Friday, December 28, 2007

CHRISTVERTISING - The Future of Our Christian Subculture?



The following news stories touched a nerve in me today.

First, read this:
Scientists: Time Itself May Be Slowing Down

"A group of scientists from the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, and Spain's University of Salamanca have offered a different idea. Maybe it's the passage of time itself that's slowing down, they say. The distant galaxies only look like they're accelerating because our deep-space telescopes are essentially looking back in time to see them, to when time was going faster. "

and then read this:
The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom (Paperback)

Schroeder is an Israeli physicist and scholar of Genesis who maintains that a properly understood Bible and a properly understood science provide consistent sets of data. In recent decades, scientific discoveries in cosmology, paleontology, and quantum physics do not demonstrate or prove the activity of God, but they do remove conflict with that activity.

Schroeder is very lucid in explaining difficult scientific concepts, such as the passage of time according to the theory of relativity, and religious data, such as the original Hebrew words. Schroeder's careful and responsible handling of the data on origins from science and Genesis 1, combined with a fresh, judicious correlation between the two, is compelling.


`Gospel of wealth' facing scrutiny
By ERIC GORSKI, AP Religion WriterThu Dec 27, 2:56 PM ET

The message flickered into Cindy Fleenor's living room each night: Be faithful in how you live and how you give, the television preachers said, and God will shower you with material riches.
And so the 53-year-old accountant from the Tampa, Fla., area pledged $500 a year to Joyce Meyer, the evangelist whose frank talk about recovering from childhood sexual abuse was so inspirational. She wrote checks to flamboyant faith healer Benny Hinn and a local preacher-made-good, Paula White.

Only the blessings didn't come. Fleenor ended up borrowing money from friends and payday loan companies just to buy groceries. At first she believed the explanation given on television: Her faith wasn't strong enough.

"I wanted to believe God wanted to do something great with me like he was doing with them," she said. "I'm angry and bitter about it. Right now, I don't watch anyone on TV hardly."

(more in link above)

I cannot tell you how much this sort of thing pisses me off. I know more than one elderly woman who has to live on hand-outs because she sends checks for hundreds of dollars to these hucksters and charlatans. Then they call us in tears wondering why God hasn't healed their illness or pain. They have been so deluded into believing this Gospel of Gain and it makes me sick.

If you read the entire story linked above you'll see where one of the Televangelists says that their brand of theology must work because they themselves are filthy rich. All that proves is that if you're the person telling others to believe your bullsh*t and mail you checks for hundreds of dollars you can get rich. It doesn't work for those poor saps who believe your twisted doctrines and go broke supporting your 20 million dollar spending habit.

This theology doesn't work for the millions of poor and diseased in India, Africa, Bangledesh, Nepal, etc. It only seems to work in capitalist, materialistic USA where the Gospel of Jesus has been hijacked and perverted into the most anti-Kingdom message you could possibly imagine.

Jesus was poor. He was born into poverty. The Scriptures could not be more clear on this. Jesus was homeless. Paul was homeless. The Gospel is about giving things away, not hoarding wealth for yourself. The early church sold property and liquidated wealth to care for the poorest of the poor around them; not just the Christians. The leaders of the Church took the money laid at their feet and distributed it to the poor and the orphan and the widow and the leper. They did not keep it and purchase goodies for themselves or enrich their lives here with the offerings of their flock.

In America we say, "Come to Jesus and you'll get a better job, you'll have a happier family and you'll make more money." In the rest of the World the Gospel is communicated as, "Come to Jesus and you may lose your job. Your family may be imprisoned. You may be tortured. Your life here may be difficult."

Excuse me, I'm going to go puke now.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our Christmas Miracle

by Keith Giles

Our flight out of Little Rock was delayed over an hour. This meant we'd miss our connecting flight out of Dallas by almost forty-five minutes. Our options were limited. According to the American Airlines representative we could either fly to Dallas and take our chances on stand-by flights or we could spend the night in Little Rock and try again on Sunday.

Looking at my two elementary-aged sons standing huddled together with my wife and her sister beside the boarding gate I decided to take our chances on stand-by in Dallas, even though it might mean splitting up our group on separate flights, or possibly spending the night in a Dallas hotel and flying out on Sunday morning.

Our house church had scheduled a massive Christmas gift-wrapping and distribution party for the next day. If we ended up staying in Dallas we'd miss the whole thing, and half of the gifts were in our house which would mean they wouldn't be available to wrap or to pass out to the children who were expecting them.

We boarded the flight to Dallas and breathed prayers for a miracle.

In Dallas I sprinted off the plane and was shocked to learn that our flight was still in the gate. Even though it should have left orignally at 5:50pm, (and it was now 7:15pm), the flight was now scheduled to leave at 7:25pm. Just ten minutes.

We were standing in terminal B and our flight was leaving out of terminal D in just under ten minutes. I told my family to do their best to keep up and then began running my guts out to reach the gate for our plane before it left the terminal.

After the first half mile I was feeling the burn. By the second half mile I was beginning to wonder if there was any sense in continuing to run. Soon I was completely unable to run due to exaustion and my pace had slowed to a fast walk.

Finally, I arrived at the gate. There was no one around other than one AA employee standing beside the Gate door which was open. There were no passengers anywhere. I managed to sprint the final few yards and handed her my boarding passes. She checked me onto the flight and instructed me to board the plane because it was leaving the gate any moment. I informed her that there were four other people right behind me who needed to be on that plane with me before I could board.

A few seconds later my family was in view. They ran the final steps and we checked onto the plane.

As we collapsed into our seats the pilot came over the intercom and apologized for not leaving the gate earlier because, although they had been ready to leave several minutes ago, there was a strange aircraft sitting right behind us that was blocking our exit. As soon as the aircraft moved out of the way, our plane could taxi out of the gate and leave. He apologized again for the unnatural delay.

My wife and I looked at each other and smiled through our breathless gasps for air. A few seconds later our plane began to back out of the gate.

We were going home.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Join the Subversive Network

This week's subscribers to the [Subversive Underground] got an inside peek at a project I was working on a few years ago designed as a carrier signal for the subversive message of the Kingdom.

(Hint: You can read all about it over at or by clicking "Subscribe to the [Subversive Underground] link at left).

Even though I still plan to put much of this subversive campaign into practice here in Orange County one day, I felt compelled this week to share the details of the plan with the 187 people on the [SU] list. Perhaps someone in our little subversive network has the means and the passion to duplicate this plan in their own city or community? Maybe my ideas will spark new ideas in their minds that will play out differently, but no less subversively and creatively?

For the longest time I've held back from using this blog and the accompanying [Subversive Underground] e-newsletter as a means of activism. Other than the occassional event like "" or the "End Slavery Now" campaign, or perhaps the upcoming Non-Con gathering, I've resisted the temptation to mobilize people to specific action.

I'm not even 100% sure that this week's [SU] will inspire anyone to do anything at all. Perhaps not. But still, the possibility is there and I do have the hope that the nearly 200 people who have subscribed to my weekly articles would feel the same way that I do about the Kingdom, the Gospel, and have a desire to make a real difference in their community.

Surely some of them must share my ideas or they wouldn't continue to remain on the list week after week.

My basic premise has always been that, for those who truly see The Kingdom, the Gospel is already more subversive than anything you or I could dream up. I've also assumed that those who read my articles and newsletter would already be involved in subversive dialogs with friends, or engaged in serving the poor, or living out the Gospel in tangible ways.

I've always loved the concept of a covert "Shadow Network" like the one employed by the fictional crime fighter "The Shadow". This nebulous assortment of operatives predated the Internet and could be mobilized with just a phone call to do the bidding of "The Shadow" in order to defeat the forces of darkness and multiply the reach of the mysterious crime fighter. In recent times comic book writer Warren Ellis would steal the idea and re-name it "The Global Frequency" but sans crime-fighting, gun-wielding hero.

In the real world there have been wonderful subversive experiments such as and my own while filmmakers have lead the way with websites supporting the Blair Witch project and The Matrix in order to drum up viral marketing and spark interest in their films.

What would a Kingdom campaign look like? Is there a way to intrigue everyday people into a dialog about the Gospel as Jesus did using stories and allegory and creative inspiration? I believe so.

Maybe the faithful 187 subscribers to the [Subversive Underground] have not acted yet because they have not been properly activated? If I were to activate them, what would they do? What could we accomplish?

Perhaps we'll see if anyone who reads this week's [SU] feels compelled by the Holy Spirit to take a subversive approach to communicating the Gospel of the Kingdom. If so, then maybe the activation is already underway? If not, then perhaps our time has not yet come.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?


