Monday, September 29, 2003


Rob... Jesus was a carpenter! You boob. This hadn't been posted 15 minutes before the urban legends emerge.

Sorry, his dad was a carpenter. I'm real sure jesus knew how, but he didn't do it. Nothing in the NT records him working, even in wood, for money. We have three years of opportunity and nothing. Plus, what did he ever encourage his boys to do. Work? Uh, not really. Give to Ceasar and all.

Really. Check for yourself.

Plus what did they do after he was gone. Mostly ended up unemployed.

What about Paul? Wasn't he a tent maker? OK yea but look at the record. He didn't have a career or anything. He wasn't in one place for very long. Mostly he was in prison. REALLY. He wasn't building long term job security, 401K, health benefits. He didn't pay a mortgage, or anything else. Maybe not to the same extent, but Paul was just as dependent on others as Jesus.

One major point is that:
the King of the universe was utterly dependent on the kindness of others.

Why? WHY???? Why model THIS behavior? WHY?

What was he trying to communicate? What do we need to GET?

Please think. It's important. Think, just for you. How can you follow him this way? Can you follow him?


welcome back to me!

OK. So Baker shames me into continuing this little clam bake. OK, I can take a challenge. Where were we? Well we were on the last year's worth of Jenga sticks! But today I'm processing about money still. I'm about half way through a book (writing not reading) on 5 primary points of jesus life which have just blown me away over the last year or three.

Today it's the unemployed bit. Jesus gives us zero record of him ever!!!!! being employed. ZERO, Zilch, Nada. No part time work, no manual labor, no Che migrant working, nothing. He was utterly disconnected from the prevailing economic system. Dude, no job no scratch, jack, moola, cheese, dough. No money at all.

Here's the catch: If he is the master and I'm the apprentice (see McLaren) and my call is to simply do what he did, since he lived the ultimate life filled with all the stuff I'd like to have,(joy peace etc.) ..... then I need to do what he did. Uh, at least that's what would make sense. And, get this, I can't use any bull crap excuses about family, kids, this being 2000 years later, or anything else.

And neither can YOU! Does anybody but me talk about this?!!!! Or that 50 years of theological discussion ignored this. Or that we've just made excuses! And that (see Hunter, Willard) our churches totally ignore this even though it's killing most of those we have in our congregations. DOES ANYONE CARE. DOES ANYONE SEE THAT NOT DISCUSSING THIS IS KILLING US?

I'll be here tomorrow,

Sunday, September 07, 2003

real life interlude

I know I've been sharing with everyone just how we got to the place we are now, but today I must interupt with some real life. Part of where I am now is a new joy over work. I have the control I've wanted for many years, the capacity to really earn what I want and the flexibility to vacate when I choose. Why God allows opportunities at certain times, well he and I will have a little "come to Jesus" when I'm there to discuss it. But now finally after more than a decade of struggling and flailing it feels so gooood to have money get better, lots better. We don't talk about money much; especially folks who either have or are have-nots. People who "have" feel like they'll be used and abused so they hide. Have-nots hide from the cultural shame of "not enuf ness" and never share their pain. We become mutes about the most important, emotional, divisive thing in culture. Well not me. I've been a miserable have not for a long time. How im-bare-assing. I'm happy to tell it, cause there are so many millions of people who feel a little smaller each day cause they feel a little further behind financially. Well I've had the lights turned of, not had money for gas, bought lottery tickets to escape the pain and a million other things. And finally it's nice to say that there will be more money than month, rather than the opposite.

I've been reviewing the blogs of folks we met in Sheffield for Wabi-Sabi and at Greenbelt. What a great group. I miss them tons already. They taught us so much that is clearly how a disciple should live, but we don't. Doh! They made my life fuller, warmer. And they probably don't know it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

What about the Celts?

