Kay: You’re probably right, dear.

Jon: [slight pause as I process what she said] …Hey, waitaminit. I haven’t been married 26 years for nothing. I recognize that! That’s one of those… women’s trick phrases, isn’t it?

Kay: Yes, you could be right.

New churches are stuck in a box we made

This is a continuation of Starting New Churches: Is Our Focus Misplaced? Two friends discussing church planting led me to wonder: Is church planting really “the most effective form of evangelism” in America? If so, I think we could do much better.

New churches: One size doesn’t fit all

The American landscape is continuing to shift away from any “Christianized” identity. Welcome to post-Christian America. The rules have changed, and America is a completely different mission field. Alan Hirsch teaches, “All mission in the West is cross-cultural.”

Revealing Jesus in a new context requires new approaches. So why do new churches keep going back to the “tried and true”? You know the old definition of insanity. By that definition, we American Christians are nuts about establishing new churches — specifically, church services. Continue Reading…

What to do for Lent: Drive in silence

“What to do for Lent?” This was the question I asked myself as I drove to my Silicon Valley job on the morning of Ash Wednesday. The only thing I’d decided was to work through an email Lent devotional. But that wasn’t enough. I had a feeling God wanted to lead me somewhere else.

Giving up something for Lent is clichéd, but…

Asking “what to do for Lent?” is still a fairly new thing for me. I resist the idea of “giving up something for Lent” because it feels so cultural, even in a post-Christian context. At work, my friends (who are mostly atheist / agnostic / ehh, whatever) were jokingly asking each other, “Is that something you’re giving up for Lent?” I don’t see any spiritual seeking in it. It’s kind of like a New Year’s resolution, except with an end date.

I’m more drawn to the idea of doing something, rather than giving something up. But what if the two aren’t so different? What if giving something up for Lent isn’t pointless self-flagellation? What if it’s a journey to take with God? What if giving something up for Lent creates room to do something else?

That thought rang in my head as I continued my drive. Suddenly, I knew what to do for Lent this year… Continue Reading…

Lent Wallpaper for iPhone

February 24, 2012
Lent wallpaper for iPhone

My iPhone lock screen for Lent

One thing I’m doing for Lent this year is setting the wallpaper on my various devices. On my computers, I use the downloads CRM provides as companions for their email Lent devotional. That way, I’m looking at a verse and imagery that matches the devotional. But it doesn’t work on a phone, so I made this simple Lent wallpaper for iPhone use.

I wish I knew who designed the original image, so I could give them credit. A Google image search for “lent desktop” shows it all over the place, so it’s hard to say. But I took the original image, adding a slight white border on the sides. It’s cropped so that the word LENT is visible above the unlock slider, and above the iPhone page indicator dots. (Note that this is specifically for an iPhone screen, and won’t work well for an iPad.)

Setting this Lent image as your iPhone wallpaper is a little complicated. I’ll walk you through, step by step. Continue Reading…

Lent Devotional via Email

February 16, 2012

Following Jesus: 2012 Lent Devotional

Lent starts next Wednesday! Starting in 2010 (when God interrupted my Lenten prayer),  I’ve enjoyed the Lent devotional provided by CRM:

  • Church Resource Ministries is an organization I highly respect. They’re doing missional work around the world, including the United States.
  • The thoughts and questions come from CRM’s missional focus. There’s no fluff. It’s real, personal and honest.
  • The format is a daily devotional email during Lent. The daily reminder in my technological world helps keep me grounded.

With a smart phone, you can have the email devotional in your hand, wherever you are. I like to take a mid-morning break during my workdays and walk around outside with my iPhone. I walk slowly and meditatively, holding the thoughts, questions and prayers against the backdrop of both nature and workplace.

To sign up for this email devotional, go to www.crmleaders.org/subscribe. Click the “Lent and Week of Prayer mailings” checkbox.

McDonald's: Billions Served

The American way: Make a reproducible franchise

Two of my friends made an unexpected connection online. Their dialog stirred thoughts in me that had fallen dormant… What does it take to start new churches in the U.S.? What’s the connection between new churches and evangelism? Is anyone reaching post-Christian America? What should Kay & I do (if anything)?

Andrew Jones (a.k.a. tallskinnykiwi) wrote a Leadership Journal post, 9 Reasons NOT to Plant a Church in 2012.
My former pastor Dave Jacobs replied with My Patellar Reflex to Andrew Jones’ “9 reasons NOT to plant churches.”
This could be interesting, I thought… Continue Reading…

Fake church sign: Do new churches really reach post-Christians?

It all started simply enough:
Andrew Jones wrote a Leadership Journal post, 9 Reasons NOT to Plant a Church in 2012.
Dave Jacobs replied with My Patellar Reflex to Andrew Jones’ “9 reasons NOT to plant churches.”
Their exchange about the value of starting new churches kicked my thoughts into motion.

I was going to post a comment on Dave’s blog, but it got too long. So I started to write a post here. But it got too long, as well! (I’m working on taming the length of my posts.) So I thought, “OK, I’ll make it a two-parter.” I wrote part two. But I still hadn’t finished what I want to say.

God is stirring, and I’m starting to bubble

Evidently, God is stirring me again. It’s not just coming from my blogging friends; they were just an important kick. I feel like I’m entering a new season:

So I’ll share what’s starting to bubble through a short series:

  1. New Churches, Global Movements and the U.S.A.
  2. New Churches Stuck in a Christendom Box
  3. New Churches & Evangelism: All Backwards?

New Setup for This Blog!

January 21, 2012

Pardon our dust

Things look different here, eh? Blogging has changed over the years, and I’ve been experiencing WordPress envy. I’m proud to roll out the biggest change since moving this blog from Blogger to TypePad in the summer of ’93: Blog One Another now runs on my own server, on WordPress, woot woot!

Why am I excited? Because everything has changed underneath. I plopped down some money for a hosting service (Dreamhost) and a WordPress theme (Standard Theme), and spent a chunk of time moving everything over from TypePad. You’ll experience a number of improvements, including:

  • Speed: Pages load quickly. And I mean super-fast!
  • Comment avatars: Just sign up at Gravatar, and your smiling face will make your comments more fun!
  • Comment threading: Now more than a single level of replies! The threads of conversation will be clearer going forward.
  • Comment subscriptions: No more need to check back manually! Just click the checkbox when you add a comment, and you’ll be notified when anyone adds something new.
  • Easy sharing: Buttons float along the left side of each post. This makes it easy to share a post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

I want you to get the most out of the new setup! Here are things you can do to maximize your experience: Continue Reading…

Third Culture Kids (TCK) book

I didn't know there was a book!

I did a little soul-searching recently. I decided I could make the purpose and focus of this blog clearer. And it’s tied to my background as a Third Culture Kid (TCK).

…On the one hand, this is just a personal spiritual blog. There’s nothing necessarily focused about that.

…But on the other hand, this is my personal spiritual blog! What you get at Blog One Another is what I’m seeing and experiencing, that I want to pass on to you. So I had to ask myself, “What’s so unique about my perspective?”

A Third Culture Kid lives in two worlds

Answer: I’m a TCK, a Third Culture Kid — I grew up in Japan, as an American. I’m used to being the child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. It colors everything about how I see culture, belonging, and what to do when cultures clash. I found myself sketching these ideas on a whiteboard: Continue Reading…

time travel

1.21 gigawatts?!

Back… back… back in time! Unless you go way back on Blog One Another, this will all be new.

It’s common for bloggers to wrap up the year with a “best of” summary. But that doesn’t work for me this year, since I only recently came back from a one-year hiatus. So instead, let’s stretch back to 2003. I give you classic posts from my first year of blogging!

Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing Blog One Another with others! I’m looking forward to what the new year brings. (2012, that is.)

Photo by Team Tanenbaum (license)