SpiritFarmer


September 27, 2002, 6:35 am
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So, my bride and I went to a house church for the first time last night. Very cool people there. Turkey burgers, ice cream, coffee, Thomas Merton, questions, dialogue. It was the body of Christ.

The labels that we have for church are diverse, but when you get down to it – people who love and want to follow Jesus have a mystical kind of bond that turns strangers into family in a matter of minutes.

Thanks to Jason and Brooke for inviting us. It was an honor to be in your home. By the way, Jason, I am stoked for you to have found such a quality partner in life as Brooke is. You are a great team. Paige is one lucky little girl to have you guys.

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September 24, 2002, 3:40 pm
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My little countdown . . .

11 more days until I wake up to this.



September 24, 2002, 12:07 pm
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I had a good yesterday talk with my favorite person in the world, Michelle. It was a painful one in some ways, but very helpful. I had gotten off the phone with one of the leaders in our church who had commented that he had thougt I was angry during a meeting on Sunday. I didn’t remember having been angry, but it did cause me to do some thinking. As I talked with Michelle, I realized how easy it has become for me to allow my frustration with church and all the things that aren’t working there to degrade into impatience with people (all people, not just the ones I disagree with), and irritability. I also realized how reactive I’ve become, and how dark my outlook has become in some ways.

So, we talked about it, took a two hour nap, and I woke up feeling much much better. Not that everything’s fixed, but that God has extended his grace to me in showing me my heart. I am a weak man, vulnerable in many ways.

One of the things I want to be vigilant about is not becoming an “angry young man.” My experience in the postmodern Christian community is that there are a healthy amount of reactionary people who bash the church for what it has become. Often this is accompanied by what I consider to be a spiritual pride that they have been the ones to have finally gotten it right. While I do agree heartily that what the church has become is outrageously flawed and built on some foolish principles and philosophies, I don’t want to be angry about it. I want to love the church enough to pray for its return to health. I also want to maintain the humility that requires me to understand that even the new streams of church life are flawed and problematic, and that more than anything, we need to keep Christ as the head of the church. There’s so much to be excited about in how God is working – I want to celebrate that, whatever form it takes on.



September 24, 2002, 10:48 am
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When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend upon education, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do.

A.C. Dixon, as quoted in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper



September 18, 2002, 4:20 pm
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Read a really good article called Broadcast Institutions, Community Values. Go read this thing. It’s one of the best church pieces I’ve read in a while, even though it’s not written about the church. I forget who posted the link on their blog that led me to the article, but thank you very much! Here’s a little taste:

One of the most important things you can do to attract community is to give it a fertile environment in which to grow, and one of the most damaging things you can do is to try to force it to grow at a rapid pace or in a preset direction. . .

Most broadcast organizations assume that reaching a large group is an unqualified good, so they push for size at any cost, and eventually bump into the attendant tradeoffs: you can have large community, but not a highly focused one; you can have a focused community, but not a large one; or you can reach a large number of people focused on a particular issue, but it won’t be a community. . . Calling your audience a community doesn’t actually make it one.



September 17, 2002, 10:10 am
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I am coming closer and closer to the next breakthrough in my life process. It’s so slow in coming, and it comes in spurts, but I do believe it’s coming.

I sat in a meeting of church leadership the other day, and found myself disagreeing with almost everything that everyone was saying – probably even what I was saying. There were a number of topics and directions, but I began to see something more clearly than I had in the past – it’s not that I am the enlightened one and “they” all need my superior perspectives, or that I’m all wrong and their ways are better. We are simply in different places, and more than likely, we are holding one another back.

All of the things that God has been showing me in the past couple of years are exciting and life changing to me, but they represent something new (at least for the people around here). And just as Jesus said, sewing a new patch of cloth onto an old one will not repair the old one – it’ll just cause a worse tear (Matthew 9:16). The troubles our church is facing will not likely be resolved by my “new cloth”. I will make things worse by talking too much – sharing too many “new” ideas. Likewise, my new cloth will not be useful unless I apply it to a new use.

My biggest issue at this point is timing. I am needed now for support and strength and stability. I want desperately to help in a way that is truly helpful. Knowing when to move beyond this phase of help and support is tricky business. I need wisdom and understanding. I guess that’s why God has led Michelle and I to spend time in the book of Proverbs lately.



September 16, 2002, 1:32 pm
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I’ve been realizing lately how many books I wish I could read. I am at some point in the process of reading at least six different books right now, but there are so many I haven’t gotten my hands on yet. I like reading – it gets me fired up to read some really penetrating or enlightening thoughts. I don’t read as much as Jordan Cooper . . . I read somewhere on his website that his annual goal is to read something like 150 books! At the risk of sounding completely illiterate in the ways of postmodernity and faith, here is a short list of books I’ve never read, but hope to very soon:

The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton

More Ready Than You Realize by Brian McLaren

Soul Tsunami by Leonard Sweet

Houses that Change by Wolfgang Simpson

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Feel free to e-mail me with other suggestions.