Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm on my own till next thursday. I dropped Heather off at the airport yesterday, her and the little guy flew to Atlanta to visit family. So here I am all by myself with lots to do. I need to get some work done around the house and I need to write a sermon for the 17th and plan the service. I'm sure I'll host a 4th of July cookout as well.

Resistance: I don't think I ever commented on this and it happened so many months ago I'm surprised I remember but I guess it's stuck with me for this time because it was surprising to me. (notice how many "i" are in the last sentence). Well anyway at the end of March I took some of my students on a campus preview trip to my alma mater. Toccoa Falls College in Northeast Georgia really means a ton to me and it was great to take some students there to look at the college.

While there all youth pastors/workers were invited to a roundtable discussion with one of the Christian Ed profs, Doug White, one of my favorites. After introductions the discussion was opened and we were asked by Prof. White if we had any questions he might be able to help us with. I didn't hesistate to ask this question "Are we teaching our students to expect a ministry that is NOT like the adult church?" Essentially I asked if we are ministering to our student in a language that churches are not speaking thus leaving them stranded when they graduate.

This was the last question asked in the several hour round table. Lots of good information was exchanged lots of good imput. Later that day I found someones notes that they had left on a table. I'm not sure if it was right of me to read these notes but they were just scribbled on a paper left on a table so I read it. It was sad to read their hatred and resistence for even admitting the church might not be doing stuff right. It was a good reminder that not everyone even sees the problem.

From reading their notes it made them angry that I would even suggest that the church isn't getting it done. Wake up people. Just wake up.

Emergent is not the enemy, McLaren is not the enemy, Rick Warren is not the enemy, I am not the enemy, sin is the enemy, eternal death is the enemy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tags: So I notice a few rappers keeping the tags on their hats, of course this leads their minions to do the same. I saw a guy walking into burger king this morning with the sticker. I couldn't help but ask myself "Why?" I guess I feel a need for things to make sense so why? I came up with some options.

-to prove that the hat is authentic MLB apparrel
-to prove that in fact the had was bought new not at some yard sale
-they forgot

That's it that's all I could come up with.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Here's the beauty shot of my new 30gb ipod photo. I've had it for about 5 days now and absolutely love it. I have most of my current library on it and beside enjoying it for listening to my tunes in the car and in the office and while on a walk I see a lot of potential for this beast. I named it pod! which is merely ipod upside down. I'm going to be using this mp3 phenom for worship at youth group, as well as living room worship times. Apple sells an optional av cable that allows me to run slide shows of my pictures with music through any tv or projector. Monster sells rca cables that plugs into the headphone jack. It really is so versatile and so helpful to the ministry I am part of. Posted by Hello

A nice side shot of the new ipod. Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 25, 2005

We practiced hunting last night. Posted by Hello

We took Nathan to the pool on Thursday. The little stud loved the water, he just held onto his float and enjoyed himself! Posted by Hello

the float Posted by Hello

Saturday: I've been slacking on reading lately and because of that I think I've been slacking on my writing. It's wild to realize how much how much "input" I receive determines my output in writing.

Cloud: I did receive the new edition of cloud of witnesses put out by Princeton Theological. The last issue was called "Mission" and can be listened to by clicking <------there. I also recommend subscribing so you can get the discs when they come out. It's free and worth getting.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Car Whisperer: I was sitting in The Bagel Shop this morning enoying my morning coffee and an everything toasted with cream cheese. You have to understand that I love the bagel shop for the friendly owners and employees but I really love it because it is quiet and a nice place to read the word and pray before I get to the office.

This morning the shop was crowded which really hinders concentration. But normally when it's crowded I can still focus and enjoy myself. This morning there was some loud mouth woman and she kept starting conversations with peopel. That part was neat, I like friendly people. But every conversation she kept talking about her high school aged daughter. I'm not sure why but it was buggin the heck out of me. I guess because it was a pretty "me" centered conversation and those are always uncomfortable.

At this time there was also a car parked in the fire lane which again bugs the heck out of me because it says "I'm more important than everyone else because you park in spots and I use the fire lane. Oh yeah, if theres a fire then you're going to die because the firetruck won't be able to get in and put out the fire."

So the loud mouth walks outside and gets in here car, which is parked in the fire lane. She goes to start her car and it just won't start. She starts jumping up and down in here seat in the desperate hope that her by bouncing her car it will start? She tries and tries and by this time I'm paying full attention to her antics and in my mind I thank God for punishing this sadly selfish woman.

Then the ironic nudge in my spirit to help this woman. Basically God said "Nick you're going to go out and get this woman's car to start". My hesitation wasn't that I was embarrassed, it was that I didn't want to help her out because I didn't like her. So after a few minutes of resisting and laughing at her bounce up and down in her seat mercilessly bouncing her car into starting I threw my trash away and walked outside. I said, "anything I can do to help?" She tried to start it and there was plenty of power, the battery and starter sounded good. I told her it sounded like her car wasn't getting fuel and asked her if this had happened before. She told me that its been happening lately. I told her that I couldn't do anything about that and started to walk off. As I did the car started. She thanked me for fixing her car "with my words". I told her I was glad her car was running and I left.

Call me Nick the car whisperer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hollaback Girl: I'm pretty eclectic in my music listening choices. I honestly like all kinds of music and while I'm not a big fan of the chick bands I do dig on some pretty girly artists; artists such as Jewel, Alanis, No Doubt, Superchick and some others. But I refuse, refuse, refuse to like the song holla back girl. I won't do it. Wanna know why? Anyone caught singing that song sounds like a moron. Don't get me wrong I like Gwen Stefani, I thought she was great in no doubt, but that song is so stupid. So to the 40 year old balding man that was blaring the song in Best Buy's parking lot, you sounded like a moron. Thanks for the warning.

Best Buy: so I wanted to check the price on Adobe Photoshop Elements so I can present and transfer slide shows onto my new ipod. Regular price $99.99, a fair price for possibly the best photo editing program. There was a sign under the box that said as advertised $59.99. I was pleased at the great deal and took the box to the register to check out. The cashier rang it up and it came up $99.99, I kindly asked if there was a rebate and she said no. I asked her about the sign and she informed me it was a different program. I told her I checked the numbers and they matched exactly. She skeptically went back and checked the tag, I was correct and got the $40 off. YES! Any trip to Best Buy is a good trip, one where I save $40 is and great trip.

Clothes: So on above said trip I noticed something, rather I was reminded of something. Girls wear clothes that are too small for them. It's really not even attractive. I don't know if it's the style or if they just gained weight as much as you think people are checking our your backside, and they might be, they're also looking at your jelly roll. Jelly roll, je, je-lly roll!

4 Pedals: I have to give my friend BJ another shout out. He's been on his cross country bike trip for just 3 weeks now and has gone a total of 1000 miles. Check out his story at and his journal at I can't tell you how proud of him I am!

Monday, June 20, 2005

What is a life worth if it never touches another's soul, if it never finds its true purpose, if it never believes in the one who created it?
-Edith Mathias

Been a while: It's been a while since I could say that I wasn't addicted...oh wait. That's not what I meant to say. It's been a while since I blogged anything worth reading just some cool pics.

ipod: Heather is giving me an ipod for our anniversary and father's day so I've been putting my music on itunes so when I get my ipod in I'll be all ready to sync charge and go. I'm real excited about getting the ipod, it's going to be great not having to lug around all those cd's all the time and I was running out of room in my case.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What is this? Posted by Hello

Nathan Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

40 years: Moses left Egypt when he was 40 years old to become a shepherd. He had a heart to reach "his" people but he ran away. For 40 years he was a shepherd. He tried to live a normal life, get married, have some children but every day he woke up and wondered about his people. He hoped they were ok, he had aspirations to free them, it haunted him day after day.

