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Friday, March 31, 2006


I am part of google's adsense program. For it ads are placed along side of my blog. When people click on them, I earn a small amount of money. I never expected to actually make any sizable amount of money off this (and still haven't), but it's free and fairly unobtrusive, so all in all, it's ok.

This post isn't about adsense. But about an ad. I hardly ever look at the ads but one today caught my eye.

It was for this company.

I like beer and I've always wanted to make my own. And I like wine, so why wouldn't I like to try and make my own wine...in a legitimate way, not just leaving orange juice to ferment (accidentally did that once in college).

So are there 24 people out there with 200 extra bucks lying around that want to go in on a case (25 bottles) each of a wine of our own design???? Might be kinda cool.

Just thinking out loud. If I ever have an extra 5K lying around I'm so doing this.


I'll preface this post with the fact, that since I am posting this, I probably will make the situation worse.

< rant >

I have a counter on my blog (look down and to the left) this little gizmo allows me to see the ip address and referring url (if there is one) of people who visit my blog. Most times it's just friends, some times I can tell if people do google searches for things like Doogie Howser related things, the strangest one I think was Mr. T + sexy underwear. But more and more lately I've been seeing google searches for "Andrew Seely". At first I was somewhat flattered. Then I started to realize that I'm not actually that popular and that people aren't trying to track me down, because I have interesting things to say or that I'd be lucky enough to have stalkers.

In all reality people were looking for this guy.

So apparently there's this thing called High School Musical. (here's where I'm making it worse, in mentioning the above named movie and my name in the same post) You see in High School Musical, which is a product of the Disney Channel and is aimed at children, pre-teens, tweens and maybe even freshmen high school girls. (and I know some of my middle school students have seen this show) Well it seems that Mr. Andrew Seeley happens to have wrote a couple of songs in it and I guess actually sings in it, and it seems popular enough that you can download it from iTunes (both video and audio).

This whole fiasco has let to numerous random IMs from people I don't know, presumably young girls who are looking for some guy they think is hot. Sorry ladies, wrong guy. I work in ministry and talking to underage girls out of state is bad enough, but since I work at at church it only makes things worse.

It even went as far as getting a phone call (voice message) from someone who thought I was the other Andrew. That's what I get for putting my phone number on the internet. Thanks Tom Green for the idea (in case you're wondering Tom Green's number is 310-717-1919) (I don't know if he changed it,and I never called it, but if you do, let me know).

So please if you happened to googled "Andrew Seely" and are looking for a movie star: I AM NOT HIM!!!!

Maybe I should start a forum topic on imdb linking this post. And if anyone actually has a way to contact Andrew Seeley please let me know so I can tell him to start his own blog so people go there instead of here.

If you are interested in church, God, the emerging church, culture, christianity, music, books, movies, and/or silliness then this is the place to be. Keep reading and we all love comments.

< /rant >

is not from


I'm really in love with the art of movies. I watch a lot of them, I talk about them, and if someone asked me to be in one, I'd probably do it in the drop of a hat (so if you read this and want to cast me in a movie, my email is on the left).

A few weeks ago I was on imdb.com and saw a link to this article. It immediately sparked my attention. I had seen many of the films on the list but for some reason I was automatically drawn to the movie Before Sunset.

Not having seen either Before Sunrise or the sequel (which was suppositively better according to the above mentioned article) Before Sunset, I trotted over to the local Blockbuster and picked me up the two movies (thank you Blockbuster Rewards).

First off, the sequel was definitely better than the original. That is to say, do not discount the original as a bad film, and definitely see the original before you watch the sequel.

First off let me caution you that these are not fast moving movies, and they are a bit "art-house".

But if you have a bit of time on your hands and enjoy storytelling and character development then these movies are a must.

The story revolves around Jessie (Ethan Hawk) and Celine (Julie Delpy) who meet on a train and end up spending an entire evening together in Venice Italy. The movie ends with them saying goodbye and vowing to meet six months later at the exact same spot. The sequel picks up 9 years later in Paris where the two meet again and spend an afternoon catching up and evaluating whether or not there is still chemistry between the two.

Like I said before these movies are character pieces that revolve around a relationship. Mostly shot in real-time and most of the pacing comes from conversation which at times can be a little slow and awkward but ultimately adds to the movie's appeal and charm.

It is very interesting to watch a relationship unfold in a very fluid and natural way, and then in the sequel to watch people reunited and the underlying questions that surround their "relationship" nine years later.

While the scenarios may be a bit far fetched and the emotions a little over dramatic both these movies both appeal to the hopeless romantic in me yet offer a some-what realistic look at a developing relationship.

The real-time feel to the movie allows it to move past the "hollywood romance" that relies on editing and music to set the tone of a relationship. We get to be an outside observer of two people connecting on a deep emotional level. There is not much to hide, there are unanswered questions, and a sense that these two characters are genuinely trying to figure things out in a real-world setting.

