Friday, September 12, 2008

Rock Stonington


this is the little bugger that has been causing me so much grief

rev

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Giving birth to rocks

Yesterday I peed out a rock. I named my new child Rock Stonington and will post pictures later.

I am very happy today, no more meds, no more dizziness, nausea, and headaches. No more horrible pain and worry about another trip to the hospital. No more feeling like I got clubbed by a wild batch of baseball bat wielding delinquents.

I will never drink a soda again as long as I live.

I will drink more water.

I will cut down my salt intake greatly.

I will do whatever my urologist tells me.

I will limit my coffee to at the very most two a day

will drink atleast two glasses of water for every beer, or wine

I have had enough penis diamonds, and want no more, thank you.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers, now prayers for some miracles in regards to hospital bills would be appreciated.

rev

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A bit of a vent

So, I have had a number of kidney stones. They hurt like hell, they wound up putting me in the hospital. I was in so much pain that it took four shots of dilaudid to make it go away.

And this somehow means its okay for every single person, stranger or not, to tell me I should drink more water? I should eat more greens? Listen you obnoxious wanna be doctor, I drink more water than lots of people I know that don't have kidney stones, never had even one. I eat lots of green veggies, I love them. I have have friends that never ever eat them and guess what...

No kidney stones, not a single f'n one.

So, perhaps it would be a good idea for me to drink six litres of water a day, but I don't get kidney stones because I am a dehydrated, junk food eating slob. I get them because my kidneys for some reason produce stones. Massive amounts of water can help, but I will most likely have to take prescription medicine as well.

Hey mr. I notice you are suffering from alzheimers, maybe you should eat more fish, its brain food you know.

arrrrgggghhhhhhh

rev

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Spent the last day in the hospital

I have an 8mm kidney stone. Really knocked me on my ass. I couldn't deal with the pain and had to go to the emergency room. Four shots of dilaudid and two shots of morphine in all. It was really painful. They did a CAT scan and showed a 8mm stone, which apparently is too big to pass on its own. This means we are going to have to find a urologist in a huge county hospital and blast the thing with sonic, or lazer treatment.

But we have no insurance. Funny thing is we are in the process of finding insurance. Not only is it too late now, but this will most likely make it much harder to find insurance.

Not sure how this will all work out, but I know it will.

If you want to help just send me an email pinnedagain2001@yahoo.com

rev

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's in a name?

Just had one of those wow discoveries today. I was reading Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw's "Jesus For President" for the second time, and came across their overview of the Exodus story. I am assuming you all know about this one. Both the old Ten Commandments movie staring Charlton Heston, and the Disney movie Prince of Egypt try and tell the story.

But as I was reading I discovered something I have never seen before:

Pharaoh's name is never given. Pharaoh is not a name, its a title. In the story we meet Moses, Aaron, Miriam but we never really meet the real Pharaoh, all he is, is a title.

So what does that have to do with anything? Well, if I told you this story, about the oppressive nation, and the leader of this nation that continued to hold a large majority of the nation in slavery, and poverty. But never named the guy, what does that do to the story? If I said the president, then did this, the president then did that, a very common response would be which president. Since this was not written as a newspaper article, but as religious history, a name would be expected.

But when we read this story, we find that a nation, and the nations highest office, is the hands that hold Israel in slavery. It is not an individual, but a corporate identity and its high office. And who opposses this nameless face of the corporate evil? An elderly shepherd, and fugitive from justice, who was dispossessed by the same corporate evil as a child. This is not a battle with an individual, but as the bible says later in Ephesians, but with principalities, and powers, and the rulers of darkness.

God delivers from the oppressive system, headed by an office that has been corrupted by the very power that was given him. In one of his essays, Noam Chomski says something like, "the problem with power, is that once you have it, you are forced to defend it" Pharaoh was not just a man, with a family, but the power of all of Egypt, and could not let that be compromised. He even loses his family in the process.

Hope that made some small amount of sense, makes lots of sense in my head.

rev

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My own worst enemy

A few days ago someone told me that I am my own worst enemy. Not sure exactly what was meant by that in this particular case but it got me thinking...

Am I my own worst enemy?

