Three in Four Americans Believe in Paranormal

Welcome back.

I wrote a chapter in a book published by Relevant Books (The Relevant Church) where I suggested five realities awaiting us in our immediate future. One of those five realities is that “the future is spiritual.” How do I know this? Simple. The future is here.

A recent report from the Gallup Organization titled, Three in Four Americans Believe in Paranormal, suggests that “just about three in four Americans hold some paranormal belief — in at least one of the following: extra sensory perception (ESP), haunted houses, ghosts, mental telepathy, clairvoyance, astrology, communicating with the dead, witches, reincarnation, and channeling. There are no significant differences in belief by age, gender, education, or region of the country.”

Welcome to the future.

What do you think?

into the mystic…

Alex McManus

Voxtropolis World Map

Welcome back. You belong here.

Who will be finding their voices at voxtropolis.com? Check it out…

Voxtropolis World Map

Hats off and many thanks to Steve Watson , aka “breathe fire”, for yet another brilliant stroke.

The [soon to be launched] blog community known as Voxtropolis.com is one aspect of a multidimensional collaboration to reclaim western culture for Christ. Other complementary aspects are the elusive tribe known as The Mystic, the soon to manifest Voxtropolis cafes and the Culture Pubs. There’s more…

into the mystic…

Alex McManus

Fiesta for God

Welcome back.

What are the keys to hosting a party in which spiritual conversations can be had?

How do we create social environments in which spiritual conversation doesn’t seem forced?

Jesus enjoyed good food and drink with less than acceptable people. The meals he shared with Levi and Zaccheus, both well known sinners, are still remembered today. His was a life of relationship and friend making. To be fair, he made his share of enemies. But overall, Jesus’ life was a fiesta for God.

In the last century Christ following leaders leaders became expert at building properties and running programs. In this next century we must excel once again at building relationships and throwing parties.

What are the keys to making our lives an integrated, unforced celebration of God through the parties we throw and go to?

What do you think?

into the mystic…

Alex McManus

Hospitality III

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Welcome back.
Paul writes, “Don’t let the world squeeze you into it’s mold…” (Romans 12.2). Living lives of isolation and exclusion is one of the directions towards which the world squeezes us. Hospitality is about rediscovering human connection, about remembering that “I” am not the only character in this amazing story of the human-kind. The story of human kind is a “we” story.

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As I’ve felt my way forward in the way of Jesus, I’ve brought into my home the poor and homeless. But, even though that’s immediately where our minds and hearts go when we begin to think of hospitality, the love of strangers, that’s not the whole or the most of it.

Hospitality begins in us: why are we on this journey through time and space together? Years ago, my wife, Niza, and I began to make a series of decisions that shaped our home. The first of these was that our home would a center for world mission. Our mission? To help others discover and remember that there is a cosmic connection waiting to be made. To help others resonate with the most primal reality of the universe. To make the world a better place for others. Those of you who’ve prayed with me have probably heard me say this: “May everywhere our feet touch the ground become an intersection between heaven and earth. And may everyone who walks with us feel the primal essence of the universe.” Those of you who know me understand that that is one of the ways I speak about Jesus, who makes all things new.

Hospitality does not mean automatially that we bring a street person into our home. It means that we begin to cultivate a sense of connection, a curiosity and a delight in discovering the human experience of those around us we do not yet know. [Just a note: some of us don’t know our kids or our spouses and need to take steps -turn off the tv- asap to invite them into our lives.] Coupled with a craving to share how the story of Jesus intersects with the story of us.

Interestingly enough, I learned last night that my wife had posted without knowledge of what we’re talking about here, an entry on “hospitality.” Needless to say, it was a bit spooky. Here’s her blog: xanga.com/nizasings. Today she put up a second thought on this so you’ll hear it from her perspective.
Don’t let the world squeeze us…love strangers. Practice hospitality. By the way, you belong here.What do you think?

Photographs
Top: (Right to left) John Edgar Caterson, Pastor, Mosaic Rancho Cucamonga; Me and Bill Clark, Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan…having a terrific lunch today in LA and and an even better conversation.
Side: Bill and John discussing who’s going to pay for lunch. [Kidding].

Int the Mystic…

Alex McManus
Pasadena, Ca
© 2005

Hospitality II

Currently Reading
Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future
By Ben J. Wattenberg
see related

Welcome back

Hospitality is a key to evangelism in the 21st century.

Let’s distinguish hospitality from entertaining. Entertaining guests means that we put on a demonstration of our best to give a good impression. Entertaining is like our fine china. Nothing wrong with that. Hospitality, on the other hand, means inviting people into our lives. Hospitality is our paper plates.

Inviting others into our lives and homes is natural when we move from being strangers to becoming friends of God. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” said Lydia, “come and stay at my house.” (Acts 16.15)

Interestingly enough, sometimes it is often the prebeliever that has both the open heart and open home. My wife, Niza, and I are both seriously introverted and sometimes reclusive. When our first born was still small we lived in an apartment that shared a corridor with a second apartment directly across from us. Our neighbors, a young couple named Ernie and Rosie noticed we had a small child and provided us with extra diapers. I was traveling a bit in those days and my wife would tell me that whenever I was gone Ernie would always either come out or crack his door and peek out when someone knocked on my door. He was looking out for my family while I was gone. In fact, they served us so much and shared their lives so much that eventually we were able to lead them to faith in Christ. Yes, that’s a backward story. They served us and we were able to guide them to the kingdom. If you’ve ever seen Heaven’s Prisoner with Alec Baldwin, you’ve seen their daughter, Samantha. She played the little Salvador girl Baldwin rescues (even though she’s really half Filipina and half Mexican)

Hospitality is inviting others into your life …and sometimes inviting yourself into the lives of others. Evangelism can happen naturally when life is shared. Love strangers.

What do you think?

Photographs

Top: Friends and entrepreneurs Jaime and Belinda Puente visiting at our new place.

Side: Friend Dominic Massaro (graffiti61) performs at a house concert.

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus
Pasadena, Ca
© 2005

Hospitality I

Currently Reading
Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future
By Ben J. Wattenberg
see related

Practice hospitality (Romans 12.3).

The essence of “hospitality” is found in the combination of the two words that make it up. The first part comes from the word xenos, “stranger”. Think xenophobia, fear of strangers or foreigners. The second part is from the word phileo, love. Think Philadelphia, “city of brotherly love.”

Hospitality is the love of strangers. I’ve always thought that one of things that makes the scriptures and the believing movement so unique is the orientation towards the alien, the stranger, the foreigner. I’d love to see a count of the number of times the words stranger, alien, foreigner appear in the Quran or in the Gitas and then to get a sense of what the attitude in those writings is towards them. Maybe they are as gracious as the scriptures. I hope so.

It is this love for the stranger that to me makes the Christ following movement the hope for the world of today and tomorrow. In a world of immigrants and xenophobia and terrorism, there is need for a leader who creates a culture and points to a kingdom that is open to anyone and everyone who repents and believes. Jesus is that leader. He makes Hindus, Muslims and Christians human. Those of us who have begun to walk in the way of Jesus are called to create this same culture and point to this same kingdom.

What do you think?

Is looking and pointing outward beyond our own ethnic, socio-economic, cultural group with a view to advance the Kingdom of Christ a part of Christ-following leadership?

Photographs

1] from right to left: Johan Geyser, Lead Teacher, Mosaic South Africa; Octavio Martinez, Founding Pastor, Sojourn; Erwin McManus, Lead Navigator, Mosaic Los Angeles; Me.

2] Octavio engaged in conversation with Wilma (Mosaic South Africa).

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus
Pasadena, Ca
© 2005

Eyes For The Missing

My five-year-old son, Michael, disappeared.

OK. It was only for a moment eleven years ago, but I
aged twenty years in that moment.

Have you ever lost anything really valuable?

The scriptures tell us that we cannot understand the
world in which we live and the history we create
without understanding this: Something really
valuable is missing and God wants it found.

Do you come to worship with a grateful heart, but are
mindful of those who are missing?

Not the regulars, the believers who know their way, but
the ones who do not even know there is a God who
misses them? If you do, it is because the wind of
God has passed over you.

The WIND.

The scriptures tell us that,

In beginning…the earth was empty, a formless
mass cloaked in darkness. And the wind of God
was hovering over the chaos. Gen 1.2

The wind came first.

In the conception of Jesus the wind blew over the virgin.

At the birth of the Jesus movement the wind howled
in Jerusalem.

In the creation of the heavens and the earth the wind
hovered over the chaos.

Where there is chaos, darkness, and emptiness, the
winds appear. It has been said, “the church exists by
mission as fire exists by burning.” Wind is my
metaphor for mission.

God has given to us a mission to find the missing.

The fact that someone is missing is chaos, darkness,
emptiness. The fact that there are those who set out
to find them is wind.

Make no mistake, traveling into the emptiness can be
perilous, even for wind. But we
go because it is a mission motivated by love.

It’s true. God calls to action, some look for nurture.
God promises trouble, while others seek comfort
and safety. God demands attention, some look
around to see what others will do about it.

But, a growing few simply put on their battle gear,
without regard for their own reputations and safety,
put their eyes on Jesus, and, in an effort to rescue
those God misses most, follow him.
They find others like themselves on the way, and
join with them.

People of the wind they are.

into the mystic…

© alex mcmanus, 2005

Intersections

9.30 PM
London, England

he was standing at the moment of believing.

“it seems that lately all my conversations are about faith,” he said.

birger (pronounced beer-ga) and evelyn had invited him to travel with us to a party. although not a believer, he had asked this couple for prayer because he needed their “divine connections” to help him find a job.

“i pray you discover why you keep having discussions about faith,” i said.

“i know why. i keep coming here.”

he knew, it seems, that time and eternity, heaven and earth, the spiritual and material intersected in this couple and in this home. his request for prayer was not based on his faith. he believed in their faith. his request reminded me that everywhere the feet of the called touch the ground is an intersection. time and space are porous and God’s kingdom permeates everywhere, but around people like birger and ev, along with their teammates adaumir and andrea, the kingdom of God pours through in big drops.

i wrote a lyric years ago for a song called “sacred journey”:

everywhere our feet touch down
you have been there to be found
sacred paths of love entwined
intersections of divine embrace
on this sacred journey

this new friend sensed the density of God’s kingdom in birger’s house. he suspected these people were an intersection between the human and the divine. he feared without believing that dangerous and inexplicable things could happen at these kinds of crossroads.

often those who do not yet believe lean on our faith until they discover suddenly that they too believe.

into the mystic…

© alex mcmanus, 2005