Tag Archives: Salem

Clothing Line Addresses Hunger Issues

Break the Chain® Apparel and the Marion-Polk Food Share have joined together to bring awareness to the hunger issues in Oregon’s Marion and Polk counties. They have designed and produced a t-shirt that will serve as a fundraiser for the Food Share. The shirt’s slogan, “Because No One Should Go Hungry… End Hunger Now” is a powerful message that the organizations expect will bring positive attention to the hunger plight.

“In light of the recession, the Food Share and its network more than 80 member charities are being called on to provide food boxes for an all-time record average of 6,500 families a month. That is an 11 percent increase from the previous year or, put another way, it is 631 more families who are hungry in an average month than a year ago at this time,” says Ron Hays, president of the Food Share.

The Marion-Polk Food Share approached Break the Chain Apparel in the spring of 2009 with the idea of creating a shirt to address local hunger issues. Break the Chain Apparel designs and produces “clothing with a voice,” t-shirts that speak out against social issues, relaying messages of strength and hope. “We loved this idea,” says CEO and domestic violence survivor Tammi Burns. “This is a simple concept that allows us to make a difference in the lives of families in our region.”

Five percent of the proceeds of the End Hunger Now t-shirt will go back to the Food Share program to help get food to families in need in the Marion and Polk County region. The t-shirt is designed with both the Break the Chain Apparel logo and the Marion-Polk Food Share logo on the back. “It is created in such a way that if other food banks want to use this fundraising concept, we can easily swap one food share logo out for another. We’ve got the design now; why not use it as a tool to help address hunger issues across the country?” says Tammi.

About Break the Chain® Apparel

Break the Chain Apparel was founded in 2006 by domestic violence survivor Tammi Burns. Tammi is a social entrepreneur whose team aspires to make positive changes in the lives of others by creating “clothing with a voice.” The company’s wares display messages that address social ills and inspire social change. Tammi’s vision is twofold: to use apparel as a tool to help fund social programs, and to inspire change by making messages against violence and addiction in-style. “These messages speak so you don’t have to,” says Tammi. “It allows the person wearing the clothing to speak out while remaining non-invasive.” For more information, visit www.breakthechainapparel.com or call Tammi at 503.859.5555.

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No Room For Fear

I was anxious to have my daughter and son-in-law over for breakfast. The grandkids would be over too and I was looking forward to squeezing them and planting wet kisses on their soft cheeks. It wasn’t often that they came over for an early morning breakfast. I had dug out an old recipe for homemade buttermilk pancakes. The table was already set and the sausage was warming in the oven. They would be arriving any time.

My concern over the flakiness of the pancakes soon faded as I watched their van come down the driveway. It came to a slow stop just outside the kitchen window. I knew something was wrong and I was overcome by fear. Certainly, I would not have to hear bits of bad news…or would it be the familiar dreaded news again? It appeared that they were arguing but I could not tell for sure. I just wondered why they were not coming in and the feelings of fear continued to mount. Moments passed before the kitchen door opened…I could feel tension in the air. The news I had feared would haunt me again, “Mom, we relapsed again last night.” I felt as though my legs would buckle and it was all I could do to stand. The news was too much. How could I go through this again? I had thought they were doing better, but deep down, did I really believe that? I had high hopes.

We all sat down to eat, trying to pretend that it would be okay and that we could get through this again. I wished I could have bragged about how great the pancakes were and I pretended to enjoy them but nothing was further from my mind. It was all I could do to keep the bites from coming back up my throat. We had to get through this. We were all affected, even the three babies looking back at me from behind plates of half eaten pancakes. They had no idea of the severity of the situation and the thought of it broke my heart. I couldn’t stop the questions from invading my every thought. Did they know what they were about to endure again? How were they going to get through this yet one more time? Why did they have to go through this? Would they be safe? Would they be exposed to the drug abuse? Since their parents had relapsed, would life go back to what it was for them the first time it had happened? A million questions and not one answer. Fear and anxiety robbed me of my senses and all I wanted to do was jump up and run as fast as I could. I had to get away but all I could do was sit…I was angry. I was numb.