Friday, December 14, 2007


By Keith Giles

It was Christmas week and I was in San Antonio, Texas visiting my sister-in-law. Her church was taking bags of groceries to a local housing project and my wife and I had brought our two little sons along with us to take part in the outreach.

After a quick prayer lead by my little seven-year-old, each of us took a grocery sack and started towards a row of houses across the street.

We knocked on the door and it was opened by an elderly Hispanic woman who looked at us with more than a bit of apprehension. After we introduced ourselves we told her we were offering a free bag of groceries as part of a Christmas outreach from an area church. She invited us inside and thanked us for the food, telling us that she was very hungry.

Standing in her tiny living room, I asked her if we could pray with her for anything. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, "The other day I was so lonely and down. I asked God if He was real to send me an angel so I'd know that He had not forgotten me." She stopped to look at my wife and two little boys and then turned back to me with tears welling in her eyes. "But He sent me four angels," she said.

We were all in tears as we held hands and prayed for Gods blessing in her life, for healing to her body and for her Grandchildren, and then we said goodbye, going next door to pass out another bag of groceries.

Such a simple act of kindness made a wealth of difference to a total stranger.
I will never forget that day, or that woman we prayed with. I know my two little sons will never forget it either.

It's moments like these that Jesus smiles on His children and rains down grace on His people. It's what we were made for.

Even the most casual reading of the New Testament Gospels reveals a Christ who was full of compassion for the poor.

In Mathew, chapter six, Jesus instructs his disciples on the finer points of how to give to the poor with the assumption that they would, of course, be about this practice. "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Jesus (Matthew 6:3)

It's with the same assumptive reasoning that he follows this up by saying "And when you pray" in the very next verse. His assumption was that His followers would be about doing these things.

1 John 3:17 says it even more strongly- "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?"

How can the love of God be in him?

Every single day, something like forty thousand people die of starvation and malnutrition in this world of ours. That's about twenty-seven people per minute. Even more alarming is the knowledge that, out of these, twenty of these are under the age of five. My youngest son is five.

I read a commentary recently that compared this number to the dropping of the first atomic bomb every three days.


The question is not whether or not people are hungry in the world. The facts are clear. People are most certainly in need, and not just in those Third World countries either.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had previously reported, based on a survey conducted in 1999, that ten percent of all U.S. households, representing 19 million adults and 12 million children, were "food insecure" because of lack of resources. Of these 10.5 million households, 3.1 million suffered from such severe conditions that USDA's very conservative measures classified them as "hungry." Five million adults and 2.7 million children live in these hungry households.

No, the question is not whether or not people are hungry, the question is whether or not God's people will rise up and do something about it.

I find it more than a little disturbing that every time Jesus tells a parable about someone who ends up in Hell, its because they were completely apathetic towards the poor around them.

For example, at the Judgement Seat described by Christ in Matthew 25, the goats are rejected because they were able to call Jesus Lord but had no compassion for those around them who were in need. In fact, seeing people hungry, naked, poor, and alone didn't seem to bother them at all.

Now, I'm not saying that if you don't serve the poor you're going to hell. But, Jesus does seem to use this as a sort of litmus test for those who truly belong to Him. Compassion for the poor is often used in scripture as evidence of salvation.

There's probably no better section of scripture to illustrate this point than in James, the second chapter, verses 14 to 19; "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder."

The demons believe in a way you and I can't. They've seen God with their own eyes. They've heard the actual, audible voice of Jesus. They don't just believe; they know. But this belief doesn't have the power to save them or change them. It's belief without any corresponding action.

Demons believe, but they don't comfort the sick in hospitals. They don't knock on doors and hand out free groceries to the poor, but those who name the name of Christ can't help but serve those in need with complete joy.

True faith always involves action. Faith is doing something about what you believe.
God's Word is clear as crystal on this issue; Those who call themselves followers of Christ must look with compassion on these who are in need.

Peace (on Earth),


*NOTE: This article originally appeared in the print version of RELEVANT Magazine a few years ago.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Try to spend your money buying food and necessities for people who are really in need this Holiday season rather than buying something unnecessary for someone who doesn't need anything new.

Our family has made a point of reducing our Christmas gift purchases to only one gift for each person and one small gift for parents. All other spending will be to buy food and clothes for people who are in serious need of assistance and toys for the children who live in the motel in Santa Ana where we minister.

Christmas is about giving, and we should start with those who are truly in need.

Merry Christmas.

Peace (on Earth),

PS- This Sunday is the "Gap Protest" at stores in SF, NY, Miami and Costa Mesa, California. Join with hundreds of others as they give back their Gap, Inc. clothing made by children kept as slaves in India.

More info here:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Church Spends $1.3 Million On Christmas Pageant

Just imagine how many homeless families could be cared for, fed, given shelter and have the Gospel message demonstrated to them for what it cost to put on a show like this.

Makes me remember why I left the traditional church in order to give 100% of the tithe to the poor instead of spending on over the top distractions for the Saved.


Friday, December 07, 2007


by Keith Giles

I've been reading quite a bit lately about viral marketing, guerilla marketing, New Media, Web 2.0, and a lot of marketing-related articles dealing with the future of advertising trends.

I started asking myself, "Why does anyone read a blog at all?" and then specifically, "Why does anyone read THIS blog?" I have to confess I really don't know. Feel free to comment below if you have any insight to share.

I myself only read a handful of blogs. Most are written by friends of mine like Lisa Wahrmund, or Lito Bujanda-Moore, or Mike Burns and a few are blogs from marketing gurus like Seth Godin or from comic book industry people like Heidi MacDonald or creators like Brian Wood or artists like Eric Canete (for his usually daily art updates), or Paul Pope, or Derek Hess.

The only blog I read that is like mine is Mike Burns. Most of the blogs I read are to inform me about a friend's life, to catch new ideas on marketing, to view new art from a favorite artist, or to get news updates that I can't find on a mainstream website.

So, again, I ask, "Why does anyone read my blog?"

Some people, I know, read my blog because they are sent here by a link off one of my articles over at or, and maybe a few others get here from a link off another person's blog (but my guess is that's rare).

When I started this blog I think it was mainly to serve as an online repository of my articles which had been previously published on as part of my (then ongoing) column "Subversive". If you go waaayyy back on the "Archives" of this blog, for example, you'll find that the first 40 or so entries are all reprints (some with dead links and graphics) of articles from those Relevant Magazine columns. It was only after that was accomplished (and the column at RM ended) that I realized that, somehow, there were people actually READING my random posts here on the Christian subculture, discipleship to Jesus, Compassion Ministry and the Gospel of the Kingdom (and later, House Church).

Out of this blog grew the weekly e-newsletter [Subversive Underground] and out of that grew my first two books (see links at left).

Eventually I think this blog came to represent my attempt to communicate the subversive nature of the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached. I genuinely feel that I have a calling from God to write about what it means to follow Jesus. This is my ministry (along with the [SU] and my books, and The Mission house church).

I would love to think that, in some small way, I am part of a larger movement. I would like to believe that somehow my blog, my articles, my writing, is part of God's plan to motivate a generation of "Jesus Followers" who take the words of our Lord seriously enough to actually put them into practice.

I'm not the one who sets any agenda. I feel like I am part of a bigger agenda, God's agenda, for ushering in a wave of change within the Body of Christ.

If I had the bandwidth here's what I'd love to add to the online Subversive Universe one day:

1) Podcasts- I know I'm late to the party here, but I think it would be great if I could put together a semi-regular Subversive podcast. I've been encouraged to do just that by several friends of mine but I've not stepped into this yet because, mainly, I don't have the time…or a microphone for my laptop. I also don't want to do it if it's cheesy or crappy. I would also prefer to do it with a group of people having a conversation rather than me in my bedroom talking to myself. So…maybe next year, who knows?

2) Webzine/Moblog- This would be a web magazine on the subjects I care most about written by myself and several other bloggers and writers. So, I'd create a different blog-based webzine where other writers would regularly contribute articles on justice, discipleship, house church, Christian subculture, etc. I'd love to get contributors like Mike Burns, Crissy Brooks (MIKA CDC), Neil Cole (CMA Resources), David Ruis, John Fischer (see below), and others to post regular articles to a single webzine.

3) "Manifesto": Monthly One-Day Discussion Groups- This would be a way to gather a handful of people locally to get together for coffee and inspired conversation on topics like the house church, missional life, compassion ministry, impacting the culture, the Arts, etc. Sort of an open source "Non-Con" if you will.

Of course, the problem is that I am only one person. My ideas outstrip my ability to actualize them. I have a full-time job as an editorial copywriter, a wife and two children, two house churches to pastor, and several book projects in progress, all in addition to this blog and the weekly e-newsletter.

My plate is full right now.

Maybe in 2008? Or 2009?

We'll see….

From John Fischer: The In's and Out's Of It

One of my heroes is John Fischer. He's a songwriter, author and writer on subversive, kingdom issues that I've been following for many years now.

I first discovered John's writing when I first subscribed to CCM Magazine about twenty years ago (I've long since stopped reading that magazine, btw). John used to write the Last Word column in the back of every issue. I always found it ironic and fascinating that his articles were published in the handbook of Christian materialism, although they were consistently anti-subculture and thought-provoking.

Yesterday John's daily article was one that resonated with me (and you'll see why as soon as you start reading it). With his permission I've reprinted it here for your enjoyment.

The in's and out's of it by John Fischer

"In it, not of it," the statement was made
As Christian One faced the world, much afraid.
"In it, not of it," the call was made clear,
But Christian One got something stuck in his ear.
"Not in it, or of it," was the thing that he heard.
And knowing the world was painfully absurd,
He welcomed the safety of pious retreat,
And went to the potluck for something to eat.

Now Christian Two, he knew what to do,
He'd show those fundies a thing or two!
How will the world ever give Christ a try
If we don't get in there and identify?
So "In it, and of it," he said in his car,
As he pulled in and stopped at a popular bar.
"I'll tell them the truth as soon as I'm able
To get myself out from under this table."

Now along comes Christian Three jogging for Jesus,
In witnessing sweats made of four matching pieces.
His earphones are playing a hot Christian tune
About how the Lord is coming back soon.
"Not in it, but of it," he turns down the hill
And stops in for a bite at the Agape Grill.
Like the gold on the chain of his "God Loves You" bracelet,
He can have the world without having to face it.

While way up in heaven they lament these conditions
That come from changing a few prepositions.
"Not in it, or of it," Christian One thought.
But who in the world will know that he's not?
"In it, and of it," thought Christian Two.
But who in the world will know that he knew?
"Not in it, but of it," thought Christian Three.
But who in the world watches Christian TV?

And Jesus turns to Gabriel, shaking His head.
"'In it, not of it,' wasn't that what I said?"

John Fischer publishes a DAILY e-newsletter called "Catch of the Day". I subscribe to it and you should too. There's a sign up over on his website here:

A word from John Fischer:

"Here are some books you should have under your belt if you are writing your way out of the Christian subculture. You may already know of these but I wanted to be sure:

*Pop Goes Religion: Faith in Popular Culture by Terry Mattingly
*Fearless Faith: Living Beyond the Walls of Safe Christianity by John Fischer
*The Culturally Savvy Christian: A Manifesto for Deepening Faith and Enriching Popular Culture in an Age of Christianity-Lite by Dick Staub
*The Rock and Roll Rebellion: Why people of faith abandoned rock music--and why they're coming back by Mark Joseph
*Raised by Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock and Roll" by John J. Thompson
*At the Crossroads: An Insider's Look at the Past, Present, and Future of Contemporary Christian Music

And then there is Frank Schaeffer's new book: Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back -- which is pretty much a time bomb ticking in the heart of the Christian subculture. (I love it!)

Hope this helps,

John Fischer

Thursday, December 06, 2007


My oldest son, Dylan, turned twelve years old this week.

This week's [Subversive Underground] is a write up about what God reminded me as I contemplated this significant event. (See link below to sign up for the free, weekly e-newsletter. You can also read the most recent article).

In the next twelve months I have made a covenant with my son to spend more time with him. He and I are going to be getting up early each morning to read the Bible together. Currently we're reading 1 Samuel about the calling of David to be God's annointed over Israel.

In addition to this, I've promised my son that I will make it a priority to spend more time with him each month. He and I will spend time together talking about our week, sharing what we've learned about life, and basically getting to know each other more.

I'm realizing that this next year is a gift from God for me to be the Father I've always wanted to be, before Dylan turns thirteen next year and his hormones begin slowly pulling him away from Wendy and I.

When I was younger, before I got married, I used to imagine how great it would be to have a son and to take drives in the car with him, just the two of us, talking about what was on our minds, sharing stories and laughing together. For the most part I've never made a conscious effort to create that sort of relationship with my sons. I don't think my sons are alienated from me, by any means. We do love to hang out together and laugh and play games and go places and talk about life, etc. But, for some reason, the idea of my son turning twelve this week really made me pause and take stock of what sort of father I want to be over the next few years. I want my sons to know they can talk to me about anything. I want them to know that they are more important to me than anything else I may have going on in my life.

I realized that the only way they would really ever know that is if I actually do something, on purpose, to demonstrate it to them.

So, over the next twelve months, my oldest son Dylan and I will be getting together more often to talk. Sometimes we'll stay up a bit later (after his younger brother is in bed) to hang out and talk in the den together. Sometimes we'll take a trip to the park or to grab an ice cream or whatever just to do something fun.

I know that I will also have to mark out an equal amount of time for my youngest son, David too. I don't want to send the message that I'm playing favorites either. So, both my sons will be seeing more of me over the next several years.

As much as I love all these creative projects I'm working on, like my new books and the Non-Con coming up, and the house church, there's nothing more important to me than my family.

I guess my son isn't the only one coming of age this week.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Peace Is So Uncool

Peace Is So Uncool

by Keith Giles

Jesus was a man of peace. He said that those who made peace would be called the Sons of God.

To be someone who loves peace and brings peace and makes peace is to be like the Son of's to be like Jesus.

It's so curious to me that the American Church seems, at least politically, to be Pro-War.

Wouldn't Jesus be surprised at this development? Don't you think He's disappointed in the Church that bears His name?

Jesus said that he was sending us out like lambs among the wolves. It's just not cool to be the lamb is it? Lambs are goofy looking. They don't have any defense mechanism. Even skunks and rabbits have something to fight back with, but lambs can't run fast, dig holes to hide in, scratch with their claws or exude a repulsive odor. They just go "baaaa" and sit there looking wooly.

Without the Shepherd, they're toast actually.

At this time of the year, where the followers of Jesus stop to remember the birth of the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, let us also remember that the Angels who announced His birth sang of Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men.



Friday, November 30, 2007


By Keith Giles

There's a post on Seth Godin's blog today about a group of Belgian Monks who create a very limited amount of beer each month. You can only buy two cases at a time, at a specific time each month, and once they're sold out that's it for the month.

They do not label their beer bottles. They see quality as being linked with scarcity and the limited availability of their product adds to the value.

Seth Godin notes:
"There are two ingredients to this remarkability. The the idea of ritual. By changing the way the product is created and distributed, they add a religious and spiritual element to the process (even if they weren't monks). Second, they're not trying to sell the most. That's critical.
"When you try to maximize anything, you work to be efficient, to fit in, to appeal to the average person, since that's where the numbers are. Every time Budweiser makes a decision, it seems to make sense, since they're trying to sell the most beer. Most embraces systems and policies that make sense. But most rarely succeeds."

Read Seth's complete blog here:

This article resonates with me on several levels. One, because it identifies a lost ideal of quality being a limited resource. In the house church we major on the few. We listen to everyone who wants to share or speak, whether they are eight years old, eighteen years old, or eighty. Everyone is important. Everyone has a chance to be heard, and to use their talent and their gift, and to be encouraged in their daily walk. No one gets ignored or left out. At least, that's our goal and it's much more within reach when you have ten people in a living room versus three hundred people sitting in rows facing the same direction.

I also love the idea of scarcity adding value. I also love the concept that "Most rarely succeeds." In today's corporate world, which has largely invaded the traditional Church model, it's all about going for the "most" you can possibly get. Pastors want the most members, they want the most tithe, they want the most amazing worship bands, they want the most talented volunteers, etc.

The Church has marginalized the least in order to get the most. That's pretty sad to me, especially since our Lord, our example, (Jesus), was more interested in the least than he was in the most. He always saw the one in the crowd. He stopped for the woman with the issue of blood and acknowledged her. He saw Zacheeus in the crowd and singled him out. He travelled to Samaria to meet with one woman beside the well. He walked through a sea of crippled people to ask one man beside the pool of Siloam "What would you have me to do for you?" and healed his legs so he could walk again.

The American Church has fallen short of the high calling of Jesus Christ by aiming for the "most" and has been blind to the importance of focusing on the value of the few.

Many years ago, as an on-staff pastor at a traditional church, I was expected to meet regularly with the leaders in the congregation. Each pastor was encouraged to identify those who exemplified leadership qualities and seek out friendships and "meaningful relationships" with them in order to influence them to volunteer for our ministry area. This was meant to help us build our leadership team and grow our ministries by recruiting the brightest and the best from among the flock.

