Advent and families...

So here we are, the first week of advent.  Last year, with the help of two other families, we started a ritual of reading advent scriptures (passages that announce the coming of God's dreams) with our kids.  Here's the kit to getting started, and here's the blog that tracked our month.  I'll post more later. I hope this gets your wheals turning!

make something...

So, Why is it that we always think of Pentecost as a glorified church service where everyone consumed a big 'excellent' program? One thing that I'm convinced of after growing up in the church and following Jesus into the World, is that we need better metaphors for what we dream of and what we remember. The story of Pentecost makes my point. How often have you imagined Pentecost (the first Christian experience of it recorded in Acts 2) as a picture of how your church service should be? How often have we assumed that they were building a church service for themselves, or for God, for that matter? Is it possible that Pentecost was more public? More of a cultural phenomena? Something mixing everything up to put everyone back in play instead of commodifying them to build an organization or institution? Imagine the chaos that ensued when, this sect of Jews following 'Yashua' (Jesus, literally the same name as Joshua, meaning Saving One), waited the designated 50 days after Passover and were then interrupted by synchronicity of multiple language, sharing, and neighboring. 'All because the Spirit inspired them. Pentecost was not planned, programmed, or strategic on the part of the community of Jesus... Pentecost is the name we place on the happening that occurred amidst a Jewish holiday of Shavuot- marking the giving of the Torah (10 commandments and the rest of Jewish Law) to Moses, and book-ending the two main harvests of their early agrarian culture (barley after Passover and wheat 50 days later). Pentecost interrupted that community with new Laws and new cycles. And the Spirit of Jesus accomplished this interruption by re-introducing a multi-culturallism (that was already around them, but had grown flat and unacknowledged) and agnecy (shared responsibility in making, crafting, doing, speaking). It put everyone, across their differences, in play.

Kelley showed me this video last week, about Amy Krouse and the community she was joined by, and I was blown away. The DIY/indie craft world is filled with innovators who "make stuff." And this story of Amy is what i imagine the feeling of Pentecost being as opposed to "the greatest church service ever" which is how I traditionally grew up imagining Pentecost. It's a great metaphor to replace the flattened idea of church. Every one was "in play" at the church's first Pentecost. People were around because of their media-socio-cultural practices (Jewish pilgrimages were made to Jerusalem 50 days after passover). They were a heterogeneous mix, not the same subculture. And a new "thing" emerged. The Jesus story became a story of a people at Pentecost- it was a "beckoning of the lovely."

Do It Yourself Advent!

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So the Johnstons and the Ekmarks helped us dig into a family ritual of celebrating advent with Eve.  It is a long time dream of ours and we're now posting the results of the collaborative devotional and the play by play at advent waiting.

so come check it out!  Especially if you know folks with young kids hoping to build a deeper story in them for walking int he way of Jesus.

Other great Advent ideas are at the Advent Conspiracy (but their web site's been down for a few days).  more on this I'm sure in the weeks to come.

Indie Craft Experience

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With glittery tinsel already up at the Kroger, I'm beginning to reimagine christmas gift giving and our participation in the creative work of God.  I realize that I have grown too comfortable buying something from IKEA that was made by a machine and shipped from BFE, or eating bananas grown by families more than 6K miles away.  And the scariest part is that this comfortable posture is sneaking into our views on the rest of life, we enjoy just consuming already made things or thinking about making, and we just get numbed out to the producing end of things.  I'll bet that our imagese of how "the Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us"  is also domesticated by these views of consuming.  But we used to be more connected to producing, it was part of our family's everyday lives, and part of our gift giving rituals. I can remember my dad talking about my grandpa delivering milk from a farm located in their same little Michigan town, and I still have an afghan that my aunt made for us as a wedding present.  but this is not the real world... things move too fast to do that anymore... right?

I love the work of the Advent Conspiracy, "an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by worshiping Jesus through compassion, not consumption."  And Mike Morrell invited me through facebook to join the Make Something Day group, committing to spend the friday after thanksgiving making something in stead of buying things.


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I want to add to these two things a heads up for Atlanta people about the Indie Craft Experience, this Saturday, November 17 from 11am-6pm.

Kelley and I went last year and this summer. When she had a scrap booking store we participated. While this does include buying, shopping at the Indie Craft show is more of a cultural event, building friendships, leaning about making, and living off or at the edges of the grid. It is a beautiful menagerie of people and their hand-made wares.  Great Urban, Edgy, and folksy designed things for Christmas- and the chance to know the makers of these things.  This is sorta like growing and buying locally as well as gardening in your back yard- a good practice. If you're in Atlanta, and want to come to our neck of the woods, you should go see it!


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(kelley made these last year to hold mix-CDs and poems that we share with some friends at church)

For more on the DIY (do it yourself) revolution, you should check out Design Your Life, and the work of the Lupton twins!

What if... the kingdom of God where at hand?

You need to watch this presentation by Amy Smith to the Technology, Entertainment and Design awards about the changes she and her MIT students are bringing to Haiti, Ghana, India, and elsewhere. 


If we believed that all were becoming new we would put our stock in this kind of work.  She and her generous co-inventors humble me.