July 19, 2008
There is a lot of discussion in the “Missional Church” conversation around the issue of having a building for gathering and functions. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, as I think this issue must be considered within the context, mission and vision of the faith community the building will serve.
For us a building became important in order to carry on our desire to continue to serve a specific community. In 2004 we took the step to lease a building. Prior to 2004 we were renting space in the basement from a local congregation for Sunday gatherings. When we were given a year’s notice to vacate, we began to ask the hard questions regarding leasing a space. We were at the very beginning of a journey, listening and interacting with the myriad of voices discussing the times we live in. We asked question after question trying to grasp what the tectonic change in world history we (the global community) are living through meant for us to be faithful as a local faith community.
We began a Tuesday evening dinner and book study. For eight months we met at our home for dinner and discussion. We discussed chapter after chapter of “Missional Church”. We were trying to wrap our brains around the concepts in the book and understand what those concepts might mean for us.
We discussed the pros and cons, the why’s and why not’s of taking the step of leasing a space. Our biggest fear was that we would lose sight of the congregation as the church. You see when we rented a basement room for Sunday worship only, everything else we did as a faith community happened in our neighborhoods, the host community and in homes. Moving into a leased space that we would have 24/7 access to could endanger us to put the emphasis on the building as the church rather than the church being the people.
Can you feel our dilemma? We prayed for discernment and direction regarding leasing a building or not. One morning as I was reading through the Gospel of John in Eugene Peterson’s, Message, I came to John 1:14:
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
my heart lept as I read those words. I literally felt like something ignited inside. I knew that it was the Holy Spirit saying, “this is why you can lease a building”. I knew then that we could lease a building and it would be right for us as long as we knew that the building was to be a tool, a gift to serve a specific neighborhood. As a congregation we were to move into a neighborhood and be the presence of Christ to that place.
July 14, 2008
Jessica was amazing when she sang with Sting on Saturday night at the Gorge. You can see videos of the sound check that led to Sting’s discovery and the actual concert here. May I just say that Jessica is not only an incredible talent, she is one of the most genuine, kind people I know. I am so, so happy for her.
July 12, 2008
Tonight my friend Jessica Ketola is singing with Sting at the Gorge! I knew she was born to be a rock star…good luck Jess.
The company she works for is one of the concert sponsors. Jess, her husband and friends had VIP tickets and went backstage to meet the band. Well one thing led to another and Sting invited Jess to sing with the band tonight…I was already sad I couldn’t go, now I am really sad to not be there but soooooo happy for Jess.
July 10, 2008
I don’t want to come off as super critical of Todd Bentley and the whole Lakeland thing (I’m not sure it’s a revival), but on the other hand we have to ask questions. God does not ask us to check our brains at the door, he asks us to use discernment. So I have to ask…
Can someone tell me how this is any different than the selling of indulgences?
July 9, 2008
Recently at our Regional Conference, Todd Hunter brought up some very good thoughts. Not all new, but good to think through…
Evangelism is a subset of Mission. We are to announce, embody and demonstrate the Gospel. At one time culture was such that announcing was effective for people to understand the Gospel. When people wanted to hear our role was to talk. In North America, at least where I live in Seattle, people don’t really need a lot of words. Their perception of Christians is skewed (rightly so in many cases, not in others). People are talking and observing their way to faith in Christ so our role is to listen and embody the Gospel. This is why “belonging before believing” is not just a hip cliché. It is a necessary course correction for those of us that want to embody our faith in a way that others can see if it is real. I will repeat that last line because it is so important…people want to see if it’s real. This means that many people will follow Jesus after years of relationship with (and observing the embodiment of) a congregation/community. Here is where it gets tricky…and actually messy….what does it look like in your faith community, your congregation to welcome people into community before they believe or follow Jesus? What if evangelism now means for the majority of people (especially those that have been brought up in no faith tradition) more embodiment and demonstrating and less announcing?
July 6, 2008
Phyllis Tickle adds much to the current conversation here
I have an easier time listening to the voices that are educated, don’t paint with broad strokes, are not speaking out of complete deconstruction and have hope in the midst of liminality.
