Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

I love y’all (or how I feel when I’m at my best)

You’re messed up. I get it. Your parents were quircky and weird. In the first 14 years of your life, you thought they were normal. Then you started understanding that the way they dressed, ate, talked, and thought were goofy. In fact, to be honest, you’re goofy too.

You dress differently than I would if I were you. Your priorities are different than mine. Sometimes you worry about things that I don’t even care about. You keep making big deals about stuff that is trivial.

In fact, sometimes it’s hard to connect with you. Sometimes I just think to myself, “man, (insert your name here), is just crazy. i don’t get them.” Don’t worry, i never say these things out loud (to you).

But the truth is … I love you.

I think you’re awesome. I think you’re cooler than I am. I wish I was half as cool as you. I wish I cared more about the things you care about. Sure, we might be different and sometimes it may become hard for you and I to remember that we do enjoy each other. In fact, it’s hard to remember that we’re both human; that we’re more similar than different.

But we are. We’re cut from the same cloth. We’re made from the same materials. We’re both made in the same image. Actually, it takes a bunch of different kinds of us to represent that image very well. We’re brothers. We’re sisters.

I love you. I care about you. I want you to do well. I want you to live like you were created to live.

And if it bugs me sometimes, that’s my problem. Don’t worry about it.

Why and How I’m Practicing Getting Offline

duty_callsYesterday I wrote about a practice in getting offline. I wrote that I am going to work on dramatically reducing the amount of time I’m sitting in front of a computer screen or cell phone. This isn’t a full blown lifestyle change, it is merely practice. Eprise and Justin left some questions on yesterday’s post asking “why” and “how” i was going to practice unplugging.

They “why” is pretty much summed up in this little cartoon from xkcd. I can spend all my day reading and responding to stuff people write on the internet. I can scour facebook, twitter, and blogs all day long and still not keep up with all the dialogue. I wonder if my intense web personality is costing me real life relationships. Could I have a more effective ministry if I unplugged a bit? I believe so. As Mark Ostreicher commented on my last blog post, “yeah, baby! bring on the focus and presence and priorities!” That is exactly why I’m going to practice getting offline.

The “how” part is a little bit more amibious. For one, I am still going to maintain my twitter account, my blog, and my facebook profile. I’m simply going to set strict limits for when I’ll be on them. Early in the morning and in the evening. If there is conversations that I’m missing online, so be it. I hope to spend less than an hour a day online.

A practice in getting offline

I’m going to do a little experiment. I’m going to try to get offline as much as possible. I twitter, have facebook, email, blog reading, and browsing a few random websites can turn into a large chunk of time in front of a computer screen and connected to life online. Marko totally eliminated his online presence and I’ve considered doing it several times, so I’m just going to take a shot at scaling back in pretty big ways.

I’ll still pump out blog content, interact on facebook, and tweet regularly. I’m just going to work real hard at spending less time sitting at my desk looking at my computer screen.

We’ll see how this goes.

What Acts 2:42-47 means today

Acts 2:42-47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Here is what I think this passage means for me/the Church today:

We ought to be “devoted to the apostles‘ teaching and to fellowship and to breaking of bread and to prayer.” I don’t think we ought to do this simply because it’s in the Bible, but I think, when looking at how we ought to follow Christ, we ought to observe those who literally “followed” christ. They probalby had a pretty accurate view on how to apply Christ’s teachings. So, does that mean that we need a church service with communion every day? I don’t think so. I do however, think we would do well to move in this direction.

We ought to be “filled with awe and wonder.” In our western culture, beauty is a bit lost. Miracles are less evident and much less publicized. Amazing transformations are happening in our midst. I know high school students who have seen there situations dramatically change. There aren’t too many times when a church will stop and simply marvel at God’s creation (unless you count using a nature scene as the backdrop of a powerpoint slide). Does this mean that if we’re not performing miracles on a regular basis, we ought to give up? Nope. But the Western church would do good to move in this direction.

We ought to be united as believers and have everything in common. Does this mean that we all live in a commune and share are produce, cars, and clothes? It doesn’t have to, but I think churches definitely need to move in this direction. We (me included) are doing a freaking horrible job at this in America (though there are some who aren’t doing such a horrible job).

