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____________________

You can thank
Jon and Jon for the pics. Their galleries are here and here. If you'd like to see more, you can beg this guy, or send an email with pictures you would like put up here.
____________________

8.20.2004

Sunday Morning??? MOURNING!

Something terrible has happened... someone has hijacked our evening service and is holding it for ransom at the ungodly hour of 10:00 AM!!! I want it back... who's with me?


Posted by Tyler



3.29.2004

Leaving the Village

An aptly titled post. After several hours worth of design work (or mere minutes for anyone that would have actually known what they were doing) the new Bridge Blog is ready to be unveiled. It will not change the fact that you can still come back here and read the conversations we've had over the last couple of months, nor will it change any of your personal blogs. As far as posting on the site, Dan and I will be emailing all of you who have been authors on the current blog to set you up with rights on the new. The site is much more user friendly, and will allow us unlimited space to use. And for those of you that have considered blogging but not yet begun (or those of you that would like to upgrade to a more able platform), you can now set up your blog on our server, with all of the goodies you'll see on the site. Go dive in--I'll see you there!

Go to the new bridge community blog--bridgeblogs.com

Posted by jared

3.24.2004

Spin Off


I was going to just post comment 27 on "homosexual marriage", but as I listened to the echoes of my heart, I discovered I needed to write more than that. Like others, I found myself perplexed and like others I found my thoughts and heart provoked in a healthy way. I love conversation like this! It's exciting to see and feel the rhythms of struggle as our faith is worked out with fear and trembling in our lives. To quote kat: "I come up short on anything concrete," but there is an echo that still rings louder than the others in my heart, it extends beyond the issue of homosexual marriage, and it is not a judgment of any conversation as yet posted. This is where I pick up writing.

I keep noticing in myself how easy it is to talk about "issues" (abortion, homosexuality, drug addiction, ________ , etc...) and in the process forget that the "issues" have names and faces and stories. How easy it can be for us to share our “thoughts and opinions” on an "issue" without remembering names and faces and stories.

I think of Christ as He stepped into our very skin and the plight of our humanity before anything else. Isn't this an integral part of the message of God?

Immanuel - God with us.

Wasn't Christ a direct revelation that God is for us? That the very problems, concerns, questions, decisions, circumstances I face grip His heart?

All through His story, I see not a God who stood at a distance debating, but a God who got involved in our story, our circumstances, our context. Yet even then it was beyond involvement. He was involved so much that He became engaged. He allowed Himself to be engaged to the point of broken weeping over the death of Lazarus. He allowed Himself to be engaged to the point of broken weeping over Israel's blindness. He allowed Himself to be engaged all the way to the point of being executed so that we could have hope from within our context.

I wonder how often we as the apprentices of Christ don't enter into another's story and allow ourselves to be gripped by them and to feel their pain and to see through their eyes before we start the discussion and debate of them and their plights. It's here at this very point where my (and our) values of social justice and fighting for the marginalized (the poor, the widow, the broken, etc...) are compromised as we marginalize someone else.

One of the definitions of marginalize is: to place at a level of marginal importance, to forget. When we forget the names, the faces, the stories, we have effectively marginalized someone into an issue. (Which is much easier to poke and prod and box up - sometimes called "discussion")

It breaks my heart when I, an apprentice of Christ, discover that I have marginalized my fellow man. I judge my brother from across the table and forget to hear his story. I am quick to say something is wrong (or right) before I have first been willing to allow my heart to be gripped by a person. I talk about homosexual marriage before I think of what it's like to love someone so much it hurts. I talk about abortion before I remember my broken friend who felt there was no other way.

And as I tune in to my heart, it's not that I want to throw out "morality" or "truth" or "right" or "wrong". That's just part of my name, my face, and my story.

Thoughts?
p.s. Wow! now #41
Posted by Chris

3.22.2004

Spatial Hospitality

The last several weeks of conversation have left me buzzing. The concepts of spatial hospitality emerging from our conversations of the pain of those dear to our community have filled my everyday. If that mountain of thought weren't enough to occupy my finite mind, I've been reading a book that is doing all it can to jack me up as well: "The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning. If you don't currently own this book, it may be one of the best ways to spend your next $10.

The book is an amazing discourse on the concepts of grace and hospitality--and is beautiful. As trite as this might sound, I feel like I've been falling in love with Christ and his mission all over again.

Just recently, I read again part of Manning's treatise on sharing life through meal again, and wanted to share the controversy of Christ's love in his description of its importance.

