Archive for June, 2005|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2005 at 9:22 pm


on sunday evening a friend said something funny. in the midst of a conversation concerning spiritual matters he said, “you sound healthier than i have ever heard you. what strikes me about our conversation is that you did not start by talking about your personal spiritual journey. rather, you started by talking about the health of the church. your heart has been set on fire for the church.”

hmm…i wish that his observation was completely true. however, the mere fact that it is partially true, that i am as interested, intrigued and intense about the spiritual well being about our community as i am about my own life, encourages me.

it encourages me. and yet, i cannot help but think about how much further i have to go. if my love for the church eventually outgrows my love for myself (and i desperately hope that it does), i think the consequences will be numerous. here are a few:

i will be more aware of how my words, my often abrasive, sarcastic, penetrating words have the potential to, or in fact do, wound others. case in point: i will not jokingly call james and rhys “fags” when one of my coworkers, who is most likely homosexual, is sitting five feet away.

i will complete those damned “not urgent but important tasks, like finalizing a leadership consulting team for the church and filing those 401c3 papers, that i would rather ignore.

i will do a better job of listening to my wife. the pixie is wise in so many ways (relational, practical, ecclesiological…) that i am not. she has so many wise things to say about the church that i will not hear unless i slow down and listen.

i will spend more time listening to God and would develop a deeper sensitivity to the Spirit. i think they have a few things to say about the church.

i will not judge my brothers and sisters.

i will stay in better touch with and develop personal relationships with the missionaries we support.

i will once again invest myself in theological reflection. i once rejected these labors because i correctly discerned that my motives were narcissistic. now, by God’s grace, my motives will be communal.

i will retreat regularly for study, reflection and prayer. i will also create opportunities for others to do the same.

i will follow-up on visitors and find creative ways to encourage the members of our community.

i am sure there are other consequences. by God’s grace, i will be surprised by the consequences of my love for the church becoming greater and my love for self becoming less.

if you ever have the time to pray for me, if there is one empty slot on your ever growing list, please pray that my love for the church and her Lord, will increase. may my narcissism decrease and my love for the church increase. perhaps one day my friend’s assertion will be found completely true.


In Uncategorized on June 29, 2005 at 7:35 pm


“in many long hours of prayer in the caves, i realized anew that the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ supercedes all else, allowing us to experience a freedom that is not limited by the borders of a world that is itself in chains. at the same time i recognized that many of the burning theological issues in the church today are neither burning nor theological and that in an age characterized (in some quarters) by confusion, third-rate theatrics, and infidelity, it is not more rhetoric that Jesus demands but personal renewal, fidelity to the gospel and creative conduct. as emile cardinal leger said in his farewell to montreal, “the time for talking is over.”

~brennan manning, reflecting on his time with the “little brothers of Jesus” in the introduction to the importance of being foolish

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2005 at 2:03 pm

meet me at “the G spot”

on saturday evening kellie and i, along with our friend erik kerr, made our way down to the emergence gathering on the south shore. as we encircled the city on I-95 we talked about our respective churches, our allusive vocations and other emerging churches we had visited.

during the latter part of our conversation erik mentioned that he had visited an emerging church that once met in warwick, rhode island. he said great things about the congregation and wondered whether their leaders had anything to do with the worship service we were planning to attend. erik said the only funny thing about the church was the name. when i inquired about the name his face broke out into a rather mischievous grin. “it was called the grace spot.” “what’s so odd about that,” i countered. “nothing” he admitted, “except for the fact that their logo was a large circle in which was a upper case, bold font G with the word ‘spot’ scrawled underneath.” at this point the three of us cracked up and kellie mentioned that “only conservative Christians could make such an oversight.” to this, erik replied, “early on their attendance was remarkably high.”

this morning, while dr. james, rhys and i laughed about the g spot we started rattling off the worst church names we have ever heard. of all of the ones i have run across, the g spot is the worst. the good dr. says that the worst he has ever heard of is the backside redemption church that meets in Maine.

ready to waste time? here is your assignment: let us in on the worst church names you have ever heard. by the end of the afternoon (5 p.m. e.s.t.) we are going to compile an all-time top five list. if anyone unseats the g spot, which is currently slotted at #1, they will receive the coveted “poo dollar.”

