So all is well with the family, Sawyer is growing and packing on the pounds now. Sarah is doing great and she is an absolutely incredible mom. The Deep is growing and we are enjoying learning how to live and grow as a community as we prepare to launch the church into public gatherings.
I have been reading a fascinating book called, Unchristian, and it was put together by the president of the Barna group, as well as Gabe Lyons who is the founder of the Fermi project and Catalyst. The book is three years of research into the lives of those who are outside the Christian faith, and getting their thoughts and perceptions of it. But what I am truly enjoying is that they are not out to find out what people think, but WHy they think and feel this way. This way those who call themselves followers of Jesus can look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are adding to the negative perceptions or changing these negative perceptions. The age group that is the most surveyed are 16-29 year olds, and what they have to say is very revealing and honest. One of the things that stood out to me, mostly because I have been wrestling with some of this, is that a lot of the surveyed folks have attended churches or been involved in the church life. They've had fun at church and they have experienced what we tend to say is relevant church, but that's because the church's definition of relevance over the last several years is quite different than their definitions. The church's activities and gatherings (services) are not boring and they are "cool," but they are disconnected from the day to day life, and so not relevant to how MOST people live. The book warns the church that the big danger for the church is to swing too far the other way and comply with the outsiders, which just has the church looking too much like the rest of the world. There is a consensus that Christians live mostly detached from the real world, or at least most people's real world. There is much to read yet and it is a great book to learn from, so I encourage you to pick it up. I have much I am thinking on, and this read has helped push a lot to the surface for me, which is what a good book should do.
On a side note, I have rewritten the last chapter in my book entitled, "Dad: coming full circle," and I am excited how it all came together. Holding my son in my arms and praying, basically poured the chapter out and put the finishing touches on what I believe will be some of my greatest opportunity for ministry. I am still working really hard on the publishing part, so keep me in your prayers for that, if you would.