Fear, what a horrible thing. In my opinion, there is no other feeling that could be worse. It had claimed me for many years and I could not overcome it. I had feared many things. I feared for my kids as they were growing up; I worried about finances, stresses over my job. But nothing could compare to this. How could my child, one who I loved so much and one who I had invested so much time in, go so astray? Was it my fault? What did I do wrong? Had I not instilled God’s word into her heart as good as I could have? Would my child become so addicted that the addiction would take her away from me? Feelings of failure and the what-ifs haunted me. I was now on a journey of torment, brought upon by my own sin of unbelief. I had to let go of it, I could not fix it. All of the worry was getting me nowhere. It was destroying my spirit and robbing my joy. God was the only one who could take care of it but I was not allowing Him to do that.

Fears had driven me into a spiritually dry place and it was hard to even pray. I often opened my Bible at night and placed it upon my belly as I tried to sleep. Although scripture seemed to run together in my mind and I had a hard time focusing upon it, I felt comfort that upon my belly was the sword of the spirit. It was a protection and a huge comfort for me.

A lot has changed since then. I have learned that you cannot live in fear and in faith at the same time. They are enemies. Fear does not work and it gives you no relief. When we bask in fear and worry, we block the blessings that God has for us. When we worry, we meditate on fearful things and we feed them, fuel the fire so-to-speak. When we feed them, they grow and soon our worries are out of control and are far greater than our minds can safely endure. We instead need to focus on the promises of God and meditate on them day and night. We can cast our fears on Jesus, realizing that He is the only one who can make a difference and the only one who can fix the problems and stresses in our life. We need to believe that God does have everything under control.

Now, when worries come my way and when fear tries to settle in, I just begin to praise the Lord, the maker of the universe and the lover of my soul. When I sing, sometimes to myself or sometimes quietly, I tell God how great He is and thank Him for all the things He has done for me. I choose not to fear and it is a conscious decision on my part. My human side tries to hold on to the fear but I must let it go. Although at times it is difficult to praise – a real sacrifice – but it’s the key to a sound mind. Are these the sacrifices of praise that the Bible talks about? We must know too that Satan will distract us because he knows that God delights in the praises of His people.

God is so big and ready to help. He just waits for us to ask. But we so often hold on to our problems, not trusting God to help us. It is unbelief and it grieves God’s heart. This is something I don’t want to ever do again. I’m learning to totally depend on God, and to trust Him in times of despair. I can’t say I am one hundred percent “cured” and that I don’t fear on occasion, but I have learned to turn it over to God and I do not allow myself to meditate on those fearful things for long. What a comfort it is for me to know that God is always with me. He sees my hurts, my disappointments, and feels my broken heart.

Wow, what kind of friend is that?

Psalms 46.11 (KJV) says that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Also, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6 NIV). Lord, keep my mind safe and bring me peace! I love Psalms 16:11 (NIV) where David says “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” That is where I want to be. If I am there in God’s presence and full of joy, there is no room for fear. Praise be to God, my Rock and my Fortress.

Josephine Turnbeck is a financial officer and a mother of two. She enjoys spending time with her famly, working in the yard, and reading a book by the comfort of a warm fire. You can contact her at josephineturnbeck@gmail.com.

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A Chick With A Mission

Recently we sat down with Becca Wells, the founder and brains behind an all new podcast that’s all things girl. She’s a little wild and crazy, but we like her because she makes you think.

Take us back a few years and tell how your journey with Christ began.

I can’t complain about growing up. I am the middle of three girls born to loving, Christian parents. I have a slight recollection of accepting Christ as my Savior when I was four. I was a good kid. I knew the right answers. I knew that God loved me and I loved Him. Was I seeking, hungry, growing? Not until the summer before my senior year in high school. I went on a mission trip with Royal Servants. For three months we traveled in Europe performing a drama and evangelizing to perfect strangers. I couldn’t fake what I believed for that long. Louie, my leader, pulled me aside one evening and we had a very engaging conversation. He asked me if I were to die tonight and God was standing there asking why He should let me into Heaven, what would I say? That did it. I truly didn’t know. Instantly I was in tears and thus began my journey with Christ.

Yeah, He seems to be good at capturing our hearts. So tell me, how did the crazy idea for ChickChat come about anyway?

It was always my intent to be a stay-at-home mom when I had kids. I worked up until the day before I had Melia. Suddenly, I was home alone with this amazing little baby who ate, cried, and pooped a lot. I realized then and there what a relational being I am. I love connecting and interacting with other people. I was almost completely house-bound those first few months tending to this little human and I was struggling. I felt so alone. My poor husband probably wondered what happened to his wife. Nobody knew exactly how I felt.

Nobody could walk my road for me. It was my journey to figure out. I remember thinking “I wonder how many other women could be experiencing this type of intense loneliness in their lives?” With my heart for young ladies and my empathetic situation, I believe was the perfect recipe for Christ to give me this vision. I didn’t know how, where, or who else…but the dream was alive.

And how did you take this dream and make it a reality?

Let me remind you that Melia was a newborn when this idea first hit and she is now four years old. It’s been a process. I’ve gone through a lot of self doubt, soul searching, praying, and dreaming what this ministry would look like. I had worked with Erik (Williams) in the past and I knew if anyone could help me pull off this idea, it was him. We began meeting periodically where we brainstormed and planned what this ministry would look like. We went forward with it and started recording a few sessions. Bex (Mann) is a friend that helped record our first session of ChickChat. The three of us…it was such a great dynamic. We asked her to join the team and thus a wonderful partnership emerged.

Talk more about the mission of ChickChat. What is it? Why is it?

ChickChat is a website ministry where you’ll find thirty minute podcasts on topics that have to do with women. Our tag line is “An open and honest discussion all things girl.” Really, no topic is off limits. Most podcasts you’ll find the ChickChat team interviewing guest speakers who share with us on a certain topic. For example, we may bring in a doctor, an esthetician, or dietician to talk about personal wellness and how to feel our absolute best when it comes to health and skin.

We also interview every-day women who have wisdom to share. Maybe they themselves have been through a difficult time and want to encourage others who face similar situations. The sky’s the limit… Another cool feature is that the listener will be able to email us questions, comments, suggestions for future podcasts that they are interested in or concerned about.

The mission of ChickChat is simple: explore, expand, and equip. Explore what’s out there. Like new experiences, friendships, people, and questions. Expand ways of thinking in regards to perspective, choices, comfort zones, relationships with people, and faith in God. The ultimate goal being to equip yourself with knowledge. My hope is to encourage and empower all women. And have fun! I want to have a good time.

What motivates you to start something real (and candid) like this ministry?

Jesus Christ’s love. My two little baby chicks here at home inspire and motivate me too. I want them to see themselves as Jesus sees them and live big for Him. I really desire this for all chicks.

You’ve felt a call to minister to women and teen girls for quite some time. Is that passion the driving force behind this new ministry?

Absolutely. This ministry is by chicks for chicks. I am so energized by fellow women talking about what they know and their experience in life. ChickChat is something positive that challenges and offers hope all the while interacting on very relatable ground. It is very exciting to me and I’m extremely passionate about our mission.

There was a point for me where I knew this was something I had to do. Back when I was a youth pastor and before the dream of ChickChat had hit, a girl had written me a letter. She had gone through a hard time in her life and had dealt with an addiction. She felt led to tell me about her tough journey, and how she was dealing with this pain in her life. Fast forward to about a year ago, I came across this letter that I didn’t realize I had kept. I was blown away because in this letter my friend specifically said she felt called to tell other girls about her experience but didn’t know how. That was it. I realized it wasn’t about me. It’s always been about God. He was inviting me to be a part of this opportunity. I knew this was something that I had to pursue.

I guess we’d call you adventurous. Working with teenagers can be pretty crazy. Is that the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I’d have to say that marriage was the craziest thing I’ve ever done! NO, I’m Just kidding! Adventurously speaking, I quit my job once and backpacked across Europe for four months. I ended up staying at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland for a bit. Fabulous – I highly recommend that place.

We promise we won’t show this interview to your husband! So, is this targeted to teenage girls or is there a specific age range of women you’re trying to reach?

Not necessarily. To me all women are chicks, girls at heart. We’re going to focus on a quality, fun, insightful podcast and let chicks decide if it’s for them or not.

How do you see ChickChat evolving over the next couple of years?

I have been so focused and determined on getting ChickChat up and going. It has been fun and my dreams are expanding for the future of this ministry. I do have some big dreams in mind. But for now, I want to focus on making this current program sharp where women can relate and connect.

Ok, lastly, give us five words that describe yourself.

Honest, friendly, loyal, hard-working, & responsible. Oh – that sounds boring. Let me try that again. Crazy, wild, out-of-the-box, funny, & loud. I like those five words better.

Becca Wells is a thirty year old, mother of two girls – Melia (4) and Kylie (1) – whose been married to the same, wonderful guy (Josh) for almost six years. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University where she majored in Educational Ministries and obtained a teaching degree in elementary education. Her last job, before motherhood, was an assistant middle school pastor at a local church in Salem, Ore. She has always been a very relational person and enjoys getting to know people and finding out what they’re all about. She loves to do anything active, especially when it involves outdoors. Often times Becca feel very normal but want to live extraordinarily. Find out more about Becca and the ChickChat team at www.chickchatpodcast.com.