Well, yeah I am. My ego, my insecurities, my own sense of entitlement they all conspire against me being more, being the change I want to see in the world. My anger, that only today flared up at a man who caused me to take an entire five seconds longer to cross an intersection. My own desires, my own greed, my own aspirations are all keeping me from being who I was made to be.

And if we go further, (without delving too far into the nature vs nurture thing), my hard default thinking that might makes right, the trust in redemptive violence, and oppression. It is at war with the creative intent of God, and the example and path of Jesus. Isn't this what Paul meant when he said in Romans Chapter 7:

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

In the end I think we are all our own worst enemies. Maybe our own harshest critics, as well. Luckily, there is a Father, that delights in us, even in our frailties, failures and falling.

rev

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My old neighborhood

even the grocery stores are hard.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/drug-busts-forced-syndicate-bosses-to-launder-cash-20080819-3y8j.html

rev

the gun shop

So a very good friend of mine likes to shoot paper targets, and even competes doing so. So when we were in the neighborhood, of one of his favorite shops, he wanted to stop by. So rather than wait in the car I went in with him. Now, it was actually pretty comical at first. There were three chevy trucks in the parking lot. Two of the guys in the store were older, fat, long bearded rednecks, and another was a cholo gangster looking guy.

But as I looked around, and saw all of the weapons, I got more and more upset. There were only a small handful of hunting rifles, it was all handguns and assault rifles. Everything in there was designed to kill people. And everyone was walking around like kids in a candy store. I just couldn't stand it anymore, I walked out and waited outside.

I said a prayer, and worried about the world. Violence is king. Luckily, I belong to a different kingdom, one of peace.

rev

Saturday, August 02, 2008

From Nazarite to lex luther (a facial evolution)


I will write more about my experience in the future but I just thought I would post the pictures of my process. This is after three months of not shaving or cutting the hair.

this was me after the vow











this is me with my head shaved but a full beard, like the antagonist in Ironman.

But I like to call it the white Kimbo Slice















this is prison John, not for the feint of heart











This one is a special one for my aussie friends, it is called simply the
Merve

















and last but not least,

this one is called bow chicka bow wow

and ode to a kinder and gentler time









I will post the clean shaven pictures later today.

rev

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A must read book

My friend Mark Sayers has written a book based on years of research, and keen prophetic insight. This book explores the impact of hyper reality, consumerism and globalism on our culture, and the church. I have heard Mark teach this stuff in person, and the book goes into even more detail.

Please buy this book, and buy copies for your friends.

the good ole US of A
http://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Paris-Following-Plastic-Promises/dp/0849919991

oz-straylia
http://orders.koorong.com/search/details.jhtml?code=9780849919992

you can also check out his blog and website here:

Mark Sayers
Uber: http://www.uberlife.com.au
Blog: http://marksayers.wordpress.com/

good reading

rev

Palm trees and the prsence of God

The other day I was driving home from taking my daughter to work. As is not unusual in Garden Grove, a car pulled out in front of me causing me to slow down quite a bit. I immediately became incredibly angry. What kind of idiot just pulls out in front of people.

The thing that set this event as different from every single other time this happens, (forty or fifty times a day), is that I actually stopped for a second to contemplate my anger. Was I really angry that this person was causing me to arrive at a stop light that I would wait at for a few minutes, a whole five seconds later? Was I in that much of a hurry to get to that light to sit and wait? What did I have going on at home? Nothing. Why was I being such an idiot.

It was then I remembered brother Lawrence, and the little book practicing the presence of God. Brother Lawrence simply remembered that God was with him at all times, and acted accordingly. So I started to remember God's presence, to acknowledge Him in my day to day. I was embarrassed a bit at my silly anger issues.

Then I saw a palm tree, one of those really tall skinny ones, and it was just standing dead straight. Now a few days ago we had been at the beach and the palm trees were bending back and forth quite intensely. I realized that this tree was sitting in the midst of the air, just as much as the other ones, even though it wasn't moving. And at that point I think I got a bit of God's heart for me and my sabbatical.

