Category Archives: General

The Responsive Burrito – Part II

The Responsive Burrito – Part II

So here we go. I have had enough pokes in my inbox, comments on my statuses, and insanity in my newsfeed to warrant that I write. Evidently that’s what it takes these days, because it has again been quite some time since I posted. We sit in the midst of yet another battle of “The Culture Wars”, and I find myself increasingly uncomfortable with the term.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the base of my faith convictions, being Anabaptist, so I will start with my unease with that term. In the foundation of Anabaptist tradition, most denominations are known as “historic peace churches”, meaning that we are quite often at odds with folks going into battle. In fact, many members of Anabaptist churches were considered to be guilty of treason in the Revolutionary War way back at the start of our nation, simply because they didn’t want to fight. I think that it’s probably a good thing I live in today’s world where I’m not faced with that choice, because I feel confident it would be a struggle for me. That being said, this culture war, claims casualties on a daily basis on both sides of the issues, and I am convinced that quite often it’s simply because we are approaching it as an actual war, than perhaps a simple conversation.

So, in the framing of this culture war, as I scan through my newsfeed at the red, blue, and various other colors, I see provocative statements attached to many of them. In a lot of cases, I love provocative statements because they can start great conversations, but it is increasingly evident that those making these statements aren’t interested in the conversation. They just want to state their viewpoint, and have people agree with them. In the responses that follow, I see all kinds of battle; from name calling, to intimidation, to outright accusation and hatred. There are beacons of light on both sides, of course, but in the meantime, both sides are shooting themselves in the foot, rendering the valid points moot.

So to directly speak to the issue at hand, I think Tony Campolo pretty much sums it up well in an article he wrote for the Huffington Post (here) as well as addresses in many of his books. The basics are found in this quote from the article though. “I propose that the government should get out of the business of marrying people and, instead, only give legal status to civil unions. The government should do this for both gay couples and straight couples, and leave marriage in the hands of the church and other religious entities. That’s the way it works in Holland. If a couple wants to be united in the eyes of the law, whether gay or straight, the couple goes down to the city hall and legally registers, securing all the rights and privileges a couple has under Dutch law. Then, if the couple wants the relationship blessed — to be married — they goes to a church, synagogue or other house of worship. Marriage should be viewed as an institution ordained by God and should be out of the control of the state.”

It should be that simple right? Well, not so much evidently. When it comes down to it, what you see in the root of all of these things is taxes – that is money. Now, I’m all for “rendering unto Caesar…”, but it would appear some folks aren’t. So what I’m really looking for, is an honest, and caring conversation. I can respect any viewpoint I disagree with, as long as it is presented properly and caringly, but wrapping it up in a burrito for the moment, I have to ask: What happened to the conversation?

1 Comment

Posted by on March 27, 2013 in General, Ramblings


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Downtown Burrito

The Downtown Burrito

Recently, my good friend Lenny and I that started the Holy Burrito Brotherhood, had found ourselves as the only ones showing up to our Thursday get together. Most have had commitments with their ministries or their family, but others have just stopped coming altogether. We wondered if we had lost the relevancy to our goal of reaching out and having the honest and open conversations we had set out for, or perhaps our season was just over and it was simply time to move on. After thinking a moment, I just blurted out that maybe we should take it downtown. Instead of having people come to the Burrito, we would just bring the burrito to them. Lenny bit, and sure enough this past Thursday, we were heading downtown.

That night when I arrived, we printed out some of the questions that we’ve wrestled with onto strips of paper, mixed them up, threw them into a plastic takeout container and jumped in the car to head downtown. We jumped out and sat down right on market street where produce and artisinal vendors set up every weekend. It’s typically a high traffic area, so we figured we would have plenty of opportunities for discussions. Sure enough just a couple minutes after getting there, we had our first passerby. An older gentleman decides to take us up on our offer to draw a slip of paper. It was the question. THE burrito question. Of course, he just jumped right in and said “He could handle it!” as he handed the slip of paper back and went on his way. Not much of a conversation there.

