Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Confirming words re: social justice

I recently read this on Brian McLaren's blogsite and wanted to pass it on:

I'm thrilled to see concerns for justice and peace rise in importance in the emergent community. The idea of missionality that has become so important to us means that God cares for our world; God is not just interested in helping some of us escape it to a pleasant hereafter so all our troubles are "left behind." Our call is to join the "missio dei" in doing justice and loving kindness as we walk humbly with God. So, I don't have a lot of interest in religious movements that do not produce positive social change – and I'm thrilled to see this concern grow in emergent. In our highly partisan political context, the church has too often become captive to the polarization and paralysis of left and right. We're committed to seeking a third way beyond this polarization.

For example, quite a few emergent folk have joined us in Washington, DC, for Worship in the Spirit of Justice (info at Hundreds of us are coming together for five Sundays of public outdoor worship on behalf of people suffering genocide in Darfur, Sudan. We are experiencing something important in ourselves as we seek to draw attention to the world's greatest humanitarian emergency: when we worship a God who cares for the oppressed, the poor, and the forgotten, we become more like the God we worship. (Sadly – the converse is also true: when we worship a God who is eager to get this world over with so a nice, quiet eternal rest can be enjoyed - we are also transformed into that image.)
(From "Reflections on Emergent Summit")

Monday, June 27, 2005

Comment from Bill O'Brien

A few thots from yesterday's community-

Parables - perhaps the best evangelistic tool in 2000 years
Real live Christ-ones - the best evangelistic tool in 2000 years.

I like the idea of pursuing some outreach locally as a community - maybe praying for and seeing what else we can do for the Riverhaven people, the low income folks in Meiners Oaks, or helping the Bikers for Christ, or ???
Bill O'Brien

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Produce vs. Product

In light of our conversation regarding whether or not the film The Passion was the best evangelical opportunity in the last 2000 years, I wanted to share a question that I read elsewhere:

What is the difference in Produce and Product? Which does Jesus call us to?

Seeds within Fruit

I was thinking today about how fruit produces fruit. Not to over analyze the parable of the sower, but I do find it interesting that after Christ throws the seed into a field, the seeds that find good soil, grows deep roots and produces healthy fruit, will in turn produce seeds which should multiply a crop.

Food for thought (no pun intended)

Soil Samples

Looking at Jesus' parable of the sower, today we examined the type of soil that is fertile, and compared fertile soil to hearts willing to accept Jesus' Kingdom and 'Good News'. We also had a great conversation exploring different possibilities of what the "seed" is today that we are spread. Is it a propositional statement? Is it love? Is it holy lives? Four Spiritual Laws? A combination of some of those?

I also shared with Community a commercial from a group called ONE, which states in their mission statement:
WE RECOGNIZE that a pact including such measures as fair trade, debt relief, fighting corruption and directing additional resources for basic needs – education, health, clean water, food, and care for orphans – would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries, at a cost equal to just one percent more of the US budget. WE COMMIT ourselves - one person, one voice, one vote at a time - to make a better, safer world for all.” (
And I shared the convictions that I had as a result of watching the ad, as I felt that we as Jesus' followers should be equally concerned as actors, if not more so, to spread justice for others, and to desire God's kingdom and rule for others, here and now.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Lake Casitas

Wow! Yesterday's service far exceeded mine, or anyone's I think, expectations. Community was founded with the interest of "going out." We didn't want Community to just become like another organization that was confined to meeting inside the same bulding, never venturing out into the "World" that we are encouraged, (no wait that was a command) to go out into. When I was asked a month ago to go out and minister to the River Haven people of Ventura I recognized that this was potentianly an oppotunity to reach out, but was still skeptical.
How huge is God though. After exploring Jesus' Mission Discourse, Community had the opportunity to go out to Lake Casitas and love others. I had no idea how the service at the Lake was going to go, I had never met the people who were part of "River Haven," had no foreknowledge of where we were going to meet and set up our chairs, and wasn't really sure who from Community would be able to make it. But as we prayerfully and obediently went out to the Lake to hold yesterday's Community service, all of the pieces were put into place by God for an amazing afternoon.

After singing (something that I was told our visitors really enjoyed), and after sharing from the Word of God and from Biker's for Christ and Kay from River Haven, a woman named Bonnie approached me with a song that she had written when she was 14 that she wanted to share with me.

"I know not where the road leads on,
but when he comes he will show,
he will take my hand,
and lead me on his way,
I'll go when he does come,
I'll go when he does come,
for I know when he does come I will go."

After I talked with Bonnie, another woman, Debbie came up to me and told me that she needed to speak with me. She explained that she had rededicated her life to Christ in the 70's while she was part of a church "kinda like yours." She explained that this church had disbanded before she had a chance to be baptized, and that she had always wanted to be baptized. After asking her some questions about who she believed Jesus was, and what He had done for her, I asked her if she wanted to be baptized today in the Lake. I then asked her if she wanted to go back to her camp and change, or if she was ready to be baptized right now. She told me that she was ready to go, and we headed down to the lake willing to receive our $1000 fine if ticketed.
After Debbie was baptized and we began to climb back up the hill to our cars, Kay (the River Haven clan leader) told me that there was someone else who wanted to be baptized if I was willing, her husband. I met with her husband and after talking with him, he too headed down to be baptized among the reeds in the lake, (It is truly amazing the similarities between the lake, the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan River).

While we were walking to the lake, another woman who I had met earlier during the service also said that she would like to be baptized, informing me that she had given her life to the Lord when she was young, but that her mother wanted her to wait until she was older to be baptized.

One of the greatest things about our service at the lake was that we simply followed God. We didn't orchestrate the experience, in fact I had no idea what to expect. We prepared a set of music, and a message to deliever, and prayed for God to work in us, and then we got to observe God at work as we prayed, sang, read, taught, listened to people's stories, and baptized our fellow brothers and sisters in Chirst.