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The ramblings, meanderings and stream of consciousness of a middleaged, short guy.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Been reading the blog of a guy in New Zealand (Did I spell that right?). He's a really sharp guy. I respect what I 've read of his thus far. I'm a bit troubled.

I'm troubled by the times when PostModernity is presented as a response to, or reaction from, modernity. I'm even more troubled when writings on it become an 'us vs. them' proposition. Too often I read something and it feels more like the mudslinging of a political campaign, than the articulation, even speculation, of what it means to live in a postmodern world.

Yes, I know. I have been flamed, attacked, libeled, besmirched like many others. I have been accused of watering down the gospel, not believing truth, being (dare I say it) a liberal when it comes to my theology (whatever the heck that means) and on and on. And many, not all, but most of the people spewing their rhetoric and judgements have been people of a modern mindset.

That doesn't mean I return in kind. In fact, I think my best response is to just keep doing what I'm doing the best way I can and not allow those words to influence me positively or negatively. This often means that I can't type for a while, because sometimes I want to tear off their heads and spit down their windpipes. (See, I told you I was a spiritual giant.) The other thing I am determined not to do is explore the mysteries of God and our culture with a view of what I am getting away from. I'm glad to know from whence I've come, but I don't want to live my life as some conscious rebellion to it.

It's late. I may not be making a lick of sense, but let me try to land the plane. I don't want the people I respect, like this guy in New Zeland, or myself for that matter, to live in reaction to modernity. Nor do I want us to become like the people that I don't respect, angry, attacking, pergorative (sp).

I want us to be better than that.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Rob Graham responded to my thoughts, so I post his here with permission. I wouldn't want anyone to form a wrong opinion of Rob (and I strongly encourage you to read his parable at levistable.com).

"Ron - I absolutely think you are right!  I often speak or
write drawing sharp distinctions to slam home a point.  It
confuses people a bit when I then turn and agree with them
on what they thought I was "against", etc., not that I think
that's where you are, I don't.  It's pretty clear you knew
I'd see your point and that you saw mine.

I gave a specific example (Willow) because specifics do
make a point resonate - but the honest truth is I haven't
been to Willow (that's really sad isn't it?!).  But I have
of course been to really big churches with the same approach
but if I'd have said "really big churches" it wouldn't have
sunk home.  Westminster - cool analogy, you make me want to
go back, been there.

Anyway, I really appreciate you dropping a note, your thoughts
are the type that keep me in balance and that's really important.
As John Wimber once said, "Jesus is comin' back for His bride,
and she's a b-i-i-i-g woman."  I hold the paradox, like many,
of loving so many aspects of the various community values (read:
Orthodox; Pentecostal; etc.)while at the same time being thankful
for the screwy little interpretation of practical theology I am
trying to live out!"

Thought this would be helpful.

Grace and Cigars,
I was reading a parable about a microbrew at Levistable.com, written by Rob Graham. It got me thinking about why people visit places like Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, IL, one of the largest churches in ConUS. This is some of what a wrote to Rob in an email:

"I'm not certain that people listen to Hybels or go to Willow to be big, famous and grow up to do shaving commercials. Maybe some do, but that's the whole boomer-wanna-be deal, I suppose. I think that some go to Willow, not to emulate or imitate, but to just stand in a place where God did something big. Too often the closest many of us get to big is in a book, so to at least make a trip to South Barrington and stand where God has been present in a way that has changed thousands of lives is pretty heady stuff. Maybe that makes me silly, or a mystic, or a silly mystic, but pilgrimmage from time to time, just like a little revolution, is a good thing.

If I were to make a pilgrimmage to Westminster in London and stand where Campbell-Morgan or Lloyd-Jones (what's with the hyphenated names?) stood, I'm not certain that it would follow that I would come back to the states and try to reconstruct the chapel. But for me at least, I suspect I would somehow be better for the going. Even if I am simply connecting with a not-so-ancient heritage and asking God to do it again."

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

What does it mean to follow Christ?

The church in Antioch was the first group of people to be called christians. It's an interesting word, it means 'little Christ'. Evidently, these people so resembled Jesus that people named them for Him. In that day and age, it was no big deal to find people who were following someone, even devoted to them and their teachings. But I can't help but wonder if these Antiochans (is that a word?) weren't so radically changed by the love of God in Christ that their character, their words and attitudes, and then finally their behavior resembled Jesus more and more as time went on.

I know, I know, christian was meant as a term of derision. It was a slam against them. But even in criticism and ridicule there often exists a kernel of truth.

I don't know if that's what people see in me. I often wonder if I am really making progress in this journey of faith. I don't mean based on my own observations and feelings, because they can be so skewed, but what I exhibit, demonstrate, live out in front of the rest of the world.

Little Christ . . .

Such a nice label.

I wonder what it takes to be able to wear it with honesty.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Well, it's been a long time since I've been here. It's funny how quickly life goes by. It seems like only a couple of weeks. Truth be told it hasn't even been a couple of months. It was August when last I wrote anything. August!

Can you believe it?

I was telling a friend the other day: "I went to bed 17 and woke up 39. How the hell did that happen?"

Life moves. Time marches.

I guess you get to the place where you realize that the clock is either your friend or your enemy. It is one of the few things that you can't be neutral about. Oh, don't get me wrong, you can ignore it, for awhile, but sooner or later you will determine that you hate the clock or you love it.

Me? I haven't decided yet.

I turn 40 this year. Some say that is middle-aged. Me? I say middle-aged was about 4 - 6 years ago. I have no delusions of living to be 80, but I can assure you of this . . I intend to live. I want to know what it is like to be wide awake, to not be beset by mediocrity, to not go with the flow, or roll with the punches.

As I discover how to live wide awake, I promise to let you know.

Be good.

Be awake.

Live.

Monday, September 01, 2003

The writer in the New Testament of the Bible states that every good and perfect gift comes from God. That means that friends are a gift from God. I, for one, am convinced that's true.

My family and I spent the evening with our friends the Shapiros. They are such a cool family. Their lives are filled with generosity and kindness. We had dinner together. Talked about life, the future, ordinary stuff. We laughed together and played together. It was such an enjoyable evening.

I'm trying to figure out what we did to merit such warmth and kindness. The answer is: nothing. They are a gift from God. The Shapiros are proof that God loves me and my family in ways I can't understand.

Later this evening, I went to see my friend Dave. He is probably one of the best friends I have had since High School. Again I am reminded that his friendship is a gift. I didn't earn it, deserve it or coerce it. It simply is. For some that may not be proof of God's existence or love. For me, it is a gentle reminder. And I am grateful for the remembrance.



Ron


PS

Hi Daz. Hi Molly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Well, today it seems official. My days are numbered. My boss told me today that I basically have 90 days left in my position. I guess there are several up sides in all this. 90 days is a lot better than two weeks. My kids and wife love me. That's another plus. I can drink beer again, that's pretty sweet. Let's see . . . what else?

I'm certain there is more, I'll have to get back to you on it.

ron
Ever have one of those moments that you pray you can remember a long time from now? Not just in a vague nostalgic way, but in a clear, precise, multisensory kind of way?

I had one of those moments the other day with my 5 yr old boy.

We were seated at the top of the steps talking and out from my daughter's room came our lop-eared rabbit, Cookie. (Now Cookie is one well-fed herbivore.) He comes over to where we are sitting and I begin to pet him. So, my son Joseph joins in as well. And I'm trying to teach Joseph to be gentle, because 5 yr old boys tend to be as gentle as a jackhammer. And then it happened.

Joseph leans over and gets face to face, nose to nose even, with Cookie. I caution, 'Careful Buddy'. "It's ok Dad. He likes it." He then proceeds to rub noses with Cookie. When he finishes, he sits back up and Cookie scampers toward him, raises up on his hind legs and rubs noses with Joseph.

I'm not certain if it's the tenderness, the innocence, the gentleness of the moment or what it is, but I hope I remember that moment on the steps for the rest of my life.
Ever have one of those moments that you pray you can remember a long time from now? Not just in a vague nostalgic way, but in a clear, precise, multisensory kind of way?

I had one of those moments the other day with my 5 yr old boy.

We were seated at the top of the steps talking and out from my daughter's room came our lop-eared rabbit, Cookie. (Now Cookie is one well-fed herbivore.) He comes over to where we are sitting and I begin to pet him. So, my son Joseph joins in as well. And I'm trying to teach Josheph to be gentle, because 5 yr old boys tend to be as gentle as a jackhammer. And then it happened.

Joseph leans over and gets face to face, nose to nose even, with Cookie. I caution, 'Careful Buddy'. "It's ok Dad. He likes it." He then proceeds to rub noses with Cookie. When he finishes, he sits back up and Cookie scampers toward him, raises up on his hind legs and rubs noses with Joseph.

I'm not certain if it's the tenderness, the innocence, the gentleness of the moment or what it is, but I hope I remember that moment on the steps for the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

I read a good bit. (At least that's what my friends tell me.) I like to read. I like to think other people's thoughts. I like to be stretched. I like to discover. Some days, I like to escape. Reading seems to do all those things for me.

But something that has troubled me. I travel in circles where books are almost faddish. You know: Everyone is reading so-and-so, because everyone else says it's groundbreaking. Sometimes people I know will go so far as to get together and talk about what was so earthshattering. But then, after a week, or month or so, that's it. A new groundbreaking book comes along with its earthshattering tenets and it's off to the races again.

I want to be a part of something (organization or organism) that stops and says: "Cool! This book really rocked. There is something to it. Now, before we read anything else on this subject, let's figure out what to do with what we've read. Let's collaborate and discover how this makes how we do life different and find ways to measure our progress."

Does that sound naive? Maybe it is.

But I don't want to just read, hear and think important discoveries. I want to live them.

Maybe that makes me an idealist. I'm good with that.

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