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Thursday, October 26, 2006


As I sat and ate my dinner of toast and top ramen, I had the deep desire to live a life of poverty.

A life of simplicity.

This urge is an ongoing theme for me. The simple desire to rely not on my things and of a life of comfort but a life that is reliant on God.

Mark 6:8-12 to me holds meaning in its example of what Christ calls us to do.

A life that is not burdened by things and wants and is left to be a life that is simple, filled with being reliant on others and allowing one to be poor, poor in possessions and to relate to those who are poor in spirit.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

ghetto 66 

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Future of YM 

Ok everyone here's my post about the future of youth ministry. (finally!!!)

I know it's late, but I did want to express my thoughts on the subject, especially since I will have to sit down with other youth ministers and do the same. [insert shameless plug here] (I'll be hosting a late night discussion group at the National Youth Workers Convention in Anaheim on Nov 3rd at around 10pm. Hope to see some of you there.)

Since Marko asked a number of people to weigh in on this issue after an article came out in Christianity Today (link) they have had a myriad of responses. I did take the time to read them all. A list can be found on Marko's blog here. Also see the NY Times article for reference. (free registration required)

I enjoyed reading the thoughts of all these seasoned youth ministers. I agreed with a lot of what they had to say, far more than I disagreed. If you have the time please look through them.

Because it is fairly long, I have decided to post it for download. word or text

Please read it and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.


Monday, October 16, 2006


If you are like me then you could spend hours looking at this map of springfield, reminiscing about all those episodes.



Sunday, October 15, 2006


I got a new mouse today. It's this one.

My old optical, which I've had for years now, stopped working earlier this summer.

I reverted back to an old one, you know, the ones with the little ball inside. But finally felt it was time to move back to the pros of an optical.

I like this one, since it was fairly cheap and is wireless, which none of my previous ones had been. It feels nice and scrolls much faster than the old one. Though it is hard to do little scrolls, such as putting my mouse over the tabs in firefox and being able to move over one tab without clicking. So for that, it just may take some time to get used to a little movement, since there is no longer a "click" feel when you scroll the wheel, the rolling sensation is more fluid, which isn't what I'm used to and doesn't have that "click", but over all I'm quite happy with my purchase so far.



This movie looks amazing. The trailer is here.

It's by the director of Run Lola Run. Which I thought was an amazing movie.

The visuals of the trailer really amazed me. Too bad the visual quality will be less on the big screen since we still lack digtal projectors. But that's another rant.



Oops I just watched this right before bed.

I may wake screaming into the cold dark night air.



Saturday, October 14, 2006


These last two day have been...wow...

Friday and Saturday I spent the day with the National Council of Church's Faith and Order Commission. To sum that up, it's an ecumenical (lots of different denominations) group, that works collaboratively on different theological ideas.

The Faith and Order Commission works in 4 year periods and are smack in the middle of year 3 of an 8 year study.

I was asked to be a representative for Emergent Village, at this portion of the study (it meets every 6 months). John Franke, was supposed to attend but had to cancel due to prior commitments, so I was asked to fill in.

Luckily I wasn't the only one who was there representing Emergent Village, Dwight Friesen and Samir Selmanovic, both who I had met at the Emergent Coordinating Group meeting, this past June, see blogs starting here, attended as well.

Overall my brain hurts. Too much theology. Though I must say that it was an experience to be able to be with so many really, really smart people who are in the midst of processing theology and to be a part of that.

In some ways I felt way out of my league, since I did not have multiples titles and/or letters after my name and didn't teach at a school or run an organization. I did feel received well and it was great to hear from some of the other participants that they were glad that I was there and bringing a perspective from outside of their own tradition.

In some respects, we Emergent Village guys, questioned our involvement in such a endeavor, since we are neither a church or a denomination, nor do we have an established theology, when most or all of the other people there came from backgrounds rooted in hundreds of years of history and theology. We did agree (and it was affirmed by others) that it was good for us to participate in this discussion and to process theology with others since Emergent Village brings an outside perspective that, if nothing else, raises questions and challenges (somewhat) other perspectives.

