Sunday, December 29, 2002

Sabbath Day 31

I'm off to Six Flags Magic Mountain today with my very good friends Kenny, Doug, Joe and Tommy...I could take or leave the rolly coasters (as my dad calls them), but I couldn't pass up the chance to hang with these guys for 36 hours.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Sabbath Day 30

Only five days left of this wonderful gift in my life. I am both sad to see it draw to an end and excited to see what the coming year will bring. If nothing else, I am dangerous again. I have many ideas about life, work, future and church...I think that some of them are pretty good ideas. (But I always think my ideas are good ones!) I feel like a stabled horse who is ready to run. I just hope that I can run strong with a better pace than my last race.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Sabbath Day 27 (Christmas)

My wife is at the ER with a severe throat infection. This is her second in five weeks. Christmas has been a bit of a downer because the kids and I have missed having Mom healthy. I must say that we are blessed to be healthy most of the heart goes out to those (some of you no doubt) who have seriously ill family and friends this Christmas. My prayers are for you.

Thanks to my friend Sabrina for sharing Christmas with us today...little did we know how much we would need your help when we invited you to spend the day with us!

Please pray for Debbie.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Sabbath Day 23

I saw Two Towers for the second time today. It rocks. There are these uncanny moments when Peter Jackson shows me exactly what I pictured in my head. My favorite part of Fellowship was left out of the movie (the part where Sam, Merry and Pippen lecture Frodo on what friendship is all about. "We are going with you whether you like it or not...") My favorite part of Two Towers (and of the entire trilogy) is the discussion about the power and truth of story that Tolkien puts into the mouths of Frodo and Sam on the path to Mordor, just before the Gollum's betrayal. It was in a subtly different place in the movie, but still very moving. I personally think that it reveals Tolkien's key desire for writing the epic tale: story is more powerful (read: more real, more true) than facts. Modern people have a huge void in their hearts. We are the world's first anti-mythical, a-narrative society. We are addicted to facts and figures that choke out all creativity and paradox. In our pursuit of truth we have overdosed on data and suffocated in our own trivialities. We are the self-proclaimed sages of history and the first people foolish enough to believe that the most essential questions can be aswered in any other way but with a story.

Whle I'm ranting about story as truth...shame on us Christians for deflating the true story of the Gospel for a series of facts leading to some formula for eternal life. If there is a lack of respect for the power of the story in this culture it is the Church's fault for mishandling the most magical and true story ever told. If our theology and ecclesiology has moved past story to something "deeper", then we have been duped. It would be the equivalent of me leaving my family and friends for ten years to write an encyclopedia on true love. It's just modern Enlightenment crap to think that information matters more than narrative, but it's crap that all but fuels many of our lives and churches. I thank God everyday that I live in a novel and not a dictionary!

This concludes my movie review of The Two Towers.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Sabbath Day 21

Three of five weeks now completed. I must admit that at this point "doing nothing" is starting to feel quite normal. I'm both excited about the new things that January will hold and a little sad to think about this season ending. Hopefully, these last two weeks will continue to prepare me for working again. I am excited to blog about what I am confident is the "next thing" in my life, but I need a few more weeks of prayer and consulting before I go public with it.

I've dropped a little over ten pounds and I am starting to feel spiritually and emotionally lighter as well. Debbie and the kids are doing well-just dealing with the joys and frustrations of having me around so much!

Our house is finally set to close (again) tomorrow. We have been staying with Chris Duncan since Thanksgiving and he has been a gracious host...I'm off now to eat a low-fat Turkey meatloaf. Pray for me.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Sabbath Day 16-A Fresh Understanding.

I have had a rather peaceful breakthrough in this third week of resting.

Some thoughts about my calling into simple church life:

I would honestly rather live a life true to my calling than live a seemingly succesful life outside of my calling. God has called me to follow Jesus with my friends in simple church life. He has called me to pray for a church planting movement in my city and to encourage anyone who has the same calling on their life (whether they be Christian or pagan). As far as church and mission go, that's pretty much it.

Here is the peaceful breakthrough: It might not work. It might fail and I might look incredibly silly. I might embarass all of my Christian friends who used to be so proud of my "potential" to do amazing things "for God". I might even be an embarassment to myself and my family. It's all OK. Because I would rather be a faithful failure than a secretly disobedient success.

