my inner monologue...
site by Andrew Seely
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Most likely if you wanted one you probably have one. But just incase you have always wanted a gmail account, anyone with a gmail email address can give you one. So if you want one, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org letting me know you want one.
I seem to think that's it's the best email since well email. And it's from google, and if you don't like google, well poo on you.
email gmail google
Sunday, May 28, 2006
In light of my last post, I decided to take care of the issue, by having the youth today participate in a prayer exercise.
Please feel free to steal, use, pass this on to anyone and everyone.
Even though it was world news, not many of the students had heard about the earthquake as of this morning. I didn't really expect them to have but oh well.
The exercise was to help the students rationalize how many people had actually been killed so far and for them to spend devoted time in prayer.
Since last I had heard around 3000 people had died I thought that would be a nice round figure to go with.
As part of prayer we counted. 1 to 3000.
If you count at about 1 a sec it takes almost 50 min to get from 1 to 3000.
I instructed them to count from 1 to 3000 and during the time they were to think and pray about Indonesia and the lives that have been affected by this earthquake.
Most of the students got done in a bout 30 min (which I expected), but is far longer than I thought some of them would last. I only got to around 1000 in the 40 mins we had for the activity.
It was hard even for me to stay focused that long. But in our post-activity we had some good discussion about the activity.
Most of the students were blown away by how large a number that really is, when they stopped to acknowledge each person all the way to 3000.
Overall it was great way to continuously pray, for a long time. I really hope you will get a chance to do this sometime this week or even pass it on to others, as we need to hold this region in prayer as their lives have been thrown into turmoil too many times in the last 18 months.
earthquake disaster prayer church emerging+church
Saturday, May 27, 2006
I submitted my post 1+0=1 to the presbyterian blogring and there is a bit of discussion going on there as well as the comments here. Feel free to share either or both places.
I thank you for your comments and discussion, I hope we can further look into this issue. Also feel free to post links to your own articles if you like.
comments archives presbyterian+blogs
With another major disaster in the world...is our first response to pray or to feel over burdened?
Hopefully we will pray and pray hard. Hopefully we will give, and give lots and without abandon.
Maybe we will put aside singing "patriotic" songs this sunday and sing songs of grief and sorrow and of hope.
You can find my sentiments about memorial day and church from last year here.
earthquake disaster prayer church emerging+church
pt 1, pt 2, pt 3
Well here's the update. I'm good to go...well sorta.
I got my wi-fi card today in the mail. This started a chain of events that finally ended about 15 min ago.
When I first saw the box, I thought to my self, "oh crap", you see the box they sent was for a fax modem from like 1993. Not exactly what I ordered. I almost had a fit, that I'd have to return the thing and wait another 2 weeks to get the right part. Luckily when I opened it was the right thing.
No CD with the driver though. So just one more thing that I had to do to make the thing work. After installing the driver, it didn't work. Crappers. I tried again and again, no luck, couldn't get the thing to work.
Finally my roommate Carlos showed up and I asked him for help, which I didn't really want to do, because I would like to think that I'm smart enough to figure things out on my own. I feel ok now, since it turned out to be something out of my league. We tried a few different things, and eventually had to connect to the online HP support center and tried talking to a rep to see if they could troubleshoot the issue.
As with most tech support things we ran around in circles and I ended up feeling like I was being treated like someone who had no idea of what they were doing. Carlos and I did eventually get far enough to figure out that all we needed to do was install Windows Service Pack 2.
I have never really liked what came with service pack 2 and therefore didn't ever find a reason that necessitated me installing it.
But for now that seemed like the only viable solution other than going out and buying another wi-fi card. So since after finally spending copious amounts of time downloading and installing service pack 2, things finally work and I'm back up to speed.
I'm pretty tired of this computer...as soon as I get a chance I'm going to get something new. Unless I do like Bob Hyatt and start begging for contributions for a new laptop. Though Bob's actually got a good idea and I'm in no way inferring that he's pathetic. Actually if you can help the guy out.
So it will be nice to be completely mobile again. Well there's the update. Hopefully this will be the last down installment for a long time or until I can get a new machine.
In other news, Fridays off the 405, was really nice. It's just a cool atmosphere. Next month I think we are going to bring our own bottle of wine and have a jolly good time with friends. You are more than welcome to join the fun.
computer fixed wireless+card technology
Thursday, May 25, 2006
In order to be more a part of what's happening in LA I've wanted to start going out more. Do things and see things that make up the cultural scene in LA.
So this friday I will be at the Getty for their Fridays off the 405.
This event happens once a month and is an event usually with music and the getty being open later.
Also I'm super excited to hear Jimmy Tamborello do a DJ set. John Tejeda will also be spinning. There's also a photo exhibit by Robert Adams that ends on sat so I'm glad I get to see that while I'm there.
If you live in around LA you should think about coming out. I'll see you there.
Los+Angeles events culture
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I have this picture of a boat (photo by Joy White) on my office wall. It's a black and white picture of a small older looking row boat that is faced towards the camera on one end and the other is pointed towards the water. The thing is that this boat is sitting on dry land. From the angle of the picture it doesn't look like it's broken, just that it hasn't been used in some time.
As I look at this picture of a boat, caught somewhere between ready for use and abandonment, I think about my current state of ministry.
As I sat staring at the picture, the first image that popped into my head was of me in the boat just sitting there waiting for something to happen. As if the tide was out and would soon come back in, taking me out on the water. I soon came to realize that this was an incorrect perception of my current situation.
Next I thought to myself that the mere fact the boat was stuck on the sand if notion that I feel quite stuck in my ministry life right now. And the water is where I want to be.
But how do I go from being stuck to in the water, when there is no tide to pull me out?
Simply I would have to somehow get myself motivated and get the boat in the water myself. Then I might feel as if things were more fluid and not so stuck. At least I'd be able to go somewhere.
I next say myself standing a the end of the boat closest to me, trying to push the boat towards the water. One problem, it isn't going anywhere. It's too far up the sand to be able to drag it down to the water. It's not huge, but just big enough to not be able to do it by myself.
I need help. I can't do this on my own. After re-reading In the Name of Jesus (see post below), I was reminded of how ministry is meant to be done together. We are not meant to do this alone. Trying to carry ministry alone is like trying to eat soup with a fork. You may get some of the taste and maybe some of the chunks, but ultimately you miss most of the soup.
While I am not totally alone, and I am grateful for the help I have, I am missing the support and companionship of someone who is also in full-time ministry.
I guess if I could have it my way, I really do enjoy team ministry the best. A collaboration of people united around a singe task, all pooling their gifts and talents into ministry.
There are my hopes, my dreams, my frustrations, my sadness, my loneliness, my soul all encapsulated in the picture of a boat. I get so eager to see my boat get off the shore and into the water, that sometimes I forget that I know very little about how to operate one.
I may just need to stay a while longer, on the beach, looking at my boat, examining it, intimately knowing it, assessing and repairing it, before I even get others to venture out with me.
So here I remain. Standing, with my boat between me and the water, trying to hear God's heart.
And if you haven't already read yesterday's post 1+0=1 about the church, relationships/sex and singles, then I strongly encourage you to. Join the discussion in the comments.
picture art ministry youth+ministry church emerging+church pastor personal
There is an official release date for the Simpsons season 8 on DVD.
Save AUGUST 15th 2006. In case you wanted to know this box will be the Maggie head.
Also I finally kinda learned how to solve the ever elusive Rubik's Cube the other night. I spent probably in excess of 4 or 5 hours straight trying to hone my skills. And I can pretty much do it, with the aid of a cheat sheet but nonetheless one thing to knock of the list. If I had a list, that is.
The+Simpsons DVD season+8 Rubik's+Cube
Take trip into the archives with me back to Sept 9, 2005 and the post missed where I talked about how my copy of In the Name of Jesus couldn't be found.
Fast forward to Dec 30, 2005 and the post prodigal when I recieved notice that someone remembered that they had my copy.
Fast forward to May 22, 2006, I finally get my copy of the book in my hands. I've been dying to read it since early 2005, so more than a year later I finally got to do so yesterday.
Yes I could have bought a new one, and actually did, days before I got notice that someone remebered they had my book, but ultimately it came down to the copious amounts of notes that I have in my book that I am fond of.
All that, to say I am extremely happy that I have one of my all time favorite books. And after reading it again, I feel completely challenged and inadequate when it comes to my role as a pastor.
I hope to continue to read it monthly or more as I am always enamored by what Nouwen has to say about the role of christian leaders and how contary his values are to contemporary society.
book In+the+Name+of+Jesus Henri+Nouwen leadership christian+leadership church emerging+church
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I think it's about time we as a church take a good hard look at what it means to be a single person within a Christian community. This largely comes from some conversations I've had with other single christians and from my own personal struggles.
If you would like some background about my journey in regards to relationships and sex please see these posts chaste ,connection , and wed.
Where to start?
I think a good place is with a few statements. I am 25 years old. I have little to no relationship experiences. There's nothing really wrong with me, I just am kinda picky and really waiting for the right person to come along. My parents are divorced. I am adopted. I'm an asian guy who basically thinks he's white (see identity). I really am looking forward to getting married one day. I desire to have children. And I'm for the most part ok with my singleness.
The church is really bad about talking about relationships, when it comes to singleness. We're ok at talking about marriage, but that's another post. We are even worse at talking about sex and single people.
Some basic things that have occurred since 1900. People started dating. No longer was courting the common practice after the turn of the century. As time progressed dating didn't necessarily have to lead to marriage. The freedom to choose a mate became more available for both sexes. In the 20th and 21st centuries the average age for marriage continues to climb. With it now somewhere around 27 for women and 30 for men. Which also is influenced by a larger adolescence time span. With adolescence now starting at 10-12 and lasting anywhere between 18-30. Our bodies are biologically wired for sex between the ages of 11-15. While I do not disagree with the statement that sex is reserved for marriage, I think you begin to see that we have a huge problem if bodies are ready for sex at age 12 and these days people are waiting until their late 20's to marry.