You see, I like to see everything. I like the torrent, the wind blowing me all over the place. I experience God in the chaos and turmoil of life. Usually grasping on to Him in the process. It is easier to see the Lord at work in those situations. In fact I think if we are truthful, many of our worship services are designed to atleast simulate these experiences. To get us swaying back and forth so we can "feel the Spirit moving". But this lone tree was standing right in the middle of the air, though you could not see its influence at all. And I think that is what I have been learning on my sabbatical. God loves me, and I am in the middle of the presence, even though I am not in the midst of the tempest right now.

Now I hesitated writing this, because people that need to get off their asses and start living the kingdom might get this message as a verification for their laziness. And those that are out there, in the toil and the dirt, might feel like they desperately need a rest and feel guilty because they cannot take one. But this was God's message to me, to recognize that God is God even when things are quiet, and slow. Maybe God's message to you today is that He is God even when your life seems to be torn apart by action, and storm, so step out into it and trust. Either way, God loves us.

rev

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gym Meat heads

I was given a gym membership by a good friend of mine. He wanted me to help him get back in shape after a back surgery. Which I was only too happy to do, and it gives me a chance to get in shape as well. I have been struggling with painful knees, ankles and hips, so being able to run on an eliptical trainer instead of the ground has helped. My daughter bought her own membership and likes to go with us to the gym.

So when we are on the cardio machines, there is a group of guys that tends to come in at the same time and lift weights below us. My daughter and I can't help but notice them. Truth is nobody in the gym can help but notice them. They grunt, and bark, and carry on. They drop the weights, and yell at each other. They attract a lot of attention.

Now the other day a friend I met at the gym was working out at the same time. He is a former professional body builder. He is much much bigger than these guys, and way stronger. He is working out by himself, and using very heavy weight. I am watching him, because he is a friend, but no one else is noticing him.

And I thought to myself, how much I am like the other group. Making lots of noise, getting noticed, acting like what I am doing is a big deal. While there are so many wonderful people that are like my friend, just quietly doing what they do, at a far greater level. I want to be more like that. I think that is what Jesus was talking about when he said not to give so others see you, and to pray in private.

Not sure what that means for my blog though :)

rev

Monday, June 30, 2008

my birthday!!!


and I don't look a day over fifty :)

big thanks to mom and dad who probably had a lot more fun making me than raising me.

Big thanks to my Raquel, Adriahna and Cheyenne for putting up with me for so many years and loving me even though I am an old, cranky curmudgeon.

And thanks to Jesus, who keeps telling me how much he loves us all, even though I struggle to believe and trust.

rev

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

About vows and spiritual disciplines

A friend of mine was asking about the vow I took, and shared some struggles with some spiritual disciplines in the past. I emailed him this response, which though short, and not very deep, explains things in my way of thinking:

But I wanted to talk to you about your fasting, and the spiritual disciplines in general. When we do these things, it is important for us not to look like we are somehow bargaining with God. Like, I did this so you have to then do this. This makes God into another product that we buy, not with money but with acts of devotion. It is so easy to fall into this ideology. Remember Jesus talks about the disciples fasting when he is taken from them. The best idea to remember is we do these things not to earn anything, but rather that the exercise would allow us to set our hearts aside towards a realization of Jesus, and his love, and his presence.

It is for us to abandon ourselves to God's love, this is our call. I like to think of a wife and husband relationship. Imagine if I told me wife I was not going to eat for three weeks as a way of drawing closer to her, but then used meal times to watch baseball on television, was angry and short tempered, and often reminded her of my sacrifice and accusing her of not appreciating it, or returning the favor. Not very good work there is it?

So how can we use these as ways to grow closer? If I used the time I spent at meals to really talk and pay attention to her, if I spent the time we would spend shopping on reading our old love letters to each other, if I spent the money we saved from me not eating on a new dress for her (remember we give gifts to God by giving to the poor), and if every hunger pain was a reminder that I love my wife, and like food I cannot live without her. A bit different isn't it?

I hope that helps a bit.

rev

The fight part two

On the way home from picking up my daughters from work, I noticed that three of the guys involved in the brawl I wrote about yesterday were in the alley. So I sent the girls upstairs and told them I was going to talk to them. "what are you going to say?" they asked, and I told them I was just going to say sorry. My youngest was scared that it might not go so well, and to be honest, I was a bit worried myself.

I approached the three and said, "Hey, I just wanted to say sorry for the other night. I just really wanted you to stop fighting, but I shouldn't have threatened you guys"

One of them said, "no problem"

Another said, "it was a family thing, it was stupid, we should be apologizing to you. You don't want that shit near your home"

Then the tall skinny one said, "My name is Joshua, I live here, I am your neighbor"

And I introduced myself. I made a few friends I think, and God in his grace didn't make me suffer much for my stupidity.

rev

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Mac Donald

When I was but a young Christian, someone gave me a book by a Scottish author named George Mac Donald. I learned that this man was at his time a very popular author, but formerly was the minister at a local parish. He was eventually cast out of the church for his controversial views, the chief accusation being he was a universalist (someone who believes that God's love will win all of humanity to Him in the end, and that through suffering, pain, or the struggles of hell and purgatory, that God will in the end cause all of us to accept His love, and eternity with it) Some would say this was an unfair accusation, but as I read his works, I can understand why it was put forth.

C S Lewis considered George Mac Donald to be his mentor, calling him his master in print. He also said, "I have never written a book that I did not within quote George Mac Donald" and in his story The Great Divorce, Lewis' beloved Scott serves as a guide. Indeed it was George's works for children that first awoke in Lewis the belief and desire for God.

In my youth these novels, which are basically Victorian romances, had a very profound effect on me. The themes that captured my attention, and helped build my foundation were these:

Doubt is not to be feared, but embraced as a call for us to grow deeper in our love for God

We do not grow closer to God by trying to understand, and believe, but by beginning first to do. It is in the actions of following Christ that true faith grows, not in our intellectual assent.

God's love is complete, and perfect, and will not stop from calling all of humanity. Whether sinner or saint, God's love continues to be pourerd out, and that God will stop at nothing, to draw others to be safe in His kingdom.

After 20 years of ministry, and 24 years of faith, his books still cause me to want to be more like Jesus, to be more committed to the kingdom, and to set my heart to be abandoned to God's love all the more. As I have almost finished rereading all of the novels I read as a twenty year old, I have realized that after all of my learning, and studying, all of my theology and practice, it comes back to a very simple proposition. Jesus, the personification of God's love, calls us to follow Him, and through that following we find the Father of all creation.

If you have not read George Mac Donald I highly recommend doing so, you may find his work a bit cheesy, and a bit preachy, but it is well worth getting through it. If you would like a place to start my favorite was The Curates Awakening. They are easily gotten for next to nothing used on amazon.

rev

A fight in the alley

As many of you know we have not moved to the best of neighborhoods, but certainly not the worst of neighborhoods either. We have, for a number of reasons, believed that it would be best to locate ourselves in the midst of neighborhood that would give us a chance to be friends with those that might be called sinners, or poor, but also one that would not be outright dangerous.

A week ago, as is fairly common, we began to hear some raised voices out the back. Being that we live looking over a dubious alley, this did not really cause much concern at first, but things began to escalate very quickly. Soon there were very stern challenges and many insulting words being shouted. Immediately I began to hear the sound of flesh hitting flesh.

I walked out onto our front balcony and looked at what was happening. About seven young men were fighting. They appeared to be in fairly even teams, and it was very violent as you could expect. I did not know what to do, but as God said blessed are the peacemakers, I felt I could not just "stay out of it". So I shouted from the balcony for them to stop fighting.

They did not listen.

I then shouted that if they didn't stop fighting I would call the police!

They still did not listen, but one of the girls that was watching told me to, "mind your own business".

Eventually I had Raquel call the cops, but the fighting stopped and the people dispersed before they arrived, if they did arrive.

And then came time for reflection, one that was a bit painful to me. I had acted very poorly. Through the process of reflecting upon my actions, with God's gospel, and Jesus' life in my heart, I realized a number of things that I had done, that should have been differently:

Standing above them (particularly as a white male) and shouting orders down to them, was not the best way. If I was to be involved I should have done it at street level, not from a place of both safety and superiority.

I should not have told them what to do. I had no authority over them. I was not even a friend to them. Questions almost always are better than commands.

I should not have threatened to call the cops. For two reasons, one, this was a threat of violence. Violence does not cast out violence. There was no way the police would be involved without the violence of force used, and I used this as a threat. The second reason is if I believed the police were necessary, I should have just called and allowed them to handle it.