With Before Sunrise at 107 min and Before Sunset at 77 min they both can easily be watched in one sitting. With a small intermission between.

If you haven't seen these movies I suggest giving them a try.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

1 million dollars 

(to be said like Dr. Evil)

If you don't feel like reading the whole post, at least skip down to where I talk about starting a non-profit organization.

It was reported today that Los Angeles has the most millionaires in the country.

See story here or here.

I think this has profound effects on the life of ministry and the purpose of the church (in LA).

At this point in my life I am pretty committed to living in LA for a while and subsequently that means that I will do ministry within this setting.

Doing ministry in LA is hard. The fragmented culture, the drive for success and money, not to mention the vast amount of land that LA county covers. If you look at the google map for the city (linked above as Los Angeles) or this map (which shows the boundaries of counties), I just like Google since you can zoom and play around with the map, you can see it covers quite a LARGE geographical area and has upwards of 10 million people in it.

Let's do some simple math. If there are 262,800 millionaires divided by the 10 million people that live in LA that leaves us with 2.628% of the people in LA being millionaires.

Granted many of the people work in the entertainment industry, that still leaves room for the successful business people, the people who win the lotto and people who inherit a lot of money. Which means there's a good chance you know a millionaire or that one goes to the church you attend.

How does all this relate to church life you ask?

Well maybe it doesn't. And maybe it does.

When we think about these statistics, it gives me hope and yet it brings despair.

It brings me hope, that people have much to give, and we even as a city could solve many problems in the world in the name of Christ. There should be no need to have people going hungry on our streets or in any other nation. We should be able to provide health care and housing for everyone. We should be able to fund micro-loans to people in 3rd world nations. The potential for good is endless.

It brings much despair, because the roots of greed have entangled the hearts of those who have much. And the message of Christ is suffering in our city.

Even if every millionaire in the county had only a million dollars, and we took 1% of each persons money then we would have a sum of 2 billion 628 million dollars.

Wow. Imagine the use of TWO AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS towards helping people.

That's only if the millionaires had one million each. Let's just say each millionaire had 2 million each (still far below what I assume is the actual total worth of all the millionaires in LA), at 1% of their total worth, we would have FIVE BILLION 256 MILLION DOLLARS.

I'll stop there, I think I might break my calculator if I go any further.

I think you begin to see my point.

The question remains. How do we reach this part of the world for Christ?

How does the local church untie not only the believers in LA but every man, woman and child to help solve the problems of the world.

Are we THAT egocentric that we don't think we can make a difference?

I have to stop and question us as Christians. Are we setting the example? Are we leading the charge in the fight against hunger? The fight for shelter? The fight for health care for all? The fight to liberate those oppressed around the world?

The time has come for churches in LA to start REALLY doing something. I know this statement will chaff some people the wrong way. But like I've said before, I make blanket statements, because sometimes it's the easiest way to communicate.

I think that if we as churches really are committed to living a Christ centered way then there shouldn't be poverty in LA. There shouldn't be families who can't eat. There shouldn't be people who put off life saving surgeries and pre-natal care and regular check-ups because they can't afford them.

We have the resources. That is clearly evident. Do we have the desire to see this become a reality?

Are we living our lives in such a way that shows that we are fully committed to the mandate to take care of the poor and widows and those who cannot fend for themselves?

Are we???

I can't answer for you.

I want the local church to take responsibility for it's neighborhood. Just the 10 blocks surrounding your church. Nothing more. No need to go to the slums or the other part of town. 10 blocks. Every person, every house, every apartment, every store. The people who live and work in a 10 block radius. That should keep you plenty busy.

Get to know these people. Build relationships. No need to "evangelize" them. Just know them and love them. If they need diapers, buy them diapers. If they need repairs to their car, partner with a local mechanic and find ways to get them a discount, or have the church pay for the repairs. If they need food, I'm sure there's a grocery store within 10 blocks, talk to the manager.

THIS IS THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH. Not sunday, not bible study, not outreach, not sermons, not potlucks, but LOVE. Unconditional love.


On a side note. I've been kicking this idea around in my head. I want to start a non-profit organization. The idea behind this is knowing how much major motion pictures cost to make and gross, I would love to see us harness the financial power of these movie studios to do good.

I would love to start a organization that received 1% of either the cost to make a movie or 1% of the income grossed from movies. I'd even settle for 1/2 of 1%. That isn't much when you think that movies cost between 10 million to 200 million to produce and take in as much. Hopefully we could market this idea to studios as a way to seem charitable or even look good (I know that's not the point but you have to pitch it somehow) and maybe even slap a logo on each movie showing it's part of the 1% club or something. We then use the money raised to fund projects that help people. Let's crunch some numbers. At 1% of the cost of making a movie at a 10 million dollar budget that would be 100,000 dollars. I'd even settle for the .5% of 50,000 dollars. And 10 million is a cheap movie. I think it could work. The world is hungry to help, note responses after recent disasters. And those weren't just "christian" people.

