Thursday, July 20, 2006

I've moved already!

Just to let you know, I've moved over to http://betabeliever.wordpress.com
I haven't been blogging very long, but I am aware of the wordpress software platform and this makes it easy without having to pay for a host quite yet. I really wanted a comments feed and this make is way easier than blogger. Please change your bookmarks or feeds to this new site. Thanks for visiting!

Nate

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Linux and the now of prayer (part 2)

But I just got so sick of constantly sanding and staining old doors and lugging ladders around and bending over toilets until my back was screaming and it was 8:30 at night. I began to grumble inside. I began to feel like we needed some wind in our metaphorical sails. One night we hatched a plan. We would go back to school. Lots of prayer and petitioning followed--along with a healthy dose of what I would now like to call 'sign watching'. You may or may not have tried this tactic in your walk with the Lord. If you haven't then you are probably more mature than me and I apologize for my lowbrow Christianity :) This is done by waiting for something to corroborate what it is that you feel God has spoken to you. In our case we started going to a home church that was pastored by a guy who had gone to Denver Seminary--Ok, pretty close. We were thinking that God had called us to go to Colorado Christian University in Denver. Then we met his wife and she said that she was good friends with the Dean of Admissions at Colorado Christian University. Closer still. Then we went to a Christian concert that was being headlined by the band 'Five Iron Frenzy' who are from Denver. My wife Charity came up to me at the end with a nice sticker and said hey look we can put this on our guitar case--and I was in 'sign watching' glory because I realized before she did that the sticker was essentially the Colorado State Seal (how I knew this is another post).
So we loaded up the truck and we moved to Denverly--swimming pools, movie stars. Not really, but lots of pretty mountains in the background, albeit much dirtier than once imagined in the foreground.
Anyway, speeding it up a bit...we went to school and we loved it but were very poor the entire time. Mainly because we went to school full time without any family support (because both sets of parents lacked a financial vivacity that we wished they'd had at the time) and we only worked a few lucrative work-study jobs--whatever we could find. And the dream of what school could be, what it was supposed to be, slowly died. We eventually switched our majors (mine was communications and broadcasting and hers was child development) to whatever was open in the 'School of Professional Studies'--which is where all the working adults go to finish their degrees. Since we were already in our late twenties we felt like we fit in more anyway. So we both got good jobs--I got an amazing job at the Denver Rescue Mission--as a computer technician. Something I had almost no experience doing--something that was a total miracle and was simultaneously the beginning of an ulcer that is still with me. One of the main reasons for switching was money. At the time it was the lack of it...the SPS program was so much cheaper--and the allure of a Computer Information Systems degree was sparkly too. I could graduate and start making 75,000 big ones a year! This was a few months before 'Y2K' (remember that?).
Of course the bottom fell out of the market that year in March and Silicon valley went on a ride to southern Cal and my degree went from being something to basically nothing, but I didn't know that at the time...and I had a good job. I was working full time while going to school full time (actually more than full time, more like time and a half--18+ credit hours a semester + 40 hr. work week=lots 'O fun).

To be continued again...

Linux and the now of prayer

For the longest time I have struggled with my circumstances, with the place that I find myself. Stuggling against God in prayer I have petitioned him over and over for a change. I have gotten so weary. My wife and I have been going through an extended 'desert' time...you may be aware of such a time if you have been a follower of Christ for more than a few years. It's a long story, one that I might share more on in the future, but to sum it up, we have been restless people as a couple--we have been married eight years and from the very beginning we were hoping and waiting for God to show us what our unique path in life was and is--where and to what he has called us... We first met in Honolulu while we were both working with YWAM. We stayed in Honolulu for the first year of our marriage working with a local ministry called the 'X-Factory'. It was an old KimChi factory that had been bought by a local church and turned into a kind of compound that housed the ministry. The ministry focused on the poor Filipino population in its immediate area by acting as an arm of the Hawaii foodbank. But, perhaps the coolest thing about it was that it had a walk-in style freezer that we made into a recording studio. I was a painter by trade at the time so I helped them paint the concrete and get the thing ready for remodeling. This ministry also had a large covered stage area that would be used for monthly concerts that would showcase Christian bands from around the islands...most of them ska and punk bands. Those were fun times...my wife and I would go to the beach every weekend and basically just enjoyed the amazing weather and the ocean.
But I was always unhappy, and we were increasingly strapped for cash. I worked as a painter on the ministry grounds to work off our rent and also worked about 6 hours as a janitor for the Japanese-speaking pre-school where my wife was a teacher's assistant (she doesn't speak a drop of Japanese except she knew the word 'oshinko' which means pee and is probably spelled wrong).

