Archive for November, 2011

152 million

November 25, 2011 4 comments

WATCH THIS FIRST (even if you’ve already seen it)… It helps set the mood:  CLICK  HERE!

I will not be 1 of the estimated 152 million people who will compete in the annual Black Friday insanity.  I slept all night, I’m sitting on my couch drinking coffee this morning, and I will eat leftovers in my own home today, see some football, maybe take a ride on the Indian if my team is getting severely whacked, and basically just try to keep it simple.  People have been sleeping in tents for days waiting for the stores to open at the magic hour.  I’ve heard the arguments; all about family camaraderie, special bonding, the great deals, blah blah blah, but this ole country boy thinks that we’ve lost our frikk’n minds about all this.

The proximate cause of all the frenzy is Christ-mas.  Yeah, yeah, I know all about the bargains, but somewhere way back there, the initiate of all this craziness is the thought of HIM giving a gift.  The startling idea that God did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.  No amount of our striving makes any difference.  HE did the work.  HE paid the cost.  HE balanced the accounts.  HE absolved the guilt and stain.  HE gave the gift.  Our part was to know that HE first loved us.  Simple stuff:  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased”  Luke 2:14.

Nicholas Hindes shot that video a couple years back of a kid in Kenya getting his first pair of shoes.  The whole moment still wrecks me every time I see it.  I wished we could somehow get the download of this moment into the spirit of our Christ-mas rhythm.  I think we’re guilty of blowing up the small stuff and shrinking the bigger picture.

Will we make it any different this year?


Categories: Uncategorized

rethinking tribality

November 16, 2011 8 comments

Yes, it’s dangerous, but I’ve been thinking… you know, as Rooney used to do.  I’ll let you draw most of the conclusions here.  Yeah, I know.  I’m no Rooney.  : )

Is it possible to pour one’s self into Kingdom living, supported by intimate relationships and purposeful discipleship, consistently over time, and not build or create a tribe?

Even though little remains forever (seasons come and go like lightening or molasses), it is possible to journey with a people who have also heard the same whisper;  sojourners, who get you, because they’ve been with you, followed or lead, believed with you, and then you slowly realize they are you and you are them.  Tribe starts with smelling or recognizing the code, the genetics of a spiritual existence that pulls you in.

It is possible to wear the brand of tribe but not posses the code of the tribe.  Time distinguishes and validates core values that align and manifest the core code’s existence.  In other words, you can’t cry out “mercy” and then be merciless at the same time.  You can’t preach “honor” and then not honor.  You can’t promote “team” and operate solely individualistic.  It causes too much confusion.  Secure and vested tribesmen call “bullshit” every time.

Extenuating circumstance can also stimulate the infusion of the code rapidly.  The early church thrived under pressure.  The real church in China thrives under pressure.  It thins, expands and bonds all at the same time.

Dimly, I see that there is an IHOP tribe… a Bethel tribe… a Morningstar tribe… denominational tribes… institutional tribes… cause tribes… thousands-and-thousands of tribes.  Most feel “called” to their tribe.  I like the word “called”.  Sometimes, “who” we are called to (usually strong leaders with strong code), helps determine what costs we are willing to pay, until we find what we are called to.  Considering the fact that intimate relationship and aggressive discipleship go hand in hand, the “who” can’t be overlooked.  We have to know and trust (not easy to come by at arm’s length theory or by sitting in a pew) the one downloading the code.  It’s not suppose to be a forceful indoctrination.  It can be that way, but was not Jesus’ style.  It requires a suck at the breast of love.  The code is in the milk.

The healthiest tribes have the elements of covenant without controlling paranoia.  Covenant has privilege and limitations.  I have privilege with my wife that no one else has but me.  The limitations help me protect my responsibility to honor the privilege.  It doesn’t work if she owes me because of our agreement.  It works because she freely chooses to love me back.  Covenant in marriage is for life and exclusively unique.  Trying to make all these elements fit among spiritual tribesmen might be stretching it too far.  Ultimately, the Body of Christ has to remain free enough to easily choose direction changes without fearing the loss of relationship and or alienation.  Honestly, spiritual tribes suck at this!  Tribes who close themselves and demand the return of unquestioned allegiance become inbred.  That’s not a healthy environment for the code or the tribe.

So, back to the point of the original question:  I think not.

I’ll be back… I’m not done processing.


Categories: Uncategorized

true seers

November 11, 2011 2 comments

Like a warm quilted blanket, pull this over yourself. Let it lay still. See if its warmth reaches your heart. -MDP-

Spirituality is about waking up. Eastern religions know this. Spirituality has come upon hard times in the West, where (Bible toting, mean-spirited, right vs wrong, good vs evil, “must be right” thinking) legalism so often took over that we didn’t need spirituality. We lost the spiritual disciplines and tools to know how to remain awake. We lost the disciplines that show us what’s happening, what human relationships mean, the effects of what we do to one another in our relationships.

The Church must continually be taught by the poor. Those who are oppressed and kicked around, who are not beneficiaries of the system, always hold for us the greatest breakthrough-truth and the greatest wisdom. In mythology they are imaged as blind beggars who in fact are true seers.

The same is true inside ourselves. That part of our self that we most hate, that we are most afraid of and most reject, is the poor, oppressed woman or man within. That hated person within holds our greatest gift. We must hold out a preferential option for our own poverty. Our poverty has the key; it offers the breakthrough moment for us to wake up. It’s the hole in the soul, that place where we are radically broken, where we are powerless and therefore open.

Richard Rohr from Breathing Under Water

Categories: Uncategorized

over it

November 3, 2011 11 comments

I’m kinda over the whole, drop down on one knee in the end-zone after a touchdown, pointing to heaven after your homer thing.  It feels… religiously shallow to me… like you have to acknowledge that you were just infused with Jesus-like kryptonite and you have to keep paying homage to the sports gods who help you.  Maybe it would go down easier if a QB pointed to heaven after the interception he just threw or when a reliever blows a chance to end the World Series with one more strike out, but to my knowledge, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that display.  So is He the God of the good, the winner, the achiever only?  Too often I hear or read of how good He is because someone got what they wanted or what they needed..  We get some kind of “special” treatment and it had to be God at the source of it.  Is He any less God when I suck at something, or wreck something, or fail miserably?  Although, Jesus had issues with public displays of religiousness without the proper heart condition, a person’s heart condition is not my point.  I’m urging for overall consistency, that we rant of His goodness, especially when we are going through hell on earth; when we’re lost or while we are hurting, as we pick ourselves up from devastating loss and the ash heap of life’s fire.  I know this won’t sit well with most good Christian church folk because this is contrary to what we’ve been taught… God like winners.  Right?  But nonetheless, my personal experience has taught me that He is more real in my loss than in my gain and I have some serious experience with that topic.

Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.”

Job said, “I will…”, a choice, to point up when it all appears to be down.


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