Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 In Review The definitive Top 10 List Linkorama

It's New Year's. I flipped on CNN last night, and found (as usual) thousands of people already standing in 36 degree drizzling rain, waiting for the big moment. On the surface, it sounds nuts. But you know what? Before I require a walker to get around, I told my wife I might like to be there, in Times Square on New Years Eve, right in the thick of humanity. Maybe, someday.

I have always wondered about our cultural fascination with New Years. And every year that I can remember, the press spends the last several days of the year reviewing what are considered to be the newsworthy events of the prior year. Not to be left behind, Christian news folks have their own top ten lists; see this and this.

For all 13 of you who routinely visit here, I give you the Steve Norris Top 10 List of Newsworthy Events of 2005.

  1. 1. The Death of John Paul (the Great). And I am not even Catholic.
  2. The ongoing suffering in Darfor, Sudan, and our need to respond.
  3. The elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger to Benedict XVI. Good news for orthodoxy in the Catholic church.
  4. The tragic events of the tsunami in Southeast Asia, and our need, nay, call, to give.
  5. The Pakistani earthquake, and again, our need, as blessed people, to give.
  6. Good that is being done by US Troops in Iraq, and our need to pray for resolution of this pain, democracy for this country, and a return of our troops home.
  7. A review of the year in pictures, a reminder of the real world outside.
  8. The ongoing needs of the people of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. Want to help? Go here.
  9. The death of Terry Schiavo.
  10. And, of course, this.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Tragic Opera of a Church

As the events of the past year have shown us, the universal church is still one of the most visible forms of the Body of Christ. But often, it is not a pretty thing to look at. Not the perfect ad agency male model, nor the youthful sublime frame of a lovely female fashion star. Lots of wrinkles, bumps, bruises. Even nasty surgical scars. But other times, there are moments, even seasons of life where the church can become something stunning, almost blinding it is beauty.

Recently, I have been sharing some of my reflections on the tragic opera that has unfolded over the past several years in the church we have attended for the past 20 years. Over the next days, I will unpack my thoughts a bit more.

Way Too Many Operas

I think I have recently discovered an interesting (ok, humor me) metaphor for what I have been experiencing over the past year.

Over the past month or so, I have been reconnected with my half-brother, who, after serving in the military for many years, has semi-retired and moved over seas. Our reconnection was brought about by the moving of my parents into an assisted living facility - and we have started a lively exchange of emails. I really like him, he is an honest, gregarious, and forthright fellow. And he has quite a bit of history with organized religion, namely the church. Over the past 30 years or so he has witnessed firsthand some sad and even bizarre dysfunction within otherwise well-meaning Christian folk. This lead him to a place of complete distaste for the Christian faith. He has described the years he spent going to church as "hating opera, but going twice every week". He finally decided, years ago, that he was done with the opera.

He is not particularly bitter, but he has decided that he will very likely not ever become "born again". I wonder, do Christian folk sometimes become participants in an opera that is meaningless to those looking in from the outside. This idea makes me sad, but I continue to correspond with my half-brother, the relationship is rewarding and challenging. Perhaps I can shed a beam of light....

Through all this, I still see evidence that the church can sometimes be something wonderful, lovely, and pleasing to God. Sometimes.

Oh, how I long for it to be so - at the church we attend. Lord, hear my longing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmastime Reunion

The picture here is from a gathering at our home about a week ago, when friends from five families, all old friends from church from many years ago, reunited for an evening. Our guests were Mike and Christina Hogg, and their family. Mike is Pastor of Canal Street Presbyterian Church in New Orleans, and I have written before here and here about Mike and the journey he is on these past four months, and likely for many months to come.

It was a wonderful time of pizza, laughter, listening, and praying for the future of Mike and his flock. I am so thankful for good, faithful, dependable people like the Hoggs. The Kingdom is well served by people like this.

The very next day, I came upon an article (not yet on the web site) by Andy Crouch at Christianity Today entitled "Its Not About Power". The premise of this article is that culture is best changed not by might, or political influence, or power, but most profoundly by nonbelievers "knowing followers of Christ personally and watching their response to disaster. Cultural transformation resulted from the Christian community simply being itself." For support of this notion, Crouch offers this book as crucial evidence. I think I will buy that book!

