Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bikes to Rwanda

This is a very cool deal that the coffee and bicycling communities of Portland, Oregon have put together. One of the ways that Rwanda is being rebuilt after its devastating civil wars is through the coffee industry. Stumptown Coffee asked the coffee farmers what they needed, and they said bikes. So, bikes is what they're getting. Check out the Bikes to Rwanda site.

HT: tonx

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posted by Steve at 9:49 AM
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Friday, July 27, 2007

Prayer for Hostages in Afghanistan

I've been super busy with work and school stuff lately that I am behind on my blog reading, and I haven't been tracking with most of the news, other than a quick scan of headlines on the web. Whether it's my problem or the U.S. media's problem, the story of a group of Korean aid workers being kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan has escaped me. One was murdered.

In the mean time, I did hear that there was some kind of CNN YouTube debate, Michael Vick is going on trial for his dog fighting operation, and Lindsay Lohan is an addict (still).

If these were white, American hostages, would this story have gotten by without notice? Unlikely.

Read Eugene Cho's summaries of the story here, and please pray for the hostages, their families, and their captors. Eugene is a pastor in Seattle, with a diverse, growing church.

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posted by Steve at 5:37 AM
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

We Feel Fine

My buddy Jeremy comes through again. He sent me a link to this TED video. It's a talk by Jonathan Harris, talking through a project he put together called We Feel Fine. It's a super fun, amazing computer program that he wrote that aggregates blog entries that use the words, "I feel" or "I am feeling." It's a wonderful universe of emotion, accessed through what Harris calls "passive observation." It connects human emotion in a way that will make you smile. So go the site, and click the "Open We Feel Fine" link, and explore.

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posted by Steve at 7:45 PM
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God and Country

Charles Marsh, a professor at the University of Virginia wrote a devastating article (actually, an adapted chapter from his new book) in the Boston Globe a couple weeks back. Here are a couple of snippets:

These past six years have been transformative in the religious history of the United States. It is arguably the passing of the evangelical moment -- if not the end of evangelicalism's cultural and political relevance, then certainly the loss of its theological credibility. Conservative evangelical elites, in exchange for political access and power, have ransacked the faith and trivialized its convictions. It is as though these Christians consider themselves to be recipients of a special revelation, as if God has whispered eternal secrets in their ears and summoned them to world-historic leadership in the present and future.

If only holiness were measured by the volume of our incessant chatter, we would be universally praised as the most holy nation on earth. But in our fretful, theatrical piety, we have come to mistake noisiness for holiness, and we have presumed to know, with a clarity and certitude that not even the angels dared claim, the divine will for the world. We have organized our needs with the confidence that God is on our side, now and always, whether we feed the poor or corral them into ghettos.

The article makes note of the fact that evangelicals in the U.S. chose conservative national political alliances over global spiritual alliances. Christians from around the world overwhelmingly opposed the war in Iraq . . . Christians in the U.S. overwhelmingly supported it.

Via: Fast Company Expert Blogs

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posted by Steve at 9:40 AM
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Quiet days - at least in the blogging world

You can call it a summer slump if you want to, but I haven't posted here for a while. It actually has a lot more to do with the fact that I'm overly busy right now. I'm doing some summer school classes. They're self-paced, but I seem to have paced myself at one course per month during July and August. This on top of a ton of transitions at work that keep me running. I'm not complaining. I'm just finding myself less connected to the things I would normally find interesting enough to blog on.

There's definitely a post or two that I've been meaning to write, but haven't taken the time yet. Perhaps soon . . .

posted by Steve at 6:26 AM
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Monday, July 02, 2007

What's up with the house churches?

About six or seven years ago, when I began to rethink my role in faith, church, theology, mission, culture, etc. I didn't know anybody who was asking the same kinds of questions I was. Oh, there were plenty of people out there that were farther along than I was - I just didn't know any of them. I slowly began meeting some of them online. About five years ago, I began meeting some of them face to face. For whatever reason, I was meeting a lot of guys that were part of house church communities. Since that time, I've continued to meet new folks, and maintain contact with the others.

Michelle and I have had the honor of hanging out with several house churches over the past few years. Good people, good communities. We've even been a part of house church expressions as our primary worship communities. Good experiences there.

But something seems to be happening. Within the past six months or so, I know of no less than five house churches that have functioned at varying levels of strength (some fledgling, others what I'd call rock solid), but have decided to call it quits. Different parts of the country, different sets of reasons involved. But the same ultimate result - they no longer meet regularly for worship, community, mission, etc.

I'm not going to assume that it's either a good thing or bad thing for any of these communities - I'm sure that most have had really solid reasons, and that God still likes 'em.

It does cause me to ask some questions, though. Especially in the area of sustainability. One of the things I love the most about a simple community is that it's so relational, and not dependent on a paid staff person or programs or buildings, and as a result, has sustainability built right in. But apparently for some, that's not proving to be the case. That's sad.

I don't believe that this is necessarily a bad, bad thing. Even in the cases of communities that have ceased to exist, many have found safe places to explore faith, ask hard questions, heal up from past church-related hurts, and gain a new perspective on the Kingdom of God. That's all great stuff. I'm thankful for these communities.

So what to think? Do some churches (regular and simple) have a natural life cycle, and it's o.k. that some die? Does this indicate something about a lack of health? What about sustainability? What about growth and multiplication?

Got way more questions than answers here. Especially given that my own primary worship rhythm doesn't include house church . . . which I'm not entirely content with. I'll be interested to watch and listen to what some of my friends have to say about all of this.

On a related note, Jason said some good words about house church last week.


posted by Steve at 11:07 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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