Saturday, August 30, 2003

Things I admire most in others (in no particular order):
Simplicity in pleasure

I am fairly decent in about 3 or 4 of these areas. I won't say which.

posted by Steve at 3:22 PM
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Thursday, August 28, 2003

God's grace make me glad to be alive. That's all I need to say today.

posted by Steve at 3:30 PM
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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

O.k., I'm a-political these days, and thus, I have not taken a personal stand on what's going on in the California (or, as the would be new Republican governor would say, "Colleeforneeya") recall election. However, I heard that a certain fast food chain is doing a promotion aimed at "buying votes." Click here to see who's winning. I just think it's funny to see how they have characterized Governor Gray Davis.

posted by Steve at 4:23 PM
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Saturday, August 23, 2003

In the CD player: Over The Rhine, Ohio

By the way . . . the price on this is really good - it's a double album

posted by Steve at 4:29 PM
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Our Wednesday night BBQ gathering in the park was interesting this week. We had a very uncharacteristic weather system come in and sprinkle us with a little rain - just enough to get the grass wet and make it feel really muggy with the August heat. It felt more like Mississippi or Houston than San Diego. Thankfully, the park we meet in has a big gazebo thing, so we just hung out under there for the evening. We had a good discussion that ended up touching on the concept of the Christian ghetto. We unpacked what that looks like and why it can be so problematic. I'll be eager to see how the next few weeks unfold with our little group - some of our folks are headed out this weekend to go back to college in other parts of SoCal, so we'll be smaller. But I'm excited about the ones that are staying around - we'll all be local, and I'm hoping more open to making commitments to one another to do life together.

posted by Steve at 4:27 PM
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003

As I've moved around the blog world over the past year-plus, I've noticed that at times some of my favorite writers will say something to the effect of "I'm going to go into quiet mode for a spell. I'll post less regularly here for a while." I've been noticing that that's pretty much what I've done over the past month or so . . . except that in my case, it has been an intentional or purposeful cutting back from blogging. In part, it's a result of my new work situation - it's been tough for me to develop any kind of rhythm with a work schedule that is different from day to day, week to week. I've also been a lot less oriented toward just spilling my thoughts here lately. No good reason for this, but it is what it is. I'm sure it means something - I just haven't taken the time to think it through.

In general, I'm going through a couple of phases simultaneously. In one sense, I've been encouraged by our weekly gathering, and it's feeling more and more like we might actually have a core group to work with. One of the things that's come out of our group organically in the past couple of weeks is a desire to serve others. Some of our folks still have a bit too much of an institutional mindset in this regard, and they want to see us put together a more or less formal "program" for service. For now, we've been able to keep things simple, though. I am getting the feeling that at least a few of our folks are beginning to think of this gathering as a primary experience of the body of Christ. More and more community. We have some concerns, and some things we're not content with yet, but there's a good bit to be encouraged about.

The other phase I think I'm sensing is isolation. Due mostly to being busy and tired a lot lately, I haven't put my own effort into calling, e-mailing, and meeting with people who I know I can talk openly with. I've gotten one or two e-mails from others, but it's been quiet on the receiving end. This isn't intentional (like my lack of blogging), but I've begun to feel the effects. It's not a severe depression or anything, but I do feel a bit distant from people who I'd like to feel close to as a lifestyle. I have to face the ugly reality that I'm looking for what these relationships can give to me. But at the same time, I know that I get a lot out of the relationships, even when we're not talking about "my stuff." I am in an important place of decision, that I need to really be aware of: I can choose to put the effort into connecting with others, because it is a priority for me, or I can choose to take about four more steps toward isolation and cut myself off from what my community of relationships can pour into my life.

I hope all of this isn't too melancholy. I'm not navel-gazing or self-absorbed - just kind of doing a reality check "out loud."

"As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend." ~Proverbs 27:17

posted by Steve at 4:26 PM
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Wednesday, August 13, 2003

More on Oklahoma . . .

I think I once heard a country song about wide open spaces. To my city-boy eyes, it was a stark contrast . . . and I live in some of the widest openest spaces in San Diego. As the airplane descended just before my arrival at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, I saw something that triggered memories of childhood vacations to this place - the red clay earth. I remember riding in the backseat of the family car with my sister (it's a looooong road trip for a kid from California to Oklahoma), and it seemed as though right at the spot where you cross the border from the Texas panhandle into Oklahoma, the ground turns red. I remember going to my cousin Christopher's little league game and seeing the red dirt clinging to the uniforms. I have no idea why that's such a big deal in my brain, but it sticks, and so I write about it.

