Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Launching a New Blog All About Worship

Just wanted to let all you wrestlers out there know that I started a new blog today on the subject of worship called THE RUINED.  The blog will be a bit more focused than the conversation here.  The blog will be specifically geared to those involved in leading worship whether musicians, singers or worship leaders.  So if you fit that category or know of anyone that could benefit from a conversation on that subject send them over.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On How We Believe Statements

I really appreciate all of the comments on my last post about whether or not churches should have statements of faith. I still haven’t landed on what to do for Northshore Vineyard but I did come across a site the other day that seems to get closer to the concept of a How We Believe Statement rather than simply a What We Believe Statement.

The following is the manifesto that can be found on the website for a church called Renevatus in Charlette North Carolina

We are a people under renovation. ~ We are in an ongoing process of growth, change and development. We will own up to where we are, but we won’t stay here.

We are a community of liars, dreamers, and misfits. ~ We are a house of mercy. We will advocate for broken and marginalized people everywhere, inside and outside the Church.

We are a people from the future. ~ We act in fearless conviction that the rules have changed and that we are partnering with God to make that change visible. We will not be reactionary to anything or anyone, because the apocalyptic even of resurrection has already transformed the world.

We ARE your grandmother's church. And your great-grandmother's church. And your great-great-grandmother's church. ~ We embrace continuity with the Church’s past. We seek intergenerational and cultural diversity. We will harness the classic spiritual practices and truths that transcend time and place. We are a local representation of a timeless community.

We will practice the liturgy and the primal shout. ~ We will incite worship that engages both intellect and emotion, believing that the head and heart are to be integrated and not divorced.

We will build altars in the world. ~ We will collect and tell stories. We will celebrate and honor the people, places and things that God chooses to use.

We will reach out without dumbing down. ~ We will challenge you to think hard about God, Church and culture. We will not treat you like a consumer, but as a co-conspirator in the re-imagining of the world.

We will embrace flesh and blood. ~ We believe life in the Spirit has to be lived in a body. We celebrate the Eucharist as the full expression of God’s use of flesh to accomplish His purposes. Our own bodies are now broken with His for the sake of the world.

We are not looking to escape the world, but to re-make it. ~ We believe the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it. We anticipate His kingdom coming and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We will not be done re-making the world until the final restoration of creation.
What I like about the above manifesto is that while it tells you about some of the tenants of their faith it also clues you into the way they intend on living these things out. The statement is filled with theology but in a way that also conveys personality. As far as I am concerned a statement like this is much more helpful than the typical statement of beliefs that most churches put on their web sites.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Are Distractions Such a Bad Thing For Creatives?

I’ve written and talked a lot about the practice of trying to eliminate distractions from technology and the modern world and how this is key both to the spiritual and creative life. But can there be anything good that can come from the distractions that we encounter throughout the day? Author Jonah Lerher says yes in his recent book Imagine: How Creativity Works.

Jonah Lerher has set out to study the mysterious and magical world of creativity—Where does it come from and how does it work? One of the things he discovered was that creativity happens best when there is collaboration, even when it seems random and haphazard. Sometimes when we are in the midst of trying to solve a problem or create something fresh we just get boxed in by our own small perspective. Sometimes a conversation with a friend or coworker about something entirely unrelated can get us unstuck and get the creative juices flowing again. But just because these creative accidents happen doesn’t mean that there can’t be intentionality to them. Lerher sites the Pixar Animation Studio as a great example of this:

[Steve] Jobs had completely reimagined the studio. Instead of three buildings, there was going to be a single vast space with an airy atrium at its center. “The philosophy behind this design is that it’s good to put the most important function at the heart of the building,” Catmull says. “Well, what’s our most important function? It’s the interaction of our employees. That’s why Steve put a big empty space there. He wanted to create an open area for people to always be talking to each other.” But Jobs realized that it wasn’t enough simply to create an airy atrium; he needed to force people to go there. Jobs began with the mailboxes, which he shifted to the lobby. Then he moved the meeting rooms to the center of the building, followed by the cafeteria and coffee bar and gift shop. But that still wasn’t enough, which is why Jobs eventually decided to locate the only set of bathrooms in the atrium. “At first, I thought this was the most ridiculous idea,” says Darla Anderson, an executive producer on several Pixar films. “I have to go to the bathroom every thirty minutes. I didn’t want to have to walk all the way to the atrium every time I needed to go. That’s just a waste of time. But Steve said, ‘Everybody has to run into each other.’ He really believed that the best meetings happened by accident, in the hallway or parking lot. And you know what? He was right. I get more done having a bowl of cereal and striking up a conversation or walking to the bathroom and running into unexpected people than I do sitting at my desk.” Brad Bird, the director of The Incredibles and Ratatouille, agrees: “The atrium initially might seem like a waste of space . . . But Steve realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact,
things happen. So he made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.”

I found this same phenomenon to be true when I worked at the Kenner Vineyard. Once or twice a week I would stop by a coworker’s office or bump into someone before I was leaving. Frequently I would find myself in conversations that would take 30 minutes to an hour. Conventional wisdom would say that these kinds of conversation are a waste of time, yet for me they became powerful ways to unlock my creativity, to get me unstuck. Nowadays I work a job from home so my interaction with others has to be a priority. I try to be disciplined about making time in my schedule for conversations on the phone, lunch or coffee with a friend. Not only am I better off by staying connected with others but my creativity stays much more vibrant as a result of the intentional accidental encounters with others from day to day.

What do you think of this approach to creativity?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When God Talks Back to the Evangelical Church

NPR's program Fresh Air featured an interview with anthropologist Tanya Lerhmann who did a study on the evangelical concept of having a relationship with God. Her study focused primarily on a Vineyard church in Chicago as well as another Vineyard church in California. I found this interview fascinating as it gives an outsider's take on prayer and relationship with God. During her months studying the Vineyard she said that on a few occasions she experienced God herself, though she is not quite sure what she even means by that. Check out the segment, WHEN GOD TALKS BACK TO THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH