Monday Morning Brief – 8.31.09

What I Have Been Enjoying

– Last night my sister, Kim, had her baby – Lina Nazera.  She’s 5.13lbs and 20-21in. (not sure exactly). My brother-in-law, Tony is thrilled of course and my mom is so happy that she made it to Phoenix just in time.  Also, I love the name, Lina is a family name from Tony’s side and Nazera was our grandmother’s name and a few of our cousins have been using it as middle names in memory of her.  She’s born a day before Dad’s birthday/parents anniversary so one thing is for sure, her birthday will not be forgotten (unlike mine :-). She’s been a live for almost a day and there are still no pictures online.  I guess they don’t have internet in Arizona.  Anyway, in a few weeks Nathan and I will see if the rumors of her beauty are true.  So far our father and son excursions have been much more local but will be headed out to visit baby Lina (too close for Susan’s due date in Oct. so she’ll get a nice little toddler break) – I can’t wait.

– Also yesterday, our Nassau Team was given the worship service to share about our experience.  They were pretty sharp.  Tim Nye and his students led worship, we showed our shorter video (soon to be on FB), and our team shared afterwards.  It’s hard listening to reports from mission trips because among the reasons, they sometimes get too detailed and the stories get monotonous.  They took turns talking about different aspects of the trip and I think they expressed themselves pretty well.

Some things from the past few weeks:

– Nathan learning new words like “Teta” (arabic for grandmother) “Gidu” (Arabic for grandfather), “house”

– Susan and baby boy doing great.  Oct. 30th can’t come fast enough though

– Enjoyed going to the Yankees game with some friends.  It was a comeback win and that always makes it sweeter.

– Enjoyed going to Mets game with my friend Glenn. He’s a fan of that team that has been tragically struck by the devil himself.  It’s almost like the story of Job but we since we know that the good Lord is a Yankees fan, I highly doubt that the Mets will receive 10-fold of anything.  Anyway, the Mets did win this game and we had a great time talking about baseball, family (both of our wives are pregnant with boys – it’s pretty cool) and the new Saturday nigh worship gathering we are working on.

kees fan, I highly doubt that the Mets will receive 10-fold of anything.  Anyway, the Mets did win this game and we had a great time talking about baseball, family (both of our wives are pregnant with boys – it’s pretty cool) and the new Saturday nigh worship gathering we are working on.

– Benefit Night for Uganda – Jesse and Andrea Kroeze left for Uganda last year and were back in town for a few weeks.  While here they did a benefit show at the 96 West Coffee Shop in Allendale, NJ.  Our beloved Andy Zipf opened and Holler Wild Rose played a great show.

Listening to – Holler Wild Rose, Zach Williams

Reading – Karl Barth, finished Rob Bell’s Drops Like Stars (review coming eventually), and read a few chapters of Doug Pagitt‘s A Christianity Worth Believing.  For the last year, I’ve been trying to carve out a good amount of time to devote my attention to it but procrastination has been embarrassing so I’m jumping in – so far so good.

Seminary update – Next week begins my cohort’s last year.  I’m definitely not in school mode yet but will work on getting there.   I’ve loved almost everything about our experience at Biblical and but I am looking forward to finishing up too.  Last week we received an email telling us that Alan Hirsch is going to be our commencement speaker which is very, very cool.

Student Ministry Update – I’m looking forward to our new year beginning.  The reoccurring theme is going to be “Christ and the Other”.  Among the things that I want to teach on is the topic of identity, calling, spiritual gifts, etc.  Honestly, I was pretty spiritually gifted tested out and I have always felt that we made too big of a deal of these “inventory tests”.  At the same time, I find them to be insightful if you do not commit your entire mentality around their results.  So we’ll see what happens.  I also wan to talk about “the Other”.  It seems to me that one of our blind spots is that we’re not very active in reaching out.  I know it’s not just about bringing friends to church but being the presence of Christ wherever we go, but there should be a bit more connection between the two.  One of the best things out of Dan Kimball’s They Like Jesus but Not the Church is the idea of the Christian Bubble.  Our students have always been aware of the idea but it seems they have a deeper understanding of it now so I’d like to build on that.

