Archive for March, 2009

March Update

Posted: March 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

March is my favorite month but it has not been a good month for posting to this blog. I salute all those who continue to check it.

While this blog as been silent my life as been busy. I’ve talked a to some people at church about mobilizing to help the jobless and people have been really interested in doing something like what I’ve began to discuss in previous posts. I hope next month (following a trip to the UK) to follow up on that and share more thoughts on what we could do and what we actually do here.

I’ve also been working with some friends on a manuscript that we are calling: Putting God in His Place:
How Culture Recasts Your Church in Its Image and What To Do About It.
We now have a complete draft and I’m excited about what we’ve written. The work is an attempt to articulate how our worship becomes focused on the worshipper rather than God. But we don’t just complain about the church we also try to write some constructive proposals for how to faithfully worship in 3rd millennium America. I contributed a chapter on technology, as a culture reality that can subvert the gospel, and simplicity, as a biblical ideal that can counter some of the cultural baggage we bring to church. I hope to expound on those ideas here as well.

Finally, the sour economy has hit close to home as the university I work at layed off almost 10% of its employees including 4 of my colleagues in the library. This has been stressful and trying time. Fortunately I have kept my position and will get a chance for some R&R as I head to the UK for the next 10 days. Upon my return I hope to resume posting more regularly.

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The Bastion of Skills

Posted: March 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

I’ve been exchanging emails with a friend from church about preparing for the economic downturn. He wrote:

Imagine if our church were a bastion of knowledge and help for others in simple, basic skills of sustainability?

He is part of a team at church that has already had seminars on urban composting, done a “free cycle” exchange of goods, and had a couple recycling drives. I think this is great and would like to see the church become a resource for learning new skills – especially skills that help us be more faithful disciples of Christ.

There are many skills that I think could be taught as part of (or in conjunction with) the Joseph Project. These include budgeting, cooking, gardening, sewing, home repairs, and more. However I think the most important skill we need to learn is the ability to ask for help.

It is hard to break the cultural value of self sufficiency. Yet, I think we can only achieve true community by admitting that all us have needs that we can’t fill by ourselves. So how do we teach this skill? I would love ideas. Here are some of my initial thoughts.

    Ideally a relationship needs to precede the request – so first step may be working on relationships
    If we are going to give help we must also ask for something
    We may need to start by allowing people to ask for small things
    We may need to help others before they ask
    We need to make asking, normal and part of a routine
    Some request may need to be anonymous to avoid shaming people

I’ve heard of churches setting up private online listings of congregational needs this might be one mechanism to encourage asking and receiving of help. I hope to keep thinking about this. In the mean time, I also hope to get better at asking others to help me (and helping them in return)- it is not very easy to practice what I’m preaching.

photo by kandyjaxx

photo by kandyjaxx