On Levi's House
In modern times, it is scarcely possible to appreciate the scandal that Jesus caused by his table fellowship with sinners. In 1925, if a wealthy plantation owner in Atlanta extended a formal invitation to four colored cotton pickers to come to his mansion for Sunday dinner, preceeded by cocktails and followed by hours of brandy and conversation, the Georgia aristocracy would have been outraged, neighboring Alabama infuriated, and the Ku Klux Klan apoplectic. Sixty or Seventy years ago in the deep south, the caste system was inviolable, social and racial discrimination inflexible, and indiscretion made the loss of reputation inevitable.

Sadly, the meaning of meal sharing is largely lost in the Christian community today. In the Near East, to share a meal with someone is a guarantee of peace, trust, fraternity, and forgiveness: the shared table symbolizes a shared life. "Come to my 'mikdash me-at', the miniature sanctuary of my dining room table where we will celebrate the most sacred and beautiful experience that life affords--friendship."

It would be impossible to overestimate the impact these meals must have had upon the poor and the sinners. By accepting them as friends and equals, Jesus had taken aways their shame, humiliation, and guilt. By showing them that they mattered to him as people, he gave them a sense of dignity and released them from their old captivity. Through table fellowship, Jesus ritually acted out his insight into Abba's indiscriminate love--love that causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. The inclusion of sinners in the community of salvation, symbolized by table fellowship, is the most dramatic expression of the ragamuffin gospel and the merciful love of the redeeming God.
Thoughts?

Posted by jared


a dark complexion

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I was a child and my dad was not at home
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I saw my mother being abused by my dad
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I was a virgin and raped by a man
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I was a young girl and melested by my dad
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when found my boyfriend cresting the breasts of another
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I was 20 and married a man I found he was gay
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I had my son and no dad at home
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I was alone and no one to hold me
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when my brother's girl friend was killed in a car crash
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when my son left home with a wounded soul
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when my brother said he was gay
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when I was beaten by the father of my children
I am sick with love.

Why do I search for thee?
Because when my friends abandon me
I am sick with love.

If you find my beloved one tell him that I am sick with love!

I can feel his left hand under my head and his right hand embraces me!

Posted by beth ann

Jesus, I follow you.

Whenever discipleship puts me in peril, give me the gift of a holy silence - to speak the truth, no less, no more.

Amen.


To read the rest of the meditation, as well as the archives, click here.

3.17.2004

JUST MARRIED???



It's happening all over the nation and seems to be spreading like a So Cal wildfire threatening the multi-million dollar homes of our beloved Malibu celebrities! It's invading our homes and poisoning our perfect little Christian offspring via our television, our radios, our newspapers, and now our very own BLOG!

Yes folks, I'm talking about the very taboo topic of gay marriage! I bring it up because I've been wrestling with it as it has seemingly inundated the airwaves and the marriage certificate offices of our nation. I know that the Christian "establishment" has few greater fears than allowing the expression of God-given free will, however we all know that The Bridge is far from your everyday, homegrown Christian "establishment." So, this is my question: regardless of how we feel about the moral status of gay relationships, should we be abusing the power of the government to usurp God-given free will, imposing a coup d'etat of sorts on the very plan of God to grant each and every human being the equal opportunity to chose to live by His Word or not?

First of all, I must say that I am by no means advocating or supporting gay marriage. However, I am questioning whether we should use the very government, which was established to protect the equality of God-granted freedoms, to judge and curtail the free will of others. Christians are often characterized as the most awful kind of hypocrites. This is because the loudest, most visual sect of Christianity has long been the "Christian" lobby in Washington that has seemingly ignored the Christian principles of love and free will in favor of legislating their morality over the nation. That very lobby has found strange bedfellows in the conservative ranks of politics that often favor the all-mighty dollar over the needs of the needy and health of our environment, principles I find to be at the heart of Christianity and strangely enough at the center of more liberal platforms.

Rather than turn this into a political debate, I would prefer to highlight the irony that I continue to find as I grow in my relationship with God and as I become acutely aware of the paternalistic role that those often claiming to be Christians wish to instill in our government. If God created us and gave us free will so as to allow each individual the choice to love and follow Him, how dare we assume the role of father, judging the choices of others and enforcing our will on them? Choosing Him is by far the greatest choice I've ever made, however I fear that legislating Biblical morality in hopes of coercing people to chose salvation or even a more "pure" lifestyle is a clear contradiction to Christian beliefs, undermining God's very will.

Let me say that I understand the sanctity of marriage, and the very importance of the word "marriage" itself. However, regardless of what we call it or what word we use in our tax codes, legislation, and before our courts, the very fact that our government, which has no official religious affiliation, would show preference for couples it allows to marry over those it does not on the basis of God's Word shows a clear judgment and attempt at moral coercion over those we are only called to love. I hesitate to jump on the Christian bandwagon and legislate my morality over the people of our country when this nation was founded in response to religious persecution and with the goal of protecting the very God-given equality and freedom to pursue our lives as we so choose.