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2005 at 3:24 am

“that’s the way it was, and we liked it!”

two different people have told me this week that i am becoming an old man. since one of these illustrious individuals was my wife, i think there might be some truth to it.

so in honor of my prescient friends, and to blow of a little steam, i would like to share this little list. and to answer your question kid positive, i did shake my fist multiple times while typing this tirade. damn kids!

the world was a better place before:

  • blogger mucked up my font size. their “updates” also converted my old school, unimaginative font type. i don’t like it!
  • major league baseball in florida
  • the nhl invaded the confederate states
  • cell phones. yes, all of them. no exceptions
  • mochachinos, frappachinos and iced blueberry lattes
  • reality television. mr. knight, i’m with rick on this one. reality t.v. is irredeemable trash
  • simon cowell
  • jerry bruckheimer
  • nascar in new england
  • plastic surgery
  • the proliferation of suburban prostitution. girls, put away the skanky eighties skirts, the locust glasses and the baby tees and learn to cover your anorexic little asses
  • cowboy troy
  • mlb on fox
  • wal-mart
  • everything was made to break. i should be able to use my space heater or tape player for 24 hours a day for the 12 months it is under warranty. everything (with the possible exception of prophylactics) should be made for continuous use
  • gene michael was named g.m. of the yankees
  • budweiser ultra
  • southwest airlines
  • the moral majority, ralph reed and the republican right. the government, my dear friends, won’t save you
  • the democrats became cowards
  • the proliferation of alternate home and road jerseys in the mlb. white at home, grey away. i want the cubs to wear pin stripes at home, the red sox to leave their batting practice jerseys in fort myers and the cardinals baby blues to remain in static display or team photos at the hall of fame
  • karl rove
  • the wiggles
  • s.u.v.s
  • robert deniro masqueraded as a comedian. the king of comedy he is not
  • lindsay lohan
  • i posted this list

dear readers, thank you for wasting precious minutes of your precariously short lives here. i would ask you to refrain from refuting my opinions, but such an assertion would be pointless. that being said, do not expect me to change my opinions. that’s the way it was and i liked it!

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2005 at 6:39 pm

“this stage is a confessional, you kneel and then begin. yeah, you cross yourself those three times, and step into this skin.” ~bill mallonee, anyside of anywhere

i’ve been trying to blog less at work. as much as i piss and moan about lifeway, i really love this place. who would want to loose such a golden opportunity to exploit ashley smith, pimp the purpose-driven life and commodify christ?

unfortunately such noble intentions will not keep one from sleep. blogging oftentimes will. so please allow me to piss on my commitment, crack my knuckles and pound the keyboard for a few.

confessions are funny things aren’t they? it reminds me of the first time that i entered the confessional at parochial school. after father dan called me by name, reminded me of God’s love and asked if there was anything that was keeping me from a full experience of God’s love, i responded with a simple question: “is it true that i confess anything, from smoking pot to committing murder, and you can’t tell a soul?” when he responded in the affirmative, i immediately confessed: “i was the second gunman on the grassy knoll.” this admission didn’t please father dan. in fact, i think it might have pissed him off. as i reflect on this incident thirteen years later i am embarassed about my irreverence and comforted by the fact that he couldn’t tell.

all cheek aside, i think confession is good for the soul. i don’t think you have to enter a penitential phonebooth to confess your brokenness, but you better get it done somehow. confession not only opens the door for forgiveness, it also strengthens our bonds with one another. what is most personal is most universal…indeed.

that’s a long introduction to a brief confession. but, anyway, before God, you and servers throughout this great land i would like to confess that:

  • i am much more materialistic than i would like to admit. late last week i accidentally emptied our checking account by overpaying our credit card bill by $975. as a result we have been counting pennies like never before and i have been fantasizing about purchases i wouldn’t care less about if we had the cash. “DMB has a new album out, you have to get it,” my mind insists. but, in more sane moments, i realize that their last two albums have been sub-par and when monied i have ignored the opportunity to purchase. “it’s been a long week, you deserve another bottle of castle rock pinot noir,” my tongue ecstatically spews. but, in reality i realize that my current desire to drink well and be the second coming of paul giamatti is going to be short lived.
  • now that i’m ten minutes into this, i don’t feel the least bit guilty about typing this at work. the convention demands and receives far too much of my sweet ass time anyway.
  • when my friend josh recently reminded me that another member of our seminary squad still disliked me, it didn’t bother me one bit. my whole life i have pissed 5-10% of the people in any given community off. my father once told me that sometimes when i say hello to people it sounds like “fuck you” (sorry for the curse mom. dad said it, i merely spelled it). he said this was a “gift,” but i am beginning to suspect that he was being sarcastic. anyway…i have finally learned to accept that, for some reason, i am a stench in the nostrils of some people. i am finally ok with that. i am not and never will be a people pleaser. i cannot make everyone happy. i will do my best to love, serve and listen to others, but i will not try to untangle or reshape their interpretations of me.
  • i ate a brown bear burger the other day. from what I heard, the bear who graciously provided our lunch was little more than a cub that just happened to be an inch over the required height limit. he tasted good. the rabbit breast, on the other hand, was filthy. there’s nothing like picking hair out of your cut of meat.
  • i want to run a marathon someday and maybe write a book. but that’s a secret, so don’t tell.
  • once, while working at orange julius, i blended a live cockroach into a customer’s beverage. he was a hard-up twenty-something who was trying to seduce teenage girls at the mall. i offered him the drink free of charge and do not regret what i did.
  • i would rather be ecstatic or depressed than anesthetized. yet my current emotional state could easily be characterized as the latter.
  • i am the most unimaginative internet surfer ever. i visit about fifteen blogs a couple of times a day, hit and pour over the articles at nothing less, nothing more. exotic

i am beginning to think that the commonality of our sins leads to rather banal confessions. ladies and gentlemen of the jury, “exhibit A.”

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2005 at 2:32 pm

mid-morning time waster: (re) name that book

yesterday, lifeway was excited to receive our first shipment of james rutz’s (rhymes with klutz) new book. however, since, as dr. kuzmic so cleverly noted, “mega shift” sounds far too similar to mega shit we have decided to (re) name the book in order to make it a little more family friendly.

feel free to submit a new name for this exciting new volume! lifeway’s distinguished panel of judges will select one new name by the end of the business day and will award the winner with a limited edition poo dollar.

please note: this feature is produced in accompaniment with dr. james enterprises. all rights reserved.

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2005 at 12:16 pm

hello jed. i’m sorry that it’s been a while since i touched base. the more comfortable i get with people, the quieter i become. so consider my silence the sign and seal of our friendship.

i have been reading a number of intriguing books lately, including d.a. carson’s becoming conversant with the emerging church, harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone (for your information, i have not paired such fantasy reading with pewter figurines and role playing games. smart ass) and walter wangerin’s book of sorrows. however, most of my reading time has been devoted to jean vanier’s community and growth. but you probably already knew this.

anyway, as i was sitting on the beverly common on monday afternoon i stumbled across the following passage…

“tiny children live by love and presence – the time of childhood is a time of trust. adolescents live by generosity, utopian ideals and hope. adults become realistic, commit themselves and assume responsibilities; this is the time of fidelity. finally, old people refind the time of confidence which is also wisdom.”

this is the time of fidelity. jed, i’m going to be honest with you, i’ve been mourning the death of ideals and dreams as of late. some of my dreams, such as the quest for theological certainty and my desire to play varsity baseball, died years ago, but their reverberations continue to pulsate through my chest. others, such as my desire for a meaningful occupation, are shriveling with each additional keystroke. i often find myself sentimentalizing the past, applying my twenty-twenty hindsight to past failure, longing to relive certain parts of my ever expanding life once again.

