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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

God’s Creativity

I never ceased to be amazed at the creatitivity, simplicity and elegance with which God designs the universe and the world we live in.

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Daniel Tidwell throwing down a fantastic metaphor for what it feels like to be emerging.

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I don’t really know who Clarence Larkin is but I think my parents use to have one of his color drawings in the garage back in the 70’s. He used to be an architect and then became a preacher. Really cool pseudo-retro artwork.

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How It Should Have Ended – Some cool stuff here on how your favorite movie should have ended.

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My good friend Jeromy on how God is NOT balanced. This resonates on some ideas I’ve been floating around on what is true justice.

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A video you really want to watch about debt.

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My friend Rick Dugan offers a compelling idea on how to build churches.

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When I was in junior high there were about six or seven categories of music. There was rock, pop, country, soul, jazz and orchestra. I’m sure I’m missing a few but the point is that the large portion of music was in neat little categories. And then in the 80’s rap and punk began to emerge. And then Run DMC covered Walk this Way by Aerosmith. I remember the first time I heard this song. I was completely blown away by the idea of covering a song in this way. Someone had the audacity to cross over. It felt strange and weird, and wrong in so many ways but right in so many new ways. People were asking, “Can you do that?” And with that…the cross over was born.

In the 90’s musicians began to experiment with cross over in a huge way. There was country-pop, rap-rock, jazz fusion, house, trip-hop, grunge. The lines between categories began to seriously blur and new music was born. You name the category and someone had mashed it up with some other type of music. I remember the first time I heard Linkin Park, which wasn’t new but musically was so fresh. I loved it. NuMetal didn’t exist even a decade ago. And this blending of music produced some incredibly creative expressions of music. Not all of it was good, but a lot of it was.

Well then I read the Tall Skinny Kiwi post, and he says,

“i am in london. staying the night on jonny baker’s couch. again. the ‘small missional communities’ conference went well in northampton and it was great to see the various streams (cell church, base ecclesial communities, savlos, emerging church, anglican cell, post-YWAM, etc) come together. came home with jonny, which is why i am here.”

His description of the various group, all of which are emerging expression, caught my attention. Post-YWAM? Then I started thinking about presbymergent, submergent, anglimergent, Luthermergent, Reformergent and so on. And I realize that we’re experiencing the mash up of Christianity. We’re experimenting with new expressions that can feel strange at the same time bringing something new that we’ve never seen before. And for some this must feel so strange. What are they doing? Can they do that?

I like it.

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This morning we were greeted with an urban taste of rap for worship. Ohmega Watts shared his hip-hop gospel songs for us. Personally I loved it. I grew up on KSOL and Marvin Gaye. Buy this guys music. It’s good. A few of us stood in the back dancing and enjoying the sounds. But I’m sure there were a few who weren’t quite used to rap as an expression for worship. On top of that, Ohmega has two friends break dancing behind him. It was pure Tom, swinging for the fences. If you can, check out Ohmega’s music on iTunes. His lyrics were exceptional.

Ohmega gave way to Efrem Smith, co-author of The Hip Hop Church. To be honest, Efrem was speaking my language. He spoke for at least an hour on what it means to be loved first so we can love. And much of what we do is look for our identity in everything but God. And what we get is a reflection of the broken self. I really loved his breakdown of agape and God’s expressive love flowing through us.

He presented a rousing call to tear down the traditional oppressive structures that is “white” church. I’m sure he pushed a few buttons but his call to essentially “get real” is needed if we’re going to find God’s purest reflection in humanity, one based on many races and colors.

I appreciated his message so much I attend his break out session immediately following. It was a more detailed breakdown on the history of what we know as church in American culture, which has stripped away any culture references such as German, Irish, or Swedish. For a lot of people who come from predominantly white communities, this was a wake up call. The questions that followed revealed the tension around this issue. Some were really struggling with it.

The hard part of this issue is sitting with the tension and listening to the black community share what it feels and not feel like I’m the oppressor. I’m a white guy. But Efrem was very clear to say that he wasn’t bashing people. He was interested in moving past the white or black church to a multicultural church. He also shared a frustration that much of the publishing industry won’t give voice to the black community. I hope this changes in the future.