We waited a few minutes, and it seemed as though suddenly the whole place had become a ghost town. Of course, the night we decide to show up there is absolutely nobody walking down what’s normally one of the most heavily trafficked areas in all of Roanoke. Finally, an older couple, very well dressed, who had quite obviously been out to eat at a fancy restaurant (Did I mention it was valentines day?) walked by and took us up on our offer. I don’t remember the question, but I think the word “God” was in the first couple words and as he read it, he threw it back at us and said “you know what buddy, I don’t care!”. Yep, there was the first rejection. Less dramatic then I had imagined it I guess, but hey don’t we all have that fantasy of getting just short of flogged because we’re spreading the Gospel? No? Well maybe I’m weird.

Next up came a pair of guys, one decked out in juggalo tattoos, the other looking visibly angered. They jumped in and grabbed a slip of paper and both picked the same question  “Do you believe in miracles? Have you ever experienced a miracle?” The first guy sat down and said yes, but his friend quickly said no and wanted another question, he picked the same one again though. Quickly Lenny told him that if he drew the same question again I’d give him ten dollars…he didn’t. Good thing because I carry cash long enough to get from the bank to pay my rent once a month. We’ll call our friends Tom and Chris. Tom proceeds to tell us that he believes in miracles, because the fact that he is alive alone is a miracle. He tells us a good bit of his life story, and based on what he tells us, he’s not kidding when he says the fact that he is alive is a miracle.

Chris is slightly agitated though, and begins to pace back and forth and then plugs a cell phone into charge in one of the electrical outlets there on the stall. He tells us that he doesn’t mean to be rude, but they’re not in the best situation because they’re homeless and they had just left probably the only place they’d be able to sleep in a bed that evening. They had been to our local rescue mission, and walked out when the current resident pastor preaching their evening sermon at chapel had told them, in no uncertain terms, that he was sure that not only were the two of them not “saved”, but that they were definitely going to hell. As the evening went on they stuck around to talk about faith with us, and just how they’ve been treated by “church folk,” as well as what they typically do and where they manage to find food each day.They told us that on nights where the Rescue Mission wasn’t a viable option they slept at the bus station. There was a place there where they could hide their bags so they wouldn’t get stolen, and there was a decent amount of space for them to stretch out and be comfortable, albeit on a sidewalk.

As we stood there, a girl, with a badly shaved head, and obviously pregnant came over and asked them where her boyfriend was. They knew this girl, and asked her why she wasn’t back at the mission. She told them she was trying to find her boyfriend, he had her coat. Without so much as a passing thought, Tom took off his zip up hoodie and gave it to her for her to stay warm. We never caught her name, but it seemed she wouldn’t have told us regardless.

Of course, our heartstrings had been tugged, and we brought them some things, but that’s irrelevant. What they showed us, after leaving somewhere because religion was being pushed on them, only to hang out and talk Jesus with us for two hours, is that it’s in the conversation where the Gospel is truly given. Where’s the next conversation for you? I know this isn’t the typical burrito blog, but that’s the question I want you to answer. That’s the next discussion to be had.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 18, 2013 in General


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Political Burrito

The Political Burrito

So, a question that just keeps on popping up these days…”Who do I vote for?” or yet “Who should I place my trust in for the next 4 years?”

Yes friends, its true. We are less than a month away from showing up at your local polling place to walk into a booth, behind a curtain, and make our finger smudge on a touch-screen of squares propped up on a shoddy, telescope-leg, makeshift platform. Of course, as we make our way there and on into the parking lot, we will be bombarded by hues of red, white, and blue. We will see images of the golden eagle, stars and stripes, and well dressed men with promises of a better tomorrow. It is very likely that we will hear all kinds of persuasive oral essays along the way telling us of equal rights, health care, secret taxes, wars, and the plight of a big yellow fowl from the land of colored screens.

I’m sure your respective social media feed has become an onslaught of similarly charged images and words sprinkled with shades of red and blue. Many a person of faith will tell you how their guy is the next person to deliver us from the evils of previous administrations and the level of wrong involved in the other guys particular rhetoric. All of these things are new and scary for so many, but it seems to me that they all hearken back to a previous time that was in a turmoil so similar to the plight we see here in our own backyards every day. In all of this confusion, a story long told can give us an awesome clarity as we approach these scenes of political chaos.

