Revelation Generation

Once again this Labor Day Weekend, we took our youth group to Revelation Generation.  Now their third year doing this, I must say that it’s a fantastic event.  Granted the first year got drowned in a terrible rain storm so I wasn’t really expecting much last year.  However, comparing this year to last year, there was improvement.   They have 3 stages at RevGen:  The Nashville Stage, Philly Stage, and NY Stage.  Nashville’s headliners were Shawn McDonald, Bethany Dillon and Phil Keagy.  Philly had August Burns Red, Devil Wears Prada, the Myriad, Flyleaf, and As I Lay Dying.  Those that performed on NY were Robbie Seay, Skillet, Sixpence, Toby Mac, and Newsboys (among others).

What I liked:

–  that my students were very excited about the Philly stage line-up

–  that they told the crowd how to mosh.  Pick people up immediately when they fall down, no crowd surfing, practice doing moves (instead of just flailing your arms, which I think is a move but anyway).

– that Toby Mac always puts on a  good show.

– the variety of food they had

– the pastor/youth leader tent with water and coffee.  Thanks for taking care of us youth pastors.

– the nice job on the signage

– the big screen next to the stage

– the section for tents and blankets (behind the soundboard).

What I didn’t like:

– the “preferred viewing” section for $10 more.  It’s like first class seating.  Seems so unChristian to reward those who pay more.  Why not give the preferred viewing to the old or short or at least to those in that band’s fan club.  

– the overpriced food.  Though water was only $2, I thought the food was a bit much.

– the fact that Newsboys did the exact same set as last year, with the same stories and even prayers!!!  Peter, you’re so much better then this.  You ought to know if you are the headlining band for the second straight year that you can’t do the same set, with the same jokes, and again the same prayers!!!  One thing is to have the novelty of the spinning sideways drum kit thing but this was a little … dumb.

We left during Breakfast in Hell.  Once again, our students had a great time.  And we’ll probably come back unless it’s a bad lineup.  And if Newsboys are headlining, I’ve already memorized the Isaiah 40 prayer, I’ll recite it on the walk back to the vans.

Reflecting on the Suburban Christian Seminar – Post 2

One of my regrets that I hope to remedy one day is that I wished we had lived in the city.  City living is tough since it’s pretty expensive, less space, more potential of crime, pollution and other variables. 


However, I’ve always liked the idea of living in a city, walking, taking subways, etc.  Living relatively close to NYC allows me to enjoy parts of this from time to time, but there are many times that I wished that I could wake up to the grandeur of the city.


But I live in the ‘burbs, in a fantastic parsonage that our church has provided us.  I’ve been thinking about one of things that Su said in his seminar at The Well.  The ‘burbs needs people.  Had I not gone to the diner this morning, I would have spent the entire day with people I know.  In fact, people I know quite well.  That’s life in the suburbs.  This is partially why I enjoy doing work at Starbucks.  In fact, at Revelation Generation, a guy recognized me from Starbucks.  We had one of those, “How do we know each other moments?”  Fortunately I live in the suburbs and I only go to a few places – lol.   This part of my life needs to be improved.  


Loved the Mars Hill podcast with Kent and Ed Dobson, "Jesus and Prayer"

Gone are the days where I needed to listen to something upbeat while working out.  Now I listen to podcasts and Bob Dylan.  Anyway, I found myself almost crying with this one.  Don’t know if I will edit this post but you can download it from this link

Worship at Sojourn Community Church

During our mission trip to New Orleans, we worshipped at the Sojourn Community Church.  Found out about it since the Church Basement Road Show Tour stopped there.  On the top floor in a cool part of town on Magazine Street, Sojourn shares space with the Convergence Center for the Arts. 

We entered the loft area and saw two sets of 3 rows of chairs facing each other.  Each row may have had 12 chairs or so.  Nothing was exactly in the middle space and the communion table sat to the left (in the middle.  Picture 3 o’clock if you were sitting next to me).  No projection screen, no coffee bar, no band set-up  Hmmm, I was starting to wonder if we could have church with only a communion table, a stool, and some chairs!  Not only that, but the pastor was late. Which wasn’t a big deal, I just thought it was funny because I assumed he must have been a youth pastor at some point (that and he was knowledgeable, relevant and spoke well, obviously a former youth pastor).

The pastor welcomed us and explained that the church laptop was stolen and therefore they were unable to print out the morning handout.  He bantered a bit, gave a few announcements and explained the vision of Sojourn.  

Seriously, I think we all found peace in its simplicity.  I’m told in the good old days of church ministry, the pastor’s wife played the worship music.  This was true for Sojourn.  There were a couple differences.  She looked cool, played guitar, and most of us would have listened to her voice wherever she was playing.  

We sang, “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” and an original of hers.  The chorus had “You Oh Lord are my resting place”.  We segued into a time of time of silence and prayer.

The pastor began by referencing NT Wright’s Surprised by Joy and Dawkin’s God Delusion.  He gave Einstean’s theory of absurdity as repetition expecting different results.   We needed to acknowledge our brokenness.  He mentioned our common good and how has to extend to other truly otherwise it only benefits you and leads to self-righteousness.

He told the story of the two men that were healed by Jesus.  One was uncomfortable and the other acknowledged his brokeness.  The pastor asked, “Can you acknowledge your brokenness?  the world’s? Acknowledging leads to humility.

The conclusion was that we needed to shed some of our layers that hide the Gospel story of redemption. We cannot find our identity in our sin.  Instead, we need to find it in Christ as his beloved bride.   

I was blessed by the message. I had to pause and think about one of the more challenging things he said, “sometimes postmodernism doesn’t want to acknowledge something is wrong”.  I’ll post about that soon.

"The fewer the words, the better the prayer."

“The fewer the words, the better the prayer.”

~ Martin Luther 

Tall Skinny Kiwi asks, Should Evangelicals "Unload the Slackers"?

On Tall Skinny Kiwi’s fantastic blog, Andrew asked this question from this article by Christine Wicker.

I appreciate the discussion that Christine brings (and thanks Andrew for posting) though I haven’t figured out the conclusion she calls for. Perhaps I should read the book. As individual believers and as a Church, we should take notice of some of these points.

Regarding the “unload the slackers” comment, first, to those who might be bothered by being called “slackers”. Can we as the Church really be offended? As a Church, are we giving our best to the glory of God and to the world?
Personally, I am not able to defend this accusation. 
Do not get me wrong, I love the Church. I am humbled that I am a part of it, that I serve it, and I believe in it’s hope but I will not lie for it. We are not being faithful with the opportunities we’ve been given, nor are we being faithful with living out the gospel. We are slackers.

I read the comment as motivational hyperbole rather then a call to literal action. First how would you actually unload the slackers? By excommunicating them or firing off a warning shot by issuing an ultimatum? Second, who are “they” because if I am honest with myself, I’m being asked to condemn myself. Thirdly, if we had a “how”, and a “who”, can we be faithful in our Christianity and actually dismiss those who are not performing spiritually up to this newly agreed upon par? We must always carry our weaker brothers and sisters, serve them, lead them, confront, reconcile, pray for them and realize that many times WE are the weaker.

Which perhaps may bring us closer to bringing goodness to the problem. Maybe we can confront the slacker-mentality in our churches by being more faithful, more loving, more sacrificial, and more Christ-like.

DA Carson, Emergent, Conservative, Liberal, NASCAR?

Today in my old age, I find myself thinking about the differences in my thinking as the years have gone by. While I was at the Desperation Conference, I was flipping through my lecture journal and saw that 2 years ago that day, I was listening to DA Carson teach out of John 3 up at Camp of the Woods, Speculator, NY. I was eager to hear him at the time, although I was a little bothered on how critical he was towards the emerging church discussion. Back in those days, his book, Becoming Conversant had been released but I was hoping that things were going to turn out differently. He is obviously extremely intelligent, very articulate, admired by many and desire to be in the center of God’s will. But today, I feel differently about him.

My frustration with my fellow evangelicals (and I consider myself to be fairly conservative) is that every time we deem an idea/person to be “liberal” or “unbiblical” or “dangerous” or “slippery” we dismiss, condemn and break fellowship.

I’m not sure what the right word here is. ‘Hurt’ is too dramatic of a word, and ‘bothered’ and ‘disappointed’ sound too snobby and condescending towards Dr. Carson. How about – It sucks that Dr. Carson is a critic of the emergent conversation instead of a big brother. Why not be a Dallas Willard or a Scot McKnight instead of being another Jay Stowell?

