History is never antiquated… (Rauschenbusch)

History is never antiquated, because humanity is always fundamentally the same.  It is always hungry for bread, sweaty with labor, struggling to wrest from nature and hostile men enough to feed its children.  The welfare of the mass is always at odds with the selfish force of the strong.  The exodus of the Roman plebeians and the Pennsylvania coal strike, the agrarian agitation of the Gracchi and the rising of the Russian peasants – it is all the same tragic human life.  And in all history it would be hard to find any chapter so profoundly instructive, and dignified by such sublime passion and ability, as that in which the prophets took the leading part.

Rauschenbusch Quote of the Day…

Nations do not die by wealth, but by injustice… Progress slackens when a single class appropriates the social results of the common labor, fortifies its evil by rights by unfair laws, throttles the masses by political centralization and suppression, and consumes in luxury what it has taken in covetousness.  Then there is a gradual loss of productive energy, and increasing bitterness and distrust, a waning sense of duty and devotion to country, a paralysis of the moral springs of noble action.

Student Debt… Interview with Annie Spencer

This is an issue that I am tracking pretty carefully, with the hope that it can be addressed at a national level.

I am one of the many who completed a college education with the hope that I would be able to be of service to society, while at the same time being able to pay off any loans that may have come with that venture.

In the spring of 2009, the call at my previous church came to an end, and I found myself in a pool of other pastors who were struggling to find a congregation to serve.  I spoke with several church secretaries who were on the receiving end of our portfolios who said that they were receiving 200-400 applicants for one position.  Now… being a pastor is a fairly niche occupation.  The whole experience was disheartening.

During the period of time where we as a family were in that ‘in between’ space, we struggled financially… and now, in 2012 are beginning to feel as if there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  However, the shadow of uncertainty continues to be ever present.  In all of that… we maintain a hope that justice will see its day.

Currently, I am working a full time ‘day job’ while at the same time pastoring a small church in our home town.  There is nothing lazy about pouring 60 + hours a week into serving my employer as well as my faith community, all the while fearing that these student loans will be a shackle of shame for many years to come.

Intervew with Annie Spencer

For the ladies…

Several years ago, I was able to spend some time in the prayer room at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.  It was a well needed retreat at a time when there was a great deal of uncertainty in my life personally and professionally.

At the time, I was a pastor without a church… financially strapped… personally defeated… and professionally wandering. Nearly everywhere that I turned, it seemed as if opportunities were fleeting, and that Paschal’s Mystery was in full effect.

One of the ways that I was able to give to humanity was the very raw, and professionally suicidal area of the adult film industry: porn.  My own story with porn was a long road to redemption, and I knew that it had prepared me to care for others who were struggling with it.  I just never imagined it would take me deep into the industry machine where I would be face to face, and sometimes embracing the very ones, who years before would have been an object of my own satisfaction and desires.

As I mentioned, however, such a journey into this industry as a pastor would certainly close doors of ministry in some of the very places I had hoped to at least find sustainable employment for my family.  I knew that there would be many churches that, because of their own silence on the issue that plagued many in their congregations, would find it uncomfortable to have in their midst a pastor who spent time at conventions and with the ladies and gentlemen who were producing this form of entertainment.

Nevertheless… it was a space that God was seemingly opening doors for me to walk through, and I knew that my heart was prepared to go there.

Going there, however, would be crossing a line that could potentially put my families livelihood on the line in that a) most of the money in porn is not going to support pastors who are desiring to love on the people involved, and b) doors of opportunity were going to close in the traditional church settings because of how uncomfortable the issue of porn is to even discuss.

This is where I found myself as I sit in the prayer room at IHOP.

At a crossroads of sorts.  I had already been to one convention and was active as a forum moderator for men struggling with porn for a couple months.  Was this a direction that I wanted to continue to go?

I had been in the prayer room for a couple hours, when the worship team began their transition to another worship leader.  At IHOP, the prayer/worship is seamless and goes 24/7.  I closed my eyes for deeper meditation, when I was suddenly aware that Misty Edwards had taken her place, alone, at the keyboard to lead us.

