Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"UYAI MOSE" (Come all you people)

I listened to this prayer during my compline time tonight and it really moved me. So I thought I'd share it....

Come all you people,
Come and praise your Maker
Come all you people,
Come and praise your Maker
Come all you people,
Come and praise your Maker
Come now and worship the Lord.

© WGRG The Iona Community, Glasgow.

listen to the prayer sung here


Hey friends,

I want to invite you to a discussion taking place here at The Phaith of St. Phransus, Monday, Feb. 13, 7-8pm(central standard time) on the StPhransus Blog Chat. A newbie idea here at TPofSP called the "Sanctus Franciscus Symposium". Just follow the directions under the blogchat to login and join in the theological chat. Hopefully this will be the first of what will be a monthly theological discussion about Church, ecclessiology, doctrine or other issues relevant to the Church in a postmodern age. I think this will be appealing to especially those who are coming from either an emergent perspective or my specific faith tradition of Wesleyanism. ALL who love to wrestle with issues of faith, to engage in a communal reflection of what it means to "BE" the Church are welcome!


"THE ATONEMENT: What's up with that?"

here's an article from Currents In Theology and Mission to help get the creative juices stirred. I hope you'll join me on Monday, Feb. 13.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Jonas talking about... "His Favorite Superhero"

Share Video at DropShots.com

Friday, January 20, 2006



Share Video at DropShots.com



I'll try my best to relate to you how day 2 of of this very Random Road Trip/Pilgrimage went down today for me and Gavin. It was quite a day!! We packed in quite the fulfilling day that ended up being quite meaningful to me so I want to make sure I give you an accurate picture. You can also check out Gavin's blog post about the day (great pics too).


1. BORG: Palm Sunday = Planned Political Procession; Overturning the temple tables = a social protest against the Temple Authorities who were participating in a system of dominance.
2. BRUEGGEMANN: How we read and see the Bible has to change!! "We MUST 'Out-Bible' the Christian Right!" (best quote#1)
3. BORG: Easter = women followers of Jesus flee in fear, the Empire has killed Jesus, God has vindicated and raised Jesus, God has said "Yes to Jesus!! And No to empire!!", God has proclaimed and invited to world to proclaim, "Jesus is Lord!"
4. BRUEGGEMANN: In the Bible Israel gets itself into trouble when the people go from being nomadic (a wilderness people wandering and relying on God's provision) to becoming settled farmers (begin relying on selves and gaining affluence). The story of Ezekiel- God says to the prophet, "Get a notebook, take names, cause I'm gonna kick a$$!!" (best quote#2), God says, "I can't stay in Jerusalem, it's become too sh#@@y." (best quote#3). God leaves Jerusalem and Ezekiel follows.

Overall what I got out of the session this morning was that what we need to be about in the Church is NOT the politics of America- when we do that we are participating in the politics of the Empire- but we should be IMAGINING what the world might look like if God's dream for it actually came to be real. After we imagine it as a congregation we should give LIVING IT OUT a shot.

Gavo and I ate at a wonderful sandwich shop called Frankie G's Diner. I had a great burger and the service was terrific!!! By this time the sun was shining and the temp was about 73 degrees.

Gavo and I headed over to Christ Church- one of the historic places where both John and Charles Wesley preached. It was beautiful. I have to admit that as soon as I set foot on the grounds I experienced a very mystical presence. It was very meaningful to walk around knowing that the Wesley Brothers had begun their (humorously dismal) missionary effort right here (i know i'm a goober).

How does one tell if Gavin and Jonathon are really dorks? You catch them reenacting a Charles Wesley sermon under a live oak tree where Wesley stood. It's true- I bought a copy of Charles Wesley's first sermon that he preached at Christ Church and we both did a reenactment.

We said farewell to Christ Church and off we went back to Epworth and did a little exploring. We hit up the Arthur J Moore Museum where we were greeted by "GIANT JOHN WESLEYEY ROBOT WITH LASER BEAM SHOOTING EYES".

