Simply Simplicity, Part 2

Today we continue my thoughts on Simplicity from the corresponding chapter in Richard Foster's book, The Celebration of Discipline.  Simplicity "is an inward reality that results in an outward lifestyle." Both are equally important, because the outward lifestyle without the inner reality is legalism, but the inner reality without the outward lifestyle is not simplicity either, but hypocrisy.  Last week we discussed the attitudes of the inner reality. Today I will share Foster's "ten c … [Read more...]

Holding a Space Open for the “Other” (further thoughts)

A few days ago I wrote about holding a space open for the “other”. You might want to start there before reading this post.I’m writing from the perspective of different cultures getting along together and different faiths respecting each other but these principles are also useful in knowing and understanding our children (teenagers for example), divorced spouses, teachers, employers….really anyone it’s difficult to understand and come to a middle ground with.If we don’t hold the space ope … [Read more...]

Holding a Space Open for the “Other”

How good are you at hearing someone else’s opinion? How long can you hold a space in your heart open for someone who is very “other” than you?I’m new at living in a Middle Eastern country. I’ve been in Qatar 6 months now and although I’m new to it I am also immersed in it. Everyday I’m watching and processing what I’m seeing. Everyday I’m confronted by differences and everyday I’m trying to understand. Everyday I’m reading about the culture around me. This does not make me an expert. Everyday … [Read more...]

I Like the Bible but I’m Not Sure I Know All the Words by Randy Woodley

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I had been learning to play bass guitar for two years when I was finally asked to be in a real band. The fact that I had a new Fender Jazz bass and an Acoustic 360 watt amp that I had worked and saved for the summer prior didn’t hurt my chances of being asked to be in the band. At 15 years old, I was anxious to show all the stuff that I knew, and as a singer I could remember an incredible number of words of various songs. There I was, for the first time with the band, in one of the member’s liv … [Read more...]

Simply Simplicity, Part 1

Some of my students have recently gotten into the book The Celebration of discipline by Richard Foster, a true classic.  It brought me back to some posts I did a few years ago on the chapter that had the biggest impact on me, the chapter on simplicity.  I’ll share those thoughts in the next couple posts.[As I was recently praying and reading on living a simplified life], I opened Richard Foster's classic work The Celebration of Discipline, as I remembered some of his thoughts on simplicity. H … [Read more...]

On Friendship (For Hawk)

Dedicated to Hawk (d. December 2011)These days I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship.Since the early days of Emergent Village it has been common for us to name this conversation a “generative friendship,” and for solid theological reasons, of course.In the Hebrew Scriptures we find countless examples of friendship. One of the reasons God creates Eve is for companionship, that he might not be alone. Job’s friends play a key role in that story. We have specific friendships too l … [Read more...]

Emerging Apophatic

One of my favorite theological sayings is “God in all things; all things in God.” This statement reflects the lively omnipresence of God, who can be experienced in everything from toddlers and fireflies to galaxies, soy burgers, mystery novels, and enchiladas. Every place is a divine center and although God doesn’t cause all things and cannot be identified with everything that happens (omnipotence or pantheism), you can find divine inspiration in joyful souls and cancer cells. This is the good … [Read more...]

Blessed or Cursed?

It seems natural to wonder, “am I cursed or am I blessed?” But the answer to that question often depends on context. Walking through my neighborhood with my sister who lives in the suburbs, I suddenly see the trash on the streets, the rough characters standing at the corner and the chipped paint in my house. But when my friend from East Oakland comes to visit, I feel a tinge of privilege about living in a neighborhood with coffee shops, a bookstore and great restaurants. I feel poor when I com … [Read more...]

A Seat at The Table: Keep it Wild

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Listening to a recent 'On Being' podcast with the venerable and feisty Walter Brueggemann, I was struck by what seems at first to be rank overstatement.  His contention is that the ancient Hebrew 'prophetic/poetic messengers' serve to critique everything:  all political, social, and religious systems. In Brueggemann's opinion, the worst thing we can do with these Biblical messages is to organize them, domesticate them, and to "create another 'ism'".Surely, part of the reason e … [Read more...]

Remembering Dr. King

Today we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I consider him one of my heroes.  In fact, my wife and I are in the process of planning a southern vacation to the Memphis area in a few months to visit some of the historic sites.  He was a pioneer of peace.  A leader fueled by love.  May we all continue to follow in his footsteps, furthering his work of peace and reconciliation.  Enjoy the video. … [Read more...]


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