Category Archives: Ministry

City Church and things changing in Bend

**Edit:I have made some changes to the following post and comments as I realize it is terribly bad form to begin naming churches in negative ways. I never want to slam churches and what they are trying to do.

Please know that I apologize for the deliberate naming. My feelings don’t change, but better to not name.

Also, in no way am I trying to link City Church with anything else that other churches are doing. My comments are my own and not belonging to City church as a whole.** With that said:

I gotta say I’m proud. Proud of my good friend, Kevin Wright, one of the pastors at the community I am getting involved at, City Church, here in Bend, OR. He has just recently been on the program, The Story, on public broadcasting.

Here’s the LINK for the audio.

City Church | Bend OR

This all reminds me of a post I put up a few months back, about the inevitable division that I see happening within Christianity and within Bend as well. It’s a painful time we are facing right now and going to be facing soon. My thinking in the fall of 2008, was that here in Bend we would see a number of individuals really get raked across the coals because they are trying to think and do Christianity outside the box of traditional Christianity. I had no idea that it would happen so soon.

The dissolving of Oasis I didn’t see coming so soon. I think sometimes we try and soften the impact by letting people know what we think in small doses or doing what we can to change our language to help others digest it better. My thinking is that the same people are going to be effected. It can happen all at once or we can prolong the pain and stretch it out.

Another friend of mine just had a very frustrating and saddening dismissal from his church. This church here in town let him go as there was apparently too many students thinking for themselves and asking questions. At a time when the students were more excited than ever about following Jesus and my friend was more fulfilled than ever in youth ministry, they decided not to renew his contract. He was to be done in two weeks. After many rumors, much incomplete information given, and church politics, my friend and his wife could use some prayer.

So all this has happened in the first two months of 2009. What’s next? I am kind of glad that I am able to do what I am most passionate about independently of the overarching perceptions and pedestals of a church hierarchy. While it is so difficult to imagine, at this point in life, that I will not be paid to do ministry… there is a bit of freedom there. I am called to be a spiritual leader, no a professional pastor-person. We need more spiritual leaders (who actually are not always liked and are not always paid). The spiritual leaders among us need to realize that this must be our first priority and MUST not be compromised.

So yah, 2009 is going to be hard. I imagine many of us trying to do new things will be challenged to our limits. I would give things about a year and hope that in 2010 there will begin to be fashioned a very strong and authentic community expression. We will come together again. Keep listening…


Rites of Passage and our blessed patriarchy

Been having a conversation with a friend lately in regards to men’s rites of passage and patriarchy and what I am doing through bridgeWORKS. The conversation goes as follows…


Help me understand more about the male rites of passage as you understand them. i looked on Richard Rohr’s website… is that what you are working with?

I like what he has to say. how will this change some of the patriarchy that is so much part of evangelical christianity?

My response:

Thanks for the note. Hmmm… rites of passage… the historic traditions of local communities that help men make the transition from boyhood to manhood. i suppose it varies based on the tradition… but much of it involves the release of the son from the care of the father and mother to the care of the male elders of the “village.” There is a recognition of place in the society. Fathers cannot do all the raising of a man. there is too much unrealistic expectation. In our western world, the majority of fathers are not all that present. It has to do with the sons not seeing their fathers working or working alongside them… in this situation rites of passage are even more important.

Women traditionally did not have rites of passage… at least there is not as much of a need for them. They have more physical transitions into womanhood.

I am not sure how this will affect the patriarchy problem. I am a believer in men and women coming to a more firm grasp on their masculinity and femininity (all of us experiencing both… sometimes men preferring the feminine and women preferring the masculine… either is ok), but not finding some equal balance in the middle. The most dynamic relationship is when there is a polarity between the two. Patriarchy is a problem when men become stubborn and don’t listen to the women voices. There needs to be room to hear the masculine AND feminine voice. Problems arise, however, when the women who fight for a voice simply express the masculine voice. The grasping or pursuit of power and control is really a masculine thing. Not something that is restricted to men, but definitely a masculine thing. So I am not necessarily trying to find a different way to look at the patriarchy as I am trying to help men be better men… more willing to pay very close attention to the feminine voices. If this happens, patriarchy will be changed. Check out David Deida’s stuff. Read Way of the Superior man or Blue Truth. This is what i’m talking about.

