Monthly Archives: April 2007

Cathedrals With Doors That Open Out

“Cathedrals are a fist of faith in fear.”

Len Sweet talks about a small cathedral in eastern Washington state. A man Dr. a. Caleb White has been creating something organic and new out there. One of the beautiful aesthetics of the structure is that they intentionally make their doors that open out rather than in.

He integrates the indoor and outdoors. He brings a garden indoors. But it’s the image of a missional church who’s doors can open outwards, rather than attracting people in.

The beautiful thing about cathedrals is that they point heavenwards so that our attention becomes distractive from the self to the divine. It’s a beautiful thing.

As I re-engage Christians, I will be taking note of their architecture. Doug Pagitt told me to read a book years ago called “When Church Became Theater.” It is an architectural book that studies the morphing of worship space. The author makes a remarkable proclamation in it, she says “everything inside your worship space says something about your theology.”

How true.

It is rather telling to look around a gathering space a think of what that means about their image of God. Sitting at Mars Hill in Grandville says something different than sitting in a living room with Enoch’s Path. Not that one is more “correct” or whatever, just different. Mars’ shed is a box of a room that once housed a JC Penny (I believe) and has been painted white. In the center, they have a squared off circle with screens facing outwards at the roof. The worship band faces in rather than outward. There are twelve sections which represent the twelve tribes of Judah. Then, on each door frame is a Mezzuzah. It all says something about who they are, how they think of God and who they are becoming.

Similarly, at Enoch’s Path gatherings, you will find typical furniture, living space. Not much different from any other home…yet, that’s the point. At our gatherings, the focal point isn’t aesthetic, it is our life’s together that matters. That says something of our view (s) of God.

Next time you gather w/ other people of faith look around and ponder the theology of what you see. Do you see icons, crosses, paintings, sofa’s, coffee, holy water, incense, bands, organs, choirs, high back chairs, pews, pulpits (and the size and position of them).

Then, I’d invite you to begin to see the world around you as your cathedral. Begin to take account of what the world around you says about God. The buildings, the businesses, the people, the clothing, the music, the trees, sky, clouds…

It’s amazing what you notice when you take time to look around.

The Three Philosophies of Life

I just picked up “The Three Philosophies of Life” by Peter Kreeft. In it, he writes how he became a philosopher from reading Ecclesiastes. He believes it to be a “classic” philosophy text.

He goes on to say that Ecclesiastes, Job and Song of Songs teaches us the three ultimate philosophies of life.

The Life of Vanity

The Life of Suffering

The Life of Love

He goes on to say that hell isn’t “suffering” since out of suffering is birthed hope (which is faith in the future or the not yet realized), yet it is vanity. In self-centeredness we find ourselves without hope, nor faith. We discover through the boredom of vanity that there must exist the faith in the other. Out of this indelllible need for faith, we discover the life of suffering in Job. It is this suffering that we re-learn to hope in God. Out of faith and hope, we discover true joy which is Love.

So far, a pretty good read.

Stanton Heading To The Lions

Ok, Drew was picked up 43rd overall and isn’t going to Pittsburg or Minnesota….no, he’s staying right here in Michigan and throwing for the Lions.

This news is bitter sweet. On one hand, he brings a local boy done good vibe to the team. On the other hand, it’s the Lions.

(see detroit free press)

Everyone around here knows that bringing a good arm in like Stanton will not help the team overall. We are also tired of them picking wide-recievers in the first round (four times in a row). I just hope that this move doesn’t ruin the NFL for Drew. I mean, think about it. This is where coaches go to die. Where good quarterbacks get run out of town. Where superstars flee at their prime.

I pray that Drew is able to play this season and learns the ropes in the NFL, then gets traded to Indiana so he can learn from one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

Other Spartans were picked up as well. Clifton Ryan went too St. Louis in the 5th round (defensive tackle) and punter Brandon Fields went in the seventh to Miami…kicking for Joey how ironic.

Matt Trannon didn’t get picked in the draft, but signed as a free-agent with the Arizona Cardinals. Now, Matt Leinart will have a taller reciever to throw to! Maybe he can recapture some of his USC glory.

p.s. fire millen and get rid of the ford’s

 

Anna’s Baptism

Tonight, we celebrated Anna’s  baptism together.  I captured the evening in photo’s. Here are some to enjoy!

   

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Webber Dies

Another leader in the conversation has passed. According to the Webber Institute, Robert Webber died on friday at 6:10pm. Webber had been fighting cancer for some time, but finally lost that battle last night.

Good bye Bob, we’ll miss you.

 

Kailey and the bee (or how do you spell YMCA?)

This afternoon, Kailey participated in her first ever spelling bee. It was at the local ISD building and there were four area schools competing against one another.

After the first hour, it had wittled down to about 15. Then, they narrowed it down grade by grade (each grade had a top three). What was remarkable was that Kailey and four other 3rd graders couldn’t be stopped. After a half an hour, the leaders went next door to the older kids room and took the 4th grade word list. They didn’t stop! They kept answering them all right!

So, they went to the 4th grade bonus words, and finally one dropped off. Then, the remaining four battled it out. At almost three pm, one of the girls answered wrong, then another leaving Kailey and a boy at 1 and 2 positions. The girls went back and forth and finally settled on a tie at 3rd. Kailey ended up taking 2nd place!

It was a pretty nerve racking experience, but we are terribly proud of her. She got a nice big red trophy which she is thrilled about!

Oh, by the way. The YMCA thing is a joke about Molly who asked my mom how to spell “YMCA” a few months ago….

A Shift from the Macro to the Micro

George Barna states in his book “Revolution” that in the United States there is this major shift happening inside and around the Christian Church. At one point, he refers to seven trends of society and how the modern church fails to meet the seven passions in their people’s lives. This major disconnect is responsible to the decline of modern church forms. He calls these”macro” forms of Church: local church, “house” church, family meeting and cyber church. It is these “macro” forms of church that will see a 50% drop off in the next 20 years.

On the other hand, Barna predicts that we will see a boom in what he calls “micro” churches, or what he labels as distributed models of church. It is within these micro-movements that true Christian revolutionaries will be able to thrive in. These micro-movements include worship events (rather than weekly programmed services), marketplace faith groups, internet connections, and other viral forms of church.

It is within this tension that I live. Almost a decade ago now, a few of us began looking at the shift within the Church in Europe as a Geiger counter. I believe that places like England and France give us a glimpse at our faith’s future. It is within those environments that people have had to reinvent their faith expressions. To this day, more people shop at Ikea than attend Sunday morning services at Westminster Abbey.

Some people within the modern Church have reacted much in the same way they’ve reacted to “An Inconvenient Truth,” by barking out slanderous rhetoric and digging in their heels. Very much like children that hold their breathe till they get what they want. Recently, a friend of mine attended a seminar featuring D.A. Carson in Chicago. Needless to say, Carson was not flattering to Emergent. When my friend asked Carson about people who view his ideas as backward, he responded by saying, “If people don’t agree with me it means that they haven’t read enough and they are just stupid.”

If the modern church is going to shift, it must relearn how to reform itself, again and again. It has forgotten that much of its hymns began as “contemporary” bar songs. It has forgotten that what Luther, Zwingli and Calvin were reforming against is in many ways what we are reforming from today.

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