July 31, 2005, 12:27 am
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I think I just at the best burrito I’ve ever had. That’s what my taste buds are telling me. My head tells me I’ve had better, but I gotta tell ya, it was good. One of the things I took for granted in all my years in SoCal is the availability of a greasy burrito at any time of the day or night. I’ve been jonesing for a greasy burrito for so long . . . and after being here for a few days, I finally got one. Delightful. Super Sergio, your taco shop rocks.

The wedding tonight was awesome. Everything went smoothly. The couple was beautiful. The reception was terrific. I had some awesome conversations with people I met for the first time – people who are hungry for spiritual depth beyond the cultural bs of regular church. It’s weird to me, because I know that the conversations were directly related to the fact that I officiated the wedding, and so I was the default person to have a spiritual dialogue with. One guy I talked to was honest enough to a)smoke a cigarette while talking to the “preacher” (a title I’ve always had difficulty accepting), b)admit that he was a little drunk while talking to me, and c)admit that he was jealous of the groom because he was going to have sex tonight, and my new friend wishes it was him. By the way, none of the above would “be allowed” in the culture this guy is from, but for some reason, he felt comfortable enough with me to be real.

This encourages me regarding the state of the emerging church. The more we welcome people on their terms and not ours, the more dialogues like this we’ll have. Especially when it comes to people who have come from the Christian ghetto, we need to make space for people to admit that there’s a lot of broken stuff in their lives – stuff that it hasn’t been safe enough in churches to talk about.

Tomorrow’s my last day in San Diego – more wedding stuff in the morning, and then a family get together. It’s been cool hanging out with my parents, and seeing my sister and her kids. The kids keep telling me how much they miss me and how much they love me. Makes a guy feel good. Oh, and my mom has been letting me drive around her new car – it’s a Toyota Prius hybrid. Pretty cool, really – but it’s weird to push a button to start the thing, and then just hear a quiet hum – I keep waiting for the engine to turn over, but it just hums for a few seconds before I realize that yes, the car is ready to drive now, so let’s get on with it.

I miss my wife. It’s hard to be a part of a wedding, without having my own wedding partner with me. I’ll see her in about 40 hours, though. Off to bed now.


July 29, 2005, 1:51 pm
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I’m so fried right now. Super tired. I’m here in San Diego, blogging from my dad’s computer. I’ve been here a little more that 48 hours at this point, and all but about 11 of those have been me on the go. I’ve been working in the SoCal heat at our house to get it ready to rent out. But I’ve also had a good bit of fun. My dad took me to see the Padres baseball game at Petco Park yesterday afternoon.

Then last night I got to go over to Jason and Brooke Evans’ place for their regular community barbecue. Awesome time. I really miss Jason and Brooke – so much going on with them in life and ministry. Before I even got a chance to hang out, though, I ran into Ryan and Holly Sharp. Ryan and I have been having near miss moments in terms of meeting face to face for over a year now. So finally, I got to hang and talk with him – excellent. I truly hope to share air space with him again soon. Also in attendance was a guy Jason’s been telling me about from the Mennonite stream, in Pasadena. He brought a couple with him who is on sabbatical in the U.S. from London. All three of them were super cool. In addition to all those fine people, there were the Hawthorn House locals, like Josh, and his wife Lisa, and the newest member of their community, Emily. I also got to hang out for quite a while with a new friend, David – good man, good story.

With all those people there, I didn’t get to sit down and talk to Jason and Brooke until about 10:30 . . . and we talked until about 1:00am. Good times.

But I’m sleepy by now. I got up early and went back to work at the house this morning – my Northwest tan has been swallowed up by a slight SoCal sunburn. Hey, some color is better than no color, right? And right about now, I need to boogie, and run some errands before going to a wedding rehearsal – oh yeah, I did come to San Diego to officiate a wedding. I’m looking forward to that – more friends to catch up with. I’ll make sure to get some sleep tonight, though, so I don’t nod off while having the happy couple recite their vows tomorrow!

Peace, from the land of much sunshine.

July 26, 2005, 5:44 am
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Jordon Cooper wasn’t the first blogger I read regularly, but he was one of the first. He has served the blogosphere well, and I believe he’s served the church well. In addition to serving in local churches, he’s added immeasurably to the conversation we in the newer streams of our faith are having. He reads more books in a month than I do in a year, links to places on the web I’ve never heard of but are almost always worth going to. I’ve never met him, but would be honored to. He is facing some serious health concerns these days – some that he’s willing to write about on his blog, and apparently, some that he’s not. Much love and prayer have gone out all over the web for Palmer and his intense physical/spiritual battles. For those of you who have joined this effort, I’d invite you to include Jordon and his family in your prayers too.

