Saturday, February 24, 2007

random thoughts

I'm exhausted. Spent most of this week painting at church--doing a lot of remodeling over next month; making progress, it's gonna look great.

We had a lot of help today--friends from Cornerstone Baptist and the Church at Clarendon. My daughter Ashley and her friend Amanda were great helpers! It was so cool seeing folks jump in and serve!

Last night a few of us went to the 9:30 club in DC to see our own Jay Smith's band, Middle Distance Runner. Jay said playing there has been his dream for years; it was awesome! Twenty years ago I would have been up front by the stage dancing and drinking; but at 41, midnight is really late for a show to start! I didn't get home till almost 3 am, then up at 8 and off to church to paint.

OK, I'm running out of steam; I'll write more tomorrow. If you want to laugh, check out Mr. Deity. Very funny stuff--but you can't be too easily offended about faith. They do prompt some great questions.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

back to cold reality

OK, Thursday we're at Sea World in San Diego, 70 degrees, sunny...Jamie fulfills her lifelong dream of interacting with the dolphins, I'm enjoying watching my son laugh at the whales and sea lions. Ashley got a pair of heelys; tennis shoes with a wheel on the heel--it is so fun to watch her roll everywhere. These are the joys of parenthood, seeing the world through the eyes of my kids and sharing their wonder and joy...

So we come back to find our neighborhood covered with ice. Literally. We're not going anywhere until it thaws!

A lot going through my head about the National Pastors Convention...especially about the Bible. For years I've felt like I've had this framework of faith and theology, and we try to make the Bible fit within that framework. I know the intentions are good, but I think more and more that we miss God's purpose. We argue about how literally to take the Bible...we argue over words like inerrant and infallible and authoritative...and what kills me is that these arguments aren't between Christians and non-Christians--they are going on within the church.

I think Jesus looks at this and sadly shakes His head. I think He probably feels like we so often miss the point. It shouldn't be about arguing, and making sure we get everything right--it should be about finding Jesus--His person, His heart, His desires, His Spirit, in the stories of the Bible. Receiving His love. Loving others in the same way.

I often hesitate writing about stuff like this. I'm not a theologian. I've forgotten much of what I've learned in seminary. I am a student, trying to know Jesus more and more, and become more like Him.

As a lover of literature, I'm excited about how I read the Bible these days. I see how God used all kinds of people to tell His stories. I am letting go of hangups about everything being historically and scientifically "accurate." I'm not saying the Bible is not true. I believe it is. But I think God's perspective of Biblical truth is very different from what a lot of people seem to think--inerrant, infallible, etc...

I realize I say "I think" a lot; and I know friends who will tell me I can't trust my thinking, I can only trust God's Word. But then they quote a verse to support their view; regardless of the historical and theological context of that verse...I'm diving into Jesus' words and stories, especially the Sermon on the Mount. Wow. Revolutionary stuff if we read it as if He meant it! OK, time to get off my soap box and get to bed.

Glad to be back in VA--excited about lots of work/renovations going on at church this week. Join us at Convergence if you can!

Friday, February 09, 2007

from sunny san diego

I'm at the National Pastors Convention in San Diego this week. Great to get away! Good time to relax, hear some challenging ideas from some great thinkers like Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Phyllis Tickle.

Having fun with my family and hanging out with Josh.

I've had some interesting discussions with different pastors about how they perceive some of the activities going on this week. Worship has been led by a really dynamic worship leader…very sincere, emotional, charismatic. The songs have been typical praise songs popular in last ten years. Band is great, fancy light show. It’s the kind of worship I really enjoyed and connected with a few years ago, but these days seems a little hollow or empty to me. Feels more like a show than a worship experience.

I’ve talked with a few others to get their perspective. A couple of younger folks, “emerging types,” feel as I do about worship—some even more critical. Feels like the emphasis is on us, our energy and emotions, not on God, even though the words were about or sung to Him.

But some of the pastors who are a little older (45-55), think the worship is great. One said it wasn’t anything new, “nothing out of the box,” but that the leader created an atmosphere that was really powerful. They were wondering how to re-create that atmosphere in their church.

It made me think about what we are doing at Convergence. There is always a tendency to want to recreate a particular feeling or atmosphere; but I think we really want to create something that is our own, something that reflects our community, our people.

Anyway, it's interesting how different the opinions were about the worship. There is so much diversity, even in our church culture, and got me thinking —churched and unchurched, modern and post-modern, high energy and contemplative…

A lot of thoughts going through my head. Great seminar earlier in the week with Brian McLaren and Richard Twiss about the Bible. All the heat Brian takes about not respecting or valuing Scripture is crap. I was amazed at how much thought and energy he puts into seeking and learning and living Scripture as God intends. I really believe he has a much higher view of God's Word than those who quote it randomly and out of context in order to criticize others. I know my love for God and Scripture is growing as God works through people like Brian and Doug.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

another baby!

Looks like only Josh is reading my blog these days; at least no one else responded to the "our family is expanding" comment. Yes, Jamie is pregnant! I was a little freaked out at first. Brady is 8 1/2 months old; I never really planned on having kids this close together. But after walking around in a daze for a couple days, I became really excited about another wonderful gift! A few nights ago I had a dream--I was in our church, running down the hall with a baby under each arm. The babies were laughing, and I was filled with joy and love for my children. Jamie has given me two incredible children already; I'm sure this one will be just as precious!