Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not posting much's a blackboard post

So...I've been absent from blogging. Way too much typing for school to put any extra thoughts out here. So I've just posted something I just posted to blackboard for an assignment where I was supposed to talk briefly about missio Dei, sanctification/holiness, suffering, faith, and the death of Christ according to 1 Thessalonians. So here's my brief reply.

The missio dei is God’s loving action of bringing redemption and reconciliation to a world separated from his life and love. Jesus lived this in his “cruciform pattern of activity” revealing the love and holiness of God in his actions and teachings and invited others to follow him in this pattern (Johnson Holy, Holiness, NT). Those who choose to “have faith in”/”be faithful to” Jesus in holiness of life, choose to be separate from the ways of the world and therefore also choose to partake in similar sufferings as Jesus did, which Paul seems to imply that he had taught the Thessalonians about while present with them (1 Thess. 3:3-4).

What is fascinating is that Paul implies that his followers were destined for suffering (3:3-4) and that it was God’s will that they should be sanctified (4:3). For Paul, both are integral in following Christ. Christians are set apart for a life like Christ, who died as result of his pattern of living. Paul also seems concerned that their sufferings might cause the Thessalonian Christians to lose their faith (3:5). He also prays that they would be strengthened in holiness (3:13). In this we see that faith and holiness are lovingly given by God and willingly lived out by his followers.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cadence and Eden!

Papa and his two favorite pasttimes...
Cadence and I on our Island of Hope (also a love seat of sand)
Look at all that sand on her face...she really gets into this beach thing.
Cadence washing dishes with Da (Cambodian for Grandpa and easy to say for Cade!)
Eden with Yay (Cambodian for Grandma and again...easy to say for Cadence)
Eden and Nana! Eden's getting festive at Allie's wedding rehearsal dinner!
Show the love...Cadence loves to do this...

The girls at the beach. Cade loved the waves and the sand and the wind and the sand and the waves and sand and the wind and the waves...

So, this blog, because of pure busyness has turned into more of a picture posting place (when it is used) more than anything else. We'll see what comes of the meantime, enjoy the pictures, as we surely have been enjoying the ones in them.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Sisters!

Well, Cadence has taken to Eden quite well as this video shows. I hope you can view it and see the sisterly love!

And if you're not familiar with my family, that's Grandma Fiegl (Aubrey's mama) holding Eden. She's blessed us with her help this whole week. Now, I know why some societies keep their families together on the same property. She's been so so so great to have with us!

And the Jeremy in the background is our summer intern. Wow, he's awesome! He's stepped up in the time when I am off with the family and I'm quite thankful for his presence here this summer!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

And now for a little Cadence

More Eden Pictures

Happy Grandma!
Introducing big sister Cadence to little sister Eden
tiny hands
Papa holding Eden while Cade plays "this little piggy"
Happy mama!
Things are progressing well. We should be able to go home on Monday (that's tomorrow). Aubrey is feeling better, which is very very good!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Introducing Eden Jubilee

Eden Jubilee was born via C-section at 11:57 AM on May 30.
She weighed in at 7 lbs and 14.1 oz.
She's 19 inches tall.
She and mommy are doing well and recovering from 17 hours of labor and an extended surgery.
Oh the joy and jubilation!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

taking Jesus to the darkest places

Challenging thoughts here.

"Can you imagine an anarchistic band ever saying, “We’re not an anarchistic band. We’re just a band of people who happen to be anarchists. We don’t want to push anarchy on people. We just want people to see anarchy in our lives”? If everyone else can speak clearly and give their ideas without restraint, how come Christians always feel like they have to keep silent, especially when there is so much authority in their message?

"Jesus is looking for artists who are willing to tell people the truth, for musicians who are willing to go into these dark places and not hide their message, for people who will live lives of power, not just talk."

Andrew Jones interviewed David Pierce a man with a heart of youth who are searching for meaning and ultimately for God.

David Pierce plays with No Longer Music.

Check out their videos.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

baby arriving...

well...time for number two has arrived. we are scheduled for an induction tomorrow...

please be in prayer for aubrey and baby #2 as they go through the process of delivery.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thursday, May 08, 2008

More Cadence Video

Colossians Remixed and Grapes of Wrath

I've found that I can never read just one book at a time. (That brings up a funny mental image, of me actually holding a book in each hand, moving back and forth between the books...) While this can get confusing when I read two novels at the same time (which I don't do very often), I've actually discovered that reading novels supplements my reading of non-fiction, especially philosophy or theology. A theme that is developed in a book on theology will stand out in the work of fiction.

For instance, I'm reading Colossians Remixed and I just finished Grapes of Wrath. Colossians Remixed approaches the letter to the Colossians with the fundamental assumption that we don't come to the text naked, but clothed in the culture we find ourselves in, which in turn affects our interpretation of the text. So in order to fully understand and live out the text, the reader must understand her surrounding cultuer. So the authors take us into the N. American mindset, which is characterized by two dominant and seemingly opposite themes. The first is the often discussed post-modern worldview which is aptly described as "carnivaleque" and a "mall culture" (24) where "anything goes" except an overarching unifying story (metanarrative) that everyone buys into. The unifying story is that there is no unifying story. The modern absolute confidence in the promise of the corporate machine has died to be replaced by discontent and a sense that nothing is left to be done (22).

Yet at the same time, a very different yet dominant worldview is thriving: globalization. Behind this is the idea (and reality) that all can be connected and through connection all can be solved...simply with the touch of a button. Modernity has extended itself into the optimism of a technological and network culture (27). Think about the ads for gadgets. Office Depot promises simplicity and efficiency. The iPhone will put everything in the palm of your hand. And under these advertisements is the hidden (or not so hidden) assumption that productivity is the greatest value. Hence, efficiency is important, because you can be more productive. My value is connected to what and how much I produce. So I consume in order to become more productive.

So these seemingly opposite worldviews are actually held together by many N. Americans. Post-modernity and globalization don't clash as much as they show our dedication (willing or unwilling) to an unfeeling force (consumerism). The authors point out that this dedication exhibits the same structure as a religion. "Progress is its underlying myth, unlimited economic growth its foundational faith, the shopping mall (physical or online) its place of worship, consumerism its overriding image, 'I'll have a Big Mac and frieds' it's ritual of initiation, and global domination its ultimate goal." (30) The authors poinantly remembered that George W. Bush's response to the attack on the World Trade Center was to tell Americans to show the nations strength by going out and spending money.

The most ridiculous aspect of consumerism is that it is callous to everything that stands in its way.

While reading this, I also read the story of the Joads, who are kicked off their Oklahoma land by a corporate giant during the Dust Bowl period. The Joads have farmed the soil for years as tenants, but machinary has proven to do the work of many men, making tenant farmers unviable options for the money hungry company to employ. The company wants profit more than meeting the needs of folks and caring for the land. This unfeeling nature is characterized best when the tractor operator is instructed to only plow in straight lines even if people and houses are in the the tractor mows over houses, bumping them off their foundation...just to keep a straight line.

In the midst of this turmoil, fliers from California are advertising unprecedented opportunities to be found in their state. The ads lead to a mythological view of that land where oranges and graps are in such supply that they hang over the roads and can be picked anywhere.

There is an eerie similarity between their time and ours. People aware of the brokenness of the current system but hoping for somehting brighter and better, something advertisements are selling.

What strikes me about GOW and our time is a desire for some type of hope, some type of change. Even behind the postmodern malaise lies the realization that what is our reality isn't teh greatest possibility. Everything's been tried and found wanting, but the fact that we're trying anything at all betrays an underlying assumption (or maybe it's a hope or desire or longing) that something better is out there (or in here). So the Joads sell most of their belongings, pack everything they can onto a half spent car, and burn the rest of their history, all in their effort to get to California, the land of promise. If you've read the book, you know that the Joad's get to California to discover that there is plenty of fruit and cotton, but not a ton of work and where there is work the wages are unbearably low. The promised land isn't so promising.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ring Stackers

I think one of the greatest toys for kids is this stack of colored rings made by Fisher-Price. (By the way the offical title is Rock-A-Stack.) We've all seen them...we've probably all played with them at one point.

I think the brilliance of this toy is that it has so much to teach. It teaches color, size differentials, order, stacking...etc. What's fascinating is that as Cadence has grown, she has enjoyed the toy in different ways. At first she loved taking the rings off and holding on to them. Then she let us put them on her amrs and legs (Grandma Fiegl's idea). She did figure out how to put them back on the post...but didn't know how to put them on in the right order until recently. And she will soon be able to learn the difference between the colors. But as she has discovered new things about should see her face when she figures it out...sheer jubilation at the discovery.

The rings have always been the same, but Cadence has experienced them in different ways as she has matured.

