Category Archives: interviews

Interview with Pernell Goodyear

Another interview here at jordoncooper.com and this time it is Pernell Goodyear. Pernell is the pastor of the Freeway, an emerging community in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. As they put it on their website…

The Freeway is part of an international movement known as The Salvation Army. That’s right, now the folks who bring you quality vintage clothing at a reasonable price, also bring you church–done differently.

We began in 2002 with the simple desire to be a healthy, innovative church community that reaches a new culture of people searching for truth in their lives with THE truth, Jesus Christ.

In addition to bringing church done differently, Pernell is a part of Resonate and the publisher of what I think is the best designed blog on the web right now. I speak highly of his blog to compensate for the fact that I never linked to it for many months and am feeling convicted by either Pernell or the Holy Spirit for not linking to it.

Enough about me and some more about Pernell.

1) The Freeway is a non-traditional church in a denomination (The Salvation Army) that is rightly or wrongly known for being a church that asks for conformity. Does that create tension and how do you deal with that?

Good question. It has created some tension within our tribe, which has, for the most part, become pretty cookie-cutter in a lot of ways for the past number of decades. Although, perhaps surprisingly for us, for the most part our leaders are pretty excited about what we’re doing. Besides, The Salvation Army has a long history of reaching those who may be unreached by many other churches. The Freeway has had some “success” reaching a demographic of people that are generally missing from many other churches. And when push comes to shove, accomplishing mission and bringing the Kingdom is what we’re all about.

What makes The Freeway different from the bazillion other “contemporary” churches in North America?

I don’t really know, I have never been to most of those churches… and I don’t think we’re “contemporary”. But from what I have seen, we tend to be fairly organic, creativity-focused, eclectic, relational, missional and less hierarchical and structured than the average church. But I would also say we’re less sure about what we know and who we really are, we’re more chaotic, and harder to explain or put on a flow chart than many churches… actually, we’re kind of a mess most of the time.

3) If you could go back and change any decision being made while planting The Freeway, is there any that you wish you could change and “do-over”? What would you change?
I would have hired Jordon Cooper to give me back massages after the long, tough days. Just kidding. We have made so many mistakes, I would have a hard time picking just one. I guess I would say that we started out with many constructs of the modern, church growth focused model, even though that didn’t fit us at all… because that was the only way we knew, and had to fumble into what really resonated for us… explore and experiment and “try it on”. If it’s possible to paint broad, judgemental strokes, we started out as a hyper-modern church wanting desperately to reach people in the emerging culture. We have had to shed much of our comfy terminology, structure, focus, etc. in order to become the community that we are (and we will likely need to shed much more to become the community God wants us to be in this new, emerging culture).

4) Does having a permanent building change community life for FRWY? If it has changed, how?

We don’t know yet. We just got possession of our space at the beginning of February and are currently renovating it into a cafe / music / art / worship space. We likely won’t be in there until May. I hope it does change things for us though. In that, I hope it allows us to meet up with people we wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet and journey with and do some stuff we wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do.

5) What’s the biggest obstacle (or opportunity) for FRWY as a community in the near future?

The biggest obstacle and the biggest opportunity could be the same thing… getting a funky, innovative non-profit cafe off the ground. We want to love our community – no strings attached. We want to live with them. We want to follow God. We want to change the world by bringing the message and experience of Christ in a way that people can understand and embrace. That’s a lofty enough goal, I would say.

6) So much of the Canadian discussion about church growth through the 1970’s until now has been dominated by the American church. How does the context in Canada differ?

Radically. We live in a very different culture.You (and likely many of your readers) have read Fire & Ice by Michael Adams. I think that he’s dead on as far as the differences between the two countries goes. “Emerging” here and “emerging” there can look very different. This would also be true to some extent from one community to another within Canada. I think the major difference is the fact that we are in a post-Christian culture and I’m not sure that the US is yet. Also, mega church mentality doesn’t sit well here, generally. Although there are certainly enough American (you know who) ripoff, wanna-be’s in churches in Canada too.

7) What’s been the impact of FRWY.ca on your community. Is the web making a difference in the life of your church? What about that blog you publish?

For one thing, the web is really our only form of “advertising” to people outside our community (well, except the lives of community members themselves… and the billboard pictures of me naked plastered all over Hamilton). People around here work, study, volunteer and play on crazy conflicting schedules… busy, busy, busy… so getting together is tough alot of times. We have found that blogging (a bunch of Freewayers blog), our discussion forum, and e-mail has really increased the amount of community we can do. We keep up on each other this way and dialogue about tons of stuff. We have even recently started an e-Living Room – an online community group. Actually, all the “keeping up on each other” is kind of creepy when I really think about it… that’s it, I’m shutting down the web.

8) Who have been some of the most influential thinkers along your spiritual journey?