This is what Mike, his congregation, and those partnering with him throughout the country are all about. Showing people the Savior through humility along with patient, consistent, relentless love.

Please Lord, may it be so.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Come Lord Jesus, Come By Here

This is our house, last night, Christmas Eve. Several years ago my sweet wife, ever the initiator and go-getter, proposed that our entire block participate in the Mexican tradition of Christmas Luminarias. And now, every house on our block is part of this simple beauty.

This humble method of placing lighted paper bags mimics the 16th-century Spanish tradition of the bonfires that led the way to midnight Mass on the last night of Las Posadas, which celebrates the biblical story of Mary and Joseph's search for a place to stay. European missionaries introduced Catholicism to the indigenous people of Mexico in the 1500s, spawning Las Posadas processions that re-enact Mary and Joseph's trek through Bethlehem.

At our home, the luminarias come right up to the front door. If we can, and its not too cold out, we might leave the front door open. Hopefully, Joseph and Mary would be welcome in our home, as would the precious baby Mary carried for nine months of wonder. Wondering "why me, what is going to happen, what will he be like?"

As I bent to light each luminaria last night, it became an act of simple worship. Joseph and Mary, and Baby Jesus, come by here. Please, come by here.

May it be so, with each day, with each challenge of the coming year. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Far From Home

Its almost Christmas. While many of us will be enjoying friends, family, and home this weekend, many of our nation's finest will not be even anywhere close to home.

We need to remember these good men and women, in our prayers and in our hopes for their speedy return home. We sleep safely each night because they choose to stand in harm's way. God Bless them, each and every one.

For perhaps the most powerful visual reminder of the thanks we owe, go view

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Madonna del Magnificat - Sandro Botticelli - Florence, Italy 1480
Over the course of the past year, I have been trying to figure out more of what it means to "get a life". For me, that means trying to spend less time with the daily concerns of work, and more time for people, for investing in others, for fun, for enjoying this life that is such a sweet daily gift.
It even means placing some of the more petty concerns about of church in proper perspective. Yes, even church. Imagine that. I just don't remember the part in the Bible where Jesus said, "Goeth now, and make ye committees of all sorts - of food, and facilities, and personnel, and Christian Education. And maketh sure all of these committees have, for their meetings, snacks of the excellent sort."
So I will take a Christmas break from my ruminations on church.
I want to stop for a bit. To wonder. To look upon a completely miraculous event in a stable some 2000 years ago. Time stood still, and the world was changed forever. Heaven shouted good news to a collection of nobody shepards, then bent low, and expressed itself in the form of a little, tiny, screaming (the little Lord Jesus no crying he makes?), helpless baby. Amazing. Remarkable.

these words:
And Mary said,
I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened--
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
Think about this. Let it fill your soul.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Past of a Great Church

The Ghosts in the Attic

By way of introduction, my friend Rob Asghar has perhaps the most thoughtful perspective on all of these events I have been thinking about over the past year or so. You can read it
here, it goes a long way to setting up the situation.

I have been active at Hollywood Pres since 1984. I had no idea it had been that long, until my wife found a note the other night referencing when I had joined. So, I have a bit of history. Perhaps my history gives me a biased viewpoint, but hopefully it might also provide a bit of perspective.

Hollywood is known for its historic and almost iconic characters; people who loom larger than life. Perhaps the most monolithic character of all is Henrietta Mears, pictured here. "Miss Mears" as she was affectionately known to many, was an unabashed ambassador for Christ for more than 30 years. You can read more about her remarkable life
here. Suffice it to say that Miss Mears had a direct affect on the lives of a number of influential people including, Donn Moomaw, Rafer Johnson, Bill Bright, and a fellow named Billy Graham. Miss Mears was the founding vision behind Forest Home, and Gospel Light. She was a remarkable woman who lived a remarkable life. Our main auditorium is named after her, and the man who was her student and who now teaches Sunday school each week in this building named one of his children after her.

One of the most recognized pastors in our church's history was Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, who left our church in 1995 to become the chaplain of the US Senate for eight years. Dr. Ogilvie had a nationally syndicated television processed at our church for a number of years. He published or edited more than 50 books, and is still sought-after nationally as a speaker.

And so, you can see that our church is a place with many "ghosts". Grand ghosts of a bygone era in the evangelical world, important and wonderful people who have done much of public note for the Kingdom. However, one of the problems of having these grand people in our past is that they often have the tendency to fog our view of the future.

In the middle - 1990's, I was priviledged to be involved in the process of planning for the departure of Dr. Ogilvie to the Senate, and in the crafting of the Mission Study that attempted to set for the vision for the church in the years ahead. More on this process later.

As our church has faced so much struggle over the past year, I have been pondering how we got to this place. Where did we all loose our way? What went wrong? How can be build a better place for the future?

So, What Does This Mean?
And then, more recently I have been wondering what God is up to in all of this. Why would he cause all this pain in a once-great church? What the heck?! Maybe, I am slowly getting it. Maybe, just maybe God is breaking down all our stereotypes, all our plans, all our dreams, our visions, our ideas,all our smart ideas about what our church should look like, and be, and do. And maybe He means to do a
new thing.

Maybe. And Christ would be lifted up. Oh please, may it be so...

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Train Wreck and Nobody Wins

The past year or so in the life of our church has been really difficult. This is something that is hard for me to write about, as over the course of the past months, I have lost good friends, felt like I can't worship in peace and joy on Sunday, and felt anger in my soul that made me think I would burst a vessel. Our family even needed to take a six month "vacation" from our church and worship elsewhere. All of this over a deep and painful split in the church, First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood.

Kind, good, gentle and genuinely loving people have been deeply hurt, accusations of all sorts have been made, there has been shouting and booing at congregational meetings, angry public pronouncements have been made, and finally and sadly, two senior-most pastors have resigned.

Recently, a friend emailed me to let me know that Hugh Hewitt had a link on his website with the title "now that's a train wreck" and linking to a bitter resignation letter on the web, posted by a member. It has been a train wreck. Completely. Blood on the tracks, people screaming, blame being made, lives hurt, jobs lost, lives seemingly wrecked.

Clearly, nobody won. Nobody. And most sadly, the cause of Christ lost. We blew it. All of us.

The church has been hurt, and she appears silly, petty, and irrelevant in the eyes of a watching world, a world that already mistrusts much of organized religion.

Perhaps in the next several posts, I can talk a bit about my view of what has transpired, outline places where mistakes were made, and perhaps point to ways that we can all behave more like grown-ups in the future. People growing-up in Christ.

When I started this post yesterday, my initial thought was to "get even" with the negative tone of the Hewitt link to the "train wreck" post. But after a long conversation with my wife and a dear close friend (who, as it happens is in seminary seeking ordination in the Presbyterian church), my heart and mind have been changed.

Here is what I want. I want our church to be healed. I want our church to be whole. I want it to be a place that will draw people to the person of Christ - because He is really all that matters. All. Everything. I don't want to win anything. I don't want to have the corner on truth and justice. I want Christ to be honored, proclaimed, and lived out. Lived out in ways that are real and transformational. And my prayer, as I type, is that I would not hinder this by anything I might say.

What should a church, our church look like? What is the ideal? I have to quote the words of my good friend, Tod Bolsinger, who said recently:

"I believe that the goal of every church must be to so grow in Christ, so mature in faithfulness, so increase in love and wisdom and justice and peace that if any person was to ask you what you think heaven will be like you could someday actually say, "Do you want to know what heaven is like? Come and see. Come to my church and hang out with my friends and see the way we live, worship and serve together. Come and see."

And so, with each word I might write in the next post or so, may the words of my laptop, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A New Blog to Watch

Here is a new blog to watch, from the editors of Leadership magazine. Those of us who care for the church, even though it sometimes drives us nuts, will want to keep at least one eyes on what is going on here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Cyber Christmas Letter

The darling of the world is come,
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome Him.
The nobler part Of all the house here, is the heart,
Which we will give Him; and bequeath This holly, and this ivy wreath,
To do Him honor; who's our King,
And Lord of all this reveling.