Jesus Christ for 30 years woke up and knew his purpose. He knew that he would save the world. But he knew the time was not right to make his move.

For 9 years Paul, after conversion, knew he would be used mightly by God. He knew he was destined for greatness to expand the kingdom of God, but he had to wait.

Now I'm not certainly not Jesus, nor Moses and I can only hope to be as influential as Paul. Those great men and one savior of the world took years to be used and I get grumpy when I go 4 weeks without something substantial happening.

Monday, June 13, 2005

My boy and his crazy antics! Posted by Hello

What's my son doing? Posted by Hello

Excellence: [rant time] I'm not sure at what point we (the church) thought it'd be ok to be mediocre. Ok I can understand the point that the church said, let's forget outreach, it's scary anyway, then we have to deal with people that might not act like us and well, it's just too much work to do outreach.

I can understand when the church stopped deciding to do discipleship also. Discipleship is hard, the leaders can often feel let down, abandoned and that their work is fruitless. People are fickle, they are hard to predict and hard to reach. Discipleship is hard, I can understand why the church quit doing that.

So there we are the church has cut two major things it was told to be doing. So we must have a lot of time to do the other things with excellence right. With all that extra time and people we should have excellent children's programs or excellent nursery? Wrong. So we're just mediocre all around.

We don't offer good child care, we don't offer engaging worship. We basically just do everything...POORLY. This has to stop. You might not be the most cutting edge person at the most cutting edge church but doing things with excellence is not an option.

Youth Pastors: I am a youth pastor at a smaller church (100 attendees), I understand the woes of a smaller church. Not quite big enough to pull off the big stuff, not small enough to go unnoticed, so there we are stuck in the middle. I have friends that also work at churches like mine. I have a fact I want to share. FACT: Those churches don't NEED a full time youth pastor. Yeah I know I'm crazy but it's true. Those churches would be better to invest in a family pastor one that oversees children, youth and family ministries. I think churches are fooled into thinking they need one because they have so many youth. A good pastor can always create enough work for him/herself to keep busy through out the week. But fact of the matter is that a church of 100 people does not require two staff persons, especially one dedicated to youth work 50-60 hours. I actually propose this kind of individualized attention is harmful to the maturation of that spiritual generation.

Making this discovery is about doing things with excellence. The church isn't concerned with that!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Going Big: I'm not a real big extreme sports guy. I like to watch the x games and stuff like that but really I'm no more than a daredevil spectator. But I'm ready to go big. Not like take a big jump on my bike ( I don't even own a bike) but I'm ready to go big...well what do I do exactly that I can go big with?

I guess I'm gonna go big with my talents, step out there and put it all on the line. I have something in mind and something in the works, but I can't divulge just yet. You'll have to read the blog every now and again to find out what it is.

Personal excitement is BREWING!

Extended Adolescence:

Two articles and social commentary on the fact that teenagers are growing up LATER than ever before in history. These articles make it clear what the results are I just wonder what the cause it. Certainly the fact that houses are more expensive and that a bachelor's degree is no longer enough is not the only cause of extended adolscence. I don't doubt the problem, don't hear what I'm not saying. I know it's a problem, seldom do I graduate students that are prepared and willing to leave home, and the fact is their parent's don't want them to leave either.

Is it a problem to be fixed or just a reality to be dealt with?

Friday, June 10, 2005

DAVID CRUMM: Getting to the root of religion

June 3, 2005


The hottest preacher in Michigan this summer is a former punk rocker who's packing 10,000 people each Sunday into a remodeled mall southwest of Grand Rapids with a risky theology that offers as many questions as answers.

At age 34, the Rev. Rob Bell already stars in a popular series of direct-to-DVD inspirational movies called "NOOMA." In August, his book-length spiritual memoir, "Velvet Elvis," will hit stores nationwide from Zondervan.
But, sitting across the table from Bell at an Indian restaurant near his home in Grand Rapids on Sunday, he shrugged off any interest in fame. What matters, he said, is getting home for supper each night with his wife, Kristen, and maybe an hour of play time with his sons Preston, 5, and Trace, 7.

