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Kingdom Agenda



To live and not to breathe is to die in tragedy To run, to run away To find what to believe



Updated: 2018-03-06T14:28:37.588-07:00

 



Techno, Mission, Marriage and the Rhythms of God, part 1

2007-02-05T12:44:37.892-07:00

and that is in no particular order.

I was listening to the Party Zone w/ DJ Mike B (podcast located via iTunes) on the bus last week...and thinking about mission and the many different ways christians seek to introduce others to Christ.

So much of what is called 'evangelism' seems so awkward and forced...and I don't think it needs to be. When I have heard about evangelism (or mission) in the past it has always led to questions like: 'What do I say if they say X?' or 'How do I start the conversation?' or 'What is the best rebuttal to argument Y?' The fact that these questions exist means that we are thinking about mission in terms that are separated from relationship in most cases.

(...though not in all, I understand and respect the need for people that can answer serious philosophical / theological questions offered by people that think a particular way. I also understand that not all interactions require a relationship beyond the casual encounter)

So - there is the context and content of my public transportation musings. It was during this time that a wonderful convergence ocurred. I was thinking about the rhythms of our lives and how we interact with others...and how our interests become mixed with those of our friends and it seemed perfectly natural to compare it to the remixed songs I was listening to.

Each song has its own identity and 'feel' (unless you hate techno, in which case it probably all sounds the same....you're so old!) but there is a common theme or beat found between 2 songs and then something happens: you go from one theme to another without any harsh or jarring (if the DJ is good) transition. I think that interests/passions in relationships are the same thing. There is a commonality experienced and then transition happens. The beat can move from one person to the next smoothly and without damaging the relationship...it can happen more violently of course, a sudden change in tempo - but this effects the overall feel and, though it might have the same end result, might do harm to the relationship.

Feel the Rhythm?

I think that this happens naturally as we get to know one another. Our interests and lifestyles begin to bump into one another...they either get accepted, rejected or modified and, slowly, a new beat emerges. And this is easily seen in our own interactions. A single, shared interest forges new acquaintances, and these can sometimes develop into friendships. I would assume that most everyone has at leat one friend that originated from something like this.

The point is, then, that to make these connections and open up your life to others requires a bit of intentionality (most movement does). But this is only the METHOD (and a very poor overview of method at that), it does not address the MOTIVATION; which has a very strong effect on the results - positive or negative.

but more on that in part 2



23

2007-01-23T10:48:08.063-07:00

Fans of the Illuminatus! Trilogy rejoice (though, also be in mourning since the recent passing of Robert Anton Wilson) - The Number 23 is a new movie (starring Jim Carrey) that shares many themes with that work.

I remember being 16 years old and checking the book(s) out (the Trilogy was all contained within a single book - this is the version I recall)...they really should not let children read this, probably not adults either. I was fascinated with the Discordian principles and the amazing layers of satire, parody, half-truth and philosophy contained within. It really did send my reading preferences in a very different direction and openend up many authors that I might never have stumbled on otherwise (if I recall correctly, I probably picked it up looking for some straight sci-fi, which I was reading constantly at the time).

fnord



One Month Later...

2007-01-23T09:02:48.458-07:00

A month...a month since last I posted. Two months since the first post here...

With my first post came the weird feeling...notice was given to my friends and fellow-leaders at church that I would not be attending / leading anymore. Some confusion, some hurt feelings, some characteristic errors on my part - but with some temporal distance comes (a little bit of) clarity.

What has been happening? Externally, nothing. My family and I have been (ever) trying to understand our place in the kingdom of God...we are, ever-so-slowly, gathering steam. Let's spend a minute on that:

Externally little has been happening, but internally is quite the different picture. These past 2 months represent the longest stretch of not attending a traditional church gathering in the past 11 years of my life (if memory serves). Only 8-10 weeks into this and already I find profound changes & revelations within.

Firstly, what I consider 'traditional' church models make less and less sense to me. Not that I find myself disagreeing with organization per se (the fact that I can blog at all represents organization and structure) but I find myself questioning the WHY of particular structures and methods. What end does it serve? And is it effective? This is most likely an effect of taking a step back from where I have been...new questions arise and previous assumptions are challenged.

Secondly, the individual gifts that God grants each of us are lifted up more and more. When there is no system in place to provide for everyone's needs the responsibility is shifted to the participants...which is everyone. I find myself digging deeper to understand my own place in my small group, as well as thinking intently about the needs of the group and how each person can help all of us by bringing what they are naturally good at.

more later...