To be continued....

I am going to do this post in a short series so that you won't look at this and think it is indomitably long and just navigate away...I promise I will get to the point though.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Continuation from Gathering in Light

This seems a little silly to put up a post that is a continuation from the comments section of another blog...but I feel this is something important to discuss.

If you are just joining us, please reference this link for some background.



To 'John' a commenter from http://gatheringinlight.com:

Continued...

John,
I do think that you are right about the terms in question though. Many socialists/communists/facists have used the term and are at this moment trying to use ‘subversive’ means to bring down governments and political systems. But the violence that results from these tactics is far from subversive in the end. To ‘subvert’ means ‘To turn from beneath’. That’s the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary’s definition. Actually that’s the etymological root of the word—it’s origin in linguistical history. It seems that ‘corrupt’ is actually more of a secondary definition. But I don’t want to get into that too heavy—I don’t want to quarrel about words. You believe what you believe and I don’t think you are going to change based on this dialogue here.

I don't know if you have ever noticed, but most people do not change their minds or their beliefs based on a full frontal assault. This is why Jesus was so brilliant in the delivery of his message (among other reasons, not the least of which being that he was God). See, the reason why Pilate and Herod didn't take him for a subversive was that it wasn't plain to see. If he would have rode into town as conquering savior in the line of David, like what most people of the day were waiting for, he would have at once been opposed by the state as a supplanter. On the contrary, he used parables and stories and friendship to get out his very subversive (subversive to the established state and culture and ultimately all other authority structures besides himself) point that the rulership of the day was changing hands, that the government would now be upon his shoulders as prophesied. But, once again he couldn't just come out and say that without inciting a direct confrontation, so he told parables, which were like little ticking time bombs according to Eugene Peterson (the writer of The Message Bible paraphrase). Here is a quote from an interview that a Christian periodical called Mars Hill Review did with Eugene:

MHR: You've written a lot about being subversive in the pastorate and spiritual leadership. And you are a poet. Are poetry and the arts subversive?

EP: Yes--poetry and the arts are subversive. They come at things indirectly. They aren't usually frontal. They sneak in on you, and they're quiet.

Spiritually speaking, the self is constantly construing itself against God. That's the nature of our sin--we want to be our own gods. So we have all these layers of defensiveness that often take the form of pieties. Religion is the major defense we have against God. So how do you take people who are heavily defended against God by religion and get through the defenses? You do it by subversion. You get around the defenses. That's what a parable or a proverb does. Jesus did very little that was direct. People were always scratching their heads and saying, "What does he mean?"

On another, lesser level, culture develops ideologies to protect people from reality. So, how do you get past the ideology? Suppose someone says, "All black people are inferior," and you have been living that ideology all your life. How do you get behind that? You usually don't do it with argument or by being rational.


To be continued....

