Saturday, December 25, 2004

three happy fellows

three happy fellows
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

MERRY CHRISTMAS from a few kids who are having a richer christmas due to the generosity of many at kairos los angeles, hope international and others. this year we were able to give gifts to over 200 kids. so these three fellows wanted to wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

for the person who has everything

by John Killinger

"We can imagine the scene in a fairly average household on Christmas morning. When all the expensively wrapped gifts have been opened and the room looks like an explosion in a paper-goods factory…

It is rather obvious that a typical American family has everything. They have helped keep the economy on an upward spiral, gratifying both the local merchants and the administration in Washington, and they have cluttered their household with many more things that are destined for the school auction or the garage sale when they move or find that their home is simply too overladen for living. They could not possibly want for anything they don’t have.

Are they people who have everything or people who need everything? What do they really need this Christmas?

They need simplicity, time for sorting out their lives, time for being together, time for getting to know one another, and time for sharing themselves at the deepest levels of human communication.

They need holy time, a sense of life’s deeper dimensions, of eternal mysteries breaking in upon finite existence, of the God of righteousness whose being conveys meaning to all of life’s actions and relationships, and the blessing of a world that wants to bless us if we’ll only let it.

They need space for seeing life as it is, for seeing the millions of people in the world who are starving to death and the millions who are dying of simple diseases, for realizing how shallow life is when it is lived merely for the pleasure of the moment without any regard to the future or its consequences, for standing back and looking at their own lives, so that, like Scrooge when the ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Present and Christmas Future whisked him away, they will have a chance to mend their ways, to become wholesome, to become worthy, and to become children of God.

They need the Christ of Christmas and renewal of their inner spirits. That is what it all comes down to, isn’t it? They need to hear and receive the message of Christmas, that God has entered the human arena to dwell with us, that His presence is consequently here and available to us now, that we are not alone, spinning out our destinies…, and that all our days are spent before the Holy One of Israel who poured all that He was and is and will be through the funnel of a miracle into the child born in the manger of Bethlehem. They need to surrender their lives to Christ, who is the real Gift of Christmas, and in the end He so overshadows all others as to be the only one.

That is the way it ought to be for us at Christmas. Most of us have been lost in the busyness of our existence, trying to cope from day to day, and have quite forgotten who we are or whose we are.…And then we, who thought we had everything, realize we have nothing, and, realizing we have nothing, stand ready to receive everything. For He is our joy and peace.

In all the frenzy and noise of the season, let us find our way home in Christ, and having found our home, let us never lose it."

Friday, December 24, 2004

a ghetto christmas (slightly edited)

'Twas da night befo' Christmas & all in the hood,
Not a homie was stirrin cuz it was all good.
The tube socks was hung on the window sill,
And we all had smiles up on our grill.

Mookie and BeBe was snug in the crib,
In the back bedroom, cuz that's how we live.
And Moms in her do-rag and me with my nine,
Had just gotten busy cuz my girlfriend is fine.

All of a sudden a lowrider rolled by,
Bumpin' phat beats cuz the system be fly.
I bounced to the window at a quarter pas',
'Bout ready to pop a cap in somebody's …!

I yelled to my lady, Yo peep this!
She said, Stop frontin' & just mind yo' bidness.
I said, for real doe, come check dis out.
We weren't even buggin', no worries, no doubt.

Cuz bumpin' an thumpin' from around da way,
Was Santa, 8 reindeer and a sleigh.
Da beats was kickin', da ride was phat,
I said, "Yo red Dawg, you all that!"

He threw up a sign and yelled to his boyz,
"Ay yo, give it up, let's make some noise!"
To the top of the projects & across the strip mall,
We gots ta go, I gotta answer a call!"

He pulled up his ride on the top a da roof,
And sippin' on a 40, he busted a move.
I yelled up to Santa, "Yo ain't got no stack!"
He said, "Dang homie, deese projects is wack!

But don't worry black, cuz I gots da skillz,
I learnt back when I hadda pay da billz."
Out from his bag he pulled 3 small tings,
A credit card, a knife, and a bobby pin.

He slid down the fire exscape smoove as a cat,
And busted the window wit' a b-ball bat.
I said, "Whassup, Santa? Whydya bust my place?"
He said, "You best get on up out my face!"

His threads was all leatha, his chains was all gold,
His sneaks was Puma and they was 5 years old.
He dropped down the duffle, Clippers logo on the side.
Santa broke out da loot and my mouf popped open wide.

A wink of his eye and a shine off his gold toof,
He cabbage patched his way back onto the roof.
He jumped in his hooptie wit' rims made of chrome,
To tap his woman waitin' at home.

