Christians Oughta Share, Revisited

September 30, 2005

A while back I blogged about the need for Christians to make the Bible and other information freely distributed online.  It seems that Justin at Radical Congruency is trying to do something proactive; check out his post Data Deserves to be Free.   If you can code, check it out.

Pub Gathering: Glimpses of the Divine in Film

September 29, 2005


For all ye Twin Citizens…Missio Dei has a Pub Gathering coming up, and you’re all welcome to come join us…

Film not only gives expression to the American ethos, it shapes it.  Film has shaped our ways of thinking on everything from
clothing fads to our view of God.  It is the latter that we’ll discuss
on October 5th. 

God’s treatment in film has shifted as our culture has shifted.  The
ways we think about God is depicted in many subtle (and not so subtle)
ways in film.  And the way God is depicted in film  has shaped our
thinking on God in many subtle (and not subtle) ways.  Join us at the Town Hall Brewery at 8pm on October 5th where we’ll discuss the "glimpses of the Divine in film." 

Questions for Reflection:

How have depictions of the divine shifted over the years?

Do you think a film can deal with spirituality and the Divine without showing evil?

What have horror films taught us about the Divine?

What movie has affected your thinking about God the most?

For sake of blog discussion…what are your answers to the questions above?

Informing Communities

September 28, 2005

Traditionally, this is one way in which "spiritual" knowledge is brokered in the Church:

Knowledge_1The academy trains seminary professors who train pastors, who pass on special information once a week through the delivery of a sermon.  Along every step of the way, the receivers of spiritual knowledge are encouraged to consult, at the very least, with Scripture.  The lay person who doesn’t learn from the pastor is seen as inadequate.  The pastor without seminary training is seen as inadequate.  The seminary professor who didn’t study from "top" scholars is seen as less than the one who did. This is usually how it goes.  We can hate the system, but it works.  And if, in our zeal to destroy the system, we remove someone from the equation without finding an alternative system, then it is usually the laity that suffers.  They are left in a worse situation.  Everyone along the chain of information has contributed to the system.  And the only way that those "further down" the system can be liberated is to study up the chain…lay people go to seminary to become pastors. Seminarians or pastors go to the academy to become seminary profs. 

How do we reform the system?  How can we move from an educational hierarchy to a more organic, missional approach?  I’ve suggested a retrieval of the mentor/apprentice role within churches…but this doesn’t help us address the system as a whole.  Is the system as a whole even worth changing?

Tip Jar

September 24, 2005

I’m adding a "tip jar" to my site–it is a new feature from Typepad that allow people to "tip" me.  If a few people every month were to tip me a few bucks, it would help pay for this site. 

There is also a donation tab for those of you who’d like to help support the mission of Missio Dei. 

Give if you feel so led.  Even if you don’t give, this blog will still be here for your enjoyment.  Thanks.

Prayer Walking with Chet

September 23, 2005

Last night, I went on a "prayer walk" through the neighborhood with my

friend Chet.  I’ve recently decided to go for a prayer walk with anyone

interested in joining me almost every night at 9:30.  It was deeply

encouraging to have Chet share his growing resonance with what we are

doing and hoping to do in the future. 

It is amazing how a simple walk

with simple prayer can draw people into a deeper awareness of God’s heart

for a neighborhood. 

Walking around the neighborhood at night allows us to see things as they

really are–with all of reality’s grit and challenge.  It allows us to

move beyond the romanticism of urban ministry (which many people outside

of the urban areas seem to have) to the gritty reality.  Adding prayer to

the walking helps us to embrace that reality while simultaneously give us

a vision for how God wants to transform that reality.  Without God-given

vision all we can see is the grim reality of a neighborhood that won’t

easily yield to sown seed.  Eyes of faith are required.  And so, praying

on location is an important precursor to missional engagement; it helps us

see that the fields are ready for harvest, no matter how hard the soil may


Matthew 9:35-38

35Jesus went through all the towns and
villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the
kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

The next thing Jesus did was to send out the 12.  Mission begins with kingdom eyes.

Towards a More Perfect Consumer Church 3

September 22, 2005

Check out this funny post on TallSkinnyKiwi. It points out the consumerism of the church today. I got a very similar mailer from a local area church once (that likens their three different worship styles with different coffee drinks).  Church is all about taste, right?

His post reminds me of a couple posts I wrote a while back called Towards a More Perfect Consumer Church (You can read them here and here).  I now offer to you a third installment of Towards a More Perfect Consumer Church


Amway is a great company.  People are motivated to help their friends AND expand their own potential wealth at the same time!  The cool think about Amway is that you get residual income from your "downlines." In other words, if you can get 100 friends into your Amway business, you are not only helping them find personal wealth, but get a percentage of their sales yourself.  You can be set for life simply by helping your friends start their own Amway business.

Churchway_1The church can learn from this.  What if people got a residual income from the people they bring to church?  Let’s say "George" invites 20 friends to church, and they all become members (givers).  If each gives $400 a month, and "George" were to get 3% residual income from their giving, he’d be getting $240 a month! And if each of those 20 brought 5 more friends (who each gave $400 a month), and George got 1% residual from those 2nd generation "downlines" he’d get another $400–that’s $640 for helping his church!  The newcomers get to be a part of an awesome new church, the Church is able to grow in people and giving, and George get’s a nice retirement income.  Everyone wins.


Finding a good church is difficult.  If only there were a way to "track" the success of all the churches in your area, so that you can know which church to attend… Well, now there is! Introducing Churchdaq?

Using the simple formula below, each church’s success can be determined and made public toFormula_4 potential church goers:

For example, Pine Hills Church is a church of 4000 that has grown by 500 in the past year in a city of 200,000 and has an average yearly giving per person of $2000 (the median income of the area is $35,000/year).  Their Churchdaq score would be 13.06.  On the other side of town, the Church of the Redeemer has 150 people, 10 of which are new converts from the past year.  Their average annual giving per person is only $1000.  There score is a measly 0.23.  It is clear which church is experiencing greater success.

Taking the Movie Promotion Trend Even Further!

EmilyroseRemember the Passion Ad campaign?  Maybe you’ve noticed the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe church ad campaign?  I say we go even further…introducing the Exorcism of Emily Rose Ad Campaign!

Before you respond, please realize that this is a parody.  It is supposed to be funny.  I know that God loves the people in the sorts of churches I poke fun at.  I don’t want to discredit how God works in their lives.  But I do want to challenge consumerist ideology and how it affects the Church.

Don’t forget, the Conference on Christianity in a Consumer Culture is coming in April 2006.  Help get the word out.  Thanks.

Franz Ferdinand, a followup

September 22, 2005

In case you were wondering, the Franz Ferdinand concert I went to last night ROCKED! There was a small crowd there…I was able to sit a few rows back from the floor.  I enjoyed it 150x better than the Greenday concert.  They didn’t do alot of gimmickry like Greenday did.  It was all about the music.  They played alot of new stuff and it was as good as their first album. 

Missional Discipleship

September 21, 2005

In a previous post, I talked about the incarnational practice of mobilizing discipleship. I said:

The Mendicants were [are] very serious about discipleship, but they did it
on their feet.  We need to find intense and rich ways of training
people on their feet.  It may involve some coursework, but coursework
done in a missional way.  But mostly it would involve lots of
one-on-one conversations between "novices" and those who have gone
before them. 

I’m going to develop a concrete example of this over coming months.

Here is the fruit of my thoughts: Continuing in the Way of Jesus: A 45 Week Apprenticeship.  I’ve started the process mentioned in 45 Week Apprenticeship with Josh. Josh and Carmen are a young married couple that live with my wife and I (we’ve got other housemates too). It is still a work in progress…and it expresses the direction I’m beging to encourage more and more at Missio Dei.  If you’ve got time, take a look.  The first 4 pages are the values and beliefs of Missio Dei, so you can skip that stuff if you want to get to the mobilized discipleship stuff.

Basically, Josh has study to do throughout the week.  We have an intentional meeting weekly to talk and touch base.  Josh is also involved in the community life of Missio Dei.  Part of our own project together, that isn’t reflected in the Apprenticeship materials, is that we’re begining to spend time on the West Bank specifically to meet new people and to plant a house church with those new people.  It is definitely an exciting prospect, but will take much more effort and commitment than the attractional approach to church.

I’d appreciate your comments.

Franz Ferdinand

September 21, 2005

This must be my season for concerts.  Until I went to Green Day the other day, I’d only really been to one major concert: Garth Brooks in the Fargo Dome (my nickname in High School was "Garth").  My wife is getting a couple free tickets to Franz Ferdinand for me from her work (Saint Paul Public Schools).  I’m really excited.  I like Franz Ferdinand alot.  I hope I have some sort of insightful commentary on my experience tomorrow, but it isn’t likely.

Someone should develop a personality test based solely upon musical tastes.  If someone has the coding skills, what you’d need to do is create a dynamic database…ask a person to list off their 5 favorite bands, and then ask personality questions of them.  If you have a couple thousand people doing that, the database would have enough data to cross reference certain band preferences with certain traits…just an idea.

B0001zmwqo01_pe29_scmzzzzzzz__1I wonder what my like for Franz Ferdinand says?  I know they’re sort of "college prep pop punk." I wish I had a taste for underground stuff…but it takes alot of energy and time to know enough to get into underground music.  I have friends whose lives center around music the way mine does around theology and ecclesiology and whatnot.  If I don’t watch myself I can come off as an elitist, condescending bastard when it comes to theological junk…and that is how my musical elite friends can come across too. 

For me, Franz Ferdinand is the bees knees.  They are pretty much the most satisfying music I’ve found in recent years and if that makes me a sheep, then so be it.  I’d like to have deeper tastes, but at least I take comfort in the fact that there are many many other sheep like me out there. 

Part Timer

September 20, 2005

I’ve toyed with this in the past, but I’m really coming to the conclusion that it would be good for me to get a PT job.  I think it would be a good thing for me, and would help Missio Dei out alot too.  Any suggestions or leads for me? 

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