There Are No Thin Places

Thin Places – Chapter 2: Submerging from The House Studio on Vimeo.

So, I said something at a conference a few weeks ago, and Steve Knight captured it in his notes and blogged about it. For years, I’ve been talking about the fallacy of the “sacred-secular” divide. It’s made up. It doesn’t actually exist.

I say this because God is ever-present, everywhere. God isn’t more some places and less in other places. God is, in the classic sense, omnipresent.

Now, I’m being a bit hyperbolic. Traditionally speaking, a “thin place” is what Celtic Christianity calls a spot where heaven and earth seem to touch, a spot where this world and the next seem to have next to nothing separating them. So, it’s not really about where God is, but where we sense God.

A quick Amazon search shows that “Thin Places” has become a hot title of late. With the rise of interest in Celtic Christianity has come the inevitable co-option of the term by evangelicals and mainliners, and it looks like there have been about a dozen books with this title in the last decade.

The latest, as Steve points out, is an entry by a couple guys from Nieu Communities. They’ve written a book that, according to the video above, advocates bar-b-ques as thin places. I’m all for that. I love BBQ.

At first blush, one might look and say, “Ugh. There’s another group of hipster missional Christians appropriating a classic Christian concept and bending it to their own purpose.” That’s what I first thought.

But then I reconsidered. If they’re advocating for deep spiritual attention to the presence of God, not just on Iona, but in a neighborhood BBQ, then that’s exactly what I’m advocating as well.

In other words, pay attention. God is already where you are.

Bringing Minnesota and Texas Together

As you may recall, the marriage of Tony and Courtney united the two states on either end of I-35. To commemorate that, Courtney made a pillow that symbolizes that union. If you ever visit our house, you will betray your allegiances.

How Do You Get Rid of a Bishop?

(Soon to be former?) United Methodist Bishop Earl Bledsoe

Well, it seems that the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church decided to “involuntarily retire” their bishop, Earl Bledsoe. The problem is, Bledsoe has decided not to go. Now they’ve got a kerfuffle on their hands.

PLANO, TEXAS – Bishop Earl Bledsoe announced last Friday that he was retiring voluntarily, but late Tuesday afternoon reversed the decision in dramatic fashion, telling members of the North Texas Conference that he was being pushed out and had decided not to stand for it.

“With your help we’re going to fight like the devil to claim the ministry that is here in North Texas,” he said at the close of Annual Conference, drawing applause from many and a standing ovation by some. “And we ain’t going nowhere unless somebody forces us to go.”

Bishop Bledsoe, in his fourth year of leading the North Texas Conference, told conference members that he was recently “summoned” to a meeting of the South Central Jurisdiction’s episcopacy committee. He said he was told that he was not wanted back by the North Texas Conference and that his leadership was “so bad” that no other conference  in the jurisdiction would have him.

“So with that in mind, I asked, ‘What are my options?’” he recalled. “The committee said I could either take voluntary retirement or they would vote involuntary retirement.”

via Bishop Bledsoe reverses course, says he’ll ‘fight like the devil’ to stay in post – The United Methodist Reporter.

What’s at Stake in the Doctrine of Creation

(photo by Courtney Perry)

A week from now, I’ll be canoeing through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with ten Fuller DMin students, Brian McLaren, Courtney, and a couple guides from Boundary Waters Experience. Our conversations will center on Christian Spirituality and the Doctrine of Creation.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about the doctrine of creation in preparation, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the doctrine of creation is like an onion: you peel away one layer, and you find an equally significant layer underneath. Another metaphor is dominoes: knock the first one down, and lots more begin to fall.

I’m so intrigued by this that I think my next book after Why Pray? will be on creation. And I see my thoughts falling under these major categories:

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