All entries by this author

Bringing Blogging Back

I don’t spend nearly as much time on blogs as I used to. I’ve greatly trimmed the number of blogs I follow, too. I’ve noted before how Twitter and Facebook have changed my own blogging, and I know I’m not alone in this. So many of the conversations that I used to watch taking place on blog comment boards are now taking place on Facebook walls. Reading blogs through feedreaders has also changed things significantly. At least 80% of the blog reading I do is from within my feedreader . . . so I don’t usually even see the conversations taking place in the comment sections. But I’ve noticed a trend in the past couple of weeks. Call it a widespread case of a New Years Resolution meme if you like, but I’ve seen a lot of my friends – both “real” and virtual – posting to their blogs for […]



Favorite Cover Song of 2012?*

I’m not sure how I missed this hilarious headline: “Susan Boyle Covers Depeche Mode Classic,” but apparently a couple months back, I did. Ms. Boyle, who became one of the viral-est viral video stars after her TV talent show thing, would certainly not be the kind of ‘artist’ I’d expect to cover Depeche Mode. And yet, that happened. So, was she able to do with “Enjoy the Silence” what she did with “I Dreamed A Dream”? As a big DM fan from my high school/college days, I couldn’t resist the trainwreck. I’ve often been a fan of artistic juxtaposition, but cover songs are so rarely done well. So how did she do? Stunned. She nailed it. Well sung, well produced. She actually captured the spirit of the lyrics, and added some artistry. It’s not quite as good as Johnny Cash’s cover of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, but you’d expect Johnny to […]



Islands Beginning With “M”

Last year, on Christmas Eve, my lovely wife-to-be and I flew from Seattle to Maui. We got married a few days later. With the exception of a tiny group of family and friends, we didn’t tell anyone. 51 weeks later, and a few things have changed. New vocations, new city, new country. Flying to Maui to celebrate is a little out of the way from London. Fortunately, the rest of Europe is at our doorstep. So, we are headed out to a different island – Mallorca, Spain. It’s a major summer tourist destination for Brits and Germans. It looks beautiful in pictures, so we’re excited to see it for ourselves. It’ll be a week too early to celebrate our official anniversary, but it’s close enough. Since we’ll probably have limited Internet access, let me cheat the Advent calendar just a little and wish you a Merry Christmas. While we are […]



The Emerging Church – A Movement Worth Talking About

This post is part 2 of my thoughts on Why The Emerging Church Still Matters. I won’t recap part 1 here, other than to say that despite the fading prominence of the emerging church in conference topics, blog posts, and common church conversations, I still think it’s worth talking about. Growing up in USAmerican evangelicalism, one of the running jokes in churches was that ‘the church’ was also 10-20 years behind cultural trends. Music, fashion, politics, and other topics would pop up in church circles well after they’d gone stale everywhere else. I’d like to suggest that the emerging church actually represents not just a “catching up with culture,” but a bit of a reversal of the game. Without attempting a full history of the movement, let me just suggest some of the hallmarks of the emerging church thus far: It’s a movement made up primarily of no-name people, who […]



Why the Emerging Church Still Matters (part 1)

In my last post, I gave a brief review of an excellent book, and I made the statement that I’m not ready to jump off the emerging church bandwagon. I still have my areas of ambivalence, and those are probably worth a few posts on their own. But I do think that, while the emerging church may not be the flavor of the month with the hipsters any more, to pronounce the death of it would be premature. First, a word of clarification. When I use the term emerging church, I do so in a broad, inclusive sense. There was a time when one of our buzzwords was “conversations,” and I liked the fact that a wide variety of voices were heard – including (especially?) the voices of those I disagreed with. The way I see it, if you want to talk about the emerging church, congratulations, you’re a member […]



The Emerging Church – Does Anyone Still Care?

This post is for all my readers who still care about the Emerging Church . . . I hope both of you enjoy it. But seriously, folks, I’ve got some thoughts. Over the past few months, I’ve seen a number of blog posts, tweets, and Facebook status updates along the lines of “I used to affiliate with the emerging church, but I’m not so sure I do any more.” Granted, most of them are much more cleverly worded, but it would seem that the thrift stores in many U.S. cities will soon be receiving higher than normal donations of tea light holders, dark-rimmed glasses, English flat caps, and Celtic cross wall hangings. The bandwagon is getting a little lonely. As someone who has run in these circles for over ten years now, and has at various times felt a bit of ambivalence about my own involvement, I can understand the […]



Gerhard Richter at the Tate Modern

About a week ago, on a Sunday afternoon, Sarah and I took about a three-mile walk from our flat in London. We walked along the Thames toward central London to the west. We passed the Tower Bridge along the way, and our journey ended at the Tate Modern art museum. It’s a wonderful, overwhelming place. My previous visits there have left me emotionally exhausted after only an hour or two of taking in the work of artists like Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, David Smith, and Ai Wei Wei. I told Sarah that one of the great things about living here now is that I can make regular visits to the Tate Modern, and just focus on one artist or one room at a time, so I don’t get so wrecked. There’s a special collection going on through the end of the year, showcasing the work of […]



London Update (just the basics)

After having arrived in London nearly two months ago, it’s probably time for me to post an update here. Obviously, with a move to another country and a change in vocation, there’s a lot to write about – too much, in fact, so I won’t even try. But just so folks know that we are alive and well, here’s a quick run-down of life in London. It’s not a terribly exciting post, but that’s o.k. We landed at Heathrow on September 15, loaded down with a LOT of luggage. We checked in to a hotel for our first few nights, but then got to look at, and move in to our flat. We’re living in Southeast London, near an area called Canada Water. The neighborhood we’re in is incredibly diverse – I’m pretty sure we’re in the minority as native English speakers, which we actually enjoy. Just a couple of […]



A Christian Nation?

While an increasing number of USAmerican Christians would be comfortable with the notion of calling the US a “Christian nation” – primarily because of the separation of church and state, and the relative lack of Christian morality at work in the culture – we are known around the world as just that.  In conservative evangelical Christian circles, there is a lot made of patriotism blended with religious practice. And “we” (not unlike other “Christian” nations around the world) blend our nationalism in such a way that assumes that we hold a special status with God. People think that because our forefathers were mostly Christian, and prepared our founding documents with God in mind, we should hold a “most favored nation” position before God.* With that in mind, it’s been extremely interesting to spend time in Ethiopia, home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC). (The photo for this post is […]



The Challenge of Africa

For the past several days, I have had the privilege of joining a group of students studying leadership in global perspectives.  They come from a variety of backgrounds – both nationally and vocationally. It’s been a wonderful experience thus far, and one that has challenged our comfort levels, our categories of understanding, and how we interact with our home contexts. So far, our time has been in Nairobi, Kenya, but we’ll be heading to Ethiopia soon. One of the things we’ve done is spend time in a slum called Mathare. It’s not the biggest slum in Nairobi, but it is home to about 800,000 people. I’ve had previous experiences in slums here in Nairobi, in Dominican Republic, and in India (including the one on display in Slumdog Millionaire), so I was somewhat prepared for what I’d see. It’s pretty jarring, though – seeing children with little or no clothing, running […]