Monday, August 13, 2007

"never, ever reveal your true identity"

these were words that i recently read on the back of a t-shirt a student was wearing on campus. while this is dynamite advice if you are clark kent, i wonder about the implications if one is an ordinary person.

consider the opposite....

in their book, ascent of a leader, thrall, mcnicol and mcelrath suggest that a main reason leaders fail is that they become isolated. “'When I meet with leaders, I simply assume society has infected them and they have not lived in authentic community and that this reality will eventually hurt them’ We would add to his statement, 'and hurt those who follow them.'”

the way out of isolation is vulnerability. "How do we overcome the isolation that threatens to rob us of our influence? The answer is found in the second rung on the character ladder - choose vulnerability."

let me be honest, as a "professional christian", (that is, i am paid on the assumption that i continue in my christian beliefs,) i am constantly tempted to choose to live out the title of this post. i heard a pastor recently say that he wonders if it is possible to be a pastor and a real christian at the same time. radical words, but i know what he means.

recently i was given the opportunity to share with a group how God has worked in big ways in my life in an area of struggle. i chickened out. why? because i'm a professional christian and professional christians don't have struggles. and if they do, they can only share them with other professional christians :) i know that many others are tempted in the same way.

i don't think this temptation is limited only to paid ministers, but is deeply ingrained in the whole culture of american christianity.

i dream of a christian culture and community that seriously and practically rejects the superhero syndrome. one that regularly chooses vulnerability, rewards those that do and together lives life under the kingship of jesus.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

two books to mess you up

i've really been messed up permanently by two books i've read this summer....renovation of the heart by dallas willard and organic church by neil cole.

renovation of the heart explores what it takes to transform the whole person into christlikeness and is a clarion call to see that every possible segment of life is changed. each area of life is changed through seeing what could be (vision), committing to that change (intent), and having the practical tools necessary to make it happen (means).

what has messed me up is thinking about the lack of #3, the means, almost anywhere in the American church. if you go to a good church with a good speaker, you probably hear lots of "what should be's" and maybe have the occasional creative interaction to make decisions. but the means? almost nowhere to be found. and that goes for most of my campus ministry too.

organic church is a radical book. it redefines what church's not a building and a program, but is whenever two or three followers of jesus get together for jesus' mission. that's it. nothing more. it's that simple.

this is the type of church, though, that is spreading across the world like wild-fire. the church in places like china, cuba and india is growing rapidly, but it's not church like we often visualize it.

cole calls into question most of the structures that the american church calls "church." i've heard all my life from speakers, "the church is not a building, it's the people." but i wonder if they meant that?

so i'm a bit messed up. not sure what to do about it.

pizza on the grill

i think pizza is certainly the food of heaven. i like to cook pizza at home, but am always hestitant to turn on the oven in the hot and humid chicago summers.

solution: the grill!

i don't remember how i thought of it...i think that i was churning my dilemna in my head..."hot weather, i love making pizza. hot weather, i love making pizza. can i grill pizza?"

so as i do with all of life's big questions, i googled it and found this page...

it really was simple. i burnt the crust on my first run, but i won't do that again. the dough cooks fast! i think it would be fun to make smaller sized pizzas and let everyone put their own toppings on. seems like a fun party idea.

now i can have the food of heaven when the weather is more like the other place :)

Friday, August 03, 2007

out of the box ideas

if all goes well we're moving out the california to finish my graduate studies next summer. either way, we're going to sell our house and move. here are some of the things that we're wondering about in thinking about where to live in two years...

if location proximity is important, then it seems important to live in a place with lots of opportunities to meet people and share life. would a condo or apartment be better off? i'm not sure. i see people in condos in chicago and don't see much more shared life than in the suburbs?

would living near a park provide opportunities to meet people...especially those with children? maybe living in a community with a common swimming pool? i've been hearing about communities being built that have a common park, pool, etc. i wonder is this type of living setting would be more conducive for a shared life.

what's funny is that just as we're starting to think about moving into a place with higher probablity for connection, we've had more connections with our neighbors this summer than we even have before. mainly, it's because i was working on expanding my driveway and everyone came out to talk or help. that was really cool. i wonder is there's something to be learned.

another concern i'm having.... does trying to "find a place" that is more conducive for connections exclude sharing life with those that are different...different ethnicities and/or cultures. because in the end, those that are most like me are easiest to relate to. i don't want to just be surrounded by people just like me.