What’s Cookin’? 108

Sinbad: “You’re in Sinbad’s House. Rob Thomas. Matchbox 20. Sing something. Shut up.”

(-It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: “Dennis Reynolds: An Exotic Life”)

Highlight(s) of the week: (1) the Emergent Mid-Atlantic Conference (#emergentma08) was a great time. More than anything, I enjoyed hanging with all my friends – Todd, Thom, and Tim – over some beers and meeting Peter Rollins [author of How (Not) to Speak of God] for the first time and spending various times over 1 1/2 days talking with him. Also, I spent time on Saturday with Derek Cooper (a good friend of mine) and John Franke from Biblical Seminary. Great guys. (2) During the conference, I met some new people from other Emergent cohorts. It’s always nice to meet new people who are in the same “conversation” as you. I actually accompanied Charlie from Princeton to 30th Street Station since we were both picking up trains there. (3) Throughout all the curve-balls my life has been throwing me, Amanda has been incredibly supportive, and I love her more than ever because of it [plus, I think she said something in our vows about supporting me no matter what]. (4) Giselle says “Da-da” but not in reference to me. So, all I have to do is make that connection. “Da-da” is beating out “ma-ma” right now. (5) Amanda and I had a good laugh with Giselle the other day when she smacked her head really hard on the mirror from her dressing table – I thought she would cry, but, instead, she cracked up laughing. Kids always keep us laughing, don’t they?

What I’m reading: Hey! I finally finished Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw and The Historical Books by Richard D. Nelson. Two books in one week, woo-hoo! Currently, reading Relevant Magazine’s November-December issue. Also, my friend Derek’s book So You Thinking About Going to Seminary: An Insider’s Guide and The Art of Reading Scripture edited by Ellen Davis and Richard Hays.   

Listenin’ and lovin’:

  • Podcasts: As always – Mars Hills podcast every week. Emergent Village which announced that it is making some changes for the better (i.e., Tony Jones is no longer the head of Emergent Village. He didn’t do anything wrong, but they are attempting to break down hierarchy). But besides that, not much.
  • Music: I listened to part of Oh Sleeper’s When I Am God. Underoath’s newest CD – Lost in the Sound of Separation

What I’ve been vegetating in front of: (1) A&E’s Biography on Barack Obama helped me understand more of who our President-elect is as a person. (2) I set up my Xbox and played EA Sports’ UEFA Euro 2008 for some time. I want to buy FIFA 09, but I don’t have a job to make money to buy it. (3) I’m all caught up on Heroes, which has gotten a little weird for me, but I still like it. (4) It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Office put some humor into my life.

Something(s) that blew my mind: (1) Not sure if this blew my mind, but it is mind-blowing – Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America. He is our first black president, and I don’t think that can be overstated. Todd had a great post in reflection about the election (whoa, that rhymes). I’m really interested in seeing how things play out. (2) Barack Obama becoming the President-elect brought about a lot of hate, but even more love. I was really surprised by staunch McCain supporters who said that they will be supporting and praying for Obama – very cool. 

Job update: I haven’t really made much progress in this area. I’m not sure where I want to go with all of this. I’ve been looking though, but I’m confident that God will provide.

Seminary update: last assignment (take-home final exam) for Gary Schnittjer’s class on the historical books of the Hebrew Scriptures is due tomorrow. Also, starting tomorrow is my class with David Lamb on the poetic books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Looking forward to: (1) What God has in store for me. (2) How Barack Obama’s presidency will go. (3) If “Barack” and “Obama” will stop coming up as an incorrect spelling in spell-check (e.g., for “Obama” spell-check offers “Abeam”). (3) Finding a new place for our family to live. We’ve been living at my in-laws, but we’re looking to move on. (4) Exit-interview with Great Valley Presbyterian, which should provide some closure.


What’s Cookin’? 107

Highlight(s) of the week: (1) The Phillies won the World Series! (2) Partying at Five Points in NE Philadelphia. (3) Parade with Amanda and Giselle. (4) Amanda has been incredibly supportive of me, and I really appreciate it (see “Ministry Update/Something(s) that broke my heart” for reason why). (5) Sunday – I got to go to The Well, and I actually was able to go to church with my family without having to do a million things (again, see below). (6) Amanda made waffles for breakfast yesterday. That was really cool.

What I’m reading: still reading Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw and The Historical Books by Richard D. Nelson; Relevant Magazine‘s November-December issue. 

Listenin’ and lovin’:


  • Podcasts: Listen to Mars Hills podcasts every week. The most recent one was called “Beware the dogs,” which I blogged about; and the Emergent Village Podcast; Everyday Liturgy started a podcast. I had to give a shout-out to my boy, Thom Turner.
  • Music: Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song” which I listen to, to make me happy. It’s just peppy, good fun. The Fall of Troy’s Doppelganger


Something(s) that blew my mind: How much fun it is when your team wins the World Series! Yeah!

