May 22, 2003

its been crazy around here, moving, kids graduating, new kids acclumating, but things are beginning to settle down some. we have had ringworm, lice and parasites making the rounds in our family. had two experiences around my oldest's high school graduation that really made me stop and think.

first at jacob's graduation there were five kids graduating and each family was able to get up and say something about their graduate, also each kid got to preform something they felt was part of who they are. jacob played his guitar to a dashboard confessional song off "swiss army romance" and was accompanied by a friend, it was great, a song about kissing someone hard at a homeschool event. homeschoolers can be a little conservative, anyway. after the event was over i was struck with how cool it was for us and the other families to really tell our kids how we felt. i had several friends whose kids attend private of public schools come up and say how moved they were by the ceremony. it showed me that small is better and that big just doesn't allow intimacy that we all crave and need. for me it was a vision of what they church should be.

the second was at jacob's party in our new house after we had been in it for three days. one of our old neighbors who works with navigators was telling me about his impressions the first time he meet me. he said i wouldnt say much. then he told me that from that moment he started praying for me to know Jesus. now some 12 years later i have Jesus and you cant shut me up. i looked at him and said you did this to me in jest. my life has gone in a direction i never imagined 12 years ago, 12 kids seminary etc. thanks kent for praying for me i was too stubborn and too stupid back then to admit i needed anything else but me.


May 13, 2003

we finally closed on our new house today, what a struggle. we started to move tonight and will spend our first night there tomorrow.


May 05, 2003

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May 02, 2003

I am an architect to support my self and my family. As part of that life I get to deal with city building departments to obtain permits to construct the buildings I design. Recently I was reading a book about missional communities as I waited for a permit approval to be processed. As I read a man sat next to me and ask me what I was reading and why. As I told him about my life and the book he surprised me by saying he had just finished the book I was reading. I looked at him and said you mean I am not the only one how likes to engage the postmodern conversation? We both laughed and then began a conversation that amazed me. My new friend had run the gamut of Christian experience raised Catholic converted to Evangelicalism in his college days and now a Unitarian. His journey was filled with pain and rejection and eventual ambivalence. He had felt God’s call to ministry early in life and graduated from Bible College the top of his class. When he entered seminary he began to feel an aching inside that would not go away. The more we pursued the pain the more it overwhelmed him. After receiving his Masters of Divinity he took a position at a large suburban church. When he first arrived he was excited about the enthusiasm of the congregation and their ideas about the future. During his second year the congregation voted to remove him from the pastorate. It seems his sermons about being peace loving and humble had ruffled too many feathers. Heart broken and defeated he spent the next nine months in solitude. He cried out to God for an answer for his pain and failure yet none came. One day while searching the Internet for inspiration he happened upon a site that spoke about the emerging church. He found information about a conference and planned to attend. While at the conference he meet several people who were searching for new expressions of God within a culture that was changing dramatically. He was hooked. Upon returning home he found a local group of church planters and began to engage them in conversation. They spoke about a world that was filled with love and peace, a place where God was manifest within their community. Or so he thought. You see this man could not give up on the church that gave him a faith that had at the same time sustained and betrayed him. There had to be something left there that was worth redeeming. The more he talked about helping the traditional church see their need to change the more he meet with resistance. Alone in the dark one night it became clear. Christianity was empty. No matter how it was expressed it was devoid of the essence that he had clung to since a child. Whether a mainline denomination or a small house church the exclusion was there. He could not escape the fact that these people who claimed to follow a triune God were not interested in anyone who thought or saw the world in different terms than them. The struggle to find a resolution was beginning to destroy him. He no longer spent time with God in any meaningful way. His time at church was uncomfortable at best. What was the answer? Wherever he turned he was an outsider. This constant stress of never fitting in was taking a toll. As he spoke to me they called out that my permit had been finished. I started to get up and my new friend began to weep. As I sat back down I ask him what was troubling him. He looked me in the eyes with a power and pain that scared me. Slowly he told me all he wanted was a few friends to live out his life with. He had a wife that was his soul mate but he needed more. I put my hand on his shoulder to comfort him but it felt shallow and forced. This man who I meet by chance was asking me for something I was unable and unwilling to give. He wanted my time, my love, my attention, was that too much to ask? He told me he was giving up on Christianity because too many of those who claim to follow Christ are only following themselves. Their lives are centered on their own ideas of God and those who agree with them. He ask me where the God who ask his people to love their enemies had gone, was he dead? I had no answer.