I always wondered, "Who is going to identify our losers and meet with them each week?" I knew a lot of people who were far from leader material. Most were having a hard time with their marriages, or struggling with their finances, or trying to find a full-time job after being laid off. Who among the pastoral staff was going to make it their weekly duty to arrange a lunch with these people? Who was going to listen to their story? Who was going to encourage them and pray with them and provide Godly counsel to them?

For me, that's what being a pastor is all about. It's not about preaching a great sermon. It's not about putting more butts in the seats. It's not about developing the shiny, happy, successful leaders and mobilizing them to run the programs and make the Church business successful.

Being a pastor is being a shepherd. It's about feeding the sheep. It's about spending time with people and loving them as Jesus loves them. It's about being willing to associate with people of low position (see Romans 12) and being a servant to all (see Jesus).

I guess that's why I left the traditional church to start a house church. I wanted to spend time with every day losers like me and encourage them to walk with Jesus and help them to see the Kingdom.

Even now, everytime I mention to someone that our Mission House Church is going well the first question I get from people is always, "How many people are coming now?" As if the sheer numbers of people attending each week are what we measure success by. How did we get that into our heads? Jesus never measures success by numbers of people. Why do we insist on thinking this way?

When I say the house church is going well I mean that I see people growing in Christ. I hear them talk about how God is teaching them something new. I hear them share how God has helped them step outside their comfort zones. I observe them loving others and giving generously to people in need and I can see the character of Christ being revealed in them. That's what I mean when I say that our house church is being blessed and doing great.

It's not about "Most", it's about the rare quality of investing in a few people for an ongoing and consistent measure of loving support and encouragment.

That's Church, my friends. That's subversive…although it shouldn't be. It should be pervasive.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Press Release

Costa Mesa- November 29, 2007 - "Close The Gap"

A Nationwide protest against retail clothing giant Gap, Inc. is scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.

On Dec.16th, 2007, hundreds of young people will gather at Gap Stores around the country to give back their GAP, Inc. clothing in order to protest recent news that the retail chain has been using child slave labor in India.

"December 16th is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party," said J.R., organizer of the planned protest. "We want to make a similar statement, as young people who have helped Gap build their clothing empire with our clothing purchases, that we no longer want to buy our clothes from an organization that supports or employs child slaves to produce their products."

Protests are currently scheduled to take place at Gap stores in San Francisco, Southern California, Miami, and at the Gap in Times Square in New York City. The protest will involve hundreds of people who are encouraged to bring all of their Gap, Inc. clothes items (which include Bannanna Republic and Old Navy) to the nearest Gap store and drop them on the front doorstep with a note to the owners that they will no longer support the retail chain or purchase their clothes.

According to a recent investigative report published by "News Of The World" ( the nationwide clothing giant was caught using child slaves in a New Delhi, India sweatshop where children as young as ten were branded and forced to work 19 hours a day for nothing.

The Gap, Inc. acknowledged the use of child slaves to produce their clothing and quickly issued an official statement to condemn the practice, claiming ignorance of the situation and promising to discontinue contracts with the specific offender identified in the investigation.

For many former Gap customers the statement from the company's president was too little, too late.

"This most recent report of The Gap using children as slaves to produce their clothing is nothing new," says J.R., "This company has a history of employing child slaves over the years. If they really care to stop this practice, maybe they should stop producing their clothing in India- the child slavery capital of the world."

The Gap was founded in 1969 by Donald Fisher, who is one of America's wealthiest businessmen. Last year the firm embarked on a huge poster and TV campaign for Product Red, a charitable trust to help fight AIDS and treat other diseases in Africa.The Product Red Campaign was launched by U2 singer Bono and backed by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, film director Steven Spielberg and actress Penelope Cruz.

The irony is that Gap, Inc. participated in the Red Campaign by selling branded products to raise awareness about the needs of the world's poorest and oppressed, even though their own products were created by poor, oppressed children who had no voice and often work for no pay.

"We want to give back our Gap, Inc. clothes because we are so repulsed at their use of children as slaves, who are forced to create their clothing under penalty of torture and abuse, that we cannot in good conscience continue to wear their clothing in public," said J.R. "This is our generation's Boston Tea Party. This is a statement against the exploitation of children. We will not participate in this atrocity."

For more info on the December 16th "Send Gap Clothes Back" Protest go here:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


By Keith Giles

Last week I received an email from someone who was interviewing various people regarding the Emerging/Emergent Church movement. She wanted to know what my thoughts were regarding the movement and had several specific questions for me about the differences between this and the Traditional Church.

I suppose she thought to ask me to weigh in on the subject since she assumes I am part of the "Emerging" crowd. For the record I don't consider myself to be an "Emerging" Christian.

I know I write for and, both of which do categorize themselves as being among the "Emerging" Church camp. I also can understand how a lot of what I write about and the ideas I propose find a receptive audience among this group of believers. I just don't consider myself to be "Emerging" in any way.

First of all, I need to spend some time defining what the Emerging/Emergent movement is since there's a lot of confusion within and without on this very subject.

According to the entry at Wiki, "The emerging church (also known as the emerging church movement) is a controversial 21st-century Protestant Christian movement whose participants seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched. To accomplish this, "emerging Christians" (also known as "emergents") deconstruct and reconstruct Christian beliefs, standards, and methods to accommodate postmodern culture."

My simplification of that is that it's a movement of mostly younger Christians who are tired of the traditional structure and practice of doing church and who long for a newer, simplified, "faith-in-action" version of Christianity that goes beyond talking about doctrine and moves into actually putting the faith into practice every single day.

Truthfully the entire "Emerging" movement is difficult to define or categorize because you have no real leaders identified, no set doctrine or theology, and no specific examples to point to. Basically anyone who wants to distance themselves from the "old way" of doing Church can call themselves "Emerging" and then proceed to teach or preach or model whatever form or model of Church they please.

What does it really mean to be "Emerging"? I have my ideas, but others have their own ideas. The movement is difficult to grasp, like a wet bar of soap in the shower. It seems like anyone can call themselves Emerging as long as they're not a traditional church.

Because of this, I do not consider myself to be part of the Emerging movement. Although I'm personally inspired by many within the Emerging movement like Brian McLaren and Philip Yancy who have helped me to think about Jesus in a more radical way. I'm also very indebted to people like Dallas Willard, Todd Hunter, Scott Bartchy, David Ruis and A.W. Tozer. None of those guys are part of the Emerging movement, but they have great things to teach us about following Jesus, understanding the Gospel of the Kingdom and learning how to die to ourselves every single day.

So, what am I? I guess I'd classify myself as being part of the House Church movement, although even that feels like a limited label to me. While I'm currently leading two small house churches in my house each week, I'm largely an outsider when it comes to the various house church communities locally and internationally.

Even within the house church/simple church crowd there's a division of models between the "Organic Church" (ala Neil Cole) and the "House Church" (ala Wolfgang Simson or Frank Viola). Organic churches are more like open door evangelistic groups where anyone and everyone is welcome to come and debate Christianity whether or not they consider themselves to be followers of Jesus or not. The House Church is much more like a weekly gathering of believers who come together to worship, pray, encourage one another and share a meal. Unbelievers are not unwelcome, but our group isn't tailored to answer their questions or perform evangelism.
Instead, our house churches are designed to make disciples of those who already believe so that they can live a missional life outside the group.

Neil Cole and I have different perspectives on the nature and function of small groups, but we agree on the idea that this model of "being church" is more Biblical and closer to what Jesus had in mind for those who wanted to follow after him.

Having said that, one of the questions in the interview from last week really got me thinking. It was about the "Us vs Them" mentality and what causes it. Honestly, I wasn't sure if she was asking about the "Us vs Them" mentality between Christians and Non-Christians or the one between the Emerging Church and the Traditional Church. I'm still not exactly sure what her question was getting at, but I decided to answer her question by assuming it was about the divide between the Emergent/Organic Church and the Traditional Church since that topic is one
I've not spent a lot of time talking about previously, and also since I've already written quite extensively on the other issue lately.

When it comes to the divide between the Traditional Church and the Emerging Movement, or the House Church Movement, I think people on all sides of the issue are to blame. We tend to make the other side look misguided and often pick out the areas where they are wrong or (in our opinion) off base.

