Saturday, June 28, 2003

Back from our vacation, but showing signs of wear for it........the tranny on our 99 Intrepid pooped on us, albeit 5 miles from Cathy's mother's house at 330 am on the way down. Seemed it preferred locking into 1st gear........quite an experience limping down the road at 30 mph and 4000 rpm's. So we scrambled on the day we were supposed to leave trying to find alternative transportation. We got Cathy's mom's truck, re-packed everything in plastic boxes, arranged for the car repair and left late that Monday night and finally arrived in Nantahala and set up camp at 12 midnight.

It rained every day but one but I had a good time. Cathy thought she saw a bobcat at at our camp. It looked like a fat housecat to me but I won't deprive her of the experience. I also managed to soak in rain all our clothes that I thought my double-wrapped suitcase would avoid. So our last day at camp was spent in the next town's laundry mat.

BUT..........we found over 150 carats of rubies/sapphires..........the largest I found was only 24 carats. Granted, most of the rubies I found are only of specimen quality but a few are going to cut down really nice it appears. So far, in the past three years, our total has topped 600 carats of rubies/sapphires found. My dad and stepmother came to the mine with us and within the first hour and one-half, my dad found a 40 carat ruby on his first day there and instantly became a member of the Sheffield Mine Honker Club (free bucket o' dirt for life) for the find.

Sheffield Mine is the last one of it's kind in that part of North Carolina. No other lode mine produces the native rubies and sapphires of such quality and abundance. Tiffany's actually owned the mine property there in the Cowee Valley for a while in the last century. Now it is privately owned and operated as a recreational mining venue. When I get my blog capable, I will post pikchers. It's a great spot to hang out for the family

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Getting ready to go to the wondrous Nantahala ("land of the noonday sun") National Forest in North Carolina to camp and go prospecting for rubies and sapphires and spend some nifty time with the lil' lady. 'Twill be a splendid adventure as it always is. Maybe I'll come back with a 400 carat ruby. It's going to happen. I feel it......I can taste it. You just hide and watch.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Will we in Deconstructionist Christendom ever get it right? Or are things changing with such rapidity that we'd just better hang on for dang dear life? There is no cutting edge anymore in church planting circles as far as I'm concerned. It's more like a magnetic three dimensional throwing star for anyone with an axe/blade to grind. Once you think you've got a handle on it, you look down and you've got a bloody mess. But the ecclesio-scape is still roiling with change.

One thing is for sure: we're tired. We're tired of decaying hierarchical structures bent on self-preservation that have dogged churches/denominations/organizations for a good part of modernity. We're tired of the lifeless, maintenance-level Churchianity and its patron Churchians robbed of and robbing life. If you read that as a condemnation, thou shalt not be so presumptuous......I've been there. And for want of lesser, mundane things, there but for the grace of God go I.

We pine for refreshment. We long for the gentle yoke of a new paradigm that will free up this idealized Church from it's shackles like a greased piglet in a Tennessee Sausage Festival.

So as we continue to deconstruct, we simultaneously lay a foundation. We who pour in the ready-mix ogle and protectively cherish the bland appearance. The hawks circle, conspiring to swoop it up into grandeur and a nest of marketablility. Some have dared to whisper into its "virgin" ears and name it. Or call it a if it were something truly new under the sun. And wittingly or not, in the very act of naming it, they seek control over it.

Our nomenclatural efforts are steps toward finality. When I "name" you, you are marked as "this" and not "that." Our labelling compartmentalizes and minimizes. But one must also recognize the value of naming. Our ability to apprehend our cognitions and our reality depends on our sound, letter and word-forming capacity. Our knowing and being known relies on it.

But our language almost consistently and ultimately fails when we try to grip the mystery of our experience of being. Especially as "beings" who are the recipients of the loving attention of he who is Other- and more pointedly in reference to this ongoing story of the Christ seeking residence in broken human vessels. "Church" doesn't fully capture the essence of "ecclesia" in much the same way as "Word" loses its mystical impact when translated from "logos." If we call the house church phenomenon a movement, do we endanger it to the lot of past movements that have come and gone, ebbing and flowing- (such as- but not limited to- the apostolic, spiritual warfare, Charismatic, deliverance, healing and reconciliation movements)? When we see God doing something, how do we avoid hijacking it by naming it?

Consider the word fagot. Read this way, it means a bundle of sticks. Add yet one more letter "g" and you have something entirely different. In usage, the original denotation is forever lost to the culturally assigned connotation and we lose the original word meaning. Are the few who are apprehensive to "name" the simple church emergence in the West already recognizing this potential? Granted, many are calling it something (house church, home church, simple church) and those doing so express difficulty explaining what it is because of the limitations and finitude of human language and complex multiple meaning systems. We still have to have some way to talk about it though.

I admit it's arguable that by naming it we may not even imperil a real move of God. But heaven must know we don't need another model.

"Please come to my anti-nomial, anti-modal ecclesial communal structure that meets in my abode" doesn't wax inviting yet either.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

an open letter to my Fight Club...

To what shall I compare with what I've found in you? To sit at your feet- gleaning your wisdom and being openly invited into the sacred ground of your struggles is but another treasure in this field sprawling before me. On the surface, this parcel of land sure doesn't look like much but it seems I've uncovered the Kingdom. You guys are reminding me that giving up all I have for this venture is the only way to go. I don't look back anymore, wondering why in the presence of the lingering protestations in my mind of those who question....those who should support me the most but only see my claim staked in what looks like a craggy, untenable thicket of brambles. But hanging out with you puts me in detector mode, scanning the crannies for more treasure. You- my new friends and constant spring of blog fodder- are the shiny gold coins in hand......a blessed spillage from the Kingdom Treasure Chest.

Monday, June 02, 2003


Here's how I know God is doing something in our midst. Our man, Burt, suddenly gets called in to work at his pizza joint during the time when we gather. Over a lunch a few days ago with Jason, our intern, Burt literally breaks down when he told him he was going to have to miss on Sunday.

So the Jaylord (a.k.a., Jason) takes it 'pon himself to ogernize an impromptu house church gathering before Burt went to work, replete with a meal and acquaintances of Burt who are not reg'lars at the Hester HC. So we had our first HC at Burt's ("Burtitas") and the first such one we know of in an area of town called the "Ghetto" area we are praying over.

That smells like Kingdom stuff to me..........

Sunday, June 01, 2003


The Church Father Tertullian writes in his Apology about how the early Church gathered...

"The nature of our meal and it's purpose are explained by it's very name. It is called Agape, as the Greeks call love in it's purest form. However much it may cost, it is always gain to be extravagant in the name of fellowship...The participants do not go to the table unless they have first tasted of prayer to God. As much is eaten as is necessary to satisfy the hunger. When satisfying themselves they are aware that even during the night they should worship God. They converse as those who are aware that God is listening...After the hands are washed and the lights are lit, all are asked to stand forth to praise God as well as each is able, be it from the Holy Scriptures or from his own heart. In like manner the meal is closed with a prayer. After this we part from one another...pursuing the same self control and purity as befits those who have taken in a truth rather than a meal. This is the way the Christians meet."

Tonight, the Landing Place Community gathers for an Agape Meal. My prayer is that God will be present, and that we would leave haven eaten of truth, and not simply a meal. (Mark Palmer)

I continue to be blown away by such kingdom-mindedness in the midst of the Palmer's suffering. Blessing and cursing; pain and joy; strength and anomalies imparting a fellowship of suffering that most can only glimpse from a distance and into which one may never fully enter.

For the Palmer's, Father, healing. For us, and in their honor, may we dine on the crumbs of truth from their table as we watch and pray.