Overall, it was great to be able to be an advocate and representative for Emergent Village. It was the first time in a while, where people would ask about Emergent Village and I wouldn't have to defend or spend time arguing with people. There was a genuine interest in what Emergent was about and what we stood for and how we could add to the work that was being done. I found that people were disappointed that there was not more time for them to explore with us many of the ideas and values that Emergent Village brings to the ecumenical table. I will add, that there were some (not too much) issues, because much of what we said had to be prefaced with a statement such as "well this may not go for everyone or everything" or "this is merely our own perspective and may not represent everyone associated with Emergent Village". But that would go for anyone whom we were speaking with.

At this point, the study group that I was on, has asked for a paper to be presented to them from an Emergent Village perspective about the Authority of the Church in the World. I know that's a bit of an abstract concept to understand and I'm still processing what that means. But more or less it deals with how the church expresses authority (not just leadership authority) within the world, and in what aspects (theologically) determine where that authority comes from and to a lesser extent how that authority is viewed or received in the world. For now it looks like I will be the one to write something up, from the Emergent Village perspective, which will be a bundle in of itself to concisely and thoughtfully do, but something I look forward to maybe doing.

Well my brain really hurts since I processed more theology than I have ever done before in the course of 2 days. I need to go and decompress, but I will keep you updated on my possible future with the NCC and the aforementioned paper.

10/16/06 7:38p
Hi to all of you who are coming over from Emergent Village. Welcome. Please feel free to leave your thoughts or comments here. I look forward to what any one else has to say on the subject of authority + emergent + church + ???. As I'm sure to include other's thoughts on the subject as I start to think through this task.


Thursday, October 12, 2006


I swear it's coming. My blog on the future of youth ministry is forming in my head and has yet to make it to a blog. I know by internet standards last week might was well be somewhere back in the 80's. But I will get it up. For now check out some of the others on Marko's blog that have posted on the subject.

And if you haven't already please read and leave your thoughts about my Jesus Camp post from a few days ago.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

ghetto 65 

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


KCRW does it again.

I'm always finding new music cause of them. A HUGE thanks.

I've heard this one song (Knock Em Out) over and over for a while but never listened closely enough to find out who it was. Then the other day I heard this other song (LDN) and it turned out to be the same person.

It was Lily Allen. (her myspace)

Basically she's the female version of The Streets (one guy) (his myspace), who is a british Hip Hop/Rapper. It's kinda hard to explain. Both of them are fairly musical and lyrical, with strong beats and great rhythms. Not to mention they both are British which give a great sound, due to their accents.

Please check them both out.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

happy camper pt 2 

pt 1

Disclaimer: These thoughts are my own, I am the only one responsible for them. I do not represent anyone or any organization, I take full responsibility for anything written here.

Jesus camp...
(official site)

I tried really hard to go into this film with no biases. Which I know is impossible.

I wanted to be able to view this film with as much objectivity as I could and really try my best to save judgment and comment for now.

Looking back on my initial reactions and comments on Dan's blog, I wish I could take back what I said. More specifically my 2nd comment. Which was
"Holding a lamb in the picture, that's simply priceless...just on it's own not the mention the other stuff.

On a serious note, it will be interesting to see what the reactions will be when it comes out."
The lamb that I am referencing comes from this picture of Becky Fischer. (note the current website has a new picture and this is an archived picture)

I made a quick judgment and do feel regret for that comment. I am sorry for that.

I must first state, that because of our polarized society and the religious tension that exists in our country, it is almost impossible for ANY CHRISTIAN to be portrayed in the media in a way that does not make them look foolish, fanatical, or be respected by everyone.

In recent months and weeks I have been thinking about IF I ever become more notable within any circle, my actions, words, writing will be scrutinized and held under a microscope by many different people and no matter what I say, one group or another will find fault/rip apart what I say. Which leads me to really wonder about my place as a Christian within society and the presupposition that come along with identifying myself with Christianity.