-- English poet Robert Herrick

Christmas Cheer from our home to yours!

How do you condense 365 days of loving, laughing, crying, shouting, whispering, giggling, and living life with gusto nearly beyond measure? How do you define life with Nancy, Heather (almost 12), Kelly (almost 15), Jill our wonderful Fuller Seminary guest, Cindy (8 dog years, almost 60 in people years – complete with bad hips), and Boo Boo (the new kitten)? Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he talked about “the abundant life”. However, often Steve and Nancy think maybe this could be “the exhausted life”.

When Dad asked Kelly if she wanted to write anything here, she said, “you can do it Dad”, and went back to her homework. She is every bit a 14 almost 15 year old, and we love it. She is now a freshman at South Pasadena High School – and we hear your collective sigh – yes, its true. She is funny, creative, chatty (beyond belief) and full of life! Last spring Kelly had a chorus part in the Middle School play “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (Dad is still working on that one). This fall, she is on the JV water polo team! She is super-involved with her youth group at Hollywood Pres, and went to Mississippi again this past summer for a cross-cultural mission experience. In summary, Kelly rocks!

From Heather – who insisted on writing…..”I am almost 12 (in February) and this past year has a been a time for transition. In June I graduated from Marengo Elementary School and it was time for me to move on. The summer was so much fun and excitement. My family and I went to Hawaii for about two weeks! Before that I went to summer school that lasted about 2 months. It was fun and a good time to get ready for the middle school. I really like moving from class to class. This year has been a tough time for me in Math. I don’t have the greatest math teacher but I am learning to live with her. I have just finished my soccer season for this year. I really enjoyed my team and my coach. I have made many new friends. Every morning I meet my girl friends at 7:35 at the corner of our street to walk to school . I‘m really and looking forward to this next year! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. –Heather”

As for Nancy, she has asked me to highlight the year, as she is busily addressing Christmas cards even as I type. In February of 2005 she took a long weekend trip to Tijuana with a group from Hollywood Pres to build a home for a very deserving family. Wonderful time; transforming and hope-giving! She loves her roll as Mom, and is a mentor Mom with the MOPS program at church. As you may have guessed, we returned to our long-time church home in late summer, after a spring and summer of emotional turmoil in the pastorate, which is now behind us. We are excited to move forward, and see what God has in store in a very challenging time. Just two weeks ago, Nancy had a bit of a jolt – as she learned her father Cliff required a pacemaker at 76 years old. Cliff is doing well, and now it will be he who will be getting the jolt, regularly, thank God. The spring of 2005 brought profound sadness and pain, our dear friend Julie succumbed to her valiant battle with cancer. She leaves behind her husband Tony and two small children – Emma and Thomas. Say a Christmas prayer for continued healing in this dear family.

Steve is just plain thankful. Everyday. Thankful for two weeks with his sweet girls in the brilliant August sun and blue seas of Hawaii, a place so close to Heaven, and a time he will not soon forget. Deeply thankful that his parents are now living in a lovely assisted living facility, with lots of new friends and caring people, only 10 minutes from our house. Thankful for our freedom, and for those defending it, in far off places that are very dangerous. Oh, and if you are really completely bored, you can always see what is on Steve’s mind at his Blog (he is so hip) at

Each day, as we awake, we take a moment as we wake to tell each other “I love you”, as we reflect on the grace of more than 17 years of marriage. We are thankful indeed. We wish you profound Christmas Joy, Peace, and Wonder. Amen.

Monday, December 12, 2005

As Long As You Love Me

What can I say?

A song about a very strange love.

They are at it again.

I just want to know what is with the guy in the background?

What Sweeter Music

Christmas seems to be more of a wonderful and unsearchable mystery to me each year. Last night I was pleasantly surprised by this John Rutter piece at our church's Christmas concert.

What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!
Heart, ear, and eye, and everything.

and later, we hear:

Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honor to this day,
That sees December turned to May.

If we may ask the reason, say
The why, and wherefore, all things here
Seem like the springtime of the year?

'Tis He is born, whose quickening birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To heaven, and the under-earth.

We see Him come, and know Him ours,
Who, with His sunshine, and His showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

The darling of the world is come,
And fit it is, we find a roomTo welcome Him.
The nobler part

Of all the house here, is the heart,

Which we will give Him; and bequeath
This holly, and this ivy wreath,
To do Him honor; who's our King,
And Lord of all this reveling.

For a bit more depth and links on this lovely piece (including a source to buy the album) from one of my favorite people, go here.

And, to think, some people would say that the older music of the church has nothing to offer us! To that, I say, Bah Humbug!

A special thanks to the Cathedral Choir of Hollywood Presbyterian Church, for a wonderful Christmas concert. It has been a difficult and painful journey for us all this past year, and you took this weary middle-aged heart, and injected true Christmas joy. Bless you all, each and every one, your music transported me to a gentle, restful place, and your musical gifts are gifts of grace!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Santa Has Had Enough!

Caption: "Santa has clearly had enough, after a 13 hour shift at Feldman's Discount Appliance Barn. By secretly applying a 250 volt cattle prod to the unsuspecting hindquarters of his guests, St. Nick realizes that he can cut down significantly on the chronic Santa problem of "lap overload". Seen here, in the green coat, 4 year old Susie was the first to feel the jolt, while her brother Sam, age 6, is caught right at the moment of "prod-contact". Still to understand the implications of electric shock applied to pants is sweet Sara, age 10."

"Isn't There Anybody Who Knows What Christmas Is All About?"

As long as I can remember, I have been watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas". We will watch it again this weekend, as is our family tradition while decorating the Christmas tree, along with "White Christmas".

Yesterday, I spotted a well done article in the LA Times about the popularity of this wonderful little tradition, and I felt a pang of warmth for a show, and a character I remember fondly. Growing up, I always felt I identified with Charlie Brown - the round headed kid who never got the attention of the pretty red-haired girl, always missed kicking the football when Lucy pulled it out of the way, and who pitched for the worst baseball team in town - the team with a dog playing shortstop.

It seems that "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is the home run of television Christmas specials, and made over $5.75 million last year. I find this fascinating. In a world of MTV, reality TV, and the Internet, this simple little 20 minute cartoon still stands very tall in the holiday television landscape, 40 years after it was made. No GCI, no Pixar here. Not even a laugh track, Charles (also known by friends as "Sparky") Schultz would have nothing to do with it. So what is it that is so endearing about this show? For me, it has been the clear proclamation of the gospel, the story of the birth of the Savior. To wit, from the LA Times article:

"Schulz, a Midwesterner who had taught Sunday school, wanted Linus to quote a passage from the Bible about the birth of Jesus to present the "true meaning of Christmas." His collaborators worried it might feel preachy."I was dead set against it," Melendez, now 89, recalled during an interview at his Sherman Oaks office. "It was too religious, too dangerous."Melendez has never forgotten Schulz's response: "Sparky said, 'Bill, if we don't do it, then who will?' "

And so there you have it. An honest, simple man who drew comics brought to us a story that has become uniquely part of our culture. For 40 years. I will always get a lump in my throat when Charlie Brown, at the height of his frustration with a rebel Christmas play cast yells, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about"? And then, Linus responds, "Sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what
Christmas is all about".

Thank you Sparky Shultz, for bringing you Midwestern sunday school morality into the world. And, for a post-modern person's view of all this....look here. Remarkable how history repeats itself.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Just Trust

From Henri Nouwen:

"For us who still live in time, it is important not to act as if the new life in Christ is something we can comprehend or explain. God's heart and mind are greater than ours. All that is asked of trust"

Monday, December 05, 2005

I Wonder As I Commute

It was a relatively regular day. Off at 7:30 AM with the girls for drop-off at high school. Then to the office for a typical morning on the phone with clients and friends. Lunch errands. More phone calls and light work at the office in the afternoon.

Then, the commute home. Red lights in a stream in front of me - the seemingly endless flow of the ordinary day. One after the other, generation after generation, down through the centuries.

And then, on the car radio, a reminder:

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on'ry people like you and like I...
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God's heaven a star's light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God's angels in heav'n for to sing,
He surely could have it, 'cause he was the King

I wonder too. I wonder how it is that more than 2,000 years after this seemigly miniscule event in an animal pen in the Middle East, that my life can each day be touched in small ways by this Baby King. The Baby who came as a sign of hope, a lifeline, and an anchor for every soul in this line of traffic before me and behind me. How is this possible? And how can I work each day to connect my life to His?

I I commute.

The New-born
1640sOil on canvas,
76 x 91 cmMusée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes

Sunday, December 04, 2005

O Magnum Mysterium

Fra Filippo Lippi
and Workshop
The Nativity, probably c. 1445
Samuel H. Kress Collection
National Gallery of Art

Yesterday, I heard this piece on the radio.....

Magnum Mysterium - by William Cooper

O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum
jacentem in praesepio.

Beata virgo cujus viscera
meruent partare Dominum Christum.

Literal translation:

O great mystery and admirable [wonderful] sacrament
That animals see the Lord born
Lying in a manger.
Blessed virgin whose viscera [womb]
Were [was] worthy to bear Lord Christ.

All so true....this mystery of Advent.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I Said A Cuss Word! all Emergent Church People look and act the same? So, is Emergent, in its own way, just as conformist as the rest of us? Go here to find out the answer, and get a laugh in the process. Thanks to KC.

Secondly, I used a form of Christian swear word yesterday. I said the "R word" - for Relevant. I knew it before, but have been reminded by good people that this word is a major pejorative for some.

As in: rel·e·vant adj. - Having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand. [Medieval Latin relevāns, relevant-, from Latin, present participle of relevāre, to relieve, raise up]

Ok. Please do not misunderstand me. When I say relevant henceforth, what I mean is communicating a faith that is real, tangible, transforming, honest, compelling, and captivating. In the words of my friend Tod,

"I believe that the goal of every church must be to so grow in Christ, so mature in faithfulness, so increase in love and wisdom and justice and peace that if any person was to ask you what you think heaven will be like you could someday actually say, "Do you want to know what heaven is like? Come and see. Come to my church and hang out with my friends and see the way we live, worship and serve together. Come and see."

Come and see. Hmmm. That sounds so familiar. Where have I heard that before? Darn. Oh wait, I remember!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lunch Discussion of Relevancy

I had lunch today with a new friend, a recent graduate of Fuller Seminary, with a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. My friend, Michael and I discussed his vision of his future vocational and ministry calling. I have not been so energized by a lunch discussion in some time.

Michael has a vision for beginning a ministry to recent college graduates, living in community, very much similar to the original vision of Hollywood Urban Project, a ministry I had the priviledge of being a part of a number of years ago. Living in community, sharing lives, learning about the calling of Christ, and figuring out what in the world this means in the context of modern life.

One of the topics that we discussed was the way in which the church seems to often be so irrelevant to our lives today. Here I was, with a Fuller grad, agreeing on the irrelevancy of the church. We agreed that the church is good at sending missionaries overseas, of equipping pastors, of teaching the scriptures, but is completely inept at reaching the world of commerce. The world where so many of us work each day. To coin a phrase, what is with THAT?! Seems like the secular world needs to be affected by the people of the Cross in a way that is new, engaging and affecting.

Can our work be holy? Can we do things at the office that have the same eternal merit as things we do in church or in other ministry settings? Can we make a Kingdom Difference in the real world?

I mentioned in our conversation, that if I could say just one thing to "The Church", I would likely stand on the top of a pew during the hushed silence of an otherwise reverent moment, and shout:

"Please.....Be Relevant!"

Michael and I are starting a relationship, that I hope goes places, blesses people, and brings the Kingdom together more. And maybe, it might just be relevant.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Its That Special Time of Year

As we approach the Holidays I want to share with you the joy of Christmas, as seen by a child. I wonder if this Santa ever returned to the ranks after this experience? I am sure that his beard was actually straight prior to the 500 decibel scream that emanated from this sweet little girl; the sound shock curled the beard. Note that she had the presence of mind to NOT drop the free candy cane. Good job there, little Susie!

I have other holiday thoughts I that are knocking around inside my semi-balding head that I will share soon, including my low budget review of this book.

Only 23 more shopping days....

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