What? Celts? Oh yea, Aidan and friends.
I suppose that began to form about 2 years ago. Maybe three. In the summer of '01 we spent a month in the UK to see all the folks we'd either met or heard about with regard to experiential worship. And we spent 2 weeks of that time doing summer work at Oxford. I took a two hour class from Esther DeWaal, the Pete Sampras of things Celtic. I was inspired and moved by her presentation, but I didn't know then that she was a Celtic God! It was after that by about 3 to 6 months that Lilly and I were reading one of her books(they are legion)when we made the connection between Esther, our time in Oxford and the books we loved. Doh!
Since then we've found such a resonance with most things Celtic that we paid a visit to Aidan's island, Lindisfarne, over the last few weeks with our kids. It was awesome to say the least. I'll get some links tomorrow so you can look for yourself.
Till then,

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

How'd you get here, dude?

This process began in the summer of '97. I was growing increasingly frustrated with church as usual. On our way back from the Outer Banks and 2 weeks of vacation Lilly (my wife of 18 years) and I read Jimmy Long's "Generating Hope". We both said that this was more us, and began to slowly realize that lots of other folks were thinking the same thoughts and having the same frustrations with normal church. And then we began to meet people (that's how this always works) who had different pieces of the puzzle or Jenga pieces we needed.

Lilly took a position at Christ Church in Glendale, Ohio in the summer of '98. It is an Episcopal church which gave her freedom and a budget to pursue the stuff we were being exposed to. Initally it was Jonny Baker from Grace in London, and then Dan Slater from Warehouse in Chichester, UK. While doing kids ministry stuff she met Dan and Jonny in January of 2000 at a Group convention, and that's when we began to really accelerate our experiences and learning. Then the first big wave hit in November of 2000. Lilly went to the Youth Specialties Conference in Cincinnati and to an 8 hour course on Post Modernism and its affect on youth ministry. The teachers? Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle and Chris Seay from Ecclesia in Houston. I didn't go, but I got the tapes! I listened to them over and over. Finally somebody was able to verbalize everything I could feel, and explain why church, discipleship, and ministry as usual wasn't working anymore. And of couse nobody from the "church as usual" where I worked was interested in this at all. Funny how that works. They're still not interested. Oh well.

If you know anything about Chris or Mark then you know why they fit so well with me. They held nothing back. They said the truth as they saw it. It was fantastic. And since youth ministry is the pretense where much of the info on societal change shows up first, youth books like Tony Jones' "Post Modern Youth Ministry" really helped. So the pump was primed. Then in may of 2001 I went to Seattle to hear Todd Hunter and Brian McLaren (BMAC!) at an "Off The Map" conference. Another piece. Learning about Vampires and the power of simple organic, friendship. Brian and Todd were just what I needed.

For much of this time, let's say from '97 through spring of 2001 Lilly was the primary change agent for most of this. I was just workin'. She'd bring stuff home and I'd look at it when she was through. I'd been getting info first for a long time and was happy to just see where she was going. It paid off. In January of 2002 lilly went to the Emergent Theological conversation in Houston, sponsored by Ecclesia. Lilly got to meet lots of the Senior Fellows of Emergent. That really broke open the flood. We'd found people who we could be friends with, and share their journeys as well as ours. And most of their stories were longer and involved with starting real ministries which espoused these new values.

Then in May of 2002 I went alone to Seed Stories, sponsored by The Ooze in California. Spencer Burke, Todd Hunter (he shows up alot doesn't he?), and Doug Pagitt for 3 days with about 20 church planters. Wow! It was awesome. Each one of those people added to my journey, and Spencer,Todd, and Doug each had a Jenga stick. Cool. Then 2 weeks later I went to Search Party in St. Louis. All the same crew were there plus Andrew Jones, another Jenga stick holder.

Then in October of 2002 we went to Soularize in Minneapolis. Lilly and I went together. It was weird, wonderful and (yes, Shrek) it peeled off more layers.

More on the last 12 months tomorrow.