For the next two hours she led us with song through stories from the Scriptures… I was able to capture a portion of that very time in the prayer room that touched my heart very deeply… broke it in fact on behalf of the many women that I have met inside the machine of the porn industry, who are looking for the heart of Someone who will pursue them, even when their daily lives are lived barely hanging.

It was a confirmation of sorts to continue down this path… not necessarily to become a full time pastor to the porn industry… but to give where I can a message to these women and men, that true intimacy: knowing and being known… by God… and by others is calling them… regardless of where they have been… or where they are now.

I am grateful to the women and men who have entrusted me with their stories.  I am grateful for the opportunity to share and to speak to churches… universities… and other groups who desire to know more about God’s redemptive story for all people… even the ones whom it is much easier to look down upon, and remain silent about.

You are all loved.

Enjoy the music:  The Woman Caught… and Laying at His Feet

Rescued? or Pursued?

Usually when conversations come up with the same theme over and over again, I take notice. Particularly when the theme seems to be a another candle lit on the path for a journey I have been on for quite some time. Perhaps the attention that I have given intimacy issues over the years makes me acutely aware these things in my daily conversation… never the less… I feel that this is another place to stop and examine the scenery in regards to relationships and intimacy.

This is particularly in regards to a mans approach to women in relationships. It’s become increasingly obvious to me that behaviors that come naturally for men in relationships, will not sustain intimacy on their own for the long haul. Hence, when a woman comes into my office after 2 or 22 years of marriage, and proceeds to tell me that she has nothing left to give to the relationship, it is no surprised that the husband enters into the dialogue with a look of confusion, and an over all sense of helplessness as to how things got to be this way, or even how to begin applying a remedy that will last beyond a week.

She has been doing what comes natural to her: nurture and pour into others until the well is dry.

He has been doing what comes natural to him: giving in response to how his needs are being met, and then resting when all is well.

Such a claim either gets agreement (usually from the emotionally drained wife), confusion (from the husband who hasn’t been shown another way), or anger (from the husband who feels that if she ain’t gonna give her share of the love, then why should he?)

There is no question that a ‘new’ paradigm needs to be introduced into the male culture of our society… and if you have spent time with me discussing this issue, you know that I put a bulk of the weight of this load of intimacy into the hands of the man.

Within this context… I believe that I am on to something… but before we go there, I need your assistance, particularly from the ladies (men, just sit back and see what happens).

Ladies… I need your feed back, and it should be pretty simple. Only a minute or two of your time to answer a question:

Would you rather be ‘rescued’?… or ‘pursued’?
Why?

I am going to explore what each of these mean in a later post… but for now, I’d like to get just an initial reaction to these two things.

Appreciate you and your thoughts…

Julie Shematz : Beauty from Ashes

I’ve tracked Julie for quite a while on twitter, but have only recently heard her story.  Julie’s joy is contagious.  Please take a few minutes to watch this story of God’s faithfulness in delivering those who believe they are beyond reach.

For more information on the ministry that is helping women out of the sex industry, visit their website:

Beauty for Ashes

Speaking at Indiana University

About a month ago, several of us were sitting around and discussing different cultural personalities in the pursuit of what one or two words would come to mind at the mention of their name.  Icons like Mother Teresa… Usama Bin Laden… and others were mentioned.  As the conversation wore down, we turned the exercise on ourselves to see what one or two words would come time mind at the mention of our own names.  When the time came for ‘Chadwick’ to be mentioned… in one moment flat… the first descriptive word that came to my friends mind was: porn.

We all laughed.

Unless you know me… you’d may be thinking that it is pretty twisted that a pastor would be associated with porn… If you do know me… you get it.

I kid you not, the very next day, I got a phone call from a fellow conspirator from the SAU MSFL program called from Indian and said, ‘the campus ministry is doing a campaign during the month of February highlighting sex trafficking.  They would like to have a presentation on the connection between pornography and sex trafficking… I thought of you…”

Ah… so it is true.