We ought to sell our possessions and goods and provide for those in need. Does that mean that we have to be homeless? Nope. I do think we’d do well tois at a  sell things that we have and give the money to those in need. I write this thinking of two friends. One friend has a summer car (an expensive car that they joy ride around in the summer) and the other friend doesn’t have a job. So, if we apply this passage (or – frankly – many many other passages) what would the result be? You decide….

We ought to meet regularly. We do this in church services, however, many of our church serves aren’t condusive to community (if they were, why would we sit in rows?).

We ought to “eat together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God.” I think this one is obvious.

I think the last part of the passage – “enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – is more descriptive of the results of this Jesus community.


I just read about Seth Godin’s MBA program. It was free. It was extremely selective. It was all about growth.


I was frustrated as heck at taylor university. I’m not sure about any other majors, but i know my BA in Christian Educational Ministries was essentially a $30k a year book club. We simply read a ton of different books – most of which could be found on the racks of your typical Christian book store.

Why was/is there no emphasis on simply “doing” ministry? Why not learn via success and failure in a semi-controlled environment?


There are many of you who have summer interns or an opportunity to teach others. Newsflash, reading books insn’t the secret to success (though it ought to be asssumed). Instead, focus on doing, evaluating, and doing again.

This makes me think about teaching students to practice their faith…. More to come.

eager to offer the gift of Jesus

Adam Walker-Cleveland has been running a series called “Plurality 2.0.” The whole  series has been wrestling with the multiple religions we have in our society and the faith of Christianity. The intersection of those two places has led to some pretty interesting dialogue. On Friday, Brian McLaren was the guest blogger and wrote some pretty compelling stuff. Here’s a couple sentences that I won’t soon forget:

I am eager to offer the gift of Jesus and his good news to all people, whatever their religion. I am eager to help all people, whatever their religious identity, to “taste and see” how good God is, and to take on Jesus’ yoke so we will experience together his meekness and gentleness of heart.

Favorite Wedding Songs?

I’ve been charged with making a playlist for our wedding reception. I’m going straight to you guys, what are the best songs for playing at a wedding reception? Slow songs, fast songs, classics, everything. Bring it on.

Name your favorite dance songs….

Decisions students will make

In Romans 1, Paul writes several things to the church in Rome. One of the things he repeats several times (verse 24, 26, 28) is that God hands people over to their sin. Essentially, I understand this to be Paul explaining that sin is its own punishment and righteousness is its own reward. God didn’t punish these sinners through plagues or death, he simply let them have what they wanted.

I explained to the students that this principle means that every decision we make is critical. It means that when we rebel against God, we’re going to get what we’re searching for.

After that discussion, our students broke up into groups and brainstormed lists of decisions they’ll have. They were to come up with a list of choices they could make that would be opportunities to move towards God or away from God. Here is one group’s lists:

  • respecting teachers
  • respecting people that don’t respect you
  • choosing who to hang out with
  • going to parties
  • choosing what to do at a party
  • what friends to trust
  • complimenting people
  • gossiping
  • telling the truth
  • helping around the house
  • not watching inappropriate things on TV/Internet
  • inviting people to hang out
  • choosing to talk to people
  • screening your calls
  • being a good role model
  • saying “hi” to older/younger people
  • standing up to people
  • encouraging people
  • choosing to be nice to strangers
  • being willing to give away things/money
  • choosing what to wear
  • being fake
  • letting friend know what you think
  • accountability
  • helping w/ younger kids at church
  • respect others opinions & decisions

… until God reveals something better to me …

“…if I say something that is not confirmed by a greater authority, even if I appear to prove it by reason, it should be accepted with confidence only as what seems true to me for the time being, until God in some way reveals something better to me. If I prove to be able to give a satisfactory answer to your question to any extent at all, it ought to be quite clear that someone wiser than I am could do this much more completely. Indeed, it is important to recognize that no matter what someone might be able to say on this topic, there are still loftier reasons for so great a matter that remain hidden.” – St. Anselm-

thanks Gideon