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Sunday, October 30, 2005


Marko's having a tough weekend see here and here.

Send him some love and prayers!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2005

ghetto 53 

The Ghetto Blog Turns 1!!!!

and welcome Justin Souza to the blogging world.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


In the book A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture by Barry Taylor and Craig Detweiler (a public thanks Craig since you gave me a free copy) I found something that I think greatly sums up the current situation of church.

While this quote comes from a chapter on TV, I think it greatly articulates a deep theological issue that we must wrestle with.
A majority of Christians in America prefer a message to a meditation. They want prime-time religion to offer hope, not despair, to tie up problems rather than raise theological questions.
I think the pretty much hits the nail on the head. How do we change this. Because I think this is a major problem in churches today. While the book goes on to say
Ministers must offer a message of hope while slipping in the odd and troubling assurance that we don't always get the answers we want to hear.
I would then argue that the time has come when cannot just slip in anything, but we must frontally assault people with questions that make them uneasy and provoke questions and then slip in an underlying message of hope and grace.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Working in Youth ministry now for a good 7 years (which doesn't quite qualify me, but it kinda does) I've been to a good number of training sessions, read a number of books and talked with a plethora of people in ministry, in regards to how we do youth ministry.

It seems to me that the time has come to at least start talking about what is next in terms of the progression of youth ministry. I'd rather not wait until we see a dire need for change or progression but start to look forward (and behind) and make some decisions about the direction that youth ministry is headed in the years to come. Really we are at an interesting intersection between church culture and world culture, and youth ministry is caught up in the middle and can easily be overlooked in the re-working of "big church".

If we are not careful youth ministry's identity is in danger of being lost. Or at least weakened as we move forward in our postmodern thinking about the junction of church and life.

In my limited scope I see the possibility of youth ministry being absorbed under the umbrella of Emergent. Because they share much of the same qualities in the sense of being youth oriented and slightly cutting edge. But I think we need to take steps to separate ourselves from the idea that the two are one in the same. Or that Emergent is the clear progression of youth groups + 10 years.

While I think youth ministry needs to embrace many of the same values that Emergent does, we also need to be cautious in not letting Emergent define youth ministry.

Youth ministry is a unique creature and I'm thankful for the many people who support it (see here and here for just a few examples).

Youth ministry is always constantly re-inventing itself. And we must continue to do so. We must understand culture and adapt (notice I didn't say relevant) and understand how to best minister to our students. Tried and true doesn't seem to apply any more.

Granted I know that there are small groups and weekly meetings that do just fine. But honestly when we look at the stats and numbers they just don't add up. A Christian teen and a secular teen are indistinguishable except one gets to sleep in 2 days a week instead of 1. We seem to have a problem retaining students after high school.

These are serious questions that require serious thought.

I want to be painfully clear. I love youth ministry. I have devoted my LIFE to it. Not just a stepping stone but my life. I am not trying to whine or dismantle things that are out there. I want to make sure we are doing this to the best of our abilities. I want to create conversation/brainstorming/creativity in how we do youth ministry and where that leads us.

I know I earlier wrote about how I don't measure success, see here, but we need to make sure our presence and our intentions are being influenced by our desire to be with followers of Christ. And those followers are students.

I don't have very much to offer.

I am more than willing to converse with people. I want to talk about trends we see. What the possibilities are for youth ministry are. What could be next. I want to talk about learning from our mistakes. I want to evaluate what is working and what is not. I want to exist in the world of youth ministry giving God my very best. I want to see students deeply in Love with a great and almighty God.

This will not happen unless we become a bit more proactive as a community in defining the direction we will go. Let me just say I am not looking for a quick fix, nor a single way of doing things.

I think this even requires a paradigm shift in the overall scope of ministry on every level. But we cannot sit around and wait for someone to tell us that the shift has occurred. I think we need to be somewhat instrumental in bringing about change in how the overall church views youth ministry. We need to stick our necks out a little further (I know that they are already out there pretty far). We need to take a stand. We need to make sure we are treated as equals in the world of ministry. We are just as much pastors as anyone else. Yes, we may not have extra letters after our names, and we may not make as much, but just because our "flock" is students, doesn't mean we are doing "less" ministry.

It may be clear now that I carry a lot of passion when I speak (write) about this.

This is where I am coming from.

Let's do a little more. Let's talk a little more. Let's do some research and figure out where this beast called youth ministry is headed.

I'm excited. I'm jazzed. God is going to continue to do amazing things through the lives of students and I'm just glad to be along on the ride.

Thoughts? Comments? Own ideas? Agree? Disagree? I really want to hear what you think.

your day 

Today is Jon Heder's Birthday.

Thank you for making the world a slightly better place. I peed my pants a little, when I watched your movie.

I really need to learn the dance from the movie. That would be the coolest thing ever. You can find some instructions here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

ghetto 52 

New Ghetto Blog


We as Americans are some of the most educated people in the world. We place an extremely high emphasis on education. People in society are looked down upon if they don't complete high school. Somehow they are less of a person, we think they cannot contribute to society as a whole. Most often they are placed in occupational programs and usually end up in the service sector, washing our dishes, serving our food and selling us our stuff. We often think that the more education we have, the more capable we are of doing whatever it is that we have studied.

But you already know this all.

The problem is when this attitude invades our churches.

Take a look at your church calendar. How many "classes" are there.

Classes from Bible books, to parenting classes, classes on prayer, classes on other religions and even classes on missions and service.

We even come to church to "learn about the bible". A sermon is good when people feel that they've learned something that they didn't know before. Where a preacher is capable of presenting information about God in a new and exciting way, leaving people with a new knowledge about something. Or how about when people get excited about the root meaning of a word in Greek or Hebrew. These things are mainly academic.

This attitude is even perpetuated down to youth and children's ministry. "Sunday school" - that says enough.

The question then becomes - what are we saying to our members through an education focused church? This may well be quite a passive question that we don't even think about. Are we saying that all we need to do is "learn" how to live out Christ? Are we saying that once we have enough head knowledge we will be Godly people?

If the realization of Christ and his message is really something that is groundbreaking, utterly earth shattering and life-changing then, why are we not reacting to those claims?

Why are we filling our heads with this "knowledge" if nothing (or at least not a lot) comes of it?

I do understand that we need a certain level of information to be able to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the Christian faith.

Though in our quest for more knowledge have we lost our understanding of what it means to just do something and figure it out as we go along? Where is the action if we have a Godly mandate to do things?

My contention is that our education and quest for learned things has clouded our ability to just go out on faith and do the things that we know we are supposed to do.

So what do we do?

Well it is quite easier said than done.

It requires a paradigm shift. Probably a big one. Which doesn't come easy. And I don't feel like I can do much more than encourage those in leadership positions to do what they can.

I will say that I think it involves us making an intentional drive to make sure that we take some focus off of an "educational" focus and put more emphasis on an action focus. (This does require us to recognize that there needs to be a change at all.) This has us cutting back on "classes" and providing more opportunities for us to worship in ways that allow us to experience God (see resources on experiential worship), it is us providing tangible opportunities for service (local and missional), it is us making statements from the pulpit telling our congregants that we must act and we must act now, it is us making statements that affirm the fact that we don't have to have everything figured out to be children of God.

I know easier said than done. But if we make even a little difference then we are doing something.

Yes all this spurs from cultural understanding, consumer driven personalities, apathy towards a broad perspective, a comfortableness with our current position, and even us not wanting to upset people.

The times we live in do not allow us to take "the easy road". I think the time has come where we must live as prophets, making statements that make a lot of people uneasy. I'm sure that my statements will rub people the wrong way. I'm sure I'm not making myself the most popular person on the block. And I know that because of what I say people will think I am off on the wrong track.

In my own defense, I am trying to raise issues that most people aren't thinking about. I am calling into question those things that fly under the radar, they are things that we don't have huge problems with, but there comes a point where we can no longer ignore these issues. We must examine them. If we continue to live by the adage "if it ain't broke, then don't fix it" then we will definitely break, and I'm not sure if we can recover (as a church) from being broken.