Looking Forward to- Rev Gen – It’s a decent size Christian music festival in Jersey over Labor Day Weekend.  We take our youth group every year and it’s always been a decent event.  There’s always multiple stages and a lot of our kids hang out at the Philly Stage to hear As I Lay Dying, Flyleaf, Devil Wears Prada, etc. while the NY Stage would have Sixpence, Toby Mac and Newsboys.   Most know that I am not the biggest appreciator of Christian music but I do like a lot of the bands this year, especially Jars of Clay.  Looking forward to hearing Switchfoot’s new stuff, seeing Foreman perform his solo stuff on the acoustic stage and can’t to hear Derek Webb again One of my regrets is that I never bought any a Prayer of Jabez t-shirt.  I would love to stand in the front row singing along wearing that. If you know Derek’s story, you could appreciate the irony.

Why I Like Twitter

I heard about twitter a few years ago and thought about signing up but didn’t because I figured, “I already have Facebook and I spend enough time online and what’s up the 140 ch. limit?”. Then Facebook got too big with old college friends, church people ;-), ex-girlfriends and I found myself with 600 friends.  Around the same time, some of my “like-minded” friends got on twitter and in a different way, my online community was restored.

Fast forward to today.  I’m still on twitter, though it’s hard to keep up.  For me, the solution has been not to bother keeping up.  I allow myself to not know all the tweets.  I suspect that  many healthy minded people already do this, but that mentality is new for me ;-)

I like Twitter for a number of reasons:

1. Microblogging is quick and efficient.

2. Already mentioned welcomed alternative to facebook

3. 140 characters is a great idea.  Especially since a lot of my friends are preachers.

4. Welcomed diversion to read an article/blog/etc. that some of my friends are reading now.

5. Keeping my friends a little more honest. I have always wondered if some of my friends are really as busy as they claim.  Turns out that some of them aren’t.  I have also always wondered if my life sucks. In comparison, it turns out that it doesn’t.  I am like a friggin rock star compared to some of these tweets and last night I gave my kid a bath, read a book and watched Sportscenter  (monotony takes on a whole new meaning).

6. Like most normal men, I am not that good at keeping in touch.  I try to call people when I’m in the car but twitter helps in a number of ways.  Like when I haven’t heard from a friend in a while, I can check some tweets and realize that he’s on a mission trip or she’s giving birth or this person is on a technology fast.  In all these cases, I send a sarcastic text message wishing them well.

Seriously it does help me keep in touch.  For instance, I miss my friend Todd Hiestand.  When I moved out of the Philly burbs and moved to the NYC burbs, I knew that it might as well have been Syria and New Zealand because this fool was never going to call/email/facebook me again which scared me a little, because I told him some of my deepest, darkest secrets. Thankfully twitter has kept some semblance of a friendship and so far, he has not used my love for 80’s bands as a sermon illustration (yeah I used to think Posion’s “Something to Believe In” was the best thing ever).

While I didn’t really want any church people following me because George Castanza is right, “Worlds would collide”, so far the ones that follow are the ones that I would want.

Aside from Scot McKnight, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, I haven’t bothered to follow celebrities.  I’ll turn on TMZ if I’m interested. In fact, I’ve tried to limit the number of people I follow and celebrities are currently among those filtered out.

I like that you can keep up with people you meet at conferences like Jake Bouma and Eric Ullestad.  I like that I met people like Matt Scott and Adam Wormann online and that I can keep in touch with the brilliance and wit of Daniel Kirk.  Want to stay ahead of the tech ministry curve – follow Adam Walker Cleaveland and Steve Knight.  They not only keep up with things but share.

And of course, who can get enough of Evan Curry, Thomas Turner and Tim Nye?  My intention is not to name-drop here but I don’t know how to talk about twitter without talking about people, that’s why so many like it.

In short, though it’s not an acceptable substitute for personal contact, I like that I can keep in touch, especially when circumstances prevent.  Twitter makes the world just a bit smaller.

My Review of Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess by Will Samson

Finally here’s my review of Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess by Will Samson

I started reading Enough while vacationing in Aruba.  Shut up, it was our first vacation in years ;-)  Of course, I knew the irony before I began reading it but fortunately, Shane Claiborne wrote in the foreword that this book is not a guilt trip.   Then I lost it for a few months and found it under the passenger seat in my Jaguar (ok, I drive a Mazda but lies sound better) and finally finished it while I was in the Bahamas.  (Shut up, I was on a mission trip … rebuilding an AIDS Camp ;-)

Seriously speaking, most who read books like Tom Sine’s New Conspirators and quote Wendell Berry the way wanna-be mega church pastors quote Bill Hybels  will know a great deal of the content.  However for those conservative evangelicals (like me) and find themselves frustrated in a post-Jabez world (or were raised in these homes/churches quoting Paul and the Fox News Channel), this book is helpful.