The church hasn't/probably won't address this anytime soon.
I hope to at least open the doors of conversation about how the church can start to talk about this issue.
Obviously this is close to my heart. Let me just say it is not easy being sexually inactive at 25. While there are many people who reserve sex for marriage, I know countless single christians who have not followed through on this responsibility. I'm not pointing any fingers (if you doubt me please read chaste ) nor do I mean to make those of you who may have had sex before marriage feel bad. This is not the point of this article. Personal restraint is one thing. Denial of a God given gift is torture. Especially when the majority of talk we hear from the pulpit and married christians is how great sex is, how precious it is to wait and so on and so forth.
I have a few issues with this.
First many of the people making the above statements are 1) married: it's kind of easy to say you can't have any cake when you are already eating some, 2) got married at a much younger age than I probably will, therefore making the time of abstinence shorter, which equals less frustration, 3) made sexual mistakes, i.e. pushed boundaries and/or crossed boundaries that they ask us to be subject to, which in a sense sets up a false expectation.
First of all I want the church to be willing to be honest in it's sexual mistakes. It's not the end of the world if you had sex before marriage, but please be willing to admit it if/when you talk about it to single people. Second, please talk more about sex and relationships in front of single people so we can have some idea of how to have healthy relationships and how to deal with the time that we are called to be single (don't let Desprate Housewives be our only example of relationships). Thirdly, please recognize us as regular people, we are not sub-par if we are not married, we are not just waiting to be set up or enter into a relationship, we have lives that are full and fulfilling just like everyone else. Fourthly please acknowledge that is it becoming increasingly harder and harder to be single and remain faithful to sexual commitments.
Speaking personally, being single and having no outlet for sexual expression, can lead to dangerous and unhealthy habits. Frustration needs to be vented in order not to explode. About 1/2 of my friends are married, the other 35% are in serious relationships and only a mere 15% of my friends are single. In my house alone, out of the 4 guys, I am the only one who doesn't have a girlfriend. I'm not saying that it's their faults for having girlfriends, but it does something to a guy when he's constantly around people in relationships. Cuddling, kissing, spending time together, leaves me feeling alone, awkward, like a 3rd wheel. It's not their faults but it is a reality that I must face. And church has had nothing to say on how I should deal with this. There are days where I cope by dreaming about the day when I will wake up next to my spouse. I am hopeful, but probably not in the most healthy way. Each day I build up more and more unrealistic expectations about marriage and life with a woman, why? Because I have not had people explain to me what the day to day life of marriage is really like. The church needs to take responsibility for this demographic. Especially if they want to see us return to the seats on sunday mornings.
Please be warned. A "singles group" is not the answer to this problem, more often called a "meat market". Church is not a dating service, and when you place 10-40 single, frustrated, alone, confused, un-educated people in a room together, you're one spark away from blowing the powder keg.
By this point in my life, I can almost rationalize the thought, "I should just go have sex, I've waited this long. I really, really, really want to know what I'm missing out on. Especially since people keep building it up as, amazing, indescribable, the best thing ever, great, satisfying and so forth. And besides God will forgive me."
I know this is not what God has in mind, and I know better, but let me just say, there are those days, when you don't think you can take anymore.
How do we handle this? Really I don't have a lot of answers. I have a lot of questions. And I want to spark a discussion and help people realize that is this a problem the church needs to acknowledge and confront.
The elongation of abstinence, the over sexualization of culture and the growing frustration of singles is something that the modern church desperately needs to look at, especially as we move further into a post-modern world.
Is there a good way for single christians to deal with sexual frustration in the midst of abstinence? Is masturbation as evil as we think it is? Is dating socially, good for people to experience? Or are we just being put through the "desert" as we wait for the promise that God has for us?
While not exactly what I'm talking about Lauren Winner has some good things to say about the whole "no sex before marriage" promises, you can find it here (free registration required).
In looking back on my earlier years 16-22 I would have liked to have seen churches initiate dinners with married people and a single people, no holds-barred, open conversation. Or perhaps more open discussion about what it really means to be a single person, from being a single teenager and what happens if you find yourself a single 20something or even beyond. I don't think it is too early to talk to middle schoolers about relationships and how to have good ones. With hormones off the charts and their little brains trying to just barely understand what it means to like someone, doesn't mean that we can't talk to them about how to communicate or how to make sure a relationship is worth getting into before they start. For if we don't talk about these kinds of things we doom ourselves to maintain a middle school mentality about relationships based on superficial qualities, which leads us to remain people who are unable to determine what qualities we truly value in a relationship.
