date night…

Friday night is date night… not because Friday is a regular date night, but because the 8-11 of February is Hillside’s Winter Camp at Zephyr Point, Tahoe. And, for the 1st time ever, all 3 of our spawn will be at camp. We will not be at camp, but will most likely be enjoying some Firecracker Wings from Pinocchio’s, a bottle of red, & hanging out with friends who are in the same situation we are.

I’m not just reveling in the good fortune of the promise of a fun evening, but am also thankful that my kids can spend the weekend at camp – & for theMoses, No..el, & the people who’ve planned & are carrying out the camp… & help my progeny get to know God in the context of friends…

Man Church… it’s real.


Statistically, less men attend church than women. There are myriad reasons for this – one of them, valid for the masses or not, is that church has become too “girly” or feminine – leaving guys feeling uncomfortable, on the outside in the pursuit of faith with God through Jesus. Many claim faith, yet find that the common church experience isn’t for them.

Enter a ‘new’ concept: MAN CHURCH. Interesting – Billed as a place for men to go to church, with lots of things men like, & not the things they don’t.

Instead of a speech/sermon, there’s a short 20-25 minute “Chalk talk.”

Guys that attend are guaranteed to laugh.

Instead of a worship team with 30 minutes of music/worship, there’s a non-marching, marching band.

Free pizza. A HUG-FREE Zone, (sorry TPT – I know you’re a hugger.)

Fodder for a Monday…

Taking the Pasty Gangster to school this a.m. we were doing what we always do – listen to the pontifications of Colin Cowherd on ESPN 630. A topic that comes up occasionally on his talk show is his distaste for religion, esp. as expressed by tele-evangelists who are “just after your money” in any way they can get it… He brought up the interview that Good Morning America did with Joel Osteen, & Pasty & I prepared for a diatribe… A diatribe that didn’t come…

What did this self-described “completely unreligious” guy have to say about Osteen? He’s positive. He seems authentic. He keeps the message simple. He seems to believe it. He’s doesn’t hammer on others that don’t do it like he does. He isn’t a “religious zealot.”

Interesting to me – I know that Pastor Osteen takes a lot of heat from the “Christian world” – esp. with the statements that he is just doing “Christianity Lite” at best, “heresy” at worst.

Here’s a couple of articles that have been in the news of fairly recently…

ABC News Article on Joel Osteen… and another GMA

Blessed are you…

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘carefull,’ you find yourselves cared for.

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. 12You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
Salt and Light

Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:3-16, The Message Bible

Communion ponderings…

Last night, we hosted our 1st College Group since the move to the new digs. I grilled some tortillas & poured some Casarsa Merlot & some cranberry juice (so people could choose which they wanted to receive,) & we stood around the island in the kitchen.

We talked & prayed:

  • about relationship with God & with each other. Tears were flowing as people expressed themselves – towards each other.
  • about our hopes & dreams for the changes that God is making in us.
  • about what it looks like to say “Yes” to Jesus in new way.
  • Taking time for talking, praying, & personal feedback about communion, the “body & the blood,” the bread & the F.O.T.V. (fruit of the vine,) seems to be a very significant part of the “remembering” that Jesus talked about as the center of communion. I’m greatly enjoying exploring this.

    Smug

    A personal favorite of mine… Roland Steven Taylor. A great teacher using the medium of music & video, laced with sarcasm, satire, irony, & absurdity, asking Christ-followers to be more than clones… Shaped my wit… sense of humor… dislike of “christian” posturing… & some other stuff.

    From the album “Squint”. Lyric posted below.

    SMUG
    Strike this little pose
    Chin up in the air
    Lips together tightly
    Nostrils in a flare
    Now look like you care
    Very nice!