Leave your thoughts on this topic or other issues you think the church needs to address. Agree, disagree. Like it says, this is a conversation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I've talked about this quite a few times now. See here and here. But still the issue remains on my heart and in my opinion should still be on the hearts of most Christians.

There is no denying that our world is hurting. Look at the headlines from any major news source. Natural disasters have been overabundant this year and who knows when it will let up, it may even get way worse.

I am becoming more and more concerned in the lack of talk about how we as Christians have/should respond to the growing needs of our world. Yes, there has been some chatter in the blogging world about this but I still don't think this is enough. Or I am more concerned that it doesn't seem like enough churches have made this something they are willing to stop their regular schedule to just stop and pray. We continue our sermon series on the gospel of John, or how to be a better neighbor, or how to make sure that we gaining a better understanding of world religions.

What about prayer and seeking after the hurting heart of God? More and more I am convinced that God asks us to understand and seek after a heart of pain and a genuine concern for those who are in need.

(I'm sorry I have to keep saying this, but I do recognize that this does not include EVERY church and that there are individual cases where this is not true)

Here are some facts:
The Katrina death toll - around 1200 see here
The tsunami death toll - estimated around 113,000 see here
And according to ABC World News Tonight on Oct 19th the Pakistan earthquake death toll rose to around 80,000. And it will probably grow more as they deal with aftershocks and mudslides.

At this point millions if not billions of dollars have flooded into the gulf coast to help with reconstruction costs. (I'm not saying this isn't good) BUT last I had heard (please correct me if you know more) the US only donated 50 million and 8 helicopters to the relief effort in Pakistan. Let's do some math, solely based on death numbers. If there are over 80,000 dead in Pakistan and we donated 50 million, this means each family would receive $625. SIX HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS!!!!????? That doesn't even account for the reconstruction costs and the other millions of people who are homeless. Excuse me, but WHAT THE FUCK!!!!! ABC even reported that this is the 4th worse natural disaster in modern history. That's pretty bad.

Then there is the approaching Hurricane Wilma. It's being seen as a record breaking Hurricane. It's already a category 5 (which is the biggest) and might reduce to a 4 by the time it slams into west florida. It may not be as bad as Andrew back in the 90's but with an already pummeled gulf coast it only is working on compound interest.

There comes a point where we can do nothing else but utterly stop everything and recognize what is happening around us. Where we have a self realization that we can no longer pretend that we can continue our lives in the same manner.

A complete and total humility and respect for someone other than ourselves.

We did this after 9/11. But that happened to "us". It is time we understand we need to do this with "others" far more than we need to do it with "us".


Right now.

Stop your church, stop your work, stop your family, stop your complaining.

As Tony Jones puts it, we must live in a post-Auschwitz world. Pain, evil and sin are far more real than they have ever been.

We must continue on, we must defeat the fatigue of media, the disillusionment of repetition. We must live like Christ. We must adopt the attitude of God in times like these. We can no longer live like nothing outside of our own scope matters.

The next few weeks will be telling. Not only for our country but telling in the response of Christians around the world. Where our money goes, what our hearts break for, and how we devote our lives to the service of others. It especially gets interesting as most churches in america enter into their stewardship modes, budget and fundraising. How we spend our money says great deals about where our hearts lie.

Advocate for your churches to spend copious amounts of money on other people. Advocate for your church to train and send people to affected areas in the world, not just our country. Advocate for your church to devote over 25% of the church's total budget to supporting relief efforts. If all that fails, advocate for your church to stop on a regular basis and pray. Don't just say a "special" prayer. But use your whole service to pray. Don't talk about principles of prayer, just pray.

One of the issues at hand is that we have become so busy that it is near impossible for us to simply stop EVERYTHING and understand that there are other things in the world happening that take more precedence over what we are doing. We as a church should be screaming this at people.

I challenge you to take a look at how "Christians" respond over the next week as a hurricane slams into florida, as aftershocks continue to rock an already devastated portion of the world, how thousands of people die each week from starvation, how civil war is breaking out in africa and how a man less than 1/2 a mile from your house sits on a street cold and starving and yet we still do so little.

