Saturday, June 5, 2010

a whole new leaf

time for a change. I've switched to wordpress.

the new blog is at

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This is an article about codependence that’s on one of the blogs I keep tabs on. I highly recommend taking a moment to read it, especially if you are or are considering going into ministry.

Here’s the article.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Q conference

This past week I had the opportunity to volunteer at and attend the majority of the Q conference that was held in Chicago this year. Skipping three days of classes has never been so worth it. Q is all about bringing together cultural leaders to explore how the gospel is and can further be expressed in culture. In their own words it’s about exposure, conversation, and collaboration.

This year’s conference was held in the Civic Opera House—an absolutely breath taking place. We heard from people like Alister McGrath,Tim Keller, Scot McKnight, Wayne “Coach” Gordon, Brian McLaren, Mike Foster, Phyllis Tickle, and Soledad O’Brien. We also got to hear from lesser known names who are doing equally amazing things; people like Skye Jethani, Jonathan Olinger of Discover the Journey, Greg Helvey creator of the short film “Kavi,” Andrew Marin of the Marin Foundation, artist Dayton Castleman, Rosalind Picard a professor and researcher at MIT, and Sean Woman founder of TBD Agency. Perhaps one of the greatest things about Q though is that all of these presenters and attendees are seen on an equal level. During my time at the conference I got to be in conversation with folks like Andy Crouch and Bill Hybels along with Jason from Lee University and a church planter named Andy.

All that to say, I undoubtedly recommend the conference. It cost a good amount, so if you can’t afford it try to volunteer—it was a great experience. I learned a good amount, but I was also deeply refreshed and encouraged.

Over the course of the three days we were given countless resources and heard of numerous ideas and things that are happening all over the country, so I thought I would share a few of those things: – what happens if we take out the middleman and allow people’s needs to be met by other’s skills?

A new perspective on what’s happening in the world—The Third Post

Beautiful stories of radical grace—People of the Second Chance

Some new jams from Zach Williams—I’m a fan

A story of surprising neighborliness in Colorado

Speaking up for children around the world through artistically telling stories—Discover the Journey

Helping a generation that is growing up without fathers - The National Fatherhood Initiative

A short, Academy Award Nominated, film, "Kavi," about slavery today

Sunday, April 25, 2010

catching air

I was talking with a friend this weekend while sitting in a butterfly pavilion. As we marveled at the butterflies dancing about, he mentioned a poem that he had recently read. It was Katerina Stoykova-Klemer's How to Write a Poem, which simply reads “Catch the air around the butterfly.”

My friend explained that butterflies are too delicate to touch. A child trying to catch a butterfly often kills it without the slightest intentions. Like butterflies thoughts, feelings, emotions frequently expressed through poetry are often to frail to touch. The poet assembles words around these thoughts like catching the air around the butterfly. It is catching the air that allows a small glimpse of the butterfly.

Since that conversation I have been pondering what other parts of life are too delicate, too frail to touch. What things are we limited to trying to catch the air around it?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

it's been a while

Do you ever have those times when you wonder how many things can be pack into such a short time? I don’t necessarily mean activities, but new thoughts, ideas, perspectives. That has been the past four days for me.

It has been marked by a life-giving conversation while hiking with Kristin, time to rest at home, finishing a big application, a long time to think in read while on a long layover in O’Hare, Easter service this morning at my church here in Grant County, and lunch afterwards with some friends from the church.

It’s been a lot of thinking, but it has been a much needed time of being refreshed. That will prove helpful as the conference I am in charge of is less than two weeks away. I’m sure many of those thoughts will be making their way here as I can better articulate them, but for now this will do.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

filled vs. centered

A little over a month ago I was in Chicago for two weeks with 20 other senior christian educational ministries majors on our two week capstone trip. As we’ve back at Taylor there’s been many things that have got me reflecting on that trip as there was much to unpack (visiting around 30 ministries I would venture to say). Specifically I remember a service we went to at an Anglican church. I was sitting next to my professor, who knew I had been going to a local Episcopal church for a while. She leaned over as the services was over and said, “That was centering.”

