Friday, June 29, 2007


Today I found out some news about a close friend of mine. He made a choice that essentially is going to destroy his life, his marriage, his job. I am still in and out of the grace of shock and the pain and anger of the bursts of reality that flicker in and out of my mind like a flourescent light bulb ready to expire. When news like this comes, what are we supposed to do? I feel the utter sense of helplessness in this situation; all I can do is pray. That sounds so weak, yet I have to believe that there is still hope in the situation. Driving to and from work and lunch, my mind went back and forth like a tennis ball in a tennis match; I simply couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that this decision is utterly going to wreck his life. And then there is the anger that is surfacing because of the lies that he's been telling me and our other four close friends. Of course, the question of whether or not we had been "accountable" enough came up, but at the end of the day, I think we can only be as accountable as the information we've been given. And then, fragility pops into my head while I'm framing a window on the house we're currently remodeling. You know, I live my life so care free sometimes; I make choices without regarding the consequences, then deal with them as they come, but most of my consequences are pretty minor. Granted, there have been the consequences that weren't so minor, but the Spirit of the Lord and my community have brought me through those. Yet, what do you do when you don't have community per se because you've moved eight hours away from the only community that you know and then made a life-destructive decision? So many questions, so much helplessness, little, yet present, hope against hope. Why? Why make such a decision knowing that if you're found out it's going to wreck you and the people closest to you? sometimes seems like a pane of glass; one decision, like a tossed stone, can shatter it. And then there are those who are there to help, cutting themselves on the shards lying at the feet of the broken.

glimpses from the footscray church

our adopted church during our time in melbourne is in footscray. we've loved this congregation and all its diversity and the surrounding area brimming with the color and movement of immigrants and refugees. there seems to be alot of creative energy and connection happening among several families living in the neighborhood and attending the church. from the church's bulletin this is a sample of one of their many efforts to be a community in mission:

slow down

"the theme of today's service is "slowing down." one of the most urgent challenges for christians in the rich nations of the west is to reject the idolatry of the fast-paced, 'in-it-for-what-i-can-get' consumer culture that rules our society.

while this culture is powerfully alluring, it is also powerfully destructive. it is the consumer economy that is driving the climate change that threatens the planet. it is the consumer economy that drives the growing gap between rich and poor across the world.

consumerism and work habits play a major role in family breakdown, breakdown of community, depression and addictive behaviours. in short, it is bad for the world and it is bad for us.

jesus said, 'i came that you may have life and have it in abundance.' can we trust god enough to look for true life outside our consumer culture?"

as a group of christians, one way they are exploring this prevailing issue of consumerism is through "household covenants." this covenant covers savings & investment, debt, giving, environment, consumption, poverty & marginalisation, work & sabbath. they've based the covenant on some work done by folks in the u.s. on sabbath economics. see this website for more information - we are looking forward to bringing some of this material home to share with our family in lexington.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sunday at Eloheh

Apologies that this was not announced in our High Street Meeting, but an important note is that the Lexington crew will be joining the Jessamine County folks at Eloheh this Sunday.

Original Message from Randy Woodley:

This Sunday, June 24th from about 2 PM 'til dark we will host a Baptism/Cherokee Water Ceremony for our children, Redbird and Young and will have a feast.

We will provide the meat and non alcoholic beverages and ask that if you are able, please feel free to bring a side dish, dessert, beer, wine, etc. We will be relaxing, roasting a lamb and a goat all day, and will eat at the house at about 6 PM. The ceremony will take place at our creek at about 5PM.

Bring your lawn chairs, swimming suits, suntan oil, beach balls, etc. and have a nice day relaxing. We will set up a slip and slide, kiddie pools (and one big enough for bigger kids like the adults to cool off in), and a sprinkler to run through. We'll also have a little hayride and a place for the kids to feed and pet baby goats and lambs.

The Woodley's farm is located at 1672 Brumfield Lane, south of Nicholasville. If you are in need of detailed directions, please call Lisa or Clinton at 252-4623.

New Poems

I have not written much poetry in quite some time. It seems to me that the academic process blocks much of my creative powers. Yet, the other day as I was reading a new book, "Through the Eyes of Another," I was struck by a quote detailing the difference between the hermeneutic of the ordinary reader and the hermeneutic of Biblical scholarship/exegetical work. The author wrote that the latter studies for knowledge and power and the former for hope and expectation, the former primarily made up of marginalized and oppressed people groups. So, the two poems here revolve around the idea of hope and expectation. I pray that, as a student of Biblical scholarship, my own desires would shift from knowledge and power to hope and expectation. The two are both untitled. I hope that they bless you all. Peace. Dan

Pink, orange, and yellow shades of twilight
linger here still at nine twenty in the evening.
Dusk makes no rush to push forward
the hands of time; impatience seems foreign today.

The smell of an ultralight cigarette hangs in the air,
evidence of shared conversation and lack of confidence.
And the most recent memories still echo laughter
off of the well acousticed walls.

A hole in the day, a moment of hope and expectation,
carved out of the wooden monotony of one hundred forty eight hours
passing fifty two times throughout a life span -
one brief hour full of love and light and contagious illumination.

Here we reach filthy hands deep into wells of water
that churns and turns and bubbles with life giving stuff,
and as we cup the fluid into our mouths, over our heads,
we drink, and are bathed, in something deeper than the blood we spill.

Here do I sit waiting, patiently or impatiently, I am unsure.
For what, I am certain. The strength of a yearning desire
to no longer search for knowledge and power
but to adventure into hope and expectation.

Here do I lay, shedding skins of past goals,
peeling away blinding scales of false promises -
denuded, born again naked before the only goal
for which any and all strivings are made worthy.

Here do I rest, brought to peacefulness, returned
to a brief moment of intimate darkness where all is settled,
save for the dust and ashes of something dead swirling
in a wind that I have never seen.

Here do I reach out, to touch that which gives life,
to be embraced by that which I can only touch
with the finger tips of my imagination
and caress and kiss with the often uttered prayers of my lips.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Follow up on the Kensington Fire

For those of you who are interested in how you can help in the wake of yesterday's Potter Street/Kensington fire that destroyed the Simple Way Community Center and many of their neighbor's homes, there is a link to a relief fund below. With characteristic compassion and swiftness they have moved to assist their neighbors and you can participate in that effort, or help with their own internal community needs as they seek to rebuild. Simply follow the link below to the Simple Way website and you will find more specific instructions there. Thanks....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Please pray for the residents of Potter Street

As some of you may already know, there was a major fire early this morning on Potter Street in Philadelphia where our dear friends from the Simple Way reside. I am deeply saddened to report that the Simple Way house at 3200 Potter Street was very badly damaged, and from what I've heard, has been condemned and will probably be torn down soon. I just got off the phone with Chris Lahr and he told me that apparently everyone is ok, though it sounds like Shane made a pretty narrow escape and everyone has lost a lot of valuable personal articles. I think that I can safely speak for anyone who has ever been to 3200 Potter when I say that we've all lost something that is a vital part of our unfolding communal story. This place has truly been one of the most important and life changing destinations for Christian pilgrims in America over the course of the last decade. I know that it is a vital part of my own experience of new birth, a vital part of my relationship with my wife and our understanding of who we are, and is place that has brought a tremendous amount of joy and holy challenge to many of the people that I love. So, I grieve this news, I grieve for our very dear friends at the Simple Way, and I grieve for the people of Potter Street and the surrounding areas. Few of us have the kind of amazing friendship and support network that the Simple Way has, and I know that we will all come around them to love and uphold them during this very difficult time. Meanwhile, I know that they will be loving their neighbors as they always have and doing what they can to assist them in the midst of their own grief and struggle, and I know that the rest of us will be honored to join them in this work. But for now I know that many of us simply want to give thanks that our friends are alright, to grieve for their (and our) loss, and to take some time to think about what that amazingly unlikely place, 3200 Potter Street, has meant to us.

Grace and Tragedy in Kensington

I just received word that there was a 7-alarm fire in Kensington this morning, which is the home of our friends at the simple way. Miraculously, no one was killed or seriously injured. However, their house at 3200 was destroyed. It was a home, a meeting place, an afterschool center. It had a beautiful mural created during the simples' 5-year party, an amazing mosaic in the bathroom, and hours upon days upon years of blood, sweat, tears, and laughter. Those of us who visited know how special it was.

We grieve with them, and pray for restoration of all that happened there, and thank God that no one died.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

free showing at the library

thanks to Dave Cooper for the following information....get down there if you can and perhaps someone can post a review/response.

The classic 1977 strip mining documentary film "In Memory of the Land
and People" will be screened tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 7:00 at the
downtown Lexington Public Library Theater. Admission is free,
sponsored by Lexington Environmental Action Project and Mountain
Justice Summer.

Following the film, filmmaker Bob Gates from Charleston, West Virginia
will lead a discussion and Q&A about his film.

I highly recommend seeing this unforgettable film.


Jim Webb, Station Manager of Appalshop’s WMMT-FM radio station says "I
will never have words for what that film did to me. It changed my
life…It broke my heart. I have not seen this movie in over 20 years but
I remember it indelibly. No one has seen it in way too long."

"Gates has expressively woven the visual action with the deep feelings
and dark furies of the music of 20th Century composer Bela Bartok, as
well as with the simple, melodic folk songs of Mike Kline and Rich
Kirby," said Greg Carannante, of Mountain Call.

"Unlike many documentaries, Gates's presentation includes no script or
narration. Rather, it is composed of a series of striking visual
images, skillfully photographed and artistically integrated. The voices
heard in the film are those of people who reside in regions where strip
mining has taken place, and describe in their own words its devastating
effects on their land and lives," said Elizabeth Lawrence, an
anthropologist at Tufts University.

The film has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and at
hearings held by the late Congressman Leo J. Ryan on Capitol Hill.
Most recently, the film was featured at the Appalachian Studies
Association 2007 annual conference in Maryville, Tennessee.

Gates says “When I was filming the crossing of Interstate 80 by the
"Mountaineer" shovel at the climax of the film, someone said to me over
my shoulder ‘It is a good thing these cannot operate in West Virginia’.
I said ‘just wait’.”

Dave Cooper
The Mountaintop Removal Road Show

Monday, June 18, 2007

a sort of death

since being here in melbourne sherry and i have enjoyed reading 'the monthly' magazine - a literature/news journal. this month clive hamilton has a small but interesting piece about consumerism and global warming. here's a clip from the website...

In the Monthly Comment, Clive Hamilton argues that the real obstacle to addressing global warming in Australia is not technological, nor even ideological, but psychological. The challenge demands, he argues, not so much a substantial cut in the nation’s wealth – something which climate-change sceptics have maintained – as a complete redress of the way in which we all consume, and hence in our very identity.

“In consumer societies such as ours, consumption activity is the primary means by which we create an identity and sustain a sense of self. If, in order to solve climate change, we are asked to change the way we consume, then we are being asked to change who we are – to experience a sort of death. So desperately do we cling to our manufactured selves that perhaps we fear relinquishing them more than we fear the consequences of climate change.”

...also, as a special father's day treat sherry took me to see the documentary, "a crude awakening: the oil crash" (don't we know how to have fun!)

it's kind of "the inconvenient Al" movie for peak oil. very informative and worth catching with that special person. but ride your bike to the theatre.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

lessons about neighborhood

recently, geoff and i had the pleasure of meeting a professor at whitley college of divinity in melbourne named simon carey holt. he teaches spirituality and practical theology. on the side he's a chef, husband and father. he's just published a book, "god next door: spirituality & mission in the neigbourhood." it is an excellent book and we highly recommend it (although i'm not certain if it is available outside oz). from it we are learning alot as he is providing us with a well-researched, well-thought out missional and theological framework for the way we live in our neighborhoods, with our neighbors. in reading it, we can't help but think of the faithfulness of our friends in communality who are occupying places in lexington with a hope and life that seeks the shalom and well-being of the city.

here is an excerpt in which simon summaries the spirituality of neighborliness in scripture:

1. love of god and love of neighbour are a package

2. to love the neighbour is to act justly, compassionately and selflessly

3. real neighborliness is inclusive and offered without prejudice

4. the neighbourhood is a place of god's presence

5. the neighbourhood is an important place of ministry

6. neighbourliness and neighbourhood continue to have an important connection (the primacy of our most imediate environments)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

better people

we had posted this on our personal blog but thought it deserved the higher calling of an ashram post. a great song by xavier rudd (a folk instrumentalist/singer from melbourne).
it inspired us to be 'better people'

night with the psalters

what a fun wednesday night at the browns! i love that picture of ezekiel. he was sitting patiently in that chair in the front row for a while before the psalters even started playing. that's dedication. thanks again, brown family. thanks to the psalters. we had a great crowd.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

transport for refugees

check out this wonderful article about refugees and bicycles
make sure you follow the link to see and hear the slideshow and commentary...(CG and Lis have their place featured also).

brad flowers has done outstanding work in applying his faith to seek the welfare of his (our) city of Lexington. we feel encouraged and inspired by the communality tribe and the many and varied ways they all engage faithfully in service and compassion, no matter what their day jobs.

see the following links for more articles that feature BF in relation to bike advocacy..
bike trail advocacy
yellow bike program
yellow bike program 2
"the ride on vine"

Monday, June 11, 2007

good words from merton

"Give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone.

For there is only one thing that can satisfy love and reward it, and that is You alone."

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions Press, 1961: 45.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Burning My Prayers

One night, I needed a tangible way to get rid of some of the things with which I was struggling. This was my offering of prayer to the Lord.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Take these burdens from my back.

Burn them in fire,

and let them retire.

Somewhere in eternity.

In nomine Patris,

et Filii,

et Spiritus Sancti,