And all I heard as he cruised outta sight,
Was a loud and hearty.....

what I like about reading different versions of "twas the night before christmas" is we get to see how people incarnate this particular story into their culture. if you get offended by something something in that poem, then you have missed the whole point of christmas, which is the incarnation. God put on flesh and bones to be with us in the place where we live.

incarnate the message of God, wherever you live. as God is with you, you be with others.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

democratic leadership rethinking abortion

one of the top stories in the la times today is about how democratic leadershship is re-thinking its position on abortion. according to the article this issue is surfacing due to the contest between tim roemer and howard dean for the head of the democratic national committe.

tim roemer, a reported abortion foe feels strongly that the party needs to have a more tolerate view "on one of society's greatest emotional conflicts." he has the backing of the two leading democrats, the minority house leader, nancy pelosi of california and the incoming senate democratic leader harry reid of nevada. while nancy herself is staunchly pro-choice, she has a big tent philosophy to politics.

according to the times, "If Roemer were to succeed Terry McAuliffe as Democratice chairman in the Feb. 10 vote, the party long viewed as the guardain of abortion rights would suddenly have two antiabortion advocates at its helm."

it seems there are some very interesting things going on in the democratic party. after losing this past election to president bush in a climate where there was a lot of anti-bush sentiment, it seems as if some are recognizing that bush had done the best job at presenting himself as having the "upper moral hand" in a number of social issues. certainly george doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to his stance on abortion or gay marriage. and it seems like the heartland of america considers these two as some of the primary moral issues we face.

now while these issues are vital to varying degrees, i believe that we also have many other vital moral issues on the plate, that jim wallis at sojourners and many other Christ followers have brought to the forefront. if you haven't ever had the chance to check out the sojourners site, take some time to do so. tell me what you think. i don't have the time to go into more now, but will so at a later date.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

hosting and preparing

i have been hosting a friend named oscar this week. julio my good friend here in los angeles asked if i would host him. though he was brought up in a christian home, he doesn't consider himself a christian at this time. he is seeking and God has given us some great conversations. today i spent a little time with him traveling to some good will shops finding clothes. i decided that i want to start getting my clothes at these different creative outlets. there are quite a bit here in la. it is part of my pursuing a life of simple beauty.

i am also preparing for a conference that i will be speaking at in columbus just after christmas, called ignite. i have quite a few talks to prepare for. i am opening up the whole conference on monday night. it was only just yesterday that i finally got the sense of where i was going to go with that particular message. being the opening speaker with a wide angle talk is usually difficult. but God showed me how i can unwrap the "big story" through the "christmas story" in matthew's gospel. i am really excited about preparing for that now. i also am involved in doing or helping to do six other seminars or workshops. they have me working hard this year. i will be doing a lot of prep in the next couple of days. if you remember to pray for me, i would appreciate it deeply.

Monday, December 20, 2004

year in pictures

being someone who is getting a little more into photography, i have come to enjoy the week in pictures from msnbc. if you have enjoyed them or haven't had a chance to view any, now is the time. this week you can see a slide show of the year in pictures. there is the editor's choice or reader's choice. you can also vote for your favorite picture of the year.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

cellphones in the air? how crazy would that be?

according to an article in the los angeles times, "cellphone use could be cleared for takeoff." it seems like from the article a company by the name of aircell inc. is pushing for this, since they are developing the services, while airbus out of france plans to enable in-flight cell phone calls as early as 2006. though reportedly "any scheme would have to pass the scrutiny of the FAA, which shares jurisdiction with the FCC."

now the cost to enable this to happen would be huge, and the phone bill will be like having a starbucks cafe mocha every minute, but it looks like someone has some energy and is trying to clear cellphones for takeoff.

for me, i prefer having my airtime without cellphones. i can't imagine the constant chattering all over the plane, for in in time, i'm sure they will figure out a way to bring the cost down. i guess one can always put a headset on. that sounds friendly huh?

honesty: the highest and lowest rated professions

the gallup poll did a survey recently where they asked people to rate the honesty and ethical standards of various professions on a continum between "very high" and "very low"

can you guess who ranked the highest and lowest?

well the survey says that nurses, pharmacists and military officers and medical doctors are the most honest and ethical, while car salesmen, advertising practioners, congressmen and lawyers are regarded as the least honest and ethical.

here is the fuller list:

* Nurses (79%)
* Druggists, pharmacists (72%)
* Military officers (72%)
* Medical doctors (67%)
* Police officers (60%)
* Clergy (56%)
* Judges (53%)
* Day care providers (49%)
* Bankers (36%)
* Auto mechanics (26%)
* Local officeholders (26%)
* Nursing home operators (24%)
* State officeholders (24%)
* TV reporters (23%)
* Newspaper reporters (21%)
* Business executives (20%)
* Lawyers (18%)
* Congressmen (10%)
* Advertising practitioners (10%)
* Car salesmen (9%)

notice clergy ranked 6th, at only 56%, below police and military officers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

the uncaged poet - vanity

the many faces of gollum
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

vanity, vanity, says the poet, all feels like vanity. looking at the rearview mirror of history, seeing events repeat themselves. how many times do we have to repeat this vicious cycle? how many people will change from being friendly smeagol's to becoming dark gollums, cloaking their misdeeds with friendly faces and servant postures? we are on a sacred journey, no one is fit to wear the ring, except the One found worthy. why do we prefer to wear crowns instead of wash feet? who is our leader? who are we following?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

a big day in hollywood

Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

today the golden globe nominations were announced and the american film institute came out with its top ten list.

