Reunion’s Website

The website is up! Check out reunionindy.com

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Eden

My sweet Eden Grace turns TWO on Sunday. I can’t believe it has been just about TWO years since we’ve first seen her sweet little face,

heard her sweet little voice,

and held her sweet little hands in ours.

Happy birthday, my Sweet Little Eden Grace.

What a difference a day makes.

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Tidbits

When I was serving on staff at a church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, one of the other folks on staff burst into my office one day to tell me that John Stott was speaking at a local retirement village. “Would you like to go hear him?” Would I like to go hear him? Are you kidding me? A legend. A hero. A godly, godly witness. When we got to the retirement village, we stepped into an elevator to go up a few floors to the place where he was speaking, and lo and behold, standing in the corner was Stott himself. The guy with me nudged me and mouthed, “That’s John Stott.” “I know,” I mouthed back. “Say something,” he said. And yet I had nothing to say. I just stood there for the short ride upwards, stealing a few glances when I could, as if he wasn’t real. But he was very real. He was right there by my side: small, frail in his older age, unassuming, and smiling this ever-present smile that made his cheeks blush and his eyes narrow and shine. His sermon that day was a solid look at the global/missions heart of God, but it’s the smile I remember more than anything else—a smile that broadcast a deep, unwavering joy from within. Most of us reserve grins such as this for our wedding day, for when we hold a child for the first time. But he seemed pretty generous with flashing it. He probably couldn’t help it on the other end of years spent communing with God in a most intimate fashion. News of his death yesterday made me think of his smile, his joy. He will be missed in the wider church world, but I’d say his smile has since grown.
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A fascinating, piercing little article on Out of Ur: Worship Through a Child’s Eyes.
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Eden will turn two in a matter of days. She loves Dora the Explorer—though she seems to think we have it all wrong and the real star of each episode is Dora’s backpack. Well, Dora’s backpack and Swiper. She loves it when that sneaky fox shows up. Whenever he does, I gasp and turn to her, saying, “Oh no!” She does the same in return to me, which always makes the highlight reel for my day. And here’s the highlight of July: Last week I arrived home from work, and when I called out to her, she came tearing around the corner in nothing but a diaper, eyes ablaze and running so fast that she was flirting with a disastrous fall, and gave me the fiercest, deepest hug I think I’ve ever received.
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The launch team that God has been bringing together for Reunion is something special. I love these people so much already. So much. It’s an honor to serve alongside them. An absolute honor and privilege.
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On Monday, Sarah and I hooked our flip camera up to the TV and watched some videos we’ve shot over the last two years. We did so for two reasons: (1) we were curious to see how Eden would react to seeing herself as a baby, and (2) there is one particular video from Christmas of 2009 that will never fail to make us laugh. What I was not anticipating was running face-first into a six-minute video of Dad holding Eden just a handful of weeks after we’d brought her home and just a handful of weeks after he’d received news of his cancer. I’ve not been able to bring myself to replay it again on the TV, but I’ve been replaying it in my mind again and again. It’s such a snapshot of Dad in all that he was—his heart, his humor, his resolve. It’s been three months since Dad died, and goodness, I miss him terribly. Grief really does come in waves, some of which are tall and mighty. That video was a tall and mighty one, and I swallowed quite a bit of water, making it a bit hard to swim on Tuesday. But to borrow what I wrote about Stott a moment ago, I’d say Dad’s smile has grown wider each day, and that holds you together, even as it makes you long for reunion even more.

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Providing Perspective This Afternoon

Famine in East Africa

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Providing Perspective This Morning

Chinese House Church Leader Sentenced to 2 Years in Labor Camp

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The Logo

This is the blog entry where I show you the logo we have for the new church.

This also seems to be the blog entry where I start things off with the least creative opening line ever.

Full confession: On the metaphorical list I have long carried with me that lays out important items concerning the life and ministry of Reunion, a logo has never been near the top. To be clear, I’m not at all saying church logos have no importance. I’m merely saying I don’t see why they deserve the place of importance we often offer them in the church world – a pedastal that had several people asking me in the first month of our stepping into the world of church planting, “Do you have a logo yet?” I know, I know — “But we’re such a visual society, Brian!” This is true. What is also true is that we’ve always been a visual society. I suppose if you have a lot of time on your hands you could prove to me that we’re more visual than ever, but I would probably just shrug at the end of your presentation (which would surely include PowerPoint) and say, “Okay. So we’re more visual than ever. Either way, we’ve always been visual.” Which would probably be maddening, seeing as you spent all those hours on that presentation.

The immediate and obsessive emphasis on logo development makes a great deal of sense to me in the business world. In the business world you’re often pushing an inanimate product, so you do whatever you can to gain an emotional draw, ranging from hiring an endearing spokesperson to designing a logo, which, in its own odd way, serves as a “person” with which to identify. This is why I think designers are incredibly talented and much needed. Sure, their work can be so good that I’m snookered into unnecessary consumerism, but the beauty and power of their work can catch my attention and draw me toward something I actually might need in life, be it insurance or counseling or medical needs or you name it. But with the church we are already hoping to have people deal directly with a person and a people. The need for a stand-in and other marketing trappings aren’t as key – or they shouldn’t be as key. I feel like we can all at least agree on this, whether we love the idea of church logos or feel a bit cool toward them: The key visual for a church — the key logo, if you will — will always be the Logos, the Christ. (I’m really not trying to be cute in my wordplay. I actually think that’s a significant thing to think on from John’s Gospel, but it requires another blog entry entirely.) The second key visual for a church — the second key logo, if you will — will always be the people. We know this is true, because if you remove a logo from a local church and Christ and the people who comprise that local Bride remain in stunning display, everything is well and good. That seems to put a logo in its place. So as things have continued to take shape with Reunion, I have spent the vast majority of my time continuing to sharpen my understanding of Christ, with the rest of my time devoted to working with and working on the people, allowing them to work on me, too. As I’ve done so, I’ve thought from time to time, When we get to the logo, we get to the logo.

All that being said, when it came time for designing the logo, I did take it seriously, because in this day an age, the blurring of the lines between the business world and the church world means you can’t escape the gravitational pull of a logo, even if you want to. But I’m cool with it. Because a logo can be but one more way to tell a story, the story. It is one more thing – though, again, less important than displaying as incarnationally as possible the Christ and the Bride – that will have a draw to Christ and the Bride. Besides, I have a deep, abiding love for the world of art, in which logo design falls. And besides, I know several brothers and sisters who are incredibly gifted as artists, and I love setting them loose to help us find but one more way to tell the story, to help us as we’re out and about doing the grittier work of incarnationally telling the story.

I didn’t go into the process with a whole lot of convictions. I wanted it to be simple. I wanted it to tell a story — a story of reunion, of coming together, of movement toward reconciliation and the recreation that comes about in the overlap of that. My final conviction was that we not lose hours of time or serious money to a design process. In the end, here’s where we landed:

I suspect that 1/3 of you will like it all right, another 1/3 will be kind of “meh” about it, and the final 1/3 will think, This confirms my suspicions that Brian is terrible at decision-making. There were other ideas and iterations, but this one just worked and works for us. It’s certainly simple. It also simply and subtly tells a story of reunion, of a coming together of two things and a new reality in the overlap between the two—two bars (blue and yellow) coming together, with a new reality or union at the middle (the green box). And I am quite happy to report that we did not lose hours or much money at all to this. In fact, with that whole “yellow and blue makes green” element, I’m hoping Ziploc will rejoice over us and become an official sponsor. We might actually make money off of this. And if that happens, I will tell you that there are few things more important than your logo.

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Rich

Well it took the hand of God Almighty
To part the waters of the sea
But it only took one little lie
To separate you and me
Oh we are not as strong as we think we are

And they say that one day Joshua
Made the sun stand still in the sky
But I can’t even keep these thoughts of you from passing by
Oh we are not as strong as we think we are

We are frail we are fearfully and wonderfully made
Forged in the fires of human passion
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
And with these our hells and our heavens
So few inches apart
We must be awfully small
And not as strong as we think we are

And the Master said their faith was
Gonna make them mountains move
But me I tremble like a hill on a fault line
Just at the thought of how I lost you
Oh we are not as strong as we think we are

We are frail we are fearfully and wonderfully made
Forged in the fires of human passion
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
And with these our hells and our heavens
So few inches apart
We must be awfully small
And not as strong as we think we are

And if you make me laugh
I know I could make you like me
Cause when I laugh I can be a lot of fun
But we can’t do that I know that it is frightening
What I don’t know is why we can’t hold on
We can’t hold on

It took the hand of God Almighty
To part the waters of the sea
But it only took one little lie
To separate you and me
Oh we are not as strong as we think we are

When you love you walk on the water
Just don’t stumble on the waves
We all want to go there somethin awful
But to stand there it takes some grace
Cause oh we are not as strong
As we think we are

No we are not as strong
As we think we are

Walk on the water
Walk on the water
If we could just hold on
Just hold on

“We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are,” Rich Mullins

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