Saturday, May 31


I just got done with Pine Cove orientation... I am so tired. I am sitting in Dairy Queen drinking a green tea frap and waiting for my laundry to dry.

This week has been really long, but really good. Towers has around 190 staff, almost twice as many as the other camps, so I feel like I don't know anyone... the first few days were rough since not only did I not know more than 100 of the staff, I felt like I had never seen more than half of them before even on Thursday... hah.

This week I have learned a few things... these are just a few from my journal:

* "This is the day the Lord has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it!"

"At the beginning of the day, let all distractions and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to him whom our whole life belongs." -- Life Together, Dietrich Bonnhoeffer

* "Stop putting your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. How can they be of any help to anyone?" -- Isaiah 2:22

ok, all for now, more after Week 1! My laundry is done so I have to go get it...

lots of love.

Sunday, May 18

It's Been A While

One of the books I am reading right now is Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller. I have tried to read it before, but just got distracted. So far, this paragraph has stuck out to me:

"I am learning to believe better things. I am learning to believe that other people exist, that fashion is not truth; rather, Jesus is that most important figure in history, and the gospel is the most powerful force in the universe. I am learning not to be passionate about empty things, but to cultivate passion for justice, grace, truth, and communicate the idea that Jesus likes people and even loves them" (112).

I don't know, I have really been struggling with what to write these past few days. That is honestly why I haven't written. I am also reading Why We Aren't Emergent, like I said I would. It has not failed to impress... :)

I have continued on my journey of discovering the Emergent Church. Yet the more I read, the less sure I feel. DeYoung and Kluck(the authors of WWAE) say that describing the Emergent Church is like trying to "nail jello to the wall." And that's about how it feels as I have continued reading and hearing things. I love the emergent passion for the poor, the sinful, and the broken. I love their ideas of community and missional living. Here are just a couple problems I have recently discovered:

1. Each person we would consider an "emergent leader" refuses to be considered so. It is part of their communal teachings... They like to be seen as "teachers" who are only part of the discussion. Yet, when they are preaching sermons, leading seminars, and writing nationally read books, they can no longer be only part of the discussion. They are publishing their thoughts, and being watched as leaders. This "communal teaching" method means a difference of opinion. This is what emergent teachers love, since they are postmodern thinkers who believe there is no definite truth. But this leads to a problem seen by the outside world: they contradict each other. They are all part of this emergent movement, calling for believers to "repaint Christianity," but there are too many different paint options. One believing in a Hell and another saying it's against God's nature seems to shaky for me. I like my leaders to somewhat agree on doctrinal issues, instead of saying, "eh, what he says is fine too, just pick what you like best..." That's scary!! Freaks me out, man. I believe in a solid theology shown to me by the Word of God... and while terminology might prove questionable, the doctrine still stands.

2. I thought of this one while typing out the Donald Miller quote... "fashion is not truth." I go to Baylor... and a trend has recently swept across campus that I have termed, "granola". It's actually considered bohemian or something like that... I like granola better. Anyway, this style really goes with the emergent style... free spirit, more open styles of worship, journaling, candles, lattes... granola! I feel like the emergent church is almost like a religious fashion statement... out with the old, in with the new. Beliefs changing with each generation. While I love the fact that our generation has been able to reach tons of people by changing the way they "do church," throwing out biblical theology as Christians should not be taken lightly. One aspect that really worries me is their stance on homosexuality... Now, mind you, I can't say "they" because they don't all believe the same things... but I'm going to keep this simple. Some emergent leaders have been quoted saying that they don't yet know how they view homosexuality... They suggest questioners should come back later. Yet, the Bible's strong, unquestionable statements about the matter seem to offer a solid explanation. Homosexuality is a sin. Biblical writers go as far as to say that it is an abomination to God. While I agree that homosexuals need to be treated with love and respect, I feel that their struggles should be addressed just as any other sin. Most Christians (but maybe not those who are emergent) would encourage any alcoholic to stop drinking after he or she became a Christian. They would urge the thief to stop stealing and the violent husband to stop abusing. Liars are encouraged to stop lying. So what makes homosexuality any different? I'm afraid that the liberal, post modern thinking of the emergent church may have come too far.