Catalyst

2007-01-23T09:01:11.334-07:00

Catalyst is a network focused on leadership - content and practice. I have been following their updates via their blog and only recently perused the site (one detriment to being too tied to RSS feeds as my primary source of information from the net)...and I discovered their podcasts.

You can either subscribe to their feed via iTunes or visit their archive page (though you have to provide an email) to download MP3's of the various interviews that they have available.

Some highlights (for me) that I am looking forward to checking out: Rick McKinley (Imago Dei), George Barna (Barna Group), Chris Seay (ecclesia - Houston), Mike Foster (xxxChurch), Rob Bell (Mars Hill - no, not that one), Eugene Peterson (YEAH!!), Donald Miller, and Erwin McManus (Mosaic). I am listening to the Peterson interview right now...he's one of my hero's :) and he is talking about rhythm vs. schedule and the centrality of the Sabbath in the life of the Christian (something that is covered in depth in his book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places)



The Truth War

2007-01-23T09:00:15.494-07:00

I am on the mailing list of John MacArthur's ministry, Grace To You (not sure if I call it a ministry or organization - but you get the idea) and recently received a letter that was sounding a warning bell against the Emerging Church Movement and talking about a new book, The Truth War, that MacArthur has written. Reading through the letter it seemed vague and scary in content and tone. Unfortunately I threw it away after I read it (no, not in disdain - I was just done reading it :) and it did not occur to me that I might want to post on this.I honestly read enough criticism of the ECM that it did not occur to me that this particular letter is reaching many people who might never have heard of any of this. (for good or bad, even John Piper admitted that he had never heard of Tony Jones and was only vaguely aware of Emergent Village). In other words - there are MANY fans of MacArthur (I count myself as one of them...as I have greatly benefited from some his writings) that have NO IDEA about the discussions going on and this letter will be their first exposure.Dan Kimball was recently sent a copy of this same letter and posts here. In essence his plea is against stereotyping (and thus the title of his post) and some questions around some of the assertions made in this letter from Grace To You. I don't want to quote Dan quoting MacArthur (no offense Dan!) b/c I honestly don't remember the exact wording of the letter and would much rather have the primary source in front of me to engage with. However, you should give it a read as it certainly sounds accurate.Kevin Beasley blogs about the same letter over at just a thought. His response is similar, though a little more direct in some areas.Andrew Jones is predictable (in a good sense) in his generous and hopeful attitude towards the content of the book and the discussion that is sure to follow. Always a refreshing and gracious perspective.Both MacArthur and Phil Johnson (Pyromaniacs) have some content up Introducing the ECM (in 8 parts) at the SFPulpit site (down right now). The Pulpit is the magazine put out by the Shepherds' Fellowship, which is an organization (that appears) centered around Grace Community Church.MereMission has a nice outline of links to the different articles, with some responses (including a couple not listed here) from da' interweb.more thoughts on this later...[...]



Home Sweet Home

2007-01-23T08:58:07.443-07:00

Came home this afternoon...dinner is cooking in the oven (60 more minutes to go) and video game hour had started 5 minutes before my arrival.

My wife is playing Oblivion on the XBox 360 and all three kids had a DS in their hands - playing Mario & Luigi, Avatar and Mario Kart DS.

I had better hurry, there are only 45 minutes left of Video Game Time...and I am ready to play Killzone: Liberation on my PSP.

:)



StrengthsFinder Results and remix

2008-12-12T23:06:53.988-07:00

Here are the results of my StrengthsFinder report.The book, from which I received my code to access their test site, was Now, Discover Your Strengths.One of the issues I have with the test is that they do not give you your actual scores...nor do they reveal what the order of any of your remaining strengths might be. They DO mention that the actual difference in score between (for example) your first and fifth strength is negligible; however, this seems to beg the question as to whether or not the difference between my fifth and sixth strength was similar, and perhaps the difference between these two was less significant than the difference between my fourth and fifth strengths?The answer to these follow-up questions costs $550 unfortunately...a relatively small expense for a business trying to make the best use of the people within their organization, but a near impossible one for those of us that are paying for all of this ourselves. But that is my only gripe. I have enjoyed thinking through these things...and think that some benefit can be had from some remixing.For instance, even though they state that the differences between the priority of your Five Strengths is very small and, therefore, you should not focus on the 'top one' in the list as your dominant strength, the list is still given to you ordered by score. This gives the impression that the one at the top is the most important.Assuming that my scores (since I cannot see it, Gallup!) for these five really are extremely close together (their assertion, not mine), this means that the list can be rearranged without loss of data.It has been helpful for me to view the data in different ways.Firstly, I find it more appropriate to put the Five in a common orbit. This breaks me of the tendency to see my first one or two strengths as *strongest* and, therefore a grid through which all subsequent strengths are considered.For instance, the first on my list is IDEATION. My inclination is to view my COMMAND or CONNECTEDNESS strengths through this one. Which can look quite different than viewing my IDEATION strength through the lens of CONNECTEDNESS .The list also presents your strengths as discrete units (although the book emphasizes that each of them work together with your interests and are not singularly defining) - the circle at least attempts to present them more holistically. Drawing lines from one strength to all the others, I can begin to see a strengths mesh/web that is more about interaction and convergence than about the individual strengths themselves.Example: given the five strengths that are listed above I can see an interesting interplay at work in any given situation. IDEATION means that I love ideas in and of themselves (which is true of me): I love to see how a particular idea explains some part of the world...I love Vision and Mission and Big Ideas. My INPUT and LEARNER strengths combine to drive me to explore the details of new ideas and to begin to collect and process and absorb this new data. My CONNECTEDNESS theme means that I cannot leave this data alone, as if it existed in a vacuum; but, instead, I am driven to see how this new data interacts with other ideas. This also means that I suffer from over-analysis (which is actually pegged perfectly in my Myers-Briggs personality type: INFP) because each new iteration of INPUT and LEARNING forces me to rethink my IDEAS about a particular subject. Though over-analysis is a problem, the positive side means that these ideas become refined as they are continually re-cast in light of new (or broader) information.Finally, my COMMAND strength informs each of these others (as they all do). It means that, given an IDEA and the information acquired (from LEARNING and INPUT) - tied with the fact that this is, in some way, CONNECTED to many other things, ideas and people - I cannot sit idly by when I think that there is something to be changed or re-consi[...]



Biography

2006-12-04T09:02:10.819-07:00

I am not one of those people that naturally look back over one's life and see patterns and movement and change. I think that this is a real loss on my part because, from what I have seen in others, this provides a greater sense of one's self and a deeper understanding of why I am the way I am.

But recently I have been enamored with the MBTI personality types and the StrengthsFinder information (from Gallup) and have been literally amazed to see how accurate it describes some of my more dominant characteristics. Does this mean that I am not all that self-aware? Probably...many people shrug when they see the results and say, 'Of course, but I knew that already - who wouldn't?' Well, I wouldn't and didn't.

Spending some time thinking this stuff through has made me realize that it would do me well to consider my personal history - especially as it relates to how I relate to others, how I work and the shape of my relationship with God. Combine this with the fact that I think using a blog to practice the spiritual discipline of journaling (along with all the other uses that it has) and I see this space as an opportunity to force myself to consider where I have come from and how that is effecting where I am and where I wish to be.

This same effort can also be used to build up current relationships (though I do have my doubts as to how much this can actually be used to create new ones - new ones that develop past a superficial layer anyways)...a way to keep a running conversation amongst my friends and family and perhaps see these relationships grow.

I am a long talker and, therefore, a long post-writer - it can take me a little while to get to the point (more about why that is in a later post) but my point here is to begin posting short snippets from my past as I seek to understand more and more about the shaping influences in my life and especially to see how God has been working all along. I will label these posts as 'biography'.



I think I know where I am and I think I know where I want to be

2006-11-20T13:04:11.248-07:00

Its that middle part that is so hard. But I suppose that this is life, isn't it?

Here it is. Today is the first Sunday my family will spend at home (away from the worship service of the local church that we have previously associated with) after talking to the leadership about why I needed to resign as an Elder and why we would not be 'attending church' anymore, but are thinking about some different directions (MUCH more on that later). We have missed the worship service plenty of times (and have not really attended at all the past 5 weeks or so) but this feels so final now that we have had The Talk.

I am not sure how this blog will play into this journey that my family and I and a couple of friends are starting on: will this be the center for my own thoughts regarding this thing called church? A resource for friends we might meet along the way? An exercise in spiritual journaling? Narcissism?