Tuesday, September 30, 2003

A few thoughts for the older "Younger Evangelicals" . . .

One of the things I was thinking about in reflection of this weekend's unconference, and especially the people who were there, was that there are some folks that are part of this conversation/movement/revolution/cultural shift/emerging church that play a huge role, but may feel as if they're outsiders. In particular, I'm thinking of the baby boomer aged folks - and let me just say that I hate resorting to that term to classify them.

While the vast majority of their peers (according to physical age) have gone right along with all of the systems of the modern church and have yet to wake up to reality, I've met several who I can say with confidence that they "get it." They see the changes and aren't scared by them, they're excited by them. They are eager to learn the new language and think the new thoughts and enter the new conversation. Unfortunately, what I've observed in most of them is a hesitation to fully jump in and own the new reality for themselves. I think it might have to do with feelings of alienation with their own generation, and realizing they have more in common with another generation, but they're unsure whether the younger generation will accept them. They may think that "we" will think of them as wannabes, or has-beens. They may think we will blow them off as irrelevant before giving them a chance to talk in such a way as to show us they aren't. They may just regret that their generation has made certain mistakes and that they are responsible for their own part in cleaning up the mess left behind. I don't know - I'm just speculating a bit here.

These may (or may not) be the thoughts running through the minds of some of our brothers and sisters who are farther along life's journey. The curious thing to me about these thoughts is that for the most part, they don't square with reality.

I've sat in conversations with some "more seasoned" people who I'm convinced think and talk and are passionate in the same way as those of us in the emerging generations. They seem excited about what's going on, but they feel as though they need to be given permission to enter the conversation. What I've observed in myself and my peers, though, is that they don't need permission at all. In fact, our response tends to be one of excitement, not scepticism. We're stoked that some people with more life experience and wisdom are actually on the same page with us and are willing to help us along.

Further, there are some major players out there who have paved the way for the emerging church, but still feel like outsiders. They have given us access to one another, facilitated the conversations we've been having, and prayed diligently for us. And yet they still seem to feel like outsiders.

If any of this stuff is true, I just want to say to my older friends who "get it" (and even a few of those who don't), I welcome you into my life, and I'm really glad that you're there. You have so much to bring to the table. Please don't be timid about coming alongside us. We appreciate you big time. We don't discount what you say because you're from a different generation. We love you.

Just a little rant there . . . one that I really hope is a source of encouragement to some of you out there.

posted by Steve at 4:35 PM
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Monday, September 29, 2003

Things are settling a bit in my mind again. I had been having a pretty rough couple of weeks there - trying to slug a lot of things out on my own, knowing all the while that I'm not capable of handling all of this stuff of life on my own. It was a good reminder this weekend that I'm not the one building the church. All I can do is follow Jesus, and ask others along the way to come along with me. It's God's role to produce growth. That all sounds so simplistic that I too easily dismiss it . . . and yet the truth of it is profound and devastating.

I'm looking forward to what the next several weeks have in store. I've decided to accept an invitation to a house church retreat this coming weekend, several hours north of here. Then the next weekend, Michelle and I will be at another deal up in San Francisco. I'm too tired now . . . I hope I live to see November - my favorite person and I have a little getaway planned to Napa Valley, CA.

posted by Steve at 5:05 PM
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Sunday, September 28, 2003

O.k., enough whining about my IT woes. I'm too stoked on a great weekend at the Unconference to complain, anyway. It was indeed a good, Spirit driven and Christ honoring weekend. As we were debriefing in Jason's living room this morning, one of the words used to describe it was "trinitarian." Yep, the Three in One showed up and we had a beautiful experience.

I fully expected this, but Jason and Brooke did an amazing job of hosting this thing in their home. The whole Matthew's House community was wonderful in preparing meals and helping out behind the scenes too.

I was so pleased to spend time with some friends I had known only through the internet before now. Kevin and Tracy Rains were generous in taking time out of their 10th Anniversary vacation to be with us, and Tawd and Sharon Bell from Cincy came out too. The VC crew definitely represented! Palmer and Micah were here from Columbus, and Keck popped in from Idaho. Then on Saturday, Charlie Wear showed up too. He has posted a recap with photos of the weekend over on Next-Wave.