If the church truly believes that youth are the future of the church or even better yet, part of church, then we need to do things that help any generation after us, lower the divorce rate and be able to enter into fulfilling and meaningful relationships. I think the fact that the divorce rate for christians and non-christians is pretty equal, speaks volumes to the fact that we must not be doing a very good job preparing people for marriage and especially since we hold it so highly and seem to think that christian marriages are somehow different from secular ones.
Is the church ready for this conversation? Is the church willing to own up to the fact that they probably have contributed to, instead of helped the divorce rate in america? Is the church willing to take seriously the task of talking about relationships and truly preparing people for them? As well as caring for those people who find themselves called to singleness and how to deal with the sexual allure of culture?
You tell me.
As always, I truly appreciate your thoughts and comments. I will try and be active responding and adding questions, please come back often and follow the discussion.
relationships sex marriage singles church emerging+church youth+ministry teens young+adults
Sunday, May 21, 2006
I drive 7 miles each way to church. In those 14 miles today I saw at least 5 different churches with signs or banners that had something to do with The Da Vinci Code.
This rubbed me in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. I think I now have a rash. Maybe I should get some ointment.
I did see the movie on Friday.
This will be my first and last post about the movie.
Here's what gets me the most. Why is this such a big deal to churches. Yes, yes I read the paper and listen to the radio, so say all you want about how it is undermining Christians and how false it is and so forth.
The thing that I don't get is: this isn't the first time that one thing or another has said something negative about who Jesus was or what the church is about. We as an institution will last. We have for over 2000 years. There is no need to be alarmist about the situation.
The other thing that gets me, and this is just me being quite cynical, so you are fairly warned, is that if we are so worried about people getting the wrong impressions about this film, then maybe we haven't been teaching the right stuff in church.
Cause if this movie is really going to raise questions about someone's faith then either their faith is not that strong or we as a church have failed to fully instill in people who Jesus is, what his life was about and the church history that supports these facts.
I really, really, really wish my church wasn't jumping on this bandwagon next sunday, but we are. I am confused why we are taking time to talk about how this movie is trying so hard to debunk (I just love that word) who Jesus was, instead of taking the time to talk about who Jesus IS.
I would much rather use our sermon time to affirm those amazing qualities about Jesus' life that we are supposed to be living out, instead of sitting around listening to how we need to be prepared to bad mouth a half decent movie that kept me entertained for 2 hours and 30 min.
I hope you begin to see the point I'm trying to make here. Hundreds if not thousands of churches around the country over the next few weeks will be wasting their time talking about nothing more than a CULTURAL FAD. In 2 years or less NO ONE WILL CARE ANYMORE. We will be on to the next big thing.
So please, if you want to talk about the movie and how untrue it is, fine, but reserve those conversations for some place outside of church. Better yet, please engage in conversation with non-christians, talk to them about what they think the movie says about Christianity. Then instead of telling them that it's all wrong, spend some time sharing how much Jesus has made a difference in your own life. And how much it means to you that Jesus was a perfect example of what it means to follow God and seek his love.
I know some will agree with me and some will not but feel free to leave questions and comments.
The+Da+Vinci+Code church emergent+church sermons
Saturday, May 20, 2006
This is why I love Henri Nouwen. This pretty much sums up exactly how I've been feeling lately and in terms of my work in the life of the church. I'm sure I'm breaking some copyright laws, but I feel it's important that you read it too.
please take the time to read it in its entirety, it's not as long as it looks.
From Henri Nouwen's With Open Hands
Prayer and Prophetic Criticism
As your life becomes more and more a prayer, you not only come to a deeper insight into yourself and your neighbor, but you also develop a better feeling for the pulse of the world you live in. If you are really praying, you can't help but have critical questions about the great problems with which the world is grappling, and you can't avoid the thought that a conversion is not only necessary for yourself and your neighbor, but for the entire human community. The conversion of the world calls for a prophetic witness who dares to criticize the world.
At first glance, the words "prayer' and "criticism" see to be at such opposite extremes and to come from such different worlds that their combination probably invokes deep frustration. We realize that our world needs to change and that no change will ever happen without action, but often feel lost when it comes to questions of "how"? This frustration is a good place to begin, for in our day, the frustrated person seems to ask for more attention than the person who prays.
The frustration which gets too many people up in arms, which confuses then and prompts them to protest and demonstrate - or, in defiance, to do nothing or flee into a drugged oblivion - is an unmistakable sign of deeply-rooted dissatisfaction with the world in which we are forced to live out our lives. Some would like to remind our society of those ideals of freedom and justice which are written in books but which are trampled underfoot in everyday practice. Some have given up this effort and have come to the conclusion that the only chance left for a person to find peace and calm is to retreat from this chaotic world. They turn in disgust from society and its institutions.
Whatever one does, whether one becomes a revolutionary or a meek dreamer, whether one calls for the changing of structure or lets it all float by with a melancholy grin, the resentment remains, fierce and discernible or deeply suppressed beneath an attitude of passive indifference. It is not hard to distinguish in all these phenomena a deep longing for another world. Society as it is now must change, its false structures must disappear, and something entirely new must take their place.
Some go into the struggle with all the energy they can muster, while others wait for a new world as for an apparition which they cannot bring about themselves. Still others try to anticipate the future and melt into a forced dreamworld of sound, color and form in which, at least for a moment, they can pretend that everything - even they themselves - has already been transformed.
What is perhaps most striking about today's visions of the world's future is that they have mostly taken shape independently of Christian thinking. The voices which cry out for a new age, a new order, are often heard outside the Christian tradition.
And yet you are Christian only so long as you look forward to a new world, only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society in which you live, and only so long as you emphasize the need for conversation both for yourself and for the world. You are Christian only so long as you, in now way, let yourself become established in a situation of seeming calm, only so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come. You are Christian only when you believe that you have a role to play in the realization of this new kingdom and when you urge everyone you meet with a holy unrest to make haste so that the promise might soon be fulfilled. So long as you live as a Christian you keep looking for a new order, a new structure, a new life.
As a Christian it is hard to bear with people who stand still along the way, lose heart and seek their happiness in little pleasures which they cling to. It irritates you to see things established and settled, and you feel sad about all that self-indulgence and self-satisfaction, for you know with an indestructible certainty that something greater is coming, and you've already seen the first rays of light. As a Christian, you not only maintain that this world will pass, but that it must pass to allow a new world to be born, and that there will never be a moment in this life when you can rest assured that there is nothing more to do.
But are there any Christians? If you get the impression that Christianity today is failing in its role of spiritual leadership, if it appears that people seek for the meaning of being and non-being, of birth and death, of loving and being loved, of being young and growing old, of giving and receiving, of hurting and being hurt and expect no response from the witnesses to Jesus Christ, then you begin to wonder to just what degree these witnesses should be calling themselves Christian.
The Christian witness is a critical witness because the Christian professes that the Lord will come again and make all things new. The Christian life calls for radical changes because the Christian assumes a critical distance from the world and, in spite of all contradictions, keeps saying that a new way of being human and a new peace are possible. This critical distance is an essential aspect of true prayer.
It is not so much a question of making a Christian into an activist as of being willing recognize in the contemporary prophet challenging the "status quo," the authentic features of Christ. For maybe in this person who makes no peace with the world and who is totally dedicated to the struggle for a better future, we can once more find him who gave his life for the freedom of many.
What are the features which mark true prophets? Whenever we look for them, we must understand that these features will never be perfectly evident in any individual person. It is always a question of footprints or notches on a tree which make us suspect that someone has passed by who is worth getting to know.
Who are these revolutionaries? Critical prophets are people who attract others by their inner power. Those who meet them are fascinated by them and want to know more. All who come in contact with them get the irresistible impression that they derive their strength from a hidden source which is strong and rich. An inner freedom flows out from them, giving them an independence which is neither haughty nor aloof, but which enables them to stand above immediate needs and most pressing necessities.
These critical prophets are moved by what happens around them but don't let it oppress or shatter them. They listen attentively, speak with a self-possessed authority but don't easily get rushed or excited. In everything they say and do, it seems as though there is a lively vision before them which those who hear them can intimate, but not see. This vision guides their lives. They are obedient to it. Through it they know how to distinguish what is important from what is not. Many things which seem of gripping immediacy scarcely stir them, and they attach great importance to some things which others simply let pass.
As critical Christians, they are not insensitive to what motivates others, but they evaluate what they see and hear around them in the light of their own vision. They are happy and glad to have people listen to them, but are not out to form groups around themselves. No cliques can grow up around them for they attach themselves exclusively to no human being. What they say and do has a convincing ring and even a self-evident truth, but they force their opinions on no one and are not annoyed when someone doesn't adopt their opinion or doesn't do as they wish.
In everything, they seem to have a concrete and living goal in mind, the realization of which is of vital importance. Yet a great inner freedom is maintained in light of the goal. Often they seem to know that they will never see their goal achieved and that they see only the shadow of it themselves. But, throughout, they have an impressive freedom from the course of their own life. They are careful and cautious, certainly not reckless, and yet it comes out at every turn that they count their own lives as secondary importance. They don't live to maintain the status quo but to work out a new world, the outlines of which they see and which appeal to them so much that even the fear of death no longer has a decisive power over them.
But it is also clear that people are repelled as well as drawn to these critical prophets. The offense that is provokes is just as great a reality as the attractiveness displayed. Precisely because they are free from things which many others hold as unchangeable, they are a threat. Their manner of speaking and living constantly relativizes the values upon which many of us have built our lives. We feel the penetrating depth of the prophetic message and see that consequences for ourselves if we should grant its truth.
Again and again, when these prophets are among us, we know that the reality they live in is also the reality we ourselves are longing for, but which seems to demand too much. In order to uphold our tranquility of mind and no longer be disturbed in our "secure" way of life, we find it necessary to silence those who fight against our artificial happiness.
Persons, therefore, who proclaim a new world and set the old world reeling, become the occasion for a stifling oppression at the hands of those very ones who consider themselves the protectors of order and the upholders of peace and calm. For those who want to maintain calm and order in the present-day world, these visionaries unmask the illusion of the age and are intolerable agitators. The aggression stirred up against them usually results in their excommunication, with all the means the prevailing order has at its disposal.
This can start with a denial of their message, expand to verbal attacks and end with imprisionment and even execution. But if these critical prophets are credible and true, not even death disrupts their calling. Those who kill them will often discover, to their surprise and horror, that they have only succeeded in awakening many others and that they cry for a new world has grown still louder.
From this description, no one in our milieu may qualify as a critical prophet. Names we might mention offer only small traces of the true prophet. And yet it must be said that when we open our eyes and look for visionaries we find them among the thousands whom we meet during our lifetimes. Sometimes only vaguely recognizable, sometimes undeniably but never totally evident, they become visible for those who want to see.
We can see the visionary in the guerilla fighter, in the youth with the demonstration sign, in the quiet dreamer in the corner of a cafe, in the soft-spoken monk, in the meek student, in the mother who lets her son go his own way, in the father who reads to his child from a strange book, in the smile of a girl, in the indignation of a worker, in every person who in one way or another draws life from a vision which is seen shining ahead and which surpasses everything ever heard or seen before.
What does this have to do with prayer? Praying means breaking through the veil of existence and allowing yourself to be led by the vision which has become real to you. Whatever we call that vision: "the Unseen Reality." "the total Other.'" "the Spirit," "the Father," we repeatedly assert that it is not we ourselves who posses the power to make the new creation come to pass. It is rather a spiritual power which has been given to us and which empowers us to be in the world without being of it.
The praying person looks on the world with compassion, penetrates its hidden meaning and calls it to an always deeper conversation.
Often we use the word God. This word can suggest something fascinating as well as something horrible, attractive as well as repelling, seductive as well as dangerous, all-absorbing as well as nourishing. It is like the sun. Without the sun, there can be no life, but if we come too close to it, we are burned. The Christian, however, believes that God is not "something," but a person who is Love - perfect Love. The Christian knows it is possible to enter into dialogue with this loving God and so work at renewing the earth. Praying, therefore, is the most critical activity we are capable or, for when we pray, we are never satisfied with the world of here and now and are constantly striving to realize the new world, the first glimmers of which we have already seen.
When you pray, you open yourself to the influence of the Power which has revealed itself as Love. That power gives you freedom and independence. Once touched by this Power, you are no longer swayed back and forth by the countless opinions, ideas and feelings which flow through you. You have found a center for your life, a center that gives you a creative distance so that everything, you see, hear and feel can be tested against the source.
Christ is the one, who in the most revealing way, made clear that prayer means sharing in the power of God. Through this power he turned his world around. He freed countless men and women from the chains of their existence, but also stirred up the aggression which brought him to his death. Christ, who is fully human and fully divine, has shown us what it means to pray. In him, God became visible for the fall and rise of many.
Prayer is a prophetic matter because, once you begin, you put your entire life in the balance. If you really set about praying, that is, truly entering into the reality of the unseen, you must realize that you are daring to express a most fundamental criticism, a criticism which some are waiting for, but which will be too much for many others.
Praying, therefore, means being constantly ready to let go of your certainty and to move beyond where you now are. It demands that you leave your house and take to the road again and again, and always look forward to a new land for yourself and others. This is why praying demands poverty, that is, the readiness to live a life in which you have nothing to lose so that you can always begin afresh. Whenever you willingly choose this poverty you make yourself vulnerable, but you also become free to see the world and to let the world show itself in its true form. You have no need to defend yourself. You can proclaim loudly what you know through your intimate contact with God, who is the source of all life.
But this demands courage. If you are able to make real all the consequences of a prayerful life, you might well get frightened and wonder if you can take the risks. In those times it is valid to remember that courage is also a gift from God for which you can pray with words like these:
prayer Henri+Nouwen With+Open+Hands church emerging+church emergent
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Pt 1 & Pt 2
So it's on the fritz again. This time it's the wireless card inside of the computer. It seems that it gets to decide when it wants to pick up a wireless connection or not.
You are probably thinking no biggie just stick a LAN cable in it and do your thing. That sounds easy but I am quite mobile between my room, the living room and not to mention work. Being able to be mobile with a laptop is one of the greatest things.
I'm not going to shell out 200+ bucks to get this fixed and I'm pretty sure church wouldn't front the tab this time. I figured it out as far as that it wasn't my wireless router at home by taking it to church and noticing that even 2 feet from that router it wouldn't pick up a signal.
I'm so frustrated by this computer at this point...
