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Jesus lives here

“Where is Jesus in this thing we call Christianity? Where could you take Jesus to church and not feel like you had to explain it to him?”

Jim Henderson

I speak of our faith community with deep affection. Sincere, unashamed, passionate love. And this is precisely why - In our church, there is nothing that goes on that I would fee the need to hide from Jesus. We have seemingly by accident (of course I know better) joined together in this beautifully messy dance where no one really seems to know the steps and even the instructors are usually lost but when we step on each other’s toes we laugh and fall on the floor and get right back up again trying another dance.

Our table is small but we will always make room.

Our prayers are simple and raw and honest and occasionally laced with swears (one of my favorite Dan words), our teachings are rarely polished and often confuzzled in the most obscure way but we discuss and draw out the worst and the best in one another and we give legs to things that otherwise would forever remain in the cloud of the theoretical.

We might not all be seminary educated but we have taken care of more people in our city with compassion and gentle mercy in our short time together than I did with anyone else in all my 29 years as a church goer.

But here’s the rub - we’re small and we don’t have paid clergy and if someone needed serious counseling or financial help we’d have to refer them outside our community. We don’t have a board or elders - just a handful of really really generous and gracious people who have been imbued with Holy Spirit strength to put up with me and David. We have lots of mentors and people who have our backs and “hold us to our shit” (another great Danism) but we’re not denominational or institutional in any way (which for the record I am glad for). I love Revolution. But I often have insecurities when I hear the critics and began doubting my own heart - is this sustainable? is this something that can continue to be?

But honestly, right now, I don’t care. Because right now, I am so proud of our people and I am so glad not to be knee high in political shit hounded by pit bulls who have nothing better to do with their spiritual energy than chase others down and growl really loud. I’m so glad to be a part of a community that seeks to live with and serve the God of mission, that seeks to love the Jesus of the Gospels and emulate his justice and mercy and compassion and humility. And we don’t need to put on airs and smugly pretend that this is going to last forever and be a glorious pillar that nods to our own innovation and leadership prowess.

So maybe it’s a good season for me to just be simple minded about it all and allow myself to be happy and to enjoy this time without fretting about the rest. Maybe this INTJ type A can pull it off with some heavy duty divine intervention ;) So here’s to a new year of being simple minded.

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  1. Jonathan Brink — January 6, 2008 #

    I think I see the enemy falling down. He looks like he’s just been kicked in the groin after that one. Nice.

  2. Carlo — January 7, 2008 #

    the beauty with this model is as you say, it’s simple. no ten yr vision statements, no pa systems, no complicated organisation structures, no costly buildings etc. i like it.

    a lot of churches would do well to think about planting new communities this way…. and being simple, it could be EASILY done.

  3. brad brisco — January 7, 2008 #

    I long for more simple mindedness as you describe here! And what a wonderful quote from Henderson. Thanks.

  4. kathyescobar — January 7, 2008 #

    i so believe in what you are doing up there. it is a beautiful thing, real and deep and wild and crazy. who would have thought something so simple could be so powerful? that goes against everything we were taught in the good ol’ days. and who said something had to be ’sustainable” and what does that mean anyway (we have of course heard the same thing). what if for the moment it’s just exactly what it’s supposed to be and we’re not always looking for what makes it “viable” in the world’s eyes. God is clearly up to something! happy new year to you!

  5. Helen — January 7, 2008 #

    Makeesha, thanks for the link to Jim’s article.

    Maybe you can take comfort from Jesus’ response to critics. It seems like he had plenty of critics, but he never let them get him off course.

    He stuck to his mission, whether the critics were people who didn’t believe, friends (Peter), or internal conflict (in the Garden of Gethsemane). (In the Garden he said “not what I will, but what you will” - something in him threatened his mission.)

  6. Jim Henderson — January 7, 2008 #


    I love real people and when people keep it real.

    Keep being yourself.

    There will always problems to solve regardless of the way we choose to do things

    Build a life with Jesus take can take you the long haul

    There are more and more leaders asking the same questions you ask and coming to the same conclusions that you have


  7. Mak — January 7, 2008 #

    Jonathan - hehe…thanks bro, that’s awesome.

    Carlo - I agree, simple is beautifully refreshing

    brad - that’s part of why I struggle just enjoying where we are, cuz I’m not naturally simple minded in this way, esp. having grown up in the church in the 80s and 90s and worked in leadership during that time.

    Kathy - back atcha sister! fight the good fight in Denver too!

    Helen - oh so true

    Jim - thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement :) re: problems - they are sort of inherent in human relationships I figure. ;)

    we were at your jim and casper engagement that Kathy (in the comments up there) hosted at the Refuge in Denver, good stuff! keep doing what you’re doing :)

  8. Lori — January 7, 2008 #

    We have been doing Missional Community for about 6 years, and it is the hardest, most frustrating, beautiful, fulfilling thing I’ve done. Saying that, I question everyday if this is what I’m supposed to be doing. If I didn’t have that assurance, I would not be able to continue. Checking in, so to speak, is a healthy thing.

  9. Mak — January 7, 2008 #

    Lori - good on ya! that’s probably why David and I are a good team - the idealist and the realist hehe

  10. traveller — January 7, 2008 #

    This is all good as others have said. Whether it is sustainable or not is a question I have had in a similar situation. However, I have come to the conclusion that whether it is sustainable or not is an irrelevant question. If Father wishes it to continue it will, if not then…..

    It seems to me that just focusing on folks who are in our lives now without regard to whether they will be tomorrow is the Jesus Way. It seems it is a human instinct to want to keep people instead of let them be free.

  11. Helen — January 7, 2008 #

    Makeesha, regarding Off The Map and Denver, did you see this?

  12. Mak — January 7, 2008 #

    traveller - well said.

    Helen - no I didn’t know about that, how fun. I requested info.

  13. Jemila — January 7, 2008 #

    You go woman! You are living it — who care what’s next as long as you sense you’re in the Spirit, which it certainly seems you are!

  14. Mak — January 7, 2008 #

    Jemila - thanks, you’re right. and we believe we are being led by the Spirit right now

  15. Tia Lynn — January 7, 2008 #

    Hey Mak, I tagged you over at my blog. Come check it out! :)

  16. Paul — January 9, 2008 #

    As those Simple Minds once sung, may this be a yr of kicking in ;)

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