The Aaron Hernandez Story Is Not a Tragedy, It’s a …

I’ve been following the Aaron Hernandez alleged murder case pretty closely and since I’m living in the Boston area I imagine I’ll be hearing and talking quite a bit about it throughout the next year as the criminal trial date could be set in 2014. Being an NFL fan, and with ESPN working the way it does, and CNN, FOX and other major networks covering the story and by simply being shocked by the craziness of this situation, well I admit, I’m captivated. Even though I wish I was reluctantly captivated, I must admit this week I am.

Here we have an extremely talented 23 year old football player who last summer signed a $40 million extension (with another $12.5million in signing bonus) who plays for one of the best NFL Teams/organizations in all of sports, who had a legitimate chance to play in another Super Bowl and enjoy a Pro-Bowl career who was instantly fired by the Patriots an hour of his arrest. Further, the lives of his fiancé, 8 month old daughter and the family and friends who loved him have radically been changed. I heard someone on the radio say, “All he had to do to insure his family’s prosperity for his children and grandchildren was not kill someone.” Wow.

(Photo from AP from Video)

It’s at this point, we typically say, “This is a tragedy.” But it isn’t.

The Aaron Hernandez story is not a tragedy. Now, the story of the victim, Odin Lloyd, is tragic. The story of Aaron Hernandez is a cautionary tale. And we’ve heard this one a number of times, a talented athlete/celebrity/influencer who uses his/her wealth/fame/power to steal/cheat/ or get away with something. Perhaps this individual is delusional, perhaps desperate but regardless of motivation, this person gets caught and squanders all the status and benefits of being him/her. Typically the general public turns on this person and hold him/her up as a cautionary tale for all to see. It’s the closest thing modern society has to a public crucifixion.

We’ve seen countless stories like this play out and we will certainly be talking more about similar ones. Most similarly will be the OJ Simpson saga who though was acquitted in 1997 has been back in jail since 2007. Among OJ’s cautionary tales is [Read more…]

What I Mean By Spiritual Renewal and Why I Seek It

Yesterday’s post focused on seeking renewal this summer, and not merely rest. Which promptly lead someone to message me asking, “Great post, but what does renewal mean?”

My first thought was to reply sarcastically, but my friend is an intelligent fella so I took a moment to consider his question.  I like being pushed a little so it looks like I have a follow up post inniated by a reader – I’ll take it and know that I appreciate you engaging with me.

So what do I mean when I say spiritual renewal aside from the terse obvious answers of “to be made new again but you know, like, spiritually ” “to be reinvigorated spiritually of course” and “to feel fresh … ?” If I was selling a moisturizing body wash, this would suffice but in terms of spiritual renewal, these words only scratch the surface.  Now if I was selling a Christian [Read more…]

This Summer I’m Not Looking For Rest, I’m Looking For …

Just about this time every year, the school and church year come to an end and we breath a sigh of some relief and trade this question to one another, “So, what are you doing this summer?”

We say all sorts of things here, “We’re just hoping to get some rest but we are traveling a little. Later we are flying down to Florida” or “Headed up to Maine” or “We’re taking it easy this summer but we are remodeling the kitchen and my extended family is coming in July, then we are …” Slowly we realize, we’re not really going to find much rest and relaxation in these coming months.

As Susan and I survey our summer calendar, prepare for our vacation and day trips, talk about home projects and try to keep up with our 3 little ones, we already know there will not be much “rest” to be had here. And while running yourself ragged is certainly no virtue, I’m not sure rest is what we really want.

That’s why this summer we are seeking renewal. For most of us, summer is not really a slow time – it may offer a break [Read more…]

Collyde Summit Day 2 – Presentations By Pete Wilson & Margaret Feinberg – Post 4 #Collyde13

I’ve been blogging about the Collyde Summit. You can check them out here Post 1, Post 2, & Post 3.

Collyde’s main day began Saturday this time with a time of worship led by Aaron Keys (who is quite the worship leader). After a few more welcomes, words and blurbs, Pete Wilson took the stage. If you are unfamiliar with him, Pete is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee and the author of the popular title Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? (available in paperback for the bargain price of $3 from Amazon – it’s a deal).

