September 26, 2006

Tim Keel quoted...

We are in a crisis of imagination. We run to Barna for information, but there are people, visionaries who are seeing this stuff 5 years before Barna’s writing about it.
“The problem is we have people so well discipled in technique duplication.
We go out and find the experience, then reduce it to a model, then supplant the model into techniques, then market it. What has happened is that pastors have begun to lose their ability to live specifically in a place, know themselves, know their church, know their neighborhood, and to be able to discern God’s spirit already ahead of them at work and then to respond to what’s going on. And so it’s not as if leaders have got to be able to have all these capacities in themselves. What they have to do is to have the ability to have the freedom and grace to create an environment where those things can exist, and it’s not easy. Because you want to control it, and you can’t do that. Control kills creativity.”

For any church leader the kind of leadership described above is not easy and pretty scary. First, it is obvious that Tim is reacting against the leadership of buying ministry in a box. One word that Keel uses for leadership, especially for himself is intuitive.

hy intuitive? Something largely important that I see in the emerging church is the stress on the Holy Spirit. I don't necessarily mean speaking in tongues or healing. What I mean is that as a community and leader of Christ we must be able to look out into out communities and see where God is already working.

One problem we face in churches is ministry. Ministry has become an idol for many. Why do we have youth ministry, evangelism, hospital, visitation, etc ministry? For many, we do these things out of "just because." Just because we have always had it, or some church in California does this ministry, "so should we."

Where does ministry come from? Certainly not from the outside. Rather ministry occurs fluidly out of community. When a healthy family has a crisis, do they have to form committees to solve the problem? No, but the problem is still ministered to. From Community flows ministry.

Therefore, we must gather as a community of Christ followers and look into our communities to find where God is already at work in HIS creation. Instead of forcing a ministry onto people, the minstry flows out of the creative imagination of the community.

A shift in reality?

I often take the postmodern shift for granted. I forget that it's an actual shift in reality. I want to cloth the paradigm of modernism with the language of postmodernism and called it real. The problem is, I admit, I'm not creative enough. To live in a new reality requires language to describe reality.

A few weeks ago, I had the oppurtunity to interview Tim Keel. I hope to get some more ideas that came out of our conversation. I wanted to wait after I had chewed on some of these ideas. I really appreciate Jacob's Well and Tim Keel in taking that initiative in our culture to be the reality of Jesus followers in this shift.

I'll admit it, Tim Keel is my Emergent Hero for the time being. What a cool cat! I really enjoyed the time I was allowed with him. Here's some things that have come out of this conversation. DISCLAIMER: Whatever I write, does not reflect Keel or Jacob's Well, since I had to interpret what we talked about, and am writing from my perspective with my thoughts.

Here's some language of the new reality that was used: missional imagination, ministry and evangelism are byproducts, intuitive environmentalist (leaders), ministry is one of the greatest idols, and metric measurement by Christ aroma and God story.

September 22, 2006

Satisfied in God?

With a title like that you knew what was coming (maybe)...John Piper.
Here's a good list, I think, on how to direct people or congregants into worship and satisfaction in God. Thanks Resurgance.

1. Love God will all your heart and soul and mind and strength in the presence of other people. It is contagious.

2. Love other people from the power of God's grace. That is, show them the beauty of Christ through his love for them in the way you love them.

3. Tell stories about those who were ravished by the beauty and glory of God. It seems that true narratives of peoples' experience with the worth of God are very awakening.

4. Describe God's value—his treasure—in lavish terms.

5. Teach the people how to pray for the transformation of their own hearts, that is, teach them how to pray with the psalmists, "Incline my heart to Thy testimonies and not to getting gain."

6. Model for the people extended meditation and reflection on the word of God. Most people do not know how to take a word or phrase or sentence of scripture, commit it to memory and roll it over again and again in their mind and look at it from different sides and ask many questions about it and apply it to different aspects of their life and think of analogies of it in their mind. But it's precisely in this cogitating that the juices in the fruit begin to flow down and awaken the taste buds of the soul.

7. Show the people how to find specific, particular promises in the Bible to savor. When Paul says in Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing . . .", he is pointing out that joy and peace rise up as we trust in God's precious and very great promises. So people need to do more specific searching for promises and then hold them in their minds and dwell on them as they go through the day.

8. Pray for your people that their hearts would be softened and made tender and more susceptible to the beauty of Christ.

