Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Nine years and counting . . .
Today I get to celebrate the love of my life, and the fact that nine years ago today we became wife and husband. Ours has been an atypical marriage in a lot of ways. But she's been amazing. I'm glad I get to hang out with her. I know I'm better for it. I hope she can say the same.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Well, it looks like we made it through a very very busy month around here. We flew in from San Diego this morning. Great weather all weekend - wearing t-shirts and sandals most of the time . . . and then we get off the plane to 34 degrees in Seattle, with a possible forecast of snow for tonight. I'm not complaining, but moving to SoCal for the weather is making more sense to me now than it used to.
We had a good time with family and friends. Way too much food - but it was good food. 'Nuff said about that. It was definitely good to see everyone - see how the nephews and niece are growing up, share prolonged air space with our parents, catch up with folks we haven't gotten to talk to for a while. Heck, it's only been a couple weeks, but we got to see Jason again - but this time there was a bonus of spending time at the Hawthorne house with Brooke, Paige, and some of the Ecclesia community.
Glad to be back home to at least make an attempt at re-establishing a rhythm for the next month, at which time we travel once again.
I was able to pick up and read about half of Anne Rice's first book in a new series: Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt. I'll write more about that later. Time to get some work done.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
This life thing continues to be a blur. I've had a terrific past few weeks, in which I've met some really quality people and had very good conversations about life in the Kingdom. There are still a ton of challenges in front of me - some are short-term and some are long-range. I've scheduled some time with my project management consultant . . . in other words, my wife, to help me do some structured timeline planning, which should help.
Tomorrow night we'll be on an airplane to San Diego. Tonight, though, I get to hang out with the students I work with at UW. Cool - I've missed that. Seems like all the time I've spent with them lately has been in between other big project stuff, and my mind hasn't been fully there, which is lame.
I'm beginning to think about some spiritual disciplines to more intentionally integrate into my life in 2006. I'm feeling the need for those kinds of anchors in the middle of all the busy stuff I do.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Back from New York. Very interesting trip, on several levels. I'm still processing some thoughts on what I experienced, but overall it was a good time. I saw much more of the city than I had thought I would going in - again, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it before getting on the airplane to go. I'll cut out the detailing of everything I saw and did, just so I don't sound like too much of a tourist. Here are a few of my favorite moments, though:
- seeing a team of break-dancers in the subway at Grand Central Station
- Columbia University's amazing campus
- attending my first ever Catholic mass . . . at St. Patrick's Cathedral
I don't know if this next one qualifies as a favorite or not, but it was kind of funny. On Tuesday night, I was with my travel buddies in Times Square. Big crowd of people standing around. And then a Garth Brooks concert breaks out! The Country Music Awards were in town, and they did a live concert shot right there to open the show. I couldn't quote you two lines from any Garth Brooks song if my life depended on it, but it was pretty crazy. The "concert" consisted of him doing the same song three times - two practice runs, and then the broadcast version.
My reason for going to NY in the first place was to check out a leadership school that my denomination has sponsored. We met with one of the guys who runs it. Interesting stuff, but definitely different than what we have in mind for inter::mission. Theirs is a very safe version of what we'll do (safe in several senses that I won't go into here). I did learn a good bit that will help with the administrative side of the set-up, though.
We also got to get a first hand look at a larger effort being given to New York City by the denom. I have to be honest - while a lot of effort is being put forward into church planting, with some "success", I walked away significantly troubled. I am very conflicted right now in my feelings about this stream. Their efforts at being progressive, especially in terms of ministry to urban areas, seem to be just a new take on colonialism within our own borders. I won't elaborate here on this, but as always, anyone reading this is welcome to e-mail me for follow-up dialogue.
At this point, I'm just really glad to be home. I really missed Michelle, and am looking forward to hanging out with her a bit this weekend. I'm working a lot this weekend, but I'll have some time with her too.
Next week - SoCal for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure what our schedule is, but I hear there's a pretty cool thing going on at the Evans' home on Friday. As a positive take on Buy Nothing Day, the Ecclesia Collective is hosting Make Something Day.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Wow, what a marathon day. I'm exhausted and my feet are on fire. But that's nothing more than a sign that I saw a whole heckuva lot of New York today. Obviously I haven't even scratched the surface, but here's a quick run-down:
Got up and took a morning walk for coffee at Joe: the Art of Coffee. It's a place that the good folks over at Victrola in Seattle visited recently and recommended via their blog. And a very strong recommendation it was. Excellent latte.
Walked all around midtown Manhattan - saw the vastness of NYU, Washington Square Park, and the Strand Books store (home of "18 miles of books"). Went in a couple second hand music shops and a couple shoe stores.