Anyone know how to start a non-profit and/or knows the inside workings of movie studios???

I'm serious about this. I'd like to make it happen. Please email me if you are seriously interested.


There's a lot to think about here.

We still have a lot to think about if we want to effectively minister to the city of Los Angeles. It may be time for some new methods and a new way of evaluating results. Results DO NOT EQUAL church attendance. Sharing Jesus doesn't necessarily mean mentioning his name. Getting people to love God may be just showing them love in a city that is more focused on itself than anything else.

Pray for LA. Partner with me to make a difference in a place where God is hovering above as well as dwelling in the cracks.

say ahh 

It's not like I have bad halitosis, but over time I have noticed that I do have some white on my tongue. There's really not anything wrong with this. It may contribute to a bit of halitosis, but as far as I know, none of my friends have complained about a disorder.

Last fall/winter, after much searching and visiting a number of stores, I finally found this.

I knew they existed but I was having some trouble locating one and since I don't have dental right now I couldn't exactly schedule a consultation to pick one up.

Needless to say, I really like it. It makes my tounge feel pretty.

BTW I do actually need a bit of dental work. I'm pretty sure I have at least 3 cavities that I will need work done on. So if you know of any dentists that will help a guy in ministry out, with some free dental work, please send them my name and number.

Anyways...back to my Double Gulp of soda.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Last night during a discussion about money and Jesus, the issue of pastors' salaries came up. And it's been something I've been thinking about for a while.

More or less it boils down to what we as a congregation thing a pastor is worth (monetarily) and what responsibility a pastor has to say enough is enough.

We pretty much agreed that a congregation should be willing to support a pastor since their salary is directly correlated to the amount of giving that the congregation gives.

But the flipside of that point comes to the pastor's responsibility to say I only need X amount of money to survive.

The question remains: Where is the balance between a congregation paying a pastor what they think she/he is worth and where is the line where a pastor can meet their needs and when their salary is taken just because the congregation is able to offer more?

There's something in the back of my head that is pushing me towards living in or close to the poverty line for the rest of my life. This said while I have a burden of debt that will keep me busy for the rest of my life. (sorry kids, no trips to disneyland)

Even if I become a sr. pastor one day, that does not automatically entitle me to large sums of money because I am the "head honcho".

I don't have actual statistics on this but I do know that many a pastor in larger churches make upwards of 70K-100K a year.

I have a problem with that. Yes, yes, you can argue cost of living and inflation and congregation size and work load. But aren't we as pastors supposed to identify with poverty. Isn't that what Jesus was talking about when he tells us to give and give and not to store up earthly things? Isn't living near the poverty line in tune with the mission of Jesus? Doesn't it allow us to best minister to those in our congregations with the least? And those in our community with need?

When my salary exceeds the basic needs of those who are in my congregation doesn't that put me on a different level than the people I am serving? And it's not like my salary is private. It's in the church budget.

It highly intrigues me that many of the "emergent" communities are electing not to have "paid staff". Granted this comes from sheer size, with many communities hardly breaking double digits. It does set a model, where people are on more level ground.

I understand the need for "paid staff" due to logistics and leadership issues when we reach numbers of 100 or greater. But a seminary degree and the budget of a church does not necessitate a overly bountiful paycheck.

Have we let the role of "pastor" become to mainstream? Or has it become so corporate that we find it necessary to hold it against the corporate world's standards?

What if pastors only made 40K-50K or less? With two people working in the family, even with children, I believe it is quite possible for a family to live and survive and continue to do effective ministry without being burdened with financial stress.

I know that the numbers of 40K-50K are close to what a lot of pastors make, especially in smaller/rural congregations. So maybe this post is for those people who serve larger/wealthy congregations.

There is something in me that says when we choose the life's work of ministry we don't do it for the money. But the problem may be, that when money is present we have a hard time saying no.

Are we ready as a church and as pastors to return to the model of the early diciples?

Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. Matt 10:9-10

Can we truly live dependant on God?

Is it time to call for financial accountability for pastors?

What does it mean to truly give?

What does it mean to give up possesions/money?

How does it affect our lives if we choose to live near/in poverty?

What does this say to our community?

Does this affect our understanding of living our Jesus' messages?

What do you think?


Yesterday I recieved a nice surprise in the mail. I had forgotten I had ordered this dvd from this on-line vendor. I opened the package only to find that during the journey to my house it got damaged. It seems that somewhere along the line something heavy was placed on it or something ran over it. Because the box was crushed and the inside plastic that holds the dvds was crushed and broken. The dvds were fine, but aestetically it just wouldn't look right on the shelf next to all my other dvds. Luckily customer support was really good and they emailed me a return label to ship it back. The crappy part is that I'll probably have to wait another 14 days or so to finally get to watch this movie. I've been wanting to watch it for weeks now, but my local Blockbuster doesn't carry it any more. One of the flaws of "no late fees", just pay us the difference and keep it if you don't return it on time. And I guess they aren't on top of re-ordering movies that get "sold" because people don't return them. And it's such a good movie too. So all in all, I still have to wait to finally own the movie and I was all excited because I wasn't even expecting it to come so soon. And I'm not too upset about it since I've never really had any problems with the vendor in the past and they have low prices, so they'll get my business again.

