Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Big water fishing

This week my in-laws were here. Tom and I tried to go fishing on the river (the Mississippi) a few times. It didn't take long to realize that our gear was a bit light for such a big river. One time I casted out and once my line was all the way extended it came off the reel and kept going. Sploooosh! How embarassing to do something like that at all- much less in front of your father-in-law. Argh. On our walk home we went by our very own local tackle shop. We left our stuff outside the door and went inside.
"uh, yeah, we're trying to fish on the river."
"Well, we've got some close out catfish rods on close out."
After a while talking with the fishing guru there started outside. He followed us out.
Looking at our little bass fishing poles he said, "you guys are a little light for the river..."
Later Tom bought me two of the close out big water fishing poles. They're big and nice.
I still haven't caught the elusive catfish Old Man River has to offer.

This morning I got up around 7, grabbed my gear and some chicken livers, walked about a mile to the river and up the bank from town. It was a perfect 75 degrees. Kind of windy, but very nice after all this sizzling heat.
Several times I casted and my sinker went sailing way out in the river while my bait and hook landed not more than twenty feet away. Some times I casted and everything went flying off my line. Some times I got a bite but didn't know what to do with it. I guess I won't quit my day job to be a fisherman. Oh, I already quit my day job to be a student. Sitting there catching nothing got me thinking about my call to love and pursue the lost. I don't catch many. The thing is, I just keep showing up. In my line of business (youth ministry) and most(if not all) types of ministry, showing up is 90% of what's required. Jesus called it faithfulness. So, I will be faithfully feeding the poor, visiting the infirm, and caring for the fatherless. I can't do anything else. Where else can I go for the words of eternal life, except to the side of Christ, who is there pursuing the lost sheep?
Newbigin's The Gospel for a Pluralist Society is blowing my mind these days. It is beautiful how Newbigin looks for a place beyond the either\or syndrome of our times. He seeks a place beyond the debate on exclusivism/inclusivism/universalism to find something that takes God's grace and sin's gravity into account more fully than any of the three options. His stance of agnosticism when it comes to eternal destiny of the faithful of other religions helps a bit.
I'll keep reading. For now, it's back to fishing.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Last Night

Last night was the last of our Summer Faith Pilgrimage trips. We went to a Saturday night mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. It was a pretty normal catholic mass. Our kids hadn't been to mass before.
Afterwards, we got to sit with Father Scott and ask questions. Father Scott was very gracious and had very good answers. All in all, it was a good experience.
So, this summer our youth group has visited:
  1. Episcopal
  2. Predominantly-Black Charismatic
  3. Greek Orthodox
  4. Methodist
  5. Baptist
  6. Emerged Church of Christ Charismatic/Prophetic
  7. Catholic

It has been amazing to watch their (and my) misunderstandings fall away. After our visit with Fr. Scott last night one girl said, "I always thought they worshiped Mary. I was guilty of that misconception." What a breath of God's Spirit it is when we come together like that. You can't put a price on experiences like that in the spiritual formation of a group of young people.

Well, that being said, my daughter just reached in the kitchen sink to retrieve her pop tart that she had apparently deposited there earlier this morning. What a life.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Tomorrow is my last Sunday on staff at Tucker Street. Did I mention that I have spent the last five years serving as the youth minister of a 30-year old post-denomational/protestant/evangelical church? And they're looking for a part time youth minister, if anyone's looking for a bivocational type of situation.
The thing is, my interactions/conversations with the pastor and the elders of Tucker Street contributed as much or more to my personal "emergence" than all the emerging church-type books I've read. Seriously.
See, about thirty years ago the founding elders were disfellowshipped from Church of Christ. Soon a new fellowship had started. Over the years it has developed its own flavor, conscious of the historic church and faith.

Soon I'll be just a member. Or maybe I should say soon I'll be a member. That's a better way of looking at it. I'm looking forward to being an ordinary member without having to run the youth program. Also, not working there will give me the freedom to be out visiting churches both here in town and elsewhere. We're planning on visiting St. John's Antiochian Orthodox Church some time in August. The Orthodox church has been very intriguing to me.

Needless to say, this transition looks to be a difficult one. It's been hard to paint my office to make it just an office. (In my time there it was painted bright red with a Detroit Red Wings border and lots of memorabilia. Now it's a soothing/serene brown. I'm toying with the idea of hanging a large crucifix on the eastern wall to give it even more of a spiritual refuge appearance. (Plus, that should serve to scare away any hardcore fundamentalists.)

Right now I'm sort of watching my kids as my wife is at a MOPS leadership retreat. Sort of, because obviously they're destroying my house as I post.
In fact, I wrote a more thoughtful version of this post moments ago which was deleted when my son got on the computer to play games while I answered the phone.

I watched a classic anime last night. Probably everyone has seen Castle In The Sky, but it was pretty interesting. The kids and I watched it 2.5 times straight through. They thought it was neat. Man, the English dubbing looks funny. It's like everyone is a skilled ventriloquist. They're talking with their mouths closed. Amazing!

I've been reading Newbigin's The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. It''s a very good read. I like Polanyi's epistemology, or at least, Polanyi's epistemology as dictated/interpreted by Newbigin. It seems to me like this does bring a new higher plane to the debate over liberal/conservative interpretation. Very helpful. For me it has always been more helpful to read books that influence the emerging church folks than to read the emerging church books. So I read Nouwen, I read Foster, I'm working on Lewis, I read Newbigin, I read Guder. Some of that stuff obviously isn't written for mass use, but it's good.

Well, I've rambled long enough.
May God's blessings be on all of you, today and forever.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

my state thingy

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...
Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C. /
Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.