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Last Visit 2011-03-29 23:58:38 |Start Date 2007-01-26 16:14:24 |Comments 1,125 |Entries 367 |Images 31 |Videos 68 |

Category: religion

03/24/10 10:24 - 35ºF - ID#51257

Churches are like people

Churches are like people, especially in their life-cycle. The only difference is that sometimes a church can hit "reset" and find new life, i.e. in their "maturity" years they can make choices to find a new mission expression and rediscover the passion of youth. Honestly, however, very few do.

I like church planters, the people that start new churches, and it renews my perspective when I hang out with them. The congregation I serve is well over 100 years old. We are attempting a "reset" right now, but for many purposes, we are retirement-age, if not older.

Most of the congregations I interact with are either geriatric or infants/toddlers. Just as people love human babies, baby churches are also very excited and filled with promise. (This is not the main thrust of this post, but another similarity is that sometimes they are planned, and sometimes they just "happen.")

Many of the churches that are making a tremendous difference in the world right now are churches that are in the "maturity" stage of life, say 30-50 years old. Unfortunately, there are not too many congregations of this age. The "baby boom" of churches started post World War II has led to a "bust," because the need for new congregations was not felt.

Now, however, there is an important generation of church missing.

Churches in maturity are struggling to find youth, but it is difficult.

Baby Churches need parents, but they are lacking.

Mature churches are the ones that make a difference, caring for the older ones and nurturing the younger ones, but they are missing.

Can grandparents raise children? Of course. It is hard, however, because there is a double generation gap, we aren't as fast as we used to be, and frankly, we are pre-occupied with our own aging and pending death. But we need to step up, get over ourselves, and get to work.

On the other side of the coin, young churches need parents. Some are desperate for them, but others are firmly against the idea. Unlike people, baby churches can say "no," and not have a parent to correct them. This is why dangerous theology finds a home in younger churches.

Dangerous, of course, doesn't always mean "bad," although it does sometimes. The church needs to take risks and do dangerous things, but it also needs to make sure it doesn't do too much damage in the process. This is what parents do for children. Good parents let their kids experience negative consequences, but they don't let babies go swimming without a lifeguard. Some young churches insist then can swim, or light fireworks, or whatever when they cannot.

The best shepherds of young communities find an older community, not to duplicate it, but to learn from it. Older communities need to be open to younger communities, not fearing being replaced, but welcoming it--this is what children are supposed to do! We need to guide and counsel, but not at the same time, foster maturity and independence as they grow. It is hard for grand-parents, even great-grandparents to do this, but not impossible at all.





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Category: 10 things

03/17/10 11:52 - 44ºF - ID#51205

10 Things I like about Ireland

1. u2.

2. Hurling

3. Guinness

4. Irish Whiskey

5. Cliff's of Moher (and other amazing sea cliffs)

6. Irish monasticism/Celtic spirituality


7. Galway (which was home for a Summer)

8. Dublin (it would still be a great town, even if it didn't produce u2 and Guinness)

9. The Committments.

10. More u2 (worth mentioning twice!)
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02/12/10 07:10 - 25ºF - ID#51006

TMBG Kids songs

Having an excuse to watch/sing songs like this is one of the perks of having kids in the house.



Good songwriting works for kids and adults, and They Might Be Giants are great songwriters.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


02/07/10 03:18 - 23ºF - ID#50983

More beard, less hair

Cleaned up the look a bit today.



image
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Location: Buffalo, NY


02/06/10 12:41 - 22ºF - ID#50977

My hometown


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Category: food

02/05/10 04:14 - 29ºF - ID#50975

I can say boring things

via video, as well as text.


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Location: Buffalo, NY


02/05/10 01:23 - ID#50971

Recovering from Church?

So as a pastor, I serve all kinds of people. It's one of the joys of the job, working with people way to the left of me and way to the right, richer and poorer (both by quite a bit, it seems) creative and/or analytical, believers and non-, you name the "genre" of person, and they are likely part of the Elmwood Village--and thus my "parish" if not my congregation (which though small, contains a wide/weird sampling of Buffalo---and I can call us weird because I love weird).

While I love the diversity of "my parish," it seems like every pastor also ends up serving a particular population more. Dan Kimball is the only Rockabilly pastor I know of. Mark Driscoll is all about macho culture. Bill Hybels is good with Chicagoland executives, and Joel Osteen is for people that need mediocre jokes and positive thinking.

There is one "type" of person that I spend more of my time talking with than all others combined. He'she is the one on who has either been directly hurt by the church or severely disappointed with it.

The causes of the hurt may include (but are not limited to):

asking the wrong question
listening to the wrong teacher
hanging out with the wrong people
wearing the wrong clothes
liking the wrong music
voting the wrong candidate/party
liking the wrong people
being too happy
being too sad
not volunteering enough
taking over everything
questioning the status quo
questioning militarism
questioning theology
questioning a pastor/teacher/small group leader
just about any excuse will do if you are "different."

What's worse, many Christians, when the church turns on us, have nobody else to turn to. We wend up very alone.

I know that Christians are supposed to love one another and build each other up, but just today I met with four different people that were broken by the church (that I am aware of--could be more) Sure, it was an above average day--but there are still a lot of us out there. (I myself have received an evangelical "shunning" before--and I'm a regular Charlie Church!)

So with all the hurt people I've seen, perhaps there should be some specialized help, right?

But I don't know of a community out there with this particular calling/gift. Do you?

The biggest reason that this bunch does not exist is that such a community would be a gathering of Christians which is exactly what each individual has learned (through sad experience) to avoid.

But it is also the thing we crave the most. We want community--it just doesn't feel safe.

We hurt people need to know that they are not alone. We need (excuse the cliche) to tell our stories, and to know that there are people that won't hurt/hate/exclude them for whatever it was that led to them being hurt by/thrown out of their church. (Again, please forgive me if I sound like Oprah--I've been thinking about this all day, and it is late).

It seems to me that such a gathering would have to be loosely organized, but with strict rules, sort of like AA. No set leaders, but agreed upon rules that are known to be helpful for healing (and to prevent the behaviors that caused the problems in the first place). These rules would be especially needed because people that had hurt each other would likely eventually end up in the same group.

I know--strict rules are part of what may have driven us out of church. I'm not talking about a dress code. I'm talking about rules like "listen first."

As I see it, the rules would hold us to our purpose--healing for people hurt by church. (Nothing against other problems of the world out there--but this is a big enough problem to require a singular focus).

So I guess I have three questions.

1. Do you see the same need that I do?

2. Would you be willing to be a part of this group?

3. What do you think would be appropriate rules for the gathering?

If you are "out" as a hurt Christian (or the close relative--a frustrated Christian who can't find a church that has room for him/her), you may respond in the comments section, but if you would answer better anonymously, please send an email to drew@elmwoodjesus.org or a direct message.
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Category: football

01/06/10 09:25 - 20ºF - ID#50755

See Yinz later


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Location: Buffalo, NY


01/01/10 01:59 - 26ºF - ID#50711

New Year

I usually don't make a deal about the New Year, but today, I have already kept up a number of goals I have set for the New Year.

I've prayed a psalm, and the Jesus prayer (spiritual goals)

I've written for 30 minutes (not an every day goal, just 3 times a week)

I haven't eaten fast food (I get once a month). I still have to exercise 30 minutes, but I might save that for another day (also only 3x a week).

Sorry about missing the party. Sounds like it was great. (e:Janelle) and I had a nice night at home.
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12/23/09 11:22 - 24ºF - ID#50645

Phone help.

Ok, so I am always about 2 generations behind tech-wise. You can make fun of me, but I think this can work--with a bit of help.

I have the EnV phone, thanks to a generous friend who upgraded (thanks!), and a prepaid service (Page Plus) that lets me talk and text on the Verizon network.

The browser needs to be changed so that it goes through a different Proxy. Verizon set up the phones so that I couldn't change it easily, but THIS forum tells us how to re-program the phone.

The problem?

1. I don't think I am even smart enough to follow the directions it gives.

2. I don't have the cord that connects the phone to a computer.

Soooo--can any of my super-cool friends help me out? I will gladly trade any theological insight you might need (I wish I had a more marketable skill to trade. I can always purchase beverages for you though)
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