Friday, January 30, 2009

Coachella 2009 - Sir Paul McCartney

We will be spending April 17th with Sir Paul:

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Break at the Liverpool Station

We take a break discussing church stuff, in order to catch a train, and DANCE!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Feeling Alone, Even in Church

We think we have lots of friends. We have Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs, email, text messages galore.

But not really.

In reality we are....alone, disconnected, disjointed, and often bereft of friends. We Americans are pretty much lonely, and in many cases essentially alone. Solitary souls, often living our lives without meaningful relationships. It is getting worse, not better, as time marches on.

As support for this depressing concept, recently I came upon an article that is almost three years old in the Washington Post, and then found the original study upon which it is based here.
In 1985, the General Social Survey (GSS) collected the first nationally representative data on the confidants with whom Americans discuss important matters. In the 2004 GSS the authors replicated those questions to assess social change in core network structures. The number of people saying there is no one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled. The mean network size decreases by about a third (one confidant), from 2.94 in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004. The modal respondent now reports having no confidant; the modal respondent in 1985 had three confidants. Both kin and non-kin confidants were lost in the past two decades, but the greater decrease of non-kin ties leads to more confidant networks centered on spouses and parents, with fewer contacts through voluntary associations and neighborhoods. Most people have densely interconnected confidants similar to them.
I really wonder if we church folk understand this. It has been my experience over the past 20 years or so that we in the church are, at our best, only marginally better than everyone else at staying connected, at having relationships that really matter.

This idea has recently come to me, in thinking about the way that we "do church" in our own church home, that we are ill connected, and our relationships suffer as a result.

And yet, we Believing People advertise ourselves as those who have seen a Great Light, and posssess, and can offer a better way to live life. Is this really true?

How do we get this right? Can we lead Kingdom inspired lives?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dream Come True

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Rev. Martin Luther King

August 28, 1963

Monday, January 19, 2009

What I Learned From 2008

A fellow member of the Higher Calling Blogs is having a "best of" posting summary. Below is a link to what I humbly consider to be my "Best Of 2008".

What I Learned From 2008 - Steven Norris

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Church Processional Warning

I have been involved in a few church processionals. I am posting this video warning as a public service.

Make sure the last person in line is not a wise guy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Touching the Codex Vaticanus

Yesterday, my wife and I had the privilege of sharing lunch with friends, Dale and Kathy Bruner, at their home. We have had the honor of listening to Dale teach each Sunday, almost nine months out of the year here. His thoughts and translations of Scripture have had a profound affect on me over the years.

After lunch we sat and caught up on our lives, along with another couple we have shared friendship with for the past 20 years. New marriages getting started, children being born, changing and growing, laughter and tears, many years of memories. Dale told stories of his cross country car trips to Princeton seminary, the struggles of raising kids, and their time together as Dale served as a missionary seminary professor in the Philippines, and the joys of grandchildren.

As the conversation continued, Dale mentioned that, more than 30 years ago, he was given the opportunity, by the University Librarian of Gonzaga University in Spokane, to examine, and actually turn the pages of the Codex Vaticanus, one of the oldest and most valuable extant manuscripts of the Greek Bible. The idea of touching a document more than 1,600 years old fascinated me. Imagine, holding a form of Divine history in your hands.

Dale (an accomplished Greek scholar, as well) explained that while looking through the Codex, he thought he should write something down, as he would likely never see this document again. He turned to the section for Matthew 28:6, the proclamation of the empty tomb, and made careful notes. He has committed the Greek from the Codex to memory, and so, I asked Dale to write down for me the direct Greek to English translation of this verse:

"Not is here, raised you see"

And then Dale looked at us and said, "You know, I think these words are the most important that have been uttered, and written, in all of history".

I agree.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Compassion Beats an Old Rivalry

I had lunch today with my old friend Rob, who sent me this video. Although its slightly painful to give credit to a Trojan, Pete Carroll is a man of great character. Enjoy this:

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Of Broken Churches and Real Faith

Over the past couple of days, I have stumbled upon a couple of bits of information that seem to connect together. I thought I might share this with you, my faithful 12 consistent readers (including the bored night watchman in the office building in Fargo).

Also, click on the photo above; this is a real church.

Staying in a Sick Church
First, my friend
Mark Roberts links to an interesting article about the merits of staying in a church that is not doing so well. In a Christianity Today article, issues of staying in a troubled denomination are discussed. This is something I have been thinking about for a long time now. We have chosen to stay, in a church that has gone from sick to much better, but still in need of ongoing, patient care and continued healing. We have chosen not to do the easy thing and leave. It has not been all fun and happy shiny times, but God has been present in it all.

Staying in an Empty Church
And yesterday, whilst visiting Starbucks on my way to work, I spotted this article, about a congregation of Catholics near Boston, who have been sleeping in their church for over four years, in defiance of the Catholic Archdiocese. Their sense of community and connection to one another is moving, in spite of the seeming futility of their actions. They are practicing acts of faith, daily.

Take a moment and look here, to witness a moving slide show of the faith of these earnest folks.

It seems to me, that in the midst of these varied but similar situations, in the midst of the uncertainties of faith, God is present. What do you think?

Evil Cell Phones

Now these Presbyterians have a sense of humor!

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