The world around them was in a state of absolute political unrest. They were watching people be persecuted for beliefs that differed from that of the current administration, and much of the rest of the world was in some way shape or form occupied by this great super power. There were debates of rights and values going on around every corner, and you could look in any direction and see numbers of politically powered military serving their country with an overwhelming pride. The news carried stories of war, people rebelling in the street, and even genocides.

In the midst of all this, a baby was born. The moment he was born, he was a refugee, on the run from the administration of the time. Somehow, this little baby boy was a threat to the empire, and as Shane Claiborne awesomely puts it, all he had done so far was cry and poop. Of course, as time pressed on and this baby became a man, people started noticing Him. He was hanging out with zealots and tax collectors, chatting with prostitutes and the same military guard that was oppressing his people. He started loving people, and helping them, and all of a sudden he had massive amounts of folks following his every move. Some wanted to learn from him, others simply wanted to catch him in a lie or doing something wrong so they could get rid of him.

It all culminated when one day he rode into a big city to a triumphant fanfare of praise. The people had decided that he would be their next leader, and he would deliver them from the oppression of the current administration. They just knew that an overthrowing of the current empire was coming. However, as they started to really pay attention, things didn’t make sense. He rode in on a donkey, not some sort of large flashy horse. He didn’t want a political office, or to start any sort of conflict. The same people who hailed him now cried out for his blood to be shed. In a further irony as he was arrested and one of his followers attacked to defend him he not only stopped them, but turned around and healed one of those persecuting him and went on with them peaceably.

After being tried, convicted, and sentenced by a hesitant government being pressured by the crowd of citizens, they dressed him in royal purple, marched him in a processional, and gave him a crown, all just like the political inaugurations of the current administration of the day. The golden eagle remained triumphant and in power, and so many of those who had hoped in this supposed new political leader were afraid they had been let down yet again. Of course, we know what happened next and how upside down it turned all of the expectations of our world in its wake.

What I see today is so scary, and eerily similar its absolutely remarkable. What we seem to forget though, is that the outcome of that political scandal still stands today. While every other effort before and since has fallen away with mere time.  So in the meantime and leading up to that day in November, remember that no one involved is truly your next best hope, or the one who will fix anything. Nope, all of that has already been here, and will be here now and forever, just choose to accept it, embrace, and know that what came from that time in 1st century Rome, is all you need in 21st century America. So wrap that up in your burrito for today folks, because it’s been here, is here, and will be here evermore.

One more Shane Claiborne quote to finish: “We are faithful not to the triumphant golden eagle (ironically, also an imperial symbol of power in Rome) but to the slaughtered Lamb.”

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 8, 2012 in General


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One More Chicken Burrito…

One More Chicken Burrito…

Well, today is Thursday August 2nd and if you haven’t been under a rock, you probably have a severe distaste for what was once a delicious chicken sandwich, or a rabid hunger for them. I’m personally not a fan of waiting in line for a fried chicken sandwich or nuggets that I can (and have) successfully duplicate at home. Tomorrow is national same sex kiss day at Chick Fil A, where the LGBT community is planning to show up, ask for a water, parrot proverbs 25:21 so they don’t have to pay for it and support the organizations they protest, and then have a public display of affection in order to make the chick fil a folks uncomfortable.

Here’s a suggestion to Chick Fil A, if you want to walk the Christian values you espouse with your lips: Since you had “record breaking” income yesterday, hand them a free four piece nugget. If a man asks for your cloak, give him also your tunic right? Furthermore, since the Christian community had no problem showing up in droves to support Chick Fil A’s right to free speech and standing up for their Christian Values, then accept the challenge set forth by the emergent community: on September 1st, show up to a local hunger organization and volunteer. If you ate at Chick Fil A on Wednesday, and don’t show up on September 1st, pack up your bible friends and give up the cause, because you’re no longer serving the least of these, and the LGBT community are correct in their assessment of you as a hateful bigot.

As for the LGBT community, don’t think I haven’t seen your posts too. It’s time to see if you’re as big of a hypocrite as the folks you’re pointing your finger at. I challenge YOU to show up to the SAME organizations the Christian community are challenged to show up at and express the tolerance you’re yelling about and show that you give a damn about more than red states and blue states. I said in my last article – YOUR’E DOING IT WRONG. If we can stop arguing and responding to hatred with hatred, start a conversation, and do something about the problems in this world that affect ALL of us, then we’re on the right track, and Jesus is what we’re talking about. It’s not the Gospel of being right friends, it’s the Gospel of Love.


Posted by on August 3, 2012 in General


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What if all those stars are notes?

Blue Like Jazz: The Movie

Blue Like Jazz: The Movie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve sat and reflected, prayed, and just all together rehashed my feelings on this for the last two weeks. Myself and a couple of Burrito brothers went to our local indie style theater exactly two weeks ago tomorrow, to see Donald Miller‘s movie adaptation of “Blue Like Jazz“. The book is dear to many of us, and plays a major part in how we’ve framed much of our thought process moving forward in our ministry. When the movie was announced, we were all very excited and happily took roles in the street team to promote the release. The excitement was palpable in our weekly get togethers as we discussed themes from the book, and even used one of the discussion guides to gain some insight on the themes. Needless to say, we were more than happy to hear it was finally coming to Roanoke about three weeks after its initial release.

We got to the theater and bought our drinks and pop corn, chatting about how big of an impact we felt this movie would have, and just how strong the impact of the book has been. As we sat down in the theater and the lights darkened, we were in full mode of prayer, ready to take it all in. The movie starts by explaining the parts of a story, and how a young Donald Miller related it to the word SuCCeR: Setting, Conflict, Climax, Resolution. It was obvious this would be the framing for the film, and I was excited.

After the initial placing of the movie, the absolute shock and awe began. For the next 30 – 45 minutes, I was taken so aback, I could not begin to believe I was watching the movie I had come to see, almost nothing resembled the book, and for a while, it seemed like the goal of the movie was to make you uncomfortable and push fans of the typical Christian movie strait out of the theater. There was no struggle as seen in the book, just rejection and what seemed to be a movie to provoke every Christian by virtually every means possible by the title character and his on screen cohorts. As the movie continued, I very much noticed the lack of a person that I thought was a wholly central character, Tony the beatnik poet. I wondered how the most absolutely beautiful and most powerful piece of the book would come to fruition without his presence.

As the movie continued, I started seeing the arc build that would bring us back to an ultimate end, but I continued to wonder how much building of the Conflict piece was needed.  The central pieces of the book, and pieces that only fans of the book continued to make their way in, which I appreciated, but I was still at a loss for how different this movie truly was from the book. Finally, Ren-faire was upon us, and an explanation given for how the resolution would hash out (that is, if you were already familiar with the book). The time for resolution came, and in what seemed like ripping the band aid off as quickly as possible, it was over. I had to wonder if I truly felt resolved, and if I had truly seen the events and messages that could truly have the impact I saw in the potential of this film.

So, here I am, two weeks later, after truly reflecting on what I experienced, and how it all works out. In summary, the movie is a TERRIFIC movie based on the budget it was given, and it gives me true hope for the future of independent movies with similar goals. As far as the potential impact, I think that the target audience, is definitely those who have completely distanced themselves from Christianity, those that have been wronged by “Those types” of Christians I should say, but for those with general questions, or perhaps those that are already moving towards Christ, I can’t say it would necessarily add much to their decision. That being said, it is still absolutely a movie that I think everyone should see for the sake of conversation, and a film that gives real credibility to the “emergent church” folks that are trying to revitalize faith in today’s world. I’m excited to see if the DVD release can further it’s impact, and perhaps even continue to start conversation.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 17, 2012 in General


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Ever sit back and get annoyed at your current situation and just think to yourself “Life Sucks” or “I can’t deal with this anymore!”? It happens to all of us, and yes I mean ALL of us, and a lot more often than you would think. When all of these things happen, the easiest thing to do is blame (yourself, someone else, God) or ask yourself “What did I do to deserve this?”. While trying to place blame is one of the most un-fruitful things you can do in life, asking questions, is one of the best. However, the short answer to the aforementioned question is “nothing”.
Yeah, that’s right, NOTHING. Well, the next logical question is “What can i do to fix it then?”. The short answer there, NOTHING, well, kinda, just keep going. All YOU need to do is keep being you. From there, put it in God’s hands – Pray, and Pray ALOT, you could even say you should “pray without ceasing”, might have heard that somewhere else before. God knows where we are, and he will listen to whatever it is you have to say.
Bad things happen, and unfortunately, they happen all the time, to all kinds of people from all walks of life. From the meanest to the nicest, most anti Christian to the Godliest people youve ever met. Jesus said himself when when giving his famous Sermon on the Mount “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Look at what happened to Job:

He lost all of his livestock
All of his Servants were killed
All of that happened THREE times essentially
All of his children were killed
His wife and friends began speaking bad about him
AND he was stricken to be COVERED in sores and boils.

Sounds like loads of fun eh? Yeah, not so much. Through all of this, Job never cursed the Lord, yeah he got angry, he asked the Lord why, but he continued to pray, and talk to God. So, the question is now “What makes Job such a Superman?”  Got a shot for the answer? You got it – NOTHING. He was just as human as you or I, he didn’t have any extra strength, or powers, or invulnerability. All he had, was God. Nothing you don’t have, or could have.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I personally, have seen healing happen, and I have seen the things that I need “magically line up” but I don’t live in a mansion, nor do I own fancy cars or have “money to burn”, but I am blessed in ways I cannot count, I know in my heart that God wants our blessings to be bountiful, He wants to see us prosper and do very well, I just think the problem is that our definitions of “bountiful” and “doing very well” are a bit skewed from God’s . This does NOT mean, that we won’t encounter hardship. Want proof? No problem. It would be safe to say that the apostles, the original disciples of Christ, would have had extremely wealthy lives based on what they did for God, what they did for Christ himself on this earth right? Well lets recap:

Peter, the rock, the main dude, Jesus’ right hand man – he was crucified, upside down, at his own request, during the persecutions of Emperor Nero. He said he was not fit to die in the same way as Christ himself did. To give you a little fun piece of info, the upside down cross that people that are against Christianity use when they think they are “Blaspheming God” or disrespecting Christ, it’s called the cross of St.Peter. News flash all you gothed out Black Metal kids, you are actually paying tribute to St. Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends and the guy most believe to have been the first Pope.

Andrew, Peter’s brother – also crucified – Spread Eagle.

James – Beheaded

Bartholomew – Skinned alive and Beheaded

Thomas aka “Doubting Thomas” – speared to death

Simon – hacked to death

Paul, rockstar of the new testament and author of about half of it’s books – Beheaded.

All the rest say they were martyred, just doest go into detail, but hey is execution ever fun? One exception is John. He died of natural causes, but only after being banished to a deserted island. All this simply because they chose to follow Christ. Now, I’m not saying that you’re gonna die for  following Christ. You may get teased, or even beaten up at the worst, but martyred is a bit of a stretch these days, but remember all the same that martyr means “witness” and that Jesus Himself said the world will hate you because they hated Him first, and that this will come to pass because when we choose to follow Him, we are not a part of this world anymore.

Ever hear that saying “Too Blessed to be stressed”? It’s a rough mantra to live by, because stress absolutely consumes you, but it’s all true, because chances are, as bad as it might seem right now, somebody has it worse, I guarantee it, and guess what?! At least one of those people are continuing to pray, and that is what gets them through it. So, the final question – “What’s gonna get you through it?” This time, the answer isn’t “Nothing”

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2012 in General


Tags: , , , ,


Blue Like Jazz Trailer

Blue Like Jazz: The Movie

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve read this book multiple times and now that it’s going to be a movie I am WAY excited…please check this out and share with friends.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 1, 2012 in General


Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday 9/14/2011

It’s that time folks, lets recap the day.

Wake up – and its 730, yup, not a single alarm went off this morning. Of course the mad dash follows and Jennifer & Macie head off to school by shortly after 8. From there the morning routine followed, walk the dog, go to work. Work was almost completely a non-event. After work, home for dinner, cheer practice, and into the evening routine. 

So now you ask, well Zach, there’s nothing to your day here, what’s the deal? Well, here’s the weird thing, that is EXACTLY where God was today. He was in my meditation, and the reason for the ease of my day. Ever have a day that you just know NOTHING came from it? Yeah, those are the days that you should just adjust your focus a little, because He is hiding in the places you should MOST expect Him.

Jam suggestion: Be Quite (Drive Far Away) – Deftones

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 14, 2011 in General


Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: