gentry13

Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2006 at 4:51 pm

musing…

in one of his little spiritual autobiographies, the sacred journey i think, frederick buechner talks about “a time in between a time.” if memory serves, he describes a time in between a time as the space that takes place in between the margins of tragedy and hope, darkness and light, ethereal promise and earthy fulfillment. buechner believes that the way we muddle through these middle spaces almost determines how we will react and respond to the more startling and kairos-tinged times.

i suppose that’s a long winded way of admitting that i am currently living in a time in between a time. at this moment i am not overwhelmed by the many personal and professional deaths that have been as common this year* as bloated corpses are on an iraqi highway. however, i am also not in a space where i am leaning into and receiving the life that lies before me. in this tenuous position between the polarities i am learning to listen because there is precious little i have to say and i am longing to be obedient to Jesus lest i continue to add to the smoldering wreckage that has resulted from my disobedience.

so that’s where i’m at. i hope this post provides a little orientation for those i stumble into and perhaps walk forward with during this ordinary season.

* for the record, I am including the cardinals in this group.

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2006 at 10:07 pm

humbled

this afternoon i quickly checked statcounter to see how many hits i’ve had and whether the man is watching over my shoulder. at first glance, i was blown away by the number of hits i’d received today and began to feel a little proud of my little place in the big, bad internet.

then i clicked on the came from link and found that over 45 of my hits and no less than 30 of the direct links came from google searches that utilized at least two of the following search terms: dustin, diamond, screech, saved by the bell and dirty sanchez.

i don’t know whether these searches, and the fact that they led directly to my blog, teach us something about the perverse fetishes of internet users or simply raise questions about the quality of my character.

ugh. those of you sickos can find the sanchez shot you’re looking for here. the rest of you can spend a little time praying for my salvation.

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2006 at 2:20 pm

five minute book reviews

as i mentioned a month or so ago, i think wonderboys is one of the finest, unnoticed films of the decade. after lavishing such praise on the movie, joolz encouraged me to start reading michael chabon’s (who wrote the book off of which the movie is based) books. that made sense to me, so i used part of the barnes and noble gift certificate leanne and art gave me to purchase kavalier and clay.

fortunately, i was not disappointed.

kavalier and clay is an epic novel that follows josef kavalier’s escape from nazi occupied prague and his subsequent life in new york city. upon arrival in the empire city he partners with his cousin sammy clay as together they create a superman-knockoff comic called the escapist. the plot is too sweeping to adequately summarize in five minutes, but, from my perspective anyway, the book is a chronicle of a young man who throughout throughout his personally tragic and professionally successful life wrestles with the advice of his mentor and master magician bernard kornblum to “focus on what you are escaping to, not on what you are escaping from.” for joe kavalier, as well as for myself, alluding the entanglements of the past in order to focus on living a creative and beneficial life both in the present and into the future, is an epic struggle. this whimsical, yet weighty novel challenged me to reach towards the future without denying the tragedies and triumphs of the past. this book won the pulitzer prize for a reason. you should read it.

also purchased with the aforementioned gift card: chuck klosterman IV. this five minute review has turned into a fifteen minute mess, so i’ll just say this. klosterman has the unique ability to see and effectively communicate how everything is connected. if you’re interested in reading intriguing profiles of bands like radiohead and wilco, wonder how kevin arnold’s insecurities are incarnated by common americans and enjoy prose that practically demands to be consumed like crack, you’ll dig klosterman.

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2006 at 11:34 pm

COHORT UPDATE

Due to my bad forsight and a (meaningless) Red Sox game, We are moving the location of tonight’s September Cohort meeting to the North Station Boston Beer Works Located at 112 Canal St., Boston, MA 02114. See you there at 7 pm.

boston’s emergent cohort will be pulling taps and talking theology at the fenway beerworks (61 brookline ave., boston, 02215) this tuesday night at 7 pm.

this month we’re going to start the conversation by confessing one thing about our church participation/heritage that each of us has come to view as antagonistic to our current understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. we’re hoping that in the midst of this conversation a common topic will emerge, so thatwe can then discuss ways in which we can move forward and act to overcome those trends both in our individual lives, in our local congregations, and in the global church.

if you’re interested in joining us for conversation or simply want to taste the works fine selection of microbrews, we hope you can take the time to join us. if you have questions about the gathering feel free to contact me at gentry13@gmail.com.

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2006 at 2:45 pm

Jesus died and after one…two…three days was raised again!

on friday afternoon my good buddy and fellow SS slave dave invited me to attend a boston church planting collaborative meeting on Saturday morning. although i am usually hesitant to attend such gatherings, i decided that it might be good for my Spirit to share my current struggles with life and ministry, listen to the stories of others and enjoy a little mutual encouragement.

so after our weekly s & s guy’s breakfast i jumped in the car with dave and his buddy danny and we wound our way down to the big bad city. although we had a bit of difficulty locating the emmanuel gospel center in the south end (which is pathetic. because city on a hill used to meet around the corner) we eventually found the building, miraculously found free parking behind the egc and eagerly entered the building.

unfortunately, as soon as we sat down in the conference room i knew we were screwed. for sitting there before us, in all it’s gaudy glory, was an oversized evangecube.

we should have bolted right then and there, but, out of respect for ralph kee and the leaders of the egc, we didn’t. and so we were subjected to a two and a half hour seminar that provided us with a pedantic, step by step tutorial on the evangecube (did you know that Jesus died for our sins? have you heard that accepting the cross of Christ is the only way that you’ll ever make it to the seventh nebula of the ing galaxy where God dwells?), wooed us with the amazing numbers of people who have been “converted” after some white bread southern baptist from salado, texas unfolded God’s plan right before there very eyes and challenged to partner with E3 partners as they support indigenous pastors…by providing them with a cartons of the evangecube and training them how to unfold God’s glory by manipulating the magic box right before the unsaved millions’ very eyes.

