Wednesday, August 31, 2005

back to the laundry

Actually my mom's visiting and she did the laundry yesterday (yeh!).

But I am back from the Global Mission event and my son's back in school and I'm back to my part-time, low-paying, pretty enjoyable technology consulting gigs.

While catching up on my blog reading, I found some words about my blog @ Very cool - Thanks Brother Maynard!

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fear factor

One of the sessions I attended was titled "In Your Face: Teaching and Learning About Poverty" lead by a dynamic leader who was definitely in your face. In this way, he helped the group come to the following conclusions about hunger education:

  • When we try and educate about hunger, we face the fear factor - the brain’s natural defense mechanism to tag unpleasant information as fearsome or dangerous and our natural instinct of flight, fight or freeze in face of that danger.

  • Most hunger education programs are tame. They tell stories about what we’re doing and making us feel better to keep the money flowing, but in fact the money alone is not enough.

  • The more we study hunger, the harder it is to do something about. Instead do something first, and then figure it out.

  • Give people the opportunity to participate by modeling and inviting to work with you.

  • If we are honest with ourselves, there is hunger because of us. We need to stop thinking of hunger as a problem out there. It is a by-product we cause by our consumption and waste patterns.

  • Change doesn’t happen until faced with "death". That sounds pretty drastic, but someone else reminded me this week that change most often occurs after experiencing death, divorce, disease, destruction. Why wait?

We've all seen the man at the liquor store
beggin' for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dread-locked,
and full of mange
He asks a man for what he could spare,
with shame in his eyes
"Get a job you fucking slob," is all he replies
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
'Cause then you really might know what it's like
to sing the blues
Then you really might know what it's like
Then you really might know what it's like
Then you really might know what's it like
to have to lose
- What It’s Like (Everlast)

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Friday, August 26, 2005

hope and despair

One of the realities of living in this post-modern world is living with paradox. It is confusing and seems to require a combination of perseverance, knowledge, and faith to deal with it. Most of the time, I find myself lacking.

Today I experienced the paradox of hope and despair. The day started with hope:

  • from an African theologian, I learned a good definition of sharing. Sharing is not “I don’t need it, you can have it”. Sharing is “I need it, but I see you need it too – let’s share”.

  • From the Director of ELCA Global Mission, I learned that mission is about restoring community. It’s not about us vs. them. It’s about taking a good look at your community and realizing that it is wanting, needing, missing, broken. That a broken community realizes it can only be made whole again by going out and restoring.

  • From a couple of young adult missionaries to Argentina for a year, I learned that that being away from everything that made your life comfortable means that you understand more than ever that God is in control, that you must live on your faith alone, that you will learn and receive more than you can give and that it is the journey with others that is important.

  • From an ELCA Mission Director, I learned that "If God wants you to do something, God has already given you what you need to get started".

And now onto despair. After this full day, I was wiped and decided to take a break at the hotel room - the really, nice up-scale hotel room. And I turned on the T.V. and found myself surfing the news channels – the big city, murder, mayhem, bad news channels. Could I be more confused and conflicted?

So, I’ve decided these are some things I need to ponder:
How do I get to the point that I am not just sharing from my wealth, but I am sharing the things that I need too?
How do I ensure an outward focus in my life? How do I encourage that in my community?
How can I break away from my comfort zones?
And what does God want me to do?

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

no more laundry

Well not forever, but I'm taking a break and attending a Global Mission event with my son. I'm hoping it will bring out some inspiration and creativity.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

women's social rights?

I just read this and I'm speechless and pissed and sad.
MR. GERECHT: Actually, I'm not terribly worried about this. I mean, one hopes that the Iraqis protect women's social rights as much as possible. It certainly seems clear that in protecting the political rights, there's no discussion of women not having the right to vote. I think it's important to remember that in the year 1900, for example, in the United States, it was a democracy then. In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they're there. I think they will be there. But I think we need to put this into perspective.

Yes, someone actually said this on Meet the Press - see transcript.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

war games

For family movie night this past weekend, we watched War Games.  I have always credited this movie with getting me interested in computers.  Now that I’ve seen the movie again, I’m not sure what my motivation was – learning how computers work or saving the world?

So yesterday, in some parking lot, my 7-year old starts this conversation:

my son – are nuclear warheads real?
me – yes
my son – have they ever been used?
me – yes
my son – when?
me – during world war II, the United States dropped 2 nuclear bombs on Japan
my son – what happened?
me – lots of people died and soon after the war ended
my son (pause) – so it’s good the war ended, right?
me (longer pause) – it was good the war ended, but I don’t think it was good nuclear bombs were created or used
my son – has anybody else used them
me – they have been tested, but not used against anybody
my son – who has nuclear weapons
me – mostly the United States and Russia, but some other countries do as well
my son – will anybody ever use them?
me (oh boy) – remember the point of the movie war games was that if nuclear bombs were used in war today, the outcome would be that nobody could win because the destruction would be too high, so most countries say they have nuclear weapons as a way to ensure they don’t get used against them (try explaining the concept of deterrence to a 7-year old, it doesn’t even make sense to me)
my son – are we making more?
me – no, I think we are trying to get rid of some because we finally figured out we had too many
my son – where are they aimed, Russia?
me – I guess most of them used to be because we thought Russia was our biggest enemy, but they probably aren’t anymore
my son – so where are they aimed?
me – I don’t know

So, it turns out ignorance is not bliss – maybe that’s why I didn’t sleep well last night.  Time to do some research – here I come wikipedia.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Word to blog

Being married to a geek is tough.  Especially when you’re a geek wannabe.  No really, I think I’m pretty geeky, but I can’t compete with the hubby.  Anytime I think I’ve found some cool tool or techie tip and I share it with the hubby, it’s old news to him.  I think the only time I’ve scooped him is on this category thing, but then he doesn’t blog so what does he care.  Now I’m trying Word to blogger – thanks honey!

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trying delicious bookmarklet

I'm liking the categories. Now I'm trying out the Super-Fast Delicious Bookmarklet to make tagging faster.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005


In Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, he describes one of his aha moments vis-à-vis a lecture he attended about the power of metaphor. The example the professor starts out with is cancer. When we think about cancer, we think about war metaphors like battling cancer or fighting cancer. Apparently this has an unhealthy affect on cancer patients who can feel more burdened and frightened than they should because they feel "that they have been thrust into a deadly war… because of the war metaphor, the professor said, we are more likely to fear cancer when, actually most people survive the disease."

I think the war metaphor is also overused in the context of Christianity. Last week we heard about from Ephesians 6:16-17 to "take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." How about the lyrics "Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war", or the Christian Coalition tagline "defending our godly heritage". And don’t even get me started on the anti/pro language thrashing around out there. Sometimes the war metaphor is hidden under the guise of saving souls for the kingdom.

My problem with the war metaphor is two-fold. First, I find it frightening and not at all appealing. I think it can cause people to feel more burdened and frightened than they should feel about Christianity. But what I want to focus on here is that it implies winners and losers. You know you are a Christian – way to go, you are on the winning team. Not sure, so sorry – you lose. Oh and did I mention, you are now the enemy.

This week the transformation journal theme is Jesus and Perseverance. So, it’s not about winning a war, it’s about staying the course, doing your best, moving forward. It’s not about defense or offense, it’s about humility, leading by example, learning. And while there is a prize to strive for, it is not at the expense of someone else nor is it exclusive - it's available to everyone.
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained."
- Philippians 3:10-16

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Sunday, August 14, 2005


Originally posted by me @ on July 8, 2005.

I found this week's tj difficult to get through. Like Job 2:7-10 - So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"

He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said."

I recently read Sarah Laughed by Vanessa Ochs and I appreciated her take on Job's wife.

"Job's wife encourages you to give God a piece of your mind. Speaking the truth when what you have to say isn't nice shouldn't weaken your faith. It should sustain and if necessary, transform it, for it has kept the conversation - which might have been shut down - open. The alternative would be to cease conversation altogether, to hang up on God. That is the dark, lonely place you don't want to be."

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a Montessori approach to church

Originally posted by me @ on May 9, 2005.

I’ve been trying to follow discourse on the emerging church. It seems to be a bit of a moving target and it takes a lot of blog time to just skim the surface. But an examination of the strengths and weaknesses from Frank Viola @ caught my eye. Especially, what he states as the primary weakness –

The emerging church phenomenon has wonderfully articulated some of the major flaws of the modern church, yet like all of its predecessors, it has failed to identify and take dead aim at one of the chief roots of most of its ills.

I firmly believe that the taproot of most of the problems that plague the church in modernity is the clergy system. To put a finer point on it, Protestant Christians are addicted to the modern pastoral office. The pastor is the all-purpose religious professional in the modern Protestant church, both evangelical and mainline.

Please note that my critique is not an attack on pastors as people. Most pastors in the emerging church are gifted Christians who have a heart for the Lord and a genuine love for His people. It is the modern pastoral office and role that I believe is profoundly flawed, and few of us have ever questioned it.

Let me unpack that a bit. My experience in this country and overseas over the last seventeen years has yielded one immovable conclusion: God’s people can engage in high-talk about community life, Body functioning, and Body life, but unless the modern pastoral role is utterly abandoned in a given church, God’s people will never be unleashed to function in freedom under the Headship of Jesus Christ. I have had pastors vow to me that they were the exception. However, upon visiting their congregations, it was evident that the people did not know the first thing about functioning as a Body on their own. Neither were they given any practical tools on knowing the Lord intimately and living by His life. The reason is that the flaws of the modern pastoral role are actually built into the role itself.