9. Help your people to turn off the television. Few things in our culture are more spiritually numbing than the television. Even the so-called "good" shows are by and large banal and low-minded and anything but cultivating of a rich, deep capacity to enjoy God. And when you add to that the barrage of suggestive advertisements that accompany virtually every program, I do not wonder why so many of our professing Christians are spiritually incapable of experiencing high thoughts and deep emotions.

10. Point the people to God-centered biography. The struggles and the triumphs of Christians who have known the glory and greatness of God are very engaging and awakening.

11. Show the people how to transpose their joys in natural things into joy in God. Here's what I mean. Even the most joyless person seems to have one or two things in their lives that make them happy. It might be their family. It might be the night sky in the north woods. It might be fishing. Help them to make a transposition, that is, to take the line of music called "joy" in their soul and transpose it up from the natural to the supernatural by an act of faith in God as the one who created the family or the night sky or the fishing. Help them see that all the things that are truly delightful in this world, which awaken pleasures in their hearts, are gifts of God and are reflections of his character and his goodness. If they are capable of delighting in natural things, then by the grace of the Holy Spirit they may be capable of transposing those very joys into a higher key and thus discovering joy in God.

12. Call the people for confession and renunciation of plaguing sins that make them feel inauthentic and block true affection for God.

13. Teach them about the necessity and value of suffering in the Christian life and how it is not worth comparing to the glory to be revealed.

Love Is Not Against the Law

What a way to end the album. It seems that Webb is redefining love in a revolutionary way here. Love is not against the law. Should Christians worry about legislating morality, or should we just love like this:

(Vs. 1)
politics or love
can make you blind or make you see
make you a slave or make you free
but only one does it all

and it’s giving up your life
for the ones you hate the most
it’s giving them your gown
when they’ve taken your clothes

it’s learning to admit
when you’ve had a hand in setting them up
in knocking them down

love is not against the law
love is not against the law

(vs. 2)
are we defending life
when we just pick and choose
lives acceptable to lose
and which ones to defend

‘cause you cannot choose your friends
but you choose your enemies
and what if they were one
one and the same

could you find a way
to love them both the same
to give them your name

That is all.

Please, Before I Go

I think there are two songs specifically on this album, I Hate Everything (But You) and this one, that are love songs written for Derek Webb's wife.

like an addict to his fix
so am i to your sweet lips
the wife of my youth, my drug of choice
This is something I think our culture and world needs to know, that there is a drug worth seeking. Love can be so sweet and like nothing else, but instead we seek so many other fixes when all we really need is that other person across the room doing the dishes, sleeping next to us, or just plain putting up with us.

listen or get the album for nothing

September 19, 2006

In God We Trust

What usually comes to mind when you here this phrase, "In God we trust?" Money, or maybe the "christian right or duty" to have the slogan on it's median of exchange. A national icon of who we are and what we are supposed to protect as "American Christians" (the emphasis being on American, not Jesus).

Although, he is using a slogan of national identity here, Derek Webb is trying to get our faith to reach beyond that in a God who we can trust beyond ourselves.

in God we trust
even through our great presumption
in God we trust
even though He favors no nation-state
in God we trust
even when the blessing is a curse

There is so much truth in this song that we as a church need to take to heart. Christians, in America especially, need to grapple with this idea that our country is not some theocratic state or something that we need to make our own. Our trust should go beyond legislating a nation around our agenda, but into a relationship of covenant and trust that goes far beyond and breaks political boundaries.

Well, it looks like I missed step, and Lucas and I are back on track together. You can read his ideas and listen to from his blog,

September 16, 2006

Zeros and Ones

This song could very well be the reason and logic behind why Derek Webb is giving this album away, though I think he deserves to be paid for his prophetic voice. Either way you get it, the point is, get it!

i’m in love
oh i love what i can convince you of
‘cause i’m a prophet by trade
and a salesman by blood
now i’m dying just to be
a filtered, sub-cultural version of me

September 14, 2006

My Enemies are Men Like Me

I'm excited. First, I'm excited that I finally got a post up before Lucas...he's quick. Second, this must be one of my favorite songs off this album and overall right now. In a day of war and Christians backing it with theological agendas we need Jesus. We need to listen and understanf what is means to prepare a table before our enemies, to love our enemies.

Not only are his lyrics strong in this song, there is a short audio clip from one of the greatest Jesus followers in the last 50 years...MLK Jr.