I went into the film hoping that the movie would present, as much as possible, an unbiased account of the camp.

Overall I think the directors did as best they could to let the footage speak for itself. Yes there may have been some angle put into the movie through editing and choices of who and what made the final picture. The main thing that I can think about would be the use of a "liberal" radio host to counterpoint many of the things that were portrayed during the course of the film, that may have conveyed the directors putting "spin" on the film. One other thing is the use of audio of George W. Bush, which could be seen as biasing the film.

Going into this film I must say that I had much invested, since I am a Christian and I work with youth. Mind you, the youth in the film are primarily younger (elementary age) than the ones I work with, but it is a subject close to my heart.

Many times during the film I wanted to leave and/or felt very uneasy with what was being said on screen, to the point where I actually felt sick to my stomach. There was so much that I had to feel was misrepresenting the gospel as I understand it. Maybe it was just that I don't understand fully "evangelicals" or it was that I come from a place that is incapable of being a supporter of certain theologies and/or expressions of faith.

Even the times that I did agree with something someone said, it was immediately followed by something that I absolutely disagreed with.

I found myself shaking my head and constantly looking to my friend, to make sure of what I just heard.

While I cannot speak for the motives of Becky Fischer herself, I must say that she genuinely has a great passion for what she does. I cannot disagree with that. I can disagree with what and how she teaches the children.

One scene in particular revolved around her speaking to a large group of children, mind you between the ages of 5-11. In this scene she proceeds to tell the children that all of the children have things that they have done and need to confess to Jesus and that now is the time to accept Jesus if they had not. My problem (and you might have to see it to understand it) was that it was highly emotionally charged and in my opinion made to make the children feel incredibly guilty. As if any child can not look back on their lives and find something that they have done wrong, and then they are told that this wrong thing is the worse possible thing they can do, and that Jesus is looking down on them for it and that they need to repent. No wonder eyes started balling up and children clung to their parents, and some of them confessed their transgressions. I mean even if some kid had done something as simple as been mean to another child they were meant to feel as if they were the worse person on the planet. Where was the aspect of love and caring for these children and their fragile emotional and developmental state. Any child will feel guilty and can be manipulated into making a decision for Jesus if they are told that anything they have done wrong is horrible.

Praying in tongues. Yes I will admit I know little to nothing about this. It is something I do not practice and can count on one hand how many times I have actually been present when it happens. But what I do understand is that scripture speaks clearly about it, that when it happens it is not merely the fact that people speak in tongues but equally as important is that someone must be there to interpret the tongues. See 1 Cor 14. On a slight tangent, I think this is a large issue for many evangelicals who practice/have the gift of tongues. But especially in this movie many of the scenes in which tongues are spoken it is purely as a love language instead of what I understand to be a proper use.

Also there is some discussion/footage of the issue of homeschooling. Which leads to the conclusion that many/all evangelicals/Christians believe that the world is only 6000 years old and that science is incorrect and theories such as evolution is incompatible with the Christian faith.

One other area of topic that the film covers is the issue of abortion. While I will not choose to state my opinion about the issue here. I will say that if I was a woman who has had an abortion and I was to see this film I would probably never become a Christian, because I was made to feel, through the words and actions of those in the film, that I made a horrible choice and because of my choice I am now doomed to hell. No where to be found is a message of love.

Which for most of the film there is little talk about God's and Jesus' unconditional love for us. Instead it seems that the decision to follow Christ is more important than understand that God loves us and everyone. This is clearly evident in a short vignette where we see two of the children out doing "evangelism". They approach a group of black men in the park who are sitting around talking and one of the children approaches the men and asks "if you died tonight do you know where you are going?" to which the man answers "heaven" the child then responds "are you sure?" the man says "yes" the children look at the man quizzically and then walk off, we overhear them across the street and the child who asked them states "they must be Muslim." WTF (if you don't know what that means google it)(caution it contains profanity)?!?!?!?

