Archive for December 2003

Haven’t been blogging much lately. Things have been fairly chaotic around the homestead. Matt and Marge’s annual Christmas Eve party was at our house this year. It was fun and noisy. I think our head count came up to 25. This party is THE event for the whole year for Michelle’s family, so everyone usually really looks forward to it. And this year I think people were even more enthusiastic – people really seemed to want to rally around Matt and Marge since the fire took their home. Each Sunday during the Christmas season, we have celebrated Advent by lighting candles on the Advent wreath in our home. So at about 8:30p.m. on Christmas Eve we gathered all of our guests together to light the center candle, representing Christ. For those who were unfamiliar with the Advent season and the symbolism of the wreath, I did a very brief walk […]

One of the frustrating things I’ve had to work through in my exploration of a new way of being Christian over the past couple of years is the polarization that I’ve watched. Some “emerging church” types are hostile to the traditional, institutional church, and most people in the traditional church don’t understand the emerging church, and fear what they don’t understand. This frustrates me because I hold a high view of the Church, and definitely think there’s too much backbiting going on. But every once in awhile, a moment of convergence happens before my eyes, and I think that maybe things will be o.k. Here’s an excerpt from an e-mail I got from a member of a traditional church home group that Michelle and I have continued to participate in since we left our staff position with the church. It’s from a group member who will be moving out of […]

Let’s try this one more time . . . I’ve recently lost at least three posts to cyberspace. While I appreciate what Blogger has done to open up new spheres of community, my user satisfaction has been tepid lately. I guess I’ll have to start writing my posts into a word processor so they won’t get lost. On Sunday Michelle and I “went to church” (we don’t really like “going to church” these days) at our old home church. Our friend, former boss, and former pastor resigned during the service. It was a bittersweet experience for me. In one way it’s very hard because I love the church a lot and I know they’re going to be challenged in the days ahead. In another way, I’m very excited for my friend, Ron. He and his family will be moving to Seattle to work with a group of churches in our […]

*@#$%!!!!! Grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble. I just lost the fourth or fifth post I’ve tried to publish in the past week. Thanks Blogger. You’ve opened up wonderful new avenues of publishing . . . and frustration.

I spent the past few hours outside working the land. I gathered a very large pile of branches from various kinds of bushes that had been burned out by the fire. After having gotten some rain over the past few days, the still black ground had that charred stench that had begun to fade. As I worked, in many places all I had to do was pick up the branches (some of them 3-4 inches thick) off the ground – they had burned off at ground level. I ran all of it through a wood chipper. My work clothes and my skin got black and disgusting. Oh yeah, I either pulled or at least strained my right bicep. Ouch. Tomorrow Michelle and I will worship with our former church family. I’ll write more about this next week. These are interesting days.

I had lunch with my local denom guy, Dan, and Paul Kaak yesterday. Paul and I have some common friends/acquaintences, so it was good to get to know him a little bit. I appreciated the way he’s so passionate about organic forms of the church, and yet not antagonistic toward the traditional/institutional church. After lunch, Dan and I grabbed a cup of coffee. He told me about some stuff that may be brewing in a church in our local association. If things played out in the right way (which may be a complete pipe dream), there could be some really amazing potential for ministry in a incredibly cool spot in San Diego. Too good to be true, maybe, but then again, one can hope.

I’m having some posting issues with Blogger right now, so bear with me. That last post was actually written yesterday. I’ll post today’s ramblings in a few minutes.

This past Saturday was a hard day. It was painful and hopeful all at once. Michelle and I had a pretty intense discussion about where we are in life, in ministry, in money, in emotional health, in anything else that matters. It was painful because we each admitted that a lot of stuff just doesn’t make sense to us right now. We’re tired, frustrated, and very uncertain about what to make of it. Michelle is working her butt off in a very stressful environment these days, and when she comes home she looks in the checkbook to find dwindling numbers. I’ve been fumbling around trying to figure out what planting a church looks like, and after seven months I have almost nothing to show for it . . . except for a near-minimum-wage job and a dwindling checkbook. We have found ourselves at a breaking point. However, for some reason […]

I got a good bit of reading done over the weekend. Mostly out of Eugene Peterson’s Working the Angles. Good stuff. I’m not a book critic, but I think it could have been shorter. There are some really strong points in the book, but they are largely supported with some so-so filler stuff. Maybe it’s just me. The introduction alone, though is worth the price of the book. So solid, so dead on, so needed. And given that this book was written in 1987, it’s one of the more prophetic pieces of writing I’ve ever read. Ranks right up there with The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church by Roland Allen.

Life is particularly challenging in most areas right now. I won’t use this space to vent or whine about all the things going on. I’ll just cop to it and let it be. There are always choices to be made as to how to respond well to these challenges. I can’t say I’m batting a thousand . . . heck, I’d settle for a tenth of that right now. These are the days that test faith, hope, and love.