Monday, January 30, 2006

One more post on this, and then I'm done . . . for now

Brian McLaren has posted a response to Mark Driscoll's response to him (got that?). I thought it fair to put it up here. Interesting that Brian never uses Driscoll's name in his response - seems like a wise move.

With that said, my intention is to back quietly away from this particular discussion. After re-reading my post a few times and thinking about it a bit, I don't really like the things it brought out in me. While I didn't say anything that I don't believe, I came across angrily because I was, in fact, angry. And while anger in and of itself is not sinful, I am not usually as disciplined as I would like to be with how I handle anger. I entered into the wrongdoing of others with my response.

This is why I tend toward being a pacifist - and not just in the war vs. no-war sense of pacifism. The truth is, when I get mad, I want to break stuff - it almost never manifests itself verbally or physically, mind you, but that's what's in my heart. I don't really want to be a pacifist, but I'm going on the assumption that I need to be one - in particular when it comes to my heart and words. The smartest teacher I've ever known once said,
"You're familiar with the command to the ancients, "Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother "idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell "stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

'Nuff said.

posted by Steve at 10:38 AM
link | 2 comments

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The skinny on Mark Driscoll

After my previous post on Mark Driscoll - which may have come across as overly angry to some, allow me to redirect your attention to the comments made by the international blogstar, Andrew Jones. Andrew is the reason I started this blog almost four years ago. He's smart, witty, gracious, humble and he gets it in so many ways. He knows Mark, and knows Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt too.

For the record, this issue has become a big fat stinky mess all over the blogosphere. I would start naming off some of the sites that discuss it, but I don't have the time.

posted by Steve at 11:45 PM
link | 1 comments

Friday, January 27, 2006

Congratulations on being so humble

So, I saw a link in my feedreader a week or so ago that Mark Driscoll, pastor of Seattle's hipster megachurch, Mars Hill, has started a blog. So far, he has 5 posts. Here's a synopsis:
Post #1: Hi I'm Mark Driscoll, yada yada yada
Post #2: The day I had lunch with Robert Schuller
Post #3: The day I had lunch with Ravi Zacharias
Post #4: The day I had lunch with Chuck Colson
Post #5: My sermon podcasts have been downloaded over 1 million times

And then today, a rant in response to Brian McLaren's non-statements about his non-stand on the homosexuality issue showed up here.

I've met Mark Driscoll multiple times, and I think one of those times involved lunch (file that under my future post about "The day I had lunch with Mark Driscoll"). I found him to be a personable, unassuming guy who genuinely cares about people . . .

. . . which is why I find the above rant so disturbing. In it, he mentions having recently talked to a young man who is apparently struggling with some homosexual issues - except that Driscoll describes the talk in some very offensive ways. I really hope that this guy doesn't see that rant, because it's humiliating. Feel free to state your case, really. You can even float your inappropriate sarcasm out there to get a laugh if you want - even if it is misguided, immature, and I could probably proof text some Bible verses that say it's sinful (nevermind - who really cares about all that when there's REAL sin like homosexuality to tackle?). But don't mock someone who probably came to you with genuine concerns and say it's all good because you didn't say his name. That's weak.

For someone who is humble enough to bio himself as having "been named one of the 25 most influential pastors in America by The Church Report, and one of the most influential young preachers in America by Christianity Today Incorporated with over a million downloads of his sermons a year, and one of the 25 most powerful people in Seattle by Seattle Magazine," it's clear he's got his act together.

And now that I've said too much, I'll go meditate on some Jesus words. Perhaps Mark will be kind enough to join me.

posted by Steve at 11:46 PM
link | 4 comments

Thursday, January 26, 2006

So now, let me get this straight . . .

. . . the U.S. went to war in Iraq in order to remove a "terrorist" from power and bring about reforms related to democracy. Meanwhile, in Palestinian democratic elections, a "terrorist" organization that the U.S. refuses to talk to was just elected to power. Yeah, right, good luck with that.

posted by Steve at 8:17 AM
link | 3 comments

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Theology in the emerging church

Maybe I'm late in coming to this party or something, but it seems like there's been a but more talk in the blogosphere about theological stands in the emerging church scene. Mind you, there's not a lot of actual theology being discussed out there - mostly just references to theological positions that various folks are taking. When I first got into this conversation five years ago, it was mainly just the people that wanted to do regular church differently, and the people who wanted to do simple/organic/house church. Now we still have the simple church folks doing their thing (but doing it quietly as we simple church people ought to!), but the other category has developed several sub-categories. The sub-categories are actually mainly similar to the sub-categories of the rest of the mainstream church of North America - the emerging types just have various configurations of facial hair, tattoos, and they swear a lot. Some of the diversity represented is an expression of the postmodern ethos, where nobody wants to get pinned down to a specific set of standard beliefs/values.

I will say this about the emerging version of things, though - for the most part, we are taking more intentional ownership of the theologies we have come to embrace. We deconstructed the heck out of our former spiritual homeland, and in an effort to settle in a better place, made very serious efforts to define where we landed (obviously, there's some fluidity to this, but even that says something about who we've become). For the most part, I think it's very healthy - it shows that our protests of the old models were based on more than appearances and marketing.

However, I will say that there's a certain segment of the emerging church that leaves me scratching my head, and that would be the Reformed Theology segment. They, like the rest of us, have done an admirable job of examining their faith, and landing in a place that seems good to them. That's awesome, really. I have friends in this camp - some really super cool people. I'll even say that much of what they hold dear makes theological sense to me. It's just that an uncomfortably large percentage of folks in this camp are, well, a little too confident in the places they've landed for my comfort. It seems that they have become so convinced about their positions that there's not really much wiggle room to consider other points of view. The problem with this, in my mind, is that it can limit conversation - I mean, why should they enter a dialogue with me about any given issue when they already know the answer and aren't really interested in being persuaded otherwise? It comes across as arrogant, and little bit scary. The last time I encountered such absolute confidence was about the time I started rethinking everything.

I don't mean to broadbrush the Reformed folks out there, really - like I said, I've met many that don't fit the category I've just described. But I've observed this conversation/movement/Kingdom party long enough to see that this sort of attitude doesn't pop up anywhere else with such regularity.

Am I wrong? I'm open to being enlightened. I just don't have much of an interest in this emerging whatevertheheck we're doing here becoming a younger, brasher, hairier version of what I supposedly left behind.

posted by Steve at 3:54 PM
link | 7 comments

Mayor of "Chocolate City" . . .

Ray Nagin, the infamous mayor of New Orleans is having his words from last week - you know, the ones where he says New Orleans would some day be a chocolate city again - memorialized with some merchandice. Go to for t-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers. Lovely.

posted by Steve at 5:33 AM
link | 0 comments

Monday, January 23, 2006

Evangelism and Discipleship Class

Ahhhh, it was a long couple of days at George Fox, but very good, as expected. Todd Hunter was, well, as good to listen to as I had hoped/expected. He's not a big name dropper, but when a guy talks about the friendships he's had with Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, John Wimber, George Barna, and on and on and on, it's a little overwhelming. And as a very natural by-product, it's clear that Todd is a deeply spiritual man, with a generous spirit.

Todd was gracious enough to remember me from previous conversations and follow up with where I'm at and what I'm doing. When I told him that I'm starting the DMin at George Fox this year (which is what he's finishing up now), he gave me some hints as to what to expect. It both freaked me out and got me excited at the same time.

Now that I'm back home, I get to crank on some homework. Among the 12 books I'll be reading over the next couple months are the following:
Post-Christendom by Stuart Murray
The Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins
Carpe Manana by Leonard Sweet

posted by Steve at 12:17 PM
link | 0 comments

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Super Bowl Baby!

The Seattle Seahawks just finished their complete shutdown of the Carolina Panthers and are Super Bowl bound. I guess we picked the right time to move to Seattle, eh? It's gonna be fun around here for the next couple of weeks. It should be a really good game. The Pittsburgh Steelers are very hot right now, and have won some tough games on the road. Detroit is a heckuva lot closer to Pittsburgh than Seattle, too, so I'm guessing it'll feel like a home game for the Steelers. Whatever the case, I do think it's a great matchup, and should provide a great reason to watch . . . even when the commercials aren't on.

posted by Steve at 7:33 PM
link | 0 comments

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My weekend ahead

Wow. I've been way to wacked out busy to think much about it, but I'm beginning to get excited. Early tomorrow morning I'll hit the road and drive to Portland to take a class at George Fox Seminary taught by the fine man, Todd Hunter. It'll be my first time on campus at Fox, which I'm really looking forward to. Plus, it's been way too long since I shared air space with Todd. I'm stoked to be able to hear his wisdom for a couple of days. But then I'll have homework . . . I'm sure it'll be worth it.

posted by Steve at 4:12 PM
link | 0 comments

Fundamentalist success stories

I had the great pleasure of hanging out with a new friend over some potato corn chowder this afternoon. He's a philosophy major at UW. Very cool, bright, sincere guy. He was kind enough to tell me his story. I won't go into great detail here because I didn't get his permission, but he's seen the ugly side of the Christian religion - the fundamentalist side. Behave according to a specific set of black and white standards, submit to a hierarchical and rigid leadership structure, bend to the will of a manipulative control game. This worked so well for him that he went in search of some other ways of living. He still wants to be moral and live well - rarely have I observed such a deep drive for goodness in a person of his age. It's just that he doesn't see that being compatible with normal Christian values. From what I heard of his experience, neither do I.

Meanwhile, I'm working with some other friends who are experiencing worlds and worlds of pain. Circumstances involving some terrible choices, but infused with tons and tons of baggage from fundamentalist experiences of the same variety I've just described.

When did Jesus stop being good enough?

posted by Steve at 4:02 PM
link | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Women and leadership in the emerging church

Rachelle has some really solid thoughts on some changes that she sees the need for in Emergent. Beyond this specific organized expression of the emerging church scene, these thoughts could make a deep impact more broadly if we would pay some attention to them. As a white male, I inherently hold power without ever realizing it, and I need to hear and heed.

posted by Steve at 2:43 PM
link | 0 comments

Monday, January 16, 2006

Don't forget about Katrina

In the next few days, we'll be working out some of the details for our Spring Break trip to New Orleans. Today is the holiday set aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With those two things as a backdrop, I read this article last night and this morning. It's long, but perhaps the best I've read in terms of describing New Orleans, both pre-Katrina, during the immediate aftermath of Katrina, and now. It's shattering, and yet the author remains hopeful.


posted by Steve at 6:24 AM
link | 0 comments

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Frightening excitement

Now that I've been in my collegiate ministry gig for nearly six months, you'd think I would have the hang of things. You'd think . . . but you might not be right. Not that you'd be completely wrong, either, but you might expect better results out of me. In my defense, I've been working on three distinct tracks: current campus ministry, development of future campus ministry/educational dream (inter::mission), and business operations. Each of these could be a thing unto themselves.

inter::mission is at a kinda scary stage right now, though. We've done the dreaming and defining and development of formats to make things work, and I've gotten the necessary buy-in from the right people, and I've begun letting people know what we're up to and started inviting them to walk with us in the adventure. I've been really pleased with the way people have responded to things - seems like there is some genuine interest in what we're up to. Cool. Except now that the word is getting out, and a little bit of a buzz is being generated, I'm beginning to think, "Crap!! Now I actually have to pull this thing off!" Moving from dream stage to execution will be tricky in many ways. Financially, there has to be a transition which is really risky. Staffing will be a big big thing - I'm gonna need help very soon (which in turn relates back to financial stuff). Getting participants to actually commit to something that doesn't currently exist will be fun. Lots of stuff that keeps me awake in the middle of the night (like last night).

And yet, I continue to be super stoked about what we're about to do. The more I work on stuff, the more it becomes a do-able reality, and the more I anticipate things. I honestly don't think I was ever this dialed in to church planting when I was doing that - I believed in it, and had vision, and worked hard, mind you, but I don't remember my skin getting all tingly over it the way this seems to make me. That's fun stuff. But yeah, it's scary. Pray for me friends. Invite others to pray for us. I really want that to be a part of all we do - the thing that drives us into dreaming the scary stuff, and the thing that sustains us in the middle of it.

posted by Steve at 9:22 AM
link | 1 comments

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Coming up for air

It's been another very busy week in my world. I've spent time in good places with good people. I'd do some name dropping, but most readers of this blog either wouldn't know or wouldn't be impressed by the list anyway.

I don't know whether or not yesterday qualified, but if so, we've had 25 days in a row of measurable rainfall here. You might say, "It's Seattle, isn't that normal?" Well, no, actually, it's not. The all time record is 33 days. This is the most consecutive days of rain since the 1950s or 60s. I don't find myself depressed or anything - it's just that the more it keeps raining nonstop, the more leaks I discover at the Purple Door. I had to bring my shopvac in yesterday to try to clean up the basement. In my back to back to back to back meeting schedule yesterday I didn't have time to use it, though. Oh well, maybe today.

I came down sick a few days ago. It's the first time I've been sick with more than a headache or bad allergies in a year and a half. Sadly, with my kind of week, I haven't had the luxury of calling in sick. I think things are beginning to get a bit better.

In other news, I have a confession to make. I've been spending too much of my online time at websites that are, well, bad for me. Don't worry - there aren't pictures on these sites, just words. But they're words describing some of the political in-fighting taking place within my denom right now. Those of you who aren't aware of it yourselves will have to find information and opinion elsewhere, because I'm truly trying to be a peaceful person of grace here, but this stuff makes it hard. When people ask me why I stay within my denom, there are two reasons that I offer, and the issue at hand seriously jeopardizes one of them.

The really interesting thing about this situation is that the boil over point for what's taking place relates to blogging of all things. Some political types in positions of supposed power are getting all stirred up because one of their own has been blogging about his thoughts. Good for him.

I may return to this issue at a later date, with more details and opinions in tow, but for now I need to let my words be few.

posted by Steve at 8:20 AM
link | 0 comments

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The best internet radio station ever

A couple weeks ago I heard about Pandora from a good friend. Very cool streaming internet music. You just go there, type in an artist or song, and it creates a radio station for you. It plays songs by artists with similarities to what you've entered. You can tell it whether or not you like the songs as you go, and it will make adjustments. You can create multiple "stations" to suit different moods. It also links to iTunes and Amazon, so you can order stuff you like. It's a great little way of discovering artists you haven't heard of before.

posted by Steve at 2:12 PM
link | 1 comments

I've done a little cleaning up around here

Well, Michelle and I spent a few hours going room by room cleaning the house at a deeper level than our normal version of rearranging clutter. We're definitely far from "done" with the house, but stuff's looking a bit better.

I guess I was inspired, so I did a similar cleaning up around the 'ol blog template. I'm still no web pro, but this feels better to me. Anyone who knows what the heck they're doing and has some suggestions for further improvement can feel free to suggest away.

posted by Steve at 11:39 AM
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Friday, January 06, 2006

Oh sure, I would love to accept another new position . . .

After a super busy week of work in which I came to a frightening realization of how many different hats I'm attempting to balance on top of my (admitted) overly large head, I got a call from a friend and former collegue. "Hey Steve, some of us are going to start a new counseling private practice and I wanted to know if you'd be interested in joining us." While I could sure use some therapy myself, I think I was being asked if I'd like to be a clinician. Hmmmmm. It's somewhat appealing, but given all the other stuff, it's probably bad timing. Oops, did I say probably? Check that. Thanks for the offer anyway.

posted by Steve at 4:39 PM
link | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

more of the same . . .

Two more events worth looking into, brought to you this time by Church of the Apostles in Seattle:

New Monasticism Learning Party

The Church Has Left the Building

Of course, the dates for these conflict with the dates for one of the other things I already mentioned. Can I say it again? Oi.

posted by Steve at 12:18 PM
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The calendar is filling up quick

Looks like Off The Map is up to something in Seattle next month. (via Dwight Friesen)

I also just found out about another dealy that I might oughta go to in Nashvegas in April.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out when I can put together a SoCal recruiting tour in spring.


posted by Steve at 11:31 AM
link | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back into a rhythm

Today is the first regular day back to work for lots of folks around town - including the college students I get to work with. I'm looking forward to hanging out with them again tonight. We actually have a team of college folk from Tennessee this week, which is cool. They spent the chilly, soggy morning handing out free hot chocolate to UW students.

I am definitely anxious to settle back into a normal pace of life. One of the cool things about this is that we're going to be taking our little home based community of faith into a more structured and active direction. The way we spend time together, the ways we create an incarnational presence in our community, and hopefully the number of people involved will grow in the weeks and months to come. We were joking with each other that we needed to find a way of acquiring the house at the end of our block that was up sale, in order to grow. It sold to someone else already, but clearly, there's a new opportunity there for us to develop relationships.

The timing is working out very nicely in one sense - the book that Charlie Wear bought for me, Organic Church, arrived and I've started reading it. So far, so good. Thanks Charlie.

posted by Steve at 1:03 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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