Month: March 2007

You know you are old when …

Sunday afternoon my left ankle hurt.

Me: Patty my ankle sure does hurt.

Patty: What did you do?

Me: Nothing that I can recall. I have not played basketball in a couple of weeks so I know it is not from twisting it. I really cannot think of what I might have done.

Patty: You know you are getting old when something hurts and you do not know why.

Today I woke up with a pain in the neck. I mentioned this to Patty this morning. Before continuing the conversation I recalled her words from Sunday …

God-forsaken places … the church? …

I expected something different next to the ocean. Traveling back to the U.S. from South Africa a few years ago we landed somewhere on the tip of western Africa. It may have been one of the islands. I do not recall the airline. We were given the privilege of deplaning, finding both restroom and refreshment before making the trek across the ocean to JFK Airport in New York. I thought it an odd place to stop and pick up meals for the long trip. From the air the stretch of land looked desolate. Areas along the beach were rocky not sandy. The facilities while clean were not what most Westerners were accustomed. The images still linger and I could say the desolate features conjured the phrase, "God-forsaken places."

Reading Roxburgh and Romanuk’s, The Missional Leader, I came across the phrase "God-forsaken places." Generally we think of places uninhabitable by nature or made so by war, famine or disease. These are places we would not chart destinations to but generally avoid. Would anyone consider the "institutional church" a "God-forsaken place?" Many have and do. Some days pastors wonder if Ichabod, "the glory has departed," fits the church better than  forestate, sign and outpost  of the Kingdom of God – an community embodying the character of God; a place not to go and even avoid.


My friend Todd Hiestand recently presented a paper at an ETS meeting. Todd is pastor of The Well, PA. He is also a student at Biblical Seminary and enrolled in our current ETREK course. His paper is titled, "The Gospel and the God Forsaken: The Challenge of the Missional Church in Suburbia." Todd quotes Alan Roxburgh, "God shows up in the most God-forsaken places." He does a good job of identifying the context of suburbia, He notes the markers chosen offer an opportunity to live out the Gospel in a way God just may show up in "God-forsaken places." I really think Todd put a good, concise finger on some of the issues facing suburbia as well as ex-rural towns – some may refer to as ex-urbia.

I wonder if we should pitch the institutional church or consider the contextual possibilities for God to show up in what many consider a "God-forsaken place." Much of what Todd offers could well give us a picture of just how the church, not just suburbs, capitulated to culture. He rightly notes ways in which this innocuously crept into the church trading a broad view of the Gospel for a quick simple reduction to "forgiveness of sins." Jesus announced the coming Kingdom. He sent the disciples out with the very message he himself used. He then told them to do what he did. Connecting the message and the mission indicates the doing of Jesus ushers in the realities of the Kingdom. Sure it could be argued the Kingdom is not yet fulfilled. But, to do so seems to obfuscate the mission of which we are now a part. Rather than consider the mission as part of what we do, we really should follow on Todd’s reading of Bosch. The mission of God is part of, if simply expressive of, the very nature and character of God. Reading in Revelation 21 a few weeks ago I was reminded of this very implication. We are given a picture of fulfillment. The declaration is something akin to "It is finished." In the ESV it is translated, "It is done." The mission that was accomplished – having a people. When we embody the character and actions of Jesus in the world we participate in the mission of God redeeming the world, all of the world.

I am hopeful Roxburgh is right …

Good for the Gander … Darfur and gender …

Old adages cannot possibly rise to the occasion when the inequities of gender become a matter of life and death. But the idea two women should be sentenced to death while the men involved go free only exacerbates the horrors already a reality in Darfur.

HT: Alan

24 … and counting …

We finally caught up to Jack Bauer. Since Thanksgiving of last year we made time to watch 5 seasons of 24. For those who may be counting, that is 120+ episodes! Two weeks ago we finally caught up to season 6.

Today Patty and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. When we first married Patty  worked as a Teacher’s Aid working with hearing impaired children at Monroe Elementary School in Oklahoma City. We learned the sign for "I love you" and to this day it is a sign that signals both our continued love for each other and a reminder of those early days together.

We’ve lived in Oklahoma City, Dallas (TX), Gould (OK), Milford (TX) and Tuttle (OK). God blessed us with a couple of great girls – both coming as "graduation presents" – Kimberly (OBU) and Tommie (SWBTS, first time). Three years ago we gained a son – Craig, Kimberly’s husband. We have spent more "24’s" together than Jack could possibly keep up with. Some of those days have been eventful. All of them fun when spending them with your best friend.

I recently read where pastors/clergy face the burden of being the
friend "to" all but rarely a friend "with" anyone. God’s gift is not
only a spouse but a best friend. We look forward to more time "with" in
the years ahead.

I love you Patty.

Looking forward to at least another "24."