Thursday, October 26, 2006


I'm intentioning to be in a state of listening for a bit instead of talking. Not sure how long that will last, but I'm going to refrain from blogging for a bit. A week? A few days? A month? not sure, some sort of season.

I'm excited to go to Seattle next week to raise some cane at this conference Revolution Rains and I are leading a workshop on "Unpimping and Remonking the church", that should be interesting. In the words of William Wallace the Braveheart, "I'm goin' to pick a fight" ;)

peace to you for a Kingdom that has come and a Kingdom that is yet coming,

Monday, October 16, 2006

OCC Fall Fest

One of my favorite events of the years has been our OCC Fall Fest. Its an extravaganza of food and community. Starts at the Pumpkin farm for a hayride to the pumpkin field, picking out pumpkins, petting the animals and most importantly, purchasing the freshly home-made warm apple fritters. Then the folk head back to my house to meet up with many others for different assortments of chili and cornbread followed by a buffet of autumn desserts . . . pumpkin pie, apples and cinnamon, pumpkin crunch and a few other rich chocolate deals. Good coffee, cider and hot chocolate to wash it all down. We took some time to sing in worship and reflection then head out to the fire for smores and more community time under the stars. Having my faith community in my house partaking of Christ's abundance and worshipping His presence is just a continual dream come true for me. Its authentic, real and healthy, something I've longed for in my church career.

I admitt that I am native to the postmodern worldview in that I don't see history and the future as a great line of progression as modernists out of the age of the Enlightenment have. Rather I understand that this Story is pretty cyclical and is lived and expressed in the journey along the way, not in the end. So celebrating the seasons is very important to me. Much like our church ancestors who lived in agricultural societies had feasts and celebrations that coalated with the harvest calendar, living in the Midwest, we have all 4 seasons. Celebrating the seasons can be a community discipline to our spiritual rythymn. It gives us context for how we live, it also allows us to mark time in who we are as a people together. I am reminded of how important the seasons were in Ireland as St. Patrick used these times of celebration to proclaim and exalt the Triune God who had always been amongst them, now Patrick was giving them the full revelation in Jesus Christ.

Celebrating feasts and the seasons to me is a form of a new Monasticism. This is how we are monking in the real world. Rythymn, focus, hearts submitted to God, living as a communal people, giving God the thanks for our daily bread, celebrating simplicity. We live in suburbia, but we are not of it. We belong to a separate Kingdom, but we live in suburbia to be carriers of that Kingdom virus who look to infect the culture around us.

Stop and notice the Kingdom around you today,

Monday, October 09, 2006

What a weekend

Man, very full weekend, but good stuff.

Megan's 8th birthday complete with a train ride to a pumpkin patch, good times.

Our Community Gathering on Sunday at our house was a heavy topic for me. We've been tackling theological issues once a month at our gatherings and this month's topic was "divorce". I thought I could just glide by it and talk about what Scripture teaches, but instead all my baggage just came up out of nowhere and destroyed me. My parents divorce is my most painful chapter of my life and every so often it hits me in another wave. It reveals how much of my behavior is just trying to seek approval because of never having that security growing up. I know that many have that experience even w/out going through a divorce, this just happened to be how my life has played out. There is plenty of redemption in my life, Godly men who mentored me as Father-figures at key points in my life, a New Testament re-defining of family and my own marriage and children as the foundation of my life. Even in the midst of that, I am broken at times. I wept on Sunday morning before people came over. And then this morning, some time in between my run and getting ready for work, I heard a voice. And it said, "Chris, I'm so proud of you and I love you." Holy Smokes that feels so good to hear from the Father who has never left me and never forsaken me. I remembered that this was the part of the Gospel that converted my heart while in my bedroom at 17 years old and made a decision for life instead of ending my life w/ some pills in depression and pain. God is good and I need to spend more time receiving His love that is sufficient and satisfying.

Liberty House Church last night as well was just great communal discussion on how Jesus presented the Kingdom of God as a mystery to be understood, and not in concrete language we can control. We discussed Nicodemus in John 3 and his conversation with Jesus. The Kingdom is a mystery, yet it is seen and understood in the person of Jesus. He is the key, He is the gate, He is the only Way to a complete understanding and experience of the Kingdom of God.

Lastly, in house church circles, we often wrestle with "Children's ministry" and what to do with kids. Teenagers developmentally very much can connect to worship and discussion with the adults, but what about school age kids? Well, the past couple weeks, in a vacuum of us adults doing nothing, our kids started organically creating their own. A couple of the older kids took their Bible, read a story with the younger kids, then spent the rest of their time planning a skit re-enacting the story for us adults when we were finished. They set up chairs outside and creatively played out Adam and Eve (w/out the nakedness) for us. It was AWESOME! Last week, they acted out Noah's Ark. I think they're on to something here, maybe us adults need to stay out of the way and let the kids do Biblical community in their way. Whatever it is, I think its fruit that the virus of the Kingdom is taking root with the next generations.

Stop and notice the Kingdom around you today,

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Injury update

Yesterday I ran 3.2 miles for the first time and felt strong throughout on hills and had a kick in the end. I've been back running for the past few months but couldn't get past 2 miles due to my achilles just not responding. Just have to continue building a foundation and my goal is to run the Thanksgiving Day 10K in downtown Cincinnati. I have about 7 weeks to double my mileage, that may be doable. I'm running or cross-training 5-6 days a week now getting back to enjoying it again now. For those that care, there's an update.

Yesterday as well was Megan's 8th birthday. Somehow, our middle child is 8 years old, I don't understand how that happens. Nicki went into labor with Megan in my 1st semester of seminary (talk about major transitions) while I was writing a philosophy paper on the problem of evil. Let's just say that wasn't an omen. Megan is sweet, kind, obedient and likeable. Like her mother, she has a high value on following the rules at all times. A trait I can't relate to, but its nice having those types around :) Megan is a joy, I'm very proud of her, and somehow she just keeps getting older.

Church is coming to our house this morning. I love that reality.


Monday, October 02, 2006

clarifying the changes

As I previously posted that things are changing, perspectives are being altered and expectations are morphing, let me clarify what that is meaning for me.

I am in no way feeling discouraged, dismayed, disallusioned nor despairing. Quite the opposite, I'm in a place of real encouragement and ready to move on to the next thing, whatever Yahweh wants that to be. I recognize that I am deep into a spiritual war and it costs us all the time. I'm not going to sit around and wallow about the world and focus on the pain. I'm wanting to connect with the One who reigns over a Kingdom that is unshaken. I am no longer satisfied with my talk of Kingdom unless I apply it to every dark corner of my life. If it is Truth, then I want it to reign in the places that darkness and selfishness has only lived. And as I have been applying this, I am finding new freedom. With new freedom comes fresh faith. With new faith comes courage to fight this war. I recognize that I live in brokenness but I am calling to hope.

Wake up, Deadman! On the day that our brother, Chad Canipe, passed over to Kingdom, a few of us stood over his body in intensive care and had a few moments. This happening while 100 miles north, Palmer was in intensive care fighting for his life. I will never forget that moment, a tremendous realization of being a warrior in a war that was well beyond us. At some point in our initial grief, Mike Bishop said something to the sort of, "well, we're not just hanging out anymore." And that's the stuff that I'm talking about.

If emerging church is just a means for being angry at modern church, an excuse for being broken with only our vices to dull our pain, community for "hanging out" instead of for deep transformation and missional living . . . then I'm not sure that is church in the orthodox or historical sense. But if all of that happened and existed so that we could move towards being church . . . then let's get on with that. The stakes are too high to give up now. I don't care about church models, I care about hope and life lived out in Kingdom communities for the sake of Christ in this world.

I want to press on for more of God and more of His transforming power amongst us. Nothing less is permissable. Discouraged? hardly. If this be War, so let it be. I'm sharpening my sword for I have pitched a tent in enemy territory. Subversive revolutionaries, that's just daily reality for those that follow Jesus.