Monday, May 7, 2012

Spiritual Navigation among the Asteroids

A quick update on what I'm working on at Gethsemane:

Launching on Sunday May 20th, an event called Spiritual GPS (Growth Plan Sunday) that will become a "quarterly" practice of rebooting one's faith journey.  Built on the metaphor of "The Asteroid Field" which says that in a dynamic/chaotic environment (i.e. modern life) there is no map, so you have to navigate by constant course correction: OAR - Orient, Act, Repeat.

For more on that, and to see my video introducing the asteroid field concept visit the Gethsemane Spiritual Growth page.  This is "free and open to the public" as they say.

Got questions or comments? I'd love to hear them here!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Church Can Be Less Expensive

I just spent a couple days at Funding the Missional Church with a diverse group of church folks ranging from large conventional congregations to bi-vocational church plants.  Funding is a problem all around.  A lot of the funding problem is rooted in the assumptions we bring to church life  Assumptions that come with big price tags:
  • The pastor must be full time.
  • The pastor must be an academically trained professional and paid as such.
  • You need excellent musicians.
  • You have to have a building. and so on.
I noticed one assumption however that seems to keep escaping notice, and yet is a huge factor is setting the "cost structure" for a faith community:

  • You have to gather the entire faith community for worship every week.

In my Lutheran Tribe, we like to talk (among the academically trained professional clergy, anyway) about the Freedom of a Christian. Well, what if we considered how we could serve the Kingdom if we explored the freedom we have from that fifth assumption?  Just as one example, what if the whole community gathered monthly on a Friday night, renting from an existing church, and home-sized groups gathered weekly, perhaps following the path described by Luther himself?  

Point is, church can be different, and it can be way less expensive.

Along these lines I am always glad to hear from my friends at Simple Church who are very big on keeping the Gospel as portable as possible.  So let me lift up a recent post from them on keeping things simple (which also tends to be less expensive) that begins with this wonderfully challenging quote from a Filipino church planter; "Never do anything in church that a one week old Christian would be unable to duplicate." 

Hyperbole?  Perhaps.  Worth reflecting on for people called to equip others?  Absolutely.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Meaning of the Verb "To Love"

Continuing my reflections on The Message of Hope...

Finished up the Gospel of Mark this morning with the Crucifixion, and the crazy ending (they all run away and say noting to anyone) and the Centurion's "confession" (don't get me started on that!!!)  Couldn't help but think about my sermon for this Sunday on "The Meaning of the Verb to Love" (Yes, that is a shameless reference to my beloved rock icon Todd Rundgren.  Click the "video" to hear the tune in reference.) 

We're called to love one another as Jesus loved us, and for my money, that means sacrificially. But people land in different places around that at different times in their lives. For some, it's time for them to be on the receiving end of the sacrifice of others. For others, it's time to reflect on and hear God's praise for the sacrificial life they are now living. And for many, it's time to listen for the call to sacrifice and maybe really hear it for the first time. Three frames for looking at love in a way that transcends the pale and pathetic substitutes our culture wants us to buy into instead. 

I thought I might be different today by being on alert for clues as to which frame the people I met were in. But truth be told, I was so hurried through most of the day that it never even crossed my mind again until I had the chance to write this post. Ah well, some times that's just how it is. Mindfulness in the modern world is not an easy thing.