Reflecting on ACL Reconstructive Surgery & Percocet

Well, here I am. Sitting on the floor blogging while my leg is being extended and flexed slowly in this Continous Motion Machine. The surgeon said that I need to do this about 8 hours a day. I thought, “8 hours!! Where I am going to find 8 hours?” Turns out, it’s pretty easy when you cannot walk/stand/move too well. I’m going on 10. I figure I’ll be jogging by the end of the week.

Thankfully, the pain is pretty bearable. I have percocets but I have only taken a couple so far. (Though everyone has warned me not to get addicted but I am taking only a few to send a message to the drug companies. And that message is umm, … “thanks don’t stop making these entirely, but don’t make too many either. And could you add some sugar so they taste a little better?) That’s right, one person can make a difference.

Brian McLaren in Baltimore

Among the ideas I hope to do through this blog is to act as an introduction to the emergent conversation especially among my conservative friends. So here’s a start.

Went to see Brian McLaren last weekend in Baltimore. He was the keynote speaker to the members of the Baltimore Presbytery. Upon walking into the room, I was a little surprised that the crowd was umm, … very middle-aged. But after the first session, i was really encouraged about that because I think that generation can really gain from this discussion.

Here are some of the notes that I took. Email/comment for explanations. Would enjoy discussing. (I apologize for spelling/grammatical mistakes)

Brian McLaren

Spiritual Formation and Gathered Worship
Practice makes Possible.

Is the church a progressive force?

“Theologically, I think it will take 60 years to seek resolve.”

Dualist model of our anthropology (ghost in the machine model)
That vision of humanity is not Biblical or tenable (genetics)
We have to pay attention of complexities of human life.

I wish we would become so enamored with the vision of the church that we would be distracted by our prejudices and issues that polarize us.

We know how to argue, we know how to divide but we don’t know how to sustain conversation.

This is a conversion of community in order to have conversation
We must affirm conversation. We are going to be a church of conversation.
Policies can still be created, with differences of opinion and still have respect for one another.

Spiritual Formation
The development of people through practice of people who be think act are becoming disciples of Jesus

The development of disciples:
These words used throughout the N.T.
Christian – 3 times
Disciples – 261 times

Make (spiritually form) disciples to each them to do all I have commanded you. (Matt. 28)
Love on another (John 13)
To be conformed to the image of God’s Son – Romans ch. 8
I will show the most excellent way (I Cor)

Until Christ is formed in you. Gal. 4:19

Spiritual formation involve intentions spiritual practices (or disciplines)
Take the parts of our liturgy, analyze them

Actions within our power which we do to train ourselves to do things beyond our power and to become people who are currently incapable of being
Running a marathon
Paying the guitar
Learning Chinese

And if you’re part of a local congregation you are already doing many of them

Practice doesn’t make perfect,

Spiritual formation is gathered.

Planned succession of group practices or rituals

Rituals Practices to bring the other meaning they represent

Ritualism – action but don’t understand the meaning
1. inconvenience- going to a place I didn’t at a time I didn’t choose for a purpose I do choose Hebrew2 10:224-25
– We ask that you choose to inconvenience yourself.
2. Association
– Associating with some people I like and others I don’t; like for a purpose I believe in Romans 15:7
– The person that annoys you the most. (but you are that person to someone else)
– Peace be with you, greeting each other with a holy kiss.
– Take action without keeping the meaning.
– (greeting example)
3. Speed – altering my pace to see what I’ve missed and to fell a different rhythm. Speeding up … slowing down (Hebrews 3:15)
4. Hospitality – Using my presence and our space to help :the other feel welcome in my presence and in the presence of our community. (I Cor. 11:33)
5. Public Prayer, Creed and Song
Allowing our hopes, dreams, concerns beliefs and desire to b e formed an aligned with God’s will … together.
Desire of justice, mercy, peace
Desire of honesty humility gratitude truth
Desire of God’s kingdom honor power glory
Desire of food desire formation
Romans 15:5-6
(Confession of sin – Anglican prayer book)
(Almighty God, our sins are to heavy to bear, and too terrible to name)
(leads to the desire to be authentic and honest)
6. Attentiveness – Waiting for what I may receive only by waiting receptively (I Peter 2:2). (Sometimes great preachers hinder attentiveness
7. Generosity – Taking greater pleasure in being productive (fruitful) than consumptive (2 Cor 8:7)
(ex. We are so poor but we have the dignity to help others – (hilarioun – greek hilarious giving)
8. Modeling – Exposing apprentices to masters
– In prayer, teaching, artistry, faithfulness, service hospitality, etc.
– Contemplative and charismatic models (I Thes. 16)
9. Catholicity global concern for the other”
quoting others, affirming others praying for others, inviting others.
10. Mystery
The body of Christ, broken for you …
The blood of Christ given for you.

