I’ve come across something inspiring…

Occasionally, I feel greatly inspired. Perhaps it doesn’t take much, but I appreciate it when it happens. The idea was to spend the day mostly “taking it easy” with my family and some church friends. Julissa and I had a super long, but amazing day yesterday with a newish group of lively rabble rousers for our Saturday “Coffee & Theology” gathering and then spent the rest of the day with the Price family walking at the park, taking pictures, cooking Lomo Saltado (and, later, creme brulee, thanks to Joshua!). So, today was meant to be restful. And it was. But it was also inspiring.

I had some beautiful conversations with friends about life and pain and friendship and trust. I may have convinced the church I go to to stop using styrofoam cups for coffee, in favor of the hospitality volunteers washing some thrift store mugs I promised to provide for our coffee drinking pleasures. Julissa and I had a great time earlier in the afternoon playing with our son, Santiago, who has totally gotten away with my thinking/feeling/love/heart.

Finally (and I could say more, including a short bit about how awesome it was to hear some old Kevin Prosch played for worship this morning), Julissa and I watched a film short by some of the folks who participate in the 24-7 prayer movement (think UK/Pete Greig/ Boiler Roomsnot IHOP/Kansas City/Mike Bickle) in Germany. Anywho…it documents a few community rhythms that I am more and more fascinated with: hourly prayer, co-housing, and service. It’s inspiring to think of other folks doing things that I am only starting with and hoping to engage. It’s (en)couraging because I need examples of life-giving community to strengthen my faith (not just for me, but also for our family). It’s beautiful because I could see the gleam in Julissa’s eye as she saw how the rhythm was worked out with so many different family types and singles.

I hope/pray our household/family dreams becomes a true incarnation of Christ’s love for the Chapman/Mulberry neighborhood. It’s inspiring, you see. More to come on that later…

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good…weird, huh?

Coffee & Theology

Hello all,

I’m having people over on Sat. 11/21 at 9am for coffee and conversation/theology (14th & Mulberry, Chico, Ca). We’ve done this before, with a small (mostly Paradisian) group of friends who are interested in this sort of thing. Depending on how many people make it, we might spend some time outside around the garden or with kids playing etc. Feel free to join us.



I’m Blaming Technology

Paul Munn says in his post “technology and the collective”:

…our mechanized and technologically-driven society tends to dehumanize us and detach us from the natural way of life God created us for. And much of our technological equipment even seems to push us further from each other and from God. But I’ve heard many people blame this on technology itself, as if it is somehow inherently evil, and I don’t agree with that. I think the problem is deeper.

I’ve written much about the idolatry of the social collective, how we organize and institutionalize gathered human beings to form “We, the People,” a power much greater than any one person, a terrible substitute for the Body of Christ. I think our technology, as it has developed, has become a clear reflection of the evils of the social collective. No advanced technology can develop apart from this organization of people, and it necessarily reflects the values of the group. Technological developments have to be funded and so are driven by money and the purposes of the group, because what serves them well is what sells. Technology doesn’t drive itself, though it seems to (yes, I’ve read Ellul’s book). And it doesn’t drive people. People are driven by the power of the collective, driven to develop technology in a certain direction and driven to use it and serve it—or be cut off from the group, the source of life.

I think technology (broadly defined) and the power of “We, the people” are almost the same idea (which is to say that both technology and “We, the people” are ideas). Wendell Berry, a good Luddite, demonstrated how his refusal of a certain technology (a computer) amounted to a great social rejection/offense/marginalization, even among otherwise sympathetic environmentalists. Foucault utilized the term “technologies of the self” to describe this similarity. Wikipedia explains the interaction or overlap like this:

According to Foucault, technologies of the self are the forms of knowledge and strategies that “permit individuals to effect by their own means or with the help of others a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of being, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality”…

Foucault argued that technologies of the self must be understood as inextricably linked to his notion of governmentality: the guiding rationalities whereby individuals and social structures regulate and police norms of thought and behavior. Burchell states, “government, is a ‘contact point’ where techniques of domination and technologies of the self ‘interact’.According to Foucault, this “contact point” is where “technologies of domination of individuals over one another have recourse to processes by which the individual acts upon himself and, conversely,…where techniques of the self are integrated into structures of coercion.”

Anyway, I’m not sure I necessarily disagree with Paul’s clarification about technology (not inherently evil), however, its connection and perhaps even similarity to the collective seems to merit more than just a toss-out neutrality.

Compost Anyone?


I suppose every garden has a story. Maybe it’s about weeds and keeping every pathway neat. Maybe it’s about fresh produce and eating right off the vine. Maybe it’s about learning to recognize life and watching things grow. No matter the particular language, every garden seems to give its people meaning: family, community, hope for things not seen. The newly planted Jesus Center Community Garden at 14th & Mulberry tells us a unique story as well. It is one of many hands, most not knowing what the other was doing, putting together a beautiful plan to create the roots of food on an unused lot near the Jesus Center.

The idea came about after David Kim (the owner of the property) got in contact with Stephanie Williams (from GRUB), who had already been plotting a similar type of plan. And a seemingly random guy (that’s me…Jason Winton) jumped on board and decided to rent the place, coordinating the site. It’s enough to say all of us had been thinking the same thing: give volunteers the opportunity to work together, alongside the very folks who need fresh produce, to create a garden that would provide healthy food for the Jesus Center Food Pantry. Everyone involved would get to experience “giving back.” And it would constantly remind us of the meaning we started with, this garden’s beautiful story.

Our next workday (the last one for the initial set-up) will be Sunday November 8th from 2-5pm (14th & Mulberry, Chico, Ca). We still need compost donations in order to fill in all the beds (10 yards would do it!). Please contact either Stephanie Williams (530-354-1646), Jason Winton (530-592-6589), or Debra Howell (530-345-2640) for more information.

Plotting Goodness,

Jason Winton