Thursday, June 16, 2011

Measure Twice, Cut Once

measure twice
Carpenters have a number of handy rules for making a project come out,,, well, functional. Measure twice, cut once is the one I always remember (having measured once and cut twice way too many times).
cut once
           Noah knew,  "Build yourself a ship from teakwood. Make rooms in it. Coat it with pitch inside and out. Make it 450 feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 
                  -Genesis 6:14-16

gun safety
    Project Manager Jeff’s favorite rule for mission teams is ten fingers, ten toes, the same number in the evening as you start with in the morning.  I couln't help but think of that one as I watched George give John a gun saftey update in the entry hall. 
     Another biblical insight, safety first on site!  When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof to make it safe so that someone doesn't fall off and die and your family become responsible for the death.- Deuteronomy 22:8

     These other Mr. Munson rules may come in handy as the project moves on:
            All work is noble.
            Excellence in the enemy of good enough

Theology of the Hammer

Clarence Jordan  was known for inviting folks into the “God Movement,” It was his term for the Kingdom of God.  In the 1950s & 60s, Jordan pointed out that most Christians were more interested in comfortable rituals and familiar scripture readings than actually doing applying holy insights to the world. (My favorite definition of a prophet is not one who predicts the future but one who challenges God’s people to be God’s partners in creating it).
Jordan & Fuller at Koinania Farms
Never one to sit still his friend and follower Millard Fuller began Habitat for Humanity (and later The Fuller Center for Housing-ask Lynn Twitchell about their programs!) and the God Movement picked up the theology of the hammer. Millard left a thriving business a tthe age of 29 to serve the poor. “Our Christian faith demands that we do more than just talk about faith and sing about love.” In other words, we’ve got to get out of our navel gazing kumbaya circles to be Christ’s living body in the world. Once the Spirit “comes by here,” we’ve got to move on out there.
That’s probably why mission trips are so powerful.  We get to:
1. get off our duffs
2.  let someone else know we love them with Christ’s heart.

            Plus there’s no better way to get to know someone than swinging a hammer/washing dishes/sanding drywall/dishing beans/finger-painting with children/________________(fill in the blank). These photos are a glimpse of the theology of the hammer at work among us this summer.
     Every study I know of confirms the common sense wisdom that men build relationship most comfortably and naturally when they are working side by side.  (We women are grateful to work as your partners in this community!)  What difference might it make if more churches took up crow bars and hammers as faith tools?
       Of course real koinania (Christian fellowship) only begins working side by side.  It grows as the community under construction opens itself up and out.  Our renovation is a forward thinking exercise in discipleship.  The relationships that are also under construction are being strengthened for the next, harder, and even more joyous work of creating a new generations of disciples, of all ages, for the transformation of the world.
     We can count our new disciple growing spaces-1...2....3.
     What can we count on as our goals for their purpose?
     More professions of faith in Christ?  What's our 2011/12 goal? The possibiities are practically endless.
     More calls to ministry-I believe we can cultivate the call of 5 new Lay Speakers in the next year and at least 3 ministers in the next five years to serve local congregations as Licenced Local Pastors and Ordained Elders or Deacons.  (BTW, when's the last time you sent encouragement to our person in process now, Tom Frey?  Please pray for him as he moves to serve People's UMC in South Portland.)
More intentional growth of everyday, extraordinary, side by side gifts as we learn to recognize and encourgae the gifts the Spirit gives us.
      Like those hammering in faith this summer!
The word of God came to Solomon saying, "About this Temple you are building—what's important is that you live the way I've set out for you and do what I tell you. -1 Kings 6:11

Rocko positioning.

prepping for the next supper?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

#1 in a (pre-fathers day) series on Men and Church.

When we were out in Colorado Springs for a family wedding last June, I overheard several young men talking about going to church with the specific purpose of finding “good” wives.  (In the same conversation they were pretty explicit that the same rules of “goodness” didn’t apply to their own behavior.) 
Recent articles have me watching for where our men folk tend to plug into church.  The steady stream in and out of Fellowship Hall under renovation suggests that anything having to do with deconstruction or power tools is popular.  But we also have a higher percentage of men than most small churches singing in choir and participating in committees.  So how are our guys’ experiences similar to or different from “averages.”
Why do or “don’t men go to church?”  asks blogger Doug Lawrence.  David Murrow in his book Why Men Hate Church suggests that many men see Christianity as being incongruous with their manhood. Maybe so, says Lawrence, “but the church is probably at least partially to blame for this. “ He says churches make 3 mistakes:
 1. We place a higher emphasis on children than fathers. 
2. We forget to celebrate and thank men as much as women.
3. We sing too much!
What do you (especially the men among us) think?
Does our church’s life make room for what helps you grow in Christ and find a place in community?  What does and what might?
Are you feeling neglected?  If so, what forms of encouragement do you find most meaningful?
Here’s what Lawrence goes on to say: (
(1)…churches that place a high priority on having fathers being highly active in their children’s programs appear (general observation in the field) to have larger numbers of men in their general church population. Says Christian researcher, George Barna, "Women are almost twice as likely as men" to teach Sunday school. What’s wrong with women teaching children? Nothing, but what are we doing to give permission to men to also be nurturers and be active role models for children?
(2)….In some ways we play into a feminine stereotype of being all soft and mushy on Mother’s Day, but find it difficult to affirm fathers with at least a modicum of sentimentality and encouragement. Even men need a little motivation toward their personal worthiness and leadership role in the home and church.
(3)—Men sing less than women in general, don’t mind singing if the keys of songs reflect the average range of their voices, don’t mind music that accompanies something a movie for example, hate standing for 20 minutes and singing—period.
       -Pastor "Eager to hear your thoughts" Karen
Coming soon #2 in the series, "Millard Fuller's Theology of the Hammer"