I also learned some important things about how I could have handled this, and been prepared for it:

I found that I knew my duty to my fellow man, but in the immediacy of the situation I did not for a moment ask for, or look for God's guidance. If God is, as I do believe, with us at all times, I should have asked for wisdom, and insight, even if for just a moment. I did not look to God, but rather looked to my own resources, which were lacking.

I realized that I had not thought about this scenario, nor was prepared for it. Though we cannot be prepared for everything, if we can imagine some of what might be coming our way we can allow God to prepare us ahead of time for what will come. For instance I have already thought out the various ways I would handle a situation if it was seven guys, attacking one guy. But a fair fight, I had not prepared my mind for.

And lastly, I wished that I had prepared some more imaginative ways of dealing with things. I thought that if I could blow fire like Gene Simmons, I could have run into the alley and blown a few fire balls, and when they were astonished, I could have asked them to stop fighting. Or maybe since they were Hispanic, I might have appealed to some of their Catholic heritage by shouting out the Lords Prayer. I think God wants us to be creative.

The fact is I cannot just stay out of it, or mind my own business. The kingdom comes as we make our neighborhoods places where God's rule applies, at least into and through us. We cannot shirk into selfish safety, nor depend on a system of government that is often unjust, and violent, and at its best is over taxed and not relational. But I must look for God's wisdom, God's leading in the affair. If I am to truly minister in this place, I must learn to look to the heavens frequently, for it is there my help comes from.

Please pray for us,

rev

The bearded one!!!


Well this is my new face. This picture was taken about a week ago, it is a bit bushier now. I have till the first of August before I shave, so it will be quite unmanageable by then.

I have learned during this time that I don't like having a beard. It doesn't itch anymore, but I feel like I am not myself. Or atleast the impression people have of me is not a true one. I am not bushy beard guy.

I have learned that I could happily be a vegetarian, I find myself not missing meat so much as I thought I would. I do miss having a glass of wine, or a beer with the guys though.

I have been going to the gym regularly, doing some jiu jitsu, and playing cricket. The exercise has been good for me, but I feel pretty sore frequently.

I have not been as able to write as I would have liked, I have not had the raw determination to just sit down and make it happen. What complicates it all is I am not sure if this is just a need for discipline, or if this is maybe God's will for me to wait on writing the book. I have been reading a lot, both theological books and novels by George MacDonald which I believe are probably better for me than the theological ones.

I feel a bit unsure of things, but I have faith that I will know what I am to be about, when its time to be about them. I pray my pride not get the best of me, nor my desire to control my own fate.

The girls have both gotten jobs, and are happily working. One at a drug store, the other at Trader Joe's which is I guess an alternative grocery store. Raquel is looking for work as well.

I am feeling like writing a bit today, so I will put up this and an article or two, I hope you find them in some way helpful, or interesting.

rev

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nazarite vow?

Hello friends, sorry so long without a post.

As you may or may not know I am on a sabbatical, which basically means I am supposed to rest, recharge the batteries, sharpen the saw, and get ready for our next adventure. Now I prefer charging in with little preparation and even less forethought, so this is a new one for me, and to be honest, I am not really digging it. But since I knew I would be not involved in ministry, or working for three months I decided to try something that has been on my mind for atleast six months.

When I was reading through the old testament I came across the vows of the nazarite and the rules regarding it, and was for some strange reason fascinated by it. Now in my weird mind I usually think of extreme and different things to do so this didn't seem all that unusual. But what was unusual is that it didn't go away. I started to do a little research on the vow, spoke to a good friend of mine who is a Jewish scholar, and wondered what it all meant for me.

Well I decided to use my sabbatical as a chance to try out this vow business. So at the beginning of this month I started a three month nazarite vow. What exactly does that mean? Well I will explain what it is meaning for me, but in my studies I have learned that you can't really do it anymore, as you cannot break the vow because the temple and sacrifices are no longer offered, so it would be for life. I also learned that there was disagreements as to how some of these ideas are to be lived out. And lastly, I am firmly committed to the idea of grace, and I reject a strict legalism, I guessed that this vow was a way for me to draw closer to God, and to my brothers and sisters, not a rule to make me more holy.

