Monday, June 26, 2006

Adieu, Gentle Readers. Adieu

Ok, like so many of my blogging compatriots, I'm taking my blog down. I am not leaving the net, that most beautiful of places, altogether, though. I'm going to do something for just my writings-in-progress, so let me know if you'd be interested in that (it will be the private-on-the-downlow-tip sort of thing since it will be pretty personal). I need to write regularly and have people know that I'm doing it so that I'll continue, but it won't be for the whole world.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ummm.... Yeah....

You see, what had happened was... ;)

Ok, so it's been about two months since my last blog. I do have sufficient blogger's remorse, but there really has been a good reason: my life pretty much sucks. I promise you, dear readers that I have simply spared you the pain and suffering that has been my waking hours. As a quick for instance, this weekend I got my first one of these (I think). Although mine was nowhere near as cool as the ones on that page, it hurt like nobodies business. Yeah, I cried like a kid who just found out about Santa and got kicked in the junk at the same time.

However, I've decided I can do nothing but share it all. Some of my friends are uber-sharers and I probably won't go that route, but seriously if I wait for something really awesome to share, it may be a while ;)

So get ready, all three of you who read my blog! It will be bloggerific!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

And Back to the Status Quo

Well, so my job turned out to be me making laps around Goodwood Hardware, straightening the store over and over and over, helping customers and never sitting down. Well, after 10 hours of this the first day and 8 hours the next two, my feet were red and swollen and my "pinky" toes were twice their size. I would get home and not be able to walk without lots of creaking and pain. I mean, I'm 30, but that's not supposed to be THAT old. All this for $6.50 an hour.

The original plan was to do this until I could find something else, but then a weird thing happened. They started counting on me. Apparently they had about 10 people in the past few months come in and leave within a month and asked me pretty much every hour if I was coming the next day. Well, two things became obvious. #1: I was not planning on this job being a long term commitment. #2: I was feeling more and more guilty every time I said yes. So I went to Kelly Services, whom I'd worked for before, on Monday. They set up a time for me to test on computer skillz and said they could find me something asap. So, I quit my other job because the guilt and my feet were killing me and I'm waiting on a new job. Conventional wisdom is that you don't quit one thing before you have something new, but they were getting ready to change people's jobs because of me and I just couldn't have that on my conscience.

So, back to being unemployed for the moment, but hopefully that will change soon. I don't want to get too depressing here, but there are parts of being in Baton Rouge that really suck, and the job market for anything other than what I could have gotten straight out of high school is one of them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Finally Employed!!!!!

Yay, I finall got a job! I can eat again! Well, my job is with Goodwood Hardware, it's about a block from my apartment and good times will be had by all. I start tomorrow and am not entirely sure what I'll be doing, but I will be able to pay rent and keep looking for other things that may be out there, too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

TV thy name is Awesome

Well, it's been a while since I posted, even though I promised one that would be the next day from my last post. It turned out that Josh was using that other use of the "Ring" for his sermon, so I just let him go for it instead of doubling up (yeah, I know only five people read this blog, but I just felt the need to defend my lack of posting).

Anyway, due to the prodding of friends, I have returned to the blogosphere and would like to write about something truly near and dear to my heart: television. Ok, I know a lot of people think being a couch potato is not the way to live your life, but I'm a rebel. So let me defend my addiction to the masses (as any good addict will). As a medium, television has changed in the past few years, becoming a much more interactive undertaking. It's no longer sitting and passively receiving, it's voting, downloading,and podcast commentaries that come out free on the day of the shows. So with that said, I'd like to bring out my addictions:


This show is awesome for many reasons. I love sci-fi and fantasy as genres especially because they can make all sorts of comments about our world today without any 1:1 ratios. It forces you to be creative with your messages and allows the audience to debate issues in a way that is removed from the "heat" of the present situation. A fanatically religious group devoted to a single god attacks a secular group with a loose affiliation to several gods. The attacks of course stir up all sorts of religious and moral questions, causing many in the "secular" group to recover hidden religious leanings put away long ago as silly but no giving hope. Sound sort of familiar?

The other reason I love this show is that for most (not all, but most) of the shows you can download a free podcast commentary from the executive producer each week. You can watch the show with the exec producer telling you the ins and outs of the characters, what went well and what didn't with the show. This is what audiences will soon be looking for in all of their shows. They want to interact, they want to break the fourth wall and see what's behind the wizard's curtain.

Also, they have the best portrayal of political inner workings since the West Wing.


Ok, this is simply the funniest show on television. It's as awkward as the UK version, but really has taken its own direction. It is so spot on in its portrayal of office life. It's not like Cheers or Friends or any other sitcom you can think of. Life at work, if we were to watch you, would just be BORING. That's why you should never (well, almost never) share stories from work that you are just convinced are hilarious. They're just not funny and always come under the heading "had to be there".