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Rethink Women

Thanks for visiting the page for our special issue of Rethink Women, a one-time publication brought to you by us (Rethink Monthly).

Please click here to view the magazine online. You can also read the articles in this issue by clicking on the appropriate links below.

Also, feel free to leave your thoughts about the publication in the comments section below.

FEATURED ARTICLES:

A Chick With A Mission
An interview with Becca Wells, founder and brains behind an all new podcast that’s all things girl

Finding Jesus
An article by Hannah Neumann

I Heart Dream Center
An article by Lindsay Blackman

Answers for Darwin
An event coming to Portland, Ore.

Now Is The Time To Go
A Local Salem Girl Steps Up And Steps Out: The Story of Bethany O’Connor

The Power of the Spoken Word
An article by Renee’ Marie LaRochelle Oviatt

No Room For Fear
An article by Josephine Turnbeck

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The Sons of Ulam

Buried within the heap of the laborious genealogies of the Old Testament’s Chronicles, lies a verse that requires elaboration. The sons of Ulam are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 8:40 and unfortunately we don’t even know their names. What we do know is that between Ulam and his two brothers they had a total of 150 sons and grandsons. That’s certainly a family of significance, but what is spoken of the sons of Ulam is even more remarkable.

“The sons of Ulam were brave warriors who could handle the bow.” 1 Chr. 8:40

Big deal, huh? Perhaps you’re thinking that this verse is in obscurity for a reason! I believe, however that this simple verse contains two concepts that are vital for Christian leadership: courage and competency.

Courage – A Work of Heart

An underlying characteristic in many of our biblical leaders is courage in the face of fear and potential failure. Consider the lives of Moses, Gideon, David, Paul and certainly Jesus. Each walked with a sense of courage. They were brave. They were mighty. Of course, each displayed their humanity. Moses questioned God’s plan. Gideon put out the fleece. David cowered in the caves. Even Jesus faced the cross with the cry, “Father, if it be your will, let this pass!” And yet we see so often a deep, abiding courage that resonates within God-fearing, Spirit-filled leaders.

The sons of Ulam were called brave, mighty warriors. We, as leaders, are challenged to walk in a similar level of courage. Like Joshua we can hear the voice of the Lord say be “strong and courageous, for I will be with you wherever you go.” Courage is rooted in that reassuring word from the Lord because one cannot simply pull courage out of thin air. For the believer, we trust in the one who is in us, and that he is truly greater than anything the world can put up against us. Therefore, our courage is never a show of our muscle – it is a display of Gods strength made perfect in our weakness.

Courage is much needed in our churches and Christian organizations. It’s needed in the pastorate and in the pulpit. It’s needed in the decision-making process undertaken by a church board. It’s needed in our youth ministries, and in the care for our children and babies. It’s needed in our outreach ventures and in our worship expression.

What does courage look like in a ministry context? Is it sheer bravado that often neglects the emotional concerns of the congregation? Is it strong-handed leadership that demands blind allegiance? Is courage merely an outward display of quick decision-making and reckless abandon? I fear that in many cases these descriptors are more than accurate – often leaving followers in a wake of hurt, distrust and confusion spurring from the leaders flexing muscle all in the name of ‘courage.’

What is true courage then? I believe we find some clues from the life of David in scripture. Psalm 72:70-72 tells us that the Lord “chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.” The passage goes on to describe David as one who “shepherded them with integrity of heart.”

Integrity of heart: these three words contain the essence of what is true courage. Whereas, muscle and meanness (which are often characteristics touted as courage) leave the leader with little energy and the follower with little joy, integrity of heart is a holistic approach to courage. The leader ministering out of integrity of heart will function with courage – true, Godly courage.

This kind of courage has little to nothing to do with ministry context. Integrity of heart can be displayed in the sheep pens (small ministry) and in palace (big ministry). David had courage both in the care of his sheep and then as he became the leader of the people of Israel. We see this so often in the Old Testament writings. He faced the lions and the bears that threatened the sheep within his care. He then took on Goliath when others ran in fear. Later as King he courageously shepherded Israel with integrity of heart. I believe you’ll lead as you’ve led. Many in smaller ministries say, ‘I’ll really be effective when I get into a larger context of ministry.” Courage is courage regardless of whether it is fleshed out in the sheep pens or the palace.

Remember though, integrity does not mean perfection. We know that quite well from the life of David. He was far from perfect! But, interestingly, the Bible calls him a ‘man after God’s own heart’ – a description of one endeavoring to walk in integrity, but, like so many of us, falling short at times. And boy do we fall short. What we find in times of sin and failure is similar to what David found – a breakdown of integrity and a subsequent breakdown of…courage.

Integrity and courage are intertwined. The former affects the latter. As leaders, when we are lacking in integrity we will invariably discover a season in which courage diminishes as well. A close examination of 2 Samuel will affirm this. From David not going to battle like he should have, to the failure of addressing insubordination with Absalom, to the misstep of counting his fighting men, we see a series of leadership blunders flowing from a lack of courage, which finds its origin in the heart.

So, courage is a work of the heart. Will you allow the Lord to always have access to that area? The key to courage is integrity. That is an inside job – and the Lord is good at it!

Competency – The Work of our Hands

In 1 Chronicles 8, the sons of Ulam were referred to not only as brave warriors (courage), but also as ones who could “handle the bow.” They were well known as archers. The only way you become ‘well known’ for something is if you have invested a great deal of time in order to become proficient at that particular skill set. We can all think of people that have abilities that are above and beyond. Perhaps it’s an excellent musician. Think about incredible sports figures and brilliant authors. We can listen to a communicator expound upon a topic with diligence and grace, and marvel at the care and craftsmanship of a home well built. All of these are examples of competency.

Competency is the second concept that is vital for Christian leadership. Competency can be learned and developed. Like a student that progresses in his or her studies, ministers must be ‘life-long learners’ – continually broadening and deepening leadership competencies.

We see this model in Jesus’ development of his disciples. Bill Hybels writes in his landmark work, Courageous Leadership: “After Jesus identified all twelve, he very quickly moved into an intense time of investing into their lives. He spent time with them. He taught them. He nurtured them. He confronted them. He motivated them. He rebuked them. He inspired them. Then months later, when he knew the time was right…he entrusted them with real ministry responsibility and coached them into effectiveness. His plan worked marvelously and it’s worth emulating.” Jesus aggressively helped his disciples grow in ministry competency, therefore supporting the notion that skills can be learned and honed. The sons of Ulam weren’t born with the ability to handle a bow – that had to be developed over time and with intentionality.

How intentional are we at developing our leadership skills? Do we listen to our own preaching and make necessary adjustments? Do we read a variety of authors and styles in order to stretch us intellectually? Do we glean from the wisdom of Godly individuals in an effort to learn from the mistakes of others rather than making them for ourselves! New competencies are discovered as well as old competencies enhanced in the process. The benefit for the Kingdom is great as leaders function with not only courage but also with competency.

David again illustrates this in Psalm 72. It states, he “shepherded them with integrity of heart and with skillful hands he led them.” Early on we discover the “son of Jesse is a talented harp player” (1 Samuel 16:18). This passage also couples competency with courage as it goes on to say that “he is brave and strong and has good judgment.”

“Skillfulness of hands” indicates an ability or capacity for excellence. Our churches today are desperate for leaders that continue to hone their skills in order to lead the Body of Christ effectively in this generation. Be quick to remember though that courage and competency go together. How often have we seen ministries that are full of fire and passion and yet sloppy and careless with people? As well, how often have we seen ministries that are polished and flawless in execution and yet when pressed they reveal a lack of integrity immediately below the surface?

Both are necessary: integrity of heart and skillfulness of hands. Heart and hands. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Peas and carrots. Courage and competency must go hand in hand. Bravery and the ability to handle a bow – that’s what gave the sons of Ulam a long-standing place in the Chronicles. What will your place be?

John Fehlen serves as the Lead Pastor of West Salem Foursquare Church. He digs his wife Denise and their four kids. Check out his blog at www.johnfehlen.com.

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Messy Spirituality

The first time I donned my green apron as a new barista, things moved quickly. Espresso shots descended faster than cups to pour them in, and drinks that were so easy to enjoy on one side of the counter seemed to suddenly morph into complex mathematical equations on the other side. But pouring espresso shots seemed elementary compared to the most daunting of challenges: language. Never before had I given so much thought to what constituted a tall, grande, venti, or worse yet, the mysterious “short.” It wasn’t enough to say that someone wanted an Americano with white mocha syrup, an extra shot, and some steamed 2% milk. Rather, it had to be called out as a “quad grande white mocha steamed 2% Americano.” It took a while, but I learned that being a barista involved adapting to a new language and culture. Not just occasionally visiting, but actually becoming the culture in a way that made the actions and choices almost secondary.