July 2, 2008
On Sunday morning I woke up with a very irritated eye. It was blood red, almost like I had scratched it. I thought maybe there was some sort of particle in my eye and I rubbed it red in my sleep. It didn’t feel like anything was still there so I used some Visine and figured it would get better. Today it was still bad so I went to the doctor thinking maybe I had some new-found allergies. After questioning me and examining my eye the doctor asked, “do you read a lot?” To which I replied, “ahh yes.” It seems that all the reading I have been doing recently caused muscle strain which then caused blood vessels to burst. He gave me drops, told me I had to take a bit of a break in reading and needed to rest my eyes.
Who ever heard of such a thing? It’s not what you want to hear when you are on a reading schedule of 75 pages a day so you can finish course work…hmm, maybe I can get Rich to read to me:)
June 25, 2008
If you read my blog you know that I care about gender equality. I have recently come across a blog by a young female professor that is very interesting to me. Jenell has a perspective that I find myself sometimes cheering (see an insert from her blog below) and other times reflecting (wondering if I would agree)…she has an article up at CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality). What strikes you as you read her article? What makes you say “yes” and what makes you wonder?
Recently I was at our Regional Conference and was facilitating a time for women in leadership to meet one another. I won’t go into all the details but another woman leader said to me (to be fair she probably meant in this setting) “I don’t think we need to activate women for a cause.” I was a bit taken back by this. This came as a response to my question, “do you think many women in this room come from churches that do not recognize women in senior leadership?” Because I was taken back I have been reflecting on why…why did that response hit me wrong?
I guess I am actually feeling the need to activate women for a cause. The cause for biblical equality is not just personal…it feels to me a bit like…well we don’t have slaves on our plantation but let’s not activate the neighbors slaves to think they could be free…
I am thinking about this more and more. Thank God Lucy Burns and Alice Paul felt it was their place to activate men and women for a cause.
Looking back on many of the civil rights or social movements there has always been those (usually Christians) who activate men and women for the cause.
I am not of the persuasion that women in leadership fall into “disputable matters” (adiaphora), rather I see it as a justice issue. So in my own movement, I wonder if at some point I (along with others) will be seen as an agitator, activating men and women for a cause rather than those trying to participate in Kingdom Come?
From Jenell’s blog on this topic:
“I believe that the young Reformed movement legitimates and reinscribes the repression of women for a new generation, carrying an ages-old injustice into the future of the church. They may do it via what Mary Stuart Van Leeuwen dubbed ‘soft patriarchy’, a gentle, well-intentioned protection of and headship over women, sometimes even allowing all manner of social equality short of access to the pulpit, or they may do it through more blatant discrimination or even misogyny. Soft or hard matters sometimes, but not in this case — it is what it is. If your movement excludes women from full equality with men, then just call it a men’s movement and don’t try to make me pay attention to it.”
June 24, 2008
The weather ended up somewhere in the high 70’s today! It is 9:30 on Tuesday evening. Alex’s friend Micah is staying with us while his mom and sisters are away working in a children’s school in Mexico for the next week or so. Rich set up a tent in the backyard for the boys to sleep outside tonight and is now building a fire in the fire pit so they can make smores. It smells like a campfire in my home office right now.
Earlier this afternoon I was working in my home office, trying, trying, trying to get the creative energy to write, write, write!
It was so warm, I opened the window that is over the front yard. Soon I heard the lawn mower going and then some kind of muffled singing? Talking? Yelling? I got up and looked out the window to find Rich, shirt off, mowing the lawn and praying really loud in his prayer language…I wish you could have seen and heard what I was witnessing…I laughed out loud…you would really have to know my husband…I was thinking…this is a great picture of how he is going to age…an eccentric old man praying out loud not even aware that some of the neighbors might think he is out of his mind:)
Do we all have a specific “destiny” predetermined by God?
Is the question even valid? Does God give me life and actually let me have free choice as to what might life will be about?
What about the Jeremiah call? Is that the only way we can know God’s will for our lives by a specific call that is often interpreted as “destiny”?
What are your thoughts or questions on what is often called referred to as “destiny”?