Friday, December 31, 2010

music this week!


hey, everybody! happy new year!
a super-talented musical friend of mine, kat jones, is gonna be in town this sunday and i asked her if she wouldn't mind playing some songs for us. i know we are a music loving bunch and it's not often that we get around to having music, so i jumped at the opportunity. figured since we haven't got anything specifically planned and we're currently between books, this might be a nice little break for everyone before we get back into our regularly scheduled program. sorry for the late notice, but i just found out late last night that kat would be able to do it. i hope you guys can make it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

interview with hannah

Hey everyone! I am currently writing a series on my blog in which I interview my friends. My last post was an interview with Hannah! Here's the link!

Still carrying the book banner

I know we "agreed" upon the Claiborne book, but I thought maybe a change of voice would be interesting as well if anyone's up for it. I've read some Kathleen Norris, and her thoughts offer insight into much of what many of us are dealing with. I especially loved her book, Amazing Grace (link to book on amazon) where she offers a redefining of Christianese terms that have been ruined for many of us.

The other week, our guest speaker was talking about her book on depression Acedia and Me, which I just ordered and can bring Sunday as well. (link to book on amazon)

I'm up for reading Claiborne still, of course, just wanted to throw it out there for responses.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve

Hey all!
It's Christmas Eve!
How about a link to the very first "recorded" Christmas service?
Click here!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This Week at EmDes


I have started and scrapped this blog post like nine times...The second draft got so insanely out of control, I decided to copy it into another document to develop and play with some before hopefully posting to my personal blog. I'm sure you are all grateful for that!

What I really want to communicate to you all is simple but getting it out in a concise way, yah, not so much. Here's the amalgamated version...

We are starting group @ 5pm this Sunday to create some time and space to visit with a new acquaintance/friend of mine (and yours too), Becky Garrison. Jim and I just missed an opportunity to participate in a conversation with Becky when we were in Seattle, hosted at Christine and Tom Sine's intentional community, Mustard Seed House . Consequently, my friend and MSH resident, Eliacin Rosario-Cruz, connected us via Facebook and email.

Becky's flight is scheduled in about 4:10. I will pick her up and bring her back to hang out with the group...if all goes well, we'll be back by 5:00ish. I'd like to ask everyone who is coming to plan to bring a 'pot-luck' type dish to share so that we can enjoy a fabulous community meal, the gift of a new friend and as always great conversation.

Jim and I will facilitate our 4th Sunday of Advent centered on the topic of Peace...or lack there of. It might be a little raw...but, what would you expect from us, right?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2nd Annual EmDes Christmas Eve Brunch

(Posted for Debbie)
The 2nd Annual EmDes Christmas Eve brunch is THE HAPPEN' Christmas party of the season! Please join the whole EmDes crowd at our house on Friday, December 24th at 10:30 A.M. for food, fun and basic holiday mayhem. We will conclude our observation of Advent, sing carols, celebrate, laugh and hopefully see a Christmas play. (Hint to the kids!)

Holiday traditions in this house involves new and different foods. Forget the same old brunch egg dish! This year is the "Make and Grill" your own mini-pizza bar. We will have pre-grilled mini-pizza rounds. Please bring your fav toppings..... pepperoni, mozz cheese, veggies, fruit toppings, anchovies (well not really)...whatever you like on pizza. Folks can build their own pizza and we will grill them to perfection. Kids of all ages love this meal!

All are welcome even if you are unable to bring anything. Really. We mean that! Just come.

Sheri and I will have plenty of mini-pizza rounds and sauce. We will also have coffee, tea, soda etc. Additional food suggestions include fresh veggies, adult beverages, fresh fruit, baked goods and cheeses. (Have I mentioned all are welcome and no one is obligated to bring anything!?)

If you do plan to bring food please post with that information. No fruit cake. Really. We mean that!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Blanket and Sock Drive

Per Adam's suggestion, I'm putting up this friendly reminder about the blanket and sock drive that my Jr. High girls group is organizing. The plan is to collect donations through Dec. 12th or 15th and then take them out to Tempe to simply hand them out to anyone who wants or needs a way to keep warm this winter.

This is something they came up with on their own and it makes me proud. I love their hearts and really want this to be a success for them. It'll go a long way towards their confidence in starting their own non-profit "ThisSocks".

So, if you all have any old blankets, socks, etc., hanging around the house, please bring them the next couple of Sundays and I'll gladly take them off your hands.

Peace and Love


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Photo Shoot with Fun Family this Saturday AM

Hey all,

In case anybody is looking for something to do this Saturday morning (December 4th) around 10am, you can come hang out with us as we take family photos of our friends, Carletta & her 9 children.

Tara and I have been wanting to do this for them as kind of a parting gift from us (Ha - well, Tara will be providing the photography... I'm moral supporter + kid coordinator:-).
We'll be picking them up around 9:30AM and driving over to Folley Park which is less than a mile from their house. [MAP] We'll just be hanging out, getting a few family shots, individual shots, and candids of course. We'll also have brunch-type food & drinks (pastries, bagels, juice, etc).

The final goal will be to present the family with at least one big print/storyboard (maybe 20"x30") for Christmas. If anybody else would like to contribute some $$ to the printing, then we'll be able to do more...

Looking forward to seeing many of you at the Schroeder party that night as well!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

reinterpretation of some parts

Brain McClaren just posted some thoughts of Herzog that reinterpret some passages of scripture that I found pretty mind blowing. Check it out here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

short film: "this KINGDOM"


this KINGDOM from phos pictures on Vimeo.

A moment in the life of Brian Wolke, his wife, his kids

and their challenge.

Directed / Edited: Eliot Rausch

Director of Photography: Lukas Korver, Matt B. Taylor

Message: Darren Rouanzoin

Music: Kreng / Song: Merope

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Laundry Love at Christmas Time

I was asked to write a blog about Laundry Love, so here it goes.

Many of you have heard about it already, but here is the jist of what we are doing.

Monthly, we've been visiting a Laundromat in downtown Mesa, providing snacks and drinks, paying for laundry, helping fold clothes and getting to know people. As you may expect, all of the families that show up each month are struggling financially, some are living in temporary housing and some are homeless. It has been great getting to know them and hopefully, as I recently read Jesus would do, loving them wastefully.

We have a few new developments to share:

  1. The Laundry we were in is closing down. Luckily, owner has another Laundromat just down the road which he is able to keep open. This new one is at 58 S. Mesa Dr (Mesa Dr. just south of Main St on west side of road). Since we have to move, we are also taking this opportunity to change the date. We are now moving to first Friday of the Month. So, the next Laundry Love will be at new location on Friday, Dec 3rd. As always, we could any help you can provide.

  2. With Christmas coming, we also thought it would be nice to try to help some of these families have a special Christmas. So, we are collecting as many gift cards (or money to buy gift cards) as possible in various denominations ($10 - $50) from food stores (Basha's, Fry's, Food City, Rancho Market) or Walmart cards. We plan to have EmDes kids make some Christmas Cards at our next meeting to put with the gift cards.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Connecting and Wholeness

Saw this incredible TEDx talk this morning, and I thought it would fit in well with our recent conversation about community and connecting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Dear EmDes family...

I am so sad to say that Chloe has the stomach flu. It came on @ midnight and she's been up vomiting since and it's now 3:30AM. I am doing my best to try to get the word out as fast as I can. Obviously this creates a conflict for me hosting group later today. I need to see what's going to further evolve with her...or who else in the house may come down with it.

I guess something like this is bound to happen at some point...putting us all in an awkward spot...but I really hoped it never would. Thank you so much for understanding.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


Hey all,

Just a quick post to let everybody know that the photo shoot/picnic we were planning to do this Saturday with the Towns family has been pushed back. The mother's schedule got rearranged a bit, so we'll try again to do this probably in 2-3 weeks... I'll keep everybody in the loop.

Have a great Halloween!

- Adam

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Primary


So we're going to be voting on a book in the next week, but I'm not sure what options we're voting on. I know Joy said Monkey Town probably covered much of the same discussions we have already been through many times, but I think Claiborne's new book was mentioned. If anyone has more suggestions for the vote, please put them up here in the next couple days.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

thoughts on a not so personal god

I don't know how many of you read Magpie Girl's blog, but I have followed her for a few years now. She used to be a pastor in a typical evangelical church, but she has slowly moved into a more all-embracing multi-faith practice. She recently blogged about the idea of a personal god when your spirituality expands. From her blog:
This shift from a personalized, highly-involved God to something wider and less humanoid can be unsettling for a lot of people. I often get questions around the idea of: “Well, if God is not personally in charge or me or personally involved with my life, what does that mean!??!” It’s a big shift, and not everyone makes it, or even needs to make it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Are the Ingredients of Community?

As another installment in our series on "community," I wanted to get these thoughts bouncing around on the blog...

Months ago, Jacob and I spent a decent amount of time working on some ideas regarding "intentional community." How is it created? How is it sustained? How is it contextualized in different living & cultural environments, e.g., rural vs. suburban vs. urban? To keep things simple, our thoughts were confined to the context of the U.S., but I'm thinking most of the conclusions can be applied across most borders and cultures...

A singular question has been running through my mind for a few years now, and I think we've talked about it here & there at EmDes:

What are the ingredients of Community?

And when I say "Community" I'm referring to the sort of experience that David recounted about his grandmother and what Joy termed as an "innate part of our humanity." The sort of connection with other people that fulfills something at our personal core.

After scribbling at the whiteboard in my garage for a while, this is the condensed version of what Jacob & I concluded:

There isn't really any order intended in this list except for the two items above the line: Proximity & Commitment. Those two seemed foundational to achieving the depth of connection that we're talking about. There's a lot that could be said about each aspect of this "recipe", but I don't want this post to get too long.

What do you think about these ingredients?

Friday, October 15, 2010



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Biblical Womanhood

Just in! Rachel Held Evans is going to do a year of "biblical womanhood"-living out the commands of the bible for women. I am planning on following this closely. Totally blows my mind. From her blog announcement:
This means, among other things, rising before dawn each day (Proverbs 31:15), submitting to my husband (Colossians 3:18), growing out my hair (1 Corinthians 11:15), making my own clothes, (Proverbs 31:22), learning how to cook (Titus 2:3-5), covering my head when in prayer (1 Corinthians 11:5), calling Dan “master” (1 Peter 3:5-6), caring for the poor (Proverbs 31:25), nurturing a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4), and camping out in the backyard for the duration of my monthly period (Leviticus 15:19-33).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In the spirit of Community....

Over @ Communitas Collective we are having a dialogue around community as well.

Lots of good thoughts being shared. I particulary enjoyed this post by our friend, Kathy Escobar..."My love Hate thing with Community"

I'd encourage you to visit communitas and check out the articles on community and other stuff...My contribution will be posted there tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

agnostic christian

I have in my rss feed a blog called Existential Punk. This blog is written by a woman named Adele. She recently posted about being a Christian agnostic. I found that it might be interesting to some of us at Emerging Desert. Here is the link to that particular post if you are interested.

Here is more about her in her own words:

My name is Adele and "i am thomas, doubter. i am judas, betrayer. i am nicodemus, reluctant in the night. i am st. john of the cross, soul darkened by love. i am a christian. i am not." (i borrowed this from David Henson at the blog unorthodoxology b/c i like what he said and i resonated with this.) i am also "lost, wicked, and depraved but redeemed by the grace and beauty of God." ( i also resonated with this and borrowed it from Eugene Cho at the blog beauty and depravity.)

i am a traveler who currently resides in Sacramento, CA with my partner and love of my life, Katryna, and our dawg Mushu, a Tibetan Spaniel. i am currently going through long-term treatment for Chronic Lyme Disease, other tick borne diseases, and heavy metal toxicity.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sopa Supper

Sheri and Debbie are bringing a sopa dish this Sunday. Recommended sides are cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, and breads. Please post what you are planning to bring in hopes of avoiding four people all bringing an avalanche of cheese (but wait... that sounds awesome).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

COMMUNITY 2.0...beyond the church

To is a word that has been over used in many contexts and poorly executed in others. For too many years my brand name church dictated what community was and how to know I was 'doing' it right.

It's only now, completely outside the walls of the the church that I can admit the persuit of community or finding a place to feel safe and belong, is innate part of our humanity, not a construct of the church...the desire to be part of a community has existed forever. From the foundations of civilization, people have instinctively formed communities, tribes, clans etc. We are designed to need each other.

Truthfully, I never thought about community, what it is, or if I 'had it' until it became a big movement in 'the church' in the 80's and 90's. Even though I already had community in many contexts, I never really contemplated identifying it or labeling it until community inside the church became paramount. Then I was obsessed and I did what ever I needed to to make it happen. Sometimes it felt real and other times it didn't...Some of the people I met in and through those various communities back then, are still in my life and are integral parts of the web of community I continue to assemble and value today.

What I know now is that I need all kinds of people in my life...not just people from a particular brand name church, parenting or marriage ministry or women's group. I need people in general that care about me and will be there when the shit hits the fan. Emerging Desert is one of the most important communities in my life for sure but it's not totally 'it'.

Leaving the narrow-mindedness of my past life, has given me the freedom to pursue relationships and add people to my 'community' I would not have before. I've found very real community at the studio where I practice Yoga...I've found it in and through social networking media like Facebook, twitter and blogs...I've found it in developing relationships with conservative Catholics and Muslims as well as in serving parachurch ministries and community organizations like Save the Family.

Right now, community for me is about people...period. I want people in my life that I can know intimately and who will want to know me more intimately. They can be from any where. I love how David refered to his grandmother's community as "a mosiac of loves"...a perfect analogy. Community is a colorful, diverse network,(web) of people that make my life more rich and more is the people I love.

Meditation on Community

On the topic at hand, and in light of the funeral this week that you all laughed at me for looking forward to...

The meditation notes on community that I offered last week in a small Episcopal church in Yuma AZ.:

Community; our need for one another

Community is a very sacred word and a very powerful concept and it was everything to this Lady. My grandmother was apart of this community in Yuma, in Business, in society, in media, in radio, in schools, in groups, in organizations, in church and in Her home.

Community is the most basic of needs for all of us. There is an ever-present battle within us to fight our need for one another; we are tought by every mean, to tolerate, coexist and remain independent, self absorbed and self-sufficient.

Sociology may tell us groups just aimlessly happen. Psychology may tell us people find groups. Science may tell us that homogeneity is tantamount. Philosophy may tell us our identity is in pieces. The government may tell us to keep to ourselves

The sinful nature tells us to be addicted and shackled by our own desire God tells us: we need each other: for both proactive into the good and reactive out of the bad.

From Adam on, the first thing God said is not good? For man to be alone.

One community:
We are called to costly community while
Comfort and affinity call us numbing uniformity.

Christ called us to diversity: His disciples...
A zealot and a tax-man
A rebel and a fed.

Acts 2:42-47
Acts 4: 32-37

Ellen, Gamma Wheeler led a life of community that was as colorfully diverse as her many hats and her cloths and her interests and her friends.

Her Legacy:
Her legacy of community is profound. Her collection of friends in the garden of her life is vast. Her breadth of influence and mosaic of loves was a testimony to a heart that was actively and violently being emptied for others.

May we all strive as she did in so many ways to be more Christ-like in that way. For the joy of His bride, the church, His community. Her actions are an avalanche of community and love far louder than spoken, preached, or whispered words.

And so I ask
Will we be a catalyst? Will we be intentional in our circles? Will each of us chose against ourselves, in order to come closer together?

You will find community somewhere. Will it be one that matters and will you help it matter more? What we do becomes who we are. May we be vulnerable and raw, continually seeking to keep the body healthy

You cannot love God without loving those around you. If we can’t love others that we do see then how can we love god who we cannot? .

Does your community matter?
Does your community look like heaven? That's what my Gamma wanted, and that's what makes her smile today.

We need to learn to deny our lust for self-sufficiency and celebrate our need for the body.
We were given two very specific gifts:

The Holy Spirit to be in us
And the body of Christ, which is the church community

No one likes a stubbed tow or a broken finger, and we cannot put up with this body we have. It has cancer and pneumonia. It is letting disease spread faithless religion and it is not breathing in the good things it needs to grow.

Community was everything to her

And may it be for us as well.

One Another's:
Eph: 4 be kind, compassionate to...
Colossians: 3 forgive...
1peter: submit to...
James 4: do not slander...
1 Thessalonians: encourage...
Romans 12: live in harmony with
1 John: if we love then His love lives complete.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

COMMUNITY: Our Collective Thoughts

Hey everybody,

Upon reading Donald Miller's recent blogpost, What “we” are missing in our lives…, I was reminded of the various talks we've had over the months about doing a blog series here centered on the concept of "community." Let's do it!

The structure will be pretty loose [as with all things EmDes:-].

The idea will be to simply offer your reflections on "community."
Where does your mind go when you hear that word? What are great examples of community both in past times and in our modern context? How is community created/achieved? Why is it important? What are the aspects of it that you just don't understand or make you frustrated? etc.

I'm trying to get everybody who's involved with the cohort author-invitations if they aren't already contributors (please let me know if I've overlooked somebody or if you have questions on how to post your thoughts). This is open to everyone, and I'm excited to see where this goes...

- Adam

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

next book?

hey alls,
I just came across a review for this book by Shane Claiborne, and I thought it might be an excellent discussion book. Let me know your thoughts.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Follow along on our Spain adventure!

As I mentioned yesterday, I keep a blog that will probably have lots of stories/pictures of our time in Spain!  You can follow along at Love & Paella.

We'll miss you guys like crazy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lectio Divina


Hey all...I thought you might like to read this great article on practicing Lectio Divina. The second half of the article addresses how to adapt the exercise for a group setting. I'm looking forward to practicing with our group tomorrow. Thanks for being open to this.

~ Carrie

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Some Good McClaren Critique

The Bam's will be proud of me throwin' down some Wheaton-ness (unless this guy is an outcast of sorts).

Either way, I found his blurbs on our beloved B.M. (what poor initials!!) to be quite interesting.  Makes me want to put his latest book on top of a bunch of other books that I long to read without ever actually making enough time to read. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Double Rainbow All the Way


I can't believe how many of you haven't seen this. It was the theme for Craig and Jim's birthday party. Turn the sound on and don't be sippin' any liquids. Probably NSFW.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Updater?

Hey all,

Just a quick post to see if anybody would like to/feels compelled/feels LED BY GOD ALMIGHTY;-) to take over the weekly email updates/reminders...

It's a pretty straight-forward process through our Google Group now, so let me know if you're interested... I'm ready to pass the torch!

[One idea could be a 3-6 month commitment, and then we keep rotating it around to other peeps...]

The Book of John

I was talking with a friend about our discussion through the book of John. He suggested that we might want to listen to Shane Hipp's sermons on it. So hey, here's the link-might be a nice addition to what's already rattling around in our heads.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Here's a link to a thoughtful post about reconciliation by Rachel Held Evans. In it, she shares several stories of others who share what they consider living a story of reconciliation looks like. Please take a few moments to read it-it's refreshing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Escape the Oven EmDes Retreat

I think we've decided on the weekend of August 7-8 (Friday and Saturday night) for our retreatish getaway celebrating the end of summer. I have two families committed and would like to get at least a couple more before I reserve the house. Please let me know asap as it looks like the house we would like to rent goes pretty quickly.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Motherload

I believe we were waiting to see what people's Mother's Day plans were before deciding on whether to do brunch at the Bamford's next Sunday. My family is celebrating at 1 p.m., so I could do brunch if others are able. Just comment to this post, and we'll make the "go" or "no go" call later on this week (and by "we," I have no idea who I mean).

Monday, April 26, 2010

TransFORM East coast

This Thursday April 29th I'll be headed to Washington DC to attend TransFORM, a FREE conference; a gathering of missional practitioners on the East Coast to learn from each other and to mobilize others for forming new missional communities.

The collective voices assembled to share is staggering for any conference...especially a FREE one. Our friend Kathy Escobar, is the first keynote speaker of the conference Friday morning! This is really exciting to me because Kathy is "just a woman who co-pastors a small...messy community in Denver"...she's one of 'us'. She doesn't have a book deal...or a speaking tour...she is simply in the trenches and telling about her experiences as someone who is living it forreals.

Some of the recognizable heavy hitters will be there Brian McLaren and Peter Rollins, but...honestly...I am most interested in hearing from the more obscure people, like Eliacin Rosario-Cruz and Anthony Smith...who again are incredible visionary emergence in the trenches...Their voices are significant and timely because both are people of color...Something that has been notably missing in the greater, more visible Emergent conversation for some time now.

Because this conference is going to be relatively small ~150 or so attending...I will have more proximity to many people I wouldn't otherwise...and that I may never cross paths with outside of the virtual world...again. Since I'm all about asking questions...and getting to know the 'other'...I want to ask you guys to check out the conference schedule and workshops...and let me know who and what in particular is of interest to you...if you have questions or ideas you want expressed or communicated...I would love to take that with me. I would be happy to attend the workshops that you all as my community, are the most eager or interested in hearing about. Please let me know ASAP ...because I am leaving early Thursday morning and I won't likely be back on the computer the whole time I am away. I am really excited for this opportunity and I want to take you with me!

By the way...did I mention that this conference is mostly cost-FREE for me? Airline ticket United Flight award miles...$5, ride from Dulles to the 'city' FREE...thanks to Kimberly Dinsdale and Brian Merrit...accommodations FREE...BIG thank you Amy only expense will be my meals! I can't wait!

Friday, April 23, 2010



As I reflect on the conversation Jim and I had in NM with our new friend Eliacin Rosario-Cruz, a Puerto Rican National currently residing in the Portland area... regarding our disdain of the lack of diversity in the context of emergence Christianity...I am struck today by his words: "To be diverse is not simply to invite the other in...and in so doing feel relieved that NOW we are a diverse group...and in that single act attempt to make the 'other' one of 'us'...Instead go out into the world of diversity around you...and learn from them...stand with them suffer with them...By doing that you will bring diversity back into your cohorts...your homes...your neighborhoods and churches.
In that wisdom and spirit...I would like to invite any of you who may be interested to join 'some' of the Schroeder Family Sunday @ 12:00pm at the State Capital in protest of the SB1070 signed into law today by Governor Jan Brewer. We plan to be home in time to host EmDes...We look forward to seeing you here or there on Sunday April 25th 12:00pm

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blog Update


Check out Joy's latest blog post regarding Emerging Desert and her thoughts on her own journey.

Monday, April 19, 2010

what is taco day?

maybe you've heard of taco day?
it's coming...

certainty and doubt


Yesterday, we talked a bit about those who hold certain beliefs true and those who are holding doubts. Is there room for both people in our group? Are there people who could come to our gathering and feel unwelcome because of issues in their life?

It was an interesting discussion, and I think it really challenged many of us. I certainly was engaged, and I learned so much from people who have actually faced certain situations in their lives. It's one thing to pose a hypothetical situation, but to hear answers from real situations is humbling.

I thank everyone who shared stories.

It's true that context and relationship can change us. It's one thing to have an opinion or belief, but it up-ends us when someone we love comes to us in their pain.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 11

Update to the update - our meeting has been moved to the Mac's House. See our "Next Gathering" section over yonder >>> for a googelly map...

Hi everybody we are looking forward taking our turn hosting Sunday while everyone is away. Directions to our house are here.

UPDATE: Hey everyone, Rachel is sick with a fever and throwing up today. Not sure what she will be like tomorrow (hopefully better). But is anyone else able to host tomorrow in case she's not better? Sorry for the last minute change!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Next Sunday we will celebrate Easter together at our house. True to the spirit of EmDes, there is nothing super-structured planned, and we would love for anyone and everyone (yes, you!) to contribute to our meeting, whether that be through a reading, song, prayer, thought, discussion point...

Adam and I are planning to lead a couple songs, and any other musicians are welcome to join us or to bring a song of your own to share.

Another point of interest: BRUNCH! Last year we had some awesome food so let's keep the tradition going! I will make a cheesy potato dish and we'll also provide the coffee. If you know what you'd like to bring, go ahead and leave a comment so we can get a feel for what else is needed. Ideas: fruit, juice, muffins, an egg dish, whatever...

(My stomach is already rumbling just typing that.)

As always, we will gladly welcome you if all you bring is yourself!

We'll also do an egg hunt for the littles, so if you (parents) are able to bring a dozen or so filled eggs per kid, that would be great.

Looking forward to next week!

*Emerging Desert Easter Brunch*

When: Sunday, April 4th
Time: 9am
Where: The Bamford House/Backyard

Monday, March 8, 2010

Convergence DVDs

Awhile ago, Donald Miller had posted a free "Convergence" dvd sampler set that I sent in my information for, and I received it today. I thought maybe we could keep the dvd in mind post-Rohr as we're trying to decide on what to do next. There are only three sessions on the sampler dvd:
1. Frustration and False Gods: Living in a Fallen World - Donald Miller, Dan Allender, and Tremper Longman
2. Spiritual Practices: How to Meet God in the Everyday - Donald Miller and Lauren Winner
3. Breaking the Ice: Learning to Share our Stories - Donald Miller and Phyllis Tickle

Here's the link to the website (obviously the sampler is a promotional tool to have groups actually buy the full dvd sets, but nonetheless):

The dvds are made for "small groups," though considering that Donald Miller is at the forefront and considering the people he is conversing with, the term "small group" is probably just the literal/denotative meaning (minus the emotional/connotative meaning some of us may relate to the phrase). Anyway, I can preview them and let you know my personal opinion if you'd like, or I can just bring the dvd to EmDes next Sunday, or everyone can ignore that I even said anything - it's all good yo.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bridging Gaps

Laundry Love - March 4, 2010
It was very busy. Matt (the gracious laundry owner) said he didn't think there were as many people, but I'm pretty sure we were as busy if not more busy than any night before. We went through about $170 in quarters helping with laundry for 10-12 families and bachelors who are having a hard time making ends meet.
Matt usually helps out with repairs and making sure we can get the machines working correctly, but this time he also jumped in helping to pour laundry soap and plugging quarters. My daughter Carolyn came along and mostly took pictures and played with kids, but was also getting into helping plug quarters in machines as well. You can find some of her pictures here:
We think about living paycheck to paycheck while these families bring in a months worth of laundry so their kids can have some clean clothes to go to school. I noticed while folding clothes with Marciella (mother of family that is there every month) that much of their clothes are permanantly stained, tattered, and just kind of things most of our kids wouldn't wear. And yet the kids and family are happy, and the oldest boy loves to talk and gets excited when telling about his favorite TV programs. Love those kids.
At one point in the evening, Oralia (who doesn't speak much Spanish either) was attempting to connect with Marciella (who doesn't speak English). I'm not sure I understand why, but Marciella pointed at me and told Oralia, he speaks Spanish. I was my dozen words of Spanish vocabulary, just attempting to be kind, sharing the work of doing laundry, and smiling thru it all we somehow communicated enough that she thought I was speaking her language.
There were many of the usual families there, which we love reconnecting with every month, but some new faces as well like this young mother with cutest little guy named Ricardo. While Joy (who stopped in after work late in the evening) and I helped her fold her laundry, our daughter Carolyn pushed Ricardo around the laundromat in one of the carts. During the folding, she asks us "why are you doing this?" Searching for answers, the best that came to mind was "we want to help".

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thursday Night Movie

(Posting on behalf of Tessa:)

Are any of the ladies interested in a girls night?

This Thursday, in celebration of International Women's Day, a few theaters in the Phoenix area will be showing a film based on the bestseller Half the Sky.

This inspiring book (I am assuming the movie as well) chronicles women from around the world that are able to turn their tragedy and oppression into opportunity and empowerment. The film begins at 7:30 at the AMC Mesa Grand 24 on Stapley.

If anyone's interested, leave a comment and we'll get in touch! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010



Monday night a group of about 12 of us gathered at the Bamford’s for a discussion about our EmDes community – what this term means to us now and what it may mean to us in the future. All of us were in agreement that EmDes has been crucial to our “spiritual development,” even though many of us are not quite sure what that means. We view the group as an embracing and honest community in which we can feel safe with our struggles and questions but admitted (I would say as a whole) that we could use more depth in personal relationships between individuals.

While most of us connect at EmDes on Sunday, we would like to be able to develop, or at least encourage, more intimate relationships. The dilemma, though, comes when we have to try to figure what our “purpose” is. (I apologize for the words in quotes, but I can’t think of alternative words without traces of possible IC connotations, so I put them in quotes to make me feel less cheesy). Are we going deep or wide? We want to be welcoming to newcomers, but how do we do this and try to grow deeper at the same time? With the limited amount of time in the week, how do we work on developing more substantial relationships with one another? We didn’t come up with a solve-all-our-problems-in-five-easy-steps program, but there were some viable options: breaking into small groups of about 3-4 people once a month (at EmDes), having a few people share their stories during group, having a mid-week get together sometimes for whomever could attend, starting a group chain email to keep up with people throughout the week. I’m sure we’ll talk more about it on Sunday, but most of us are excited (I dare not speak for all of us.) about the small group option where we perhaps have some “focus questions” and take it from there, basically serving as an opportunity to connect to one another without falling into the surfacey chit-chat syndrome.

During our conversation, we also shared what we felt we needed from the community, and while I won’t share everyone’s online, there seemed to be some common themes of desire for deeper connectivity, encouragement, and a general moving forward – past the bitterness and anger of experiences with the church and into a focus on developing a connectivity with God and what that may look like. We discussed the possibility reading through a book of the Bible for a future group “book,” which many people expressed interest in and is something we can discuss as a whole group. More pragmatic, but equally important, issues came up, such as sharing hosting opportunities once or twice a month, having someone else manage emails and blogs, and basic organizational restructuring, so those are also things we can discuss as whole group or people can volunteer to share/take over. I do dare to speak for those of us who were there in saying that we felt it was a validating and productive discussion that helped us understand better what we need and want from our community while also being cognizant of the limitations we face. And thus I end, abruptly because I can’t think of a better way to end eloquently, an extremely condensed summary of the EmDes “where is this relationship going” conversation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



This and other intriguing confessions about church, faith, fear, grace and God at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lent 2010


Just a friendly reminder that Lent is beginning next week on Wednesday and will continue for forty days until the third of April. The Tuesday before is called Shrove Tuesday and it is traditional to eat pancakes on that day. I will be celebrating in that style at Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert with many other various folks for breakfast (it's actually an official tweetup #evfat/#evtm if you are into that).

I encourage you to consider participating in observing Lent this year either by fasting from something you enjoy/or by adding in a discipline. This time is supposed to prepare your heart/mind/life in a period of waiting and mourning before the Easter season when we celebrate resurrection.

Maybe this is a topic to explore with your family and friends as well in the next week. Feel free to share how you would considering observing on this post, and I also look forward to discussing it next week when we all meet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday

We discussed Super Bowl Sunday and whether to get together or not. Appears that some are interested, so anyone who is interested is invited to come this Sunday eat some food, watch the game (or not) and enjoy each others company.
Sherri and Debbie are making Orange Pulled Pork and some BBQ chicken which will both be great for sandwhiches. I will have a fresh keg of Honey Brown Ale ready for consumption.

So, if you would like to bring something to share, suggested items are:
- Rolls, Breads, tortillas
- Side Dishes
- Other Superbowl type foods

If you want to respond back with items you're thinking of bringing, that'll help even things out.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This is my Home - LIA Documentary

After quite a few techno-difficulties (not with techno music - c'mon who doesn't love techno?), I finally was able to get this going. 

Thanks should go to Craig G, my homee, my brotha.  Also to Mark Z. of Facebook, who just sent you the password to see the video.  If you're not a member of the EmDes FB page, just let me know you need it.

This is my Home

Great job Life in Abundance, this is good stuff.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Blog Project

We came up with an idea for a Arizona-wide blog project yesterday, and to get that going, we need a few things:

  • We need a name.
  • We need possible contributors.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who Sinned?


As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

With the news from Haiti bringing images of horrible suffering, people of faith have, as they have many times before, attempted to explain the reason God would allow (or commit) such an act of tragedy. The most infamous of these, recently, has been Pat Robertson's remarks that the Haitian people practice voodoo. Thus, God's judgment.

We're no strangers to this kind of talk. John Piper recently inferred that a tornado in downtown Minneapolis was God's judgment against the ordination of homosexuals. Many human maladies, from natural disasters, to disease, famine, and poverty, have been linked to some sort of cause-effect of sin and judgment. Our views have been shaped by the gods of Rome, who reigned from above with vengeance and a lightning bolt.

We have a God of salvation, whose wrath has been poured out on the cross. We exist in a paradox of God's love, surrounded by the effects of a tarnished creation.

We ask the same question of the disciples when tragedy happens. Who sinned to cause this disaster? Who can we blame for this?

Our eyes are closed to another purpose. Tragedy in our world can be used to show God's glory. We can go out to the blind, the impoverished, and the people in bondage, and show God's glory through helping them.

Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" Some claimed that he was.

Others said, "No, he only looks like him."

But he himself insisted, "I am the man."

"How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded.

He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."

"Where is this man?" they asked him.

"I don't know," he said.

We can be God's glory. We can go out to this tragedy, and instead of looking to know who caused it, we can bring healing. Healing that alters their lives, until they are unrecognizable from the person they were before. His glory can be seen through our healing work in the world.

Instead of asking, "Who sinned," we can instead ask how we can bless others.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Prayer


This is the prayer that I was referring to in our gathering yesterday evening. This prayer has inspired and challenged me, and has really shaped the way in which I relate to God. Hope it brings peace to someone else too!


My Lord God,

I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,

and the fact that I think I am following

your will does not mean

that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that my desire to please you

does in fact please you.

And I hope that I have that desire

in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything

apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this,

you will lead me by the right road

though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always,

though I may seem to be lost

and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear,

for you are ever with me,

and you will never leave me

to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

Richard Rohr - Sat. Feb. 13


My services as organizer were graciously offered up by Jamie for the upcoming Richard Rohr seminar. It's on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 1:30 - 4:30 at Church of the Beatitudes. (Though there is one in Anaheim on March 19, so we could excuse ourselves for a road trip and beach meditation in the name of non-duality and presence. Disneyland would be a perfect place for such things, no?)

The cost is $25, though if 10 or more people go, there is a $5 discount. Not sure where we came up with the $5 cost that we talked about on Sunday; perhaps the $5 discount made us think we were being offered tickets at that amount.

Please respond if you plan on attending, so I can be making a list and checking it twice.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Like many of you, I have known that human trafficking & slavery still exists in various forms around the world, but I have recently been on a journey to dig deeper in understanding this tragic reality and I want to share some of my findings with everybody.

These injustices do not simply "still exist"... they are thriving. To put things into perspective...

"More slaves are in bondage today than were bartered in four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade."

-Not For Sale by Batstone(6)

I'll start with a basic definition for Human Trafficking -
the dislocation of someone by deception or coercion for exploitation, through forced prostitution, forced labor, or other forms of slavery. (source: Steve Chalke - Stop the Traffik)

It is estimated that the total number of individuals enduring this nightmare is in the realm of 27 million. 27 million human beings like you and me. 27 million collections of abilities and aspirations. 27 million hearts.

We talked a bit at our gathering yesterday about "compassion fatigue" as Jamie termed it, and this is yet another example of an issue that can easily overwhelm us to the point of numbness and inaction. But I have a growing hope and cause to believe that this doesn't have to be the case. More on that in a moment...

Here are a few more of the key statistics to build a fuller picture of what's happening around us:

- Over 150 countries in the world today serve as a source, transportation route, and/or destination for human trafficking, with the least developed nations being the most gravely impacted. (US State Dept)

- Of the 27 million individuals held captive today, 80% are female and 50% are children (US State Dept)

- Approximately 1.2 million children are trafficked yearly. That amounts to one child every 30 seconds... (UNICEF)

- Worldwide, traffickers generate a revenue stream for themselves upwards of $10 billion, while the trafficking trade in all its forms generates more than $32 billion when also accounting for the activities and goods produced by the victims. [These figures are only rivaled by drug trafficking and the illegal arms trade for the largest global crime] (International Labour Office)

- Here in the United States, approximately 17,500 individuals are trafficked into our country every year for forced labor and sexual slavery. (US State Dept)

So what can we do?

Like I mentioned yesterday with regard to these issues of injustice that need to be addressed, I think a "both/and" approach will ultimately be the most transformative, i.e, foster the ongoing creation of the kingdom of God. By this, I mean that those of us who are able to give financially towards local & global efforts that directly affect the problem should do so [check out a few recommendations of organizations below], AND there's also a component of individual action beyond financial donations that we are each called to explore.

This first natural step in individual action is to heighten our awareness of the issues [some reading and viewing recommendations are below]. But this awareness must necessarily lead to a tangible output. Or in the word's of Stop the Traffik and Oasis founder, Steve Chalke, "Expressions of outrage and sympathy without action are useless. Becoming aware, informing ourselves, is only the first step" (Stop the Traffik, 103).

The next step is to identify if/where we are unknowingly entangled in the massive web of human/trafficking. Again, Steve Chalke:

"We need to find out whether what we buy has a history, and whether that history is exploiting vulnerable people" (107).

Some of the more blatant industries where trafficked labor is widely used are the chocolate, coffee, cotton (clothing), and tea trades, among many others. As we've heard numerous times, we truly have the ability to "vote" with our dollars. Each of our purchases, whether intentionally or not, reinforce certain systems at play in the world's supply chains. Again, it can be overwhelming as a born-and-raised American consumer to sift through our hundreds of purchases & possessions, but I agree with this view:

"A traffick-free lifestyle is worth working at. Make one choice at a time. And it won't be just your life that is changed" (Chalke, 109).

I'm currently checking out the Free2Work website and exploring ways to become a more conscious and deliberate consumer. Another cool resource is

As we think about what else we can do as individuals and as a cohort, this challenge strikes a chord in me:

"Take Advantage of Your Access to Power for the Sake of the Powerless" (Batstone, 281).

Facing up to this challenge can take so many forms: political advocacy, commercial boycotting, volunteering with organizations that reach out to victims, raising awareness among the masses, and on and on. I'd love to brainstorm more ideas collectively sometime.

Anyhow, I wanted to at least get this information out here for our community to wrestle with and to highlight this day of awareness. Let's see where we can go with our action...


- The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking & Slavery by Kevin Bales & Ron Soodalter


- Frontline: Sex Slaves [additional resources HERE]
- Trade [also currently available for instant viewing for Netflix subscribers]


... among many others...

*Photo Credit: 2009 Trafficking In Persons Report (US State Dept)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This Weekend's Gathering...

Hey all,

This weekend's gathering will be our last free-flow dialogue before we dig into Richard Rohr's The Naked Now. We'll be using Life In Abundance International's recent documentary, This Is My Home, to kick off our discussion tomorrow.

This is my HOME (movie trailer) from Life in Abundance on Vimeo.

This Is My Home is a hopeful film that joins children and youth rising out of their poverty and life on the harsh streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


ALSO, Debbie & Sheri will be gracing us with another amazing culinary creation (Lentil Soup w/ Sausage, perhaps). So, if you're able, please plan to bring either a side dish or a dessert to add to the spread, AND leave a comment on this post with what you're bringing so we can all plan accordingly.

Looking forward to it!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Just Do It

"Prayer is not so much about convincing God to do what we want God to do as it is about convincing ourselves to do what God wants us to do."

--from the Introduction of Becoming the Answer to our Prayers, by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

Yesterday's discussion (or at least the part that I caught) made me think of this book that I read last year. To be honest, I didn't think it was as great as Claiborne's other books, but I did take some new ideas away from it. The main thing being something along the lines of: "Don't pray for things unless you're willing to be a part of the answer." For instance, don't just pray for poverty to end. Pray about it AND be a part of the solution. If you know a child that needs a coat but her parents cannot afford it (and you can), you don't need to wait for "A Sign" to tell you to just buy the coat and meet the need.

Anyway, very much on the same track with our conversation yesterday. We also own the book, and anyone is welcome to borrow it.