I wonder if truth is similar to Rock-A-Stack toys. Truth remains constant, but as I grow and mature I experience it's complexity.

Love is similar too...the more I engage in my relationship with Aubrey, the more I find out the depths.

There is joy, simple and exuberant joy, as the facets of truth and love are discovered.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Community Called Atonement Ch. 9 and 10

Many apologies on the tardiness of getting back to this discussion. A few weeks ago I went to Boston with our teens and then the weeks leading up to last weekend I was preparing for our 30 Hour Famine. Both events went really well, but I'm mostly excited about the Famine event. It's the perfect youth ministry event, because it teaches the spiritual disciples of fasting and serving and gets kids involved in caring for the world and making a difference...and if you do it right, it builds a foundation for a life of compassion and justice.
Now onto the discussion of our book. I've decided to change our format up a bit to provide a little bit more direction for our conversations. So I'm gonna have some questions to which we can each respond. Feel free to go beyond the questions (maybe even ask your own), but I hope that trying to answer the same questions would give us a bit more focus.
So here are the questions for chapters 9 and 10.
  1. Did you agree with Scot's statement that "the cross creates the kingdom as Christ envisions it"?
  2. How have you explained the wrath of God as it appears in scripture? (Scot gives a couple options: impersonal wrath or personal wrath)
  3. On page 75, Scot says that "...the gift of the Spirit is cosmic." In this instance he is connecting the Spirit to the enabler of community. I'd love to hear stories about how you've seen the Spirit's work benefit community.

Absent...Returning Soon

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Congratulations to Allie and Ryan

My "little" cousin Allie is getting married to a guy who sounds like a high quality fellow! Much congratuations to them!

You can see their newspaper announcement here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Emerging Amishness

First ever emerging amish church

This story appeals to me because of my beard...but mostly because it's hilarious.

Andrew Jones was responsible for my finding!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Community Called Atonement Ch. 7 and 8

And now we arrive to chapter 7 and 8. I'm interested to see if we all agree that the cross is the center of the atonement. I'm also interested to hear what you all think of Scot's incarnational assessment of Jesus as the Second Adam.

Here's to discussing!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

from I, Francis

Some thoughts that I thought were appropriate for our week.

"Jesus' cross was humanity's happiness, love's answer to all the whys, the resolution of every conflict, the overcoming of every tension and polarization, God's victory over death."

If the Son of God had died on the cross, I was saved.

All sadness would have to be banished.

Every one of us was lord of the world.

Every pauper was rich.

Every heart was satiated.

Every project was possible." p15

"Do you not know that my Most High Lord is God's Son?

And do you not know that he became a human being, and as if that had not been enough, a poor person? And how poor he became!

Just see how poor he is. He has nothing left at all.

He, the creator of heaven and earth, has himself come among us.

He did not send someone else, he came himself!

He did nothing to get himself accepted in the high places, nor did he bring anything along to make himself more comfortable.

He did not hide behind the wall of his might and his divinity; he accepted life as the last and least of us.

He was God and he became the poor one among us, the weak one, the wounded one, the calumniated one, the imprisoned one, the condemned one!" p16-17

Monday, March 17, 2008

What I'm Reading...

So I have the annoying habit of reading many books at the same time. I find I treat my books like my relationships...I just hate ending them. So for fun, I thought I'd put the books that I'm reading on here.***
So, I'm reading Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Intro for Christians by Lawrence Kushner. I've read this book in the past while I was perusing at the Messiah College Library. I relied heavily on the chapter on Teshuva (Jewish concept of return) for a prodigal son sermon I gave several years ago. The book is very accessible and can actually be read in one sitting, but is best processed over time. And I'm enjoying it again.

The Next book I am enjoying is The Shaping of Things to Come. This book was actually given to me by Doug, and I'm greatly enjoying it. I'll put some more thoughts from this book on this blog for a bit of discussion. Primarily the book hopes to get it's readers to see the world as a place God wants to shape through them, using the culture that they find themselves in.

God was in this Place & I, i did not know. This book is beside my bedside. Another Lawrence Kushner book, this one explores a variety of approaches to explain the time when Jacob dreams of the ladder and realizes that God was with him, even in the middle of nowhere.

Colossians Remixed. This book was recommended by Doug and also by Byron Borger. And Byron is actually mentioned in the forward. How fun is that? Well, I haven't gotten very far in this book, at all. I enjoyed the intro and have only begun the first chapter. But I already like the book, because it's written by a husband and wife team. Now that's cool. I'd love to do that someday.

I, Francis. I've wanted to read this book for quite some time. Ever since I have read the quotes in A Prayer Guide For Ministers and Other Servants. This is a unique approach to telling St. Francis' story. Carlo attempts to tell the story through first person narrative. It's quite fascinating. At times Francis is incredibly captivating and other times he's annoyingly emotional. But that's what makes it a good read.

Raising Your Child to Love God. This book was loaned to me by my Uncle Dan when I first got married. He thought it'd be a good read for being a youth pastor. It so happens that I forgot to give it back to him when I last saw him, but it's providential, because I am enjoying it. It's got great practical things on how to be a godly father and family.

***I linked all of these to Amazon, but if you're local, you can get them from Hearts and Minds.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why I Love Hearts and Minds

We have a locally owned bookstore in town called Hearts and Minds. It's located in Dallastown, about 30 minutes from my house, but I love to get down there when I have the chance.

So here is why I love the place...

In a thoughtful and candid post, the owner Byron Borger explains to his readers/customers why he supports the emergent conversation and how the movement connects to his own story. As usual his post is laden with excellent book recommendations. It's almost an autobiography of the books that have shaped his approach to following Jesus.

As you read the post you realize that Byron doesn't just sell books, he actually reads them and allows the thoughts from the authors to affect the way he sees the world.

That's why I love the place.

And when I have a question about a certain topic, Byron will give me a list of books, with a brief blurb on each. Being so informed has made purchasing books from Hearts and Minds both engaging and enjoyable.

So, if you have five minutes, I highly recommend reading the post. And if you have more time, check out some of his other posts.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My favorite day

Did I ever mention that Thursdays are my favorite days? Or that Ben Folds is one of my favorite musical artists? Well, I regard Thursdays higher than Ben Folds, but sometimes I listen to Ben Folds on Thursdays.
But Thursdays are really my fav days because I get to spend them with the lovely child pictured above. Man, does she make me laugh!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


So I had never heard of Banksy before, but he was referenced in a recent Rob Bell sermon.

And so I googled some of his art. Pretty creative and cool stuff. The photo included was painted on the security wall that separates Israel from Palestine. This specific painting is on the Bethlehem section of the wall.

A Community Called Atonement Ch. 5 and 6

So, I was delinquint in putting up the post for us to have our discussion this week. But we have entered the fifth and sixth chapters. And it's getting a little thicker...
And I have to admit, I looked forward and found some really good stuff in the upcoming chapters. But we'll get to it when we get to it!
For now I look forward to reflecting with you on the implications of chapters 5 and 6.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Community Called Atonement Ch. 3 and 4

As I approached these chapters, I was hoping that the first two chapters were more of a diving board and that the next couple chapters would more like the actual plunge. Although, the two chapters focused on "where a theory of atonement begins", I think Scot McKnight took his readers a little deeper.

I'm curious to hear your responses, especially to his thoughts on humanity (Eikon), sin as corruption, atonement as relational restoration...

Let the conversation begin!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


What does joy look like?

I've been thinking about the passage in Hebrews where the writer describes Jesus going to his death "for the joy set before him". Here it sounds like the destination (the result of his death and resurrection) is the joy for Jesus. In this we see that joy is not the fleeting bounciness of a beach ball, but more like a tenacious bull dog that won't let go.
I read somewhere (I think it was John Ortberg's The Life You've Always Wanted) that "joy is serious business." Which makes me ask myself, how often am I intentionally developing this. I know that I ask myself how I can love others, but I don't often ask myself how I can be joyful. But as I think about it, being joyful invites others to experience the same and joy are intimately connected. Maybe I'm being picky...but I feel challenged to ask myself on a regular I set on the joy before me?
So...what brings you joy?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Community Called Atonement Ch. 1 and 2

So, we come to our first discussion!

Before we get to the questions, since we'll all be posting from all over the US (and maybe even Asia) I think we should all give a brief intro. Name, location, family, work...etc, should be cool.

I'm excited to hear your thoughts on how McKnight is attempting to connect the kingdom of God and atonement. His bag of images and "game of atonement" made me laugh...but also gave me some hope, especially in light of his comments on how Christians can use theology as a dividing line.


So, as the day winds down, Cadence gets silly. So, I caught her laughing...the movement of the camera is me coming closer to her...(obviously)...which made her laugh.

