Tuesday, November 25, 2014

All Lives Matter - Reflections on a tragedy in Missouri

      As a white male, I have been reluctant to weigh in on this whole Ferguson situation. Its not that I don't have an opinion or two, its just that right now, most in my circles are only wanting to hear one side of this issue. It seems that if you are a white male, you just don't understand what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri. In fact, you just can't understand the struggle of other less privileged people at all, so just be quiet. OK, well only if your opinion goes against the oppressed minority, if you want to support the liberal narrative, then by all means, blog and Facebook, and Twitter away.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity - COMING SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     What do you get when you ask 24 different authors to contribute to a book about church? Well, a book by 24 authors, that's what. But hopefully this is a little more than just a bunch of different people talking about church. The goal of this book is to provide a diversity of voices, all from various places on their own faith journeys, and meld them into one positive, affirming book about how we do this community called church.
      I have to admit, when I was asked to contribute a chapter to this work, I felt a little overwhelmed. I have known some of the other authors and have read many of their books, articles and blog posts for years. I never considered myself to be on the same level as a writer or spiritual leader. I am however, extraordinarily grateful to have been invited and to have been able to contribute to this work. I cannot say how important this book will become to the transformational (or emergent, or simple) church, but I can say that helping to write it and reading the other contributors has been incredibly uplifting to me. Here is a brief excerpt from the chapter that I contributed:

What do we know about Jesus’ outward appearance and what people saw when they looked at Him?
       We can draw a clue from one of my favorite stories in the Bible, found in John 8. The religious leaders bring a woman to Jesus who was caught in the very act of adultery. They demand that He give the righteous condemnation she deserves. Instead, Jesus says, “Go ahead, you who have never sinned throw stones at her.” This crowd, which was ready to carry out the death sentence on the woman, departs until only Jesus and the woman are left. Then Jesus asks the woman, “Where are those who accuse you and would condemn you?” The woman looks at Jesus and says there is no one.
     The Pharisees expected Jesus to condemn this woman. He would have been completely just to do so; however, when she looks at Jesus, she already knows that there is no one left to condemn her. Jesus confirms this and says that He does not condemn her either, but she already knew it, just from looking at Him. Oh that people could come into our churches, regardless of their lifestyle or sin condition, and we could ask them that same question, “Where are those who would condemn you?” Then we would know that people see in us the same love and acceptance that Jesus displayed.

If you love the Church of Christ, but are not necessarily in love with how we "do Church" in the traditional institutional churches, then you need to read this book. 24 different viewpoints, not on what the church is doing wrong, but on what it can be doing right.

You can pre-order you copy here:
Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity

Shooting Stars: Of Scandal, Abuse, Restoration, and Systematic Failures(November Synchroblog)

       Like many in the evangelical, post-evangelical community, i watched the drama of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll with at least some interest. You see, Mark Driscoll was a bit of an enigma, and his rise to popularity and prestige could not escape the notice of those of us who had spent our lives involves in evangelicalism. The fact that Driscoll could be part of the emerging church movement in one moment and then be part of founding the ultra conservative evangelical Gospel Coalition also spoke to his ability to cater to whatever group he felt would be most beneficial to his aspirations.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wuv True Wuv (August Synchroblog)

 One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. The story is so incredibly ridiculous at times you can't hep but laugh but at the same time the theme of true love and the redemption of the good guy winning strikes cords with us all. We all want to ride off into the sunset at the end of the story knowing all is as it should be. How incredibly UNLIKE life! One of the quotes from the movie, however, is much more like the life we experience, "life IS pain, Highness, anyone who says differently is selling something." Pain, regret, consequence, failure, loss, all part of our human experience. All these and many more are the result of the fall of mankind into sin. While this is a word with much baggage, its simplest definition is things not being as they were created to be.

     It doesn't take much life experience to know that things in this world are not right. We all have to deal with this not-rightness on a daily basis. The pain of this life can be almost overwhelming both in our experience personally and as we watch others experience the not-rightness. Fortunately, God didn't leave us to live here all by ourselves. He created us to walk with Him, but he also created us to walk together. Sometimes, when we can't see God clearly, we need our Jesus-with-skin on people to walk with us. As the theme of "connection" was revealed for this month's synchroblog, it was this idea of walking together that came to mind. This is not just a picture of two people walking along, but in my head it is more like the story of Moses in Exodus 17:8-15. Here Moses tells Joshua to select men for a battle. Moses tells him he will stand at the top of the hill and hold the staff of God in the air. As long as he holds the staff up the battle goes to God's people, when he lowers it the enemy takes ground. There comes a point in the battle when Moses becomes so tired he can no longer hold his arms up. Aaron and Hur, two men who had already walked with Moses through many battles, sat him on a rock and each one held an arm up. The end of the story is, of course, that Joshua defeated the enemy. This is, for me, the greatest picture of community, connection, walking together, whatever verbage you choose to use. This is us together, when one is faltering, we come together to hold them up. When one can't see God, we show who He is by being Jesus-with-skin on to one another, reflecting His image in the places where the reflection is distorted.

     This level of connection sounds nice, but how does it work in real life? For me, I always think of the day one of my closest friends came to my house. We were in a terrible spot. Business was bad, we were losing our house, there were many other things that were happening. Life was overwhelming! Her answer was not to preach or tell me what I should have done differently. She simply sat with me on the corner of my bed and said "I don't know what God is up to, I know this stinks, but I am stinking with you." It had all the elements of connection. She tried to understand, she was with me, she pointed me to God and she held my hand. I have tried to walk with people in this same way, it is risky and hard, but we need each other. We were created to be connected to each other.
     Ecc. 4:12 says "though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Threefold cord, we are in this together and pointing each other toward the God who created us, binds us together and not only walks with us, but paves the way. This week we had the experience of this yet again. A friend that we have walked with for a long time came to Ed and asked him to pray. The reason for the request was simple, she was overwhelmed and told him her prayers "felt small". It was an incredible opportunity to pray together and we saw God answer. God was faithful once again and already on the scene working out the details. As we walk together in this way we have the opportunity to see those around us grow in faith and our own faith cannot help but grow in the process.

This post is part of the August Synchroblog "Connection". Please use the links below to read the posts from the other authors who participated this month.

Jerry Wirtley – Connection
Sara Quezada – Can You Really Know Someone In A Different Language?
Ford – Interindependence
Michael Donahoe – Connection
Minnow – Our Dis-Connect
Justin Steckbauer – Connection in Love, it’s what Life is all about!
Carol Kuniholm – Disengagement and Connection
Wesley Rostoll – Finding Jesus In Different Places
Doreen A Mannion – A bunny, a fawn and some geese walk into a bar …
Leah Sophia – Touch of Life
Karen “Charity” Aldrich – Wuv True Wuv
Abbie Watters – Connection – Addicted to the Buzz
Liz Dyer – Human Connection and the Power of Empathy

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Just Stop It" and other terrible advice.


      I spend a lot of time driving, in fact, when traffic is bad, I can spend more than four hours commuting each day. While I am driving, I listen to the radio, I listen to a lot of radio, talk radio, sports radio, christian music, rock music, a little bit of everything. Often, on my drive home, I listen to a Christian call-in program, you know the kind, a caller has some question about faith or the bible, and they call, and then the host gives them his best biblical answer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Never a Day Off - A Story of Reluctant Service.

        I never have liked Mondays, and being a small business owner, Mondays are particularly crazy. This last Monday was no different. Monday is the day that my wife usually joins me at the office and we try to get as much administrative work done as possible. We sat in the truck on the commute and listed off all the things that needed to be accomplished and had nearly twenty items on our to-do-list before we even walked in the door.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Day of Presence

      This is the first of hopefully many posts wherein we begin to tell individual stories of the lives that we have encountered and continue to encounter through our ministry work here in Colorado Springs. For this initial post, I though I would describe what a typical day of ministry work is like for our family. I do want to say that we are not telling these stories as a way of bragging about the things that we do, but we want our followers to get to know our work, the people we work with, and the lives that are impacted. Anyway, here we go.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Does "Presence" Make a Difference.

      More than a few times during our ministry here in Colorado Springs, we have encountered those who like the idea of our ministry, but are looking for some solid evidence of the impact we are having here before they actually give support to what we are doing. Normally, what they are looking for is some kind of metric or measure of how much impact we are having on the community. Traditionally, ministries keep track of conversions, or decisions for Christ, or baptisms, or any number of things that can show the direct impact of their work.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Note to My Younger Self (June Synchroblog)

This year marked the 19th year since my graduation from Laramie High School, in the little town of Laramie, Wyoming. This year also marked the graduation of one of our best friends sons and his moving out into the world to find his own place. One of the gifts that Jon's dad and mom gave him for his 18th birthday was letters of advice from some of the adult men in his life. These letters contained words of wisdom that they had gained from their own experience as well as advice for his life going forward. As I wrote my letter, I found myself wishing that I had had the opportunity to read these letters myself 19 years ago. Since this months synchroblog is all about writing a letter to our former self, I decided that I would recreate the letter that I wrote to Jon.

As you grow into adulthood, you will receive advice from a lot of people. Some people will tell you that choosing a career is important. Some will even tell you that finding "God's Will" for your life is the most important thing. You will get a lot of advice and it will be mostly about getting to a goal, or some idea of success, all with the aim of avoiding failure.

My advice to you is going to be a little different. I want to tell you that failure, at least as most people see failure, is nothing to fear, or even avoid. YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL! You will try different jobs, and you will not be successful at all of them. You may go to school, and like a lot of people(myself included) drop out, or end up with a degree that you will never use. You will seek God's Will for your life, and you will not always get it right. my advice, the most important thing I have to tell you is this: YOU WILL FAIL, AND FAILURE IS OK. FAILING DOES NOT MAKE YOU A FAILURE. 

Living your life to avoid failure is the surest way to miss God's best for your life. I am not saying that you should try to fail, but I assure you that failure is no threat to those who embrace their true identity in Christ. So live your life, embrace your passions, be who you were created to be, seek God's will in everything you do, but do not allow fear of failure to prevent you from becoming all that God has planned for you. 

Your Friend, 

Edwin "FedEx" Aldrich

This post is part of the June Synchroblog - "If I could tell myself one thing" Please check out the other posts from these great authors on this topic below.

  • Justin Steckbauer – What Do You Wish You Knew 10 or 20 years ago?
  • Michael Donahoe – What I Wish I had Known
  • Mary – What I Wish I Would Have Known as a Newlywed
  • Heather Wheat – As a Young Mother, I Wish I Had Known…
  • Michelle – Ten Years of Wisdom
  • Michelle – Twenty Years of Wisdom
  • Wesley Rostoll – If I Could Speak to a Younger Version of Me
  • Peggy – From Peggy … To Peggy
  • Glenn Hager – The Reluctant Time Lord
  • Carol Kuniholm – Life Lessons from Lydia
  • Edwin Adrich – A Note to My Younger Self
  • Paul Metler – A Note to my 20 Year Ago Self
  • Liz Dyer – Dear Me
  • Kathy Escobar – Never Say Never
  • Jeremy Myers – A Letter to the “Me” of 15 Years Ago
  • Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    What the Hell do we really know.

    When I heard about the topic for this month's synchroblog, I was immediately a bit apprehensive about writing on the topic of Hell. You see, in my previous faith traditions, Hell was a very serious thing, and when anyone disagreed about or questioned the traditional teachings on Hell, they were quickly labeled as a heretic and either banned from teaching or asked to leave the church.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Heartbreak, Groaning, and The Not-As-ItShould-Be World

    Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Romans 8:18-23 (NLT)

    When I think of "suffering with Christ", I tend to think about some third world prison, or perhaps some awful place of exile like Siberia, or even to those few countries left in the world where taking a stand for Christ could cost you your life. Over the last few weeks, as our Sunday school has been going through Romans chapter 8, I have began to develop another view of how we as Christians can "suffer with Christ". 

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Tearing Down Fences and Building Sidewalks


     The pastor of the church we regularly attend told a story of when he first arrived at the church.  He looked around the neighborhood and asked God who around the church needed to know God's grace. The first place he noticed was a huge low income apartment complex right behind the church. The church and the complex were separated by a hill going down to the apartments and a large fence around the church property.  The decision was made to tear down the fence and build a sidewalk. The kids in the apartments were invited to play basketball on our courts. People from the church began to reach out to the families. This one act forever changed the landscape of our church.  Now it is home to a food distribution center for needy families, a last chance school that not only helps kids finish high school and learn life skills, but gives them a chance to experience unconditional love for the first time and many other places where people can come to know Jesus in very real ways.

