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Tuesday, 16 May 2006
How (Not) to Speak of God
Topic: Church & Culture

Pete Rollins has released his first book. A challenging book. "How (Not) To Speak of God" is a thoughtful and original book, delivering some heavy-duty thinking from Marion and Derrida in a manner that is accessible and profound, and offering a fresh perspective on the Scriptures that moves the emerging conversation out of binary oppositions and into the love of God. Heres an excerpt:

How Not To Speak Mini1"In this way the emerging conversation is demonstrating an ability to stand up and engage in a powerless, space-creating dis-course that opens up thinking and offers hints rather than orders. In short, the emerging community must endevour to be a question rather than an answer and an aroma rather than food. It must seek to offer an approach that enables the people of God to become the parable, aroma, and salt of God in the world, helping to form a space where God can give of God. For too long the church has been seen as an oasis in the desert - offering water to those who are thirsty. In contrast, the emerging community appears more as a desert in the oasis of life, offering silence, space and desolation amidst the sickly nourishment of Western capitalism. It is in this desert, as we wander together as nomads, that God is to be found. For it is here that we are nourished by our hunger."
Pete Rollins, How (Not) to Speak of God, pg 42-43.

Posted by Pastor Kork at 10:26 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 9 May 2006
Brian McLaren on The Da Vinci Code
Topic: Church & Culture

An interview by Lisa Ann Cockrel

With The Da Vinci Codepoised to go from bestseller list to the big screen on May 19, pastor and writer (and Sojourners board member) Brian McLaren talks about why he thinks there's truth in the controversial book's fiction.

What do you think the popularity of The Da Vinci Code reveals about pop culture attitudes toward Christianity and the church?

Brian McLaren: I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion. We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church. Why would so many people be disappointed to find that Brown's version of Jesus has been largely discredited as fanciful and inaccurate, leaving only the church's conventional version? Is it possible that, even though Brown's fictional version misleads in many ways, it at least serves to open up the possibility that the church's conventional version of Jesus may not do him justice?

So you think The Da Vinci Code taps into dissatisfaction with Jesus as we know him?

Click HERE to read on...

Posted by Pastor Kork at 11:50 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006 12:00 PM EDT
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Thursday, 20 April 2006
What A Desert Can Do
Topic: Life In The Kingdom
As promised, I am not quite over Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. I hope never to be "over" the remembrance of our Lord's great victory, and the price paid to set the world aright!

While we walked through the desert experience of lent, looking to lay ourselves low; losing ourselves into God's purpose and will, many of our hearts have become far more compassionate, rejecting a programs-process-driven mindset to our identity in Christ and His work.

We are taking the plight of our neighbors and the forgotten in our world personally. As we look to sustain this renewed appreciation of Christ's love for the world, He has certainly been placing many changes, and opportunities before us, for us to embody His will. It seems that there is a daily stream of new connections, needs, and partnerships emerging as we continue to look for where He wants to use us.

It seems a new day is dawning? "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Cor 5:17

Only last night, I was interviewed by a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was following a story about urban renewal, and how money for revitalization projects is flowing into our area, when he was suddenly redirected to the plight of the poor. At our Washington & Chestnut site, we are about to endure the displacement of people, forced to relocate from the area, to who knows where, when the borough demolishes an entire neighborhood to build a school. People forced to rent, and on fixed incomes will lose all that they know as "Home" to seemingly solve an urban blight problem.

The churches answer has been to pray really hard, and hope that God will magically intervene.

Whether people have to move (or not), is not really the spiritual issue, and praying without personal involvement might make me feel better, but it will not swaddle the brokenhearted. These troubles require action from the church as a response to prayer.

We have seen shelters for the homeless close, and staffing in others cut. This might save tax dollars, but homelessness is increasing. Where is the church?

As I said earlier, the Lenten Desert changes everything. God has spoken to those who are becoming less self-absorbed. He does move upon those who will lose their will, to His. Right now we are following God down a road that is terrifying, should we journey alone--without Him.

There are real possibilities of establishing a Pottstown Homeless Shelter. Bill Kraft is in contact with folks called to this area, and are gifted for this work. One of those contacts has led us to an older woman of faith named Beatrice in Pompano Beach, FL. The front of her house was blown off, and there is a huge hole in her roof from Katrina. FEMA gave her $700 to fix things. This almost paid for windows and she is out of money. Local contractors are gouging prices to the tune of $11,000 to fix her roof.

God has placed her in our path through our pursuit of beginning a shelter, and we have the people to fix her dilemma. He has given her to us. How can we not help? Someone has promised to fund our gas; the permits are in the works right now; we have a place to stay in Florida close by, with a friend who helped plant Still Waters (and who, incidentally, attends, and works at a church run homeless shelter, looking to help us startup while down there); and now we need your help.

The materials will cost around $800. Our labor is free, and our transportation is taken care of. I am asking that you will help us buy the materials to fix Beatrice's roof, and repair the water damage she has sustained over the year.

This will speak very loudly to many in her circles, both in Florida, and those connected to her here in PA.

Please consider her as one of the least, and see if God would have you help her. Please click HERE to DONATE. It is a secure PayPal Service.

Still Waters is a 501(c)(3) organization and your gift is tax deductible.

We are asking for your help and will let you know how this turns out for her, a dear sister in the Lord.

Thank you.

Kork & Bill

Posted by Pastor Kork at 5:06 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006 9:49 PM EDT
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Sunday, 16 April 2006
Thoughts after Lent, Holy Week, and the Resurrection
Topic: Neo Liturgical Praxis
We slept out, denied ourselves earthly pleasures, involved ourselves in some of the terrible life circumstances of others, rejoiced over the closeness of God, while being heartbroken in understanding the terrible price paid for us, and were given people to be God's hand of mercy toward.

In some ways it feels like a lifetime lived within 40 days. I'm tired.

Through all of this, it seems as though we have more of a resolve, moving into the real work of reconciliation; having a keen awareness of some of the crap that God lovingly puts up with from His church, and also wanting better (hopefully like Him).

We have truly been shown where people's loves lie through their actions, both good and bad.

It is a bit startling to realize that the people who claim understanding show little to no regard for God and His worship, evidenced by their treatment of Him through a lack of worship, and ignoring His people; exhibiting a very dim understanding of life outside their own narcissism.

At the same time, those who you'd might think care very little for God, came through this time looking like, and loving Jesus; again, evidenced by their worship and careful reflection during this time.

I had posted before, how taking the journey through the Lenten Desert changes things. I didn't think so much could become so clear in such a short time.

We will be writing more about this in our March Newsletter "Beside Still Waters."

Until then, blessings...

Posted by Pastor Kork at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 17 April 2006 12:21 PM EDT
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Thursday, 13 April 2006
Maundy Thursday
Topic: Neo Liturgical Praxis
How do we talk about this...?

Holy Week is terrible. It is a time when we intentionally remember the suffering of our LORD; both physically and mentally. As lent draws to a close, we continue to find ourselves in the desert experience of self denial—embracing, the obedience to God found only through suffering.

I am certainly not speaking of self mutilation, or a doctrine of works as a way to acceptance by God, but in very real tangible ways, embracing God’s journey through picking up our own cross, following Jesus, and in reverent ways finding the things that we hold higher than Him; putting them away as an act of worship.

Joy is found in the closeness of God as we draw nearer to Him, but this joy is very conflicted. There is a terrible agony realizing the deadly seriousness of God’s love for us. The physical pain that Jesus endured is emotionally painful for us as we realize the physical cost; but as we draw near to the end of our “Lenten Desert,” our heightened awareness and sensitivity to the spiritual seriousness of our lack of “acceptance” of God and His priority in our lives; our consideration of Him and His mission, is staggering.

Not staying awake with Him for one hour, pales in comparison to the things that we hold in higher esteem than Him. I am feeling the personal conflict of the joy of appreciation to Him, and the pain of knowing the agonizing price he paid for me.

I do know that there are folks who are part of us, who simply didn’t want to do this—with reasons galore—telling themselves, “what’s the point…this won’t change anything.” True, for those unwilling to place one foot closer to our risen LORD, this exercise was futile. It is impossible to steer a parked car… But, I know of a few, whom through this observance, life as they once knew it is ending and a new journey – a new life – is beginning.

I am still conflicted by the joy of drawing close to Jesus at this time, and the heartbreaking reality of what Jesus suffered as we observe the last leg of our journey through Holy Week. This is another kind of pain which we will embrace anew – looking forward to the real thrill of Resurrection.

Today is Maundy Thursday Service at the Moyer’s 7:00 pm. Tomorrow —Good Friday— we will show “the Passion of the Christ” on the corner of York and King Sts in the courtyard. Sunday will be the Victory Celebration!

Until then, please consider what it cost God to let you know how deadly serious is His love for you...

Posted by Pastor Kork at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 17 April 2006 9:41 AM EDT
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Monday, 10 April 2006
If Only There Were More Songs about ... Life!
Topic: Worship
As a Worshiper, Gerrit Gustafson is a giant—teaching a generation the lost art of worshiping God – not only through music, but as a matter of life. This is the real business of our existence. It is something so vulnerable, yet so powerful, and yet the delicacy of understanding its nuance is a life long journey. As we put it at Still Waters, God cares about our “Want To,” the rest is a loving expression of that want to.

This makes our lives beautiful, and noticeably connected to the God who loves the world. We become a reflection—a light.

Gerrit’s words are completely fitting with our Lenten conversation.

Click here to read:
If Only There Were More Songs about ... Life!
by Gerrit Gustafson

Posted by Pastor Kork at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 17 April 2006 1:24 PM EDT
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