Saturday, January 30, 2010

Missional Living

The last 5 years or so many conversations between pastoral staff and ministry folks in general have centered around the idea of the shift from programmatic church to missional church. We have tried to define it and struggled. We have linked it to post-modernity and it has scared many. We have tried to delineate between emergent and missional. Where emergents seem ticked off and angry at their church past, missionals have tried to soften their voices to seem more understanding. It has been an interesting time.

I personally have read a fair amount on all sides of the missional and emergent conversation. I have taken a graduate level class about planting missional churches. I am as much a Hirsch & Frost fan as the next person. But I remain somewhat confused as often I go back to the "how?"

Well yesterday I finished reading Tangible Kingdom. What a book. It is a beautiful unfolding of what incarnational missional community looks like. It has taken my assumptions and turned them on their head. It has challenged me and frustrated me. However, more than anything it has given me hope and a child like excitement about my faith journey.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shirley, was her name

I don't usually go on about my Mom, but this year at least on facebook, I have talked about her a lot. The timing is curious for me. She died 7 years ago tomorrow and it feels like yesterday and an eternity.

Sometimes we have the ability to only remember the good and the picture that emerges only half resembles the truth. I remember the things about my Mom that irritated me. I remember the things that I wished were different. But really those things are few and the list is short.

And so today I am indulging myself with the things she did right.
She loved fiercely -- she had your back and you knew it.
She loved tenderly -- her ability to read your face and listen to your heart was amazing.
She gave extravagantly -- out of both overflow and shortage, her generosity was unsurpassed.
She noticed people -- her friends comprised both the popular and the unpopular alike.
She listened with her ears and heart -- she just got people.
She loved the Lord -- not perfectly, but passionately.
She held family close -- her kids, her grand kids, her sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews.
She welcomed people -- our home was always filled with people.
She inspired people -- more so while she was suffering through cancer than ever.

And there is more. But these are the things I am thinking about tonight and am grateful to have seen modelled for me. What a joy!

And they called her Shirls!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I get made fun of a lot for over-thinking. My brain can be a scary place, and if you have read this blog very long I bet you are "Amen-ing" right about now! One of my friends reshaped the over-thinking for me a while back and told me to embrace it as a gift. I try to remember that when I begin to feel overwhelmed by my thoughts.

So let me begin by saying, today I was thinking..... And I was. While preparing for teaching tomorrow, I realized I could not move on to the subject matter until I addressed the idea of thinking with my students. We need to talk about how people think. How generational groupings change our thought processes, how experiences shape our thoughts and how temperament and personality drive it. Just the idea that we get to go here is thrilling to me!

And while I do not want to scare high schoolers, this is important stuff to deal with. Understanding how we think about things is sometimes as central as what we think about them. In my book anyway.