The introduction to the chapters are great like:

“One day Jesus was walking down Main Street on his way of town, and a rich and influential young lawyer came up to him and asked him; “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Give what you can to the synagogue.  Ten percent is a good rule of thumb, but whatever you don, don’t be a legalist about it.  And make sure you have enough left over to contribute to the economy.  You know ‘Give to Caesar ….'”  And the man went away very happy, because that was exactly what he was already doing (p.29).”

Will gives some excellent statistics regarding consumption like – “In 2003 nearly 50 percent of American household expenditures were for non-necessity” items.  Compare this to the 21 percent of non-necessity  spending in 1901 and 35 percent in 1960.  In 2004 American consumers spent $2.2 trillion on entertainment and $782 billion of that on televisions, radios, and sound equipment (p.33).”  Throughout the book he gives some practical suggestions like the encouragement to bike more, to plant a garden (not just to grow food but to experience the process of planting food), to spend money locally, etc.

As I was reading, I could not help but compare this to Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution.  Shane’s work is extremely inspiring, like a Braveheart-esque speech.  The problem for some is that it’s so radical that they would find themselves picking up a sword and learning Scottish so they could fight the Brits again then moving to co-op in Kensington.  While the Samsons also live in a similar intentional community, their story is more accessible and, I think, more “user-friendly” to  most suburbanites.  Married couples with children helps temper the comment, “Well Shane’s young, single, and makes his own clothes so it’s more realistic for him …”  (And for the record, Shane feels called to his way of life, I’ve never heard him say, “True Christians live like me …”

I like the option of handing out either book now.  It’s yet another topic that small groups would find very valuable because it is a fantastic introduction to the idea of excess, consumption and the Christian’s call to living lives of faithfulness and stewardship.  Will argues that living out the truth of the Eucharist, the sharing of the presence of Christ, is the key to overcoming our materialist lusts, our over-consumption and our general self-absorption.

Rob Bell – The One Thing I've Never Heard Someone Talk About That Has Changed Everything for Me – #ppp09

Rob started this session by telling a story of someone who wrote him a letter telling him that he was defending him from all the criticism that Rob was receiving on facebook and various blogs.  He told him that people were saying that Rob was heretical and the messages were full of fluff and irrelevance.  “But I defended you.”

Rob said, “That right there is a chocolate covered turd.”  I didn’t feel good after this person told me this …

It’s the nine and the one – you may receive nine compliments and one criticism but of course you remember the one.

We need to learn how to forgive (not the mass of people but the actual person/people)

Become a student of forgiveness

We want to control how people respond to our words, not just control the words we actually say // every head nodded when he said this except for those who gave up a long time ago.

“You are not an ecclesial punching bag hired to take the blows.  You are a collective resource.”

You get a paycheck to deal

with our unhealthiness”

It’s ok to guard yourself (your leadership) as a resource.

– It can take hours of your life arbitrating toxic needs

You lose your creative energy, your prophetic abilities … you start losing yourself …

You find yourself holding, creating lists and labels, wanting revenge.

Forgiveness means being freed from all this.

You are absorbing the debt, taking the cost of it completely on yourself, instead of taking it out on the other person.  It hurts terribly. Many people would say it feels like a kind of death.

// Obviously the great title kept a lot of us in some kind of anticipation.  I mean “one thing”, really?  I was pretty sure that it was going to be something pretty fundamental like “The one thing is the She’ma, to love the Lord with … and …”.  I lost 20 imaginary dollars to my wife on that bet.

Forgiveness. It seems like it would be theoretically true.  If you can take each crass word said about message, the mocking of your mannerisms, the story that someone interpreted to actually disprove your point, and the weekly comments you might get about not wearing a tie, all the tough moments and actually forgive, release and be liberated from their sting then I suppose that would change everything.

Shane Hipps – You Are the Medium – #ppp09

Shane Hipps – You Are the Medium – an exploration of the human being as God’s ultimate medium for his message. if the medium is the message, and you as a person are the medium, then what does that say about the message?