As promised, here's the story my dad told at Uncle Carl's funeral. I write this in his honor, knowing that laughter was a major part of his life. I have many witnesses to the truth of it.

The Leopard Hunt

In 1950 or 1951, my dad and Uncle Carl were kids of about 5 and 7, living on their grandparent's chicken farm outside of Oklahoma City. They had been to the local zoo and seen all the animals before. So when the radio news came out about a leopard or cougar or some big cat having escaped, it was a big deal. A few days went by, and the cat hadn't been found yet. The area farmers became nervous about the cat coming onto their land and killing some of their livestock, so a group of them grabbed their shotguns one day to go hunting - my dad's grandfather included. The boys would have gone, too, except they were too young.

But boys will be boys, and they decided that they'd make up their own leopard hunt. Of course, they didn't have a real leopard, so they had to use the next best thing . . . the family dog . . . nobody seems to remember the dog's name. After enjoying the hunt, the boys had the success of capturing their "leopard", fortunately without killing it, so they had the task of taking it back to the "zoo" and putting it back safely into its enclosure. From having seen the zoo themselves, they knew that the enclosures were just large pits, with fences around them. Again, the boys lacked the real thing, so they had to use the next best "pit" they could find, and the poor dog was placed down the family outhouse pit. Unfortunately, it was a lot easier putting the dog into the pit than getting the dog out of the pit. They weren't able to do it. They didn't bother telling anyone about it.

After dark, and an unsuccessful hunting expedition, grandad returned home. They had dinner together, and grandad went to the outhouse to take care of business. As he sat down, the dog raised up and touched grandad's rear end with his moist nose, causing gradad to think he had found the leopard in a most unfortunate way!

My dad and Uncle Carl's cousin Lloyd was tasked with the chore of getting the dog out and cleaning him off with a broom and a bucket of water. Nobody seems to remember the dog's real name, but thereafter, he was known as "Stinky."

posted by Steve at 11:35 AM
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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Let me apologize in advance for any incoherence in this post. I'm nearly unconscious from exhaustion. Here's a little update on life. I've traveled a bit lately . . . Like I mentioned before, after my opening shift at work (my alarm is set for 3:40a.m.) on Friday, I got in the car with Michelle and a good friend of ours, and we drove about 7 hours to Gilroy, CA - it's about an hour south of San Jose. Long drive. When we got there, we saw some friends, and then went to the wedding rehearsal dinner at a local Mexican restaurant - it rocked! I was pretty wiped out, so we went back to our hotel and crashed. Saturday afternoon was the wedding, and then we got back in the car to drive home. I got to bed at about 3:00am Saturday night/Sunday morning.

In the middle of that road trip, I was in contact with my father, mother, and sister, who had flown to Oklahoma for my uncle's funeral. My dad was asked to do the funeral, which was really hard for him. Hard enough that he asked me to come and help him by doing the graveside service. So on Sunday morning, on pretty short sleep, I got on a plane for Oklahoma City. Didn't sleep much that night, and then the funeral was yesterday. It was pretty trippy to be back there after not having gone for almost 15 years. Both services went well, and my Uncle Carl would have been pleased with what was said. I'm proud of my dad for being able to do so well. My dad and I shared some beautiful moments of prayer together, and I was really glad I came, in order to be there for him.

After the funeral, we got changed, checked out of the hotel, and headed to the airport for the return trip. It was horrible. Weather problems all over the place, diverted flights, complete incompetence and deception by the airline. After almost five hours in delays in Dallas, we finally got in the air, and touched down in San Diego at about 2a.m. I got to bed at about 3:15. I had to get up at 7a.m. for work today.

Just got home. I'm numb. Barely conscious. But I want to be awake for my wife. I miss her. It bums me out that we spent almost 14 hours together in the car this past weekend, but didn't get much "us" time, because of our guest passengers. I loved being with our friends, but I do miss my favorite person right now. After being at the funeral yesterday, and then reading Mark Palmer's blog about having saying goodbye to Jennifer, I realize what a gift I have in Michelle.

