January 20, 2006

Successful Church

On his site a while ago, Phillip posed some questions and I thought I'd answer them in the form of a post;

"A woman asked me this week what I think makes a successful church. You tell me.. what makes a successful church? Is it possible to have a truly "successful" church in these modern times? Do you know of any successful churches/What do they do?"

To me, a "successful church" is a very idealogical thing. The concept of a successful church is so far from me. I suppose that is bred from my discontent with my current church and the way they view a "successful ministry". Rather than radiating God's passion, truth, grace, power, and beauty, we've become accustomed to metering our ministry by the amount of attendees and members, or the grandeur of their facility. I know this isn't true of all churches-- it's not even true of all big churches, but the mentality is spreading fast, and I hate to see passion snuffed out by something so wrong.

On the flip side, I think that in order to have a successful church, Christians would have to change drastically. They would have to rid themselves of stigmatisms, stereotypes, and judgements they have toward non Christians. The only way we can get the Gospel to people successfully (which is the objective of a successful church) is to realize that we, as Christians, need Christ JUST as much as they do. JUST as much. God is a rescuer. He rescued us and placed us in a body of believers that could potentially be so great if we just tried... if we stopped thinking about what pragmatic ideas we could use to reach people (rather than filling pews, we touched hearts), and we made sure that every moment of our lives is governed by the idea that we are here to glorify God and love others feircely.

The success of a Biblical church isn't in the intensity of the worship, the magnificence of the preaching, the number of people, or the size of a building-- it's in the hearts of the people, because that is what The Church is; a body of God-fearing believers who are ready and willing to step out and fervently minister to those around them, regardless of who they are, where they come from, how they live, or where they're at currently.

"I want neither a blood'n'guts religion that would make Clint Eastwood, not Jesus, our hero, nor a speculative religion that would imprison the Gospel in the halls of academia, nor a noisy, feel-good religion that is a naked appeal to emotion. I long for passion, intelligence, and compassion in a Church without ostentation, gently beckoning to the world to come and enjoy the peace and unity we possess because of the Spirit in our midst." - Brennan Manning

January 16, 2006

somewhere i have never travelled

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
-- e. e. cummings

January 11, 2006

Dear Sisters!

I'm begging every young woman to read this... simply begging you. I want to begin by saying, you're beautiful. Don't ever think differently, don't ever let anyone tell you differently. This world tears us up so much. It builds up an expectaion- physical, emotional, mental, spiritual- that we don't really need to live up to in order to be the women of grace, honor, and beauty we're called (by God-- for our fellow humans, our future world, and our very beings) to be.

This womanhood is not built up by trashy clothes (no matter how "sexy"), self-disrespect, record breaking amounts of dates, playing the field, guys staring at us, fitting a "scene", "expressing ourselves", destroying ourselves, obsessing over ourselves, obsessing over guys, disrespecting guys, feminism, anti-feminism, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, sports, bodies, fatness, skinniness, grades, "our" future, careers, jobs, hobbies, lust, greed, talents, gifts, curses, or any other carnal, human thing I could list.

This womanhood is built upon so much more. It's built up by the things we never really think about-- the things that could forge us into masterpeices if we'd only look past our "modernized", independant, flashy, "womanly" acts.

Our womanhood can only be built up by integrity, accountability, love, grace, valor, looking people in the eye and telling the truth about ourselves (happy or sad). We become better women everytime we refuse to use a guy; everytime we decide to encourage him, rather than make out with him.; everytime we look for the good in him, and realize-- just as we could be more as women, he could be more as a man.

Our womanhood is built up when we treat fellow women with deep respect; When we hold each others' hands rather than pointing a finger; When we sooth fears, rather than spread rumors or tell lies. We become better women when we are passionate about the lives we live-- not just things within our lives, but the fact that we have one to live.

Dear sisters, be more. You can, and I encourage you to. Seek the beauty that is in you. Strive to be honorable, graceful, confident, selfless, and open... because that's how we were meant to be.

January 05, 2006

the truth of unrealities...

Him: Your spirituality and believes shouldn't have structure, rules, leaders,
followers, buildings and Hierarchy. It should be yours

beliefs...What about truth?

Him: that's right truth isn't real it's an
opinion just like reality.

that saddens me...

For anyone interested: Franz Kafka's , "A Hunger Artist."

On Aprils

Ten years ago, I sat in the dining hall of a Christian camp. A man my father's age sat with me. It was April, and I had no idea... I had...