I try to think in practical terms, "what does it look like to follow Jesus by loving our enemies?" Well, certainly, we do not teach purity by way of fornication, so what do we teach about our faith when we back violence and war?

i have come to give you life
and to show you how to live it
i have come to make things right
to heal their ears and show you how to forgive them

because i would rather die
i would rather die
i would rather die
than to take your life

how can i kill the ones i’m supposed to love
my enemies are men like me
i will protest the sword if it’s not wielded well
my enemies are men like me

peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution

when justice is bought and sold just like weapons of war
the ones who always pay are the poorest of the poor

September 13, 2006

A Consistent Ethic of Human Life

This is the only song with no words. The instrumental makes me think of birth, but then the question is, "What's next?" Political parties fight over abortion and welfare, and much more.

All of Mockingbird is about this question of what do we do with life. We must fight for life and stand against senseless abortions, but we must still care about that life after it's been born. Education, medical care, oppurtunity, family, etc must all be addressed in a consistent ethic of the kingdom.

September 12, 2006

Doctoral List

Thinking of Doctorate work after seminary? Me too. Here's a good list of where to start looking by Reno, which can also be found at Generous Orthodoxy ThinkTank from my side bar.

Rich Young Ruler

Is there a reality of following Jesus? What does that reality look like?

Mostly, I think we can say that reality looks like Jesus' greatest commands: love God, love neighbor.

Sometimes that entails a lifestyle of love. Then what is this lifesyle I'm talking about. Is it not enough to just be saved? A call to be a Christian is a call to follow our Lord, who died and resurrected. So then, let us die so that we may allow other and ourselves to be resurrected.

Here's the lyrics for today's song off Mockingbird. I felt that all of them should be posted this time, because they talk about this life of love that is easily overlooked in our American culture of rights and affluence.

(vs. 1)
poverty is so hard to see
when it’s only on your tv and twenty miles across town
where we’re all living so good
that we moved out of Jesus’ neighborhood
where he’s hungry and not feeling so good
from going through our trash
he says, more than just your cash and coin
i want your time, i want your voice
i want the things you just can’t give me

(vs. 2)
so what must we do
here in the west we want to follow you
we speak the language and we keep all the rules
even a few we made up
come on and follow me
but sell your house, sell your suv
sell your stocks, sell your security
and give it to the poor
what is this, hey what’s the deal
i don’t sleep around and i don’t steal
i want the things you just can’t give me

because what you do to the least of these
my brother’s, you have done it to me
because i want the things you just can’t give me

September 11, 2006

I Hate Everything (But You)

Derek Webb's songs, if you can't tell, are often love songs. The hard thing is figuring out whether he is singing to his wife or the church. I think on this track on Mockingbird he is singing about his wife.

In his words:

it’’s been one of those kinds of days
and i feel so out of place
and i hate everything, everything
i hate everything but you

Anyone who has been in love knows what it's like to have someone in whom no matter how badly the day has fallen apart, you still find your bearings. What its like to have a refuge in your lover.

What I like about the song is its distinctive human quality. I hate everything (although I probably shouldn't), except you, my love, my wife.
Check out Lucas take on it here.

September 9, 2006

Sacramental Update

Well, it's almost time. Yesterday I put the exhaust on and new throttle body. All that's left is the distributor, plugs, and plug wires. I ordered my headlights last night too.

Check back and it should be running soon!


Young People As Prophets that is.

Criticizing Joe Osteen

When it comes to Joel Osteen, main stream Christian evangelicals don't seem to know how to talk about him. Many despise him, but is it for any reason other than his fame and wealth. I certainly believe so, and Bob Carlton does a good job of articulating some criticism against Osteen. Here's what he concludes with in summary:

1) As presented in his books and messages, Joel Osteen isn’t an evangelical. He’s a motivational speaker.
2) No matter what his personal or occasional doctrinal statements, Osteen’s books and sermons are absent the Gospel message.
3) The vast majority of Osteen’s message is simply advice for being a better person- the antithesis of the cross and the Gospel.
4) The MSMs attention to Osteen as a successor to Billy Graham should be loudly opposed by every pastor, preacher, teacher, leader and blogger in evangelicalism.
5) The promotion of Osteen by publishing interests is an outright detriment to the cause of Christ in the name of making money.

You can read all of his thoughts at

September 8, 2006

PostSecret Breaks Me Sometimes

This is what makes me want to question homosexuality and the Bible.

Discover PostSecret if you haven't yet.

A King and A Kingdom

According to my Itunes, this is by far one of the most played songs on my list. A King and a Kingdom is definitely one of my favorite songs off this Derek Webb's Mockingbird.

Why? I truly believe this song is prophetic, it speaks directly into my life and so many other American Christians.