July 24, 2005, 6:50 am
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I’ve had a few people asking me lately if I’m excited about my new job at the University of Washington (what we in the northwest call U-dub). The answer I’ve given is that yes, it’s an exciting opportunity, but I’ve been too stinking busy to think much about it. I forget how much I said about the position in previous posts, and honestly, I’m too lazy right now to go back and read them. Anway, here’s a bit about it.

I will be a collegiate ministry strategist for the Seattle metro area, focusing on the UW campus. The local association of churches in my stream at some point in the past was given a large building right on Greek row adjacent to the campus, with 23 rentable rooms, meeting space, and a full commercial kitchen. The building was given for the specific purpose of collegiate ministry. Interns come to be a part of the ministry, and there is currently a new church start that uses the building for gatherings.

So, college ministry will be a big part of what I do. However, I’m not very interested in doing college ministry the way it’s come to be known. I won’t fire off blasts at other campus ministry orgs, in part because I think they do some good stuff. I just think they’ve developed some systems and approaches (styles of evangelism in particular) that are broken. It’s my intention to get to know those people, pray for them, and be an encouragement . . . even while we set out to do something different.

One of the visions for this position that was described to me before I accepted it, is for us to develop a school of sorts within our building – a training and sending place for missional people of all varieties. Some will be future church planters, missionaries, and pastors, but my dream is for most of our “student” to be future accountants, travel agents, baristas, stay at home moms/dads, etc. In other words, normal folk with an intentionally missional framework. What the school will become is what I get to dream about and hopefully develop.

If this job were all about developing another nice campus Christian club where timid young believers go to hide out from the scary secular campus ideology, I would have walked away from the offer. Thankfully, there is more to it. I’m very hopeful and at times jump out of my skin with excitement. But it’s scary too. There’s no template in front of me, and there’s a heckuva lot of work ahead to make it happen.

For now, I’ve got some administrative things to do to make sure that the dream can be a financially sustainable possibility. But in the near future, I want to assemble (physically or electronically) a team of dreamers that will help develop some ideas and motives for what we do. If you’d like to jump into the idea pool, send me an e-mail and I’ll be in touch.

July 19, 2005, 5:34 am
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Man, it’s been hard to focus lately. Too many details have me going in too many directions right now, and it makes me want to just go back to bed and do nothing. Changes in jobs, changes in school plans, getting ready for a trip to SoCal (and supposedly getting ready to officiate a wedding there). My mind wanders quite freely at times. Example: I’m in a hurry to get ready for work in the morning, and then I find myself standing in our tiny master bathroom staring at what I’m convinced is the second ugliest shower curtain in the world, just thinking, “I really need to take that thing down.”

Heck, even now, I really ought to be reading something that will focus my mind on my Creator, or at least picking up the book I recently read (and enjoyed) and writing a quick reaction paper for school. But I blog. At least it’s something. I’d really be bummed out if I had gotten out of bed before 5am just to watch the Fox news channel.

July 18, 2005, 11:26 am
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And you thought my blog was boring . . . Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the dullest blog in the world.

July 14, 2005, 12:00 pm
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Maybe I’m just codependent . . .

Throughout the process of deciding to work in an official capacity with my denomination again I’ve been working through some ambivalence. There are some strong points to what this collection of churches does . . . and there are some very serious weak points. I’ve lost count of the number of church planters and leaders I’ve met that used to be in my denomination but bailed out because of those weak points. It seems more often than not that it’s just not worth it.

I admit that a good lot of the time I feel the same way. But I keep coming back. It’s usually because I’ll run into someone who represents a glimmer of hope for change. My experience is that there are some who are gifted and persistent and open enough to change that they’ll lead a charge in a good direction. Unfortunately, they tend to get bogged down in the system sooner or later and the end result is something less than hoped for.

In my current situation, I’ve run into a group that is actively looking for change, but they’re not really trying to change the whole system. They just want to do what they do sort of below the radar. They keep a high enough profile to continue to engage the system at necessarily levels, but little more. There may come a time when they are forced to work through the system, but they’re hoping to hold that off as long as possible.

Me? I want to do some things that would be radical enough to get fired in about 98% of the rest of the denomination. Funny thing is, I’m not even all that radical. And if I end up doing something that’s radical enough to get me fired even here, then at least I’ll know where I stand. I’m very content to be a fringe guy. It’s just been a process of realizing that whether fringe or not, I’ll be working for the system again. Not all bad, not all good.