"awkward side hug"

Types of Exclusion

Michael DeFazio was a former high school student at a church I served in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Thankfully I was the middle school minister, because even back then Michael was much smarter than me.  Currently Michael is on staff at Real Life Church in Valencia, CA, serving as their Life Groups Area Pastor.  Needless to say I’m proud of this young man.  God has took hold of his life, and Michael grabbed hold of God’s mission, and both have been faithful.


Last week Michael posted some thoughts from a book he’s reading on his blog that I thought I’d share.


Michael is reading a book entitled Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf.   Michael wrote that the book is slightly over his head for his first reading of it, so I know it’s probably not a book for me.  It probably doesn’t even have pictures.


In the book Miroslav Volf describes several reasons why exclude others. Michael summaries that we refuse to even accept some human beings as human beings, because we see them precisely as others.  Here are a few ways by which we exclude:


Exclusion as elimination – because you are different from us/me I will not allow you to survive; as in actual cases of ethnic cleansing, or, on a smaller scale, murder.

Exclusion as assimilation – you can survive and even thrive so long as you become like us/me; you can keep your life if you give up your identity.

Exclusion as domination – you can remain, but only as long as you stay in your place, which is beneath us/me; we see this in classism.

Exclusion as abandonment – you can remain but I will act like you are not there; this is the case in much of the two-thirds world, which we rarely really see.


Outside of the first exclusion we often see these in the high school expereince.  If adults were more honest we would possibly admit to feeling these exlusions in our own environments, or that we participate in excluded others in these manners. 


I suppose the thoughts that need to be wrestled with in light of this would be why do I exclude and how can better process my interaction with others on an individual level so that I more accurately demonstrate the love of God.




Youth: The Mindset of Today's College Freshman

The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2013

Each year since 1998 professors at Beloit College have created a list of cultural touchstones to help serve as a reminder to the college staff about the mindset of the students they will engage with. 

Each year since 1998 youth pastors have been paying attention to this list.

Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1991.

Below are some highlights that I found interesting.

Click HERE for more information and the rest of this year’s list.


4.       They have never used a card catalog to find a book.

9.        They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives.

20.     American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing.

24.     McDonald's has always been serving Happy Meals in China.

25.     Condoms have always been advertised on television.

29.     Bobby Cox has always managed the Atlanta Braves.

34.     They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen.

  1. Women have always outnumbered men in college.
  2. We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time.

50.     Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the Evening News came on.

53.     Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?”

  1. Most communities have always had a mega-church.

72.     Migration of once independent media like radio, TV, videos and compact discs to the computer has never amazed them.

  1. Nobody has ever responded to “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”


Sports: Wild Card Race 2009-08-20

This tends to happen a lot to me.  Once I make some kind of public declaration for my sports team they will begin to lose.

It is for this reason I refuse to bet.  In 1990 I bet a neighborhood friend $5 that the Oakland A’s would sweep the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.  Not only did the Reds win, but they swept the A’s in four games.  Seriously, Chris Sabo hit two round-trippers in Game 3.  That doesn’t happen to the A’s unless I curse them by betting on them. 

So a couple days ago I had a brief post bragging on my Texas Rangers being one game ahead of the Boston Red Sox for the wild card lead.  The Ranger immediately follow my post with two losses.  They now trail the Nation by a game. 

Hopefully the effect of my curse won’t last for very long and I will continue to display a nonchalant attitude. 



Sermons I've Recently Listened To:

Here is a list of sermons that I have recently listened to.

What preachers do you enjoy listening to and do they post their sermons online?

I listen to at least three a day at work, where do you listen to sermons?


Series – Disciple: A Real Follower of Jesus (Sunnybrook Christian Church)

Jim Johnson – one who follows Jesus wherever he goes

Paul Weece – one who reorders his life

Jim Johnson – one who actively listens

Jim Johnson – one who accepts the mission of Jesus

Jim Johnson – one who gives more than lip service

Drew Moss – one who submits to Jesus’ agenda

Jim Johnson – one who is willing to give up whatever

Jim Johnson – one who trust God

Jim Johnson – one who gives foolishly to Jesus

Jim Johnson – one who leads differently by serving sacrificially

Jim Johnson – one who confronts

Jim Johnson – one who renews his vow

Jim Johnson – one who embraces the humiliation

Jim Johnson – one who stays amazed

Jim Johnson – Q & A


Series – The Star, the Cross, and the Crescent (Northpoint Church)