Anyone who has seen one of Bell's short "NOOMA" movies or has joined the vast crowd at the renovated mall in Grandville, called Mars Hill Bible Church, knows Bell is dead serious.
I drove up to see the church, because Bell has accomplished a feat that has religious leaders' jaws dropping: He's built a huge congregation dominated by 20-somethings, a group virtually missing in most churches.

"This journey we're on at Mars Hill isn't about numbers," Bell said. "You'll never catch me selling 'Seven Steps to a Mars Hill Model.' What we're interested in is real people stepping forward to tell how their lives are being transformed and how they're building healthy communities.

"Remember what Jesus always wanted to know?" he asked. "What's the fruit we're producing? Is justice being done? Are people sharing their possessions? Are the oppressed being set free? Are relationships being healed? To me, that's the point. Everything else is just chatter."
Since Mars Hill's founding in 1999, its charitable outreach has touched four continents. Now, the church is raising $1 million for AIDS relief in Africa.

"My theory of church growth is simple," said Bell, leaning across the table to deliver the coup de grace. "People drive a long way to see a fire."

Mars Hill's blaze may not be visible at first glance. There's nothing new about churches drawing casually dressed crowds by replacing pipe organs with rock bands and traditional altars with stages. That was news in the 1980s.

Instead, Mars Hill is a pioneer in a wave of churches nationwide that have little interest in d├ęcor. Instead, they're trying to rebuild the house of Christianity from its foundations. That's why Bell often preaches about basics.

On Sunday morning, I walked into the battleship-gray church, set up in the gutted interior of the mall's former anchor store. People settled into rows of plastic chairs facing a central stage, most of us curiously staring at the huge pile of topsoil in the middle of what other churches call the altar.

After 20 minutes of rock-style hymns, Bell walked up to the dirt pile in a work shirt. He lifted a handful of soil and retold the Bible story of God taking dirt and breathing life into the first humans. For half an hour, Bell talked about the wondrous nature of breathing, borrowing from Jewish, Christian and Hindu teachings.

He described breath as a form of prayer and urged people to relax and "breathe out" all of their anger and stress from the past week. He knelt and prayed, "God, we are fragile clods of dirt, and we need you to breathe into us hope and truth and love and courage."
Something in that earthy moment moved people in visible ways. One man near me cupped his face in his hands and used his fingers to wipe away tears. A woman kicked off her sandals and sat cross-legged as a beatific smile spread across her face.

As the service ended, parishioner Michael Sullivan, 27, of Grand Rapids said Mars Hill is the first church he's seen "that boils down church to the essentials -- just music and a message about what we're going through in our daily lives."

His friend Tina Boljevac, also 27 and from Grand Rapids, added, "And, Rob's honest."
He's so honest that the title of his memoir, "Velvet Elvis," is a jarring metaphor for how oddly out of date traditional churches appear to many young Christians -- like finding a painting of Elvis Presley on a black-velvet canvas in someone's basement, Bell writes.
That's how alienated many young people feel toward organized religion, Marcus Borg, a Bible scholar who has written several books on reinventing Christianity, told me later by telephone. "In the religious studies class I teach at Oregon State University, I ask students to write down their impressions of Christianity and their adjectives include: anti-intellectual, judgmental and bigoted," Borg said. "So, I think Rob Bell's attempt to change this impression is exciting."
In Bell's envisioning of Christianity, he's also trying to bypass some of the feuds that have left many denominations deadlocked.

Women's ordination? No problem at Mars Hill. A third of the 15 associate pastors who work with Bell are women.

Homosexuality? Bell tells gay people the same thing he tells everyone who walks through the door. It's a powerfully affirming line that he repeated in his sermon on Sunday: "God loves you exactly as you are. Period."

The Rev. Brian McLaren, a pastor from Maryland who has become a national adviser to churches like Mars Hill, said: "Rob's one of the most courageous pastors in the country. What he's trying to do is move past the battle lines that have caused such polarization."
Bell seems well equipped for such tough work, growing up around controversy and jumping into the edgy life of a performer at an early age. He's the son of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Holmes Bell, whose controversial cases have ranged from the expansion of casinos to the storage of nuclear waste. And, even as Rob Bell went from Okemos High School to Wheaton College in Illinois and Fuller Theological Seminary in California, he moonlighted as a guitarist in punk bands.

When he founded Mars Hill in 1999, he named it after the spot in Greece where Paul of Tarsus preached to leading intellectuals and pagan leaders. Criticizing ancient houses of worship, Paul declared, "God ... does not dwell in temples made with hands."

At the restaurant on Sunday night, Bell wiped a final bit of curry from his chin and said: "The bad thing about a lot of theology today is that it works like a box. The church draws a square box around itself and divides the world between people who are 'in' and 'out.' I don't think that's what Jesus intended. He saw the church as a journey we take together. That's what interests me: the exploration, the relationships, the excitement of trying to discover this together. All I'm doing is asking people to come along."

breath mint Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Supersize me! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Free: I think I've talked about it before on my blog but in case I haven't I'll recap. Sometimes I just have an ability to just feel the darkness of the world. It is a blessing and a curse.

Today I think for the first time I felt the exact opposite, well rather I was able to see past the darkness. I was daring myself to dream, and allowing God to direct my thoughts and I was able to break through the shroud of darkness that covers our earth and saw hope for this world in Christ Jesus.

I honestly had chill bumps knowing that God will work wonderfully and incredibly through me for his kingdom. For HIS glory! It was freedom, it was emancipation!

The new Don Miller book due out August. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

preach that! Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005

Point: At what point in time does a redneck just say "Screw it" and start running around town in his pick-up with no shirt on? At what point does he just not go to work to drink beer and spray paint his "new" car?

I'm not sure but I'm going to ask the guy that lives down the street cuz he'll know for sure!

Mr. Mom: I'm Mr. Mom this week well really I'm just a dad but assuming a non typical dad role and staying home with the boy while Heather finishes up the school year. It's been good so far and I'm glad I'm capable of taking care of Nathan, I think he likes it!

Tires: Heather's car needs new tires and since I'm stay-at-home-dad this week Nathan and I took a trip to the tire shop. I discovered a new and wonderful thing. If you want quick service take a baby, I'm not sure if this works for women because men assume you can keep the baby from crying but if you're a man the employees think the baby will scream the whole time. So be it. I've never gotten tires and an alignment so fast in my life. Nathan was great but his presence was enough to frighten them to work faster.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

4 Pedals: I want to give another holler to my friend BJ. His best friend died of Cystic Fibrosis a few years back and this year BJ decided to take a cross country trek on a bike from Oregon to VA. Beach. He is doing it to raise awareness and support for CF funding. You can read about his desire in my links section or on his blog. He's taking a trip and blogging on it as he goes. Quite a journey! Pray for my friend!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Response to Recent Criticisms

By Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones, Chris Seay

We continue to be amazed by the enthusiastic interest in the work of emergent, a conversationand friendship of which we are a small part. This conversation is bringing together a wide rangeof committed Christians and those exploring the Christian faith in wonderful ways, and many ofus sense that God is at work among us. As would be expected, there have also been criticisms.A number of people have asked us to respond to these criticisms. These ten brief responses will,we hope, serve to clarify our position and suggest ways for the conversation to continueconstructively for participants and critics alike. It is our hope and prayer that even ourdisagreements can bring us together in respectful dialogue as Christians, resulting in growth forall concerned.

First, we wish to say thanks to our critics for their honest feedback on our books, articles,speeches, blogs, events, and churches. We readily acknowledge that like all human endeavors,our work, even at its best, is still flawed and partial, and at its worst, deserves critique. We aregrateful to those who help us see things we may not have seen without the benefit of theirperspective. We welcome their input.

Second, we have much to learn from every criticism – whether it is fair or unfair, kindly orunkindly articulated. We pray for the humility to receive all critique with thoughtfulconsideration. Where we think we have been unfairly treated, we hope not to react defensively orto respond in kind, and where we have been helpfully corrected, we will move forward withgratitude to our critics for their instruction and correction. We especially thank those who seekto help us through cordial, respectful, face-to-face, brotherly/sisterly dialogue. As we havealways said, we hope to stimulate constructive conversation, which involves point andcounterpoint, honest speaking and open-minded listening. As a sign of good faith in this regard,we have invited and included the voices of our critics in some of our books, and as far as weknow, have always treated these conversation partners with respect.i We have also attempted tomake personal contact with our critics for Christian dialogue. Even though most of theseinvitations have not been accepted, we hope that the friendly gesture is appreciated.

Third, we regretfully acknowledge that in our thought, writing, and speech, we have at timesbeen less charitable or wise than we wish we would have been. Whenever possible we will seekto correct past errors in future editions of our books; when that is impossible, we will make otherforms of public correction.

Fourth, we respect the desire and responsibility of our critics to warn those under their care aboutideas that they consider wrong or dangerous, and to keep clear boundaries to declare who is “in”and “out” of their circles. These boundary-keepers have an important role which we understandand respect. If one of your trusted spiritual leaders has criticized our work, we encourage you, inrespect for their leadership, not to buy or read our work, but rather to ignore it and consider itunworthy of further consideration. We would only ask, if you accept our critics’ evaluation ofour work, that in fairness you abstain from adding your critique to theirs unless you have actuallyread our books, heard us speak, and engaged with us in dialogue for yourself. Second-handcritique can easily become a kind of gossip that drifts from the truth and causes needlessdivision.

Fifth, because most of us write as local church practitioners rather than professional scholars, andbecause the professional scholars who criticize our work may find it hard to be convinced bypeople outside their guild, we feel it wisest at this juncture to ask those in the academy torespond to their peers about our work. We hope to generate fruitful conversations at severallevels, including both the academic and ecclesial realms. If few in the academy come to ourdefense in the coming years, then we will have more reason to believe we are mistaken in ourthinking and that our critics are correct in their unchallenged analyses.

Sixth, we would like to clarify, contrary to statements and inferences made by some, that yes, wetruly believe there is such a thing as truth and truth matters – if we did not believe this, we wouldhave no good reason to write or speak; no, we are not moral or epistemological relativists anymore than anyone or any community is who takes hermeneutical positions – we believe thatradical relativism is absurd and dangerous, as is arrogant absolutism; yes, we affirm the historicTrinitarian Christian faith and the ancient creeds, and seek to learn from all of church history –and we honor the church’s great teachers and leaders from East and West, North and South; yes,we believe that Jesus is the crucified and risen Savior of the cosmos and no one comes to theFather except through Jesus; no, we do not pit reason against experience but seek to use all ourGod-given faculties to love and serve God and our neighbors; no, we do not endorse falsedichotomies – and we regret any false dichotomies unintentionally made by or about us (even inthis paragraph!); and yes, we affirm that we love, have confidence in, seek to obey, and striveaccurately to teach the sacred Scriptures, because our greatest desire is to be followers andservants of the Word of God, Jesus Christ. We regret that we have either been unclear ormisinterpreted in these and other areas.But we also acknowledge that we each find great joy and promise in dialogue and conversation,even about the items noted in the previous paragraph. Throughout the history of the church,followers of Jesus have come to know what they believe and how they believe it by being opento the honest critique and varied perspectives of others. We are radically open to the possibilitythat our hermeneutic stance will be greatly enriched in conversation with others. In other words,we value dialogue very highly, and we are convinced that open and generous dialogue – ratherthan chilling criticism and censorship – offers the greatest hope for the future of the church in theworld.We regret that some of our critics have made hasty generalizations and drawn erroneousconclusions based on limited and selective data. We would welcome future critics to conversewith us directly and to visit our churches as part of their research. Of course, they would findweaknesses among us, as they would among any group of Christians, including their own. Butwe believe that they would also find much to celebrate and find many of their suspicions relievedwhen they see our high regard for the Scriptures, for truth, for worship, for evangelism, forspiritual formation, and for our fellow Christians – including our critics themselves.

