Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I just got off the phone with my dad. He got back to San Diego yesterday afternoon, after being just outside of New Orleans for the past two weeks. He was with a Baptist relief team, running a kitchen that fed up to 10,000 people per day. During some of the rare down time, he and a couple other workers drove a Red Cross van into the city - around the Superdome vicinity, and then into another neighborhood. He said that all of the pictures we've seen in the media do very little to show the extent of damage there. They went to a church, which had a big circus tent in their parking lot, set up as a food distribution center. The water had washed all kinds of debris in. The ground was covered with mud and littered with dead fish that had come in with the water, but got caught when it went away. Eerie stuff.

posted by Steve at 11:31 AM
link | 2 comments

Monday, September 26, 2005

Busy week. I know that for that for the majority of the nation this seems really late, but school finally starts this week at UW. So finally, after a couple months worth of build-up, we're kicking off our ministry stuff. That's exciting. I've been really looking forward to hanging with the students and getting to know them. I think I've had my fill of the strictly administrative aspects of the job, and I'm eager to gain some balance through relationship building.

I've been reading less than I'd like lately, but enough to keep me thinking. I'd like to crash through about three books by the end of next week. We'll see how that goes.

Random thought - now that podcasting has become so widespread, I might actually be interested in getting an mp3 player. Though I've been a music geek for a long long time, the attraction to being able to walk around with 246,000 songs on an iPod has been lost on me. But the ability to put U2, Foo Fighters, NT Wright, Green Day, NPR, and Switchfoot in shuffle mode actually does appeal to me.

posted by Steve at 9:10 AM
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Friday, September 23, 2005

Someone found a way of combining Google Maps technology with weather tracking technology, and produced this Hurricane Rita tracking tool. Interesting stuff.

I found this link via BoingBoing

posted by Steve at 7:13 AM
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'm thinking of adding a subtitle to the blog . . . "Spirit Farmer: Morally rebellious since 1996." And lest I get lonely in my moral rebellion, at least I know I've got a life partner to join me. That's right Michelle, you too are living in sin . . . with your husband.

More proof that I'm not a good Southern Baptist:

The church must help this society regain its sanity on the gift of children. Willful barrenness and chosen childlessness must be named as moral rebellion.


This is from an article by the president of one of my denomination's seminaries, who is also a blogger.

In the category of not having anything nice to say, and therefore not saying anything at all, I'll refrain.

O.k., no I won't. That quote - which, by the way, is very representative of the full article from which it was lifted - is an example of the modern Pharisaism that boils my blood. Maybe I'm just feeling the conviction of moral rebellion, but childlessness is now on the list of societal evils? Look, Michelle and I have been married (need I state that we are a male and female, and both committed to our monogomous heterosexuality and staying married as long as we both shall live?) for nearly nine years now, and the issue of whether or not to have children has always been there for us. We do not hate children. We just haven't had any for ourselves. We do not reject scriptural references that call children a blessing. We just haven't had any. In my premarital counseling I do not encourage couples to not have children. I just don't have children myself.

And for the record, my availability to doing Christian vocational ministry has been directly related to not having children. Michelle and I have always been of the opinion that if children enter our life, it would be a very high priority to have her be a full time mom. Michelle has almost always outearned me - partly because I've taken ministry positions at pretty low wages (especially considering my education, etc.). We would survive on my paycheck alone . . . but just barely.

My availability to minister - especially to other people's children - is due in large part to the fact that I don't have children. I haven't had to neglect my own children to stay out late at night at meetings, youth group lock-ins, 70 hour work weeks, etc. And now that I mention it, I know plenty of full time pastors who are apparently more morally sound than I (based on the number of children they have), and who have completely ripped their own children off for the sake of their ministries. I kind of always assumed that having children was only one part of the equation, and that actually spending time with them as parents was also important.

I'm way out of time to be writing this, but seeing this article got under my skin in a big way. I haven't even gotten to the list of supposedly godly people in the Bible who did not have children. Maybe I'll work on that for later. For now, I have to go to work (ministry stuff) and attempt to earn back God's favor.

posted by Steve at 6:15 AM
link | 1 comments

Monday, September 19, 2005

So I attended my first ever blogger meetup yesterday. Now, I've been to a ton of events at which bloggers were present, but yesterday's common thread among us was blogging. Rudy Carasco is in the neighborhood for some meetings, and he initiated it. Also there were local bloggers, Justin Baeder and Aaron Ogle (his wife joined us too), who blog over at Radical Congruency, and Ambra Nykol. It was the closest thing to internet dating I've experienced. Good stuff, though.

posted by Steve at 5:27 AM
link | 0 comments

Friday, September 16, 2005

Charlie Wear of Next-Wave has posted this article from Jim Henderson, the director of Off The Map. It mentions our good friend, Jason, and what he's doing to respond to the ugliness that Hurricane Katrina has exposed in our nation.

Jim's article is harsh. I read it, and I squirmed. I wanted to say out loud, "No, no, no, this isn't true." Sadly, I know that the truth of it is screaming at a deafening level right now.

posted by Steve at 12:46 PM
link | 0 comments

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What an interesting week it's been for President Bush. As we began this week, Mike Brown resigned his post at FEMA - not likely a post he should have ever had in the first place. Egg on the face of Bush. But then there's his nominee to the Supreme Court, John Roberts. I've heard part of his confirmation hearings over the past few days, and whether you like his positions on the law or not, it's clear that he is very well qualified for the job.

How can Bush have been responsible for both of these appointments - one so incompetent, and one so stellar?

posted by Steve at 8:54 AM
link | 0 comments

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This here is one good post, from one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Andrew Jones. References to Roland Allen and the genius books he wrote that are still kickin' butt almost a hundred years later.

posted by Steve at 12:17 PM
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Monday, September 12, 2005

I helped lead a student leadership retreat over the weekend. It was a small, pretty quiet group. It was a good experience in some ways, and a bit concerning in others. I've been assuming for a while that the mainstream evangelical church of North America would soon experience a kind of death, and become an insignificant part of culture. This is neither all bad or all good. Now I'm thinking I'm all wrong. There are still a lot of young people who are still very much tracking with the mainstream evangelical church, and the ones who are either self-identifying, or being identified by others as future leaders have some pretty conservative, very conventional ways of thinking.

For example, I sat and watched these 19-25 year olds have a conversation about which Bible translations were the best/their favorites (for the sake of clarity, this was not a dogmatic, fist-pounding debate for KJV only, or anything close to it). And while it's fine by me for people to have their preferences for different translations, I was a little unnerved about the strength of opinion I heard being offered - as though this was an issue of critical importance to them. Later, as I was engaging them with questions about culture and Kingdom, and a few times I got the sense that they wanted to ask me, "Soooo, what's the point?"

Interestingly, one of the biblical passages I talked about has Jesus sending his disciples out and telling them to "go to the lost sheep of Israel" first when they do their Kingdom thing (Matthew 10). I was trying to ask them who they thought the equivalent of "the lost sheep of Israel" would be in our culture. Now that I'm reflecting on it, I'm wondering if I wasn't talking to the lost sheep right then and there.

posted by Steve at 6:17 AM
link | 1 comments

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Jesus Dojo, brought to you by the good folks at ReIMAGINE . . . cool. Scandrette rocks. Michelle and I got to hang out with Mark and Lisa, and even stay in their very cool San Francisco home a couple years ago. Good times.

posted by Steve at 8:34 PM
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I felt really old the first time I admitted this, but it's reality: I've been a public radio listener for a few years now . . .

One of the local public radio stations (I know of at least three in Seattle, including a terrific music station, KEXP which streams live) is KUOW. I was listening to this on my way to the office, and heard an ad for their local afternoon talk show, called The Conversation. Today they did a follow-up show from a show they did about 10 weeks ago on what they call "The Seattle Freeze." Basically, it's a social phenomenon in which the people you see on the street or in restaurants or shops are quite pleasant and friendly up front, but are very resistant to going any farther than a surface level of conversation. Getting to know people in the workplace or in the neighborhoods is often very difficult. Michelle and I definitely noticed it when we moved here, and in talking with at least three church planters who moved here over the last couple of years, it's a very common thing. We've even noticed this to be the cases in some of the churches we've visited. This radio show made it that much more obvious that this can be a tough place to build relationships with people.

Now, Michelle and I have been very fortunate to have gotten to know several people well enough to call them friends. This is true in our own neighborhood, as well as within the emerging church scene. But having a missional mindset about us, we're obviously interested in continuing to make more friends, get to know more people. So how do we do go about breaking through the barriers to relationship? Perhaps by doing what one of the radio show guests did, and starting a Capture The Flag and Kickball league. I think the value of continuous, non-agenda driven, genuine relationship is a really big deal.

posted by Steve at 2:55 PM
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Random, disorganized thoughts about life after the Katrina disaster . . .

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continues to amaze me. The stories I've been seeing show such a polarity within the human heart. Michelle and I watched a rerun of the Oprah show last night, which showed people at their very best, and unfortunately also at their very worst. They went inside what used to be the New Orleans airport, but has become a hospital. The workers there will never be recognized for the many days in a row they've worked with little or no sleep, trying desperately to save as many as possible. The show also interviewed several people that spent time at the Superdome shelter, which quickly deteriorated into mayhem central. The stench of human waste, stories of rape and shootings, people who fled the shelter because the flooded streets were safer. I had the same thoughts watching that as I did when I heard about the Abu Ghraib prison abuse stuff - sick to my stomach that supposedly enlightened Americans would do that kind of thing. But then there's Oprah - perhaps the most truly powerful person in America - throwing down the love.

After having recently worked with this population, the thought occurred to me, "What about the drug addicts?" I wonder how many heroin junkies experienced all of the hardship of this disaster at the same time they were detoxing because they had no place to go to score a hit. I wonder how many cigarette smokers have given up the habit without even realizing it.

The hurricane survivors are being relocated literally all over the country. Seattle is almost as far away from the Gulf Coast as you can get in the continental U.S., but a few thousand people are headed our way. Some permanently. Through this process, the stories will penetrate our communities and shape our collective identity.

In the middle of the outrage that is rightly being raised over the slow federal response to the disaster, I feel badly for the countless members of the beauracracy that have performed in a heroic way. Hospitals don't just randomly organize at airports - it took years of planning and training for that to happen. But even the middle level managers that planned well, and executed the plan flawlessly, essentially disregarding their own homes and families and well being to do so, will get lumped in with the incompetents. And even the incompetent ones . . . I don't want to defend the indefensible here, but are we really so arrogant as to think that we could have thought of everything, and then responded to all the variables perfectly? I'm glad I don't have those kinds of expectations at my job (I know, I know, that's why they get the big bucks).

posted by Steve at 5:32 AM
link | 1 comments

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

So, with the changes to the blog, I've added a couple new sections to the links column. First, some Seattle favorites. I'll add more to this as I go. The other thing is a list of books I've never read. I'm always running into someone who mentions one book or another in such a way as to assume that everyone who deserves to live has read it. Well, I've found that in many cases, I haven't. It's truly hard to keep up. Sadly, I've only just begun the list. Even now I'm remembering a book or two that I need to add. If I'm humiliated enough by this experience, I'll add a section for movies I've never seen. Oh geez, don't even get me started.

posted by Steve at 12:50 PM
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Too funny. This reminds me of a quip I heard a local pastor make a few weeks ago - "There are so many Starbucks in Seattle that when you go to the bathroom at Starbucks, there's another Starbucks in there." Click on the picture for a better version of it. Thanks to Jordon for the link.

posted by Steve at 12:45 PM
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Friday, September 02, 2005

This Hurricane Katrina stuff is devastating to watch. With each hour that passes, more people die from lack of water and food, and the helicopters coming to help people are being shot at. It seems like everyone's angry at someone. It takes the tragedy to another level. We're far too proficient at pointing fingers. I remember it from the Southern California wildfires a couple years ago. There's always plenty of blame to go around.

The thing that has me shaking my head, though, is the utter predictability of this situation. I've only been to New Orleans once - in 1988. I was there for about 48 hours. During the first 24, we got 16 inches of rain. The people I stayed with told me how screwed they were if the levee system didn't hold up, given that they're below sea level. This morning, I've seen several articles like this one from Scientific American that predicted this kind of disaster years ago. There's only so much we can do to prevent this kind of stuff from happening.

When we lived in California we'd get shaken by a small earthquake, I'd hear jokes from around the country about how silly we were to live there, given that the whole state was going to just break off the continent and sink or something. Of course these are the same people who live in trailer parks in places nicknamed "Tornado Alley." Look, we're all vulnerable in one way or another. And it doesn't help much to point fingers. What we do in the meantime is pray and give and respond in whatever way we're able.

posted by Steve at 6:57 AM
link | 0 comments

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Wow, yet another web-zine has gone live for September. Jordon Cooper and friends have launched their brand new, Canadian style Resonate journal. Looks good. Now in addition to the growing list of books I should be reading, I've got all these monthly online mags too. Information overload anyone?

posted by Steve at 6:31 AM
link | 1 comments

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
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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
theooze
next-wave
metacritic
nt wright



a few of the blogs in the feedreader

tallskinnykiwi
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
glocalization
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
revolution
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
ishmael
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
creators
transforming mission
metaphors we live by
foolishness to the greeks
personal knowledge



states i've spent time: 2007

washington
texas
british columbia
oregon
california
georgia
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

04/01/2002 - 05/01/2002
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11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008


misc

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wikipedia



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