Velvet Elvis

I have just finished reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell for the second time. The first time I devoured it in one night, but now I have grinded through it a little more so that it makes more sense.

I have bought 4 more copies and given them away. I can see McLaren’s influence and clearly appreciate Bell’s presentation of the Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic in a variety of context. There are moments and words that everyone should struggle with – which makes this book valuable for your oreintation.

Here’s some quotes and questions:

p.21 “Jesus exposes us to reality at its rawest.”

Can you be a follower of Jesus and not be real? Is fake the root of all sin?

p.28 “…brickianity…”

Are you on a journey or are you building a fortress?

p.33 quoting Sean Penn, “The mystery is the truth.”

p.83 “Jesus is the arrangement. Jesus is the design. Jesus is the intelligence. For a Christian, Jesus’ teachings aren’t to be followed because they are a nice way to live a moral life. They are to be followed because they are the best possible insight into how the world really works. They teach us how things are.”

How does Jesus’ life on earth interact with the effect of sin on humanity?

p.85 “That is why it is impossible for a Christian to have a secular job. If you follow Jesus and you are doing what you do in his name, then it is no longer secular work; it’s sacred. You are there; God is there. The difference is our awareness.”

Are you moving slow enough to be aware? What are you missing in your speed? Are you addicted to speed and shallow? What are you scared of?

p.120 “I say the system has to be changed. It has to be destoryed and replaced not with another system but with an entirely new way of life.”

p.165 “I am learning that the church is at its best when it gives itself away.”

p.169 “The call of Jesus goes in the other direction. It’s about making our live more difficult. It is going out of our way to be more generous and disciplined and loving and free. It is refusing to escape and become numb to and check out of this broken, fractured world.”

Are you blessed?

You’ve got to read this book. Move.


A New Day

A new feature will be found in the reOrient!

As is my custom – I post a bunch of compelling quotes in order that you can see what I am thinking about.

Now: I am going to try to include some questions that ask what the next step is. I am sensing that in my interaction with the whole imergent thing (with an “i” on purpose) I am ready to start creating instead of just learning.

This is just a step in that direction.

May the progressions continue.

Milk Carton: My blog

So, I’m not posting as much as I should. It’s a sign that I am getting a little overwhelmed.

Heather is having the baby any time in the new couple weeks, days, whatever.

We are planning 3 unique, yet interconnected Christmas Eve/Morning Services – a family service hosted by Scott and I – that’s it – a contemplative 11’o’clocker – and a normal sunday service that I won’t have to do much at.

We are moving toward planting a new congregation within our context.

My personal small group is bustling.

I am trying to recruit more leaders for Driven HS Ministry.

Oh yeah – and I’m drinking a lot of coffee.


We are at the point now where we are talking about creating a new congregation withing the context of South Albany Community Church. Just talking – but talking for real.

We are at the point where we have no desire to be “emergent”. Rather, we want to be more than what we are. We want to find what is just past what we have right now. We want to see what happens when we let the restless evangelicals push the envelopes that they have been stuck in for so long.

Thing is – this is what makes us more emergent than ever before. It strikes me that, no matter if we start a new emerging service or not – I am what I am. The way I understand the gospel, the way I live in the way of Jesus, the context of my conversations, my approach to my understanding of all theology is different. And the modern church (read: my denomination) is not creating new categories other than fear of postmodernity.

So, we are trying to engage conversation with those who are like us – and in leadership positions – and there ain’t many around Albany, Oregon. Many churches are sticking with status quo, but that just isn’t what I want to tell Jesus I did with my life.

So we are looking outside of our town to help us engage the conversation – with the hope of finding a true (Albanian) expression of being a missional congregation. Right now we are answering a bunch of questions found in Kimball‘s book Emerging Worship. But we are purposely avoiding the chapters on ideas and common values in emerging churches. I know them. We know them. But the way that we have been trained tells us to model and to copy (pragmatism) – but we are refusing.

In that light – I read this quote last night and it really speaks to where we’re at right now. It’s an exciting time.

We need to recognize this and understand this. It is not dependent on people coming to our building and sitting in our meeting. After we think through the other building blocks, we can begin to design a worship gathering. To do this backwards is dangerous and will ultimately produce consumer-Christians who ‘go to church’ (a worship service), are not engaged in the mission, and don’t see themselves as the church.
You may say, ‘We know our mission isn’t to start a worship service.’ You need to probe and ask if you really do know that. What comes to your mind when you imagine ‘success’? Is it a view of people all gathered in a worship service you have created? Or is it a view of a community of worshipers being missionaries in their world, being a part of community in smaller settings, and then coming together for a worshi pgathering? There is a huge difference between the two! Probably what comes to your mind and heart first is what you are building on.

-Dan Kimball, Emerging Worship, p.33/34

Death by Caffeine

It would take 146.02 cups of Brewed Coffee to put you down.

This just in from the death and coffee webpage – Death by Caffeine. This is funny, because part of my observation of Ramadan was to have no coffee. None. And I really, really like it. So, afterwards, when my lovely wife brought me a Dutch Bros. – it made my work day go by really fast.

Really, really fast.

Also – she found my glasses yesterday. So if I haven’t seen you in a while I will now.

And – the final random note: Kelsey B. is the best.

Mad Props in the Reorient

I found this via (now on typepad!) and ran it through on the reorient.

This is the reorient if Aaron Swank wrote it all.


Just a warning…there may be some cussing in there, I really don’t know what half of it says. So, if there is, don’t read it!

James <><

Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way

I just recently picked up this book and read it in two nights. Nothing like a hip small book with huge print and large margins. I really really reccommend this book. To everyone. It’s not preachy or anything, and gives it real, talking about what I dream of the students in the Driven youth becoming and staying.

Oh God, may they not become domesticated.

Here’s some tastebuds:

p.5 “Thje tribe of Jesus, above all people, should rightly carry the banner, ‘Forward’.”

p.15 “A barbarian invasion is taking place even right now. They are coming from the four corners of the the earth and they are numbered among the unlikely…those who are most religious will be most offended and indignant.”

p.43 “For years I have made it my mission to destroy the influence of the Christian cliche ‘The safest place to be is in the center of the will of God'”

p.45 “God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance.”

p.77 “You could put a suit on me, but underneath there would always be a savage.”

There’s lots of other stuff, ideas for new tattoos, really great understandings of Scripture, Nathaniel, Jephthah, and more.

Go. Now. But the book and read it. Trust me, the biggest books on my shelf are not the best. This book is more proof of that.