Tag Archives: theology on the rocks

…playing frogger with a nebulous endline…

ol school video games

old school video game

So it’s springtime in Arkansas which means alot of rain…and I do mean alot.  Just this past Sunday (Easter Sunday) I got soaked on my way into church…a new church that I was visiting.  More on that in a second.

Right now, it’s late and I’m sitting in my living room enjoying a nice cabernet sauvignon, listening to the Grateful Dead, Jim Croce, and Bob Dylan (among others), occasionally glancing down and to my right at a Krakauer book that is begging me to pick it up and knowing that when I do pick it up it never betrays me into boredom – although I’m only about 30 pages in it’s a very compelling read.  I’m also thinking about alot of things/issues going on in my life right now.  Let’s see…I have a perplexing insecurity about my job even though last month I hit 118% to goal.  I now find myself not leading midrash which is something I brought to Arkansas from St. Louis (where it was wildly successful, and in this instance # of people showing up does not constitute success, although there were bunches of people showing up) and lastly, well not really lastly, but the last I’m willing to discuss in the blogosphere is that I am also looking for a new church home…which is corollary back to the previous mentioned item of midrash leadership.  The church I was attending and I have a difference of opinion in some theological matters, which for sake of brevity I will not go into.   The leadership of this church and I realized that our visions and ‘needs’ are heading in different directions and to respect each other we need to part ways. It was a mutual decision we both agreed upon and I’m fine with this and actually the leader and I are still friends.  What surprised me and honestly perturbed me was his decision to retain midrash and theology on the rocks at his church.  Maybe it’s an issue of pride, but maybe it’s also my concern that midrash/theology on the rocks will take on a form which mimics this church’s values which are some of the reasons that concerned me enough to not remain at the church. Not that their values are necessarily wrong, because they’re not, but midrash and theology on the rocks is a different bird in that it needs special leadership to have it’s mission plug along in a  proper, functional, compelling manner. Granted, there is not a midrash/theology on the rocks manual for how to do things correctly, but there are, in my mind, easily identifiable things not to do which might not be as easily identified to others.  Beyond that it basically boils down to the fact that I’m upset in the leader’s desire to retain midrash and theology on the rocks when truth be told it was my brainchild to start these two things in Little Rock. And honestly, I’m not happy about the decision and he’s aware of my feelings because we had a long respectful conversation about this but at the end we both disagreed.  At the same time I won’t bitch and moan about it b/c I have enough other friends who are eager to start something of our own whether or not it’s under a new banner or not. So we shall see what the future holds for ‘midrash’.

Because of all of these issues colliding all at once at terminal velocity I feel as if I’m playing frogger with a nebulous endline of where I’m supposed to end up.  But you know what…in my adventurous, analytical spirit…it’s also kind of fun. Maybe it’s more like Q-bert and I need to labor to try and make it to the top…I always liked Q-bert better anyway…and plus I had a sleeping bag with Q-bert on it.

“Perhaps we had become a little arrogant with our fine new technique of ice-claw and rubber slipper, our age of easy mechanical conquest.  We had forgotten that the mountain still holds the mastercard, that it will grant success only in its own good time.” – Eric Shipton “Upon That Mountain”

pimpin the Q-bert

pimpin' the Q-bert

Ok, cigar suggestion.  This past weekend I went with some buddies to Cregeen’s and I had a Rocky Patel, ‘The Edge’ and I must say it was a very good cigar. It’s a maduro if not bordering on robusto.  And it was a very smooth cigar – it was about $7 if my memory serves me.

The wine I’m enjoying while I write this is Root 1 – it’s a cabernet sauvignon from Argentina.  It’s fruit forward, spicy, smooth velvety finish but also enough tannins to remain true to it’s cab grapes. It was $11.99 – a very good wine.


Posted by on April 13, 2009 in Uncategorized


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Midrash – it’s not a disease

This is an essay I wrote about Midrash for Shane’s email update for the River (our church).  The article appeared a little different in the email because of some revisions.  Personally, I prefer it without the revisions because I’m very particular in the words I choose.  This short essay details what Midrash is and why it is a natural outpouring of my personality – I love engaging people in compelling conversations.  Enjoy.

quick cigar recommendation – La Flor Dominicana – good smooth smoke. Available in mild and maduro selections.

For many centuries the church was a skillful potter shaping culture in regards to politics, the arts, education, and public commentary. Only recently has the church withdrawn from that craft and now views our culture with an “Us versus Them” mentality believing there is no hope for our culture. At the River Community Church we believe that line of thought runs contrary to God’s will and we do not believe it is “Us versus Them”. Instead, we believe we need to be integrated into our culture and redeem our culture for God’s glory. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” – Matthew 6: 10. The main crux of the issue is as Christians we need to find ways to engage our culture in a compelling manner that makes sense and meets people where they are spiritually and socially.

Midrash. Such a quirky sounding word that most people think means some sort of contracted disease requiring a prescription for an antibiotic. Thank goodness that is not what it means. It is actually a Hebrew word that roughly means “commentary”. Our desire within Midrash is to engage various aspects of our culture in regards to the arts, media, politics, education etc and Midrash is the organization for different events that we hold under the umbrella of The River Community Church. Some of our events include: Theology on the Rocks, film nights, coffee shop discussions, art gallery viewings, and large panel forums. For example; at Theology on the Rocks we take what we believe to be compelling topics such as, violence in America, the pursuit of happiness, animal rights, and racism in Little Rock and host them in different restaurants and bars in Little Rock. It is held in a separate dining room to accommodate a group discussion and this allows people to share their thoughts and opinions on the topic. People want to talk about these topics but just have not had the opportunity. We provide the opportunity.

None of our events take place in a church building; primarily because Midrash exists for people who would never step foot in a church. We approach this in a manner similar to when Paul was in Athens (Acts 17: 16-34). When Paul was with the people he spoke to them in a context they understood and they appreciated which helped him build credibility. To the men in the synagogue and marketplace he held respectful, intelligent conversations and reasoned with them. To the idol worshippers in the Areopagus he spoke to them about who and why they worship what they worship. In Midrash, we realize the Bible is not an authority for people who do not believe in God and as such we want to be credible and speak to people about who and why they worship what they worship. To show them how their truth relates to God’s truth.

Basically, Midrash is at the heart of The River Community Church because we want to reach people where something inside them is stirring but they are not making a connection as to what is stirring (2 Corinthians 3: 16-18). Midrash recognizes that God’s people and creation are beautiful and at the same time fallen and we are called by God to redeem his creation for his glory (Genesis 1: 26-28). Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

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Posted by on March 12, 2009 in Uncategorized


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