Sunday, April 25


i'm moving 'out of the dirt and into the water' using the more powerful typepad system for my new main blog. deepdirt will remain here for archive purposes, but for fresh posts, link to submergence

posted by COTA | 10:57 AM|

Thursday, April 1



apostles, seattle is gearing up for death and new life during holy week and easter, with the (WOTC) WAY OF THE CROSS and RISE EASTER PARTY

'christ our passover will be sacrificed for us'.
'therefore let us keep the feast'

posted by COTA | 11:08 AM|

Tuesday, March 16


the will to blog (and PRAY)

i'm back (i hope) from a long silence. i've been so tired of struggling for basic resources for our church plant vision... yet in the struggle, god has made our vision stronger and clearer. it is so exciting, it breaks my heart...

i'm still being exhausted by this rock up a hill push into it. all the talk about wanting to reach out to the 'next generations' in our tribes is constantly hampered by modern systems still forming committee after committee, to study and study... but is reluctant to take a crazy (incarnational) risk to shake loose some 'missional venture' capital on a real 'next generation' mission and it's god driven dreams.

too often i lose the will to blog, as all my energies go toward maintaining the dream.

It takes much spiritual energy to see beyond the lack of basic resources to the drop dead beautiful mission god is birthing and which i have the awesome priviledge of 'attending.'

sophia acousomen (wisdom, let us attend).

it is lent. this is the desert. it is parching. i continue to hope, to have faith and to PRAY, as easter is coming.

now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence
of things not seen (hebrews 11:1)

posted by COTA | 7:21 AM|

Tuesday, October 21


emerging and re:surfacing

i'm discovering and experiencing so much, while 'scuba diving' the emerging church. these are exciting times... and i have so much i'd like to share on what i see... and i've got so many ideas on ways to unleash new forms of church and how to fashion aquatic structures needed to support them... but i'm still waiting for opportunites for real input (among my own tribes and modern structures), in order to explore new and 'con-structive' paths seeking birth from the 'de-constructive' work that emergent scouts have done.

there is so much happening, under radar, off deck, out of the speedboat, and sub:merging into god's vast ocean.

still, for the past three years, all my emerging church speaking and teaching has been done at non-episcopal and non lutheran seminaries and events.

i wish i had outlets in my own denominations to help chart new 'sub:merge capable' routes, but non engagement with, and lack of awareness of, the postmodern shift (and our 'fear of waves') keeps us pouring resources into 'new' configurations, but with the same (modern) ethos at work... a modern ethos, which can't birth the new aquatic structures needed by the emerging church.

so we continue on... creating 'new' life preservers, reparing and patching worn dykes, for fear of opening the flood gates for emergent subs to dive in.

emerging leaders are 'out there,' waving their hands in the air, shooting off flares, and splashing in the water! so when will the motherships notice our presence, send us some supplies, invite us on deck, value our scouting, harness our energy, and ask us to report on what we are seeing (so the cruise ship can truly re-tool and begin to build smaller, quicker 'submersibles' capable of navigating the new altantis.

emergent subs and divers also need space and opportunities to surface sometimes... i'd like to surface and re:board my own tribes mothership/decks. i continue to look for chances and invites to speak and to 'give my report', but, until our tribal decks purposefully open spaces where their own scouts can surface..., like water, we will migrate to where there are openings, and surface where there is space.

so i'll be on surfacing, and on deck to do some scout reporting in 2004 : at the calvin january symposium (grand rapids), at the north american academy of liturgy (nyc), doing some emergent 'post-lectures' at fuller seminary (pasadena), and at a 'fast-track' seminar at the emergent convention (san diego)

posted by COTA | 10:31 AM|


o luther, where art thou? : opening pores or punching holes?

long time no post. no posts means i am burdened... with good burdens, and with depleting, bewildering ones.

the 'good burden' is that apostles is opening a new storefront non-profit business in our beloved fremont neighborhood in seattle... all the work, painting, set up... all the craziness trying to work towards a 'grand opening' on nov 20 for our godly 'business' of running a community netlouge and tea bar.

apostles (the church) is already meeting in the storefront for worship. we only have one week left to name the storefront tea bar (so business cards and signs can be made).

the depleting and bewildeing burden is trying to open some small pores of change within modern 'reformation' claiming systems.

recently, a few emerging lutherans were able to gather in boston (mostly gen x and y leaders). no tote bags. no t-shirts. no funding from church structures. no seats on the blue ribbon panel. just a few scattered voices, in a lutheran church basement, dreaming of liquid futures, to re-irrigate solid soil.

where are you?
luther, who welcomed a holy rain and new vision of church, centered on liquid (baptismal) grace. luther, who insisted that structures be made fluid (in service to the gospel). luther, who forged new pathways not 'covered' in 'manuals' or aided by 'phone book sized' rules.

so there he stood

pore opener (hole puncher)
off map (off manual)
passionate ('angry')
sub:merged (underground)
prophetic voice (ghost in the machine)
liquid (messy and chaotic)
different priorities (does not meet expectations)
fluid (resistant to overlays)
free range ('anti-institutional')
god focused (system disloyal)
stream cleaner (problem priest)
emergent scout (cruise-ship pirate)

luther. the original 'wittenblogger'. liquid church rebel. ever honored by your church (as long as your system critiquing postings and wave-making ideas stay on the movie screen).

posted by COTA | 8:30 AM|

Friday, August 8


gwc in the house! (and throwin' down a pre and post church vibe)

gwc (gracewerks collective) the 'alter ego' of apostles church is ramping up it's life.

when i get asked about the relationship between apostles (the church) and gracewerks, (the collective), the only thing i've come up with, is a loose analogy, that the church is peter parker and the collective is spiderman... both with different personas and identities, but both being 'true.'

i've noticed a few gcw like crews in the emerging church, on the one hand, but in some ways, gwc seems more rare... as many other groups are on a 'church vibe' route, overtly 'professing' (gospel/jesus) within postmodern and youth culture, whereas gwc has chosen to 'express' rather than profess, a gospel ethos (or to 'preach' like st. francis 'without words').

nowhere is god or jesus mentioned on the gwc website, as a radical (and church humbling) way of saying that god's presence 'in, with and under,' god's own world, is not in any way dependent upon, or limited to, our invocation.

(gwc illuminati: zapan and djn)

the 'modern' church, especially, could benefit from a cold (yet refreshing) water wake up call, to the liquified and spirit borne truth, that wherever authentic creativity is expressed, god (the creator) is already there.... so the problem with this, in our postmodern world, is not that god is absent from creative culture, but that the church, too often is.

because of our belief in god as creator, for god followers NOT to be involved in creative culture, is like a fish forsaking water, and the native call to swim.

we've incorporated gwc as it's own non-profit, apart from apostles church, so gwc can be gleefully 'spiritual, but not religious,' and in the best sort of way!

gwc aims to be a legit art and culture collective, mixing up like any other 'crew' within the undeground/alt/art/electro culture in seattle.

gwc is not a churchy thing, nor is it a veiled bait and switch. it is rock solid 'spiritual, but not religious, word up! but why? to 'hide' the faith of it's founders? no... , but to be a marker and sign post for the kingdom, in a different sort of way.

yet still, the 'witness factor' does comes into play, whenever folk discover that gwc was started by a church, without being one.

(gwc party 'lumi-lab')

i suppose, what gwc does best is to explore, and try on 'life lived with abundance' (a gospel aim) and within 'techno-colored community,' and to express this life, in fresh forms of art, music and multi-media.

so in a way, gracewerks is both a 'pre-church' and 'post-church' expression. it seeks to 'live the aims, without any anxious need to verbalize the claims' (as it will leave that to apostles, the church).

so gwc is both a pre-church entry point for some, and a dim mirror peek for all of us, of what 'post church' being may be like, cause in the new jerusalem, there is no preaching, no temple and no church, as the whole city is radiant with god in such an organic way that words are no longer needed to live the abundant (kingdom) life.

gwc is throwin' down some 'maxlife parties' this fall. series I is called 'illuminations,' while apostles (the church) is making some moves in this direction, but is still a bit behind gracewerks' pace, in dreaming the new jerusalem and enjoying the proleptic fun. so check out gracewerks

posted by COTA | 4:27 PM|

Monday, July 21


gospel courage to support new things!

below is an incredible gospel word about the church and god's new things, from the archbishop of canterbury, rowan williams. (go bishop, go bishop!)

i saw this posted first on jonny baker's blog. when i read it, i got a huge jolt of hope... because if the world's big kahuna anglican bishop can say this, then maybe our u.s. episcopal church can get stoked, and begin providing support and help to little missions like apostles (lonely, with no program funding, but on the edge, where 'there is no box' to be outside of, as we explore new forms and ways to be church in our emerging postmodern culture).

from the archbishop:

"In all kinds of places, the parochial system is working remarkably. It's just that we are increasingly aware of the contexts where it simply isn't capable of making an impact, where something has to grow out of it or alongside it, not as a rival (why do we cast so much of our Christian life in terms of competition?) but as an attempt to answer questions that the parish system was never meant to answer....

