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Archive for February, 2008

Heading to France

Steve’s off to Sondernach, France for a ministry conference. So probably no posts and no comments moderated for a few days. Our whole family was going to go, but Caleb caught the fever Zachary had last week. That means Shannon and Laurel won’t be able to join us. Joe hasn’t had the bug yet, so we’re leaving him home as a precautionary measure. That leaves just me and Zach (21 months) for a little father son road trip. I took Caleb on a road trip (for a Scrabble tournament) when he was a toddler too. It was quite an adventure. He was only 15 months old. Please pray we both stay healthy and sane. Six hours on the German autobahn here we come – got my podcasts updated for me and Sesame Street DVD’s for Zach.

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Yeah, I’m White

Stuff White People Like – I found this blog amusing and in some places absolutely dead on target. For myself, the posts on Recycling, Public Radio (I love “This American Life” and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”), Marathons and Apple Products were particularly squirm-worthy and chuckle-inducing. Some of the posts are a little crass. If you find the site at all offensive, you should probably avoid the comments. Many of them are in the vein “This isn’t really stuff white people like, it’s stuff upper middle-class liberal white people like,” which I think is a pretty fair critique. The rest of the comments generally oscillate between “you nailed it!” and “you are a racist” – usually with much more colorful words.

So the obvious questions: Is this site racist? Does the ethnicity of the author effect your answer? Is it funny? Are you OK with that?

And as a random aside, the site uses the same WordPress theme as Logomanikos. So is “Mistylook” a white theme?

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This article dovetails nicely with the “Recovering Evangelical” post I just wrote. Unlike the author, I tend to avoid confrontation on these issues, so the conflicts I feel are more internal than external. My blog is actually a step towards bringing some of those buried conflicts out into the light and working them out, even if it results in “real world” conflict.

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New to Blogging?

Just in case you’ve never read, written or participated in a blog before, here’s some quick info to get you going. Clicking on highlighted word(s) will take you to another website in a new window. The following links are wonderful primers written for absolute beginners (which I was about two months ago):

  • What is a blog? (Great introduction – you can skip the beginning quotes)
  • What is an RSS feed? (How to subscribe, what’s a feed reader, etc.)
  • What if I want to start a blog?

If you’ve never heard of a feed reader (or aggregator) – definitely go to the RSS link above. The video at the bottom of the page is great. It could totally revolutionize the way you use the internet. I’m not kidding. Here’s the reader I use (Google). Here is another great blog about how to do a blog and a list of other such sites.

    As far as I’m concerned, the most important thing you need to know about blogs is that they are a forum for two-way conversation. I hope some of the stuff I write inspires, encourages or entertains people, or just makes them think. But I also write to hear back from others on what I have to say, especially if you have a different take from mine. If you want to leave a comment about any of my posts, just click on the words “No Comment” or “2 Comments” or whatever at the bottom of the post. You can comment anonymously if you want; write down any name you want to – only I will see your email address. You do not have to create a wordpress account or log in to leave a comment.

    If you want to follow Logomanikos regularly:

    • Click here to subscribe to email updates
    • Subscribe to RSS feed by clicking the little orange icon in the upper right corner of this page (and maybe also in your browser address bar).

    Techies, if you’ve read this far – quit snickering, not everyone is as cyber-savvy as you are.

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    A couple years ago, my friend Jeff introduced himself at a ministry staff conference as, among other things, a “recovering Evangelical.” Now I actually have no idea if what he meant by that phrase is anything like my thoughts in this post, but those two words resonated deeply with me, and have stuck with me for two years since. I privately adopted them as my own. I believe they concisely describe how God has transformed my mind and soul during the past few years. So much so, that I included those words in my “Meet Steve” page. I’ve felt self-conscious about actually typing them and posting that page ever since. I’ve thought more than once about about deleting those two little words, but every time, I felt that they were too honest and too much a part of what this blog will be all about to remove them. However, the mere existence of those two words without further explanation has been the single thing that has kept me from widely advertising my blog during its first two months. I’ve had visions of parents and pastors and supervisors and (gulp) donors reading those words and wringing their hands and wondering if I’m losing my faith or whether they can trust me to teach their kids or (gulp) if they can continue to support our ministry. I have in fact already gotten an email asking about that phrase. What do you mean by “recovering Evangelical” anyway? The phrase may be concise, but it’s also a bit ambiguous; it’s time to expound and clarify. (more…)

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    Another Nouwen quote that really rung my bell today:

    O Lord, thinking about you, being fascinated with theological ideas and discussions, being excited about histories of Christian spirituality and stimulated by thoughts and ideas about prayer and meditation, all of this can be as much an expression of greed as the unruly desire for food, possessions, or power.

    Every day I see again that only you can teach me to pray, only you can set my heart at rest, only you can let me dwell in your presence. No book, no idea [including this one], no concept or theory will ever bring me close to you unless you yourself are the one who lets these instruments become the way to you. – Henri Nouwen, A Cry for Mercy

    If/when I go to seminary, I think I need to print out this prayer and laminate it and put it on or over my desk. Just listened to a Rob Bell sermon today (Jan 27th on the link) that reinforced the idea that there is a difference between knowing something with your mind and really knowing something with your heart, soul, and life. I love it when God let’s me hear something twice in one day from two different sources.

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    Grief

    I finished Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son today. This passage on grief really resonated with me:

    It might sound strange to consider grief a way to compassion. But it is. Grief asks me to allow the sins of the world – my own included – to pierce my heart and make me shed tears, many tears, for them. There is no compassion without many tears. If they can’t be tears that stream from my eyes, they have to be at least tears that well up from my heart. When I consider the immense waywardness of God’s children, our lust, our greed, our violence, our anger, our resentment, and when I look at them through the eyes of God’s heart, I cannot but weep and cry out in grief…This grieving is praying. There are so few mourners left in this world. But grief is the discipline of the heart that sees the sin of the world, and knows itself to be the sorrowful price of freedom without which love cannot bloom. I am beginning to see that much of praying is grieving.

    nouwen.jpgShannon and I had the opportunity to experience grief this week when we were invited into a tragedy of a good friend. I think so recently feeling real personal grief conditioned me to also feel the grief of sin and brokenness that Nouwen describes here. I never thought about the idea of grief being either a spiritual discipline or a ministry before, but I believe I begin to see what he means. This is a great book. If you’ve never read anything from Henri Nouwen, you should.

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