27 August 2008

My legs, they keep moving!

So tonight I jogged about 3.7 miles (about 6 km) without a pause. I guess that means that if I can keep at roughly this level of conditioning, I could "run" a 5k. This may not sound very impressive to you, but never before in my life have I had reason to believe this was the case.

(I put "run" in quotes because what I do is definitely jogging - it took me just over 45 minutes to complete that course, which means my average speed was not quite 5mph. But it ain't about the speed for me right now, baby. At no point did I stop, or walk. Though when I did stop, all four limbs felt like jello.)

(BTW, I measured my course using this. Handy. I did this course and this course, concatenated together as a single run. I mean "run".)

Now if I could stop eating so much fried and fatty crap, I might be on the road to healthyville!

I'm 37! I'm not old!

I sleep now. Er, after a shower.

26 August 2008


I have decided to make a blog post out of my "Favorite Quotes" entry from Facebook. Because I thought you might find them amusing and/or enlightening. Let me show you them.
"Not every need is a call" - Amy Moffitt, Amy's friend, Amy's friend's therapist, and Francis Schaeffer (not necessarily in that order)

"Belief, for me, is a stake in the sand." - Deanna Doan

"Personally, I don't have the guts to follow Jesus, so I often settle for being a Christian." - Rick the Sushi Addict

"I've done everything the Bible says - even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!" - Ned Flanders

I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. - Dwight Eisenhower

The best is the enemy of the good. - Voltaire

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. - Chinese proverb

No matter how far down the wrong road you have gone, turn back now. - Turkish proverb

Opposites are not contradictory but complementary. - Niels Bohr

All models are wrong. Some models are useful. - George Box

Whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it. - Walter Chrysler

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. - Peter Drucker

Always listen to the experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it. - Robert Heinlein

There are two kinds of fool. One says, "This is old, and therefore good." And one says, "This is new, and therefore better." - John Brunner

Good theology and other idols

I've been mulling over a thought for (at least) a couple of weeks, since a friend said to me, "The theology behind 'X' is sound." The "X" she was referring to happened to be something that had caused people I love (and me too) some not-inconsiderable pain, in the real world. But she was right. The theology behind it is very sound. It's excellent theology; right and good and joyful theology. Which makes it all the sadder, from my point of view, that we turned it into a damned idol.

So here's my thought. It's not all that original, but it's been taking up space in my head:

GOOD theology, when codified, legislated, and ossified, can very easily shackle, choke, or smother the gospel. This is idolatry, and the devil finds it delightful.

This happens all the time. Allllll the time. In "liberal", "mainline", "high church", etc. contexts, the ossification is typically in the realm of structure and practice (but also doctrine). In "conservative", "evangelical", "low church", etc. contexts, the ossification is typically in the realm of doctrine (but also structure and practice). Charismatic-types typically have a mix of practical/doctrinal idols, and all kinds of permutations occur all over the Church (including the "emerging church".)

In so many of these cases, the underlying theology is good. It was good, contextual, appropriate God-talk driven by sound, faithful interpretation of scripture, tradition, and Spiritual inspiration in a particular place and time.

But then we dumb monkeys did what we always do: we made an idol. We started thinking not like Christ, but like Caesar, and decided to do our fellow members of (some segment of) the Body, present and future, the enormous favor of deciding stuff on their behalf, and putting in place structures to guarantee that they would not have to bear the burden of re-thinking that stuff. (Of course, we spared them not only the burden, but the freedom to do so.)

So we made doctrinal statements, and confessions, and canon law, and constitutions, and books of [prayer/discipline/whatever], ensuring that the firm foundation of our real, good, wise wisdom (or, more likely, that of the generation or two just preceding us) would not just be available to future generations, but constrain them. Like the grasping stone hands of a centuries-old graven image.

* * *

A frequent criticism of the "emerging church" is that we're too critical: we're too much about what we're against, not what we're for. We live too much in reaction to the past, not in hope for the future. Frankly, in my experience with this "emerging" conversation, that is sometimes, but not generally, a fair critique.

But quite honestly, I do feel like this is a needed calling within the Church: Pointing out these idols we've created, gently opting out of their grasp, and by that example showing that they are indeed idols, not "real" gods, however good and true and helpful the theology that birthed them.

And, paradoxically, I think it's hopeful. Freedom from these calcified statues of theologies past is a good thing. It opens up all kinds of possible futures for the gospel and the kingdom. And, it doesn't have to mean abandoning the richness, the wisdom, the goodness of the theology at the core of these artifacts. It gives is the freedom to build on those theologies, or to cultivate new growth from their soil. It's not just hopeful, it's, like, giddy-hopeful.

But it's painful, too. We love our church-idols. They make us feel safe and secure. A lot of the time, we don't even know they're there, but they are; they surround us. Breaking free of them seems almost always to be a cause of suffering. It takes a lot of love and grace. A lot. More than we've got. Loving God, help us.

And Loving God, please guard us "emerging" monkeys from the idol-making that we too find ooooh-so-tempting.


Image credit: zen (rights)

19 August 2008

The new me

I've been seeing these icons/avatars all over, so I figured out where they come from and created myself one. Beware, though: the technology on their site sort of sucks. Your user experience may suck too, particularly if you use Linux.

Still, the icons are cute.

18 August 2008

Wordle is cool

I made a Wordle (above) from my semi-recent "What I Really Think" series of posts. (From March, when my blog was on fire. Contrast with August, when my blog is on sedatives. Or something.) Anyway, the Wordle. It's cute.

HT: My FB-friend Alissa.

Credit: http://wordle.net/ (rights)

09 August 2008

restless church

Hey all! If you're in or near the Washington, DC area (or just want to tune in to what's shaking), we'd love for you to get involved in a new church network just launched by a whole bunch of friends in various local churches and communities. Rooted in active discipleship and grassroots ecumenicism, we're calling this thing:
restless church

We are diverse members of the Body of Christ in the Washington, DC area who find ourselves unable to rest in "it's always been done that way." We find ourselves unable to rest within our separate silos and divisions within the Body. We feel called to get up off our butts, come together, and find new ways to love each other and God's world as Jesus loves us all.

If that describes you, please join us. Whatever Christian traditions and tribes you call home - mainline and evangelical, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic and all flavors of Protestant, established and "emerging", living-together communities and coming-together communities, old-monastic and neo-monastic and not all that monastic at all, houses and churches and seminaries and ministries and individuals - you are welcome to the conversation!

07 August 2008

DC Cohort meeting - Tuesday 12 August

From the DC Cohort Blog:
Hi all - we had a bunch of fun at the Church Basement Roadshow Thursday evening July 31. A really "hooten-nanny"! Come and hear about the event and reflections from those who were there. There is also an interesting post at the Las Vegas Cohort's blog "The depressing art of ru(i)nning a church" that could be a good jumping point off point for discussion as well.

So come on out - The Front Page Restaurant at the Dupont Metro

August 12, 2008


Sara and Jason