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So I’ve been trying to be faithful this year to the Orthodox Lenten fast as well as practicing daily Orthodox prayers. I found a little bookstore and got me a chokti to practice the Jesus Prayer, and seem to have lost it. I dug out one I tied myself a few months ago and have been using it instead.

The Jesus Prayer is simply, “Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” It is said in repetition to focus and center one’s soul and mind… a prayer and a meditation, and most definitely a yearning of the heart.

I have found myself often repeating the prayer for a while until I’m calmed and ready to move forward in prayer… then I start expanding into prayer requests and petitions in the same model of the prayer, something like, “Lord Jesus Christ, the Giver of Peace, hold Brad in your love.” I will repeat the prayer, but give myself lots of freedom of expression to explore the praise and lauding of Christ, the specific petition and the relationships involved… Lord Jesus Christ, God in the Flesh, heal Brad, your disciple. Lord Jesus Christ, Love and Author, give your peace to Brad, your man by faith.

And here’s my favorite line from the trisagion prayers that I am trying to hold faith with on a daily basis… “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.” At one point I am instructed to say this thrice, and it’s a high point of my prayers. I think it’s the stir I feel in my soul when I say the words, Holy Mighty.


8.8 Million, Baby!

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I don’t know if it is totally hooked to the homeless data collected last month in the Tarrant County homeless census, but I heard on the radio today that Tarrant County is being given 8.8 million in Federal funds for the homeless population! Yeah! Great job people! Huge kudos to whomever and allever hit the streets that night!

Any takers for a worth while night of volunteerism?

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Brad Voss made me aware of the (all volunteer) census happening this week of the homeless population in Tarrant County. It happens between 9pm Thursday and 2am Friday. You must attend a training session to volunteer in the count and there are a half dozen or so opportunities left. Here’s the link… This census information forms the base for funing and other initiatives in the county.

If you can help, it looks like they’re still in need of many volunteers.

It’s 2007…

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Just a couple of weeks ago Teresa and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, hence the photo of my wedding ring. Been a really good decade and a half. I love that lady.

I’m ready for the new year, although I’ve been in a little bit of a funk the last week… two jobs ending and a new one beginning with me caught somewhere in the middle. I preached for the 1st Christian Church in Bowie again on Sunday and had a good time. I had the most blessed final shift at Starbucks last night that could be imagined! By 8pm everyone seemed to be at a News Year’s party somewhere and we had like only 20 customers the last two hours including Teresa and the boys! NICE! Tomorrow I arrive at the new office for the first day of my new job.
I’ve bought a new recycled-paper sketch pad to journal prayers in for 2007 with my pen and ink set. I’m about as ready as I can be for the new year. Teresa’s cooking black-eyed peas for our annual animistic ritual.
Psalm 116 comes to me again and again these last couple of weeks as a quiet resting place and song of assurance. God is good, listening, attentive and beautiful.
Peace, Todd

worship and the new year….

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If I am at a place in life, some new plateau or plain of growth, it is one of yearning for some added completeness. I want to know more and teach more and experience a focus as never before. We worshipped with the University Christian Church on Christmas Eve morning, and I was affected.

This church is a “high church.” I was prepared for it by months of attending the liturgies at St. Martins in the Fields, and was open to the overt language of and search for holiness and mystery. I look forward to the Sunday evening worship times and experiencing both a taste of traditional and contemporary worship. Both have a place in the Kingdom and both have a place in my own heart.

The choir sang some of Handel’s Messiah during the offering and I was appropriately reminded that Handel wrote it for worship. In fact, I remarked to Teresa at lunch that it was surprising how the act of offering was made to be worship that morning by the words, the song and the timing.

Isaac went to “childrens’ worship” at one point and I was thrilled by the elements I saw. He was welcomed by a “Granny,” and several other children who were ready to worship. Their time together was focused on the Advent… they experienced liturgy, art and worship. So different than a headlong rush into loud, fast-paced “play-worship.” And I don’t mean “play-worship” in a negative sense, I just don’t have the words to grab hold of the though right now, but you probably know what I mean… celebratory, fast-paced, loud, distracting yet focusing, and all that.

Anyway, we will have some adjusting as a family to this new church family. I only pray that it is all to God’s glory.

Peace, Todd

I took a job…

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Well, I accepted a job offer this week from the University Christian Church next to TCU in Ft. Worth, Texas. It’s an interim position split 30hrs a week with the Sr. High and 10hrs a week with College. Should be fun… it’s officially a six month position, but there’s some possibility that it could go longer. Here’s their website… And yes, I have a route that will allow me to ride my scooter to work! SWEET!

I’m also helping facilitate the Ft. Worth Emergent Cohort this year! I’ve set up a blog site for that at

Peace, Ya’ll

Almost a month since posting…

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I’m sorry. It’s almost been a month since I posted on either stream I’ve been talking about… those were finding a job and my spiritual journey. John the Baptist over here has been busting my chops about it.

On the job front: lots happening actually. I have been part-time at Starbucks for a month and really enjoy it! It’s pays the old el squato, but I get to drink a lot of coffee. I mean, like I’m twitchy while typing this. Otherwise I have been doing interviews with two churches fairly seriously about their positions. One is a small-town 35 member church and the other is a citified 5,000 member church. I might know where I’ll be going next by this time next week.

Both churches are First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Churches. You can find out more about the group at their national website, I’ll keep you posted! (with posts)

Peace, ya’ll!

My Spiritual Journey… My First Steps.

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So, I “grew up in the church.” Isn’t that a great turn of phrase? “In THE Church.” I use it now and have heard many people from different denominational backgrounds use it as well. Today I mean it in the sense of the the church universal, but I was raised with the meaning being a distinction between our church and all the other false churches. Wow… I managed to go off on a tangent in the first paragraph!
Here’s how stupid or whatever I was… I remember a defining moment in the 5th grade at Sunday School when I entered an argument about whether or not there were animals in heaven, i.e. whether or not animals have souls. By the way, I am not even giving an opinion on the question right now, just recalling a historical event. Basically, I was arguing that animals do have immortal souls and were in heaven… I said it was obvious because of all the animals in the Bible stories. You see, I thought that all those great stories of old had happened in heaven. I had no real connection to this stuff being historical or tangibly connected to life. I like to think in light of my very slow beginnings I might have sped up a bit by now.

I was baptized at the ripe old age of 10 (5th grade year) because my pal Chuckie was baptized. You have already gotten a picture of my wizened understanding of God’s will and works at that age. The thing I remember of that evening, past the act of being immersed, is that my friends all asked if the water was heated. It wasn’t.

I was loved at that church. There were several adults who took interest in me and were very special in my life as mentors and teachers. I hope that my inability to learn and process doesn’t lead you to doubting their ability and sincerity in trying to help me. I will never forget Ms. Willamina, and I am way too young to know how to spell that name correctly! She was one of those great big old Ladies of Color that everyone should know growing up. She hugged me every Sunday and brought me gifts from her trips home to see family in West Virginia. She also knew how to wear those hats, as only such ladies could know. I hope that thirty some-odd years later my memories of her come close to the mark. I do know this… even if the physical image of her in my mind has subtly changed over the years, she left a indelible mark of peace and love upon me that shines crisp and clear through all the years. In that, she was Christ to me, and ever will be.

My Spiritual Journey… Where I Started.

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Growing up as a boy in Texas half my family (Dad’s) was Baptist, and the over half (Mom’s) were members of the Churches of Christ. Since Dad “converted” to marry mom, I was raised in the Church of Christ. This movement began in the States just a couple of hundred years ago or so and is referred to as the American Restoration Movement. That movement has birthed three distinct denominations in our country, the Churches of Christ, the Independent Christian Churches and the First Christian Churches (known as Disciples of Christ). I have attended and/or ministered in all three branches. The movement’s goal was to “restore” First Century Christianity by better understanding and applying the Bible, thus undoing the 2000 years of “broken” Christianity to date. I was taught as a child, both implicitly and explicitly, that the church had “fallen away” and ceased to exist in any true form shortly after Christ and then was just restored back in our own country. When pressed, my teachers allowed the possibility, and some the probability, that there were always, in all times, people reading the Bible and practicing their faith just we were doing now… they just never seemed to make the news. That was where I started.

For many of you who have traveled a similar road, you’ll know instinctively both the extreme legalism of such a beginning, and yet also the undeniable sincerity of those teaching me. We were the “true children” of enlightenment, basing all our faith on the correct view and interpretation of scripture. No mystery here, folks, we figured it out. Thank you very much, all done. Here are the five steps of salvation and here are the five acts of worship. Here’s the only proper name for a church, and here’s the proper eschatology. Now, go have some fun.

But fun was more than a little elusive. I was a debater in high school and began to see some serious problems with our rational, analytical approach. We completed disregarded the accepted rules of logic and constructed a bent hermeneutic, very much our own. All the while very sincerely believing that we had St. Paul and even the Lord Jesus himself snuggly in our pocket. I asked questions and was shouted down. I challenged the “logic” and was warned of damnation. But where do you go? Here are so many people that I love so much. Here is where my journey began.

Maybe it’s as simple as a spiritual inertia… maybe it’s not. Whatever it is, I stayed on with the Churches of Christ for a very long time. I stayed on as a missionary and as a youth minister. I stayed on through contention and trial, most probably self-inflicted. I stayed on as an outsider/insider. But my journey never stopped, and today I am the outsider/outsider. I am not among the Churches of Christ, nor any denominational affiliation. I suppose on the best days I am in what you would call the “Non-Denominational” church movement that has taken root in our country out of the newer evangelicalism. On the worst days, I might just be rogue. On whatever day it is, I just pray that God holds onto me, and I can only trust the grip of God far more than I trust my own.

Instant Activist… flex your influence…

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Here’s a project for you! Years ago I made an autism awareness poster that was printed and circulated all over the State of Alabama. It doesn’t sell anything, and it doesn’t glorify anyone… it just asks parents, gandparents or concerned friends to act on their concerns. The CDC is saying that these days something like 1 in every 150 births in our country will result in an autistic spectrum disorder. I reformatted this image as a 4×6 photo so you can print it at CVS or Walmart, or wherever, and then tack it up at your local Starbucks or grocery store. These flew off the bulletin boards in Montgomery because people have concerns, but they’re not sure what a first step might be… print five or six and tack them up together in a stack and see how long they last… we can actually do something to help children we will never meet.

Oh, and yes, that is a shot of our Josiah! If you can’t easily grab this image from the page then just email me at and I’ll send you a high res copy!