2005 at “into the mystic…”

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

Posting Threads: New Language for Church Planting in the 21st Century

Welcome back.

This is part two of “The Best of the Mystic.” Some of you know that I began bloggin on Xanga and that the xanga tool does not allow easy exporting of posts. So, I’ve decided to rescue what I consider the “Best of…”

I consider these three posts to be some of the most important [if not the most important] we’ve had on the mission of the church in the 21st century. This was posted on April 25, 26 and 27 and cumulatively provoked some 65 comments. It is absolutely essential reading for understanding the language of The Mystic. Enjoy.

April 25

Brian Russell asks a brilliant question on his blog: Is there a better term than church plant to describe new churches?

Brian observes that this term “church plant” is “rooted” and “immobile” and asks if there aren’t better images [as opposed to “plants”] that might better convey a sense of motion. I think “spreading a virus” is cool except for the feeling of needing to wash my hands again.

April 26

Welcome back.

niza and a sideways upright

Came in early this morning from a late night recording session. I always try to post before midnight but the session went over. Here’s where we’re at with the list. Let’s keep it going.

Dynamic images/metaphors to use in place of the too “rooted” image “church plant”…

church birth
spreading a virus
church lurch
church spring
faith infection
Subversion cell
Kingdom coming
Doing life together
viral infection
church venture
church seed
church foundation
church exploration
faith outcry
new body movement
action faction
corps (crash of rhinos preparing for service)

April 27

Welcome back.

Our list of images/metaphors to replace “plant” for the task of creating new churches provokes the imagination. A couple of images come to mind. As bloggers and savvy internet users, the first is one we can all relate to: “starting a thread.” [And yes, I’m trying to add “blogger” to your self identity –if you havent’ already added it — because this will have a lot to do with iMosaic. [Note: we’re replacing “iMosaic” with something else. Right now “voxtropolis.com” is the leading contender].

me playing a tibetan singing bowl

A “thread” is a term used often in online classes and conversations. For example, within the conversation environment of this blog, many of you have started new conversations sparked by the conversation that is already taking place here. These conversations are a kind of thread that weaves in and out of our general conversations. In some of my online classes, students have the tool to add “threads” [a kind of “link” –another interesting image] to the conversations based on questions or interests they have. Others then interact with the question or idea posed by the new thread.

When a Christ following leader engages a community in a conversation or initiates a new relationship with a nonbeliever, he begins a new thread. These conversations, of course, are guided by the environment created by the spirit of Jesus that heals the world and yet they are also spontaneous and free to develop in their own way.

Start a new thread today. Have coffee with someone who has not yet believed. Or…Engage a group of nonbelieving friends in a conversation around the scriptures. Or…Ask Christ followers what would need to happen for us to live our lives for someone other than ourselves today.

Christ following leaders starting new threads. That’s one of the main ways the story of Jesus intersects the story of us.

Other related images…”link” or “Mblog. How about “host”?

What do you think?

into the mystic…

Alex McManus

Exegeting Culture part 1: Developing Eyes to See

Welcome back.

I’m looking forward to reading your input to a series of thoughts on exegeting culture. Enjoy.

London, England
4.44 PM

Most of us believe we know what we think we see. Then there are those who see the invisible.

Erica, my (then) 14 year old daughter, and I were outbound on a mission into the heart of Europe, and passed the time chatting as we walked through LAX (aka Los Angeles International Airport).

It’s like drawing, she said. “Drawing is all about learning to see.”

Yes, drawing is all about learning to see, I said.

The inexperienced artist –that would be me — tries to draw by memory rather than by observation, by what we think we see rather than what we see. In other words, most of us sketch by looking more at our sketch pad than the subject we are sketching.

“Watch mom draw sometime,” she said. “You’ll notice how much she looks away from her drawing and towards what she is trying to draw. She really tries to see the subject. Learning to draw is all about learning to see.

For example, Erica, I said, As we walked towards the gates. Most people in this airport don’t know about the Red Carpet Rooms.

What’s that?

They’re lounges used by frequent flyers and business people, I said.

Suddenly, as if coordinated by the finger of God, the wall to our left opened. The doors were painted in such a way that it blended with the walls on both sides well. One would have to know it was there to see it.

“There,” I said feeling quite like a magician. We both walked looking left-ward through the wall into a room of comfortable chairs with a bar and tvs.

Whoa, she said. The sliding doors closed. What was that?

I looked up to read the signs to make sure we’re going in the right direction.

Gates 70-77
Red Carpet Room

“Check it out,” I said.

Erica looked up and read the signs with amazement. Suddenly all of the clues began to pop up and out. The world was new. She knew what she was seeing. a whole new world existed behind this wall that was not a wall but a door, a sliding door. And signs pointing to it were everywhere. Red Carpet Room, Erica said.

I love it when she nods her head and gets this smile on her face, like she’s been let in on a little secret. Red Carpet Room, I said.

People draw what they think they see not what they’re looking at. Learning to draw, learning to lead, and learning to live have this in common: it’s all about learning to see.

What do you think?

Into the mystic…

Alex McManus

Celebrating 6 Months of “Into the Mystic…” Part II

Welcome back.

Jason Dukes, Mark Weible and me.

I’m continuing my celebration from last Friday marking 6 Months of posting here at “Into the Mystic…” Six months ago, when I first started this blog, we had a rich discussion on whether or not real relationships could be built in a medium like this one. For many of us, that question has been answered.

Erica McManus.

Others have yet to ask this question. Be patient with them when they come. Eventually they’ll find you and the community that inhabits this dimension as they feel their way through the myst.

Marvin Moore.

What is happening here has precedents in the history of online interaction, but never with the kind of intentionality and subversive purpose that we here. In many ways, I think we’re pointing the way towards a new form of the Christ following movement.

Largely this is so because of the influence my “search for The Mystic” has had on me. I’ll continue the narrative and reveal my latest findings to you soon.

Bill Clark, John Caterson and me.

Each person shown here has BOTH commented and contributed to the conversation here and have met f2f with me either here at my home or somewhere out there.

Brian Russel and me.

Performing artists, homemakers, construction workers, seminary profs, church planters, pastors, presidents of music labels, professors of political science, superheroes, mosaic interns, students, Educators, designers, accountants…have all found their way here to “Into the mystic.” And through here many of you have also found each other.

Michael McManus.

Looking back I discovered that [after my son, Michael and a nice young teenager from Texas], my young friend Cliff Bragg was the first to post a comment. Thanks Cliff for helping me get things going.

Cliff Bragg and Jason Jaggard.

Tony Sheng, Dale Swinburne, and Mark Weible were right on Cliff’s heels. All four of these guys are still integral parts of this community through their comments here and through their own blogs.

Dominic and Niza.


The first to subscribe to “Into the Mystic”: #1] Michael McManus. Thanks, son. My second subscriber was me. Early subscribers include #3] Jovanna Villela #4] Cliff Bragg #5] Phillip Kim #6] Derek Webster #7] Mark Weible #8] Marvin Moore #9] Jacob Peterson …and rounding out the top ten #10] Deana Watson.

Me and Thorsten.

I’ve got some very exciting topics coming up that will be sure to create a fire storm. What’s new? That happens here and some get a bit singed but we all generally emerge stronger.


Did I mention the radio station? The podcasting? The videoblogs? The new blogging community I hope each and everyone of you will join — word is we’re actually getting somewhere now. Stay tuned.

The Phantom.

Your voices are what have made this place an interesting place to hang out. Thank you for a terrific 6 months. You belong here.

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus

Celebrating 6 Months of “Into the Mystic…”

Welcome back.


When I first started blogging on February 23rd of this year, I was usually the only one who read my posts. Well, there was Michael, my son, who got me blogging.

Suddenly and without warning our lone voices were joined by yours, and it was your voices that turned “into the mystic…” into one of the most unique and significant communities in the western world. [Yes, I think the “mystic” community is both unique and significant.]

THANKS to all of who who came and created such amazing community here at “into the mystic…” In a very real way, this is our blog.

As a result, I’m doing a “The Best of…” from those early days to celebrate 6 months as a blogger. These are posts most of you never read. I’m looking forward to your input. The first will come your way on Tuesday: Exegeting Culture Part 1: Developing Eyes to See.

Today I just want to say, Thank you.

Six months ago I knew very few of you. Today I count you as among my closest friends.

Many of you (photographically captured here in all your glory) have been in my home. Our home and our lives are richer because your journey intersected ours.

I’m certain that we will cross paths with many more of you in the days, weeks and months to come.

Photographs: Some of our Blog friends who’ve been to our home

Again, happy six-months and thanks, You belong here.

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus