Monday, February 28, 2005

Nouwen on Community

In solitude we can come to the realization that we are not driven together but brought together. In solitude we come to know our fellow human beings not as partners who can satisfy our deepest needs, but as brothers and sisters with whom we are called to give visibility to God's all-embracing love. In solitude we discover that community is not a common ideology, but a response to a common call. In solitude we indeed realize that community is not made but given.
From Clowning in Rome

Nouwen also brings the idea that we must move from solitude to community to ministry. Maybe the key to coming together is being apart?


Thursday, February 24, 2005

interview with the don

The Door magazine has a great interview with Don Miller (the Blue Like Jazz guy).

You can find it here.

Everything from penguin sex to slot machine God. Vintage Miller.

quotes to remember

Just finished Dave Eggers' novel You Shall Know Our Velocity!. I didn't like it as much as his memoir, but it was still good and good for a few laughs. There were a few quotes I want to hang on to and here is as good a place as any for them. So if you care, enjoy.

This week was about using minutes and hours like these, taking them and
holding them, polishing them, throwing them as far as we could, but at our first
opportunity - all these hours free and full of infinite choice - we'd done

He wants to make sure God wants him to live. So he spends a lot of time
asking. He brings himself close to the edge and he feels God's breath on his
back. If God wants to take him, all he needs to do is blow.

You know nothing until you are there. Nothing. Nothing nothing nothing. You
know nothing of another person, nothing of another place. With this knowledge -
that you know nothing but what you see - things get more complicated. People
want it easy, so they guess.

We knew nothing; the gaps in our knowledge were random and annoying. They
were potholes - they could be patched, but they multiplied without pattern or
remorse. And even if we knew something, had read something, were almost sure of
something, we wouldn't ever know the truth, or come anywhere close to it. The
truth had to be seen. Anything else was a story, entertaining but more
embroidered fib than crude, shapeless fact.

there is a chance that everything we did was incorrect, but stasis is
itself criminal for those with the means to move, and the means to weave
communion between two people.

Worth the read.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

from the realms of complete waste of time

I give you googlefight!

For entertainment value only, I offer J Hall vs. Jerry Falwell.

So now you know. Enjoy.

the face of christianity i want to see on tv

Jim Wallis of Sojourners did an amazing job on the Daily Show the other night. He was promoting his new(ish) book God's Politics: Why the Right gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It

This is the face of Christianity that needs to be out there. Funny, engaging, intelligent, loving, but still speaking the words of Jesus into the reality of our culture. So much better than some of the recent talking heads I have seen on Larry King who seem primarily interested in 1) getting through all 4 happy hops to heaven in the time they have or 2) single-handedly "reclaiming America for the sake of the Gospel" by trashing everyone and everything that does not look or smell like they want it to. If some of these guys would take a break from thumping their Bibles and actually read them, they might find out that Wallis (and TD Jakes and McClaren and a few others) are talking about things that seem to be really important to God. (Possibly even more so than bombing Iraq or outing Spongebob)

Here's a link to the interview, completely worth the eight minutes.

Go watch, well if you want to. I mean, who am I to tell anyone else what to do.

why i'm never going to the gym again

Disclaimer: Some people would be inclined to embellish facts in an episode like this to increase their appearance of being pathetic. This is not the case here, I am this pathetic. Read on.

OK, so I decided yesterday to go back to the gym after an extended hiatus (smirk). The reasons are plentiful and include the 1000 times I have heard how small things like airplane seats and showers are in China. SO, not wanting to feel like the guy who has to move to the extra large seat on the roller-coaster (they have these, did you know that?), I decide it's time to get serious about shrinking. Now my wife loves the gym. She has gone faithfully since we moved back to OKC eight years ago. Even pregnant she would go and do her thing. Me? I'm more like the Loch Ness Monster of our gym. There are rumors of my existence and even a couple of sightings, but no hard evidence that I am real.

Day one: Stationary bike, no sweat. Well, actually lots of sweat, but that's what you are supposed to do, so we move on. Then I go back to the wall o' dumbbells (that's the weights, no comment on the people using them). Do you know this wall? It's a lineup that goes from the dumbbells that look like toys to the ones that look like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. First thing I notice is that most of the men are working out down with the weights that I couldn't lift one time using both hands. The second thing is that the weights I think I can use are gone. I look around to see where they might be and find a woman who has to be 60 years old working out with them. Now she was a strapping 60 year-old woman, but still. A man can only take so much. So I move from free weights to the machines. This is where I made the most painful discovery of the day. Believe it or not, you can't take 8 months off from the gym and then go back and lift anywhere near what you did before. Who knew? I found this out as I nearly simultaneously (two adverbs in a row, not good) blacked out and threw up as I went for "one more rep". It felt like a good time to call it a day.

So today was day two. Upon waking up this morning I remember why I hated the gym in the first place. All of the places that received attention yesterday were screaming for it today. Actually it wasn't attention they wanted, it was Advil. So I fall out of bed and go to the mirror thinking I'll be inspired because surely all of this pain is a sign of results, right? Wrong. Nothing. Nada. I knew this would be the case, but a man can dream.
Anyway, off I stumble. I arrive at my usual time from a former life and saw lots of the same people who were there 8 months ago. How different did they all look? Not at all. My first thought was how amazing a coincidence it was that all of us decided to go back to the gym at the same time. Then it hit me, these people had been coming faithfully for 8 months and they look the same. This realization sucked. So I go and do my thing. No blackouts, no hurling, no 60 year-old women. So far, so good. I move to the treadmill in the "cardio theater". Right. This morning's "theater" included every cheesy morning show crew, a huge update on the Michael Jackson case, someone yelling about mudslides and earthquakes, and AMC showing "Hello Dolly" (what the...?). No ESPN, no CNN, but all the Barbara Streisand you need to be inspired to walk in place for 30 minutes.
So I'm done. I'm leaving. I'm thinking to myself, "What if musical numbers broke out in real life?" When someone yells my name from across the gym. I turn to see a friend who then yells, "I'm not used to seeing you here. I see your wife all the time, but not you." I offer the expected smile and shrug and wander out to the parking lot remembering why I stopped going all those months ago.

And I'm not going back.
Until tomorrow I guess.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

while we're on the subject...

Of church that is. I just finished reading a friend's account of going to church today for the first time in a long time. Yikes. I'm so thankful for a community of fellow dreamers who allow me to try different things and participate in and make them better. Tonight we walked through a prayer installation about fear and the things we find ourselves afraid of (stuff like exposure, isolation, risk, loss, etc.)and then talked about Jesus walking on the water in John 6 and how He was the reason they were afraid. We spent some time talking about this life that we are invited to and how it brings all of the things we are afraid of, but in the midst of it, Jesus walks with us and His love moves us past fear. Our love for Him and from Him for the world compels us to risk everything for the sake of love.

Whoops, didn't mean to get into all of that. Everything to say I am so thankful for the Jacob's Well community. I remember days when I couldn't wait to get out of church and away from all of it. Now I look forward to the two hour dinners after church as much as the gathering that brings us together so we can go and have them. (what a bad sentence).

All that to say, I thank God for my fellow journeyers from Jacob's Well. I don't say it enough so here it is.

Thank you friends.

song running through my head

We used this song from Charlie Hall's CD "Thought" tonight as part of our gathering. These lyrics keep cycling through.

I love you. More than this world could hold.
More than fortunes untold. I can't forfeit my soul.
And I love you, whatever it takes.
Come strip my name. No anchor could hold me back.
I love you. More than my feelings, more than my dreamings
More than my breathings. I love you, whatever it takes.
Come strip my name. No anchor could hold me back.

Not that those words are my reality. Maybe just a longing to love like that.

It's a great CD if you can find it.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

only in oklahoma

This week's installment.

A man was apparently called to jury duty for the trial of the man who killed him. Read that again.

Here's a link to the story.

It's not boxing gloves for chickens, but what is really?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

thoughts on our birthday weekend

I'm still processing all that took place and will write more about it soon, but for now this is part of the email I sent to our extended family of pray-ers about the weekend. A description with more commentary to come soon. There are a handful of pictures up on the jacob's well blog and you can check out more on the website (click on year 4 and then the thumbnails).

On with the email.

Friday -- The Well reopened with a great show from Shannon Horn and our own Corey Kenedy. A good crowd, lots of good coffee consumed (as well as chai, hot chocolate, and a variety of soft drinks). If you can, you need to make it down to The Well, the transformation is pretty amazing. You can see a couple of good pictures on the website.

Saturday -- We fed 35-40 people "Lupper" (our hamburger meal for homeless / hungry folks). Jonathan and company flipped burgers in the rain and spent time with some people who need a little help.

Sunday night -- It's hard to describe how amazing Sunday night was. Old friends, great music, conversation about memories and dreams, too much food (enough that we took quite a bit to our friends next door as they stood outside waiting to start), showing off The Loft and The Well (in non-prideful ways of course), lots of creating and writing and blessing. It was good stuff. One of the many highlights for me was the prayer journey we took through the building praying for different aspects of the life of our community in the year to come. We heard from so many of you that just couldn't make life work to be there. Know that you were missed and thought of and prayed for. Next year's party is Sunday, February 12, 2006. (that's for those who like to plan early and those who only check email once a quarter -- you know who you are). Imagine the havok a bunch of four-year-olds will be able to wreak.I hope you can wreak with us.

Maybe some of you reading this will be wreaking with us in year four as well.
Here's hoping.

Monday, February 14, 2005

we do know how to throw a party

I will comment more on our birthday weekend tomorrow, but for tonight I just want to say thanks to everyone who had a part in making tonight and the rest of this weekend happen. Too many highlights from tonight, but probably the biggest moment was watching people fan out all over the church to pray for all of the elements of our community for the next year of our journey.

It is more than a joy to do life with these friends.

More tomorrow.(pictures even)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

a note about comments

Several of you have told me that you don't comment because you don't want to sign up for a blogger account. Well, the good folks here at blogger have changed to comments so anyone can do it without signing up. So, happy commenting.


Thursday, February 10, 2005

happy birthday to us

Three years ago tonight - February 10, 2002 - a handful of hopeful, wide(some would say wild)-eyed people came together at Old Judge Coffee (RIP) in OKC to become Jacob's Well (2.0).
As we have spent this week working so hard to get The Well and The Loft ready for our reopening Friday and celebration on Sunday I've thought a lot about the last 36 months of my life and our life together.

cue dreamy chimes for flashback sequence

Just kidding. I've found myself thinking about friends that have come and gone and those who have stuck around and become vital to the life of our community. About seeing God over and over again prove himself faithful to our church and to me personally as we have walked out this journey. About all of the hours and energy and resources and sweat and life that has been given to the development of our community by so many people, some of whom have still never seen us except in pictures.
I've also found myself thinking forward. To conversations about life and art and faith and everything else that will be had around the new bar or in the orange lounge in The Loft. To new friends we have not yet met, but who someday will be as much a part of our community as those who have been in it from the beginning. To experiences together with God that future Sunday nights hold in store. To the continuation of this adventure that is life with God and life together.
There is so much more to say, but this is a moment when words don't suffice. If you happen to find yourself around Norman this weekend, stop in Friday night for some great live music and good coffee or come by Sunday night at 6 and join the celebration. You can get directions here or just ask in the comments section.
That's enough from me for now. For those of you who have been a part, thank you for what you brought to our community. For those who currently find themselves among us (wherever you may be), my words are inadequate to express the love and gratitude I have for you as friends and fellow-journeyers. For those who are to come, I cannot wait to call you friend.
Can I end with some amazing words written by one of our own for us?
We remember the stories, of lepers and kings and angels and demons, but mostly people like us and our Christ. People like us and our future.
How lovely, beautiful the ordinaries are
people like us
and love finds us.

God is good.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

anyone else know people just like this?

Dress-Up Doll Born to Area Couple

Yes, I know it's a joke, but at the same time it really isn't.

Best line...
"I was so relieved when our little girl arrived in perfect health," Meyers said. "It's almost impossible to find cute outfits for preemies."


Thursday, February 03, 2005

my next job

From an actual classified ad in the Baptist Messenger (don't ask me how I know)

FULL-TIME PASTOR OF JR HIGH YOUTH/ASSIMILATION: Seeking full-time pastor of Jr. High youth/assimilation.

This is a church that is taking "they had all things in common" to the next level.

If you don't get it, just thank God you aren't as big a geek as I am.

hard to say goodbye after all

OK, I know what I said a few months ago about getting rid of Sosa once and for all and good riddance, but I have to admit I am a little sad to see him go now that it's happened. Not sad enough to wish he had stayed, but that kind of "hey, that's too bad" kind of sad. Why? Well for one, C thinks he's great. If you had no idea about steroids, clubhouse attitude, and walking out on the last day of the season, you would probably love him too. And two, I will always remember how much fun the summer of '98 was. Not for the juiced home runs totals (although that was kind of fun too), but for the playoff chase and how much fun everyone on the team seemed to be having.
Sammy will go into the Hall of Fame one of these days, and he will go as a Cub and I will be excited to see it happen. Maybe C and N and I will make a trip to Cooperstown to watch it. (I guess the girls can come too)
But for now, it's still good riddance.