Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2009 at 4:13 pm

an open invite to friends near and far

Hey All,

Just a reminder that the cohort is meeting this Tuesday night at Danny’s Diner (300 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA) from 7-9 pm.

When I was a student at Soybean Bible College my favorite professor and spiritual director always taught me to “study and experience abroad, but always find a way back home.” In light of this advice, I have always been open to diverse theological conversations and new forms of Christian mission, but I have also tried to stay consciously rooted in the Christian Church, Church of Christ tradition of my youth.

This month I would like for us to discuss the beliefs and practices of our faith tradition that we value and aim to sustain. The Emergent conversation is often concerned with letting go of the past so that we can lean into God’s future. While those discussions are necessary and valuable I think it is also important for us to discuss the beliefs and practices that have shaped us in the past and shape us still. At this meeting we’ll also review the Peter Rollins event and talk about the upcoming events sponsored by the Crossing Community.

I hope to see you there!


ht: dr. james


In Uncategorized on January 29, 2009 at 12:13 pm

the cardinals’ winter warmer

ht: aubucade

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm


as much fun as it is to ridicule governor blagojevich, his allegedly unethical activity raises a troubling question or two in my mind.

what if blagojevich’s current position mirrors jose canseco’s in 2005 when juiced was first published and he was a universal object of ridicule and scorn? are we going to find out in the coming months that blagojevich is more the norm than the exception? perhaps pundits are right in suggesting that he is only guilty of “doing politics on tape.”

as we continue to track through the nuclear winter of recession and there is far less capital to grease the wheels of the government machine are we going to see an increasing number of politicians revealing the corrupt schemes of their “friends” in order to ensure that there is enough slop in the trough? in massachusetts we’ve already seen the speaker of the house bounced due to alleged ethics violations, a state senator fell in december after taking bribes on tape from the fbi and a city counselor from roxbury is about to fall. once you start indicting mass politicians where are you going to stop?

enough politics for now.

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2009 at 2:14 pm


for the past four weeks we have been listening to abram’s story at the gathering. last night, as we rambled down highway 51, i couldn’t help but but admire abram’s responsiveness. although abram had significant faults and flaws, when God spoke abram responded and when God visited abram was quick to welcome.

as much as i hate to admit it, i am not seared by the experience of God as Abram was and i rarely receive the revelation of God as a call to action.

over the past several years, i’ve devoured books like spirit and flesh, salvation on sand mountain, the family and even body piercing saved my life that enable me to reflect upon my own faith tradition from a critical distance.

if i’m going to continue on this road of pastoral ministry i need to find my way – or be led – back to the place where the revelation of God can cut me open, reorder my understanding, recreate my heart and so ready me to walk together with God’s community towards the good, the beautiful and the true.

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2009 at 1:25 pm

happy haiku friday

loving and killing
legacy double-dealing
i have the cancer

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2009 at 6:16 pm

happy haiku friday

with velocity
of thermal viscosity
open mouth, insert foot

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2009 at 12:17 am


reason 2,342,656 i love living in massachusetts: incredible, non-commercial radio. almost every day i listen to wbur, boston’s npr news station that produces such fan favorites as car talk and tom ashbrook’s on point, wers an eclectic, indie-music giant out of emerson college, wumb an influential folk music station, that regularly features john hiatt, out of umass boston and wgbh, a classical music/npr news format station that is a perfect refuge from wbur during fundraisers. now, if we can only get a non-commercial sports talk station that is hosted by michael lewis, thomas boswell, chris collinsworth, bill simmons, chuck klosterman, ken rosenthal, rob neyer, bill james and joe morgan we’ll be all set!

i read phyllis tickle’s the great emergence a little over a month ago and i enjoyed it. i wish i would have reviewed it immediately after reading so that her assertions were fresh on my mind. tickle’s central premise is that every 500 years or so – think pope gregory the great, the great schism, the great reformation and brian mclaren – the church undergoes a major seismic shift. she goes to great lengths to show that the last shift was inspired not only by luther’s theological complaints but by the printing press, the rise of the nation state and the renaissance/enlightenment/late middle ages. tickle believes that we are currently undergoing a major shift she calls the great emergence on account of the rise of globalization, the internet revolution and the forthcoming decriminalization of marijuana.

anyway, in regards to western christianity tickle asserts that the playing field has long looked like a quadrant that included the roman catholics, the social justice christians, the fundamentalists/evangelicals and the pentecostal/charismatics. as christians have been more and more exposed to the valuable elements of other quadrants and have even incorporated practices that were characteristic of other quadrants into their worship and mission, tickle suggests that there has been a “gathering center” of believers who are leaving their old denominational designations and exclusivistic theological systems behind in order to plumb the diverse depths of the traditions and join with others on the redemptive, kingdom mission of Christ.

