Tuesday, June 28, 2005

witness II

I’ve been caught up with labels lately: conservative vs. liberal, modern vs. post-modern, churched vs. unchurched, believer vs. seeker. Labels carry a lot of baggage that don’t necessarily apply, but that doesn’t stop us from using them. They are such a convenient way of categorizing someone and therefore trying to understand them.

When I think about what it means to be a Christian, the labels I immediately stumble on are believer vs. seeker. If forced to pick between calling myself a believer or a seeker, I would have to say that I am a seeker. Belief for me is fleeting. It's like the wisp of a smoke ring hanging in the air and then melting away. I can see it for a moment, but then it's gone and there's only the memory of it. I think that's why I blog, to make remembering easier.

Many churches are trying to reach seekers. My church is trying to reach seekers. This week our theme was Jesus and Witness. As a seeker, it makes me cringe. When I think of witness, I think of evangelism and when I think of evangelism, I think of tele-evangelists or Jehovah's Witness or worst of all hypocrites. I can't speak for all seekers, but I can tell you what kind of "witnessing" I’m looking for.

Respect my journey. Walk with me on my journey. Engage me where I am. I think my Dad provides a great example of this. He's a retired professor of theology and a Lutheran pastor. He has known since my college days that I was disillusioned with Christianity. But he respected my journey, he didn't try to block my way or change my course, instead he provides unconditional love, support and examples of Christ-like behavior.

Please don’t try to save my soul. My soul is not yours to save and I don't think you should really be worried about it. Jesus did not ask his followers to make "believers" out of all nations, he asked them to make disciples. I think one of my favorite hymns provides a good outline for making disciples by remembering:

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love

Let me be authentic. I question everything. If you know my son, it appears this may be hereditary. I need a safe environment to be authentic in, to raise my questions and doubts. I need to be comfortable showing my weaknesses, flaws, and spiritual struggles. Only then will I be able to grow.

witness I

Wow - what a bold statement! Again I found this on the journey

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

flickr test

Originally uploaded by alfarman.
My favorite blog is the journey. He is always using great photos from flickr, so I had to try it out myself.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

The vast majority of the people in the world do not live as we do. If "we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of only 100 people, it would look something like this:"

There would be
57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 North and South Americans
8 Africans
30 white
70 nonwhite
6 people would possess 59% of the world's wealth, and all 6 would be from the United States
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer malnutrition
1 would have a college education
1 would own a computer
A vast majority of the world barely survives while we thrive. Right now, 1.2 billion people in the world currently live on about $1 a day. What does it mean to pray "Give us this day our daily bread" when we possess so much already? We must consider more seriously our solidarity with the poor and hungry around the world.

Source: Theocentric

the forgiveness project

Amazing stories of forgiveness at the forgiveness project.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

what's your theological worldview?

You scored as Emergent/Postmodern. You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.



Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Neo orthodox


Roman Catholic


Reformed Evangelical




What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Thursday, June 09, 2005

rising ceremony

Today, I went to the rising ceremony at my son's school. It is a really neat tradition where the kids rising to the next level are taken through an arch by the children at that level. This year a poem read by a middle school teacher really got to me (and I always forget to bring tissue):

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

-- Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


We are currently preparing a message from the Transformation Journal on Jesus and Work. This has struck home for me this week on two fronts:

1) I read a blog entry - volunteer webmasters should quit. Well this is what I do, so I was curious and there are definitely some valid points. I feel blessed that I am able to do as much volunteering as I do and I enjoy the "work", but maybe because I came from the corporate world, it is sometimes difficult to feel like I'm doing legitimate work - I really don't like getting asked what I do for a living. I also feel like I walk a fine line with the level of empowerment I'm given or perceive that I have to make decisions. I have decided to start tracking my hours and invoicing the church, so we all have an idea of what I'm contributing.

2) I just started reading Father Joe based on comments I read at Theocentric. Up to page 53 and so far so good. Here's a quote related to work:

But work in the Benedictine tradition, enjoyable or not, exalted or humble, is in no conflict with the spiritual. Indeed, it too is prayer, a principle best expressed in the classic Benedictine dictum Laborare est orare - "To work is to pray." There is no separation between work in the sense of secular, non-spiritual toil and the spiritual in the sense of uplifting relief from its tedium. Benedictines were the first people in history to claim that work is sacred.

Source: Father Joe by Tony Hendra, p. 45.