Wednesday, October 05, 2011


For those who are interested, please check out the blog for my latest film Stained Glass Rainbows... exploring the bed wrestle between homosexuality and faith.

In this film I bravely go where few Christians dare to tread... to gay pride parades, to the living rooms of gays and lesbians, to the depths of the struggle between conservatives and liberals... asking questions like, "is homosexuality a sin?"

Hear from the lesbian minister, the ex-lesbian who fled the country with her little girl, the gay pastor who wanted to pull the trigger and end it all, the ex-gay man living with AIDS, the conservative theologian who explains the biblical standards, the God Hates Fags protestor, the man and woman ministering to the homosexual population, etc.

Stained Glass Rainbows - Blog
Stained Glass Rainbows - Website
Stained Glass Rainbows - Facebook Page

Monday, September 05, 2011

Rebellion of Thought Study Guide

Finally... the Rebellion of Thought Discussion Guide has been published to the website... Check it out at

This is the perfect thing if your small group is watching the film. It works with the Group Viewing Segments on the DVD and is designed to help make a lot of the heady stuff in the film more understandable and to give people something to guide them through the jungle known as Rebellion of Thought.

It's written by Stephen & Amanda Sorenson... they've written numerous study guides for some big name folks.

Download the Rebellion of Thought Discussion Guide

and best of all... it's FREE!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

This Is My Body - Ekklesia As God Intended

A review by Kent C. Williamson of the book by Keith Giles

Allow me to start by saying This Is My Body is FANTASTIC! And I’m not just saying that because I’ve known the author for nearly 25 years. I say it because This Is My Body is a much needed treatise about the state of the church in North America. As most of those who claim to follow Christ know, the church is not made of brick and stone, it is made of spirit, of flesh, of bone... for the church is made of nothing more than the Spirit of God dwelling in those who seek Him. How His followers connect with each other is the essence of the greek word Ekklesia and the topic that Giles explores within this book.

Giles reminds us that one of the most mind-blowing elements of the crucifixion of Christ was the mysterious tearing of the temple veil. Prior to that historic event the high priest alone had access to the Holy of Holies. Only on special occasions could he enter the dwelling place of God behind the veil, which had to be an amazing event for the lone participant. But the symbolism and substance that springs from the torn veil is even more amazing... that we all can now approach the One who for so long was unapproachable.

Giles asks the question, will anyone dare pick up a needle and thread to repair the torn veil? It's obvious that only an extremely arrogant person would attempt such a thing, but unfortunately the institutional church has had their share of such men who desperately attempt to repair the veil, mainly because their livelihoods depend on it.

The days of "Professional” Christianity are over! The Holy Spirit is reclaiming it for the common man and Keith Giles is helping to blow the trumpet! I can hear pastors of the institutional church screaming "heresy" as they desperately cling to their salary, their staff, and their beloved "book funds"! My hope is that This Is My Body will become required reading in seminaries and bible colleges across the land. Unfortunately, it's more likely that it will be added to the bonfire by the hoity-toity elite who see their security being threatened.

As much as I loved reading This Is My Body, it is not perfect. There is one missing chapter of this book, which should be called Exit Strategy. Giles does a great job setting up the problem with the typical top-down church structure in America, but I would have liked to see a section devoted to helping people move from the comfy pews of “spectator Christianity” into this brave new world where the only safety net is the Holy Spirit. A chapter where the reader could gain valuable information on how to leap from the train known as the institutional church... a train that, as my brother and I pointed out in our film Rebellion of Thought, is tragically on the wrong track, barreling blindly toward the wrong destination. (I might add that Rebellion of Thought didn’t offer that type of help either!).

When the Sunday Morning Business Men take to their pulpits to drone on-and-on "teaching the Word of God", my prayer is that the brave few who get their hands on This Is My Body will move out into their communities and neighborhoods "living the Word of God", being Christ to those who need it most. Only then will we experience the sense of Ekklesia that our New Testament brothers and sisters knew so well.

Friday, May 06, 2011

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Here's a snippet from and a link to an interesting article called The Coming Evangelical Collapse...

"We can rejoice that in the ruins, new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born. I expect to see a vital and growing house church movement. This cannot help but be good for an evangelicalism that has made buildings, numbers, and paid staff its drugs for half a century."

This goes hand-in-hand with parts of Rebellion of Thought.

Read the whole article here!

Saturday, January 31, 2009


After viewing Rebellion of Thought, Kelly Dominguez wrote...

Towards the end of the documentary of "Rebellion of thought", Brad told of what happened when he went to tell his pastor he was leaving the church. The Pastor ask him a question and he responded with something. Forgive me, I can't for the life of me remember what exactly was said. My memory is really bad. Would you please refresh my memory? I rented the movie through Christian Cinema and already returned it, my bad. I should have watched it again.

Lately, I've been very dissatisfied with what I see in our church. Not more then two days before watching your movie, I had a conversation with a friend about how our neighbors were moving and I didn't know them..............because my family is so "busy" (something I believe comes from the devil) "going to church". So your movie was food for the brain. Thank you.

Brad replied...

Thanks for asking about Rebellion of Thought. I appreciate you taking the time to view it and am encouraged that you find the discussion valuable.

You asked what my response was to my pastor when I told him I was leaving our church (note that I did not leave the 'church', the body of Christ, but a specific assembly that met in a certain building!)

Kent has provided the transcript from that portion of the film, which is great, because I'd have a hard time remembering as well.

When you look at what’s going on it’s seems that maybe the church is part of the problem here.

I’ll go way out on a limb here. This hopefully will be edited out. What the church is designed to do is to seduce believers into thinking that they believe…


Probably the greatest indictment of the church today is that we don’t practice the gospel. We preach it. We teach it. We do all kinds of things with it. We put it on banners. We sing songs about it. We just don’t actually do it. Just go automatically to church every Sunday, week after week and do the same things over and over again. We will never observe what it is that’s going on there and be able to do something different. And then you have the danger of those people who have a vested interest in making sure that we don’t examine the traditions of the church or the North American church because you know we even ______ teaching that that…

...When I left the church that I was with I had been with the church for about, oh, six or eight years. When I was asked why I was leaving I told the pastor, I said I’ve I’m having a problem with the church because it’s not adequate, it’s not sufficient for me to be a part of a church where the gospel is preached. I said the desire of my heart is that I that I’m part of a church where the gospel is practiced.

There you go - I'm still on my quest - and by the way, when I look at the church I left, I would say without question that it comes closer to the mark of practicing the Gospel than any church I have been a part of, and I still felt compelled to leave.

Part of the problem, as you touch on, is that there is a distraction in the church that I am convinced is part of the Deceiver's plan, to convince believers that by being involved in church they are serving Christ. I believe that this is the greatest deception ever conceived against those who would follow Christ, and we are, for the most part, blind to it.

To close, let me fill in the censored part of the script, with a paraphrase of what the distributor insisted we remove.

The organizational church today is designed to do three things:

Seduce believers into being part of the organizational church community with attractive services, songs, programs, 'ministries', and facilities...

Anesthetize the believer with many 'good' things (worship, praise, care of other believers) so that the believer does not realizing that what he or she is doing has little connection to the mandates Christ communicated in the Scripture...

Deceive the believer into thinking that going to church, singing and praising, tithing, and caring for other believers (all truly good things) are what Christ would have us do.

Ultimately, the church is most successful at enabling even mature believers to miss the point, that God called us first to love Him with all our heart, mind and soul, and second, to love our neighbor as ourselves, which turns out to be a whole lot more difficult in our culture than going to church.

