The Big Payback Today

the big payback

Today, in Nashville, is a big day for non-profits. Non-profits across the middle Tennessee area are plugged into an initiative through the Community Foundation called, “the Big Payback“. Through ‘The Big Payback’ website you can donate to a host of non-profits doing good works in our area. We know that non-profits are always in need of financial support, at least it seems that way. The work they do is critical to our society as they fill in niche gaps that go un-noticed or ignored by government services. Without them we would find ourselves in a much less human world.

I’m supporting a few non-profits that I’d hope you might join in with me in supporting in the Big Payback.

Project Transformation is a summer (soon to be year round, fingers crossed) reading and wellness program for low-income / at-risk children and teenagers. They set up their programs in l0w-income areas and provide reading support for children and teens so that their comprehension and skills do not diminish over the summer months. In many cases they improve. This group also provides nutritious meals and other wellness activities and education for the participants.

Open Table Nashville is a outcropping of some of the work that was done with tent city, before the floods. This group provides advocacy, relational, and step by step support to our city’s homeless population. They know our homeless. Seriously, they know them, know their story and are trusted by our homeless. With that trust and relationship they work with individuals and couples to get them off the streets and into adequate housing where they can begin lives anew. It’s a beautiful thing.

Miriam’s Promise is a adoption group that provides services for adopting families at affordable costs (offset by their fundraising support). As well as working with adopting families, MP will walk with mothers who are considering putting their child up for adoption from start to finish, and even after finish. They will also do a lot of education support around the community.

Nurses for Newborns is one of those great programs that targets families at a most vulnerable stage, pre-natal & birth. Babies have a lot of needs in pre-natal stages in order to set then up for success. After birth those needs continue, they just change a bit. I’ve always felt if we had better, or more accessible pre-natal and early birth care for each mother & child we’d have a ton less societal issues in coming years. But try and get people to buy into pro-active measures versus re-active measures. It’s a chore, luckily these folks are doing this work.

Go Now and Support The Big Payback

the Fabulous Female Theologians of Twitter (some of)

No, this isn’t some calendar shoot idea, though admittedly that would be quite amusing. Yesterday Bill Reichart posted a Top 10 Theologians on Twitter and I shot back that there were no women theologians and that they all seemed to be the same stock white males that get thrown out everywhere. So Bill asked for me to add to the list. I am happy to because not that I am in any disagreement with the list (though some of the 10 are not close to my top theologians, but that’s just a flavor thing) my critique wasn’t done in a mean spirit. It is the trouble with making a list, someone gets left out.

So in the spirit of sharing, here are some Female Theologians of Twitter (not in any particular order)

Rachel Held Evans gets my first & easiest nod, mostly because we have actually hung out before. Watching her growing audience and the prophetic voice she is speaking from has been great to watch over the years. Seriously, if someone is going to take the bible seriously enough to sleep in a tent in the front yard when she is on her menstruation period has to get some props, or a honk as you drive by.

Maggi Dawn who has been a voice through the alt worship scene of the UK for over a decade plus is now moving to Yale University as their Dean of Chapel and Associate Professor of Theology which she did similar to at Cambridge for the decade prior. Also a published author as any good minister in the academic circles would be. She has also been a prolific blogger and speaker to add onto her list of good works.

Bishop Vashti McKenzie who is the first female ever elected to the highest office of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.) in its 200 year history and has served there since 2000. She’s pretty cool when it comes to social media podcasting, blogging, and putting up a 12k follower list on twitter (which is the largest for this listing, i think).

Diane Butler Bass first came onto my radar with her book the Practicing Congregation by Alban Press (a great read) and has been a favorite of mine since then. Probably her most prominent book has been Christianity for the rest of Us, which has actually sat in my to be read pile for some time. Promise Diane, I will get to it. &:~)

Tami Heim & Toni Birdsong I am grouping together because they are the duo behind Sticky Jesus. Met them at a TN Christian Chamber event a few months back and they are just delightful. I don’t believe they have the academic theology pedigree, but old friend Stan Grenz put its that everyone is a theologian and under that and considering their prolific capacity and passion to sharing Christ they get on my list & should be on yours.