So if everyone in Apex leaves and goes back to the megachurch of their choice, I will be supportive of them and faithful to my call to simple church.

If there is no more money for Apex to support me, I will not worry or complain, but I will get a job and be faithful to my call to simple church.

If my closest freinds are called away from this vision and encourage me to go with them, I will miss them, but I will be faithful to my call to simple church.

If the media labels us a cult and calls me an extremist, I will pray for them and not respond, but I will be faithful to my call to simple church.

I would rather die poor, lonely, unnoticed and faithful than die comfortable, beloved, famous and a liar.

In the words of some other reformer, "Here I stand. I cannot, I will not recant."



Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Sabbath Day 13

I am so refreshed right now that it is hard to believe how frustrated and weary I was just a few weeks ago. I had no idea how much I needed this time to prioritize my life. I want to thank my friend Mike Steele for seeing this need in me. I would also like to thank the Apex community for this gift of time.

A few new ideas have crystalized over the last four or five days. I am very excited about them. I would have to say that I have a spirit of anticipation and honest hope for the future unlike anytime in the last three or four years. Finally, a little mania to mix into my depression! God is rapidly expanding my worldview and faith to see Him in so many arenas. Again, your prayers are coveted as my Sabbath nears its midpoint.

Wherever you are may He give you peace...and rest.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Sabbath Day 8

I am slowly falling into a daily pattern. I have been working out in the mornings, followed by a time of prayer and scripture reading. (I'm reading Ezek. now.) My mind is slowly defragmenting. I have had some new and refreshing ideas for the first time in a long time. The biggest learning so far is that I have severly limited my vision of what is possible in my lifetime. As much as I have tried to live simply and denounce materialism I have dicovered a hidden fear of not being able to make enough money to provide for my family and to help provide for my larger household. This fear must be honestly replaced with faith in a providing God. I know the opposite danger is to be idle or lazy and call it faith...I haven't known myself to be drawn to those sins. If anything I am tempted to work too much.

This all boils down to risk-taking is some form. So...for those of you who think that I am already a rather risky individual I am tempted to say, "You aint seen nothing yet." But that is a rather cheesy expression, so I will allow it to remain a temption and ask for your continued prayers for my faith and courage.

Your resting friend,


Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Sabbath Day 5

Resting is so hard...I don't know how. Today felt very frantic and busy. I have lost five pounds and shaved my Kevin Rains memorial beard. My 2 day trip to San Diego was good but one day too short. I felt that I had to leave as soon as I was breaking through. I will try to get back to where I was tomorrow. I did get to hang out with my new friend Jason Evans. You can read his blog...

I will try to refrain from anything close to a revelation until next year, but here is a journal entry from 2 nights ago as I sat alone and wrote my passing thoughts while meditating on the patio of a seafood place, eating Mahi Mahi and pondering the bay and the people passing by:

I'm sitting alone in a romantic restaurant on the San Diego coast...That would be a great opening line for a country song, except that this is exactly where I want to be.

The water ripples to prove that there is a wind that my face cannot feel.

From where I sit, I can see only one star, but I can hear three different languages.

I'm starting to feel that romance is unique to the human experience. It is not a lie and yet not quite a blessing. Just a mystery...Romance is a great human mystery...unless it is a Divine mystery that has somehow leaked onto us from above.

Of all of the manmade eyesores pushed against and into this harbor, one is most repulsive. The industrial plant seems evil tonight.

We are all deathly afraid of the dark. This would be such a scary place without the gas lamps and flickering candles.

The waters whisper to a traveler that there is peace a mile deep just one inch below the chaos.

Of all of the vile pollutants we have unleashed on the earth, nothing is as deadly or insidious as our constant rediculous noise-making.

There is something magical about the surface of the water that seperates us from the fish. We can fairly easily, though often inconveneintly, go to visit them whenever we want. But they cannot climb out to look at us. I wonder if there is a magical surface that seperates us from God...Perhaps it is the sky? No, it can't must be something of a different dimension than what seperates us from the fish...could it be time? Yes, it might be time. We cannot climb out of time because we breathe in time just like the fish breathe in water. But He can come to see would be as easy (and inconvenient) as me standing up and jumping into the bay. This is, of course, incarnation. To a fish it is a miraculous intrusion into aquatic history. To me it is exactly the opposite of a miracle. It is the humility of jumping off of a perfectly dry pier.