I know God cares, and if we are made in the image of God, then we can do nothing but care.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Thanks to TV shows on DVD...we can now watch an entire season of a show in a week or two, instead of spanning 24-30 weeks. It's especially great for story driven shows where you don't want to miss anything and you are always left wanting more.

Recently I've been watching the first season of Lost

and I'm hooked.

I am NOT watching the 2nd season though, I'll just wait til next year for the DVD release. It's just easier this way.

One thing I am particularly excited about (aside from Evangeline Lilly) is the fact that there is an asian MAN in a prominent role on a leading show (and bonus points, he's korean).

Meet Jin, played by Daniel Dae Kim. If you have ever stopped and noticed that there aren't too many male asians on tv. At least in roles that are prominent and well respected, aside from asian gangsters, FOB (fresh off the boat) immigrants, or nerdy scholastic awkward people. This mainly comes from my theatre background and the understanding that I'd most likely never get cast as anything good, because I was asian. On a side note, I almost got cast as a white supremacist in a play, but it didn't work out because my schedule was too busy. There's still a interest if someone was to come up to me and offer me a great acting job, I'd most likely take it. And I would always want to push for a straight role as a normal person, who didn't have to explicitly act "asian".

The meat of this post is really taking a look at how I view my own identity and how that fits into my role in the world of Christianity.

A little personal background on me to set the stage. I am a Korean male who was adopted at 9 months by white Christian parents. I identify more closely with American/White culture than anything else. I almost pretty much consider myself a White person. I even sometimes shock myself when I look in the mirror. If you get to know me for any length of time you will quickly realize that other than my physical appearance I have NO ASIAN in me. Even some of my longtime friends have to be reminded that I am asian. I call myself a "twinkie" (self-proclaimed), yellow on the outside, white in the middle.

My ministry and life experience has always revolved around White upper-middle class. I even when to a private Christian college in a white town in the upper class portion of the town.

I have had people approach me and ask why I'm not working with people of ethnicity. When I respond my answer usually revolves around the fact that I just don't feel called to work with people of ethnic backgrounds, especially asian cultures.

It's not that I don't care about ethnic issues. Nor do I think that people should work with ethnic groups promoting ethnic issues. They should.

I'm just not one of them. I want to care. I see the need for people to make this their focus. I just have never felt the need to press these issues. Does this make me a bad person? Does this make me a bad Christian?

I gladly support those who have made this mission their own. Please do not get me wrong.

It gets even more interesting when I start meeting people who have made racial issues their own, either as a person of the race or a white person being an advocate for others.

Great people like DJ Chaung, Aaron Flores (see this post), and Sivin Kit to name a few.

Aaron has suggested gathering minority leaders at some point (see previously mentioned). And I am a part of the list of people who fit the "minority" category. I am not opposed to this nor do I take offense in this. I am even honored by it. The problem arises in how I view myself. Do I embrace my "ethnic" or do I continue as I am?

I would greatly like to be a part of this group in the sense that I would be contributing to the discussion. But I want to be true to where I see myself. Would I just then be using my inherent ethnic "abilities" to be a part of this group. I don't want to twist things, or deceive anyone, this is not my intention.

This leaves me in a quandary.

Or this just is an ongoing issue between how I see myself, how others see me. How this all affects where I am used most effectively in ministry. I of course want to be in the places where my gifts are going to be best used to their full potential. As of now I feel I best work in situations where white middle class is dominant. At least in So Cal. I am open to God calling me to be in a more "ethnic" setting. It is my hope that people look beyond the initial appearance that I carry with me and look deep into my character in God's eyes.

I don't know where this leaves me at all. I have no clearer insight into racial...anything.

I don't even know where to take the conversation.

I do know that I continue to grow in my understanding of God. And I am eager to share what I am learning with others, white, black, asian, poor, wealthy, whatever.

I hope that God will use me greatly. I hope that I am respected by others for what I can contribute on a Godly level.

Thanks for sharing in this conversation. Feel free to leave questions you might want answered or things you need more insight on, in relation to race and God. I hope this post generates a good deal of discussion, forward it, re-post it, discuss it. (just please give credit where due)

Monday, October 17, 2005


This thought strain developed after hearing Sue Thomas speak at the National Youth Workers Convention and a conversation with Denise VanEck and some conversations over the past few weeks.

