Thursday, August 23, 2007

Working for "The Man"

Today was my first day back in the saddle with my local ministry context after over a week spent in meetings in denominational environments. In my last post, I mentioned a quick trip to Atlanta. For the past few days I was in some regional denominational meetings in the Portland, OR area. By the time my car rolled into my driveway late yesterday afternoon, I was definitely ready to be home, and back in my element. Over the past several days, I've spent some good time with some really terrific people - some of whom I would count as close friends. But being in the buildings, and seeing the kinds of money and mentality that "we" employ in the name of our organizational mission and purposes can be really frustrating. At one point yesterday I found myself quite agitated and angry.

I don't need to get into a gripe session here, but let's just say that I have some very serious questions/doubts/concerns about my tribe. Anyone who knows me knows that this is nothing new, but believe it or not, there are times when I flirt with optimism, thinking that we might just be able to reform ourselves some day to get farther away from religion and power and security, and closer to the dangerous, prophetic ways of the Kingdom of heaven. Yesterday, I flirted with darker thoughts - things will never change, and I'm wasting my time and efforts in trying to prop up a system that's doomed.

Fortunately, I was reminded that one of the strengths of my denomination is that it gives people like me a lot of latitude and freedom to chuck all of the political b.s. and stay on track with the things I know I'm called to do. And when I stay in rhythm with that stuff, the other rubbish is only as annoying as I allow it to be. I know that the likelihood of bringing about any significant change in systems is remote (at best), but I also know that that's not what I'm supposed to do here. I know why I'm here, and I'm going to go after it - if my denomination wants to support that and sign a paycheck for it, that's great. If not, that's fine, too - I'll still do what I'm supposed to do.

I have a greater distaste for religion today than I did a week ago. And that's a good thing. I hope I have a greater distaste for religion next week than I do now.

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posted by Steve at 4:21 PM
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Monday, August 20, 2007

I'm pretty sure I'll wake up soon . . .

. . . and when I do, I'll wonder where my summer went. Wow, it's continued to be super busy. Transitioning at the Purple Door, welcoming new staff, cranking on school, etc. At the end of last week, I had a quick trip to Atlanta for some meetings at one of the denom's big mission centers. It was a good trip - got to see some George Fox school buds for dinner, and the work project at the denom went very well.

I'm quite certain at this point that one of the key things that's kept me sane has been my renewed "efforts" in the area of Sabbath. I've not been perfect, mind you, but more often than not, I've been able to significantly mellow out and spend some down time reflecting, talking at a reasonable pace with my lovely wife, and realizing that the world will still be waiting for me when the day is over.

I only have two weeks left before my DMin school stuff gets going again, which means I need to hustle hard to get my summer school stuff knocked out. The classes I've taken this summer are on Jewish scripture . . . what we Christians call the Old Testament. That's been interesting, in the sense that it's a wonderful reminder to me that God's Kingdom has always been central in scripture, and that our story goes back a long, long time. Even the legal focus of these texts points in a direction that focuses on the true King, and the fitting response of his people.

Like it or not, the next few months are gonna stay hectic. In fact, I can almost guarantee that things will get "worse" before they start getting "better." It's almost all good stuff, though, so I don't want to complain (much).

Peace to all who read this.

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posted by Steve at 5:51 AM
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Monday, August 13, 2007

A little piece of good news

Al Jazeera is reporting that two of the Korean hostages have been released by the Taliban. Keep praying for the others.

posted by Steve at 7:42 AM
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Friday, August 10, 2007

Where Do You Get Your News?

For the past several days, Eugene Cho has been keeping us up to date on the hostage situation involving a Korean relief worker team. He has asked many times over why this story hasn't been covered more widely by the major U.S. media outlets.

Just to confirm this, in the past five minutes I've scanned a few news sites (their front pages only) for mentions of the situation. Fox News? Nope. CNN? Nope. US News & World Report? Yes, if you're willing to scroll to the bottom of the page. Time? Yes, a link at the top of the page. Of the pages I've scanned so far, you know who has the most prominent and eye catching emphasis of the story? Try Al Jazeera. The UK edition of BBC also gets honorable mention. Actually, when I look for news headlines, I do so via my RSS reader, and I have three news feeds - Al Jazeera, BBC, and US News & World Report. I hardly ever visit the other pages I've mentioned . . . seems that I get my fill of stories about Spears, Lohan, Vick, Beckham, etc. elsewhere.

By the way, these are Christians being held hostage . . . which leaves me wondering why my denomination's "news" page's latest coverage of the story is four days old.

By way of update, Korean officials are now in talks with the Taliban. Pray for this as you are able.

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posted by Steve at 12:33 PM
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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Big Government at the Local Level

I don't blog politics much. It's not that I am apathetic, but rather that I'm quite ambivalent and distrustful of political parties and their agendas of power - I think most politicians may start their careers with the best of intentions, but inevitably get sucked into the gamesmanship and insider dealings far too easily. I'm totally not ready to jump into the 2008 presidential election coverage yet - wake me up when two things happen: 1) We're LESS THAN twelve months away from election day. 2) There are less than about four viable candidates from each party to choose from. As things stand now, I'm pretty sure that everyone from Hillary Clinton to George Clooney to Don Imus to my soon-to-retire mailman are in the race.

I remember the days when the Republican party was all about reducing the size of government. Nowadays, of course, our Republican president has developed a juggernaut government.

At the local level here in Seattle, we're facing some silliness at The Purple Door with the city. I won't bore you with details, but we've recently had to respond to a complaint filed by one irrational, disgruntled community member. The complaint refers to a city ordinance that is entirely redundant to other laws and ordinances, has no definable community service purpose, and requires a city office of bureaucrats to monitor and police. Oh, by the way, it's quite possible that the ordinance is straight up unconstitutional. We're talking violation of the freedom of assembly and religious practice here - pretty basic, obvious stuff. One of the city staffers we've talked to about this issue told us that they recently shut down a house church based on this ordinance. Wha? Come again? Yep.

I'm NO FAN at all of the Christian groups that sue government because a school official won't let a kid wear a "God hates liberals" t-shirt to school. So I'm not looking to call them anytime soon. But this case actually sounds like something that those godless, left-wing-extremist, gay-and-lesbian-loving wackos at the ACLU would take on. Not like I've got lots of time or energy to fight this one out in a courtroom. But we're pretty frustrated at this point.

Well, enough whining for one day. Maybe this will all blow over quickly and we'll look back and laugh at all this. Maybe.

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posted by Steve at 9:58 AM
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Use an RSS Reader

I do hope that the few fine people who read this blog do so via an RSS reader of some sort. Mainly because I just don't seem to be posting much this summer, and asking people to manually drop in to the actual site is probably asking too much.

I'm still in the midst of a summer school slam. Last night I got to the 99% point of completion for one class I've taken. Sadly, not 18 inches from my right elbow, is a stack of 7 books waiting to be cracked for my next class.

Some good stuff's happening these days. But I'm just not in the position to process it publicly in blog format . . . too much other stuff to get done. I'm already feeling guilty about the ten or so sentences I've taken the time to write here.

Some day soon, I shall return.

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posted by Steve at 7:20 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 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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