Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Final Post

This blog began in August of 2006. It was originally only going to be to document the trip out west for Whitney and I. Well, this has turned into quite a project of life. From faith, culture, family and simply my own pontification, this has been a wonderful space for me to think out loud with friends across the globe while in grad school.

This time seems to be fitting for a transition out of this blog and into a new medium of "onlineness". I have graduated from Fuller Seminary and will officially be beginning a church plant in urban Los Angeles beginning tomorrow in partnership with the PCUSA. I'm not sure what the new medium will be, but I will be on the lookout for it over the next six months.

If you know anybody in the Los Angeles area who might be interested, or in need, of a new faith community, please be sure to let me know and I would love to connect with them.

Thank you for all of the support on the blog, and I will let you know when we begin with a new online medium.

"Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas Vacation

While we are not the Grizwalds, we were similiar to John Candy and Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles as it took us 23 hours to get from LA to Grand Rapids at the beginning of our holiday travels. (Including planes, buses and hitchhiking!) We eventually made it and had a lovely time with friends and family. After 6 days we ventured to Texas, where we spent the rest of our time. We had an equally joyful time with the Walkers... Here are images from the trip.

Whitney made her first snow angel!

We spent some time with Mark, Justin and Dawn at the cottage.

We went back to Hudsonville to see the Nedervelds.

Hanging out at Christmas with the Brost side of the family.

Christmas Eve... Leaving room for Natan, my future brother-in-law.

We had lunch with Grandma and Char at Yesterdogs.

The boys getting ready to go golfing in Texas.

Whitney and her parents at TCU.

The Walker family Christmas dinner.

THe new hot tub!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Semper Reformada

My friend Paul and I have an ongoing conversation happening regarding the irony of churches professing the reformed tradition, yet forgetting one of the reformers central mottos... Semper Reformada... Always reforming.

He sent me a quote that he read from N.T. Wright yesterday.

"All this, of course, demands as well that the church itself be continually called to account, since we in our turn easily get it wrong and become part of the problem instead of part of the solution. That is why the church must be semper reformanda as it reads the Bible, especially the Gospels. Fortunately, that's what the Gospels are there for, and that's what they are good at, despite generations of so-called critical methods which sometimes seem to have been designed to prevent the Gospels from being themselves. Part of the underlying aim of this essay is to encourage readings of the Bible which, by highlighting the publicness of God and the gospel, set forward those reforms which will enable the church to play its part in holding the powers to account and thus advancing God's restorative justice."

Monday, December 08, 2008


Coldplay just came out with a new EP... I may be a bit bias, but I am finding it informative and entertaining. Jay-Z makes an appearance in the remix of the song Lost. For myself, a person about to graduate from grad school and for all beginning to embark upon a career, Jay-Z provides some prophetic words. (Or not?)

Aha, I gotcha, uh...
With the same sword they knight you, they gon' good night you with
Shit, that's only half if they like you
That ain't even the half what they might do
Don't believe me, ask Michael
See Martin, see Malcolm
See Biggie, see Pac, see success and its outcome
See Jesus, see Judas
See Caesar, see Brutus, see success is like suicide
Suicide, it's a suicide
If you succeed, prepare to be crucified
Media meddles, niggaz sue you, you settle
Every step you take, they remind you you're ghetto
So it's tough being Bobby Brown
To be Bobby then, you have to be Bobby now
And the question is, "Is to have had and lost
Better than not having at all?"
Because I'm...

Oh and I, just waiting ‘til the shine wears off
Oh and I, just waiting ‘til the shine wears off

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I just got an email from Justin Beck regarding a new website that allows people to give loans that help create business in the two thirds world. Check it out if you get a chance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From Stephanie

This essay was written by a friend and fellow student at Fuller... She works at Starbucks and called the article Starbucks Church.

"I went to a meeting the other day. It was held in the youth rooms of a church in the neighborhood, and it was a wonderful opportunity to gather and reconnect with all the people who serve in similar ways in other parts of town. It was an ecumenical coming together of sorts - full of reunions and the expected awkward encounters.

We may have entered that church basement representing different communities, but we left knowing that we are truly one. The turning point, you see, was the unveiling of our new mission statement.

Our new mission statement is a living document, meant to direct us, inspire us, and remind us of why we do what we do. It lays out before us the vision. It is a vision which starts out as small as a cup of coffee and moves outward as we seek to connect with one another, with our neighborhood, wider community, and ultimately, with our global community. Our new mission statement challenges all of us to make the decision whether we are simply acting out of compliance or out of commitment fueled by passion for our vision. Our job, we are reminded, is not just a to-do list, but a way of life.

The first fruits of our new mission statement were evident in the videos and testimonies of those who had recently taken steps of service to various communities - walking in the direction of our clearly stated vision. They told stories of building houses in the Gulf Coast, medical clinics in Guatemala, shelters with running water in Costa Rica, advocating for workers all around the world, and setting the example for financial generosity in times of crisis. The world truly is looking to us to set the example, now more than ever.

Recently, 10,000 of our leaders gathered to reconnect with this vision. Bono, as a keynote speaker, inspired all of us to greater compassion and love for our neighbor. During the conference we also donated 50,000 hours of service to the local Katrina ravaged community. We discovered that serving together is truly what connects us. We were reminded that this connection is the core of our mission.

As we start the new year, we will begin with a renewed commitment to love our neighbor, both next door and around the world. We will begin the new year with a commitment to act compassionately and intentionally as we seek to take practical steps that will make this world a better place. We will leave this meeting reminded of why we do what we do. Every single day.

As a Master of Divinity student committed to a life of full time ministry, I came out of this district Starbucks meeting feeling both inspired and unsettled. On one level, it seems that Starbucks is living out the calling of the Church, and doing much better at it! As someone deeply committed to social justice, I am excited to be a part of an organization actually taking steps in raising awareness and encouraging widespread community involvement. I will gladly participate in this awareness raising as I call out beverages in “product red” cups and explain our vision to customers. I will enthusiastically join in with neighborhood service projects. I will proudly be a part of this movement.

As someone deeply committed to the Gospel, I am also left with a feeling of unsettledness. A couple weeks ago the question was posed to me by my pastor: is Christ essential to your life, or just helpful? This question has not escaped my mind and now haunts my reflections on this newfound Starbucks mission. As I reflect on the mission of the church to be engaged in social justice, I wonder in what ways the church should look more like Starbucks, and more importantly, how we should look different. If, in fact, Starbucks has perfected the vision of us justice-loving church types, then we should be unsettled by the fact that they have achieved it without ever explicitly implicating the Gospel in the process. So as we pursue justice and further act out what it means to love our neighbor, let’s ask ourselves how Christ is essential in the process, and not just helpful.

It would be a good conversation to have over a fresh brewed cup of product red® Christmas® blend.


Our Starbucks Mission:
To inspire and nurture the human spirit— one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
Here are the principles of how we live that every day:
Our Coffee
It has always been, and will always be, about quality. We’re passionate about ethically sourcing the finest coffee beans, roasting them with great care, and improving the lives of people who grow them. We care deeply about all of this; our work is never done.
Our Partners
We’re called partners, because it’s not just a job, it’s our passion. Together, we embrace diversity to create a place where each of us can be ourselves. We always treat each other with respect and dignity. And we hold each other to that standard.
Our Customers
When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers— even if just for a few moments. Sure, it starts with the promise of a perfectly made beverage, but our work goes far beyond that. It’s really about human connection.
Our Stores
When our customers feel this sense of belonging, our stores become a haven, a break from the worries outside, a place where you can meet with friends. It’s about enjoyment at the speed of life—sometimes slow and savored, sometimes faster. Always full of humanity.
Our Neighborhood
Every store is part of a community, and we take our responsibility to be good neighbors seriously. We want to be invited in wherever we do business. We can be a force for positive action— bringing together our partners, customers, and the community to contribute every day. Now we see that our responsibility—and our potential for good—is even larger. The world is looking to Starbucks to set the new standard, yet again. We will lead.
Our Shareholders
We know that as we deliver in each of these areas, we enjoy the kind of success that rewards our shareholders. We are fully accountable to get each of these elements right so that Starbucks—and everyone it touches—can endure and thrive.