Thursday, December 31, 2009

Aha! Again

I’ve been on a yellow-caution pace (my normal reading “speed”) through Church Turned Inside Out by Linda Bergquist and Allan Karr. It’s a bit deeper than some of the other books I have been reading over the past few years. I read the following paragraph in a bit of a morning zone; stopped and read it again. I read it one more time and found my soul spilling out onto the page. The words are descriptive of what I’ve sensed and agonized about over the last 10+ years.
In ministry, we sometimes adopt prescribed roles or scripts because they are “working” well, and seemingly bearing much fruit for others. We attend conferences where mega-fruit bearers challenge us in new ways, and sometimes our egos are challenged as a result. We want to bear much fruit too; after all, the mission of God is what we structure our lives around. So we stop working in ways that reflect how we are naturally and supernaturally created, change the way we do ministry, attempt to reengineer our personhood, and sometimes actually become more successful as a result. For a period of time this satisfies, but eventually we burn out and wonder why. It’s because we are working contrary to how we are designed. It is also because we confuse fruit bearing with producing visible, countable results, as indicated by the common questions “How’d ya do last Sunday?” “How many showed up on Easter?” “Baptize anyone yet this year?”
Some of the counsel I’ve received from some insightful folks along my journey did not sink in when first given. I didn’t “get it” when a friend stepped outside of his administrative role and told me to put on my resume who I really actually was and not the format suggested in seminary class. I recall reacting with the Victrola dog look when Reggie McNeal stated at a seminar: “It is about you, despite what you may have heard.”

I didn’t comprehend as I had indeed adopted “prescribed roles or scripts” that followed an accepted formula of institutionalized dimensions. When burn-out and confusion resulted, I realized that I was not functioning according to my talent and ability. I had to take a risk to discover how to work in ways that were complementary and not contradictory. It’s been a major element of my own recent transformation process. I’m certainly not approaching a stretched out tape, but I believe I can make out what appears to be a finish line.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Website

Java Journey's website has been updated by co-manager Ben Curfman. Check it out (unless, of course, you linked from there).

This week, we will have an incremental (a consistent JJ pace) "soft opening." We hope to have our POS system up and running and baristas trained. We are still awaiting the service and repair of our main super automatic espresso machine. The delay is related to the ordering and shipping of parts via CA, via Spain. Since it was idle for 2 years, some gaskets and o-rings dried up.

We had a successful Christmas Eve candlelight gathering and a concert on the 26th. We had a nice group of people for both.

Spread the word that Java Journey is in first gear and letting out the clutch.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We Are Ready to Open!

On Thursday, December 17, 2009, Java Journey passed final inspection by the city of Hickory, NC and received a certificate of occupancy. We are rejoicing. However, we've still got some tasks to complete before we can open.

The espresso machines are still in Asheville being serviced for operation. The single group machine (Conti) is ready, but still in the possession of co-manager Ben Curfman in Asheville as an uncharacteristic snow storm hit our area yesterday and he is snowbound. The fully automatic machine (Azkoyen Xpression) is awaiting parts for the heat exchange boiler (o-ring leaking). We will have a "soft opening" beginning Monday (Christmas week) and serve regular brewed coffee, tea and baked good. We will also have bulk coffee for sale.

Momentum is building, but as is typical in our joint pilgrimage - it is incremental (sometimes emphasizing "mental").

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I love this quote from John A.T. Robinson in Frank Viola's book "Finding Organic Church." Although I can't agree with Robinson's view of universal salvation, he had some very profound observations about many arbitrary notions that ecclesiastical hierarchy held.

As the Preacher of Ecclesiastes saw, "There is a time to break down, and a time to build up ...a time to keep silence and a time to speak." And the second Reformation, if it comes, will be distinguished from the first by the fact that it is a time of reticence, of stripping down, or traveling light. The church will go through its baggage and discover how much it can better do without, alike in doctrine and in organization.

Now I (and you) know why I cannot stand having "Rev" in front of my name and a decorative strip of cloth around my neck - among many other things.