March 30, 2010

Stations of the Cross

It's not a show, a performance or even a church service, but my wife and her tireless crew have spent untold creative hours working to put this event together for the third straight year.

If you live anywhere on the island, you won't regret coming by for this contemplative, haunting and original blend of art, liturgy and Scripture.

And now that it's been expanded to 4 nights, you also can't complain that it conflicts with all your other Holy Week activities!

"For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you." - 2 Corinthians 13:4

March 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Blog!

Since I first began this blog two years ago today, it's been a meandering journey of eclectic zig zags as I've sought to explore the topics that ricochet in and out of my goofy little brain. While 77 posts in 24 months is hardly the epitome of cyber-productivity (there are plenty of bloggers who can sprout 77 posts in a single month without a hitch), my thinking remains profoundly shaped by the ideas I've pondered, critiqued, suggested and defended in this space.

So to mark the occasion of The Common Loon's second birthday, here's a look back at the 7 most commented posts:

And while we're rummaging through the archives, here are 7 other posts that failed to generate much response, apparently because they're not about abortion, gay marriage or New Calvinism:

March 11, 2010

Honolulu 2010 Conference Recap

One of the unique benefits of being an evangelical in Hawaii is the opportunity to attend Honolulu's annual Hawaiian Islands Ministries (H.I.M.) Conference without ever driving to the airport or getting on a plane.

I can't think of another Christian conference (anywhere) that regularly assembles such a well-rounded cadre of local, national and international pastors, Bible scholars, missionaries, counselors, youth leaders, artists, activists, seminary professors, business professionals and local church practitioners. While I don't always agree with the theological particulars or methodology espoused by every presenter, the opportunity to learn from (and worship alongside) a broad range of Christian teachers representing diverse streams of the evangelical landscape is simply marvelous.

Ever since my first H.I.M. Conference in 2005, participating in this interdenominational, multicultural gathering has become one of the highlights of my year. Last week's installment, Honolulu 2010: Let Your Light Shine, was no exception. Here's a quick 'best of' according to yours truly:

Best plenary speaker (tie): Keith Battle (Why Christians Should Expect and Endure Suffering) & Nancy Beach (Toward Wonder)

Best seminar speaker: Jan Johnson (Practicing God's Presence All Day Long)

Best part of the David Crowder Band concert: Belting my lungs out to "How He loves"

Most nuanced exposition of 1 John 5:13: Voddie Baucham (who contrasted "what the gospel requires" vs. "what the gospel produces")

Most unconvincing sales pitch: Gary Hamel (who suggested we apply market-driven business models in order to "re-invent church" and bolster "the Christian brand")

Most surprising, yet eloquent defense of the old-school institutional church: Tony Campolo (who is clearly starting to get fed up with the trendiness of church bashing)

Most noticeably absent conference mainstay: Jim Miller (It didn't quite feel like a true H.I.M. conference without him there.)

Having grown accustomed to H.I.M.'s knack for drawing "big names" like Philip Yancey, Dallas Willard, Francis Chan, Jim Cymbala, Shane Claiborne, Dinesh D'Souza, John Ortberg, Gary Haugen and Richard Mouw in recent years, I didn't notice as much star power in glancing over this year's list of scheduled speakers. As the conference progressed however, I discovered plenty of depth, particularly in two key areas.

1) Local church leaders serving in Hawaii. Of the conference's 55+ speakers, I counted at least 30 who are currently ministering right here in the Aloha State. While H.I.M. has become well-known for importing flashy speakers from the mainland, this year's slate was well-stocked with excellent local teachers including Ada Lum, Jordan Seng, Steve Peich, Randy Furushima, Lisa Orimoto and Jonathan Wong among others.

2) Women leaders. Again, don't let the lack of "celebrity" names fool you because this was probably one of the the most accomplished groups of women leaders assembled by H.I.M in recent memory. Those who were fortunate enough to attend seminars by Jan Johnson, Nancy Beach, Christy Pierce and Margaret Spicer were not disappointed. Not too many evangelical parachurch conferences can say that over 20% of their speakers are women. Oh, and did I mention Ada Lum was there?

For those who attended, what will you remember as the 'best of' H.I.M. Conference 2010?