Tuesday, December 02, 2008


"Following the image of the kingdom that was spoken of by Jesus, we encounter the idea that while it is still thought of as 'to come' this does not mean that it will one day arrive at the end of a certain period of time, but rather the kingdom is 'to come,' that is, the kingdom is already among us but in a spectral manner that resists our grasp. here the opening created by the eschatological kingdom of God is not an opening into the future but rather an opening into the present that acts much like the portable holes we see in cartoons that can be placed on any solid surface, thus creating a gap." -peter rollins, the fidelity of betrayal, pg. 51.

this passage challenged me to set aside my simple linear conception of God's kingdom in order to contemplate God's kingdom as a depth or chasm that i am sometimes standing on the precipice of, other times foolishly, cartoonishly spinning my wheels above or, in darker times, as likely to find as a artesian well in the desert.

contemplating the dimensions of the kingdom in this manner makes me suspect that when i am struck dumb by the texture of my grandfather's hands or am seemingly called home by the squint in neal's eyes, the Spirit is suggesting that i am near the holy and hidden heart of it all.

the unexpected depth and appearance of the kingdom in our midst, also makes sense of my uncle freddy's suggestion to pay attention my eyes well up with tears, as they have so often lately, or when a lump rises in my throat.

during this holy advent peter's text is reminding me that throughout this season of anticipation it makes as much sense to look down and dig around as it does to lean forward.
by: kevin smith clark

“Could I have been a parking lot attendant
Could I have been a millionaire in Bel-Air
Could I have been lost somewhere in Paris
Could I have been your little brother
Could I have been anyone other than me…”
Dave Matthews, “Dancing Nancies”

Could I have been…miserable in central Kentucky? I had this Zen-like moment on Sunday while walking through the halls of my parents’ church. This was the same church where I cut my teeth on ministry and realized my calling. This was the same church where I met her…the girl I dated before my wife, Amy. And I saw her Sunday morning (I won’t get into details, I won’t slander, but we’ve taken distinctly different paths since June ’97). Then the FLASH of insight (sorry to mix Buddha and Jesus): what if I hadn’t severed the ties of that necrotic relationship? Could I have been anyone other than me?

I’m 99.9% confident: (1) I never venture out of KY for anything, (2) I never get involved in leading worship, (3) I miss out on my relationship with Amy, my two beautiful children, and (4) I don’t meet g13 at Soybean Bible and strike up a friendship that was originally based on two facts: the Dave Matthews Band are gods (we’ve both changed our opinions since then), and Barry Sanders is the greatest running back in history (I’m still steadfast on this, assuming g13 is as well).

Needless to say, I made the right choice…but that Sunday was all the Thanksgiving I needed. Anyone else had one of those moments lately?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

i stand corrected, sir

"By 1998 six of the seven largest parachurch mission agencies were World Vision (founded 1950, annual revenues $304 million), Larry Jones International Ministries/Feed the Children (1964, $128 million),MAP International (1954, $85 million), Compassion International (1952, $69 million), Food for the Hungry (1971, $53 million) and Christian Aid Ministries (1981, $43 million). All have been founded since 1945 and all make relief, development, education and health care their primary focus, with evangelism a secondary concern." - Michael S. Hamilton, "More Money, More Ministry: The Financing of American Evangelicalism Since 1945," pg. 118.

"The budget of just one organization dedicated to evangelism - Campus Crusade for Christ ($241 million) - is itself larger than all spending by all evangelical political group, right and left. Evangelicals spend more on summer camps than on politics, more on urban rescue missions than on politics, and more on youth programs than on politics. When we factor in the amounts that evangelicals give to their churches - probably somewhere between $14 billion and $20 billion - there is no doubt that evangelicals devote less than 1 percent of their religious spending to public affairs matters. If we follow the money, it clearly does not lead to politics." - ibid, pgs. 130-131.

these figures are from 1998, but they are still startling. to me anyway.