Monday, April 30, 2007

The People Formerly Known As....

I recently referenced a conversation happening in the blogosphere that I've been tracking, and I just wanted to update and let y'all know that it's still going on. It began with Bill Kinnon's piece titled The People Formerly Known as the Congregation, and has expanded to 11 parts now. I believe it's a valid and important critique of the church, especially in North America, but also continues to affirm the importance of it, although perhaps in a changed way. So here's a brief rundown of where the thread stands....

Part 1:  Bill KinnonThe People Formerly Known as the Congregation

Part 2:  Emerging GraceThe Underlying Issues

Part 3: Jamie Arpin-Ricci - We are the Community Coming to be Known as Missional (He's continued thinking through this original post in a 3 part series here, here and here. Also, check out David Fitch's related post titled Why Missional Community is More Difficult)

Part 4: John Frye - The People Formerly Known as the Pastor

Part 5: Greg Laughery - The Exodus Church (Part 2) (He's also expanded with parts 3 and 4)

Part 6:  Heidi Daniels - The Girl Formerly Known as a "Normal" Christian 

Part 7: Lyn Hallewell - The Women Formerly Known as the Pastor's Wife

Part 8:  Mike Daniels - A Former Footsoldier of the 'Christian Right'

Part 9: We are the Prodigals

Part 10: Brother Maynard - The People Formerly Silent

Part 11: Paul Mayers - The People Known As Christians

If you get a moment, check out Bill's site, Achievable Ends, for more great comments and thoughts. Also, the technorati thread is here if you want to read more...


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Finally, the break

Well, the last week of members meetings was, as expected, out of control busy with everything that we anticipated as well as lots of challenges that we didn't.  We all survived, and I think it went well. Meeting the members that I've heard about from all of the different branches was wonderful, and I really enjoyed getting to talk to people at meals, as well as attending a lecture given by Dick Keyes. He also spoke at the chapel service on Sunday, which was a really fantastic time of prayer and praise together. Sunday evening, Bellevue hosted a high tea which we'd been busily cooking for since Saturday, and we had an amazing spread.

           Tara and Kay                                         Me and Mom


A fruit plate from the dessert table, which was also full of chocolate, pineapple & carrot cakes, lemon meringue pie, and other yumminess



On Tuesday the members left, and we spent the day cleaning Bellevue (again) and then had a fondue dinner with the helpers before they all headed off for Spain, weary and in need of a rest. On Wednesday Karryn, Mom and I went up to Solalex, spread out our blankets, and read and napped by the river for a few hours. It was a lovely day and a beautiful spot to recoup. This morning was incredibly leisurely. We just sat on the balcony and read for ages, then hiked up to Villars for lunch at La Gourmandine. MmmmCrepes. As soon as we started back down, it started raining, so we raced down death hill and back to the dry land of my apartment. I'm kind of grateful for the wet, overcast time this afternoon, as it gives us a good excuse to curl up with a book and do some more relaxin'. Which I think I'll begin right now. I'll leave you with a couple of pics from our walk this afternoon...
















Friday, April 20, 2007

Members and Mothers

So, the frenzy of preparing for the members meeting is over and the meetings themselves have begun. We cleaned Bellevue on Monday, members began arriving Tuesday and meetings began Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, my mom arrived for her visit, which has been fantastic. I've been able to take Wednesday and Thursday pretty easy, spending time walking, shopping, and laying in the sun with my momma (gorgeous, gorgeous days right now). Can't complain a bit.

Today begins the move back into 'real life', with the next 4 days full of shopping (the dull kind - groceries) and cooking for everyone. I'm eagerly anticipating the time with Mom in the kitchen, though. This time together is such a treat!

All that to say, the updates will likely be sporadic this week as we continue to test the boundaries of Bellevue's capabilities. Again, if you think of it for the next several days, please do say a prayer for Kay as she manages this circus, for the members who are meeting intensely, and for all of us for energy and grace in hospitality. Thanks!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Character Formation

April (as she is wont to do) has posted another thought provoking question on her blog. The gist: Does your character define your actions, or do your actions define your character? If you get a chance, pop over to her original post here and her follow-up here and post your thoughts. I'd be interested to read other folks' ideas on the subject.


Monday, April 16, 2007

It's over... but just beginning

Well, the term has just ended, and it's been a helluva week. Craziness from start to finish.

The final countdown began in earnest on Saturday evening, with about 10 of us in the kitchen preparing dinner (pizza) and about 9 different things to cover Bellevue's contribution to the final high tea smorgasbord. I made chocolate meringue pies, which is always exciting because I only do it for final high teas and it's one of my very favorite desserts.  Mmmmm. The stress finally got to a few on our crew, and we ended with a giant, floury bang.

