Psalm 139

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

Addendum to "Who Needs a Doctor"

A lot of thoughts were thrown around from the, "Who needs a doctor" post a couple months ago.  So when I saw this update in the BBC this morning, figured some of you might be interested.  No easy answers here.

Cheers,  Abbie

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8294225.stm 

Decadent Closure

Yes, I’m aware that it’s only October, but I’ve acquired this bizarre fascination with the fact that three months from now, the 00’s will be no more. The inaugural decade of the millennium—an era spanning 87,658.1277 hours—will be history. So I’ve started my eulogy list.

1) Started college.
2) Got an email account.
3) Started following Jesus.
4) Converted to vegetarian…then vegan.
5) First dating relationship.
6) Got a cell phone.
7) Lived overseas.
8) Qualified for Boston.
9) Graduated college.
10) First break-up.
11) One-night-stand with sushi…reconverted to carnivorous living.
12) Took 40W to new home in Los Angeles.
13) Started grad school.
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Nurturing Creativity

So I'm on this artist, creativity, "unblocking" kick, mostly in part to experiencing the flip-sides herein. And two noteworthy mentions of the hour are:

1) "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron. It's fantastic. Challenging, but fantastic.

2) Lecture at the TED awards by Elizabeth Gilbert ("Eat, Pray, Love")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA

"Global Rise in Detection and Treatment of AIDS"

Interesting NY Times article, and maybe more interesting article responses.  To hope, or not to hope, seems to be the pivotal question. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/01/world/01aids.html?_r=1&ref=health

4:17

Friend from Australia sent me a link to, “God of the Moon and Stars” this weekend. My cynic fell immediately in love with the title. It was at least a thoughtful gesture, I decided, so I'd give it a listen.

:17 This is cheesy.
:22 Thank God for pictorial distractions. Recently read Shane Hipp’s, Flickering Pixels, so have heightened interest in visual contributions, manipulations, etc.
:33 Also been reading-up on interplays between spirituality and technology and this seems an interesting example.
:55 Eyes connect with one of the images.
1:08 Start actually listening.
1:24 I shouldn’t be sucked into a youtube video.
1:45 Start actually hearing the song.
2:01 Tear ducts moisten.

"Expert opinion is not a substitute for intellectual reflection."

Thoughtful, meaty article by Frank Furedi, author and sociology professor at the University of Kent

( http://www.frankfuredi.com/index.php/site/article/149/ ):

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25979808-25132,00.html

Conferences for the Non-Conference Type

I am not a conference person.

But here are two in the next handful of weeks that I'll be attending, and am more than willing to promote:

1) The COLLEGE BRIEFING @ Forest Home, Forest Falls, CA: Given that it's this weekend, this option is for the college student looking for a last-minute Labor Day trip to the mountains. I've not been to Forest Home, or the College Briefing, but everyone I mention it to lights-up and says something along the lines of, "that place changed my life."

http://www.foresthome.org/briefing

2) DRINK Conference @ Thousand Pines, CA October 15th-17th: I will personally find a way to refund your ticket if you have a disappointing experience here. This is the only conference I know of specifically designed for folks leading in college ministry. College students are welcome, too, and I even recommend it to high-school/young adult pastors. The philosophy behind CollegeLeader (brainchild of Chuck Bomar...see www.collegeleader.org) targets the role of 18-25 year olds in the larger body of the church. It's small, family-style'ish and full of really engaging thoughts and conversations.

"Church"

Church makes an impression on us. Whether it’s four walls, a company of congregants, or a “Turn our way, or Burn” bumper-sticker, church and its fringes cause us to think thoughts and conjure associations with God.

That being said, my sister and her husband aren’t the church-going type. So logically, they aren’t raising their one-year-old as the church-going type either.* And I respect that, and even empathize with the resistance.

Based on the family pattern though, Avery will view Auntie Abbie as “the religious one in the family.” Respectfully speaking, then, what impressions do I hope to lend? How do I hope to bring her to church, without bringing her to a church? What do I hope Avery associates with our time together, or with what characteristics do I hope she interacts? Here’s my current list:

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Generation Z

Asked in a recent interview what I thought churches should do to keep their college students coming, I answered, “Let them go.” The interviewer looked at me like I was high.

For all intents and purposes, college is a time of exploration, and “walking away” from the ideology that’s held you for eighteen-odd years. That is a fact. And frankly, I don’t think a negative one.

Embarking on any dream, let alone new life stage, requires loosing from that which is current. As I understand it then, our question cannot be one of “keeping” any particular part (age-stage, interest category, etc.), invested in our movements. Rather, it needs to ask our most beneficial investment in their movements and exploration. How can we as “the Church,” serve into another’s journey? How can I, as part of the Church, see dignity enough in another’s journey to validate its ways and embrace its movements as part of my own?

Like it, or not, we are one Body. All who claim to follow Jesus are part of one Bride. That means the rebellious college student, who is unsure, or even resistant to his/her role, as much as the elderly usher whose the first to arrive every Sunday. We get tripped-up walking down the aisle though, because we prefer uniformity and want our stride to be the one who’s chosen.

But that’s not the way love walks.

God calls us His Bride. Not His sick, incomplete, or naked Bride, until dressed in uniformity, but His Bride. Period. She is. We are. No part is greater. No voice is partial. And all parts make the only whole. The question is not about holding-on to anybody, but letting go enough that everybody feels free to fly.

The Church’s job is not to put walls around people—it’s to love.

Judging by history, Generation Z will be no different than any who has gone before. They’ll rebel against the generation who raised them, including the Church. They’ll want to be different. They’ll want us to be different. And God will be at work, in spite of our differences.

What would it look like to reserve our usual energies of becoming more relevant, or becoming less different, and actually start learning how we might relate in our differences—not because one is necessarily right, but because maybe being right doesn’t necessarily matter? Maybe being the Body of Christ isn’t about trying to make all our parts one, but learning to see one Body in all our parts.

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