At present, we stand at a watershed in the life of the Church of England - not primarily because of the controversies that have been racking us, but because we have to ask whether we are capable of moving towards a more 'mixed economy' - recognising church where it appears and having the willingness and the skill to work with it. Mission, it's been said, is finding out what God is doing and joining in. And at present there is actually an extraordinary amount going on in terms of the creation of new styles of church life. We can call it church planting, 'new ways of being church' or various other things; but the point is that more and more patterns of worship and shared life are appearing on the edge of our mainstream life that cry out for our support, understanding and nurture if they are not to get isolated and unaccountable..

These may vary from the classic church plant model - a new congregation generated by an older one - to the Thursday night meeting for young people once a fortnight, the Sunday evening Songs of Praise in the pub, the irregular but persistent networking with the people you met at Greenbelt or Spring Harvest, the mums and toddlers event on Tuesday morning or the big school Eucharist once a term which is the only contact many parents and friends will have with real worshipping life. All of these are church in the sense that they are what happens when the invitation of Jesus is received and people recognise it in each other....

Can we live with this and make it work? This is where the unexpected growth happens, where the unlikely contacts are often made; where the Church is renewed (as it so often is) from the edges, not the centre. We need a positive willingness to see and understand all this - and to find the patterns and rhythms and means of communication that will let everyone share the benefits.

for the full text go go here

posted by COTA | 3:38 PM|

Saturday, July 19


on how life is (for a mouse with a flashlight)

from: Justin Baeder"

Subject: How are things going?
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003

I noticed from your blog that things have been a bit overwhelming with the church in recent months. Hang in there. Let us know how it's going when you get a chance to blog. If you want to get together to chat or brainstorm or anything, let me know. I hope everything is going well at COTA.

In Christ,


hi justin,

how are things going with you guys?
what's new?

things are hard fundraising for me, as i feel called to outreach, and not just 'stumping, ' but the cota people are excited... so i just feel a burden to secure some basic resources so our vision for outreach can move forward.

i have not blogged lately, as when my denominations get on my case, i get tired of battling, lose energy, and blogging halts.

i hate this! and i hate having to wrestle with my tribes, and for certain parts of 'the family' being a recurrent drag on our life and mission.

i still hope for enough of them to begin to see what we see or just to trust our vision enough to divert a small slice of their still significant resources towards new things, so we have what we need to do what we feel called to do in seattle, but they don't know how... so we have to teach them. (if they are open to being taught by excited 20 somethings). i am open to this, so they need to learn this as well.

this past month, the 'support' i've gotten from one side of the family has made me think of bolting altogether... but then a blessing of hope i got from the other side, is keeping me going...

bishop warner (episcopal diocese of olympia) said 'karen, you are our future, and we're counting on you.'

what he means is, the church is trying to look towards it's younger people to help be 'agents of future' within our aging tribe, so they (young leaders) with fresh legs, can take the batton, and run the race within god's kingdom here, and they (tribes) are SLOWLY learning to clear the backfield and cheer some of the young apostles on.

two of our young apostles, ryan and lacey (both under 25), are in europe (london, taize, iona) with a seattle pacific university mission trip team.

they write me from europe, like a 'church mom', asking if we have a laptop for them to use when they get back so they can get to work for apostles... and me knowing we don't have money for their laptop, a printer, and other basic equipment and components we still need to help us do our vision for outreach, the biggest of which is RENT funds for a venue for the 2004 phase ouf our life.

in my book, every christian generation has the priviledge and opportunity of passing on the heritage to the very next generation behind them, and also the responsibility and calling, to clear the way and allow them to take the lead position in the race.

apostles has many xers like me, but apostles is not just about us, as we have the honor of 'passing the treasure on.' so we (over age 30 apostles), see it as our role to do what it takes to share our wisdom, provide mentoring and then give our young (millennial generation) leaders the ball... and this is very hard to do when many boom gen leaders (now in charge in the denominatons and leading the large/modern churches) have yet to pass on the ball and resources help to the xers!

we need help from those before us, so we can help those coming alongside and after us, and our time to do this is now.

cota's vision is so missional we need to be 'out there' in the public sphere, and the venue is key to our form of witness.

we will also focus more on house church development (as house groups are the other pillar of cota). cota's core = home groups (body life) + public presence/outreach (to the very center/ and leading edge of our seattle non-churched culture).

we are so into this, as we think this is what jesus did with the apostles;

small band(s) (apostles with jesus in body life/small community) PLUS deeply public witness (being on the streets and in the culture on behalf of the kingdom of god).

we are way stoked about the vision god has given us, but helping wake our sleeping church bodies to help us is not easy... but even here we feel called, as it says in scripture, 'awake sleeper arise from death and jesus will give you light'

well, cota is a mouse with a flashlight, trying to tickle and re-awaken a few snoozing elephants called the lutheran and episcopal churches, who still have deep and wonderful treasures to share.

cota folk will also get more involved with vision-casting in the fall, as we will send out small bands of apostles 'partridge family' like, to larger churches in the tribe, sharing our vision and asking for funding help so we can secure a temporary rental venue to hang out in, that is more suited to our postmodern form of body life and outreach.

our new website is up, and we are very busy reaching out for a 30 person mission church! visit us at

we are doing a 'lawn labyrinth' on saturday and some tunes 'on the porch' (to try and reach out to the people going in and out of the public zoo across the street from our current location).

drop by to anything, if you wanna, and get a chance... as you know, you guys are always welcome to hang out, and anything else more involved, as god moves you.

grace and peace,

posted by COTA | 8:15 AM|

Friday, July 11


i'm back, sorta... having had more death star, evil empire, tractor beam problems, AGAIN, so i really need to hook up.

gonna go to my first indie allies meeting on august 12th, and allow the force to re-energize me after another bout of modern matrix kung fu.

if you are a red pill person emerging out of a still modern church matrix, then you can also un-plug and meet up with others on your local nebuchadnezzar.

posted by COTA | 7:59 AM|

Saturday, May 10


surrexit christus via via dolorosa - in search of "hermeneutics most radically conceived"

i'm not blogging much lately. 'wonderland' factors keep monkey-wrenching within my life and calling. trying to begin something new within two non-deconstructed denominational systems is crazy and more radical than i had before realized.

if i feel this way, just trying to work with a small local community, seeking to be church in more culturally embedded ways... then i get awe-struck and rendered silent all over again when considering what god (in christ) put out there, and put up with for us.

talk about the ultimate craziness of god, in proposing the hermeneutic of the gospel, a new way to be in the world... and look at the path that this 'new way to be' took god on, the via dolorosa (the way of tears), and the via crucis (the way of dying) which birth among us a new and final interpretation of being via the reality of surrexit christus.

i'm trying to keep my bearings by this, and not loose hold of my tiny little crumb of this most radical hermeneutic.

the vision for apostles way of embedding is clarifying, yet the energy depleting struggle to find backing for this 'new take' on church here is daunting... i have to find mission partners. i'm spending almost one third of my time seeking funding, and behind that, some measure of understanding that can motivate support for this new thing. because of this, my paycheck is also in question, yet this is the least of my worries, as it pails in comparison to the crazy beautiful church that i'm seeing.

the most radical hermeneutic, already given to us by god in christ, is the ultimate source of boldness and courage that we could ever have or need, yet much of the modern church remains timid and seemingly uninspired by the radical gospel calling to 'conceive of a new rendering of things.'

much of the postmodern thing is about deconstrucion, so i've been doing that with modern conceptions of 'outreach' and what church has been (making me seem like a 'trouble-making' ghost within my machines). but i am not 'the trouble.' god is the trouble in all stagnant waters, stirring them up, to help them become clean.

currently, the focus of the emegring church (and my small part within it) is on pilgrimage... shifting the balance of energy away from deconstructing 'the church of what is,' towards fragile and partial embodiments of what church is called to be.

yet deconstruction/troubling needs to continue... not at the center, but beneath the surface as a more gentle, yet ongoing current, filtering and purifing our river towards god's new thing.