Medium of You
We have a  body – don’t underestimate that
you have a body for some reason
so God-Jesus – Embodied

Physical body – 5 senses – obvious

Energetic part of body –
thinking, psychology, activity, all have an energy quality
We feel this energy when talking to someone who is no longer listening (we know bc of their lack of energy)
Energy always follows attention
sexual energy is connected with creativity and vitality of life
connection however is not always sexual.
The more we develop our energy/attention/etc. the better you serve

Bono has energy to fill stadiums.
Oprah has energy
Michael Jackson – energy
Our energy is experienced differently by people
Another energy sheer gravitas – presence – Colin Powell

– Unchanging – the only thing that actually changes is your access to it.
– Unlimited – our Essence
Paul wrote about essence in Romans 8.11

Practices to develop your energy levels
physical – you know how to do this (exercise, sleep, eat right)
– physical body is the copper of your energetic body
– do not underestimate your breathing and your posture and how the two relate
We are imitative creatures
– so whatever we give to our audience, the will imitate.  This may reveal some of our blind spots
– shadow moment we down our shadow, it wrecks us
– we must acknowledge it, uncover it  find the person you like the least, feelings, etc. it’s probably in you.
– Own it.  Shane actually used the movie 8 Mile as a reference (which is like Francis Collins quoting Power Rangers ;-).  It’s when Eminem’s character (Rabbit … uhh, I think ;-) owns the negative things in his life that his battle opponent can no longer attack him.

Essential – essence is something you must act and know not just read and believe it.
Breathe you can’t save breaths, you can’t lose it – give it away
Breathe after success, after failure

If it’s anything this world needs is peace, compassion and wisdom.
There is no such thing as a good preacher, only a good person preaching.

Pete Rollins – For Those With Ears to Hear – #ppp09

New readers -please note there is a context here, especially with Pete. He uses a lot of  paradox, irony, and hyperbole.  But he also uses humor, hence the segue entrance.

After he successfully dismounted, he gave these words prior to the real introduction of  his message: “My job is to get you to disagree with me.  I don’t even agree with meYou need to push back against what I am saying.  To cause a rupture ….”

Peter Rollins – For Those With Ears to Hear: Parables and the Lost Art of Provocation – an exploration of that theological dis-course that holds the power to send us hurtling off course and onto a new one

We need Substantial Change

Christianity is fundamentally violent – People like St. Theresa ruptured the system (Ghandi, MLK)

The question isn’t whether Christianity is true but what does Christianity claim when it claims to be true?

The desire to know the name of God -Moses – systematic theology – gives us insight to who we are now

People’s dogs looks like their owners – people’s gods also look like them

– in baptism, we are brought into the name of God

Revelation is –
epistemological incomprehension
experimental bedazzlement – experience you can’t experience
transformation – no longer the same again

God is apocalyptic – the incoming of something you cannot predict

He reveals and conceals at the same time.

It is darkness and light – hidden/revealed – mystery/revelation
we are changed/renewed
You are my strength (my maranatha) but I am weak.
I fired it up, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
I curse the day when I saw the light, when you found me.
I find my home in Babylon, where I am exiled.

Why don’t worship songs express our darkness, only love and hope?

So our preaching should be a discourse.
a course that take you off-course

something to disturb, alter, change
disruptive, subversive & grounded

Sermons are always about the here and now.
always on the practical

I deny the Resurrection every time when I fail the poor, when I do not serve the helpless

I affirm the Resurrection every time I stand up for those that cannot stand for themselves.

This is substantial change.

Rob Bell – Fumbling Around with Your Radar #ppp09

tools, questions, approaches, and everyday 5 minute disciplines that have helped me understand where sermons come from

Radar – Buckets – Chunks – Marinade

The Blank Screen – sitting in front of the blank screen, trying to write a sermon but all you do is stare at it.  It’s the worst.

– From having to say something to having something to say

– Discussion on hard work – “It’s all God …”  Do we blame God if the sermon sucks?  It’s ok to take credit for your work, let’s dare not be arrogant …

– Inspiration and the sermon is all around us, all the time, everywhere, everybody vs. Tues. at 9am or Sat. Night

Jn. 5 – The Father is always at work

Do you know what God’s other name is?  Surprise.

