Saturday, 4 March 2006

Jesus? Yeah, big fan

So many cool words have been trashed by idiots.

As someone who has followed Jesus for 25+ years, I hardly have anything to call myself that doesn’t evoke warranted cringes from colleagues and peers or sound like a politically correct lame duck phrase (‘Christ follower’ ?? whatever).

Yes, I am a Christian, but not in the vein of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson — not at all — those guys drive me nuts (so much so that I wish I could cut them out of my spiritual family entirely, but I can’t – which is another post for another day).

The Christianity I identify with has a different set of heroes from the last century — folks like G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Mother Teresa, MLK.

And yet, saying to people outside of my spiritual community that I am a ‘Christian’ evokes more of the former and less of the latter — so much so that I’ve been looking for a better way to describe myself in the various communities I inhabit.

(I suppose you could say I’m looking for a more authentic brand, if you’d rather get facetious about it).

I came across an interview with Bono a while ago that began to hit the nail on the head for me. In it he says —

The most powerful idea that’s entered the world in the last few thousand years — the idea of grace — is the reason I would like to be a Christian.

Though, as I said to The Edge one day, I sometimes feel more like a fan, rather than actually in the band. I can’t live up to it. But the reason I would like to is the idea of grace. It’s really powerful.

I like that idea — ‘fan of Jesus’ as Bono describes it there — it’s got a large helping of humility in it, something that seems to be lost in many of our cross tribal conversations of late.

So, I think I’ll use that phrase for a while — and when I do, know that by it I mean I follow Jesus in a robust inkling Mere Christianity sort of way.

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

‘What the Fi?!?!’ at Portland’s Kennedy School

Jen and I went to the Kennedy School in Portland for our now annual President’s Day weekend away. It’s the only time in the year we manage to get out sans kids – and, despite loving our zuglets immeasurably, we had a blast.

This is Where we stayed in North Portland

For those of you unfamiliar with the Kennedy School, it’s a bed and breakfast that’s part of the McMenamin’s family of pub’s and lodgings.

They bought out a circa 1930’s elementary school and turned the whole thing into a bed and breakfast replete with restaurant, hot mineral pool, couch & end table furnished movie theater (with no commercials or trailers! — complimentary when you stay there), endless hallways of original art, and free wifi!

What more can a geek couple ask for!

(And yes, it is definitive now, Jen is a _total_ geek – despite all protests to the contrary – see the post on her ‘You got WiFi?’ inquiry with the uber-tatt’d Kennedy School night desk clerks if you think I’m exaggerating).


– – –

I first visited the Kennedy school nearly five years ago to the day (late February 2001) while in Portland to hang out with my friend Don.

At the time, Don was a struggling writer who I’d struck up a friendship with online (how we met is a _very_ funny story I will jot down sometime, hopefully soon – no promises – keepin’ it loose here – trying hard not to over promise and under deliver).

Anyway, Don was making like $2 a year as a writer and eating a lot of tuna. He’d had one book published that, though very good, was on the fast track to out of print.

I, in contrast, was still riding an absurd up tic on the pendulum-swing-O’life (funny how they come and go, eh?)

This swing had me commuting to Bermuda twice a quarter for three week stints doing web design on an insurance company web app (really, you can’t make shit like this up, it’d be rejected outright by the script screener as too ridiculous).

That phat assignment combined with the fact that I’d begun making my move on the very-hot-out-of-my-league-Mars-Hill-pastoral-admin-named-deacon-Jen had me in a mood to spread the love before it went ephemeral on me – if you know what I mean.


I had a another friend from Mars Hill at the time named Karl who was an aspiring writer. He was a very funny gent who wrote the announcements for the church and had a knack for side-splitting observationalist prose.

As a guy who decided a long time ago that encouraging folks to develop their creativity within the context of community was an important use of my time, I figured I would take Karl along with me on a trip to Portland to visit Don.

Turned out to be a great weekend — one of the highlights of which included Don introducing us to the Kennedy School over lunch.

That trip to Portland was also my first introduction to Powell’s bookstore – a place that, from the moment I walked through the door, was (and continues to be) – magical.

Romantic anecdote (about the girl, not Don or Karl) —

I still remember going outside Powell’s north west entrance while Don was paying for some books and making a phone call to a certain deacon-admin-hottie asking her for our first date (chronologically anyway) – funny how things come full circle, isn’t it?

And yeah, this photo is of me in front of that same entrance to Powell’s — 5 years, two kids, and many adventures later — snapped by the hottie herself.