'by a hermeneutics more radically conceived, I mean one that sustains a working relationship with deconstruction, that takes its point of departure in a deconstructive analysis of our beliefs and practices, that stresses their radical revisability, reformability and the contingency of any take we have on things.  None of this has anything to do with relativism or skepticism, but, on the contrary, with a radical affirmation of an unforeseeable ethical and political future and of the possibility of being otherwise." (dr. john caputo, villanova univeristy, author of more radical hermeneutics: on not knowing who we are)

posted by COTA | 8:17 AM|

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|

Friday, March 21


experience god project (EGP)

here in seattle, we have something called the EMP, a multi-media "see, hear, touch, taste, smell ... " living experience of rock and roll.

EMP is postmodern, so the goal is not just for you to "learn about" music, but to experience music in a multi-sensory way.

this week, church of the apostles' u.k. version labyrinth was launched (cheers jonny and steve!).

in the midst of war, the labyrinth is a welcome oasis of sanity and calm... a true "EGP" where folk can pray, experience and express what words alone can't.

there are still three more thursday evenings to catch this EGP in seattle. for more info. see cota's website

posted by COTA | 3:42 PM|

Sunday, March 16


how to meetup

i have become worried about my recent lack of a truly social life. i used to have a social life, but the church plant thing has been all consuming... 75 hour work weeks and the like... but now that the "baby" is three months old and crawling a bit, mama is gonna try to sneak out on occasion and meet up!

"meetup" uses web tech to foster flesh and blood, flat-structured, non-hierarchical, p2p community (a lot like the emerging church). so, got a topic, a passion, a quirky hobby? then find others with the same strange inclinations in any city around the world and meet up

posted by COTA | 7:07 AM|

Thursday, March 13


10 commandments ( 2 versions for 2 tribes)

a few days ago in usa today, i read about new cowboy churches popping up all over the west. very cool, organic and authentic to that culture. rock on! included in the article were the "10 commandments for cowboys." also cool. here they are:

cowboy 10 commandments

"just one god
honor yer ma and pa
no tellin' tales or gossipin'
git yourself to sunday meeting
put nothin' before god
no foolin around with another fellow's gal
no killin'
watch yer mouth
don't take what ain't yers
don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff"

i luved these so much that the lord inspired me (or maybe it was too much wonder drink?) to pen a version 4 my postmodern cohorts. so here they are:

karen's native pomo x10c

1 source code
props 2 parental units
don't spam or slam
show at church
ultra props 2 god
no doggin'
don't take no one out
garbage in = garbage out
no 5 finger discounts
check the green eyed monster

posted by COTA | 2:16 PM|

Sunday, March 9


just plain kuhl

the philosophy behind the kuhl site (linked below) is so vibed like the emerging church, it is amazing... theo-blogians are also pomo nomads... connected by fat pipes and wireless networks, and stoked on premium java and a love of the adventure that is the emerging church.

this kuhl site is non-church related. the two pals behind the site are doing their own pomo-nomad thing, but they are of the same vibe tribe as theo-blogians. and don't miss the links to view their ultra kuhl video journal entries. click "journals" then video journals (and it helps to have fat pipes).

* (and hey andrew, you gotta begin doing some more of these video things at some of the events you throw! i miss the ones you had up from epicenter awhile back).

if my little apostles church ever can afford a digital camcorder to give to our two 19 year old geek captains, we'll try to do some kuhl video journals also.

this is just plain kuhl- check out wired nomad

posted by COTA | 10:11 PM|


i think i'm gonna start to do a few more "andrew jonesian" type posts... short, sweet and sharing cool tidbits of info.

lately, i've been ranting and waxing theological... as my tribes (episcopal and lutheran) are driving me crazy, because as an aggregate, they have not yet done the paradigm shift to fit the emerging culture.

because of this, my basic deepdirt style has centered on giving "mini theo-treatises" on whatever topic, usually motivated by one of my many pomo alice wandering in a modernist wonderland experiences.

my doctoral student hangover does show on occasion, but i hope it does not get too out of hand... i decided NOT to be a prof. in a seminary, so i've bagged pushing on to write that dissertation. instead, i've found myself being a gardener for god in the dirt here in seattle and a part-time "profess-ing nomad and theo-blogian" with my trusty apple i-book logged on to various free wireless networks in cool cafes all over seattle and wherever else god takes me. (and i like my new deepdirt graphic of an apple computer in the dirt! the pic is from a free wallpaper done by the folk at burnkit.

in the past 6 months i've done three seminary lectures and six workshops/seminars. in may, i go to fuller seminary in pasadena to do some lecture things on "nu trends in worship," so the profess-ing side of me is getting attended to in a pomo-nomadic way that i dig.

well, there i go again! so much for my simple post! so i'll try again in the next post - a short, non-treatise post about two kuhl and interesting websites. andrew you do inspire me in so many ways!

posted by COTA | 9:13 PM|

Friday, March 7


news flash, the CAN WE REPRODUCE? reality show is also open to any mainline church (united methodist, pcusa...).

why let the episcopal church have all the fun! actually, all the "mainline" churches have become "sidelined" and are equally in need of a basic church planting birds and bees refresher course. the sidelining needs to end, as mainliners DO have unique perspectives, insight and gifts needed by the emerging church, but we mainliners will have to get back on the missional playing field in order to offer those gifts.

okay mainliners, here is a concrete, "real world" chance for you to sink your teeth into helping midwife a real emerging church plant.

it would be more than RAD if some missional pcusa or umc church beat out the episcopalians and helped to fund the apostles, seattle church plant! if so, then the true post-denominational emerging church will get a small boost (at least in seattle, the most non-churched city in the u.s. of a).

posted by COTA | 12:01 PM|


announcing: CAN WE REPRODUCE?- a new national contest and reality show for the episcopal church

*(caveat- this post has some classic "rant" characteristics) so do be offended, and do open your hearts to the love and emergen-cy situation behind the barbs.

i hate reality shows, so it pains me to try and launch one, but because truth is stranger than fiction, here we go.

this new reality show is aimed at the episcopal church, an institution i love (though i'm not much into institutions). my church plant, (apostles, seattle) is also attached to the lutherans, but as i need to do my reality shows one at a time, i'm starting with the ecusa.

many have seen (and i have not seen, but have heard about ad nauseum) those savant level shows "the bachelor" and "the bachelorette," well, this new show "CAN WE REPRODUCE?" is a national show, searching all over the country to find some episcopal parishes, diocese, and individuals who are stark raving mad enough to step up to help seed fund a real life church plants- apostles, seattle.

the aim of the show is for the apostles plant to be "courted" by established suitors who wanna help the episcopal church do something long forgotten in this tribe - "reproduction" or "church multiplication," and not just any kind of reproduction (like cloning more modern paradigm churches unable to swim native to the postmodern era) but by doing something way more rad... by specifically stepping out in a few major urban diocese across the nation to "wabi-sabi" seed fund the start-ups of a small handful of churches, visioned by postmoderns,who have been called by god and have a heart to be native evangelists (not foreign missionaries) among their own mostly non-churched peers.

if only a few "emerging church" or "missional lab" parishes were barn raised, then other diocese might catch the missional virus and begin to empower and fund their own local "mission labs" appropriate to their own zip-codes. then maybe our denominations will stop ignoring and begin supporting and clearing the backfield for postmoderns who can be the "agents of future," critical to helping the modern church make the quantum leap into the new postmodern mission context. this is the only way "the wabi-sabi church" can ever develop and flourish.

