Saturday, January 31, 2004

There is no emerging church

Just wanted you to know. I've been searching for it, and I cant find it anywhere. Maybe it has been misplaced, maybe McLaren lost it in his turtle tank. Many people belive there is one and they don't want to be a part of it. I don't believe it's really there. It's kinda like WMD, it's there but we'll never find it. Maybe the Iraqi's are hiding the emerging church. Maybe it's in a spider hole somewhere. Could Sadam have hidden it in one of his palaces? Naa.

Maybe Cartman (you know from South Park!) hid it in his bag of Cheessy Pooffs. Maybe we should blame Canada. Those Canadians have too many blogs and have too many opinions. If we invaded, we might find all those emerging churches. Except that all of Canada is below zero for day time highs. And even if we found them we wouldn't want to go. Just too cold.

Could it be here in Cincinnati? Nope, this is where they hide everything.

I'll keep looking. Like OJ, for the real killers.


I'm kidding for those of you who don't know me.

Let's have a little fun. Relax. I don't really have to define what I'm doing. Neither do you! That's part of the fun.

I don't have to report in to "M" to explain why I haven't captured Dr. No.

I can be a part of all or none of the conferences around the world. I can be a part of as many or as few online communities as I choose. So What? Who cares. The only people who need me to define what this is are those who want to control it or condem it. Well too bad! They aren't gonna get any ammo from me. If for you life and community exists on message boards great; If it only exists in a local group of friends great too. If it includes those from other continents, or with more traditional church folks, great. Or maybe with punks, goths, jocks, geebs, bohemians, hip hop, rap, folk or freakin Liberace; GOOD FOR US! Be you! Be in relationship with the jesus you know and the people you know. That's all!

And honestly, if anyone wanted mention me along with McLaren, Myers, Kimball, Burke, Pagitt, Tony or Andrew Jones, Scandrette, Rudy, Keel, Holly, Jonny Baker, Seay, Conder, Jason, Ivy, Marko, Hunter, Willard, or Sweet I'd go happily, willingly. They rock. It's a friendship. That's all. Friends. It's intentional. If it were more than friends, it might suck. But it doesn't. Simple really.


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Revisiting the whirlwind

It's been two weeks since Lilly and I posted on the "women at Mayhem" issue. The result has been amazing, overwhelming and slighly odd.

So many people have e-mailed, blogged and commented that it is clear that the issue is really being discussed, and some people (many women) are speaking their minds for the first time in a while

Both Jonny Baker, and his mate Jenny, and Maggi Dawn in the UK as well as many folks we've never met from around the world have made strong statements and let their opinion be heard. I think that maybe it might be one of the strongest elements in the power of the blog. It's a global discussion whose time has come. Thanks to the folks around the USA and Canada, the UK and on the Continent, and in Auz for their input and love. It's kinda overwhelming.

Also; thank you Chris Marshall for "accidentally" hosting a lot of this on his blog, as Lilly and I didn't have comments then. Maybe it was just as well. And thanks for taking alot of the attacks sent your way like a stud; simply because you played MC at the event.

I must admit again that I never expected any resistance to my post of the 13th. How naive! Can you believe it. I had to get over being angry that anyone even "considered" disagreeing with the "Great and Powerful ME." But I'm better now. If I'm gonna put it out into public space, then I better be ready for whatever comes. It's just adulthood.

I was kinda blown away by the variety of opinions and the intensity of feeling of the bloggin community. We are a community of some wild folks. Buncha bikers at a bar!
"Look out Louise, Tiny just broke out the chain saw!"

Anyway, even if you disagree with me still, though I know that's a logical impossibility, you're still welcome on my blog and in my home.


Friday, January 23, 2004


I wonder how this work of building relationships in the emerging/simple/organic/post/wabi church is any different than in any other part of western life. We still end up liking the people we like; the people we have lots in common with. Is your experience different? Do you have relationships with people you irritate you, make you feel uncomfortable, or just in general bug you? Or with people who see the world with utterly different lenses with regard to theology, practice, assumptions, lifestyle, or expectations in the world of faith?

As I look at people, and talk with Joe Myers, and read his book, it seems that we all do this on autopilot. Ushering those who cause pain out and away from us, and ushering in those with whom we feel a connection. And then when we finally have a group around which makes us feel good, we defend it, fight for it to remain the same. And at least with myself, all this goes on under the radar. I'm almost never conscious about this, and as I look around, most folks aren't either.

So I'm asleep as I tell people that I don't want to be with them; that they won't work in my life. So the lesson I'm learning is that life in autopilot can dishonor God, and tell people exactly the opposite of the Kingdom message: That they are wanted, loved, and someone is waiting for them with an open heart and an authentic smile.

Let's be intentional about staying open to new people in our lives who may not look like the ideal friend. Just for fun.


Thursday, January 22, 2004



small furry woodland creatures

Great name for a new band.

Reading the "Rule of Benedict" for the first time without lots of commentaries. This guy had a great heart.

Guess I'm learning that the volatile mixture of adrenaline and testosterone can have devastating effects on the church, and how opposite from that is the Rule. And how all the fruits of the spirit seem so disconnected from my "male" assumptions.

Wouldn't it have been nice to see King George admit during the State of The Union speech that WMD was a scam to get us to go to war.
"I'm sorry folks but I was wrong. I misled you. I violated your trust. Last year at this time I sold you on the immanent threat of WMD. I shouldn't have. I won't gloss over it (like he did). Yes, he was a bad man. Yes, the Iraqi people will be better off in the future. But that is no excuse for my behavior. The end never justifies the means. I call myself a Christian and I tell the truth. I failed you."
I would have stood up and cheered! Because he would have made it a little better, part of the shell game stopped.

But alas, no.
What is a republican to do? Would John Kerry tell me the truth? About WAR for God sake?

Does George think I can vote for him when everyone admits it was a sham, but him. Really? I'm that stupid? He keeps making himself look more and more like Michael Moore's caricature of him from "Dude where's my Country".

And then to yell and scream about Steroids. Why? How is that presidential? What a bit of political squat!

This is so sad. It feels very Nixon-esque.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Read Any Good Blogs Lately?

My post from a few days ago has become a part of a wonderful discussion. Some of the comments on blogs I've read today have been terrific. I didn't know that a few paragraphs could create such fervor. Can we retain the good and healthy discussion and refrain from any personal attacks? Some comments and blogs attacked people they didn't know. Yikes!

For those of you who don't know my history, I began attending Eastside Foursquare Church in the Seattle area months after my conversion. The Foursquare movement was begun by a woman; Amie Semple McPherson. So having a woman pastor or having women preach was a total non-issue. And it has been for almost 24 years. So this was particular discussion is weird to me. I thought I'd get a few e-mails saying, "Hey, sorry, we're working on it."

I will admit to a few mistakes:

1. I didn't intend to attack Chris or Alan or Kevin or any women in their respective faith communities. They did a great job. I had a great time. Saw friends I hadn't seen in forever. Brian was classic and sincerely memorable. Dave Nixon's roundtable was just what I needed. Hearing Joe Myers again was perfect. Seeing Tammy Jo, Rachelle, Chad, Joel, Jon, Joe L was great.

2. I didn't mean to say that they intended to exclude anyone. I assume they didn't mean to. And my message probably sounded like they were jerks. I'm sorry. They aren't.

3. I mentioned Rachelle. I shouldn't have. I didn't get her permission to use her as an example. I just spoke to her, and she was weirded out at the number of people who commented on her that don't know her. My point was many women capable of presenting attended. It's time they were invited to do their giftings too. And I've learned that Chris had in-fact invited some women to participate. Sweet.

4. One comment said that I shouldn't talk for the women and that they should speak for themselves. I guess they are right. I guess what I was saying was that as a guy, I was bothered. But in response to your comments I am asking each of the women I spoke with after the weekend to write their own response and share their feelings directly with you.

5. My prayer is that in the future, meeting planners for our gatherings will discuss this before we meet and honor this discussion as they plan.

6. I'm getting ready to move my blog to "typepad", so you can comment directly to me. So I don't have to read Chris's blog to see how people feel about me. In the mean time please e-mail me directly or copy your comments to me so we can discuss any of this further. We are family. E-mail me at

7. Some women commented that they felt happy in serving Jesus behind the scenes. And that I had belittled their contribution. I'm sorry. Didn't mean to do that either. I just don't want to demean women in leadership "visible" positions either. My take is that any person can serve in any capacity. And I want all the doors open for everyone, not just some. That's because leadership needs both men and women, and so does behind the scenes serving. It seems to me that we've had many thousands of years of male-only leadership, and it has let us down in lots of ways. I say "keep reforming."

7. I really do love the Mayhem family, and it's home. I'll grab a coffee or a curry with anyone.

Let's talk.

till tomorrow,

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Did you ever want to go "Where nobody knows you name?"

Just a thought!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Sad Face :(

I came to the reality this past weekend that I'm still "living down" the person I was in the '90's. I was a church growth consultant. And I was good. I was known as a 747 in trousers. It's true. But the medication is working. I'm much nicer now.

As I move to a more monastic, missional, community based faith; I sometimes find being at conferences like Mayhem this past weekend a bit uncomfortable. "What are YOU doing here?" I actually heard. And it wasn't a joke. What do you mean? In '03 I went to Greenbelt, WabiSabi in the UK; and took my family on pilgrimage to Holy Island. Did the Emergent conference too. Crap, I even did a silent retreat with real MONKS!

I guess that I'm just feeling the multiplied pain now of those little rejections. And it kinda threw me. And I know that I'm responding to the one or two people who barely know me. It just hurts.Hope this is OK to say. A little exposed on the feelings here. How is it that I don't belong, or that I shouldn't be listened to? I mean seriously! I'm just another pilgrim, but I am real. Sometimes I wonder. OK!

Do you ever feel like this? I know some women felt this way at Mayhem. All the presenters were male and all 10, yes 10, round-table leaders were men (with one couple). Rachelle Mee-Chapman attended. She is a church planter in Seattle and flew all the way to cincy for this. Only a degree from Regent in Vancouver. I think she could have handled 1 hour with 40 people and lead a round table. Ya think? And the just to irritate and humilate all the singe folk, only married people could attend the Sex round-table. Come on!

I guess I got a taste of what women in the church have been feeling for 1000's of years.

Anyway. I'm here to stay! You are my family. I've had more fun, challenge, and growth in the last 2 years than in the previous 6 combined. Thank you! Thanks for listening.

Love ya,

NBC losers

Whazzup with the Today Show?

Blogs are for teenagers to share their innermost feelings?

I must live on a different planet.
Thank you God that I don't have to read the confused feelings of teenagers on their blogs, but I get to develop a new community of electronic dreramers and doers about a new life in jesus.


Monday, January 12, 2004

A little love before the New Year Rants

I got a few rants that have been welling up inside for a few months. So those will come out over the next couple of weeks or so.
The Lewins are all OK now! The flu which was our no.#1 christmas present has passed, and we've had a non sniffle week. A miracle.

The new year opportunity for reflection has been interesting. I guess the last year or 2 have been pretty wonderful. And it's thanks to many of you. Thanks. You've lived, talked, listened, gotten coffees, blogged, Greenbelted, WabiSabi-ed, emerged, soularized, Off the map-ed us to a new understanding of the basics of life in Jesus. I realize now that I was lost, wandering, frustrated, disconnected and just plain bored. And I longed for something more. I think we've really found what we were looking for, and are on a path of terrific discovery for many years to come. Thanks!

We miss you all too. This meeting at events really blows. And now with friends in Europe and OZ it's even worse. All we can do is turn the longing for being with you into prayer and plans to see you soon.

Lilly and I attended the Mayhem/You Are Not Alone conference at Vineyard Central here in Cincinnati over the weekend. Our stongest feeling was that we'll never really fit in regular church again. Our friend Joe Meyers was there and taught his Search for belonging workshop in short form again. He loves to get newbies all worked up. And he did. I realized that I've grown tons in Jesus over the last year and haven't gone to church, been in a small group, or been "accountable." Can this be? It's just not supposed to happen! Now I'm one of those non church weirdos!!

Saw some other "conference friends." Joel McClure from Water's Edge in Grand Rapids, Mich. is always amazing. Hope some day I'm that smart. And met Joel and Randy's (Buist) wives. Boy did they marry well.

Met some new folks who seem to be real fun. Jerimiah Smith from New Hampsheee. On the ball. And John Wentz from University christian here in cincy. Future Bright; wear shades. I think both of them went to Lincoln ill for college and Joel went there for Grad school. Where the hell is this place? Did Fuller move? And also met Cat( who is living in the community at vineyard Central. Her face was so bright. A great heart

Also had Thai with Rachelle Mee-Chapman from the Seattle Vineyard, "Thursday PM" church plant. Wow. She had tons of insight and heart. Where are all the women church planters? Unite! And Elizabeth DiCandilo from Philly. At dinner we discussed her outine of a new book on sexuality. Her take on sex as the "prize" we sell so singles will stay celibate, and then how many married christians have crappy sex lives. Sellin' another lie. Aren't we great at this? Thanks Elizabeth. You Rock. Can you all see me sharing some curry with 3 rabid ministry females! I was mostly silent! ThenI just make it worse! They have a ton to say to the movement as a whole. Please hear them!

Bmac spoke and was his wonderful self. Hunter showed up too. Add a Kiwi, an OZie, some Minnesotans, and an austinite or 5 and some californicators and we could have been anywhere in the world!

Rants tomorrow,
miss you