i cannot emphasize enough how much i loathe the evangecube.

i cannot help but wonder whether we should count “conversions” when the only true metric we have for salvation is whether we “persevere unto the end.”

i wholly agree with my friend who derided the presentation as “the exaltation of cube in the temple of revivalism.”

i cannot help but wonder why we evangelicals are so eager to profess that Jesus is the Christ, but so hesitant to reorder our lives around and accompany others along the way of the Lord.

i cannot help but hope that i, alongside the people of God, can begin to pursue Christ’s mission and incarnate God’s Kingdom with the same intense passion that old line evangelicals sought conversions.

i’m thankful for the fifteen minutes i had to connect with my brothers and sisters in Christ after the presentation. i’m constantly amazed by how many intriguing, provocative people have chosen to incarnate Christ’s compassion, proclaim the gospel and pursue the Kingdom in the boston area.

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2006 at 8:53 pm

overheard

in ichurch, his most recent article on christianitytoday.com, associate editor skye jethani provides an apt diagnosis of consumerism, the disease that threatens to plague all of our communities, and begins to sketch the way towards a pastoral response. this same territory is covered in a more comprehensive manner in colossians re:mixed, which is a handbook for christians who are seeking to subvert the empire of consumerism and a treatise that i highly recommend. here are a couple of quotes from jethani’s article to whet your appetite:

“As Mark Riddle observes, ‘Conversion in the U.S. seems to mean we’ve exchanged some of our shopping at Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, and Borders for the Christian bookstore down the street. We’ve taken our lack of purchasing control to God’s store, where we buy our office supplies in Jesus’ name.’ “

“In consumer Christianity, however, church leaders function as religious baristas, supplying spiritual goods for people to choose from based on their preferences. Our concern becomes not whether people are growing, but whether they are satisfied. An unhappy member, like an unhappy customer, will find satisfaction elsewhere. As one pastor enthusiastically said, “The problem with blended services is that half the people are happy half the time. With a video venue, you can say, ‘If you don’t like this service style, try another one!’ “

“The church does not exist to supply comfort, ease, and convenient services to religious consumers. And God is not a commodity that exists to make you feel better.”

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2006 at 2:11 pm

mid-morning time waster: completely psychotic co-workers

this morning while listening to voicemails and filing paperwork at my desk, the guy who sits in the adjacent cube began aggressively berating his roommate. after he had railed about that son-of-a-bitch doing this and that motherfucker doing that he concluded by saying, “i swear i’m going to cut him up into little pieces and vacuum up the evidence.” then, as if that pronouncement wasn’t alarming enough, he concluded by proclaiming “i feel absolutely homicidal right now.”

if the same co-worker hadn’t told me two months ago that “if you hear about someone going on a homicidal spree through downtown beverly, you can be sure i’m the killer,” i suppose i could have taken this morning’s rant with a grain of salt. but as it is, i am a bit scared. if you happen to see a bullet riddled office space on CNN this evening and repeated phone calls to me go unreturned, please tell my mother i love her.

have you had any encounters with homicidal co-workers? if so, do tell.

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2006 at 11:59 am

i spy

“BE OUR GUEST, be our guest,
put our service to the test,
we’ll add a little dab of Scripture and let Disney do the rest!”

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2006 at 2:41 pm

mid-morning time waster: “i’m not here to teach. i’m hear to learrrn.”

lately my life has been a bit crazy. i’ve been thinking about life after the SS, preparing to unite two friends in marriage this weekend and trying to be a good husband to the pixie and a good daddy for dizzy. fortunately, in the midst of all the craziness, i’ve continued to be a model pedagogue. here’s what i’ve been learning:

when you dream about mr. stomach fighting mr. anus, you’re in for a long night.

cigarettes are not acceptable substitutes for asthma inhalers.

the dark, sexy russian at the poker table just might have more in common with yakoff smirnoff than a scheming ringer.

prayer changes things.

but christian cliché’s still suck.

there’s a fine line between a funny cynic and a dream killer.

benadryl-d really should be taken in recommended doses.

loose canons have shitty moorings.

contrary to popular opinion, there are biblical commentaries that are well-written.

so what are you learning?

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2006 at 4:49 pm

musing…

four or five years ago i had the opportunity to hear jean vanier, the founder of l’arche, friend of henri nouwen and altogether remarkable human being speak at the university of toronto. unfortunately i do not remember much of what jean said on that cold winter night, but i do remember him telling us that at the heart of l’arche was a belief in the giftedness of each individual. jean said that the true mission of each l’arche assistant was to carefully identify the giftedness of each physically and/or mentally disabled core member of their community and persistently encourage the core members to share their gift with the community and, indeed, with the world. jean then promised the assistants that as we struggled to identify and facilitate the birth of each core member’s gift we would be surprised to find that the core members would serve as midwives who helped identify and give birth to our deepest gift as well. in sum, jean said, Christ has called us to serve as midwives for one another as together we seek to fully experience the image of God that is impressed upon each person.

i thought about jean’s words today when i read about a friend who is constantly serving as a midwife to someone in his local community.

i also thought about how often i neglect to notice the image of God in others, much less help the individuals i love, much less those i hate, give birth to their greatest gift. far too often i spend my time berating people for their apparent deficiencies rather than loving them enough to help give birth to their greatest gift. Christ have mercy.

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