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Preview: Bald Man's Journey

Bald Man's Journey

Random Thoughts and Stories From Missional Living

Updated: 2014-10-04T23:04:56.027-07:00


Cool deal


I'm really liking these things from the Allelon site.



Really cool article on the Allelon site.
Check this one out.

I missed this one


Trying to catch up on some of the web casts and audio stuff from the Allelon site and this one I missed for some reason. Check it out.

Oh no...



I don't know what to say really...

Tall Skinny Kiwi


Check this out. This is another cool entry in the Roxbourgh Journal.
I have had the pleasure to meet Andrew Jones and his blog is one blog I go to check out.
He's a great guy with great insight. Good stuff

Cool video


Check this one out at the Allelon website. It is really a helpful little video Interview with Ryan Bolger from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Black & White


What kind of color is gray when compared to white and black? (image)

Is it dark or light?
It is lighter than black but it isn't as light as white.
It is darker than white but not black.
I don't know if that at all explains our situation, I mean it does to me but I don't know if that is a good way to explain it.
I guess I look for the impossible and expect to find God somewhere around there.
Through our consistent presence, what I call "Stayability"(the ability to stay around day after day, through all the drama, frustration, pain, sin, bad attitude and selfishness which by the way, I think is a gift from God because I certainly do not have that naturally) we get to witness these impossible things, really self centered, cool, bully type teens slowly change and start caring for the socially awkward, geeky teens as an example.
I see that as movement towards God. Something God did in their hearts to draw them towards himself.
Now, these teens could still be drinking a bit and smoking and cussing up a storm but on the black and white scale, there has been movement towards white. Does that make sense?
Cold, hateful, scornful and rude attitudes in regards to the thought of there being a god are replaced with mystery and some sort of a sense of wonder.
Strongly expressed opinions of God being hateful and revenge hungry and completely turning His back on His creation are replaced with hope and a new imagination for what God could be like.
Maybe He too sit on couches with us, sharing our pain, listening to our cries for justice, gently redirects our lives towards health and beauty?
I think there are conversions happening, they are taking time. If a large ship in the ocean is turning, I guess there will become a point when we can say that it has turned completely, but it is also true that it has been turning for some time, and maybe even having to turn some more later on (have I just shot myself in the foot theologically speaking)?



I was working for our local school district which includes the little town my family lives in as well as the city of Eagle where the teen center is located. It's about a 10 minute drive from Star (where I live) and Eagle.I was working at a program that was called the Interim Alternative Placement Program where we would get Middle School and High School students that got kicked out of school for fighting, drug deals and things like that. I loved it.
Mark (founder of Allelon) and I had talked several times about starting a teen center simply because there was a need for it. There were wonderful youth groups in town but not a place for teens outside of church.
At first it made no sense to us because I was already working with teens and I loved what I did. Long story short, one summer day two years ago, I found out that the program I was working for had shut down so it seemed like the timing was right to build the teen center we’d been talking and dreaming about.
It was tempting to just throw a bunch of cool programs together and make it a happening place but we chose to start really slow and basically just put some couches and some pool tables in an old fire station. We opened the doors and waited for teens to stop by, we put a few flyers out but that was it, I think there might have been a press release but I can’t remember.
We prayed for God to bring us the teens that needed to be at the teen center. Then we formed and shaped the teen center around the teens that walked through the door.We quickly became home for some skateboarders, a few goths, an occasional punk rocker, some Emo teens, an occasional self proclaimed geek, some very socially awkward teens and a handful of “normal” teens. They were mainly middle school teens, just a few from high school.
I had my moments of thinking we were completely mad and insane to try to create a place for that diverse of a group.
Conflict, drama, bad language, fights, gossip, hostility, bad attitude became our daily context for missional living. Here was where we got to inspire a new way of being human, to translate and interpret the things of God as He was drawing these teens towards Himself.
Our couches became sacred spaces where life stories where poured out, where secrets were shared without judgment or shame, where painful memories saw the light for the first time, where horrible life choices were examined without scorn and rejection.
Fights became opportunities to teach peace, chaos became an opportunity to model order, hatred was challenged with love. Day in and day out, we loved, we listened, and we cared.
We became the ones, who bandaged the wounds of the skateboarders as they had wiped out on the street somewhere, who comforted the secret tears of the tough guys, who listened to the wishes of things being different from the extremely promiscuous girls, who shared the pain of teens frustrated and angry trying to deal with mom and dad’s divorce, who brought simple words of encouragement to teens tormented by abusive parents. Things haven’t changed much except we have mainly High School teens now, This has become our program. ( I could go on forever...)

Something about the place...


Here's the situation, our teen center, a local neighborhood teen center, not a youth group, but an "open for almost everyone" teen center, ages 12-16 operates under two assumptions.ASSUMPTION ONEThe teens we see on a daily basis know nothing about God, the Bible, Jesus(who by the way comes on Fridays and plays soccer ) or the Church. Nothing. Our staring point with them is zero. I assume they don't know anything.ASSUMPTION TWOOur first assumption is wrong. The Holy Spirit is working among them, drawing them to God. They have experiences, they know stuff, some of them have been touched, moved...I assume I could learn something from them, we can connect, we can talk...about God.So we live in that tention.Between those two assumptions we are translators, interpreters.We find new symbolsSitting on the couch we are no longer goths, skateboarders, geeks, emo's, or potheads. We are humans. We are learning to live together. On these couches you will be listened to. Your story will be remembered. You will be heard. Your pain is welcome. We share your burdens...Handshake.No it's not a secret one. Everyone knows it. It is special to our teen center, it is the teen center handshake. It is shared by guys, girls, cross sub cultural barriers, teens that would not talk to each other at school come together at the teen center and share this hand shakeWe find ways of communicating...Music.We meet around the music. We may not agree with the message, we may question the content, but if you are saying something, if you are expressing yourself, we want listen, we want to understand.These are some of the things we do as we wait, as we discern, as we look for what God is up to...Some StoriesOne young punk/goth looking girl 14 years old got very upset at a friend for using very foul language. As I asked her why she got so upset she said something to the fact that we were at church. I told her that this used to be a church building but it is now a teen center (we have our teen center in an old church building) but she insisted, she thought she was at church.With AC-DC blaring through the speakers, among talk of pot smoking and sexual encounters, among stories of sexual abuse, shared pain and frustration, she thought she was at church. I stood corrected. My bad, she was right.Somehow God is among us, bringing us hope...Self proclaimed racist, listens to hard core very angry screamo, tough guy, having spent a few weeks with us he got into a car wreck. We have spent many hours listening to his music, trying to engage him about his anger, listened, listened, given him lots of space, a friend of him told us about the accident and I walked up to him at the end of the day and told him how thankful i was that he was ok and that I had been worried about him. He teared up and gave me a big hug, not a typical guy hug, pat on the back kind but a real embrace. We hug for a bit then he realized what he had done and let go. It was very quiet at the teen center at that moment. Now he doesn't leave without a hug.Somehow God is among us, giving us peaceThese stories and others like them, become the context in which we translate and interpret as we live among these teens...[...]