You have got to be kidding me. The child seemed sincere in the conclusion. I'm so glad that people really think and see people as objects and someone to be converted. And if they don't respond in exactly the correct way or don't have some earth shattering life changing experience then obviously they are going to hell or have no idea of what they are talking about.

What disconcerts me and doesn't sit right with me, is that I know that the opinions and attitudes that are depicted in the film are not just a subsection of the Christian faith. While I in no way claim to be right about everything. It seems to me that the attitudes of those in the film are ones of "my way or the highway". I'm sure there will be people who might find this blog and consider me not to be a Christian because of what I have said here.

On a political note, of which there are some in the film, which is somewhat of a sidenote. It baffles me that a small Episcopal church in Pasadena can have it's 501c (tax-exempt) status come under review for statements concerning the war in Iraq. While in this film many times there are audio clips of pastors and radio personalities clearly making statements about the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who during the filming of the film was up for nomination. From what I understand the Pasadena church really didn't say anything about how to vote or anything directly related to George W. Bush, but were making statements about war. So I have to wonder why no one has gone after all these churches who are documented in this film as asking their congregations to support and pray for the confirmation of a political leader. That to me doesn't make sense.

There's also the useage of the metaphor of "God's Army" to inspire the children to be "on fire for Jesus" or to "wage war against the world". Let me just say that this imagery has for a long time rubbed me the wrong way. I do not like it and although Jesus does use it, there are also many other metaphors he uses and I do not think we need to place over emphasis on an army metaphor. That's all I will say on that subject since it could take up it's own post, as well as many of the other things I have mentioned here.

This film leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I want again to make it clear that this is not a personal attack on Becky Fisher. In a way it could be seen as once since I do call into question some of the things she says and does, but it is not meant to be a personal attack, but my thoughts and concerns about the content of what drives the evangelical portion of Christianity.

I know that there are many different expressions of faith. That there are many "evangelicals" that would disagree with what is said in this film. Please be aware that I recognize this fact. This post deals with the film Jesus Camp and what is expressed and documented there.

I don't know if I could sit through this film again, but one way or another it will be something that people will be discussing for a while and as someone who has seen the movie I wanted to present my side of the story.

There are other things I could write about but I will leave some things for you to experience and think about as you watch the film yourself.

Overall I would recommend this film to people. I will say that most likely you will not agree with all of it no matter what your background is. If anything you need to see the film so that when you speak of it, you will be able to speak from experience instead of speculation or preconception. Hopefully this film will be able to spark conversation. So if you live near somewhere where it is playing go and see it. I know that the Laemmele theatres in LA are showing it so check there.

Finally what I am most concerned about is what the general public is going to walk away from with after seeing this film. Are they going to think ALL Christians, think, believe, act, say, do like the people in this film? Are people going to judge me when they hear I am a Christian and I work at a church? Are people going to be more likely to be turned off to faith, Church, and Jesus after seeing this film? Was the gospel portrayed effectively and genuinely through the actions and words of those who were the subject of this film? I hope it sparks conversation instead of uninformed ideas. I hope maybe this blog will help those who have seen the film gain a different perspective about faith, Jesus and Christianity and Church.

One last thing, I did wish that during the scenes where there were large amounts of children in the shot that the directors would have blurred out the last names on the nametags of the children involved in the shots. As this could potentially put these children at risk, both religiously and socially, since a specific location was used in conjunction with the names. That was just one thing that bothered me.

Please leave your thoughts, questions and concerns in the comments.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Ok everyone thanks for sitting tight. I know I owe you a post about Jesus Camp...and it's coming.

Also I've been asked by Marko to write a post about the future of youth ministry. He was interviewed for an article in Christianity Today and it can be found online here. Also if you didn't know I'm going to be hosting a discussion group at the National Youth Workers Convention in Anaheim this fall on the same topic, so this post will be a good lead in to that discussion that we'll be having. So if you are going to be at the NYWC in Anaheim please attend the latenight discussion on Friday Nov 3rd at 10:15p.