So, Kelly, your journey begins. It will not be easy or popular, but you aren't alone. More and more followers of Christ are starting to act on their dissatisfaction with the organizational church. Pray that you will not be discouraged, deceived, or misled as you seek Christ and work to serve Him.

I will pray that you find a small group of like-minded believers who will commit themselves with you to living Christ as you abandon 'being busy' for the sake of the organizational church.

Feel free to write and share you experiences. We'd like to hear from you.


Sunday, November 23, 2008


It's time to start plugging our next film Stained Glass Rainbows.

For those who don't know, Stained Glass Rainbows is an exploration of the bed wrestle between homosexuality and faith. We've interviewed the left, the right, conservatives, liberals, & moderates. We've filmed at Gay Pride Parades as well as Gay Protests. We've talked with folks that believe people are born gay along with people who were once in gay relationships that through their faith have left it behind... so to speak.

Why this topic???

I believe this is the most controversial subject facing the modern church. The majority of conservatives tend to want to keep their heads in the sand and pretend this issue will go away. Meanwhile, progressive denominations are not only embracing homosexuals, but they are also ordaining them. The recent controversies surrounding Gay Marriage and Proposition 8 are only proof of the volatility and timeliness for Stained Glass Rainbows.

This issue is tearing churches apart. It's tearing denominations apart. And it's tearing families apart. Is there an answer? And if there is, what is it? Is homosexuality a great sin or merely a lifestyle? What does a book written 2,000 years ago have to say about it and should that have any relevance on us today?

Stained Glass Rainbows explores the controversy, dives into the heart of the issue, and gets inside the hearts and minds of people of faith across the country.

Keep an eye out for Stained Glass Rainbows... coming soon!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Kent recently was interviewed about Rebellion of Thought by Joe Thomas on WCHV 1260 AM. Listen to the interview here...

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Rebellion of Thought will be screening at the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.

DATE: Wednesday, April 16, 2008
TIME: 1:15pm

The film will be followed by Q&A (if the crowd is civil) or Tar & Feathering (if it gets out of hand). If you know anyone in the Asheville, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Knoxville, or Atlanta areas, tell them to head to Ashville for the screening. In the mean time, start planning your trip... it matters not where you live, cause like Steven Wright would say... "Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."

FYI, a portion (if not all) of the Brothers Williamson will be on the receiving end of the "Pitching to Producers" event on Tuesday the 15th, where a select group of published authors pitch their latest ideas.

Also, keep your eye out for two new Rebellion of Thought trailers to be released soon...

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Please bare with me... I feel another rant coming on. Recently, I started chewing on the word "devotion". What does it mean? Where did it come from? etc., when the thought hit me, is this another word the Church has hi-jacked and stripped of it's original meaning and intent?

Growing up in the Church I was continually bombarded with phrases like... have you had your devotions today? How are your devotions going? Are you having a consistent "quiet time"? Did you get your copy of the devotional? Kent, sit still while Mr. S0-and-s0 leads us in a devotion.

Devotion was a word that carried with it much guilt. It was a word with good intentions, designed to encourage me to read the Bible (or a supplement) more, but I remember as a teenager hearing the word and realizing I was a failure. I could never read the Bible more than some of the other kids in the youth group. I could never spend an hour a day reading and praying or even a half hour for that matter or even 15 minutes, because for some reason I would miss Thursday or Saturday or Monday which left me feeling guilty, unworthy, outside of God's perfect will, a loser that couldn't consistently have his devotions.

On days when I might be successful I remember being able to check it off my spiritual to-do list. "Boy, God must be proud of me now!"

Now that I'm officially "getting older" things haven't changed much. Today you can click your way to Amazon and find pages of devotional books and resources to improve and enhance your "quiet time". Now, don't get me wrong, some of these resources may be valuable, but doesn't the mass marketing of "devotion" seem to be a little... tacky?

What does "devotion" mean anyway? offers these in it's list of definitions...

"profound dedication"

"feelings of ardent love"

"earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc."

True "devotion" is not a noun. It's not something I do but it is something I have... or do I? Am I truly devoted to Christ? Am I truly devoted to seeking Him? Am I truly devoted to picking up the cross daily? Am I truly devoted to the concept of crucifying myself so that He may live through me?

How about you? Are you devoted?


My struggle (prior to converting to the house church) was that I was (like most of us) a creature of habit. I had a Sunday morning habit/addiction that looked like this...

- wake up
- race around the house getting myself and my kids ready for "church"
- drive 20+ miles (as fast as possible) to a good sized church-building of my liking
- drop kids off at various Sunday School rooms (all the while hoping they'll learn something and simultaneously releasing myself from the responsibility of teaching them)
- teach an Adult Sunday School class (which I often viewed as baby-sitting the grown-ups who wanted their kids to be in a Sunday School class and had nothing better to do for the hour)... did that come across as cynical? Sorry!
- cut my lesson short due to time-restraints.
- race down the hall to the "sanctuary" for "worship" and to fulfill my obligations as a deacon (which mostly consisted of serving the "found" instead of those truly in need of Christ)
- drop a check in the plate (and wonder what really happens to the money besides keeping the machine running)
- wave goodbye to people I didn't really know on any deep and meaningful level, but found myself with week after week

I was addicted to the traditional church. God had to take me all the way to China to get a glimpse of the underground house church to break me of my addiction. I had a habit that at that particular church had lasted for 9 years, but the Holy Spirit broke me of it.

There is hope... He is moving still in the hearts of people. Hopefully he'll keep nudging people toward true community, toward deep and meaningful relationships with other believers, toward the image of Christ without all the trappings of modern day Churchianity.

This was a response I gave to an article called "Something Different" my good friend Keith Giles wrote over on his [Subversive Underground] Blog.

Monday, November 19, 2007


As Brad and I hit on in Rebellion of Thought, the Supersize Me mentality of program-oriented Churchianity in America misses the point of what being a follower of Christ is all about.

Apparently research has come out that even Bill Hybels (founder of Willow Creek) finds “earth shaking,” “ground breaking,” and “mind blowing.”

Here's a snippet...

Willow Creek Repents?
Few would disagree that Willow Creek Community Church has been one of the most influential churches in America over the last thirty years... So what happens when leaders of Willow Creek stand up and say, “We made a mistake”?

Read the full article on Christianity Today's Out of Ur Blog...

I can't wait until the research comes out that says this is true for the majority of smaller, program oriented, non-mega churches as well.


In an effort to promote transparency and full-disclosure it should be known that in the 80's (back when I had lots of hair and little discretion) I was very active at Willow Creek. I attended multiple services on a weekly basis and was involved in the "Video Ministry" where we helped "spread the gospel" to needy jumbo screens via closed-circuit television for youth group Rah, Rah, Rah's.

Ironic that today, twenty years later, my "Video Ministry" includes such lovely pieces as Rebellion of Thought which, when it comes to Mega Church mentalities like Willow Creek, I guess would be "biting the hand that fed me"... Ooops!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rebellion of Thought... In Stores Today!

November 13th, 2007... this just in... Rebellion of Thought officially goes on sale today.

Here are a few links to stores where you can purchase it, rent it, etc.

Amazon = $15.99
Barnes & Noble = $20.69
Borders = $??.??
Christian Cinema = $16.92
Crown Video = $??.??
Family Stores = $??.??
Gospel Direct = $19.99
Netflix = Rental
Midwest Tape (via public library system)

Also, in C'ville you can buy it at Splintered Light. Here's a photo of the Splintered Light Bookshop... doesn't that look like a great place to go and browse the shelves?