Anyway, the other reason I just love this show is that two of the people on the show do blogs. One in character, Dwight Schrute's Schrute Space, and one from the actress Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam. Pam also has a myspace account in character. Look up Pam from Scranton, PA. There's a fake one there, too, more of a fan page, but there's one that is real. I think this just shows the other side of interactivity. The people who are actually doing the shows love to get in on the action as well. They don't have to do stuff like that, they just think it's fun. You can tell Jenna's is for real, because in all honesty it's kinda boring. So awesome.

These are my two big addictions these days. Let me know about yours and why.

Monday, January 09, 2006

What's in a Name?

I've been thinking a lot about the Ring lately. Most of my time has been directed toward community groups and praying for ways to strengthen the community that is the Ring, but some of it has been broader in scope, asking even what it means to be "The Ring". What does the very name mean? How does it form and inform what we do as a community and how we define ourselves? I think for a long time we defined it as the thing we would put people into, if that makes sense. We were certainly not alone, as this is the generally accepted method for churches around the world.

As we've been giving it more thought, though, it seems that there are some different components to this name and what it might mean for us as a community. One of these new components we've discussed before and I'll post it again tomorrow night. For now, though, I'd like to talk about the Ring not so much as a "thing" or a "place" but as an aural reminder of a different reality.

Just as we're called to be salt and light, and even a pleasant aroma, I think the Ring is representative of our community simply sounding like good news to Baton Rouge. The picture I got while thinking about this was of the phones in The Matrix. When it begins, the phone ringing opens up a world of mystery for Neo and for us as the audience as well. There's a new reality lurking on the other side of that ring and Neo has to answer it and trust the message.

It takes a couple of times for the message to sink in, which is kind of important, too, but we'll talk about that stuff later ;) Towards the end of the movie, though, that ringing becomes more and more important. It's life or death, and when the people hear it, it brings simultaneously a sense of relief and urgency.

Can we be that sort of community? One that proclaims the Kingdom as good news and the truth of reality, even when it is unseen? When people are around us, do they feel drawn to the sense of relief we offer, or are we the type of "ring" that just annoys people. Do we sound off at the most inappropriate moments? Are we offering our world grace and hope? More importantly at the moment, are we the type of community that gives them freely to each other?

I think the choice is ours, we can be The Ring for Baton Rouge, a community being affected daily by the Kingdom. All we have to do is point to it, to how we see God moving to heal and redeem BR and the world, and to trust in His Kingdom when it seems more invisible than ever.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Been around the world...

Ok, so in the past three months I have gone from California to Louisiana to Mississippi to Louisiana to California to Louisiana to Mississippi to Louisiana to Tennessee to Ohio to Louisiana.

I am a bit tired. Coming back from Ohio, I was going to stay the night in Memphis on New Year's Eve, but when it came down to it, I just wanted to be in my own bed and act like I actually LIVE somewhere for at least a few days. I am weary and a bit worn down, but I am here in Baton Rouge and here I will stay (until I feel God calling me somewhere else).

So, now that I have a home (I've even paid rent already), there are a few things that will need to be accomplished:

1. Find a job. I have a few potential leads, but as of now I am unemployed. To give you an idea of the Baton Rouge job market, Lebraix put my resume in at his office for a Coordinator position and they already had about 60 applicants, including a couple of PhD's.

2. Help start a church. I moved here mainly because the Ring, the ministry I worked with before I left for California, is (finally) becoming a church. Since my degree has been in basically forming Christian communities in North America, I think this might be a good fit ;) As long as I was in CA, anything of worth that I learned would be immediately applied to the Ring and how we can respond to God's work in Baton Rouge. It's a little easier said than done, though, when you live a few states away. Now that I'm here, I'm excited and ready to see how God is moving in each person here.

3. Connect/Reconnect. This is one of the harder things to do and one of the easier things at the same time. My friends here in Baton Rouge have been so gracious and loving to me, even when I've been a bit flaky. In Sierra Madre, pop. 10,000, I basically hung out with my neighbors, my roommate(s), Brooke and Jillian. Although this may seem boring, it was awesome. In Baton Rouge, pop. 350,000, I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the people I get to hang out with here. It will be very easy to hide away in cave, but I guess I'll have to get over the introvert thing and meet new people as well as fit back into the lives of everyone I knew before. This is where the whole weariness thing really shows up, though.

That's basically life right now, I think I'm going to start throwing out more discussion-based posts in the next couple of weeks, especially as I'll want to start bouncing ideas off of as many people as possible. I'm also starting to work on my own little website, but I think it will be a while still before I get to finish anything with that. I don't know if you know this, but it helps with web stuff if you actually know what you're doing. Crazy but true!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Two Worlds Meet

Butte La Rose (or as I call them, Brooke, Cooper and Reed) is/are playing in Lafayette on Dec. 21. For all of you in Louisiana, this is your chance to win my undying love and affection. I know you have been craving it, so here's your "in". They're definitely in the "Y'allternative" vein I'm digging these days, so if you like good music, go check them out. If they suck it up, I never liked them.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Why I Heart L.A.

Ok, so now that I'm officially moving, I'm getting all sappy and nostalgic about my adopted home of L.A. I really know that no matter what I do, I'll always come back here for at least a little bit of time. Whether it's from the writing thing or just to leech off of Brooke as part of her entourage, this place will always feel comfortable.

Not that it started out that way, mind you. I'll tell that story soon, but let's just say that moving to L.A. is like getting hazed by the worst fraternity imaginable. Once you get through the hazing, though, you are definitely a part of it all. Nobody's actually from here, so they have to develop a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Anyway, this week's highlights are why I love L.A. Thursday we got to see Harry Potter thanks to my friend Amy's job. She works at the Children's Hospital here and a group named Reel Angels was able to get a preview screening even before the midnight showing. They work to bring movies that are currently in the theatre to kids who can't leave the hospital. I'm a total HP Nerd (among other types of nerd), so we got a big kick out of watching it.

Saturday, we had a wedding shower for my roommate and his fiance. It was down in a part of L.A. called Los Feliz, which is a few miles closer to the ocean than our apt. in Sierra Madre. This closeness means that even though L.A. had a random November heat wave (getting up to the 90s), we just had the windows open and the breeze made it the perfect climate for partying down. Even though Baton Rouge doesn't exactly get a winter either, I just can't get over the weather here.

Sunday I went to go see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It was an ok flick, but a big part of it was making fun of L.A. Until you actually live here, you don't get how much the movie/TV industry completely rags on L.A. It's like seeing this whole other level beneath the surface. Although L.A. really does have everything (except chik-fil-a), you can tell how bitter many people are that they have to live here and fight traffic and put up with celebrity buttholes on every corner. This makes for some very sarcastic humor, which is the best kind!

And last but not least, if it were not for L.A. I would have missed out on Matisyahu! This may not be for everyone, but a Jewish Reggae singer is too awesome to resist for me. Check him out, a lot of his stuff is very spiritual and is actually done well. I have the Live at Stubb's album and have listened to it non-stop this week.

Oh Los Angeles, how I will miss thee!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

LA and L.A. Coincidence? I think not.

So, I think I've mentioned it before, but there is a random group of Louisianans and Louisiana-affiliates (such as myself) out here and L.A. and one of the great outcroppings of that wonderful meeting of the minds is the band Butte La Rose. (I do not mean to imply in that last sentence that I have anything to do with their inception, just mentioning that there's a random Louisiana crew out here who let me tag along with them at times).

I've mentioned them before, but they didn't have a name then, I think. Well, go check out their myspace page HERE. I really dig them and maybe we can get them to come to BR one day and play some music for us!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Also, long posts come from those who slack.

Ok, I've got a lot to do, which is of course the perfect time to escape to blog land and write write write things that will neither get me good grades nor further my career. Ah, the gentle tap-tapping of keyboard self-sabotage, is anything sweeter? ;) So, here's the brief update:

1. I'm back in California, and it's nice to be home. Brooke and I caught Shopgirl last night and it was very good, and of course the midnight showing of Harry Potter is Thursday night, so a bunch of us are hitting that. For a person like me, who loves movies of all type, L.A. has certainly been the place to be. I will miss going to little movies like this, especially at a place like the Arclight . L.A. is just one of the few places that doesn't make me feel stupid for loving movies as much as I do, and it's always a good feeling for your habits to be appreciated by other addicts!

2. Things to get done for school: First, I'm still editing my mini-documentary, which turned out to focus more on Pascagoula and its recovery from Katrina than I had expected. I'd really like it to be great, so I'm taking my time with it (this is what all great procrastinators say, don't believe any of us). Second, I'll have to write a 15-20 page paper on the whole process as well. That's actually the easy part, sad to say. Third, I have a distance class-by-tape that I slacked on and am nowing paying the price of half-days in the library. Once I have finished listening to ten weeks worth of tapes, I can then write my paper and take two tests on the material. YAY!

3. Things to get done so I won't starve in the future: A big part of what I did at my old job was editing dissertations. I actually enjoyed it a lot and have the opportunity to continue doing that more as a freelance person. I can even do this from Baton Rouge, which would be NICE, as I could then have at least one source of income lined up before I move. I have to do a sample of my work and turn it in, though, which has become yet another thing to procrastinate on.

Although it's on the hush hush, a friend of mine has asked me to help him on a project that I'm pretty excited about. I've got an idea of how to make the project very good, but we're all still in the very "vague" phase of things and it's hard to steal time from the above list to really concentrate fully on this, too. It could lead to a life of actually writing for a living though, and that's really the dream. I've come to realize that it's pretty much my only skill (other than the bowstaff, of course), and I should really spend a lot more time honing this craft and trying to make it work for me (rather than just blogging about it!)

