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West Virginia, Mountain Mama

Almost heaven, West Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River Life is old there, older than the trees Younger than the mountains growin’ like a breeze.

I am here…West Virginia.

I have driven through this state before but not stopped. this time i stopped.

Last night as I drove over the mountains from Northern Virginia I wondered if the Space Shuttle ever traveled this far from civilization. I mean, I left the world behind when I left Harrisonburg, Virginia. I turned left at James Madison University and that was the last bastion I have seen since.

When i arrived it was cool and dry. No, let me correct that – it was COLD and dry. This morning it was cold and snowy! It has snowed all day. We are on top of a mountain above the highest valley east of the Rockies, Canaan Valley, WV. It is beautiful here but it is far from anywhere.

The reason I am here is the occasion of my friend, Len Sweet’s Fall Advance. Alan Hirsch is our conversation leader. Alan is a missiologist (look it up) that is concerned about the downward trajectory of the church in the western world. It has been interesting, to say the least, and challenging, to say the most.

Some of what Hirsch said is contained in my bullet/idea notes. I am not sure you can understand them, but I will post some portion of it.

Hirsch suggests the western church needs some martyr’s blood to stir the fluid of life.

When the church comes under pressure in any context we go toward the seed… it is the adaptive challenge that says ‘adapt or die.’ Most of the organized church are resisting the challenge and the pressure in a state of denial because it threatens the institution of the church.Institutions are loathe to change….especially the leaders at the top of the pyramid because the livelihood of their existence is threatened. There is no other reason to resist forward progress. The church is on the decline in every context in post-modern culture. Only in pre-modern cultures is the church thriving….such as China, third world, etc where wealth and comfort are not the way of life.

So, that is where I am and what I am doing. It is great to see old friends and meet new ones…from as close to home as North Carolina and as far away as New Zealand. I am already looking for the next gathering in March on Orcas Island.

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