The remedy, pretty simple, luckily the price of notebook wireless cards have come down significantly in price. Where they used to cost almost 100 or more they now retail for around 20-40 at any electronics store. Since I don't really want to and can't sink much money into this computer any more I was able to surf over to pricewatch.com (go there if you need cheap computer parts) and found this card for my laptop. A key factor was it was from a brand that I trust and it was only 15. It's pretty much unreturnable but that's not too big of an issue if it doesn't fix my problem. Maybe I'll try and craigslist it if it doesn't fix my problem.
Well the saga continues. I'll keep you updated when it gets here in a few days (maybe early next week). Until then no promises on blog posts.
Though I will say I do have a vlog (see left for previous vlogs) in the works and I do plan on updating the ghetto blog sometime soon. On a more theological post, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to be single in the church and certain expectations that are placed on single people, I'm still trying to fully gather my thoughts, but it will be up soon.
computer broken wireless+card technology
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
As if Kiefer wasn't bad ass enough on 24 you have got to check this out. Take that!!!!
Kiefer+Sutherland kills+tree funny
After Lent I pretty much went couch potato, not wanting to do much physical activity or go to the gym. Today I finally got off my lazy but and spent a good 45 min at the gym. I've been trying to eat better, shopping more at Trader Joe's for veggies and such, but it probably didn't help that I had a bag full of Weinerschnitzel last night. At least I'm trying.
Maybe I should do like Tony and Marko and go on a cleanse diet (see here and here, respectively). Maybe not.
gym personal health
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I spent over an hour working on a post then lost it. And damn, I had some witty things written too. Oh well.
Anyways the jist of the entire thing was to call attention to this.
The Nintendo Wii (pronounced "we"). Check it out. It will rock your socks. Looking at the new details has consumed my week.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Last night Peter, Bobby and I hung out, as we usually do, but last night was pretty fun for a couple of reasons.
First let me say that I live in LA (Northridge to be exact). LA is such a big place. I've lived here all my life but there are so many places I've never been.
We started the night at McD's for some 99cent nuggets...mmmm...nuggets. Then we headed down into Sliverlake for a Tetris tournament. Yes you heard me right a bunch of nerds and geeks hanging out at a bar to play tetris, drink and listen to videogame themed music.
I ended up playing better than usual but didn't make it into the top 4 for the finals, I did place 9th overall which isn't too bad.
After things finally wrapped up with Peter coming in 2nd and taking home a sweet prize (ask him for details) at around 2 only because the bad had to close, we found ourselves a wee bit hungry again.
In the middle of LA we had a plethora of options.
I had a craving for Tommy's (y not an ie, "if you don't see the shack, take it back") and Peter knew we were close to the original one, and I had never been there (they say that it tastes different there) so that's where we headed. After some chilicheese fries at 3 in the morning and a random encounter with a guy and a rubik's cube we finally headed home.
I should go out more. I wish it wasn't so expensive and I had more money. Though I did finally learn where the house of pies is, so I will make a trip there soon.
If you know of any secret places to visit in LA let me know. Also if you have lived in LA for a while you should check out Resident Tourist: Los Angeles
Los+Angeles night tetris
Sunday, May 07, 2006
In church today was communion sunday, as I sat there I began thinking about the tradition of communion.
I remember a few years ago I did a talk for Middle Schoolers about communion. The one more thing that stands out from my research about communion what the early church history of communion being part of a celebration. Yes, I know we use the term a lot to talk about communion. But the type of celebration that was used in the early church was that of a party or a gathering where fun and life was shared, and it was usually done during a meal.
All this got me thinking about how we present communion these days.
I've done it all, I've dunked, dipped, knelt, ripped, juiced, wined, cracker, bread, wafer, cardboard, styrofoam, received, given, you name it.
And they all have had separate meanings. But what I have failed to experience is the idea of communion being a part of a celebration or even as truly as biblical standards as part of a meal. With the bread part being done at the beginning and then the drinking at the end.
I desire to develop a liturgy or way of doing communion that allows us to fully celebrate this wonderful act. What I wish to avoid is the solemness and ritual, I want it to be filled with the joy that we talk about before communion. I think that there will be plenty of time to be solemn and contemplative but I think the emphasis goes back to the fact that we are celebrating the life and death of Jesus.
Here's my idea:
First you preface with the understanding that this is a time of celebration and maybe even talk about the tradition of communion being done at meals or at gatherings.Please feel free to use this in your community/congregation. I know it goes against traditional liturgy and some denominational standards, but I think this is another expression of a celebratory communion.
I'd love to hear your feedback about this. I hope some of you have a chance to try this, I hope to hear stories of how this worked since I do not know when I'll be able to try this myself. I'm sure people will be a bit confused as it is something that they are not used to and may take a few times for people to fully grasp the idea. I look forward to hearing your stories and comments.
church communion emerging+church liturgy new+liturgy
Thursday, May 04, 2006
First Youth Specialties and Zondervan have some exciting news, find it here.
