Kind Words for Holy Curiosity

What??? Three days, three posts? I’m getting a little carried away.

Lots happening, though.

Recently, I received a gracious endorsement for Holy Curiosity from Phyllis Tickle, a woman I immensely admire. She is a wise, artistic voice who, in addition to her own profound writing, has offered the church a great gift with her collection of The Divine Hours.

Winn Collier has once more produced a very loving, gentle, enticing book of practical, but substantial theology. That is a rare feat, and in this case, also a very grace-filled one. {Phyllis Tickle}

I’m humbled and a little giddy that Phyllis and a few others would endorse and encourage my writing. I’ll pass others along as they come, so you can share in my joy.

One more thing – if you do Facebook, I recently started a new group for the book. Just jump into the groups section and search for “Holy Curiosity” (creative, I know).

Miska on Women in the Church

Miska is amazing, but you probably already know that. Recently, a good friend asked us both about our views on the egalitarian/complementarian debate (gender roles, etc.). Miska’s response was so much better than mine. I shared it on my Relevant blog. Give it a look.

Am I a Dinosaur?

I don’t do Twitter. I don’t get it. (I’m open for explanations that cause me to see the light)

Text messaging – I don’t really dig that either. I don’t know; do I really need to be that connected, all the time, forever, at every instant? (maybe if I had an iPhone, I would see the world differently)

Does this make me a technological dinosaur? Have I now finally become my mom who is still holding out to see if email becomes more than a fad?

{More} Things I Love About My Church

DCF is a beautiful place, a beautiful community. Over the past 6.5 years, this place, these people, have worked their way deep into our hearts. It’s strange and surreal to think that this summer, we will part.

There is so much I love about our church. But I want to mention two simple things here.

The first is a practice that has become embedded into our way of life. Once a year, we transform our Sunday space into an art gallery. We invite artists of every sort to offer us their work. We have all the usual suspects: photography, ceramics, painting, pottery, sketching, mixed medias. Then we have artisan baked goods, original music and original poetry sprinkled in.

This year, we had a live pottery demonstration. Curt Hoffman had quite a crowd gathered around him most of the time. During one moment, I was enjoying Erik Pearson’s original guitar piece while watching Curt sculpt, and it was pure joy. There was another moment when I caught a first glimpse of Juli’s painting, and tears surprised me. I can’t even say for sure what captured me, but the art and the beauty spoke to me.

At DCF, we have The Gallery for one simple reason: because we believe our God is making his world beautiful again, restoring the brokenness and the ugliness. We are merely reflecting his creativity, his beauty-making.

Then, I do love the plain fact that my church is funky. I love that we have a bunch of free spirits who just do their own thing.

Our band put together a revival, dcf-style, on a recent Friday night. The evening was full of life and hope and truth. But my favorite part might have been the handbill Andy Heck created for the event.

If you can get past the star-eyed doll picture that, frankly, just looks creepy, you will find some pretty hilarious text: Come on Down. Join us for some ol fashioned sangin and bible thumpin. Bring a tamborine and pack a lunch, cause beatin on the devil may take all day.

Words from the Diamond

I’ve mentioned I’m an assistant coach for Wyatt and Seth’s t-ball team, the fightin’ Tarheels. That means I get to be on the field during the game, coaching the tikes. It’s quite a privilege. When they are batting, I might be at first base. When they are fielding, I might stand near second. I couldn’t possibly tell you every off-the-wall thing said to me by these kindergarten ruffians between pitches, proof positive that their mind is absolutely in a different orbit. Merely a sampling:

“I want a mustache.”

“I got five dollars for my teeth.” (with wide, toothless grin)

“I have an imaginary friend: Dennis.”

“You’re scary.”

“Mrrmmmppph…..Elephant” (with glove covering face, apparently to serve as an elephant’s trunk)

The Folly of Being a Savior

I’m tempted to believe that I would make a good Savior. I’m not so brazen as to actually suggest myself a replacement for the true redeemer of the world. However, if my actions belie my convictions, then on most days, I fancy that if Jesus wanted to take a long weekend and leave the world in my hands, I could pretty much keep it together without much of a hitch… {this is a post on my Relevant Blog. If you want to view the rest, you can find it here}

Monday’s Prayer

God, you are with us, in our comings and our goings. We need you today. We needed you yesterday. We will need you tomorrow. The future is before us. It energizes us, and it terrifies us. Move ahead of us. Propel us by your Gospel mission. Make your name great. Amen

Want to Join My Book Club?

Move over, Oprah. A new book club is in town.

I thought it would be fun to see if anyone wanted to read along with me. We’ll try it this month and see how it goes. The choices for May are:

[fiction] G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare. Chesterton has entranced Miska as of late. I’m jumping on the bandwagon too. You probably know Chesterton best for his classic Orthodoxy or from the fact that he was a major influence on C.S. Lewis. Chesterton called this piece of his work “a very melodramatic sort of moonshine.” I’ve never tasted moonshine; I’m in.

[theological] N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church. Right now, Wright is a fellow making a deep impact on my mind and soul. I was able to have a long chat with him last week (more on that to come). This book will bend some categories, I think. However, it pushes us back to Scripture and expands our vision of the radical restoration God is doing in his world. This is no cold, theological meandering on the theoretical state of heaven. This is gritty, real-world, hopeful stuff.

So, we’ll convene in a month to reflect on the works. I’d love to know if you are joining me – shoot me an email or a comment to let me know you’re in on the fun. Or not. You can just surprise me.

Tuesday Strolls

Most every Tuesday morning, Nathan Elmore (my pastor-partner @ dcf) and I take a stroll on Clemson’s campus. We make sure everyone is getting to class on time, and we count how many orange t-shirts we see.

Since we are pastors, we also try to do Jesus-kinds of stuff on our walks. As we make our way across Bowman Field and weave our way among the bricked buildings of learning, we pause here and there to heal the sick, cast out demons and give alms to the poor. It’s our Tuesday routine.

Today was particularly beautiful. Crisp air. Bright Sunshine. There were a few more grimacing faces than usual – it’s finals week. But the conversation with Nathan was good, stimulating, genuine.

I am struck by how much I am going to miss these walks, this friend.

Coach, Asst.

That’s right. Watch out, umpires. I am now the official assistant coach of the Central-Clemson Rec League’s Fightin’ Tarheels.

Wyatt and Seth are playing their first year of t-ball, and they landed on the same team. At the first practice, I joined up with management.

I had thought most of my duties would be spent teaching the artful slide into home, demonstrating for aspiring pitchers the wizardry of the spit ball and tweaking that elusive perfect batting order (do we want to keep the clean up hitter in the 4 slot even though he can switch hit and we might could mess with the opposing pitcher’s psyche better elsewhere?).

However, to date, most of my coaching has included encouraging batters to actually face the pitcher, cajoling fielders to stand up and stop digging tunnels in the dirt, tying shoes and opening snacks. You gotta start somewhere.

I do plan to work a scene so I get tossed from a game. What kind of coach would I be if I didn’t have that under my belt?

However, I could more easily foresee a scenario where a small mob of parents toss me. In this league, before we place the ball on the tee, the coach actually pitches (it’s a soft underarm loft, from like 10 feet away) three balls for each batter to attempt to hit. In the first two games, between me and the head coach, we’ve beaned five players. It’s harder than you think pitching to tikes whose reflexes are…well, developing.