Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Street ministry in Seattle

Yesterday in the alley adjacent to the Purple Door I met Craig. He was assisting a mutual acquaintance. He's a very humble, quiet man, but with a huge heart. He's been working with and advocating for the homeless on the streets of Seattle for 19 years. Wow. If you've never worked with these folks, you can't even imagine the enormity of that. He does it because he can't not do it - it is truly how he follows Jesus. Beautiful. The kind of Kingdom guy I need to learn from.

This morning I did a little snooping around on the web, and found his bio here, and an excerpt from a book he wrote here.

I'm looking forward to more talks with Craig. Hopefully it'll also lead to some ministry partnerships.

posted by Steve at 5:47 AM
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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Embarrassed American

The more I learn about the role the U.S. plays in economic and cultural imperialism around the world, the more that cheesy Lee Greenwood song, "Proud to be an American," makes me wince.

But this post isn't about politics, it's about pop culture. If ever there was a time for us to make a cultural statement of response to what it means to be American, now would seem to be it. So you'd think that the Dixie Chicks would have good company singing their protest songs. Alas, they don't. And their little blip on the news screens in the past week was completely overwhelmed by what? A poorly executed film adaptation of a novel, and American Idol.

I've already written about the film, so here we go with the Idol thing. For the record, I watched all of 90 minutes of the whole season, 60 of which was the final competetion night. Truthfully, I couldn't quite make it through the whole 60. Bad, bad, bad, bad music. It seemed like this season was getting hyped all over the place while I sat in ignorance, and so I tuned in. I can now say with confidence that ignorance is, in fact, bliss. I'd like to spout off about how weak the final two contestants were, but then someone might chime in that the shaved head dude from the top four got robbed. Whatever - I saw that dude, and he wasn't that great either. To make things worse, Idol forced the top two to sing the original songs that will be released as their first singles. Those songs were bad enough to be on Christian radio. Really. These songs were not the contestants' own, so I don't hold that against them. And yet I am clearly a minority voice, given the ratings the finale got (which I thankfully spared myself of watching). How is it possible that America's tastes are this horrendous? How is it possible that I have read the blogs of faithful Idol watchers praising these people, and also claim to be into U2 . . . almost as though they're on the same level?

I get that there's a lot more to this show than the music - it's the dream of going from back woods Alabama honky tonk to the spotlight of a world stage. It's people fantasizing what it would be like to suddenly be famous and admired by millions. Heck, most of us would feel really good about ourselves if we were admired by a couple dozen.

Maybe I'm just out of touch. Maybe I am actually an elitist. Maybe I'm not getting something. O.k., fine. I'm o.k. with that. Just don't make me watch that show any more. And by the way, I mean no offense to those of you who enjoy the show. My reaction is more about the collective response of our culture to all this.

Don't we have better things to be doing? Like flossing our teeth. Like organizing our closets. Like listening to good music.

posted by Steve at 9:48 PM
link | 2 comments

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Planned spontaneity

As I mentioned a week or two ago . . .

A Spontaneous Off The Map Event
Brian McLaren
Vineyard Community Church – 17712 15th NE Shoreline WA 98155
June 13th 9:30 -11:30 AM
$20 per person at the door
Coffee/pastries/fruit will be served

Brian will talk about his new book The Secret Message of Jesus, evangelism and take questions on any topic.

posted by Steve at 2:29 PM
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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

On pop culture

It seems like everywhere I look these days, there's a lot of hype and noise over this new TV show or that new movie or some new band/artist or some old band/artists' new CD. If you've lived in our culture for the past few decades, it's all become pretty standard fare for you. And yet I find myself almost entirely bored by it all. Maybe the noise is getting louder lately because we've been so inoculated to it over the course of our lifetimes. And yet, not much is happening. I think I'm just itchy for the next breakthrough. I felt that way about the music scene in the late 80s, and thankfully some punk influenced Seattle bands broke through. Of less interest to me, but of an equally churning nature was the whole "Reality TV" thing several years ago. Movies? This summer looks a little better, but not much going on there lately either. Ho hum.

I really am being lulled to sleep here.

Obviously, the explosion of the internet, and especially the social networking that happens around the blogosphere, is disrupting and shaping pop culture. Maybe that's the shake-up I'm looking for. It just seems like it got domesticated in a hurry.

And maybe, just maybe the answer is that I'm bored with myself. Hmmmmm, could it be? I know that regular readers of this blog may cease that activity if I go around navel gazing all the time. But maybe a few introspective, transparent posts will turn something up. Whadya think? Got any questions for or about me (speaking more specifically to you lurkers out there)? Disagree with me about pop culture? Push back . . . feel free.

posted by Steve at 11:09 AM
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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Postmodern Negro's take on the Da Vinci Code

. . . As it turns out Jesus' descendants are white Europeans. No surprise there! Racial Constantinianism is a mutha!

Well done. [read more]

posted by Steve at 10:02 AM
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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Movie Controversy

So I saw the Da Vinci Code movie with some college students last night. First time I've seen any movie on opening night for years and years. Now, I've read the book, so none of the controversial stuff was a surprise to me. However, aside from Tom Hanks' hair, in my opinion, the thing people should complain the most about is that the movie isn't very good, and not that it says this, that, or the other thing about Jesus or the Catholic church. Another way of saying this is that it's hard to get offended by stuff when the story doesn't make you care enough about it. I didn't think it was a horrible movie. But having read the book, I just thought that it may be one of those stories that just doesn't translate well to film. Nice try . . .

posted by Steve at 9:43 AM
link | 3 comments

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Every so often we all end up in a space where we're tired and overloaded and perhaps feeling a little directionless - kinda not sure if all the stuff we're working so hard to accomplish is really worth accomplishing in the first place. Every so often it's good to let the guard down a bit on the blog, too. So here I am saying that yep, I'm in a bit of a funky space right now. Nothing too tragic going on, nothing overwhelming. And because I'm a good Christian, I'm obligated to say this: "I'll be fine. It's just a phase. It's not that bad."

I actually do feel o.k. about stuff - no false hope there. In a time like this, it's just a little harder to get out of bed, get to work, and put the smile on.

The trick for me at these times is to slow my mouth down and be careful about how I respond to others. If I don't, I'm likely to let something slip that is harmful to others, and I may not even mean. I think right about now would be a good time to find me a real, genuine, quiet monastic setting and spend some time in uncomfortable silence and prayer. Heck, if I'm uncomfortable as it is, I might as well be getting some spiritual work done, right? Solitude as discipline - not just as restful empty space. I think it accomplishes both, but it puts the restfulness in the Holy Spirit's court.

Whether or not I'm able to find this kind of space and time in a prolonged way, I'll be able to find small chunks of it here and there I'm sure. It just requires more intentionality.

And so I say this to myself, but you can join in:

"Father, on earth as in heaven this day."

Peace of Christ to you and to me

posted by Steve at 8:20 AM
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Saturday, May 13, 2006

A good end to a good week

Well, there went another week, just like that. It was a good one, though - got to meet John, and then Chris. Better yet, I got to meet them at two of Seattle's quality coffee establishment (the kind that don't start with the letters "S" or "T"). This morning, Michelle and I drove to the airport and picked up Michelle's mom, Marge, who's in town for Mother's Day weekend. The weather's gorgeous, and spring has sprung. Good times indeed. Oh, and avocados were on sale at the grocery store, so I get to make my famous guacamole this weekend. Can't get much better than that.

Peace to you . . . and word to your mothers.

posted by Steve at 3:41 PM
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Friday, May 12, 2006

I've made a decision

Beginning today, I will use my fame and influence only for good.

posted by Steve at 9:25 AM
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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Coming to town

Jim Henderson gave me the heads up on a little secret the other day . . . Seattle's own Elliott Bay Book Co. will be hosting Brian McLaren next month to talk about his new book. While he's here, Jim's setting up a little coffee chat with Brian, so any Seattle types out there, stay tuned for the details.

Jim also gave me some clues about this year's Generous Orthodoxy event. I met him at the location of the event (which may be a surprise to some) . . . it's gonna be good. Once again, stay tuned for details to come.

posted by Steve at 7:13 AM
link | 5 comments

Smarter people than me . . .

I got to have coffee with a new friend, John Chandler, yesterday. Good times. Time flew and I had to cut the conversation short, but 'twas definitely cool. John's a part of a new church sort of (but not exactly) in my neck of the woods, and he's a student at Mars Hill Grad School. It was fun to trade stories of ministry experience, school, reading lists, etc. I do believe we'll hang out again - hopefully some time soon.

For lunch yesterday, I ended up over in Ballard for a lunch thingy with Ed Stetzer, who was in town to speak at a conference I, uh, didn't go to. Ed's a smart guy who is one of the brighter spots of my denom. He's got a new book out that I plan to read, which may (hopefully) contribute some clarity to the difference between missional and simply missionmindedevangelical.

posted by Steve at 7:09 AM
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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

If you can't blog something nice, then don't blog at all

It's not that I don't have anything nice to say lately. I just haven't blogged. I don't know what the deal is, but since returning from my road trip, I haven't come up with the magical combination of: something worth writing about, the time in which to write about it, the actual inclination to tap fingers to keyboard.

I've actually had numerous cool conversations in the past week - with new and old friends. Most of them have been of a very encouraging nature. I think I'm just sort of in one of my regular "Why do I blog?" phases. It seems that at various points in my posting career I've alternated from name dropping for the sake of making connections to only trying to write my own ponderings about whatever I find interesting to posting a bunch of meaningless links of whimsey. Basically, I just don't know where I am right now.

Today I've got two more meetings with interesting people. Maybe something in me will be stirred to write after that . . . or maybe not. We'll just have to wait and see.

posted by Steve at 8:31 AM
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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

And now I can talk about it . . .

I'm home. Well, actually, at the moment I'm in my office at work. But even that qualifies as being "home" for me. I got off an airplane at about 9:30 this morning, after having spent some time down south . . . as in Nashville and Dallas/Ft. Worth. I'm exhausted. I had a good time in both locations, but I got more than my fill of southern culture. It's not all bad - it's just definitely not me.

I got to hang out with some very cool people in both locations, and I'm feeling very good about having invested my time in that way . . . but the past few weeks have been a nonstop whirlwind, and I'm ready for a spell. I'm ready to try to pursue a normal, sustainable rhythm of life. Especially one that involves seeing my bride on a regular basis. Yeah, that would be good.

While I was away, I mixed mainly with people in my denom - which has its good points and bad points. For the most part, though, it was good. I got to see some of the parts of the denom that I actually value, which is helpful. Seeing real faces and hearing real voices talking about their pursuit of the Kingdom always helps me put the bureaucracy in perspective.

I will certainly admit that I saw and heard some things that left me scratching my head. I'll stay away from a rant here and focus on the good stuff, though. (I'll come back to the other stuff tomorrow . . .)

posted by Steve at 6:20 PM
link | 1 comments

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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