Friday, March 14, 2003

Three things today:


I found a link to the following story on desultory

Sultan said that foreigners have been allowed to worship freely in their homes since they began arriving in Saudi Arabia in 1951 but permitting a church in the country "would affect Islam and all Muslims."

. . .

"Those who talked (about churches in Saudi Arabia) are church people and they are, unfortunately, fanatics," Sultan said, according to Monday's Okaz daily newspaper. "We are not against religions at all ... but there are no churches — not in the past, the present or future."

Read the whole story at Yahoo

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Now, it’s not like the Sultan will ever read this, but here’s the truth of it. Church isn’t buildings, it’s believers, and all those foreigners meeting in homes all over Saudi Arabia, well, they’re churches. Surprise!


Monday is St. Patrick’s Day, and just in case you think it’s all about shamrocks and green beer, check out St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Here’s a short excerpt:

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.


Today’s beauty discovery... desert in bloom, from the California Bureau of Land Management

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Ever have the feeling that you’re heading for something either extraordinary or disastrous? That’s the feeling I have. In the past few weeks my brain—my soul—has been pummeled with ideas, changes, possibilities. Ideas for doing local ministry missiologically. Changes like figuring out what the big picture is and then dumping everything that is out of place. Possibilities like developing a church community where differences are celebrated like the colors of Monet’s Garden.

There used to be—and apparently still is—this show on KPFK called “Something’s Happening.” It was a late night (actually early morning) program where folks talked about stuff. Back during one of my stints of unemployment, I became a night dweller and listened to this show nearly every night—from 1 to 6 in the morning, I believe. [and, yes, I really was looking for a job, too] Anyhow, it’s not the show, but the name that got me. Some of the stuff was really mundane—daily stuff, nothing to write home about—but here it was on radio. It was cool. The idea that the normal stuff of life is worth talking about, worth noting. Well, something’s happening, and it would be sad to spend so much time pondering the “unponderable” and the useless that we miss the important.

What’s that have to do with anything? Just this: there’s a change coming in ministry—ministry different than the way we have done ministry—a change that will be uncomfortable for some and a drink of cool water for others. Somehow in all this the answer lies in paying attention to the small stuff of life. Paying attention to people and ideas and beauty and goodness, even when it is of no apparent use. There is something extraordinary about dandelions and fresh coffee and kid’s paintings and weatherworn fences and old people’s eyes and baby smiles and fresh cut wood and good stories and … How dare we miss it! How dare we judge it unworthy of our attention because it fails to mention Jesus or Bible or some other Sunday School answer!

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:9 (from memory—nasb)

There are more things that fit this description than I, at least, have considered. It's time to start looking...

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

More thoughts on Emergent Convention… Palpable worship…

Thought one: I don’t remember which general session, but there was a woman with a small child sitting on the floor in front of me and the mohawk dancer was to the right of them. Between the dancer and the mom and the baby, the whole thing was almost too much to take. Then, during a slow song, the dancer sat down on the floor and played with the baby. To dredge up an old phrase: worship so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Thought two: Visiting the clay table on Friday night, seeing the incredible art, especially the rugged, workman type hand with the 1-½-inch unborn baby resting in the palm.

Thought three: the difference between the Emergent main room and the National Pastors’ Convention main room. Curves versus straight lines. Web versus linear. Dark versus bright. Messy versus neat.