Friday, May 26, 2006

revolutionaries wanted

Just bought The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World. It covers 12 different social issues: clean water, gang violence, women's rights, fair trade, war and peace, torture, the environment, human trafficking, poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS & capital punishment. For each issue, there's an activist writer who gives background info and concrete examples of action (donate, educate, activate & pray).

I thought it would be good reading to prepare for IMPACT(Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together). IMPACT is an organization that will be enabling over 20 churches in the area to come together to find ways of addressing justice issues in the local community.

I've read up through the first chapter and so far so good. I really like this description of injustice
"we know that nearly 150 children die every hour in Africa from complications surrounding lack of clean water and proper sanitation... these stories are not simply tragic. They are the stories of real injustice. A tragedy would be something that we are helpless to stop. This is injustice because we have the ability to help Africans gain access to clean water." - Dan Haseltine, The Revolution, pg. 13

house cleaning

I know I claim to be a housewife, but I'm probably the world's worst housewife. Given a choice between cleaning up around the house or hanging out at a keyboard (well you can see the answer to that). So we've got company coming and I felt I really ought to clean the house. A day later, I finally finished (yeah, it was pretty nasty). So what will I have to show for this accomplishment - I'm guessing a dirty house again in a couple of days. Ugh...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Practical Evangelism – The Person of Peace

My notes from the Planting Seeds conference with keynote speaker Mike Breen.

Often evangelism and discipleship are disconnected, but they should always be connected.

The Triangle (up-in-out)
- up with God (love)
- in with other believers (grow)
- out with non-believers (go)

Use this tool to analyze everything about your church. For instance, rate yourself from 1 to 10 for up-in-out (whatever area scores low is the area you need to work on in that ministry).

Jesus evangelistic strategy from Luke 10:1-12:
- Team, never go by yourself
- Time, harvest is a season that follows planting and growing. Go for the harvest that is available – let the others ripen.
- Target, within the harvest you don’t try to get everyone. You are looking for one person – the person of peace.
- Task, tell them the kingdom of God is near. God wants to do something in your life. Is there something that you would like God to do in your life?
- Trouble, just leave. If they don’t receive you, leave and don’t worry about it.

The Octagon (your person of peace)
. Person of Peace
· Perception. Open your eyes and look. Invite the Lord into our powers of perception. Visit people within 24 hours of visiting and they will become members.
· Presence. Recognize that they will see who you are from your heart. They need you to be present with them to earn the right to share. Random acts of kindness.
· Proclamation. After a time you earn the right to announce the gospel.
· Passing relationship (the sprint). You disciple them as far as you can
· Permanent relationship (the marathon). Say less, pray more. May not be the person of peace initially.
· Preparation. Ask the Lord to begin to prepare their life.
· Power. Stop being afraid of the Holy Spirit. Start asking God to show you power.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Conspiracy of Kindness by Steve Sjogren

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I squidoo, do you? I just learned about lens(es) from Church Marketing Sucks. So I'm trying it out @

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Evangelism as a Lifestyle Not an Event

My notes from the Planting Seeds conference with keynote speaker Mike Breen.

There is a common path we follow in every life-skill we develop:
- unconsciously incompetent
- consciously incompetent
- consciously competent
- unconsciously competent

The level of change in this postmodern era is of seismic proportions. The only reason that this change is not catastrophic for us is because we are affluent. We (Christians) are the rescue team. How can we respond to this seismic change?

1. Respond with compassion:
- It would be inappropriate to behave any other way.
- One of the problems people have with Christians is that they don’t see compassion.
- There is nothing wrong with inviting people into the community of believers where they can feel comfortable before they believe.

2. Provide temporary and flexible shelter to support community:
- What’s being shaken are the institutions.
- Buildings (churches) in the earthquake zone are viewed as dangerous.
- You have to make the journey to them, don’t expect them to come to you.
- The world tells us that the normal structures of family and community are dangerous.
- Looking at the artifacts of postmodern culture (Internet & media) we can see that people are desperate to connect; that friendship has replace family as the cornerstone of society.
- Build church around community and friendship.
- Evangelize to Jesus and allow Jesus to change their culture.
- Give people many access points to reach shelter.
- Best way to build community is to have a meal together.
- Build groups/clusters of 20 to 50 – extended family-size group.

3. Listen to their story:
- When people go through a shocking experience they begin to lose their reference points. They feel disoriented. They wonder who they are.
- Identity comes from outside, not inside.
- People need a common story (meta-narrative) to feel like they have an identity.
- GenX loves going to the movies because they are looking for a story.

4. Give them a compass (Jesus):
- We think information is enough, but it’s got to be in relation.
- People are desperate for a sense of orientation
- The way they discover how to use the compass is by imitating the life of the person training them.
- Does anybody want your life? Do they want to imitate you?

who's afraid of the da vinci code?

It seems that at least a few Christians are:
Archbishop Angelo Amato, specifically called for a boycott of the film version of The Da Vinci Code, which will debut later this month; he said the movie is "full of calumnies, offenses, and historical and theological errors." -

Christians Urged to Prepare for The Da Vinci Code Opening: Whether planning protests or equipping themselves with answers, Christians are saying "be prepared" as the countdown continues. -

I checked again and my copy of the book has the words, A Novel, clearly printed on the front cover. So, what is up with all this fear? It can't be good. As Frank Herbert, author of Dune writes:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I must admit that it is probably my reading of "The DaVinci Code" when it first came out that got me interested in studying about Christianity again. I liked that there might be a sacred feminine element to Christianity that was lost. I wanted to find out more about that and how Jesus interacted with women. I asked my dad (the retired theology professor) about it. His fearless response was to send me a study bible and so, I actually started studying it.

I did find one web resource that seemed to address some Christian concerns in a non-fearful manner @

Thursday, May 04, 2006

what does it mean to be Lutheran?

Not sure how I ended up on the lutheranzephyr blog, but I found this request to answer a seemingly simple question - what does it mean to be Lutheran? And now I'm finding it rather difficult. I was born and raised Lutheran. I was even a PK (preacher's kid) for a few short years. But then during my college years (while attending a lutheran college), I spurned organized religion altogether. I only came back to the church after my son was born and I think I only chose a lutheran church because it's what I was familiar with.

I think that if I had found myself in a "traditional" lutheran church, it probably wouldn't have lasted long between us. Luckily, I found myself in a church ready to embrace a mission that focuses outward instead of inward. The basic tenets of lutheran theology are still there:
- sola gratia (we are saved by the grace of God alone)
- sola fide (our salvation is through faith alone)
- sola scriptura (the Bible is the only norm of doctrine and life)

Add to this a sense that faith without works is probably dead and that it's not about personal preference & espousing doctrine, it's about discipleship, building relationships & taking risks.

Being a member of a lutheran church also means being part of a larger umbrella organization which can be frustrating in it's slow response to cultural changes and often unbending in it's traditions. But, I've kind of decided to take the 60's slogan of if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem to heart with respect to change.

Bottom line, being identified as a lutheran isn't all that important to me. Being part of community that is trying to love God, love one another, grow in Christ and go in Christ is!

5 essential ingredients to postmodern evangelism

More notes from Bobby Brewer @ Planting Seeds conference:

1. Identify emergent evangelists in your church and ask them how to reach the postmodern culture in your area.
2. Go to where the people are. Don’t expect an unchurched person to ever step foot in a traditional church.
3. Train your people in personal evangelism. The discipleship process with a postmodern will take time. You first have to earn the right to be heard. You may only be one link in the chain to helping them find Christ.
4. Communal evangelism. Find a way, like the house church movement, where truth can be processed together in an authentic way.
5. Involve and recruit non-believers into holistic ministries. Don’t be a Christian "club" where others don’t feel welcome or comfortable.

Finally he offered these words for churches where membership is definitely on the decline and change is needed:
- the ethical thing to do is to leave a legacy…be willing to sacrifice and reach out to the next generation
- realize that your church is probably using really dated material aimed at modern culture, not postmodern culture

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

what you should know about postmodernism

I recently attended a church conference called Planting Seeds at Christ the King in Charlotte, NC. My next few posts will be reflections from this event.

Bobby Brewer is a pastor who, when he initially encountered post modernism, "thought (it) was absolutely the most ridiculous and ludicrous worldview I had ever encountered." He goes on to say that "I quickly learned that postmodernism is a reaction to the most profound spiritual and philosophical crises of our times."

He and his training were geared for the modern culture and he was frustrated that he could not find pastoral materials geared toward reaching a postmodern culture. So he investigated the culture and wrote a book entitled, Postmodernism: What You Should Know and Do About It.

He identifies 4 main characteristics of the postmodern culture:
R = relativism, there is no absolute truth, it’s all relative (process truth relationally not propositionally)
I = ignorant of Christian beliefs, probably not brought up with any Christian heritage
P = pluralism, anti-exclusivism (there can’t be only one way to God?)
S = skepticism and spiritual curiosity

It's been almost 2 years since I first encountered the subject of postmodernism. The more I learn, the more it seems to describe me. I asked Bobby if a postmodern Christian can ever get beyond all 4 of the characteristics he identified. He said yes, that it is a long discipleship process, but eventually a light will turn on. I think I must have a dimmer switch because although I sense more light now than ever, but it's still awful dark.