Thursday, March 29, 2007

Anne Lamott

I'm sitting at Third Place Books. I am preparing for my Palm Sunday talk. I am here to have dinner with Sharon and then a book signing with Anne Lamott. Her new book, 'Grace (Eventually)' is out and she will be here for a reading and then a book signing. A couple of weeks ago when I was in Cincinnati, Tracy Rains showed me a picture of her autograph from Anne. Tracy asked Anne to sign her "auntie" with a Sharpie. I loved that so much - Anne's reference to her "aunties" in Traveling Mercies...I brought my Sharpie I did! I turned fifty last October...the "aunties" are out of control right now...I can think of no better treat than to have Anne sign one of them.

Thanks Tracy!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Inside the Missional Matrix

What an absolute blast! This was such an engaging, dynamic time. I have been in and (mostly) out over the past month. I have so missed home and being with VCC. This past weekend was so much fun. You can hear the podcasts here Here are my highlights:
  • Kelly Carpenter and the musicians leading with "I Need to Wake Up" by Melissa Etheridge. What a powerful resonated with how many of us feel today. Kelly and his wife Merrilyn have a gift to hear sounds and messages from the culture that aligns with the Holy Spirit's call to us today. He and Merrilyn are some of the most generous people I know.
  • Todd Hunter - I love this guy. He is so refreshing, so smart and has so much to say that we need to hear. What a humble leader. He is like a young Ray Bakke, he is so inspiring and gifted to help us make sense of the times.
  • Scot Mcknight - I met Scot through his blog. I could listen to him teach for hours. He captured our imagination as he taught with passion, honesty and excitement. It was infectious. He is brilliant.
  • Kris Mcknight - Influential in her own right. She is like gold. What an honor to be with them. What a fun couple!
  • Amy Powell - a young church planter from Wisconsin that found me through this blog. When she arrived on Thursday we were instant friends. She is a dynamic leader with a heart for her generation. I can't wait to watch the story of her community unfold.
  • Rachelle Mee-Chapman - What can I say -- I love Rachelle
  • Jessica Ketola, Joanna Brantley - when these two sing you hear from the thinspace.
  • My husband - he is the best!
  • Jim Henderson - such a good friend, creative is an understatement - on Saturday, Jim put up some butcher paper and had people that wanted to lead a 30 minute workshop sign up and then had them give a 30 second commercial of what their topic would be...we all sat there wondering if it would work -- it did! So thankful for Off the Map's innovation and creativity.
  • Eliza - an atheist you can read about here She was so courageous to come and be with us. There were moments during her interview that were could hear a silence of pensive thought drop in the room
  • Jim Fox and all the folks from VCC who did the setting up-serving-cleaning-serving. I love this faith community. I know I am biased but we are rich in people that are earnestly trying to learn what it means to live out loving God and loving neighbor.
  • Thanks to everyone that came to Missional Matrix and participated by interacting with the topics, asking hard questions, being okay with some things that couldn't be answered and for sharing a part of your story.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

St Elizabeth's Rated

Matt Casper the atheist who co-authored this book was in Cincinnati for the weekend. He rated St E's here. You will love the book. It's an honest look at what the church does through the eyes of an unchurced sceptic.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Home Again

I am so glad to be home again. The weekend was great. I met so many great people. Too many to name them all but a few that went out of their way to welcome me; Julie, Sandy, Owen, Lilly, Rob, Elaine, Eric, Tracy, Kevin, Dave, Jody, Jeremy and others…
I was able to spend some time with Bob Ekblad. He and his wife Grace are only an hour away, I hope we will get to carve out some time to be with the Ekblad’s, I think we have some things we can learn from them around social justice. I had dinner with Bob and Kelly Bowen last night. What quality people. They remind me of JR and Nancy. Faithful, passionate people that want their lives to count. They are the real deal, servants with no ego.
It was good to get some time with Jason, Brooke, Kevin and Tracy yesterday. I think Vineyard Central has a unique place. Strong community with people very committed to love their wider community.
Looking forward to this weekend Inside the Missional Matrix

Friday, March 16, 2007


I arrived last night. I am staying in a renovated convent that belongs to Vineyard Central. Vineyard Central and Church of the Savior were featured at the same time in the Cutting Edge magazine about four or five years ago. I remember when I read that issue because something in me so resonated with both places. Vineyard Central had purchased an old Roman Catholic church, St. E’s with the property came the rectory, now the brown house and a convent, where I am staying. The brown house is home to the Rains’ family and others that live in intentional community. The convent is home to the Nixon’s and I believe they are now using the rooms here for a retreat house. If it wasn’t so expensive to fly here right now from the northwest, this would be an awesome place to come on retreat.

Today, I went across the street for a cup of coffee. As I was crossing back in front of St. E’s looking at her beautiful structure, I remembered how the story of VC and Church of the Savior gave me language for things that had been percolating in my heart for so long. When you bump into someone or something that puts language to what you intuit is such an awakening. That was the beginning of Rich and I getting clarity around what was in our hearts to do. In the last month I have had so many moments of flashback to powerful moments, places, circumstances and people that were road signs and directional for where we are right now.

I am here to participate in the Feast of St Patrick. The hospitality here is off the charts. The people are so easy to be with. Tomorrow will be a full day. I am anticipating that it will continue to be very rich and memorable.

Part of my childhood memories of being catholic, attending parochial schools come back and I feel very much at home here. I think it is beautiful that a young, vibrant faith community is bringing and finding life in an ancient setting.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


We left Hyderabad on Friday, March 2nd at 2:30 a.m. When we arrived at the Hyderabad airport I asked the woman at check in for our flight if I could upgrade (complementary) to business class. She wrote down my name and told me they would let me know at the gate if seats were available. Sure enough, right before boarding they called my name and bumped me up to business class. It was pure luxury. I had been up since about 6:00 a.m. My seat laid all the way down into a bed. I slept for seven hours! I woke up and watched Casino Royale – we landed probably ten minutes before the movie finished. I will have to rent it to see how it ends.

The first leg of my journey from Hyderabad to Frankfurt was about ten and one half hours. We had a two hour layover in Frankfurt then began the nine and one half hours home to Portland. I didn’t get the gift of business class on this leg of the journey. The hours went by very slow. I could hardly wait to see Rich and Alex in Portland. We landed in Portland at about 12:30 p.m. by the time I got through customs it was 1:35…Rich and Alex were there…so great to see them.

Rich drove me straight to the Vancouver Vineyard where a Women’s conference was in full swing. I was scheduled to speak at the 2:00 session which I made right on time. I felt a bit scattered. I did the session, then went to dinner with Carol, Abbie, Debbie, Laurie and Deborah. Went back for the evening session to hear Eleanor Mumford then went and met Rich and Alex at the hotel. It was a nice way to do re-entry!

Pretty much today is the first day I feel acclimated back to life here. I need to make the time to reflect on the trip. We need to ask the questions as to what I experienced might mean for me and for VCC. I don’t think it was an accident that my Overture II was in India.

One reflection, when you go to places in the world that don’t have the luxury of reason about everything, people that absolutely live in the present moment because they have nothing, it challenges my faith at a level where maybe everything doesn’t have to be analyzed and figured out. I met courageous followers of Christ who are devoting everything to making India a better place for all people. These folks are heroes. I need to at least ask the questions of how this experience might shape me for the things the Lord has for me and the community I serve.