Monday, March 31, 2008

state of convergence

Sunday was an amazing night; a good number of people gathered for our first “State of Convergence” address. The idea comes from the State of the Union Address that our president gives annually.

We talked a little about where we are, and how we got here; but since we have talked about that often, we spent most of the time looking at where we are going. Lisa and I both shared our ten-year vision—Lisa about Convergnce in the larger sense; while I talked about where I see the Church at Convergence headed.

I’m going to share some of my vision here over the next few days…

Ten years from now the Church at Convergence will be a vibrant, active community filled with artists, art lovers, patrons, and creative people of all sorts engaging God, each other, the larger Convergence community, and artists all over the DC/northern VA area.

I see multiple worship gatherings throughout the week to meet diverse spiritual and scheduling needs.

I see people gathering in our beautiful sanctuary for contemplative prayer and reflection.

I see musicians hanging out in the Lab; jamming, collaborating, experimenting—worshiping God and leading others in worship with the music they have created.

I see a multi-generational worship gathering that brings families together, rather than separating them into different groups.

I see people coming together to dig into the Bible—exploring, asking, challenging, imagining, teaching, and learning from each other.

I see worship gatherings where artists of all kinds not only contribute, but lead. Gatherings where painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians, writers, actors—all worship through their art.

I see a community that is diverse—culturally, ethnically, socially, politically, theologically, economically….

I see our facility filled with people coming and going—connecting and relating—a place where one can always find a friend or fellow artist…

I’ll write more tomorrow, but would love your input and feedback!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

environmental arguments

There is a lot of discussion and debate about the environment among Christians these days. Some saying we need  to take global warming seriously and really strive to take better care of God's creation. Others say we don't know enough; some even doubt that global warming is happening. Some say that God gave us the earth to use, not protect.
Here is a blog post that presents perspectives of Rob Bell and John MacArthur. Funny how people can read the same thing and see so differently--the blog author obviously agrees with MacArthur; I had the opposite take. Bell's perspective seems to me to be much more in line with my understanding of the nature of God and His creation.

I'm also really uncomfortable with MacArthur using the 2 Peter passage to justify an attitude that says we don't need to care for the planet. I know he knows the Bible far better than I, but I don't think that is anywhere near the intended point of the passage.

Anyway, read the two perspectives and tell me what you think! The environment is a topic we will be talking about at Convergence later this year.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

basketball and community

This past weekend George Mason won three tournament games to claim the Colonial Athletic Association Conference Championship. (and I was there for all three--a great, but long, weekend in Richmond).

Beyond the excitement of winning the tournament, the weekend got me thinking about family, and community, and having fun.

I spent the weekend with four guys who are great friends--some who have been my friends for over 20 years. We go to the tournament every year. 

We laugh and joke and reminisce and tell stories; there is this incredible comfort level knowing we are loved and accepted unconditionally by one another. 

We make decisions together as a group the whole weekend; rarely is there any tension or conflict. (not that conflict is bad; but there is this level of unity that we have achieved over the years).

We start looking forward to this weekend for months ahead of time, because it provides an opportunity to do some things we all need:

  • get away from work and responsibilities at home
  • act like kids again
  • laugh at ourselves and each other, in a spirit of love
  • enjoy just being, not doing
  • celebrating victories together (and sometimes lamenting failures)
  • enjoying some of life's little pleasures--good food, good beer, and great basketball (is there a better sport than college basketball? I don't think so, especially after winning a championship!)

These are the kinds of relationships we are trying to build at Convergence; where people are loved and accepted and really like spending time together.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

more richmond

one more day in Richmond--we beat UNC-Wilmington 53-41 to advance to the championship game against William and Mary tomorrow night. Go Patriots!


Louis Birdsong with a tremendous dunk

Yesterday was great--I went to Richmond with my friends Kenny, Andy, John, and Mark for the Colonial Athletic Association basketball tournament. We go down every year, kind of a guys' getaway. It's usually a weekend of great food and beer, reminiscing about our college days, and going horse yelling for GMU.

Mark drove down while Johnny played dj with Mark's ipod. We had lunch at Legends; the weather was lousy on the way down, but cleared up enough for us to have lunch on the patio. 

The game was great--we took a big lead in the first half; but had to fight to keep them from coming back; final was 63-52. We always top off the night by walking to a seedy pizza place for a couple slices.

After breakfast at the 3rd Street Diner; we're relaxing and reading the paper, getting ready for tonight's semi-final game against UNC-Wilmington.

I've tried to start using this blog to talk about spiritual things--while this post may not seem like it, it is. These annual treks are a great example of true community. These guys are like brothers to me. The traditions we have built over the years are very important to each of us. We look forward to the break from everyday life for months; and have fun the entire weekend. 

That's important. When was the last time you took a weekend, or even a day, devoted to nothing but having fun? If it's been a while, get our calendar out and schedule a day.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

my back hurts

ok, pretty self-centered title; sorry about that. Yesterday was a really long, hard day, but also a really good one. A, one of the ladies in our church, had cancer surgery. The surgery went well, but she is probably facing a painful recovery and chemotherapy.

I was at the hospital most of the day, waiting with her family. The good part was having conversation with different relatives, talking about our kids, listening to the stories and adventures of A's life and family.

It's never fun to be with people when they are in anxious situations like surgery; but it is encouraging to see and experience the spirit of God as people gather and tell their stories and put their trust in God when they are afraid.

almost forgot--the back pain came from spending most of the day in chairs that were side by side, and conversing with people next to me rather than in front of me. I spent much of the day with my head turned one way or the other; and have a wicked pain in my neck and upper back today...but when I think of my friend with cancer, seems pretty trivial.

please pray for A--for quick recovery and that cancer is contained.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

new york

sorry for the lack of posts lately; the past week was a blur. Lisa and I went to New York Thursday for the International Arts Movement gathering. It was fantastic. Here is IAM's vision:
IAM gathers artists and creative catalysts to wrestle with the deep questions of art, faith and humanity in order to inspire the creative community to engage the culture that is and create the world that ought to be.

It was so cool hearing what folks there are thinking and talking about and trying to do--the parallels with Convergence are amazing. It was really affirming to us that God is doing something new and exciting, and has called us to be a part of that. 

Over the next few days I'll post different thoughts about our time in New York...more later.