They're located at 128 Chancellor St. just off the corner in the Center for Christian Study.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Here are a couple of links to the Hollywood Jesus review of Rebellion of Thought by Mike Furches.

Hollywood Jesus - Rebellion of Thought

Hollywood Jesus - About Rebellion of Thought

Furches says things like "sure to cause waves in the world of Christianity" and "may end up being one of the best documentary films of the year."


Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Here is a review of Rebellion of Thought that appeared in the November issue of the CBA Retailers Magazine...

"Rebellion of Thought is a superbly made, thought-provoking film. It juxtaposes discussion by leading Christian thinkers, people on the street, and filmmakers Brad and Kent Williamson to examine what postmodern thinking is and how the common idea that there's no absolute truth demands a new response from Christians.

The sheer film-craft beats almost anything I've seen in Christian film. The medium often becomes the message with stunning visuals, creative editing, and excellent (mostly indie) music. The explanation of post-modernism and its effect on culture is well-honed, thought overlong.

The Williamson's challenge–that church is irrelevant when it busies itself with traditional activities but never touches those outside–is undeniably true. The problem comes when they equate this irrelevant church with Hitler's state-run church and make the leap that the only way to relevance is ditching the church entirely, rather than recreating it on a biblical pattern.

This film will appeal to an intellectual and somewhat disaffected audience. Nevertheless, it raises questions that should be discussed (perhaps with a group and the corresponding study guide).

–Sue Grise"

Friday, October 26, 2007


The official launch date for Rebellion of Thought is just days away (November 13th). Here's a list of what you'll find on the DVD...

• Rebellion of Thought... the film (imagine that... the DVD will actually have the film on it!)
• Group Viewing Feature

• A (Not So) Simple Response (a pastor responds to seeing the film)
• Anchored in the Harbour (my challenge to the church to move beyond the walls & pews)
• More Rebellious Thoughts (where Brad, myself and the experts discuss things like The Hardwired Church, Life Worship, Merchandising the Gospel, and Embracing the Mystery. This section alone is over 90 minutes of additional material)
• Expert Bios of all the cool philosophers and theologians that appear in the film.
• The Soundtrack - 25 songs from bands like Abby SomeOne, Audrey Hatcher Woodhams, Greg Allen, Hugh Wilson, Inner Surge, JJ Plasencio, Stereovolt, Joniqa, Low In The Sky, Michael Handler, Mixtapes for Girlfriends, Verona, and composer Will Musser (This section also includes bios and photos of the bands).
• Trailers & Credits

I'll try and post a list where the DVD can be purchased. In the mean time, go ask for it wherever you buy your movies.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Today Brad and I had the pleasure of being interviewed on Virtual Pew Live, a BlogTalkRadio show hosted by Mike Furches. It was an interesting discussion about Rebellion of Thought and our journey through the making of the film.

Listen to the archived webstream or download the mp3.

Here's a quote about Rebellion of Thought from Mike's Blog and MySpace page...

"This is one of the most important, thought provoking documentaries to come about in years. It should shake the very foundation of Christianity and the Church as to the direction society is taking, and the direction of how we reach that society."

Just a reminder to watch for Rebellion of Thought on store shelves November 13th.

Friday, August 17, 2007


We just learned that Rebellion of Thought has been awarded the Dove Foundations Seal of Approval. Read the review.


Just a quick note to let folks know that Rebellion of Thought is scheduled to hit store shelves on the 13 of November, 2007. Please help us spread the word.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


A quick update on the status of Rebellion of Thought...

First, we signed a distribution agreement back in May with Exploration Films to handle north American and international sales for dvd, broadcast, etc.

Second, we've been working like mad to finish all the bonus material, soundtrack, programming, etc. of the DVD. I'm happy to say that it shipped to the kind folks at Exploration last night. I'm sure there will be a few tweaks here and there, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Third, the film is currently set for a fall release. When we receive a firm date, we will post it here.

In the mean time... here's a shot of the Scene Selection page from the upcoming Rebellion of Thought dvd...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


For those interested... we are nearing a distribution deal for Rebellion of Thought. We've spent the last couple of months sending out screeners, having conversations and taking meetings.

We've had interest from traditional distribution houses, video-on-demand sources, as well as broadcast opportunities.

I'll post more as we get closer to the deal being announced.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Have you ever been to Lowe's or Home Depot and tried to buy a light fixture? It's not an easy task, because EVERY light in the lighting department is turned on and as a result it makes seeing the light very difficult.

Light was meant for darkness! It's really that simple. Turn on a light in a dark room and the darkness is overcome. You can't help but see the impact of light.

Salt was meant for seasoning and preserving. The very simple act of adding salt to something mysteriously accomplishes both of these things. Salt was never meant to stay inside the shaker.

Can it get more simple than for us to attempt to be salt and light in the world around us?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I am continually amazed at how the "pieces of the puzzle" often come together. Take this morning for instance...

When I awoke I checked my email to see if anything work-related developed overnight. A meeting was confirmed, but nothing more, so I took a moment to read my Wordsmith email. I admit that I don't often get the chance to enjoy the "word of the day" and that many times when I do I will skip the word and go straight to the quote at the bottom of the email that has absolutely nothing to do with the word of the day. That's exactly what I did today and here's the quote I found...

Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything -- anything -- be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in. -Sam Harris, author (1967- )

Now obviously Sam Harris has never had to use Windows 98. I have!... and I can see how it's continual use would lead people to murder! It's not too far fetched (he says as he joyfully types away on his Mac keyboard!).

Seriously though, Mr. Harris' quote is a very interesting glimpse at what a non-believer might think about people of faith. He comments on this ridiculous world we live in... a world where a good number of people believe that a "story" was given to man by God. A simple story in many ways about a God that loves his wayward creation and desires to have communication with them. And a very complicated story about the punishment of sin being death and the shedding of blood being required to satisfy the debt. And a very mystical story about a man dying a physical death and being resurrected on the third day.

And that brings us to the next "piece of the puzzle", for you see, after I read the quote I went and sat in the early morning quiet of my living room (which is only quiet when my herd of kids are sleeping) and I finished my slow reading of a book written by a man named Mark. Of which the last couple of chapters contain the hard to believe, mystical part of the story.

In many ways the gospel story is much more far-fetched than Star Wars. A film like that is so much easier to understand and grasp. The foreshadowing it contains is paid off within 2 hours, whereas the foreshadowing within gospel hasn't been fulfilled in 2 millennia. A piece of fiction is so easy for our world to believe as just that... fiction. But to a culture raised on post-modernism that doesn't believe in Truth, how can a story over two thousand years old be seen as anything but fiction?

How do we cling to that which we believe? In one sense I'm glad modernism is on the way out, because the modern believers felt the need to convince non-believers that the gospel is truth. Whereas believers in the post-modern age are much more willing to leave that job of convincing others up to the Holy Spirit (where it belongs) and instead just live out the elements of gospel.

If we took truth out of the equation and we're left with just a story about a God reaching out to mankind in an effort to be known by them and compared that to a story about some primordial ooze that evolved into walking and talking blobs of goo, I have to tell you, I'd still choose the first story. Simply because its a far more beautiful story!

Factor Truth back in and it becomes all the more compelling. The foreshadowing of the old testament to the new, and the new to the next, and the crazy, hard to understand parables, and the simple sayings like "love your neighbor", and the mystic nature of a bodily resurrection and the hard to believe future of a second-coming... these are pieces of the puzzle and pieces of an amazingly beautiful story that's worth trying to believe in.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


A good friend of mine, Keith Giles, is busy promoting a new conference and asked that I help spread the word...

Here's what he says...

"I wanted to let you know about an important conference coming up that I'm a part of called "CHILDREN AT RISK" featuring author Os Guinness, pastor Tri Robinson, worship leader David Ruis, Bert Waggoner (National Director of Vineyard USA), Rick Muchow (Worship leader at Saddleback), and many others.

Please attend if you possibly can, and even if you can't, please help me to spread the word and let others know about this important event to help children who are at risk here in America and around the world.

Basic information-
Arms Of Love International Presents:
CHILDREN AT RISK-(Strategies for Global and Local Impact)
March 9 & 10, 2007 - Anaheim Vineyard



*Os Guinness- (Author of more than 20 books including Unspeakable)
*Dr. Phyllis Kilbourn- (President of Crisis Care Training International)
*Olara Otunnu- (Former UN Special Representative for Children & Armed Conflict and former Chairman of the UN Commission on Human Rights)
*Bryant Myers- (Professor of International Development at Fuller Seminary and former VP of International Program Strategy at World Vision)
*Johan Lukasse- (Founder and Director of Rescue & Restore Urban Missions and YWAMs Children At Risk School in Brazil)
*Bert Waggoner- (National Director of Vineyard Churches)
*Tri Robinson- (Pastor and author of Revolutionary Leadership)

*DAVID RUIS (Vineyard Music)
*RICK MUCHOW (Saddleback Church)
*JOHN THOMAS (Soul Survivor)

Join leaders from 12 nations and a variety of international ministries. Choose between 28 different breakout sessions and workshops.


Monday, January 15, 2007


One of my favorite passages of late is in a book called Mark where Jesus responds to the religious scholars who asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

He tells us the top two... to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" and to "love your neighbor as yourself."

To me there is amazing beauty in these words, but recently I read them in a version by a different translator where they jumped off the page at me. Jesus replies "love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy" and to "love others as well as you love yourself."

Do the people you gather with help you accomplish this? Do you see it in their lives? Do you help bring it out in them and do they help bring it out in you? If not, why not?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


The screening Sunday night was good. Probably about 80 people in the audience including three area pastors and an elder from another area church that I know were there.

Pastor Hopkins of United Methodist Church started the evening by telling the audience a story that he had told me a week or two earlier... it goes something like this... "I saw six films at the Virginia Film Festival. Five of them I liked. Rebellion of Thought wasn't one of them. But Rebellion of Thought was the one I couldn't get out of my head!"

He went home that Saturday night and tore up the sermon he had written for next morning and started over. He told me later that he didn't sleep a wink that night. That's how much the film impacted him.

Following the screening Sunday night we had much discussion... great, tough questions and I did my best to answer them, admitting that I myself don't have the answers, that I'm just a man on a journey and this is the view I'm granted along the way.

After the show Leslie and Josh did some on-camera interviews with people leaving... An atheist asked, "why do you need God at all if you are going to go outside the church?" I wish I could have been there to respond to her...

First, I would have said that I rely more on God outside the traditional church than I ever did inside. But more importantly, I would have said that we are not trying to go "outside the the church." Part of what we are about is trying to do is get the church to get outside of the church. Meaning to get believers to truly begin living their faith in the streets outside the walls of the church where it can have an impact of a post-modern culture!

I don't know if "fun was had by all" at the screening but I do know that it seems that many people are hungry for the dialogue that this film promotes... now let's see if we can get broader distribution... in the mean time, if you would like to arrange a screening in your area, please contact us.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


For anyone who couldn't get a ticket to the premiere of Rebellion of Thought I'm happy to announce that the next screening will be December 3rd right here in Charlottesville. It will be a FREE event and open to the public.

A local pastor happened to be in attendance at the Virginia Film Festival screening and unbeknownst to him he had the most bizarre connection to a film that I've ever heard. I won't give his story away, because he will probably share it that evening, but I will tell you that you won't want to miss it. It's so amazingly, unbelievable that we've decided to interview him for inclusion as promo material and as a possible bonus segment on the DVD.

Anyhow, he has graciously invited us to screen Rebellion of Thought at the Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church. He called me the other day and told me that this film has rocked him. He can't get it out of his mind. He preached on it the week after he saw it. He told me that he doesn't agree with everything in the film but that the conversation is so important that he wants his congregation to be a part of the dialogue.

Please join us for the film with a disussion to follow...

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006 at 7pm
Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church
750 Hinton Avenue
Charlottesville, Virginia

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


We have successfully premiered another film. Rebellion of Thought screened Saturday at the Virginia Film Festival to a sold out crowd. Nervous, anxious and exhausted, Brad and I arrived in time to mix and mingle a bit prior to the screening. We and the team had worked 18 hour days the entire week prior, which culminated with an all night editing race to prep the film for its premiere. With less than an hour of sleep on the editing room floor and another 45 minutes on the carpet of the soundstage I thought I might literally fall asleep during the showing, but fortunately the adrenaline kicked in and got me through it.

The moderator announced the screening, the lights dimmed, the crowd settled in and the Paladin Media Group logo took over the screen... and then for the next 75 minutes the crowd was forced to “drink from a fire hose” in the non-stop assault of the heart, soul and mind that is Rebellion of Thought.

It was an interesting mix of a crowd, including friends, family, old professors, colleagues and strangers. I’ve always thought Rebellion of Thought is a very difficult film to watch, because it is a talking-head picture about a rather esoteric subject. Plus, it’s non-stop with very little room to digest the material during the film. It’s like no film I’ve ever seen in that regard.
Anyhow, the 75 minute screening passed quickly and the credits started to roll. That’s when I noticed that no one moved. Not one person stood to make their way to the exit in the entire theatre. An eerie feeling was in the room as everyone stared at the screen and watched the credits while Will Musser’s music pushed them along. Finally the film faded to black and the Paladin logo signified the very end at which point a rather awkward applause broke out. I imagine people probably uncertain to clap because they liked the film but didn’t agree with everything it promotes or perhaps just glad to have survived the experience. Regardless, it was over and time for the most bizarre Q&A I’ve ever been a part of. This was followed by close to an hour of conversations with a host of people who came down front to talk. Obviously, it is an engaging film about a topic that people want to discuss.

Following the screening Brad and I took our parents, my family, James (our editor), Leslie, (our office manager) and her husband Jimmy to the LimeLeaf restaurant for a celebratory dinner. Great memories were made as we concluded this great premiere.

FYI... yesterday I received an email from the program director of the RiverRun International Film Festival. She was in the audience on Saturday and she requested a screener for consideration at their fest next spring in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We’ll keep you posted.

Monday, October 30, 2006


It's Monday afternoon - not unlike the usual Monday at work, catching up on all the Monday things that have to be done, but different in the sense that a huge burden has been lifted from our shoulders.

Rebellion of Thought has shown publicly for the first time!

Last week was a flurry of activity as we scurried to pull together all the pieces that would make Rebellion of Thought a compelling film. Three editors, James Burgess, Matt Uncapher, and Josh Mcgonigle labored through the night, literally, time and time again to cut and cut some more as we refined the look. Our office manager, Leslie Wood, held the project together by making sure we ate occasionally and had ample supplies of editor fuel - Red Bull, Coke, water, chocolate, mixed nuts, and various and sundry assorted munchies.

All this was confounded by the Brothers Williamson's mutual decision to completely recut the film in a different sequence on Monday, five days before the screening. But despite all the barriers, the technical breakdowns, the discouragment and criticism that we seemed to encounter in spades, we managed to put together a pretty convincing piece by 9 am Saturday morning. The relief was evident as we started dumping the film to tape, since Matt, Kent and I had been up since the morning of the previous day. By noon the film was on tape, and ready for transfer to the cinema for the screening.

Kent and I caught a quick catnap while others tested the film and the projector at the theater. We woke up groggy, but dressed in our best filmmaker uniforms, and raced to the Regal theater on the Mall in Charlottesville.

The theater was packed, a sell out crowd, and the greetings of a few friends we recognized help ease the strain of waiting for the titles to roll. A moderator introduced the film, and then the house lights went down, as the first frames marched across the big screen.

It is hard to describe the emotion of the next 75 minutes. This being our second film, we felt like old hands at dealing with the butterflies that accompany the public presentation of any creative effort. But it was only a few minutes into the film when I realized that I couldn't believe that it was ME up on the screen, and that I was actually saying the things I was saying. I could only sigh and wait for the tarring and feathering.

But suffice it to say that the presentation was a success by almost any measure. Our team had done a wonderful job pulling video, audio, and the musical score of Will Musser together into a piece that exceeded even my expectations for the week we had to refine it. It looked great, sounded better, and carried a message that touched almost everyone in the audience.

Only one person left during the screening, many stayed for the half-hour question and answer period after, and enough stayed after the Q&A that it took 45 minutes to get through all the personal discussion. And the most significant thing, of all the questions that we dealt with during the evening, there was only one of a technical nature. Almost without exception the discussions that followed were about the content, which was what Kent and I had hoped for from the beginning.

We still have tons of work to do to complete the film, finish the bonus features, and put the DVD together, so if you didn't see it Saturday, you'll probably have to wait until the spring for the DVD, or at least for a while 'til it appears at a theater near you. Kent and I will be out promoting it, and if you ask nicely, maybe we can come by your way.

In the meantime, stay tuned here, and remember...

...a new conversation has begun.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


We learned yesterday that we'll be screening Rebellion of Thought to a packed house this Saturday at the Virginia Film Festival. This is great news, but it makes us all a little more nervous. Afterall, the film is still not complete!

James Burgess, our lead editor, arrives from Las Vegas today to help us wrap it up. The film is going through a "major overhaul," for lack of a better term. This, of course, might appear like a risky situation with only 4 days left to our premiere, but we move forward in confidence none-the-less.

James reported to us that the footage looks "fabulous" on the big screen. He showed a few clips last week during his presentation at the WYSIWYG conference in San Francisco.

In the mean time... 4 days to go... Brad arrived from Michigan on Sunday night and he, Josh, and I are burning the candle at both ends. Time to go make it happen!

FYI... depending on how the film plays on Saturday and how strong interest remains in seeing it, we may try to set up a follow up Charlottesville screening for those unable to get tickets for the fest. Let us know... your vote counts!

Friday, September 29, 2006


September 29th, 2006... Today at 9AM, tickets go on sale for Rebellion of Thought (and all the other festival films) at the Virginia Film Festival's website. Our screening is set for 4:30pm on Saturday, October 28th at the Regal cinema on Charlottesville's downtown mall. Tickets for Rebellion of Thought are $6. Buy yours early as seating is limited... we only have one screening at this festival.

Other films of note in this years lineup...

• The much talked about Jesus Camp
• Monty Python's Life of Brian
Iraq in Fragments (which Brad and I watched at Sundance this year)
• Robert Duvall in The Apostle
The Chronicles of Narnia
• Ingmar Bergman's 1957 classic The Seventh Seal
• Paul Wagner's God of a Second Chance
• Workshops by friend and former Regent University President Terry Lindvall (one called Hollywood, Teach Us to Pray)

Monday, September 04, 2006


Here's a news story from CBS 2 in Chicago... and the transcript below... also, for the record let me add that some try to place the group I'm part of squarely in the midst of the emerging church movement. Though there are plenty of simiarlities, there are also plenty of differences. This news story doesn't get into the theology aspect of the differences. It's also interesting to see the buzzwords "emerging church" in the mainstream news...

New Faithful Practice Away From Churches
Some Say 20 Million Participate In Emerging Church Movement

(CBS) CHICAGO Many theologians believe the Emerging Church Movement is the fastest growing group in Christianity. It has no national organization or coordination, so it's almost impossible to know just how big it is.

Some estimates say there are 20 million of these new faithful in the U.S. alone -- that's more than Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Mormons put together.

CBS 2's Antonio Mora investigates whether it is the next big thing in religion.

"You are who you are supposed to be in front of Christ. It's not fake," said Bonnie Mobley.

Mobley grew up Episcopalian. Her way of worshipping has changed dramatically.

Ashley Hodges is an Evangelical who got tired of feeling isolated at a mega-church.

"You really get to know each other and you grow together," Hodges said.

And Evangelical David Verdin wanted something more laid back.

"It's really simple and you don't have come in with this religious pompous attitude," Verdin said.

Now, they are all members of what�s called the Emerging Church Movement�an unconventional and unstructured road to religion.

Scot McKnight is a theologian at North Park University.

�They meet in coffee shops, homes, cafes, some of them in basements of churches, some of them in pubs, in bars. They meet in any spot that will house their kind of movement,� he said.

"I often joke that we are a disorganized religion as opposed to organized religion. There is an element of the Emerging Church Movement as a whole being a response to kinda the whole corporate CEO style of Christanity," said Pastor John Pennington of the Chicagoland Community Church.

The Emerging Church Movement is made up mostly of members of generations X and Y, but these soul-searchers feel like something out of the sixties, the decade that defined their baby boomer parents. Ironically, they're rebelling against the churches boomers fill every Sunday.

"The idea of the american dream of having a big bank account and large cars and houses isn't appealing,� said Geoff Hosclaw of the Life on the Vine Church.

"It's not about how I can have a better life or get more of what I want. It's about joining the historical mission of Jesus Christ in the world,� said David Fitch of Northern Seminary.

It�s a simple approach to Christianity that focuses on intimacy, relationships, and personal involvement in the community.

At one church, members actively participate in outreach programs for runaway teens and the homeless.

"It's really not a rebellion so much as it's just finding a new set of answers, a different way of being Christians,� said Pastor Mike Clawson of the Christus Community Church.

"I think it's a new reformation. I think it's a new way of looking at the Bible,� said Pastor Julie Clawson.

But is this church movement the future or a passing fad?

"I don't think it's simply a fad,� said McKnight. �I don't think it's the future of all Christians. I think it is a movement that will have an impact on all churches in the United States.�

"I hope it will fly because I think the church needs to evolve and it needs to change if it's going to survive," said Mike Clawson.

Many of the mega-churches have taken note of the emerging church movement. Willow Creek has long had small group ministries, but it has recently increased their focus on community involvement.

But many traditional religious leaders are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

House churches and cell churches have only thrived in the long run in places where religion is persecuted.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Here's a great quote we came upon while editing a portion of Rebellion of Thought from our interview with Gene Edward Veith (senior writer for World Magazine). It was in a section of the film that has been moved to the bonus features of the DVD, but I'm fairly confident we'll be able to find a home for it in the main film...

"People choose a church the same way they choose a major appliance. They look at the ones that meet their needs the best and that’s what they go with. They don’t even ask questions of “is this true? Is this what I need to hear?” It’s just “what I like.” And so they base their whole lives on that and turn themselves into post-modernists."