It's very easy to get tunnel vision and start believing that your way or model is the best and only way to do, or to be, the Church. There are very good reasons why we hold the opinions that we hold. Most of the passion, and therefore the "heat", is on the side of those who are called to step outside the Traditional model. We've got issues. We've decided to do something different. Some of us because we felt God calling us to step outside the existing model, others because we felt pushed out, or invited to leave if we didn't like the food on the traditional Chuck Wagon.
Because some of us have been hurt we feel at liberty to loudly proclaim our righteous indignation at the old guard.

Honestly, I really do believe that God is doing something exciting and new within the house church movement here in America. I've met too many people who feel just like I do, and none of us have watched the same movies, attended the same conference or read the same book. This movement is one being lead by the Holy Spirit as He calls individuals to step outside of the traditional church and into something new and radical like house church.

God has humbled me more than once and rebuked me for running down my traditional brothers and sisters. He's shown me that good, awesome Kingdom work is being done in those churches. God loves them. God is at work through them. He loves them just as much as He loves us in the house church. They are not the enemy.

Our house church partners with two local, traditional churches to serve at a local motel where hundreds of families live below the poverty line. This partnership forces us to work hand in hand with and to love our brothers and sisters in traditional church. One of the churches we partner with is a mega-church, the other is a small college fellowship with less than a hundred members. While I still couldn't fellowship or worship (long-term) the way they do, I still don't begrudge them for doing things the way they do it. They're my brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm learning to love them. They're learning to love a crazy house church pastor too.

The perspective we all need to gain is that we're all part of the larger Body of Christ, regardless of how we worship or what model we follow. We need to get over the labels and the models and start getting busy advancing the Kingdom of God.

I still believe we have a right, and even a duty, to express our different opinions to one another on issues of culture, practice, theology, eschatology, exegesis, and what have you. It's not wrong or a sin to disagree with other Christians about particulars of our Faith. We just have to get better about communicating with one another without hurting each others feelings. Just like every family does.

Let's be the Family of God, then. Let's focus on following Jesus first and foremost. We can debate the specifics, but we have to learn to love one another first of all.

No one wins unless Jesus wins. No team can celebrate if the other team suffers.

We are the family of God. Baptists, Methodists, Organic Churches, House Churches, Charismatic Churches, Pentecostal Churches, whatever.

Let freedom ring.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

God Still Loves Us

Not sure who is behind this worldwide viral marketing campaign...but I think I like it.

More info:

For even more fun try googling "God Still Loves Us" and you'll discover a Flickr site, a .Ning page and loads more.

! Attention Christians: More like this, please.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Reader Review of "Nobody Follows Jesus"

Charles Pike recently reviewed my book, "Nobody Follows Jesus" and I share his observations with you now.

"Nobody Follows Jesus" (A Review) by Charles Pike

I am obsessed. I can't control myself. Although I am mired in sin, not simply falling, but plummeting, like flaming pieces of space debris, far from the glory of God, I get up each day, say my prayers, search for my cross and set out into the world to discover my wonderful new daily failures.

To ease the pain of the realization of my own petty shamefulness, I cram my mind with cultural distractions. Some fill me with joy, knowledge, and hope. Others just serve as a diversion and keep me from more important things, like turning off the computer and playing with my children, or taking the time to show my wife how wonderful I think she is, and how I would be truly lost without her.

I watch the noomas and read the beautiful books of bell. I download mp3's of Shane Claiborne and marvel at his "irresistible revolution", fantasizing about living in a community like his "simple ways" collection in Philly. I cruise the ooze and get giddy on Ginkworld, always looking for a fix. A distraction. a reaffirmation that I am not crazy, and that Jesus is coming out of the tomb that our appropriative empire has encased him in, and walks among us with a desperate look of want and desire, eager to connect, and anxious to forgive.Furing these periods of societal denial, I have come across the writings of one Keith Giles. His essays and articles over the past few years in various non secular e-zines have constantly caught my eye, engaged my imagination, and allowed me to feel not quite so alone on this voyage toward salvation.

Keith has collected his writings from his e-newsletter "the subversive underground", next wave magazine, the ooze, and a few other joints he haunts, and put them into book form. So what's the big deal? Well, yes, he is selling them on line thru, a wonderful site for the self published, but he has done something truly interesting and vested with Kingdom sensibility, he has posted the pdfs For free download to any who might not be able to afford the few bucks to reward him for his labor of love.

I, being one of those perpetually tight fisted, and terminally broke, individuals, thrilled to the very seat of my office chair, taxed my feeble dial up connection and spent eight hours downloading his two books, "Nobody Follows Jesus (so why should you)" and "The Gospel, For Here Or To Go".

The results were immediately disappointing. The pdfs opened in quick time format, and would only show the table of contents to the two books. I felt punked, had. Frustrated, but not defeated. I went to Keith's website and emailed him personally explaining to him my turmoil and asking if he would consider emailing a pdf to me in adobe. Much to my delight, he responded promptly and emailed me a pdf of "Nobody Follows Jesus (so why should you)", and I have spent the past week savoring it like a fine Bordeaux.

For those of you unfamiliar with Keith Giles, he is a licensed and ordained pastor, teacher, preacher, writer, singer, and progenitor of the home church movement via his home based orange county, California church "the mission". What I found in the body of this text was an amazing and sensitive intellect, drowning in the sea of the corporately corrupt, politically inundated and commercially plagued modern church of America. Each page describes his navigation to the shore, where he picks up his cross and follows the Son in ritual observation, leaving cyber pit-cairns of perception, and finally nailing them to himself like a post modern Marty Luther.

For anyone who leaves a church wondering where God is, and just why we are hiding him, I recommend you purchase or down load this book, and use it as a union oil map to discover your own cross. The really cool thing is that the trail has been blazed, all we have to do is pick up and follow.

*taken from his blog here:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nobody Follows Jesus - Reaction

Reader reviews of my book, "Nobody Follows Jesus (So Why Should You?)" are below:

"The anointing is upon you, brother. That tongue is alive. It is a warm breeze on a cold night.When I have finished reading it, I would like to review it on my little blog.May God bless you every minute, every day."
-Charles P.

"I've been devouring your articles "Nobody Follows Jesus" and am...well, I would have thrown the book against the wall any number of times already (I'm on page 126) and am experiencing the coruscating pain of conviction. I haven't felt this...crushed and loved all at once at the same time in a long time. "
-Dan C.
"I feel like you climbed into my brain and scooped out all my thoughts on this issue...thoughts I've been thinking about since I became a Christian at 7 years old.
I can't help but want to follow Jesus...your words in this form help point others to do so too!.
Thank you!!!"
-Amy A.
You can download this book for free (or purchase the actual 205 book) online here
My second book, "The Gospel:For Here Or To Go?" is also available for free download or purchase.
Spread the [Subversive] goodness. Share the idea virus with a friend.

Thursday, November 15, 2007



by Keith Giles

On Dec.16th, 2007, hundreds of young people will gather at Gap Stores around the country to give back their GAP, Inc. clothing in order to protest the retail chain's slave labor practices.

"December 16th is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party," said J.R., organizer of the planned protest. "We want to make a similar statement, as young people who have helped Gap build their clothing empire with our clothing purchases, that we no longer want to buy our clothes from an organization that supports or employs child slaves to produce their products."

The planned event will involve hundreds of young protesters who are encouraged to bring all of their Gap, Inc. clothes items (which include Bannanna Republic and Old Navy) to the nearest Gap store and drop them on the front doorstep with a note to the owners that they will no longer support the retail chain or purchase their clothes.

"We want to give back our Gap, Inc. clothes because we are so repulsed at their use of children as slaves, who are forced to create their clothing under penalty of torture and abuse. This is our generation's Boston Tea Party. This is a statement against the exploitation of children. We will not participate in this atrocity," said J.R.

The Gap was founded in 1969 by Donald Fisher, who is one of America's wealthiest businessmen. Last year the firm embarked on a huge poster and TV campaign for Product Red, a charitable trust to help fight AIDS and treat other diseases in Africa.

The Product Red Campaign was launched by U2 singer Bono and backed by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, film director Steven Spielberg and actress Penelope Cruz.

The irony is that Gap, Inc. participated in the Red Campaign by selling branded products to raise awareness about the needs of the World's poorest and oppressed, even though their own products were created by poor, oppressed children who had no voice and often work for no pay.

For more info on the "Send Gap Clothes Back" Protest on Dec.16th go here:

More on the topic of Gap's use of child slavery -

by Dan McDougall

EXPOSED: 10-year-old, unpaid workers who help clothing giants make billions.
Children as young as ten years old are being sold into slavery by poverty-stricken parents to churn out cheap, embroidered clothes for fashion chain Gap.

A News of the World investigation uncovered the scandal of sweatshop kids who work for abosolutely nothing in India's capital, New Delhi.