There's nothing quite as contagious as baby laughter.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Community Called Atonement

Well, the time is quickly approaching. On Monday we will begin our book discussion. Cadence is getting ready and has already read the first 10 chapters. She's keeping it away from her daddy!
Beginning on Monday we'll begin the discussion on the first two chapters of the book. And even if you don't have the book, feel free to comment and add your thoughts.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Nooma

So, my friend Brad linked the new nooma viewing, which is on their facebook.

The vid actually goes into the scripture where Jesus prays in the garden. So it was cool to hear after our discussion last week. And it was pretty awesome!

The free viewing is only available from noon today until noon on Wednesday.

So check it out!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Welcome to Doug Paul

So, my friend Doug Paul, has officially joined the blogosphere as a blog contributor. No more just reading other people's stuff. No more anonymous commenting. Doug is the real deal now.

Actually, I really appreciate Doug and look forward to what he has to offer. He's a good friend (so good that he was my best man!) and I really think a lot of him.

If you get a minute, check him out!


Cadence loves to stand on her rocking chair and look out our front window. We take her there to wave goodbye or to knock on the windo so daddy can hear her while he's shoveling the walk. But she finds her way there on her own too!
We have purposefully placed that chair beside the window so that she can climb up there any time she wants. She loves watching the cars, birds, squirrels and dogs. She just soaks it all in with an attentiveness exceeding the normality for her age.

I'm wondering if much of parenting can be connected to this rocking chair and window thing. I think as parents one of ourroles is to expose Cadence to new vistas. We can show her, but we can't control her interest in the world beyond the window. I can put the chair there, but I can't keep her staring.

With love, peace, God--we can show her, but we can't make her interested. We can give her the regular rhythm of reading scriptures, loving our family and neighbors, night time prayers, involement with a faith community...but she will have to choose to own that rhythm.

My prayer is that through our passion for GOd that Cadence would fall in love with Him...that it would be like honey on her lips.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An Invitation to Discuss

So, a friend of mine, Doug Paul (not this guy), has suggested that we read a book together to stretch our thinking and encourage our spirits. And we have chosen A Community Called Atonement (as you can see) by Scot McKnight. If you (the 12 that read this blog) would like to join the discussion, we're going to do it right here on this blog starting on Feb. 25.

The format is simple. I will post a simple entry every Monday from which we will run a discussion through the comment section. Very similar to what we did on the Christianity Rediscovered book by Vincent Donovan.

So, if you'd like...purchase the book from Amazon or your local bookseller (like Hearts and Minds in York, PA)...and join in!

Grace and Peace.

Wrestling with God

As I have been thinking about Jesus' journey to the cross, I keep coming back to Jesus' time in the Garden of Gethsemane. I am struck by how Matthew describes Jesus in this scene...Jesus throws himself to the ground in prayer. This is not a light-hearted prayer, but a gut wrenching, lay-it-all-out-on-the-line prayer. He asks God, "take this cup from me...but not what I will." There is so much emotion here.
In the process of thinking about this, I am reminded of the time in Gen. 32 when Jacob wrestles with God at Peniel. Jacob's about to meet his brother, from whom he has been estranged for many years. The last time they met, it wasn't a happy meeting. So Jacob has sent all his family and belongings to the other side of the river where Esau is. He waits overnight, when he is met by the form of a man...and he wrestles with him until he gets a blessing from the man.

For some reason my spirit is trying to connect these two stories. The background to each story is very different, but I think there are some profound connections...and I am wondering if anybody would like to venture in exploring those with me.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Jesus and Time

Sometimes I wonder if Jesus ever had to schedule out his week and if he did what it was like.

“Well, let’s see. I think I’ll walk on water on Monday and feed 5000 people, plus women and children on Tuesday—no, that won’t work, because I’m healing that blind guy on Tuesday and arguing with religious hypocrites—I guess I can fit feeding 5000 people on Monday—then since Tuesday is already booked I need to visit my mother on Wednesday and help that lame guy walk—oh yeah I can’t forget that dead girl I’m gonna bring back to life…that will have to be plugged into Wednesday as well—and Thursday looks like a good day weather-wise to do a little teaching on the mountain…that will probably take all day, so I probably can’t exorcise any demons until Friday—that activity will take all morning, so I can probably do some more teaching until the Sabbath comes at sundown.”

Hi Douglas Gregory Paul

You rock!