What are your thoughts? How did you select your church and if you had it to do over again would you do anything differently? Let us know...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rebellion of Thought... the edit

Just a quick post to let everyone know that the film currently is down to 1 hour and 55 minutes. This was a major reason for celebration for Brad and me last week (since we began with a film that was 12 hours and 15 minutes long). Andy Warhol may have been able to get away with a film of that length but obviously he wasn't dealing with such a heady topic as post-modernism and the role of the Church in pm culture.

For those that don't know, in 1964 Andy Warhol made an eight hour film called Empire where he pointed a camera at the Empire State Building and filmed from dusk into the middle of the night (there's a brief clip available at Media Art Net and an interesting blurb at New York Art).

Anyhow, it is still our goal to get the final edit down in the ballpark of 90 minutes. We have had to toss out entire sections we had previously edited, but fortunately in the world of DVD this means our "bonus features" will be jammed with great material that just didn't make the final cut. Most likely it will be a two disc set, but we'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 28, 2006


While editing a section of Rebellion of Thought called "Creating God In Our Own Image," I included this quote from our interview with Bruce Ellis Benson (Associate Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College)...

"...we affirm as Christians that God does exists, and that our conception of God is not purely a kind of idolatrous conception of God. Now of course, there it gets a little difficult, because as Christians, I assume that our conception of God is probably never completely pure, that is to say, our conception of God is never completely free from idolatry. It's very easy for the conception of "Jesus, Lord of my life," to morph into, to change into, "Jesus, who is the granter of my desires." That's not a very big step, as it turns out, and indeed I assume that many of us live, in a sort of practical way so that Jesus is the granter of our desires, first and foremost, rather than the Lord and Master of our lives."

What are your thoughts on this concept of Christian idolatry? Please share them here...

Monday, July 17, 2006

REBELLION OF THOUGHT. . . needs your music!

We at the Paladin Media Group are currently on a quest for great music to help us create another award-winning soundtrack... this one for our current film Rebellion of Thought.

We are looking for fresh, up & coming and established solo acts, bands, instumentalists, orchestras, etc. from a wide variety of musical styles. We need music to help establish the feel of the film. We need background music for restaurants and a variety of locations. We need music to help push the film forward. We need music to help tell the story. Simply put, we need great music.

We start by auditioning as much music as possible. We listen to tracks again and again to find just the right one for each section of the film. Once these selections are made each musician will be notified as to which songs have been chosen for inclusion in the film. At this point a more formal contract will be issued to the selected musicians.

A section of the Rebellion of Thought DVD featuring & promoting your music from the film, bio, album artwork, contact information, weblink to your site, and email link. Inclusion in all press materials related to the film. On screen credit in the film and on the website. Copies of the completed DVD. And of course, bragging rights... if you're into that sort of thing.

Please mail a cd, bio, lyrics, contact info, and a brief letter signed by all copyright holders stating that you are the owner of the copyrighted material and have the authority to assign the synchronization rights for inclusion in this film and on the film's soundtrack to:

Paladin Media Group
Attn: Rebellion of Thought Music Quest
673 Berkmar Court
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Yesterday I received an email from Richard Herskowitz, the director of the Virginia Film Festival. He let me know a tentative screen time for Rebellion of Thought at this years fest. We are currently slated to have our world-premiere on Saturday, October 28th, 4pm at the Regal Cinema on the downtown mall in Charlottesville.

I've been editing a lot lately in order to prep the film for it's debut and I'm happy to report that the running time is currently 8 hours and 30 minutes! That's down from over 12 hours. Before you all panic, please note that by the premiere it will be around 90 minutes... at least that's the goal.

If you are a musician or if you know any musicians please send them the link to the Rebellion of Thought Music Quest. We are currently searching for all genres of music for possible inclusion within the film as we prep to create another award-winning soundtrack. The details are spelled out on the Rebellion of Thought site.

I will leave you with a still image from the film...

Even the untrained eye will notice Charlottesville's Regal Cinema in the background. I won't spoil it, but this particular scene has an unbelievable ending... you'll have to come to the premiere to discover how it all turns out.

In the mean time... edit, edit, edit...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Going to Church by Staying at Home

A recent Washington Post article by staff writers Michael Alison Chandler and Arianne Aryanpur...

Going to Church by Staying at Home - Clergy-Less Living Room Services Seen as a Growing Trend


MOMENTUM 06 - Friday, June 23rd and Saturday, June 24th at St. James Church, Newport Beach, CA

Don't miss this incredible two-day conference on the emerging church, worship, justice, the arts and missional life.

With: Mike Pilavachi, Todd Hunter, Brenton Brown, David Ruis, and several others.

A good friend of mine (Keith Giles) will be leading a couple of workshops, one on Compassion Ministry with the amazing Crissy Brooks (MIKA), and one on Missional Gospel "The Gospel: For Here Or To Go?".

Student Rates and Couples Rates just added.

Go online to learn more...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More On Gilley, The Church, The Truth

In his article, Gary Gilley comes down hard on the "emergent" church. First, let me state that some people call what we do "emergent" while others call it "micro church", some call it "home church", some "organic", some "cell", etc., etc. Our church has no name and perhaps this is part of the problem. If we had a name on a sign people could more easily put us in some type of spiritual box and then perhaps more easily dismiss us. We tell people over and over that we are not trying to do church... instead we are trying to be the church... we are truly attempting to live more as missionaries right here in America, than as "church-goers". Second, let me make it clear that I make no claims of being the mouthpiece for any of the previously mentioned groups. And third, allow me to state again that I have not "arrived". I will never again treat my faith as if it were the destination. The faith journey I am on is exactly that... a journey, and what I offer below are merely glimpses of what I've seen from the peaks and valleys of the trip.

By Gilley's description I would want to disassociate myself from anything "emergent" ASAP. At the same time I must admit that I feel he is selectively quoting the various authors (McLaren, Sweet, etc.) in an attempt to convince the reader that he has the correct interpretation of doctrine, truth, etc., etc., similar to how pastors from the modern era selectively dissect scripture in order to prove their points, promote their agendas, etc.

Gilley is dead-on when he writes, "Truth claims are held with suspicion within postmodernism..." There is no doubt that a post-modern culture rejects truth claims, but Gilley is dead-wrong when he says, "Something has to give and that something seems to be truth." (If you haven't read it yet, please read the entire article to get a better understanding of Gilley's perspective).

Like I stated in my previous post, the Christian message CAN'T change, and that message is THE Truth, and it is THE Truth that post-moderns, moderns, and non-believers throughout human history have rejected and will continue to reject.

I think that some of the confusion comes from the term "postmodern". What do we mean by that? Does Gilley mean the same thing when he writes "postmodern" that McLaren and Sweet mean? In the simplest sense of the word, postmodernism refers to what comes after modernism. It's like saying it's "post-3pm" for anything that comes after 3pm. It's a term that means everything and a term that means nothing. Someone along the way called the modern era, the "modern era". They could have simply called it the "post-medieval era." Even though it may actually be 11pm, the term "post-3pm" would still technically be correct due to it's catch-all nature. Postmodernism quickly became the buzzword because no term so easily defines the transition we are currently in from the modern era into a new era and until a better term comes along "postmodern" wins.

Now the trouble comes when we start applying this term "postmodern" as an adjective to modify a noun (i.e. "postmodern Christians"). If we are moving from modernism into a new era, which most everyone agrees we are (even though many will go kicking and screaming into this new era), then every Christian (good, bad, holy, sinner, sanctified, purified, backslidden, etc.) could be called "postmodern Christians", simply because that is the age in which we dwell. If by "postmodern Christian" it is meant "a Christian who has bought into postmodern thought" (i.e. the rejection of all truth) that would simply be an oxymoron. How could someone who rejects all truth claims, believe in THE Truth Claim of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection? I would imagine that if I had the chance to sit down with Dr. Gilley, we could agree on 99.9% of the core message of gospel... Christ was a real person and somehow, simultaneously he was the Son of God, he was born of a virgin, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, buried and somehow, miraculously rose from the grave, he sits today at the right hand of God the Father almighty and intercedes on our behalf, etc., etc., (sounds like some of the creeds our spiritual forefathers wrote as statements of their beliefs).

