Tag: compassion


dirt:exploring the boundaries that separate us

dirtweb.jpgWe're exploring concepts of dirt this weekend at Symbol. We all have our own ideas of what/who is "dirty" and what/who is "clean" and we begin to create boundaries that separate that which is clean (we like to think we fit in the category)from that which is clean.  The interesting thing is that while these boundaries were common in Jesus time, he seems to cross these boundaries consistently.  He touched the untouchable, he spoke with the unspeakable, he broke cultural taboos, and challenged dirt boundaries at every turn.

This is not an easy subject and Saturday will include both a time to become aware of these boundaries we've created and a time of confession.  And as usual….there will be some time to wrestle and process with it all collectively in dialogue.

If this interests you, you are welcome to join in.  You'll find the details on the Symbol Communities site.  If you decide to "get dirty" with us, we'll see you there.

Taco Day Dos Update



Taco Day Dos is history.  The annual taco marathon was a huge success and last year's numbers were crushed.  Here's the final totals:

110 people
406 tacos
$930 raised for charity 

Thanks to all who came and helped support Save the Family, those who helped in the kitchen, and special thanks to my beautiful (and amazing) wife, Kelli for being the brains behind the operation.

Check out the time-lapse videos of the day:


Taco day Dos Pictures via Flickr 

Official Taco Day Website 

A couple of links…

Here area few links that are worth passing on…

Running the Numbers – the latest series of photos from artist Chris Jordan that puts into perspective the enormity of American consumption.  This is a great example of how art can serve as a tool for social awareness and action. via Gizmodo

The Burrito Project – a network of localized chapters that make burritos to share with the homeless.  This is a grassroots effort without leader, agenda, or headquarters.  Check them out on the web or on myspace.

Happy surfing. 

May events I’m supporting…

I probably won't be blogging much this month. May is shaping up to be a busy and exciting month in the East Valley.  I figured I'd take a moment and plug some of the things coming up this month that I'm am excited about:

Sat. May 12thTaco Day Dos (the annual eat-all-the-tacos-you-can-eat event at the Newsome house) more info at http://www.tacodayaz.com

Thurs. May 17thSound in the Ground @ Mesa Arts Center (Foundarts is playing a role in this regular MAC event showcasing some local visual and performing artists) more info at http://www.myspace.com/soundintheground

Fri.May 18thWindUp Gallery Opening Reception (Windup is a new gallery opening in downtown Mesa that defies the traditional, conservative art scene currently found in the Mesa arts district – I am stoked about their presence in the city and to support them as much as possible.) find out more at http://www.windupgallery.com

Sat. May 26thMay Symbol Collective (a gathering of east valley locals living collectively in the ways of Jesus, of community, of compassion, and of creativity) more info at http://www.symbolcommunities.org

Wed. May 30thCommunitas Network Event (a relational & conversational network of dreamers, thinkers, and cultural creatives centered around the future of the church, faith, and of justice in the Phoenix area – the theme for this event is "the gospel and social justice") more info at http://www.communitas.us/network

the symbol communities


The faith community (it's really more of a community of communities) that has begun to emerge here in the East Valley finally has an online presence @ www.symbolcommunities.org.  To help discover our identity together, we are tackling some exciting projects (which I will post about soon) and have scheduled a worship gathering (or collective) for Ash Wednesday entitled "40: a symbolic journey".  We are unsure of what the future holds for us, but we are sure that sharing a common identity forged around a shared way of life (living a symbolic life) is the road we're on.

 If you are in the Phoenix area and would like to share in "40" with us or would like to learn more about the symbol communities, email me at znewsome@mac.com.


The Symbol Life


While in Northern Ireland last week, I had a chance to talk further with others who are a part of an emerging global community deemed,"The Symbol Society". While this society is in it's infancy stages (we've been accused of having a name and a logo and so were trying to form something logo-worthy around those pieces of identity), what is emerging from this conversation is a sharing in a common way of life – a symbolic one.  This symbolic life attempts to as Kester has said recently, "… to point to something beyond ourselves. It is to live in hope, realizing that everything we do will have some ill effect somewhere, but believing that to keep raising symbols will, in some small way, have some greater impact at some unknown time in the future."  I like Kester's definition of this symbolic life. 

There is something wildy attractive to me about intentionally living in a way that points to an alternative, counter-cultural existence found in the kingdom of God.   As symbols we will fail to fully represent what/who it is our actions point to, but at some point all symbols fail. After all, a symbol is not the thing it represents – it just communicates something about it.  It is my hope that my existence (along with all those on this symbolic journey) will communicate well the beauty, the hope, the generosity, and the love that is central to the kingdom and the king we point to.

It is along these symbolic lines that a local community is beginning to take shape here in Phoenix.  It is appropriately called, "symbol", or more formally, "the symbol communities". 

May we be effective symbols. 


Oh yeah…an arts venue, too!

In my previous post, I forgot to mention one of the biggest and most daunting projects taking up my time these days – starting an alternative arts venue in Downtown Mesa.  We're calling it "Found Arts" and it's will be a space devoted to the dreams of artists and non-artists alike.  The hope is for it to be a place where new and emerging ideas are created, expressed, wrestled with, and discussed through various forms of creativity.  Looking forward to this one – now all we need to $75k and we'll be on our way.

Seriously though, if you have $75k and are interested in sending it our way, we are all ears :). 

Engaging culture or living counter-culturally?


Travis and I started talking about counter-cultural living today and ended up at this deeply troubling (at least to me) question – "As followers of Jesus are we called to be counter-cultural or to engage the culture?"  The two ways of life seem contradictory at first, but can they be?  I think the answer to the question is "yes" – Yes, we are to live counterculturally as citizens of a kingdom that is counter-cultural to our present world AND yes, we are to flesh out this faith within the culture we find ourselves in. 

There is much to say here, but I want to let it brew a bit.  In the meantime….I would love to hear your thoughts.

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