Isn’t it ironic…

Irony Another
interesting and ironic moment from yesterday, the day Michael Jackson died…wasn't our Prez supposed
to have the spotlight all day? ABC had given the President and his administration unprecedented, free coverage for an all day Obama infomercial on the health care plan…but
then MJ died.  All the evenings news was gobbled up by MJ news…even news anchors on cable channels had to deal with the reality of a cultural icon instead of focusing on truly important things.  I "feel" for the Prez though…getting bumped by MJ, that's had to be unnerving for the
administration…poised and ready to go only to be trumped by another
celebrity…oh what a culture we live in!

Seriously, as I emailed a friend today…this is another sign of our celebrity driven, narcissistic, consumeristic culture and the out of control idolatry that goes along with these realities.  These things are deadly friends…the only way to find your life is to lose it…wasn't that something Jesus said?  The tragedy of MJ's story is the how the supposed "limelight" of public adoration and adulation is really darkness that slowly encompasses and eventually destroys the person seeking it.  We've seen that in many so-called celebrities lives…it is tragically ironic – your 15 minutes of fame is going to cost you.  More than you are probably really willing to give. 

A confession and challenge for our time and our lives…

Barcode jesus  I just finished reading a new confession – a Jesus Manifesto – penned by Frank Viola a.nd Len Sweet, it is unapologetically a sweeping statement of faith with a prime focus – Jesus.  I am encouraging you to read it and reflect on it.  That's all I have to say on the subject…these two brothers, leaders, thinkers, teachers have done the Body of Christ a service.  A Jesus Manifesto

Something I’ve never noticed before…

310px-Spas_vsederzhitel_sinay  I'm sitting at a convention of the denomination that I have recently started to partner with in Kingdom ministry…a fellow professor is teaching on 2 Corinthians.  He put up this famous 6th century icon of Jesus Christ Pantocrator.  He told an interesting story about the icon itself…apparently, when the artist unveiled the work, his fellow monks disputed the consistency of the depiction…they didn't like the fact that there was "something wrong with the face".  As they gazed upon the icon, the two sides of Jesus' face were unique/different/distinguishably peculiar.  They were about to tell the artist to go back to the drawing board when, according to the historical account, the artist said that he intended it that way.  He was attempting to depict the dual nature of Jesus – divine/human.  The monks then asked which one was which and the iconagrapher remarked, "I'm not going to tell you – that's for you to discern".  Well, I'm looking for some reference to unscore and validate this story – but I must tell you – I have looked at this icon many times…usually in smaller size.  I never noticed that before…now I do.  In fact, I can't keep my eyes off it.  Isn't that the way it is though…the more you know of Jesus, the more captivating He is?  You decide!

Mark Schreiber and the “Playing with Fire” website

Mark Schreiber is a brave man.  He actually wants to be able to teach children, families and students about the potential pitfalls and traps of Net-world.  The great thing is – Mark is a digital native…he gets it…this isn't a "head in the sand" approach…it is rather thoughtful, deep, responsive and rooted in a value system that will only benefit those who take advantage of his perspective and we desire to see students (googlies) navigate techo-waters with integrity.  Mark has a companion website, No Parent Left Behind.  It is dedicated to family's specifically.  But this new site (Playing with Fire) address natives in native language.  Check it out!

Playin' With Fire Trailer from Mark Schreiber on Vimeo.

The Crisis of Lies

Thumb-pinocchio Lying can become as much of an addiction in our lives as any substance.  Once a person finds a way to stretch, manipulate, hide a portion, or outright slander the truth, it becomes easier with each application. 

In the post-modern era, the truth is a dying breed.  You can say that it publicly began with the infamous, "it depends what your definition of is is" or you can point your finger at the infiltration of relativism or pragmatism on our society as a whole.  As long as the ends justifies the means and that what truth is all about is relative to the speaker and listener…as long as there is no standard for truth-telling in the culture, then we are in deep weeds. 

I have to admit, warning – public confession – that I fell into an addiction with lying years ago…that is a long story – but I went through a healing process where I have been dedicated for years to the concept and reality of ruthless truth-telling…it is  painful process but a necessary one. 

That's why lying, especially in the public realm, irks me so much – which brings me to what I heard yesterday from our President.  When the Prez says that his policies have saved or created jobs in a marketplace (something he can't prove) where over 1.6 million jobs have been lost over the past months, something smells wrong.  Spin is lying…saving face by stretching the truth is lying…a lot of people know when someone is lying for expediency or placation sake in the culture.  I sincerely believe that the cynicism in our culture is partly due to the fact that very few people in the public realm can speak truth – they are more concerned with approval ratings than speaking and representing reality.  A person who is dedicated to building a fantasyland of perception is sooner or later gobbled up by the very fantasies that they are trying to portray. 

So, in order to end this long post, we are in a crisis of truth.  The only way to combat it?  A person commitment to truth-telling in your own life.  Will you or can you do it?  I know it has been a struggle for me…but I dedicate myself to the truth daily…to live it, speak it, represent it as clearly and passionately as possible.  Now, I move on to pray for the culture at large…

The new Adventure begins!

Edgeoftheworld Yesterday, at a very exciting, Spirit-filled (and I don't say that casually or flippantly) meeting, a
coalition of followers of Jesus, leaders in congregational
ministry as well as one of the most faithful denominational executives/visionaries I have ever met, brought our discussion regarding a new ministry proposal that involves my (our) future to a culmination.  In what was truly a delight, the gathering unanimously and enthusiastically decided to step out in faith and enter Kingdom work with a new sense of urgency and direction. 

I posted the proposal (if you are curious) but for the sake of
quick information – the members and friends of our home faith community unanimously decided to become a "mother congregation" – to start to
intentionally train and equip Christ-followers to "plant" as many missional/faith communities as the Lord God leads us to do over
the coming year. This is not for the purpose of starting churches in a traditional sense of the word/concept but rather indigenous, incarnational gatherings of people whose primary reason for existence is disciple-making, transformation and multiplication.  Below is a copy of the overall proposal document if you would like to see it:

Download Ministry Proposal

To say I am excited and humbled would be an understatement…so our community is owning our "sent-ness" and actually taking HUGE action steps to actualize Jesus in the day to day grit and reality of our lives and relationships.  Woa!  As someone who has led traditional church for years, you have to know that for ANY group of mainline believers to take this step is huge. 

As I promised in a post a few weeks back, there are a whole HOST of friends who ought to be getting prepared to be bombarded with questions and a need for community – that
means you Jamie, Alan, Mike, Kevin, Nate, Rickard, Chris, Henry, Craig, Dave, Bob,
Mr. Kiwi, Dennis, Clint, Bro Maynard, Doug, Len, Ed, and the list goes
on…be prepared!