my inner monologue...
site by Andrew Seely
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I've been looking forward to this for over a year now and I can finally announce that I will hopefully have it soon.
I've mentioned Alexi Murdoch before and his current EP Four Songs.
But save June 6th because his highly anticipated new full length album Time Without Consequence is coming out.
If you haven't heard this gem of a singer/songwriter be sure to check him out.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
The computer is fixed, thanks to the guys over at Preferred Computer Parts, I got to deal with George DeCastro who was amazing and not until I picked up my stuff did I realize that he was the VP of the company. He even gave me a great discount. Please check them out.
And the way it looks right now that church will be picking up the tab for the service since I use the computer for so much work.
In terms of the acutal repair, it turned out the be the best of situations, it was the cheapest part to replace and was just the power jack, (the little pin that the AC adapter fits onto, to power the computer) instead of the power supply or worse.
If I can dream for a second then allow me to tell you how this would have never happened if I had one of these. You see it has a unique power situation, where the computer is powered by an AC adapter like normal but the adapter connects to the computer via a magnetic connector. Simply amazing. As I said this is just a dream and I am fully entitiled to drool.
I'll resume regular blogging soon.
computer fixed technology macs
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
andrewseely.com is going to be down for a few days while my laptop gets fixed. This may result in me being a hobo-blogger. I think it has something to do with the power supply or the little pin that the AC adapter uses to connect to the computer. I really hope it's the latter, since that will be far cheaper to fix than the power supply. I took it to the shop today and they said it would probably be 3-4 days. Whatever it may be, it's not good news, since money is tight and if it's unfixable then I'm REALLY screwed since I don't have the cash for a new laptop. It's pretty important since I use it for work as well as personal use.
I'll keep you updated.
computer broken hobo-blogger
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I know it's a few days late but here are some thoughts as I reflect on Easter and how it is expressed in congregations.
First off, Easter to me is a part of the christian calendar that completely sums up the entirety of what it means to be a christian and the deep sense of reverence I hold for Christ. I am madly in love with the notion that this particular day is set aside for us to come to the foot of the cross and deeply reflect what it means to live for a savior that sought death, died, and conquered death so that we may have life. My words lack as I try to describe the feelings that I hold for this day.
I would be completely content with the simplicity of being with others and just sitting at the foot of a large wooden cross. My Easter morning would consist of maybe a dozen friends a dimly lit room, comfortable, yet strangely quiet and eerie as if we stood before an empty tomb. We would start in silence and just sit, covered in prayer and meditation. Then we would turn to scripture and read the different accounts of Jesus' death and resurrection. One, two, maybe even five times, letting each word and syllable sink in, with all its gravity, purpose, weight, and life. There would be impromptu singing and affirmations of creeds. We might have something tangible to hold on to, a piece of worn wood, or rusty nails, perhaps a piece of linen, or even just a loaf of bread and cup of wine. The sacraments would be an integral part of the time. Blessed and consecrated by all, instead of by one. Each served by the others. Truly a communal experience.
What I do not need in my Easter experience are the things, that it seems to me, make up such a large portion of American churches. No brass and choirs. No lilies lining the altar. No crowds of people. No schedules and flowcharts for a service. No "evangelistic" messages. No cards or roll sheets. No Easter eggs hunts or "passion plays". No Hallelujah chorus. No pretending to be something that we are not. No Easter dresses or "Sunday best".
I want space, I want freedom, I want awkwardness and awe. I want to come as I am. I want to be broken and ashamed, because I am not worthy to receive grace. I want to know that Christ accepts me no matter what. I want to be vulnerable at the foot of the cross. I want to be able to experience Christ's resurrection, I do not want to observe it. I want to feel it, hear it, see it, taste it, know it. I've heard the story before, I don't need to be convinced. I believe.
And that goes for the other people sitting there too. We don't need to "preach" at them. They call themselves "christian" (for what it's worth). They come Easter and Christmas because they think that's what they are supposed to do. Why aren't we showing them what the christian life is truly about. Why do we need to "convince" them this (church) place is where they need to be. If we truly a caring community then let that be communicated sincerely. If we are passionate about the poor, let us communicate that. If we love the broken, then let's show them we are broken too. If we love one another then that should be visible, not spoken. If we are truly in love with Christ I should be able to see it. I don't think people are going to come back because they showed up for 1 of 2 sundays in an entire year, and say to themselves "wow that was the best sermon I've ever heard, what have I been missing out on?" I think they see through all of the glitz and show. I think they continue to believe that being a christian only requires them to think they are good and show up twice a year. If anything these are the people who need to hear that it is completely ok to come to church however you are. You need not look nice, act a certain way or say certain things. It's ok to be broken, needy, lost, confused, questioning, and maybe even a little mad about "church". They need to sense that there is nothing "special" going on because it is Easter. The only special thing is that we are intentionally focusing on the grace that was bestowed on us by Christ from the cross, on this one sunday. These are the people who need to know that they are surrounded by a community of believers that will not let any need go unmet. These are the people who have been left by the wayside, who we are happy to see, but never call.
