I’m Glad They Are Out There

I was thinking the other night, while I was holding my oldest son on my lap in the middle of the night, about how sweet my life is. There is so much in this world that is beautiful and I’m just so incredibly lucky to be alive. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about church…what it is, should be, where I fit. Sometimes I get pretty down on parts of it, but I’ve found ‘church’ in so many great places lately. I thought I’d blog about 10 things I’m just glad they are out there for everyone to experience. Obviously you can’t experience my wife and kids so they go without saying and you probably won’t actually get to see my church, www.heartlandk10.com . So, I’m just going to throw out 10 things, insert some links, encourage you to experience some things that have been a very real means of grace to me over the past few months and years.

Conception Abbey
I’m glad that monks are still out there. Many times in Church history Monasticism has saved our bacon. I think in some way the monks of Conception Abbey have saved my spiritual bacon over the past couple of years. I’m so indebted to their faithfulness and hospitality. I would encourage you to find a Benedictine Monastery in your area and visit there often.

I’m glad NASCAR is out there. I’m just glad to find a bunch of rowdy people who live life loud and unapologetically. I think NASCAR has given me a decent metaphor for what the church should be: it’s inclusive, fun, dangerous (even deadly), sacred, profane, and built around the idea that pushing ourselves to the edge isn’t as crazy as it looks from the outside.

One Foundation
I’m glad these guys are out there. Go to the site, read the declaration and sign it. I use the one foundation as only one example of many compassionate organizations who are dedicated to one purpose…compassion.

Dallas Willard
I’m just glad he’s out there speaking and writing and teaching all of us as well as his students at USC. I will forever be indebted to Dr. Willard for The Divine Conspiracy, among other things. What I love about Dr. Willard is that he’s so intelligent and wise that the religious establishment seems to embrace him even though he espouses relatively radical things.

I’m glad Wilco is out there because rock lovers who have lost way too much hair to ever be cool again still have some great music to listen to. Start with Being There because it’s easy to hook into. Then get Summerteeth which will prepare you for the real feast. Then get Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and prepare to have your life change. For those who dare, there is more out there and more to come I”m sure.

h.k10 Lawrence
I’m glad these guys are out there and it’s not just because they are part of my church. I love that these guys are just organically chasing after the Kingdom of God in Lawrence, KS. I love that they do ministry like it’s all unfolding before them, not like they’ve got it all figured out. I have much to learn from this community of faith.

I’m glad these guys are out there. I know that some people look upon them as destructive and negative. They call their movement a ‘conversation’ and I think it really is just that. I’m glad the conversation is happening, even though I’m only marginally involved in it. I’ve found in this bunch of ragamuffins a truly hopeful voice and one which pokes and prods and forces me to deal with myself and God more honestly. I’d encourage you to fool around on their blogs, listen to some of the downloads and join the conversation.

The Gathering
I’m glad these guys are out there. Isaac Anderson has become a valued friend. I’m glad this fellowship is out there just trying to pursue Jesus with all of their heart. I would like to encourage you to jump into their podcast stuff and listen for awhile – it will do your heart good. I listen regularly to them and since I know Isaac, get to peek behind the curtain sometimes. I love what God is doing through the gathering. Listening to their podcast is worth the time.

I’m glad the Nazarenes are out there. I’ve been so surprised by this bunch of believers. I’m so blessed by their seminary and the influences I’ve found there. After a lifetime of Calvinism in several different forms, I’ve found at NTS an alternative view of faith which is really helping me to find now avenues to God and theology.

MP3’s online
I’m glad that all these guys are out there doing hours and hours of sermon prep, living lives of discipleship, leading communities, and then sharing their thoughts with the rest of us free of charge. I listen to a lot of these guys week after week. Hope you’ll make listening to them a part of your life. Here are just a few you should listen to:

Brett Younger
Tim Keel
John Ortberg
Andy Stanley
Isaac Anderson
Rob Bell
Rick McKinley

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  • whoa. i’m thankful you posted all of that and that it’s summer and i can spend some time investigating these people, websites, podcasts, etc. hope to see you soon!

  • Tim, you have an interesting take on NASCAR, and a perspective that I’ve never thought of before. But as a loyal fan of NASCAR for the past 10 years or so, I can agree with what you’re saying. My wife and I go to the two Loudon races in New Hampshire every year, travel trailer and all, and we love every minute of it. And in spite of all of the Budweiser and Miller Lite that gets consumed at these events each weekend, we’ve never had a single problem with property getting stolen or violence, since NASCAR fans really are like a big family.

    I also am familiar with Wilco, although I don’t yet own any of their albums. One of the local radio stations here in Maine plays their music regularly, so I do enjoy the Wilco songs that I’ve heard.

    I’m not really familiar with any of the other things that you listed, but I will check them out. The most I’ve strayed from my traditional mainstream evangelical church roots is hosting a house church for a couple of years, after getting fed up with traditional churches for a time. The house church experience was for the most part a very positive one, but up here in traditional New England there weren’t a lot of people interested in a church without a pulpit and pews, so we are now once again attending a traditional church.