                 Jesse & Kay                                         Charlotte & Stephen

I have to include the next pictures, because (as those of you who have been here well know) they are so very indicative of the way Bellevue functions. Prior to the flour fight, Stephen was busily weed-eating (or whipper-snippering, if you ask Karryn), and the machine broke. So of course, he attempted to fix it. Using packing tape. Below is the 'fixed' tool, and then another shot about 2 minutes later.

On Sunday after chapel, everyone gathered in Bellevue for food, ping-pong and performances by our unbelievably talented students. We had everything from Nate reading a story he wrote about his life in the Adirondacks, Tim & Clay doing a bizarre skit about cowboys and indians, Julian and Matt seranading us, and the list goes on. We ended with a slide show put together by Tori, Madeline & Jessica (after about an hour or so of technical difficulties. Every time, this happens. Long live PC people!) which was absolutely fantastic. Oh, and Josh & Madeline put together a little techno song (listen here) on which you can here many beloved l'abri voices and catch phrases.

The Day In Photos (Much Abridged)


Preparations under way (Jason - Amelia, Me, Kay)


Madeline and Clay supping in the great outdoors. What an amazing afternoon....






Charlotte & Nate showing their French skills  -  Julian on guitar


Clay and Tim's skit  - Vincent and Jason intruducing...

the piece de resistance. a neo-expressionist Polish performace piece with Vincent on piano and Jason (aka Sasha Veranova) prancing. See the video below...

Today we spent the entire day cleaning Bellevue, preparing to greet the members who will begin arriving tomorrow for their annual meeting. We're all about three steps past exhausted, and I know the next week will be another full-on experience, so if you think of it, pray for those of us who will be doing all of the background cooking, cleaning and generally making sure things work smoothly - as well as the members themselves, as they meet and discuss the work of l'abri as a whole. And now, back to the kitchen to prepare raclette for our helper dinner. Sayonara, y'all. 



Saturday, April 14, 2007

Some Powerful Knitting

Sometimes, I just stumble upon the most random things. This is one of artist Dave Cole's large projects, using excavators and 20 foot knitting needles to create an American flag. Most of his art is built around knitting with all sorts of strange materials. For example, a gigantic teddy bear using fiberglass insulation, a baby blanket composed of spun ceramic, and a cap made of steel wool. Personally, my hands get a little testy after prolonged knitting with acrylic yarn... I'm not sure how he handles this stuff.


Friday, April 13, 2007

A Question For Y'all

So, say you know someone who is a real schmuck. And then you find out that they are going through something extremely difficult. So the next time you see them, you greet them with a smile, feeling e'er so sympathetic and ready to just smother them in good Christian love. And then they speak. You're taken aback, but continue the conversation, just certain that this trial they are enduring will somehow require them to show at least some small chink in the ego they so proudly adorn themself with. And then they speak again. And you realize: Nope, still a schmuck.

So what are the requirements of love here? Does one have to somehow overcome believing that someone is a schmuck in order to show true loving kindness? If you know someone needs help, are you somehow obligated to offer it, even if being around them sets your teeth on edge? And reach out to them, knowing that they've alienated most of the people in the vicinity and are probably (somewhere deep, deep inside) feeling alone? Or is kindness just backing away slowly, knowing that with your lack of control over your tongue, you may just do more harm than good? Thoughts?


Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Votes Are In

A Generous Orthodoxy

For our book discussion, we'll be doing Brian McLaren's book titled A Generous Orthodoxy. I'll post something on the first chapter on May 1st. Hopefully that is enough time for everyone to get the book and read a chapter. If not, holler. Then everyone can comment on it, and we'll see what kind of dialogue we can get going. I'm looking forward to this meeting of the minds! (By the way, the doors are open. Anyone interested in participating is absolutely welcome.)


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Arthur and George

Arthur & George

I just finished reading Arthur & George by Julian Barnes. Or, to be more accurate, I just finished listening to it. Does that count? I figure knitting + audiobooks = a more literate Jasie + more fun socks. At any rate...

It is a novelization of the true story of Arthur Conan Doyle's involvement in the case of George Edalji in England at the turn of the century. George, a 'half-breed' son of a Parsi father and Scottish mother, finds himself in the center of a community scandal, unjustly accused of mutilating livestock in the area. At once exceedingly intelligent and exceedingly naive he is convinced that the inevitable outcome of the case will be his declared innocence. Not so.

 As time progresses and George is released from his imprisonment, he appeals to Arthur, the famous author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, for aid in his vindication. (Random yet interesting fact: he was an eye doctor first - but perhaps not a very good one. The empty waiting room in his office was what gave him time to write.) The two characters couldn't be more different; George is shy, bookish, and reserved while Arthur is garrulous, passionate, and somewhat ostentatious. George simply wants to return to practicing law, while Arthur is out to make a splash and garner headlines. Happily, Arthur's tactics offer an effective means to George's end. They rarely interact directly with each other, but prove to be well matched as they pursue justice in George's case. Justice that is never completely found for him, but may hopefully found to a greater degree for others because of him. (Trying not to give anything away, here)

The mystery of the case keeps you interested, but it is the characters that really draw you in. I was particularly intrigued by the portrayal of Arthur Conan Doyle as he journeyed through key changes personally, vocationally, romantically and spiritually. Spiritually he moved from Christianity to agnosticism, and then finally embraced Spiritualism, a religion I don't know much about, but from what I could gather seemed like a religious extension of Darwinian thought, and is practiced primarily with seances and mediums and table talk from beyond the grave. The account of his funeral was really interesting. Mostly because he attended.

A good read. If you like historical fiction, and novels more about characters than lots of action, this is one to add to your list.


Preoccupied With Sex Much?

I just checked the Health & Science section of the IHT today, and had to laugh to discover that 6 of the 10 top articles deal with sex. A breakdown for those amused by the absurdity of the news and the misplaced priorities of, well, most of us...

Also featured...


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Blog Worth Reading

Jamie Arpin-Ricci, whose blog I happily stumbled upon after his post on The Community Coming to be Known as Missional, has an essay on his site titled Homosexuality: A Personal Reflection. Homosexuality is such a hot topic that generates all manner of ill will, and I think he does a beautiful job of balancing orthodoxy and orthopraxy, and sets the discussion within the context of his own journey, personalizing it and not allowing the reader the luxury of impersonal interaction with an abstract idea. It's definitely worth a moment of your time to read.

Also worth reading: Slaves, Women and Homosexuals by William Webb


Monday, April 09, 2007

Formerly Known As...

There's a conversation happening that I've been eavesdropping on, and I thought I'd post some links here. It's definitely worth a read, and I thought some of my fellow lurkers might like to track it...

Bill Kinnon wrote a piece called The People Formerly Known as the Congregation, a terrific synopsis of what so many are railing against in the church. It was followed by Emerging Grace's defining of some of the underlying issues. Jamie Arpinn-Ricci then responded with We are the Community Coming to be Known as Missional. Finally, from the pulpit of John Frye came The People Formerly Known as the Pastor. Greg, who many of you know and love, has also posted on the topic, and his thoughts are always worth hearing.


Easter High Tea

I hosted high tea this Sunday, and after a dinner of veggie pot pie we had a contest in which everyone split into teams and created their own fabulous Easter cake for dessert. Then Tori played judge and jury, awarding a Swiss chocolate bunny to the winners. And they say Easter has been commercialized...





Julian preparing to frost







Gwen and team preparing a replica of the Dent du Midi






Tara, Tim and Steffi with their model of Huemoz (spelled phonetically on the barn. My team!)






Tori and Stephen, creating an homage to that spectacular film, Dante's Peak





Julian, Madeline, Matt and Josh VW with their pink train wreck (for some reason, several of the cakes featured carnage...)




Top: A pig, and the Dent du Midi complete with climbers, rapellers... and trolls on mushrooms.

Middle: Tori's pet fish, Pepito, which she is balancing on her head (a feat she often performs around Bellevue)

Bottom: The train wreck, a Swiss flag, and the replica of Huemoz, with barn and cow






Gwen and Tara, experiencing the after-effects of a serious sugar rush




Gwen, Tara and I (with Stephen in the background, still campaigning after suffering defeat to the Swiss flag)


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Prayer for Easter Sunday

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord's resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

Happy Easter, y'all!


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Luz is Funny...

Luz just posted a project for her printing class portfolio on her blog called Cliché(d). Check it out...


What Would Jesus Really Do?

There's a great article by Roland Martin on CNN titled What Would Jesus Really Do? (HT: Ready to Grow) It's a good reminder of the broader Christian mission...

As we celebrate Holy Week, our focus is on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But aren't we also to recommit ourselves to live more like Jesus? Did Jesus spend his time focusing on all that he didn't like, or did Jesus raise the consciousness of the people to understand love, compassion and teach them about following the will of God?


Prayer for Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen


Friday, April 06, 2007

Lessons of Dred Scott

In the IHT today, there is an opinion piece on the lessons of Dred Scott, a supreme court case in 1857 which shamefully concluded that blacks had "no rights which the white man was bound to respect". The authors point out that since then, while we may want to think the country has been moving continuously towards racial harmony and equality, the reality has been more of an ebb and flow.

Yes, blacks were granted the right to vote in 1868. Then, poll taxes and intimidation kept most from exercising that right, particularly in the South, before 1964. Today, one in 12 blacks has been stripped of the right to vote because of laws denying this basic privilege to people convicted of a felony. Increasing voter identification requirements recently passed in several states will likely further suppress the votes cast by people of color there.

Yes, Brown legally abolished the odious "separate but equal" schools. However, since the 1980s, schools for Latino and black students have grown more segregated as federal courts chipped away at the legal foundation supporting desegregation. This spring, the Supreme Court may even outlaw locally crafted voluntary measures designed to prevent segregation, rending the promise of the Brown ruling a fatal blow.

 Whether or not there is agreement on issues of convicted felons voting, etc. as means of enforcing discrimination (and I would urge us all to think about the foundations of our system - whether or not we are 'personally responsible', we (the WASPy ones) definitely benefit.) I believe it is crucial to ruminate on what we as a society are doing - or not doing - to move the reality closer to the ideal most of us profess to share. After all,

The questions at the heart of the Dred Scott case - about citizenship, belonging and participation - remain unresolved. As we Americans stand at a crossroads, challenged by threats abroad and within, we, like the Supreme Court in 1857, risk being blinded by our own cultural assumptions. These threaten the admirable gains we have made during the past century and a half. We must not lose sight of the context that not only enabled the Dred Scott decision in 1857, but led far too many members of the public to view the decision as sensible and right.


Prayer for Good Friday

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Prayer for Thursday

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen


Congratulations, Jeff and Jen!


Sadly, I missed the wedding, but at least Josh posted tons of photos on flickr. Congratulations, guys, I wish I could have been there to celebrate with you. Sounds like it was a rollicking good time.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Prayer for Wednesday

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Book Club, Anyone?

So, I'm thinking it would be fun to start a book club here on the blog. If you would be interested in doing something like this, please leave a comment on this post. If people are interested, I'll post a poll listing a few titles that may be good (and again, if you have suggestions, please comment here), and whichever book gets the most votes after a week wins the golden banana. Then (probably in May, for the sake of time to get the book & read a chapter) I can post weekly (or bi-weekly, depending on the density of the volume) on a chapter, and we'll take a week to comment/discuss it. No time or place to meet, just a leisurely conversation. Any takers?


Prayer for Tuesday

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen


Monday, April 02, 2007

Prayer For Monday

It's Holy Week, and I think I'll post the prayer from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer each day of it, as we meditate on this final week in the life of Christ.

Almighty God,  whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ripping from the Headlines

Lately, I've been posting articles that I've come across in my meanderings through the web. This could easily become a daily habit, as my first notion upon finding something interesting is to share it, assuming that others will find it equally interesting. This may or may not be true. So, in the interest of my (few but wonderful) readers, I'm putting a poll on the left bar of the blog for the next few weeks, where you can cast your vote. I won't promise to stop doing it just because the majority find it boring, but I can at least maybe limit it.

That said, a couple of things I found this morning... ;)

  • In a shockingly Orwellian move of revisionist history, Japan's Ministry of Education has ordered the alteration of high school textbooks, eliminating references to the army ordered mass suicides of civilians during the battle of Okinawa in World War II.
  • Less shockingly, the nations expected to carry the brunt of the consequences of global warming are the poorest, and least responsible for the problem.
  • Joan Walsh has a couple of opinion pieces about the My Sweet Lord exhibit that are worth reading. A summary...

It's not gory or sadomasochistic or pornographic, as Donohue's headline suggested. Chances are Jesus was naked when he was crucified, although most Catholic iconography shows him draped with cloth. The real issue seems to be depicting a chocolate Jesus, which to me slyly plays on the near-certainty that Jesus was more chocolate-colored than the vanilla man depicted in Western church art, as well as the commercialization of Easter, in which most Christians eat yummy chocolate eggs and bunnies rather than ponder the troubling mysteries of Christ's life and death.

  • (Saint?) John Paul II may have cured a nun in France of Parkinson's disease - two months after his demise.
  • It's hardly news, but this article details some of the struggles young women are facing under the immense pressure to be smart, athletic, talented, and well, hot. After all, "If you are free to be everything, you are also expected to be everything."


Bud Cummins Speaks Out

Bud Cummins, one of the U.S. Attorneys recently dismissed in the latest Bush administration scandal, has written a piece on Salon. A large part of his concern in this whole debacle is the effect it will have on the credibility of the Justice Department.

Being credible is like being pregnant -- you either are, or you aren't. If someone says they "kind of" believe what you say, they are really calling you a liar. Once you have given the public a reason to believe some of your decisions are improperly motivated, then they are going to question every decision you have made, or will make in the future. That is a natural and predictable phenomenon.

If people can no longer trust the judicial system and constantly suspect (to an even greater degree - I think most would agree that full trust is dead, if it ever lived) political motivation in prosecution, it will further muck up an already dysfunctional system. As proven here. Sigh.