Given, this list was actually a bit difficult to produce in that many prominent female theologians don’t do twitter, or started an account but are rather quiet on them. My criteria for this was rather simple in that they needed to be ‘active’ (totally subjective to according to me) and have around or over 1k followers. That cut into some of my list of people I like to read like a @lnwiner. Thought about adding in some folks like a @sandramccracken but she’s touring now and most of her tweets are about shows at the time of this posting, not quite a time of high theology for her now. Thought about some of the famous pastor wives, but ultimately discounted them because those seem to be ‘team’ influencers. One thing I thought was interesting was that there wasn’t any tribute twitter accounts to people like  Julian of Norwich. Sadly, Teresa of Avila went quiet a few years ago.. Mother Teresa is somewhat alive in bots and tribute accounts.

Most though, I have this idea that Twitter isn’t the medium for the lady. Maybe it was the culturing of its early adopters but Twitter in many ways has a feel of self promotion mixed in with its sharing and conversation & I don’t think it is part of the female drive to get into puffing out the chest to show a “this is what I have to say” everyone.

All guy lists are not anything out of the norm. Andy Rowell put together an add on list a few years back and all his peeps were dudes, and he’s someone who is very open to the various people who take on leadership of the church. So maybe we need more ladies doing their theology thing on twitter, maybe not, someone has to be acting out their theology out in the real world and we are probably better off having the ladies do that while us fellas talk amongst ourselves about who is best.

So feel free to comment away and add more of the lovely ladies of twitter for this listing.. it really is just a start of a hopeful full recognition

have you gotten your official united methodist calendar? i think i have

Calendar550x480one of those tools in ministry i've used year in and out is the methodist calendar. i've used the classic spiral bound calendar many of those years. my fav details is the lectionary listings not to mention the special days listed in the classic calendar. it also fits nicely in my briefcase.

the last two years i've used the wall sized dry erase calendar which was helpful, but i never spent a large majority of my time in the office so it wasn't as helpful.

this year i'm kinda stoked to try out the digital version that is google cal compatible. i'll probably also order a classic one as well, you should get a version as well.

Jesus is the shirtless guy : following is the new leading

i'm pondering this quick little ted talk by derek sivers this morning. i caught this idea to be quite radical in shift in the way we look at leadership.

"it was the first follower that transformed the lone nut, into a
leader… if you really care about starting a movement, have the
courage to follow and show others how to follow."

as with most things it has me pondering of faith.. wondering if Jesus is the nut, then who is the follower who showed us how to follow? Saint Paul? some of the Disciples?

where am i in this? am i the guy that's trying to get attention by some silly song and dance or do i need to figure out how i show to follow better?

i think if we asked Christ about the idea of following to lead he'd be pretty stoked by it.

youth ministry’s future : glimpse of youth ministry in the year 2400

so i don't usually write fiction, let alone, sci-fi type fiction, but when ken asked if i would contribute to the upcoming issue of the reporter (which is focusing on youth culture & youth ministry issues) i felt honored to do something.

"so what do you want me to write about?"

"well, something on youth culture."

little did ken know, i for some reason had this curiosity for buck rogers that day.. so i had been doing some reading up on the old show & comic series.

"how bout youth ministry in the future."

"like 2050?"

"no, like the year 2400…?"

some time passes

"cool, can you write that by monday?"

"probably not, but i'll try."

"you sure?"

"yes, it'd be nice to have something not so serious"

here's an excerpt of my futuristic view of youth ministry in the year 2400. published by the umportal, that i turned in on thursday, after my monday deadline

Just then, he receives a ringing in his communications chip. Zahn taps
his head and a visual hologram appears of one of his teenagers, Jessup
(one of the oldest and more active teenagers in the ministry). Jessup
is visibly upset. 

Annika, Jessup’s girlfriend from the Saturn
moon Titan, has broken up with him, and Jessup is worried he’ll never
find another person like her in the entire Milky Way galaxy. Jessup is
now convinced he will grow up alone. 

my concept for this article is simple.. the tools and trademarks of the culture will change (which was fun to try and imagine), but the human needs & behaviors will not change. as i see, they haven't changed in thousands of years, they aren't about to start. beyond that, anything you read into it is purely your own speculation.