it is all about wabi-sabi" as andrew jones says. well, a very few of us "episcopal wabi," are looking to hook up with some episcopal sabi... the older, wiser, established or endowed churches... we are not complete without each other. the wabi can't function right without the sabi and visa versa. so we are seeking you sabi, so please respond, we need your help to move together into god's future.

this is not about a modern derived mega church expansion plan, as the majority of wabi-sabi churches will be smaller, quirky, modest and multiple (think rabbits, not elephants, in the post modern context), this ethos of the "treasure in clay jars" or "mustard seed into flowering bush" IS what is coming... as "a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.... a beauty of things modest and humble... a beauty of things unconventional." (leonard cohen, wabi-sabi for artists, designers, poets & philosophers).

this reality show, is well, REAL. any episcopal church or individual that steps up to be sabi and work with me on this wabi-sabi plant will be named, right here on this blog!

will any episcopal churches step up?
will "20/20" remain on paper with no incarnate reality?
do we have any interest in being agents of god's future in the emerging culture?
will we put any real resources behind church multiplication?
will we help seed fund a REAL emerging church plant? (hopefully, the 1st of many)
will wabi-sabi be birthed in the ecusa?

stay tuned for the next exciting episode of CAN WE REPRODUCE?

all interested parishes, diocese and individuals (who want to actually help seed fund in REALITY) can contact karen ward

posted by COTA | 7:12 AM|

Tuesday, February 25


pomo labyrinth 4 seattle

our little 2.5 month old church (apostles, seattle) is sponsoring a not so little pomo LABYRINTH, in lent, here in seattle (thanks to the pomo creative u.k. labyrinth folk who made up this pattern).

our lenten service will be to put on this labyrinth at the "mothership" church in our city, st mark's episcopal cathedral.

thank you to cathedral dean robert taylor and the st. mark's labyrinth group for working with apostles on this project. it is nice when a baby church can roost in a big mama church nest.

and kudos to "uncle carl" knirk and the episcopal diocese of olympia who kicked in some benjamins after hearing about how apostles was big on vision but way short on funds to sponsor this.

we are steppin out on LABYRINTH and RISE (a 25 person church doing a labyrinth for a whole city?). together LABYRINTH and RISE will cost more $ than we have in the bank, and we are still 3 months away from being flat broke (which is keeping me sleepless in seattle on many a night), but we are trying to trust that god will provide somehow, as we feel called to be missional and to sometimes throw agora/communal god events for seattle (instead of only having worship services at or for apostles).

we are gonna jump out and off a few cliffs to sometimes instigate bigger stuff than our numbers indicate. this is our base "modus operandi" (when we dream bigger than we are and feel inadequate, weak, crazy and afraid) at these moments we always remember that all the stuff jesus did, he did with mostly twelve... so we can dare dream up and vision cast events and happenings like this, cause as andrew jones always tells us, "god likes to throw kingdom parties," cause that is how god has chosen to welcome beloved prodigals home. to throw kingdom events, god always needs a waitstaff /diakonos/kingdom servants... so, with a few apostles (psyched and loosely organized) we can work a god banquet for many hundreds of people.

ryan marsh is our LABYRINTH curate. ryan is one of the most gifted young millennial gen leaders in seattle. ryan will also curate "RISE" our easter vigil/party on april 19th from 9 pm to 3 am (in a 400 person space in capitol hill). more posts on RISE will come later, as we are very busy with our graphic designer tim, working on the final print stuff for LABYRINTH (a sample of which is posted here).

if you live in the emerald city, LABYRINTH could be a great spiritual pilgrimage for your parish youth group, prayer group or any kind of group open to exploring a true spiritual retreat, right in the heart of seattle.

LABYRINTH: thursdays march 20, 27, april 3, 10, st. mark's cathedral (bloedel hall), 1245 tenth ave east, seattle, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

posted by COTA | 7:02 AM|

Tuesday, February 4


god, sex and politics (a conversation) with CAST

you heard it here first. taboo subjects be gone!

postmodern christians can and will discuss "the big three" in public, and in seattle.
the discussions begin on february 22nd. there are six different topical classes/modules being held (one per month). you can sign up for the whole series or register for one class at a time. this series is the brainchild of several seattleites, including sean dimond (of damah fame), and is not to be missed! so if you are near seattle, check out the new center for arts, social justice and theology a.k.a CAST

posted by COTA | 5:03 AM|

Sunday, February 2


church plant i.p.o

iggie added a "donation" button to this blog for me (on the right under the "links" section. now church of the apostles can receive funds from anyone who wants to "invest" in god's future and help us plant this small mustard seed mission in seattle (a city 90% non-churched).

apostles has little money, but we do have a great love for god and great dreams of coming alongside non-churched postmoderns as they discover god's love for them in jesus christ (just like philip came alongside the ethiopian seeker). we don't wanna buy a fleet of chariots, but we do wanna turn an old church building into an alternative neighborhood art gallery/cafe for god.

we'll need to raise about $150,000 in two years to get the gallery up and running. the gallery will also be our main "hub" or "church" home.

if any of you are major donor types, i'd love to talk to you to tell you more about this vision. send email to

"baby onboard:" a special invite to episcopalians and lutherans (we are your future now)
dear momma church (and uncle ed and auntie lisa) out there somewhere, anywhere .... we are a baby church of your own tribe. our tribes have almost forgotten how to help midwife and birth new churches from the grassroots and using local vision given to people on the ground and deep in the dirt... we want our tribes to get back in the business of church birthing, because tribes who stop reproducing become endangered species. we have great stuff (rock solid theology, kickin' liturgy, deep catholic spirituality...) that need to be opened up and "morphed" to communicate in the postmodern world.

new churches "built from the dirt up" as native to today's cultural context will provide us with the "missional labs" we will need to move into god's future and pass on our great tribal heritage to postmodern generations.

to support apostles mission, click the "donation" button on the right side of the blog. thanks and god bless!

posted by COTA | 9:18 AM|

Tuesday, January 21


as you can see, deepdirt is getting a face lift. thanks to iggy for being the guru of blog template designs!

posted by COTA | 8:22 AM|

Monday, January 20


"emerging churches" get some ink

recently, a reporter from a major paper (the seattle times) got interested in our local band of non-clone emerging churches, so she wrote an article about the goings on... pretty good overall, i'd say... at least some folk are finally figuring out that the non-sense "traditional vs contemporary" stuff was and is a tired intramural batttle between modern "styles" that emerging groups could care less about .

also, i got quoted in the article (and my evil twin eugene cho did not), so i've earned a few more guru points here (hee hee). read emerging churches drawing younger flocks

posted by COTA | 6:34 AM|

Friday, January 17


vintage faith, emerging church

keep an eye out for pastors dan kimball and josh fox in santa cruz, ca. i've met dan only in passing... but he has been a real influence on me and apostles, seattle. dan is a tru emerging church pioneer who started the seminal "graceland worship" at santa cruz bible church. now dan is helping god expand and enrich that vision via the formation of the new vintage faith church, santa cruz.

p.s. dan will have a new book out on the emerging church soon. at last, i can tone down my rant a bit... as it will be so nice to see a native postmodern leader write a book about reaching out to native postmodern generations.

posted by COTA | 6:22 AM|

Wednesday, January 15


beware the attack

*caveat: this post employs "no brow," xer humor via a pomo literary form called a "rant." rants feature "over the top dissin" as an extreme measure to try and get important points across... so do be offended, eh? and do look for some hope and love (but beneath the fierce barbs).

in the last months, me and my friend eugene cho from quest, seattle, have sat on several panels and done several workshops and talks on "postmodern" ministry. if this keeps up, we may become part of the "established pomo" (oxymoron) "guru class." yet most "postmodern" gurus ( =:-O snarkety snark snark) seem to be pre-postmodern born boomers or silents with multiple book contracts and we are not, and don't, so a tiny part of us is jealous and angry #*#$**!*!!**^*%$""X-*#*%$*#$!!

yet we be the goatee sportin,' beret wearin', double non fat decaf mocha sippin', david eggers readin', hookah puffin', bad poetry writing, rummage sale divin', tru type native pomos (with negative bank accounts to prove it) word up! friggin' eh! ... how's come they keep writin' books and hostin' seminars about us, yet we don't reap any of the benjamins and our little non-mega, organic church plants are strugglin' to pay the rent?

but if we can sneak into the guru class, maybe we can nab that elusive book deal! after all, we do have the novelty factor goin' of being "ethnics" (i'm black with a touch of eastern cherokee and eugene is korean), this is a novelty to be sure, as much pomo leader stuff is almost totally anglo, male and middle class (when half of the real world is non-white, non-western, non-male and poor) details, details... whatever...

so why bust our behinds as still book-less local church planters in the most postmodern and secular city in the united states (seattle) with 5% church goers? why keep getting a daily butt whoopin,' from a wacked crucified god who bids us to "come and die," when we can sign autographs and pomo tour ourselves around the nation?

this weekend, i will do another panel and workshop at a great event here in seattle called "does the future have a church," yet, i'm starting to get worried... that some folk (moderns, especially) but also some over eager postmoderns, are secretly falling for the attack. "tell me what you are doing at apostles?" "what are the "components" of your this or that..." "where do you get your ideas for being artsy?" where can i find blankety blank... "just like yours..." "do you have a "manual" i can purchase?"

yikes batman!, this could be a holy problem for the future church... if folk get the idea that organic churching can be shrink-wrapped, packaged and sold at a workshop, cause it can't... you gotta get deep in your own dirt to see what god has put there. you gotta respond to your own zip code, your own people, your own gifts, your own calling from god, your own heart broken for god, learn from your own failed ideas and get your butt kicked while trying to serve in the world around you... and as you do this, there won't be any other parish or ministry exactly like yours! (welcome to the clone free world of the real emerging church).

for more, read this article and try resist the borg inspired, modern drenched cloneaid pomo church. and p.s. "if you see a pomo guru on the road..." (well, if you are christian, you can't kill him/her) so just run! RANT COMPLETE

posted by COTA | 5:09 AM|

Monday, January 6


a new book 2 read
amazing, a few new posts in one week! this must mean i'm learning how to manage my new "life with baby." the baby is god's new church plant, called apostles, seattle (now just over one month old). it is still crying, wiggling, kicking, throwing up and giving me 70 hour work weeks and sleepless nights... but somehow this week, i found time to catch my breath enough to post a few things. also, i now have a complete daisy chain of 802.11b hotspots all over the emerald city, so when i get the urge, i can post something from all my java joints of choice.

in any case, check out the book "digital storytellers." follow my link (right side column of this blog) under "book club." if you buy it via my link, i, as an "amazon associate" will get a micro credit towards book purchases, so i can keep buying books to read and post about.

posted by COTA | 4:15 PM|

Tuesday, December 31


church of the month

i've decided to finally change my "church of the month." the last one (online village, cary, nc) was up for 4 months!

scroll down the right side column of this blog to get to the "church of the month" section. then click and visit mark palmer and "landing place" community in columbus, ohio (where god is very busy).

posted by COTA | 5:49 AM|

Monday, December 30


broken and dreaming (with a sore backside)

i have not posted stuff in over a month. the reason for this? basically, i've been helping god begin a nu little mission which i am being allowed to tend as "lead gardener." for the church season of "advent" (which we called "dreams of god") we began our "weekly public vision-casting" (sometimes called worship), where we "play at the kingdom" as god's children. we believe that god will use this weekly recreation to re-create us and our sense of reality towards what we play.

our little band of apostles is very excited, but we also have really grimy clothes and sore backsides.

i have never been so humbled in my life... god is treating me to a holy and righteous butt kicking. GOD: "sooooo, you wanna tend a little garden in my name, do you? well... fine, but be prepared to get tossed around in some real deep dirt ... welcome to the work of the kingdom, church of the apostles, seattle (and try to live down to your name)." ME: "gulp"

my church planter friend eugene cho (from quest seattle), told me that "church planting will break you" and he is right. i and our little cell of apostles are being broken by god in order that we can be of service to god in some way. being anglican, lutheran, and postmodern, we celebrate eucharist weekly. but more than that, we are slowly discovering what it means to be eucharist, truly broken and poured out for god's purposes in the world (or at least in north seattle!).

the only strategy i've discovered for "managing" god's butt kicking, is to stay on my knees... like a holy humpty dumpty, if you perch too high, you'll have a great fall, but if you stay on the ground, with knees in the dirt, and your heart in prayer, what you do in god's vineyard may prosper.

i am especially grateful for our "launch team apostles" without whom "cota" would remain an unrealized dream. to: tony rivera, denise farrer, liesl pyle, john boerger, stephanie maxson, mark lee, randy budnikas, josh brugh, tanya carnahan, justin cormier, and andrew piro, guys, you rock! and i thank god each and every day for all of you and your ministries in service to christ.

posted by COTA | 10:19 AM|

Thursday, November 7


call of the wild

i just stumbled across an amazing vision for the future of the church among evangelicals. the author (trygve johnson) is speaking to folk who are from churches who call themselves "evangelical churches." the website that featured this article is for a new breed of "alt. evangelicals."

here is an brief quote from the essay:

"an alt-evangelical is thirsting for a different kind of life, where we are given the freedom to take up residence in that wide landscape of the Kingdom of God. Many of us, who feel the thinness of evangelicalism, are seeking to sink our roots deeper into the soil of the faith. We want an alternative to the dominant culture. We do not fit into pre-fabricated structures of pop-culture Christianity, a gospel of moralism, or the triumphant enterprise to save culture through education, legislation, or social programs. Instead of wanting to save culture, we want a savior. Instead of moralism, we want wisdom. Instead of a program we want a relationship."

there is much cross-over and ferment happening with postmodens in the church today. many of us "mainline" postmoderns in groups like eln and gtng, have very similar hopes and dreams to our alt. evangelical friends. we have different starting points and issues to wrestle with, but the longing towards the future god intends is the same... we are all feeling some form of the call of the wild

posted by COTA | 8:05 AM|

Saturday, November 2


in search of (mainline) church planting viagra and the end of mainframe nostalgia

i have not been able to post much since getting back from soularize in minneapolis. without soularize as a confidence booster, i don't know what i'd do... soularize is the "post-denomination" network for emerging churches. at soularize i get to be with peers and i don't feel crazy. but when when i get back home, i often feel crazy again.

we are one month away from our first worship for church of the apostles and i'm in overdrive... i'm way excited, but still lacking basic funds for what we need to start, so i'm constantly trolling the country for mission partner support. so far, i have been unable to find many local partners, despite sending out two letters to twenty parishes and doing two area wide workshops on reaching out to postmodern generations.

i don't know what gives? but i have not given up hope... i have been gathering an e-mail list of lutheran and episcopal parishes (hoping that medium may garner more response than the official letters from the bishops).

i do want to give props to sammamish hills lutheran and holy trinity lutheran, mercer island who have been supportive and have given some funds and will hopefully be able to give some support in the future. also, a church in indianapolis (st. paul's episcopal) gave us a grant (thank you st. paul's!). i pray we get it soon... as we have stuff we need to buy. for the rest, i may have to call visa and get them to raise my credit limit so we have what we need to launch.

church multiplication in the postmodern era is something that mainline churches are still not really equipped for. to me, this all goes back to modernism and the tattered memories of christendom that most mainline denominations are still clinging to. at the height of modern christianity (think 1950's), denominational systems and trans-denominational systems (ncc, wcc...) were in their heyday. basic organic and life-giving functions (like reproduction) were given over to centralized structures (think mainframes) to manage and run efficiently (defacto distancing local parishes from their means and memory of re (production).

so we have inherited this mainframe system, where distant tape drives (and i do mean tape drives) control the means of (re)production. local systems are instructed as to when and where they are allowed to reproduce and must "apply" and be approved to do so. and when locals want to re(produce) off the central plan, funds "are not available," and card-key access to the delivery room is suspended. in other words, if you pioneer off the central system, and before local churches can regain their memory of and desire to re(produce), you will have to innovate like e-bay to survive and then thrive.

in the modernist exchange, church planting funds were handed over to central offices, and in most denominations to date, funds still are controlled and allocated by the same. going off map early (at the end of the old system, but before the birth of the new) = struggle. you can try to reproduce organically, but the funding system won't be revamped (returned to local control) in time to be of help.

so you'll have to get out there and i.p.o it... constantly reminding folk that before the heyday of central systems, parishes reproduced themselves without benefit of "general hospital." local docs and midwives were up to the task of local birthing and can be so again...

