Wednesday, April 30


more hopeful and kool bloggin' the vintage faith

the more hopeful part:
i feel a bit less lamented today, cause i got a luv note yesterday from one of my tribes (epsicopal), that basically told me not to lose heart, and that things will turn out for good as i keep loving god...

the luv note was about a recent workshop i did for 'diocesan resource day' (where many western washington parishes send teams of leaders to soak in new ideas). mine was called 'agents of future.' i got the title from the name of the killer band out of the bridge church in portland, oregon.

in the workshop i talked about the new movements of god today, with a sampling of andrew's 'wabi sabi' stuff about how the fresh and vintage can work together towards god's future... i also placed an emphasis on empowering emerging generations and also on how every (modern) parish can learn new tricks by not being afraid to let the camel's nose of the emerging church into their tent.

i advised them to 1. continue to respect their vintage tradition as anglicans (and believe me, there is a mother lode of vintageness to draw from there!) 2. set up new mission lab corners or kiosks (in addition to their current practices) to enable them to experiment with morphed and emerging ways of worship and doing church that draw upon their rich vintage tradition, but at a pace and 'stream rate' they can handle. i was amazed that my workshop got a 4.98 average rating (out of 5) : - )

the koolness part:
i also got a lift from dan kimball who said that both my blog and the church plant i serve (apostles, seattle) are kool. * for those of you daniel-sans who don't know this, one of the unwritten things about koolness is that it has to be conferred on you by others, so i can't say that i am kool, but i can say dan is!, and so is his new book on the emerging church.

posted by COTA | 7:04 AM|

Sunday, April 27


an easter lament: jesus is risen, but will the 'church' rise and embed?

the past week has been very hard for me... we had over 150 people at our first RISE warehouse easter vigil (at least one third of whom were non-churched 20-30 somethings), yet cota remains in financial trouble as we are still lacking partners from our tribes to help barn raise us.

priorities in mainline denominations (and their local judicatories) just seem to go along as usual... (though the average age of a lutheran is 57, the average age of an episcopalian is pushing 60 and the average age of an american citizen is around 30) so we have basically lost any significant influence over my generation (x) and are well on our way to losing any significant influence over the younger generation (y), but nobody seems concerned enough to allocate a workable amount of 'r and d' (research and development) funds toward 'missional lab' churches that are at least attempting to bridge this huge gap. and so, the gap just widens and widens ... and after the boomers are gone, the gap will become a full fledged 'temporal rift'.

if the church were a business, we would have gone under years ago, as corporations have significant budgets for 'r and d' to stay on game and incubate new ideas (as innovation and movement come from the edges and move slowly into the center (and not the other way round)).

many of my recent posts are about our lack of funding. this is because finances are a 'canary in the coal mine' indication of true priorities. if you want to know what people truly value, look at their check books and where they allocate their resources... so we can say "we value mission and the future generations" all we want, but if our judicatory r and d budgets (for mission labs) are low, then our concern for 'the future having a church' is also low, as math does not lie.

if apostles can raise a few hundred thousand bucks to secure our own 'venue' we could mix it up so much more in the culture here, as our 'third place' peers (pomo methodology wise) are small indie rock clubs, cafes and art collective spaces, rather than modern, institutional churches. the truth is, postmoderns here live in those spheres and the churches, well..., they are basically off the cultural radar.

so apostles seeks to move 'on-radar' within seattle's alternative and creative culture. we are making in-roads in our cultural 'embedding,' but we are handicapped by not yet having 'venture capital' from our tribes.

if i had any personal money, i'd be tempted to forgo the church process all together, get a small business loan and just open a cafe in order to practice our vision of church rather than being one.

we are tying to be one that is aware of and native to our postmodern culture, but are having to do so with both hands tied behind our backs, which is tiring and painful... i hate to say it, but right now, i'm learning first hand why the largest and fastest growing segment of christians are postmoderns who have just given up on church (as an institution) altogether and are practicing a churchless faith

posted by COTA | 7:58 AM|

Tuesday, April 15


dual OS church?

i read a killer post on that pretty much sums up what apostles, seattle and other emerging groups often experience when seeking to "co-operate" with more modern or established congregations.

often, what we are gets labeled as an "alternative or postmodern worship service" to which i say UGH!!!. as what we are seeking to do, or what we pray god is seeking to do in us, is not about tweaked "worship" in isolation, but is about a new modus operandi for god driven community or in tech speak "a comprehensive new OS for being church." meaning, our ethos is emerging in ALL areas- how worship is curated, how discipleship is apprenticed, how authority is exercised, how teaching happens, how we morph structures, how we order our life, what we value, what we jettison, what is central for us in following jesus, and what is not...

so i agree with leighton teba, that some of us need to run on a "heterogeneous network" with our tribe and our establishes congregations because dual booting is difficult and trying to upgrade the established group's OS does not work well overall.

for more, read this brilliant post, and nota bene, the final paragraph. see dual boot the body of christ

posted by COTA | 9:29 AM|

Wednesday, April 9


the social capital of blogspace (and kingdomspace?)

i just got this link (from bob carlton at youth specialties) to a blog about the nature of technology and markets, but the post that really rocks is this one about the "social capital of blogspace." read this, read the culture, read the future of the church (house, parish, city, oikoumene... as the networked, flat-structured, de-centered, electrified and bio-teched body of christ. see the social capital of blogspace

such social capital rich godspace is already beginning to emerge in netted communites like

posted by COTA | 2:48 PM|

Monday, April 7


struggling, yet psyched to RISE

apostles, seattle (now all of four months old) is winding down our lenten labyrinth and gearing up for our first easter.

we continue to seek barn-raising help from our tribes (lutheran and episcopal). but as of yet, our church planting reality show has no takers and only a few inquiry calls. it is lonely... we often feel like postmodern oliver twists, outside the big gates, not wanting to be orphans, but wabi in and among our very sabi laden tribes. the lack of help is painful and often makes me depressed... as we are slowly seeing young leaders starting to come be church with us (many of whom are teen aged boys). it is looking like god could give us a community more millennial than X in make up, so we senior citizens (over 30 at apostles) are now learning to be good mentors and crafty guides. yet still, it is hard to support the start up of this ministry, as teens do not have the financial resources to give... yet we are excited to see them giving their young hearts and lives to god, and for this we are truly delirious, and we still pray that our tribes will begin to risk a bit and help become agents of their own future.

we remain one years rent and modest program funds away from having our own hub space where our young leaders can hang out, follow god, explore and create... it is hard to keep up hope, as almost every other month i hear of some church in our tribe getting a bequest or inheriting a house... this is now happening a lot among established churches (with many silent gen saints who are now going on to god and leaving substantial resources to the church). most of such bequests will be put automatically into parish endowments (too often the mainline church equivalent of biblical grain barns). the huge problem is, that this silent generation was the last one truly churched, so without some investment in new forms of church now, younger generations will not become part of the church to replace them. so we continue to pray, that just one parish here will have the crazy gospel guts and spirited sense of adventure to tithe one bequest or open up one endowment as an investment in god's future and in new forms of church in our city.

amidst the struggles, and my "artful dodger" like feelings, we are psyched to RISE and to celebrate the resurrection of jesus. RISE is a kingdom party for prodigals, seekers and veteran christ followers not afraid of new things. we are literally going for broke to kill the fatted calf and give out robes and rings. god is host, and we are the waitstaff on duty.

there will be art installations on easter readings and themes, six acoustic bands, 2 dj's, a vj, live p.a, sound collage, midnight mass and a post-mass dubed out dance. the sonic artisans will be amazing. a few of our artists with websites R lacey brown band, entropic advance (doing amazing sound collages) and the incredible turntabalist, dj kuma, from vancouver, bc.

if you are in seattle on april 19th, or have any friends who will be in seattle on april 19th, send them over to RISE: an easter vigil/party 9:30 pm to 3:00 am at the capitol hill arts cooperative, 1621 12th (at pine).

posted by COTA | 12:46 PM|

 ::church planting :: culture surfing::


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 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:

 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

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