January 13. Year 13. Double-Lucky 13!

I’ve never been superstitious about 13s, at least not in a negative way. Kind of like them, actually, and often find fun in them, while seeking to create significance to them. I was born on the 13th. I turned 13 on Friday the 13th. And today seems to be a double-lucky 13th.

Last night I was doing background research on Frank Herbert and his Dune saga, and ran across something I’d written in 2007 which I hadn’t reread in years. It was a discussion my friend Linda and I had. Revisiting her thoughts helped me reframe what’s turned into an extremely long-term writing task I’ve been plugging away at for 13 years.

Seeing this yesterday made such an impression that I even woke up this morning of January 13th thinking about it. Hopefully you’ll find it of some encouragement, too, especially my friends who are in something for the long haul.

[This originally appeared as some pre-amble thoughts to my 2007 essay on “Dune, Density, and Polymathology.”]

In July 2001, I had a most intriguing conversation with my church planting strategist friend Linda Bergquist. She identified me and two other people we know in the San Francisco Bay Area as “Christian philosophers.” Linda felt the Church doesn’t particularly like philosophers, but she believed it still needs them. Specifically, she sensed these three people were being raised up to help the Church transition into what we then were calling the post-postmodern era. Ahh, how terms change over time!

Anyway, Linda told me how she’d recently read that Thomas Jefferson was offered all kinds of military commissions and other strategic jobs during the Revolutionary War. Instead of taking any of those opportunities, he went back home and worked diligently on the background for creating the American Constitution. He had confidence the Revolution would succeed, and so he was free to do the philosophizing that was necessary for the establishment of long-term goals and sustainability of this new union. As a “renaissance man” and philosopher, Jefferson trusted that his abilities matched this historic opportunity, and he knew where he should invest his time in order for a larger payoff in the long run.

Similarly, Linda was convinced that these three church planting philosophers in the Bay Area need to NOT feel pressured to be “The Theologian” or “The Practitioner,” but to invest in the most important roles they could play right now for the future of the Kingdom – research and development, and philosophy. This encouraged me then, and it remains comforting now, while I am still working on the same massive set of trainings in paradigm and cultural systems for growing Kingdom Culture. I am a polymath; I am called to be a philosopher; I am stewarding something important for the long run of the Kingdom. It requires complex thinking and dense communicating. So, regardless of what may be published during my lifetime, I know at a deep level that pouring myself out in these tasks will have paid off in the long run for what God is doing in His world. It is a privilege, within God’s providence, even when at times I feel wearied from and worried for this project …

Why was this encouraging? Because, as my professor friend Sam Williams put it when introducing me for a guest lecture on culture and contextualization, “Brad works on answers to questions that no one else is asking yet.” I didn’t know it at the time of this conversation with Linda, but where I’d end up investing myself was in working on how to identify, challenge, and change “systemic abuse.” I was doing R&D on this before I even knew there was a term for what I’d experienced. Malignant ministers and toxic churches had tainted 20 years of my Christian experience as an adult. Where would I find the redemptive side?

Turns out, this is a task I was made for, interested in, internally motivated to finish, and trusted it would have impact. If spiritual abuse had happened to me, surely there were others this writing would reach and make sense to, even if it just mystified others. It is really wearying at times, and feels Frodo-ish like this:

But it is not without purpose. So, if I’m “wired” as a “Christian philosopher” in the ways Linda is talking about, so be it. I’ve owned it, been doing it, will be sticking with it. I’m about halfway through this writing project that will total half a million words in four book/workbook volumes plus a companion website and case studies.

I know I may only realize a fraction of this project’s significance while I’m producing it. But still, it’s important to download what I can as a legacy for whoever might need it later. Who knows … maybe it’s just one person who deeply needs it. But we who follow Jesus know that even just one person can spark a movement.

I keep coming around to how important this is, to keep on keeping on, and find the internal motivation to continue even if external feedback is rare. Each piece I write adds to the composite of my ministry mosaic. And my mosaic is a piece in the larger picture that links mine with yours. Large and small, theoretical and practical – each personal piece matters, and each person-piece matters. We need to be diligent to contribute to the composited benefit of the larger community.

So – there it is. This isn’t really rocket science, although it is about what affects our trajectory, and adds to our legacy. Here’s hoping that this double-lucky 13th for me is an encouraging day for you, too!

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Halloween 2018: CamoClashMan Strikes Again!

My perpetual Halloween costume: CamoClashMan.

For those who appreciate details: Blue Tiger-Stripe jacket, Savage Orange shirt, Rastaflage cargos, and Coffeeflage shoelaces.

Oh, and a Woodlandflage-colored shoelace serving as a keychain.