Thanks for the questions.

Why I do what I do and why I like trees

tree rootsQuote from Gurus, Ashrams and Christians – Vanyana

“Individual Christians in Iran [or Bend] should not think of themselves as television antennae or sets, tuned to receive and to reproduce exactly what comes to them from the sending station abroad. We out to think of ourselves as trees with our roots within the soil of our own ethnicism and culture, receiving the water of life through our own soil and breathing the Holy Spirit through our own skies. Antennae and television sets are mechanical, imported, and only good to reproduce a programme set by others. They will be broken by storms and their use could be limited or directed by others. from above. Trees, on the other hand, have their roots within the soil of their locality. They are creative and they grow. Because they have roots, they can often stand up to storms…”

Christian at Pagan Pride? What’s this world coming to?

Here is a beautiful post by a man I respect so greatly. Phil Wyman is building relationships with pagans, neo-pagans, witches, etc in Salem, Mass. Read the post. It is worth the whole thing!

He begins with

Yesterday was the Pagan Pride event in North Andover, MA. I had been invited to give a workshop at the event. Matt the Pirate, and his wife Mary the Goth Theologian, John the Master Dream Interpreter (though he denies it), and The Prof. Carlos Z. joined me for the event.

I hope to develop a team of Christians who can hang out at such events, and actually be good examples – instead of silly, judgmental, and icky. “Icky” is a theological term, you know.

We want to do things like Dream Interpretation, training in Neo-Pagan/Christian relationships, and simple friendship development to show that we can all live in this world together without fighting like cats. Of course, Neo-Pagans and the kind of Christians who like hanging out with me have something in common – we are like cats, herding us remains an impossibility.

The description of the workshop was this:

The Circle and The Cross Talk:  Re-visioning Pagan/Christian Relationships

Looking back to the Caesars, and to the Burning Times misconceptions and urban myths have had deadly results for both Pagans and Christians.  In our own times, though mild in comparison, Pagans have been on the receiving end of the religious persecution.  Some have chosen to remain in the broom closet, and others have faced the struggle head on – sometimes to bitter disappointment with family, friends, and work associates.  This workshop is designed as a deeper look into the worldview differences between Christian and Neo-Pagan thought with a focus upon deconstructing, and re-visioning some of the beliefs which cause the greatest pain.  Come learn to navigate this battlefield of philosophical tension. Topics of frustration to be covered include judgment, conversion, spiritual dissonance, and sexuality.

He gives a brief summary of how the workshop went and ends with:

Well, it still seems strange to me, but I was able to talk about Hell, Conversion, Spiritual Warfare, and Biblical Sexuality at a Pagan Festival and people loved it. All I can ask myself is, “What the heck have Christians been doing wrong for so long that this has not been able to happen?” Then again I have to remind myself that I have been excommunicated from a middle of the road Pentecostal denomination for doing such things. So, I guess I already know the answer to that question.

Read the article… so good!

Re: being more articulate

So my last post regarding articulating better what I think… defining… clarifying… etc, has now had some time to sink in. The feedback I received was good.

I am not sure that a full 100% turn is the best option.  Think about what is essential to get clearer and what is not essential that can still be kept in an undefined state for more time.

I haven’t noticed that your questioning stance is a barrier to good communication among us — it’s just you.  As for clarity — that’s hard to come by in such a venture that we’re on, following the Spirit into new areas.  The emerging church movement isn’t known for statements, etc., as far as I know.

I do think that sharing what you believe and why is a good thing, but… It’s okay if there are things about God and about following Christ that you haven’t yet figured out.  In that case, the honest answer is something like, “I’m still working that out.” 

Not to say that I haven’t heard those who are saying, Nate it’s a good thing to say it more clearly… but after all the inner hoopla in regards to what I might hash out more clearly… I never got around to it. I think I was having too many conversations with people, doing too much, and experiencing living in what I believe, to write it down or dig in more.

So I am sitting with it. Living it. True, I’m digging a little deeper… journaling more… trying to say it in one sentence instead of 30. But yah, “I’m still working that out.”