Archive for February, 2007|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2007 at 10:44 pm

ecclesiological musing

over the past two months i have been utterly overwhelmed by the number of resources that are available for low-income, disabled and otherwise challenged residents of boston. i’ve had a number of meetings with massachusetts rehabilitation counselors who will go to any length to help their clients find adequate employment, visited a brand-new head-start daycare that not only provides free early childhood education for their students (who speak 29 different primary languages!) but also have an on-site licensed social worker who helps the children’s parents find rent assistance, sign up for venezuela/citgo’s generous share the warmth heating oil program and pursue any number of additional forms of aid, and have been overwhelmed by the great lengths that personal friends are going to in other cities to ensure that homeless citizens that struggle with mental illness find permanent housing.

what does this have to do with the church? well, i would like to suggest that all churches of moderate to large size (say 500 +) in attendance, have a licensed and/or experienced social worker on staff. i suspect that many churches would be able to serve their communities more effectively if they focused on helping families and individuals connect with the wealth of social services that are already available, rather than needlessly replicating services that are already available within the community. i realize that there are undoubtedly exceptions to this rule, such as churches that are located in small towns or in less “developed” environs, but in general i think that both moderate to large churches and their communities would benefit greatly from such services.

anyway, that’s what i’m thinking today. your opinion, as always, is welcome.


In Uncategorized on February 27, 2007 at 2:11 am


“I would accept schism,” Bishop Steven Charleston, president of the Episcopal Divinity School, told The Washington Post. “I would be willing to accept being told I’m not in communion with places like Nigeria if it meant I could continue to be in a position of justice and morality. If the price I pay is that I’m not considered to be part of a flawed communion, then so be it.” – as quoted on CT’s most recent weblog

maybe i’m deaf or just another son of the south, but when i read this quote i was startled by something that sounds a lot like racism. what do you hear?

on another, entirely different note, this weekend CT posted an insightful article by gary haugen, the founder of the international justice mission, that ponders whether we can honor william wilberforce while ignoring the rampant slavery that continues to scar our societies.

oh, and one more thing, i for one am glad that christian music writers are finally writing HONEST reviews, like andree farias’ review of the gifted: season 1 cd. in the olden days, reading worthless dreck in magazines like 7Ball, CCM and Relevant (if you’re into the latter rag do me a favor, read an issue or two of paste magazine and ask yourself why relevant continues to exist) often made me want to punch someone in the face. good criticism begets better art. that’s all i have to say about that.

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2007 at 5:19 pm

mid-day time waster: create-a-caption edition*

waste the day away by creating a caption for miss aubuchon’s inappropriate picture. the author of the most creative caption will receive one poo dollar.

* please note. although this picture was snapped at art and cade’s old place, neither art nor cade were involved in either the production of this picture or the activities which the picture depicts.

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2007 at 12:39 pm


while sitting in a team meeting with a mass rehab counselor last week i realized that he had an image of a violet, multi-petaled flower tatooed on his right wrist. as the meeting drew to a close my client asked the counselor what the image represented and he said it was the seventh chakra. this image, he asserted, reminds me to shut my mouth and listen to others with my whole mind and whole heart.

now i don’t know much about the chakras and i’m a little less likely to get a violet tatoo than i am to commission a permanent commemoration of the 2006 world series, but i was inspired by the intention behind the counselor’s tat. i realize that truly attending to and receiving God and the other is an essential path towards uncovering the unspeakable beauty, truth and goodness in this world. of course, at the same time, i realize that i was once the recipient of a “foot in the mouth” award and i will probably always find it easier to assert my opinions that to receive others.

don’t get me wrong, i have no interest in simply turning future conversations into reflective listening exercises and i am interested in much more than rogerian talk therapy. rather, in my heart, i want to be a man who intentionally enters into silence so that he can learn to fully attend and extend hospitality to God and others. i suspect that in doing so i will begin to see the former in the latter and vice versa.

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2007 at 3:33 am

overheard: the emergence of chuck smith jr.

over the past couple of months i’ve read several articles, including this one in christianity today about extreme internal controversies and questionable leadership practices within chuck smith sr.’s calvary chapel movement.

anyway, this evening, while reading the article i referenced above i found out that chuck smith jr. had recently been disassociated from the calvary chapel fellowship and i set out to find why.

after reading about chuck jr.’s story in an excellent la times article with a shitty title – father, son and holy rift – i started to suspect that chuck smith jr.’s movement away from his father’s theological fundamentalism and towards a place of ministry that is, in his own words, characterized by learning more than certainty, is quite similar to many of our stories. moreover, i was not only intrigued by jr’s story but found myself hoping that those of us who participate in the emergent conversation can express as much charity towards our theological and ecclesiological backgrounds as chuck jr. is showing to his.

i hope all of you take the time to read the la times article as i’m fairly sure you’ll find it interesting and instructive. moreover, i think it would make tons of sense for pastor phil and the gang at the gathering to invite jr. out to speak at one of their events, for the latter chap really seems to live that allusive balance between the neo-mystical, charismatic tradition and emergent theological conversation that pastor phil and his gang appear to be longing for.

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2007 at 5:21 am

overheard: an old friend helps find housing for the homeless and mentally ill

“Andrew DeFranza has been trying to find homes for people in Milwaukee with mental illness for a couple of years now. He knows the way it works around here. He’s learned the refrain.

Yes, some of those places are real hellholes. Rats. Broken toilets. Sometimes, there’s no water or heat. But where else are you going to put a guy with schizophrenia and a criminal history who gets $600 a month in Social Security? Good luck finding a landlord with a decent building who will take in someone like that.

DeFranza, the executive director of Milwaukee’s Guest House, is not buying it.

“I’m not Midwestern nice,” said DeFranza, 33, a New Jersey native who looks more than a little bit like a young Robert DeNiro.”

Read More…

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2007 at 12:00 am

gentry and his girls

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2007 at 5:33 pm


a number of summers ago when i was serving with l’arche daybreak, my house manager told me that the positive attitudes of the overwhelming majority of our core members* was one of the primary reasons she loved l’arche. “people often think that the disabled are happy because they don’t know any better,” she said “but i find that perspective incredibly insulting.” “you’ll find,” she continued, “that our core members are intimately acquainted with their challenges and limitations, but they choose happiness and contentment anyway.”

obviously, not every person with challenges is either happy or content. in fact, while waiting for the bus in a little smoke-filled shelter this morning i endured a blind man’s bitching, cursing and complaining for the better part of an hour. however, most of my clients forgo cynicism for optimism and, for that reason, not a few of them are living testaments of hope.

uncle henri always reminded us that “the poor are our teachers.” right now, my teachers are challenging me to exchange my cynicism for hope and my sarcasm for words of life. here’s to hoping that i’m an attentive student.

* in l’arche lingo, core members are people with intellectual and physical disabilities who stand at the center and bind the community together.

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2007 at 1:25 pm

mid-morning time waster: snow day edition

new england’s banal banter about six inches of snow is as:

a) beauticians are to britney spears
b) hillary is to homosexual jokes
c) tulsa is to tornados
d) rush limbaugh is to unprescribed pain-killers
e) blah, blah is to gay sex
f) blah, blah is to congress

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2007 at 11:08 am

happy haiku friday*

dingy captain cap

disturbing blue box of pee

work becomes my dream

* returns to honor one tyler h.

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