On a better note, my shirt finally came!!! Oh how I enjoy that shirt. In case you haven't seen it yet, the official trailer is out.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Will Samson has a great post about the call to live a meek life and what that has to do with politics.

Find it here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


If you haven't heard. Save June 13th because this show's 3rd season comes out on DVD!!!

I just peed my pants, because I'm so happy.

Monday, March 20, 2006


A prayer for the grieving:

God it's not easy when things happen that we don't understand. Sometimes words of comfort aren't enough to make our insides right. We ask that somehow you be of comfort to us tonight God. We ask that you are somehow with Corrine's family and friends. We ask that people come forward with information.
God give us needed rest as our bodies have been racked with stress and worry and shock. Let us find a moment of peace within you.
Thank you for being there when words aren't enough and even when we just want to be alone, you are there, your loving arms surrounding us.

Love us God. Especially now.


See story here. A friend of mine knew her.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


In the continued (previous entry) introspective understanding of relationships I offer you this post.

It's interesting how much relationships are a part of my life, despite actually being in one. It boggles my mind how much time I spend musing over the past, present and future hope of relationships.

All this combined with the fact that I like sappy romantic movies doesn't help one bit.

I'll admit I'm a hopeless romantic. And I'm not ashamed of that.

I just got done watching this movie and it only fits that I like ones like this and this and even ones like this or this and I'm sure the list could go on and on.

Sometimes I wish I could have the hollywood movie relationship. It's in times like these, that I want to retreat to my car and drive up to a bluff overlooking the valley lights and sit and think about whom I'm eventually going to marry.

But instead I blog.

And then there's the part of me that knows I'm only setting myself up for failure if I suppose it's all going to nicely fit into two hours and have an amazing soundtrack. The first movie I mentioned actually does have a good soundtrack (2nd part), as well as most of the other ones too. I wonder if that adds to the sentimental value of a romantic movie?

Maybe it's just that I'm afraid to take risks.

Maybe it's because I'm too picky.

Maybe it's something entirely unbeknownst to me.

And why does it seem like I'm at the point in my understanding of relationships that I get so worked up over possibilities. You know, that time period when you meet someone new, but don't know enough about them to determine if there might even be a chance. Then comes the point where you find out a piece of information that shuts all doors. Guess who just had one of those.

Then if you are luckily enough to get to the point of interest, you get trapped in the veil of ambiguity. Then the dreaded DTR. If you don't know what a DTR is then check out this great post, and even if you do, it's a fun read.

I like being trapped by my imagination and hope. It's depressing and void, but it is safe. I can picture the relationship that I want, without having to deal with the realities of actuality.

I'm sure the real thing is far more fulfilling in best case scenarios, but for now, it's what I have to work with.

Yes, it may be somewhat self-destructive and possibly will set up unreal expectations in the future. But in my head I hear the 2 minutes of timely music shadowed by a inner monologue with just the right words that highlight the situation flashing across the screen, captive with emotion and remembrances. Everything is right in a scene where love is being remembered.

A slow turn of the head, a reveal of a face laden with emotion, a camera change and a radiant face beaming with reception and reciprocation - all done in slow-mo.


I look forward to the day where I get to sit and reflect on these moments that have actually happened between me and my wife. A soundtrack all of our own. Highlighting the happiness we shared. A lifetime of being together.

While I still hold on to a few of these from my past, they are missing one crucial piece: the longevity.

Valued and treasured, but lingering.

You're out there somewhere...we'll be together soon. God has it planned. I'm waiting.

Friday, March 17, 2006


If a number of catholic bishops are granting a one day stay from Lent so that people can eat meat on a friday. Then I'm sure it's ok with God if I break my Lenten commitment and have a beer today. Seriously, who would want to interfere with a secular holiday of debauchery and gluttony, anyways???

So here's to the Luck O' The Irish.

Bottoms up!!

(spills green beer on green shirt)

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Good Idea? / Bad Idea? (who knows if pizza would be free?)

What do you think?
I hope the discussion revolves more around the idea of religious seclusion instead of hot topic issues.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

ghetto 60 

ey (emergent-youth) 

Being a youth minister and someone who is involved with the thought process of the Emerging Church/Church that is Emerging/Emergent Church/Emergent/heretics/wackos/etc.

I do a lot of thinking about what it means for me to continue my journey down the path of a spiritual leader.

My train of thought lately has been revolving around my future as a leader in the church.

