So Vice

Category: By Christian
I didn't want to come to Miami. But I didn't really have a choice, so here I am. The Hope Center is a member of the Christian Community Development Association, and since I didn't go to last year's conference I got drafted into this one.

I don't have an aversion to the city. Nor do I dislike conferences about urban ministry. I think I'm just at the point in life where it's hard to leave the fam. I love the fact that I have a job where I don't have to travel. Elli is a fun age and Stacy has had a really craptastic first trimester, so the upside to my busy schedule is that I don't have to be gone a lot of nights. But it also made me pretty pouty when I did actually have to leave. Actually, my self-absorption made me pouty, but it's easier to blame circumstance.

All that being said, I am now glad I'm here. This conference and the Urban Youth Workers Institute in CA are so helpful to my motivation and contextualization. I feel like I spend a lot of energy in life trying to explain to people why my job causes me to see the world and the Bible differently than they do, and it's kind of exhausting. So it's great to come here where everyone is on the same page and we can just hit the ground running and unpack issues that we face. It's been really really good.

For the next couple of days, I'm going to use a format to summarize some of the high points. I'm not ashamed to confess that I brainstormed these when one of the speakers was wondering around a little bit in the midst of their talk...Sorry.

Today my mind was blown when... Soong Chan Rah explored a Christology that encompasses both celebration and suffering. Good discussion about the power of mobility and the value on comfort in the evangelical church. He dropped the bomb when he proclaimed that: it's very easy to move out of suffering and into feelings of nothing. One of the pandemics of the church is a culture of apathy because Christians are not feeling anything. We have developed a therapeutic culture where we focus on feeling good coming out of our worship experience", which is increasingly consumer minded from everything to time, to architecture to content.

Today I was convicted when...Wayne Gordon explained how "as activists, we are hearers and doers of God's word, but we sometimes lack a spiritual depth".

Today I was surprised when...I realized the underlying theme of the conference is how we can be leaders of exceptional character. There is a huge focus on ministering out of the overflow of a life that is filled and transformed by the holy spirit. It's a great point and one I needed to hear, but not what I expected.

Today I peed my pants when...I went to breakfast. We brought one of our high school students with us on this trip. The breakfast setup had a three different pitchers of juice out, and he unwittingly poured himself a glass of grapefruit juice. After puckering, he asked "why would anyone ever drink that for breakfast? You'd have to be a grumpy person to drink that in the morning."

Renew and Restore


7 comments so far.

  1. chris 7:41 PM
    I totally understand the apathy that churches are displaying, and I think it resonates in our culture as well. A large part of this, I believe, stems from the constant barrage of devastation that is being brought into our homes through the new media. I heard a former marketing director for Porsche (who is now a pastor) talk about how the psychologically humans can only handle so much suffering before becoming numb. Pre-information super-highway and 24/7 cable news, when you knew when you neighbor suffered because you knew who you neighbor was, I'm incline to believe the church body was more apathetic to the local community.

    It's not an excuse but a possible explanation for the apathy. It still rests on the church and the body of believers to fight the comfort of tuning out silence.

    I admit, I'm not good at it either.
  2. Jennifer 8:55 PM
    Uhhhhh, did you say Stacy had a craptastic first trimester?? Did I miss something or is that not what I'm thinking???
  3. Christian 9:20 PM
    yeah. so stacy is pregnant. 12 weeks today, in fact. we decided not to tell people until we were through the first trimester. i thought it would be funny to just slip it in there to see who reads the blog the closest. apparently, it's jennifer :)
  4. tim ciccone 10:05 PM
    Soong Chan Rah is pretty awesome. I'm glad you got to hear from him. I had his Evangelism class at NPTS and have had the chance to hear that talk at Midwinter last year.

    Dude, I'm in Knoxville, TN all week and weekend in meetings too so I get the being gone from your family time. I pray that it's refreshing for you and easy for your wife. Talk to you soon.
  5. Sara 9:13 AM
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  6. Sara 9:16 AM
    Exciting news! Thanks for sharing. And thanks for sharing your insights on life and ministry. I really enjoy reading your blog.

    --Sara Kaufman
  7. Jennifer 7:07 AM
    yea!!!!! congrats! :) you guys can't get that kind of info past ME! ;) hopefully the 2nd trimester will be easier for her. (and i have to admit...i didn't read anything else in that post! you lost me after the word trimester. ha!)

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