After talking to frightened youngsters as they laboured to produce goods in time for the lucrative Christmas season, we can reveal they are:

*Forced to work without pay for up to 19 hours a day in the stifling heat.
*Beaten with a rubber pipe if they cry or protest.
*Kept in stinking, poorly-lit sweatshops running with raw sewage and
*Branded with tattoos which bond them to their greedy bosses.

When we confronted horrified Gap chiefs with our findings, they immediately vowed to withdraw tens of thousands of their embroidered children's smock tops produced by sweatshop labour before they even reach the stores.

But the news will bring little comfort to ten-year-old Amitosh who was sold for around 1,000 rupees—just £10. Ironically, his name means Happiness in Hindi.

(more in lnk)

I will be joining the protest here in Costa Mesa, California at the Gap Store in Triangle Square.

Those who wish to join me or want to learn more can contact me via e-mail at
elysiansky (at) hotmail (dot) com

Let's start a Boston Tea Party of our own and make a statement against child slavery and the companies who make a profit on the backs of innocent kids.



Two days later the State is engulfed in heavy, powerful rainstorms.

The Gov. prayed for rain on the 13th of November

Two days later a massive storm ripped through the South

The rainfall came two days after Gov. Sonny Perdue led a prayer service on the steps of the state Capitol to beg the heavens for an end to the drought.

This just in....God answers prayer.

News at 11

Monday, November 12, 2007


Online Registration for the Non-Con on Saturday, March 15th, 2008 with David Ruis, Jackie Pullinger and Keith Giles is now open.



*Shared Meals Included

Main website is at


Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Birthday (To Me)


Yes, forty one years ago this very week the fabric of space and time pulled back to reveal this fragile and yet strangely troubled soul.

It was a day of wonder and tears. Cigarettes were burned. Laughter echoed down the hallway. A mother's heart slid into gear.

The angel's sighed, and one of them farted, but no one knew which one it was so they pretended not to hear.

It was a day of love so great it hurt to breathe.

Glad to be here, friends. Hope to be here a bit longer before I join the flatulent angels.



Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I've just received word from Jackie Pullinger that she will be with us on Saturday, March 15th 2008 for the Non-Con here in Orange County, California.

Online Registration opens this weekend.

Details online at

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Finally! A doll company that helps stimulate Christian girls to enter a life of glorious materialism!

"A Life Of Faith" Girls

If you've got a young pre-teen daughter you probably know all about the "American Girls" phenomenon sweeping the nation. If not you can gaze in morbid fascination at the sheer audacity of materialism gone wild at their website

Of course, if there's money to be made by taking something that's popular and slapping a cross on it to make a buck someone will do it.

Presenting the "Christian Version of American Girl" - "A Life Of Faith" Girls!!

Now your daughter can engage in rampant materialism with a Christian flavor! Instead of spending $30 for a new doll outfit over at "American Girl" (which isn't Christian you know), you can now spend $25 on a set of underwear for your Christian "A Life Of Faith" doll!

Millie's Calico Undergarments (3 pieces)
Millie was appalled to discover that prairie girls wore calico underwear instead of white cotton or muslin. But soon she was wearing it herself. Millie’s favorite is her striped calico pantalette, full circle petticoat, and camisole, all boasting eyelet lace trim and embroidered ribbon accents....
Price: $ 24.99

Praise the Lord! (Operators are standing by. All major credit cards accepted).

Read the following from the "Life of Faith" Girls website:
"Living a life of faith every day is not always easy—no matter what era you live in. Even though Elsie, Millie, Violet, and Laylie lived in another time period, the issues they struggled with in their everyday lives (e.g., rejection, temptation, fear, etc.) are very much like the issues girls face today. Though the specific circumstances and lifestyles of 19th century girls may be different than for 21st century girls, because principles of God’s Word never change, the solutions are the same. That’s why we can learn so much from Godly role models of every generation."

Can someone help me find a barf bag?

Monday, November 05, 2007


Today I received an email asking me to oppose a new legislation designed to end discrimination regarding sexual orientation.

Here's a bit of what the email said:

"The full U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote on H.R. 3685, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as early as tomorrow or Wednesday. ENDA would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of "actual or perceived sexual orientation." Every business or organization with more than 15 employees would be barred by federal law from refusing to hire a person because of the person's sexual orientation. Although the bill exempts "religious organizations," this exemption would likely result in expensive, time-consuming lawsuits to determine if the employer was a "religious organization." Organizations...and religiously based homeschool organizations or co-ops with 15 or more employees could face such lawsuits."

As I read this I can't help but think that we're upset about the wrong thing here.

First of all, what would be so bad about a Christian organization hiring a capable employee who was homosexual? Would that be the end of the world?

If we think about this a little I think we can see that we're getting our panties in a bunch over practically nothing.

Would a non-Christian want to work for your Church or ministry? Is there any legislation that prevents them from working for you now? Why would you want to keep them away from the work you're currently doing? Wouldn't it be a good thing if they got involved with your ministry efforts? Are you afraid that a non-Christian might slip through the cracks and get past your security gates in the HR department?

Why are we so afraid of catching what those non-believers have? Why do we go so far out of our way to avoid interaction with them?

Didn't Jesus command us to be loving? Didn't Jesus tell us to be the light of the world? How can we do that from behind our closed church doors?

I also wonder why someone who was living an alternative lifestyle actually WANT to work for your church or Christian ministry? Are we afraid that they'd want to infiltrate and corrupt our efforts from within? And if so, what prevents them from doing that right now? Anyone can pretend to be a Christian these days. There's practically no difference between us and them anyway.

If we can agree that most who are outside of the Church really have no desire to be around us, then maybe we should really be asking "Why?"

Weren't we supposed to be ambassadors of Christ? Weren't we supposed to be winsome and loving and compassionate and caring? Isn't that what Jesus modelled for us? Isn't that what the early Church put into practice?

Why are we so radically exclusive?


Friday, November 02, 2007


Ever wanted to know how to start a simple church in your home but didn't know how?

My friend Bob Sears has a great resource website for people wanting to know how to start their own Simple Church/House Church.

It's chock-full of wisdom and practical application. Go. See. Learn.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Doesn't Anybody Follow Jesus Anymore?

When I sat down to write a book on the subject of following Jesus, I found myself realizing that it's really a lost art in the American Church these days.

We're really good at making converts, but making disciples (followers of Jesus) is something we're pretty bad at in general.

The reason this troubles me is that Jesus commanded us (see "The Great Commission" in Matthew) to make disciples, not to make converts to a religious organization.

This is why the subject of following Jesus is such a passion of mine. This is why I wrote the 40 articles that became the book, "Nobody Follows Jesus (So Why Should You?)" over the last few years.

You can buy the book online at the link below, or you can just download the PDF version totally FREE. What matters to me is getting the ideas contained in the book into the minds of people who have misunderstood our calling to be followers of Jesus, not members of an organization.


Here's what one woman said after reading my book:
" I downloaded your "Nobody Follows Jesus" book. I told my friend (youth pastor's wife) about it. I wasn't sure at first what you were going to write about (the title threw me off a little), but I couldn't help thinking, "Right on!" just about the entire time I was reading. I just started it, but wanted to let you know how much it has impacted me already! I feel like you climbed into my brain and scooped out all my thoughts on this issue...thoughts I've been thinking about since I became a Christian at 7 years old. I can't help but want to follow Jesus...your words in this form help point others to do so too!


You can also purchase or download the book, "The Gospel: For Here Or To Go?" which takes a practical look at being a missionary to the world you're in right now.


Monday, October 29, 2007


If you've got the time you need to watch this debate between noted Atheist Christopher Hitchens ( author of "God Is Not Great") and Dinesh D'Souza ("What's So Great About Christianity?").

You need to know what the greatest (and loudest) voices in our world today are saying about Christianity and Faith in God.



Wednesday, October 24, 2007


So much to blog about this week, where to begin?

*Ministry to Prostitutes- Last Friday night, around 11pm, I lead a group of six others onto Harbor blvd. to minister to prostitutes there. It wasn't so pretty. We intended to pass out free coffee to the girls in hopes of striking up conversations. Instead, they all avoided us like the plague and some ignored us completely when we tried to talk to them.

We did pass out one cup of java to a man at the bus stop, and another man at a different bus stop asked us for fifty cents, but declined to receive prayer.

In hindsight we realize that most of those girls ignored us because their pimps were just a few feet away watching them and they needed to appear busy and not chit-chatting with passers-by. We'll modify our approach next time and adjust our methods.