I have and continue to desire to have a long-term career as a youth minister/pastor/director/whatever. But within the past 2 years I have felt the yearning to branch out into pastoral ministry as well as church planting and also helping re-imagine the current state of denominational life.

All this leaves me in quite a quandary about my future as a pastor and minister.

At this point I don't want to give up on any of my ambitions, I would love to find a way that incorporates many of these gifts and desires.

If I could have my wish I would love to be ordained into a denomination as a pastor but be highly involved with youth, strengthening the church, bringing about reform on the denominational level and promoting the conversation of the emerging church.

While you make think this is absurd or overambitious, you may be right, but I think it is possible. It will take a special church to handle me. I hope I find that church someday.

More importantly I want to take some time to discuss the relationship between the emerging church and youth ministry.

In my continued involvement with the blogosphere I have come across a few articles which discuss this thought.

Ryan Bolger takes the stance that within the emerging church there is little need for "youth ministers", see this post, while Mark Riddle disagrees here.

I highly respect both of these voices and will use this opportunity to chime in with my unique perspective on the subject.

I agree with Ryan that in most "pure" cases of emerging churches the position of a youth minister does not apply. But at this point I do not see myself in a pure emergent setting. Having the desire to stay within denominational lines, I am fairly sure that I will be able to function as a youth minister as well as an emergent voice.

Within this context of denominational lines I find the continued need and love of working with the sub-group of youth. To say that I don't have a desire to see "traditional" youth ministry progress, would be false. I hope to align both my passion for youth ministry and the emerging church together.

It is too early within the life of the "professional" youth minister to cut it out of the landscape of church life. We are still defining what it means to minister to youth as a sub group and section of the church.

Youth will always be unique and different from the body of a congregation. That is not to say that we shouldn't work to move back towards the center. Moving away from a segregated youth department that rarely interacts with the main congregation. We still have a long way to go, towards a holistic idea of church involving people of all generations.

There will always be a need to give youth their space where they are free to discover who they are, not only as individuals but as people with personal and individual faiths.

As a youth minister there is much reform and polishing that needs to be accomplished within the next 30 years. The position is still gaining acceptability and respect. We youth ministers are still mainly seen as the "young guys/gals" and not as pastors who do full ministry. We are still sub par to those with letters after their names or those who minister to adults. I claim my full ability as a pastor, who happens to primarily work with youth.

As an emergent youth minister I fully recognize the fact that I hold the authority of a pastor. The day is yet to come where we are seen as equals in the eyes of senior pastors and other church staff. Respect is to be earned, yet more to be given where due.

As a emergent youth pastor I serve to be a bridge to and from the congregation. Bringing ideas and lessons learned from youth to the congregation. As to help them understand and accept youth as not "future leaders of the church" but as current leaders. I would ask that youth begin to realize the necessity for involvement within the life of the congregation instead of merely evolving into a young adult service because they have never found the value in the "adult service".

As a emergent youth pastor, I want to be seen as an asset to the growth and development to the whole church. I want my ideas and thoughts about how we "run" church to be heard.

This is where I run into a quagmire.

As a "youth minister" in a denominational setting, I am not seen as someone with a "voice' until I have been ordained as a pastor. This leaves me with an inability to affect change in the life of the church, which may seem un-related to the life of the congregation but truly the two must live in solidarity. If they do not they are doomed to perpetuate the divide between the two.

An example: If I am teaching the students that church is far more than sitting listening to someone talk and faith is an active thing where we live it out in real world settings. And all the students ever experience in "big church" is sitting and listening and never acting on the faith that they have come to know as alive, we have a problem. And if I am not allowed input into the life of the church, it is a self destructive position. Which has led to the current gap within the life of the church. Do any research about Gen X and the church and you will find proof.

I do not have a concrete answer on how to accomplish this feat of being recognized as a full contributor to the life of the church. It may not be for me to decide, but for a "senior" pastor to take the lead and draw me into what is considered as "full" ministry responsibilities.

I do acknowledge that I am in a unique position.

As an emergent, the part that agrees with the fact that there shouldn't be youth ministers in emergent churches, wants that to coincide with denominational churches. Meaning, that I think it is possible for denominational churches to move to the place where a person like me is concurrently running something similar to a youth program but not completely separated from the body of the church.

This leads us to a holistic understanding of youth and church. Which I think is the point that Ryan makes about the emerging church. Within a holistic understanding of an organic and fluid church, we begin to see the integration of youth into every aspect of church. From leading worship gatherings, to making decisions about church life, and even serving on committees (cause they're not going away anytime soon) and being a part of church leadership on all levels.

Students are not just something we put on "show" for their parents, or just gifted in ministry as worship band members. I see youth as part of the current leadership of church. Their voice holds just as much value as anyone else.

