Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Hide the Beer, the Pastor's Here"...tons of great church and beer articles

Did Jesus endure the cross just to keep us in line?

"Just to keep people in line, we build our own Christian civilization and then demand that everyone who believes in Jesus become a good citizen. It's hard to imagine that Jesus would endure the agony of the Cross just to keep us in line. .."

Erwin McManus, context and comments here.

See also, Did Jesus Come Just to Kick Your Ass?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

interviews w/Wolfgang Simson and others re: simple church

Video...interviews w/Wolfgang Simson and others re: simple church/organic church:

Menopausal Death Crone; "Jesus went off and had a few beers and then went bowling"

From "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" by  Anne Lamott:

The day after Sam turned thirteen, we were going through our usual hormonal transformations together, which is to say, sometimes the house gets crowded. There was Sam at thirteen-usually mellow, funny, slightly nuts. But when the plates of the earth shifted, there was the Visitor, the Other. I called him Phil. Phil was tense. Also sullen and contemptuous. There was me at forty-eight-usually mellow, funny, and slightly nuts-and there was the Menopausal Death Crone.
Some days were great, because Sam and I at these ages were wild and hilarious and utterly full of our best stuff; but other days, when Phil and the Death Crone dropped by, were awful. We sniggered impatiently, and sighed and gripped our foreheads, and we fought. We fought mostly about homework and church, neither of which works for Sam-but then again, neither does flossing. It's hard for him to sit still for school and church when he'd rather be hanging out with friends or playing at the computer, and I hate to make him sit still, because I want him to be happy and to find an authentic spirituality, and because his resistance pollutes my home and my worship.

The usual things helped: some distance, prayer, chocolate. Talking to the parents of older kids was helpful for me, since parents of kids the same age as yours won't admit how horrible their children are. There's a great book on adolescence that I can turn to, Get out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall? by Anthony Wolf. I taped things to the wall that give me some light to see by. One pink card says, "Breathe, Pray, Be kind, Stop grabbing." Another card says something I heard recently, that you can either practice being right or practice being kind. Screaming in the car helped.

But what helped most of all was walking. I had been going up on Mount Tamalpais to walk and be quiet and pray nearly every morning for years. I started to do this because I had heard that Jesus did so, although my friend Father Tom recently clarified this. He said that we are not sure whether Jesus actually did this; people had to explain Jesus' absence by saying he was going up to the mountain to pray, but for all we know, he went off and had a few beers. Then he may have gone bowling, slinging the ball bitterly down the alley until he felt better.  link

Today's Devotional From a Serrated Skylark

Douglas Wilson, who penned the other immortal words:
.. one edifying thought experiment (there are many such) consists of William Tyndale paying a tumultuous visit to Tyndale House, publishers of the inane Left Behind series. One pictures broken windows, crying secretaries, sirens, a major scene, an arrest, and a board meeting the next day with the suits and haircuts trying to decide if they should press charges against this very troubled man. At the end they decide to just make him pay for the damage he did to the sign out front -- the sign that had his name on it. This is an obvious point, but a certain kind of mind still misses it. This is because a certain kind of mind couldn't hit a bull on the ass with a banjo"
(A Serrated Edge, p. 40, Douglas Wilson)

is behind today's "devotional":


Their Bibles are more underlined than other people's. They showboat their way up to the stage where the pulpit used to be....And they like being called doctor

...they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'

8"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.[b] 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Matt 23:7-12

In the old days, this had to be accompished by means of respectful titles like "Rev." But nowadays, in these egalitarian times, the attitude of spiritual conceit has had to be a a little more creative,a nd a pastor shows his prowess in humility by asking people to call him "Joe". Behind the scenes, he is a fierce, hard-driving CEO,and reads those CEO magazines, and acts like a CEO on airplanes, right down to ogling the flight attendand in first class. But out in front of the congregation, sitrting on that stool, fitted out in a Mr. Rogers cardigan, he is open, transparent,and shares the
s truggles of his heart--the struggels ofa simple guy...named Joe. He is about as deep as a wet spot on the pavement.

-Douglas Wlison,
A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking...p. 36

5Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. 6They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, 7preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called "Doctor' and "Reverend.'

8"Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. 9Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of "Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. 10And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them--Christ.

11"Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. 12If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

Matt 23, The Message

Erratic, full of crap saints whose lives are a mess...uh, thanks to Jesus

Try these reads:
Demos Shakarian: Jesus has messed up my life every day since I have known Him

Bruce Cockburn: I became a Christian, and my marriage fell apart

"Real Christianity is messy, erratic, lopsided and liberating"
-Messy Spirituality, Yaconelli

"In fact, we should change the passing of the peace from “Peace be with you” to “You’re full of crap and so am I.” Mike Yaconelli once said that church should be a place where we look at each other and say, “What are you doing here?”"
-S Simpson

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mary Rocks!

Every year, about this time, I love preaching on Mary...(and I am a Protestant!..(:

...or am I? Maybe I used to be!..I'm not Roman Catholic, but how important are categories like Protest-ant any more? And what am I/are we now, anyway: emerging, misisonal, ?? Post-Protestant...pre-Christian...whatever!) It began years ago with Jack Hayford's little book "The Mary Miracle" (reisssued as The Christmas Miracle, no doubt because someone feared the title sounded too 'Cathlolic'!!)). In Paraguay in 1998, I risked preaching a sermon in Spanish about how we are all to become spiritually "pregnant" like Mary... (Just imagine how that might have come across..."Come to the altar and get pregnant"..!)

Can't wait to

hear how
I preach it this year(: ...

especially in light of the Nativity movie, and the Scot McKnight book..)

It is tempting to preach something like this..

The point?

"Mary is, to that extent, the supreme example of what always happens when God is at work by grace through human beings. God's power from outside, and the indwelling Spirit within, together result in things being done which would have been unthinkable any other way."

-NT Wright, Luke for Everyone , p. 11.

Come to the altar and get pregnant.

no membership, no dues, just passion & giveaways...sounds like church to me!

My friend SQ...who reads here.. sent me a link to a community he belongs to called SHIFT.

I love the name...Quotes below from their website.

.. fill in each blank with the word "Jesus" or "Christian(ity)" and see how cool and appropriate it sounds. Then click the link at bottom to see what the real missing word is; and then ask what we as church can learn..


SHIFT revels in expressing Portland’s creative ___ culture through events and
___ fun intended to highlight the positive contributions of ____for the
community at large.

As a loose-knit and informal bunch of ____-loving
folks, we ask for no membership, nor dues, only a shared passion for the ____ in
all (his) glory...... as a tool for social

SHIFT, then, is open to everyone sharing in this passion.

And where would the fun be if we weren't at least semi-organized?!
Yes, SHIFT folks do plan, execute, publicize, and get involved in the
celebration of ____ events. We hope you'll be inspired to join in on the ___ fun

Our Activities:

SHIFT also
organizes events of our own. Examples of SHIFT-led activities include coffee
give-ways, socialsl, educational ____ tours, actions to raise awareness about
....death; information-sharing events, "art and ___" parades and more.

Our Mission:
To demonstrate that ____ is fun, liberating, empowering,
sustainable, and environmentally friendly.

click the link to find the nature of the community...



Friday, November 24, 2006

"Face-painters, Cheese Heads, Flatulence Giants,and other revolutionaries"...sounds like church to me!!

"Face-painters, Cheese Heads, and other revolutionaries: Fans who show up sporting a wedge of plastic cheese on their heads, or wearing nothing but a barrel and suspenders, or dousing themselves in purple paint are really just the modern-day, class-defying equivalents of flatulent giants, cross-dressing jesters, and juggling scullery maids of the Renaissance."

“Carnival is not a spectacle seen by the people; they live in it, and everyone participates because its very idea embraces all the people.” -- Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World

“We always strive after things forbidden and covet what is denied us.” -- François Rabelais, The Histories of Gargantua and Pantagruel

-all the above From the Pop Matters article here...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

new U2 song, "Window in the Skies"

Gee, what do you think the new U2 song, "Window in the Skies" is about?

Some great lyric intrerp by Mother Beth at this link..

"Watch" the entire song here..just be aware that though the video below has the audio to the whole song; the video is a fan video (the official video is not out yet):

Most of the song is also in audio form online.... Linked from the 11/09 post on our forum right here ; (later note: It's also now on my myspace jukebox here.

"Window in the Skies"

The shackles are undone
The bullet's quit the gun
The heat that's in the sun
Will keep us when there's none
The rule has been disproved
The stone it has been moved
The grave is now a groove
All debts are removed

Oh can't you see what our Love has done
Oh can't you see what our Love has done
Oh can't you see what our Love has done
What it's doing to me

Love makes strange enemies
Makes love where Love may please
The soul in its striptease
Hate brought to its knees
The sky over our head
We can reach it from our bed
If you let me in your heart
And out of my head

Oh can't you see what our Love has done
Oh can't you see what our Love has done
Oh can't you see what our Love has done
What it's doing to me

Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh

Please don't ever let me out of here

I've got no shame
Oh no, oh no

Oh can't you see what Love has done
Oh can't you see
Oh can't you see what Love has done
What it's doing to me

I know I hurt You and I made You cry
Did everything but murder You and I
But Love left a window in the skies
And to Love I rhapsodize

Oh can't you see what Love has done
To every broken heart
Oh can't you see what Love has done
For every heart that cries

Love left a window in the skies
And to Love I rhapsodize

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"He preaches WITH, not TO the damned...and he actually prefers their company"

Uncalculated and uncredentialed.

Two terms Eugene Peterson used here in defending his ...controversial in some circles...view of U2 as prophets.

Those three terms, then (uncalculated, uncredentialed, and prophetic) fit U2 and Johnny Cash well.

Unlike many Christians...let alone pastors...Johnny was honest and "uncredentialed" enough to say...well amazing, uncalculated prophetic; well, read all the quotes here.

Like most prophets; Cash exhibted two more attributes of the prophetic (in Peterson's definition): bite and clarity.

Like most prophets, he died too young.

Read the articles and weep.

Watch this and pray.

Then do something with it.

Preach with the damned, for Christ's sake.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

saddest post ever?

Someone called this the saddest post ever..


try this classic:
Open letter from a young "prodigal slacker"

A good read:

A growing collection of worthwile articles on the topic of "Detoxing From Church" is posted just a click away (right here on our forum)...Since I know that title intrgued you, check it out. It has received almost 20,000 hits; as opposed to most on the same forum topping at under 1000! Someone's hitting a nerve!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Kiwi and Wolf

I have never been so excited about a sequel since...uh, Matrix 2..and that didn't pan out as well as #1 or #3, unless you have a thing for Keanu's bare butt..

Wolfgang Simson, author of the seminal "Houses That Change the World," is about to bless us with a sequel..and in the meantime, as the Skinny Kiwi reminds us here, it would be a good time to review his earlier masterpiece..and many of his choice articles in this closet..

Ted Haggard, Meth w/Gay Prostitutes...all in 2D

Stephen Shields has good words on all this craziness here


Let's all be in prayer..

Follow the news, see interviews w/Haggard, read blogger's challenges here