Wednesday, January 11, 2006

E-pistle January 2006: Speckled Bird Flies Beautifully


Tonight I visited one of our VC house churches. The Speckled Bird House Church meets on Weds. nights in Northside in Ryan and Jesse's artful and hospitable home. I went so I could get to know them and their community better and so they could ask me questions about what it means to be part of the Vineyard Central network.

I want to talk about that first part.... them. This was such a beautiful gathering of passionate, loving, caring, grace-full, heart-felt people. If someone were to ask me... "what is a house church?" I wish I could bottle this group and then give them as an answer! Jill and Jona led gently and beautifully (I know I'm overusing that word, but it is just so true). Jesse and Ryan offered hospitality with such natural grace and ease that they literally disappeared into the woodwork and everyone felt so at home. Everyone else pitched in, participated fully, and engaged deeply with all that was going on.

I hope it doesn't bother them that I'm bragging on them like this - publicly, but both our network and the world should know about this gracious community of faith that is faithfully living out the Gospel. They are presently reading the book Abba's Child by Brennan Manning. I was pleased to get a copy tonight and Sarah and I are going to read it. It looks really good. You can tell a lot about a book when Richard Rohr, Larry Crabb, Michael Card, and Rich Mullins are giving it high praise on the back cover. Anyway, what matters for the sake of our present conversation is this - the discussion of this book sparked intimate, vulnerable, heart-felt sharing tonight. Transformation into the image of Christ was taking place tonight. As Paul aptly says (and tonight Drew so very aptly proclaimed), "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". Redemption was breaking old patterns and forging new ones. It was beautiful.

One of the questions that was asked tonight was about how Vineyard Central was part of the larger Vineyard Association. One of the things I have long admired about John Wimber and the Vineyard movement he birthed was the re-discovery of that oft forgotten member of the Trinity - The Holy Spirit. Too often churches have focused on Jesus or the Father and let the Holy Spirit just kinda slide by as a mere afterthought or nuisance. The Vineyard changed that in a big way. Our network stands in that same stream and re-members the Holy Spirit as essential to the Trinity (or maybe the Holy Spirit is re-membering us...). Tonight I experienced that at the Speckled Bird House Church. The Spirit was manifest... in simple ways - the humor and joy of friends together, the play of children, "Black church" reading of scripture (you had to be there!), and the sharing of lives.

It excites me to see such healthy churches gathered, like Speckled Bird. They remind me why I do this house church network thing. But more importantly, they remind us that there is great power in these little bands of Christ-followers who gather in living rooms, restaurants, coffee shops, and the like. I continue to see our network maturing ... house churches and clusters of house churches all over Greater Cincinnati. All of them living out the simple, profound, and beautiful Kingdom-oriented life that I saw tonight at Speckled Bird. It is in these little missional communities that real lives are changed, where mission is birthed, and neighborhoods transformed.

I'll close with this, if I could offer anything to those who gathered tonight it would have been a blessing. While sitting in the back, during the book discussion, I had a picture of myself standing in the chancel (front) of St. E's, arms outstretched, in priestly garb, blessing this group of believers: "The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."


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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Klinefelter Family 2005-2006

Klinefelter Family 2005-2006
Originally uploaded by aaronklinefelter.

From my Uncle Danny:

"People both embrace and react against parental teachings. It helps to understand your parents, if you know their parents.

In the Old South, families had traditions and reputations to maintain. Children often heard, "Remember who you are". In a mobile society each generation reinvents them selves. Most of my friends, try to start fresh once they leave home. I too focused on creating a fresh start,
until about age 40. Then I started looking at the ways that I chose to be free. I saw that they were influenced by my childhood home life.

In cultures with no written language, people have oral traditions. These oral traditions helped people know how they fit into the world. This year I discovered that my clan lacked oral traditions. I knew almost nothing about my great grand parents. When I was 20 I didn't ask,
and now at 55 my parents are no longer able to tell me stories of their grand parents. So this Christmas I decided to help my niece and nephews avoid my mistake. Larry, Nancy, Connie and I told stories of our grand parents, to their children, at the Christmas dinner table."

