Friday, March 12, 2010

horned toads and tumbleweeds...

When I was a child, I lived in Carlsbad and Las Cruces, New Mexico, the land of enchantment.
I loved to catch
horned toads lizards
. They were so cute. Spitting and spewing when they are captured, then quickly falling asleep when you rolled them over in your hand and gently rubbed their soft underbelly.

We would build amazing and intricate tumbleweed forts, inside irrigation ditches. Preparing for battle with unknown foes and ever watchful of crashing infernos of water that could any moment rush down the ditch and engulf us.

A wonderfully fun trip was going to Carlsbad Caverns to watch the
bats fly out at dusk. Or sand sledding on pieces of slick cardboard on the glistening white sand dunes of White Sands National Monument
. Much better than snow sledding!

My very first job was picking cotton along side day laborers in the fields next to my home.

You see, I am old enough to have lived in the 1960’s cultural paradigm of our country. According to that paradigm, everybody was a Christian, except for a few classmates that were Jewish. Well, and then the Hopi Indians on the reservation, but that was an entirely different world.

In my world, I ate tortillas before I even had a clue what a Coca Cola was. But, I was blessed to have parents who lived their beliefs. These beliefs were very radical in that tumultuous time in our nation’s history.
My parents practiced civil disobedience by marching for civil rights, because of
Martin Luther King Jr
., dream. I have seen my father cry twice in my life. Once was when he heard Martin Luther King, Jr. had been murdered. The other was when JFK was assassinated.
Our family was strong supporters of
Caesar Chavez and the United Farmer Workers
. We boycotted everything. I vividly remember going to the grocery store and proudly asking to see the UFW label on the boxes of grapes.
My mom actually is a charter member of a
chapter she helped found in Panamá, S.A. When we moved to the Canal Zone, I remember being flabbergasted at seeing ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ labeled drinking fountains. A nasty visual reminder of life before the banning of discriminatory public accommodations.
Dad was an EEO officer for the government.
They have always been active politically and card carrying members of the ACLU.

My value of all God’s children isn’t because it is PC, it is part of my DNA, It wasn’t something I had to learn, it was something that coursed through my heart.

Thank you mom and dad for blessing me with my DNA.
This is one of the puzzle pieces that weaves together to create who I am.

(reposting from an old blog of mine 04/04/08)

Friday, March 5, 2010

לקוות ...

Wild and crazy production weekend. While we try to do a creative piece each weekend; this last weekend was a magnificent tapestry woven together of many creative elements. I am simply blown away to be able to serve with our awesome teams.
These elements included the blowing of the Shofar, two original songs, a dance, a reading from Eli Weisel and last but certainly not least, 4 cantor elements with Rabbi Neal Surasky of Kehilat Sar Shalom.
For the stage set design we created a background screen of chiffon draped over two 1” x 2” x 10’ pieces of wood. They were painted black, and we drilled to holes on each end. Then each piece was suspended on the black curtains with fishing line and safety pins. Honestly I don’t know what I would do if we didn’t have fishing line and safety pins.
Sadly, I got so wrapped up in producing, that I failed to get enough pictures.
One last thought, part of what makes our team work so well together is we actually like to spend time together. We often go out to lunch after our Saturday set up/rehearsal and EVERY Sunday. This week Rabbi Neal and his amazing wife Kim joined the crew at Foster’s. It was an incredible time of laughter, learning and gnoshing.

Our Order of Service (and worship set list)
Blowing of the Shofar
Instrumental Opener

Worship Set 1
Freedom is Here

Bridge: Hope in difficult circumstances using illustration of God’s Chosen People.

Cantor Piece # 1 - Hatikvah - Rabbi Neal

Reading from Eli Weisel

“Israel’s Song“with dance (original song Desneige Eisenberg)

Cantor Piece # 2 - Rabbi Neal (In Hebrew, but words in English on the screen)

Reading of Psalm 42

Worship Set 2
“Psalm 42” (original song by Melanie Moore)

Message: Chris Eads interviewing Rabbi Neal

Cantor Piece # 3 - Rabbi Neal teaching a song to the congregation

Worship Set 3
I Surrender
Congregational Prayer
Better is One Day (Amazing Grace)

Cantor Piece # 4 - Rabbi Neal doing the Aaronic Benediction Blessing (Numbers 6)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

real time apps...

One of my favorite blogging pastors is Pete Wilson. His most recent post "How Not To Get Caught Having An Affair", about a new phone app out called “TigerText”. They say it’s perfect for cheating spouses, shady politicians, sexting teens, and people who send a lot of stupid texts while drunk.
It really got me thinking about real time we walk with people through life.
It's no big secret I love friending skeptics, seekers, unchurched, dechurched, pierced, tattooed disenfranchised peeps. I always tease that I don't know why, but they seem to like me too...despite being a "slightly fluffy, goofy grandmother of 5".

I thought I'd share a real time life app story.
A young (currently dechurched) lady in my world, who is living with her boyfriend, wanted to talk alone.
She prefaced the conversation with "I know you will be upset". My thoughts were all over the place with the possibility of what she was about to share.
When we finally got to sit down, she told me she had taken two pregnancy tests and thought she was pregnant. I could see the fear and pain reflected in her eyes as she was brave enough to share this bombshell.
She knows me, about my faith journey and knew in her heart where I stand on this topic. I can only imagine what she thought I was going to say.
I gently explained while this wasn't a good situation, that I still loved her no matter what and was going to be by her side the entire time.
As I asked her about what she was thinking about her options, she talked about the struggle but knew in her heart she would keep the baby. I rejoiced with her and explained that every baby is cause for rejoicing.
She was so brave. She risked judgment in sharing.
Being involved in peoples lives means being willing to "get our hands dirty" because real life is messy. I am grateful we are journeying together. I am grateful she trusted me.

Now back to Pete's blog post. While I agree this “TigerText” app is indeed we register our shock and dismay, the reality is this is the way people think in the brick & mortar and cyber world. Outside and (some) inside the church.
What captivates me IMHO is this is evidence that we need to be in the world, getting involved in people lives. A "real life app" so to speak.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts, on how we can be involved in peoples lives and being there at crucial crossroads to actual impact their journeys.
What if Tiger had someone like you, walking with him through life's messiness? Someone who really cared about him, not his celebrity status. Someone who because of real relationship, was able to speak truth into his life.
Question: How do we walk with people, even as they are making bad choices?
How do we balance speaking the truth, while not judging?
It would also be a great hook for a message series...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

lessons learned

This is probably poorly worded and not in enough detail. But here goes...

I’ve run into this lesson before.
Not to accept a stage design that falls outside of my skill sets.
The idea was to take a 9-12 week teaching series and link it all together with a large crossword puzzle on stage.

The intro week was “God in a Box. Intentionally Left Blank.” The stage design was a completely empty stage with only a floating box with light emanating from it.

The following week - we added the crossword puzzle. Starting with God-in-a-box and adding key words to the crossword puzzle as each week progressed.
First, when it came down to brass tacks (implementation of the crossword puzzle), I was left (the night before) with a massive project that fell way outside of my skill sets.

Second, then we had branding conflicts. This links back to the previous post. When the logo was created & chosen the stage design and logo didn’t “brand” together so the stage design didn’t make any sense.

Ugh! So for the first time, I am seriously contemplating the decision to pull the stage idea.
Now I am left with about 5-6 weeks of having no idea what is going to happen with the stage design.

On the other hand, I also resolve to learn more skills.

Lessons learned:
Sometimes you have to not hear what people are saying and recognize what they are doing (follow-through)

Key players need to be together when designing so that the integrity of the branding, design and elements all flow together.

creativity in our DNA...

CrossCurrent has had creativity in our DNA from our inception. We design to have some sort of a creative element each weekend.

The way that we are currently design our creative elements is we host an “open” brainstorming session.
Teaching pastors give us the synopsis for the various weekends in that quarter.
We worship and pray. Everyone then “pop-corns” ideas up on paper for the various weeks.
We highlight the ones that get the most traction (ooohhs and ahhhs).
Then at later sessions, we choose from those highlighted ideas and create our order of service.

We anticipated a learning curve.

This previous quarters brainstorming sessions has draw attention to some opportunities for modification.
IMHO the glitch is occurring when the production people from the various teams haven’t been able to attend these brainstorming sessions. Maintaining the integrity of the creative element packages gets lost in translation.

Lessons learned: All critical teams need to be in attendance, creative or not. Teaching pastors, media, lighting, sound, producers, drama, writers, dance, stage, etc. Then feed in other people that want to be able to be involved in the creative process. Since the production teams are doing the heavy lifting in the actual implementation of these ideas.