Getting to know some new friends was also clutch. Tom Cotter stayed with Michelle and I. We had some good talks with so many others. I'd start listing names, but I know I'd forget some and regret it. If you were there, just know that I'm thankful for your impact on me, and that I look forward to the next time we do this thang.

We had some good group conversations about life in the Kindgom - how it applies to spiritual transformation, raising kids, community living, walking out the gifts of the Spirit, inviting others to follow Jesus. We heard some really encouraging stories. Then we had an awesome prayer time, and the Spirit moved in a big way. Some people got some really encouraging words. It was so awesome to watch the love of Christ permeate that place, especially given that there was an amazing diversity of theological backgrounds present.

It was really powerful to experience a little taste of Kingdom life. We came together from all over the continent and immediately dug into the good stuff of life.

I'll share more later, but this was rich.

posted by Steve at 5:16 PM
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Friday, September 26, 2003

I'd hate to jinx anything here, but it looks like things are finally coming together for me in computer land. It's been a very frustrating ordeal for the past couple of weeks. I'm still trying to install some of my tools and get functional again, but I'm at least able to limp along for a little bit.

I've also been spending a lot of time selling coffee . . . more time than I'd prefer, but I've learned a lot about where my priorities are, have been, and perhaps should be.

Michelle and I are both fighting annoying head colds. She's been under a huge load of stress at work for the past several weeks, and it doesn't look like it's going to let up any in the near future.

We've been pretty torn lately on selling our house and moving into the area where we've been looking to plant the new church.

With all of that lovely stress on the record, I will say that I'm exhausted. And yet, I'm really anticipating the Unconference that starts tonight at Jason & Brooke's place. I'm looking forward to meeting Kevin Rains after having followed his blog for well over a year now. Last time I heard, there are some other folks I've been anxious to meet as well. I'm looking forward to a long, somewhat tiring schedule that completely refreshes me. I need a huge huge huge dose of the Kingdom life right now. I'll write more about it as the weekend unfolds.

posted by Steve at 3:15 PM
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Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Tough days around here. Still having lots of computer issues. I'm at a public library again . . . kinda sucks to have to do that just to check my e-mail. I actually have some things I'd like to write about, but can't. Oh well. There's always tomorrow.

posted by Steve at 2:21 PM
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Wednesday, September 17, 2003

How lame is this??? I'm actually sitting in a public library to do this post. My computer hard drive crashed in a big way the other day. I'm having it worked on by someone who knows a little more about computers than I do (o.k., so just about any five year old would qualify for that one). Anyway, things aren't going so smoothly in the connectivity department. I'm hoping to have things back in some workable order by tomorrow. Ugh.

posted by Steve at 3:29 PM
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Friday, September 12, 2003

I'm not going to be fake here - I only recently listened to a whole album by Johnny Cash, and that was at a birthday party, so it wasn't exactly a quality, uninterrupted listen. I have no grounds to say what a great artist he was . . . only that I find myself really regretting not having been more familiar with him, and that I look forward to a better late than never acquaintance with his art. I can say that I saw the video he did of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt" a few months back - powerful stuff.

posted by Steve at 11:15 PM
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Just spent a good bit of time casually surfing the blogs. It's been a long long time since I've done that. It seems like I've been way too goal oriented with my online time for a while. That bums me out, because I get so much out of the stumbling around without and end in mind. It's a lot like life.

In other news, I guess I should throw a more serious church name into the ring for consideration . . . what do you think of "CenterPoint Community"? It's appealing in a couple of ways to me, but I can't say it's got that full on umph or ring to it that I'd like. I'd steal this one, but I think I'd get in trouble.

Another random thought . . . I've been developing a casual friendship with someone recently. This someone told me about "coming to know Jesus" for the first time a few months ago. Shortly thereafter, this someone began talking about their "partner" . . . as in same sex partner. I was disappointed to find myself thinking some pretty stupid, reactionary kinds of things at first. But once I came to my senses, I began looking forward to what God might have in mind for my friendship with this person. I want to be an encouragement, a source of help. As it turns out, this person lives in the target area where we're looking to start the new church, and I think there's a good chance we could have the opportunity to serve and help apprentice our new family member to Jesus.

posted by Steve at 10:59 PM
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Tuesday, September 09, 2003

This feels like a really crass, silly and trivial thing to me right now, but it's a pressing issue, so I'm looking for some help:

We've recently come to the place in our church start experiencing where we need to open a bank account for the church. We've received some offerings given as acts of worship to God, and we're responsible to be good stewards of that. Opening the account is o.k. with me. The thing I'm struggling with is the fact that we're gonna have to name the account something . . . and we don't have a name for the church yet. Frankly, I'm not comfortable with assigning a name to it just yet because I'd really prefer that whatever name we use be developed from within the community in an organic sort of way. Naming it at this point seems a little artificial and superficial.

So what do you think? Any ideas on what we should call this thing? Oohh, I know, I know - I'll start a little contest right here on my blog. If you have any names for the new community, e-mail me, or leave your ideas in the comments. Hey, maybe I should put the name on the auction block for corporate sponshorships. You know . . . "Focus on the Family Christian Church" or "LifeWay Church of God". I'll stop now before I throw up.

posted by Steve at 4:40 PM
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Monday, September 08, 2003

Whew, I'm glad last week is over. It was good at times, less good at others, but exhausting all the time.

So, as I mentioned, we went back to the old church on Sunday, and I preached (if that's what you want to call it . . . there seems to be an active discussion going on about what that means . . . for now I'll leave that alone. I spoke on the Sermon on the Mount (or as Dallas Willard is fond of calling it, the Discourse on the Hill) - oooohhhhh, original, huh?

I have to say I wasn't sure of what to expect, but it was a weird thing to be back with them. Definitely good to see some old friends and stuff, but I really kinda felt out of place. I love them and they love me, but it was pretty clear to me that we don't fit together. I'm actually looking forward to seeing how my relationship with this church develops over the next one or two or three or ten years. I'm expecting good things.

For now, I'm happy to just be simple and focus more and more on the transforming life of God's Kingdom, and His righteousness.

posted by Steve at 5:14 PM
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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

I'm getting some stuff together today for a sermon I'll be giving on Sunday at my old church. It'll be the first time for Michelle and I to be worshipping there since the end of April - this after being a part of the church for twelve years. I'm looking forward to seeing many of the changes that have been developing over the past few months. I guess I get to find out whether I can still preach. Then again, I'm thinking that I won't even bother trying . . . I'll just study some scripture and talk about it in a way that hopefully connects with life in the Kingdom (and if the four main points happen to all start with the same letter, or better yet, spell something out, I'll know I'm in trouble).

posted by Steve at 11:49 AM
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Monday, September 01, 2003

Welcome to September . . .

Now I can talk about it. Next-Wave, one of my favorite e-zines out there has gotten a new editor, a new look, and a new approach. Jason Evans (one of my favorite people) is at the helm now. Charlie Wear has done a great job with this labor of love for a long time, so kudos to him. Jason is using an editorial team of folks to bring the articles and such "to print" each month. It's a strong team of people - folks I've been reading for a long time. He asked me to head up some efforts in the area of culture, so I'm giving it my best shot. Looking for help out there, though. If you or anyone you know has an idea or three about articles on music, television, movies, magazines, or other cultural products, let me know.

For the September edition, I wrote a review of the new Over The Rhine record. Go check it out. Hopefully this won't scare anyone too much, but there's even a picture of me attached to the review. Sorry . . . not my idea. I'll get another picture on there soon. As far as I know, that's the first picture of me to go on the web.

Oh well . . . now stop reading this and go check out Next-Wave . . . it's waaaaay more interesting than little 'ol me anyway.

posted by Steve at 6:41 AM
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spirit farmer data

I'm Steve Lewis. This used to be my blogging home. My online home is now at SpiritFarmer.com. 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: spiritfarmer@gmail.com

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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