I sat in the balcony during the morning service and as I was walking out, I ran into Mark Scandrette. What a great guy. We shared lunch together and talked about what it means to love in community and really practice following Jesus. We shared stories about ministry and what it means to really practice love. He’s contemplating writing a new book called The Jesus Dojo. Right there I knew I had to go to his session.

I ended up meeting a new guy named Dan. I wish I had gotten your last name. If you visit, drop me a line. We talked for at least twenty minutes about what it means to start a church from a discipleship perspective. I could have talked for hours with this guy. He just came out from New Orleans and was looking to plant a church. We talked about what it would mean to flip the church and have the Sunday service support the discipleship communities. Much love Dan in your mission in Seattle.

We both walked to Mark’s session and he shared what it means to live in a new monastic community. Much of what he spoke of is on his site, especially his seven vows. The crowd really responded to his message. He’s a creative visionary and I hope that he writes his book soon. If anyone knows of an agent willing to talk with him, he’s beginning to look. Mark shared one thing that caught my attention in a deeper way. He said, if where you are living is not resonating, maybe it’s time to move to a location that will.

Mark Van Steenwyk, Roy Soto, and Eileen Hanson shared their thoughts on mission in different communities. I missed part of this because I was late. Sorry Mark.

The last session was Mark Scandrette’s wife Lisa, Mike Morris, and Andrew McLeod. They each shared some really interesting perspectives on co-ops, family life in communal living, and Mike shared his wit as a Friar. Again, but I understand why, was too short.

Tom and Christine had us finished with an exercise that surprised me. We each had to imagine a way we could bring renewal into our lives. I closed my eyes and could instantly see Jesus walking up to me and he sat down next to me. I fully expected him to tell me what he wanted me to do. But then he just sat there…for two minutes. And then Tom said, “Okay times up.” I opened my eyes and wondered what that was about and then I realized what Jesus was trying to tell me. It was time to just sit with him. Andrew McLeod sat next to me and he had virtually the same thing. Stop and sit with Jesus…just be.

Well, that’s about it. If you missed it there’s always next year. The plans are already in the works. Much love to Tom, Christine, Eliacin, Kathy, Mark S., Mark V., Tomas, Cole, Dan, Lisa, Dwight, Shane, and so many more wonderful people I got to meet. It was really the people who were the face of God to me all weekend. May God bless you.

I uploaded some more pictures from the sessions here.

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Ohmega Watts talking with Christine Sine.

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Efrem Smith sharing how important it is to let God love us first so we can love.

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Mark V., Eileen Hanson, and Roy Soto

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Larry Norman – 1947 to 2008

Larry Norman died yesterday. (ht: TSK)  If you listen to any kind of CCM, know that this man was deeply influential in helping get it off the ground.  He broke down a lot of the significant barriers between gospel and rock.  He was widely considered one of the godfathers of Jesus Music (along with Keith Green and Randy Stonehill).

One of the most haunting songs he ever wrote was “Wish We’d All Been Ready”.  DC Talk covered it and for a long time it was one of my favorite songs.

Much love to you Larry.  You’re sitting with kings today enjoying His love.

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Page 123 Meme

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Aaron tagged me on the 123 Meme. It’s relatively simple.

  • Find page 123
  • Find the first five sentences
  • Post the next three sentences

A friend of mine just returned a copy of Iron John by Robert Bly so this should make for an intriguing post.

“What is left? We can’t stop the story here, because the feminine has not yet appeared. His mother, as the maternal form of the feminine, he has of course experienced, but that is all. And now he is about the meet the feminine in a nonmaternal form, in its powerful, blossoming, savvy, wild, instigating, erotic, playful form.”

Wow, that’s a great picture of a woman.

I tag you, if you want to play along.

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In our every day lives how often do we stop and smell the roses? This is the question a researcher asked recently. He took “one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made” and put him in a Washington Metro station to see who would listen. The hypothesis was that people would stop and notice, taking in the beauty and respond by giving handsomely to the artist for his art.

No one noticed.

Only a handful of people stopped, with one exception: the children. “Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. and every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

Maybe children get it better than we do because we’re so intent on getting somewhere. Maybe children realize that to do so is to miss all the beauty along the way. Or maybe they haven’t bought into the confused mass appeal of the games we play that have devastating consequence.

Why did we lose so much of our focus on beauty? Why don’t we stop and take in the beauty of the music that is there but often drowned out by the noise in our lives? My only hope is that I would be one of those who stopped.

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