sideways topped the golden globe with seven nominations, while jamie fox topped the actors list by getting a recording breaking three nominations, on his 37th birthday. he was great in "ray". the aviator was another big nominee with six nominations. there are a number of nominated films i have yet to see, though many are just coming into the theaters.

the afi's top ten were: the aviator, collateral, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, friday night lights, the incredibles, kinsey, maria full of grace, million dollar baby, sideways and spider-man 2.

so what has been your favorite film of the year? any bets on which films might get nominated for best picture on oscar night?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

the uncaged poet

let the leaves fall where they may
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

there comes a time in which we must uncage the poet. the seers must give sight to those unable to see. when you have taken the red pill, it is impossible to turn back. one must fight for what is right and just. one must rely on the Soveriegn One. one must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. let the leaves fall where they may.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

top ten words of 2004

you can find a top ten for about everything these days. top ten cities to live in, top ten baby names, now we have the top ten words ranked. appearantly, merriam-webster inc. compiles a list of the most popular words, apart from profanity, that are most researched on its dictionary web sites. according to an article by cnn here are the top ten words for 2004.

drum roll please. what is your guess for the top ten? don't look yet, just write down your guess first and then compare.

10. defenestration
9. sovereignty
8. partisan
7. peloton
6. cicada
5. hurricane
4. insurgent
3. electoral
2. incumbent
1. blog

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

breakin in nyc

breakin in nyc
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

so i am enjoying working with photoshop elements. if you haven't had the chance to check out my lastest from nyc, now is the time.

today was a productive day with andy and john. i finished a church planters interview with andy and will write up the assessment sometime. we talked a lot more about what our partnership might look like. good stuff, good day.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

moving toward reorientation

so finally by last night, my apartment which was one huge mess due to the flooding of my bedroom was transformed into a place of beauty and order again. i was amazed on how when my environment and space is clean and back in order how it affects me personally. it helps me feel oriented in other areas of my life as well. for when my space is disoriented, life seems more disoriented, and vice versa.

today john drage and andy bleyer came into town. andy and a team of people are strongly considering partnering with us, kairos los angeles, to start a church in the area. i am really excited about this possibility. lots of things to think about and many discussions to have, but it is a good possibility and i think will be beneficial for the advancement of the kingdom.

not too long after john arrived at my apartment, he asked me how he could help with my place. i mention to him some problems in my apartment and he is going to fix one of my cupboards and drawers in the kitchen that i never seem to get to, as well as my bathroom sink. what a nice guy.

today, lance helped me fix my skateboard. it is a true benefit being in community.

Monday, December 06, 2004

humanity in b & w

humanity in b & w
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

so i went crazy with my new nikon d70 while i was in nyc with my family. when i got back home and played a little with photoshop elements and created some cool shots. i just posted them at my mac site under "a different look at nyc".

a new place to blog

since i have not been able to post anything on my excelsis blog for at least a week, i have for the time being moved to this spot for my blogging. i have enjoyed setting up this account. it is very user friendly and i can upload pictures quite easily through flicker.

that will mean i will probably be uploading more pictures on my blog. i am excited about this new spot. it should be cool.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

feeling like a rubberband

i think these days if you were to ask my how i feel, i would have to tell you i feel like a rubber band that is being stretched in all possible directions.

there is the pull of ministry and the local level where we are in the of our second year. there are so many good things happening and so many blessings that God has given us, but there are also heavy trials and deep pains.

there is the pull of ministry at the national level, which i don't even want to touch at this moment.

there is the pull of ministry at the international level. i get e-mails almost daily in regard to different crises that are happening in different parts of the world. ukraine is a big one these days with the probably election fraud and the demonstrations on the street. i hope and pray that justice will prevail in the ukraine and that we continue to pray for the people there. there is kenya and the famine and hunger that lies heavy on my heart.

on top of the pull of ministry, my apartment is in total disarray. there was a pipe that broke on the seventh floor, which flooded the sixth floor apartment above me, and the water had to go somewhere. it soaked through the roof, tore down my paint and this acidic yellow substance dripped all over my bedroom for about two days. it left the new carpet stained, it destroyed my desk top computer and ruined most all of my books that were exposed. so many parts of my bedroom have been thrown into my living room space to make my apartment one huge mess.

i am very thankful for sleep, though due to demands, sometimes i haven't gotten little sleep. though i am glad to say the last two nights i have finally had two nights of good rest two days in a row. and i expect that to be the case in the next couple of days.

when i begin to feel like a rubber band, i always make sure that i take my sabbath day off, especially when things are crazy. taking a sabbath day for me just reminds me that god is god and i am not. it always refreshes me for the next week.

i also am enjoying reading through the psalms in my time of disorientation, for a number of psalmist went through seasons of disorientation and so they have become my tutors for prayer.

i knew i should have waited to teach on the psalms, for God most always has me experientially go through whatever topic i am teaching our community of faith. so when we decided to do cries of the heart, specifically going through the disorientation psalms, well...

i'm glad this current series is just four parts, and i am really looking forward to our next series on 'the new humanity' when we go through the book of ephesians. it is a book written to a church with no evident problems, but just a great plan of how things could be.