Enter the Slave Garden

photo by Tulay Palaz
photo by Tulay Palaz

Living Hope Community Church meets at Ironwood Elementary School, and to enter, you must pass through a small gated courtyard before you reach the doors to the worship space.
Every Sunday we are able to come to our church space, pass through the gates, enter through the door, and participate in the worship service. There are no requirements, no check points, no guards at the door who require you to prove your worthiness to enter. You are not restricted by your age, your gender, your education, your finances or your past. You aren’t stopped because of who your parents are or were. You don’t have to present papers, or pay to enter. You are welcomed in freely.
But what if that weren’t the case? What if you showed up and there were chains on the gate? What if, suddenly, you were made to enter though a side door, and wait for the chance that you might (or might not) be allowed to enter? What if someone or something owned you, and you weren’t free to worship how or where or when you wanted, because the one who owned you had forbidden it?

Continue reading “Enter the Slave Garden”

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Ireland or Bust

I interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to share with you a new summer adventure:  In a couple of days I will board my first-ever trans-atlantic flight and fly to Ireland.  With the exception of the occasional jaunt into Mexico (and, really who counts the occasional jaunt into Mexico?) I have never really been out of the country.  This is in spite of the fact that I am considered one of the jet-setters of my family.

As a result I will be taking Faith Unscripted off the rails between now and when I return, the first week of July. Expect anything but our regular conversations while I am away.  I do not know how much time I will have to write, or when I might have access to the internet.  But when I do, I will probably be posting thought, pictures, and whatever else I can during the trip (maybe even a video?).  Also keep an eye on my twitter feed (see the feed to the right of your screen on most browsers, or follow me at twitter @nickybarger). We’ll return to Monday Inspirations and “thoughtful thursdays” as they normally appear in early July.  For now, this trip is sure to be both inspirational and thoughtful.

Why Ireland? Well, for one thing, why not Ireland?  Simply speaking, the Brehm Center offered two courses there this summer, and I was determined to go.  The more complicated answer is this: this is what I came here for.  I recently sat in an office with an advisor trying to work out my schedule for the rest of my time at Fuller.  Though my time with her was productive, and her services helpful,  it seemed apparent to me that she thought that my choice to go to Ireland was a waste of time and money.  “You have no more electives, you realize these won’t count, don’t you?”

Bless her, it was her job to point that out to me.  But frankly, in that moment, all I could see was someone who just didn’t get it.  You see, I am not on an specific pre-planned/known-to-me career-path that required me to get and MAT in order to advance professionally.  But, let’s be clear, my degree is more than mere “personal enrichment”.  I am confident of my call to Fuller, and despite my ignorance of God’s plan, I have no doubt a plan exists.  I am in the rare but not unique position where I have to pick and choose the education I get, because on one hand I need to fulfill the requirements set before me to graduate.  But I also need to get in the classes that resonate with that cord God plucked in me that made it clear God was moving me to Fuller for a reason. Without a doubt, the courses I am required to take have value, and I do learn from them.  But, just the same, I have to keep an eye open for those classes that I suspect have more to do with God’s plan for my life, than the Registrar’s plan.

So, then.  Ireland.

For now, my parting gift to you is this recent satellite image of IRE, where the entire island was briefly exposed with no cloud cover whatsoever.  This is a rare shot of the Emerald Island.  Enjoy. 

Unscripted Ephesians: an introduction

Last quarter I took a class on Ephesians, and through a quarter-long series of events (including a pretty serious illness) I had to resort to taking an Incomplete in the class, in order to finish the final assignment at a later date. Then, as it turned out, my officially approved request for an Incomplete was held up on a technical matter—and it wasn’t until I was nearly half-way through the quarter when I learned that I could still make up the last assignment, and finish the course for a grade. But, by then I was well underway with my new class work and my thesis project; there wasn’t room on my plate for an extra research paper. In comes my friend and advisor to the rescue: she suggested that I pitch an alternative assignment to my professor, which I did—and he was intrigued enough by the idea that he has given me the go-ahead! So, without any more ado, I announce the forth-coming short series Unscripted Ephesians; where I will take a look at the Biblical book of Ephesians, Faith Unscripted style. This may be a little different than some of my other posts, but I invite you to join in the dialogue just the same!

Unscheduled Announcements: Summer is here!

While our Faith may come Unscripted, so can things like discouragement, stagnation, and the blahs. And, my very scientific sources seem to point to a high rate of incident for these things by Monday afternoon. So, at least for the summer, Continue reading “Unscheduled Announcements: Summer is here!”

Experimental MTP

I have a bachelors degree in theatre, and I am a Christian.  There may have been a time where one might have considered it impossible for those two things to be true of one person.  Perhaps I am a walking contradiction.  Or, perhaps, in the words of Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday, “my hypocrisy knows no bounds.” Continue reading “Experimental MTP”

Cryptic Announcement of the Day

photo by Suse Sternkopf. used with permission

It’s coming!

I am happy to announce that I am in the development stages of my thesis project for my degree program at Fuller Theological seminary. This page will be a cornerstone of that thesis project.

So, what is it you ask?