Friday, October 26, 2007

Divine Surgery

I'm still in the recovery room from yesterday's staff meeting.

I felt like God placed me on the table and cut me open without anesthetic - only a strong sedative. I'm looking down at the guts of my soul and watching him remove the appendix, gallbladder, perhaps even the spleen as I'm being painfully transformed.

I walked away wounded and groggy thinking - "perhaps I am the culprit instigating an aggravated tension among this handful of passionate leaders." The newest member of the group comes riding in on a fertile stallion with heightened nobility and blissful ignorance defending the founder. He later asks critical questions that fall on the one he defended - the same types of questions asked again and again without answers by the one who writes these words - yea, factors that lead toward my loss of respect and regard.

The main challenge was - If there can be no trust of the one God has placed in the primary leadership role, then it's time to move one. I listen as I fight off the cynical thoughts in my head wishing to exit my mouth "I'm working on it" or "5 others have done
just that since I've been here. So where's the problem?" But the Words through a man named James restrain me.

So - I'm on antibiotics and pain meds (keeping my metaphoric tone) processing what this means.

Undespairingly perplexed,


For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
-2 Cor 4:17&18

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dialoging Distinctions

I was fighting off anger at our staff meeting this morning and then became soothed by the penetration of God's Word plunging into my spiritual marrow.

I'm hearing all this hyper-emphasis on structure and how important one hour is on Sunday - thinking simultaneously about Israel's cry for a King followed by God's warning of what such structure entails. I'm thinking about the demand for a "permanent" temple and how all 3 never were. I've got King Saul in my head and God's rejection of him, only to be replaced by the red-headed runt of Jesse's brood of boys (were there any girls?). I envision the disciples replacing Judas with Matthias (sp?) whom we never hear from again. I hear frustrations about keys, gate codes, facilities requests, more policies and I seethe. I realize that structure has a purpose, but I discern where the Pharisees became "blind guides" when they lost sight of why the institution was so important.

So I look up the reference in Hebrews 4 about Sabbath rest being outside the structure of one day preparing to argue the error of our ways. And then I read from Romans 14 and realize that my dissension from the one particular member who's driving all this (who said during the meeting: "The church where I grew up was a big church" - aha! - that's his cultural bend) falls under the banner of "disputable matters."

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

I looked up the original words from verse one and found them intriguing. "diakrisis dialogismos" is literally "dialoging (or diliberating) disputations"

Now - who's "weak"??? Well, that gives the advantage to the one reading it. It may be a bit of Paul's persistent use of irony where the reader is allowed to be smug. Rarely will one read it and go "hey, that's me" (we only wish).

Well, I certainly won't change the response. So now I know what I'm dealing with. That puts me at ease and I can then hope and pray that the other person will eventually be enlightened as they grow and mature.



Monday, October 1, 2007

“Left Toin at Albakoikee”

We’re trying to see all the “toins” and be courageous enough to make them. IOW-We are reevaluating the umbrella, which will be over the operation of this envisioned venue of espresso wafting the air while God does a transforming work in people’s lives.

The franchise format is becoming less appealing to us. After reading the 1-inch thick “circular” given to us by Moby’s CEO – and after talking to some dissatisfied employees and owners, we sense that it may not be an equitable trade-off to sacrifice the innovative expression of our vision for high-priced “expertise.” We think that many of the accompanying “products” we are required to sell, are distracting to the appeal of a non-conventional style of ministry. To be quite blunt – they encroach the “cheesy” barrier.

We think that will repel seekers, rather than draw them in. We are maintaining the model of John 1:14 where Jesus took on our existence thus releasing his rightful grasp of equality with God. He “became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” We want to do the same. The “churchiness” and “I’m saved, you ain’t” wall needs to have a Berliner demise once and for all.

So – it looks as though we will do this independently. Not that we think we are able to work in isolation. Lord knows there’s too many Lone Rangers out there. We have talked with existing coffee shop owners, both secular and Christian, who are in that region of the country. They have consented that they are willing to help us out by consultation. So our thinking now is to purchase some quality equipment and then learn first how to make a dynamite latte.

As far as the financial picture – things are shaping up a bit. The giving is at a trickle, but we’ve heard from many who have stated they will be making donations very soon. We had one couple offer to give us their 10 year old car. That gives us the option to give that car to Jordan and sell my 98 minivan for our needs, or vice versa.

Keep praying for the sale of our home. Our realtor states that our house is doing better since it is “showing” and others aren’t. We haven’t had what you might call “nibbles,” but the bobber is moving a little bit. It’s difficult to determine if there’s a fish below the surface, or if the wind it making it move.

YHWH A'-gap-e,