Tuesday, April 30


guess whose coming to dinner?

today was a great day in seattle. god perfect weather. when the weather is
great here, it just can't be beat, period.

i had a great conversation today, at cafe ladro in fremont,
with this guy named scott from seattle pacific university

for a few minutes, we discussed the nature of true
postmodern communion between churches that could
break down dividing walls.

then later i got kinda down. i was surfing some church planter
sites, and my earlier coffeehouse conversation made me stop and think,
are some nu churches and networks as pomo as they desire to be?

in our circles, the kingdom is a root concept, yet the flipped out radicality
of the kingdom is not often deeply explored. a few too many pomo
rosters seem more like fraternity yearbooks, than the kingdom of god.

the scriptures talk of god throwing a great feast...
complete with non-invited guests...
today, i felt kinda hungry.

posted by COTA | 9:55 PM|

Saturday, April 27


a deep house "home depot"

here is a sweet link, to a fresh and original site for christians of the third day. the site is centered on the concept of home churching (or meta churching) being a new movement of the spirit in the third millennium. this site is a veritable "home depot" for deep house (church) resources. visit thirddaychurches

posted by COTA | 4:39 PM|


faith and film

looking for a thoughful online resource for making connections between film (cinema) and faith? well, have i found a site for you! doug cummings of tucson, arizona runs this incredible ministry called chiaroscuro. for a starter, check out this timely article on using film clips in ministy in chiaroscuro

posted by COTA |
10:40 AM|

Friday, April 26


deep house

i just stumbled across a link to a deep core house church in california. i'm hoping to organize church of the apostles in seattle as a network of home churches. i'm learning alot by tracking what god is doing at churches like vine and branches in lexington, ky, vineyard central in norwood, ohio and the church at matthew's house in oceanside, ca.

posted by COTA | 2:23 PM|


hail to the chief

today, i want to report, that some signs of missional movement are happening in "lutherland north america." my alice in wonderland like experience of trying to navigate a well meaning but often byzantine system for starting new churches in my denomination, has moved me to be part of a three person "delegation" going to "higgins road" (elca headquarters in chicago) in june, to have an audience with elca presiding bishop (tribal elder) mark hanson (who, by the way, is a very cool, and quite wonderful man).

we are so excited to be able to share our hopes and dreams with him about the future of our church and visioning new ways of doing outreach in the emerging postmodern culture.

the three of us going to visit our chief elder are the main instigators of a new little community called eln. eln is a small network based on missional friendship. many of us are x gen lutheran leaders. all of us are excited about the crazy beautiful things that god is doing in our new cultural landscape. our aim is to help our church keep pace with what god is doing, and get crazy beautiful too.

check out our little emerging leaders network.

posted by COTA | 8:55 AM|

Tuesday, April 23


"the light has enough light"

god is so much bigger than the church. i love being out crusin' the streets of seattle each day and crawlin' them some nights, in order to free myself from the "friendly confines" of "the church world."

i love hangin' out at the triangle pub in our fremont neighborhood and at the irreverent "coffee messiah" in capitol hill. i'll probably meet most of my future "parishioners" in such places, as most people here in the northwest are not apt to come knocking on the church doors and easily cozy up into a pew.

there are two cool articles again in 850 words of relevant, both about the "bubble-worlding" of christianity and the black and white labeling of what is and is not "christian" music. all this christian universe stuff seems to me to be a mile high and an inch deep. i 'd rather hang with and listen to talented artists and musicians who are in touch with, or trying to be in touch with the spiritual (with or without the christian label) than to truncate my experiences inside an often insular and narrow christian world. does god really care if we make cheap christian toys, use christian soap, or shop the "christian music" section at walmart?

god has called us, i think, into the world. we are not to be "of the world," yet we are called to be deep as dirt in it. afterall, this is god's world isn't it? read about the spiritual stunting of artists of faith in the light has enough light and about bursting the christian bubble world for the sake of christ in getting the faith out of the ghetto.

posted by COTA | 6:19 AM|

Wednesday, April 17


i'll be doing a keynote thing at this breakthrough event in toronto in june, sponsored by the united church of canada. i get to follow tex sample (gulp...).

canadians are cool. so this event should be cool. i'm glad i got asked to be a speaker. i'm gonna talk about worship in the postmodern age.

posted by COTA | 5:15 PM|

Tuesday, April 16


the art and humanity of postmodern worship

some folk (who think more modern), are gonna be puzzled by my previous post (especially about the use of technology in some churches). the modern mind does not always get the "double ring" of postmodern culture.

there is a modern and a postmodern feel to the use of technology. moderns often use technology to impress, or as an end rather than a means, and most often in a linear or didactic fashion (for example, the ubiquitous bulleted message points power-point cast on a wall).

like most postmodern pastors i know, i won't bullet my sermons and cast them, classroom style, upon a wall. instead, i will use a narrative preaching style to simply speak the truth in love, by telling stories about god and life, gospel stories that speak to the heart and embolden the will towards love. at the same time, i'll be using a kick butt projection system powered by scala software, a package that puts powerpoint to shame.

don't get it? (it's not the mere use of something, but how it is used that makes it ring modern or postmodern).

scala or mediashout can be to a thoughtful postmodern worship leader, as a brush and canvas are to a painter... the use of art, images, film and other non-linear forms of media, can communicte the gospel to the postmodern mind and soul. the icon pioneered by apple computer, is not unrelated to the icons used in orthodox worship... as postmodern worship forms often have an "ancient-future" vibe.

posted by COTA | 11:18 AM|


"relevant" church for postmoderns

in the current issue of "850 words of relevant," a featured article is entitled "what makes the church relevant." (i don't like to use the word relevant in association with church or worship (so don't blame me for the title, okay?). i would have used the title "authentic church for postmoderns." in any case, the article is by an x gen mother writes about her embarrassing experience of attending a church with her husband. apparently, the church thought it was being "relevant" to "young people" with its "contemporary" approach.

like many of my peers, i am also embarrassed by the things many churches do out of desperation. the sad part is, much of what is done is not even close to being culturally "relevant" to the "young people" they are trying to reach.

firstly, many xers are no longer young people, but are maturing adults, often married with children. the young people are the millennials (born in the 1980's onward). in terms of religious preferences, the millennials are showing signs of being even more conservative than xers. (conservative, meaning being drawn to things with deep and lasting substance (not being technologically or musically backward)). native postmoderns are hyper technological and wired. because of that very fact, they are in no way impressed with the mere (and often linear and cheesy) use of technology by churches.

many young people are being drawn to silence, prayer and contemplation, rather than to staged services with k-tel sounding music and shallow self improvement themed messages power-pointed onto some wall.

a good part of my inner calling to go start a church, is driven by a deep desire to provide a faith community that my non-churched (but serious minded and deeply spiritual) friends will not find laughable or a cultural embarrassment. far from being a joke, today's emerging churches have a unique opportunity to become communal venues for authentic and translucent encounters with the divine.

what most postmoderns (both young and adult) crave, is substance, meaning, authenticity and radical honesty, in their relationships with god, neighbors and world. basicaly, no bull, non-sugar coated christianity. postmoderns want desperately to be introduced to a god for whom they would be willing to die.

as a postmodern young man said in a previous relevant feature: "if you ask me, i am attracted to a church, to a ministry, that has zero bull, zero sugary-sweet christianity, and confronts the issues of the gospel head on. one characteristic of such a church would have to be a no-holds-barred approach to embracing the demands and disciplines of jesus christ. I'm tired of hearing the bold commands and uncompromising calls of the messiah swept under the rug with saccharine platitudes, and shrugged off with anything less than a painful crucifixion of my whole being. I want to serve something with my all. and I will choose either god or the world. churches are afraid to call a spade a spade. I think my generation is dying to die... to die to christ." (a comment by adrian schoonmaker of virginia beach, from the feature "church, take it or leave it," relevant magazine, march 5 2002)

read more about what makes the church relevant

posted by COTA | 5:49 AM|

Saturday, April 13


faux pomo churches?

recently, i read this sweet article about what can happen when nu churches cop a superficial vibe of "pomo hipness," and get sucked up into the vortex of all that, rather than being spellbound by the call to be part of god's new creation in jesus christ. like i said before (in something for ginkworld) to me, there is no such thing, really, as a "postmodern church" (so save god a tylenol, and don't try and start one).

what some of us church planter crazies are trying to do, is to help god (or more often than not, to get outta the big ones way) as god re-orients or "re-boots" the church for faithfulness in postmodern times. thus, the only descriptors that i hope my little mission church will vibe to are "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" (not terribly hip, but rock solid, ay?).

check out john o'keefe's telling article image or imagery?

posted by COTA |
1:42 PM|

Monday, April 8


forget fighting any lame power, network and blog instead!

"blogging" is to postmoderns, as "protesting" was to many people in the 60's. postmoderns don't tend to protest, sway or arm link about stuff... instead we tend to vote with our mice.

wanna know what postmodern church leaders are thinking? it is real easy... go read their blogs and websites and find out.

don't get all upset... others are also out bloggin. the point is, that computing and net based communicating are "native" mediums for postmoderns (as we grew up with this stuff).

atari xers like me (the real "children of the 60's") had our first experiences with computers in jr. high skool (with b.a.s.i.c) and were under ten (or not even born) in 1971 when ray tomlinson sent the world's first e-mail message.

blogger (and services like it), are providing new mediums for "new village voices" to be heard in the church.

i started my blog and my emergingchurch website because as an xer in my denomination's headquarters, i often felt invisible and powerless. i got tired of people trying (with good and friendly motives) to "reach" xers, while never even thinking to ask the few of us in the church office or to let us take the lead in "reaching" our own.

to this day, a lot of weird and non-authentic 4 postmoderns stuff is being supported and financed (in my lutheran and in other mainline denominations), weird and non-authentic things related to outreach, and doing church, that are more likely to repel (than to attract) anyone post 1960 born.

if you know any denonminational leaders, tell them to stop trying to make up stuff to reach postmoderns and try listening to them instead. they can begin by reading some online forums, websites and blogs. and, have them read this article on blogging by jordan cooper.

posted by COTA |
1:48 PM|

Monday, April 1


recently, i heard about a small urban community in pennsylvania that is committed to living "book of acts" based christianity. this community (and others like it) seem to be part of a small but growing movement around the world that is seeking to re-form the concept of church around communal and meta (rather than mega) structures and ways of life together. check out this simple way community in philadelphia.

posted by COTA | 10:28 AM|

 ::church planting :: culture surfing::


vintage faith
eln (lutheran network)
episcopal xers
a kingdom space
stuff to read
lutheran xers forum
northwest brews
emerald city search
geek nirvana

 church plant i.p.o.

my church plant (apostles, seattle) has little funds, but big dreams... we are seeking to raise $200,000 to launch a non-profit cafe/art gallery for god in seattle. we need both small and major donors. click below to make a tax deductible donation. if you are a major donor, please contact me off blog at: karen@apostleschurch.org

 book club

i ain't oprah, but here we go...

digital storytellers by len wilson and jason moore: at last, a book to save the world from the "modernist use of powerpoint in worship hell." if you want to torpedo boring ppt. bulleted sermon points from a modernist pastor who thinks he or she is now hip because he or she is using technology, read this book! better yet, buy the book and send it to the modernist pastor and do his/her congregation a big favor. read digital storytellers

gen x religion, ed by richard w. flory & donald e. miller, provides an accurate "npr like" documentation of religion, as actually practiced by xers, and even reflects theologically on xer subsets (like the goths) and on the phenomenon of piercing among us.
and, unlike many other xer books (filled with clever quips by boomers about xers), this book was written by serious sociologists of religion (many of them xers) who actually researched and studied churches founded by and for xers. amazing and authentic...
read gen x religion

 blogging team
iggie online
alan creech
kevin rains
jonny baker
andrew careaga
punk monkey

 the gardner
i'm karen ward. i'm baptized.
i'm cascadian (from the pacific northwest of north america).
my house is in seattle.
i like my house.
you would too,
so drop by and visit sometime.
i'm postmodern (a 60's born xer).
i can be geeky
(but i'm NOT socially backward).
i webmeister emergingchurch
i'm helping with a new
lutheran network called eln
i'm digging dirt around a
nu church plant, called

 church of the month
landing place

 contact me
send e-mail

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