where am i going with? right. tickle notes that in each quadrant there are 10-15% of believers who will refuse to move towards the center and will become quadrant fundamentalists of sorts. she also notes that there currently are and will continue to be “hyphenated” groups such as prebymergent that hold on firm to their quadrant with one hand and reach as far towards the gathering center as they can with the other hand.

as for me, i would love to be numbered among the hyphenateds by maintaining my roots in the stone-campbell movement while continuing to be an active participant in the great emergence. since i am already a part of the latter, i’ve been thinking about the elements of my tradition that will help me keep a firm hold on the former. thus, my great question is: what elements of the stone-campbell tradition are worth holding onto?

so far, i’ve decided that the weekly practice of the eucharist, believers baptism, a dedication to world mission, an openness to utilizing contemporary mediums in order to communicate the message and shared leadership are stone-campbellish elements that i would like to hold onto. if you are a part of “the movement” or have simply had a movement and would like to comment on either tickle’s book or the idea of living a hyphenated christian life, feel free.

one more thing: kellie mentioned yesterday that she does not think it is the government’s responsibility to provide vouchers, and thus PAY, for americans with rabbit eared sets to make the jump to digital broadcasting. i can’t agree with her more. since when did the ability to watch stupid schlock like american idol become an inalienable right!? now they want to delay the conversion because people haven’t listened to two years of endless commercials about the shift or don’t care enough about the transition to pony up the $200. come on!!!

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2009 at 2:30 am

True Love (Can’t) Wait
by: slowfo

Ah….the South…nothin’ but country charm, bluegrass, and lots and lots and lots of unprotected, teenage sex. My Yahoo front page today told me that a new report is out and Mississippi is finally #1 for something other than being the fattest state in the union: highest number of teenage babies being born (and please, stop having mental images of what all the fat Mississippi teens are doing with their free time…it’s gross). Cheer up though Mississippi…one of the fifty states had to take the prize. And if it wasn’t going to be Mississippi, it would be Texas, New Mexico, or Arkansas (Arkansas wasn’t mentioned in the article, but come on….it’s Arkansas). Although frankly, I was inwardly hoping that Alaska would have been #1 because the comedians and late-night hosts would have been both relentless and hilarious with it.

What I find most interesting about the report is that the states with the highest teenage birth percentages all come from a very familiar band of states also known as “The Bible Belt.” So what is going on here besides the obvious? Is it that this strip of states is more ignorant than the rest and doesn’t think ahead about either a) using some sort of protection, b) abstinence, or c) the repercussions that having unprotected sex might actually lead to dragging a newborn baby onto the school bus next fall?

I throw out a few more questions for discussion:
1. As some Christians advocate, should the Church just accept that kids are going to have sex and help them use protection to avoid disease and unwanted pregnancies?

2. If Christianity really is more prevalent in the South, then why haven’t these same people (who are more theologically conservative and apt to preach abstinence to teens) been able to make more of a difference?

3. Is this more about how Christianity is played out among different races? If you go directly to the report, it shows that Non-Hispanic Whites have a teenage birth rate that is more than 50% less than Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians. Why the difference if the same or similar theology is preached in all churches?

Whatever your conclusion, it looks as though there’s a whole lot more going on in the South than just Whistlin’ Dixie….then again, maybe Dixie’s skillful whistlin’ was part of the problem to begin with.

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2009 at 4:26 am


i just finished watching david simon and ed burns’ television adaptation of evan wright’s generation kill. while watching this stark and remarkable series i couldn’t help but think about the lack of publicity generated by generation kill as well as the low box office takes for iraq-related movies over the past couple of years

i suppose that the apparent lack of interest in iraq related fare might be related to questions concerning the quality of films or the poor publicity these films have been afforded.

however, i suspect that this media has largely been ignored because the public would rather consume, and corporations would rather promote, a few more stories about our country’s past “glories” than spend a few hours reflecting on our current quagmire.

if you’re interested in a thought-provoking reflection on the iraq war and you live local i’ll be happy to lend generation kill to you.

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2009 at 12:57 am


on last year’s long road home kellie and i tried to listen to joan didion’s the year of magical thinking. i tried to listen to it anyway, i think kellie slept.

since the introductory chapters of the book are nothing short of morose the book didn’t make for great road reading and somewhere between amarillo and mclean i turned it off.

however, before i clicked it didion remarked how her husband, who was also an author, often said something like “note taking is what distinguishes a writer, from a non-writer.”

while i’m not a writer – though i’d be lying if i denied that in my more grandiose dreams i fancy myself one – i’m going to do my damndest to take better notes this year. even if it doesn’t help my writing Lord knows it won’t hurt my preaching.

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