My six year old daughter, Samantha. My friend, Mark Jefferson. My mom. My community at FRWY. Douglas Coupland. Leonard Sweet. Brian McLaren. Henri Nouwen. C.S. Lewis. Homer Simpson.

9) When our kids look back at the start of the postmodern world and our efforts to lead churches in it, what do you think they are going to see that we got right? What do think they will say we got wrong?

Right: Finally choosing me as Lord Sultan of the Canadian Emerging Church movement. Joking… sort of. I hope they’ll see that we at least were courageous enough to question and wrestle with the status quo. I hope they’ll see that we really loved Jesus and his truth, enough to try and look past our cultural view of him and to live for him at all cost. I hope they’ll see that we made an effort to really love our neighbours.

Wrong: My fear is that they may see that we took too long making the necessary changes, taking the necessary risks, adjusting the way we live missionally to really have the kind of Kingdom impact we could have. And I think that they’ll see that we took ourselves far too seriously too much of the time.

An interview with Sally Morgenthaller

From One Small Barking Dog

My own generation of Americans (baby boomers) suffers from a particularly virile form of narcissism. In our quest for personal fulfillment, we have failed to both teach and know our children well. Truly, our deprioritization of our own offspring is one of the great tragedies of late twentieth century America. The effects are staggering, and I’m not just talking about broken homes. It goes much deeper than that. The cessation of intergenerational narrative is at the core. The exchange of story has been one of the most important roles of family life. But getting involved in that exchange means sacrificing time, listening, and value that our children are actually worth the effort. A few days ago, I was at a Christian conference and had just ended a talk about creating sacred space outside the four walls of our churches. I didn’t focus the talk on young people, but one father came up to me afterward and plied me with questions about what kind of music he should let his kids listen to, what kind of media, films, TV programs, etc. I was comforted that he was evidently having an epiphany moment that he might need to be involved in these sort of things, but the attitude was still trying to protect them from their own culture, their own stories. It’s amazing how rarely I hear parent’s ask how they can dialog and actually share life with their children, how they can enter their offspring’s worlds, find out the stories their children are actually living, and earn the right to tell their own stories. We are truly relationally challenged as a nation.

jordoncooper.com interviews Mike Gingerich

Today I interview my good friend Mike Gingerich. I worked with Mike at Lakeview Church. Not only was he a super talented programmer, he has a grasp on NFL and sports minutia that Cliff Claven would respect, and is as easily as good of a drummer as Ringo Starr. Right now he is going back to school and blogs over here. Mike is also revered by my son Mike who along with Todd, is referred to as “Rockstar Mike”. He is married to Sandi and they have a daughter, Emma.

What’s your age and occupation? How long have you lived there? Where did you come from, and where do you live now?

I am 31 years old and presently a student, taking Business Management w/ a major in HR and Marketing I have been a student since September and will be finished in January of 05. I came from my mother who was living in Regina at the time. I live in Saskatoon SK with me wife and daughter

As a die hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan, you have never seen them win a Stanley Cup. What’s the most painful loss you have had to endure?

Has to be in ’94 when Gretzky was with the LA kings he scored late in the 3rd period to advance to the Stanley Cup final against the Canadians.

As a football coach, we are hoping you can answer the question that has haunted us for the ages… what’s the better defence 4-3 or 3-4 and why?

Hands down 4-3, D-line keeps contain and can peruse from either end while strong side LB shoots the gap and gets the sack on the blind side or stop the rush coming through either the A or B gaps. It’s quite elementary really.

Worst Toronto Maple Leaf trade of all time?

That easy 96 when there was a 6 player deal in the end we gave up a young defensemen named Kenny Jonsson and got and old Wendel Clark in return. Sorry Wendel you know it’s true.

You and I have spent hours talking NFL football. Who do you think were the five biggest quarterback busts of our era. Not including Ryan Leaf… that’s too easy.

Since I can’t say Ryan Leaf, I think the top 5 are:

1) Todd Blackridge in ’83 1st round 7th overall before Jim Kelly and Tony Eason, Ken O’ Brien and some guy named Dan Marino

2) Andre Ware in ’90 1st round 7th overall heismen curse “Andre ware are ya”

3) Todd Marinovich in’91 1st round 24th overall, a tragic tale of wasted youth, drafted that year before Brett Farve.

4) Kordell Stewart in ’95 2nd round 60th overall, this dude has sucked since his first day in the NFL.

5) Giovanni Carmazzi in 93 3rd round 65th overall. I have never heard of this guy, he must be a bust he was however drafted before Tom Brady, Marc Bulger and Tim Rattay. He is Currently inactive on the 49er roster

What’s the best part about living in Saskatoon?

The people (corny but true),

What’s the most important lesson you learned while working at Lakeview Church that you can apply to life outside the church?

