Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mark McAfee and raw milk

Mark McAfee Speaks about Raw Milk

On Saturday, John and Bri Coghlan invited Mark McAfee from Organic Pastures in the Central Valley (one of only two raw milk producers in California) to come to Golden Hill and talk with us about the benefits of drinking raw milk. Mark is a passionate, compelling speaker with an amazing knowledge not just of the benefits of drinking raw milk, but on the food industry as a whole.

A bunch of us at NieuCommunities San Diego have been exploring issues of food justice and understanding the benefits of eating natural, truly organic, locally grown food, the way that God made it. Mark's insights were terrific. And dang, the raw milk samples he brought tasted amazing.

The audio recording is 1:48 (that's nearly two hours long), but it's amazing stuff. Mark is a great speaker, so pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee (or raw milk), kick back, and listen up.

You can follow Organic Pastures on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.

Note: the recording is downloadable (see the down-arrow to the right of the player) and can be embedded in your own blog or website. Mark encouraged us to share this, blog it, and pass it around.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

in defense of "missional"

The word "missional" is one of those words that came on by storm a few years ago and is already losing its cachet. It's been widely misunderstood and generally misused, and now some are calling for it to be jettisoned from our vocabulary all together. I was tempted to jump on the bandwagon until I read Christopher Wright's examination of the word in the introduction of his notable book, The Mission of God. Wright makes a strong case for the importance and use of the word missional especially in light of what words like mission and missionary have come to mean in people's minds today.

I agree with Wright's assessment that the word mission now refers to all kinds of human endeavors, eternal or not. Lots of people, businesses, and churches have personal and corporate mission's statements that attempt to describe the unique task they've set out to accomplish. That kind of focus can certainly be helpful, but in our attempts to distinguish ourselves from others we inevitably end up using mission in a narrower, more individualized, customized sense. Mission is what we do and how we do it. Hopefully our unique missions are connected to the mission of God, but they're rarely assumed to be synonymous with the mission of God.

Missionary has become an even more limiting word. Missionaries are seen as unusual people who are called to carry-out the task of mission usually in some far away place. Not many people can identify with the calling of the missionary and even fewer would want to be one.

It's against this backdrop that the word missional entered our conversation. It's not a verb that refers to a customized task, (our mission), or a noun that refers to a unique kind of person doing a unique kind of work (i.e. a missionary). It's a powerful adjective that denotes that whatever comes after it is related to or characterized by the mission of God to redeem and reconcile all of creation. A missional life then is a life that is actively experiencing and extending God's redemption and reconciliation. And a community is only missional if it is collectively experiencing and extending the redemptive and reconciling mission of God.

As an adjective, missional redefines everything that follows it and gives it new meaning and identity. It reminds us of who we are, who we're related to, and the ultimate mission we have all been invited to participate in. And that makes it worth keeping.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coffee in Ensenada

Coffee in Ensenada, originally uploaded by hallywood.

having coffee at Cafe Tomas, Ensenada, B.C., Mexico

A couple of Saturdays ago, some friends and I spent the day driving the beautiful Baja coastline to Ensenada, where we had breakfast with friends who live there. We then migrated across town to their favorite coffeehouse in Ensenada, Cafe Tomas, for coffee and conversation.

It was great just hanging out with our friends. Danny, a talented photographer, talked with me about what it looks like to balance work and life. Lucy, his wife, told us about some of the cool things she's a part of at Yugo, a group that pairs up Americans and Mexicans to make a difference in the lives of Mexico's most needy. She has a growing role at Yugo that seems to leverage her gifts well, and she's able to hand off much of what she's learning to a young Mexican lady, mentoring her toward a better future.

Together with David and Karen—who live in Ensenada and continue to press toward that which matters most in life—we talked about what it might look like for our two groups of friends, Americans and Mexicans, to pursue God/life/friendship from two sides of the border.

It's an exciting, yet not a simple task. I'm realizing that riding in on my white American horse to save the day among Mexico's poor is of little benefit, either for us well-intentioned Americans, or those we profess to serve. How much better it is to get to know those living in Mexico, both the haves and have-nots, the found and lost, the hopeful and the hopeless. How much we stand to learn from these earthen people who live life at a different pace, valuing friendship and life together in deep and profound ways.

I do believe we (Americanos) have something to offer. Most notably, ourselves. I'm more fortunate than I can articulate, living where I do, able to visit a place like this, and call people such as these my friends.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

food, inc.

Of all the illuminating, convicting, and disturbing things we heard and saw watching Food, Inc. on our movie night, I think the words of that small farmer from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia named Joel Salatin will stick with me the most: "A culture that just views a pig as a pile of protoplasmic inanimate structure to be manipulated by whatever creative design a human a can foist on that critter, will probably view individuals within its community and other cultures in the community of nations with the same kind of distain and disrespect and controlling type mentality."