Monday, September 30, 2002

Tonight was a pretty incredible night at Veritas. We had our typical "crowd"..........around 30 (not that we count or anything- that's just the random number that seems to appease the pastor-types when they press). Many of these were first and second time guests checking things out. Lucky for them, they witnessed our commissioning of our first two house churches that will launch on October 13th.

We processed into the theater, taking the Supper and 2 candles and sat in silence while a candle-bearer placed a candle stand in the center of the congregants while the "I am the light of the world" scripture was read. After a brief homily marking the significance of the symbols and the moment at hand in the life of Veritas, the "YOU are the light of the world" scripture was the cue to the people to take one of their candles and light it at the center flame and plant it into the sand station on the stage. The last person planted their candle and then went back to the center candle and lit the remaining candle and brought it back to the circle surrounding the sand station and- one by one- we lit one another's candles. The last person to have their candle lit set the flame to two candles that represented our two house churches. We then prayed and layed hands on the house church leaders in the center circle and ended in praise and worship. It was simple and beautiful and conveyed the momentousness of what God was doing. I love those moments.

Much later, in our usual debriefing after the evening gathering, my wife quipped rather jubilantly with this observation after assessing who was there: "we are the church for the misfits."

Thank God.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

I want to create a weapon of mass construction.

From what I can divulge from my intel sources, I have ascertained that all of the raw materials are being and have been smuggled in on the white market as planned. All of the components and the personnel necessary to create the system and deploy it are being mobilized well within enemy territory. The delivery system is certifiably grass-roots, if not simple and subversive. The ignition system requires the frequent gathering of Elite Commandos who cleverly pose as graduate/undergraduate students, teachers, computer technicians and University employees. The most exotic material- the verifiable Wildcard in the plan- is the Fuel that generates the explosive force. Some recon reports assert this Fuel is indeed “other-worldly.” Zero-hour approaches and when the Commander gives the go-ahead, the results of the detonation will be nothing short of spectacular.

No large, towering mushroom clouds and ensuing illness from unseen particles………this cloud spreads underground- infusing new life and infecting with freedom.

When this bomb goes off in the middle of my new city (and certainly others), the blast’s electromagnetic pulse, the searing heat flash and the overpressure from the blast wave will shatter the windows of the enemy, cripple his vehicles of personal destruction and utterly cave his fortress walls. There will be no fallout shelter for him…….concentration camps of the wounded will spew forth in incredible Light.


Okay……..I can’t build such a bomb. But God can……..and he has. And he will. My newfound brothers and sisters have willingly shown us the blueprints from their own war theater. Thank God for these warriors laying down their lives. I want to be like the Jesus in them.

No more pock-marked craters with shrapnel and a wide debris spray. No more lost limbs in the killing fields. This bomb smartly penetrates and crumbles the concrete fortress/temple of Me. This bomb builds a body.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

I have been thinking about how the Church should really look and act and I can say I am at a loss on the experiential level. As my community of faith has mobilized over the last several months to become part of a house church movement, much of what I think God has intended for us we have only approximated at best. Coming from a good, pagan family that never went to church (in East Tennessee, mind you), I can remember the freshness of discovering the Church at age 15 when I finally converted. By the grace of God, he placed me in the middle of a loving and nurturing people. (They had to be.......the first sermon I ever preached was when I was 15 on Youth Sunday...............I whupped out the back-masked copies of AC/DC and Judas Priest and sprung a one-and-a-half-hour sermon on the dangers of Satanism and rock music. Thousands were added to the fold that day). Despite every obvious reason not to, they hung with me and saw something God was doing in me that needed nurturing and clarification.

So here we go headlong into the world of house churches and we don't really know how to do it. But you know- that feels really good. It reeks of being right. God knows how to take a raw and pulpy mass and fashion something beautiful out of it. I am ready to slay the old habits of maintenance-level Xanity and get out of the way for God. I am weary of trying to be "cutting edge" and I am tired of worn out terminology that sometimes only succeeds in semantics what I want to see in practice. I want to see God do what I cannot do and stop acting like the church depended on me........and I need perspective as I demythologize.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

The Domesticated Jesus In A Feral Culture

(This article- my first blog attempt- is a result of the cringe factor experienced upon perusing the trinkets, paraphernalia and apparel found in almost any Christian book of the Christian mass marketing monolith. Until I get this blog figgered out, you'll just have to email me if you want to cuss me out.)

It would be a silly picture to see my German Shepherd dog, Vega, blow a fuse and escape to the wild- never again to return to "domestic" life. Even IF she wanted to, my black-faced push-over would be mincemeat to the intiates of the feral dog kingdom.

But it happens- domesticated animals get a wild hair and go rough it for good- seemingly to escape the unnatural and cultured setting of which they have been a part for the last ten thousand years. Consider it a rebellion to the efforts of humanity's invasion of the canine way of life.

The thought of my dog in the unknown surrounded by her more wily canine cousins with snarled teeth and bony ribs protruding is unsettling (can you tell I don't have chid-rens?). Even more disturbing are the phantom projections of a pseudo-Jesus on the fringes of a culture gone feral. What the modern 20th century churchianity experiment has left us with is nothing short of a rebellion- or better- a pilgrimage of the rejected masses to fend for themselves in the dark woods. The Jesus that the feral culture sees (when it looks) is a carnival mirror distortion of another by-gone reflection- an echo of an echo. We obviously no longer live in a churched culture (if we ever did) and emerging cultures have little or no authentic Christian "memory."

Establishment churchianity accuses the surrounding culture, crying, "you're anti-God," when, in reality, they are just anti-whatever-the-Church-as-institutional-demagoguery-substitutes-for-authentic-biblical-spirituality (read, pre-packaged Jesus by-products).

I confess..........I bought them. When I first discovered them, they were a cool way for me to express something that, as a new believer, I was still trying to figure out how to communicate- and there are some clever ones out there. But now, my "Won By One" tees (and their ilk) remain in the bottom of my drawer. My Christianized tee shirts are not going to convince the 24 year-old Satanist with the tattooed pentagram to whom our church gave out a free pack of gum and a hemp necklace last week. Nor will the neo-pagan, crew-cut, lesbian college freshman be swerved by screen-printed Christian cliches. It may have made one a bit more chummy with oneself for having the gusto to wear it in the presence of the heathen (and thank God we have a few of those).......but that's about it. Relational mutts though we may be, I never cease to be amazed that the desire to publicize our affiliation is only surpassed by our longing TO affiliate.

Are all of the tee-shirts, the W.W.J.D and F.R.O.G. bracelets really doing more than unifying the already-convinced? A self-described pagan dabbler in both Hinduism and Buddhism (but reared Jewish) has started hanging out with us. He has an antidote in the form of a bumper sticker on his car. I can't tell if it's a sacrilege or just a plain funny indictment on the Christian marketing juggernaut of which I reads, "667, Neighbor Of The Beast." This one puts in its place the veritably un-Christian bumper adornment, "God Is My Co-Pilot."

So we further segregate ourselves from an unregenerate culture and become an unapproachably peculiar people for no real redemptive reason.