One group I'm in touch with up in the Los Angeles area passes out gift bags to the girls with perfume, lip gloss, jewelry, etc. That sounds like a much better idea to me.

I can't help but wonder, however, how effective we can be in the long run since no one in our group has ever walked in this world before. The LA group is made up of former prostitutes and drug addicts and gang-bangers. Our group is made up of housewives, pastors, and desk jockeys. Do we have any hope of relating to them at all?

*My Ooze Article- There's a great storm of responses being made over at on my article, "Destroy the (Christian) Subculture!" which really makes me smile. One person emailed me directly to say that he forwarded it on to his blog subscribers (about 150 people) and one of those in Brazil loved it so much he did the same.

Maybe there's hope yet for an awakening within the American Christian Church? I pray so. I pray.

My favorite comment was about my use of violent imagery to communicate my passion to destroy this subculture. He suggested that I probably sit at home playing hours of violent video games and watching porn. Ha! Oh yeah, I play "Halo 3" all day, watch porn and then I sit down to write articles on discipleship to Jesus in my spare time. That's the "ABC's of me, baby".


Or maybe I'm a writer who uses language to communicate ideas and sometimes gets creative so that people will have a reaction to my words that goes beyond passive complacency? Maybe I realize that people need to be offended or shocked before they will respond and act and wake up? Yeah…maybe.

Ok, got to get back to my Halo 3 and pornos now.

*The [Subversive Underground] e-newsletter: For the first time in almost two years my free, weekly e-newsletter missed a week. Not because I didn't write it. Not because I didn't post it. But because the good people at Feedblitz didn’t send it out. Usually I catch these little hiccups, which happen almost every other week, and I email the customer support people to wake them up and remind them that they need to send it out because I've posted it and after almost 48 hours it hasn't been sent to the list.

This last weekend I had too much going on, with the Harbor blvd ministry, friends coming over, a sermon to preach at Soul Survivor Church, and family life, and so I wasn't quick enough to email Feedblitz and ask them to send out my [SU].

So, last week's article was sent yesterday. This means I'll have to send out two this week in order to keep the "weekly" promise I made to my subscribers.

To correct this on future articles I've re-set my Feedblitz account to manual send. This means that after I post the weekly article I'll have to go over to Feedblitz and login and send it out
myself. Every time.

See what I do for you people? It isn't all porn and games over here ya know?

*PODCAST SERMON: "LIVING THE MISSIONAL LIFE" - If you use ITunes you can search "Keith Giles" under podcasts and listen to my sermon last week over at Soul Survivor Church. It's more of a conversation than a sermon, really. I purposely tried to engage people in a dialog rather than deliver a prepared speech. I think it came out ok. If you listen to it let me know what you think.

*THE NON-CON UPDATE: As of this moment I am seriously praying about whether or not to throw the switch on the Non-Con for March 2008. Jackie Pullinger is confirmed. David Ruis and all the rest are still on board with it. I've got the location nailed down and I've done like six other conferences like this one before, so it's not that I'm not sure if I can pull it off.

What gives me pause is the fact that all of this stuff is seriously hard work. Because I've done a few of these before I totally understand what this does to me, and to my family, as the date approaches. The time it will take to set up the service projects, the financial risk to my family (since this is the first conference I'll do on my own...not for a non-profit ministry, but all by myself), and the stress that goes along with all of that, makes me really want to pray about doing this.

I have people emailing me all the time asking me when I'll open registration for this event. This is October. The event is in March. I know people are very excited about this, and because of that I want to make it happen because I know it has the potential to really bless a lot of people and especially to educate the Church about the Kingdom and to invite people to step out of their comfort zones and serve the poor. This is very exciting to me.

Please pray for me about this. Please ask God to give me wisdom and guidance about doing this Non-Con. I want it to be His will and His plan, not mine.

Thanks for your support.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Gospel: For Here Or To Go? - Free Download

My first book project, "The Gospel:For Here Or To Go?" is now available for purchase over at

About the book:
This is not a book about how to change the world. It’s about changing your world so that God, through you, might introduce Himself to a few of the people around you.

To think of yourself as a missionary is to realize that you have a mission. Every single day of your life, wherever you are, wherever you go, you are on a mission.

This book is intended to shed some much needed light on what it means to live this way without being false. The important thing to remember is that you are not selling anything. The Gospel is not for sale. You are not a salesman. You don’t need to memorize a pitch. You will not track your success on a chart. You will not have to pretend to be someone else.

Free Download
I'm offering everyone the chance to download the book, free of charge. Just go to the link provided, download the .pdf version for free and start reading. It's yours to keep and to forward to your friends.

In addition, my second book, "Nobody Follows Jesus (So Why Should You?)" is also available as a free download and contains forty of my favorite articles published over the last four years on the subject of following Jesus. It's over 200 pages worth of my best writing and I'm proud to share it with all of you.

If you decide to purchase the print version of either book, please keep in mind that the bulk of the price you'll pay goes to the publisher, I only earn about two dollars per book sold, so no one is getting rich here...except maybe that is.

Just for the record, the version of "The Gospel:For Here Or To Go?" I'm offering here does not yet include the introduction from author Neil Cole ("Organic Church") but I will offer an updated version of the book, along with additional chapters and supplimental material, as soon as all of that is completed.

The book is available online here:

Thanks to everyone for reading my articles and for supporting my writing ministry.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


As a society, we are conditioned to find our identity in what we own or purchase. As Christians, we are conditioned to express our faith through the sanctified products we purchase, own or consume. This is the perversion of Christ into Capitalism and an expression of faith through consumption of products. It is wrong.

A good friend sent me an article he found that provided an intriguing historical perspective on our evolution from artisans to consumers. I've pulled out the quotes I found most fascinating below:

"A Short History of Consumption: With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, the relationship between people and the goods that they made was broken. No longer did peasants plant, tend, and harvest their crops; now agricultural workers labored over someone else’s crops in exchange for wages. No longer did artisans design, plan, craft, and sell; now factory workers repeatedly carried out a single step in the production of a product, again in exchange for wages."

"In short, people were no longer producers, they were now consumers."

"Our identities were no longer tied up with the work we did, but with the buying power our work left us with."

"So people found their identities not in their work but in the things they could buy by working."

"People became consumers, not just in the way they got what they needed but in who they felt themselves to be."

"Unlike the artisan who could express his or her identity through the things s/he created, we have learned to do so through the things we buy"

Full article here>

The entire article is mainly looking at consumption from an environmental impact perspective, but the points made about our lifelong indoctrination to consumerism as a society are very eye-opening to me.

Here's what I think we need to understand, as followers of Jesus, regarding the observations made in this article above.

We, as a society, have made consuming and purchasing products part of our identity structure. This is why people will fork out $30 for a t-shirt with some corporate logo and walk around as a billboard for them, not because they love that company or product, not because of their loyalty to the brand, but because they think that logo makes THEM look cool. It says something about them, and so they willingly become walking advertising...and they PAY for the privilege. Amazing.

Honestly, this really does help me to formulate a clear picture of what's going on in the Christian subculture. We're finding our identity as "Christians" in the products we purchase. These products brand us and identify us as a subset of people. Instead of finding our identity in Christ by the way we relate to Him daily, obey His teachings, and emulate His example of service and unconditional love, we now identify ourselves as Christians by our t-shirts, bumper stickers, books and CD collections.

It's also fascinating how this shift in our society stems from the devaluing of artisans in our culture. People now express themselves by what they own or purchase more than by what they create with their hands or their imaginations. Artists within our society are influenced by this consumerist identity structure. Artists of faith are compelled to create art that can be sold, or that conforms to the acceptable Christian marketplace. Art in this context is devoid of pure self-expression, unless that expression conforms to the acceptable branding and messaging of the sacred market.

More from the article:

"The rise of consumption as our primary interaction with the rest of our society has had profound effects. For example, social status is obtained and marked by the things we buy and use. A car, for instance, is not just a way to get from one place to another but has to “say something” about who we are — and even the lack of a car says volumes. Unlike the artisan who could express his or her identity through the things s/he created, we have learned to do so through the things we buy: the t-shirt with the logo of our band or team, the bamboo towels that show our environmental commitments, the alternative album that shows off our indie cred, the designer shoes that place us as part of the trend-setting elite, the minivan that shows us to be part of the dependable, hard-working, family-oriented suburban middle class, and so on."

The Christian Subculture has a market. That market embraces a brand. That brand has a message connected to it. That message serves the market and encourages ongoing participation in that market. It means providing reasons to continue purchasing these products day after day and week after week. The market serves itself. It exists to keep itself in business.