don't be confused... i'm not talking about backwards nostaliga, ours is a new world that can harness wisdom both ancient and future... local "docs" today are not 1920's local docs. this is a wonderous world, where one laptop g4 mac (in the hands of a 15 year old) has the capacity to run the space shuttle, where a guy named spencer can run a nu church network from the back of his beach house garage and where one homeless guy with a blog can effect the thoughts of thousands.

the big secret that has to come out of the closet, is that mainframes systems are not capable of thriving in a networked internet world. central structures must de-center or fade. they can have a critical role to play, but the new role is not mainframe (source of knowledge and power) but router (pass thru of knowledge and power) to an empowered and electrified net. in a net based approach, power is evenly distributed over a communal web. central controls give way to functional hubs that route and distribute power.


if anyone out there is from a church that can help support the birth of a nu church mission, send checks payable to:

"church of the apostles"
5515 phinney avenue north
seattle, wa 98103

if you have questions on what we will do with your funds, contact

posted by COTA | 6:35 AM|

Monday, October 21


postmodern lutherans are in the house! (and in the water)

well, here we go again... i've launched a new blog. this time it's a "tribal blog" for postmodern lutherans who are gathering themselves together in a group called eln (emerging leaders network).

i'm stoked that our "grace based, dyin' and rising, cruciform and baptized livin,' justifed, simul iustus et peccator vibe" is finally online and ready to swim in the ocean of god's kingdom and surf the emerging church.

props to alan creech (vine and branches, lexington) for our being our "blog template wizard" and doing the really cool design.

it is still being tweaked, but check it out at

posted by COTA | 11:07 AM|

Friday, October 11


fun in the twin cities

i'm on my way to minneapolis for an emergent senior fellows meeting, then soularize and then the first meeting of the lutheran eln (emerging leaders network) visioning team. i'll be doing this stuff at soularize

posted by COTA | 10:08 AM|

Thursday, October 3


church dads in cyber-space

this dude wayne olson has the coolest blog. his blog gets the wisdom of the early church fathers online and in the house! as len sweet correctly notes, postmodern leaders (in contrast to many moderns) honor (rather than dismiss and jettison) the tribal wisdom we have received from our faith ancestors. postmoderns "keep both past and future in perpetual conversation." a postmodern will have a copy of wired in one hand, the confessions of augustine in the other (and a double latte on the table). so let the cyber-conversation begin... honor your fathers

posted by COTA | 7:45 AM|

Monday, September 30



are you tired of crass consumer capitalist crap being shoved down our collective throats by greedy amoral enronistict trans-national, wto controlling, shadowy, cabal like conglomerates? x-(
then laugh at them :-D and let off steam by checking out adbusters magazine

posted by COTA | 2:48 PM|

Sunday, September 29


ADDB, re:booting and getting on the radar screen of planet church

i have not posted much lately (obvious). i feel like a nervous parent awaiting the coming of a new child (feel like, but i'm not really preggo, but god is, and a lot!). a few days ago we had the first practice for the core of the new apostles church band. i was amazed... that at the first practice how INCREDIBLE THEY ARE. god is good!
i felt useless at their practice, gawking at amps, stumbling over outlets, bumping into speakers and handing out matching apostles band notebooks like a marm on the first day of skool. i wanted to help... all i could give was a brief prayer, then, they rocked!

many props to god (you are lovely and you are so good to us! ) and thanks to the apostles "deep dirt" band: tanya, jeff, tony, josh, randy and stephanie (tech titan) for being heralds of the gospel for this new church start!

apostles "deepdirt" band? (sounds pretty good, maybe it will stick? we'll see... ) in anycase, ADDB will help lead worship for the first time at this "re:boot" workshop thing we are doing to help our boomers and silent gen friends (in particular) to learn about their brothers and sisters from that strange planet called x. for many in our mainline churches, xers (20's-30's) are an alien race, and millennials (under 21) well, they are out there in the delta quadrant. so we hope to tighten our xer orbit around planet church, so at least we can be seen on high. we're basically helping our siblings to build a dish! so postmoderns can get on (and stay on) the church radar screen. (you gotta rent that flick by the way, the dish it is very quirky and cool).

on our flyers we talked about it as "re:booting" the hard drive of the faith for a new era. if you are near seattle, come to re:boot on saturday, october 5th at holy trinity lutheran 8501 se 40th st., mercer island wa (9:30 to 3:30 pm).

posted by COTA | 7:26 AM|

Friday, September 6


life on the yellow brick road

i read this link on my friend andrew's blog. it is to brian mclaren's article on postmodern leadership. i'm stoked to see that being a "dorothy type," in a church still tilted towards "wizards," is more than okay in the pomo world. unlike wizards, postmodern leaders (male or female) are always on the yellow brick road, building relationships, having adventures, hanging out with characters and peeking behind the modern church curtain... gotta love brian's insightful take on how to lead in the postmodern church... lead like dorothy!

posted by COTA | 10:57 AM|

Sunday, September 1


listen to cause he's LOL!!! :-D

thanks andrew careaga! finally, a bible story version for us nethead and geeky type people!
see this chat-room paraphrase of genesis 18

posted by COTA | 8:08 PM|

Wednesday, August 28


lie is beautiful

today, i read a great article by my friend andrew jones, about the nature of irony in the discourse used by many postmoderns.
sometimes, when postmoderns feel deeply about truth, they express it with irony. problems often arise when some modern leaders misinterpret this as cynicism, being "angry" or "brat-like," (terms often used to disavow postmodern humor and styles of truth telling). hey, it's a dante thing, and you can learn to understand :-)

at the top of my blog i mention both dim mirrors and binoculars (irony for sure) but it's about love... and divine wrestling with truth (god). so "mommy dearest" (modern) church, some of us brats are gonna keep nipping at your big ole heels, getting in your face and mussing up your hair, cause we love you. so give up that blessing, okay?

"irony is accepting the fact that we see through a glass dimly, at least on this side of heaven. our "constructs" of reality only point to the truth; they themselves are not the truth and should not become idols. we stay committed to truth-telling but remain somewhat unattached to our own version of it, knowing it is weighed down by our own baggage and distorted by the words we choose." lie is beautiful

posted by COTA | 9:43 AM|

Sunday, August 25


looking back... looking forward

hey, check out richard bott's blog. this is the coolest maple leaf flav blog i've seen since i found jordon cooper's, eh? p.s. i've now learned that eh is eh and not ay? eh?! :-D. look back and forward

posted by COTA | 5:06 PM|


future church pictogram?
i was trolling websites of different episcopal judicatories (yep, i said i was odd) and i ended up at the diocese of utah. on the index page are two photos of the current bishop (bishop number ten) and the first bishop of that diocese, along with a telling quote from each. when i saw the two pictures, and read the two quotes, my immediate reaction was "here might be a pictogram of the future church." even today, and even within the old struggling institutions of the church which often get dismissed and overlooked, are symbols and glimpses more 'deep into the movement' that many of those who use the term 'emerging church' have yet gone... in this utah diocese 'freeze-frame,' is evidence of authentic shifting, emergence and movement (albeit small) from reason to relationships, and towards a more balanced and healthy conception of authority in the spirit. this pushes beyond coffee and candles pomo, toward the real thing. see this future church pictogram

posted by COTA | 8:58 AM|

Friday, August 23


holy life apostles via (PALS)

check out the traits of a postmodern apostle, then check out the PALS (postmodern apostolic leader servant training) thing that my compadre iggie has going. here is a place to get training for apostolic life and planting the organic or "simple church:" it's holy life

posted by COTA | 1:02 PM|

Thursday, August 22


deviants inc (kingdom inc?)

i'm odd, so i've "embraced" my oddness, and i deal with it... (some days better than others). i like to experiment, push boundaries, ask questions, challenge assumptions and crash barriers. i see life here, in holy abandon, and i'm becoming comfortable with the idea of failure, because in the end, it does not matter if i fail, because god does not. so we have the freedom of children, to play at the kingdom, skateboard in the vineyard, do wheelies in god's backyard and be transformed in the spirit (and it's a heck of a lot of fun!).

yet when talking with some leaders, i feel like a "not so favorite martian" at the door. i've seen my share of polite, yet cool expressions (showing how weird i sound to them, and how weird i am to them). i can hear them thinking... she is a "maverick," and intelligent (perhaps) but is she a "team player?" (i wonder what jesus thought when the leaders of his day would not back his ministry and felt him unsuited to receive a numbered jersey and a brand new mit).

