Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday Burn

:::A Summer of Hell is Coming to US Airports

::: A US Missions Agency and Spain's Technology Hub

::: There are Two Types of Airport People

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Visiting Church of the City New York

We finally got to go to church in New York City this past weekend. I've long been fascinated with churches in this city - the most influential and strategic city in the world seems to be experiencing a resurgence in new churches lately. Katie has been there all semester but this was the first weekend where it fit for us to be in the city on a Sunday morning.

I was thrilled that we were able to attend Church of the City New York. I've followed Jon Tyson's work for a while now and no one has thought more deeply about spiritual formation in a place like New York: achievement oriented, fast paced, affluent, postmodern, post Christian, and pluralistic. Sure we say that about the suburbs but it's not even close. Unfortunately, Jon wasn't speaking but his Chief of Staff delivered a phenomenal talk on the topic of being an ambassador. And like I expected and appreciated, it spoke to this specific context and this specific city.

Other interesting observations:
+ They meet in 2 schools for 4 gatherings on Sundays - 2 at one school in the morning and then another 2 at another school in the evening. Portable church.
+ Before the time for the offering, they have a responsive reading focused on generosity and blessing. They don't pass out baskets but give time for people to donate electronically.
+ There was a few minutes at the beginning of the service when someone shared a personal story of their experience in trying to live out 'Kingdom Values' [their current sermon series.] Really makes the community feel connected.

And this quote from the talk:
When the modern world says to us aloud, "You may be religious when you are alone," it adds under its breath, "and I will see to it that you never are alone." To make Christianity a private affair while banishing all privacy is to relegate it to the rainbow's end or the Greek calends.
- C. S. Lewis

I try to read everything Jon Tyson has written. My other church on the short wish list was Hope Roosevelt run by my friends Dan and Amanda Sadlier but the timing didn't quite work out right.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday Burn

::: McDonald's Serves as Mini US Embassies

::: Gladwell on How School Shootings Catch On
Link via The Weekend Reader

::: Crossing Cultures - The First 90 Days

Photo: McDonalds, Vienna, Austria. July 2007.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Loren Cunningham

Founder of Youth With A Mission, started in 1960, which now has about 20,000 staff across 171 countries. Loren travels to 30 or 40 countries every year and has visited every country in the world.

Ember has lots of YWAM friends and of course we run into YWAMers all the time. What a gift to the world Loren is.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Friday Burn

::: Remembering Sabika Sheikh
The most powerful thing I have read in a long time.

::: Algorithms, Human Rights Abuse and Justice

::: Micromobility Will Transform Cities

Photo: Ramadan July 2014, Aix-en-Provence.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Cultural Navigation in Chinatown

If you've followed along here for any length of time, you know that Ember highly values pre-field team training for any and all kinds of mission teams. The odds, statistics and anecdotes are true - the better your team is prepared, the better your experience. Leaders that ignore this step probably shouldn't be leading these teams.

Last night, some of our guides walked a short term team through navigating some areas of culture, specifically food, people and architecture. A lot of helping people understand culture is modeling how to be observant. Observe first, then interpret and then futurecast. It was a perfect night in Chinatown DC.

Remember, it's not too late to try to get your team ready.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

The Ember Cast Sabbatical Year [Or Longer]

Later this year, Deanna and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage, I will turn 50 years old and both our kids will be living overseas. In light of especially the last point, The Ember Cast will enter in to a sabbatical year [or longer] starting sometime this summer. We will shutdown all operations and put Ember into pause - I don't think it is a full stop but we are leaving room for that possibility too. This is not spur of the moment or a reaction - in fact, plans for this have been in motion since the summer of 2018.

I started thinking about this last summer because I wanted to give room for Deanna and I starting to be empty nesters. It's a good time to take a break from the rhythm of working a day job and a passion project during nights and weekends. We also knew there would be some personal travel next year - an anniversary trip for the two of us and possibly visiting Emily on her gap year and celebrating Katie finishing university [I know, it seems like she just started.] We are also taking a 3 week family trip this June with some Ember Summer Sends joining us for the last few days of that.

I also remembered my old pastor saying that most people in their 50s are spiritually coasting. And I had lunch with a sage who gave me wise counsel on turning 50 and implored us to dream about the idea of legacy. And I was reminded of Isaiah 49:6 - it is too small a thing... So the Ember break gives us time to think really deeply about what we want to give ourselves to for the next season of our lives. I'm excited for both the break and the opportunity to consider big, audacious dreams for the Lord.

Special thanks to the Ember Board for their 9 years in this with me and helping navigate a new season. In the meantime, we have some good things to finish in the next few months.