And make that CamoClashMan disguised as Rodin’s *The Thinker*. With spectacles.

CamoClashMan, circa 2006.

May Day 2018: If April Showers Bring May Flowers, What Do May Flowers Bring?

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viola flowers (c) Maksim Shebeko, Fotolia #112358669. Licensed to Brad Sargent.

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The old riddle goes, “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?”

The answer, of course, is: *Pilgrims!*

But where I grew up, May Day – May 1st – was when we delivered small baskets of flowers to neighbors who were older like the Neckstads and Mrs. Salmon and Mrs. Perry, our teachers from school and Sunday School, and family friends like the McCartneys and Vances and Olsens.

Sometimes we’d labor the whole week before to make the flowers and baskets ourselves. Our craft table would be strewn with construction paper and pipe cleaners and crayolas, scissors and tape and glue. Maybe the “basket” would actually be a sort of easy-to-make cone, for a cornucopia of construction paper flowers. Or it might be a more elaborate holder, woven from long strips of craft paper.

Sometimes we’d put a real live potted pansy or marigold in a basket we’d made, or curl a cone and fill it with a tied-up bunch of snipped-off violets or posies. Of course, getting real flowers meant a field trip to The Greenhouse …

It was only a few blocks away from us, at the end of the wide gravel road in front of our house. If the weather was nice enough, Mom would walk with all three of us kids the four blocks down at the end of our street. There at The Greenhouse, we’d each get to choose a small potted plant or two to give as May Day gifts.

And, oh! What a wondrous but mysterious place The Greenhouse was to me as a pre-schooler! It just felt magical, before I even had words to describe how and why. Now I know it was because it was a completely different world apart from all I was used to.

The quality of light was different, from steamed-up windows and frosted glass everywhere. And the cool, misty air from hoses and spray bottles and water drippers. And old wooden tables in really long rows, with all kinds of shelves and cans and bags and pots and plants on top and underneath them. And the most amazing fragrance – a mixture of shredded bark and sharp stemmy “green,” humid dirt but that’s not really mud, floral and citrus and bubblegum sweet. The entire place was a marvel: so much to look over, sniff at, dig into!

Over the years, different families operated The Greenhouse. But they all seemed to be people who were kind to us kids, and patient in helping us pick out our plants for May Day. After all, they offered so many choices – so many colors that only these greenhouse flowers seemed to have with bright yellows and oranges, blues and purples from light to deep, brick reds, magentas and maroons. How to choose when you have more flower colors than crayons?

But the people never seemed to be in a rush with us. It makes sense to me now. If you love plants and flowers, how can you not love people and their families?

And all this worked together to make May Day flowers after April showers one of the most special events of the year …

Random Moment: My First Shoe-Selfies!

[~ Click on images to see larger views of the shoes! ~]

Hey all y’all – I bought shoes! A friend sent me a gift for my birthday. I told them I’d do something fun with part of it (pizza, DVDs, books), plus something practical – like socks.

Well, it ended up that I bought shoes instead of socks. I’d completely worn through the soles of my previous set of Sketchers, and the add-on insert insoles from Rite-Aid were starting to go, too. After only – what? Like, only five or six years? Outrageous.

Anyway, I figure that you can’t get a reasonable pair of heavy-duty shoes for less than $50-60, so that was my budget guideline. Shoe shopping is torturous for me, as my feet are narrow, and it’s hard to find a fit. So, I always have to wear two pairs of socks – hence, my perpetually frequent need for socks – in order not to slosh around in my shoes all the time.

I like Fluevogs, so that was what I was going for. Continue reading

Review of 2012 and Preview of 2013

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on what 2012 was about, and also thinking about what it seems 2013 may mean for me. I know, I know … you’re supposed to do this the first week after New Years. But, if I’ve learned nothing much else the past decades, it’s that life – at least my life – doesn’t follow a totally predictable pattern. Continue reading

Big Milestone – Entering My 10th Year of Blogging

Well, it’s April 1st, 2012, and I’m finally entering into my 10th year of blogging.

Who woulda guessed that some old guy like me would have blogged his way into the final year of an entire decade?

And yes, I did officially begin my first blog – beyondposthuman on blogspot, to be exact – on April Fool’s Day of 2003. [Yea, verily, make of that what thou willt.] At the insistence of my friends Andrew Jones and Shannon Hopkins, and with the encouragement and well-wishes of Austinian friends and co-WabiSabians, I did.

And now here I am, at least 300,000 words later (not all of ’em necessarily worth readin’), and this my 300th post on my WordPress futuristguy blog, but glad to have been on this journey.

Continue reading