Second emergent has a thought provoking statement, find it here.
news emerging+church emergent youth+specialties zondervan
In a further look at who I am and my role in the life of the church (see gibberish and identity) I'd at least like to examine the notion of multi-racial churches.
Part of me is really in love with the idea of real, tangible diverse churches. And another part of me totally doesn't give a rip.
I want to see inclusion of women in ministry as equals and I like the notion of embracing a world church, but me being a catalyst towards a diverse church, well the jury is still out on that one.
If you know me somewhat or have been reading this blog for a while then the fact that I identify with a mainstream white culture should be no shock, even though I am fully Korean. (see here if you are new to this blog)
As one of my goals in ministry I want to help the american church become more aware of global christian issues. In many ways I see the future of the church universal outside of america. If anything america thinks it is excused from being part of the church universal.
While I see the value of "race oriented" churches, I also see that as an unwillingness to let people of race into their communities. It may not be a conscious effort to keep people out, but a subconscious effort to maintain a status quo, within the membership.
I think a lot of this comes from an upper middle class perspective on church life. Yes, yes there will be plenty of exceptions to this. But are churches doing intentional things to make sure they are attracting people of all races and socio-economic realms?
Why are the big multi-racial/socio/economic churches usually in the urban centers of cities? Does merely being in a suburb or fringe of a city mean that we do not have to attract and serve those who are of a different status than the majority? The same probably could be said for those with mental handicaps. I am continually inspired by Nouwen's work with the mentally handicapped. His willingness to embrace this group of people as people who are fully capable of being deep, spiritual, and loved by everyone.
In writing this post I find myself more and more wanting to do things to attract people of all backgrounds to church. I want to be a person who helps create an environment where all feel welcomed and accepted. I want churches to create intentional spaces and environments and attitudes are focused towards being multi-racial/socio/economic.
How do we accomplish this?
Honestly I'm not quite sure.
Though I know we do need to talk more about it. That's a start. When is the last time your church openly talked about a lack of diversity in race, economics and/or other social areas? I think there's a common perception that goes unspoken that we want to maintain a certain status quo.
Or do we fight for retaining a certain cultural identity? Yes we want to affirm the cultural expressions of a grouping of people, but in doing so do we alienate others?
Is this why asian churches stay primarily asian or hispanic churches stay primarily hispanic or black or white or rich or poor or big or small or whatever?
I think it is a clear need of churches to be populated with very diverse communities, so in that we begin to identify with the missional call that Jesus speaks of. With multi-racial/socio/economic communities we ensure we are surrounded with poor, disenfranchised, rich, sick, needy, young, families, old, hurting, divorced, and broken people. This ensures that the people who need to give can give, those who need to receive are blessed, those who are lonely are loved and those who are comfortable are challenged.
With in this total expression of church, I think it will help us look further outward towards our communities, our states and ultimately our world.
It's not an easy subject to bring up. I think we may slightly upset some who are not willing to take an intimate look at who we are called to be as a church and who we actually are. Though Jesus is all about asking us to be fully aware of who we are, and who he wants us to become. I think many people are afraid of fully allowing Jesus to change. Our culture tells us so often that we need to be ok with who we are, and Jesus accepts us exactly where we are, but we cannot deny that part of having him in our lives is that he will radically change our lives.
I need people to challenge me to be the type of leader who will inspire others to think about this call to be more multi-racial/socio/economic and to do the things that will be necessary to move in that direction.
I think it's time that I begin to change the way I think about dealing with race and diversity. I think it's time that I stop being unconcerned with how to integrate all into the body of Christ which sees everyone who confesses faith as part of the same body.
church emerging+church race diversity identity
If you don't know, I'm a lostie. Meaning I really like the show lost. After this week's episode I was reading on some forums that someone claimed that they had seen Zeke in the background of a scene. Since I didn't see anything for myself and I don't have a DVR (digital video recorder, think Tivo) my only other option was the new abc.com streaming video service. I had heard about this about a month ago and it sounded cool. Basically it works like iTunes where you can find shows the day after they air. The thing is that they are free instead of pay through iTunes. The catch is that you have to watch ads during the streaming show. The ads are targeted meaning they are not the ads from the broadcast, but are usually from a singular advertiser. There are only 3 ad breaks and they each last only 30 sec. Not too bad.
The quality is ok and you can even scan and pause in each section that you have watched the ad for. Just think 3 sections each with a 30 sec ad at the beginning and then you can watch any part of the show. And technically you can choose the ads you watch. All you have to do is use the little arrows above or below the player and restart the episode and a new advertiser will appear. Pretty cool.
Check it out if you missed an abc show or want to watch one again. The only question remains is if the episodes will be permanently archived or if they will be rotating. For now only two previous episodes are available, I hope they will start to back archive things, now that would be really cool!!!!
PS I didn't see anything so I'm not sure what that person in the forum was talking about.
tv lost abc streaming+video
Tuesday, May 02, 2006