Tag Archives: church

ryan sharp’s wack dream

ryan sharp is the brilliant songwriter and voice of the cobalt season. he sent me this incredibly random email recently, describing a dream he’d just woken up from. with his permission, i post it here for your laughter (or psychological evaluation):

Dude, I just woke up from the weirdest dream.

I was at this bar and was watching someone perform. As I left, I remember that you’re with me and it’s almost morning. We’re in a shady part of town. I decide that it’s time to head home, but you offer me a ride. Something happens where I figure out that you’re actually chasing me, so I start running, terrified. I mean seriously. It was so weird.

We must run for 5-10 minutes, dodging cars, jumping fences and all. FInally you tackle me. You tell me that you’re helping transition this church in San Diego and really need me to be the worship guy. You’re adamant and desperate. It’s really weird.

You then tell me that this was the reason you responded to my email. So, it’s now morning and you and I walk to the church. It’s an older building. I don’t recognize it. But once inside, we enter what appears to be a cry room. Some guy comes in and asks for you to come to a meeting downstairs. You leave. He tells me that his dream for this room is to be a room where women can put on their makeup. “They should be able to do that,” he says.

Then I wake up. And am so groggy. That was a wack dream.

my current blogroll

time for a blogroll update!

here’s what i’ve got in my bloglines these days. i try to keep it paired down — i just don’t have time to read hundreds of blogs every day. but these are the ones i look at at least once a day. there are dozens of others – particularly youth ministry blogs – that i check in on from time to time, but aren’t listed here.

the categories are somewhat arbitrary – they’re just what work for me!

emerging church
zach lind
jonny baker
lilly lewin
emergent village
steven shields / faithmaps
mark scandrette
doug pagitt
andrew jones
tony jones
dan kimball

junior high summit (these are the peeps i meet with once a year for the ‘jh pastors summit’ – they’re buddies of mine, and i welcome their thinking about young teen ministry to push and pull my own thoughts.)
christian dashiell
jason raitz
nate rice
kurt johnston
johnny scott
andy jack
sean meade
brooklyn lindsey

Youth ministry (this is a tough category for me, because there are SO many wonderful youth ministry blogs. i read dozens and dozens more than this on an occasional basis. but these are the handful i find the most thoughtful and challenging, or, frankly, are just friends of mine in youth ministry that i want to stay current with.)
blair bertrand
chris folmsbee
tash mcgill
mark riddle
mike king
sam harvey
martin saunders
will penner
ypulse (ypulse isn’t a youth ministry blog, actually. it’s the blog of anastasia goodstein, who has her finger on the pulse of youth culture and marketing like no other. i have this in my ‘youth ministry’ category because i always find things that make me think about youth ministry.)

Journey (my church)
brian berry (the high school pastor, and CORE team member)
josh treece (the former middle school guy)
todd tolson (the community guy, and long-ago middle school pastor)
ian and christina robertson (christina is our middle school pastor, ian is a co-worker of mine at ys)
riptide blog (the middle school ministry, of which i am a volunteer)
ed noble (teaching pastor, and friend of 20 years)
rod kaya (worship dude)
encounter blog (high school ministry blog, more important to me now that my daughter is in the group)

scot mcknight
seth barnes
think christian
naked pastor
asbo jesus

ys staff
renee altson (former ys staffer — but still part of the ys staff family)
mindi godfrey
jen and jay howver
alex roller (alex hasn’t actually worked at ys for a while — but i still think of him as part of us.)
adam mclane
ys open book
ys blog

dave barry
the wittenburg blog
stuff christians like

Music & media (this is an absurd category. how can i lump together david crowder and dwight schrute’s ficticious blog? sorry, david.)
david crowder
dwight schrute
matt maher

bob carlton
mark dowds
paul chambers
indexed (the pithy little 3×5 thoughts of jessica hagy)
max (max, my son, isn’t posting often, but they’re fun when he does.)

aspiration & ebenezers, with additional definitions of a personal nature

as·pi·ra·tion (as-puh-rey-shun), noun.

1. strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition: intellectual aspirations.

2. a goal or objective desired: The presidency is the traditional aspiration of young American boys.

3. act of aspirating; breath.

4. Phonetics.

a. articulation accompanied by an audible puff of breath, as in the h-sound of how, or of when (hwen), or in the release of initial stops, as in the k-sound of key.
b. the use of an aspirate in pronunciation.

5. Medicine/Medical.

a. the act of removing a fluid, as pus or serum, from a cavity of the body, by a hollow needle or trocar connected with a suction syringe.
b. the act of inhaling fluid or a foreign body into the bronchi and lungs, often after vomiting.

6. when marko attends church, as in this morning, and finds that — even though he loves his church and the people there — he experiences no connection (with people or with god); and, as a result, finds himself ‘practicing’ the practice of worship and engagement, without the experience thereof, with the intent that the experience and knowledge and belief will, at another time to come, seem once again real and authentic. in this sense, every action and many ‘beliefs’ practiced by marko this morning were done so with aspiration.

Eb·en·e·zer (eb-uh-nee-zer), noun.

1. a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “stone of help.”