So the way I see it, the debate (and a necessary debate it is) is not about message, but rather comes down to methodology... If we as the Church (and the secular world around us) are entering a new era (posmodernity), would it be appropriate to adapt our methods (not our message), but our methods, in order to be salt & light to people who reject truth claims?

The method of my father used to teach me right from wrong was effective... simply put, it worked. But in the time from my childhood to that of my own children, the world under us has changed. My father never had to worry about what I might find on the Internet, simply because there was no Internet. He didn't have to worry about what my little eyes would see on 500 channels of TV, because we only had 3 channels. He didn't have to worry about me rejecting all truth claims, because it hadn't become so prevalent within our culture. His method of teaching right from wrong worked! All I need to do as a parent is modify his method to account for the changes that have occurred within the culture over the last generation. It would be foolish of me to tamper with the message, because it is still critical for my children to learn right from wrong. But I have no problem adapting the method to account for any cultural changes. And this is all we are proposing to the Church.

I believe an additional part of the confusion develops from the cultural definition of the word "church". We Americans are so accustomed to saying things like, "I'm going to church", "what church do you attend?", "I really like the pastor at the new mega church", etc. We know in our hearts that The Church is people and not structures, but our language betrays this idea. In reality, culturally speaking, the church is the building where the people gather. And unfortunately, as believers, we tend to define our faith experiences by the space in which they occur. What I and others are proposing as part of this "emerging, micro, cell, etc." phenomenon is a redefining of the word church within our greater culture. This adjustment to the word's definition would focus on the people and not the locale of their activities. Of course, to redefine a word is a near impossible task without an enormous marketing campaign, so instead of trying to convince the world that The Church is people and not structures, instead I will live that out and hopefully impact a few along the way. And as I and the thousands of others like me do just that, slowly we will impact the greater culture.

I know that all of this barely begins to scratch the surface of the debate... for some it will hopefully be something interesting to chew on... for others it may just be a waste of perfectly good blog space...

Until next time... vaya con Dios, Amigos!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Apologetics... of sorts

A few days ago I received this from a friend...


Came across this.

Trying to understand the Emerging Church Movement a little.

Any input?

This is the pastor that I grew up under. His affiliated with the same fellowship of churches that I am affiliated with.


Our gatherings are more ancient church (i.e. New Testament) than medieval (Catholic - as the article points out). We worship from house to house.

We are very concerned with method & message. I believe the method can and should change (like Paul - 1 Cor 9:19-23 NIV Message). We believe that the message CAN'T change (the author of the article hints at the fact that even the message will be flexible). Our message is that salvation is through Christ alone. Repent, be baptized, then become the hands, feet, voice, and heart of Christ wherever you are. We are about a 24/7 faith, not Sunday's & Wednesday nights.

What's interesting is that a good number of the critics of this movement (if you can call it a movement) happen to be dependent on the traditional church structure for their livelihood. I honestly feel that they may look at what we do as a threat. If what we do (and thousands of others like us) continues to grow and continues to pull people out of traditional church environments, their jobs could be at risk.

Our model has no overhead. We have no paid pastor, no mortgage, no building fund, etc. and one of the most freeing things has been the way we give our tithes & offerings. Each family prayerfully considers which ministry, missionary, poor family, evangelistic outreach, etc. that they believe God is asking them to support and then we give. 100% of the money goes. I don't believe there is another church model that can claim that. At the traditional church we left, 83% of the total money put in the plate ($2.5M annually) was spent inside the walls of the church (salaries, curriculum, programs, etc.). This left only .17¢ of every dollar for ministry outside of the church structure (community ministry, foreign missions, etc.).

I personally see this as signs of a self-centered church where people tend to be much more concerned about there own "spiritual growth" than in truly being the church in the community around them.

Please note that I have not arrived yet. In the past I have been accused of being a gnostic and of turning my back on the church. The truth is, many traditional church members and ministers don't understand what we are about. From a distance they will throw stones, but what's interesting is that when they talk to us or see us up close, they leave challenged to live a deeper faith. That alone could be reason enough for our existence... then I remember the people that are connecting to their Father in heaven and to each other and to their community through what we do and I'm reminded that we exist for many, many reasons.

I'll try and reply to more of the article later.



Thursday, April 27, 2006

Revelation at the Gates of Splendor

Reclining in my Lazy-Boy last night about 11 something, my late night reading was interrupted by a phone call from my 19 year old daughter that started off with the words "First, I'm OK." Now, if that doesn't get your adrenaline pumping, then you are either demised or not the parent of a 19 year old female.

Over the next few minutes her mother and I discovered that she was on her way to the Chapel at Taylor University in Indiana where she is a student. Her anguished voice told us that the students and staff were mustering there because word had just reached the campus of an horrific collision involving a semi-trailer and a Taylor University van. Students and staff returning from activities in Fort Wayne had been struck by a semi that crossed the median. Things weren't OK.

Four students and one staff member dead. Four others "life-flighted" to area hospitals.


She was off to pray and comfort with others and would call us with more information when it came her way.

So we sat and waited. Then we thought to call our friends and family members who would likely worry if they saw this on the morning news. Then we sat, lost in our own thoughts. We thought of the parents of the four other students from our neighborhood that were at Taylor. We thought of the parents of four students who would be getting unexpected visits from the State Police that evening. We prayed. We anguished over the common pain of parents who suffer their children's passing, grateful that we were spared. And in quiet communion with God, I thought.

How horrible for those involved. What pain for the survivors. I prayed for those families as my heart ached for them. I examined what we could do to help. I prayed some more.

I thought, what of the truck driver? He survived - 27 years old, in serious condition physically, and who knows what condition he will be in emotionally when he has to come to terms with his involvement in a collision that killed five and injured others. Something else struck me - what condition is he in spiritually? I realized that this was a question that I would not normally ask, and that alerted me. God holds my thoughts, too. Pay attention, I thought, to the whisperings of God.

Alone and injured, in a hospital far from his home in Michigan. I thought about how he would feel, accused, blamed, guilty at having survived, and probably receiving the anger of others. Could he find comfort and healing in his knowledge of a just and loving God? And something else struck me.

I thought of Nate Saint and Jim Elliot, two of the five missionaries murdered by Auca Indians in Ecuador, as they worked to share the Gospel fifty years ago. We knew nothing of the story that started as "Through Gates of Splendor", but we know now something of how it turned out. The horrible murder of those five on a sandbar in the jungles of Ecuador was the key that unlocked the hearts of many of those isolated indians, including the hearts of the murderers themselves. The story continues, quite unlike it began, as Auca indians, having been touched by God through those five, reach out to others around them. Their world is changed, because five missionaries died on the sandbar in the jungle.

I thought about those students and staff member that died last night. This morning I was told that they all professed a relationship with God that made their lives different, and made an impact on those around them. Who could imagine a God that would use the deaths of those that love Him to change the life of someone, maybe an injured truck driver, that didn't know Him?

Fifty years ago, nobody could have imagined a savage, war-fighting tribe of Ecuadorian indians would be taking the love of an all-powerful God to other isolated tribes. Fifty years from now, I pray we look back on yesterday in the same amazement and wonder, as we realize what the deaths of these five saints have changed.

I know they have changed me.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Rebellion of Thought... the film

The Brothers Williamson's film Rebellion of Thought has been pre-selected to have it's world premiere at the 19th annual Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, October 26-29, 2006.

This gives us a deadline to get the picture completed and ready for the big screen. After over five years in the making it will be good to get this film in front of audiences and to let the debates begin. Since the film takes a critical look at the role of the Church in a post-modern world, we anticipate good discussions, healthy arguments, and only moderate tar & feathering.

Actually, the words of Christ come to mind as we prepare to screen Rebellion of Thought in my adopted hometown. "A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." It's a good thing Brad is from the faraway country of Michigan... or else there could be serious tar & feathering.

Keep your ears out as we chronicle the joys and challenges of getting the film completed and please let your friends know about the upcoming premiere... there's no place like Charlottesville in the fall!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

How will real life change happen in the context of our church?

Karen Williamson wrote:

I've been thinking. . . .

How will real life change happen in the context of our church?

Fact: It is God who changes people, and the Holy Spirit who somehow helps.
Fact: Frequently, the Holy Spirit uses people to help change people.
Fact: People have to want to change, and do certain things to facilitate change in their own lives. I cannot change someone else.
Fact: The Church is made up of wounded, sinful, hurting people who need a Savior, not only for salvation, but for healing and wholeness.

Theory: Real change is probably going happen in smaller, more intimate groups where honesty and accountability are safe and expected, rather than in a larger group setting.

Question: How will we structure our church gatherings so that everyone is encouraged to work on those parts of our lives that need real change, to seek support and prayer in our areas of need, and then to go and help others do the same all week long?

My own thinking: As we have grown, it has become easier to come in and out of our time together on Sunday being rather anonymous, not necessarily intentionally, and not because the hurts and struggles and needs do not exist, but . . . . just because. It probably isn't going to happen in a gathering of 50.

Some in our church body are connected with a core group where real life change is happening. The extroverts in our group will continue to speak up, and some have been open and honest in some of these ways. But a good number of our introverts may continue to show up just like they always did, going to and from church quietly, and not very honestly.

I'm not bringing this up as an issue of size, though that is an obvious consideration. But rather, whether large or small, how will we as a church communicate the expectation that we don't keep "doing church", even in a new and fresh way, without our being changed in the process? That this a place where we expect healing and growth to take place, because we are a bunch of wounded, hurting, and sinful people coming together before a benevolent, gracious, abundantly loving Father and Savior?

Any thoughts?

Monday, December 12, 2005


Last night was a beautifully cold night and it happened to be the night my little organic "church" gathered to feed the homeless. We partnered with a teeny "real church" on the south side of town who was hosting the men and all we had to do was show up, serve the meal, eat the food ourselves, then hang out for an hour or two talking, playing games, soaking in the strange smells, etc.

So I left my warm, newly re-sided, freshly painted homestead on my five+ acre lot nestled along the blue ridge mountains of Virginia and climbed into my BMW 325i. I fired the engine and wound my way up my 600 foot, snowy, icy, slushy driveway. As an aside, the guy who invented the heated seat deserves a medal. Mine warmed the leather right up to the point I didn't even need to wear my coat. It made the trip in the passenger's seat.

Out on the road my comfort was temporarily placed in the back seat while my complaining spirit took the wheel. There's a four mile stretch of road from my house to the first stop light where you can't pass and I happened to get behind some old cottonhead just creaping along. What a pain... there's not much worse than being in a sporty vehicle that can't do what it's designed to do. If my auto-traction indicator doesn't light up the dashboard on the ice patches then somehow I feel I'm not getting my monies worth out of the vehicle.

Along the way my bored car told me she needed her tank refilled. So as soon as I got around the slow-me-down I found a place where I could complain about the price of gas. At least the folks at the major petro companies don't need to worry about becoming homeless... with what their raking in lately they ought to be set for a while.

I made the rest of the trip to the sounds of one of my favorite radio stations. The one my wife likes when they play acoustic sets in the morning, but can't stand as the day wears on and the other instruments start showing up, and the volume gets cranked, and the lyrics & guitars all get distorted into a heap that has to force its way out the speakers... it's the FM I listen to when I want to feel cool and young and hip and... you get the point. Anyway, the Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, etc. made the drive with me.

I got the last parking space at the little church and nearly ran over three homeless guys in the process. They were standing around drinking coffee as I whipped around the corner and dove for the spot. I'm sure I probably offended them as I climbed out and locked my car door. I asked them if they had already eaten and they said they had. I asked them if it was good and they said it was. Then I probably offended them again as I told them I was glad the food was good, because I needed to get inside a get a bite myself... "who's the guy in the BMW coming here to eat our dinner?!"

I opened the door to the church and was nearly washed away in the sea of cots... literally wall to wall cots, many of them occupied, all of them marked with a handful of belongings. I had to make my way toward the kitchen, sometimes scooting sideways to get there.

The meal itself was good (our group had prepped it)... ham, green beans, rolls, jello salad, cookies, etc. I joined our group late, so I jumped right into eating and sought out a table where I was able to enter into conversation with a couple of the men. The thing that struck me right away was how it was difficult to tell the difference between some of the homeless and those serving them. The two I was speaking with could have been either, but I was either too afraid or too smart to ask, so I just let it ride.

Both of these gentlemen were black and both shocked me with their knowledge of the history of punk music. In my mind punk music has always been a white thing from my youth. Similar to the stereotypical concept that I've always had that rap was a black thing. One of these men was in his forties and the other in his late thirties and together we discussed all the groups from my youth... Black Flag, the Dead Kennedy's, the Ramone's, the Clash, the Kinks, the B-52's, the Sex Pistols, etc., etc. Then as quick as the conversation began it was over... I don't know if I got up to get more desert or what, but when I returned they were gone and it was done. It was almost like a strange dream where you think it might have really happened, but you're afraid to mention it to anyone in fear that they might point out that it was only a chimera.

I spent the rest of the evening playing cards with my eight year old son and his friends. We dealt a couple of mighty hands of "war" while a handful of the homeless guys huddled in a corner to watch the dvd of Cinderella Man. Upon retrospection, it must be an interestingly inspiring film for a homeless person to watch. In a bizarre sense, widespread poverty in the midst of the great depression could possibly be a comforting scenario to those with nothing. But then again, it's only a movie.

There was no discussion or debate over whether the film should be nominated for Best Picture at the 78th Annual Academy Awards. It was just men glued to a story, passing time, two hours closer to bed time, two hours closer to the next meal, two hours closer to...

Every year I ask a certain single friend of mine what he's doing for Thanksgiving or Christmas and year after year he gives me his standard response. He tells me he's gonna go down to the bus station to watch people who have somewhere to go. That's what last night felt like. It was as if I were at the bus station... a few men gathered around the tv in the corner, a couple people playing cards, a few others stretched out on benches or cots with their backpacks nearby... all of us waiting patiently for a bus that would never arrive.

I had a couple of other brief conversations with a couple of the guys where we exchanged courtesies, etc., while I prepped to leave. I shook a couple of hands, smiled, said goodbye and climbed back into my car... my safe, secure, foreign automobile.

I didn't witness it, but I learned later that when I was walking out another friend of mine was walking in. He went inside to give his jacket to one of the homeless men he had befriended. He went inside to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Me, I fired up my BMW, turned on the seat warmer and drove home... my jacket riding shotgun the whole way...

At least I've noticed the disconnect...