Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

rhythm and grace

my friends jimi and julaine have been journeyers for six or seven months now. when i was standing out on the front lawn of the warehouse after their first sunday to visit, i just thought they were cool people; i didn't know they had been missionaries in belize, and church planters, and knew all these people i knew, and had served with brian mclaren at cedar ridge church, and that jimi had been a rock musician for years back in the 60s and 70s and played witih a bunch of famous people.
i just knew i liked them and they had beautiful souls.
the other part was gravy.
the more we get to know them, it's more and more apparent that they just have warmth, and soul, and love. part of that just comes from god, i think. and part of it comes from serving in ministry in lots of different churches, and interacting with different kinds of people. julaine's like my wife leslie; she has a deeeeeeeeeep intuition about what god is up to; she listens. jimi's more like me; we tell stories and laugh. when they went to belize, and served there with a group of people for eight years, something changed in them. when they got back, they couldn't do the same churchy thing anymore. and they started ... emerging. and emerging-church-ing. and after a few years they ended up in austin, and through bob c they ended up at journey.
and then when we all started sharing our stories, we realized we knew all these same people blah blah blah, and had had very similar ministry experiences that had led us all off the grid.
jimi spoke today in worship gatherings at the jifc warehouse, and it was beautiful. just a man telling his story and encouraging us to get past skin color, and labels, and what we think we know about people, and realize that god prepares a table for us in front of our "enemies," and we're to offer the table to them, and invite them in.
and who knows ... sometimes we're on parallel paths with people, and know lots of the same people, and then you find somebody who's a friend, and you've already been soul friends for a long time and you just didn't know it ...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

somehow this just feels like jesus stuff to me

i just saw this on my igoogle page, which carries short news blurbs:

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) -- This isn't music to anyone's ears: The restoration of a church's 130-year-old organ has been delayed because four delicate pipes were damaged when a visitor napped on them.

The 18-foot pipes were among about 50 stored in the basement at First Churches in Northampton during the sanctuary's renovation.

The Rev. Peter Ives estimates the damage at close to $15,000. But he says the organ can be played without the pipes. Ives says the church will not press charges.

The man apparently mistook the pipes for rolled-up rugs and slept on them. He is a homeless man who was in the church for a job counseling meeting.

The congregation traces its history to the 17th century, and was home to 18th century preacher Jonathan Edwards.


there's just something sweet and adorable about every part of this story as reported - especially that a homeless man is at the church building, and he's looking for a job, and he falls asleep on some rolled-up rugs, and they turn out to be church organ pipes, and ... the pastor says the organ can be played without the pipes, and they're not going to press charges. i dunno. most news stories about religion make me angry or depressed; this one just gives me a little hope.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

this just ain't right.

my friend andrew sent me this picture with the title, "just not right ..."
i completely agree.
and - the little words under jesus' face quote the commandment "honor thy father and mother." ... i have no response to that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

nonprofitprophet speaks obamese

here's nonprofitprophet's #44 on Obama.
you got to love the prophet! he speaks truth. not only about obama but about himself ... but then, anything i say about someone else says more about me than it does about the other person .................. and what the prophet says about himself is that he is dedicated and loyal and guarded and wise. duh.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

go see this

for anyone who doesn't get why barack obama and what his candidacy - and election - is inspirational for millions of americans and human beings around the world, check out carl's slideshow, his response to the 44 meme. it's really, really cool.

mobileme gallery - obama 44th president

i feel every bit of this.
is obama perfect? not. is he our savior? nope. we the people are called to do the work of america.
but i believe he's a good man trying to do a good thing. and that's rare in this world, much less in politics. so let's pray for him and help out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

my 44 things about POTUS 44

this meme is fairly simple:

