Ask Mark…

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : September 4, 2007

destiny avatar I’m feeling a bit strained these days.  It is in times like these that bloggers taper off and write less.  It is going to be the busiest ministry month I’ve had in quite some time.  And so, I’m wondering if you’d be willing to help me in my quest to write regularly. 

I’d like to give at least one post a week to reader questions or comments.  Some blogs (like John Smulo’s) tend to be VERY conversational (which is what I like about SmuloSpace).  My blog isn’t.  I wield this blog like a soapbox.  But I like the idea of letting you have a say in what sort of content I cover.  I’ll address everything from personal advice to theology to what sort of basil goes best in bruschetta.

This isn’t to say that my answers will be very wise or expert-ish.  Maybe you’re just curious about how I’d respond.  Maybe you just want to pick a fight.  Maybe you’re looking for advice and would genuinely like my thoughts.  Whatever your reasons, I’d love to engage your questions.

So…what issues or questions would you like me to tackle in upcoming posts?

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6 Responses to “Ask Mark…”

  1. John Smulo on September 3rd, 2007 8:13 pm

    Dang, you know how to make a guy feel special :-) Thanks for the compliment.

    I’d love to see you talk more about ecclesiology, including your thoughts on church planting, and maybe throw in a bit more person stuff–something I need to do too.

  2. Michael Touchton on September 5th, 2007 5:42 pm

    I would love to hear your perspective on Christianity as a religion in comparison to the other religions of the world. I would find it interesting to hear a person like you (your background, and your missional/monastic focus) expound on how you see christianity among the other religions.

    The only voices that most people have heard on this are the ultra-fundamentalist christians with their war speak and disdain for anyone that doesn’t look like them and the ultra-libral, with their affirmation of all religions as leading the same way.

    Whats your take?
    How do you interact with others from different faith traditions?

    This is a subject that I rarely hear expounded on in the missional, incarnational, and (though I am only an interested stranger to the 3rd) the neo-monastic streams.

    -Grace and Peace-

  3. Maria Kirby on September 5th, 2007 10:13 pm


    I like hearing the real stuff. the boring stuff. the ordinary stuff of ministry. The stuff of just being, of just getting through the day. I’m tired of those who are so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good.

    I started following your blog when you posted about creeping charlie. I’ve got a couple of good recipies for dandylions and one for burdock.

    God’s stretched me a number of times in the financial and social/ministry department, and I’m sure he’ll do it again. But I’ve become convinced that his providence is there, I just need to change my expectations of what it looks like. Not to say that another grand a month wouldn’t be useful.

    Breaking ground is hard work. But dandylions do an excellent job at it. Sometime what we think is a hinderence is a blessing in disguise. camouflage. predator avoidance. We have to think like a friend rather than a foe before we see past the cover to the heart.

    My prayers are with you,
    Maria Kirby

  4. markvans on September 6th, 2007 4:18 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions, John and Michael. And thanks for the encouragement Maria.

  5. Dany on September 11th, 2007 3:34 pm

    Hey, thanks for the opportunity! I’d love it if you could describe one instance of learning to love someone in the West Bank with whom you did not instantly hit it off -maybe someone whose initial habitus was miles away from yours- as this is something I sometimes struggle with.

  6. Ben on October 15th, 2007 1:08 pm

    I’d like to see you talk more about suburban Christianity.

    I know you think the downtrodden of society is where the church should spend most of its effort. That, for them, church means more about helping, healing, and being good news to those in need. This means helping them physically, financially, mentally, and, ultimately, spiritually. I get this. At least, I think I get it.

    I’m a rather affluent suburbanite, who works with many other affluent, unchurched suburbanites. I struggle with what church might mean to these, who need the healing and forgiving sides of the cross in ways that I perceive are different than the downtrodden. In your view, does Christ come for them, too? In what way? Specifically, I would like to see the contrast between embodied community to unchurched affluent suburbanites vs unchurched poor urbanites.


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