It's so easy to confuse faith with politic, especially as much as religious terms have been thrown around by both Democrats and Republics, especially thinking of the Bush administration.

Then I think of all the fourth of July and Memorial Day services I've been to in churches where this country was placed so high and possibly even glorified. Derek sings,

"my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it’s to a king & a kingdom

The church in America needs to capture what it means to live and be citizens in the Kingdom of God, and make that more important than any nation or politic.

If you don't own the album yet, get it free!

Also, read Lucas thoughts on this album too.

September 7, 2006

A New Law

Today's song, A New Law, can be heard here and read here, bought here or get it for free here (or posted on here).

This is the first single that I heard from Mockingbird, and it made me buy the album. This songs speaks to me in so many ways, because I came from a fundamental background. Instead of allowing people to responsibly live in the freedom of Christ, we form "do's" and "don't's" for Christians to follow. Why? It's easy and controllable.

So many people in the church do not care about how faith and Jesus intersect into the political, economical, artistic, national, and war policies of the world. Rather, comfort is found in a new law formed around other agendas that just are not kingdom principles.

EDIT: I wanted to add a little something. I typed the above in class, so I was hurried and missed some thoughts.

The end of his song brings hope into my heart, when he repeats, "do not be afraid." It's time to give up this law righteousness, this legalistic mindset, this new law; and step into grace and freedom. Yes, it will be hard and giving up control is almost always messy, but do not be afraid.

Hello Kitty TailPipes?

Lucas sent me this pic, and even though you'll never see this on Sacramental Mustang (or any of my cars), I thought this would be a great ricer upgrade for all you Hello Kitty Fans.


AKMA has a good chronology of church history for quick reference:

Fall of Jerusalem 70
†Clement of Rome 100
†Ignatius 107
Pliny-Trajan correspondence 111
Bar Kochba Revolt 135
†Polycarp 155
Montanus begins preaching New Prophecy 156
Justin's Martyrdom 165
† Irenaeus 200
Septimius Severus' Persecution 209-211
†Clement of Alex 215
†Tertullian 220
†Hippolytus 235
Decian Persecution 249-251
†Origen 253
† Cyprian 258
Diocletian's Persecution 303-312
Edict of Milan 311
Council of Arles rules against Donatists, 314
Council of Nicaea 325
† Arius 336
† Anthony 356
Apollinaris elected Bp of Laodicea 361
†Athanasius 373
†Basil 379
†Macrina 380
Council of Constantinople 381
†Gregory of Nazianzus 389
†Gregory of Nyssa 395
†Ambrose 397
†John Chrysostom 407
Fall of Rome 410
†Jerome 420
Nestorius begins preaching against the Theotokos 428
†Augustine 430
Council of Ephesus 431
†Cyril of Alexandria 444
Tome of Leo, 450-ish?
Council of Chalcedon 451
†Benedict of Nursia 543
Gregory sends Augustine to England 597

Missions in America

who would ever thought, we need missions here in "Christian" America, right? well, I do and wish I had the money to go out to California for just two days for this training event, which is in partnership with Forge out of Australia. Forge is the missional network that Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost write so much about in The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission For the 21st Century. As a matter of fact, both authors of the book will be there. Road-trip anyone?

15 Un-Missional Things

Don't do the things on this list (if you care about Christian mission). This is 15 ways to handicap potential missionaries in the local church list from here.

1. Force them to go through a “missions preparation” program which effectively weeds out the entrepreneurs.
2. Don’t consult with anyone who has ever lived with cross-cultural realities when you design your requirements for those who will be sent.
3. Choose people to oversee your mission efforts who have no experience or understanding of cross-cultural realities.
4. Make missions a “program” instead of seeking to make your church missional.
5. Decide to support missionaries 100% of their budget. It creates marvelous dependency.
6. Have standards that Mother Teresa or the Apostle Paul incarnate couldn’t meet.
7. Require seminary.
8. Make sure they have taught 5th grade Sunday School class as a pre-requisite which demonstrates loyalty to the church.
9. Imbue an ecclesiology that believes the sending church is supreme and missionary entities are appendages.
10. Ignore the concept of leverage and only support “front line” workers.
11. Adopt a trendy and unsophisticated view of missions that only supports those going to unreached people groups.
12. Placate the control freaks and don’t let potential missionaries raise money from anyone in the church.
13. Limit whom they can minister with to your own denominational or creedal group. Perish the thought that they would be contaminated by touching those who may be their neighbors in heaven.
14. Encourage “storehouse giving” so that all their money must come through the church.
15. Convince your congregation that short-term, tantalizing overseas experiences are most effective so that there is little money, prayer or commitment left for the few willing to commit their lives to longer term, incarnational, sacrificial service

The above list is directed mostly at the more modern, traditionalist church. Here is a list of ways "emerging" churches can stifle missionaries too.