Seventh, we have repeatedly affirmed, contrary to what some have said, that there is no singletheologian or spokesperson for the emergent conversation. We each speak for ourselves and arenot official representatives of anyone else, nor do we necessarily endorse everything said orwritten by one another. We have repeatedly defined emergent as a conversation and friendship,and neither implies unanimity – nor even necessarily consensus – of opinion. We ask our criticsto remember that we cannot be held responsible for everything said and done by people using theterms “emergent” or “emerging church,” any more than our critics would like to be heldresponsible for everything said or done by those claiming to be “evangelical” or “born again.”Nobody who is a friend or acquaintance of ours, or who agrees with one of us in some points,should be assumed to agree with any of us on all points. Nobody should be held “guilty byassociation” for reading or conversing with us. Also, contrary to some uninformed reports, thisconversation is increasingly global and cross-cultural, and because North Americans are only asmall part of it, we urge people to avoid underestimating the importance of Latin American,African, Asian, European, and First Nations voices among us.

Eighth, we are aware that there is some debate about whether we should be consideredevangelical. This is a cherished part of our heritage, but we understand that some people definethis term more narrowly than we and in such a way that it applies to them but not to us. We willnot quarrel over this term, and we will continue to love and respect evangelical Christianswhether or not we are accepted by them as evangelicals ourselves. However others include orexclude us, we will continue to affirm an evangelical spirit and faith by cultivating awholehearted devotion to Christ and his gospel, by seeking to join in the mission of God in ourtime, by calling people to follow God in the way of Jesus, and by doing so in an irenic spirit oflove for all our brothers and sisters.(We hope that those who would like to disassociate us from the term evangelical will be awareof the tendency of some in their ranks toward narrowing and politicizing the term so that it onlyapplies to strict Calvinists, conservative Republicans, people with specific views on U.S.domestic, foreign, military, or economic policy, single-issue voters, or some other subgroup. Wepose no threat to these sincere people, nor do we wish to attack or discredit anyone, even thoughwe do not wish to constrict our circle of fellowship to the parameters they propose.)

Ninth, we felt we should offer this encouragement to those who, like us, do not feel capable ofliving or explaining our faith in ways that would please all of our critics: if our work has beenhelpful to you, please join us in seeking to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace bynot becoming quarrelsome or defensive or disrespectful to anyone – especially those who youfeel have misrepresented or misunderstood you or us. As Paul said to Timothy, “The Lord’sservant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, patient whenwronged.” In addition he warned Timothy not to develop “an unhealthy interest in controversiesand quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constantfriction.” The apostle James also wrote, “the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” We believe it is better to bewronged than to wrong someone else; the Lord we follow was gentle and meek, and when hewas reviled, he didn’t respond in kind.Instead of engaging in fruitless quarrels with our critics, we urge those who find our workhelpful to pursue spiritual formation in the way of Christ, to worship God in spirit and truth, toseek to plant or serve in healthy and fruitful churches, to make disciples – especially among theirreligious and unchurched, to serve those in need, to be at peace with everyone as far as ispossible, and to show a special concern for orphans and widows in their distress. We shouldkeep careful control of our tongues (and pens or keyboards), and seek to be pure in heart and life,since this is “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless.”With millions suffering from hunger, disease, and injustice around the world, we hope that all ofus – including our critics – can renew our commitment to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10)rather than invest excessive energy in “controversies about words.” “They will know you are mydisciples,” Jesus said, not by our excessive disputation, but by our love. Words and ideas areessential, for they often set the course for thought and action, and constructive dialogue is neededand worthwhile, but we cannot let less productive internal debates preoccupy us at the expense ofcaring for those in need.