The pastor, by his mere presence, causes an unhealthy dependence upon himself for ministry, direction, and guidance. Thus, as long as he hangs around delivering sermons, the people in the church to which he belongs will never be fully set free to function on their own in a church meeting setting. Further, the pastoral office typically destroys those who populate it. Jesus Christ never intended for anyone to shoulder that kind of enormous responsibility and power.

Well that is a lot to digest, but for some reason, I keep thinking about this observation of pastoral leadership. If you have been listening to Pastor John and Deb describe the new ministry structure: the fractals and leadership models, then you know Peace is headed toward empowered leaders and teams. It is an exciting time, but I think it will also be very challenging. I believe it is so difficult for even the best-intentioned pastors to equip his/her members because of the way we, the lay people, grew up learning.

I am by no means a Montessori expert, but having experienced vicariously the results of such an education on my son, I can begin to appreciate how this “radical” approach to learning could be helpful in the church. Here are some characteristics of a Montessori education and how I think they could relate to church.

Stages of Development
Montessori recognizes and values the unique needs of children at different developmental stages and integrates this understanding into the educational environment. The community of the classroom provides a safe and secure place for children to develop self-esteem and confidence, while they learn to be responsible and caring members of society.

Church leaders recognize people are at different stages in their faith journey and provide appropriate building blocks for growing faith. The church provides a safe and secure environment for exploring faith.

Child Centered
The Montessori approach challenges the conventional methodologies wherein teachers 'fill' children with knowledge. The Montessori teacher acts as a guide, an inspiration and a remover of obstacles, so children can follow their natural inclinations to explore and grow.

Church leaders act as a guide, an inspiration and a remover of obstacles so that members can follow their natural inclinations to explore and grow their faith.

Montessori philosophy emphasizes functional and intellectual independence as crucial to human development. Montessori encourages children, from the earliest ages, to use their practical and intellectual skills to meet their own everyday needs and pursue academic learning. Montessori communities promote self-sufficiency in social relationships as well; providing tools and language for children to solve conflicts and negotiate peacefully.

Church leaders encourage members to use their skills to meet the needs of the church. The church community promotes and encourages self-sufficiency.

Process versus Product
Montessori utilizes a guided discovery approach to learning. Montessori guides (teachers) present lessons to children as 'keys' to open the door to learning. Learning outcomes come about naturally, often spontaneously, sparked by student-driven interest. Montessori allows the process of learning to unfold authentically until the child is ready to demonstrate mastery.

Church leaders allow people to explore their faith authentically in a non-judgmental environment.

Skills for Life
Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just though listening, watching or reading. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation self-discipline and a quest for knowledge that lasts a lifetime. Montessori schools group children in different age groups, forming communities in which the older children mentor the younger children

The church community forms small groups where learning and mentoring take place.

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Misc. Images

Here's a set of sermon slide images I've created throughout the past year based on bible readings. At the time of creating these I didn't keep track of where the original images were downloaded.

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Romans images

Here's a set of sermon slide images I've created throughout the past year based on Romans readings. At the time of creating these I didn't keep track of where the original images were downloaded.

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Matthew images

Here's a set of sermon slide images I've created throughout the past year based on Matthew readings. At the time of creating these I didn't keep track of where the original images were downloaded.

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Isaiah images

Here's a set of sermon slide images I've created throughout the past year based on Isaiah readings. At the time of creating these I didn't keep track of where the original images were downloaded.

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Corinthians images

Here's a set of sermon slide images I've created throughout the past year based on Corinthian readings. At the time of creating these I didn't keep track of where the original images were downloaded.

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Sabbath images

image originally downloaded from stock.xchng

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I've added categories to the blog using these steps from FreshBlog.

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tempting quotes

I've recently finished Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. It is a very good read.

The theme of the transformation journal this week is Jesus and Temptation. Here are a couple of quotes from Blue Like Jazz on how we get tempted to turn our back on God.

"If you believe something, passionately, people will follow you. People hardly care what you believe, as long as you believe something. If you are passionate about something, people will follow you because they think you know something they don't, some clue to the meaning of the universe. Passion is tricky, though, because it can point to nothing as easily as it points to something."

"Here is the trick... Satan, who I believe exists as much as I believe Jesus exists, wants us to believe meaningless things for meaningless reasons. Can you imagine if Christians actually believed that God was trying to rescue us from the pit of our own self-addition? Can you imagine? Can you imagine what Americans would do if they understood over half the world was living in poverty? Do you think they would change the way they live, the products they purchase, and the politicians they elect? If we believed the right things, the true things, there wouldn't be very many problems on earth."

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Temptation images

Two of the sermon slides I made for worship this weekend:

image originally downloaded from flickr

image originally downloaded from stock.xchng

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