Category Archives: blogs

blogging from the nashville convention?

if you’ll be one fo the 9000 people at the national youth workers convention in nashville, and you plan on blogging while you’re there, let me know (comments, or email), and i’ll keep a running list here. but if you say you’ll post, ya gotta post! here’s a nice little map of free wifi spots in downtown nash — so you have no excuse (here’s another list — though it doesn’t look as good; ooh — just found this pretty long list, but no map, so you’d have to mapquest ’em.)

THE LIST (updated as i find or hear about more):
adam ellis
justin ross
dan kimball, occaisional, but long and rambly
mr argue, i presume
andy jack, JH pastor to the stars
tired and elegant
mark riddle, aka ‘ronald’
tony jones, aka ‘the ys expletive’
lizzy (can i please have more double letters in my name?) robblee
tim schmoyer
david’s bucket
john stephens
john mitchem
mike king

who knew scandrette was blogging?

i sure didn’t.

mark scandrette became a good friend, one of those instant heart-connections, during our work on the first emergent convention. then, due to his involvement in the next few, and our families becoming friends, we had a reason to see each other about every three or four months for the past three years. but, as is often true in the cycles of life, our reasons have run out (at least the reasons that someone else will pay for!). so i haven’t seen him since may. and i really miss him.

mark and lisa live in san francisco and lead re:imagine. i really don’t know how to describe mark, other than to say one of the reasons i’ve enjoyed his friendship is that he’s my postmodern, urban, mystery-embracing, hippie friend. and that “bent” is good for me. i guess i’m his corporate ministry friend. i doubt i’m good for him!

i emailed mark the other day, just to tell him i missed him. and he just emailed back, closing with the fact that he’s been blogging for some time (which was total news to me). his posts tend to be really long, like he went to the dan kimball school of blogging. but i can tell they’ll make me think, just like any conversation with mark always does.

church bureaucracy award of the month

oh, us church people. we’re especially adept at creating red-tape, aren’t we? a truly congregational church (not the denomination, but the structure) can sure make it obvoius why so few socialist governments can really make a go of it.

a loyal ysmarko reader sent this to me today. he and another pastor on staff had asked their church leadership if it would be possible to link to their blogs from the church website. this is the written response they received:

Hi [name] and [name],

The “task force” considered your requests to provide links to your blogs on the Church web site at our last meeting. The following conveys the committee’s thinking on the subject at this point.

Whereas blogs are typically personal and should not be controlled, censored, or managed by anyone other than the owner of the blog; and

Whereas links and/or sub-links which may be placed on a blog could have content inappropriate to the purpose and audience of the church web site;

Therefore, the “Information Policy Task Force” of our church states that unless and until the IPTF is able to produce standards to which blogs must conform in order to be consistent with the purpose of the church web site, no blog references will be identified on the church web site.

If you need any further information, please call me.

i’m not arguing for church websites linking to every youth pastor’s blog. but: an IPTF? and, two “whereas’s” and a “therefore”? i bet they used Roberts Rules of Order (more sacred than leviticus in most protestant churches) to make this decision. and i bet the IPTF have cool matching logo shirts.

what marko needs

saw this funny, self-centered, googly idea over at claudia’s blog. go to google and write your name and the word ‘needs’, in quotes — as in “marko needs”. notice the first 10 sensical sentences that come up. here’s what i got:

    1. Marko needs a favor
    2. Marko needs to chat
    3. Marko needs our help
    4. Marko needs to trust
    5. Marko needs someone, especially someone who speaks French and who knows her way around
    6. Marko needs to pass a test
    7. Marko needs to take off his pants
    8. Marko needs you to volunteer to playtest this scenario
    9. Marko needs 57 balloons for his act
    10. Marko needs at least 709 votes to jump over this weird guy

blog recommendation of the month

first of all — when i say things like “bad church idea of the month” or “blog recommendation of the month”, don’t take me literally. don’t confine me to your literal interpretation of the calendar, man!

but seriously.

i just reconnected with an old friend, and she sent me the link to her blog. and it’s just freakin’ great reading.

here’s my short version of her story — as i remember it (but, i could have some pieces wrong). it’s an amazing story of god’s grace — and she knows it (grace, that is).

ok, so – years ago at lake avenue church in pasadena, i had a secretary for a short bit of time who has one of the wildest stories of a christ-follower I have EVER heard. raised in a psycho blue collar family in pittsburgh, she went bad: topless dancer, drugs, crime. had a boyfriend (now her husband) who was basically her common-law husband, who wanted to be a rock star. they moved to hollywood in search of fame. he’s also an artist, and was making a modest living with his sculpting work, while gigging on the side in various bands. she went deeper off the deep end, got way into lesbianism (though they never separated during this time!), witchcraft, and all manner of other stuff. then, through a four spiritual laws tract, she had a massive and complete come-to-jesus conversion in her apartment one day. her “husband” soon followed (and he soon became her real husband). somewhere along the line, they ended up at lake ave, started a christian punk group (called fire engine red — they had more stage presence than any band i’ve ever seen in my life), and had a promising future in that world. ‘til they became absolute fundamentalists. they left lake ave because they thought we were too soft, and starting attending a hyper-conservative mennonite church. last time i saw her she was wearing the menno outfit, little head gear and all. they decided they needed to learn what it really meant to be a man and a woman, and moved back to pennsylvania and became full-on amish (i’m not kidding). they lived there a couple years, had a couple kids with amish names. they finally reached their goal of becoming rock stars (in a sense), as they were the celebrities of the amish world – never had the amish had a couple like them in their midst, and their testimonies were copied on tapes and circulated, and amish girls would ask my friend for her autograph. they felt the pull to move back to cali, and their amish group of churches decided this was from god, and it was time to bring “plain people” to the west coast (there had never been amish in california until this couple moved back). they moved to a mountain community north of LA, along with a few other families who were sent by the church to start an amish presence there. then, my friend had a terrifying encounter with a deranged man who killed some of their animals, broke into their house (when she was alone) and threatened to rape and kill her. somehow, she was able to talk him out of it (if i’m remembering the story correctly). her husband was wracked with guilt over his anger at this man, and didn’t know how to justify it with the amish teaching that he should have done nothing even if he had been present during the break-in. he met with the elders, and they basically told him that they wouldn’t have held to the teaching if it were them. that was the crack in their belief system that unraveled the whole thing, and led to them leaving the amish, and slowly emerging back to some sense of normalcy. her husband teaches art at a christian school, and she raises their kids and various barnyard animals. their band, fire engine red, continues to exist in one form or another. add a few life-threatening health issues in there for extra fun along the way, and you have the amazing story.

what a beautiful and wild ride. they could not escape the smothering, persistant, relentless grace of god.


ok, so, i go to sleep in guernsey (8 hours ahead of west coast US), and wake up to find some pretty strong things being said about me, in my own comments, and more so on another blog.

let me clarify something, where i may have misrepresented myself…

my “i’m dangerous” post was, in no way whatsoever, intended to be a smack on brett kunkle or stand to reason. truthfully, i thought the fact that he said my ideas were dangerous was kind of fun — i’d never been called dangerous before. my post was a (perhaps wrongheaded) attempt to lighten up a debate (yes, i am gonna stick with that concept) that was starting to get testy. it obviously backfired, and i am certainly sorry if i have offended mr kunkle (although this doesn’t seem to the case, as he and i have had a nice exchange), or anyone else. offense was absolutely not my intention (at least this time!). i also had no hint of “mockery” in me when i wrote that (which another post has accused me of). i’m sorry it was perceived that way. interesting how that same post that accused me of unchristian mockery makes fun of my truly well-intentioned invitation to mr kunkle to visit my home, which he has accepted.

and to those i so frustrate by not being jazzed about being drawn into a debate on the issues i post about — i’m sorry, i’m just not going to do it. you can call me every name in the book, blog nasty things about me, say “that’s the problem with those emerging church guys”, or whatever. yes, i want to toss out ideas i’m thinking about on my blog; and, again, i welcome comments. but in a couple years of following blogs and blog comments online, i have seen that — consistently — blog comments are not the place where differences are resolved. differences can be identified, sure; but things regularly get ugly when disagreeing parties try to convince each other online. it becomes massively time-consuming (and mind-consuming), and doesn’t really get us anywhere. this doesn’t make me “evasive”, nor does it mean i’m “side-stepping” questions. i am consciously choosing to find other — i believe more effective — forums for this kind of discussion, forums i’ve seen bring good results and understanding.

there are plenty of you out there who know me. and you know i do not shy away from a good dialogue — or discussion or debate or whatever you want to call it — certainly, there are differences, but for our purposes today, i’m not going to “debate” them :o). i have a great love and respect for many whom i have greatly divergent views from.

if all of this is just too frustrating to you, i kindly ask that you just not read my blog. while i hope my blog is occasionally a nudge to the church (as many other blogs are to me), i have no desire to drive people to write angry posts or exasperated comments. i’m sure you can find other blogs that do not frustrate you. i can tell you that i’m making this very choice about one blog i’ve previously occaisionally read, and recommended, because i can’t get sucked into that kind of stuff — it hurts my soul.

ok, speaking of my soul — i’m supposed to be on a spiritual retreat here; so i’m off to embrace a bit of mystery. i’m sure mr kunkle and i will both post about our meeting after it happens, and i’m highly expectant that we’ll get along swimmingly (pun possibly intended).

watch out, i’m dangerous

i’ve been called many, many things in my life. but i don’t think i’ve ever been called “dangerous” until today! i could take this lots of ways, i suppose — but i’m going to choose to take it as a compliment; i mean, women often like men who are a little dangerous (right, jeannie?), and our culture seems to value somewhat dangerous men, especially if they also seem to have a sensitive side. dang — if i can be both dangerous and sensitive, i might really have somethin’ going here!

so, watch out for me. keep a bit of distance, because i’m dangerous. but not too much distance, because i’m sensitive too.