Cultural Architect

Grow to the Fifth - Launched

Some time ago (2010) I posted an idea that was dubbed "Grow to the Fifth". It was an idea to help our community grow in fruitfulness in five areas of discipleship. Additionally, it could be used as a tool to help people talk about their local faith community. Finally, it had both "insider" and "outsider" language which allows it to resonate with different kinds of people.

I am please to announce that after much work by many people at AHUMC, Grow to the Fifth is a go!

UPDATE - Here is a PDF version of the front of the Grow to the Fifth card. Also you may want to check out this site for inspiration as to how you might grow in these five practices.


Are you a TED talk person???

I was at the Fort Worth Museume of Science and History recently with my wife and son.  While walking though one of the rooms where there are these very cool light drawing pads (I hope these are a precursor to the light saber), there is a four page print out of an article entitled "Are you a TED talk person?"

I always wondered as soon as I watched my first TED talk, "If the Church is supposed to be a culture making entity, then why can the Church not host or 'be' like TED?"

What if the Church gathered together occasionally and invited people in the congregation to give their own 18 minute talk?  Heck there are even "The TED 10 Commandments"!

People pack into TED, people talk about the ideas of TED, TED is open, TED is counter cultural, TED is not afraid of new and and what is being "called" out.  It seems to me the the vacuum for culture making the Church created when we began to focus on ourselves has been filled by a number of other culture creators.

Maybe the Church cannot reclaim that culture making position on a large scale ever again (maybe it should not have been that powerful to begin with?), but local individual churches can create culture in the communities in which they are embedded.

What culture do you see being made in your local church?


I grew up in a cul-da-sac in Keller Texas.  It was great.

My friends and I could play street hockey without fear of cars driving through the game.

We had parties for the neighborhood and had tables of food right in the middle of the cul-da-sac.

We could have tons of basketball games at a full court with fathers and sons.

I learned to back up a vehicle in the broad space of the cul-da-sac without fear of hitting another vehicle.

Cul-da-sacs are amazing.

Sort of.

You can have an amazing lemonade stand, but there are only 3 people who are going to drive by it.

When you enter a cul-da-sac the only place you can go is home.

Cul-da-sacs can only sustain themselves for a short period of time before you have to leave it in order to go to the store.

Cul-da-sacs are "finished" in that what is built is all that there will ever be.  

Cul-da-sacs are insular and not open to new creations.

Is your life a cul-da-sac?  Is your job a cul-da-sac?  Is your church a cul-da-sac?

I am concerned that the UMC is fantastic at building cul-da-sacs and not avenues.  I find we in the church love to build cul-da-sacs because of the safety and security they provide.  But cul-da-sacs never go anywhere.

Cul-da-sac is really just a fancy name for a dead end.  

Jesus and Shakespeare

Recently I heard and analogy that Shakespeare was less of a poet and more of a chemist who used words as his chemicals.  It was an interesting thought and helped me understand a bit more about how Shakespeare could create so many words we now use today.

Granted not all of the words in Shakespeare "made the cut" so to speak and some of the language makes no sense.  Scholars argue that is acceptable because just like a chemist, not all experiments work out well.

For instance, Shakespeare is credited as "creating" the prefix 'un'.  He put the "made up" prefix in front of words just to see if they 'worked'.  I cannot imagine a world in which 'un' did not exist and it is only because Shakespeare took the chance and pushed letters together that no other person thought about pushing together.  

That got me thinking about Jesus.  

What if we thought of Jesus as a chemist as well and he used the fruits of the spirit as his chemicals.

Shakespeare did not make up letters, he had the same alphabet others had he just courage to use it in ways no one else had.  Jesus did not make up 'love' or 'peace' but he had the courage to use them in ways in which no other had.  

Love your enemy.
Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's.
The first will be last and the last will be first.
Be like a child.
Eat with sinners.
Be crucified in order to expose cycles of violence and sin.

Shakespeare's courage to use the tools helped to create a new world (for instance a world with 'un').  Jesus' courage to use the tools helped to create a new world (the Kingdom of God).  

I am challenged by the Triune God to also be a 'chemist'.  What would it look like to push together love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in ways no one thinks about?  

Can I push peace and violence together?
Can I push love and hate together?
Can I push self control and consumerism together?

Can I be a "chemist"?