Friday, July 31, 2009


I talked before about being willing to face the music in a mash-up. It takes time and energy to make one, and parodies are even more so. But, the truth of both is that they give exposure, and with the current number of times it takes to get something through to people now standing at around 17, where it used to be 3, not all that long ago, I am mindful of having fun.

If only it could be as cool as this:


Thursday, July 30, 2009


I was talking with a friend the other day. We were talking some about hate. I offered a bit of my wisdom, which she spun a little bit, and I thought it came out very profoundly.

And seeing hate as fear and resentment on steroids is a really cool way of looking at it. Really sort of disempowers the word.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Google Friends

I tried to glom onto the Google Friend Connect. Somehow it didn't translate for me. I only had a few friends on at the outset when I began. I didn't see it easily enough to have it repeatedly put back before me to make new connections, and so it died away a fairly painless death.

But, I come back to pondering. I wanted to share some items I read on my bloglines, and went to see who gets to see what I share. I have all of 8 friends, and I found it a little discouraging that this thing I was hoping to share with more people didn't actually get out there that far.

Of course, it could be that the readership of my bloglines shared items is higher than the readership of my actual blog, and I think that would be okay. I am just not sure what to do with Google Friend Connect, and how to maximize my use more effectively. Suggestions, experiences, thoughts of your own?



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Thousand Words-LLoyd Saatjian

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Monday, July 27, 2009


I am just wanting to send a shout-out thank you to our neighbors who provided us tickets to see the Adkins Dance Studio recital. The Bug had a great time dancing and singing along with the girls who were dancing.

I am grateful to the praise team at St. Andrew UMC for their amazing sense of worship leadership.
Second service is ever-so-blessed with the musical talents of Bill Woods. Fantastic!

I am thrilled with the turn-out of volunteers to help with VBS. Thank you. Now for the extra church volunteers to get cracking on delivering invitations to their neighbors.

A big thank you to my parents and mother-in-law for coming to celebrate with us for the Bug's birthday.

I am greatly appreciative of the Doyles for their help in getting boxes recycled, furniture moved, and the wonderful shared tools I was able to make use of for getting the house ready to move in.

Blessings back to you,


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Networking Details

This past week I was asked about networking in my local area

> I hope all is well in your new appointment. I have been following your exploits on facebook. I have a question
> for you. Last week, you wrote about networking in the local community (Starbucks, etc.). I am trying to be more
> effective in my day to day ministry at networking. What specifically do you do when you network with local places? -Clergy Person A

And my reponse:
For me, I try to make as many of my interactions in the community as I can (really and truly I sometimes forget to do so, or just am not up to it at that moment, but I am practicing) about finding out something new. I want to find out from the Starbucks folks and anybody I run into in business, how they are doing that day, and if I can slide it in, when it isn't too busy, I ask personal questions. The three I hold to are: What is your name? Do you go to church? and then in response to the answer of the second question - if yes, "Why do you go where you go?"; if no, "What keeps you from going?". I will often introduce myself as the "new" pastor in town (though when I was a little longer in one place I did phrase it as, "I am trying to find out some more about my community.")
The first time out I never invite them to church, I just inform them where I am. I may ask them if they are working in a business to consider what they might need. I try my best to follow up in three to four weeks, with questions about what they need, and how they see those needs being met. I want to then reflect that back to the congregation I serve so that they can see what kinds of ministry doors are being opened to them.
With the changes in effect from the "Faith-based Initiatives" from President G.W.Bush, I also try to schedule meetings with the principals in the local schools around the church, to try and find out what I can about their needs, the problems and the strengths to find where we mesh.
As additional meetings, I have gone out to talk to the Police, Sheriff, Fire and even with City and County Council (I am in the process of making some of those connections now in Santa Maria). I want to get a strong sense of the pulse of the town. I want to know where the "immigrant workers" congregate. I want to see the town from several angles. To that end, I have set up meetings with one of our local vintners to tour his fields, and with a former Ag teacher to give me a look around the fields and help me learn what is being grown where in Santa Maria.
I also try to observe as much as possible so that when I run into someone about town, I have a chance to touch them, say hi and let them know that I noticed them. I had a great example of that the other day when I was at Starbucks, I saw a lot of people there for free pastry day. Later in the week, one of the teachers for the music academy was getting in his car as I was arriving to church. He was one of the people I saw at Starbucks. I hadn't introduced myself at Starbucks, but told him I remembered him from that trip, and then introduced myself in the context of the church.
I want to do my level best to be known in the community, to propigate the name of the church in as many positive ways as possible. I want to meet the people, see what the holes in society are, and find ways for the church to be meeting unmet needs of the community. But that means meeting my people, meeting the community, and exploring that which goes unseen by many. Then trying to bring together the gifts of my congregation, their desires for where they want the church to go, and the needs of the community. All three have to come together or we just go failing when we try to do something.
I hope I haven't bored you with details, but I would be happy to talk with you more, either by phone, or email, or in person. Let me know.
David Camphouse


Friday, July 24, 2009

More Tech Contemplations

I was talking web stuff the other day with our webmaster.

She expressed some concern when I shared that I was willing to post my sermons on the net in audio files for download. I also am contemplating doing video of the sermons and posting those (especially for Rick since he has not seen the "Appliance Dances" that have made their way into several sermons of mine over the years)

What do you think?

I was thinking of it as a dynamic and wonderful way to be challenged and intgrated into the larger demographic. We were struck by a grafitti artist the other week, and I noted to our folks who were outraged that this effectively "changed" our signs 2 times in short order, following that up with the reminder that people tend to ignore signs after two weeks, and that it takes 17 times for something to be noticed these days (thanks to multimedia).

I am reminded of Maxie Dunham and the issues surrounding his video and subsequent mash-up prior to Annual Conferences regarding the Constitutional Amendments for the UMC. What made that dialogue so interesting to me, was not that there was a mash-up of a YouTube video, but that Maxie and his representatives got bent out of shape about it. This is where if and when someone does change my stuff around it is a point of entry for dialogue. I have found this to be true on this blog and expect it to be true in life as well. The real challenge (and I admit I have fallen prey) is not to get "baited in", but to carry on meaningful discourse when the whole thing goes WONKY.

Just my thought. Care to share yours?

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.” – Howard Thurman


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tech Updates

St. Andrew UMC has a number of things going well.

We are positioning for some updates: to our sanctuary Audio/Visuals and our website.
What do you see as needs for a congregation in addressing these needs. What are the best examples you have seen lately?

We are making headway in providing an open campus. We are repairing relationships with our members and our community at large. I am sure there are many more to be addressed, but we are started.

We have some basic comforts in place, and are doing what we can with the technology we have.

We have a fairly modern sanctuary lay-out. We are partially in the round, with a dais, chancel, and a cry room, with some space above the narthex for projection and speakers inset.

We have old cans in the eaves, though most are not active, they have been replaced with front speakers, hung from overhead.

We do have two flat screen tvs in front of the congregation, but nothing behind for the worship leaders to follow.

We will improve.

We also have some streamlining to do with our website. It seems we have at least two, and there was a third registered in our name that has now lapsed, but publicity is still out there with that website domain. We need to get a firm grasp of what a website does, and how it helps the people of the congregation and is a portal of entry for those who are not currently involved. Your ideas are welcome.



Monday, July 20, 2009

Picks and Pans

There was a column in the paper I used to read years ago, and if I remember correctly the paper was local to California, and therefore Gold Country. In it was the title "Picks and Pans". In reality rather than talking about the accoutrement of gold mining, the recent pros and cons of the area were listed.

I have long struggled with doing blogs about places I have been and doing a "Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down" segment (a la the "Ojai Valley News"), or giving more thorough reviews, I want to figure out how to highlight the pluses, make note of the negatives, and be of benefit to the community at large.

As such, I have at times in this blog offered things that were very much to my liking, or building lessons associated with the church, or personal life from the negative thoughts or comments I would normally make. I have decided to go ahead with such things more freely. I will do my best not to "slam" a location, or restaurant, place or experience, but I will add some critique.

I am doing this as a part of sharing my experiences in the community as I learn and explore and discover new points of intersection, learnings I make, hopes I encounter, and needs I discern - all of these for me, my family, the church (both capital and lower case C), and the people of Santa Maria.



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Worship and Home Repairs

The past week I have been working at a pretty high pace trying to get things together for two elements of my life. The house is still under "preparations" as we try to get it ready for a host of visitors this week, and worship has more than filled my life a little bit. I have managed to squeeze in two worship services at St. Andrew UMC ( for those that follow on Twitter) and then a jaunt over to Christ UMC with my wife for the Japanese language service this past Saturday.

I am confronted by the reality that the shelter is only the beginning. We have a place to worship, and we have a home to live in, but they are both "under construction" if you will. Neither one is quite complete. There are pieces that need to be adjusted and tweaked.

For instance the preacher in all three services did not have a microphone. Both churches have adequate speaker systems, though they are patched over the original workings for such, and probably need to be updated again. In one case the preacher was trying to preach over the volume of the Bible Study in the adjacent room. In the other services the preacher was trying to preach to a room two times to large for the congregation gathered, who often had hearing problems and would need the amplification of a microphone, or be aided by the hearing devices available at the back of the sanctuary, which are then rendered useless if the preacher doesn't use a microphone.

The house has lots of storage, but there is not a good configuration with the existing shelves and cabinets for all the books we have in the house, and the office books especially. We are trying to figure out how to make the necessary adjustments, and additions to the bookcases, without breaking the bank.

The hard part for both is the reality that we can make the quick fix, and take care of the "problem", but is it the best option? Are we willing to do the work necessary to determine the best solution, and take the time to make the additional touches work - like finding a microphone that works for the pastor's style and the configuration of the speakers; or finding the right crown moulding to stain and add to the cheaper bookshelves, in order to bring the room together?

I just noticed there are these things that seem like big issues, and we need to address them, but we need to take the time to do more than just throw something over it and get it covered, by instead making sure we address the bigger problems, ensure that there is a "problem" to begin, and then carefully examine the best options and practices for moving forward.


Friday, July 10, 2009

A Dream

Bill Simmons has a dream. I have watched for several days now as I come and go from my house as a man works in the field at the stoplight near my house. The corner is not much but a dirt lot.

Today I went hiking, skirted the lot and noticed a number of peculiar things. First of all the edges of the lot, about 10 feet in from the street, strewn down a line are Bots Dots that have been thrown up from the street and scavenged to make a border for something. As I walked further along, I noticed a home plate, and a little bit of a path out to what I would imagine is a pitcher's mound.

On the way back home from my hike, I took a little detour, skirted the other edge of the dirt lot, and went to make my way to the character who was spending day after day on this field, raking and keeping it meticulously. I stopped, baby in the pack on my back, and introduced myself. Bill, clothed in several layers, and shielded well from the sun, introduced himself.

I asked him what he was working on day after day on this lonely street corner, and this dirt lot. He said he was building a baseball field, and then realized it was going to be too small, so he thought maybe a softball field. He knew there was a water shortage and so he was keeping it pretty simple. He admitted that it wasn't even his lot, but that someone with some dreams and imagination and maybe even some money, which he no longer had, might be able to do something great.

He envisioned a theater, or a huge stage for concerts and political rallies. He saw the need for raising up a new army, and thought it might make for some decent parade grounds. He thought the ballfield was still a good idea, and even suggested bringing in a bulldozer to the lot next to it to make for some parking. In the meantime, he was clearing the weeds, and taking them to the low spots in the field so that it might be used however possible.

He said he was getting tired, and didn't have the same imagination he used to, or the money to make it happen, but that maybe the next generation might benefit from what he has done. He looked at the baby on my back and told her he was making it usable for her. See what her imagination might lead us to create.

I hope our churches are willing to do the same. To work hard to achieve the vision they have, for something that is not theirs (it is God's); and yet to leave it and let it go so that those who would pick it up would be able to do with it as they saw need, and had imagination.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

My Story

Sunday, July 5 seems like an appropriate time to tell my story in a new congregation.

You see it is my birthday, and somehow the introduction to a new congregation would seem to dictate that I open myself up to this new crowd of folks, especially as I ask them to open themselves up to me, so that together we can be transformed by the living God, through the power of Jesus Christ, and the action of the Holy Spirit.

The text this morning comes from Mark 6:1-13, and tells the story of how it was when Jesus went home to be in ministry. I realize that the backlash came because the people knew his origins, but I can also see how it added to the message that he brought, because it was so different from what they knew of his origin.

Therein lies the power of transformation - knowing how it was, and what God is doing now - lends itself to the greater truth of what God can do if we allow God to do some work along the way. I have been transformed by Jesus Christ, but I can say with certainty that God has not finished working the Holy Spirit within me such that I will be transformed again, and I am in the midst of transformation even now.

So here's to being transformed, and telling our stories, or where we have been, and what God is doing now.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Primary Question of Ministry

I have a primary question I want to be working with during this coming season at St. Andrew UMC. I want to order all that I do surrounding the church with this question in mind:

How is Jesus Christ transforming you right now, as a person, church and community?

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

An Act of Kindness

During my freshman year at Emory University I lived in the dorms at Thomas Hall. Like many dorms they had a bank of washers and dryers for the students. I was like many other students, at least after the first few weeks of classes when we adjusted a little more and trusted our classmates not to steal our clothes if we left unattended for any period of time in the laundry. I left my clothes in the dryer to run to class and dry while I was away. That night I came back from class, well after my clothes would have finished in the dryer. I fully expected that like on several other occasions the clothes would be plucked from the dryer and just thrown on the sorting tables in a rumpled mess. But, this night was different, I came in to find my clothes all sorted and folded (underwear too). I was amazed and floored. This was such a simple guesture but it brought me to tears in thankfulness for the kindness shown to me.

This week as I have been waiting on plumbing to get done so that I could get my laundry washed and dryed I thought of this story. I used the memory to prompt my reflection on those who have shown little kindnesses to me in my moving and settling into a new appointment. This morning it all came flooding back as I stepped into my office to find the 20 boxes of books that had been in the hall placed nicely stacked in my office. They weren't unboxed, since I was toting the baby this morning it made a world of difference, and was a little kindness shown along the way. I sent a silent thank-you to the person(s) who did this.

I also thought of the many people who helped us get moved and settled. The several folks at Ojai UMC who helped us pack, and get things moved to Santa Maria; the amazing folks who came and washed walls, and tore down popcorn ceilings; my brother-in-law to-be who did such great work doing handyman repairs in prep for our move; the many professionals who did their jobs with class and a fantastic attitude; our real estate agent and mortgage broker who have been helpful and encouraging in this process. There are just so many to name.

I think it is time to start thinking of how I can help encourage more of this behavior, and how I can contribute to the proliferation of adding kindnesses to our society.