Tuesday, February 26, 2008

more music

and while we're blogging about music that inspires proper rage and hope...while discovering some great you tube larry norman clips i came across martyn singing one of my favorite songs of recent years.

how did we end up here.

the passing of a great american rocker

i read today that Larry Norman died over the weekend.  i grew up in a home where Norman's music could be heard often (along with singers like barry mcguire).  Larry Norman provided tunes for the soundtrack of the Jesus movement, a movement that has created the space for our generation to explore so freely the kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven.

in recent years our friend Martyn Joseph covered a brilliant tune of Norman's, 'the great american novel' - you can see martyn perform the song here.  and you can see Larry performing the song here.

Thanks for your prayers

I wanted to take some time to thank everyone who has been praying for me as I've been going through a very difficult period in my relationship with JFK (John). In the last week I have really felt those prayers in a very amazing way. From my point of view there is no other way to explain how my compassion for John has been renewed and my heart softened toward him. The same issues still persist and we've still got a lot of things that we need to work through and address. However, I feel like my attitude has really been transformed from one of fatigued, demand oriented complaining, to one of renewed concern for John's health and well-being and compassion toward him. This could only be the work of the Holy Spirit, through the prayers of the saints, because nothing else has really changed about the situation. I've still had to put up with the daily demands (very high demands) of loving someone who still generally tends to live in his own world and doesn't seem to possess the capacity to understand how much it hurts me when I really want to connect with him but cannot. Though I still see the issues in pretty much the same way as I did two weeks ago, the thing that has changed is that I've been able to begin putting my focus more squarely upon John's well-being and taking it off of myself and how I feel. There is no way that this could have happened for me if I did not have a loving community of people who listen to me when I am struggling, encourage me when I'm weak, and pray for me when I'm finding it difficult to pray. The road ahead is a long one. But because of the presence of the body of Christ around me it is a road that leads through my own personal "Jerusalem's" to the promised land on the other side. Thanks........you know who you are.....

Friday, February 22, 2008


This is a really neat organization, a little bit like Kiva, that does some very cool work in different areas around the world. Check it out when you have the chance.


Friday, February 15, 2008

we love mountains

some of us spent a bit of our valentines day in front of the kentucky capitol building in frankfort rallying for the end of mountain top removal. these are just a few photos from the excursion. there was a wonderful turnout. i heard that there may have been around 1,000 people.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

i love mountains

if you are able, please come to Frankfort this Thursday to show support for the 'stream saver' legislation

more information at the KFTC site

...and for more details including an amazing video and how YOU benefit from coal mining see www.ilovemountains.org

kingdom moment

right now i am very proud to be an australian.  the new government has made some remarkable steps toward reconciliation with the indigenous people of australia.  i don't think it is an overstatement to suggest that we are getting glimpse of the kingdom coming.

for the full story, see this link.  and for a look at the apology speech, see this link.  with so much bad history being made throughout the world we need not let this wonderful history-making escape us.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

not love

a few weeks ago i shared this with the community at one of our high st gatherings.  some people had asked for a copy so here it is.  i took it from a brilliant sermon by Joe Dongell at Asbury Theological Seminary (you can down load the sermon from itunes - enter Joe's name and some of the following details and it should show up...09-18-2007 "Chapel sermons from the Kentucky campus of Asbury Theological Seminary").

it is a stirring collection of challenges that has been a good contrast to our careful reading of 1 Cor 13.


Our un-love (our immaturity in love) is exposed when:

A word of correction absolutely floors us and we think life is not worth living anymore


When we constantly require delicate tip-toeing treatment from others


When we have trouble admitting that ideas and reflections that we have not generated are actually pretty good


When we gauge our worth by comparing ourselves with others and end up feeling secretly relieved when certain other people fail or have a hard time…and slightly sick to our stomach when other people succeed


When we presume that our own motives are absolutely pure but then ferociously dissect the possible motives of other people with a robust cynical imagination


When we find ourselves obsessing about fairness and are driven to distraction in campaigning to right every single wrong against ourselves


When we are quite delighted in our spectacular demonstrations of love and sacrifice for others but are deeply hurt when our successes are not publicly recognized


When we demand forgiveness from others for our faults but grant forgiveness to others in tiny slivers, tipped with poison


When we advocate tirelessly for justice and mercy, or solid theology, or cultural sensitivity (or whatever it is) while leaving a trail of broken relationships in our own wake


When in hearing a list like this we immediately think of all the other people who needed to hear this list without considering that I might be the man, that I might be that woman.

Friday, February 08, 2008

good words from paul

good words. especially in response to sherry's thankfulness post.

don't fret or worry. instead of worrying, pray. let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. it's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

summing it all up, friends, i'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, no the ugly; things to praise, not to curse. put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

african diary

Ty and Lisa Samson made it back from their trip to Africa.  Ty has posted some wonderful photos here.

bleeding heart evangelicals

this article was in the sunday NY Times.

thought it was a great piece.

February 3, 2008, Op-Ed Columnist

Evangelicals a Liberal Can Love


At a New York or Los Angeles cocktail party, few would dare make a pejorative comment about Barack Obama’s race or Hillary Clinton’s sex. Yet it would be easy to get away with deriding Mike Huckabee’s religious faith.

Liberals believe deeply in tolerance and over the last century have led the battles against prejudices of all kinds, but we have a blind spot about Christian evangelicals. They constitute one of the few minorities that, on the American coasts or university campuses, it remains fashionable to mock.