Anywho… two days ago, I boarded a Greyhound bus, and shipped of to Indiana University to be the porn guy.

First off… it was great to spend some time to Giff, Lilly, and new addition Quincy.  To be able to see the locale in which Giff is working his  ministry mojo was special.  The first and only full day was spent in the Pour House Coffee Shop… Happy Planet restaurant… and on the grounds of the campus itself.

After a while of talking shop with Giff at The Pour House, which in essence is his office… it was recommended that we pick up some burritos at a local establishment.  I’ve thought about those burritos often since leaving.  The wrap alone was a work of art… the contents were amazing.

A brisk walk from Happy Planet, to somewhere near the middle of the campus of Indiana University was next on the list.  It was there that I met up with several of the students who were hosting the event that I would be speaking at.  They were gathered under a red clock tower promoting their event by handing out flyers that read: what’s porn got to do with it? (It referring to sex trafficking)

After being there for a few minutes… one gentleman, after having taken a flyer, came back to the area, sat down on the stone bench and said, “ok… I have five minutes… tell me what I need to know.”  I stood and watched for a moment… curious as to what my place was in this process at this point… but also interested to see what the response of the students would be in light of a captive audience.  About 10 seconds into their response, I could tell that these young men needed help.

Reflecting on this moment, the only metaphor that I can come up with regarding my response to the seemingly desperate moment is strange and surreal at best.  It is as if there are only 5 seconds left on the clock… your team is down by one… and it is obvious that the ball needs to end up in Jordan’s hands.

But that is basketball…

I’m talking about porn.

I realized in the buzzer beater moment.. that as far as this conversation was concerned, that I was the Michael Jordan of porn.  So I moved into the conversation.

It’s always interesting to listen to people thoughts on porn… what it is… how it’s made… it’s effects on both the industry workers and the consumers of the product.  It doesn’t usually take a lot of time for people to realize that they know much about the fantasy of porn, but very little about what goes into making that 20 minute clip they enjoy so much.

The conversation was very civil and full of laughter.  I believe that I was able to persuade him to give more consideration to the idea that porn effects what it means to be human beyond just a mere entertainment devise.

Interesting enough… his final question is one that I get asked often: Have you ever met Ron Jeremy?

I get asked more about that man than I do any female performers.  What does that mean?

Moving on…

Back to the Pour House for a time to look over my notes… and then do an interview for a campus publication (I’ll post the link to it when it is up).  The interview took nearly an hour and a half.  Much longer than I anticipated… but good dialogue regardless.

Then I lost Giff.

Talked to Jordan.

Then I found Giff.

Then we went back to Giffs house for a short break.  Then dinner at Opie Taylors with the team that was hosting the event.  Great Burger and Buffalo Fries.

Then… back to the campus where we would prepare for the talk.  Swain Hall, room 119.

Student began to roll in around 7:25pm.  About 200, I’d say.

I discussed intimacy at the level of ‘knowing and being known’ by another human being and how it is something that embedded in us.  I discussed how the intimacy that Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden was lost… and ‘separation’ entered into the picture as something that we are all familiar with… I discussed that fact that now that we are separated from each other, that it doesn’t take much to keep us separated… all the while we still desire intimacy.

It is a tension that we all must deal with, and often times we settle for the counterfeit attempts of this world to bring wholeness… and yet in the end leave us feeling more separated from those around us… from God… and our selves than when we first began down the desperate trail towards intimacy.

I discussed how porn is one of those intimacy imitations… and linked porn into the industry of sex trafficking.  At this point in the discussion, there was one man who challenged me on the idea that showing porn to three year old children is wrong.  He left before we could get into a real conversation.

I discussed the needs of men for intimacy… and the needs of women for intimacy.

A short prayer time, then Q and A.

I hope the discussion is posted soon… as I will send the link on for review.

To the bar for a quick drink of local goodness… back to the crib for sleep until it was time to get up and come home.

So good to be home.