Ministry update/Something(s) that broke my heart: I lost my job as a youth pastor because the economy is going down the tubes. The church had to make budget cuts. I was one of them. They’re paying me until the end of December so that helps (but doesn’t). What killed me is hearing from some of the kids about how much they’ll miss me. Talk about a heartbreaker.

So, I don’t know what to do next. I’m just praying and keeping my head up. 

Seminary update: still reading like crazy for our class on the historical books of the Old Testament with Gary Schnittjer. Almost done. 

Looking forward to: (1) What God has in store for me. (2) Trying to go to the Emergent conference on Sunday. We’ll see.

What’s Cookin’? 106

Highlight(s) of the week: (1) The Phillies are up 3-1 in the World Series. Could it really happen? (2) Giselle laughed at me yesterday when I made a face at her. That’s the first time she did that without me tickling her. (3) Amanda is adjusting well to her new job. Apparently, she kicks kids out of class! If you know my wife, that would seem uncanny to you, but I’m glad she is asking kids to respect her.

Book(s) I’m reading: still reading Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw and The Historical Books by Richard D. Nelson 

Listenin’ and lovin‘: Listen to Mars Hills podcasts every week; APM: Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett – most recently I’ve been listening to one of the podcasts called “Being Autistic and Being Human” (it has exposed me to some of the ‘human-ness’ of people with autism, which I suppose was the purpose), and I also listened to an interview with Rod Dreher, author of Crunchy Cons: The New Conservative Counterculture and Its Return to Roots, talk about his care for environmental issues but how he is still Republican. That’s pretty cool. Also, I’ve fallen in love with listening to interviews by Emergent Village with Phyllis Tickle, what a wonderful and wise person. Music-wise: I created a “Genius” playlist on my iPhone with worship music so that included Delirious?, Hillsong, Hillsong United, Phil Wickham, and Jason Morant. 

Something(s) that blew my mind: (1) Did I mention that the Phillies are up 3-1 in the World Series? 

Something(s) that broke my heart: (1) I never thought Dobson would stoop so low as he did in his letter from Obama’s America in 2012. I hope to write about this later. Thanks to Thom for pointing this out. (2) Obama’s thoughts that America is the last great hope of the world still breaks my heart from a Christian perspective. This isn’t recent, but it still bothers me.

Ministry update: last night we had a combined youth group with our friends from Grace Valley Fellowship. We had a scavenger hunt, pizza, hayride, and bonfire. It was a lot of fun. Tucker (their youth pastor) and I really tried to promote interaction between both groups. I think it worked out well.

Seminary update: still reading like crazy for our class on the historical books of the Old Testament with Gary Schnittjer. I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around all of what we are talking about, specifically, Nelson’s (above book) view on the historical books. We read Esther in the Septuagint with all the additions, which I told my friend Ben who is Eastern Orthodox, and he responded, “In other words, you read the complete Esther.” That’s a seminary joke, but a funny one if you get it. I won’t tell you why. Look it up! Also, reading Genesis 22 (the near-sacrifice of Isaac) and its interpretation from the Jewish, Muslim, Samaritan, and Christian perspectives.

Looking forward to: (1) the Phillies winning the World Series! I’m really looking forward to my mom’s reaction, if my reaction will result in my getting arrested (kidding!), and a parade!

What’s Cookin’? 105

Highlight(s) of the week: (1) The Phillies are NL Champs and are in the World Series! Go Phillies! (2) The Red Sox didn’t make it. I’m very happy about that, not for matchup-sake but because I’m tired of “the nation.” (3) Amanda, Giselle, and I spent the weekend in Lancaster with my family. It was very nice to get away for a little while. (3) New addition to the Green-side of the family: Liam Joseph Fleming was born on Friday. He’s huge – almost as long as Giselle is now at 6 months.

Book(s) I’m reading: still reading Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw and now reading The Historical Books by Richard D. Nelson (for class – but talk about a book that is almost everything against what I’ve learned growing up or even believe now – but it’s still a good read. I don’t recommend it for those who are the faint of heart, but I do recommend thus far for those who are into ‘scholarly pursuits.’)

Listenin’ and lovin’: Listen to Mars Hills podcasts every week; APM: Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett – most recently I listened to one that discussed religion in the Democratic party. I will be listening this week to her one on religion in the Republican party, too, but which is normally assumed by many. I recommend Speaking of Faith to get a broad range of thought on religion; also have been enjoying Relevant Magazine’s podcast. It is a weekly podcast with a few people having a good time together and also getting serious at times. It’s very good. Music-wise: I have to say I keep listening to Viva la Vida for whatever reason that only addiction may explain. Also I recently listened to Phil Wickham’s Cannon, and Fear Before the March of Flames’ Always Open Mouth (again, not for the faint of heart).

Something(s) that blew my mind: (1) I taught Jr. Church (1-5th graders) on Sunday morning, and they were respectful. It shows what a few rules will do to hold it together. (2) I posted three things about politics on my blog, which I swore I wouldn’t do so I named the category “Politics (Eww…)” to express my dislike for the subject, but I find it unavoidable around every four-year cycle. (3) Colin Powell is going to vote for Obama – very interesting – I hope this grows into something that will bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats.