2. male proper name, sometimes also the name of a Protestant chapel or meeting house, from name of a stone raised by Samuel to commemorate a victory over the Philistines at Mizpeh (I Sam. vii.12), from Heb. ebhen ezar “stone of help,” from ebhen “stone” + ezer “help.”

3. what marko draws on during mornings like this one, where attendance and participation at church feel hollow and fake (not that anyone else there was being hollow and fake — marko was the one who felt hollow and fake). in the midst of choosing to sing some of the songs about god and jesus and stuff, marko remembers that only last week he was in argentina, explaining to a room full of latin youth workers, the value of viewing spiritually intense moments (which are inevitable in youth ministry), when not manipulated, as ebenezers: spiritual markers of “god met me/us here” in the journey of adolescence. this memory, which came during a particularly hollow and fake moment of participating in singing a chris tomlin song — so much so that marko just stopped singing and stood there — caused marko to reflect back on the ebenezers in his recent journey, the recent “god met me here” moments. interesting that the sermon was on the old testament joseph, a dude who certainly would have had his share of “god met me here” moments interspersed with long periods of some opposite experience (what we might call the “inverse-nezer”).

The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher

The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher: A Novel, by Rob Stennett

what? another cool christian fiction book? after reading my name is russell fink, i thought that might be it. but the zondervan acquisitions editor that worked on fink sent me ryan fisher, and told me i’d like it if i liked fink. he was right.

ryan fisher is a realtor in denver, struggling to make it work. channel surfing one night, he stumbles across some happy christians on late night tv, and thinks that they look like the kind of people who would like to buy and sell nice suburban starter homes. so he lists himself in the christian yellow pages with a christian fish in his ad, and his business explodes. only problem is, he’s not a christian. he’s a semi-athiest. not a hard core athiest; just a guy who doesn’t believe in god.

eventually, ryan and his wife have to start attending church in order to keep up the facade, and do a bit of covert research. in the context of attending a pop-megachurch, ryan has a vision for wealth as power (and, maybe, helping people as a side dish), if he becomes the pastor of a megachurch. so he and his wife move to a small town in oklahoma, and plant a church.

ryan is clueless about the bible, clueless about theology, clueless about worship music and preaching and all other aspects of churchianity. but, somehow, in the midst of his blundering, and in spite of his lie, he pulls it off. and the church explodes.

it’s painful to read at times, since the book is full of the kind of insider stuff that should make us wince. it’s also loaded with implications about church, power, worship styles, and what people are really looking for in a church. all of this has a bit of extra punch as you read with the knowledge that the author is the creative director at a large megachurch in colorado springs.

fun, and occasionally scary, read. and i loved that it didn’t end with a bow on it or ryan and his wife experiencing a last-chapter conversion (though he seems to be on the road, in an honest way).


so, if you have a mind to pray, i would really appreciate your prayers today.

the spanish division of ys has been exploding in the last few years. really exciting stuff, which i’ve blogged about many times. we have developed some wonderful friends through these years, in the spanish church and youth ministry world. many of these people have spoken at lots of our spanish conventions.

a few guys in particular had become very close friends of ours. even though i ride the coat-tails of the spanish stuff, i consider these guys personal friends. we were together multiple times a year, and have really enjoyed each other and believed in each other.

but some time in the last year or so, things got sideways with them. they had banded together to form an organization, which is absolutely wonderful. but somewhere we all lost sight of the friendship, and things turned into a competition. i don’t think any of us actually intended for this to happen, but it’s become hurtful to the kingdom of god.

recently, when things were spiraling a bit, we all agreed to get face to face and rely on our friendship to work through and past this current nastiness. so today, i’m flying to dallas for a three hour meeting (then home tonite). i’m confident we will embrace and start off well. but i’m praying (and ask you to pray with me) that we are able to stay on the level of, “how can we bless you guys and your ministry?” that’s my real hope. there’s plenty of work to do in the world of spanish youth ministry for these two organizations and twenty more. getting into finger-pointing or “he said, she said” will get us nowhere.

i’ll let you know how it goes.

thanks for praying — the meeting went well. we got caught up on life for a while, and then they shared the vision for their ministry for a while, which was good (both good to hear, and good for them to be heard, i think). then, for a couple more hours, we talked about how we got sideways, and what commitments we can make to each other to speak highly of each other and hope for the best for each ministry. the one thing that surprised me the most was how hurt one of the guys had been – some from things we did, some from things people did that he associated with us, and some from misunderstanding. but being heard, combined with our genuine apologies, seemed to be important.

i’m hopeful for the future.

early christian church found

archaeologists have found what they believe is the earliest discovery of a christian church, in a cave in jordan, dating from 33 AD. pretty amazing.

here’s a link to the full article.

Archaeologist Abdel-Qader Hussein, head of the Rihab Center for Archaeological Studies, Abdul Qader al-Husan told The Jordan Times:’We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from 33 AD to 70 AD.

‘We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians – the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ.’

Mr Hussein said there was evidence that the underground cave was used in the first century after Christ’s death, which would make it the oldest Christian site of worship in the world.

The cave was unearthed in the northern Jordanian city of Rihab after three months of excavation and shows evidence of early Christian rituals.

(ht to neatorama, of all places)