here's what i came up with, in response to bob's invitation to this meme

1. barack obama is a funny and great name.
2. he and i are the same age.
3. that makes him a part of the same post-Baby-Boomer / early Gen-X generation as i am. (sometimes we're called postmoderns.) that means he is a part of a group of people in america who, in large part:
  • 4. trust relationships more than external authority
  • 5. have hope around, and belief in, serving something larger than themselves
  • 6. are realistic optimists / optimistic realists
  • 7. live in a space of those who were raised before the cyber-revolution, but live in a post-cyber-revolution world, and feel comfortable in both
  • 8. see spirituality as holistic and large rather than limited and specific
  • 9. have never known a world without political cynicism
  • 10. were influenced as children and young adults by both the idealism and struggles of the New Frontier, the Great Society, and the Civil Rights movement
  • 11. lived as teenagers and young adults through disco, punk, bad hair, bad fashion, 80's hair bands, the invention of MTV, VCRs, and cable television
  • 12. have a strong aversion to what they see as the self-absorption of Baby Boomers
  • 13. admire and respect the Great Generation
  • 14. have never had a unifying "cause" ... until now
  • 15. do not see racial differences and reject racial and ethnic characterizations
  • 16. aren't afraid of change
17. obama bridges gaps between rich and poor, black white brown yellow and red, and appeals to a commonness in human beings
18. this is in part not due to his philosophical bent, but because he has been both black and white, both privileged and poor, and both authority and advocate
19. michele obama is strong and beautiful and smart and is the kind of woman most men would love to be partners with, but are in some ways afraid of (because of their strength, beauty and intelligence)
20. this says even more about the character of barack obama
21. as stephen colbert said, obama is our first Hawaiian president!
22. obama's hair is already getting gray
23. obama needs prayer - and not because his hair is getting gray. this is a big responsibility.
24. obama is vastly more attractive to me as a person and as a leader than hillary clinton would have been
25. in part this is because he has a humility that she does not
26. i saw in his face last night that he is feeling the weight of what he has signed up for
27. he will learn a lot as he goes; i believe he is someone who learns as he goes, and that's a helluvah good thing
28. he will do well if he picks very smart and centered people to surround himself with
29. he has already shown the ability to do that in those who advised him and helped him with his campaign
30. obama's political and philosophical values are, for me, the best of what christianity says it is about but mostly isn't about
31. this election has made me so proud of america
32. obama is going to piss a lot of people off because he will refuse to play to the lowest common denominator in people
33. obama will inspire many more people - as evidenced in his landslide victory - because he will refuse to play to the lowest common denominator in people
34. he has a great jump shot
35. as some commentator said last night, he is not interested in being a black president; he is interested in being a great president.
36. i honestly don't think obama has the jackie robinson burden - as in, the first black baseball player had to be head and shoulders above the expectations of anyone watching him as a player and as a man. i think the vast majority of americans are for the man and don't hold it against him that he's black, or half black, or whatever; i think what we're much more interested in is whether the man will do what he says he will do.
37. i believe obama has inspired and spoken to lots more americans than black people, young people, or well-educated people. and i'm glad about that.
38. i want healing. i believe barack obama will set a tone that is about healing in this culture
39. there will be people who will not want healing or reconciliation or hope or unity. fuck them. i'm tired of their rhetoric of hatred and fearmongering.
40. okay, okay. let's not discard them; let's love the shit out of them. for real.
41. god has called me personally to be someone who loves the shit out of them for real.
42. i want to meet barack obama and tell him i trust him and am praying for him
43. i want barack obama to read the book i'm writing about how i believe jesus is only love and the rest is bullshit
44. barack obama is brave and principled. that alone makes him worth supporting.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

humility


barack obama has today been elected as the 44th president of the united states of america.
no matter whom we would have elected today, this would have been a time to pray, and be still, and listen, and pledge ourselves to what is best about america.

john mccain's speech is classy, and powerful, and the right thing to say. my daughter just said, as he's speaking, "that's the john mccain i've always respected." me too.

president-elect obama's speech was all about what i believe in: unity. possibility. reaching out past party lines and partisanship. service. honor. respect. hope.
that's my jesus. and that's my america. and that's my heart.

it's time to stop being red states and blue states, and be the united states.
it's time to stop being against each other, and for our country together.
i reach out to my brothers and sisters, and fellow citizens, of all faiths, all parties, all beliefs, all opinions.

i am ready to work.

this is important. this is a moment that we can't see the importance of yet, no matter what happens.
pray. be still. listen. serve with humility and hope.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

what is it for, election, part 2

so. tuesday we americans will vote for who we think should be president of the united states for the next four years. our votes will be gathered by states, and each state will have a bunch of credits, and the credits for each state will go to the person overall that that state chose. which i think is odd, because what if my state doesn't vote for the person i want? but anyway.
and this time, there's no incumbent. that's odd, too. it almost never happens, right?
so NOW, A LITTLE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION HISTORY, which i got from the interwebs.

SINCE WWII:
  • 1948 - harry truman was fdr's v.p. and then replacement as president; he defeats dewey.
  • 1952 - eisenhower vs adlai stevenson - no incumbent there. except that eisenhower was god of america after winning the war in europe, so that almost doesn't count.
  • 1956 - president eisenhower defeats stevenson again (is that right? that's what the history webpage said)
  • 1960 - nixon, eisenhower's v.p., runs against kennedy.
  • 1964 - president johnson, kennedy's replacement, defeats goldwater.
  • 1968 - former v.p. nixon runs (again), and defeats johnson's v.p., humphrey.
  • 1972 - president nixon defeats mcgovern.
  • 1976 - president ford, nixon's replacement, loses to jimmy carter.
  • 1980 - president carter loses to ronald reagan.
  • 1984 - president reagan defeats jimmy carter's v.p. walter mondale.
  • 1988 - reagan's v.p. bush the 1st defeats dukakis.
  • 1992 - president bush loses to bill clinton.
  • 1996 - president clinton defeats bob dole.
  • 2000 - clinton's v.p. al gore and bush the 2nd ... tie? sort of? gore is elected but bush takes office; how's that.
  • 2004 - president bush defeats john kerry.
and that leaves ... 2008.
v.p. cheney doesn't run. that means the republican nom is wide open. the man who is nominated is longtime senator john mccain.
former v.p. gore doesn't run. that means the democratic nom is sort of wide open. i mean, the former first lady runs, but that's not exactly a presidential incumbency. and illinois senator barack obama is nominated.

tuesday's election is a huge "what's it for?" moment. this is, in many ways, a fresh start, regardless of whom we elect.
and so my question is, as i think about this election, and what's coming in our next few days and months and years, is, what is it for? what's this fresh start for? what can we do with it? not, what can our new president do with it, but, what can i do? what can we do? what can jifc do?

i want to respond, no matter what happens, with love and hope and courage.
i think there are millions of people in our country who are trying to do the same thing, on both sides.
there are also people in our country who are responding with fear, and paranoia, and blame, and hatred.
i say, No. i will respond with love. i will respond with courage. i will respond with hope.
that's what it's for, for me, in this moment.

ps if i got any of the history wrong, let me know. i'll forward the comment to the interwebs.