Ministry update: last night we presented to the whole church our New Orleans missions trip from this past summer. We had a video – it was cool – thanks, Jorge! Dan and Tyler who presented the impact the trip had on their lives did exceptionally well. 

Seminary update: reading like crazy for our class on the historical books of the Old Testament with Gary Schnittjer

Looking forward to: (1) game 1 of the World Series; (2) UnderOath and The Devil Wears Prada show on October 22; (3) Giselle will be 6 months tomorrow – wow!

What’s Cookin’? 104

Highlight(s) of the week: (1) Phillies are in the NLCS and are actually up in the series. I can smell the World Series. (2) Amanda and I took Giselle pumpkin picking and to Peddler’s Village. We had a great time. (3) My uncle Bob came in from Oregon – we got to talk politics, the emerging church, and other church things

Book(s) I’m reading: still reading Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw

Music I’m diggin’: Jason Morant’s Open; Derek Webb’s The Ringing Bell

Podcast’s I’m lovin‘: Emergent Podcast interviews with (a) Phyllis Tickle and (b) Tim Keel; I usually always listen to Mars Hills’ podcast – last one I listened to was called “Shine Like Stars;” APM: Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett – most recently I listened to an interview she had with Jaroslav Pelikan on the importance of creeds

Something(s) that blew my mind: (1) Brett Myers apparently is the most consistent hitter on the Phillies; (2) the Franke Installation into the Lester and Kay Clemens Professorship in Missional Theology was extraordinarily good (I hope to blog about this later) – particularly enjoyed Scot McKnight and Tim Keel…McLaren is always good

Ministry update: last night we emphasized AIDS/HIV awareness in our youth group program. We had a few technical errors because I forgot my cord to connect my laptop to the projector so I had to transfer everything to another computer, which never goes well for me. But overall I think it went well.

Seminary update: starting a new class tomorrow on the historical books of the Old Testament with Gary Schnittjer

Looking forward to: (1) game 4 of the NLCS; (2) UnderOath and The Devil Wears Prada show on October 22; (3) soccer game tonight

What’s Cookin’? 103

Highlight(s) of the week: (1) Amanda survived her first week teaching. I’m very proud of her. (2) The Phillies made it to the NLCS! (3) See ministry update

Book(s) I’m reading: Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw

Music I’m diggin’: Coldplay’s Viva La Vida; Underoath’s Lost in the Sound of Separation

Something(s) that blew my mind: (1) the Eagles still don’t know how to score a touchdown when near the goal-line; (2) that people could be so offended by things Shane Claiborne has to say; (3) Bethel’s youth worship band was excellent – much better than when I was there…hahaha 

Ministry update: High School’s “Redeem, Restore” retreat to Philadelphia was not only fun but was also a great time of growth for us. (a) scavenger hunt in downtown Philadelphia – 15th & Market, down to 2nd & Chestnut, and to Chinatown; (b) assisted the Sunday Morning Breakfast Rescue Mission and heard some great stories; (c) able to see our good friends from Montvale Church; (d) heard Shane Claiborne give a talk at Bethel – the Church at Franklin Mills; (e) We (I) got to visit The Well church for the first time; (f) cheesesteaks at Steve’s Prince of Steaks; (g) slept on Bethel’s floors for the whole weekend

Seminary update: finishing up my class Developing Relationships in Community tomorrow so I’m excited to start a new class next week with Dr. Gary Schnittjer which covers Joshua-Chronicles 

Looking forward to: (1) my dad and I being a part of John Franke’s induction into the the role of Chairman of Missional Theology at Biblical Seminary – Scot McKnight and Brian McLaren will each speak for a session; (2) meeting a my new nephew who is coming sometime soon, we hope

What’s Cookin’? 102

Highlight(s) of the week: (1) Phillies in the playoffs, and the Mets aren’t going to make it! (2) Amanda got a job teaching American History for 7th and 8th grade

Book(s) I’m readingOrganic Community by Joseph Myers and Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw

Music I’m diggin’: I’m a good Christian so…Hillsong – This Is Our God

Something(s) that blew my mind: (1) My friend’s fiance asked Sarah Palin a question about going into Pakistan, to which she answered contradictory to McCain’s stance (view here), and now he’s being asked to come on FoxNews and the radio…cool. (2) Mets – the team that was supposed to win the World Series – are not even making the playoffs (good call, ESPN). 

Ministry update: we are approaching our high school retreat to Philadelphia, and I am preparing for that. 

Seminary update: not much new going on, but we had a couple of successful group projects completed

Looking forward to: (1) first Phillies’ playoff game, (2) talk to Amanda after her first day at work, (3) hug Giselle after her first day in daycare, and (4) still looking forward to Shane Claiborne coming to Bethel – the Church at Franklin Mills on October 4 & 5