I hate the saying, “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”

I hate it because it’s not an either/or; the two are not mutually exclusive.

Fifteen seconds ago I created my new saying:

It’s not about religion or relationship. It’s about reality.


Mission Shaped Church

Mad Props to TSK for the link to a free download of the book, Mission Shaped Church. You can click on the title and go get the download for yourself. It’s from the Church of England, so it’s in a decidedly U.K. context, but it has some very important principles and helps for futuring here in the USAmericas. Mainly because I see Europe, U.K., Canada as a little further ahead in the emerging postmodern shift.

The book is timely for me as we (SACC’s leadership) are considering what it would look like to plant a new congregation (more than a new service, less than a church plant) that is missional and moves, thinks, connects, teaches in ways that are relevant to people who are living life in the new postmodern world.

So I finished the book this morning and wanted to put some killer quotes up:

“the existing parochial system alone is no longer able to fully deliver its underlying mission purpose. We need to recognize that a variety of intergrated missionary approaches is required.” (xi)

“The core value of socitey has moved from ‘progress’ to ‘choice'” (9)

“forms of Christian community that are homes of generous hospitality, places of challenging reconcilliation and centres of attentiveness to the living God.” (13; quoted from Transmission Magazine article by Brother Samuel SSF

“Frequent causes of [church plant] failure included poor planning, leadership issues, inward-looking focus, cultural blindness, part-time leadership and lack of resources.” (22)

“Ecclesiology is a subsection of the doctrine of mission.” (24; quoted from George Carey in a 1989 presentation)

“Today’s young people are of a different culture, not simply a different age.” (79)

“It is not the Church of God that has a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a Church in the world.” (85; quoting Tim Dearborn in Beyond Duty)

Church Sluts

We’re rolling in the Caddy south on I-5 and Scott talks about a question he asked about whether people are married or just dating the church. It’s a common metaphor about how people don’t commit to a body. People, generally, commit to a style or a preacher or to convience. Rare are the people who commit to a body through thick and thin. Rare and wonderful.

So, then the conversation moves along the lines of the dating metaphor and I have an epiphany:

“So, the people who just go church to church in dating relationships, would those people be called ‘church sluts’?'”

After we all recovered we kind of followed that line of thought and decided it probably wouldn’t sell as a book but is a very true thing.

I think those who are in emerging contexts will need to address this because it is the prevailing shortcoming of our modern western baby-boomer parents, and the effects will carry on for a couple of generations. How can church promiscuity be ministered to? I believe there must be a direct and authentic commitment to communtiy (not affinity; affinity deals with convience and friendships, community includes these but works through difference and inconvience because of authentic commitment) in a local context. There must be a commitment to a local body, which is commited to the individual believers.

I wonder if, in the future, we will look at church sluts (church-hopping, shopping for a church) as a terrible sickness that invaded the church.

Further, will blame be put on the Christians themselves, or on their leaders for making them what they are through their market driven church models?

Learning Party Review

On Saturday John, Scott and I participated in a learning party up in Seattle, hosted by the Church of the Apostles. It was a lot of theory and hard to get into the practical aspect.

The overall feature was how mainline denominations are emerging. That was interesting because there were several of us who are of a more evangelical persuasion there. There was also a Unitarian Universalist. I disagreed with most of what came out of his mouth.

For us here in Albany, it helped us to know and recognize that we will need framework (and to determine how framework is determined) and we will need to know our convictions, even if we hold them with humility, we do not endorse ignorance as a form of valuing questions.

Props to Bob Hyatt for his organization and participation. He came from a more evangelical perspective and was more like what we feel God calling us towards. So, it was a good day to help us define and a good day for networking within our staff and in our region.

Learning Party

People laugh when I tell them I am going to an emerging learning party this weekend. I think it might sound too much like Tupperware or Avon. But that is what is happening on Saturday.

John, Scott and I are going to the Emerging Learning Party hosted by Church of the Apostles up in Seattle. Karen Ward is the leader there. I originally heard of it on Bob Hyatt’s blog, and he is going to be a tour guide there. Bob was gracious enough a year ago to share with our church staff some important ideas and directions for us to consider engaging the emerging community here in Albany.

Shoud be and interesting day.

Having to explain this stuff (learning parties, tour guides, emerge) to the average person in my (baby boomer) church is just embarrassing.


Watched Constantine super late las night – sweet movie – it was spiritual and dealt with a couple cool issues – like is suicide the unforgivable sin?

The effects and stuff are supposed to be scary, I guess. And it would be…if I wasn’t so obsessed with a fascination that our culture has with spirituality.

The Core


I’m taking my two brand new and improved interns (called Driven Ministry Associates) to their first youth ministry training seminar up in Portland.

The two are called Lacy and Aaron, but neither actively blog. It’s sad, really.

We’ll be attending YS’s THE CORE seminar, which I have never attended. Interesting.

OK – Later-

James <><