Wayward Son

Musician. Composer. Recovering perfectionist. Minister-in-transition. Lover of puns. Hijacker of rock song references. Questioner of the status quo. I'm not really a rebel. Just a sincere Christ-follower with a thirst for significance that gets me into trouble. My quest has taken me over the fence of institutional Christianity. Here are some of my random thoughts along the way. Read along, join in the conversation. Just be nice.

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Debris

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Categories: food for thought, Meanderings (look it up)

I’ve often been known to refer to Tulsa as “the other Windy City.” (A collective groan: “MORE about the weather??”)

Well, sort of. But not quite.

What I get tired of is not the wind itself, but all the debris that it blows into my yard(s).

My front door faces north, and sits in a sort of alcove. So when a cold front blows through, the neighborhood litter likes to collect at my front step. As I write this, the latest cold front has scattered something brown and raggedy in my front yard for me to go pick up. I haven’t decided if it is shredded cardboard or dead cornstalks. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

What really confounds me, however, is the south wind that blows debris into my back yard. Why? Because there is this high privacy fence surrounding it. I do not know how many times I’ve let the dog out and seen a plastic bag or empty potato chip bag or candy wrapper blowing around the yard, and wondered, Where the heck did THAT come from? The wind is obviously blowing this stuff all the way from the main road at least 300 yards away, across an open field and over the fence. Nice.

So…because I haven’t said anything overtly spiritual in a couple of days (although we know now that everything is sacred for us Jesus-followers)…let’s see what spiritual truth I can extract out of this…hmmmmmmmmm…..

We all have debris blowing around in our lives. (How’s that?)

No matter how hard you work on the yard that is your life, or how clean you try to make it appear…eventually you will see more debris blowing around it. And when you look at your neighbors’ perfectly manicured lawns and shrubbery and make comparisons to the weeds in your own…you need to remember that they have debris, too. It might be hiding behind their privacy fences, but it’s there. This is because we are all of us works in progress. Every one of us is broken in some way, every one of us sustains wounds from the war of life, and every one of us is, in some way, a pile of rubble and debris. Not only that, but because we’re always rubbing up against each other, we litter other people’s yards with debris, too.

We are all in need of restoration, and I believe Jesus the Healer is always seeking to clear away the debris, clean us up, rebuild us. But my experience is that healing of this sort comes in layers. And that’s why just when you think you have your yard all cleaned up…sooner or later you find more debris. And that’s also why we can never take pride in our own sense of righteousness.

Thankfully, God’s love for us has nothing to do with the debris in our lives. Jesus meets us in our broken state and embraces us just as we are…and as we walk with Him, His love works in us the healing and debris-cleaning we so desperately need.

Just checked…it’s cornstalks. Or at least something leafy and dead. Good thing it’s garbage night.

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More About the Snow in Tulsa This Morning…and how the BUTs got me

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Categories: What the heck was THAT?

Sorry to belabor the point, but the weather here has been so bizarre and interesting that it’s worth harping on awhile.

Here’s a recap of our weather the past few days:

  • Saturday–Sunny, high in the 70s
  • Sunday–Cloudy, windy
  • Sunday night–Severe thunderstorms
  • Monday–rain and sleet, temperature plummeting into the 20s
  • Monday night into Tuesday morning–umm, it totally depends on where you were.

And that’s where the BUTs got me.

The weathermen kept predicting and repredicting snowfall amounts for an oncoming snowstorm. BUT…they all got it wrong.

Tulsa proper to the north and west got nothing. BUT…just a few miles south and east, in the suburbs…they got 3-4 inches.

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Note to Tulsa Drivers

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Categories: food for thought, Rantings, What the heck was THAT?

Dear honorable drivers of Tulsa….

Remember “SNOW?” It’s that powdery white stuff that sometimes falls from the sky in winter. We don’t get as much of it as they get in, say, Nome, Alaska or upper Minnesota. But we do get it, usually a couple of times each winter. Enough that by now we should all know how to drive in it. So as nicely as I can, let me remind you of a few basic principles of driving in snow:
  1. Snow is slippery. That means it takes longer to stop. It also means that you cannot turn as abruptly as you normally would, or you will begin to slide sideways. Smart people accommodate for this by driving more slowly, and allowing more distance between them and the driver in front of them. Simple, huh?
  2. If you start to slide, turn your wheels into the slide rather than against it. It feels weird at first, but it helps your tires regain traction.
  3. Gravity still works when it snows. This means if you approach a hill that hasn’t been treated and you do not have enough momentum when you start to drive up it, you will slide backward and hit the car behind you. It also means that you must be extra, extra careful going downhill. Don’t slam your brakes; pump them gently.
  4. Better to arrive late to work or school than not to arrive at all. Take your time.
  5. You are not the only person on the road when it is snowing. This means if you want to drive like a moron and ruin your own car, that’s one thing, but you do not have the right to ruin other people’s cars around you by being stupid. Be aware of others.
Thank you for your rapt attention. I’m sure the entire Tulsa metro area will now be a safer place because you all have read my blog.

P.S. To the guy who broke all these rules this morning and almost ran into me at the corner of 91st and Aspen: Please pay special attention to rule number 5.

P.P.S. To the road crews who plow and salt the roads: While I certainly appreciate everything you do…it does snow in Tulsa from time to time. Perhaps you should all get together and have a meeting to discuss how not to be taken by surprise and leave main roads untreated during rush hour. Just a thought…

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Third Place? (Sunday Summary)

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought

In our house church gathering yesterday, we borrowed a page or two out of Michael Frost’s book Exiles and talked about “third places”.

We began by discussing four Scripture passages, incidents in the life of Jesus: The wedding at Cana, the Samaritan woman at the well, the healing of the blind man Bartimaeus, and the time when Jesus taught the crowds by the sea by getting into a boat. By talking over these Scriptures together, we extracted a lot of insight, and we could definitely see the incarnational nature of Jesus’ ministry–that He was truly dwelling among us as He lived, taught, and healed people.

We noted that all of these incidents took place not as staged meetings or “crusades”, but they happened as Jesus just walked through life. We noted also that these all took place in public gathering places–a well, the beach, along the road, and even at a party. These places are what we call “third places”.

The “first place” for us is our home; the “second place” is our workplace. In our culture, these places are on the decline as far as having meaningful conversations with other people. With the exception of things like house church, most people, even believers, only tend to have people over to the house that they already know and like; and most people restrict the content of their workplace conversations to preserve proper decorum. But our “third places” are the places we gather to socialize, to interact, to relax, to let down our guard. Third places can take a variety of forms–a local restaurant or coffee shop, the gym, the bowling alley, a special interest club like scrapbooking–any place people get together casually outside of work or home. Third places are the most likely places to meet new people and form new, meaningful relationships.

We noted how much of Jesus’ recorded ministry took place outside of the temple and synagogues, out among the people, in third places. We talked about how third places are great places to walk out Jesus’ love among people. And we talked about how so many Christians today simply “don’t have time” to hang out in third places because the institutional church has become their third place, keeping people so busy with ongoing church-related activities that they become isolated from the very people Jesus wants us to bless.

As we talked about this, several people began to get stirred in their hearts and started brainstorming about how we could even create meaningful third places, places for meaningful interaction with people other than just ourselves. We ended by challenging one another to find ways to be present now in the existing third places around us. This is what Jesus modeled for us, and this is what He wants for us.

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Re-thinking Evangelism (and lots of other stuff)

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought, Rantings

I’m looking at the top of the page, and I notice that “re-thinking church” is in my blog title. But the truth is…I’m in a season right now where I’m re-thinking everything. Doctrines, beliefs, and practices I’ve taken for granted for most of my churchy life are getting taken off the shelf, dusted off, and looked at to make sure this is really how Jesus wants it, or really what He meant when He said _________ (fill in the blank). Some stuff is getting reaffirmed, and some stuff is getting reworked. It actually feels very healthy.

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If you’re in Tulsa tonight…

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Categories: fun, music, What the heck was THAT?

…come join us for “GodConversation: a worship experience.”

Friday, Feb. 29 @ 7:oo PM
Agora Coffee “Big Room”
51st & Memorial, Fontana Shopping Center, Tulsa

This picture is just one of the amazingly awesome photos taken of the last GodConversation event. Click here to see more of them!

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Thoughts on religion

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Categories: Meanderings (look it up), religion

I just found out about this book yesterday–The End of Religion by Bruxy Cavey. For obvious reasons (see the title of my blog, above), the name of this book arrests my attention, and I plan to add it to my reading list, to see what’s up. I’ve heard Cavey teach via podcast, and I think he’s got some interesting things to say.

But this book title has got me thinking about religion in general. The word “religion” is just about as confusing as the word “church”, the word “grace”, the word “anointing”–these are all Christian catch-words that often mean different things to different people.

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A different look at Obama

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Categories: politics? oh puh-leeze.

I promised myself I wouldn’t “go political” on this blog, because that isn’t really its purpose. But what’s happening in our nation’s political climate right now is so intriguing that I feel compelled to share some thoughts.

For the record…I am a Republican, although I feel the Republican party doesn’t do enough to promote social responsiblity and social justice. I also feel I should tell you that this is the first time in my history as a voter that there has not been a candidate in either party that I feel comfortable voting for. It’s extremely frustrating. At the time of this writing, John McCain has pretty much locked up the Republican nomination, which for me is about the same as not having a Republican candidate to vote for. More like voting between a Democrat and a Democrat-disguised-as-a-Republican.

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