Andy Stanley – Judaism: The Journey Begins

Andy Stanley – The Roots of Islam

Judy Reamer – Judy Reamer: A Life Story

Afshin Ziafat – The Cost to Follow Christ


Series – Galatians (Christ Church of Oronogo)

Mark Moore – Chapter 1

Mark Moore – Chapter 2

Mark Moore – Chapter 3

Adam Scutti – Chapter 4

Adam Scutti – Chapter 5

Mark Moore – Chapter 6


Series – Jonah (Southland Christian Church)

Mike Breaux – Jonah: On The Run

Mike Breaux – Jonah: In Too Deep

Mike Breaux – Jonah: Never Too Late


Series – Stuff Jesus Made Up (True North Church)

Jon McClarnon – Hidden Treasure

Jon McClarnon – Workers in the Vineyard

Jon McClarnon – Friend at Midnight

Jon McClarnon – Prodigal Father

Jon McClarnon – Two Debtors


Series – Jesus Walks… (Traders Point Christian Church)

Mark Moore – Towards the Uncertain

Aaron Brockett – Towards the Uncomfortable

Aaron Brockett – Towards the Unaware


Series – Jesus is… (Boulder Valley Christian Church)

Mark Scott – Jesus is….The Best of the Good News

Mark Scott – Jesus is….The Risk Taker

Mark Scott – Jesus is….Delegator of Ministry

Mark Scott – Jesus is….The Servant


Andy Stanley – How Good is Good Enough (Northpoint Church)

Andy Stanley – Baptism: What’s the Big Deal (Northpoint Church)

Andy Stanley -  Everyone is Invited (Northpoint Church)

Matt Proctor – The Messiah Complex (Grand Avenue Christian Church)

Matt Proctor – God’s Great Power (Taylorville Christian Church)

Dr. Craig Blomberg – 1st Message (Dallas Christian College) 2007-09-18

Dr. Craig Blomberg – 2nd Message (Dallas Christian College) 2007-09-19

Andy Hansen – Message (Dallas Christian College)2007-11-08

Andy Hansen – Message (Dallas Christian College)2006-03-28

Lori Murillo - Message (Dallas Christian College)  2007-01-26

Rocky Hernandez – Message (Dallas Christian College) 2006-08-25

Doug Marks – Message (Dallas Christian College) 2006-01-24

Jeff Snell – Message (Dallas Christian College) 2006-10-24

Jeff Snell – Forming Integrity Under Attack (Lincoln Christian College) 2005-11-15

Jeff Snell – Moving from Knowledge to Wisdom (Lincoln Christian College) 2009-01-21


Sports: The Wild Card Race 2009-Aug-18

Sports: This Was Fast

I'm not really surprised by this, but boy did it happen really quick or what?
Do I think this will make Minnesota a better team? I'm going to say yes.
I have several Viking fans who are going to be really annoying for a few weeks. Or perhaps the whole season.


Movie: Julie & Julia

I went and saw Julie & Julia on my day off this Friday. An purely delightful film full of charm, wit and acting.
At one moment during the film I reminded myself that it was Meryl Streep on the screen and not the actual Julia Child. Stanley Tucci portrayed her husband in the film and he certainly held his own in the film, not only the actor but the character up against such a unique personality as Julia Child. But it's Amy Adams who makes me smile whenever she is on the screen. It doesn't matter if she is a fairy princess, a pregnant woman, a cleaning woman, a purse sales woman, or even a nun. I think she may be one of my favorite actresses right now; certainly in the conversation. I even like her Julia Roberts pixie fairy haircut.
I love the relationship connections that were in the film and how unexpected they seemed to be. Whether it was Julia Child and her husband. Julie and hers. Julia's sister and the man she falls for. And even Julie and Julia. It's amazing what can be found in other people when you're willing to open yourself up to them.
I will admit the film was just a little long, but the preformances of the actors made it easy to sit still and watch.


Twitter Lessons Learned

Tim Stevens, executive pastor at Granger Community Church in Indiana, has a great blog called LeadingSmart.  I would recommend it to church leaders and to leaders in general..