Scorning people for their faith is intrinsically repugnant, and in this case it also betrays a profound misunderstanding of how far evangelicals have moved over the last decade. Today, conservative Christian churches do superb work on poverty, AIDS, sex trafficking, climate change, prison abuses, malaria and genocide in Darfur.

Bleeding-heart liberals could accomplish far more if they reached out to build common cause with bleeding-heart conservatives. And the Democratic presidential candidate (particularly if it’s Mr. Obama, to whom evangelicals have been startlingly receptive) has a real chance this year of winning large numbers of evangelical voters.

“Evangelicals are going to vote this year in part on climate change, on Darfur, on poverty,” said Jim Wallis, the author of a new book, “The Great Awakening,” which argues that the age of the religious right has passed and that issues of social justice are rising to the top of the agenda. Mr. Wallis says that about half of white evangelical votes will be in play this year.

A recent CBS News poll found that the single issue that white evangelicals most believed they should be involved in was fighting poverty. The traditional issue of abortion was a distant second, and genocide was third.

Look, I don’t agree with evangelicals on theology or on their typically conservative views on taxes, health care or Iraq. Self-righteous zealots like Pat Robertson have been a plague upon our country, and their initial smugness about AIDS (which Jerry Falwell described as “God’s judgment against promiscuity”) constituted far grosser immorality than anything that ever happened in a bathhouse. Moralizing blowhards showed more compassion for embryonic stem cells than for the poor or the sick, and as recently as the 1990s, evangelicals were mostly a constituency against foreign aid.

Yet that has turned almost 180 degrees. Today, many evangelicals are powerful internationalists and humanitarians — and liberals haven’t awakened to the transformation. The new face of evangelicals is somebody like the Rev. Rick Warren, the California pastor who wrote “The Purpose Driven Life.”

Mr. Warren acknowledges that for most of his life he wasn’t much concerned with issues of poverty or disease. But on a visit to South Africa in 2003, he came across a tiny church operating from a dilapidated tent — yet sheltering 25 children orphaned by AIDS.

“I realized they were doing more for the poor than my entire megachurch,” Mr. Warren said, with cheerful exaggeration. “It was like a knife in the heart.” So Mr. Warren mobilized his vast Saddleback Church to fight AIDS, malaria and poverty in 68 countries. Since then, more than 7,500 members of his church have paid their own way to volunteer in poor countries — and once they see the poverty, they immediately want to do more.

“Almost all of my work is in the third world,” Mr. Warren said. “I couldn’t care less about politics, the culture wars. My only interest is to get people to care about Darfurs and Rwandas.”

Helene Gayle, the head of CARE, said evangelicals “have made some incredible contributions” in the struggle against global poverty. “We don’t give them credit for the changes they’ve made,” she added. Fred Krupp, the president of Environmental Defense, said, “Many evangelical leaders have been key to taking the climate issue across the cultural divide.”

It’s certainly fair to criticize Catholic leaders and other conservative Christians for their hostility toward condoms, a policy that has gravely undermined the fight against AIDS in Africa. But while robust criticism is fair, scorn is not.

In parts of Africa where bandits and warlords shoot or rape anything that moves, you often find that the only groups still operating are Doctors Without Borders and religious aid workers: crazy doctors and crazy Christians. In the town of Rutshuru in war-ravaged Congo, I found starving children, raped widows and shellshocked survivors. And there was a determined Catholic nun from Poland, serenely running a church clinic.

Unlike the religious right windbags, she was passionately “pro-life” even for those already born — and brave souls like her are increasingly representative of religious conservatives. We can disagree sharply with their politics, but to mock them underscores our own ignorance and prejudice.

I invite you to comment on this column on my blog, www.nytimes.com/ontheground. On the blog, you can also see readers setting me straight about previous columns and read posts from guest bloggers, including a Chicago teacher, Will Okun, and an aid worker in Bangladesh, Nicki Bennett.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

questioned by scripture

in the fourth chapter of corinthians, paul asks a simple but piercing question to that struggling community - "what do you have that you did not receive?"

after recently reading a book on gratitude i was particularly primed for the pointed conviction of that question.  i've found that if i don't stop and give thanks for at least three things a day (something we are now doing with isaac, our four year old) my attitude is so quickly derailed.  and even with only a month passing since reading "thanks", i've slipped back into my rut of a bad attitude with quick and easy resentment of circumstances or people, and worse, my own sense of entitlement.

so this morning this question sat on me with great weight.  at the end of my considerations i could not come with anything, not anything, that is not a gift of grace in my life.  i felt rightfully put in my place, and thankful.


Friday, February 01, 2008

mud cookies

for days this story has been haunting us.  it is staggering to me, completely unreal, that just south of this country, which is suffering from an epidemic of obesity, people are forced to eat that which is inedible.

haitians eat mud cookies

Reflections on needing to take a moment...

A day saunters by at its own pace,
a lazy journey through a calendar year.
Days and nights, the slow inhale and exhale
of the lungs of Father Time - deep breaths
of perfumed aromas of Mother Nature.
Spring, summer, winter, fall Four rhythms,
four drum beats of the day's heart.
The cadence beating rhythm - birth of
life, sustenance of the fruitful harvest,
slowing the rapid growth, burying the waste of day's end.
Yet we. Here in our offices, with day planners, business
meetings, and stimulant and sleeping pill cocktails
violently rush through days as though they were a
commodity quickly dissipating.
We use and abuse the minutes regulated to our
spans. For in birth we take a breath and in
death return that breath, neglecting the pause
that establishes rest and reflection between
the inhale of life and the exhale of death.