenhoefer yesterday and she told me the old way of confrontation of ideas is not the way to bring about change. She talked about making friends with people who want and are open to change. We were talking about immigration but I think this approach is a great way to live in total.

Gotta go, we are skinning a snake...

It has been a while...

I have been rebuked by a friend, who we will call DEBBIE, that I have not been blogging and sharing what is on my heart. Well, the truth is I started asking myself, "why should I?" It seems I was laying it out there and some would attach destructive comments that took the wind out of my sails. I know it sounds like I am whinning but really I am not ready to put up with crap from these few people who have been giving me grief for the past few years for my decisions and actions. And now my thoughts are being attacked. I felt that I should be able to handle it and get past it but at this time in my life it sucks out my heart. So, if you don't like me or my thoughts, haven't agreed with my actions go someplace else. If you do care, which many have told me you do, I will give it another shot.

You know I feel better now...