Then there are the people who don't have faith. They especially don't need to be "preached" at. I'm sure that's the last thing they want to hear on Easter sunday. These are the curious and questioning ones. These are the ones on the fence. The ones who want to know if what they read in the bible matches up with the way "christians" live their lives. They want to experience love, compassion, hope and joy. They don't need to be told that they are going to hell. They don't need to hear apologetics and reason. They want to feel loved, totally, unconditionally. They need to experience the thing that the rest of the people know, namely the love of Jesus. It's that simple. Really. We are lucky enough to get them in our doors, I hope they are the ones who are the most impacted by the radical message of Jesus, not preached but experienced. Hearing that Christ was risen was not enough for most of the disciples, they needed to see him. I think for the non-believer, they do not need to hear about Christ, they need to experience him, through the others sitting right next to them.
If this message that we hold on to is truly as great as we think it is, why, please tell me, do we need to dress it up with flowers and music and pleasantries and postcards and banners and whatever?
Yes Easter is more special than any other sunday but every other sunday should be a reflection of what we do on Easter sunday.
I do not mean this to be a simple critique of American churches. This is someone who has been a christian all his life and his spiritual needs are not being met. Maybe it's because I have high expectations for what I hope Easter is about. Or maybe, more realistically I have very simple expectations for Easter. I want to meet Christ. I want to sit at the foot of the cross and look into the eyes of my savior.
Church of all places should be the place where I am allowed to do this. Especially on Easter sunday. I think what I have said here may be seen as critical, but I hope you see that I am offering suggestions and reflections on what it means to truly be devoted to Christ and his message, and especially when it comes to Easter sunday.
Feel free to comment, discuss, share your experiences, hopes, dreams, and feel free to question.
update 12:07 Bob Hyatt has some great thoughts about this too, they are here.
easter church emerging+church christianity personal
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Sorry for the dead space.
This week has been overly busy and time consuming.
On top of housesitting and a mishap with the gerbil, the worse-case scenario for a housesitter (it died), it was Spring Break for the students.
The youth were involved in 3 different service projects this week.
Since we do not have a large base of students they were local projects working with the poor and homeless.
I figured that it would be a good introduction to Jesus' call to take care of those who are in need and show love and grace to those most overlooked by others.
During the projects and the times they were held, the students were, at my urging, asked to fast during the projects to enrich the experience.
For the most part they were compliant and found value in knowing that their sacrifice was a daily occurrence for many people around the world. Only a few times did I have to quell the complaining by reminding them that what they were experiencing was nothing they couldn't handle or would only help them better join in solidarity with millions of other people.
The projects we scheduled were on Tues, Wed and Thurs.
On Tues we worked with RESCATE which is a non-profit group that works on the campus of our church reaching out to people in the community providing them with clothes and food and life services. We ended up clearing our a huge storage shed and buying and constructing some shelving units for the shed. It was a long 6 hour day of emptying the shed completely, sorting all the contents (food, clothes, toys, electronics, books, and the ever growing pile of misc.) and then building the shelves and then reshelving all the contents. I was uber impressed by the students efforts and attitudes during the day.
On Wed we were scheduled to head down to the LA mission to help them prepare for their Easter celebrations by preparing food. Unfortunately we didn't have enough students to meet our commitment and ended up having to cancel. I was really bummed that we didn't have the chance to participate in this service project as it was the only one of the three that was located in the Downtown/Skid Row area of LA. Hopefully we will be able to reschedule for a later date.
And today we met at church at 7:30 am, bright and early, to head up to the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. We ended up helping this organization sort food and pass out food to their clients. We also provided much needed work in the warehouse portion of the facility. We were told that even though they have a steady volunteer base, the average volunteer is female and 70 years of age. So for them to have younger people to do many tasks that the other volunteers are incapable of, was truly a blessing.
On a personal note, today has been amazing. After we finished our project and I left church, I had an indescribable feeling in my heart. A sense of total contentment and peace about living out the call of Christ. Not to mention the weather here in Northridge was PERFECT today. Sunny, warm, and dry. I enjoyed driving around with the windows down in a pseudo state of euphoria basking in the glory and joy that only comes from God.
In the next few days I will be working on post examining many of the practices of the current church in regards to Easter. Some of it may be fairly critical, but I look forward to the discussion it will hopefully bring and the issues it will raise.
youth+ministry youth+group service spring+break church christianity emerging+church Jesus
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
If you recall my post pester, I have some updated information.
Thanks to wikipedia, I was able to find this page about Andrew Seeley. Which led me to his website drewseeley.net
I found his email address firstname.lastname@example.org and sent him this letter:
So we have almost the same name and are about the same age.We'll see if I get a response and if this will now lead to less people pestering me.
personal rant Andrew+Seely is not Andrew+Seeley from high+school+musical
Why I don't really care about the gospel of Judas:
Basically it comes down to this: even if new information is revealed about Jesus asking Judas to betray him, that doesn't change the character of God and the message that Christ was bringing to the world. It doesn't change the fact that Jesus still died for our sins. It doesn't change the fact that Jesus' message is still very relevant and life changing today.
It may bring into the question of understanding Jesus' relationship to Judas. But ultimately Judas' gospel will not tell of the redemption of Christ on the cross. Judas was dead by then. He missed the resurrection. He may have been instrumental in bringing about the resurrection, but he did not get to share in the grace that was bestowed upon him because of the resurrection.
Aside from all of the hoopla about the "discovering" of this gospel, I have for a long time thought that Judas has gotten a bad rap. Yes, he may have been the one to rat out Jesus. But when you examine the scripture closely, he is truly repentant afterwards and only fails to fully understand grace and takes his own life.
He missed the point.
There's no way Jesus wouldn't have forgiven him if he'd asked. One way or another Jesus had to be betrayed, otherwise we'd have a completely different ending to the story and God's power would not have been revealed. So whether it was Judas or Peter or John, someone had to betray Christ to be crucified. And they would have forever been seen in a negative light.
I'm not concerned that my faith is going to be rocked because of whatever is going to become public about "the gospel of Judas". I'm excited to be able to share with those who have questions, that God is still God. His grace remains the same and Jesus is still revolutionizing the world.
What are your thoughts?
Jesus gospel+of+judas emerging+church christianity bible
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Maybe it's just me, maybe it's the fact that I just don't know.
But more and more it seems like LA doesn't have places where people gather. To converse, to hang out, to be in community with other people.
The object of my desire, largely surrounds an idea of coffee shops and coffee type places.
Places where people gather and spend time with each other. Places where people know one another and aren't seen as customers or numbers. Places where relationships take center stage. Places where people can rely on each other.
Maybe this isn't something that can be accomplished in a large city. Maybe it's confined to smaller communities or cities that have more of a united culture.
Maybe there are these gems and I'm just not aware of them. LA is a big place and even though I've lived here my whole life, there is still plenty to discover.
What I do realize is that, this lack of gathering places, impacts the way we think about church as a gathering place. With a starbucks attitude towards church, we either are making the problem worse, by catering to the culture of grab and go, or we are missing the need for churches to become places where people can come and gather and find community.
I know this is happening in many other places in the country. Emerging churches are prime example of how this need is being met. Emerging churches are highly devoted to creating spaces where people are known and new and questioning people are welcomed and encouraged. Meaning there is little to no sense of an exclusive club, where one must meet certain requirements or fit a certain description.
Even in a city with well over 10 million people, I think these gathering, either within a church or outside a church, are possible.
It will take work, it will take leadership and it will take churches looking far beyond their own pews and membership directories.
I think this is why I am very curious about intentional communities, places where people decide to live in a situation where they are involved intimately with each other's lives and the lives of those who live around them.
I know many of my friends have had thoughts and aspirations to open small, unique coffee houses in the LA area, but for many reasons most of these projects have failed and/or never began. I agree it is incredibly risky and scary to start a small, independent store in a market that is saturated with major names and brands. I think this is partially why there are few emergent communities/churches in the LA area as well.
Are we willing to go unnoticed and live below the radar for a while in LA, slowly making an impact and gaining the attention for a radically different perspective on what it means to live out our lives for Christ in LA.
I was struck the other day by this passage:
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.Quite an image if you ask me. "There were no needy persons among them." As I've said before I think it is completely possible for churches to meet every need within the communities they minister to. With a church every 2 blocks, there should be almost no area of the city that would not be affected if churches lived up to this scripture.
Maybe we are past the point of the church being the community, maybe we are to the point where these small groups of communities become the arm of Christ to the community.
I hope this resonates with other people. I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially concerning LA and the lack of gathering places.
church emerging+church communities gathering+places coffee coffee+shops
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
In case you haven't seen it yet, Tony Campolo was on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central.
I admire Tony Greatly and think he clearly communicates Jesus' heart, even within mainstream media.
Clip here. (scroll down to his picture)
Tony+Campolo Colbert+Report christianity Jesus tv
Saturday, April 01, 2006