Ever since that conversation, I’ve found myself using that same word to refer to my little Episcopal church in Marion (Gethsemane) as people ask about it--centering. Frequently I hear people talking about being filled after a service or saying that that one church just didn’t ever fill me. Much of this is based upon if the sermon was engaging or the music stirring. Now these things are not wrong in the slightest; I do not mean to say that. But as I’ve been thinking about why I went back to the Gethsemane, it comes back to this idea of centering.

The service there is not one that is going to fill you. Instead of everything building up to a sermon, it is all building up to the Eucharist. The liturgy is so beautiful as it reminds up of who God is no matter where we are at. Each week I come away not feeling filled, but centered. Centered in that I am reminded of who Christ is, what he has done, and who I am in light of how he is.

I’m thinking that I want to be a part of a centering church over a filling church in the future.

the mobile church

I don't think there are words to describe this. Strange, thought provoking, surreal, and, well, hilarious.

How far would you go to relocated a church?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

a prayer (edwin mcmanus)

I thought this was worth sharing...

"Lord, I need a dream worth giving my life to.
I need a life worth
waking up to each morning.
I need a mission bigger than me.
I want to
believe for not only me, but also for this world.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

an unimpressive god

Sitting in chapel the other day, I was taken back as I looked around the auditorium. To the right the girl sitting next to me was checking her email on her cell phone; the girl to my left was texting. Another row up a guy pulls out his phone as his thumbs meticulously pound on the screen. I felt that maybe I was missing out in the chorus of small glowing screens that seemed to be appearing all around me.

Now I must admit that I’m currently not the biggest fan of chapel, but I couldn’t help but wondering ‘is it really that boring? Is getting that text out right now that important? Have our attention spans become that small?’ I’ve had conversations with people after chapel asking what they thought of the services and answers tend to be all over the spectrum. However when there’s a teacher who’s able to speak with high energy, clever rhetoric, and an in-your-face message, the majority of students come away generally pleased--it was an impressive chapel. Yet those times that don’t seem quite up to par, well, that’s when the cell phones come out.

Lately I’ve been chewing on this thought of am unimpressive God. When I was talking with a friend about why he and his family chose to start going to the Episcopal church (where I’m now going), he mentioned that there’s really nothing impressive about it. No one is going to pull out flashy teaching or put on something that will draw more people in. You can take it or leave it.

Now in all of this I do not mean to say that God is unimpressive in the way that we commonly think of the word. He is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, and he is God; that is impressive. But even in the ministry of Jesus we see that when the Pharisees ask Jesus for a miracle, something flashy and impressive, Jesus rebukes them. He never tried to be impressive. Henri Nouwen refers to it as the need to be relevant, when in reality all that one has to offer is their vulnerable self.

Often times we think of how this applies to us as church leaders as we struggle with the temptation to be impressive. But I want to ask what implications does this have on us as we participate in things such as chapel and church? Are we able and willing to open ourselves up to the unimpressiveness of Jesus? Can we put aside our impressive technology and desire to be entertained for a moment to be stilled by something unimpressive?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

here's the warning

Spring semester senior year at Taylor University means one thing to Christian Ed majors--their senior paper. For a good chunk of time I was wondering how in the world can I incorporate all of my passions and what I want to do vocationally...holistic ministry from a pastoral position, teaching, story, creating culture, and so on. But there was a lightbulb moment over our senior capstone trip where it hit me--my paper topic would be scripture engagement!

Never did I think that I would be writing on this theme and be as excited about it as I am. Yet it is all making sense to me. I’ve long thought that if we can simply get a better orientation of who Jesus is and catch the vision of his story, the kingdom of God, as laid out throughout the entire Bible. And when we begin to read and let the word speak to us, it should mess with us in big ways. So why not scripture engagement?

I’m thrilled. I really can’t begin to express how exciting this concept is to me. I think I described it to someone today saying that it, ‘makes my soul flutter.‘ I’m discovering that I can’t work on this paper or read content about it late at night because I won’t be able to sleep. Like I said, I would have never expected this from a thing like scripture engagement.

So here’s the warning: this whole idea of scripture engagement may be a reoccurring theme here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

new year

A year ago I started this blog as an attempt to keep in touch with family and friends about my time in Latin America and then the summer in Chicago. After thinking about, I realized that I actually enjoyed being able to have another place to write thoughts out and process through the retelling of stories and thought processes.

So, that said, I’ve decided to start up writing again. Read along if you like, but more that anything else if for me. We’ll see how it goes.