Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Family always worths more

It is already Wednesday and I should not miss the opportunity to talk about couple’s retreat I attended last weekend. I have been writing a lot of my search for being a Jesus disciple here and now, but a great issue of that is regarding being family.
This was my first couple’s retreat after 11 years of marriage, I returned very glad for reflecting especially what it means being couple and being family.
We reflected about the liquid mind of today’s world, when you are what you consume. Consumerism have weakened the idea of conquest, as long as when you get things so easily, the feeling of preparing yourself for a travel, for a house and even for a marriage, has been made conquering not meaningful enough. For instance, when you prepare yourself for a travel to Europe, each month worths and the travel really became a dream fulfilled, but when you decide to go to Europe next week even sharing payments for next months, travel will not be as meaningful. When you know a girl and next night you can sex with her, where is the conquest? That is why liquidness of thinking today is a great hazard for the steadiness of marriage.
By marriage God gives the opportunity to be one, the closer experience we get of oneness that He have with Jesus and Holy Spirit, a great blessing, a blessing that worths investment not for the sake of marriage, but for strengthen spiritual experience with God.
The liquidity of today’s mind have hardened hearts as long as people start thinking a lot about yourself and lacks the opportunity to love, it causes people unlearning love and weaks their capability to love and share, that is why our marriage begins to be a great witness of the power and blessing of God for us.
With “New Way to Be Human” discussions, we’ve been talked about God purposing the way to be human, in this matter, purposed marriage, man and woman leaving their parents and becoming one, and all through Bible we learn how to have a very balanced marriage by love and submission. As long as man (or woman) starts to think more about himself and define his own way to drive his life, his marriage lacks the balance and his hearts starts to hard and marriage gets hazarded. This is where sin grows and life in earth becomes poorer.
I am not defending marriage for itself, as the institution that must remains, but the way of God allowed us to feel how can we be one. And how nice it is.
The theme of our retreat was more than appropriate: The Family always worths more, and I am confident of it.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Reimagining community

I have just finished to read Reimagining Spiritual Formation, I was very pleased to be presented to Solomon Porch Community. Their description about their values and the journals of some members made me feel presented to them.
I sympathize with author’s uncomfort about doing church today with yesterday mind, I also think that I could not stand with regular church expression for 10 years, mainly here in São Paulo we still have a great need of new kind of Christian expressions that fit to our reality today (faith is the same, expressions may change).
I don’t know if I could get along with this community very well, but, as I have already told, I appreciated their efforts to find a community approach instead of applying today’s regular churching approach which somewhat are close to marketing and business administration. This effort made me think about how authentic I was when I used to ministry in church.
I have reinforced some general conceptions with this book. I am glad to find a community like SP that found their own life, and set their own history and personality, it is good SP reimagined how they would go and maintained a great respect for what have done in christian history, that is a very good example.
I am a lot eager to start a new history with a new community here; sometimes I think I have everything ready in my mind to apply in a new community, which is a great mistake. Though we must have very defined values to drive a community direction, community itself will set the path as long as needs and gifts show up.
This path will be better set if communities dare to create their own patterns. I think people are usually very lazy to discover their own path, they see examples and instead of getting principles, they read that as how-to-do church, applying models that fit another reality. That is why we have some good examples and lots of bad copies of these examples.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Monday Investigation

Here's a new meme purposed by Rick Stilwell
1) Who was the first person you talked to this morning?
Andre, my former trainee, talking about weekend

2) What was the first thing you saw this morning?

My clock-radio

3) Where was the first place you went in a car today?
To office

4) When was your first phone call this morning?
My wife, as usual I call her when I got office

5) How did you decide what to wear?
I like blue, but I try not to wear one my blue shirts everyday, today was yellow shirt time.

It is not business... It is gospel

I read an article from Mark Priddy at Ooze "It's not business... it's the gospel", and I think he went deeper when I talk about Marketing and Church, he described a mind of marketers trying to sell church. As I were reading his attempts to make a campaign for the Gospel I sensed what he concluded later, a pure reducionism of the Gospel.
Thinking about making an ad campaign to bring more customers to church, and improve services to make them repeated customers, make me think that sooner we will not have the same gospel, this because these customers will change for a new one as soon as customers find a improved version of this, they will change them as they do at market. Churches will have to launch a better version later.
It is reducionism! As if following Jesus words were not enough.
I am reading the book about Solomon Porch, and I am appreciating all efforts from Doug Pagitt and his community to run out of all marketing attempts we have in church and exploring community and gospel for themself, it seemed more authentic.
When I was studying business administration university, I ever related all classes I was learning to church, I am the type of applying everything I read and do to the Kingdom, but seeing all exaggerations, I can conclude that Jesus brings much better solutions than Kotler.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The end of an era

Our couch prior to its ending years, my wife back staring at our beautiful sunset Posted by Hello
It was one of our great attractions of our beginning life together and supported very well the first for years of Maria Ester, it is our couch.
It was like a trademark of our house to our first visitors, some people thought that it was like a mania because I had also at that time striped bermuda and two other striped polos, we even received a blue striped toilet gift.
After all its glamour, last years were very hard with it, the first years of kidding from Maria Ester and its aging made it too unconfortable.
Well, our blue striped couch era is over and its days are counted, we have recently ordered a new couch, but we will miss it.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

NWTBH ch2 - The jazz of God

"When the "personal Savior" story gets mixed together with individualism and consumerism, a nasty liaison is born... This unfortunate triad has led many to a highly subjective spirituality, one scarcely able to attract or sustain interest in people who interact with it."
"The goal of a student-follower of Jesus is to live as a knowledgeable active participant in the Kingdom agenda of God... This knowledge is carried across time in every generation by a people of long memory. It's Art and Story, It's the jazz of God that Jesus stepped into- it's the people and place"