4. (I number things so I don't go completely off track, which is always a possibility.) In the vein of trying to turn writing into an actual job, I went to the Screenwriting Expo this past weekend and loved it. Although the writer isn't exactly revered in Hollywood, this is what I'd really love to do. I went to a lot of workshops that were a bit over my head, but very helpful nonetheless, and heard Joss Whedon and William Goldman (imdb them, if you don't know they're work) and was really inspired just to create something, anything that affect people.

5. I get to move back to Baton Rouge and start working with the Ring again. I guess I've spent 2 1/2 years learning things at seminary for this specific goal, so this is working out well :) The Ring and Baton Rouge are definitely my sources of community and pretty much no matter what I do, they will be a part of me. I know that God really has a plan for the Ring as it moves into maturity, and I feel very priveleged to be able to help out there where I can.

Ok, so them's the facts. I'll be a better blogger. I swear. Really. Now that I've listed the myriad responsibilities on my plate, I better get to work. (And by get to work, I mean find another way to procrastinate!)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm Here!

Ok, I've been reminded that I should maybe mention my whereabouts. I am here in BR. I got in about 1:30 Tuesday morning and have been getting situated the past couple of days. I've been to the shelter at Southern and I think there will be some stuff to film. I got a camera yesterday and will fool around with it today to make sure everything will work fine. In the mornings, I'm getting on a schedule to finish my classwork stuff as well.

The shelter is due to close in a couple of weeks and there are still some people who are stranded without anywhere really to go. It's a sad situation and it's hard to really communicate how even though some things are returning to normal, there's still a LOT of stuff that has not progressed at all.

So, I'm here, mornings are for classwork and the afternoons are at the shelter, but my evenings should be open so give me a call/email to hang.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Practicum Revealed

Ok, after about 400 permutations, it looks like my practicum is finally set. It is soon to be in the long red-tape process and I appreciate your prayers for everything to work out smoothly. I was still looking to work stuff out for Sheffield, but a little ol' gal named Katrina sort of changed all that.

So it appears I'll be back in Baton Rouge pretty soon. I should be there around early to mid-October. It also looks like I'll get to do my practicum with the Ring, which will really save a LOT of time and allow for a LOT of creativity with the stuff I put together. Lebraix has been kind enough to house me and I'm gathering all the paperwork and signatures now.

The job search continues, but I'm doing a couple of things to (hopefully) string a few bucks together in the meantime. I've wanted to write for a while and have about half of a short story I'm finishing to submit as a sample writing thing and I'm sending queries out to see if I can't get some freelance work. One thing about your childhood home becoming unlivable and the town you considered a steady fallback suddenly doubling in size, it makes the outlandish dream plans you had seem not so crazy after all.

I'll start blogging more soon, even though I've only experienced about 1% of the frustration most people actually still in the Gulf Coast have felt, it's still been a bit daunting to try and plan anything for the future.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The weirdest celeb sighting yet

Ok, so we went to go visit my friends Sam and Amy, who have just gotten back from their honeymoon. Ready to explore their new neighborhood (in which Brooke also lives) and its many restaurants, we decide on a a little Italian place about two blocks away.

On the way down, and literally two doors away from Brooke's place, we see Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes hanging outside a Mexican restaurant smoking. Well, I was the only one who recognized them at first and didn't want to say anything, they deserve a moment of peace like the rest of us do. It was just kinda crazy. That is all.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Eddie Izzard

Ok, so Eddie Izzard was a guest at The Crazy Uncle Joe Show, an Improv show at the Groundlings theatre. It was hilarious. One of the odd but cool things about L.A. is that most of these clubs or theatres are TINY. Now it's sort of weird, because you just expect them to be huge, but it's awesome because no matter where you sit, you feel like you're right there. So, it was awesome, and I got in for free because of Brooke's feminine wiles (and her connection with the Groundlings).

Eddie was good, but the regulars were absolutely phenomenal, they did two different skits that revolved around suggestions from the audience and lasted about 45 minutes each. They constructed multiple stories in multiple timelines and wove everything in and out. I'll stop talking about it, since it was a bit of a "had to be there" sort of moment, but I just wanted to go on the record stating my love for both improv and eddie izzard.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Reed, Brooke and Cooper

Here's a link to the purevolume page featuring a couple of the songs Reed and Cooper Luckett and Brooke sang on: I was really impressed, so I'm doing all I can to spread the love.



Well, I was just reading Lebraix's question and was thinking it would be nice to actually have an update but there's nothing to tell. Then lo and behold I get an email from the Managing Editor saying they've got my application and for me to fill out the Affirmative Action info. Well, these always make me a bit nervous as a dime-a-dozen white male, but I'm still pretty excited that they've actually got my stuff and are looking to hire quick (as in end of September quick). So, please continue to be in prayer and we'll see what God is up to here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Prayer Request

Well, in my search for the doors God is leading me to (and hopefully through) as far as the future goes, I am applying to a couple of jobs at LSU. Please be in prayer that if it is His will that I go back to Baton Rouge that He'll make the path straight for me (because I need the big neon signs to tell me which way to go!). One of the jobs is an Editor position with LSU Press and there are a couple of opportunities in LSU's efforts to provide better multicultural services that I'm applying to as well. Again all your prayers (and bribes to LSU) are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Brooke Seguin, Supa Star

Monday I had an experience that reminded me of why I love L.A. Brooke's friend Reed had put together a few songs and was sining at Genghis Cohen and she and Reed's brother Cooper were backing him up. It was this little room that would hold about 40-50 tops on the side of this restaurant, and was just the way you want to see people. Large stadium shows are fly and all, but the more intimate the setting the better as far as I'm concerned.

So anyway, they were fantastic! The song that sticks out the most in my mind was "Hefty on a Huffy". The name speaks for itself. It was actually the very first gig, too, so when I found that out later it made the whole thing even cooler. The title of this is about Brooke, though, because I am now convinced more than ever that she will hit the big time and I need proof that I knew her way back when to ride her coat-tails to riches and fame. Seriously, I'm renaming the blog to BrookeFan#1. Ok, probably not, (because if there's one person I like more than Brooke it's me) but the thought still counts, right?

Anyway, good job, Brooke! If Reed ever needs a pretty good bass player, I'll make some calls. But if he needs a crappy one that will work for CHEAP, tell him to call me!

Friday, August 12, 2005

What's Everybody Listening To?

So I got an iPod free with my laptop and I've been addicted to iTunes ever since. I liked the subscription service Napster when I tried it out a while ago, but it was just too "buggy." So, tell me about what you're listening to these days. Here's two of my current faves:

1. Coldplay, X&Y - OK, so not the most original choice, but I do dig these guys. They're not breaking new ground, but they have achieved the formulae for building perfect pop songs. They are the perfect example of a line from Nick Hornby in High Fidelity (I'm pretty sure it's in the movie, too, but it's been a while) when the main character says, "I don't know if I'm miserable because I listen to pop music or if I listen to pop music because I'm miserable."
Other forms of music are more technical and at times more beautiful, but pop music really is about hitting the masses where they feel it, and this album is just that.

2. Badly Drawn Boy, One Plus One is One - If you don't know about BDB, he did the soundtrack for About A Boy. I really dig his music and can't this album out of my head. It was released last year, but still is "new to me" and I'd really recommend it.

So there you go, white boy uk indie rock is my recommendation du jour. Let me know what you're listening to these days so I can add it to my iPod! NOW!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

New Phone

Well, my new phone is finally here and I have discovered some fascinating things. First, apparently my wallpaper didn't save directily to my SIM card. Second, my camera on the phone has apparently never worked like it was supposed to. Not having ever had one before, I thought the overly fuzzy pics were just how they looked. So, expect some experimentation with the new camera (I don't have a digital cam yet) and I'll take some L.A. pics (because there's some weird stuff going on around here).

Monday, August 08, 2005

Ok, while I'm waiting on my phone I figured I'd share a bit about life as well. Life's pretty much up in the air, and I share this in the hopes y'all will keep me in your prayers these next few months (but no more than that, that would be weird). So here's my life:

School: I'm about 95% done with my degree, I have to finish up some papers for my intensive this summer, finish two "class-by-cd" classes, and set up and do my practicum. I'll be done with everything by the end of the year!!!

Practicum: Well, I'm putting together my proposal now, and if all goes well I'll spend 3-4 weeks in Sheffield, England. I want to put together a little documentary about the community they've formed and the ways they blend the small with the big, activism with Bible Study, etc. It's sad but kind of true that I feel the need to go overseas to really learn about community. A few of my friends here at Fuller have remarked a few times that Christians are friendly, but we don't necessarily make great friends.

Work?: Well, I'm still working at the DMin office, helping the new Final Project person and editing some of the papers. In a couple of weeks, I'll meet with another editor and see about doing editing professionally (where you have to file as self-employed and whatnot). That should pay my rent as I try to figure out what to do about life.

The Future?: This is the real biggie. I've got a few options and I'm waiting to see where the Lord is leading. I feel that the future is sort of intentionally hazy at the moment. If I knew what I would be doing I think I would spend more time thinking about it than I would finishing up what I have on my plate already. So, my options are:

PhD: Well, I'd have to do a LOT of stuff before January to apply here at Fuller. I'm looking at other programs as well, but I think I need to finish what I'm doing now before I concentrate on this.

Another Masters: Well, there's a school in the UK where I've found a program (or programme, as it were) in Religion, Ethics and Society that sounds really interesting.

Baton Rouge: Of course my heart is in BR as well as the people I dearly love. The main problem about going there is that I actually have to pay my student loans, so I can't just work at Starbucks (or my old gov. job) and still afford life. I'll have to find a career-type job when all I'd want to do is Ring stuff. I've done this before and it is NOT fun.

Stay in L.A.: Well, this is also a potential future, but God would definitely have to call me here by giving me a job because L.A. is not cheap and not the kind of place you want to hang out in if you don't know what to do with your life. Of course this could always be my opportunity to break into the biz ;) I'd love to write for a living, but so would 14 million of my closest friends here.

So, there's life. A bunch of stuff up in the air, and I'm sure there's a ton of stuff out of my field of vision that God has in store for me. Any advice? Like I said, prayers would be appreciated, because no matter where life takes me, it will have to be God guiding it.

New Phone !!!???!!!!

Well, I guess I post a lot of rather esoteric stuff here, so I figured I'd write a bit about my life here. Right now I'm waiting on the delivery of my new phone. "Great!" you may say, but here's the story:

Friday night Brooke and I went to see March of the Penguins, I also found out that Jillian has given up the ghost as it were and decided to move back to LA from L.A. Although this is sad times, a horrible incident was even sadder. As we were going up the escalator some threw something at me, knocking my phone out of my hand (or I just dropped it, I'm not sure which). I had to scramble to keep it from getting crushed.

Well the next morning I tried to use my phone and it was a no go. I'd used all my skillz to try and fix it (meaning I repeatedly took the battery out and put it back in, then tried to turn the phone on). Well, I went online and reported mine broken (I have the insurance) and I'm supposed to get it today. The funny thing is that AFTER I filled out all the forms, I put the phone back together and IT STARTED WORKING. Well, I couldn't stop the shipment and I'll have to pay some surcharge, but a new version of my old phone should be here within the hour.

Ok, so it's not a new house like Josh, but I'll take what I can ;)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

House Churches

Well, it's funny that this topic comes up this week when any other time I would have simply said that house churches rule. I'm still in process regarding them, but I think that house churches (or simple churches, as I think the two movements are pretty similar) are a good check to the impersonal nature of many churches that grow beyond 100 people. I think they are born out of the desire by many to actually live a whole LIFE of faith and that means inviting it into your homes (a thing you don't have to do with the majority of church systems). They are also a great way for people who love Jesus but hate the institutionalized church (or are hated by the institutionalized church) to remain in a faith community without putting up with all the BS.

I think the negative side of the house church movement is twofold. First, the house church movement often points to the early church as its model, where people met together in their homes daily to eat and share life. This is a bit of a mistranslation, however. It would be better to call those churches "household" churches rather than house churches. In those days the house was the family, extended family, slaves (who usually got off work in the evenings and could do what they wanted) and it was the center of commerce and trade. When we take that concept and move it directly into our suburban houses, we've missed the mark. Our concept of "house" and "family" are much narrower than the first century's.

This leads to the second negative aspect, house churches easily lose contact with the larger Body of Christ. I'm the last one to argue for stronger denominational ties, but there's a family aspect to each denomination (good and bad) that allows you to have a network across the country (and sometimes around the world) of fellow believers that you are connected to.

The problem is that you will often disagree with this larger body. Most of us here are of Southern Baptist affiliation and we all know that any time the convention says anything as a whole, it will alienate immediately half of its own members (e.g., outright attacks on homosexuality, the disney thing, support for the war in Iraq). It's much easier to do your own thing and separate from all of that junk.

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed the past few years away from the dominance of my own tradition where I can carve out what I believe is of Christ and what I believe is not of Christ. (The Reformed tradition is pretty prominent, but not tradition dominates Fuller, so pretty much all voices have to be heard). I will have to return to my tradition, though, soon. I have sojourned beyond its borders, but it is the place in which my family resides. This is the negative side of the house church: you don't have to put up with people you disagree with, and thus you are never challenged and you do not grow.

There is a more personal growth that happens in house churches, though. Your life becomes intimately interwoven with your group's and you will be challenged to integrate your faith into every aspect of your life as you invite more and more personal scrutiny and accountability into it. A denomination won't do that for you. And certainly, if you are in a region of the world that is hostile to the faith, the house church is the way to go.

So.... After that very long set of paragraphs. I think that house churches as we know them today only get it half right. I think that our churches today for the most part only get it half right as well. I wouldn't propose a simple merging of the two, but I'd propose a model like St. Thomas' in Sheffield ( where they have small groups, clusters (the missing element), and large celebrations. This is what we spent our week on in class and I'll talk more about this stuff soon. St. Toms is also where I'm trying to do my practicum, so I wanted to put a little plug in there for them, too ;)

Ok, back to you Speck :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Well, this week I'm in another intensive class and it's all about discipleship and "postmodern/emerging" churches. The first two days have been a conference and although the stuff is outstanding, it's not very "postmodern". It's based on different shapes that are symbols reflecting different aspects and patterns of discipleship. Visit their site at NOW! ;)

Normally I'm VERY suspicious of any sort of methodological approach that is packaged so neatly (purpose driven life, anyone?), but this stuff is fantastic. (P.S. I'm not really slamming the purpose driven life because my friend Asako became a Christian, the only one in her family, after reading it.)

Due to possible copyright infringement ;) I'll just share one thing about this that have really got me thinking:

Mike, the author of the books and former pastor of St. Thomas Moore Church in Sheffield, talked a lot about their evangelism strategy. They focus on what he calls finding the "person of peace". This is from Jesus sending out of the 12 and the 72, telling them to find a person who will welcome them and stay with that person.

Many of our evangelism teachings tend toward the other direction, however. We tend to say, "I need to find a person who doesn't like Christianity, Christians, the Church, etc., and prove them wrong by showing them what a great person I am."

Jesus seems to offer an easier path (a lighter yoke, if you will), and says, "Find people who like you and share with them. When people don't like you (for whatever reason), dust off your shoes and keep walking."

It seems very simple, but it's how this church became the largest in North England and continues to grow today. They just kept their eyes open and people would come up to them and ask them how they could know God. God's doing the work and we harvest where we did not plant, but that's the beauty of it. It's never supposed to be about us, so we've got to stop planning our heroic conversion of that atheist and start spending time with people who seem to like us for no obvious reason.

Another thing he said that I really liked is that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. We have to get over ourselves and let people grow and make mistakes and even do things wrongly (or at least do them not how we think they should be done).

So, as I was challenged, I challenge you. Who is the person of peace God has placed in your life? There is a couple I met about a year ago, and the guy (whose name I cannot even remember) was extremely keen to hear as much as I wanted to tell him about Christianity. I'm praying now for him and his girlfriend that I will either cross paths again with them, or that God will send someone in their lives to share. It was so strange that I think I didn't share as much as I could have because it was disconcerting how interested he actually was. I don't know if any of you have ever felt like this, but it was almost too good to be true and I was thinking he was just being polite. I see now I was as dense as I usually am and am praying for God to open my eyes to the people who are hungering for the good news around me.

Monday, July 25, 2005

In & Out

Well, I've been in Mississippi and Louisiana and then made it back home just to start a one-week intensive. This class is all about discipleship, though, so I'll share SOON, stay tuned. Also, It's been brought to my attention by SEVERAL people that this blog gets a little "heavy" at times. I'll try to slip a fart joke or two in the mix ;)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mission to England

Missionary takes on tough test in darkest Telford

Shropshire town is among most secular in Britain

David Ward and Tom Edwards
Monday July 11, 2005
The Guardian

Telford, the Shropshire town named after the great engineer of the industrial revolution, is one of the most secular places in Britain, according to the Church of England: fewer than one in a hundred residents attends an Anglican church and adult churchgoing has declined by 20% in 10 years.

Now the Church Mission Society (CMS), in collaboration with the Lichfield diocese, has decided to send in a missionary who will start work among the 150,000 residents next month and stay for seven years.

Read the rest of the article HERE. This is the type of thing we're working on developing in the US, too, but they're a little further along in the UK.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Above Reproach Part Deux

From Megan: Here's my question:how does the attitude of my heart (teachability, humility, willingness to change) play into the process of learning what being above reproach means. Do we really have the ability to hold up the process? And how does that harm a ministry like the Ring? I'm not concerned with my being right as I am with the possibility of my leading others astray.

Well, I'll post my response, but what do we think?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Zeal Justifies the Means?

I wanted to add a bit to our ongoing discussion, THANK YOU everyone who's putting their two cents in!!!!! This is what I want this blog to be.

This is a quote from a book called The Ministry of the Spirit: Selected Writings of Roland Allen. He was alive from 1869 to 1947, so think about that as you read below:

Zeal Does Not Ensure the Propriety of the Means Which it Employs

We need to recognize that zeal for God is not a guarantee that the means used to express the zeal is divinely inspired. There was an age when Christians thought the sword a proper weapon for expressing their zeal and faith; but it did not follow that the sword was a proper weapon. Their zeal and faith had its reward; but growth in the knowledge of Christ taught us that the sword was not a fit weapon for the Spirit. So men today are earnestly desirous of following the guidance of the Spirit, and of revealing His power to men; and they employ these activities. Their faith and zeal is not lost: Christ's kingdom is advancing, men are being converted to Christ, Christ's Spirit is being shed abroad; but it does not follow that the activities are the proper weapon of the Spirit. Another age may learn to look upon our use of activities much as we look upon the use of the sword by an earlier age. Because in them money takes so prominent a place, ours may one day be known as the age of financial Christianity, just as we look upon that earlier age as the age of military Christianity. As we regard the sword so a later age may regard money. It may learn the wisdom of the Apostle and decline to use such an ambiguous weapon. If the sword was an ambiguous weapon which might easily confuse the issue, money and activities which depend upon money, are not less ambiguous and may as easily confuse the issue. The time is not yet full. We have yet to learn the consequences of our use of money.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Follow the Money

Ok, so Natalie just asked, "What do you think of churches who spend tons of money on facilities for their members or their community?"

This is another tricky one, but I really think some churches cross the line with this. The mandates are definitely (I feel) more on the "help the poor" side of things rather than the "build a cool club house" side. That's just personal opinion, though. There's always the tension between the "come and see" model vs. the "go ye therefore" model. I think there are two issues here that I think we should tackle:

1. Do we think that the church has a responsibility to provide a "sacred" space to the community? How far does this thought go? Should there always be a place to pray, like the Catholic or Orthodox churches offer the community? Should we build basketball courts, etc., for the community (or for ourselves)?

2. Lesslie Newbigin (a guy whom we ALL must read!!!) says that the local church is the hermeneutic of the gospel to the community it is within. Basically, the community only knows what the Gospel says by what the church does. I think we have a missional/evangelistic responsibility as the church to our community to handle whatever money God has given us prayerfully and with the realization that our actions are preaching to the world about who God is and what is important to Him.

Roland Allen (another must read) said that the same way we judge Christians in the Middle Ages as Military Christians, who "shared" their faith by conquering people, we will be judged in the future as Financial Christians, who depend far too heavily on money to be the prime element in our witnessing, serving, and mission activities. Allen said this around 1915. If it was true then, can you imagine how much more it applies to us today?

My second point (buried deeply as it is) is that we MUST work out what it means to deal with money in our contexts today. I think this is another part of the ongoing community exegesis our churches must engage in and we must have a philosophy of money, as our churches and our world is consumed with it. Richard Foster has a book called The Challenge of the Disciplined Life, which at first was called Money, Sex and Power. I think each church must deal with these three issues and what it means to have a Christian idea about each of these three issues.

I'll jump off the soap box now and whoever wants to jump on, please feel free!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Above Reproach

Well, the question has come up about what the phrase "above reproach" means. I think there are two guiding principles in the phrase itself that are important. It seems to deal with the public nature of a possible sin and/or the seriousness of the sin.

I think, though, that the answer won't be found as much in the phrase itself as it will be found in the community interpretation of the phrase. Each community needs to decide for itself what these standards are and should be. It shouldn't be just one person's interpretation or even a small group's interpretation of what it means, but the whole community must work through what it means to be above reproach in that community.

This kind of thing is not done often in our churches, so we have to work through what it means. There's a real fear that this process will result in a "wrong" theology and that we must appeal to "experts" in these cases, but the whole church is the called out people and must argue this type of stuff through to faithfully communicate Christ and demonstrate the kingdom of God to the world around us. We've got to decide this as a community rule, and then stick to it (that's the important part!).

Well, those are my thoughts. Let's engage in a little community hermeneutical interpretation and decide what we think about it here in our little corner of the web.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Possible use for the blog?

Being an opinionated person who never swerves from an opportunity to talk off the top of my head (and/or out of my butt), I get a lot of questions of the "What do you think about..." variety. I'd love for people to email me some of these and I'll post the questions and we'll let the community has some things out. If you want to remain anonymous or whatnot, that's cool, but I think this could be a place to really talk about some "real" things, as the people who usually stop by here are pretty smart and articulate and never shy away from tackling whatever issue comes their way.

Let me know what you think. If you don't know (and I think there's a link on the page but I'm pretty web illiterate), my email address is

Drop me a line!

The Future's so Bright I Gotta Wear Shades :(

Ok, well, in my attempt to actually put something here daily as an exercise in discipline I have been stymied in my search for an interesting topic to discuss. What is the source of this distraction, you ask? It is the Dell DJ30, a 30GB mp3 player that is the cooling thing since sliced bread. Although not as chic or nerdy-beautiful as the iPod, it was much cheaper and I got a free month of Napster where you can access their entire library.

So... I now have the new: Beck, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, White Stripes, and Gorillaz albums downloaded and on my DJ, and have found some cool African hip-hop artists called Gidi Gidi Maji Maji that are too cool for school. My two-days of accumulation plus what I had before have resulted in sucking up about a Gig and a half and there's so much more to discover. I can find all that late-80s early-90s hip hop that define my childhood (yeah, I was a latchkey kid).

This of course results in much wasting of time, but I'm not missing it.

The other reason for not being a regular staple of the blogger community (yep, just me and a few million of my closest friends), is that school is kicking my butt. My GPA has never been this good, even in high school, but I'm certainly feeling the effects of coasting on the ability to write and never developing a disciplined approach to school. Even when I get stuff done early, somehow there's always one thing that gets done at or near the last minute (sometimes literally).

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Monday I start Theological German and Biblical Foundations of Mission. The latter is a one-week intensive that goes from 8:30am to 4:50pm and there are assignments due Tuesday-Friday. Then, Tuesday and Thursday nights I get to go to German from 6-8. Good times.

Most of my friends here have about this same schedule this summer, with a few adding trips to Africa or Thailand in the midst of the craziness, too. So, my whining falls on deaf ears here and I'm forced to whine via blog :)