Friday, February 23, 2007

mid-day time waster: create-a-caption edition*

waste the day away by creating a caption for miss aubuchon's inappropriate picture. the author of the most creative caption will receive one poo dollar.

* please note. although this picture was snapped at art and cade's old place, neither art nor cade were involved in either the production of this picture or the activities which the picture depicts.

while sitting in a team meeting with a mass rehab counselor last week i realized that he had an image of a violet, multi-petaled flower tatooed on his right wrist. as the meeting drew to a close my client asked the counselor what the image represented and he said it was the seventh chakra. this image, he asserted, reminds me to shut my mouth and listen to others with my whole mind and whole heart.

now i don't know much about the chakras and i'm a little less likely to get a violet tatoo than i am to commission a permanent commemoration of the 2006 world series, but i was inspired by the intention behind the counselor's tat. i realize that truly attending to and receiving God and the other is an essential path towards uncovering the unspeakable beauty, truth and goodness in this world. of course, at the same time, i realize that i was once the recipient of a "foot in the mouth" award and i will probably always find it easier to assert my opinions that to receive others.

don't get me wrong, i have no interest in simply turning future conversations into reflective listening exercises and i am interested in much more than rogerian talk therapy. rather, in my heart, i want to be a man who intentionally enters into silence so that he can learn to fully attend and extend hospitality to God and others. i suspect that in doing so i will begin to see the former in the latter and vice versa.

Monday, February 19, 2007

overheard: the emergence of chuck smith jr.

over the past couple of months i've read several articles, including this one in christianity today about extreme internal controversies and questionable leadership practices within chuck smith sr.'s calvary chapel movement.

anyway, this evening, while reading the article i referenced above i found out that chuck smith jr. had recently been disassociated from the calvary chapel fellowship and i set out to find why.

after reading about chuck jr.'s story in an excellent la times article with a shitty title - father, son and holy rift - i started to suspect that chuck smith jr.'s movement away from his father's theological fundamentalism and towards a place of ministry that is, in his own words, characterized by learning more than certainty, is quite similar to many of our stories. moreover, i was not only intrigued by jr's story but found myself hoping that those of us who participate in the emergent conversation can express as much charity towards our theological and ecclesiological backgrounds as chuck jr. is showing to his.

i hope all of you take the time to read the la times article as i'm fairly sure you'll find it interesting and instructive. moreover, i think it would make tons of sense for pastor phil and the gang at the gathering to invite jr. out to speak at one of their events, for the latter chap really seems to live that allusive balance between the neo-mystical, charismatic tradition and emergent theological conversation that pastor phil and his gang appear to be longing for.
overheard: an old friend helps find housing for the homeless and mentally ill

"Andrew DeFranza has been trying to find homes for people in Milwaukee with mental illness for a couple of years now. He knows the way it works around here. He's learned the refrain.

Yes, some of those places are real hellholes. Rats. Broken toilets. Sometimes, there's no water or heat. But where else are you going to put a guy with schizophrenia and a criminal history who gets $600 a month in Social Security? Good luck finding a landlord with a decent building who will take in someone like that.

DeFranza, the executive director of Milwaukee's Guest House, is not buying it.

"I'm not Midwestern nice," said DeFranza, 33, a New Jersey native who looks more than a little bit like a young Robert DeNiro."