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Chris Marshall

July 14, 2008

I remember meeting Chris Marshall. We were in the same city, knew dozens of people in common, were part of the same large church but at different times, shared many mentors, vision, values, practices… the list could go on. So with all that in common what finally brought us together? A blogger from New Zealand.

We met at Starbucks in the Kenwood mall. As people passed by on their way to worship at one of the shrines in the temple o’ mammon we talked about simplicity, community, mission, house church, and most of all vocation. More precisely we talked about the financial ramifications of following a dream for kingdom, church and world that would earn us nothing – no book deal, no salary, no prestige, not a thing that would make our parents proud or put food in our kid’s mouths. We were both scrambling to figure this out. Not as a theory of ecclesiology but as an “Oh shit! This means massive changes to my current financial life and death to many of my young adulthood dreams of being famous for following Christ.”  We were both at the crossroad of “Now what?”  … so we met every week for a long while just to talk… we didn’t need to solve each other’s problems – we couldn’t anyway – we met becasue we needed a companion. More accurately we needed companionS so we invited others in as well. Glenn Johnson and Chad Canipe were usual suspects. Aaron Klinefelter, Jon Allis,  Joe Long and others would join from time to time. It was the AA meeting for desperate pastors trying to get sober from institutional/big business church culture that chewed us up.

Chris and I forged a relationship that eventually would take us both interesting places together and apart. Together we threw some parties that numbered in the hundreds as we discovered there were pastors all over the US feeling a similar call. Our little Fight Club went national for a couple big events… (some of you may remember Mayhem and the Feast of St. Patrick) though we always retreated back to a small core and a porch. We didn’t have the time or energy or desire to manage a movement or an organization so we didn’t even try to make something out of all these relationships. Others thought we should have. To be honest I’m still not sure.

Chris and I see each other a lot less these days. My hunch and hope is that as our kids get older and our jobs get less demanding we’ll see each other more and possibly even conspire together for more subversive kingdom initiatives. I’m game.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2008 1:51 pm

    wow, i needed this today. I haven’t been reading blogs at all and thought of you this morning on my 6:00 a.m. walk and decided to check in. i think you are right about this stage of life in raising kids and demanding jobs, but our work is not done yet, we have some more lands to conquer. let me say this, our friendship/brotherhood is eternal, we will reign in our Father’s Kingdom forever in community with one another. We will once again join up with Chad and Palmer at the Resurrection and breathe in pure Elpida into our new lungs. Until then, whenever God calls, I will stand with you and give the Enemy all the Hell he can handle.
    peace my brother,

  2. July 15, 2008 4:12 am

    The journey you two have been on has affected/infected many others. I am one of them, thanks..

  3. Timothy permalink
    July 15, 2008 4:24 pm

    I “met” both you and Marshall through “meeting” Palmer via his journal. As I have replied before on Marshall’s site, I found Palmer’s Journal the day he passed into kingdom fullness. Upon reading his entire journal it ultimately would lead me to other blogs of his friends.

    I lurk by occasionally on your blog and Marshall’s, simply because your hearts express much of the same desires that are in my own. I am older than most of the bloggers I follow, could be parent or grandparent of most. Yet, I am attempting to finish well, love God and love my neighbors more than “the cause” of some man building “his” church.

    I have been in a house church setting for 2 years now and the Lord is using it to change my life. Thank you for your part in that change as well.



  4. Dustin permalink
    July 16, 2008 3:20 pm

    Thanks for your writing. I had a hard weekend with my in-laws telling us how the “real world of economics” work while my wife and I tried to kindly remind them that a God who is not the Lord of economics is no Lord at all. Why not take the easy out, as a seminary grad, and just pastor a church to make some money? Because if we buy into the system we are apart of the system.

    So for now I will continue to work at our tiny little restaurant that functions quite well as a collective, and wonder why people in the church can’t grasp what all my peace/love/social justice co-workers who are doing fine without Christ can.

    Most of all, I see the need for companionship on the journey to faithfulness. Thanks for your post.

  5. Rambo permalink
    July 17, 2008 4:37 pm

    I hadn’t checked the blog for awhile and look what I stumbled upon. Thanks for your stories. Thanks for sharing your pain, hopes, dreams…life. Prayers from the Northwest as you remember and honor your friends.
    An aside…it’s humbling when you realize being “famous” for Jesus has more to do with you than what God has in mind or in store, damn! At least you have the name dropping thing going on for you. I’m almost 50 and you can still impress me with the folks you are “close and personal” friends with.
    Like the others, I too miss you…
    grace and peace!

  6. September 30, 2008 2:28 pm

    So I hope this means there is hope for the faceless path of vocationally following Christ for the sole sake of following Him (contrasted with: for the sake of money, notoriety, or completion of some sort of agenda).

    I’m a recovering Sunday-schooler feeling drawn into this sort of life.

    It’s like an undertow, or riptide. Fighting it will get you no where, but giving in and swimming with it definitely takes you some place other than where you thought you’d catch your big break.

    I’m greatly encouraged to see people have swam further ahead in the stream before me.


  7. October 1, 2008 11:20 am

    chase…i like the tide-metaphor; it captures it beautifully…


  8. PiterJankovich permalink
    March 29, 2010 1:49 pm

    My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

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