But despite the hard work of learning, I persevered. I’d spent a few years learning Greek and Hebrew. Why not barista? Little was I to know that being a barista in the community in which God was calling me and my wife to start a new church was to be my first class in missiology (the idea that Gospel becomes indigenous within a local culture).

You see, language and culture run deep. Deeper than we are able to put into words. Language and culture aren’t things that you simply read about in a book or dabble in for a couple of weeks. They represent the ways in which you choose to do life. Your belief system. Your philosophical outlook on who you are and the world you live in. They determine the decisions that you make each and every day. And all too often, they happen without us being aware of them.

And that’s why it becomes so troubling to conceive of a God who simultaneously is anything but human and, yet, chooses to contextualize himself in such a scandalous way as to be both human and divine. He takes up residence among us, his creation. Eats food. Listens to music. Wears sandals. Walks along the same road that everyone else does. And to be honest, if it were me, I would have most assuredly done things differently. Don’t get me wrong; entering the world in humble circumstances is all well and good, but he’s the creator of the universe. Why not throw a little flair into things. Maybe enter on a flaming chariot that says Easy Rider on the side.

Guess that would be too easy.

I had the opportunity to catch some coffee with a pastor much older and wiser than I. He has been at the same church for over 20 years and leads a faith community that has spearheaded new church plants in the past 3 years. We talked about the differences between our two cultures: him being from Arkansas and me from Oregon. We talked about what it means to be Jesus to people on a daily basis. Part way through our conversation he paused, and striking the pose of an ancient sage, he made one of those wise comments that only comes from years of tested experience, “You know Dwayne, for the past few years we have been describing church planting as a way of starting a church and reaching out to our surrounding culture. But you guys aren’t doing that. You are raising up a church with your surrounding culture.”

Quite frankly, I think the first option would be a whole lot easier.

In fact, it would be downright cleaner. Incarnation gets messy real quick. It’s much more sanitary to live within the confines of a Christian bubble and create artificial barriers that will prevent germs from spreading. We don’t like to say this, but we do it. Perhaps we buy interesting Christian trinkets, talk about the latest Christian bands, or just end up socializing with, you guessed it, Christian friends. All done in a concerted effort to make life within the bubble more comfortable and guarded from the world. Sprinkle in some pithy, insider Christian lingo that is sure to keep outsiders out and we effectively inoculate ourselves within a bigger, more secure bubble. And all the while, in our attempts to keep life safe and secure, we succumb to nothing more than a Christian subculture that prevents mess from entering in. Or worse yet, from good news from ever going out.

Somewhere along the way we took up a mantle of defense, guarding ourselves from the onslaught of what was perceived as a detestable culture. But ironically, it is now that same culture that feels as though it is defending itself from us. Maybe it was when we assumed that the “church” existed in a position of power and prominence, as though our role were to command moral solidarity with short-sided behavioral adjustments, such as no drinking, smoking, or dancing. Perhaps it was when Christ followers stopped listening to the world around us, in effect communicating disdain and blatant hatred. Or possibly it was when our self-understanding withered and we assumed a defensive, fearful posture. And maybe, just maybe, we made our own bed of distrust when we effectively pushed the mess to the margins.

Nonetheless, we ended up choosing the easy way.

But what if Christ followers changed things up a bit? Took a different posture. Became listeners again. And here’s a wild one: spent more time with our surrounding culture listening to the rhythms and values that make people tick. Perhaps even popping the mythic bubble so that, God forbid, we might actually rub off on the world around us. Not as people who are better or even more valuable in the eyes of God, but as followers of this Jesus who genuinely care about the world around us. To be Christians, literally “little Christs” in a world that isn’t even sure of what it believes and, yet, is hungry for something. To be humble and respectful in a way that gives power and privilege away rather than hording it for ourselves.

To wear a green barista apron, if you will, and take the time to speak a new language.

Dwayne Hilty is the lead pastor at Soma: A Church of the Christ located in the Edgewater District of West Salem. Dwayne is married to Julie, has 2 energetic boys (Riley and Logan), and loves to be involved in his local community through the Polk County Service Integration Team, West Salem Neighborhood Association, the West Salem Urban Redevelopment Advisory Board. Dwayne insists that life would be made better if everyone grew a coffee plant in their backyard.

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Petition: Bring Stryper to Salem

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