Archives for category: missional

In The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time, Tom Sine paints a picture of the Kingdom of God that is simultaneously very big and very small, in order to help us reimagine our life, faith, church and mission. Sine ties together big ideas such as economics, globalization, politics, wealth, poverty, eschatology, and missiology with real stories of mustard seed conspirators around the world.

Conspirators moves through five conversations as Sine describes “God’s quiet conspiracy and how we can be much more a part of it.”  These conversations introduce us to:

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Robert Gelinas, lead pastor and resident jazz theologian of Colorado Community Church, uses wonderful & evocative imagery from the world of jazz (think John Coltrane and Miles Davis, not Kenny G) in Finding the Groove to help us dream of the Kingdom of God in fresh ways.  Even for non-jazz fans, Groove’s stories & quotes (e.g., Coltrane’s search for the sound of God) are engaging and helpful in composing a vibrant, jazz-shaped faith.

In Groove, Robert builds on the jazz keynotes of syncopation, improvisation, and call & response to inform and give life to our theology, ecclesiology, hermeneutics, mission, and praxis — no small task!  In many ways, Groove is a book for the church — Robert’s thoughts about ensemble community in chapter five are prophetic and powerful — but it is more than a “how-to” workbook.  Groove‘s helped me reconsider the role of tension and suffering in life and community; instead of trying to minimize those things, learning to see them, instead, as means to creativity and engaging life as it really is.

One particular passage stands out for its resonance in pastoral leadership (p.155):

In a jazz ensemble, the drummer is the timekeeper. He sits obscurely in the back, ever keeping the beat, driving the tempo, and signaling time changes. His job is to keep time in a way that sets the others free. He listens and responds to the moments and in the process keeps time for all.  He has the worst seat in the house. Think about it; as he sits in the back all he sees are the backsides of his fellow musicians.  It’s not a great place to see, but it’s a great place to serve

The essence of jazz is listening.

Even if you’ve never listened to Kind of Blue or have no idea who Billie Holiday is, I definitely recommend Finding the Groove.  Sometimes, it is precisely the act of crossing into unfamiliar territory that stirs creativity and imagination.

Glad to be here at The Idea Camp again this morning…

We shared a great moment while we were singing together; Charles Lee built off a recent blog post and asked us not to get derailed — all of the great innovation, ideating and collaboration that come out of this conference must be laid down at Jesus’ feet.  We sang the bridge to the well-known song Hosanna a few times to express this surrender to God:

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Here at NewSong in Irvine – just had a great lunch with Laurence Tom, Dawn Carter, Dave Ingland and Idea Camp web guru Daniel Li and starting the first main session of The Idea Camp!

The ethos of the Idea Camp is collaboration, friendship and innovation.  We just watched a short film, Benched, about ways we can practically benefit and bless our neighborhoods.  Charles Lee is interviewing Jeff Shinabarger about dreaming for our communities and then acting on those dreams.  For example, Gift Card Giver took about two years to decide if it was going to be worth pursuing (which, it turns out, it was!).

Questions are coming in already via text — “Did you get any pushback from the city when planning for the benched project?”  Response, “Sometimes you ask for permission, sometimes for forgiveness!”  But since they’ve launched out, there haven’t been any problems.

More to come!

third-way-thinking-groove-banner-21I didn’t initially plan on making this into a series, but I just came across a great passage on third way thinking as I’ve been reading through Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith, by Robert Gelinas.

Robert’s jazz-shaped faith is composed of three foundations, or keynotes:

  • Syncopation
  • Improvisation
  • Call and response

These keynotes have implications both for “our walk with God (spirituality) and our joining in to help others walk with God (evangelism).”

One of my favorite explorations of these keynotes comes in chapter four, “Creative Tension.”  Robert points out that in our desire to resolve conflict, tension and perceived contradictions in the Bible and in our faith, perhaps we have lost touch with the very thing that can lead to creativity and life.

Jesus knows what to do with tension…

These two opposing truths provided a whole new option for those present that day — a third way (in Latin, tertium quid), a new, creative way.  This happens when we move beyod either/or to both/and. This is the gateway to improvisation.  Jazz is the willingness to live between freedom and unfreedom and see where it leads.

I love how Robert challenges us even to rethink, or reframe, our understanding of what it means to be in a rut.  So much of life is lived somewhere in-between, in the ordinary and everyday.  And yet, as we embrace this third way thinking:

When we are in a rut with God, we can stop and realize that a rut only exists becaus there are two opposing, competing, and equally strong forces that create sides.  Those sides create a groove.  Creative tension helps us find that groove.

May the paradox of loving and following Jesus lead us into the endless groove of wonder, possibility and love!