Bikes to Rwanda
July 31, 2007, 9:49 am
Filed under: coffee, globalization, social action

This is a very cool deal that the coffee and bicycling communities of Portland, Oregon have put together. One of the ways that Rwanda is being rebuilt after its devastating civil wars is through the coffee industry. Stumptown Coffee asked the coffee farmers what they needed, and they said bikes. So, bikes is what they’re getting. Check out the Bikes to Rwanda site.

HT: tonx


Prayer for Hostages in Afghanistan
July 27, 2007, 5:37 am
Filed under: media, prayer, Seattle

I’ve been super busy with work and school stuff lately that I am behind on my blog reading, and I haven’t been tracking with most of the news, other than a quick scan of headlines on the web. Whether it’s my problem or the U.S. media’s problem, the story of a group of Korean aid workers being kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan has escaped me. One was murdered.

In the mean time, I did hear that there was some kind of CNN YouTube debate, Michael Vick is going on trial for his dog fighting operation, and Lindsay Lohan is an addict (still).

If these were white, American hostages, would this story have gotten by without notice? Unlikely.

Read Eugene Cho‘s summaries of the story here, and please pray for the hostages, their families, and their captors. Eugene is a pastor in Seattle, with a diverse, growing church.

We Feel Fine
July 17, 2007, 7:45 pm
Filed under: culture, technology

My buddy Jeremy comes through again. He sent me a link to this TED video. It’s a talk by Jonathan Harris, talking through a project he put together called We Feel Fine. It’s a super fun, amazing computer program that he wrote that aggregates blog entries that use the words, “I feel” or “I am feeling.” It’s a wonderful universe of emotion, accessed through what Harris calls “passive observation.” It connects human emotion in a way that will make you smile. So go the site, and click the “Open We Feel Fine” link, and explore.

God and Country
July 17, 2007, 9:40 am
Filed under: books, Christendom, culture, politics

Charles Marsh, a professor at the University of Virginia wrote a devastating article (actually, an adapted chapter from his new book) in the Boston Globe a couple weeks back. Here are a couple of snippets:

These past six years have been transformative in the religious history of the United States. It is arguably the passing of the evangelical moment — if not the end of evangelicalism’s cultural and political relevance, then certainly the loss of its theological credibility. Conservative evangelical elites, in exchange for political access and power, have ransacked the faith and trivialized its convictions. It is as though these Christians consider themselves to be recipients of a special revelation, as if God has whispered eternal secrets in their ears and summoned them to world-historic leadership in the present and future.


If only holiness were measured by the volume of our incessant chatter, we would be universally praised as the most holy nation on earth. But in our fretful, theatrical piety, we have come to mistake noisiness for holiness, and we have presumed to know, with a clarity and certitude that not even the angels dared claim, the divine will for the world. We have organized our needs with the confidence that God is on our side, now and always, whether we feed the poor or corral them into ghettos.

The article makes note of the fact that evangelicals in the U.S. chose conservative national political alliances over global spiritual alliances. Christians from around the world overwhelmingly opposed the war in Iraq . . . Christians in the U.S. overwhelmingly supported it.

Via: Fast Company Expert Blogs

Quiet days – at least in the blogging world
July 17, 2007, 6:26 am
Filed under: uncategorized

You can call it a summer slump if you want to, but I haven’t posted here for a while. It actually has a lot more to do with the fact that I’m overly busy right now. I’m doing some summer school classes. They’re self-paced, but I seem to have paced myself at one course per month during July and August. This on top of a ton of transitions at work that keep me running. I’m not complaining. I’m just finding myself less connected to the things I would normally find interesting enough to blog on.

There’s definitely a post or two that I’ve been meaning to write, but haven’t taken the time yet. Perhaps soon . . .

What’s up with the house churches?
July 2, 2007, 11:07 am
Filed under: house church

About six or seven years ago, when I began to rethink my role in faith, church, theology, mission, culture, etc. I didn’t know anybody who was asking the same kinds of questions I was. Oh, there were plenty of people out there that were farther along than I was – I just didn’t know any of them. I slowly began meeting some of them online. About five years ago, I began meeting some of them face to face. For whatever reason, I was meeting a lot of guys that were part of house church communities. Since that time, I’ve continued to meet new folks, and maintain contact with the others.

Michelle and I have had the honor of hanging out with several house churches over the past few years. Good people, good communities. We’ve even been a part of house church expressions as our primary worship communities. Good experiences there.

But something seems to be happening. Within the past six months or so, I know of no less than five house churches that have functioned at varying levels of strength (some fledgling, others what I’d call rock solid), but have decided to call it quits. Different parts of the country, different sets of reasons involved. But the same ultimate result – they no longer meet regularly for worship, community, mission, etc.

I’m not going to assume that it’s either a good thing or bad thing for any of these communities – I’m sure that most have had really solid reasons, and that God still likes ’em.

It does cause me to ask some questions, though. Especially in the area of sustainability. One of the things I love the most about a simple community is that it’s so relational, and not dependent on a paid staff person or programs or buildings, and as a result, has sustainability built right in. But apparently for some, that’s not proving to be the case. That’s sad.

I don’t believe that this is necessarily a bad, bad thing. Even in the cases of communities that have ceased to exist, many have found safe places to explore faith, ask hard questions, heal up from past church-related hurts, and gain a new perspective on the Kingdom of God. That’s all great stuff. I’m thankful for these communities.

So what to think? Do some churches (regular and simple) have a natural life cycle, and it’s o.k. that some die? Does this indicate something about a lack of health? What about sustainability? What about growth and multiplication?

Got way more questions than answers here. Especially given that my own primary worship rhythm doesn’t include house church . . . which I’m not entirely content with. I’ll be interested to watch and listen to what some of my friends have to say about all of this.

On a related note, Jason said some good words about house church last week.