I cannot touch anything dead, or be too near it. Which would mean missing a funeral. In my understanding of how this would be lived out I have decided to be vegetarian for this three month period, as meat is dead animal, (tasty, delicious dead animal).

I am not to eat or drink anything from the grape vine. Which technically means no wine, grape juice, grapes, raisins or grape leaves. But I decided that the spirit of the vow would include no alcohol at all.

And lastly I am not to cut the hair on my head, which I have taken to mean my beard as well, but have decided (and this may be cheating a bit) that this does not include my neck.

So far I have not really learned anything from the vow. Well, except that I have been reminded of how bad a beard itches, and how much my wife hates them. I am hoping I may learn more, but maybe this is just a time of obedience, and that is the point. Or more likely, I am just a weird dude who came upon something freaky to try and it doesn't mean much more than that. Not sure, but I will post some pics as we go along so you can seem my grizzledness.

rev

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A new apartment?

Well we are still looking for a place to unpack. We are negotiating with an apartment complex in a neighborhood in Long Beach that we felt might be a good fit for us. The only issue is Winston our English Staffy (dog). Hopefully that works out for us. If not it looks like we will be staying at a studio apartment that a friend has given us use of. Yes, four of us in a studio apartment with a dog. We are just driving too much now staying in Diamond Bar and driving to look for places in Long Beach.

We are in Sacramento now visiting my mom, and attending my brothers wedding. Always feels great to stay in mom's house. We are still looking for a car, and some bicycles, but have had a computer given to us by some friends.

It is weird, I feel very unstable which is not unusual for me, but I usually love it. Now however I feel a bit fragile, and unsure. I am afraid of the sabbatical that is coming. I guess this is all natural, but maybe I prefer my usual disconnect. I do pray that if I have more to learn in this dispossesed state that I will be able to hear well. Anyways thanks for all of your support and encouragement.

rev

Monday, April 07, 2008

California Cricket

After living 37 years in California never once seeing cricket, hearing about it, or in fact even knowing it existed, I have within one week of being back played a match! A couple of days after arriving here in SoCal, I went to the Indian store to get some spices for dinner. Knowing that cricket is a very popular sport in India I asked the owners if they knew anywhere I could find out about cricket leagues. They took my phone number and a guy called me that evening. Awesome.

Two days later I am at Starbucks getting a horrible cup of coffee, and I see two guys that appear ready to go to some athletic event or another and read USA Cricket on one of the guys jumper. I asked the two of them about cricket and got another number.

The first gentleman I talked to said they had a game on Sunday (today) and that I could probably play, woo hoo. So this morning after considerable hassle I wound up in Fontana, the last place you would expect cricket to be played, and played my first game of cricket in America. The ground was one of the best grounds I have played on, it was a turf wicket, with short boundries square of the wicket, but the pitch was great. The ground was owned by a doctor that bought the property and mantained the ground as a way to teach cricket to his sons and a host of other young people in the area. It was a great day.

I batted at number six, and was part of a good partnership. I turned over the strike but didn't score that many runs. When we were told to pick up the pace I played and missed a few times to some pretty good balls. Then I walked down the pitch and launched the bowler way way over mid on for the first six of my life. It was awesome.

When I bowled I took the wickets of their two best batsman in consecutive balls, and was feeling pretty special looking at a hat trick. The hat trick ball turned nicely and missed the edge by a few centimetres. But all in all it was a great day. Our side won, but it was a fun game. How great it was to get to play cricket. I might stay in the country for a while :)

rev

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Three meetings

About a week before I left Melbourne I had three meetings in the same day. The three people that I met with were all on different parts of their journey towards the kingdom, and it was really quite inspiring to get to see them in such close proximity.

The first was a young lady who is in a very transitional phase of her life. She had begun to question things in her life, and in looking for some spiritual truth had found Jesus' teachings really resonated with her. But she couldn't really reconcile the radical love and subversive message of Jesus with the churches she had seen. But for some reason she had seen my blog and thought I seemed to be wrestling with these inconsistancies myself and got in touch. We talked about things for a couple of hours. I have introduced her to our community and it looks like she might be dipping her toe into some of the practices of the group.