but i can’t. those days are dead now and every 6 a.m. resurrection pushes me out into the present. so as utopian dreams drift away like dear brigadoon i am left only with an unfinished master’s degree, a tedious life in a cube, the small band of unbelieving believers who consider me one of their own, a wife that is constructed of things eternal, and the poems, prose and apocalypses that serve as a guide to reality.

jed, i could spend all day flagellating myself with questions concerning my attempted entry into the citadel, why i sacrificed the experience of redemptive community on the altar of theological abstractions or whether i could have learned to “slow down the game” and utilize this slingshot God gave me. but such questions disassociate me from the present and lead me out of the moment.

the moment in which i am called to be faithful to my wife, responsible for this small band of unbelieving believers and a competent commodifier of our lord and savior jesus christ. you went too early jed, but at least you got to take your ideals and dreams with you. keeping your feet moving once those have dissolved is a bitch.

anyway, john tetzel just shot me a nasty look, so i better get back to work. as he and the upper management of lifeway are always reminding me, “every time a coin in the coffer rings, the soul from southern baptist purgatory springs.” the time of fidelity. glamorous.

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2005 at 2:31 pm

happy haiku friday!


servants of monotony


In Uncategorized on June 14, 2005 at 2:31 pm


“i beseech you from the bowels of Christ to consider that you may be mistaken.” ~oliver cromwell as quoted in robert ludlum’s the janson directive

“the pains of community are situated between the joy of this communion and friendship with Jesus and the joy of giving life to others: the mission.” ~vanier, community and growth, pg. 84

“mission is revealing to others their fundamental beauty, value and importance in the universe, their capacity to love, to grow and to do beautiful things and to meet God. Mission is transmitting to people a new inner freedom and hope; it is taking away from their shoulders the terrible yoke of fear and guilt. to give life to people is to reveal to them that they are loved just as they are by God…” ibid, pg. 86.

“we did it. he did. i did. we rose to the challenge working together, and the fact that it required all of me, that i was in it with my family and for my family, that i was surrounded by wild, shimmering beauty and it was, well, kind of dangerous made the time…transcendent. i was no longer stasi. i was sacagawea, indian princess of the west, a valiant and strong woman.”
~sacagawea, from harried housewife to holy warrior: my personal epic, pg. 3.

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2005 at 12:13 pm


saint therese’s prayer for “Christian singles”

“we who are not committed to you, Jesus, in either a consecrated celibacy or marriage, we who are not committed to our brothers in a community, are coming to renew our covenant with you.

we are still on the road to which you have called us, but whose name you haven’t given us; we are carrying the poverty of not knowing where you are leading us.

on this road, there is the pain of not being chosen, not being loved, not being waited for, not being touched. there is the pain of not choosing, not loving, not waiting, not touching. we don’t belong. our house is not a home; we have nowhere to lay our head.

even though we have become impatient and depressed when faced with the choices of others, unhappy when faced with their efficiency, we still say ‘yes’ to our road. we believe that it is the road of our fecundity (def: a word that suggests our potential for growth and fruitfulness. it speaks of our capacity to give life), the road we must take to grow in you.

because our hearts are poor and empty, they are available. we make them a place of welcome for our brothers. because our hearts are poor and empty, they are wounded. we let the cry of our thirst rise to you.

and we thank you, Lord, for the road of fecundity you have chosen for us.”
~quoted in vanier’s community and growth on page 68

“to accept being rooted in a community is more or less preceded by a recognition that you are already ‘at home,’ that you are a part of its body. it is rather similar to marriage; couples recognize that something has been born between them and that they are made ready for each other. it is only then that they are ready to commit themselves to marriage and remain faithful to each other.

so in community everything starts with this recognition of being in communion with one another; we are made to be together. you wake up one morning knowing that the bonds have been woven; and then you make the active decision to commit yourself and promise faithfulness, which the community must confirm.” ~ibid, 69.

concerning young people who ignore God’s call on their lives: “these people do not believe enough in either themselves or the call; they do not know that there is a spring in them waiting to be freed to irrigate our parched world. so many young people do not know the beauty of life that is in them and which can grow.” ~ibid, 73.

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