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Thursday, October 30, 2008


With all of the important activities to be attended to in launching a church, I find the most life-giving to be meeting young creatives. I relate to their exuberance, brashness, and fire for what they are doing. They are thinkers and doers, connecting to and being connected by what they are making.

If imagine/northampton is going to converse with the artistic community of Northampton, we are going to need to spend all sorts of time with these visionaries and culture-makers. They will fuel our fires and deepen our understanding of the human drive to create. We will appreciate God more and sharpen our focus.

We know we want our mission and where we do it to be arts saturated: art that provokes, invites, challenges, emancipates and ennobles the spirit and the mind. Light, color , movement, sound and fury need to fill our space and fill our serving. We have much to learn from artists, including the conversation they will have with our own artistic expressions.

We will need to be listeners, humble and aware of our blindspots and theirs. We will need to look and feel and think with and through them. We will have to look for truth even in unfamiliar expressions. Truth that penetrates, reveals and convicts toward real life and fullness. There is much to find and much to leave in Northampton.

What a time to be alive in the Kingdom!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Am I too old for this?

Never thought I would be helping launch a church at the ripe old age of 59, nor did Tricia, my wife. But here we are. Northampton MA is not an easy place to do so either. Naming it imagine/northampton adds to the challenge. What kind of church has such a name? Is it a cult? Is it a joke? Where is Jesus in this?

And I am something called a spiritual formation catalyst to boot. What the heck is that? Why aren't I a pastor or reverend, something easy to recognize like that? Why do I have to be so obtuse. so different, so weird?

Also, 59 is not 29, or even 39. Church planting is for young men and women who can handle the myriad pressures and challenges. Old guys need to just be old guys: over the hill, geriatric, addled and preoccupied with old guy specialties like prostates and nose hair.

But old guys can and do plant churches. We have a vision that retirement can't touch. We hear Jesus say "will you go?" And we go, maybe a little slower and having to check our notes to make sure we don't forget stuff, but we go. To not go would be to settle for a lesser life and a sagging faith. Old guys like me are not happy with the spiritual status quo, the "easy does it," lifestyle. We want to finish our race running as hard as gray guys can for the prize of prizes. We want to see Jesus and say: "Pappy, I ran the best could."

So I'm in Northampton planting imagine convinced it will make a difference in a way nothing else I could do these days. In the latter days old men will dream dreams and follow them as best they best I can. See you in Northampton . . . .