"what is all this house church stuff?" "oh, what you're doing is just like what we did in the 60's." "don't we already have an xer type church?" (as if one out of 100 parishes in a city is all xers are allowed). "how does what you are doing fit in with "normal" (understood, accepted, trusted, sanctioned, blessed, funded) procedures, programs, parishes? all this ... when what i could really use are some big laughs, an invite to dinner and companions to come out and play!

then a friend of mine turned me on to an article in fast company called "deviants' inc." after reading it, i ended my pity party. god bless deviance! the article is prophetically addressed to those in the "corporate world "(read- institutions) telling them (if they want to prosper in the postmodern world) not to silence, "take out" or keep resources away from their "resident deviants," but instead to track them, fund them and learn from them, because all innovation arises from deviance.

try reading this and substitute the words modern church or denominational bureaucracy for "corporation/corporate" and postmoderns, church planters, and church artists for "deviants," (then go round up some clothes for the emperor).

"Does it make you uncomfortable to dwell among the denizens of deviance? Don't get too tense: The simple fact is that deviance's impact is ubiquitous. Look around a bit, and you'll see that all innovation and progress -- commercial, biological, social, scientific, artistic, and personal -- is a direct result of deviance. Think of deviance as an innovation virus, one that infects the status quo, changing traditional thinking at a cellular, primal level" for more, read deviants inc

posted by COTA | 8:26 AM|

Friday, August 16



i'm stoked by some of the fresh artists that are emerging for god and bringing forth new songs for the church. the music these artists sing is not "contemporary" (which is code for music with a mostly 70's feel). afterall, this is 2002, not 1972, so let's update the atomic musical clock!

on postmodern music sites like worship undergroud and worshiptogether, emerging music is called "postmodern" or "modern worship," rather than contemporary (which is a different and older music and worship genre). postmodern music is truly eclectic and includes and even fuses extremes in current forms (rap, techno...) and much older (pre 60's) styles (which have true authenticity and integrity of form), so music used today ranges from real rock, raw rap, really old hymns and future trance, to ancient chant, delta blues and roots folk...

i hope some of you guys liked shane barnard previously. now go turn on to this native seattle rocker named aaron spiro. this dude is gonna tear through the church and reach across into the secular mainstream. trust me, if you like modern worship music, click below and get sing. you can listen to all the songs on aaron's site

posted by COTA | 8:01 AM|

Tuesday, August 13


"senior" fellowed

recently, i got "seniored" by emergent village. i'm honored, as emergent is very cool... i've never been senior anything before. i still get carded (lame-o-rama) when entering some places, so maybe if i tell them i'm a senior fellow with emergent village i can get in more easily.

posted by COTA | 2:35 PM|

Thursday, August 8


tracking the big j.c.

check out this interesting and informative site "re:jesus." only our clever british friends could come up with this. yep, the lord gets a site that trackin' him, or more exactly what folk are thinking about him as a holy persona. the site feels like a christian graduate student's fanzine about the lord. quite cool. it's rejesus

posted by COTA | 8:31 AM|

Wednesday, August 7


below is the down and dirty on soularize - register early ( b4 august 31) and save some benjamins!


EXPLORE the mystery, adventure, and community of ministry in our emerging culture. Join other artists, musicians, storytellers, church leaders, church planters, theologians, and community advocates. Over the past four years at Soularize, people have found refreshing and challenging ways to connect with other church leaders who are wrestling with ministry in the 21st century (whether you call it postmodernism, emerging generations, or the next church). Soularize 2002 will expose you to the latest trends, tools, authors and speakers and have the surprise moments that have made Soularize a unique and inspiring conference.

AUGUST 31ST IS THE END OF EARLY REGISTRATION for Soularize 2002 at $199 per person ($125 spouses). If you’ve been thinking about going, you might aswell save some bucks and sign up now! (There are special discounts for multiple team member registration too.) After August 31, the cost is $249. 2 register click here We know we’re reaching leaders in the emerging culture that are bi-vocational—if not multi-vocational—so scholarships are available based on need.

Soularize’s unique edge is our speakers and experiences. For example:

THE REVEREND BERNICE KING, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is one of our featured keynote speakers.

THE DAMAH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL TOUR—three days after the 2002 winners are announced, we will host the first stop on the 2002 Tour of this festival of spiritual experiences in film.

SOULARIZE WORKSHOPS come from our community, so it’s virtually all the authors, speakers and friends that you’ve come to recognize, and a chance to meet in person many of those names or aliases you’ve run into on the phone or online. Brian McLaren, Liquid thinking, Rudy Carrasco, Tom & Christine Sine, Dan Kimball, Denise VanEck, Chris Seay, Karen Ward, Tony Jones, Holly Rankin, Mark Oestreicher, Heather Kirk-Davioff, Jordan Cooper, Joel Vestal, Andy Harrington, John Franke, Doug Pagitt…

LARGE SCALE PUBLIC ART—Tour guides/docents will help us explore the emotional, aesthetic and spiritual impact of art in the largest urban sculpture garden in the U.S. and how the church might contribute to the arts.

INTERACTIVE LABS including video editing, digital photography, art expression, cyber café, theology pub, song-writing studio, experiential worship installations and screening room (bring your own videos). If you are a musician, you might want to consider joining our house band “The Dirty Worship Band” led by Tim Taber formally of The Prayer Chain.

15 MINUTES OF FAME—many conferences have representatives from companies come and tell you what you need, trying to sell you their wares. At Soularize we reverse the roles. Publishers, record companies, stock art buyers, etc.come to discover the new resources of the emerging culture. Bring your CD-Rom, your manuscript, your demo tape, or instrument and you’ll have
a chance to meet and talk with people that you’d have a difficult time meeting outside of the Soularize context.

If you love to learn in a hands-on relational way, and like the idea of a schedule with longer lunches and open evenings for discussion with fellow travelers, I hope that you’ll check out the website and that we’ll see you in Minneapolis in October.

Spencer Burke
Your Party Host

posted by COTA | 6:36 PM|

Saturday, August 3


religious or "post-secular"?

a guy on my xer lutheran list serv sent me a link to the article below. it is about the current cultural gravity of "post-ness".

hey, if you cant' tell yet, i'm into my postness. post-modern, post black, post denominational, post american... apparently, this post business is really resonate across the intellectual cultural landscape in north america (even more so than in the church) where us "post folk" are still a tiny and misunderstood minority :-(

go post-al, check out the cache of being post-secular

posted by COTA | 11:36 AM|

Sunday, July 28


"psalms" cd

my rating: (off the hook)
shane barnard's music, what can i say...
insightful, god directed, passionate.

pop cd.
light candle.
have church.

but first, nab the cd

posted by COTA | 9:01 AM|

Thursday, July 25


soularize in october

i'm gonna be on staff at soularize in october in minneapolis. hope some of you can make it also.

posted by COTA | 8:15 PM|


"the church comes home" and a note to mainline churches to open up to new possibilities

weeks ago, i posted a few links on home churching. i decided to do another post, because the organic church is foremost in my mind these days. at apostles, we are starting with a few home churches. i hope to have four or five going by fall, and then, we may start public worship (in a church building).

the home or organic church movement is part of the next wave. most mainline denominations are still unaware of it, as they are mostly tracking mega-churches. the church growth movement began before i was born. at first there was this guy rex humbard and his "cathedral of tomorrow," then there was the crystal cathedral, and then all the willow creek(s)...

there is nothing wrong with such churches. growing them seems to be a valuable model (especially in bursting suburban areas and among boomers). yet i see god doing something new (especially in urban areas and among xers) who may indeed become the "house church generation."

this is not anti big churches. the growth movement was started by boomers, and is native to what god was doing with renewal out of the 60's-80's. that movement is at it's crest now. if you buy the theory that the growth movement is mirroring the boomer lifecycle, then other movements (not anti, but different) will begin to rise as "native" postmodern planters (post 1960 born) start more churches. it would be very cool if boomers could open up to the fact that they are not the only adult generation in the church today. their "younger brothers," are seeking to share space in the father's house (and will decorate the place with a style quite their own).

a note to boomer denominational leaders: listen to postmoderns. if you want to really "reach" postmoderns for god, don't try to "reach" them! instead EMPOWER them and BACK THEM as they REACH THEIR OWN and re:form the church for their generations (just as visionary boomer leaders like rick warren and bill hybels did for their generation), which means, stop trying to "study" xers and instead learn to love them. give them space to do their own thing (even in your backyard). let go, and groove to some of the crazy start-up things that god is doing among them, then take a risk, and throw some of your denomination's resources and support behind them!

beginning in the nineties, postmonders began founding churches that felt natural to them. they tend to be smaller, and they often expand by what mark driscoll of mars hill, seattle, call "sideways" growth, where churches grow (especially in dense urban areas with sky high real estate costs) by multiplicity rather than mass. when they get to a certain size, they tend to spin off a new church, rather than seeking out arena sized structures to gather thousands under a single roof. i'm into it... it feels natural to me, like home...

"organic churches" will be attractive to many postmoderns (whom everyone says they want to reach). at apostles, we will have "small group" (home church) as the core and heart, with "all group" (public worship and larger community) as the outer ring. think of the cells as your "nuclear family household" and the all group gathering as the "family reunion." for worship at apostles, if we absolutely packed both our host buildings (read- big dream) we can worship eight hundred a weekend, but at two locations and on two different days, on purpose! never wanting more than four hundred folk together at one time.

don't be confused, the organic church is not about "small group ministry." "small group ministry" is a modern derived concept that fits into a highly structured and programed approach to doing church. the organic movement does the inverse, with no "programs" whatsoever, and with the small unit being primary and at the core.

to keep frosty with the organic church movement, i track "true type" house churches like "the church at matthew's house." i totally vibe with jason evans when he says:

"I was tired of the church, as I knew it.
It was an event, a building, a program…
I wanted to be the church;
I wanted my 'un-churched' friends to be the church,
not become churched.
I wanted it to be something I lived,
rather than something I lived for.
I heard of crazy people that met together,
ate meals, shared their resources and studied the scriptures together...
in homes and coffee shops of all places!
It couldn't be that simple!
You were supposed to bring the sofas, the coffee
(and the candles if you're real serious), into the sanctuary,
but not use them in their common setting!
That was ludicrous!
It was two years ago that I thought that.
Now, I'm one of those crazy people…"

from 'the church at matthew's house', june 02 edition of next-wave
visit the church at matthew's house

a hopeful word to the mainline churches!

depsite my occasional rants, i love the mainline churches. i want them to stop the downward spiral they are on and get out of the survival mode they are in. if you operate out of scarcity you are doomed. when you operate out of abundance (out of what god has already given to you) you will prosper.

"dear mainline churches, god has giften you with a lot! you have theology that is flexible and open, but when it comes to methodology, you are much more conservative than reverend falwell, mr. north and mr. hatch. :-( in the postmodern world, the ones with open and flexible methodology (and not just theology) will thrive. that is why our "new evangelical" friends (and i do mean friends) are more open to new movements and forms of being church, and they tend to back and support these new movements while they are birthing (not ten years after they have started). can't we do the same? we tend to spend our time feeling sorry for ourselves and saying "we have too many small churches." every faith community can be "a house that changes the world!" the problem with our churches has more to do with mindset and trajectory than size. if some of our typical three hundred member churches saw themselves as "organic missional communities," excited about what god is doing, reaching out with that good news and desiring to spin off cell churches like johnny appleseed gone ballistic, then our denominations might just "side-ways grow" themselves out of decline (especially in densely populated urban areas).

do some reading
robert and julia banks' the church comes home
wolfgang simson's the houses that changed the world

check out these sites
house to house
thirdday churches

now, le'ts get busy and rock the world...

posted by COTA | 8:21 AM|

Wednesday, July 24


cloud of witnesses, and roll of honor

this post is a personal thank you to a bunch of people without whose prayers and actions, the church of the apostles, seattle, might have remained an unfulfilled dream rather than becoming an emerging reality. these folk are a testimony to the birthing of the emerging church, a church whose fellowship transcends modernist oriented concepts of "denomination," whose vision sees beyond demographically driven decision making, and whose missional passion mutes tightly held notions of "confessional" purity (which get blown to smithereens under the gravitas of the cross and the economy of grace).

thank you:

ms. sally morgenthaler
dr. richard j. moux
pastor pam fickenscher
dr. nathan frambach
pastor todd zielinski
fr. shane hubner
mother beth maynard
dr. clayton schmit
pastor richard "dick" wendt
fr. jeffrey d. lee,
mr. carl knirk
bishop william chris boerger
bishop vincent w. warner.

posted by COTA | 8:04 AM|

Monday, July 1


sacred space in cyber-space

much is happening now with the church plant. i will post more later... i'm very busy (like most of you) and i'm always at my computer. sometimes, i even have to pray here. you can too... an easy way to carve out a little bit of sacred space while computing, is to click over to jesuit "sacred space prayer" online. it is very relaxing and focusing to do this prayer before a hard day of blogging and cyber-jockeying. try it... just follow the onscreen directions, click, mediate, click, mediate, chill... via sacred space prayer

posted by COTA | 9:13 AM|

Tuesday, June 18


i'm off for indianapolis today for a meeting of episcopalians called gathering the next generation. it will be good to be around cohorts, among whom i don't have to keep explaining my existence (and what my new church plant will be about) on a daily basis. the purpose of our gathering is not to lobby for the "cause" of emerging generations in the church, but to be church, as folk from the ADULT generation coming into maturity and new leadership within the church, a generation sometimes called x.

posted by COTA | 4:18 AM|

Friday, June 14


can you hear god's voice?

i'm back from toronto and the united church event. i did my first big powerpoint presentation on emerging worship trends. it was well received... many people especially liked the ambient/techno/dub music it included (which was boomed through the gathering space with a state of the art sound system). in any case, one song in particular stood out, a piece called "to hear your voice" by abbess.

when i got back home, my world went into an alice in wonderland type tail-spin. but somehow, by the grace of god, i'm on the way to finding equilibrium again. sudddenly, the abbess song i played in toronto became even more of a prayer for me.

below is a link to where you can join quickly and then sample her music. many of the cuts are free, including the killer "to hear your voice." be sure to nav up and click "info" to learn about abbess and her ministry with the visions multimedia collective in york, england. also, if you are really into her cool postmodern alt. worship music, download the free cuts and then if you can, BUY HER CD, as such talent deserves support. check out abbess and hear god's voice...

posted by COTA | 5:09 PM|

Wednesday, June 5


i'm off to toronto for the united church of canada breathrough event. back in a week...

the last site i visited this morning before going off to the airport was about an open source way to do theology, as a community enterprise. how cool is that! how pomo can we get? open source, gotta luv it! go linux... :-) the code is yours. the source is yours, and you are christ's and christ is god's. so check out open source theology

posted by COTA | 4:00 AM|

Tuesday, May 28


a pomo site for mulder and scully

i recently came across this slammin' site on pomo ministry. this is a thinkers pomo site... a new yorker mag, in a sea of people mag pabulum. if mulder and scully were on a serious hunt to explore truth within the emerging christian counter-culture, they would surely check out antithesis

posted by COTA | 6:15 PM|

Saturday, May 18


brother, can you spare some chords?

i'm back from search party... (that experience is still soaking in...) until then, here is info. on a really useful site for church bands who are in need of guitar chords/tabs for many popular worship songs. also, i think you can sign up on this site and submit your own chords, to help create a true "chord nirvana" for everyone.

check out christianguitar

posted by COTA | 7:29 PM|

Tuesday, May 14


i'm off tomorrow to search party in st. louis. i'm gonna meet up (in real space) with some of the postmodern church planter and kingdom blogging folk whom i already treasure as friends, but have yet to physically meet.

i may not post anything new till i get back monday, but i'm sure my experience there will stimulate a few posts upon my return.

posted by COTA | 7:59 PM|

Sunday, May 12


gotta share the buzz about switchfoot. these guys rule!
today's worship music, from the heart.
click here, nab their cd

posted by COTA | 11:34 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:

 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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