As Christians we are forbidden to pass judgment, being called only to love our brother as Christ loves us. How dare we have the ego to use governmental coercion to attempt to force people to chose God and His way, when God Himself created us so that each and every one of us would have the individual choice to either seek Him with a pure and loving heart or not?

PS: Regardless of how opinionated this blog may sound, my opinion on this issue is not steadfast but rather quite fluid and continues to be molded every time I discuss it. So please opine and share your thoughts in hopes that we may all be the better for it.

Posted by Tyler

3.16.2004

treehugging revisited


Hey everyone. I stumbled upon something by
Brian McLaren thanks to Mike Todd's blog.
This is extremely relevant to our conversation about hospitality as it relates to environmental responsibility. Please check it out and comment if you're so moved. I haven't even finished reading it yet (it's a little long) but felt compelled to link it here. Below is an excerpt.

"FIRST, INCREASED CONCERN for the poor and oppressed leads to increased concern for all of creation. The same forces that hurt widows and orphans, minorities and women, children and the elderly also hurt the songbirds and trout, the ferns and old growth forests: greed, impatience, selfishness, arrogance, hurry, anger, competition, irreverence - plus a spirituality that cares for souls but neglects bodies, that prepares for eternity..."
Click here to read the whole article.

Posted by michel

cross carrier

I was driving down telephone road this morning rushing along absorbed in my busy schedule.

I was coming up on something.... "What is that?"..... "I cant quite see" (squinting to see if I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing).

As I approached this moving object I could see that it was a big wooden cross and someone was carrying it on their shoulders. I thought (why is that guy carrying a big wooden cross on his shoulders?) So I turned around and got out of my car and asked him.. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

He said that he was "Cross Carrying Chuck" and that he carries the cross to remind people they need Jesus in their lives. He said that he has crossed the U.S.A. eight times and that he started with a dollar in his pocket.

He then prayed with me and I was amazed at his journey.

Back in my car rushing to get my daughter but this time I was slowed down in my self absorbed world of Suburbia mom slash chauffeur slash food server slash nurse slash babysitter slash etc...

My first thought was "Wow, I wonder if he left any family or children behind or what did he leave Behind?"

My next thought was.....

I have a one dollar bill in my pocket.

WHY DIDN'T I LOOK AT HIS FEET?

You can read all about crosscarrierchuck at www.crosscarrierchuck.com

Posted by beth ann

3.08.2004

Smelly Trout

I'm not a crazy environmentalist or tree-hugger, but I do love to surf clean water and enjoy God's creation without a bunch of crap distracting me. There is nothing worse than pulling into a chocolate barrel when the water should be blue, and even worse is paddling out into a smelly school of 'brown-trout' and soggy butt-paper.

Greg's message on Sunday came with an interesting bit of coinkidink for me as I had a wild encounter just days before with the savage world of teenage littering.

As my friends and I were driving on our way to catch a movie we noticed an amazing, fully restored, classic mustang in front of us. As we sat there arguing about its year, I was having flashbacks to my first car, a powerful '67, that I frequently would 'donut' in the school parking-lot.

Exiting the car was a seemingly innocent teenage culprit with a mound of IN-N-OUT trash. I sat in amazement as she guiltily walked over to the curb and placed the overflowing trash on the sidewalk and ran back to the car... looking like a girl caught illegally downloading music on her laptop at the Grammy's.

In total dismay and frustration I hopped out, collected the trash, and ran back to the car. I was hoping to find a trash-can soon but as we came up to the next stoplight the '66 mustang (I was a year off) was idling to our left. With cat-like-quick reactions I hoped out of the car and spryly approached their car door. As carefully as a commando, my hand reached for the handle, pressed down, and opened the door. There, sitting before me, sat three shocked Brittney Spears clones! I politely said, "excuse me, you left this back there on the curb, and well...I would appreciate it if you would dispose of this in a proper receptacle." I carefully set the trash in their back seat, closed their door and bounded back to our Jeep. "RRRRRRRRRR," As they sped away, I think they were a little shocked and embarrassed. We had a good laugh, and a great discussion about how we, ourselves, haven't been great stewards of our environment either.

I hope this story doesn't incite anti-teenagism or anti-polluterality. But, perhaps we can all look deep within ourselves and have a little 'talk' with our "inner-jeuvinile-trash dispenser" and, as Greg said, hope to be known as a people who generously serve others and our surroundings. Because you know...those brown-trout really do smell.


Posted by linus