Sue was an amazing speaker, has a great testimony and you just want to love on her and hug her when she's done. She did make one statement that I've been having trouble with.

More or less her statement was that unless you had a clear, undeniable, unforgettable, moment with Jesus where you recognized your need for salvation then you basically weren't a Christian.

I have a problem with this...you see I was raised in a Christian home. I am a "lifer" as I like to refer to myself.

I cannot for the life of me remember one definable moment where I realized my need for salvation.

Maybe I can't see it or maybe I just don't want to point to one.

But in the definitive understanding of a very clear and unmistakable moment. I do not have that.

Does this mean I am not Christian???

I do have encounters with Jesus on a frequent basis where I become painfully aware of my constant need for salvation and grace. But I do not consistently point to one as "the moment".

I understand the value in being able to point to that one singular moment. It is seen in many people's live through the course of history. I just don't share in that.

I actually had a version of these moments that same night that Sue spoke, it was during worship. I was having them all weekend in fact. Even as I try, hard, to remember that life-changing moment, I cannot.

Is this essential? Does this make me less of a Christian? Or am I just missing some facet of the Christian experience?

What do you think? What are your experiences? (please answer BOTH questions if you are going to comment)


It's raining here in LA. I'm up late...lying in bed with my comforter pulled up to my neck. I can hear the rain and the thunder. Listening to Coldplay. Watching the reflection of the lightening in the mirror through the window, barely catching my eye in the peripheral.

Thinking of a million and one things to blog, but not wanting to take the time to actually flush out my ideas. Though I do have to pull an Aaron and have a post coming up based loosely on Lost. (which I'm now hooked on)(thank you DVDs)

My health status: I'm claiming being at 80%. Which is a huge improvement. I have a dr's appt later this morning. Hopefully he'll give me the O.K. to hit the gym again. I've really been missing it. Especially since I got in a good rhythm right before I got sick. The drugs have done their job, for the most part, and it should only be a little longer before I'm completely better. Thanks for the continued prayer from so many of you.

I'll try and post more substantial thoughts later today.


Standing in the middle of the street barefoot watching the rain come down against the backdrop of street lights and traffic signals while stray dogs ramble down the street is quite surreal. Not to mention actually watching lightning vein it's way across the sky while standing in the rain. God is one cool mother...
(NOT ALLOWED: comments about how I SHOULDN'T be standing in the street barefoot while still sick)

Sunday, October 16, 2005


New Ghetto Blog

Thursday, October 13, 2005

jolly good 

IKEA and being with students. What a great day. A nod to our Brothers and Sisters of the Star of David. Thanks for getting school cancelled.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


What if I took my entire budget for youth ministry and gave it away? I'm not talking my salary but my program budget, scholarship money, and training money. And just gave it to either a charity organization or another church who can't afford to hire anyone to work in youth ministry or a church that has a great program that is helping people but just doesn't have the resources.

Wonder what would happen...

What would the reactions be...

Monday, October 10, 2005


Just to update you loyal readers...

I'm still feeling pretty crappy...the pneumonia is still kinda kicking my butt. Went back to the Dr's today and he prescribed me more antibiotics. So now I'm double drugged. Should be a fun next couple of days.

Big improvements in church life today. I got a few more hours added to my job description (now 25 hrs/week). W00t!! It's a small step but it's also a huge step in the church backing youth ministry. We'll see where this takes us. (THANK YOU to all the people who have continually supported me and been my best advocates)

The one thing I really miss from my time at NWYC (posts 1-10 start here) is the constant stream of good deep meaningful conversation. There was so much to process and so many good people that it was quite easy to find someone anytime of the day to converse with.

That's one thing I really appreciate/need in my life is good people to have conversation with. My wife will definitely have to be a deep thinker. Someone who challenges me, will debate me, will be able to keep up with my non-sensical thought process. She's going to be quite a woman.

I guess that's enough for now. Tomorrow I'm going to try and maybe go to work. I really miss my middle schoolers, but I do really want to be fully better and staying home might win out. We'll see.

