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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The battle lines have been drawn

the-somme-5-1315328.jpg
photo by Matt Cockbain

Do you feel that you are a woman of strength? Are you powerful? Strong? Equipped? Do you feel prepared to face the battles that may come your way? Are you angry? Hurt? Burdened? At war?

Do you know what “Victory in Christ” is?  I wonder if any of us truly do, because it seems clear that very few of us are living victoriously. The saving work of Jesus and his Gospel is an ongoing event in your life.  It predates the moment when you accepted Christ and submitted to him—because he was working toward this goal before you knew it—and continues every day after.  Salvation in Christ is MORE than simply acknowledging him as God and your Savior.  The work that Jesus does in the life of every believer is a continual process that includes saving, healing, equipping, instructing, and sanctification. Continue reading “The battle lines have been drawn”

Proof comes to Fuller Seminary

This week, the Fuller Company will present our third-ever full-length production, Proof, written by David Auburn, for our winter offering to the Fuller community.   Proof centers around 25 year-old Catherine, who has spent the last several years caring for her father, Robert; a brilliant and famous mathematician who has become mentally unstable.  The play opens on the eve of her birthday, and we begin to discover what caring for her father has cost her—and it is certainly more than her social life.  Catherine is subjected to intrusions that she would not choose for herself, including the persistent presence of her father’s protégé Hal—who is looking for evidence of Robert’s brilliant mind in the pages of the 103 notebooks that he filled over the course of his illness.  Add to this the steam-rolling arrival of Catherine’s estranged sister, Claire, and we are quickly thrust into a world that many Fuller students might find uncomfortably familiar.

Continue reading “Proof comes to Fuller Seminary”

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. 

Some thoughts

Sitting in our morning lecture, and I have a whole train of thoughts competing with, and in response to, what Todd Johnson has to share this morning.
I got to thinking about what kind of theatre I might want to do and I returned again to the idea of shows with questions, ideas and topics that stir people up into conversation and even to action.  Seeing theatre as a potential catalyst for the community, for the church. And then I heard the naysayer in my head.  “Bleeding heart” Continue reading “Some thoughts”

Hello from New York

Well, I’ve tried to do some video blogging just for fun, but as these things go, technical difficulties have arisen.  So, if you get to see the videos, it will likely be much after the fact.

Oh, well.

I can tell you that I have never been in a more humid environment before, and it takes some getting used to.  But that’s pretty much all I have to complain about, and that ain’t too bad. Continue reading “Hello from New York”

Questions from NYC ala Brehm Center

You may remember a few months ago I posted some questions for your consideration.  This week, as we went around the group to introduce ourselves to one another, I couldn’t help but really stand on that leg for a moment.  I want to know what the questions are, specifically for people who are in my position, or positions similar to mine.  What are we dealing with?  Struggling with? What have we learned the hard way, and what were we graced to know without having to pay a costly price to learn? Continue reading “Questions from NYC ala Brehm Center”

For less than a dollar a day, you can neglect this child

For the record, minimum wage in Honduras is over a dollar an hour. The rest of Central America is similar. On the off chance you care.”

This was a tweet-response that a classmate of mine wrote today as we hit some final topics in our Theology and Culture class, while the professor talked about Globalization.  And my immediate response was to jokingly say who does care?  Not because that’s what I actually think, but that’s how I think we actually operate.
Continue reading “For less than a dollar a day, you can neglect this child”