1. Life

write it – take a picture of it (literally.  your phone as a camera right?) – tear it out – store it – save it – ask for it – mark it – remember it – get it – clip it – with no edit button – this is the “radar” – when you find something, put it in a “bucket”.

He told a story of seeing an interesting sign – had no idea how we would use it but took a picture of it – eventually he found a place for it in a sermon

2. Text

memorize – inhale – words (what are the key words, are there pictures behind them?) – location – culture – concept – stories – time – picture – actions – connections – the stuff in the bucket now form “chunks”.

If I can’t use any biblical language, how would I describe this? to a  child? to a Martian? without words? using only drawings and pictures?  using only actors? in thirty seconds?

What’s the thing behind the thing?

The mystery behind the mystery?

The truth behind the truth?

enact it – perform it – show it – do it – ignore it – circle around it – hand it out

back to radar – buckets – chunks – marinade

so the radar is to take inventory and see what’s around

put everything collected into buckets

find the chunks, let them create …

let it all marinade with you.

One per idea/fragment/insight/sentence

once a week …

no pressure no time frame:

revisit regularly

intuition and attention


some buckets grow

if it isn’t hot, drop it

accumulating vs arranging – the beautiful thing is when great things can’t fit anymore

(Note that this is once a week apart from the current sermon you working on.)

Also – when he first walked out there was a lawn chair, a pig, and a few other props.  Among many things mentioned he said, a very helpful idea is to leave the prop up front (as opposed to bringing it out) because it creates tension and suspense in the mind of the audience.

He said something like, “Everyone asks me if I memorize my sermons, I don’t.  Not really anyway  … It’s that I’ve been thinking about this stuff for months …”

He did say that he uses techniques like brainstorming, storyboarding, and eventually creates 1 piece of paper that looks like this and this is what he either has tucked in his bible or memorized in his mind. Pictured here is the opening session to the conference.

// Staying ahead of that weekly demand is the crux of it.  I found this session to be very helpful in a practical sense.  Sorry my notes were not able to capture it all but the summary is this – If you can get the idea that everything you encounter in your day is a potential illustration/part/moment in your sermon, then you’ll never sit in front of a blank screen again.

Shane Hipps – How Technology Shapes the Sermon – #ppp09

Shane Hipps – How Technology Shapes the Sermon – the art of preaching evolves with every new technological innovation in a culture. do you know what is being done and undone by our technologies?

You can read be a bit about Marshal McLuhan (Predicted things like  the virtues of the internet.  He called it a global village connected by  an electronic nervous system).

“Our conventional response to all media, namely that is how they are  used that counts is the numb stance of the technological idiot.  For  the content of any medium is the juicy piece of meat carried by the  burglar to distract the watch dog of the mind.” – M. McLuhan

Christianity is fundamentally a communication event.

Some say the methods change but message stays the same.

Instead the medium is the message.

While I have this a but out of chronological order for the sake of an  easier post, he usually demonstrates that idea this way.

He puts up  this slide.

Reads it and generally the audience continues listening.

Then he advances the next slide:

There is usually some kind of vocal “ah-ha!” gasp.  “The boy is sad”.    Then he’ll repeat McLuhan’s maxim –

“The medium is the message”.
We become what we behold

Some equate the gospel simply to be:

Apologies for sins + believe in Jesus = go to heaven.

Bill Bright’s tract   Fact – faith – feeling

Many of us (evangelicals) were brought up with the idea that “Feeling” is not necessarily a good thing.  They have been known to betray us.

Hence, it’s the caboose of the Bill Bright Gospel Train.

But we cannot truly be separated from our feelings.  Thus, we must learn to use them and not be manipulated by them.  We ought not to resent them but understand what they are and how they inform us.

Our current digital age is a wall of mirrors – Reflection after reflection

Significance of the photograph – Hyper picture – began to lose our ability for abstract thoughts

Pictures and words are different modes of expression. This is why advertisers use images and not essays.  There is no debate in the mind.

There is now a major global company logo associated with every letter in the english alphabet.

Shane used to work for Porsche and while marketing the Cheyenne he remembers himself thinking, “I DO have to get one of these for myself.  I need it. I don’t care that I can’t afford it – It’s awesome!”

We are moving to a right brain thinking way of the world

Images always win

You will remember an image easier than a word of phrase

It hijacks the imagination

So why does it matter to us (as preachers)?