Some have labeled the emergent conversation as the new liberalism (or “liberalism repackaged” which is so off base if one understands the idea of postmodernism). But here’s the thing, if all the conservatives leave the table, then those remaining default to being the lone voices and eventually, they’ll sound the same. I’m looking around my life wondering who am I a DA Carson to? I am not Pentecostal or Reformed or Baptist and although I have significant differences with them, may I always treat them like a loving brother in Christ should. My closest friend loves the Boston Red Sox. If I can accept him and love him, why do I care that you are a Calvinist? Like my Red Sox friend, you simply are susceptible to bad ideas. You probably like NASCAR too. Anyway, and I write this with seriousness, may I be held accountable to that aspiration so that I may be another humble servant working arm in arm for the cause of the Kingdom.

Missional in Suburbia Seminar with Al Hsu at The Well

Our young adult group read Al Hsu’s Suburban Christian earlier this year.  Though some of it was a little technical, most of us appreciated it and needed it.  (If you are don’t want something technical but want to begin this conversation, consider reading Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution.  If you’ve already IR, then consider Suburban Christian).

I appreciated the intro and he states up front that basically this is not an “anti-suburban” seminar.  So, If  you live in the suburbs that’s ok. You’re not selling out, Christians need to be everywhere.  Shortly after, Hsu moves into his thesis of redeeming the suburbs.

Hsu argues that living in the suburbs is very needed in fact.

      1. Sheer numbers – twice as many people living in the suburbs then city and country combined.

            Suburbia is actually bigger than Russia.

      2.  Given this, people in suburbia are increasing their influence on the shaping of society

One of the problems is that many live in the suburbs uncritically.

There are several comments that may give you pause such as the fair accusation that some suburban parents idolize their children.  Do suburban parents idolize their children more than city or rural parents or is this type of thought only an extension of the SUV soccer mom stereotype?  

Al asks questions and allows time for discussion between the audience and with him.  Driving is another interesting discussion.   

I recommend that you listen to the podcasts (appreciate the Well putting them up).  Available here.

You tube on Scot McKnight speaking on "Being Missional"

Found this because this gentlemen (Terry Chapman) left a comment on the Emergent Mid-Atlantic Gathering site.
You can check out his church site, Forked River Presbyterian Church.
From what I can see his church is exploring some missional opportunities and he provided a youtube link to Scot McKnight “Being Missional”.  Clip is from the Willow Creek Student Ministry Conference, “Shift”.
In the beginning of the 2 minute clip he says, 
“Jesus was missional. That’s the word. He was missional.  He saw others and to be missional means 
to be other-oreinted rather then self-shaped…”
He goes on to explain that we (the Church) are the presence of Jesus.
Easy introduction to the idea of missional living.  Also may help you explain to others what being missional is.

Washington Post – GOP Loyalty Not a Given for Young Evangelicals

Found myself relating to this article.  Hope you enjoy.


DULUTH, Ga. — Jonathan Merritt is a Baptist preacher’s son with a pristine evangelical lineage. It was his dad, the Rev. James Merritt, who reportedly brought President Bush to tears in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks when he called the president “God’s man for this hour.” The Rev. Jerry Falwell was like a grandfather. 

“When you look at the political party that has traditionally championed poverty, social justice and care for the least of these, it’s not been the Republican Party,” said Merritt, who now considers himself an “independent conservative” and is unsure whom he will vote for in November. “We are to honor the least of these above even ourselves. It’s very difficult to reconcile totally.”

He is part of a growing group of young born-again Christians standing on one of the many generational breaks surfacing in this election cycle. Merritt still shares his parents’ conservative convictions on abortion, a core issue that forged Falwell’s Moral Majority and brought evangelicals firmly into the Republican camp, but he says they are no longer enough for him to claim the Republican Party.

“There’s a shift in issue focus,” said Joshua DuBois, 25, who was associate pastor of a small evangelical church and is responsible for Obama’s faith outreach. “I don’t think any young evangelical is ignoring the traditional values issues, but they are adding other issues, including poverty and war, and they are also looking at integrity and family.”

“The church has a bad reputation for being judgmental, worrying more about what people wear to church than the fact that they are coming to church,” he earnestly told the group of about 20.

The students agree, and they say some of it has to do with a politicizing of their religion. They feel the tension of their competing interests.

“I went to school with a lot of agnostic people and after Bush, they were like ‘no’ ” to religion, said Brittany Kelley, 22, who recently graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design (HEY ADAM). She is leaning toward McCain because she shares his economic views and is afraid that Obama will raise taxes. But in a lowered voice she said she does not feel the way some of the other young evangelicals do when it comes to all social issues.

Full article here.