I think if people in church leadership truly understood Paul's statement about equality and value, we would move far beyond the understanding that youth are youth and not very valuable in the life of the church. If the church truly believed that the youth of a church were worth ministering to with their own "youth pastor/minister", then they would more often be a regular part of the entire life of the church as mentioned above.

This is my call for youth to remain separate but highly involved within the life of the church. Yes, that is a paradox, but something for me that combines both the idea of youth ministry and the values of the emerging church.

As both youth ministry progresses and the identity of the "emerging church" is advancing we are bound to see a drastic shift of what it means to have youth as a part of our church and this will re-define what a church is.

Also it will produce many new kinds of leaders. Some that resemble traditional youth pastors, some that discard the idea of youth ministers altogether, as well as people like me who desire to be multi-faceted and useful on many levels of church leadership.

Will this happen anytime soon?

I do not know. I do know that God is continuing to lead my heart and guide my path.

Which for the time being is a love of youth, a curiosity towards what it means to be a church in the 21st century and how to bring those together.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Things I have found amusing recently:

Sex in the City - I've becomed hooked as it fills the gap between 11pm and 11:30pm when the Simpsons start. Note: 4 men (no women) were all sitting in a room watching this show, where 1 had previously seen the episode, 1 had identified an actor from the show in a movie he has seen recently, 1 (me) who has been consistently watching the show for a few weeks, and 1 who wouldn't stop saying "carrot top" for no apparent reason. I do hope to borrow the DVDs from someone (who happens to be male) to start the series from the beginning.

Sudoku - I have become fascinated with this game. Like when I finally figured out how to play minesweeper (my best(s) 6 sec - beginner, 44 sec - intmed, 117 sec - expert). I just can't stop sudoku-ing.

Snakes on a Plane - Sam Jackson almost left this project because they wanted to change the title which was the main reason he signed on to do the project. Plot summary: Assassins release snakes on (you guessed it) a plane. Hilarity ensues. Cool t-shirt here (please buy me one - size:M)(no really, I really, really, really, really want one)(if you missed my birthday (2/1) this would be great) (thanks MOM!!!!). Can't wait to see this one.

Monday, March 13, 2006


I should be asleep.

I'm on this weird schedule. And part of that has to do with the fact that I've been contemplating a lot lately. This also explains my excessive hobo-blogging.

I actually read a whole book tonight during my insomnia.

Nouwen's Can You Drink the Cup?

While reading it I came to the conclusion that I have been deeply struggling with understanding what Nouwen calls the cup of suffering. I am learning what it fully means to suffer in ministry. The the loneliness, the pain, the despair, the depression, the understanding of Jesus.

In coming to understand the cup of sorrows I am having to reconcile the fact that being in ministry also requires me to acknowledge the cup of joy.

Bringing these two along side each other is quite a difficult task in life and especially in ministry.

On one hand being in ministry brings me unparalleled joy yet paradoxically it brings great sorrow and solidarity with the life of Christ.

It is a journey that only a few take on. The road is marked with pain and suffering but it also is illuminated with joy. It is hope which allows me to see what is obscured because of the other.

I am processing and thinking and for the time being, I may need to do it on my own.

Which means I will try to bring thoughts and ideas to this space but there may be times of silence in which I am seeking understanding.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


As I ponder the time I spent in college I remember a time where I was fairly infatuated with the idea of marriage.

It was around my junior year and going to a private christian school and let me just state that this sort of institution breeds an environment of single christian people with little to no dating experience and great expectations about stable and intense relationships.

While the majority of people did not fall into the "ring by spring" (an engagement ring by the spring of your senior year) category, there were enough couples who ended up in the engagement or married category that I had to start using my toes.

All this talk and pressure surrounding relationships and marriage started getting to me. Mind you I wasn't and only briefly was in a relationship since. In my mind I knew I probably wasn't ready for marriage and probably still aren't. But all this thinking about marriage wasn't entirely destructive.

It allowed me and is still influencing my thoughts about what is going to mean to be a husband and father in the future. If anything it has led me to be even more picky about the type of woman whom I fancy. I'm not saying that I'm against marriage or relationships now, I want to be clear that this is something that really is still close to my heart and will someday find fruition.

All that to say that as much pressure there still is for me to feel fulfilled and satisfied and completed, I'm not someone who's constantly on the prowl to find a mate.

I'm pretty much the opposite. I'm in a place in my life where I'm not meeting too many new people, especially women. And I'm coming to realize that, while it would be nice to be in a relationship, it's not something that's going to define who I am.

There's two parts to me.

There's the part of me that is giving in to the pressures around me. I don't want to be the last one of my friends who gets married. And I'm already getting passed up by some of them a few years younger than me.

But then there's the other part that wants the previous part of me not to be an issue. I want to rise above that. I want to be completely satisfied with my singleness. I want to embrace what it means to live my life without responsibility and attachment. I enjoy my freedom and it is something that I will not have once I am in a relationship. And it is something that I am willing to give up. But if I do not embrace the period that I am in then I will not be as effective as I should be in my current situation.