I’ve only heard Pete a few times, but he’s very relatable, uses humor well and offers great application from Scripture. I think I’ll always flinch when someone says, “Nashville” as this town not only invented the “Christian Sub-Culture Bubble” but also [Read more…]

Collyde Summit Day 1 – Joan Ball’s Zombie Apocalypse & Links to Other Workshop Speakers – Post 3 #Collyde13

I’ve been blogging about the Collyde Summit – for the context, check out Post 1 and Post 2 but at the moment, I’ve been thinking about the workshops. Yesterday I wrote about Mako Fujimora, today is on Joan Ball. I first ran into Joan at the Collyde gathering in 2010 (the one affectionally known as the “Beta-Collyde”). She’s among the most interesting people you’ll meet at these types of things – generous, conversational, and energetic – it was a good thing One Village was there giving out coffee, otherwise I might not have been able to keep up with her.

IMG_0941Joan began her workshop by summarizing her coming to faith story as it was just 10 years ago she became a Christian. You can read her story in her book, Flirting with Faith. I like the way she shares her story – she had a lot of ups and downs – the same as everyone else. And while it’s wonderful how many people find Jesus during a difficult crisis in the valley, Joan actually goes through a different experience. As she mentioned, she was living a normal life, even a successful one by some standards, but after becoming a Christian, her life goes through a downturn.  Her family is met with financial hurdles, job loss, long periods of life-frustration and significant changes in their family dynamics. I wish she could have shared more here but at least we knew there was no prosperity gospel coming.

During her talk she stressed the need to “wrestle with the now.” Which in so many words, was a theme that Margaret Feinberg would also emphasize. She also admitted that she was intrigued by the Zombie Apocalypse (Hey who isn’t? I even included [Read more…]

Collyde Summit Day 1: Reflecting on Mako Fujimora’s Workshop Post 2 #Collyde13

Last week I attended the Collyde Summit and agreed to blog about it.  You can read the previous post on what I thought of their Concept here and soon I’ll post on the events that happened on Day 2 and the Main Presenters.  Also check out fellow conference blogger Evan Curry or his quick summary.

The Workshops
I like conference workshops and while Collyde didn’t use the words “pre-conference,” it’s what I heard.  In fact, the pre-conferece  was one of the highlights of the Justice Conference for me.  They tend to give those who are already in the conversation a deeper take on the content that is being presented (so when I saw Makoto Fujimora and Joan Ball scheduled for the morning, I was excited).

The level of content is always challenging for any general conference event as to draw in a wider audience, the presenters [Read more…]

Collyde Day 1: Reviewing the Concept #collyde13

I attended the Collyde Summit over the weekend and agreed to blog about it. On at least three occasions at the Summit and a couple prior, I was encouraged to be as honest as possible. I have not been paid in any way and aside from a waived registration fee, I have not received any type of compensation. In fact, the driving and weekend away from my family comes at a cost to me which begs the question – Why would I bother going to the Collyde Summit in the first place?

From my first encounter with Collyde, I knew it would continue to draw amazing people in the Tri-State area of NJ, NY & PA. It’s a tough part of the country to not only find fellow Christians but ones that are dreaming of bringing Jesus’ kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. I like Collyde Summit and the people who are running it. I have met the founder Jinu Thomas three times now and have had a couple conversations with the very dedicated and highly motivated Collyde team. I have to say, I’m rooting for them.

Second, I think things like this are needed, especially in the Northeast. Having lived in Jersey and the Philly area throughout my twenties and early thirties, I have observed a handful of Christian events that generally happen here. Usually it’s the big copy and paste crusade/rally/concert event that happens exactly the same way regardless of venue, context, and audience. They will always attract a crowd but it rarely connects with what [Read more…]

Will Be Blogging the Collyde Summit 2013

Today and tomorrow I’ll be at the Collyde Summit in Princeton, New Jersey. I was honored to be asked to blog/tweet some thoughts on the event and I am hoping there might be some helpful takeaways for you ministry types. For me, I like the people organizing the event (like Jinu Thomas).  I think their hearts are in the right place and really felt compelled to come down from Boston.

A few years, I was able to attend the first Collyde Summit (they would tell you last year was the real first, I attended the beta ;). Whatever it was I liked it and here my links are included below.

In the meantime, here’s a little more about the Summit from their website:
“What is Collyde Summit?
Collyde Summit is a gathering of passionate next generation believers in the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area, who love Jesus and are convicted to become world changers.”
This year’s theme is “Only Believe” and you can read more about that here.

Presenters include Pete Wilson and Margaret Feinberg, Dr. David Ireland and Bonnie Gay as the keynotes on Saturday and [Read more…]