When I read "New Kind of Christian" I got impressed with the idea about accepting Jesus as your "personal savior" might be an sales approach to evangelism, afterall this idea is not based biblically, we are called to believe Jesus is our savior, not to receive him as "personal", as if salvation is a thing we can buy. Since them I have been reflected about ideas we have accepted but not confirmed them on what Jesus told. When we take salvation too personal, we could wait for Jesus Christ comming while God called us to a vivid life that begins from now on.
This chapter talks about a people that begin they journey at the wrong place, we accept Jesus Christ as personal, start to live a very individual spirituality and didn't realized that we are making part of a greater History, the history of God.
I agree that the lack of a communal story might be the source of a Christianism that did not reflected to a world so better, we hard realize that we are participating into a greater history and frequently we are found frustrated in our activism to entertain people in our communities, while the intention of our actions should be so higher.
That is a very nice call, a call to participate of what God is doing, a call to the abundant life.

Friday, October 08, 2004

NWTBH ch 1 - Parachute epiphanies

In first chapter we are called to a epiphany, as I saw in Rick's blog, this word may be a little unused in US too, I understood that as a revelation of God.
According to author, if you try to explain all reality according to all you know it will be like a guy explaining the earth from the window of a plane, If you want to know what is reality, you should get your parachute and jump, fell the wind, the sun etc.
It is, there is so much to be known about God, but you will really go far walking with Jesus. It is a hard task to pretend you are sure of God after studying all Bible, we don't know what kind of subjectivity you have in your assurance, thought you have got the right source, the Bible has the source, the true about Jesus, but it is just the beggining, but you can know the must by your life with God.

"Christian folk have often claimed to know too much. We've been guilty of speaking with far too much certainty... They load you up with words, propositions, assertions, and aculturated behaviors, and then send you out as some sort of fleshy trump card to the gazillion other cards in the human deck - an agent of the gospel in the soul-saving business"
"The best we can do is (1) make a confession, and (2) offer an invitation. One, we confess we have a starting place for looking at life... Two, we invite you to come over and stand where we're standing at the starting place of who and what we're sure of -Jesus"

With this I can remember two texts in the Bible:
"Jesus' disciples saw him do many other miraculous signs besides the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life" John 20:30-31
"I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes" Job 42:5

Knowledge of God will not come so much from the books you read and the simposiums you assist, but rather living with Him and living with those who live with him.

Blogging University

I have found in e-vangelism a link to Rob Williams blog who patiently structured a kind of blogging university course, nice to see how I am doing in my blog and to learning a lot, see the classes:
Blogging 100:Prerequesites
Blogging 101:
Blogging 102: HTML Code
Blogging 201: Posting Photos
Blogging 202: Publishing
Blogging 301: Marketing
Blogging 302: Webstats
Blogging 401: Template Tweaks
Blogging 402: Ettiquete

Monday, October 04, 2004

One year posting!

A year ago I started to mantain a portuguese blog trying to make an Check list to live like Jesus today, with a great influence of emerging communities I have been trying to leverage this kind of discussion in Brazil.
With inspiration of other good blogs I believe I have been growing a lot and I am so happy to know lots of good people in Brazil as abroad that help me in this journey. With the presence of so much people abroad I started to post also in english to share my journey here in Brazil and to get company in these hard task to walk in Christ.
I thoough about blogging as an interlude between a very active time ministring to youths and teenagers in my former church and a moment I expect so much to be back to the game, but all these posts have been a good sign of where I am going where I may be going and to try to express authenticity. I hope to blessed you in all these moments in inspite of all the dreams, mistakes and contradictions expressed.
To all that have comment to all that have encouraged me with your thoughts and presence, thank you very much!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

New Way to be Human - Prologue

We are close to start discussions about New Way to be Human, from Charlie Peacock, I believe this kind of experience of discussing a book will be a lot worth, as long as you get experiences from other backgrounds, you get great opportunities to learn and grow, even more because people there are very cool.
I will try to share something as long as we will go through the book, here some sharings about Prologue:
I liked some definitions Peacock started to make in this prologue, my
everyday challenge comes when you talk about intentionality,
("The new way to be human is about the reality of God ans his ways. It's about stepping into the Story of God-people-and-place with intentionality")
I think we have to be too strong with our intentionality when day by day comes with their demands and distract you from the main purpose.
I think our deeper challenge is to be subverted by Jesus will quoting:
"Jesus did not come to start a new religion. He did not come to create a two-hour-on-Sunday parasite culture that pious people can stick on the side of their otherwise busy lives. Jesus came to subvert every aspect of life and culture with the relational Word and will of God- what he annouced as the kingdom... Following Jesus faithfully means seeing to it that all of these areas in our lives are subverted by the kingdom and rebuilt in the new way"

Tomorrow we will start discussions from Chapter 1 on, the link for our group is here: Rambling Reader

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Is it all Marketing?

After being at a Christian fair, I have been thinking more about Marketing.
First, thinking in our political campaign (Sunday we will have municipal elections) we have been exposed to a very hard campaign at TV, every elections parties have free time in TV, and political campaign does not mean purposes anymore, it means now disonest manupulated information, I am fortunate to have cable TV, because parties ads became very agressives, sometimes I zapped open TV to see some councilor candidates that were very fun!
At church, we have ever some marketing iniciated man that starts to tell that Salvation is our product and the visitors are our customers (Arghhhh!). As we had in the Christian fair, it seems that Church became a very big market. Too bad!
I think yet that marketing brings us good tools to be used today, I remember Leonard Sweet telling that "POP culture today plays the same importance that Romans streets played at the early church", I think marketing can help us very much in the meaning of communication, I saw excelent examples thought all those examples they know that marketing will be the least. Community is everything, not marketing.