Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Friday, July 30, 2004


It's early.  Every time I wake up, I think, "Surely 5:50 is too early to be getting out of bed."  But I must arrive to work on time.  Somedays I wish for public transit from the Boro to Nashville.  Other days I enjoy being by myself in the car, not talking to anyone. 

Last night, I met up with two of my good friends.  We had a great time of sharing, laughing, praying, listening.  I really enjoy their companionship and company.  And then Tuesday night, my wife and I had one of my close friends over to eat with us.  She cooked all the meal and him and I cleaned up afterwards.  And this past Sunday night at a reception for Mike Stroud, several of the people I knew in college were back to celebrate and remember the good times.  It's funny because I used to be so fired up about leaving the Boro and doing my own thing, but now if my wife and I have to leave, I'll be sad to say the least.  It has made me be thankful for friends, especially those that I have a special connection with.  Former roommates, old Bible study group members, the guys in "Safety Dance," flag football teammates.  I have been blessed to have some awesome men in my life that have encouraged me, supported me, prayed with me, strengthened me, and loved me for who I am.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I hope that wherever we end up, doing whatever it is, I pray that we can continue to be this support and encouragement to each other, as well as create new relationships and dear friends.  So to all of you who have been an influence, a friend, an amigo, a guide, a voice....thanks.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Authoritative Community Member

We refer to the Bible as a member of our community of faith - an essential member that must be listened to on all matters on which it speaks.  This approach is meant to strengthen rather than diminish the Bible's authority.  When we read the Bible in our community, we attempt to fully engage ourselves in it and in the God who inspired its creation.  We work to listen to the community of faith that has produced us and the God who dwells in us.  We focus our efforts on trying to figure out if our lives could be relevant to the story of God, not if the Bible can be relevant to our lives.  We can only do this when we allow the information gleaned from the stories of the Bible to couple with our experiences, hopes, and ideas.  Our trust in the Bible does not depend on information that "proves" the Bible to be credible.  We believe the Bible because our hopes, ideas, experiences, and community of faith allow and require us to believe.

Doug Pagitt's Reimagining Spiritual Formation (123)

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

A Useful Religion

"Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship."  I'm sure most of you have heard this statement, especially if you share the Christian faith.  This tidy definition helped make faith more than a meaningless ritual.  For some, it created an avenue out of the cold halls of legalism and "rule keeping."  While I still believe in the "relational" aspects of my walk with God, I wonder if my faith had any public usefulness to others.  We are taught to make time with God, one-on-one, to be very self-indulgent in the way we treat our faith.  But how useful is my life in bringing about the things of the Kingdom of God?  What does it mean to live a life, to have a faith that is good to the entire world?  Why do I follow Jesus?  Is it because I can punch my "reservation" ticket to the eternal banquet?  Is it because I have someone (God) who watches out for my safety, and when I do find myself in a bind, that someone (God) will help me and deliver me from that peril? 

Do you see the issue here?  Our faith can become so "me" oriented.  What's the use to the world if our faith is such that it only will apply to "me"?  I hope I can become someone who is can see past my concern with my own salvation and practice useful faith in our context and our world.

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Unknown

My head has been wading through some deep foggy area lately.  The more and more I read and ask God for guidance, it seems as though I'm finding myself with more questions than answers.  Maybe this is my modern mindset being "deconstructed" by postmodern philosophy, only to "emerge" as a "reconstructed" belief system. 

So let's begin shall we.  I have a lot of down time at work, so I read lots of other blogs as well as sites such as theOooze.com, ginkworld, emergentvillage, etc.  These sites and blogs have really been a blessing for me because they make me think.  I am so excited to see people engage in conversation about our world, our faith, our theology.  Maybe I should sit down and write out what I believe and why.  I love to read as well.  I'm on Doug Pagitt's (Solomon's Porch) book Reimagining Spiritual Formation.  His theology is very stirring because it matches that of his church.  He and the community there in Minnesota are being intention about being a community that strives to live out their theology.  Here is a great quote from the book:

We are called to live in awareness of the legacy we leave for those who come after us.

Amen!  The thing about Doug is, he will tell you "Don't copy us, because what we do is not a model of what you need to do."  His point is that his book does not provide a quick solution to community in 10 easy to read chapters.  No, God is doing something very different in the SP community, just like He is doing in Jacob's Well in Kansas.  We should be very wary of not following the current trends or whats cool or hip.  No!  We should ask, "What context are we in and how is God using our context to call us into authenticity."  Church along with Christianity is not some product to be marketed, sold and consumed.  Questions like "So who are we targeting? What demographic market are you going after?"  These questions should make us quiver with disgust.  Unfortunately much more energy has gone into discovering the best use of marketing techniques for the church than reflecting on what happens to the gospel when it becomes a product of an ever-desiring culture looking for "value-added" faith as the final rung of the self-actualization ladder. 

