Wednesday, January 30, 2008
This is a very interesting video project three high school guys put together. It's a bit long, but you can kinda fast forward through the pop culture/historical figure section. You'll get the point real quick. The whole thing is thoughtful and well done. You can really hear the heart of a generation of kids who get a strong sense that the system is broken: politically, family, and educationally. Watch for yourself.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Many men can celebrate a bit of their childhood by giving a shout out to Lego for making it 50 years. Many mother and vacuum cleaners probably will curse this day as well! But all in all a great great product that allowed boys (and girls) to explore their inner engineer and architect by building from the directions in the box or building from their imagination. What a cool product. I still have my first Lego set. Do you remember yours?
Here's a link to a little article on the company's milestone.
Here's a link to some really cool stuff made with Lego bricks.
(bu to BoingBoing)
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I hear the wacko church from Kansas that protests fallen soldiers' funerals is at it again, but this time with Heath Ledger. Sick. I'm not even going to give you (or them through publicity) a link to follow for the story.
But I have a question: Is this group picketing ESPN any better or worse? What have we so-called followers of Christ following these days? Shouldn't we be counter cultural when it comes to grace, mercy and forgiveness? What the ESPN employee did was wrong (or at least what the blogsphere thinks she did and some news reporting) and should be handled, but what would it have looked like those picketing would have said, "We, the Church, forgive her as Christ did. We think she should keep her job. We all blow it in big and small ways."
Watch and tell me what you think?
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Thought this was a great little interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He interviews Jim Wallis about the state of religious politics and it's significant shift in the American culture. I love it when thoughtful, intelligent, and respected Christians get on shows like this and communicate with passion and humility about Kingdom and moral issues of our day.
(bu to Revolution in Jesusland)
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
(as introduced in the post, Blog Letter To A Friend)
I hope this letter finds you and the fam doing well. Your boys are growing big and Jen is as amazing as ever as she cares for and loves on all her Dean dudes!
I am so excited about your new adventure into the great unknown of church planting. You are laying it on the line, as they say, by starting up another church for the Kingdom and Peoria. It sounds like God brewing some good stuff in you and those that y'all have gathered for this endeavor.
In light of that, I thought I would share with you some of my observations and struggles with re-connecting into church life since moving from Indy to Dayton. Kelly and I knew it wouldn't be easy. It never is when you leave a people and place you really dig. But we didn't think it would be this hard.
So a couple of learnings that I'll share with you before I hit the sack tonight:
1. Figure out with the rest of the people of Imago Dei Church how to connect with those that are new to the church. We've gone to four different and good churches in the area and never once did anyone come up to us that wasn't a "hire volunteer gun" - the usher greeter. Talk about disheartening. The only time someone came up to us was when I wore my college alma mater hat in church (I know, God forbid!) and asked if I went there. That started a great conversation. But if I hadn't worn my hat? Nobody would have extended us the right hand of fellowship.
So what can we do? Get people to wear there college and pro gear to church? Maybe. But can we just ask our people to be friendly, not because we volunteered to be, but because that is who we are as a people? If you don't know someone around you, say, "Hi," and introduce yourself. I don't have to meet and greet every new person - just one - then look for them in subsequent weeks (all the while looking out for someone else I do not know).
2. This is a personal reflection. I bring baggage with me to every church I go to now. It's called expectation. I like our church in Indiana. The community. The teaching. The worship. The targeted ministries for our kids. The outreach ministries aimed at poor and marginalized. And not every church we go to has those same values. And so I gripe.
Charlie, you can't be all ministries to all people. Don't kill yourself, your family, or the leaders around you based on the expectations of people with baggage. Help them where you can help them. Serve them where you can serve them. Invite them to get involved. And if they choose not to and continue to grip...move on, baby, move on.
Well, I've rambled long enough, my friend. I'll write more later. The kids will be up before I know it. Give our love to Jen and the kids!
Grace and peace,
The book, Jim & Casper Go To Church, was given to me by my buddy, Tim Mauriello. We served together when we were pastors together at Grace Community Church in Noblesville, In (just north of Indianapolis). He read the book along with other leaders of the church. He told me that I would love it and sent me a copy after his mom sent him a second copy of the book (thanks Mrs. Mauriello!).
The book is about an ex-pastor/house painter and an open-minded atheist who team up to the check out some of America's most popular churches along with some others you and may never have heard of before. It was their look into the show, pageantry, "celebritiness", music, preaching, mission and values that the church communicates to not only it's own, but those that "Jesus misses most" - the people who are far away from Him (the lost, unchurched, non-Christians, seekers, or whatever label we use to communicate those "on the other side of the spiritual tracks).
I was mesmerized by the opening chapter through the Q&A at the end of the book. The dialog between these two guys is fascinating. They bring fresh light to modern methods that the church uses to be relevant and contemporary to the world at large...and shake them to the core. Their observations and insight both resonate and rock me at the same time.
I have been more and more cynical about the way the Church does what it does and the why it does what it does for sometime now. Whether it's the push for bigger and brighter or the lack of peace and justice in suburbia...it's leaving a sour aroma in my soul. But it rocks me, too, because there is a part of me that wants to be comfortable, sit back and enjoy my privileged position of knowing God. If I have to really do what Jesus calls of me, well, then, that's an inconvenience me and an interruption to my way of life. And, let's face it, I don't like that. Maybe I should be more cynical about me...hhhmmm.
A couple of high lights for me (of many) are...
1. The question...Is this what Jesus told you guys what to do? This is posed by Matt Casper, the atheist, to Jim Henderson, the ex-pastor, after seeing all these churches and their weekend services. And as I think about that one, I honestly have to go, "Ummm...eeerrr...aaahhh...Well, uuhh..."
2. The conversation...I want to have open, honest, genuine relationships with people not like me in faith. I want to know them not to win them, but to know them and care for them. That is so hard to do these days when even the Christian buzz words and ideas like community and authentic relationships get in my way of going beyond my faith drawn line in the sand to pursue those in my world regardless of their worldview.
I dig this book. Buy it if you want, need, or have a weird liking for getting your cage rattled. Thanks, Timmy. May this book invite us to explore new relationships and challenge us get involved in the Kingdom revolution no matter where it's found - sacred or secular.
Monday, January 21, 2008
On this day, what is your Dream? Not just any dream - to be richer, healthier, religious, and the like - but possibly a dream about radical relationships that cross cultural, ethnic, sexuality, and faith boundaries where we listen to and know each other. I pray that you and I simply don't think of this day as another holiday, but as a gift from a reconciling God who reminds us to expand our relational horizons and pursue peace and justice.
The dream has been shared. Will we share it, too?
Here is a link to some of Dr. King's most memorable speeches and sermons found on the net.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I've been stewing on some ideas for a time about our (Kelly and me) experience and learnings trying to find and connect in a church community here in Dayton. The process has been very difficult and sometimes very discouraging for Kelly and I. We knew it would be given our affection for the church and community that we were apart of in Indiana (even though I had experienced some serious pain there). Thus, I've been thinking about how I might express this stuff in some other fashion than your run-of-the-mill post, all the while, trying to be both honest with myself about the Church I love and helpful to others with like passion.
Then I got an idea: write some letters/posts/notes to my friend, Charlie. Charlie and I have been friends from back in the day while at Denver Seminary. Since graduating and going our different ways post seminary, Charlie and I have kept in touch through email, our blogs, Christmas cards, and our wives. You can find out more about Charlie, his family and his wife on his blog charlieDEAN. He was one of my blogs of the month last year (see post).
But why I'm writing Charlie is that he and some crazy, like-minded friends of his feel like sharing more of Jesus, themselves, and the Kingdom with people near and far from God in Peoria, IL by planting a church, Imago Dei (Peoria style not Portland). You can find out more about that process over on his blog. It's pretty cool and I'm totally stoked for all who are apart of it and then all who come in contact with it. Anywho...I thought he might get a kick (and some insight) out of this pastor's voyage as former paid pro to a wide-eyed lay person as they figure out how to help new peeps like me find roots in that church.
There will be just a few posts to this series. I'll try and not just be critical, but offer a few ideas to how to improve the process. Maybe in the comments you, too, could post some issues/difficulties you have/had with connecting to the Church, its message, and its mission. But if you do that, you have to offer a solution or two for correcting it or I'll have to delete the comment (no simple bitch session here).
Charlie, thanks for being a part of my little constructive venting process. This is probably more for me than you, but you never know what little nugget my fall in your lap that God will use to shape your community. Is that vain or what? Hahaha...you are the best!
Friday, January 18, 2008
This has to be one of the great covers of all time. Hey Ya (the first time around) was a fun catchy hip hop tune. This time around it's a super cool, soulful hip hop tune with the acoustic bent. Funky video using the acoustic folk version and laying it over the original Outkast video. This totally rocks!
Here is the link to some other hip hop covers done acoustic/folk style.
I'd like to think I was ahead of my time with the Flight of the Conchords with this post here.
(bu to mental_floss blog)
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I'm still listening even after Christmas season is over. As I listen to the Still Small Voice of a Great Big God, I keep hearing Him say: Do as I do. Live as I lived and live.
That could mean a ton of good things like love, serve, care, laugh, share, etc. But as I read the Christmas story and some subsequent books, He keeps saying, "Sacrifice."
But I have.
"You don't have to figure it ALL out now, but keep following me and be open and THEN obedient."
I see it all over that season in history when Jesus gave up heaven for earth. Angels for sheep. Glory for obscurity. Comfort for poverty. Perfect community for dysfunctional disciples. Kingdom defined for Kingdom to come.
So here I go. I'm not sure what sacrifices this will entail for me and/or my family. Comfort? Suburbia? Dreams? Vocation? Money? Relationships? I can say this...I'm totally uncomfortable with it, uneasy for sure, and maybe even scared. I just don't know where this will go.
Yellow brick roads are hard to follow.
The news that will no doubt have clowns shedding tears was revealed in a poll of youngsters by researchers from the University of Sheffield who were examining how to improve the decor of hospital children's wards.Now if I'm honest, while clowns are silly and cheesy they are kinda creepy, too. Maybe it's something to do with the carnival/circus environments - smells like cabbage! But I know, too, movies that I watched growing up - Uncle Buck and Spawn to name a couple - gave the impression that clowns were of the weird drunk type.
But, on the other hand, Bozo was huge for me. That clown totally rocked! I wonder, too, what this kind of perception does to Ronald McDonald or is he untouchable having achieved rock star branding status?
So all you people working with kids in a ministry, church or educational setting that focuses on kids, does it make you think twice about calling Slappy the Wonder Clown? Or will you do anything to get balloon animals, juggling and bicycle horns to be apart of your program?
Oh, where, oh, where have all the good clowns gone!?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I've been giddy all day. American Idol is back. I'm watching the taped delayed version since I had class tonight. Some tender stories. Some great singers. Some hysterical characters. And the best part: mostly awful singers and dancers. Wow. Love this show! It's gonna be a late night watching because I love rock n roll!
A couple of highlights:
Milo: No Sex Allowed
Angela: Single mom with sick daughter
Dude that sang the Moses song
What the Hey! How about the guy in the Princess Leia costume! OMG!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I found this great piece on fairy tales and their not so happy endings. In fact, I found it sometime in December and it got me to thinking about some of the "fairy tale" type stuff we put into or leave out of the Christmas story. This thought mainly comes from when Herod kills off all the little boys two years and younger to try and ride himself of this rival who is to be King of kings and Lord of Lords. We don't get that event told to us very often when dive into the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.
But that got me to thinking back even more. We tend not to tell most of the real rough details surrounding a number of biblical events. Noah's ark: genocide. We tend to like animals too much to spoil that story. Abraham, Issac, and Jacob: serious family dysfunction. They led Israel out of Egypt so we cut them some slack. David: lust, lying and murder. Who doesn't like to camp out on a good David and Goliath story?
So what makes us by-pass the not-so-fairy-tale parts of these and other biblical narratives? Is that we think they cast God in a bad light? Is that we think that people far away from God will be repelled by those parts? Are we scared to share them because we are uncomfortable with the tension they create in our own lives about who God is and what He allows to take place in His story?
Who knows? But it sure got me thinking again about God, the way He works, what He reveals about Himself through these ugly events, and how this reflects in my own relationship with Jesus. How about you?
Maybe I am a fool, but there is something about this guy that I totally dig. Vision for our country? Political track record? Positions on the issues? I don't know. I'm sure he has his issues (every candidate does), but I keep coming back to Ron Paul. I know he's not going to get the Republican nomination, but I wish he'd get more run in the news, papers, and political circles. I think he scares both republicans and democrats.
I guess I'm going to have settle for the same old political bobbing heads that the party machines crank out. Too bad. The country is ready for something fresh and new that is connected to some historic and constitutional. Not much unlike the Church that is longing for something fresh and new, but that is connected to something ancient and biblical.
Indian music meets American metal in the classic Guns N Roses song, Sweet Child of Mine. I thought this was going to be totally cheesy. But, you know, in some very eclectic way, this was pretty cool. I was actually bummed when it was over because I was hoping for more.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Great little piece on empowering our kids to grow, learn, and live life to the full. Very instructional on how we teach our kids fear and passivity by what we don't allow them to do. I remember to this day when and where I was when I first got my hands on each of these things.
In my own sexist way, I was thinking about these things with my son, Parker, but then realized how cool it would be to do these with Sarah, too. But they do seem to be very "dude" things to do.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Here is an interesting article at Christianity Today online reporting about drawing and defining the language/concepts Young Life uses to communicate the gospel to teenagers all over the world. The paper that Young Life (YL) draws up is entitles "Non-Negotiables of Young Life's Gospel Proclamation." Here is a small portion of the article:
The Non-Negotiables statement came out after a paper circulated last summer by Jeff McSwain. The former YL area director for Durham and Chapel Hill, McSwain was the highest-ranking staff member fired. In his paper, McSwain took issue with YL "sin talks," where leaders explain that "God is holy and pure and we are impure." He said talks that include statements such as, "We've broken the law and someone needs to pay," can sound more Unitarian than Trinitarian by drawing a sharp contrast between the holy God and incarnated Son who "actually became sin." McSwain, one of YL's most experienced area directors, pointed to YL's trademark contact strategy of incarnational friendship and said ensuing messages of separation introduce "serious confusion into the hearts of the kids who we love."
This sort of clarification is usually reserved for denominations. The firing and resigning of leadership is usually reserved for local churches. But to see this happen to such a significant youth ministry organization like YL is tough.
I don't think we'll see a lot of this with other youth ministry organizations either local or national, but you never know given some of the tension that is emerging from rethinking what that Gospel is all about and how we communicate it.
Today marked a big day for me and Kelly and an even bigger one for Sarah: her first day of pre-school. Wow. Oh, there have been lots of little markers along the way, but this one is pretty huge for me. My little girl is entering into some huge seasons of learning, relationships, fun, work, etc.
Can someone tell where the last 5 and a half years have gone?
Sarah, I love you and am so proud of you! You are an amazing little girl full of life and love. May you pursue both of those with passion, humility, and grace that only comes from knowing and experiencing the life and love of Jesus.
This daddy loves you more than you will ever know.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
This is freaking funny. The wild kicking. The silly stepping. The losing sight of the ball. It all makes for a pretty funny game show piece. Seriously...the Asian TV market does some pretty funny and creative stuff. I think I need to watch more TV now.
(bu to Marko)
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
These pictures are some of my favorite from the Voet Xmas bash...classics!
The day after Christmas has become Christmas Day for Kelly's side of the family. It's a ton of fun, lots of kids, an insane amount of food, and a great time with family. Mom and Dad Voet do a great job of hosting the chaos and making this such a crazy celebration! Here are some pics from the festivities: