what is truth?

Posted by Teen Bean in , , , , ,

Its popular in church pioneer efforts and emergent churches to really want to" stick it to the man"... maybe a better way to say it is, a deep desire to let go of the institutional way church has settled into western society.

as churches perfect the "business of church" pastors become CEO's, elders become "board members", and the church community becomes "members" or "consumers".

so how do new church expressions break away from this cycle?

that has been the topic of conversation at my local church "Scum of the Earth". For those of you who don't know, Scum of the Earth Seattle is a church plant from the Scum of the Earth Denver church that was started by the punk band Five Iron Frenzy.

I don't really know much more about the church history, other then there is deep recoil from systems, structures, and the idea of an organize or institutionalized religion. Sounds good doesn't it? Especially if you find yourself a post-modern baby that has grown to love the art of "hating" or put more PC "the art of deconstruction".

But really where does this leave the development of the church? Over the last 6(ish) months I have been very honored to sit in on some meetings as my loyal, passionate, and young church leaders started wrestling with developing the growth of their church.

As hour meetings turned into two hour long, and then 3 hour long meetings...As planning sessions were labeled "to be continued".... I began to wonder about this new way of being...

in the long of it all... you know what we came to find? we hate "titles" and "labels"...

so you know what we did... we labeled titles "non-title" labels and now we hold our breath and wonder if it will make a difference...

Instead of a Lead Pastor, or Assistant Pastor, or a Music Director... we opted more to refer to our leaders by their names and then a "talk to me if you are interested in worship, prayer, etc" describing what they knew or did through the chrurch. (Scum of the Earth Denver).

I'll go with it if it going to make a difference, but i hesitate a bit.... the only reason for my hesitation is I don't get "pretending" to be something different... when really the same structure as before is being used, just different clothes are being put on?

Then I wonder if my attitude is more shaped by the culture I live in or am I letting the culture I live in shape me? I don't know. Trying to be a church and trying to be different is hard... just as hard as it was back when the first churches were being born. Our struggles are the same (we just blog about them now instead of staying up all night throwing ashes on our head in prayer and lamenting).

All this is to ask? is there a good structure for church? should leaders be known in that structure? does putting people "in charge" only herald the days of institution and the heresy of empty religion?

As my church leaders wrapped another meeting and put the dot dot dot out until our next gathering I just tried to stay centered on our one connecting point that churches should model Family and that each family is an intentional community.

I also ran into a church that had organized "small groups" or "discipleship groups" that referred to themselves as being a part of a sonships and daughterships (playing off Jesus call for us to following him as disciples and sons and daughters).... I like the sounds of these and will bring them to my next church meeting as we try and find title for our "leaders" and small groups that represent family and also give everyone in our church community a sense of belonging and involvement...

what types of title are in your church? what is your church model?

The Real "The Only Way Is Essex" - Totally Essex

Posted by Teen Bean

This is just a bit of a fun introduction to something that makes me laugh really hard ... and also makes moving to England just something that makes me smile!


foot tattoo

Posted by Teen Bean in , , , ,

I wont post a picture because it wont do my tattoo justice. you will have to see it in person, but let me just say I am so excited to share this new bit of ink with you all face to face when we meet.

Last summer Steve got to come and stay with me for a whole 7 weeks. We spent the first 5 week loving that we had time and space to just be best friends together. At the end of the 5th I woke up on a Friday morning to Steve telling me he had a whole adventure day planned for us. I put on a bright red sun dress and latched my favorite golden elephant necklace around my neck.

Steve and I spent the most gorgeous day together chasing adventures and laughing. By the end of that day Steve asked me to marry him and I was over joyed to say yes.... In turn, I haven't taken that golden elephant necklace off sense.

I often find myself gently twisting that necklace back and forth as I remember all the times Steve and I have shared and also getting lost in the anticipation of what is to come (only 19 more days to go in America). That necklace has definitely been a part of my last two years.

One of my most favorite things to do is get a tattoo before I leave a place. It just is a way I have come to solidify my memories of the people and place during that part of my journey. I knew I wanted a tattoo before I left Seattle because this has been such a time of discovery, lessons learned, love grown, dreams born.

Today (well yesterday now), I got my Seattle memory. I had a few really good friends that joined me and we went down to a tattoo shop in pioneer square. (Don't worry we did our research and knew this artist was amazing).

My one friend sat first... and hour and a half later she was a proud owner of a Celtic heart symbol on her middle lower back. Then it was my turn. The artist had done an impressive job taking the inspiration of my golden elephant necklace and forming it into an impressive piece of art work. As she gently laid the stencil on the tops of both my feet, my insides were rushing with excitement.

My artist Heidi was so clever and amazingly talented! One of the best experience of this was how involved she let me be in the process. She let me give my opinion on the style and even let me pick out my favorite colors from her set of inks.

An hour later I was biting my lip in the worst pain I had ever felt! They were not crapping around when they said foot tattoos were intense. I knew it was bad because when the tattoo artist asked me about how I fell in love with Steve all I could muster was "I love him very much".

Two hours later we had one foot done and another stencil on my foot. With all the strength I could muster she started in on the second foot... now that WAS WORST! All I could do was think "breath... breath"...

But another hour and a half later my second foot was done. I could barely stand, as my leg muscles were shaking from clenching so hard for the last 3 and a half hours...


Actually, is was pretty bad, but the moment Heidi, my tattoo artist, said "Your all done"... and I looked down at the most beautiful bit of art work that now is as much a part of me as my journey has been, I knew that it was all worth it... that all that pain, and clenching, and whispering of prayers had formed a breath-taking and colorful work of art, ON MY FEET...

As we got home and made fantastic fruity drinks, the numb-pain feeling gradually absorbed into my feet. As I sat with my legs propped in the air loving and paining over what I had just done... I had to smile to myself a little at how much this tattoo really is a beautiful symbol of these last two years....

How some of the most painful times of these last two years has really shaped me as a person... I know my tattoo is mostly just a normal girl's funny idea of pretty, but in my tattoo moment, where pain and beautiful kissed so gently I thought... "This was so worth it".... and i really thought that... not just about my tattoo but about all that I have been through these last two years. All the airport good-byes, nights spent praying alone, confusion, dreams being changed, friends getting hurt, learning how to love more, thinking deeply, questioning more, writing endless papers, missing Steve until my heart felt like it was physically broking in two, crying because I missed another two Christmas' with my family.. all that pain that in the moment I thought was just down right ugly pain... it actually was the beautiful strokes of art being born... I couldn't see it so much then... and to be honest I think I have some more painful strokes before this art work is done... but I'm starting to see the picture... the colors... the art of what is happening...

Now to heal quickly so I can enjoy this beauty being born from pain... :D

can't wait to show you my Seattle Journey Tattoo!

will you jump!!?!?

Posted by Teen Bean in ,


the power of words

Posted by Teen Bean

Skill share #3 - #40

Posted by Teen Bean in , ,

so I haven't forgot about this. I've actually had a lot of cool conversations about people's skills and also just took some time to think of all my friends/family/co-workers/ and thought what they are good at (weather they know it or not) and then thought about what it would be like if we all agreed to share what we are good at with each other... wouldn't that help us learn how to get by in this world with less... BUT MORE!

take a look at the list... I hope that it inspires people to realize their skills and to encourage others to see their skills and then motives us all to share them more regularly with each other and not just keep them hidden away with in ourselves!

  1. Keep urban living stock (chickens)
  2. Making soap
  3. Making Jam!!
  4. Playing a musical instrument or teaching a musical instrument
  5. Making noodles
  6. Teaching lessons about sex-trafficking intervention
  7. Learning to plant a herb garden/indoor garden
  8. hair cuts
  9. family/friend photographic portraits
  10. Riding trains/being a traveler kids
  11. How to publish a journal article
  12. Leading interactive prayer nights
  13. Creativity lessons
  14. Tips for including refugees in the community
  15. Hosting a clothing swap
  16. Building a fire
  17. Learning a foreign language
  18. Caroling
  19. Bell ringing
  20. Writing poetry
  21. Scrap booking
  22. Social media (twiters, blogs, facebook, meetup, etc)
  23. Organizing community meals
  24. Leading discussion on the story of God (a.k.a bible story)
  25. Learning how to listen
  26. Building an urban shelter
  27. Dumpster diving
  28. Recycling/composting
  29. Fishing
  30. Leading nature walks
  31. Giving city tours
  32. Culture dinner restaurant tours
  33. Counseling
  34. Life coaching
  35. Patching clothes
  36. Button making
  37. Witling
  38. Fitness classes (aerobic, yoga, walking, running clubs, tennis, soccer, Frisbee)
  39. Short story writing group
  40. Cleaning

did this list make you think of a skill you have always wanted to learn or that you are good at? let me know what it is... i am still determined to collect as many of these as possible!


Posted by Teen Bean

2. making soap!

* I never thought about this idea.... but what an interesting skill this would be to have and share!

does anyone know how to do this??