Archive for February, 2009

Blogfast for Lent

I hate that a blogfast on my part has to come at the same time as perhaps some of the most exciting developments in God’s work in Boston. I will be happy to share those with you — along with the other reflections from this season of Lent — in 40 days.

Each week, we’ll be working through the reflections prepared by Christine Sine (of Mustard Seed Associates in Seattle), called “A Journey Into Wholeness.”  It is available for free download here, though they do recommend a small donation if you use it.  I think it’s a strong resource, focusing the reader on the spiritual disciplines, as well as the brokenness of the world, as we approach the reconciliation and healing that come through Jesus at Easter.

On a related note, our friend and neighbor Brian blogged about our Eastie Gras celebration this evening … he has some good thoughts. Check them out.

I’d encourage you to draw closer to the brokenness of our world, and the one who is healing it, this Lent.  See y’all in 40.

the gratitude economy

Yesterday, we had the privilege of attending an event downtown with about 500 other Christians, where we gathered to contemplate the following question:

“How would our lives — and our world — be different if we started from a place of gratitude to God for what we have?” (instead of upward mobility, wealth, keeping up with the Joneses, etc)

Specifically, we pondered this question as it related to the food we buy and eat, the water we drink, the toxins we keep in our house (and put on our bodies), and our overall impact on the world God has entrusted to us.

Afterward, we enjoyed a community meal together and joined a bluegrass band and sang some great old hymns. The real treat of the evening was hearing a message from Shane Claiborne, a neomonastic activist and writer and founder of the Simple Way, an intentional community in Philadelphia.  I first read Claiborne’s The Irresistible Revolution way back when it came out in 2005, and it changed the way I view faith in action.  I’ve written extensively about Claiborne on this blog, so it was neat to see and hear him in person for the first time.

The thing that really impressed us, though, was the guy’s humility and joy.  As he told stories he’s undoubtedly told thousands of times before, he was genuinely and visibly tickled or touched by them.  That’s because the truths of his experiences and anecdotes are timeless and forever relevant.  Claiborne is someone who attempts to put into practice — in community — the Gospel of Jesus, no matter how scandalous or countercultural it may be.

Consider this question today: “How would our lives — and our world — be different if we started from a place of gratitude to God for what we have?”

an Evangelical collapse?

Noted blogger Internet Monk generated a firestorm of response — both positive and negative — to his three-part series last week on the coming collapse of Evangelicalism. He offers a perhaps prophetic, perhaps guesswork look at the next few years in North American evangelical Christianity, predicting an imminent and precipitous decline in Evangelical clout, numbers (of adherents, churches), and sprawl. IM divides the series into three separate posts asking three important questions:

Part 1: The Coming Evangelical Collapse, and Why It Is Going to Happen
Part 2: What Will Be Left When Evangelicalism Collapses?
Part 3: Is This A Good Thing?

While I do not agree with all of IM’s conclusions, I do think he’s got his fingers on the pulse of a trend many of us have seen coming for several years. And I agree with his Part 3 assessment that this collapse will not be an altogether bad thing — it could bring the reform that is so desperately needed in the West, where Christianity has largely become indistinguishable from the consumerism, nationalism, and greed of our host culture. It’s important to note that Evangelicalism is not synonymous with orthodox (read: biblical) Christianity — in fact, far from it. So its succumbing to a different, hopefully ancient, form is good news for those of us who have prayed for such an awakening.

But as IM astutely points out, those Evangelicals in places of power, along with the mega-churches, the Christian media, the lobbyists, and all other Christian big-wigs, aren’t going down without a fight. They’ll fight their “culture war” until Evangelicalism breathes its last breath, but if IM is correct, they soon won’t have much of a constituency behind them.

What do you think?

Alright, mom … here we go.

Be honest. God is watching.

(for those who don’t get the joke immediately, my mom’s a high school geometry teacher. Because she actually commented — and first — she gets it.  We’ll try the other questions, perhaps, if this one works out.)

Poll.

I’ve been wanting to test out the “poll” function on WordPress, but I can’t think of a good question.

What question should I put to HarvestBoston readers?

It can be absolutely anything.  Sound off.

The Visitor

The Visitor.

Watch. This. Movie.

We did on Friday night at our weekly “homemade pizza and a movie” night, and we loved it.  So many great themes:

  • compelling look at the life of two “illegal” aliens living and working in our country
  • beautiful portrayal of a marriage bound by love
  • awesome story of transformation when the couple’s lives crash into that of a white professor (of economic development, no less)

You’ll laugh.  You’ll cry.  You’ll hurl think.  In my estimation, it would be hard to walk away from this movie saying, “That sucked.”  So queue it up on Netflix or get it from the library, if you’re so lucky.