Just some thoughts that have come up during my search.
Click here to read another great blog I just found on the emergent church!

Grace and peace

Tuesday, May 13

The Pursuit of Pleasure at All Costs

I am listening to a Matt Chandler sermon that I missed out on while I was at school. It is called, "Nine Pastoral Prayers" and it is a GOOD sermon. I would suggest listening to it if you want to know more about what Matt's church is about or want to be challenged in some very different ways.

He talks about this next passage, and it really challenged me to look at how I view the church. I know that a lot of people are taking this passage and running with it, which is a very cool thing. Shane Claiborne has a community going which is an effort to go back to the Early Church, and it seems really cool.

42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

People saw others in need and SOLD WHAT THEY HAD in order to meet their needs... These Christians already had almost nothing. Incredible. A sense of community that the church today has completely missed out on... The selfishness found in the church kind of makes me sick, actually. It breaks my heart that over the past 2000 years the church has gone from selfless giving to selfish, petty arguments. What would this world be like if instead of waiting for others(the government) to solve problems like poverty and hunger and abuse, we gave ourselves to help? We risked our lives to help? They aren't our lives anyway.
I think that if I could really grasp that my finances, body, mind, life were not mine, and never have been, I would have a sense of freedom that would allow me to truly surrender my life to Christ.

Matt goes on to talk about how we as children of God are not under wrath, but under mercy... This is also a hard thing to remember, because every time something goes wrong, we often think that God is angry with us... I would rather be in physical, emotional, mental pain and KNOW God than have an easy life in which I think I am deserving of all praise and never know really know Him.

Now about my title for this blog... God is the fullness of all things, and through Him can we really truly be satisfied, and as Matt says, "we don't follow Him because He gets us those things, we follow Him because He is BETTER than those things even to begin with... We don't follow Him because He makes our life better, we follow Him because He is better than life."
I watched a segment on youtube the other day from one of Mark Driscoll's sermons. He played a clip from one of Joel Olsteen's sermons and then discussed it... Joel Olsteen is an interesting guy to me. He doesn't preach "you can have all you desire if you send me your money..." But his idea that you can have all you want, freedom from financial, relational, and physical pain, when you have Jesus just seems a little off. Or a lot off. Nothing in the Bible says that with Jesus we have freedom from pain. In fact, the Bible says that the world will hate us. I find it funny that the things that Olsteen claims we will be free from with Jesus are things from which Jesus himself found the most pain... He was broke... homeless, couldn't even pay His taxes. He went through physical pain... crucifixion? yeahh.. Relationships? His family hated Him, and His best friends abandoned Him. His followers were murdered and persecuted. They lived their lives in hiding.

I need to work on that... the pursuit of Pleasure at all costs... I desire to find my satisfaction in Christ... that pursuit of Christ that destroys complacency. I hate complacency. Satan uses it to attack me all the time. I desire to have that hunger that satisfies me and makes me want more. A satisfying unsatisfied feeling.

These have been long lately. hah. sorry.

Monday, May 12


First of all, I would like to say that when I discuss the Emergent Church, I am talking about the churches associated with the Emergent Village. I am talking about people such as Brian McLaren and Tony Jones. I am NOT talking about churches like UBC, the Village Church (Matt Chandler), and Mars Hill Church-- Seattle (Mark Driscoll). These would be considered emerging churches, not part of the Emergent Church. For an explanation of both, watch the video under "New Obsession."

As my search for understanding what the Emergent Church is all about, I have found a few very interesting quotes... The first is the quote by Brian McLaren, a leader of the Emergent Village, that I posted a few days ago... It is from his newest book, Generous Orthodoxy.
The second quote was provided at the seminar at The Village Church this past weekend... (Not to be confused with the Emergent Village... The Village Church used to be First Baptist Highland Village...) It is by Tony Jones, the national coordinator of the Emergent Village. This quote is from his new book, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. The quote is also used in Brett Kunkle's article, "Essential Concerns Regarding the Emerging Church."

"We do not think this [the conference and its movement] is about changing your worship service. We do not think this is about you structure your church staff. This is about changing theology. This is about our belief that theology changes. The message of the gospel changes. It's not just the method that changes."

I will leave that up to you to interpret on your own.

The last quote I found today is editorial writer Marsha West quoting R. E. Sproul. She got the quote from the video, "Let's Talk Post-Modernism and the Emergent Church." It reads:

"As R.C. Sproul said so well, ECM appeals to Christians 'who don’t want to have to deal with theological conflict.' These same folks relativize doctrine, and that makes Sproul angry. He then points out that disagreeing doctrinally is a 'bad thing.' Looking rather grim-faced he said, 'We can’t be satisfied with it. Because truth is too important to kill it in the streets for the sake of peace! You can’t do it!' Bravo!"

The "theological conflicts" they are talking about are issues such as the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the consequences of sin, the reality of Hell, the divinity of Jesus, homosexuality and abortion... just to name a few. The video is really interesting, btw, watch it if you are want to know more...

So yeah, that's just what I have been reading so far. I really want to read both McLaren and Jones' books... I also really want to study where the line for the Emergent Church is between "loving" people by letting them dwell in sin and loving people by pouring both truth and grace into them. As R. Scott Smith said in Truth and the New Kind of Christian, "Some Christians think a legalistic approach to the faith is due to a modern way of being a Christian. The solution, therefore, is to become a new, postmodern kind of believer. But that conclusion does not follow. We need to be like Jesus, who was full of both grace and truth. These must go hand in hand."

Love without Truth is not love.

More to come.

Friday, May 9

An outward expression of an inward passion

I have been stalking my dear friend Olivia's art... and I came across one that really caught my attention.

JOY by ~theliv on deviantART

As summer is quickly approaching, I have really been searching my heart in an effort to prepare myself for what God has in store for me. Joy-- it's all over the Bible. Paul, a man who endured prison and ship wrecks and ridicule, constantly reminds us to remain joyful despite our circumstances. This semester I have really been learning what true joy is. So many times, we feel like joy means to be happy. But it's so much more than that... I don't think Paul would tell us to be happy regardless: "My best friend died, but I have to be happy..." "I just failed a test, but I have to be happy." "I can't see where my life is heading and I am freaking out, but I have to be happy."

A wise man once told me that joy is an outward expression of an inward passion. It is finding satisfaction in where God has placed you, and understanding that He knows what He is doing. There will be times this summer where I feel sick and tired and distressed. I don't have to be happy about it... But I should remain joyful in the fact that I am resting in God's will. His timing is perfect and I can remain confident that He has me where He wants me.

Yet still... Joy is not something I can just generate on my own... especially when I'm hot and sweaty and in pain and emotionally exhausted. Especially when my 2nd-5th grade girls have completely taken every ounce of patience, joy, and understanding out of me. Philippians 3:1 says, "Whatever happens, may the Lord give you joy..." I can't be patient on my own. I can't be merciful and forgiving on my own. I can't be joyful. I can't even get out of bed on my own. When everything is drained, and I have nothing less, "may the Lord give me joy." I cannot be joyful without Him. He IS my joy. And thank goodness too, because if not, those poor girls this summer would hate me.


My associate pastor back home gave me this quote... it is by Brian McLaren, who is one of the leaders of the Emergent Church. It is from Generous Orthodoxy.

I must add, though, that I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts.

I don't know, this seems a little weird to me. I understand their desire to reach people where they are at... But there has to be a belief that God's Word IS Truth. You don't have to be a postmodern thinker to reach one...

I just thought that was interesting...

Thursday, May 8

New Obsession

Before I get to this new obsession, I would like to say that I have taken my two hardest finals, and have felt a surge of relief. I still have three more, but those should be fairly easy.

Okay, so thanks to my friend, Olivia, I have a new obsession: The Emerging Church. Now, it's not like the "oh em gee I love this!" obsession... More like a "What on earth is going on? I want to know more..." obsession. All that I have heard about the Emerging Church has been from skeptics, so when I started reading blogs by Emergent Christians, I was very confused. They don't mention any of the stuff my friends had mentioned, like denial of Hell or watering down the consequences of sin, although one article did talk about keeping theology loose. (read it here!) This idea is put into words in Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis. I loved Velvet Elvis, I really did. But his "spring theory" was a little weird to me. I'm not really sure how I feel about removing pieces of theology like the Virgin birth and the Trinity... I really don't mind that Rob would just say I felt threatened... I just think he's wrong.

Anyway, I have so many questions now. So many things seem good about the Emergent church. The fact that they appeal to my generation is genius. Talk about granola! :) But seriously, they approach pop culture in a very real way. Instead of pretending it's not there, they approach it. I'm tired of Christians who try to pretend that controversies like drugs, sex, alcohol, and porn are not enjoyable. If they weren't enjoyable, no one would do them!! That's what has been cool about working at Pine Cove... When they ask you questions, you can be real. We don't have to pretend that participating in the things of this world isn't fun. That's just confusing. Although I have never really partaken in any of the mentioned "forbidden sins," I can tell by looking around that people like those things. I mean, I enjoy tv shows and movies that are full of that stuff. As Christians, we have to learn to approach those things with an attitude that says, "sure, it brings me pleasure. But I have chosen to stay away because I have decided to live above reproach." That is where I am unsure about the Emergent church... I found stuff about them appealing to my generation by acknowledging the things of our culture, but I could not find anything about how they respond to it... Regardless of if they are considered corrupt, "conservative" Christians can live in this world just as badly as anyone.

I want to read Why We're Not Emergent this summer. I am so excited to learn more. This Saturday, the Village is doing a seminar on the Emergent Church... I want to go SO bad!! But I have a final... of course. But if you are in Dallas on Saturday, you should so go!

And I really want to read Mark Driscoll's new book, Vintage Jesus. Mark was part of the emerging church, and said this about his experience:
In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God's sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake.

So yeah, I am really interested in seeing what he has to say... The book looks SO cool.

Here are some other websites I checked out while reading about the Emergent church:
An Emergent Christian's blog
5 parts of the Emergent Church


Wednesday, May 7

A little bit more

So, I found a new study place. Beatnix. Coolest place ever. I mean, I love Common Grounds, of course. But it is so crowded and hot and loud... Beatnix is cool and spacious and quiet enough to get stuff done but busy enough to not feel like Jesus came back and took everyone in the world but you.

I'm sitting here in Beatnix, listening to some Dave Barnes, thinking about this summer. I just got back from a Pine Cove Baylor staff hang-out. It was fun, I suppose. A little awkward. While I am so excited about spending 12 weeks in Tyler this summer, I am so so not ready. I am slightly freaking out, actually. I know it will be so so good. And so so hard. I don't feel ready for those little kids to be watching my every move. And to deal with bed-wettings, and 2 AM nightmares, and homesickness, and real sickness, and broken toes. I don't feel prepared to deal with those kids just found out their parents are getting a divorce. Or those kids who think they are Christians because they were baptized as infants. Or those kids who have grown up under a completely different religion. I am so excited to love on these kids... But so incapable.
I was reading 1 Thessalonians last night, and felt so challenged by Paul's words. He worked with those people with patience and love. He treated them as his children, disciplining them when needed. And because of the power of the Holy Spirit, those people fell in love with Christ. Paul says, "You became imitators of us and of the Lord..." That part hit me. These kids this summer will be watching me. Imitating me... Are my actions worthy of imitation? Can they imitate me and through me imitate Christ?
This summer will be interesting... trying, hard, good, challenging, distressing, emotionally-physically-spiritually draining, rewarding.

I can't wait.

Oh finals

So finals are here. Oh joy. I have two on Thursday, two on Friday, and one on Saturday. And yet I am already tired of studying. I want to go home. I want to sleep in my real bed, lay on my real couch, and brush my teeth at my real sink. In less than a week, if I survive, I will be waking up to siblings getting ready for school and dogs barking. I cannot wait!

I am really worried about my first final. Social world, or political philosophy. Not really my thing. So obviously, class did not hold my attention. ha! Should be very interesting. My second final is on US history. I have learned a lot in this class. More than I thought I would. So many details to events that we have always considered common knowledge. It is amazing all the background work that people put into causing and reacting to these events.

I am almost done. That is what I have to keep thinking. Almost.

Check this out: