Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Methodist Blogger Profile: Mike Lamson

Mike Lamson of Soul Renovatus


have been married to my lovely wife Julia for 8 years plus, and have a precious 4-yr. old daughter, Grace. I am currently a Youth Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Mercersburg, PA and have been there for the last 1 and half years. I’m currently pursuing ordination as a deacon. Our family can be described as laid back, crazy, and lots of fun!

Why do you blog?
I originally started blogging just to get my thoughts somewhere. I have journaled for a while, but found out that I type much faster. With the rate my head spins, my fingers can keep up better on a keyboard than a pen.

Lately though, it has been more for connection purposes. As I find out I’m not as alone as I thought I was in the thoughts that I have, blogging becomes a healing process for me. I have spent many years being told I was crazy, or off-base for what I was thinking. I have found out through blogging (and reading) that there are many more people out there who are wrestling with the things I am wrestling with.

What has been your best blogging experience?
Honestly, right now has been. I know it sounds cheesy, but being voted a “Best of Methodist Blogosphere” for the week was encouraging to me. It actually told me that I might have some good thoughts and that my blog is actually helping others (which is another reason I wanted to blog). I really didn’t feel I had much to contribute to the conversation (that esp. of Emergent), but I guess more people are resonating with it than I originally thought.

What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
What are you talking about! I’M A NOVICE BLOGGER! Seriously, I don’t consider myself by any means to be an expert at blogging. It wasn’t just until the last couple weeks that I thought the stuff I say might have any substance to others.

But if I had to give advice, I would say determine what kind of blog you want to have. For example, is it something you want people in your church to read? I know of some people who have had to leave churches because of what they put on their blog. If you feel like you can’t talk to many in your church about the things you want to put in your blog, then don’t advertise it to the church. There are some things that I’ve wanted to post that I can’t because I don’t know how people in my church would take it. I have a private blog for those purposes.

Also, and I know this will sound strange given what I just said, but don’t worry about what other people will think about it. Like I said, I am not an accomplished writer or thinker by any means. I’m just sharing my story. Stories are powerful. So don’t ever think your story isn’t significant. You never know who you might help.

If you only had time to read three blogs a day, what would they be?
Jesus Creed (http://www.jesuscreed./org) by Scot McKnight. He has incredible thoughts on a variety of subjects, and is really helping fruitful dialogue occur b/w Emergent and whoever else wants to challenge their postures.

Emerging Church Blogs (http://www.emergingchurchblogs.info/), formerly Planet Emergent is a meta blogroll of many people in the Emergent conversation. It is always the first place I visit when I want to read some blogs. So many good posts there from a variety of people all over the world.

Ysmarko (http://www.ysmarko.com/) from Mark Oestricher of Youth Specialties. Youth Specialties has been a huge encouragement in my life as a youth pastor, and Mark always has interesting reading.

Who are your spiritual heroes?
I am huge fan of Rob Bell. He has put words and actions to everything I’ve been thinking about church. What they are experimenting with church are things I’ve always wanted to try/do. If we left the ministry, my and wife I said (and we were serious about this) that we would move to Grand Rapids to be part of Mars Hill.

My other spiritual heroes are all of those who live under the radar, who don’t want to get noticed, bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. There are too numerous to count, but I am grateful for these brothers and sisters who give up so much without receiving any recognition or accolade for it.

What are you reading at the moment?
New Insights into the Difficult Words of Jesus by David Bivin
Hurt by Chap Clark
Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
Emerging Churches by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger
Desire of the Everlasting Hills by Thomas Cahill
(Can you tell I like reading?)

What is your favorite hymn and why?
How Great Thou Art. It’s such a song of gratitude. As I worship leader, I find that it is a song that transcends all generations in every way. There is such a unity when I hear it sung. It is a moving experience every time we lift it up to God together.

Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?
Prayer in schools. I used to be so gung-ho about getting it back in the schools, and then I thought to myself, what’s stopping people from praying? So you don’t say it out loud, it’s not like you can’t do it, right?

What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
I don’t know if this counts, but the Rapture. I think it is one of the most destructive theological concepts introduced to the church. It encourages people to have a “doom and gloom” view of the world and spend all of their life on this earth waiting for it to go to “hell in a hand basket.” I just don’t see the Scriptures teaching us to be waiting for the pristine streets of gold, but to be participating in bringing the Kingdom of heaven here, with the hope and longing that all things will be restored in the end. Some people may already disagree with me, but it is a concept that’s only been developed within the last 150-200 years.

If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
Passing a law that recognizes secular humanism as a worldview, a religion if you will, instead of absolute truth. This is in relationship to all of the bashing Christians get for their views on things. For example, knowing that macroevolution is connected to a certain set of lenses, not an absolute, universal truth.

If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
I don’t know enough to comment on policy, but I would ask them to rethink itinerancy in relationship to longevity. I find many Methodist Conferences keep a pastor at a church on average for 5 years (maybe less). To me, that is just plain ridiculous. While I understand there are circumstances that warrant some of them being pulled, I feel like 5 years is really just getting started with a congregation.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
I would echo John Wesley, “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.”

What, if anything, do you worry about?
If I’m wrong. You know, “What if I’m wrong about this?” I think about all of the people I’ve led astray when I have been. I think about the many times where I might not have been very kind to those who disagree with me. I also worry if we will ever get out of debt.

If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
Sure. There any many things, but what I find that whether good choices or bad, it has shaped who I am now, and I don’t want to change that. I see how God uses me in the midst of triumphs and failures. I would’ve loved to make better decisions at different points in my life, but at the same time I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t. It is such a great testimony to the grace, love, and power of God!

Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
Europe. Any place but the United States. Sometimes I just can’t stand our culture. I’m not saying the European culture is better, but it’s just…different.

What do you like doing in your spare time?
Reading, playing guitar, video games, fantasy football, playing sports, spending time with my family, long dinners and great conversation.

What is your most treasured possession?
My laptop. I take it everywhere!

What talent would you most like to have?
Being a master organizer. I’m so horrible at it. I wish I could organize and feel energized after doing it.

If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner, who would they be?
Jesus, Peter, and Paul. It would be a great dinner conversation wouldn’t it?

4 comments:

Michael said...

Your comments about the Rapture are interesting. I don't know enough to agree or disagree. I've always preached to live for the kingdom TODAY rather than for tomorrow. In other words, doing more to bring others into the fold rather than being focused on getting "mine".

Thank you for giving me something to think about.

Andy B. said...

I also was struck by your answer about the rapture. Very nice thoughts!
-Andy B.

Anonymous said...

Your Rapture comments hit me right between the eyes as well. I agree with Michael. We are to live for the Kingdom TODAY. We are to spread the Gospel, TODAY. And we are to warn the LOST of the wrath that will come, but there is a way to escape it, TODAY. I believe the Rapture to be a Biblical Fact. However, that doesn't mean that I'm "sitting around waiting on the world to go to hell". God Forbid. Oh, and I am still contributing to my 401K. But, it doesn't really matter if you believe in the Rapture or not, as long as you have Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and are trusting in him alone for your Salvation, those of use who do believe in the literal Rapture can laugh at you as you rise in the air to meet the Lord saying the whole way up, "there is no literal Rapture". LOL. It will be funny.

Good and well thought answers.

Alvin Miller said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!

At: http://www.angelfire.com/crazy/spaceman/

Your jaw will drop!

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End of Days,Day of the Lord,Endtime,Judgment Day