The second was a good friend from way back, who is very insightful, but doesn't see anything very particularly inspiring in the Christendom camp. But we talked about him realizing that consumerism just keeps growing and mutating into a beast that we have long since lost control of, and he expressed his desire to try and walk free from this. I shared with him some of my own issues with this, and my understanding of Jesus' teachings on money and the kingdom. It was a great time.

The third was a regular appointment with one of my dear friends that has been walking out this journey for a number of years now. He is completely committed to living in a prophetic community, rejecting the consumerist ethic. He is part of a community deeply committed to social justice, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, advocating for the stranger. He is learning to be disciplined in worship, and deepening his spiritual practice. And he is still very keen and excited about the kingdom.

I am grateful to be in someway part of these conversations. I believe the kingdom of God that Jesus lived, taught, and handed to His disciples is not only where we find our salvation, but where we find the salvation of the entire earth. I am learning more and more that the prayer I want to live out is: May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

rev

back in the USA

We arrived back in the states yesterday morning, a full three hours before we left Melbourne. The international date line sure can make everything weird. The flight was good for me, which is unusual, I got some sleep and didn't feel that bad when I got home. But the girls really didn't sleep much on the plane at all. After a very long process of getting our dog winston we went to Raquel's biological fathers house where we will be staying the next week or so. We didn't think we could get through the day without a little nap so we layed down, wound up sleeping for two hours. Then we all went to bed around 10:30 when we were all tired again. And I slept til 9:30 which is unheard of for me, but the girls had to woken up at 11. We went to bed this second day at around 11 hoping to get back on a regular schedule I fell asleep but here I am awake at 2:30 in the morning with no real sign of sleeping again. Isn't jet lag wonderful.

I would just like to say to all of our Australian friends and supporters that the last four years have been the most rewarding and fruitful times of our life. I feel like I have learned heaps, and have grown in many ways, and this is all a result of the amazing people we have been privlidged to journey with the last few years.

It was wonderful to see so many people gather to wish us a farewell. Saturday evening was so special.

The last day with our church communitites was as you would expect all too emotional. There was much weeping, and I literally sobbed when leaving the Cave. But this was just a warm up. A number of the wonderful people from the Cave came to help us finish all of our clean up so we could get our rental bond back, and afterwards the red West crew sat and had a time of sharing, it ended with a whole room full of sobbing the "man sized" tissues Chris purchased came in handy.

The trip to the airport was a bit stressful as it usually is, but in the end we got there on time, all of our luggage was right on the proper weight, and we had an hour to have breakfast with those you accompanied us to the airport. Man, things got really messy when we said goodbye at the airport. This community thing is really hard when you have to leave.

I love all of you who have become a part of our kingdom family, you are all welcome to visit, and we will hopefully be back to visit as well.

rev

Monday, March 10, 2008

Art exhibition


Artists including
John Jensen
will be exhibiting and
selling selected works.
redEMPTION
saturday
march 15th
2008
@ ‘red east'
878 whitehorse
road, box hill
open
5pm to 10pm
official reception
8pm

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wow, lots to talk about

Been a lot of water under the bridge in the last month or so. Will try and share a few stories with you all.

We tried a new thing for Christmas this year, a buy nothing CHristmas. The idea was we would make some stuff for people, but not buy anything from a store. It worked out pretty well, though we did spend a bit anyways.

We made Tamale's for some of our neighbors. This is a Mexican Christmas tradition, and we were missing getting all of those wonderful tamale's from friends back home, we thought we'd try to make our own, and share them. So I made some shredded beef, and some black bean and corn tamales. We had trouble getting the corn leaves so I wrapped them in banana leaves. Well, they turned out great, tasted the way they were supposed to and only took about four times as long to make as I expected and we wound up giving two or three to our friends. :(

But it really helped us to focus on Christmas as a way of sharing our hearts, and lifes and natural rhythm with our friends.

On Christmas day we joined some friend and hosted a lunch at the Cave for those who didn't have someplace else to go. There were about fifty people there. Fifty people that didn't have family to share the holiday with. Again, felt like the right way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

The radical man who crossed social barriers, ate with whomever he liked, confronted the traditions of the day, and located himself in the margins. It was a beautiful Christmas, and I am very very proud of the team at the Cave that continues to grow in love and care for those society has forgot.

rev