Next we strolled into a chapel that was a replica of the Lovely Lane Chapel where the Christmas Conference was held. The actual Lovely Lane Chapel in Baltimore was built in 1774 and the Christmas Conference which happened 10 years later is when the Methodist Episcopal Church officially became a denomination and ordained Francis Asbury as our first American Bishop.

We left the chapel and just walked the grounds. I had time to stop for prayer and meditation on scripture and soak in the sunshine and overall experience.

After we left Epworth we went for a nice (could have been if I had been with my wife)romantic walk on the beach. Gavin is a wonderful bff but walking barefoot on the beach in January in 75 degree weather just isn't as fun as with Jen. Sorry Gavo, no offense.

We went to grab some dinner just down the street from the beach at a great restaurant called Brogan's. Once again- GREAT SERVICE and the food was terrific!!

By this time it was about time to wind the mini-pilgrimage down and head back for the evening session.

The night session was really good. Borg dealt with "Christians, Peace and Nonviolence" while Brueggemann spoke on "Problems in the Promised Land".

1. BORG: Most Christians do NOT know our historical and traditional teachings on war. In the Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture we have to struggle with God commanding war. In the New Testament- scripture heavily supports the "active" practice of nonviolence for Christians.
2. BRUEGGEMANN: 1. Affluence produces amnesia (we forget: our stories, our mandates, the miracles, and we lose our memory, and reference). 2. It is imperative that each new generation within our community is situated in the normative imagination of the past (they need to know the stories and imagine our world as it might be). They should be engrafted through the narratives. This is all done through "Intergenerational Transmission" (the older generations are responsible for embodying the stories and passing them on in the life of the Church).
3. BORG: Post Biblical stances on conflict and violence: 1. Early Church, 2. Just War, 3. Crusade Attitude, 4. Call To Arms When Country Calls. (Look for a post on this soon)
4. BRUEGGEMANN: 1. Self sufficiency leads to alienation and death. 2. Yahweh remembers AND forgets. Our future depends on Yahweh's both remembering WELL and forgetting WELL. 3.Church Congregation = "REMEMBERING COMMUNITY": a community who together performs acts that remember our stories.. (more on this idea in the near future).

It's been a great day!!! I've felt challenged, renewed, inspired, and in touch with my roots. Praise be to God. If you read this tonight or tomorrow, please keep Gavin and myself in prayer as we travel back home and bring our road trip to an end. Tomorrow we're up with the sun for morning prayers out on the pier overlooking the ocean.



Thursday, January 19, 2006


So today Gavin and I left my house at 6am for the ultimate goober/geek road trip:

Driving from Nashville to St. Simon's Island GA to hear Walter Brueggemann and Marcus Borg speak at the January Adventure- a conference on ministry to (and in) the emerging culture.

Like I said, we left out at 6am and we were revving to go!!!

On the way down we decided to stop to see fellow blogger- RevMommy. Well, that seemed like it would be fun. We thought to our selves, "selves, why not stop in Atlanta for an hour, have a little lunch hang out with another blogger and chat face to face and enjoy the road trip."

Well, like all good pilgrimages we didn't know what was in store for that part of the journey. It would appear that both of us are directionally challenged and we ended up circling around Atlanta at least one time, maybe two times. We decided after much laughter and choice words that Satan was behind the entire situation and must have been trying to keep us from meeting up with a fellow blogger. In fact we were enjoying a fine hour of some inspiring "just good ole' preachin" when the ole sly Satan kept interrupting with static, heavy metal and my personal favorite- booty bumpin' hip hop.

We finally made it to RevMom's church and Wow!! It was beautiful!! After 18 months of suffering with all the staff keeping office hours in a large and open narthex they had finally finished an addition on their church building and have begun moving into new offices. RevMom's daughter was not feeling well, so Gavo and I didn't stay too long, but we did see the beautiful new boxes in RevMom's office, which as I approached it there seemed to be something fishy about it. Is that really HER office?

After finally making it out of Hellanta we made pretty good timing. With much conversation, the radio set to scan the entire time, and a quick stop at El Cheapo Gas Station (they have cool t-shirts), we arrived at Epworth By the Sea for the Conference.

We made it inside just in time for Walter Brueggemann where in his lecture he stressed that we are a people who like the ancient Israelites living in the Empire of the Pharaoh are a people that are called to build a neighborhood (church) that is not a part of the Empire of today. I'll leave it at that for now. I was more interested tonight in the gentleman who looked like what I imagine I'll look like when I'm in my 70s or 80s. It was kinda scary.

But at the end of the night I met Dr. Brueggemann and I've decided that he is not only a kindred spirit but maybe a long lost uncle of mine- Uncle Walt. Great job tonight!!!

More on Jon and Gavo's Road Trip to come.

update: Gavin may have control of the remote, but I secretly put exlax in his waterbottle...shhhhhh.... don't tell. Who has "control" now, Flava?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Tonight I have been doing my usual putting off of the important things that I "ought" to be doing in favor of looking at websites that I know will get me in trouble and I should not be looking at, especially late at night when no one is around....

Have you guessed? It is confession time.....

It's true. I've been looking at random websites again, trying to find something of interest when I really need to be wrapping up our last youth fundraiser and designating which youth receives which funds/credits.

But I stumbled onto something beautiful!!!! I couldn't believe my eyes. I tried to click "back" really fast so that I wouldn't be tempted to stay at the site and look. I could feel my heart beginning to beat faster and anxious warmth creeping all over my entire body.... was anyone looking?

YES.... I'm going to stay and look and see what it is. And it is .....

The Theology Co-op Forum- a blog by John Milbank, Connor Cunningham, Catherine Pickstock and Tony Baker- all theologians and thinkers within the Radical Orthodoxy conversation. SWEET!!!! ENJOY!!! Now you have found out my secret obsession- I AM A TOTAL NERD WHEN IT COMES TO FINDING A THEOLOGIAN'S BLOG!!! (fascinated in a totally platonic way).

Monday, January 16, 2006


Today was my first day in the classroom for my "Theology of Atonement" class this semester at Trevecca. Some of you may know that Trevecca has a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies program that is structured for working pastors in ministry. I'll be in the classroom all week this week and then again in April- all the rest in between will be done from home.

Dr. Scott Daniels is the professor for this class and he is wonderful. He admitted to us today that he was interested in teaching this class because like us he wanted to know more about it the atonement and thought that how we view the atonement really shapes how we share Christ, how we worship, the music we use, and ultimately how we view God.

He started class off with a devotional reading from Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. He read the story of a group of Christians who were students at Reed College and the wonderfully incarnational yet unorthodox way they experienced Christ on campus.

The booklist that we have looks really interesting:
On The Incarnation: by Athanasius
Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement: by Gustaf Aulen
Cross Purposes: The Violent Grammar of Christian Atonement: by Anthony Bartlett
Problems with Atonement: The Origins of, and Controversy abut, the Atonement Doctrine: by Stephen Finlan (click here for a book review on another of Finlan's books)
The Nonviolent Atonement: by J. Denny Weaver

Some of the interesting things we'll be discussing this semester? hmmmm..... looks like good stuff:
1. Calling into question common metaphors of atonement (such as the substitution theory)
2. Analyze Biblical metaphors of sacrifice and atonement (notice that paul had multiple view of atonement and there's no one dominant idea of "sacrifice" in the Bible)
3. Understand historical aspect of ideas of atonement (looking at the difference of Western thought and Eastern Orthodox thought; clue: Wesleyans in our theology actually look more Eastern than Western.)
4. Contemporary Critiques on Atonement Theory (such as feminism and liberation theology)
5. Wesleyan View of Atonement (where substitutionary theory may not work very well)

Ultimately where we are going with this class is going to be what Dr. Daniels calls a "Narrative Christus Victor" view of atonement. I'm assuming that J. Denny Weaver's book is going to be the most informative in that idea but I suppose I'll have to read and find out.

I'm excited because this all seems really good. More to come soon!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006


For anyone interested- I LEAD YOUTH, which is a website devoted to providing youth leaders with resources, ideas and development in youth ministry, did an interview with me a few weeks ago and now it's on their website. If you get a chance check it out.

They were interested in knowing more about "experiential worship" and the use of "prayer stations" in the context of youth worship. So I obliged to do the interview and talk a little about it. So if you get a chance check it out. I guess I'm now known as the "bow-tie-wearing-worship-junkie". I hate to say it, but I've been called a lot worse.

other articles of interest to bloggers... check out this one by Shane Raynor from The Wesley Blog, which has been on the site for a couple of weeks now.


Ok, so in my last post in a fit of frustration I went a little overboard in frustration and claimed that Pat Robertson simply is not a Christian. I do have a tendency at times to get a thought that I feel is half right, mostly tongue and cheek and put it out there expecting that readers would know that I am being facetious.

Commenting as the voice of "reason" my buddy Shane scolded me a little saying:

"I never thought I'd be on here defending Pat Robertson, but I wouldn't go as far as to say he isn't a Christian. His organization has done a lot of good things. Maybe some of the things he does aren't Christian, but saying someone isn't a Christian is a big deal. I avoid doing that even when I suspect it's true about someone."


What constitutes being a Christian? Is it "correct belief"? Is it simply "accepting" Jesus Christ as your "personal" Lord and savior? Is it by works and doing a "lot of good things"?

What constitutes being a Chrisitian?

I suspect it has something to do with living a certain or particular "way of life". Where do we find out how to live that particular way of life? Well for Christians I'm assuming it's the Church- the body of Christ called to live out and model the life of Christ.

If this is true then I suppose we have to believe certain things about the world, believe certain things about God, believe certain things about Christ and believe there are certain "practices" that make up a "way of life". Although, we all know that within the Body of Christ we as Christians have discussed and debated what constitutes some practices over others.

I wonder, can you be a Christian and not be a part of the Body of Christ? Is that possible? Would that be like a severed finger that claims to be "body" but is not really functioning as part of the human body (assuming that a finger can think). Can someone who has disconnected his/her self from the Body of Christ still be considered a Christian? Can I believe in the lordship of Jesus Christ but not like organized religion and decide to not be a part of The Church? This might suggest that being a Christian who practices a "way of life" is more than just belief but also PARTICIPATION in the life and ways of the community of Christ.

So what constitutes being a Christian?

I'm not sure I have all the answers (if any) but in my humility I think of the story of the rich young ruler. After Jesus says that it is impossible for the rich to enter heaven he gives the wonderful dramatic pause.... "all things are possible with God."

Thank God that God's grace goes beyond our understanding and I can say things that "aren't very Christian" and I can do things that "aren't very Christian" and live among others who are in the same boat and still be called The Body of Christ. I don't really know how that works but I suppose that it does.

Thanks Shane for holding me accountable in posting my thoughts. That's part of being the body of Christ. I admit that it was not very Christian for me to claim that someone is not Christian when I do not know the inner workings of Pat Robertson.

But for conversation sake I still throw out the question: So what constitutes being a Christian?

Friday, January 13, 2006


I just can't believe we even let this guy have a tv show that people watch and believe that this is what it means to be a Christian!!! I'm not joking here- THIS GUY IS CRAZY and I'm sorry he's just NOT (acting) CHRISTIAN.


revised Jan. 14:
In a fit of hostile cynicism I wrote this post. I suppose this is why I'm glad that grace really has nothing to do with us and EVERYTHING to do with God- even Pat Robertson... even me.... even you... can still act in the silly ways we do and experience the love of God. Thanks Shane for holding my sometimes overboard remarks accountable. :)

Matisyahu On Letterman

"Torah food for my brain let it rain til I drown, Thunder! Let the blessings come down!"— Matisyahu

If you've never heard Matisyahu Miller then so far you're missing out on a very cool style of music- Hasidic Reggae. Singer Matisyahu weaves biblical narrative, faith and life and an extreme sense of groovalicious funk into his songs.

He's relatively new on the music scene with a brand new cd coming out in March. And you can see him this Monday night, January 16 on David Letterman. Check him out and let me know what you think.

Free video hosting, video codes at www.vidiLife.com

Thursday, January 12, 2006



IF YOUR CHURCH HAS A CONFIRMATION CLASS- THIS MAY BE ONE OF THOSE MOVIES THAT YOU'D CONSIDER TAKING THE CLASS TO: (especially the week you study Jesus as Savior & Lord, Salvation and Atonement)

Free video hosting, video codes at www.vidiLife.com

ok so if this is not your cup of tea- here's another good resource as you look toward Lent.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Like I said in a previous post- while at the 700 Club... I mean United Methodist Congress on Evangelism Conference, I felt like I was sitting in on a mediocre worship event on TBN. However, Will Willimon, saved the day for me. I love Willimon's use of irony and prophetic insight. He puts some people off, but I think there's such a depth to what he says that you have to peel the layers to get the gems of what he says.

I promised a clip from the conference- via my cool "undercover bowtie spycam"
Free video hosting, video codes at www.vidiLife.com

video clip 2
Free video hosting, video codes at www.vidiLife.com

Monday, January 09, 2006

At-One-Ment Considered...

One of the next classes I'll be taking, coming up in a week, will be "Atonement". Atonement is one of our most central doctrines of the faith. At the center of the Atonement is the question: Why did Jesus have to die and what does that death mean? The theory of atonement that most Christians are familiar with is the idea of "Substitutionary Atonement" pioneered by Anselm of Canterbury and continued to be adapted and popularized by Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. But there are actually various other valid theories of atonement. As I move through this class and begin to ponder the idea of Jesus' death and what it means to us as Christians (and the world) I plan to invite anyone interested into the conversation. Hopefully this will be stimulating and engaging. I think it'll be very appropriate as we move closer to the season of Lent. So as we approach the season I will probably step it up a notch.

Theologian, John Milbank, in pondering the death of Jesus and the doctrine of the atonement puts it like this:
"WHY DID JESUS DIE? The gospels present us with a very confusing and complex account. Jesus deliberately returned to Jerusalem although he seems to have known that this was to court danger. He was `betrayed' by one of his disciples, although it is unclear why this betrayal was necessary, nor in what it consisted. After his betrayal and seizure, he was, according to the synoptic accounts, arraigned before the Sanhedrin, who accused him of denouncing the temple, of disregarding the law and of claiming to be the Son of God. Then, however, the high priest and elders handed Jesus over to Pilate, the Roman governor, claiming that he was a rebel who had set himself up as a king of the Jews against Caesar. Pilate subjected Jesus to enigmatic and ironic questioning, and according to St. Luke's gospel, in turn handed him over to Herod, the Greek king of Judea and Roman puppet. Herod could find him guilty of nothing and returned him to Pilate (Luke 23).

In an obscure decision, Pilate is then presented as having at once condemned Jesus to death in deference to the crowd's wish to release Barrabas rather than Jesus, and at the same time as having 'handed Jesus over' to the Jerusalem mob to do what they liked with him: ". . . but Jesus he delivered up to their will. And as they led him away they seized on Simon of Cyrene . . . " (Luke 23: 25-26) Yet this 'doing what they like' took the form of appropriating the Roman judicial punishment of crucifixion: 'Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him." (John 19:6) In Matthew's gospel, Pilate elaborately washes his hands before the crowd and declares "I am innocent of this man's blood: see to it yourselves" before 'delivering' Jesus to be crucified (Matthew: 27:26) Even Mark's gospel says, ambiguously, that "Pilate, wishing to satisfy the mob . . . . delivered him to be crucified" (Mark 15:15). Comparison with Matthew's version plausibly suggests that this means indeed that Pilate 'handed over' Jesus to the mob. Given this near unanimity, there is really no clear reason, as we shall further see below, to assume that the gospel writers merely invented the role of the crowd in order to exonerate the Romans. It is true that in Mark (15:16) it is the soldiers not the crowd who lead Jesus away, but this does not render impossible a joint mob-military action, as Mark's 'deliver' may indicate. By now we should know that Mark's brevity is no necessary sign of greater historicity, and is as literary a matter as the other's gospel's relative prolixity.

Who then really killed Jesus and why? And why did Jesus submit to this? The only consistent thread in these narratives is that Christ was constantly handed over, or abandoned to another party. Judas betrayed his presence; the disciples deserted him; the Sanhedrin gave him up to Pilate, Pilate in turn to Herod, Herod back to Pilate; Pilate again to the mob who finally gave him over to a Roman execution, which somehow, improperly, they co-opted. Even in his death, Jesus was still being handed back and forth, as if no one actually killed him, but he died from neglect and lack of his own living-space."

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Just in case you haven't heard:

The coolest two churches in Nashville, TN- Blakemore UMC and West Nashville UMC are searching for a new youth pastor.

They offer a parish youth ministry model by having a joint youth program. I was there to develop it and watch it blossom into an amazing ministry. If there's anyone in Nashville who is looking to be a part of a wonderful ministry with wonderful support from parents and a great congregation, please keep this in mind. if this sparks anyone's interest and someone wants to talk about this position in private, please feel free to email me: stphransus@hotmail.com.

here are the details about the position:

Full timeYouth Director Position available – Blakemore and West Nashville United Methodist Churches are currently taking applications for the Director of Youth Ministries.

The program is a successfully blended program of both congregations, and currently has 25+ youth.

To apply, contact:Paul E. Gardner, Pastor, Blakemore UMC3601 , West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37205
e-mail: pgardner54@bellsouth.net
phone: 615-297-6519or

Dennis Meaker, Pastor, West Nashville4710 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209
E-mail: DennisMkr@aol.com
Phone: (615) 297-3216

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Last night I found out from Gavin that Will Willimon is in town as a keynote speaker for the Congress on Evangelism Conference that's being held here in Nashville this week. For anyone that doesn't know, being the theology stalker that I am- Will Willimon is one of my BIG heroes. There's little that I've read or heard him say that I disagree with. In fact, much of what Willimon has to say usually gets me really excited about being in ministry in today's culture.

So when Gavin said that I should come crash the conference today, although I told him I might- I knew immediately that I would.

I heard that Willimon was les than inspiring yesterday, but this morning he was bringing the house down with his subtle yet ironic sense of humor along with needle sharp prophetic words.

I have to admit that when I got there I felt a little like I was sitting in the audience of the 700 club. It was sort of bizarre. The music leader sang to inspiring prerecorded tracks that would have put any karaoke bar to shame. As he moved across the stage yelling that he "is a masterpiece in progress and SO ARE WE", I watched as the M.C. along with Willimon sat in chairs in the background slightly bobbing their heads to the tracks. I knew that I was not in Kansas anymore, at this point. (DEFINITELY WORTH THE MONEY SPENT).

In all honesty, I absolutely loved the morning!!! It was the best money that I've never spent. Crashing conferences is much fun. And Gavin made a great point as I was leaving (I only stayed to hear Willie)- had I been kicked out, it would have reflected poorly on the hospitality of a group that had gathered for evangelism. Wonderful words. Thanks be to God.

I should have a video clip up of Willimon speaking by the end of the weekend. Gavin, our new friend Jeff, and I are off to the mountains of East TN to lead worship and contemplative prayer for the Youth Ministry Institute this weekend. Shalom all!!

Monday, January 02, 2006


here's a new weekly thing that i think i'll try. since i got a new dig. camera w/ video capability, i've been taking lil video shots of jonas and abby. i thought if i get a good one i'd share it with my friends....

oh my this is a good ONE!! as you'll see- jonas isn't going to have a chance with abby in another year.... we'll theologically analyze this one later....



sorry for the where's waldo syndrome

sorry for being the absent blogger lately, ya'll. the last two weeks have been tres' busy at church and jen and i had a lot of family over christmas night- so there was much preparation.

but i'm back into the blogosphere and i look forward to catching up with everyone!!!