December 28, 2003, 8:31 am
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Haven’t been blogging much lately. Things have been fairly chaotic around the homestead. Matt and Marge’s annual Christmas Eve party was at our house this year. It was fun and noisy. I think our head count came up to 25. This party is THE event for the whole year for Michelle’s family, so everyone usually really looks forward to it. And this year I think people were even more enthusiastic – people really seemed to want to rally around Matt and Marge since the fire took their home.

Each Sunday during the Christmas season, we have celebrated Advent by lighting candles on the Advent wreath in our home. So at about 8:30p.m. on Christmas Eve we gathered all of our guests together to light the center candle, representing Christ. For those who were unfamiliar with the Advent season and the symbolism of the wreath, I did a very brief walk through of it, read the passage from Luke 2 that Linus reads in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, and we lit each candle and sat quietly for a few moments. It was pretty cool. Several of the people there do not follow Jesus, and had some curiosities about things.

Other than all of that, life continues to be an adventure. I’m still very much up and down in terms of how I’m handling the living arrangements here. Most of the time lately I’ve been feeling good about things, but I’m still far too easily frustrated. I’ve become acutely aware of what an extraordinarily selfish SOB I can be. A lot of the time I just want to get away. Actually, I just want to be at home alone for several uninterrupted hours.

Well, if I can’t have that, then seeing friends is not a bad alternative. I’m going to hang out with Jason this morning/afternoon. We’re going to go check out some dreams we’ve been looking into. As a bonus, I’ll get to see Eddie, too. He’s been out here in SoCal for the holidays, and we’re taking him to the airport this morning to go back to Columbus.


December 19, 2003, 8:32 pm
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One of the frustrating things I’ve had to work through in my exploration of a new way of being Christian over the past couple of years is the polarization that I’ve watched. Some “emerging church” types are hostile to the traditional, institutional church, and most people in the traditional church don’t understand the emerging church, and fear what they don’t understand. This frustrates me because I hold a high view of the Church, and definitely think there’s too much backbiting going on.

But every once in awhile, a moment of convergence happens before my eyes, and I think that maybe things will be o.k. Here’s an excerpt from an e-mail I got from a member of a traditional church home group that Michelle and I have continued to participate in since we left our staff position with the church. It’s from a group member who will be moving out of our area soon . . .

I am finding that my relationships with the Home Group members are important to me. There have been times in the past year and a half that I have dreaded Home Group meetings, primarily because interacting with anyone raises the stress level = muscle tightening = strain on arthritic joints = PAIN! Thank you for putting up with me during the many times when I was cranky and obnoxious. Being a part of a Home Group is similar to being a part of a family unit. Thank you for allowing me to be the bratty child at times, the angry teenager at other times, and the bossy mom most of the time. I love you and you will always be in a large space in my heart. As we leave this area I will take with me your friendship and love. Please know that I am leaving mine with you.

Michelle and I have had some of the deepest, richest experience of the Church in those group meetings. It doesn’t matter in the least to us that the group is a part of a traditional/instutional church.

As we celebrate the coming of the Christ child, let’s keep in mind that one of the promises of the Messiah was that He would bring unity among His people.

December 17, 2003, 5:27 pm
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Let’s try this one more time . . . I’ve recently lost at least three posts to cyberspace. While I appreciate what Blogger has done to open up new spheres of community, my user satisfaction has been tepid lately. I guess I’ll have to start writing my posts into a word processor so they won’t get lost.

On Sunday Michelle and I “went to church” (we don’t really like “going to church” these days) at our old home church. Our friend, former boss, and former pastor resigned during the service. It was a bittersweet experience for me. In one way it’s very hard because I love the church a lot and I know they’re going to be challenged in the days ahead. In another way, I’m very excited for my friend, Ron. He and his family will be moving to Seattle to work with a group of churches in our denomination. It’s a great fit for him, and it will be a wonderful opportunity for he and his wife to engage in ministry together again.

Later that day Michelle and I lit the third candle of Advent and talked about the Joy of the Messiah who has come into the world and our lives.

I’ve continued to go out into our community and engage in conversations with people. I’ve had some good initial talks with several folks. I haven’t “witnessed” to anyone (that’s a good thing, right?), but I’ve gotten the ball rolling with some folks that I plan to see again.

December 17, 2003, 3:19 pm
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*@#$%!!!!! Grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble. I just lost the fourth or fifth post I’ve tried to publish in the past week. Thanks Blogger. You’ve opened up wonderful new avenues of publishing . . . and frustration.

December 13, 2003, 2:02 pm
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I spent the past few hours outside working the land. I gathered a very large pile of branches from various kinds of bushes that had been burned out by the fire. After having gotten some rain over the past few days, the still black ground had that charred stench that had begun to fade. As I worked, in many places all I had to do was pick up the branches (some of them 3-4 inches thick) off the ground – they had burned off at ground level. I ran all of it through a wood chipper. My work clothes and my skin got black and disgusting. Oh yeah, I either pulled or at least strained my right bicep. Ouch.

Tomorrow Michelle and I will worship with our former church family. I’ll write more about this next week. These are interesting days.

December 11, 2003, 9:16 pm
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I had lunch with my local denom guy, Dan, and Paul Kaak yesterday. Paul and I have some common friends/acquaintences, so it was good to get to know him a little bit. I appreciated the way he’s so passionate about organic forms of the church, and yet not antagonistic toward the traditional/institutional church.

After lunch, Dan and I grabbed a cup of coffee. He told me about some stuff that may be brewing in a church in our local association. If things played out in the right way (which may be a complete pipe dream), there could be some really amazing potential for ministry in a incredibly cool spot in San Diego. Too good to be true, maybe, but then again, one can hope.

December 10, 2003, 4:29 pm
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I’m having some posting issues with Blogger right now, so bear with me. That last post was actually written yesterday. I’ll post today’s ramblings in a few minutes.