The Christian Subculture provides an oasis made of soothing products that help us escape from the Big Bad World that is "Out There". It's a sacred version of "Calgon-Take Me Away!" only our message is more pervasive. It's not just one soothing bath to calm our fears of being trapped in a world of sin, it's music and movies and clothing and books and toys and key chains and license plate frames and decals and candy and pens and pretty much every conceivable object and piece of product that can ever be branded with our message. It's nearly a complete world unto itself, and it's exactly what Jesus prayed to God would never happen to us. (see John 17:15)

I'm not against art or music or expressions of faith. Most of my favorite musicians are believers and their music contains references to our Lord and to faith in Him. Many of my friends are Artists who paint and sculpt and create art to communicate a Kingdom reality. The issue is not that creating art or any sincere expression of devotion to Christ is wrong. What is evil is the marketplace we've created to showcase product. In the beginning the market existed to serve the Art, now the Art exists to serve the marketplace. We have lost focus. Making money is now the main objective. Evangelism or edification or worship is secondary at best, if considered at all.

During my six years in the Christian Music Industry I slowly began to realize the sickness of it all. At first I saw the industry as a way to spread the Gospel and to provide a voice for talented musicians of faith. But soon I realized that it didn't matter if your music ministry was responsible for leading thousands to Christ each year. What mattered was record sales. If your CD's weren't selling at least 20,000 units per sales cycle you'd be dropped from the label in a heartbeat. It was, after all, a Record BUSINESS, and like every business making money and selling product is the very bottom line. Ministry is incidental, and sadly only useful in the context of marketing the product to your target audience, in order to drive more sales.

Like the money-changers in front of the Temple that Jesus chased away with a whip, the original idea was a good one; To provide animals for sacrifice so that people could enter the Temple and participate in the worship of God. However, when money got in the way the original vision was corrupted and the Temple became a marketplace which obscured access for the common man and made a mockery of real worship. The same is true today.

The tension still remains between the clear command of our Lord to "Go into all the world.." and a subculture that bears His Name, yet encourages a full retreat from the World and identifies membership based on purchasing the acceptable, branded product. The product carries a message that we should fear those outside of our group. It encourages non-involvement with the culture. It makes minimizing contact with those outside the subculture a preferable reality.

If Jesus modeled radical inclusion and commanded us to be known by our love for everyone, especially those who hate us, and a subculture emerges with His Name on it that encourages us to be radically exclusive and creates behavior by which we are known for our intolerance, hatred and condemnation of those outside our group, we must make a choice. Do we choose Jesus or do we choose the man-made subculture with his Name on it?

I choose Jesus.

If Jesus clearly teaches something, and another organization or person teaches the exact opposite we call that "Anti-Christ". To me it's plainly obvious that the Christian Subculture is "Anti-Christ" because it contradicts His message of inclusion, involvement and meaningful relationships with sinners.

I've said it before and I say it again; "Death to the Christian Subculture!"

Where can we fashion a whip and drive out the money-changers from the Temple? It's difficult because we now deal with this on a massive scale. Participation in this market-driven Christian Subculture is pervasive and intangible. There is no physical structure to kick over. There is no clear method for applying the whip necessary to drive them out.

All we can really do is to begin, one person at a time, to disassociate ourselves with this subculture. Stop participating. Stop identifying yourself as a follower of Jesus based on your purchases. Stop pandering to what the Christian Marketplace finds acceptable and palatable. Make Jesus your single source of Truth. Ask God to show you where you have replaced a Jesus way of life with a carefully branded subculture way of life. Escape the false notions of "Sacred" and "Secular" and just start living, as a disciple of Jesus, in this World (the only World), right now.

I declare a personal War against the Christian Subculture, and against the consumer who lives inside of me.



Monday, October 15, 2007


by Keith Giles

I received a very encouraging email this week from a friend in Torrance, California who just hosted a massive "Health Fair" for the homeless a few weeks ago.

Read below what this ministry did to serve the poor in their community. The Kingdom is advancing here.

Our Health Fair was an incredible success. All attendees registered at thee door and received cards with all the stations color coded.

In order:
1) Foot washing- Allowed for a few relaxing, intimate minutes with people. Washed, cleaned, dried, powdered, with new socks and foot medicine provided to those who had athletes feet or some fungus. This usually finished off with a few minutes of prayer for the person receiving the washing. If you ever want to get to know a homeless person, wash their feet and ask them to tell you about themselves. I find everyone has a story to tell and they really do want to share it, only no one cares enough to ask them for it. Mother Teresa said most people she cared for actually died of a lonely heart.

2) Next stop - 2 barbers chairs cutting hair, beards.

3) Dentist visit- Free dental inspection and appointments with Dr Carl who goes to our Church and donates every Friday afternoon to free dental care for the homeless. He pays all the secretary and dental hygienists, plus the labs, and crowns and whatever.

4) Nurses administered free Hepatitis A, B and C shots and Pneumonia shoots. (At our Wednesday night before Thanksgiving dinner we will give free flu shots).

5) Prayer team corner. Always busy, worked in pairs and alternated prayers in/out over the course of the evening.

6) Mental health Doctors to talk with folks, review medications and make recommendations. No medicine was dispensed.

7) County Drug and Alcohol booth that could place people in recovery shelters that night or as soon as they are ready.

8) Free shirts, protein bars, and goodies

9) Free Dinner and lots of it. As much as you wanted. Desert cart with cupcakes and the icing and goodies applied at table side just as they wanted.

We had 140 attendees, 15 of which were complete families. We had 125 volunteers form 3 churches.

Our God is such a Great God.

As I explained to the Press- These folks are our family. We treat and love them as we would our close kin at Thanksgiving dinner, with the respect and love we show our family.

We will have our third annual Thanksgiving dinner this year. I go to the homeless camps, freeway under crossings, the crack and meth camps along the river in Harbor city, the corners were the migrants hang out and invite them all. We have staged intersections and shuttle them to dinner and back to their corners.

I worked with a Ministry an Assemblies of God in the LBC at the North Long Beach Compton border. I was big into fresh fruit and vegetables food distribution to any Churches in need I could find. They would have a once a month "Ladies of the Night" ministry. The Church was in a prostitution/crack neighborhood were the girls pimps hung out. The pimps were bitter and mean and would not let the women come, but praise God they started coming for fellowship prayer and occasional help. A few women were secreted away from the location and from their pimps to start new lives.

Remember: Always travel in pairs and with one or two women in ministry to street prostitutes in case the Police want to talk with you.

Sorry for the long email, (it might be a record for me). Looking forward to new Kingdom adventures with your Church.

His Peace in your life - Amen

I am SO encouraged by this email. Not only because of all the beautiful expressions of love being shown to the poor, but also because of Bernie's heart for people. It makes me want to get on my knees and ask God for more of His love for others. I want to have a heart like Jesus for those in need.

Blessings to you Bernie. May your tribe increase.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

THE GOSPEL: For Here Or To Go? (The Book)

"Learning to live an incarnational life is essentially about re-learning what it means to be human, and how to relate to other humans as a human being; not as a christian to a non-christian." - Keith Giles (from the book, "The Gospel: For Here Or To Go?")

Last year I set a goal for myself to write at least one book project. I actually wrote two of them.
This year my goal was to publish at least one of them and I couldn't be more thrilled to announce that this book will soon be available for purchase on this very website.
"The Gospel:For Here Or To Go?" is essentially about incarnational ministry, or "Missional Life" as some like to call it.
The book started out as a workshop I did for Soul Survivor's "Momentum" Conference about two years ago. From there I wanted to write down what came out of this workshop and I ended up writing a six part series of articles which appeared online at both and at Neil Cole's
The book itself contains all of the same material you'll find in those six articles, but I've added another six chapters worth of material to make this a more robust discussion of what it means to live out the calling to go and make disciples.
This amazing cover image was created by artist, illustrator and very dear friend, Scott Laumann ( who has done professional work for SPIN Magazine, Rolling Stone, Time, and a few other national publications. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have this cover from Scott.
Neil Cole (author of "Organic Church") has also agreed to contribute an introduction to my first book and I'm honored to have someone of his reputation do so. Plus it only seemed fitting since he was one of the first to champion those early six articles on his website.
In addition, I will also release a 200 page collection of 50 articles on spiritual formation called "Nobody Follows Jesus (So Why Should You?)" alongside this book. This book collects my favorite articles on discipleship which have appeared over the last four years in magazines like Relevant, TheOoze, Ginkworld,, and at Soul Survivor USA's website.
I'll have the online store open very soon. You'll have the choice to purchase the print version of the book or to download an e-book (pdf) version if that's your thing.
Hang in there. There's more to come.