Depends on what you want to accomplish

But you need to understand the medium

If we become what we behold …

As we became a print culture,

our sanctuaries started reflecting that.

In middle ages (stained glass), the stories of Jesus emerged.

After printing press, Paul was rediscovered.

As we changed to broadcast  and digital culture,

our churches start looking less  2 pg column and more circular.

We are far better off in understanding (and exploring)

Before we critique

If so, we’ll be able to use our media, rather than be used by them.

(Session 2 – Hipps continued)

How this affects the church.

Church as a lecture hall – to give out new info – dense philosophical,  theological, not practical).

Jonathan Edwards – 4 Hr sermons. Only possible in a print-culture.

Broadcast era came in and ushered in a new age of church (how  attentive  you are, how entertaining you are, how good-looking you  are)

Internet era – Interact era – gave way to coffee shop – no single authority, the conversation is important

All 3 areas are on still in existence – see the complexity of it

This can’t tell you how to preach – There are still things that are common and distinct to every era.

What I can say is that it is harder to preach now today than any other time.  The world needs good preaching.

2 Practices to help us become better students of preaching (or to awaken the art)

1. The art of surprise.

When an audience doesn’t have capacity to stay attentive, you need to use surprise.

  • The Exegetical surprise – some integrate the text, instead of  counseling the text.
    • Use ATLA journals,
  • Rhetorical surprise – the way we get to the end.  You lead people into the desert, they get thirsty, you want to give them water.
    • Need to create dissonance.
  • Lingustic Surprise – so you could relearn words, recharge them
    • You can take ancient ideas and make them sound new
    • Poetry is helpful with this because in reengages the mind.

For instance:

A case: water into wine

Rhetorical surprise – it’s an odd miracle

Exegetical surprise – Jn. 2:6 – nearby stood six stone water jars.

Linguistic surprise – how ìlimberî is your sol to withstand this kind of destruction?

Shane said the word ìlimberî just sort of rose to the top for him and he was able to use it.

2. The art of letting go – give the sermon and walk away from it.  Don’t wait for the affirmation or the complaint – let it go.  It will make you more effective in the long run.

My role is to fearless and endlessly offer these words

– you don’t need encouragement to breathe

– we haven’t been freed from the outcomes

– in the process, through you won’t realize it, you become a better and more powerful preacher.

Someone asked a question about twitter.  Shane said it was the most often asked questions he gets right now.  He wasn’t hating on it but was explaining that one of the problems with twitter is that it prevents simplicity on this side of complexity. The technology does the work, the user just has to supply the 140 characters.  It is the opposite of poetry, which is simple on the other side of complexity.  What we should do is only let our poets tweet.  He joked that one tweet would come out every 4 months or so.

Every medium has 4 basic effects

These are McCluhan’s laws of media

Reverses – every media reverse on itself

Extends – every media extends (some is bc of technological advance, some from society needing more)

Retrieves – every media retrieves itself – no new media.  The internet is the modernized telegraph.

Obsoletes – every medium obsoletes an another (digital mp3 obsoletes physical tape/cd)

// I’m still processing through this.  I’ve heard a Shane a few times now and have read the Hidden Power of Electronic Culture. (Flickering Pixels is on the infamous “To Read” shelf).  His material was very helpful to me, I encourage you to add his books to your Amazon wish list.  To cut to the chase, I appreciate so much of what Shane has to say, especially the idea of how we as communicators need to understand our medium. That said, I also find myself pushing back on some of his thoughts.  I’d like to save that for a future post(s) as I try to work that out so as not to sound trite.

Lastly, to you more experienced bloggers out there. I tried to work on the look and formatting of this post but it always published differently from how I drafted.  I even started over.  I wanted to organize some of the notes to relate more with the picture next to it but I was obviously unsuccessful.  Any thoughts on how to do this easily?  Feel free to comment or email. Thanks.

Peter Rollins – Returning to the New #ppp09

Peter Rollins – Returning to the New: An Introduction to Transformance Art – what do flash mobs, performance artists, and pirates have to do with Christianity? exploring how the church can act as an aroma of the coming kingdom.

Notes taken during Pete’s uhh, lecture/performance/address/… uhh, If you have seen him teach, you know what I am talking about. He’s super high energy, incredibly intelligent, and the ideas are brilliant.  Some people can’t listen to him because between the Irish accent and the intensity, they just can’t handle Pete. They say he’s too exhausting for their minds.  I suppose when you have been brought up on Family Matters and 3-point sermons, this tends to be true (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  I feel for them though, they must be cursed with boring smart people preaching long drawn out sermons every Sunday ;-)

Some of this will be familiar for those that came/read about the Emergent Mid-Atlantic organized by Thomas Turner & Friends. Anyway, this is what I got:

Life is lived forwards and understood backwards – Kierkegaard

Fairy tales contain our values

Living your dream can mean the ability of having new ones

Explanation of IKON non-membership cards (they have a card that says they are a non-member.  Yes, an actual physical card that literally says that.)

The real roles of the analyst is to push back so the anaylyzed can learn from themselves.

We want leaders to be dominated by us.  (brilliant)

Leader who refuse to lead are essential bc they allow people to learn/understand from themselves

more IKON practices …

Atheism for Lent – read critiques of C. to let them judge us

We know bigger car, home and money won’t make us happy.  We act like we know but our social self acts like it doesn’t know.

Pete Rollins explains the Batman- Bruce Wayne problem – It’s Wayne’s company that creates the greed that hurts the city then he has to fight the criminals that his company has produced.  He should either find a way for Wayne Enterprises to actually help the city or shut the company down …

The entire system needs to be changed

The church is a flash mob

Example of flash mobs

– A bunch of people show up to a train station and have some kind of pseudo-choreographed dance. Then leave.

– A bunch of people show up to a place with their ipods and listen and dance to the same song but only through their ipods and in as much silence as they can.  Then leave.

The purpose of canned laughter – so the audience doesn’t have to laugh.  The preacher believes so the congregation doesn’t have to believe.

As long as Rob believes, I don’t have to, you say you firm doubt but the structures doesn’t need to convince the chickens.

re-birth birth opens you up to experiences.

God is not an object in the world, He allows (or entrusts) us to change the objects in the world.

Some practices to consider:

1. Create the atmosphere that everything you believe could be wrong

2. suspended place – neither greek, nor jew, slave or free

neither freedom fighter or terrorost

so we empty ourselves

and look beyond the color of someone’s eyes

if you see them, if you know the color, your’re not really listening, your objectifying the person

Preaching should be descriptive, they should be performative

Bellieve, behave belong vs .belong, behave, believe

How can you have rock music if your parents give you everything you want?

Drawing people to conversation, they should be angry with what you’re saying, create ruptures

Instead of giving people water and epecting them to be thirsty, we should give them salt so they really can be thirsty

They’re not seeking God, they’re seeking meaning

Fear does not allow for transformational change (rabbit FBI, CiA RUC, bear)

Like being single, you usually find someone once you have accepted your singleness and are no longer looking.

The need is retrovertaliy true

Dramatic truth (I forget what this was actually.  I really they release some kind of recording of this.  You have to see/hear it and I have to again).

Anti-evangelism – no need for God so they can have an aroma of “bread”.

God is the one who gives God – Augustine

God became human, we want to be God-llike but God became human, incarnation is God becming fully human.

Rob asks top 3 moments of IKON

1. We askpeople to come to church and discover God but people must discover God in places they are not.

2. Pyro theology – the only church that illuminates is the the one that is burning

And I don’t think Pete made it to 3.

Reaction – As usual, I appreciated what Pete had to say.  At times I’m not sure people give him the respect and credit he deserves because he speaks in such an excited state but that’s their loss – those who have hears, let them hear, right?  I know I mentioned this in the intro but I had this conversation a few times whether it be the neighbors in front of me or conversations at the book table.

I left liking the idea of the practices of creating spaces where everything you believe could be wrong and suspended places.  I am trying to figure out what that would look like in my context.  I can see how it could work if the listener truly trusted the intention of the pastor-preacher.  I see why these practices work better in less traditional settings.  On the flip side, those are the among the excuses we tend to use.  How can we as a community form a space  where this would be beautiful and helpful for our faith and hopefully, for the faith of others?

Further, I think this among the reasons why the subject of apologetics is as popular as it is.  Though the apologist doesn’t usually say it, “What if none of this is true?”, the voice of the skeptic gets to ask that question like, “What if God  doesn’t actually exist?”  In most settings, the question is quickly squashed lest anyone fall of the wagon.  For me (and many like me), I’ve come to enjoy the great time of doubt because it makes me a better student of God, life and my Christian faith.