    Practice in the mirror
    Brushing back a tear
    Very sincere
    A promising career could begin right here at home
    If you’ve got that smug…
    That smug…

    CHORUS

    Hey mama hey mama lookee what your little babies all have become
    Hey mama hey mama don’t it ever make you wish you’d been a nun?
    Vain and fickle, were we weaned on a pickle?
    Is it in our blood?
    Rome is burning
    We’re here turning smug

    Strike another pose
    Power politics
    Swallow their conventions
    Get your power fix
    We love to mud wrestle
    We love to be politically Koreshed

    Practice that smug
    Post it like a man
    One part Master Limbaugh
    Two parts Madame Streisand
    Now pretend you’re in a band
    My, my, we’re looking smug
    Very very very very

    CHORUS

    All you smug-starved millions in the thick of the search
    Welcome to our church
    Whatcha wanna solve?
    We can help you evolve from merely self-righteous
    To perfectly smug

    Strike the proud pose of our country club brethren
    Friendly as a tomb
    Fragrant as the bottom of a locker-room broom
    Now what’s the matter?
    Hey…get off your knees…that part don’t come ’til later…
    God will not be pleased…

    Rome is cooking
    My, we’re looking smug

    Defined by a label…?

    Yesterday, I took a quiz I found on a blog I read – DISCLAIMER: this was a new thing for me, as I usually don’t spend my time filling out meaningless, time wasters (my own stereotype & feelings about ‘those things” inserted here.) This one, however, intrigued me, as it attempted to bring out & identify my “theological worldview” – I was intrigued because I see myself (& you) as a pretty sophisticated, complex, deep & often parodoxical person who can’t be accurately described with a label. This quiz told me that I could. It was a challenge, & I took it. Here are the results.

    You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God’s grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

    Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

    93%

    Emergent/Postmodern

    75%

    Neo orthodox

    64%

    Fundamentalist

    43%

    Charismatic/Pentecostal

    39%

    Roman Catholic

    29%

    Reformed Evangelical

    25%

    Classical Liberal

    25%

    Modern Liberal

    14%

    What's your theological worldview?
    created with QuizFarm.com

    Male & Female



    For the last several weeks, I’ve been prepping for a series on ‘being male & being female” – exploring how God’s has put us together & created us; to me, this means understanding what it means to be male/female, & also how our identity, role assumptions, life choices, & ultimately every one of our relationships are greatly affected by sin/our fallen nature. BTW: the symbol at left is historically the one used for male – (& Austin Powers, but I digress) & originated from identification w/the little ‘g’ god, Mars… which is why the arrow points to the NE, & is supposed to remind us of Mars’ shield & arrow.) The symbol at right is the historical symbol for female & originated from identification w/the little ‘g’ goddess, Venus – the little cross is supposed to represent Venus’ hand mirror… (so, no, John Gray & Barbara DeAngelis didn’t come up with this Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus idea…)

    In some ways, this study has been like descending a spiral stair case that seems like it couldn’t REALLY go any farther down, only to find that every ‘floor’ that is descended exposes yet another flight of descending stair. It would be easy to get lost in this topic. Some of the things that I’ve been sorting through:

    -God’s intended role for Adam/Eve in Eden.
    -what it means to live as a godly man/woman, & how much of who we are/what we become is unique, often not fitting too well with preconceived stereotypes
    -how people w/infomation & education (often men) have used their info/education to exploit others
    -how role expectations affect our behavior; whether it be how we embrace certain behaviors as “things men/women do” & conversely then, “don’t do” & how we can intentionally choose an opposite role of what we “should do” in order to protest/rebel/avoid not measuring up to an expected role we’re ‘supposed’ to fill.
    -men & women: equal but different
    -using/misusing the Bible for selfish purposes; in many ways, this has meant justifying sexist (or at least anti-woman) practices ideas, esp. when it comes to spiritual leadership.
    -the emasculation of men as an overcorrection to the above behavior
    -the effect of the curse on our lives, choices, actions, & behaviors – esp. in our relationships (see Genesis 3 – on the serpent, Eve & Adam)

    I’m hoping to see great freedom, wholeness, restoration, & truth in our personal lives & interpersonal relationships as a result of where we’re heading… & at the same time, feel as though I’m heading into a minefield.