All that to say that I have no idea what I would do if I ever find a place that will accept my weakness and foolishness to work in ministry.  First thought is to use all of these "cool" "hip" "artistic" avenues to draw people in to your community.  And yes, I am all about seeing people come face-to-face with the Creator in worship, but just because I have stations, or follow the Christian calendar, or have couches with abstract painting on the wall, that doesn't mean that community is going to happen.  Like Abraham in Genesis 12, God will show us the land.  He didn't show Abraham before he left Ur.  God just said, "Ggo, take the journey.  You'll have questions and battles but if you didn't you wouldn't trust me.  I WILL show you, just not yet."  So as it is with us, moving into a journey that holds much at stake but the outcome is uncertain.  We really don't know where we will be, what we will be transformed into, but only if we follow God's guidance in our own context.  Let ministers, pastors, leaders, churches, men and women ask, "What does God want us to be?  What is His calling for us to become?  And let us be bold on our journey as we venture into unknown territory. 

God, strengthen our hands and feet for the journey ahead.  Holy Spirit, guide us with your presence and prayers.  Jesus, may we be morphed into you essence. Amen.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Shaq Diesel

I thought this was hilarious.  I was never a big fan of Shaq Diesel (maybe cause I cannot stand the Lakers).  But he is one funny guy.  He had his first press conference in Miami since being signed to the Heat yesterday.  Here are some quotes from the press conference.

I just bought a house on the beach, and my wife loves for me to walk on the beach naked.  So if take pictures of me naked walking on the beach, you have to give me 15% of what you sell to the Inquirer.

Pat Riley told me to do one thing when I came here, and that is to take care of business.  And that is what I'm going to do.  To take care of business...period.  P-U-R-E-U-D.  Period.

You got love the Shaq.

Discipleship through the eyes of Willard

What if saving the church is a self-defeating mission?  Is the church preoccupied with her own existance?  Will the church have to rethink far more than just their cosmetics?  These are some questions posed by Brian McLaren in Leadership Magazine.  Check it out:


We would intend to make disciples and let converts "happen" rather than intending to make converts and letting disciples "happen."  One cannot build discipleship to Jesus by doding serious issues or not doing jsutice to honest doubts about him and his teachings.  If we cannot break through to a new vision of faith and discipleship, the real significance and power of the gospel of the kingdom of God can never come into its own. 

Dallas Willard, "Divine Conspiracy"                                                     

Monday, July 19, 2004

Heaven through the eyes of Willard

There is a widespread notion that just pasisng through death transforms human character.  Discipleship is not needed.  Just believe enough to "make it."  What if death only forever fixes us as the kind of person we are at death?  What would one do in heaven with a debauched character or a hate-filled heart?  I often wonder how happy and useful some of the fearful, bitter, lust-ridden, hate-filled Christian I have seen involved in church or family or neighborhood or political battles would be if they were forced to live forever in the unrestrained fullness of the reality of God and with multitudes of beings really like him.

 Dallas Willard "The Divine Conspiracy"


Friday, July 16, 2004


I had to pick up a tux yesterday for a wedding I'm in this weekend Robert Gill and Emily Clifford.  When I was trying on my tux, I couldn't believe that I had been in there myself almost a month and half ago for my own wedding.  Life sure goes fast.  Jennifer and I still wait for a call from the Gateway church to see what their decision will be.  We also got a call from a church in West Arkansas about campus work.  It's hard to know where to go but we know to let God work out the details. 
The command "Be ye perfect" is not idealistic gas.  Nor is it a command to do the impossible.  He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. 
                                             - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, July 15, 2004


Dallas Willard states that God has pity on us. He remembers what we are made of and remembers that we are dust. He says this during his chapter on the Lord's Prayer (section on 'Don't Punish Us for Things We Do Wrong:'

"The word pity makes us wince, as mercy does not. Our current language has robbed mercy of its deep traditional meaning, which is practically the same as pity. To pity someone now is to feel sorry for them, and that is regatded as demeaning, wheras to have mercy now is thought to be slightly noble - just 'give em a break.' It is pure egotism to say 'I'm not a sinner, I just need a break.' No, I need more than a break. I need pity because of who I am. If my pride is untouched when I pray for forgiveness, I have not prayed for forgiveness. I don't even understand it."

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Missing Rich

Since the Wilco record came out, that's all I've been listening to. Yesterday, I finally took it out and put in some good ol' Rich Mullins. How much more great and inspired music this man would have made if he was still alive. I really enjoy his sincerity in his lyrics and his voice.

Andrew Peterson is another guy who I think resembles Rich in ways. Andrew's lyrics dive deep into the heart of a man's soul and paint pictures that are incredibly vivid. On the "secular" side (dern titles), I still can't abandon Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Sure I'm a huge fan and have been since the Uncle Tupelo days, but he writes with such emotion. Especially in this new album where he seeks an identity (I'm an echo, I'm a wheel, I'm an ocean, etc.). Check out these and other great artist by supporting your local record store.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Paper Airplanes

On my way to work, I listen to these guys named Rick and Bubba. I gave up listening to preaching cause it would either make me mad or it was too early in the morning to be thinking deeply. They were talking about making paper airplanes in school. Well, I was a horrible airplane maker back in the day. I couldn't compete with the aviators of my day. Alas, my day arrived about two years ago when I was working at an extended care program at a local school. We couldn't go outside because it was raining so we had lots of scrap paper laying around for the kids to draw and color on. Then one kid came up to me and asked me to help him make an airplane. "This is my time to shine," I thought. "Redemption." Soon enough all the kids were begging me to make these jets of paper. Then I even went as far as making a stunt plane. After that day I retired from this craft never to pick it up again.

How was your paper airplane skills?

Monday, July 12, 2004

Greatest Lesson

During my interview this weekend, I was asked a great question, that I ask you all.

What is the hardest lesson you've learned through your greatest trial?

My answer was about how I learned to accept God's mystery in my life. My brother-in-law died during his and my sister's 4th year of marriage (no kids). Mark and Shelley were helping some friends from church move, when Mark had a massive heart attack. My sister was right by his side. He was 26, healthy and loved to serve others in the spirit of Jesus. This was about 4 years ago. I still have no idea why this had to happen. I guess I never will. And that's o.k. God is mysterious. The way He works and moves and lives with us is, personally, odd to me. Not the way I'd do things, but good thing I'm not the Potter.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Question to Ponder

It's almost been a year since I've read "A New Kind of Christian." And it still has shaken my soul with the pondering thoughts Brian McLaren has addressed. Because of his creative writing, it has made me really think about salvation, along with other important conversations.

Is salvation something we "get" and then consider the option of joining God in His grand mission? Or is salvation something we experience while joining God in His grand mission? Is the real issue being "saved" or "crossing a line" or signing on to a new set of beliefs? Or is it following Jesus, joining him in his adventure and mission of saving the world and expressing God's love. If a person isn't moving ahead on that journey, then no matter how many aisle he walks down and cards he fills out and "sinner's prayer" he says, is that person in any meaningful way experiencing salvation? Is it any of our business who goes to hell?

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


A list of books I'm trying to get through:

The Rocks Cry Out - Steve Stockman
How Movies Helped Save My Soul - Gateth Higgins
The Divine Conspiracy - Dallas Willard
An article in Harp Magazine on Wilco and their new album, A Ghoust Is Born.

My wish list and finish list:

Morph - by the former pastor @ Westwind Community Church
Wilco: Learning How to Die - Greg Kot (if you haven't noticed, I'm a big fan)
Demons and Angels - Dan Brown (DaVinci Code author)
Tender Mercies of God? - Brennan Manning
There is a book by Eugene Peterson and an artist, and Peterson writes about one word (faith, love, hope, conviction) and the artist paints the picture describing the word.
My massive 600+ page Abraham Lincoln auto-biography.

how bout you?

Coach K

Way to go Coach K for staying with Duke. I don't care if you like him or hate him (most of you probably hate Duke) but he loves the game of college ball too much to give it up for Hollywood and the thugs that play in the NBA. While I applaud him, I am sadden by the loss of Steve Nash to Phoenix. Cuban, what are you thinking? Get rid of Walker. He's fat, slow and jacks up the threes. Oh the sorrow in Mav-land. At least we got Dirk.

I'm off to Pensacola for an interview this weekend. Pray for my wife and I as we travel and meet the family at Gateway.

Friday, July 02, 2004


Could resting be seen as a spiritual discipline? My co-worker at work was raised Seventh Day Adventist and she was telling me about their Sabbath (Friday sun down to Saturday sun down). Not only did they go to church on Saturday morning, they rested from beginning to end. And when they weren't at church they were hanging out with the family feasting on God's word. [Interesting how the Hebrews began their day at sundown. It would be a good reminder to us working folk to view our day like that so we can start fresh when we return home from work and see our family.] It made me think about how much time I just "hang out with God." Am I resting in His presence? So friends, are we serious about resting with God? Or do we serve the idol of busyness? Moreover, do we use the busyness to please God? "Look God, I'm involved. I go to Bible study four nights a week and church on Sunday morning, night and Wednesday night." Activities, Activities, Activities. Now I'm not talking about slothfulness or laziness, but soaking up the grace of our King by just being there with Him. Making scared space in our souls for Him to enter and commune with us.

So for the holiday weekend, enjoy friends and family. Let us rest and enjoy life and the beautiful creation that surrounds us. May we rest and breathe deep God's blessings.