unitive

The point underneath it all is that death, and the human idolatry and rebellion (‘sin’) which leads to it, have allowed the powers of evil and negativity to threaten and corrupt God’s wonderful creation. The resurrection of Jesus declares that these powers, including death itself, have been overcome, and that new creation has been decisively launched — and that we are summoned to become part of it!

Check out the full interview here: http://www.theunitive.com/n-t-wright-a-unitive-interview/ View Larger

The point underneath it all is that death, and the human idolatry and rebellion (‘sin’) which leads to it, have allowed the powers of evil and negativity to threaten and corrupt God’s wonderful creation. The resurrection of Jesus declares that these powers, including death itself, have been overcome, and that new creation has been decisively launched — and that we are summoned to become part of it!

Check out the full interview here: http://www.theunitive.com/n-t-wright-a-unitive-interview/


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If a cord of three strands is not easily broken, imagine the sheer beefiness in cord with hundreds of strands. Oh yeah, you know it…The Unitive is puttin’ on a conference.
Spend a good half decade flying solo in the Minnesota north woods without any kind of phone or friend in the world, and you’ll realize that the human condition is ill-suited for lengthy solitude. I was that guy at the turn of the millennium. Alone. Sad. Suicidal.
Spend the next decade residing in close quarters with real believers, hanging out at church with friends, camping, travelling, living life ― together with a tribe of real people. I’ve been that guy since 2004, and I have learned that the human condition is well-suited for community.
We love getting together, and it’s really good for us.
We gather at pubs for brewskis. We meet with friends for dinners. We hang out at churches with true family, laughing, screaming, crying, praying, listening, conversing, sharing…. Togetherness.
…the kind of togetherness that can’t be found in megapixels or mpegs.
So, The Unitive is going flesh and blood at this summer’s end ― August 29 ― drawing together the living, breathing people behind the texts you read here and a few other excellent speakers. We’re hosting a true blue rendezvous, and you are absolutely invited. For realzies.
We’re calling it “The Unitive One Day.” Unlike most conferences, this baby is el cheapo: just $25 gets you in. We will gather. We will hear from dynamite speakers. And we will dial the whole day in on one big theme ― the future.
What will Jesus’ Church look like in 50 years?
What will remain, and what will transform?
What will we ― Christ’s very body ― value?
So, mark your calendars for August 29. Get registered here. And start looking forward to these highlights:
 18-minute presentations fostering focused engagement
 highly interactive panel discussions
 time for intentional connection, meeting other students and college pastors
 an after-party (with a $10 cover) hosted by our friends at Envision, where you’ll eat and connect with other like-minded folk and receive a pre-release copy of Matt Chandler’s newest book for free (like I said, muy el cheapo) 
Plus, we’ve invited a whole grip of legit speakers:

Bill Clem, Pastor of Leader Formation at Imago Dei Community and author of Disciple: Getting Your Identity from Jesus.
Jeff Bethke, speaker and author of the forthcoming Jesus > Religion.
Jason Ostrander, speaker, provocateur & Executive Director of Group Publishing
Michael Anderson, former director of The Resurgence and partner in the Baji Group
And more!

This rendezvous is for students, for pastors and yes, for bears, brown or black.* Seriously, ladies and gentlemen: We can’t wait for this!
Contact Bryan Halferty directly with any questions: bryan.halferty@mercercreek.org.
Register here.
And we’ll see you at The Unitive One Day ― August 29!
* If you bring a bear, though, please respect all Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife rules and regulations. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow them; just please at least respect them. Also, bears will not need to be muzzled, but you will need to keep them on a leash made of heavy chain. Also, bears will need to bring their own seating. View Larger

If a cord of three strands is not easily broken, imagine the sheer beefiness in cord with hundreds of strands. Oh yeah, you know it…The Unitive is puttin’ on a conference.

Spend a good half decade flying solo in the Minnesota north woods without any kind of phone or friend in the world, and you’ll realize that the human condition is ill-suited for lengthy solitude. I was that guy at the turn of the millennium. Alone. Sad. Suicidal.

Spend the next decade residing in close quarters with real believers, hanging out at church with friends, camping, travelling, living life ― together with a tribe of real people. I’ve been that guy since 2004, and I have learned that the human condition is well-suited for community.

We love getting together, and it’s really good for us.

We gather at pubs for brewskis. We meet with friends for dinners. We hang out at churches with true family, laughing, screaming, crying, praying, listening, conversing, sharing…. Togetherness.

…the kind of togetherness that can’t be found in megapixels or mpegs.

So, The Unitive is going flesh and blood at this summer’s end ― August 29 ― drawing together the living, breathing people behind the texts you read here and a few other excellent speakers. We’re hosting a true blue rendezvous, and you are absolutely invited. For realzies.

We’re calling it “The Unitive One Day.” Unlike most conferences, this baby is el cheapo: just $25 gets you in. We will gather. We will hear from dynamite speakers. And we will dial the whole day in on one big theme ― the future.

What will Jesus’ Church look like in 50 years?

What will remain, and what will transform?

What will we ― Christ’s very body ― value?

