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…]

What I’m Looking Forward to This Year at #QLA

QLAThe Q Conference begins tomorrow and I’m excited.  If you don’t know, Q is a gathering of Christian leaders (and some non-Christian) from different sectors of culture focusing on four themes Culture, Future, Faith and [Read more…]

Reflecting on Gary Haugen’s Message at Justice Conference – What I Loved, What I Pushed Back On

(Photo: Passion 2013 Conferences)

I’ve been blogging about my reflections on the Justice Conference in Philadelphia all month. I loved it. I hope what I gained and sharing with my wife shapes us, our family, our church, and our community. I know it sounds a bit lofty but in my mind this is the difference between consuming events/books/stories/practices/etc. and internalizing them.

So as I’ve been blogging about this and trying to filter out what actually is helpful and what is not, I’ve been critiquing as well. It’s easy to for critiquing to fall into splitting hairs and other unhelpful distractions. My hope is my push backs will point me (and perhaps you) to something deeper.

I felt this way during Gary Haugen’s message on Saturday morning.
[Read more…]

Reflecting on Eugene Cho’s “Water Your Own Grass” Idea From the Justice Conference

One of my favorite parts of the Justice Conference was listening to Eugene Cho’s seminar and message Saturday morning. He’s sharp, interesting and he is able to challenge his listener without them feeling guilty or frustrated.

I find there’s a good number of “justice” types who given their prophetic nature, frustrate their listeners. I’m some of it is meant in a well-intended provoking but some of it is likely unintended and I wonder how much of that speakers are actually aware of. While there is a significant population that needs to be confronted with the failures of apathy and inaction, there are a number of people who are already serving “almost the best the can.” When you push that latter group too hard, it starts to be counter-productive, especially if they are not in a life position to directly serve in say, a non-profit justice-seeking organization. So for the everyday person in the Church and the workforce, I think Eugene has a lot of wisdom to offer.

(Photo: From World Relief Responds)

Here were my notes:
1. Be generous.
2. Shut up and listen.
3. When you dehumanize the poor, you have no value in their redemption
He told a story of a man who shine shoes for a living. Over many years, he saved $200,000 in tips, then gave it to a kids’ home in Pittsburgh. If I heard the story right, the man himself was raised in an orphanage and never forgot either the pain of his childhood or those that were there to help.
4. Need to get deeper in the story
Study, Read, Search – Be informed, “Not enough to say I read it in Relevant, heard it on [Read more…]

Reflecting on Soong-Chan Rah’s Seminar at Justice Conference

I love half of what Soong-Chan Rah says and I loathe the other half ;) Part of his “brand” is being a prophetic type which is needed in the Church and throughout our world. So I love him as a brother in the Lord but if he’s not careful, I’m going to look into trading him for a different prophet. I think Craigslist lets you do that now and if I understand Dr. Rah right, this is how he knows he’d doing his job.

I first heard Dr. Rah speak at a Youth Specialties Conference a few years ago. I remember nodding my head along to seeing the need for the Church to think more globally, more as the full body of Christ, not just the Western one. Then I read his well celebrated The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity.   To brutally summarize, I agreed with the main idea, would debate some of the finer nuances, but I admit I was distracted by the angry rhetoric. That line between passion/righteous anger/ and anger is thin.

BUT I can’t stay away from him – he feels like a needed voice in my life. I was excited to see that he was presenting at The Justice Conference. I liked  his material was new and since I called attention to the use of anger, his demeanor was cool, passionate at times (in the good way) and I’d say, he came across to me as pastoral. But still, I only agreed with half of what he said.

Here are some of the notes I took:

Name of seminar was “Lamenting our Story”

What is it about American Christianity that desires to focus on success that actually diminishes Christianity’s theology of sacrifice?
Story of hearing a mega-church pastor talking like a Christian motivational speaker and saying stuff like this in sermons, “The sky is the limit, reach for the stars!”
Triumph narrative of Christianity instead of the Christian narrative of suffering and sacrifice.
3 Potential Responses
1. Disengage with surrounding culture
2. Idolatry (magic formulas)
3. Lament (Yahweh’s sovereignty)

“Arkitecture” illustration – my iPhone picture didn’t turn out but he showed a picture of a gothic church santuary that was turned upside down.  When seen this way, the domed ceilings resemble the bottom or a boat – an ark, a Biblical symbol of God’s rescue and deliverance. (It was clever – I’ve never saw that before).

Then, Dr. Rah said this:
Something happens when you move all the churches out of the city to the suburbs.
[Read more…]

TOMS Shoes Are Bad, Fair Trade Isn’t Enough, & Shane Claiborne Cut His Hair & Now I Don’t Know What to Believe/Consume

Depending on how long you have been a part of the social justice/sustainability/fair-trade conversation, you know that it can be wrought with complication and various perspectives on what is actually just.

For example, when TOMS Shoes first came out there was a surge of praise.  Blake Mosloskie founded a for-profit company whose “One to One” model allowed for consumer purchases to directly help those in poverty.  Blake, the story, The shoes, were everywhere and before you knew it, TOMS were being sold in stores like Nordstroms. Then a bit later, some were down on them. “They’re being made in China,” “Why shoes and why not food?,” “They’re not ethically made or distributed” and some dismissed them as another bad example of good intention. Likely, there are some holes in their model, likely some of the criticism are warranted and needed and likely the good people of TOMS are aware of even more of their faults than their critics realize. It seems they have been trying to function with better practices from the beginning and you should read more at their Corporate Responsibility page.  I’m optimistic for them.

Another complaint I hear are the limitations of fair trade products. Have you ever heard this – “It’s technically fair-trade [Read more…]

Check Out the Justice Conference, Feb. 22-23 in Philly

Hey Justice Seekers, in case you haven’t heard, the Justice Conference is taking place in Philly February 22-23.  At the moment, I’m looking for solutions that will allow me to attend but if you go, I would love for you to guest post here. Let me know.

For now, here’s the 101:

About – “The Justice Conference is a two-day annual event to promote dialogue around justice related issues such as human trafficking, slavery, poverty, HIV/AIDS and human rights, featuring internationally acclaimed speakers, hundreds of humanitarian organizations and dozens of pre-conference workshops.” [Read more…]