It could be my pre-suppositions or my ulterior motives, but the idea of suspended places always makes me think – pub-church.  I’ve been really interested in that for a while now, hmmm ….

I was also a bit relieved when he said “We should be drawing people to conversation, they should be angry with what you’re saying, create ruptures …”  Well, at least I’m doing something right ;-)   In truth, I some times feel that I have gone too far and the next day I wonder if I’ve gone far enough.  It’s a good thing to wrestle with but I was grateful he said this.

I hope to post Shane Hipp’s sessions soon.

Monday Morning Brief – 8/10/09

What I Enjoyed this Week – 1. The Yankees sweeping the Red Sox!  It was nice to see that but you can’t count those blood thirsty Bostonians out.  They’re like the monster in a horror movie, just when you think it’s dead, it gets up for one last kill.  Hopefully the victim will be Detroit or Anaheim.   2. Got out of jury duty.  I showed up, read some Barth, blogged a little then I shouted, “THE EMERGENT APOCALYPSE IS COMING!!! TURN AWAY FROM YOUR FUNDAMENTALISM AND GET AN IPHONE SO YOU CAN FOLLOW OUR TWEETS!  Turns out, they had enough people to serve for that case so I got to go home.  3. Some of my seminary cohort friends are blogging.  Check out Joe-Love Livingston’s Defenstrates (to throw out of a window) and El Presdident Jay Dusold – Time to Plant.  I hope they last longer than KJ and Jeremy.  I guess they can’t all turn out consistent and interesting like Evan Curry. 4. I enjoyed attending Jeff’s 40th Surprise Party.  Though he still acts like he’s 30 (and that’s not all complimentary, brother ;-), he’s my fantasy baseball consultant, my environmentalist mentor (we call it creation care in my world), and a great friend who always has a good story to tell.

What I’m Reading – FInally finished Enough by Will Samson (I started this book in Aruba, then I lost it, found it, read some more on our mission trip, then I lost it and for whatever reason, it keeps getting misplaced.  Can’t find it or any of the other books I’ve been recently reading like Rob Bell’s Drops Like Stars. It leaves me to conclude that it’s some kind of Neo-Calvinist poltergeist).  Also reading Samir Selmanovic’s   new book It’s Really All About God.  Half way through and I am in love with it.  It’s not what I thought it would be, it’s very moving.

What I Thought Was the Most Interesting Article I’ve Read Recently – “Congenital Human Baculum Deficiency”. You may be able to figure out a little of what it’s talking about from the title but I’m not kidding, it’s extremely interesting.  That spare rib of Adam and the creation of Eve, hmm, maybe “rib” isn’t the right word there.  Thanks Dan Kirk (author of UnLocking Romans and the funniest guy in any room. Admittedly, I usually see him in academic settings as opposed to a room full of Seth Rogans but still …).  Dr. Kirk, please fix your blog so people like me can click and read your brilliant posts and see how unintelligent we are ;-)

What I’m Listening to – Wilco, Wilco, Wilco.  and the same podcasts as usual, Homebrewed Christianity, Relevant, Mars Hill.

What I’m Spending my Money on Next – a subscription to Generate Magazine.  Paritally because the pile of magazines I am suppose to read isn’t actually high enough.  But I’ll move Generate to the top.

Student Ministry Update – 1. We had well attended and a very fun Swim N’ Study this past week.  2. I am in planning mode and looking to some things this fall.

Other Church Ministry Stuff – 1. We are in conversation about adding a Saturday Night Service.  It would be more of an alternative more youthful expression to our Sunday Blended Service.  2. Also working on an adult mission trip to New Orleans.  Our Sr. Pastor and our elders have been very supportive of these ideas so we’ll see what happens.

What I am Looking Forward To –1. Catching a few baseball games before the school year starts. 2. NFL!!! 3. Going to a wedding this  weekend.  It’s going to be pretty laid back, children are very welcome and it’s going to be on the beach which is absolutely fantastic.   I do not know the bride very well and I can’t say I’m extremely close with the groom but indeed we have become friends these past few years and we are so happy for them.  It’s a second wedding for both and people like to assume what that means. It’s absolutely amazing – they’re both wonderful people with incredible stories of how they got to this Saturday.  It seems to me that God has heard their prayers.