So, mark your calendars for August 29. Get registered here. And start looking forward to these highlights:

  •  18-minute presentations fostering focused engagement
  •  highly interactive panel discussions
  •  time for intentional connection, meeting other students and college pastors
  •  an after-party (with a $10 cover) hosted by our friends at Envision, where you’ll eat and connect with other like-minded folk and receive a pre-release copy of Matt Chandler’s newest book for free (like I said, muy el cheapo) 
Plus, we’ve invited a whole grip of legit speakers:
  • Bill Clem, Pastor of Leader Formation at Imago Dei Community and author of Disciple: Getting Your Identity from Jesus.
  • Jeff Bethke, speaker and author of the forthcoming Jesus > Religion.
  • Jason Ostrander, speaker, provocateur & Executive Director of Group Publishing
  • Michael Anderson, former director of The Resurgence and partner in the Baji Group
  • And more!

This rendezvous is for students, for pastors and yes, for bears, brown or black.* Seriously, ladies and gentlemen: We can’t wait for this!

Contact Bryan Halferty directly with any questions: bryan.halferty@mercercreek.org.

Register here.

And we’ll see you at The Unitive One Day ― August 29!

* If you bring a bear, though, please respect all Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife rules and regulations. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow them; just please at least respect them. Also, bears will not need to be muzzled, but you will need to keep them on a leash made of heavy chain. Also, bears will need to bring their own seating.


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The wood grains on the desk are still clear in my memory. Third grade, nine years old, and I already have an argument for why abortion should be legal. I was arguing (or restating what I had heard) with the kid next to me. We went at it with our kid-logic and arguments induced through parental osmosis.
Even after coming to a place of deep love for Christ, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, as a Freshman in college, I still white-knuckled the positions I had debated for 10 years.
But things changed as I began to see God at work in creation.
My change of heart began with simple things, the reading of the creation story, life unfurling like a spring seed at God’s beckoning. Then there was God blowing life into Adam. And Sarah’s cynical laughter giving way as her body filled with the beginning of a nation. Babies born through barren loins. Seeds opening up. Morning birthing new possibilities. God carrying his redemptive plot forward through births; what else are genealogies? Paul’s description of the beautiful and broken creation giving birth to something new. And then there is the Hebrew word for soul, which is not ethereal but earthy, “nephesh” meaning: “life”. Through seeing all this I saw God’s creator love for all that blooms and is born, his image-bearers at the center of this love.
God’s delight with life nudged my heart until I began to have new eyes.
So when I, two days ago, first heard about the Gosnell case, I felt pain and urgency weighing on me to the point of brokenness. The ‘snipping’ of birthed baby spines. The reports of Gosnell’s financial gain at the expense of the poor (some reports had him making 10-15k in a night). The other abysmal conditions. The oversight failure. Alleged jarred infant body parts throughout the abortion clinic. Words like “injustice” aren’t enough. Words like “satanic” are much closer.
As a pastor and student of the Bible I’m tempted to say it was God’s spirit grieving in me as I read through report after report. The feeling, thick and vague, remains in me now. Just before writing this my wife Kandice had to repeat herself multiple times as I looked off, distracted by the hellish gravity of it all.
How do we engage such a world?
I wonder that sometimes. What do we do with our anger, frustration and sadness as we sit feeling impotent to bring about change? I wonder this even as I spent two hours today teaching the interns I lead about different postures the church has historically taken towards the greater culture. Even as we discussed at length the missional impulse of the church and the need to practice restoration. When issues like Gosnell surface theory gives way to the visceral.
To offer “lists” or “steps” seems inadequate in the face of such slithering brutality and confusion but there are two things that come to mind.
1) We need, I believe, to practice redemptive mourning. There is a mourning that dwells in sickness and slouches towards despair. I have slipped towards this at times. So has my wife. So have many of my friends. Maybe you have. It is, of course, understandable in the face of the world’s terrors, the dull and the sharp.
Other times, I’ve avoided the numerous “Gosnells” that emerge each year, flipping channels, hoping they’ll vanish with a remote’s click. Ignoring the fact that there are numerous “Gosnells” that reporters never hear of, much less fail to report about. But neither the mourning that dwells in sickness nor the callous channeling flipping are redemptive.
Redemptive mourning dwells in hope and gazes unflinchingly into the barrenness of night. In the midst of this redemptive mourning, we remember that “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:5).
2) When we mourn this way we are provoked to engage with redemptive creativity, because we know that God’s insistent, holy and passionate love does, in fact, win.
This creative engagement does not ‘show up’ with shocking signs and megaphones–or hate Tweets–but with nuance. An example is Gabe Lyons, founder of Q and father of a son with Downs Syndrome. Provoked by the 92% of aborted Downs Syndrome babies he chose not to picket but create something very simple – a brochure. In it, with the help of a photographer, Gabe gave an honest and beautiful picture of what it looks like to raise a child with Downs. He made appointments with doctors, presented the brochure and asked if the doctors might make it available to parents expecting a baby with Downs. The brochure, like a seed, broke open and grew–becoming something larger, something close to a movement. It is, from what I’ve heard, in a number of hospitals now. This is only one example, but I know there are others.
+
My thoughts, are still spinning. “What does Gosnell tell us about ourselves, if anything?” “What does it tell us about America? Our values? Our virtues?” I have ideas. But I keep zoning out, looking at my desk, the wood grains flowing in and out, moving towards the edge. There, resting on the grains, amidst the papers and half open books, is a picture of an ultrasound. It’s Zoey, our daughter who is now three. As I look at it I briefly I recall our hospital room and those hours of pain and thankfulness. Pain and thankfulness, it is not unlike what I feel now, the pangs of longing for a final restoration, this restoration that is as distant and inevitable as morning. View Larger

The wood grains on the desk are still clear in my memory. Third grade, nine years old, and I already have an argument for why abortion should be legal. I was arguing (or restating what I had heard) with the kid next to me. We went at it with our kid-logic and arguments induced through parental osmosis.

Even after coming to a place of deep love for Christ, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, as a Freshman in college, I still white-knuckled the positions I had debated for 10 years.

But things changed as I began to see God at work in creation.

My change of heart began with simple things, the reading of the creation story, life unfurling like a spring seed at God’s beckoning. Then there was God blowing life into Adam. And Sarah’s cynical laughter giving way as her body filled with the beginning of a nation. Babies born through barren loins. Seeds opening up. Morning birthing new possibilities. God carrying his redemptive plot forward through births; what else are genealogies? Paul’s description of the beautiful and broken creation giving birth to something new. And then there is the Hebrew word for soul, which is not ethereal but earthy, “nephesh” meaning: “life”. Through seeing all this I saw God’s creator love for all that blooms and is born, his image-bearers at the center of this love.

God’s delight with life nudged my heart until I began to have new eyes.

So when I, two days ago, first heard about the Gosnell case, I felt pain and urgency weighing on me to the point of brokenness. The ‘snipping’ of birthed baby spines. The reports of Gosnell’s financial gain at the expense of the poor (some reports had him making 10-15k in a night). The other abysmal conditions. The oversight failure. Alleged jarred infant body parts throughout the abortion clinic. Words like “injustice” aren’t enough. Words like “satanic” are much closer.

As a pastor and student of the Bible I’m tempted to say it was God’s spirit grieving in me as I read through report after report. The feeling, thick and vague, remains in me now. Just before writing this my wife Kandice had to repeat herself multiple times as I looked off, distracted by the hellish gravity of it all.

How do we engage such a world?

I wonder that sometimes. What do we do with our anger, frustration and sadness as we sit feeling impotent to bring about change? I wonder this even as I spent two hours today teaching the interns I lead about different postures the church has historically taken towards the greater culture. Even as we discussed at length the missional impulse of the church and the need to practice restoration. When issues like Gosnell surface theory gives way to the visceral.

To offer “lists” or “steps” seems inadequate in the face of such slithering brutality and confusion but there are two things that come to mind.

1) We need, I believe, to practice redemptive mourning. There is a mourning that dwells in sickness and slouches towards despair. I have slipped towards this at times. So has my wife. So have many of my friends. Maybe you have. It is, of course, understandable in the face of the world’s terrors, the dull and the sharp.

Other times, I’ve avoided the numerous “Gosnells” that emerge each year, flipping channels, hoping they’ll vanish with a remote’s click. Ignoring the fact that there are numerous “Gosnells” that reporters never hear of, much less fail to report about. But neither the mourning that dwells in sickness nor the callous channeling flipping are redemptive.

Redemptive mourning dwells in hope and gazes unflinchingly into the barrenness of night. In the midst of this redemptive mourning, we remember that “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:5).

2) When we mourn this way we are provoked to engage with redemptive creativity, because we know that God’s insistent, holy and passionate love does, in fact, win.

This creative engagement does not ‘show up’ with shocking signs and megaphones–or hate Tweets–but with nuance. An example is Gabe Lyons, founder of Q and father of a son with Downs Syndrome. Provoked by the 92% of aborted Downs Syndrome babies he chose not to picket but create something very simple – a brochure. In it, with the help of a photographer, Gabe gave an honest and beautiful picture of what it looks like to raise a child with Downs. He made appointments with doctors, presented the brochure and asked if the doctors might make it available to parents expecting a baby with Downs. The brochure, like a seed, broke open and grew–becoming something larger, something close to a movement. It is, from what I’ve heard, in a number of hospitals now. This is only one example, but I know there are others.

+

My thoughts, are still spinning. “What does Gosnell tell us about ourselves, if anything?” “What does it tell us about America? Our values? Our virtues?” I have ideas. But I keep zoning out, looking at my desk, the wood grains flowing in and out, moving towards the edge. There, resting on the grains, amidst the papers and half open books, is a picture of an ultrasound. It’s Zoey, our daughter who is now three. As I look at it I briefly I recall our hospital room and those hours of pain and thankfulness. Pain and thankfulness, it is not unlike what I feel now, the pangs of longing for a final restoration, this restoration that is as distant and inevitable as morning.


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