Checked out of my hotel, and walked to the subway station to go to the place I'm staying the next few nights. It's a really cool guest house in a Brownstone, about half a block away from Central Park and one block over from the Museum of Natural History. I ate a street vendor hot dog for lunch.
Then my travel compadres made it to the guest house, and we ventured out together. Took the subway down to the World Trade Center area. We walked the perimeter of Ground Zero. It's all cleaned up now, of course, and being prepared for the Freedom Tower to be built. But it's still just this massive hole in the sky - this in a city where the sky is full of buildings. Creepy. We continued walking down through Battery Park and jumped on the Staten Island Ferry. Basically, we went to Staten Island and back, just because it's a free trip, and it goes right in front of the Statue of Liberty. After this, we took the subway back up to Times Square, where we ate dinner. Interestingly enough, despite being referred to as this iconic New York City kind of place, felt the least authentic of anything I've seen so far. Probably just too many tourists like me. Eventually we made it back to the Brownstone, and given that it's just in front of midnight, I'm gonna call it quits.
Tomorrow we've got a series of meetins with some folks doing ministry here in the city. I'm looking forward to getting down to business with why we came here.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Live from New York . . .
Well, after a long day of travel, I've settled in at my hotel in New York City. I'm in Midtown Manhattan - about five blocks away from the Empire State Building. I was pleased at how easy it was to get here. I decided to go for the full New York experience and take the subway from JFK into the city. Three different trains and only about six or seven blocks of walking, and I'm here. It only cost me $7, too, which is at least $35 cheaper than the estimates I had been given for cab fare.
I took a walk around town already and ate a couple slices of real NY pizza. Yummm! Now I just need to find a bagel, a pastrami, and a street vendor hot dog. I'm easy to please.
I'm still bummed out that Michelle isn't here . . . especially given that today is her birthday. I miss her already. She is a major gift to me, and definitely better than I deserve. I'm already looking forward to going home so I can take her out for a proper night on the town for her birthday.
Ah well, time to figure out how to go about getting where I need to be tomorrow . . . I'll blog as I have opportunity.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
One of my favorite programs on public radio is called This American Life. Extremely well written, unique, often very entertaining stories. Yesterday, I listened to this show from their archives, which deals with a research project aimed at counting the likely number of Iraqi casualties in the war. Staggering, sad stuff. The show also includes interviews with a former military strategist who is now a human rights advocate, and a serviceman in Iraq. It's well worth an hour of your time to listen to.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
So after a few weeks of mad busy-ness, I was talking to the campus ministry folks I work with yesterday, mentioning that I get on a plane Sunday to go to New York City. They asked if I was excited, and my response was basically, "Geez, I guess I haven't even thought about it. Like almost literally, I haven't thought about it." So I guess I've started thinking about it. I'm going there to observe and learn some things from some folks doing something that hints at what we're trying to put together with inter::mission. Should be a good experience.
So now that it's the next big thing on my agenda, I actually am getting kinda geeked about going. Especially after I read this post from my favorite Seattle coffee shop's blog. Sounds like there's precious little really good coffee in NYC, but the Seattle folks are beginning to represent. Cool.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
It's been a while since I posted here about the sub-plot to the campus ministry work I'm a part of at the University of Washington. For the most part, we're just being simple and relational with college students for now. Trying to explore ways of incarnational approaches.
But much of my personal focus of late has shifted down the road a year. We've finally named the effort: inter::mission. Here's what we're hoping it looks like:
We have begun to invite students/participants to come and live in community in the University District of Seattle, beginning in September of 2006. While here, they will participate in about 15 hours per week of "classroom" teaching - all centered on mission and Kingdom (missional theology, missional worship, spiritual formation, understanding culture missionally, etc.). The teaching will be done by actual practitioners in each of these areas. An additional 20-25 hours per week will be spent in direct ministry practice - with college students on local campuses as well as in urban ministry opportunities.
This will take place from September through May. During the month of June, we will take the whole group of students to a country overseas for a cross cultural practicum. They will serve local missionaries and people while there, but again receive some education and ask questions about mission, mainly dealing with how mission and culture interact in that place. After this experience of cultural immersion, we will bring the students back to Seattle for about a month of debriefing. The culture shock that our students experience coming back into the North American context will be the starting point to again ask questions about mission and culture here with a fresh set of eyes.
We're still working out the economics of the program, but we're thinking that it will cost $8,000-$10,000 per student. This will cover the coursework, all living expenses (including some walking around money), and travel costs for the overseas trip. We're currently working with a seminary nearby to offer course credit for participation, so that our students walk away with some academic gain should they pursue seminary/grad school later.
It's an exciting time for us as we connect with possible partners that will help us pull this thing off. Anyone out there in the blogosphere that's interested in learning more can e-mail me. We're working on a web site now with more info.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Here goes . . . this morning I am sitting here in a quiet house. It's the first time in the past few days that I've experienced quiet, and the ability to relax into it. I'm grateful for that. But I'm more grateful for the reasons that I'm enjoying the quiet so much - namely that I've spent the past few days with good friends, some old, some new. I've had a great pleasure of experiencing the Kingdom of God.
I was so very very pleased to have my San Diego friend, Jason Evans staying with us. I, like so many others, love to sit and listen to him talk. But I love the way he and his beautiful family live. I can't think of more than a couple other people I've ever known that live with as much integrity (integrity=integration of belief/faith/life). Thank you to Brooke, Paige, and Matt for sharing Jason with us for the weekend.
It was also a great pleasure to have Bill Bean, the book guy at Generous Orthodoxy staying in our home. I've known people who have known Bill, but this was my first time to share air space. He's a true delight to be with. He loves his family, his place in life, books, and Thai food. He and Jason were both more than kind to our hyperactive dog, Maui, too.
Beyond those two names, I'm deciding not to drop any more here, but I had some really good talks with people that are way over my head. I am grateful to have had the opportunity. Events like this one give me hope for the Church, and a deep love for it. I spend so much of my time shaking my head and rolling my eyes at what I see and hear from supposed followers of Jesus that when I'm in an environment like that, I just want to bathe in it.
I was also really stoked to meet some of the folks from George Fox Seminary, where I will be attending starting next summer. I was enthusiastically greeted by them and I'm already getting itchy to start work.
O.k., I'm not sure I'm even gonna try to describe my experience at Generous Orthodoxy this past weekend. At least not right now - still digesting and processing. If you want a play by play account of what went down, Justin and Aaron over at Radical Congruency did a remarkably thorough job of reporting. Looks like some discussionns got generated there too.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Blogging from Generous Orthodoxy . . .
Good times so far. E-mailing questions to the speaker while the session is taking place.
I'm listening and taking notes from Joe Myers right now. I read The Search to Belong - awesome book. He's talking about his new book - Organic Community. Looking forward to it.
More on the people I'm seeing and hanging with this weekend later.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
I guess the next few months will be the test as to whether I really like living in the Seattle area. Yesterday it only rained a little, but right now we're in the middle of a ten or eleven day stretch where some amount of rain is predicted. Pair that up with the time change this past weekend, and the fact that the days are getting shorter and shorter, and that's a recipe for depression for some. So far that hasn't been the case for me, but it's been interesting to monitor my moods.
The temperatures have also dropped, so we're constantly walking around with jackets on.
Overall, though, I do enjoy this place I call home. It's hard being away from family, and hard to still feel like a stranger trying to find places while driving. But whenever I am driving on I-5 north and see the cityline come into view, I think to myself, "I live in a great place." So much character, progressive and creative thinking, and yes, the coffee. I'm pretty sure I'm wrecked for life having had the best coffee in the world.
Oh, one other side note - I've never had to this before, but now I find myself with leaves that need to be raked up. It was actually fun . . . the first time. Then I got out the power blower. It's noisier and not as good a workout, but you can't argue against using man toys, right?
So here's my soundtrack lately:
Harvey Danger, Little By Little
Foo Fighters, In Your Honor
Switchfoot, Nothing is Sound
Happy trails, dear friends.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
The only news I'm hearing and reading these days is about the Bush administration's train wreck of corruption charges, Supreme Court nominee turmoil, and low popularity numbers. O.k., fine. Meanwhile, I have to go to the BBC for this: Earthquake toll leaps to 73,000.
Dan Hughes is keeping us posted about his brother Trevor, who is on the ground in Pakistan.
Trevor also has a blog with pictures and updates, and a way to donate directly to families affected by this disaster. Here's the kind of life they are facing:
The winter is approaching. Four days ago, I observed the first snow caps on the mountains. We have already had quite a bit of freezing rain and hail where I am. The majority of the 3 million left homeless from this catastrophe are in the mountains. The snow is coming and very, very few are ready.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Imagine a restaurant at which you aren't allowed to pay your bill but can agree to pay the bill of a party seated in the future. And your bill was paid for by someone who ate there before you arrived.[read on]
From Fast Company
Buy Nothing Day is just around the corner . . .
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: email@example.com
university of washington
church of the apostles
sites i visit
off the map
a few of the blogs in the feedreader
sings in the sunshine
i'm reading it
i finished reading it - 2007
jesus and the restoration of israel
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
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
journeying in faith
metaphors we live by
foolishness to the greeks
states i've spent time: 2007
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
random, disorganized thoughts about life after the katrina disaster
missional . . . plain and simple
on becoming post-gnostic
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