Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Dry Heave
The confounding thing is that there are so many conflicting desires and distractions to dissuade me in my quest for God. Mostly, I can barely even call it a "quest" because I can be so radically aloof in regards to a requisite Kingdom-mindedness. Dryness, emptiness, weariness, unworthiness may flood in and push us away from discipline and ultimately from community. But I don't think they are the enemies:

It will happen again and again that the person who is charged with
offering the prayer for the fellowship will not feel at all in the spiritual mood to do so, and will much prefer to turn over his task to another for this day. Such a shift is not advisable, however. Otherwise, the prayer of the fellowship will too easily be governed by moods which have nothing to do with spiritual life. It is precisely when a person,who is borne down by inner emptiness and weariness or a sense of personal unworthiness, feels that he would like to withdraw from his task, that he should learn what it means to have a duty to perforn in the fellowship, and the
brethren should support him in his weakness, in his inability to pray. Perhaps it is right here that one will realize the profound truth in Paul's words:
"We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Rom. 8:26).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, LIFE TOGETHER, p. 64-65.

At least they don't have to be.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I am back in O-Town after a refreshing weekend at the Convent for a mini-retreat. It certainly was all I could have hoped for. No agenda but to relax, focus on God and engage in some scintillating conversation with the crew down there. The place just oozes hospitality. I mean, what a phenomenal set-up. There can be no doubt that God is all over the situation there in Norwood.

Some realizations:

  • I hadn't realized how much I had "flipped" this past year in response to the loss of Chad and Palmer and watching my friends and colleagues stagger and grieve. I confronted my own mortality and misplaced my trust and looked for validity in other people when I should have sought sustenance from God. I had to repent of that.
  • "Shimmering" Verses: Psalm 51:17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." I don't even know sacrifice yet. My Christianity has been relatively "easy" and safe thus far.
  • God, the Sneak: Something's creeping in on me from behind....from the horizon....from around the bend.....the sneaky feeling that God delights in me, despite my being prone to great treachery as a Kingdom vagabond and often traitor. Fleeting moments emerge, promising the hope of transformation and stepping into something greater. I sensed this driving down in the fog, rain and dusk, and, although the surroundings were appropriate to where I've been the last bit in my life, that stab of joy seemed simultaneously mine and yet not mine.
  • Dave Nixon, the Omeletteer: When Dave says, "I'll get up and make everyone some omelletes..." one does well to fashion one's schedule around that.
  • Dave Nixon, the Squirrelinator: Beset with this rhodentious invader, I would learn of it when Jody came down after breakfast in a hustle, crying out: "I saw's running around." Heidi tells me the "it" is a hapless squirrell on its last legs that was trapped in the building for the last five days after having finally chewed its way through the wall. Well the beast would not extricate itself and Dave made haste to the third floor. Soon after, I made my way out the door and no sooner had I closed it when I hear a "THUD" and, turning, I beheld a deceased squirrell bouncing off the ground about 15 feet in front of me. I knew instantly. That had to have been one of the most awesome things I've witnessed in a while.
  • What I Need More Of: A deeper, more sustaining hunger and thirst for God. A truly Spirit-empowered life, inwardly and outwardly.
  • Pray without ceasing: Still as haunting as it is inviting.
  • I like the ways God just lets me know that he's glad I'm here.
  • I was greatly heartened by the time the Dave gave to me and Matt Saturday night at the Speckled Bird. He didn't have to, but he made time. And thanks to Jody for that time as well.
  • A few days is not enough for a real retreat. I was indeed just starting to unwind.

So now, the tests of routine, complacency and contemptuous familiarity come to try me. Thanks be to God, it "smells" a bit different this time.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Trying Not To Resist The Irresistable Revolution

Some of you may have already read it, but I am working through Shane Claiborne's The Irresistable Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, thanks to Beanerosity of the Beanius.

A pretty compelling story, especially from a fellow Tennessee boy....who's done quite well I might add (for a Tennessee boy).

Chew on this for a minute:

.....we have seen the beauty of diverse vocations and the multidimensionality of Christian discipleship. One of the best things communities like ours do is carve out a space for people to discern and redefine our vocations.
(p. 138)
In our context, with young adults struggling with what it means to marry authentic Kindgom living and issues of vocation, I find it evermore imperative to be such a community as well. It hasn't struck my heart with as much fervor as it has done so this weekend as a result of Thinspace. I don't know that we're doing this faithfully enough; we have some really struggling with losing themselves in their vocational ideations/pursuits that Kingdom vitality is being snuffed out right before my eyes. Sometimes I feel powerless to even speak into/against the current of that kind of worldview, especially when it is from those you love and who've previously desired greater things.

I long to know what I need to do to be able to carve out that approachable space for people to discern and redefine their vocations in light of the Kingdom of God. I do know you cannot prematurely impose your Kingdom-mindedness nor your vocational worldview. But there is risk when you spout out things that you think were inspired; you AND your words can ultimately be rejected.

Then again, there is also the risk that someone might be listening in the Spirit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I did mention Thinspace in my last post. Shortly, I shall delve a bit deeper into some of the particulars of our experience this weekend as things shake out. I've discovered over a Chinese buffet dinner last night some interesting things God is doing in both mine and Cathy's lives...God nurturing, confirming, directing. I think we'll incubate it a short while (some part I've already shared with my Veritasian community) till we can speak of it with more clarity and grounding.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bizziness abounds....posting suffers.


  • Prepping for my weekend retreat at the Convent this weekend. Got the support of my community and that is exceptional. Looking forward to it mostly. But I am really quite rusty at this.
  • Probably traveling somewhere on the last leg of my lay church planting task force with NAMB, which will be in mid April. And by somewhere, I mean either Salt Lake City or.....somewhere else in the US. Our task force facilitator is going to be sending me perhaps to another location to facilitate a gathering along with some others in the group at additional locations.
  • Camping with some buds at the end of April. Requisite time for sure.
  • Veritas retreat. More later.
Thinspace was definitely a needed time for me, Veritas (yeah even those who didn't go will be affected) and our network of people we run with. Our breakout session went well and we were greatly impacted by the speakers, the worship and the people overall. I hate I missed the usual subsequent hang-out time with my friends at the B-house....many of whom I see only occasionally or once a year.

My shout-out to Cmarsh who composed us all into a workable whole. It wasn't an easy task and I am grateful he is my friend.

Friday, March 02, 2007


By now, everyone must have heard about the devastation in Enterprise, Alabama, and other surrounding areas on the March 1, 2007 tornado outbreak. 8 people were killed inside the high school as the tornado-- rated EF 3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale-- ripped through.

I scouted out this video of some roommates emerging from their home near Ft. Rucker...

What seemed to be the random and fickle nature of a tornado (why the videographer's house was spared and his neighbor's twenty feet away wasn't) is due to a complex set of conditions inside the tornado circulation. Some of the pictures and videos I've seen of the Enterprise tornado seem to show a multiple vortex funnel, where smaller, more intense suction vortices form, circulate around the main center and dissipate. These account for why a house will be destroyed and why the one next to it won't.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

You know how long it's been since I took an intentional, spiritual retreat for myself? You know....the kind of one where I just focus and listen to God and see where I fit in?

You know how long I've been talking about doing this?

Come March 23rd-25th, I will head down to the Convent at Vineyard Central for such a time. The space down there has some deeply resonating Kingdom connections for me here on this earth. It has been there and around the relationships formed there that God physically came through on his promise that I/we are not alone in this journey. And to realize that was all coalescing almost five years ago is astounding. The Nixon's, the Rains's and others in a collective testimony to God's radical faithfulness and perseverence adds up to an altogether safe place to retreat back toward God. And that is what I need.

The deal is this.....I need a new-found brokenness of heart, mind, passion and spirit. I need to recapture a simple center again. I need to discover the heart of God in my context and others who'll step forward to see me to that end. I have baggage to drop by the wayside too...stuff that doesn't belong to me.

Whatever is off kilter is because of me. I'm to blame. I accept that. But now I have nowhere to hide...I've brought others in on it. I've committed myself to this weekend and to others. This deal is set. To be sure, I'm not really looking forward to it. On the one hand I am eager and I know it is the "right" thing for me to do. In truth, I will to go to this place. The intrepidation I have I think comes from what God might require of me, namely, the sectors and spaces I have taken away from God back for myself.

Also, I am as unnerved of the possibility of nothing happening as much as I am of something happening. But that is beyond me. Nothing can mean something too.

I apologize if any (who remain with this blog) have looked here for something of more pertinent worth in the last bit. It has been rather flat lately, here in the blog and in certain places in the heart too.

AND, if you're so inclined, prayerfully infuse me with any insights or observations as I near this time, because, ultimately, this HAS to become more than just being about me. What should I do to prepare? How should I spend my time? What books should I take? How should I journal? How should I pray? How should I listen?

Blessings to you.