Non Traditions (traditions without meaning therefore, no reason, no meaning)
Dead Traditions (those that are stuck, …
Living Traditions (contains links with our past, beautiful expression)

Ever 500 years (Peter) Western Civilizations has a rummage sale.

(discipline – remembering what you want)

Did Paul Have a Home Church?

Found this article on Relevant’s site.
Happy Reading.

by Ray Hollenbach
“Here’s a cultural truth: We bring to our reading of scripture whatever values we currently hold. Our eyes and hearts are sensitized to recognize the things we already agree with and to ignore those things which run counter to our convictions (and yes, I will readily acknowledge that I do it, too).

So here’s the deal: I’ll agree that we don’t need to be connected to a local church only if: (1) we have been members at a local church for at least a decade; (2) we are called to missions by the Holy Spirit speaking to the church leadership; (3) that call is affirmed by those guys in church leadership; and (whew, 4) we return to that church after our missionary journeys to report on our ministries.”

U.S. Evangelist, a Critic of Islam, Reaches Out to Sudan's President

By Stephanie McCrummen

Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, February 14, 2007; Page A15

“KHARTOUM, Sudan, Feb. 13 — The first time that Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Muslim president of Sudan, met Franklin Graham, the prominent evangelical Christian, the conversation came to a kind of standoff.

Graham, who has called Islam an “evil and wicked” religion, told Bashir in the 2003 meeting that he wanted to persuade him to become a Christian. Bashir, at the time fighting a civil war in the southern region of the country, told Graham that he wanted to make him a Muslim, Graham recalled…

(elsewhere in the article)

Although human rights activists and some U.S. officials are counseling tougher measures against Bashir’s government to end the violence in Darfur — and to more fully implement a faltering peace agreement with the south — Graham said that a softer approach is needed.”


I realize that there are many people encouraging Bashir to do his part to put an end to the bloodshed in Darfur and I appreciate Franklin Graham trying also. It just cracks me up that he thinks that Bashir is going to appreciate him after he called his belief system “evil”.

Again, I know that there are others there and that Graham sells stories that sell papers that end up being mentioned on blogs. Speaking of which, what happend to George Clooney?

Reflecting on the "Emergent Thing" – part 1

For a couple years, I’ve been reading up on the Emergent conversation. Started when I read, New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren. Continued when I heard Tony Jones at a Youth Specialties Conference, read some more books by McLaren, Jones, Dave Tomlinson’s Post Evangelical, met a couple pastors who considered themselves emergent, and next thing I knew, I was on, listening to podcasts, attending cohorts, and whatever else. You should know that I am still saved.

I’ve been reluctant to really say much on this subject partially because there are so many great sources and so many bad sources of information, I don’t want to be among the latter. So, I will tread delicately.

Coming from a conservative tradition, I can understand a little why some are hesitant to appreciate the conversation but what has surprised me has been the attack on this conversation. “IF I could say one thing to ‘those who consider themselves conservative’ world, it would be” – It’s not liberalism repackaged!

Granted, some in this conversation consider themselves to be liberal, some identify themselves as conservative and some are somewhere in the middle. If you are wondering what I consider myself, you’ll be waiting a while for a response and even then, it won’t be one of the three. And don’t label me! (I’m so pomo … but I’m not).

I think that’s my first pet peeve. Too many consider this emerging church thing either to be liberal or even more insulting … trendy. I have two theories of why this is:

1. It is typical of those who consider themselves to be conservative to break fellowship with one they perceive to be liberal. So, by process of elimination, the professing liberals end up being the makeup and impression of the “room”.

2. We from conservative backgrounds have been taught that the philosophy of postmodernism is a poor philosophy anchored in relativism and humanism. It’s fruit tends to be atheism or agnosticism, and among it’s tools is deconstructionism, and materialism (to name a couple.) People who profess this are great minds like Ravi Zacharias and Chuck Colson. People that I completely respect. (If you know me, you may have heard me say that when I die, I want to be reincarnated as Ravi Zacharias. Unfortunately, if reincarnation is true, I’m probably coming back as Jesse Jackson or worse – Joel Osteen. I know I’m not bad enough to return as Pat Robertson but I digress).

The issue is that post-modernism (from the conservative camp) is usually defined as a philosophy, which it is – but that’s not all it is. Postmodernism also refers to an age of time. So, as the conversation goes, there was the pre-modern time (the ancient time, the period before the age of enlightenment), the modern time (beginning around the enlightenment and scientific age) and now we find ourselves in the midst of another transition – the postmodern. And it hopes to combine the mystery of the pre-moderns and the science of the modern. So much more to say about this, but you can begin to see some of the confusion between the term referring to exclusively a philosophy versus also referring to an age.

Anyway, if you do find yourself reading this and have been crossed paths with this emergent, emerging church, postmodern, whatever you call this thing – I encourage you to consider the discussion.

My initial interest was about hearing how to reach out to the culture. I came away with so much more. The culture is thinking differently, it is undergoing a paradigm shift of thinking. I have not only read that but am experiencing this first hand. The Church is also changing. These are not necessarily bad and evil things. Some change is good, some isn’t. Would it not be wise to join in and help?

Quiet Graces at a Loud Conference – From Out of Ur blog

For all the Eugene Peterson fans out there

by Skye Jethan from the Out of Ur blog:
Last year at the National Pastors Convention, Dallas Willard spoke at an early morning Bible study gathering. Unlike the main sessions the Bible study had no music, no flashing lights, no massive screen. There was nothing remotely worshipful or stimulating about the physical setting. Still, I recall feeling most blessed and caught up into something divine during that simple lesson by Dr. Willard.

Yesterday morning I had a similar experience. For the second year I have been blessed by a soft-spoken, gray haired sage. This morning it was Eugene Peterson. In the same bland ballroom Peterson opened the Bible to share his reflections on prayer. There was nothing spectacular about his presentation, but it carried the gravity of a godly life.

Peterson spoke about the prayer he begins every day with as he walks the quarter mile from his front door to retrieve his newspaper. Living amid the natural beauty of Montana, Peterson greets the squirrels and the deer as he recites the words of Zachariah in Luke 1:68-79…

…In verses 76-77, Zechariah speaks of his newborn son, John:
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him;
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins.

Most interesting is that while reciting these verses Peterson inserts his own name for “child.” He reminds himself that our calling as pastors is to be a prophet—one who speaks God’s word into our world—to prepare the way for the Lord. We are not the Lord, and we do not accomplish what he accomplishes. All we can do is prepare people to encounter the Lord. The outcome rests in his hands, not ours.

Full Article

NFL rules keep church football gathering from being ‘super’ parties

By A.J. Nelson
Friday February 2, 2007

“Churches all across the county and state may inadvertently be in violation of copywright laws when they gather together at church to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday.

A handful of churches have planned Super Bowl viewing parties for Sunday, but those may be in trouble. According to the Indianapolis Star, one Indianapolis church was banned by the National Football League from hosting a Super Bowl party and service, because doing so would violate league rules.

Fall Creek Baptist Church senior Pastor John Newland on the church’s Web site, said the decision to cancel the event was not an easy choice.

“While we have argued that we only intend to provide a family-oriented environment that will make no profit from the showing, the NFL claims that our event cannont proceed by law,” Newland wrote.”
(full article linked to title)

I wish this copyright law would be challenged for events like these. It’s just lame. They are not charging admission, and if anything the NFL would be making more money and so will it’s advertisers. It would become a tradition and people would not normally watch or appreciate football might enjoy the event.

Lonely & Low Risk

The last thing we need is any more sugarcoating but I am looking forward to the day when Barna gives us some good news.

Leadership Journal, Fall 2006

Lonely and Low-Risk?
by Abram Book, with survey info from

Pastors appear to brim with self-confidence, display good communication skills, and have rigorous, demanding schedules, but many also struggle to make and keep friends. And eventually, a large percentage pull back from life’s challenges.

A new study by The Barna Group shows 61 percent report difficulty creating and maintaining personal relationships. Dr. Louis McBurney, founder of the pastoral counseling center Marble Retreat in Marble, Colorado, says a majority of pastors in his care cited “lack of emotional intimacy with others” as the main factor in their decision to seek counseling.

“The expectations people have of pastors to always have answers and be competent to do almost anything just tends to shut pastors out from being open about who they are with somebody else,” says McBurney. “This may not be as true as it used to be, but many pastors were taught in Bible college and seminary not to get close to their people because it can create problems of jealousy and tension in the church.”

Over a long period, this makes pastors guarded. Barna’s study found that pastors’ potential for risk-taking drops off after 20 years in ministry. Pastors who spent 20 years or more at the same church were found to be particularly risk-averse.

“Most people in most careers tend to train during the years when they’re 20 to 30 years old, try to grab the entire world by the horns when they’re 30 to 40, and then ‘settle in’ from 40 to 50, or after about 20 years. It’s no different for pastors,” says Dr. Neil Wiseman, a former professor of pastoral development at Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs. “Since a pastor will have bumped up against all sorts of resistance during the years between 30 and 40, and since he’s had to deal with every new idea imaginable during that time, it’s probably not a surprise that after 20 years, he’s tired of taking risks.”

Wiseman also cites as factors the sense of career boredom and lack of motivation that some pastors feel after 20 years, and the notion they often feel that taking risks will get them fired. “After a pastor has been in ministry that long, it’s hard for him to start over again if he’s terminated. With that in mind, most pastors who’ve been around that long just figure it’s better not to take chances.”

In other words, without carefully cultivated friendship and fresh challenges, pastors can begin to resemble the Maytag Repairman.
Copyright © 2006 by the author or Christianity Today International/Leadership Journal.
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Fall 2006, Vol. XXVII, No. 1, Page 10