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Posts from September 2010

Global nomads, existential migrants

We are back in USA
which we refer to as home
where most of our family was born
where we come back to after our travels to recalibrate.
Except it feels less like home than the countries we just came from.

We are global nomads.
We went on walkabout but we are still walking.
We started as backpackers but became serial travelers.
We embarked on pilgrimage but our spiritual quest continues.
We were circumstantial migrants but now we are voluntary migrants.
We were TCK's and now we are families on the road.
We were MK's and now we are itinerants.
We are existential migrants
We are global nomads
Urban nomads.
Digital nomads.
We couch-surf.
We travel light.
Our bags have straps, not wheels.
We are at home when we are away.
We chose migrancy over mortgage.
We are the perpetual dispersion.
We are the chosen exile.
Our accents do not place us.
Our current location does not define us.
Our closest communities are not geographical.
Our passport does not reflect our true citizenship.
We do not live anywhere but we do live everywhere.
The land of our birth does not feel like our homeland.
We cannot answer "Where are you from?" in a single sentence.

We are like the comic hero Rikki Barnes in Nomad: Girl without a world, who, "finding herself in a strangle place without family or friends, struggles to find a new path." Review in GeekDad


Is ‘home’ where we are most ourselves or is home the very thing that exiles us from ourselves?  Greg Madison, Is travel an existential need?
"I am part of a community of migrants across the globe, searching out situations where they are strangers in strange lands, all so they can feel at home." Greg Wesson, Existential Migration: Feeling at Home as the Foreigner

"Leaving home can be the expression of a spiritual quest that cannot be undertaken within the confines of the home environs." Greg Madison, Existential Migration [PDF]

"How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?' Psalm 137:4

"After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. "After I have been there," he said, "I must visit Rome also." Acts 19:21
"Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Jesus

Pamela Hartigan wants to dump the word 'social entrepreneur'

 Pamela Hartigan on the subject of social entrepreneurship from "Why you dont have to be a social entrepreneur to make change."

“The old guard – people, say, my age – would say, 'I'm going to go out and make a bucket of money and then I'm going to give it away when I'm 50 or 60.' The younger generation say, 'I don't want to wait till I'm 50. I want to do this now.' It's combining both things right from the start.”

Further on Pamela adds:

And why the term "social entrepreneurship" should be abandoned: “I can't stand the term 'social entrepreneurship.’ It served its purpose in building a sense of community. But community should not shut out others, and that's the danger here. Not everyone is an entrepreneur – most people aren't – and that's okay." Pamela Hartigan, director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Wow. Words should not shut out others. That's kind of why we dropped the word "postmodern" a decade ago, and "emerging church" a few years later. And its why many people are probably going to dump the "missional" word this year if they haven't already. Even the term "missional entrepreneur" is starting to get long in the tooth. Oh well.

Social media, philanthropy and more

- New Yorker [yes, the New Yorker - who knew?] on Twitter, Facebook and Social Activism. Includes story on Moldova. HT: Andrew Jones Daily

- Gawker Founder says the "future of online media is video" but personally, I dont think this will happen until video becomes findable through word or image recognition software. Scrolling through video to find something takes too long. Text rules for now.

- New Philanthropy Capital discusses why charities don't talk about their results and why they should. Agreed. Download their paper and read more.

- "Increation" word introduced today as part of mission conversation.

- 'Existential migration' as a response to globalism. Good Wiki article on this term.

Outreach Magazine and Lausanne

Outreach Magazine will be covering the Lausanne World Congress in Capetown next month and they have asked me to be their blogger. FANTASTIC! They are setting up a dedicated page on their site when I can stream my
media-rich responses to this historic event. Tell you more when I know.

Related: When I return from Cape Town, I have the privilege of being the official blogger at the Global Faith Forum in Texas. Think of my in your prayers. Its a sensitive topic.

Farewell to FuturistGuy blog

Once I called him the smartest guy in the emerging church. Today, Brad Sargent is still just as smart and just as generous, even though he doesn't use the "emerging church" label anymore. And even though his health just got downgraded, again.

So, lacking the energy to keep up his writing, Brad is stopping his FuturistGuy blog and selling off his massive library. Someone should buy the whole thing and donate it to a Seminary. But before that happens, you can buy from his many thousands of books on ebay starting in a few weeks,  and help support him into the next season.

Global Faith Forum

As you know, we are trying to avoid the Christian conference circuit during our Coast to Coast tour of USA, driving past the Speaker-Fests and Preach-A-Thons and endless parades of good-looking-30something-men-on-a-stage-with-microphones and we are attempting instead to focus on innovative grassroots movements under the radar that are making a difference without book contracts.

But WE ARE going to attend the Global Faith Forum in Texas, Nov 11-13.

My BIG Texan friend Bob (Glocal) Roberts is hosting this forum which he describes as something that moves us from a conversation ABOUT other faiths to a conversation WITH other faiths. Now thats something worth attending.

UPDATE: I was just asked to be the official blogger for this event so stay tuned.

Love INC and the La Borde family

We are in Poughkeepsie, New York this morning, staying with the La Borde family. They are part of an exciting new movement that brings churches together to meet the needs of the poor in their local districts around USA. Its called Love in the Name of Christ, or Love INC. And its on Facebook.

BBC ran a story this month on poverty and chose to focus their attention on Poughkeepsie, and the work of Love INC

Mauricio and Shauna La Border, who sailed with us on the MV Logos in the 80's, were part of bringing the Love INC movement into Poughkeepsie. They are an incredible example of a missional family who impact their world locally and once a year take a mission trip instead of a holiday. Every year they find the neediest place in the world and bring their children, and other Christians from local churches, to make a difference. They have been to Haiti, India, Niger, Lebanon, Cuba, Moldova and many other needy countries. Sometimes they build houses, or host soccer camps for kids, or whatever is needed. Next year they are considering doing something for the Romany families kicked out of France and struggling to find their place back in Bulgaria or Romania.

Actually, we might join them in Bulgaria.

The LaBordes are not wealthy. They drive an old car. But they live frugally during the year so that they can travel on mission. They are a missional family. I hope we see more of this as we travel across USA.

98 Top Christian Blogs + 2 more

Another list of the 98 Top Christian Blogs. HT: ChurchCrunch.  I know there are many variables that go into these lists and one should take them with a pinch of salt. But they are also a good introduction to what's out there. This one seems to be a list of Protestant Christian blogs which again is not the whole picture. But worthwhile anyway.

Tallskinnykiwi makes the list. Nice explanation. Thanks you guys!

Also, for your attention, Open Source Theology up high on the list. Well done, Andrew Perriman! I had a drink with Andrew last month in Germany and he gave me his latest book which brings a fresh challenge to contemporary thinking on Romans. I blogged it but didn't get much response. Maybe you should take another look.

2 more Christian blogs that should be on the list, to bring the total to 100 [why 98???] are both underrated but worthy blogs:

1. Jonny Baker runs a much better blog than me but without the American audience needed to push his numbers up, it ranks lower than it should. Jonny's blog is an overflowing dam of worship resources and he has just released a book called Curating Worship.

2. Jordon Cooper has blogged from the very beginning and then before that. He and I used to have the top Christian blogs in the world for a number of years.  Jordon has bucked the trend to blog solely on a single topic, or to allow his blog to become a pimping station for the book industry, and instead offers a holistic, real, honest window into his life and mind. Its about football and Jesus and food and whatever is ACTUALLY GOING ON in a blogger's life. That's how a good blog should be. I wish my blog was more like that.

3. And of course the blog of Scot McNight, whose rapid-fire theological blogging from the hip raised the bar for everyone. Scot's blog has just moved [again] to here. Hey Scot, changing URLs is never good for rankings. But we all know your blog rocks so don't worry.

OK that's 101. I'll stop there.

The Motorbike in the Middle of our Kitchen

Tomorrow in New York our family is telling a short story about our travels. Lots of weird and interesting things have happened to us in the 25 countries we have lived in over the past 18 months. Sometimes these serendipitous and random situations seem quite normal when they happen but then there are times when you suddenly stop and say 'WOW that's really weird!'

Like a few weeks ago. We were driving through Germany with a motorbike in the kitchen of our 4x4 expedition vehicle. An olive green 1966 German Zweirad moped, to be exact, given to us by some lovely people at the semi-legal punk squat we were staying at, and my wife suddenly exclaims  . . "There's a motorbike in the middle of our kitchen!"

That became the joke of the week and also the beginning of our story.

The reason we need a motorbike is because we are driving into very poor countries as we explore the world that God loves and try to make a difference. Our next big trip has us driving from Europe to India and all the interesting countries in between and then probably more of Asia before we turn around and return to Africa and Europe.

Motorbikes can be really helpful if you break down, run out of diesel, or need to get someone to the hospital quickly . . . like earlier this year in Morocco when our 15 year old diabetic daughter, Abigail, sliced her leg open in a freak blue-mud jumping accident where the Sahara desert the Atlantic Ocean. It was the same day I got taken out to sea in a rip-tide and scared the heck out of our 12 year old daughter standing on the beach.

This is Abigail, the world's most adventurous diabetic kid. And this is our dog, Inigio Montoya, who was given to us at a hippie community in Spain and is currently staying with friends in Prague where our truck is stored.

Ahhhh  . . . but I should stop here because the story is already unfolding in this blog post and we are saving it for the dinner party tomorrow in New York.

Oh yeah its a small intimate private gathering and not really open to the public but our kids [and their parents] want to tell this story in other cities around USA over the next 3 months, as we go coast to coast. Already some people want us to come and tell it in their homes and so people in Atlanta, Montgomery, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles should be able to hear our story.

The point of the story is not that we have cool kids or an interesting lifestyle  . .  although we do . ..  but rather that weird and wildly random things happen to those who choose to live a missional lifestyle, a life lived out for God and for others, and its those wacky, unpredictable, unforgettable things that make life worth living.

If you ever were curious about our family's adventures, there is a family travel blog where my wife and kids occasionally write to. Its called because our family travels the world full-time like the Wild Thornberrys, and because the dad, Nigel Thornberry is a bit of a geek with a big nose and nasal voice and apparently there are some parallels with Yours Truly. In fact, I will probably finish up the stories with a short boring geeky summary about what I see is going on in the world around us and why I think we are entering a new season of involving whole FAMILIES in our adventures, and of sustainable social enterprises that makes sense and don't cost the earth, and of a new breed of ordinary individuals and common families that live without an office or a home, but, through couch-surfing and crowd-sourcing, through following the wind of
God's spirit, through making friends and giving gifts and throwing
parties, are able to change the world with their stories.

Something like that.

And if you wanted to sponsor our family's tour across USA then some friends started a fund to help us get a vehicle for our furlough. But an even greater challenge for us to to get sponsors who will help us get across to India and beyond. We live really cheaply coz we don't have a house and don't have to pay rent or utilities and we avoid hotels and restaurants so the money goes further. But we still need diesel and food and Abigail needs insulin and test strips each month which can cost a lot in some countries. Tell you about it more another time.

Related: Tallskinnykiwi's Top Ten Adventures in North Africa.