I've got some other writing to finish up now, so I'll stop here. I do want to post a story that my dad shared during the funeral yesterday about him and Uncle Carl, but I'll come back for that later, when I can reasonably do justice to it.

Peace friends. Please pray for Mark and Micah Palmer. I wish I could have known Jennifer. I hope I can meet Mark. They are precious gifts of God to the church.

posted by Steve at 5:15 PM
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Friday, August 08, 2003

We're about to get in the car and drive a bunch of hours up the state. Going to a wedding in a place called Hollister. We're staying in a hotel tonight in Gilroy . . . the garlic capital of the world. I hear it's harvest time. Sounds, um, well, fragrant.

posted by Steve at 9:12 AM
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Thursday, August 07, 2003

I woke up this morning to the sound of the phone ringing. It was my father. Bad news. His brother stopped breathing as he slept last night, and is now gone. Very unexpected. Jarring. My parents are leaving to be with the family in Oklahoma. My dad was close with his brother - each had been through a roller coaster life, and had experienced the grace of God in a personal and restoring way. I feel badly for my dad. The pain of sudden loss is still sinking in.

posted by Steve at 2:14 PM
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Sunday, August 03, 2003

Yep, still busy. Can't say that anything extraordinary is going on to make it so, but it just seems like we've been constantly in motion for the past couple of weeks.

One thing we did was have some new friends, Duane and Kathy Jones, over for dinner on Friday. That was cool. I had met Duane a few months back at a pastor's prayer group, and we quickly discovered that we have a common friend in Jason Evans. Duane and Kathy have a great story of trusting God and being faithful. I admire them because they acted in faith on some of the heart stirrings that many of us emerging/post-seeker/younger evangelical/missional types have acted on, but they did it several years before there was a well-defined vocabulary for it all. I'm looking forward to more conversations with them.

I'm hoping that over the next few days I'll be able to get acquainted with the new books I picked up from a local seminary library the other day. I got stuff by Lesslie Newbigin, George Hunsberger, and Thomas Merton. This will be my first foray into the world of Merton. Alan Creech will be proud.

Looks like another busy week ahead. Work, church in the park, car repairs, and we're driving several hours on Friday to go to a wedding. I've got some other projects on the table that I need to make progress on as well. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze in a blog post or two along the way. We'll see.

posted by Steve at 3:24 PM
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spirit farmer data

I'm Steve Lewis. This used to be my blogging home. My online home is now at When this blog was my active online home, I lived in Seattle. Now I live in London, UK. I follow Jesus (poorly most of the time), worship simply, read a lot, watch culture, go to school, listen to music, write, enjoy art, and drink a lot of coffee.
e-mail me:

seattle spots

victrola coffee
zoka coffee
university of washington
church of the apostles
quest church
sanctuary church
shoreline vineyard

sites i visit

off the map
nt wright

a few of the blogs in the feedreader

jason evans
joe boyd
kevin rains
alan creech
chris marshall
bill bean
eugene cho
jordon cooper
dwight friesen
john chandler
amy palmer
ryan bolger
rudy carrasco
ryan sharp
sings in the sunshine
rick bennett
scot mcknight
karen ward
alan hirsch
dan kimball
petey crowder

i'm reading it

colossians remixed
africa unchained

i finished reading it - 2007

generation me
jesus and the restoration of israel
god's continent
globalizing theology
gustavo gutierrez: essential writings
jesus and the eyewitnesses
garlands of grace
twenty poems to nourish your soul
the black swan
dancing in the streets
made to stick
signs in contemporary culture
hit the bullseye
the politics of jesus
readings in christian ethics
toward old testament ethics
the kite runner
principles of conduct
velvet elvis
the irresistable revolution
they like jesus, but not the church
the great omission
charisma: the gift of grace, and how it has been taken from us
the starfish and the spider
a perfect mess
the world cafe
the new faces of christianity
leaving church
journeying in faith
the creed
transforming mission
metaphors we live by
foolishness to the greeks
personal knowledge

states i've spent time: 2007

british columbia
oh yeah, denmark, too

i wrote it

managing conflict in the 'new world'
music review: over the rhine
film review: bonhoeffer
music review: fighting jacks
film review: the passion of the christ
how reality tv changes lives
the best tv article you've ever read
corks & caps: a wine lover's story of change
america's idols
random, disorganized thoughts about life after the katrina disaster
missional . . . plain and simple
on becoming post-gnostic

i blogged it

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