(Also I own Tim’s Tim Stevens Leading Smart limited edition Zune.  Just thought I’d share that tidbit.)

Today Tim posted Ten Random Things I’ve Learned About Twitter.

If you are active with Twitter you should pay some attention.

Here are a three of his ten:

-          I used to only follow a few people. I learned that makes me look self-centered...like I want you to care what I have to say but I don't give a rip about what you have to say. I recently changed my approach.

-          Twitter is personal. If I know someone is having one of their "people" tweet on their behalf--I stop following them.

-          Don't be a Twachine-gun tweeter (someone who spits out 14 in a row). If it was meant for 700 characters, it would be designed that way. Keep it short.





This happens to me all the time.

My friend Rachel is quick to point out when this happens to me.
I like to think that I'm a pretty low key kinda guy, so when I get dressed in the morning I don't stand in front of the mirror very long. As long as my breath feels fresh, I smell decent to good and all the buttons on my shirt are lined up I'm generally good to go.


Interviewed and Interviewing

I’m prepping for an interview that I have with a church in a couple of weeks.
Rehearsing answers to common questions.
Creating answers in my head that communicate clarity and conciseness.
I expect they ask me about
…my past job experience.
…my successes and failures.
…my philosophy of ministry.
…my education.
…my work ethic.
…my ability to work with and for others.
…my leadership.
…my hobbies and interest.

However, just as important as answering interview questions is asking interview questions.

This is a little harder for me. I hate job interview a church. It feels like I’m saying, “Tell me why I should bless you with me.”
Now I understand that the process of interviewing can give the Holy Spirit some resources by which I (and the church) can make a wise decision.
So saying that here is a short list of questions I would ask:
- Why is currently a vacany?
- Share with me the history of this church?
- What is the current mission and direction of this church?
- What is the current vision for this church’s future?
- Can you describe the current health of the church?
- What is this jobs responsibilities?
- What are your expectations for the hired canidate and how to you evaluate that?

So. If you were interviewing a ministry canidate what questions would you ask him?
And if you were being interviewed by a church what questions would you ask them?

Song in My Head: "Where The Road Meets The Sun"



Singing at Concerts

Do you sing at concerts?

I do.  I have. 

My cable station has this cool channel that just plays recorded live shows.  That’s it.  Seriously how sweet of a channel is that?

I’ve been watching a lot of show and you will generally see the crowd standing while the musicians play, even on slow songs.  And when the camera move in for a close up on someone or a small group someone will generally be singing along.

And it crosses all genres of music and all styles of bands.  Bruce Springsteen, The Fray, John Legend, Jay-Z, Adele.  Someone in a crowd listening to an artist or band will be singing along to their music.


But I’ve been thinking for some time now about how I don’t like that.

(I do like it when it’s obvious the person singing along doesn’t know the words though…that makes me laugh.)

I didn’t shell out the good money I worked hard for to hear myself sing.  Or the person next to me.

And if I wanted to sing along I could just buy their CD and sing along to that.

Rather I spent my money to hear him or her or them sing live.


Also I’m not sure why we stand up at concerts.  Usually people are standing just to stand.  They’re not dancing.  They’re not trying to see over the person in front of them, because if they were how would you explain the person in the front standing.  And why do we sway our arms from left to right.  I think I can honestly say I’ve never done that.

I do get it that sometimes a song delivers so much energy that standing up and dancing and jumping is required.  I’m thinking here of a U2 concert.  Or maybe a really poignant or holy moment of a worship set (I suppose that might be the same as a U2 concert, eh?)


From now on I just want to sit and listen and chill and enjoy the music.

And I don’t care what you do necessarily, just as long as I hear more of the artist than you, nor block my view.


(I just realized I sound like an old man).



A Franciscan blessing

"May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless every single one of you with anger at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people so that you may work for justice and freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain and rejection and starvation and war so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you, yes you, can make a difference in this world so that you can do for Christ what others claim cannot be done.

May God bless with a heart that breaks for the things that break his heart.

May God bless you with a divine tenderness.

May God give you an ear that hears his voice.

May God increase the anointing upon your life, for you have been filled with the same Spirit that raised Christ from the grave.

 In Jesus' name we pray... Amen."