Thanks for continuing to pray for me, my ministry and everything else.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Here it comes folks. Open up your pockets even deeper. Start getting ready to send money, food, supplies, personnel.

In case you haven't heard Pakistan/India/Kashmir/Afghanistan have suffered a 7.6 earthquake. Preliminary reports are saying over 15,000 dead. And this is only in the first 24 hours.

First off, let's pray.

Second, pray some more. Stop your measly daily life and spend some good time in prayer. Our world is a wreck right now and prayer sometimes seems like the only thing we can do.

I could go on to talk more about how I feel the Christian response isn't necessarily to move our budgets around and send money, see previous post "relief", but I think I have that covered.

The most important thing right now is to acknowledge, more than ever, our attention is needed in more than one place.

It still has yet to be a full year since the Tsunami hit, the gulf coast will need our aid for YEARS, and now Pakistan will need our aid for the meanwhile.


We must not merely shift our attention to the most recent tragedy. There is still crisis in Africa. Thousands of people die there every week.

Now is the time for us Christians, especially, to become advocates for those who need our wealth far more than we do.

Complain about gas prices. Complain about how you deserve a raise. Complain about how your house isn't up to "your" standards.

Complain all you want.

Today's Christian should be far more concerned with the life of others than he/she is concerned with his/her own life.

Especially if you live in America.

These are harsh words. But we are living in harsh times. Our world is very broken. We too must become broken, very broken, so that we do not widen the gap that is growing on a daily basis.

Folks it will never get easier. I have come to terms with this. I am ready to live a marginal life. If that means that I can in some small way help others.

I hope you desire this too.

My prayer for tonight:
God, I have too much. Take some back. It is hard for me to continue to look at other places in the world and then ask why I don't have more. We need your grace to cover us now. We need your love to brighten dark places. We need the hope that only you can bring. Surround us in comfort and peace. Let us grieve, let us wail. Let us be reminded that you alone are God.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Final guest blogger on the Ghetto Blog
Sorry it took me so long to get it posted.


Please join me in welcoming Kelsey back to the land of Blogging. Go leave her a few comments.


I'm completely bored.

The whole sitting at home letting my body rest is starting to get to me.

I want to do things, I want to get out and go nuts. But I know for my own good that I must rest and get totally well.

In the meantime...I just feel lazy.

I know there are things I could do. Ie clean my room, write the articles that I need to write, come up with profound things to say on my blog. Though being in a lethargic state doesn't exactly motivate myself to do these things.

Even though I love reading, that too seems too low key for me right now.

Hopefully I can find myself something to do for the rest of the day.

We'll see if I find the energy to do anything more productive.

That is all.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I carry with me a huge load. Everyday I have it with me. It follows me wherever I go. It haunts me in my sleep. It rears its ugly head at my aspirations. It weights me down.

I can't tell you how much I just want to run. I can't tell you how much I want to be free of this thing.

The things I could do if I didn't have it looking over my shoulders.

I want to go and live a life of poverty. Go and serve somewhere else in the world. Only having what little I need.

I desire to face what God has asked me to do.

To do ministry to those who need it most. To be a presence in the places that are darkest.

But I am stuck here.

I am not allowed to go wander.


I'll eat rice and beans forever.

I'll wear one pair of clothes.

I'll be uncomfortable.

I'll live for Christ alone.

But I cannot. It would be irresponsible. It would not be living up to my commitments.

Or would it?

Doesn't Christ overcome all these things?

Does it really matter if I seem like a failure in the eyes of America?

Does it really make sense to be slave to anyone but Christ?


There's too much in my life. At this point who cares about credit scores, credit cards, homeownership, fancy cars.

I want a more simple life.

Is it irresponsible to run away from these things?


In the eyes of Christ, maybe not...

I want to be freed from my bondage.

I want to buy a one way ticket to who-knows-where.

Maybe I'm called to stay in America and serve here, maybe I'm called to go where the Passion is alive, maybe I'm called to just sit with those who are lonely.


God, I know your plans for me will be revealed. I know that you provide exactly what I need. Help me know that I am using my abilities to best serve you. Make it known, loudly, where you need me. Thank you for the life you allow me to live. For without you I have no other. Give those who have no strength, strength, give those who have no hope, hope and give those who think they have no love, more love than they can imagine.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I finally went to the doctor's today. Since I've been sick for a good 3 weeks now.

I had to cancel Middle school group last night since I still wasn't feeling well.

Long story short, I have pneumonia.

Nothing too bad, I'm on antibiotics and should be on the mend as long as I rest and don't do much.

So that's the story. Thanks for all of your continued prayers and keep praying for a speedy recovery.

NYWC #10 

This is the final update from my trip to NYWC, but that doesn't mean I won't post about things that I started to think about while I was there.

Monday wrapped up nicely. Spent some time in the prayer Labyrinth. Here's an online version. Was a really good experience, at times felt quite mystical and surreal.

Marko gave a great closing keynote that inspired a lot of people.

Said goodbye to a few people (who I know I will see again at some point).

Kelsey and I spent the rest of the day driving back home. A relaxing time. We actually read a book during our travels.

We read Henri Nouwen's book, Beyond the Mirror. It was cool to read a book out loud as we were driving. It's totally a different experience than just reading it by yourself. (quite a good read too)(but then anything by Henri is)

After finally getting home it was nice to relax and lay in my own bed. Didn't do much that evening. Spent some time reflecting on the conference before going to bed.

I am truly grateful for the time I got to spend with people and with God during my 5 days in Sacramento.

I will post more of my theological thoughts in the coming weeks.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

NYWC #9 

This may or may not be my last post before I get home on Monday night. And then it may take me a day or two to get back in the blogging swing. So this is my conceivable hobo-blogger notice.

Updating the last 24+ hours:

Spiritual Direction = Exactly what I needed. I am now an advocate for every person in ministry to do it. That's all I feel comfortable saying now. If you want to hear more call or email.

More good time, sitting relaxing. It's good not to feel bad about missing sessions or other things. Sitting on a couch in the Sheraton lobby with my computer is refreshing for me.

Late night theology discussion = Good but too many people for actual open discussion. Glad I had time with Tony earlier in the day.

Uber Late Night Time with Friends = Exhausted + Hungry + borderline mental + Denny's + more conversation + lack of sleep + too much to process = One of the best times of the week. Even though I got to bed after 2:30am

Sleeping in a little late and skipping morning seminars = worth it.

John and Brian leaving for home = a bummer since they are great people and we felt a little alone with out them.

Meeting Lilly and Denise this morning after seminars = always a good time with these two. Denise and Lilly are good friends so I get the second hand pleasure of getting to hang out with Denise.

General Session = pretty good, really enjoyed the time they took to acknowledge the youth work that continues despite the situation in the South. Ted was good and always good to hear the DCB.

Bloggers Lunch - Not exactly what I expected...but still good, since being with people is always good. See also here (the pic is of KC's youngest son).

Sue Thomas = What a lady. Just wanted to give her a HUGE hug.

Dinner = Went back to the Hawaiian place with Kelsey, Lilly, Denise and her son Nick (14). Great time. Good talking. Good food. Perfect end to the day.

Driving home and being home by 9pm = !!!!!!!!!WOW!!!!!!!!! So AMAZING. So GOOD.

Well that's the really, really quick version of the day. And tomorrow is busy as well. I've got time scheduled in the Labyrinth and then saying goodbye to people and finishing up the conference. Really looking forward to Marko's talk. (If you read this, thank you for blessing us in everything you do, truly you are a good friend and an reflection of God)

I have so much to blog about, so stay tuned over the next few weeks and months, as I process all this out with thought and care.

It's been a blessing to be able to share this experience with all of you.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

NYWC #8 

Bloggers lunch is set. We have reservations at the Pyramid Brew Co on 1029 K Street, if you exit the convention center near Starbucks then head to the middle of the convention block, it's down the walkway street about 2 blocks on the right. Our reservations are for 12:30 and prices look to be around 10-15 a person.

Bloggers lunch 12:30pm Sunday October 2nd at Pyramid Brew Co 1029 K Street
Spread the word and see you there.

NWYC #7 

Well the day has progressed exactly how I would have expected a great day to be. After not going to the general session #3 I headed over for lunch with Tony Jones. (sorry the pic is a little po-mo, but it's kinda cool too) It ended up being Tony, myself, John Raymond, and Paul. Which was really cool. It was like we had ourselves a little cohort. We'll call it the So Doh Ko Mo Cohort (for we represented the southern california cohort, the minnesota cohort and Paul is going to start a south dakota cohort). We got to share some great food and some really amazing conversation. On deep theological levels and it was just a bunch of guys sitting around a table enjoying our shared love of Christ and love for the Church. And it was even better since John works for Zondervan they picked up the tab for lunch. Sweet!!!

After lunch and talking about theology and publishing and Jews and a bunch of other stuff. I headed over to sit and chat with Marko (see his guest ghetto blog). What a great guy (and I'm not just saying that cause I know he reads this blog). He has such a heart for God and the church and to serve people in ministry. We mainly just shared about life.

It's just so refreshing to me to know that he continues to be a real person who is often at fault, recognizes his shortcomings and is willing to interact with so many different people in a genuine and real way.

After that chat I happened to see KC and we ended up spending some more quality time together and doing the same. This time instead of a posh suite at the Hyatt it was on a concrete bench on the street. But God was still present and working in and around the conversation.

Now, again, I am sitting in the Sheraton doing my thing. Up next is trying to find out about a place for the bloggers lunch tomorrow and getting ready for my Spiritual Direction session tonight. Then general session...maybe. And then the late night Theology discussion with Tony, which may or may not be similar to lunch on a larger scale.

NYWC #6 

Two New Ghetto Blogs
Both with special guest bloggers.

NYWC #5 

I'm pulling a Marko and skipping out the this morning's general session #3.

I'm sitting in the Sheraton hotel across the street using their free wi-fi.

Went to the discussion between Tony and Duffy this morning. Really good, they both touched on a lot of good points. I do have some comments about the gathering as a whole and some observations based on some of the questions the audience asked as well as some of my own personal observations about what feelings it stirred up in me (but it will have to wait for a later post).

Today I think I really need to make sure I am taking care of me. It is easy to get caught up in helping others (such as Lilly) that the act and love of helping is turning into more work than I need right now. So today is officially about making sure that I don't over-do-it. Which doesn't necessarily mean REST, but it does mean making sure that I am engaged in activities that do not make me more tired than I need to be. It's about protecting myself. Already being tired, sick, worn out, and in need of good people around me, that's what I hope for today.

I hope those of you reading are taking care of yourselves as well. If that means having a beer with friends, then do it, if that means finding a quiet corner and sleeping do it. This goes for those of you NOT HERE as well. Are you taking care of yourself? Really? I am more and more convinced about this idea of personal care and ministry. Truly we focus on imitating the work of Jesus and so often forget about imitating the rest and soul care that Jesus practiced, not only alongside his ministry, but in the midst of his ministry. Meaning that doing and resting were side by side components, not separate components where one is isolated from the other. They must coexist, in paradox.

Wow, I've started down a long post there where I could go on and on, but I will live up to my own commitment for the day and stop here and enjoy the odwalla Strawberry C Monster drink and not do a lot.

NYWC #4 

5 1/2 hours of sleep. Which is the disadvantage of not staying at a hotel near the center...but cheaper.

And I got to cook bacon and eggs for us this morning.

Looking forward to today. It's going to be way too busy but between seeing Tony Jones and hanging out with Marko it should be a blast. I think the evening hours will be quite unproductive in the sense of doing nothing and being able to relax a bit. The spiritual direction will be good and then I hope to make it to the Labyrinth maybe later today or tomorrow sometime.

Well I have to not spend any more time on this blog since I do need to actually finish getting ready for the rest of today. Hope to see you around if your at the convention and if you are not then I only wish you could be here.

That means you Eric.

Have a blessed day in the presence of the Lord Almighty.

I'm going to try and reserve us some tables for the blogger lunch later today so we might know where we're going tomorrow. I'll post it on the board and here when/if I find out.