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Cognitive Dissonance and Preaching to the Choir


           "Daddy, that was an awesome sermon, but you really did make my head hurt". These were my daughter, "Diamond's" words after I finished preaching a sermon on Romans 12 last Saturday. Well, at least I knew she was paying attention to the end of the message, cause I had used that phrase to explain the difficult passage in verse 20 that talks about heaping burning coals on the heads of our enemies. You see, after reading the things that Paul calls the believers to be doing in their lives throughout the rest of the chapter, I came to the conclusion that when Paul talks of burning coals, he is most probably using something akin to the modern phrase "you make my head hurt". We can all pretty much relate to this when we encounter someone or something that does not make sense to us. In technical terms, we would call this cognitive dissonance, basically a fancy term for when our beliefs or expectations are contradicted by real world experience. 

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    Finding New Life in Our New Home (March Synchroblog)

    Last night was the final time we would be in our old house. The inspectors finally came to approve our move out, after a few weeks of lost paperwork, lost checks, and missed appointments. Even then the process was less than smooth and it was a few more hours before we received our cash for keys check and were able to be completely done with the foreclosure on the old house.

    As we left what had been our home for the last several years, we tried to remember the good memories, the memories of children being born, our two middle sons were both born at home, in this house. Memories of children learning to walk and talk, of having bar-b-ques with our friends. Of opening our house to families in need and coming to learn what home really is. We tried to forget the last year of falling behind on payments, of collection calls, of one failed attempt after another to refinance, of dreams and hopes lost.

    Today was a beautiful mostly sunny day, the children were able to play outside in the new back yard, we were able to sit on our new deck, and look at the fruit trees in the back yard as they begin to form buds. Today we remember that we cannot dwell on those things that are past, whether good or bad, but we must each day try to find the good. We wake each morning looking to God to lead us into new experiences, and know that He is still with us here as we make new memories in a new place. We look at the coming of the spring and know that our lives are in a way beginning again here, and we look for the good.

    This post was part of the March Synchroblog "New Life". Please visit the pages of the other authors listed below and read their stories of new life.

    Michael Donahoe – New Life
    K.W. Leslie – Sin Kills; God Brings New Life
    Carol Kuniholm – New Life. Mystery Fruit.
    Jeremy Myers – I Get Depressed On Facebook
    Glenn Hager – A Personal Resurrection Story
    Loveday Anyim – Spring Forth – Ideas That Speak New Life
    Loveday Anyim – Inspired By Spring To Create A New Life
    Sarah Quezada – Post Winter Delight
    Edwin Aldrich – Finding New Life In Our New Home
    Doreen A. Mannion – Each Day A New Decision: Choose Life
    kathy escobar – new life through nonviolent communication

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    Launch www.HisUrbanPresence.org

    Today we launch the Website for His Urban Presence, and officially begin the process of raising support to become full-time ministers to the marginalized communities of Colorado Springs. For my wife and I this is the culmination of more than a year of prayer and searching for God's will for our lives. We have a long way to go to reach our goal and we hope to be fully supported in approximately 2 years. If you share our passion for the poor, homeless, addicted, and otherwise cast aside, please check out our website for opportunities to support our work. Also, we ask that you share the website and our Facebook pages with your friends and families and encourage them to prayerfully consider supporting God's mission through us.

    Edwin "Pastor FedEx" Aldrich
    Karen "Charity" Aldrich

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    Embracing Change - MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!!

            I have never really liked changes. I am a creature of habit and truth be told, I really like for things to continue on as they have been. In the last few weeks since we have moved houses, I have found myself more than once taking the road to my old house only to realize that I am going in the exact opposite direction of our new home. I like to develop routines, and I now have to drive an extra 15 minutes each way to work. This means getting up earlier. This also means finding a new morning coffee stop along the new route to work. All of these changes have resulted in me having a pretty lousy attitude about going to work for the last few weeks, like I said, I really don't like change.
            Unfortunately, as our family begin to recover from the turmoil of this latest period of transition and reestablish new routines, we are looking at some more, even potentially bigger changes. Many of the things that we have had as part of our routine for the last several years are going to change and many of the things we have looked to for stability are going to be challenged. Not liking change, and knowing that these decisions would change nearly everything for our family, we have been seeking God's direction through prayer and counsel for nearly a year, and we are finally ready to move.
            Most of you who read this blog know of our ministry, and most of you know that we have supported out ministry work over the last several years through our work as the owners of a granite counter top company. Over the last few years, it has become apparent to Karen and I that we really needed to decide between the business or the ministry as we felt we could not continue to do both well. After much prayer and hours of talking with friends and family, we have made the decision to move toward leaving the company and entering into ministry work on a full time basis.
            So, as of now, we have set a goal of either selling or closing our business by June of 2016, and we have applied to become a missionary project under the Joy to the World Foundation. We are trusting that as we step out in faith, God will provide ministry partners and support to meet all the needs of this ministry. We have an official Launch date!!!!! We will be going live with a new website that includes links to the ministries we partner with, along with a list of partnership opportunities from volunteering to monthly financial support. The website address will be officially announced on our blog, and our Facebook pages on Friday, March 21st.

    WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!!!!!!!
            We really Believe that the work we do is important, it is important to our local communities, to our city, our state, and ultimately, it is important to the Kingdom of God, and we need your help getting the word out. If you are on facebook, and you have not liked our page yet, you can do that by going to His Urban Presence Facebook page, and clicking on the like button. We ask that you also consider sharing out page by inviting your friends to like this page as well.
            Also, starting in March we will be sending out our first of hopefully many quarterly newsletters by e-mail. These newsletters will let ministry partners and supporters know about recent events, changes, and updates and will be e-mailed out to anyone who requests them. If you would like to receive our newsletter, please send an email to hisurbanpresence@gmail.com and be sure to put "Newsletter" in the subject line.

    And be sure to check our blog and Facebook pages on Friday, March 21st to be part of the official launch of our new website.
    Blog - His Urban Presence
    Facebook - His Urban Presence
    Facebook - Pastor FedEx

    Pastor FedEx

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

    Loving ALL of our Neighbors (February Synchroblog)


            We are almost fully moved into our new home and as we begin the process of unpacking and settling in, we are also beginning the process of meeting our new neighbors. A few days ago, our kids were playing outside and saw some kids in the yard a few houses over and asked if my wife would take them over to meet the new neighbors. My wife took the kids over and was greeted at the door by a young Hispanic lady and her fiancé's heavily tattooed brother. The young lady and her fiancé have five kids all under 7 and were very happy to know that there were new children in the neighborhood close in age to their own. The brother-in-law-to-be stood at a distance watching the interaction, but the woman was quite friendly and commented on how much her fiancé liked motorcycles. My wife invited them to come over the next time the riders from Men of Praise are over to check out the bikes and meet the group. As we are settling in, we are praying over our new neighbors and how God will lead us in being part of their lives.

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    Moving Clouds and Lasting Monuments

    It is the night before our big move into the new house. If you have followed our story at all you know that this was what we did NOT want to have happen. We know this is what God is up to in our life at this moment. We know that we are following Him into a new place in our lives in oh so many ways, but emotionally this has been extremely difficult, especially for me.  Some of my beautiful friends have given me so much grief in this process because I am so strongly outspoken that "church" is NOT a building, but a body of people, dynamic, organic, constantly changing, but family, well that can just stay right here in the walls it lives in now.  It has taken time for me to embrace this move and to get even a little excited about the possibilities, but I think I am finally there. We spent the evening having a picnic in the new, completely empty house.  It was the first time the children had seen the house and they were dreaming BIG about where all their most prized possessions were going to go in their new space.  It was fun to watch them and for a moment I allowed my emotions to see myself in the new place and to dream......a little.  It was a start.

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    FORECLOSED: The Beginnings of a New Dream (January Synchroblog)


            Notice of Foreclosure - the ominous words scrawled across the top of the letter we received from our mortgage company a few months ago. When my family moved into our house, we never imagined that we would be leaving under these circumstances. You see, we have always believed that this house was a blessing directly from God Himself, and blessings from God just don't get foreclosed on, do they?

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    Proclaiming the Gospel - The Story of Our Mission Part 5

            Over the last few years, I have had many opportunities to share parts of the work that my family and I are doing in Colorado Springs. Often, when I tell of passing out blankets to homeless camps or serving breakfast to the homeless downtown, I get the response, "well, giving to the poor is good, but that is not really the main mission, if you are going to call ourselves 'missionaries', then you need to make sure that 'proclaiming the gospel' is our number one mission".