Conversation and Koinonia

Simply amazing…it never ceases to give me pause when people, who could be contentious and hesitant in conversation, find koinonia (deep fellowship) when there is an atmosphere of grace, acceptance, curiosity, and friendship. 

I've had multiple conversations in my life…it doesn't matter who it is with or what both parties in the conversation are like in the depths of their hearts, if the interaction is coated with an air of mercy and inquisitiveness, it always goes well.  Differences exist between all of us…every person has their own, unique and, in many respects "narcissistic" worldview but there are many overlaps in relationship.  If we were to concentrate on the commonality and accept each other's individuality, we would have much more civil and God-honoring conversations.  Our goal in conversation should be clear – mutuality and a communication or "incarnation" of the presence of God.  If God were honored in any and all conversations, even in places of severe disagreement, there would be a furtherance of understanding and acceptance.  That's all I have to say about that…

I left on a jet plane…and I will be back again!

Today is a big day in my journey…after living my life as a servant of the Lord and pursuing faithfulness within a specific denomination for over 25 years, I have made my "pilgrimage" to St. Louis, MO for an interview with a group of leaders who will play an instrumental role in shaping my future.  I have sought the Lord's will for over a two years…I attempted to finish well with APU and complete the Lilly Grant with honor and by making a life-long impact on the lives of students.  I moved, for a short period of time, into the marketplace and attempted to serve the Kingdom via the funeral industry.  Since last summer, I have taught online courses in Romans/Galatians and Luke/Acts to over 200 students @ APU (part-time), finished my doctoral degree, have consulted with various ministries in addition to substitute teaching.  Yet last summer, I felt that distinct tug of the Spirit to make this journey to St. Louis for the purpose of preparing to accept a pastoral call within the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. 

This is not a decision that came without extensive conversation and prayer with Vicky, my children, pals and mentors.  I believe that the LC-MS and its commitment to historical biblical and theological orthodoxy, creative ministry praxis, evangelism and incarnational presence in the midst of culture more closely aligns with my passions and giftedness.  Although no one denomination is perfect, the LC-MS does capture the spirit of my personal and ministry history as well as gives the opportunity to explore relevant ministry to an ever-changing culture. 

So, I'm here!  In my motel room…listening to O'Reilly.  I visited Concordia Seminary today…browsed their bookstore, phoned in on a radio program that was discussing the human sexuality initiative that will be proposed to the ELCA next summer and enjoyed some White Castle cheeseburgers.  It's all good.  So, I'll be back home soon…home to my sweetie, my family and friends and to a new open door in what God wants for my life for years to come. 

Just thought you should know…

After all these years, my fav guitar!

Many of you know that I've been a musician for most of my life.  I've had the honor of playing and owning many guitars.  It is the only serious addiction I have left in my life – something my son, Aaron and I call "G.A.S" (gear acquisition syndrome). 

Yet, after playing and loving the many instruments I've been blessed with over the years, I have finally narrowed it down to THE ONE that is my favorite.  This proclamation is not meant to mean that I am going to be musically monogamous…I still reserve the right to play any of my instruments whenever I want to.  That's just the way it is…I am a musical polygamist and proud of it.  But from now I'll have ONE instrument "wife" and many "concubines"….

I love my 1970's era Martin D-41 – deep and sweet.  My Taylor 314 is one of the most playable guitars on the market and fun to take on the road.  I have an Anderson Electric (Cobra) that matches the look of my favorite…so they kinda go together like peanut butter and jelly.  I am so grateful to our brother Tom Anderson and his incredible artistry with guitars…he's helped me not just with instruments but with fine-tuning a couple of my acoustics.  I also have a black Strat (USA made, of course).  Vicky bought this for me for our 6th anniversary…I outfitted it with Seymor Duncan pickups and an Anderson humbucker – hot guitar!

But my favorite has to be the Anderson Crowdster Plus – it is so clean acoustically when driven through a small amp or straight into the house…then with one flip of a switch, an Anderson electric pickup kicks in and it's time for some shredding and grit.  What can I say?  It plays like "buttah"!  So, now that I have that off my chest, I feel like a better man.  My relationship is out in the open!  Even though I had to pay a pretty penny for this axe, it is still worth every penny – I am so thankful for the Anderson artistry and commitment to high quality instruments.  All I can say – good relationships sometimes cost you!  You know what I mean?