September 6, 2006

Where to Start

One of my interests is church planting, and figuring out what it means to be the church in the given context. Here's a good example of a church who went through some ups and mostly downs to figure out that the question is not "how can we be missional, or relevant, or emergent, or purpose driven, but how can we be the church?"

How can we be the church?


The first track of D. Webb's Mockingbird, seems to speak into the lives of Christians and the church. I think he's talking about how we act like we are so intimate with Christ, yet we lack so much. How we can be content in our lives and secluded from the world, yet feel so close to God.

What is this same old song we are to sing? The redeemed song of a new person living in the reality of God.

Check it out yourself. Lyrics and Listen.

Purpose Driven Dissent

The purpose driven bandwagon has finally passed (for the most part I hope) and the evidence is in the writing. The Baptist Press, who would be the first to jump on board with Warren, have actually posted an article about the harmful effects that the Purpose Driven Model has had on churches.

Michael Spencer, internetmonk, posted his thoughts on the subject.

"Younger pastors reading Warren’s books, hearing success stories and dreaming of what it will be like to turn their church into a hip megachurch like Rick’s have often done some pretty rude, dumb, hurtful things along the way and that story hasn’t been told. I’ve read and heard dozens of versions of the “why we are changing” mantra, and I can understand why a large chunk of traditionalist Baptists have filed it all away in the “just enough rope to hang him” department."

"Megachurches, their super programs, their consumer driven worship, their shallow, free-floating theology and their non-pastoral pastors are dinosaurs. A world-wide, global emerging church that’s too diverse to fit into anyone’s book is the rising tide."

I certainly hope that I'm not just moving with trends, because in my fundamental days (after reading The Purpose Driven Church by Warren) I was all about megachurch and planting a church just like Rick Warren did (I admit that I was a fool). Now, I'm all about finding the voice of the culture and allowing church to emerge within context, and even allow new theology and practice to be shaped by culture.

All I know is that I'm actually glad this has been exposed, the dark side of purpose driven. Not that I have it in for Warren, but I feel it's the model church that keeps Christianity from going deep and actually reaching people. No model can be adapted without giving some flex to the culture to change it and make the model its own.


September 5, 2006

That Question

"What do you believe about the Bible?"

Anyone involved in ministry or who takes their biblical faith seriously is more than likely to hear this question. What I don't understand are those who say they take the Bible to be completely inerrant and infallible, and only believe in the Bible. What use do these words (ie, inerrant) actually serve in Christian circles? I think more than likely these are political terms, not faith or even biblical terms.

What terms would I prescribe to the Bible? Let it speak for itself...

2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So many of the questions we try to apply to the Bible when we use words like inerrancy seem to force the literature to speak outside of it's own agenda and purpose. The concern of the Bible is how God relates to creation, and how creation relates to itself:

Jesus said,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
So, can someone have biblical faith and not believe in inerrancy or infallibility of scriptures?

Just Because It's So Good

I rarely buy music, mostly because I feel like I don't want to buy something that I may be able to pick up later or spend money it. Well, this year, one of the few albums I've bought is Mockingbird by Derek Webb. Here's the deal though, you don't have to pay for it. is the place to get it, for FREE. Derek has allowed this album to be released to the masses at a huge loss to himself . Am I upset at all that I paid for it, since I buy so few albums? Not at all.

This project is so good for faith that I'm going to blog it for the next few weeks, along with my friend Lucas at So, go ahead and download it (for FREE), and check here tomorrow for my thoughts on the first song.

So Close, I Can Almost Taste It

We're only weeks away from hearing that sweet exhaust note from Sacramental Mustang. I've been slowly approaching this moment, checking things, putting on the smaller accessories, and waiting on just a few parts, but within a week the freshly rebuild 306 should feel the fire in it's cylinders. My only worry is that I'll turn the key over and nothing will happen.

I plan on getting the first fire up on video and audio, and I should be able post it for all to see. Then after insurance and registration, I'll drive to a muffler shop (without the mufflers on) and get them to weld it up. After that, it'll need an inspection and I'll be cruising around in my Sacrament.

Then again, I definitely need to order headlights first.