Archive for March 2006

A couple of interesting articles

The Criswell Theological Review has a couple of interesting reads. The first is an interview with Brian McLaren, describing his understanding of . . . er . . . Emergent/emerging church stuff. It represents his own perspective, which is a bit more politically reactionary than emerging church folk I generally talk to. Also, there was an unfortunate blending of terms as if to suggest that Emergent (as in the “official conversation”) is synonymous with the emerging church (which I have experienced as a much broader, diverse movement/phenomenon). With that said, I liked what McLaren had to say, and think the critiques he offers of the state of church in the Western world are fair . . . and, yes, generous. The other article is “A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church,” which again, seems to be an unfortunate blurring of terms, written by Mark Driscoll. It’s a cordially written summarization […]

Two quotes from Henri Nouwen

First this . . . Eternal life. Where is it? When is it? For a long time I have thought about eternal life as a life after all my birthdays have run out. For most of my years I have spoken about the eternal life as the “afterlife,” as “life after death.” But the older I become, the less interest my “afterlife” holds for me. Worrying not only about tomorrow, next year, and the next decade, but even about the next life seems a false preoccupation. Wondering how things will be for me after I die seems, for the most part, a distraction. When my clear goal is the eternal life, that must be reachable right now, where I am, because eternal life is life in and with God, and God is where I am here and now. And then this . . . How is it possible to keep […]


Well, I’m coming to grips with the reality that things just aren’t working out the way I had wished this week. I’ve been working really hard to put things in place for a quick trip out to Ohio for Palmer’s memorial and wake, but things didn’t come together. I will miss saying goodbye in person, and miss seeing some people that have meant much to me. I will pray for them and Palmer’s family – especially Amy, who has been blogging beautifully in her loss.

Driscoll apology

I said I didn’t want to come back to the issue of the whole Mark Driscoll vs. Brian McLaren row a couple months back. Well, a couple days ago,this post appeared on Mark’s blog. I truly respect Mark for doing this – and whether I agree or disagree with any given theological or doctrinal stand he may take, it shows some character and a devotion to God and God’s people. In the end, I do not want my tone and style to get in the way of important discussions and kingdom work. So, my intention is to lean into God’s empowering grace to become a holy man who demonstrates greater self-control. In the future, my prayer is that I could continue to speak with pithy edginess and candor that is also marked by grace and appropriate words. I obviously failed this time. Please forgive me and pray for me. Peace

A New Orleans snapshot

A week and a half ago I flew with a big bunch of college students to New Orleans for some relief work. We had to change planes in Denver. On the Denver to New Orleans leg of travel I was seated next to a lady who was returning home to a town called Covington, a bit north of New Orleans. She said that her area had taken a lot of wind damage, but no flooding. Her brother, though, had been one of the people who had to get plucked off their rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters. Turns out, he lived about three blocks away from the elementary school in Chalmette where we would be staying. Chalmette is a city in St. Bernard parish, where the worst flooding took place. Last Tuesday we entered a house in that neighborhood and began clearing furniture, tearing out all the drywall and insulation, ripping […]

Another fallen giant

I got a call this morning from Jason, letting me know that Mark Palmer has passed from this life into his ultimate healing. This is dark news for all who knew him. Palmer was an amazing man. When his wife, Jennifer, was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, his faith was unshakeable. I met him shortly after her death. He was clearly hurting, but receiving the healing God provided him through his Kingdom community and through the energetic smile of his beautiful son, Micah. Palmer was blessed with the gift of love once again, and married Amy. But then he, too, received news of his own cancer diagnosis. Once again, faith in immeasurable amounts. He fought hard, spoke boldly of the Kingdom that reigns, and the Lord of it all. He celebrated Micah’s fourth birthday Saturday. Please pray for Amy, Micah, Mark’s family, and especially the Landing Place community […]

Back from New Orleans

Howdy friends. It’s been a while, eh? I’ve been mostly out of internet contact for the past week . . . down in New Orleans. It was a long week with tons of hard work, but we had a really good trip. Everything you’ve read about the devastation in the city is true. It’s hard to describe the feeling of driving up and down neighborhood streets without seeing any signs of life. House after house, block after block with no cars, no people, no lights. You walk into what used to be someone’s home, see a refrigerator laying on its side, clothing, pictures, furniture, mud, drywall everywhere. You stand in the middle of the room and look up to the ceiling, realizing that for over three weeks the room was filled to the top with toxic water – in one house we found an inch of mud in the attic. […]

I am culturally irrelevant

I just got hauled into my first ever NCAA basketball tournament bracket picking contest. I hadn’t even heard of some of the schools in the tournament. I have no idea what color most of the uniforms of the schools are. I’m pretty sure one of those schools is just a mail-order diploma scam. And yet, here I am . . . picking winners and losers. I really know almost nothing of the game of basketball. I mean, what’s a foul? Seems like there’s a lot of pushing and shoving and jostling around, and then some dude barely grazes the uniform of his opponent and the ref blows the whistle. Oh yeah, another thing – why is it that the first 18 minutes of the game goes by with almost no stoppage of play, and then the last two minutes takes like three hours to complete? I guess this means that […]

Is systematic theology a false idol?

O.k., folks, I’m ’bout to get heretical on y’all, so prepare your ammo . . . I probably deserve it. I’ve been thinking a bit lately about the way we approach orthodoxy. We in the Western church have our creeds and code words and secret handshakes that we use to communicate to one another that we’re “safe.” And we spend a lot of time and money and energy learning all that stuff, so it’s clearly important to us. But how does one look at the area of missiology? I’ve always tended to think of it as some sort of a subset of systematic theology. But now I’m wondering if it shouldn’t really be the other way around. Systematic theology has been a helpful resource to many modernistic thinkers for a long time now. That’s good. Even people who organize their lives more by postmodern thought patterns benefit from some of […]

Ambien . . . a dieter's nightmare . . . literally

Oh sure, blame it on the sleeping pills. Apparently people who take Ambien for sleep take up some nocturnal eating habits. [read more]