Time to stop reading a couple of blogs

Stop Sticker
Recently, I've been evaluating my "addiction" to blogs.  At first, when I dipped my toes into the blog-stream, I was excited about the free flow of ideas, reactions, responses, and dialog.  I found this manner of communication fascinating and inspirational…as well as the fact that I could "keep up" with my friends, colleagues, and people I admire/respect.  I have loved the journey so far.

Unfortunately, some of my favorite bloggers are morphing their sites to a more "general editorial" format.  Their blog is not about conversation as it is about pontificating their personal perspective.  Now, I want to add, sometimes I feel fine about that…but when the drumbeat is constant, it gets irritating.  In addition, with no dialog, I find their blogs narcissistic and boring.  I can read editorials on newspaper sites…magazines…and other forums.  I wanted to see more personal reflection and conversation in the blog-world…I guess over time I am getting less tolerant of being "preached at".

So, just to give you an example…I'm dropping my subscription to Brian McLaren's blog.  I have all of Brian's books…I love how God has used him in my life and many others.  But of late, Brian's blog has become a site more dedicated the proliferation of leftist political views and support of ideology and not theo-logy that it has become more burdensome than uplifting.  Don't get me wrong…I'll still read all of Brian's future books…I might not agree with all of his politics but he does all of what he does with humility (that is noteworthy and honorable).  I simply need to bail on the constant one-sided political reflection. 

So, that's the meditation and action of my heart today…I may or may not be "right" in my action…but it is something that I feel is consistent with why I am in the blog-world to begin with…dialog and relationship!

Demythologizing Disneyland

This is an article I wrote for The Ooze a few years back…I was recently responding to someone who read it.  I thought I would post it here for your enjoyment (and mine!).

Demythologizing Disneyland

Clutching a fistful of pocket change and a full ticket book, I remember running into the “Magic Kingdom” as a kid. Yeah, it was 1970 and, yes, I’m old but give me a break…everyone who is a bit “younger” should let “old people” have their little walk down memory lane. OK? The “Ticket Book” for Disneyland was full of tickets with letters on them; the higher up the alphabet, the more exciting, imaginative and awe-inspiring the ride. I remember hounding my grandfather for his “E” tickets. I would promise him the world…take out the trash all summer, mow the lawn, walk the dog, wash the dishes…whatever it took to get more of those coveted “E” ticket rides. “D” rides were good on most days, but those “E’s”…Download Demythologizing Disneyland

Benjamin Button – I’m still reeling from it!

We just got home from seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  I was moved by the film…so I'm still processing it in my heart.  I don't know what more to say except that it is a wonderful story and experience.  I would anticipate the dvd and will be very welcoming of viewing some sort of documentary of how the film was produced.  The artistry is amazing.  The story and the questions it raises about life and its meaning are profound.  I've got it give it some more thought…let it sink in a bit!  But otherwise, definitely a movie to see and experience!

Pirates Unite! Worship Hymn STOLEN from Pirate Lore!

This is not an original post – I "borrowed" it from a blog I read…you can check it out here.  But this is just great! 

"I was at choir practice this evening and one of our members
is telling us about something her PhD musicologist daughter had
discovered about the hymn
What Wondrous Love Is This

The tune is called Wondrous Love and is traced to William Walker's shape note tunebook Southern Harmony  (New
Haven, 1835).  Apparently, many of these tunes were brought to America
by Irish, Welsh, and English immigrants and were often Christianized
versions of secular songs.  It turns out that Wondrous Love
was originally a popular song about the pirate Captain Kidd who was
executed in England in 1701.  The original text went like this:

My name was Robert Kidd, when I sailed, when I sailed.
My name was Robert Kidd, when I sailed.
My name was Robert Kidd, God's laws I did forbid.
So wickedly I did, when I sailed, when I sailed.
So wickedly I did, when I sailed.

Well, shiver me timbers, if that doesn't just take the wind right out of your sails!

Sing along friends!