I am hopeful for the future and (somewhat) complacent with the present. This is something I am definitely still working through.

Be with me on the journey.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I finally started my lenten commitment (kinda).

I know it's 5 days late. But it's taken me that long to get things together.

I haven't had any alcohol since lent started.

Though today I started the workout phase of the lent season.

Mr. Bill Sperry and I hit the gym for a good hour or so and it both hit us more than we had expected. We will continue to do so 3 times a week for the next 6 weeks.

Wish us luck as we journey to center ourselves on Christ and lower the center of our bodies.

Friday, March 03, 2006


I don't know who did this, but someone signed my church email up for this website's email. Probably thinking it would be good for the students in my group.

While the sim church game isn't real. This one is.

(The best part is when he jumps over the spider!!!)

Watch trailer

HT:to who ever signed me up!!!


After a conversation with a friend today. (aside) This new friend and I had the inkling that we knew each other before he started serving as the interim college director at my former church, finally realized where it was we knew each other from. We had both served as Youth Advisory Delegates (YADs) at the 213th General Assembly. So here's to you Matt Robbins. (end aside) I began thinking about structure and policy of the PCUSA. This lead to a though process about what it means to be an elder in today's presbyterian church.

After some research and thinking I have come to some conclusions.

First I want to pose some questions (as I often do). Thinking about past experiences and observations about elders in the church, it behooves me to ask the question what is the purpose of an elder (we will get to the stated purpose, as stated by the Book of Order, later)? Is the role of an elder to run the church? In the sense that they are integral parts of the daily function of the church, with involvement in events, worship, meetings, etc. so that the pastor has more time to be involved in other activities. Or are elders to be active participants in ministry alongside the pastor of a church, or as individuals supporting or starting their own ministry endeavors?

What happens as a church when we place emphasis on elders as the chosen/elected people to be in ministry positions? Are we effectively saying a few things? If we tout elders as capable of doing ministry are we in a sense telling our congregations that unless they are an elder they are not capable of serving in ministry? Are we also telling people that they don't have to be a part of ministry unless they are an elder, which leads to thinking that they have a choice of whether or not to be a part of active ministry and to what capacity? Also are we then placing too much responsibility on too few?

All valid questions as I continue to see over and over elders who serve a full or part of a term and then become burned out tired and never want to serve again.

All this led me to the Book of Order (the governing book in the PCUSA). In which a elder is described in section G 6.0300 "as there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament Church provided persons with particular gifts to share in governing and ministry." The gifts and requirements are listed (G 6.0303) "of faith, dedication, and good judgment. Their manner of life should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel, both within the church and in the world."

It is in the specific responsibilities (G 6.0304) that I think we begin to understand what the specific tasks of an elder are to be. "It is the duty of elders, individually and jointly, to strengthen and nurture the faith and life of the congregation committed to their charge. Together with the pastor, they should encourage the people in the worship and service of God, equip and renew then for their tasks within the church and for their mission in the world, visit and comfort and care for the people, with special attention to the poor, the sick, the lonely, and those who are oppressed. They should inform the pastor and session of those persons and structures with may need special attention. They should assist in worship. They should cultivate their ability to teach the Bible and may be authorized to supply places which are without the regular ministry of the Word and Sacrament...Those duties which all Christians are bound to perform by the law of love are especially incumbent upon elders because of their calling to office and are to fulfilled by them as official responsibilities."

Here we are painted a picture of what at least I think, every Christian should be doing. Not just elevated people whom we call elders. I am not saying that elders are completely ineffective, I just want to call attention to what our governing order sees them to be. I also want to make it clear that I think in many respects we as leaders/churches either a) do not emphasize enough of what it means to be an elder or b) ask elders to do things completely different that what is laid out here.

In my experience with elders in all my years of being a church member is the occasional card or letter from my elder who I only know in passing stating that they are my elder. I hear few stories of elders doing more than planning events, attending meetings and being overworked. Not to mention the numerous stories we hear about sessions taking about paint, carpet and buildings, but I will get to session in a moment. For those of you who don't know the session is the governing body of the local church, made up of elders and pastors.

I think elders are an integral part of a church. But I have to wonder if they are to live up to all these responsibilities and duties why most churches only have "training" for elders once, maybe twice a year. And why elders are mainly asked to serve on committee after committee and we call these committees "ministry". Instead of what I see the need for actually being with people who are part of the ministry if not outside of the church.

Here is where I see elders as people who "run" the church instead of people who are serving not only the church but also the community and the world.

Due to the structure of the church (which I actually like) the elders govern through session. The book of order describes session as (G 10.0100) consisting "of the pastor or co-pastors, the associate pastors, and the elders in active service...The session is responsible for the mission and government of the particular church."

I think the session is a powerful tool in a church that is widely under used to its potential.

In brevity the responsibilities of the session include (see section G 10.0102) "to provide opportunities for evangelism to be learned and practiced"; "to lead the congregation in participation in the mission of the whole Church in the world"; "to provide for the worship of the people of God, including" preaching, sacraments, and music; "to provide for the growth of its members and for their equipment for ministry through programs including the church school, sharing in fellowship and mutual support, and opportunities for witness and service in the world"; "to lead the congregation in ministries of personal and social healing and reconciliation in the communities in which the church lives and bears its witness}"; challenging the people of good use of money, time, talents for use in the life of the church; "to lead the congregation continually to discover what God is doing in the world and to plan for change, renewal, and reformation under the Word of God".

That is quite a list of responsibilities for session to keep and for elders to be a part of. I do not envy the job of an elder, yet I understand the pressure from being in ministry myself.

Part of all this comes from my desire to see the church (both big C and little c church) be what it supposed to be.

I desire to see elders who do more than sit in meetings and plan potlucks and speaker presentations. I desire to see elders who are starting their own ministries, who are supported by and trained by their pastors so they can be active and effective ministers. Instead of workhorses who plan and run meetings and worship performances. (Yes, worship performances was intentional.) I am tired of hearing that elders have lost their desire to serve.

I want the entire body of the congregation to be participants in the ministry life of the church, and maybe the elders are there providing opportunities for service and are more trained, because they have been equipped to lead and to serve.

I want an elder to reach out to me and ask me, challenge me, question me, about my service to God. I want to know they are willing to equip me and teach me what it means to be a follower of Christ. I want an elder to be readily available to teach students about God, instead of thinking that the "youth guy" will do that.

We have a book of order for a reason. If we are incapable of living up to it, maybe we should revise it. If our sessions are not carrying out their responsibilities as stated in the book of order, maybe we should re-think session. Maybe we should re-think what it means to be an elder. Maybe we should stop having elders.

Maybe we should put more emphasis on what it means to be a follower of Jesus and by which every person who has faith that walks through our doors will in a sense be living up to the standards of what it means to be an elder.


This story makes me sad. I don't know Michelle Williams, but I don't think as a christian institution they had to slam her. You can disagree with the movie but please stop loving people too (note the sarcasm).

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Even though I disagree with most everything that comes out of Bush's mouth. I wonder how I would mourn if for whatever reason he unexpectedly died.

I'm sure this deserves further discussion, but I'm too tired right now.

How do you feel about that question?

ghetto 59 


Sorry for the lack-luster showing here at andrewseely.com

I've been in a blogging funk for the last few weeks. I just really haven't felt the desire to keep up with putting up content or doing anything really creative.

I started a post last saturday while I was at the via vita conference, but now that I think about it, I don't know if I'll be able to articulate what I wanted to say. It was a post in the continuing church? series, this one was about gender and involvement in church life.

I guess I'm in a personal slump too. Sometimes it just feels like there should be something more than what is there. Like I'm missing out on something. I know I should make the best of my circumstances and that God's plan is far greater than my personal insight, but sometimes it's just kinda fun to sit around and feel sorry for myself.

In continuing with my quarter-life crisis...I need a change...I need a break...I need some time to evaluate where my life is heading.

A true sabbatical would be nice. Maybe a month or so to gather my thoughts, reconnect with God on my own terms and seek his understanding in many different situations.

But I don't foresee that happening anytime soon. Especially not with the current job situation.

Spiritual health doesn't seem to be on the radar of the staff of my church. I feel as if they just expect me to do what I'm supposed to do and as long as I don't make waves and/or step on toes then everything is fine. What I sense they fail to realize or don't want to address is the need for those in ministry to be cared for. Just as much or even more than caring for a congregation.

I'm a person too. I have needs. Just because it's my job to care for other people doesn't negate me from wanting to be cared for.

I thought this might happen. What started out as an update as to why I've been sporadic about blogging has turned into a gush session.

I needed it so keep reading if you want.

I don't know if I would feel better about my life if I had a different job or if I worked at a different church. I don't know that having a relationship would leave me feeling fulfilled. I don't know if debt is that much of an emotional burden. I'm just not sure where to put my time and energy.

I am looking forward to lent. The no alcohol + lots of exercise is something I'm looking forward to. Lose the beer belly and gain some definition would be nice.

Funny story. One student who I hadn't seen in like 6 months came to group last night as she said to me (as only a 7th grader could say) "hey, your face looks chubbier", great. Just what I needed to hear. From a sticky little 7th grade girl.

Well I'm sure it's true since I haven't exactly been mr. physical fitness over the last 6 months. All the more reason to hit up the gym more.

Ok I've gushed long enough.

Hopefully I'll regain the desire to keep this blog up more regularly. If you have topics you'd like me to write about, in any subject, but most preferable religion, leave me a comment and I'll see if I get around to it.

Thanks for sticking with me.