I recorded that conversation so as the oral tradition is now digital and preserved for future generations. You can download the mp3 audio file here (17 MB, 37 min.).

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Monday, January 09, 2006

VC Weekly Worship - Epiphany 2006

Yesterday was our first Weekly Worship Celebration/Gathering/Thingy. It ROCKED!

I don't even know how to describe it.... It was simple, profound, moving, meaningful, normal, and hopeful all at the same time. I would love to reflect more on it... to talk about how it was a great start to what promises to be a very significant corporate spiritual practice for our community... or about how it was a wonderfully collaborative effort of many people using their gifts... or about how edifying it was to be in St. Elizabeth's worshiping in the footsteps of where others have worshipped for the last 103 years... or the wonderful food and hanging out afterwards... or so much more, but I'm really tired... drained actually.

I'm sure some readers would love to hear about "Why"... why is this organic network of house churches having weekly worship services?! I could ramble on and on about that, but it would be best to just listen to what Kevin, Janet, Thurman, and I shared yesterday at the gathering. We had a "Town Hall Meeting" where we addressed that question and more. The audio file is here (21 MB, 43 min.).

Some other folks might be curious as to "what exactly are you doing"? Well, here's our skeletal structure of our liturgy (the whole of our gathered time, our "work of the people" - which is what "liturgy" means):
  • Greeting and Announcements for the Community
  • Worship in Song and Prayer
  • Hear the Word of the Lord
  • Learning as a Community
  • Thanksgiving and Communion
  • Sending blessing
Also, if you are so inclined... you can download The Whys Behind VC Weekly Worship Gatherings (a document, pdf, I created mainly for my own "thinking through" of our gatherings) and VC Weekly Eucharist Liturgies (three different Eucharist liturgies that I created/adapted/re-mixed for our community based on the Episcopal, Anglican, and United Methodist liturgies).

Peace to you. Much Peace.

> posted by Aaron at 2:06:00 PM - Comment (0) | Trackback (0)


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Genesis 1:1-5

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness. And the Spirit of God was hovering over its surface. 3Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4And God saw that it was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light "day" and the darkness "night." Together these made up one day. - Genesis 1:1-5

I'm back. This is a scripture that I've been reflecting on today. It is one of the upcoming week's lectionary readings and approrpriate for this New Year.

This New Year is full of vast expectations, hopes, dreams, and excitement... a few fears and worries (to be honest), but mostly good things.

Lots on my mind today... grieving for a friend's loss of a child (his neice and god-daughter), thinking about connectivism (a learning theory), trying to get back in the swing of school, excited about our upcoming VC weekly worship gatherings, and generally reflecting on the most significant events of the past year... something I'd like to spend some time on later.

I'm glad to be back blogging. Taking a break was good, though to be honest, I feel significantly "gun-shy" (which is a poor metaphor).

I've also been thinking about switching to WordPress... but need $166.00 for 2 years of hosting, which I don't have. Perhaps Ryan Hale could cut me a better deal? I'll have to ask (or maybe I just did).

Peace to you all as we ease into 2006. I excited to discover what God unfolds in and through us this year!

> posted by Aaron at 2:48:52 PM - Comments (7) | Trackback (0)


Thursday, December 08, 2005

I Need a Blogging Break

hum.... I need some space.

I'll be exploring that funny little place where Technology and Faith intersect over at my school blog, if you want to join in on that conversation.


> posted by Aaron at 12:04:26 PM - Comments (3) | Trackback (0)


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Blogging Policy and Ethic

Hum.... So my blog has caused a bit of a ruckus. Interesting.

Here are some links to how others have dealt with such things:
Leave It Behind > Brian Bailey: Fellowship Church Releases Blogging Policy:

Quotes I pulled from the above link -

"Personal Website and Weblog Policies

Some Fellowship Church employees who maintain personal websites and/or weblogs, or who are considering beginning one, have asked about the church's perspective regarding these sites. In general, we view personal websites and weblogs positively, and respect the right of our employees to use them as an avenue of self-expression and outreach.

As an employee of Fellowship Church, you are seen by our members and outside parties as a representative of the church. Therefore, as in all areas of daily life, a church staff member's personal website or weblog is a reflection on the church, whether or not the church is specifically discussed or referenced. If you choose to identify yourself as a Fellowship Church employee or to discuss matters related to the church on your website or weblog, please bear in mind that, although you may view your site as a personal project, many readers will assume you are speaking on behalf of the church.

In light of this possibility, Fellowship expects our staff to observe the following important guidelines:

Notify Your Supervisor.
Include a Disclaimer. - I work at Fellowship Church. Everything here, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Fellowship Church.
Respect Confidentiality.
Respect the Church and its Staff.
Respect Copyright.
Respect Your Time.
Respect Our Beliefs.
Follow the Employee Handbook.
Use Common Sense."

"Sample Blogger Code Of Ethics

1. I will tell the truth.
2. I will write deliberately and with accuracy.
3. I will acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly.
4. I will preserve the original post, using notations to show where I have made changes so as to maintain the integrity of my publishing.
5. I will never delete a post.
6. I will not delete comments unless they are spam or off-topic.
7. I will reply to emails and comments when appropriate, and do so promptly.
8. I will strive for high quality with every post – including basic spellchecking.
9. I will stay on topic.
10. I will disagree with other opinions respectfully.
11. I will link to online references and original source materials directly.
12. I will disclose conflicts of interest.
13. I will keep private issues and topics private, since discussing private issues would jeopardize my personal and work relationships.

I am not suggesting either of the above. I would probably tweak both. I blog because I care about relationships. I care about connecting with the world around provocative and interesting ideas and topics. I blog because I want to build up (edify) the Body of Christ locally and globally. I blog because I need a place to reflect and have people interact (agree/disagree/push/pull/massage) things I think and say.

In an effort of full disclosure:
I am a follower of Jesus Christ
I am a pastor at Vineyard Central Church
I am a Teacher/IT Artist at Cincinnati Christian Schools
I am a husband to Sarah
I am a father to Cloanna
I went to Asbury College, Wilmore, KY
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, minor in Christian Ministries
I went to Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA
I am working on a Masters of Arts in Crosscultural Studies, concentrating on Contemporary Culture
I live in Cincinnati, OH (Pleasant Ridge)
I grew up in Paris, KY (near Lexington)

I care deeply about what people get from my blog. I care deeply about the students I teach and the people I pastor. I want my words to be ones of encouragement and hope, passion and peace.

> posted by Aaron at 2:53:10 PM - Comments (4) | Trackback (0)


Christmas Lights

This is amazing!!! You've gotta check out this story. Mason, OH - 25,000 lights sync'd to music!

"Carson Williams' two-story home is decorated top to bottom with 25,000 Christmas lights -- but that's just the beginning. He used software to program them to 12 minutes of Christmas music. The result is a dancing display of synchronized lights that he says you have to see to believe."

Blog Post
Link to Video (from the Today Show, click in the green box)


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Thursday, December 01, 2005

If I Have Offended

It has recently come to my attention that I may have posted somethings that were of offense to some. If so, then I would like to apologize.

I have not intentionally tried to offend or to be offensive.

I mean for my blog to be a place of encouragement and confession, committment and reflection. I may, from time to time become emotionally engaged and passionate. I don't apologize for that. It is who I am and I believe actually a good thing. But if in my passion I have spoken harshly then I am sorry for that.

That said, if I have offended - I beg of you, please please please come talk to me about it. Atleast leave a comment, send an email, call me up, stop by .... something. Please, let's talk this through face to face. You would help me grow and you may see something in me that my mere words could not convey.

I hope I'm clear. If you are offended by anything you see here - ever - please let me know (constructively if possible).

Blessings to you all,

> posted by Aaron at 2:55:00 PM - Comments (4) | Trackback (0)