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Disclaimer on previous posts and parenthetical extravaganza

I just wanted to put up a simple disclaimer as to the content of my previous posts. I am leaving them up because they represent where I have come from in the past 18 months, and I still think they have some useful content. I want to say that I am only beginning on my journey into the whole 'Emerging Church' dialogoue (if that's what you call it--it seems like so much more--maybe Brian McLaren was right, it's more of a 'New Kind of Christian' thing because it encompasses so many other areas [of course that brings me to another caveat--I never want to fall down into that endless pit of assuming that whatever is new or apropos is better, because, especially with the 'Emerging Church' and it's emphasis on community etc...this has been the norm in other cultures for quite some time]) and everything that may go along with it. Oh yeah, and I don't claim to have the ability to skillfully use the theological language that goes with this topic either--but I have been accepted to the M.Div program at Fuller Theological Seminary for this coming September (whether I make it there is fodder for another post or series of posts--financially speaking). While I don't for one moment believe that this will make me 'official' in God's eyes (or hopefully not in anyone else's eyes, especially myself), I hope that I will at least be better able to understand what I am talking about.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Changes:Stirrings

Much has changed in the last year, but the change really started about two years ago when my son was born. I started earnestly searching for words to describe the ideas and convictions forming in my heart and mind. Something about having a child made me want to become all that I feel I am destined to become...so that I can be a better father, a better husband. I don't know exactly how it all works, but that's how I felt and it propelled me. I was in Borders one day browsing the spiritual section and I felt the Holy Spirit guide me to a book called 'The Way of a Pilgrim: And the Pilgrim Continues His Way.' This short volume led me into the world of contemplation and Christian Mysticism. I began to try practicing stillness in my heart and the 'Jesus Prayer' (I am radically oversimplifying here for the sake of brevity). I found my way into Thomas Merton. I read 'Thomas Merton: Essential Writings' and 'Thoughts in Solitude'. I then began to read N.T. Wright's 'New Testament and the People of God'. I read Brian McLaren's 'A New Kind of Christian' and 'A Generous Orthodoxy.' I pulled out my fat theology book from my undergraduate program and started taking a closer look at the Postmodern/Modern thing and the Sacred/Secular split. I read about liberation theology and how Marx had his effect on some of the theology of South America. I read 'Grapes of Wrath' again. I read 'Prophetic Imagination' by Walter Brueggemann. I read a bunch of articles and an ebook by Eberhard Arnold the founder of the Bruderhof community. I read 'Colossians Re-mixed: Subverting the Empire' by Brian J. Walsh and Sylvia C. Keesmaat. I read some of the 'targums' or paraphrases that they published as a companion to the book. I began to read blog sites from people who are committed Christian's and who are also active in caring for God's creation. And I'm still reading, still processing, and am in no way 'there'. I have just found a path in the woods, a direction I hadn't known before and it's just the beginning.
Basically, I began to change in very fundamental ways. It was always on it's way though, it was like some kind of 'catastrophe theory' or theory of emergence...like there were things in me that were there all along but needed to reach a critical point for change to be seen on the outside. My wife and I are pretty much at the same place too, which is such a blessing because you can imagine what it would do to a marriage if the other party was still stuck driving a philosophical/theological Hummer if you know what I mean. I know that there are people that will not know what I am talking about here, but if you know, then you know. If you don't know, then please comment or send me an email so we can talk about it.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Has it been too long?

How long can one go without posting in their blog for it to become defunct? How long can one go without using one's talents for them to be defunct?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I was always scared of video games

I have had strange intuition that video games are somehow bad--as I am sure that a lot of thinking people have. I was never sure how wrong it could go--but I remember something that was mentioned right after the Columbine incident--namely that the perpetrators were immersed in first-person shooting-style games for hours as a life-style prior to the shooting rampage in "real" life. I feel very nervous about the massive amounts of time that people--especially children--are spending playing immersive video games. I came across this article and it reminded me of my own childhood playing the first Nintendo and how I could not sleep until I beat "Bowser" the mythical dragon in "Mario Brothers"--or the end "Boss" in "Contra". And this was at a time when video games were definitively not immersive--and looked downright cheap compared to today's technology. I fear for my nephew who just got a gameboy for Christmas and hasn't spoken to anyone since--literally. Let's begin to pray into this issue--that we could begin to do something before it's too late--before we are faced with thousands of "Columbine-style" automatons dressed as high-schoolers.