Tenth, we should say that along with a few critiques, we are receiving many grateful andaffirming responses to our work. Respected theologians and other leaders have told us, either inprivate or in public, that they are grateful for the emergent conversation and that they stand withus and support us. We are frequently told that people sense God graciously at work in theemergent community. We hope that those who see problems will not overlook the signs ofGod’s presence and activity among us, just as we do not overlook our many faults, includingthose pointed out by our critics. Only time will tell what the full outcome will be, but in themeantime, we welcome the prayers of both friends and critics.We must once more thank both our critics and those who affirm our work, because we know thatboth are trying to help us in their respective ways, and both are trying to do the right thing beforeGod – as we are. At the risk of redundancy, let us state once again that we welcomeconversation with all who desire sincere and civil engagement over ideas that matter.If you would like to be involved in the emergent conversation and friendship, we warmly inviteyou to visit And feel free to pass this response on to others for whom itmay be helpful.i For example, see sidebar comments and multiple perspectives in The Church in EmergingCulture, The Post-Evangelical, Postmodern Youth Ministry, and The Emerging Church. We hope that our critics will consider this or similar approaches to encourage and model respectful Christian dialogue.

Dr. David Mills, professor at Cedarville College, has responded helpfully to one recent critique. His response is available at

Friday, June 03, 2005

This (the Bible) is not a weapon, idiot.
-Saved (the movie)

My King by S.M. Lockridge

Clay: I am constantly amazed at the creative capacity of my students. I bought some modeling clay for them to mess with after our song time on Wednesday night. I asked them to work in silence listening to some praise music and just contemplating the vastness and awesomeness of God. I'll try to get some pics up early next week.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Books: I was asked today to give the names of two books that I have read in the past year that are MUST reads for other pastors. That's such a hard question. So hard for two reasons

  • I love to read and there are waaaaayyyy more than two books I could recommend

  • I haven't read near enough books to give even a close evaluation of "these are two books you have to read"

  • What if the books I recommend people hate or they say "what's the big deal?"

  • if the latter happened there would be beat down in progress!

    I think I've settled on three:

    Blue Like Jazz: I like Donald Miller's honesty and willingness to stick with a faith that has been so mislead thus letting him down so many times. While not a theological masterpiece, nor was it written to be so, it is a good book, compelling read and eye opening.

    The Unquenchable Worshiper: I am not a worship leader but i've been told that as a pastor I am the lead worshiper. This book was excellent and really helped me let go and let my hair down when worshipping the Lord. It's just me and Him and I will worship him with all of my heart.

    The Present Future: This lays it out straight. The church in North America is on life support, it is living off the money and assests of a previous generation. Reggie McNeal then outlines 6 areas to ask "is your church getting it done". A MUST read for any pastor/youth pastor/lay leader. You can read my review about this book in my links section ---->

    Wednesday, June 01, 2005

    Quitting: I heard about a pastor that has a pretty large church, well HAD a pretty large church. After some poor decisions his church is starting to dwindle. He says "I'm about ready to give up on this church and go start an emergent church?"


    You mean you're going to start a coffee house church with some candles and some guitar worship. Every now and again you might throw in a silent service, some barbed wire and incense. That's not emergent, that's style.

    Someone say that when I'm in the same room as you and you're getting a big ole' size 12 up the bum bum. Because it makes "emergent" look bad. It makes it look like a trend, like a new way to entice believers, keep them interested. The goal of Jesus was to see the world receive him, I believe that is the conversation of the emergent church and it is right and good and not just a trend or style.