Welcome back. You belong here.

The Year in Review. This blog was born on Wednesday, February 2005 at 8.14 PM in London, England in the lobby of the Kensington Hilton. The essence of that first post was the historical cause-effect that gives English culture it’s 21st century flavor. It was a short post and I had one comment: Michael, my son, wished me “fun” and invited me to visit his blog.

Since the birth of this blog, we’ve covered lots of varied topics ranging from

  • The art and science of starting new churches
  • Global Culture
  • Technology
  • World Music
  • Leadership
  • Parenting
  • Voxtropolisâ„¢
  • The Search for the Mysticâ„¢
  • and, of course, The Future

[A quick glance at the last ten posts is pretty indicative of our future orientation.]

The spice of this blog, however, is the many, many new friends that have contributed amazing insight, useful information, helpful real world examples, and gut splitting comedy. In other words, you.

When I began “into the mystic…”– though I wrote my first post from the UK — I lived in the Korea town area of Los Angeles. Today, I’m writing from our home in Pasadena, Ca. where it’s 57 degrees fahrenheit and partly cloudy. For the next few days, I’m going to review my favorite posts and create a list for newcomers, a kind of essential reading guide for “into the mystic…”

What do you think? So here’s my question: What were your favorite topics of conversations had here at “into the mystic…” for 2005″? For you long time contributors, what would be your top 5 (or 10) “must read” picks for new readers and subscribers?

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus


28 responses to “2005 at “into the mystic…””

  1. stephen Avatar

    I think Alex it’s not the posts that were most encouraging but the Spirit and the spirit of this community.

    You have been blessed and have now extended that blessing to anyone who would choose to read, think, share and live this life that God dreams about.

    As a leader of both the Church and Culture we need places like “ITM” (Into the Mystic) not just for the information but maybe more importantly for the community and the permission to “walk on water” (try new things; be bold; dare the impossible; etc….).

    May 2006 find us all doing more than we could have ever imagined in the Kingdom and for the King.

  2. Alex Avatar

    thank you, stephen, for your very kind words. i think you’re right– positive, hopeful people who want to take that step and feel their way forward into the mystic find a thoughtful, appreciative action-oriented community here.

    it’s safe enough for the curious and dangerous enough for the explorers and adventurers. slow enough for the cautious and fast enough for those with a bias for action. [well, “safe” and “slow” may be exagerations but we’re all learners here.]

  3. Nicolas Nelson Avatar

    Every topic has been my “favorite” while it’s fresh and new, but some of them rank as classics in my mind. I remember the moment I decided to move from “lurker” to “subscriber/participant” was when I read the first post about leadership action logics. I still use the term “alchemy” (and others from that series) when I pray. And the Mystic was also the very first blog to which I subscribed, and I still don’t subscribe to very many.

    Another classic must-read thread that comes to mind is What is a church? and its close sibling Voxtropolis Cafe. Unlike the leadership action-logic series of posts, those were single posts that sparked long and fruitful discussions in the comments… one thing that makes a post a “classic”, in my mind, is the longevity of the comment-discussion, and whether it sparks related discussions on other blogs (to use Steve’s metaphor, it has to “breathe fire”, scatter sparks that ignite similar blazes of thought, creativity and action elsewhere).

  4. Ariah Fine Avatar

    Well, I’ve just subscribed to your blog, but I’m really excited to see what you have coming this next year.

  5. Anne Jackson Avatar

    I personally loved the classic 7 action logics of leadership as well as the post about where we put our money.

    love from kansas,

  6. Lori Avatar

    I have a couple favorites… for the newbies, I think a good place to start is in the Xanga posts around May 16, 2005. The 5 principles of posting threads begins the discussion of organic church planting, which is one of Alex’s passions.

    One of my personal favorites was the next series about the 5 priceless gifts to give your children (started June 14, 2005 on Xanga).

    I would have to agree with Anne, though. I really loved when we studied the logics of leadership. I felt like reading your blog and commenting off of others’ ideas was like going to class. (feeding my input strength!!)

    On another side note, your blog has literally changed the direction of my life. I know that sounds very strange, but we’ve had this conversation before. I am truly looking forward to what this year brings!

  7. tony sheng Avatar

    My favorite was one of the ones about the logics of leadership as well, specifically the one where you actually spoke into my life via a comment.
    It gave me great perspective back then, and even still continues to encourage and challenge me.

  8. The Bishop Avatar

    Rather than having a post as a favorite, I echo with Stephen about the nature of “ITM.” For me, the hook has been a place to dialogue. From re-branding church planting, to reverse revenue, what keeps me coming back is that there is a kindred spirit here embraced by people walking hand-in-hand into the mystic future. As a church planter, it get’s tough being creative and biblical. It can be a chore to think outside the traditional boxes in a way that connects with the culture. ITM has been a place to “connect” and be inspired. So, whatever you recommend for new readers, just be sure they taste the flavor of ITM. It’s addictive!

  9. Peter Avatar

    Hey Alex,
    I just posted a new blog reccomending your site. Into the Mystic has helped me to stay connected to the spirit of innovation and desire to do good that inspired me during my time at Mosaic. The conversations are life giving. Keep it up.

    Re: good posts. I loved the money conversations, which were right when I joined the discussion thanks to Josh Shanklin.

  10. Alex Avatar

    Ariah Fine, welcome to the mystic.

    Thanks, Nick, Anne, Lori, Tony, The Bishop, and Peter.

    The series on the “7 Action Logics of Leadership plus One” seem to be leading the way so far.

    5 Honorable Mentions so far go to …

    1] What is a church?

    2] Voxtropolis Cafe

    3] The 5 Principles of “posting threads” (mystic code words for planting churches).

    4] The 5 Priceless Gifts to Our Children.

    [Speaking of the 5 Gifts, Lori, Michael and Erica leave tomorrow for language studies in France and Germany. Michael will be gone 1 month and Erica 2.5 months]

    5] The Reversal of Kingdom Capital.

    Thanks for your input.

  11. Alex Avatar

    Special thanks to Josh Shanklin for pointing Peter to “into the mystic…” Thanks for helping me get the word out.

  12. Deana Watson Avatar

    I have so enjoyed the accounts of searching for the mystic…it is the story-teller in me that gets so into these!

    The one though that I personally gained a lot from the post and comments was on Hospitality on April 20,21,22. I’m not saying it needs to make your list…but it really really helped me with a stubborn part in my heart about “entertaining and letting people in”…so thanks 🙂

  13. James Petticrew Avatar
    James Petticrew

    I think as others have said one of the great things about your blog is the way that it has enriched so many of our lives with a new level of connectivity. I know for myself that I have a whole new set of people who I consider friends in the deepest sense of that word through the interaction here.
    For me the discussions on the nature of church and leadership have been the most helpful, just because those topics are constantly confronting me in my ministry and now in my studies.
    Thanks for what you have done and I am eager to see Voxtropolis develops for the Kingdom.
    Thanks Alex for all your work, we really do appreciate you.

  14. Mel Avatar

    I’m very new here (only been reading since September) so this is great for me because I’m getting ideas of what to go read “in the archives.”

    I must say, though, the thing that got me hooked on this place, once Lori introduced me, was the Story. The legend. The young woman with the perfect hands, the combination of coffee and a Search (a combination which sums up the past five years of my life). The idea that somehow, the universe might depend upon this search for God knows what.

    But that might just be me. Mine is a storytelling mind; a storytelling lifestyle. It might even be a storytelling destiny.

    That said, I think my favorite discussion so far, one that really got me thinking, was Homo Electronicus Migratus. Yeah. I liked it.

    Any word on when our new cyberHome will be ready? What news Voxtropolis?

  15. Joseph Dworak Avatar

    Alex –

    Thanks for creating a space for more of the world to be connected. I have met many folks from here both through blogging, email, and in person. Your emphasis on threads and community is just innovative and necessary.

    As far as favorite posts, being a traveler myself, I love reading about your travels and what you and your family are learning. The posts about leadership where there was very honest disagreement & sharpening were really important. To read the minds that were interacting on the topic was stimulating and refreshing. Too many times in community people will not say what they are thinking and just be polite – thanks for providing a space where we can have constructive dialogue in a loving way. Look forward to another year – JVD

  16. Tommy Watson Avatar


    Lots of love from Charlotte NC. My favorite blogs have been the discussions of church planting and the idea of the culture pubs in relation to starting new churches. I am a church planter so there you go. I’m looking forward to developing these discussions in the South. We need new life and new breath when it comes to reaching the lost.
    Thanks again for igniting fires that will never go out.

  17. Alex Avatar

    Thanks James, Mel, Joseph and Tommy for pointing towards the posts on…

    The nature of the church
    Voxtropolis and Culture Pubs
    The Search for the Mystic
    Homo Electronicus Migratus
    Travel Logs
    Church Planting

    Thanks to Lori for inviting Mel to the mystic. Oh yea, Tommy, let’s open a Voxtropolis cafe in Miami. [James, how does Vox Cafe and Culture Pub –Edinborough sound?]

  18. Alex Avatar

    Thanks, Deana. The Search for the Mystic and the conversation on “Hospitality”. Thanks.

  19. Tommy Watson Avatar

    I’m game for opening a Voxtropolis Cafe. Actually, my wife and I are thinking through opening a fine arts studio..dance, sculpture, drama, etc. We can’t decide if we should go profit or non-profit. A cafe attached to a studio would be amazing. I’m networking in NC with a few “Southern Baptist” friends who are tired of the denom rat race. maybe a Voxtropolis team is in order. Stay close.

  20. James Petticrew Avatar
    James Petticrew

    Alex, If we spell it Edinburgh I think its a go!

  21. Albert Avatar

    I really enjoyed and learned so much from the posts on Hospitality and the idea of using 9% of my tithe to help someone in need or expand God’s Kingdom.

  22. Sam Avatar

    Alex, I have definitely benefited loads from pretty much all of the posts since I discovered this blog. The reversal of kingdom finance would definitely be one of my top posts though (and something we are now actually starting to implement as we have now begun the journey with Mosaic Sheffield!). The posts on Voxtropolis Cafe’s / Culture pubs are definitely right up there too. All of the posts related to church planting are always top priority for me (though that is obviously particuarly relevant due to the stage we’re at).

    Thanks for all your input, Alex. I have grown so much in the few months since I connected.

  23. Nicolas Nelson Avatar

    Thanks Deana and Mel, for reminding me about the “Search for the Mystic” stories… for some reason I was in an analytical frame of mind when I first commented on this thread, and didn’t even think of them. They stirred my imagination and still fuel my hunger for the Kingdom of God… not a first-century Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean iteration of the Kingdom, painted for us in Acts and the epistles, but a twenty-first century glocal/chaordic iteration of the Kingdom.

    That gut-level hunger undergirds and flavors all the heady stuff on this blog; new arrivals will want to get a feel for that, I’m sure.

    Hospitality I, II and III and the 5 priceless gifts to your children (and the discussions thereof) are also good ingredients to cook up this ethos in my heart, and I’d recommend them to others.

  24. Nathan Avatar

    Alex, thanks for your obedience to the call. God has used the ideas presented in your posts, as well as the ideas in others’ responses to challenge and stretch my spiritual mind. In particular, one of the posts that rocked my world was the one on Kingdom capital. It’s very funny that I stumbled upon this site just as God was leading me Into the Mystic in my own life through other influences totally unrelated.
    I look forward to 2006 and all the Mystic Encounters that are to come!

  25. Nicolas Nelson Avatar

    Ah, Nathan, keep an eye out for the woman with perfect hands. You are being watched. 😉

  26. Nathan Avatar

    Nicolas, about the woman with the perfect hands: Already seen her. In fact, I married her.

  27. The Bishop Avatar

    Wait, I married her…and I married ya’ll…I’m confused…

  28. Stephen Avatar

    My favorite posts were on “Posting Threads.” They stretched my thinking about church growth and church planting – brought my thinking into the 21st century.

    You were the one who introduced me to and welcomed me into a world I never knew existed. A world where I have met extraordinary people and made good friends. Many thanks!

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