2 things really

1) Everybody regardless of title or position wants to be valued to some degree, in his or her work

2) Leadership is relationship, you can’t have one without the other.

If you could have any three figures from history over for dinner, who would it be?

Kurt Cobain I think that dude just needed a hug, Jimi Hendrix, cause I would love to jam with him and C.S Lewis…oh yeah and ahh Jesus

If you could change any one thing about Saskatoon, what would it be?

The fact that it is in the middle of Saskatchewan

As a driver of a very nice and cool car, what is the worst looking car, That you have ever seen?

I once saw a full size pick up truck it was all pimped up it had been lowered and it had a very large ridiculous spoiler on it, on the gate of the truck he/she most likely he had airbrushed a proportionately impossible women and the 2 words “spoiler rotten”.

9pm, Wednesday – what are you doing?

Most likely homework or relaxing with my Sandi, there is most likely TV being watched and nachos or popcorn being consumed.

All of the interviews can be found here.

Interviewing Daniel Miller

Today we interview Daniel Miller, artist, web designer, programmer, and no fan of the National Hockey League. He is also one of the early bloggers. First with blogspot and later at Daniel’s Journey where a variety of CMS’s have been tried and even developed there. He is also the founder of Intregration Research, a cultural and technological incubator in the form of art collective, publisher and software developer.

What’s your age and occupation? How long have you lived there? Where did you come from, and where do you live now?

29 year old artist, entrepreneur and web developer. I’m originally from Pennsylvania and over the last 10 years have lived in Tucson, Ft. Lauderdale, Washington DC, Sarajevo, Florida (again), and now Dallas, where I’ve lived for one month so far.

You are a well traveled American. How does the rest of the world see America right now compare to how you see your country? If there is a difference? What is causing it?

I feel like I should ask you that question since you are not an American. :) I’ve become un-nationalistic in my approach; I’m more interested in broader trends in power-based relationships, social dynamics, and the like. I actually hate politics, and have observed how it corrupts even at its lowest levels, so I try to keep my own personal politics to the voting booth.

To answer your question, in my experience many people would prefer to see a different president in the next term, and in that we agree. But there are bigger things at work, and I think we are in a unique time where we can all, travel or no, get a better idea for the world’s common values and concerns and work collectively to try and address them.

What is the coolest gadget that you have ever owned?

I’m a pretty low-tech geek; my two main gadgets are a 3 year old Dell laptop and a very pedestrian pair of headphones. I have a Korg D-12 digital recorder that’s nice; we’re about to be reunited after 10 months apart.

Can you tell us a little about Integration Research? Can you give us a glimpse at some of the projects you are working on?

I’ll try to make this brief without giving the standard line. Integration Research (IR) has been fashioned to try and work out new ways for creative people to approach the processes of cultural production and dissemination. We’re specifically looking at technological solutions that facilitate a cultural dynamic that benefits all. The web, blogs, digitization of cultural artifacts, ubiquitous broadband, and the low entry price for professional-level creative technologies have all contributed to a rapid de-centralization of cultural control; but we have yet to develop models that successfully reward these new creators, because culture industries are historically so centralized. We are in a transitional moment, and IR is trying to examine this space and create solutions that work within its new landscape.

Our first project is a piece of personal library management software. It will allow you to enter in anything from books to blenders and then attach metadata to those items–lent out or borrowed and to/from whom, queued for future interest and/or added to your Amazon wish list, for sale and/or added to your Amazon sale items–and keep a historical record of those artifacts. It will also support publish/subscribe via RSS, so that, for example, you could easily publish information about your cultural choices on a blog, and, most importantly, find out what resources are available within various
communities you participate in.

Another project that is in the works is what I call creative management software. It is like blogging with a twist, and will hopefully retain the power of micro Content Management Systems (mCMS) while making all that data more useful and navigating it more intuitive.

We’re in the middle of developing some white papers on all of these topics, so stay tuned in the next few months for that.

What’s the coolest part about living in the Dallas megatropolis?

Decent weather and people. I’ve lived enough places to find my niche anywhere, and know that having community is essential to making a city one’s home.

Your blog has seen a couple different programming languages and content management systems over the years. What has been the best you have worked with? The worst?

Every language and system have their good points and their bad, and they are usually opposite characteristics across platforms. Blogger is simple but feature poor and inflexible; Moveable Type is more flexible but convoluted. One programming language makes X hard and Y easy, the other Y hard and X easy. I’m never going to develop a programming language, but I hope the mCMS that I’m building strikes a good balance between simplicity and flexibility.

There hasn’t been a best and worst yet. This space is still young.

What’s the worst airline or train traveling experience ever?

I’ve spent so many nights in airports or negotiating with sketchy cab drivers that they all blur together. The physical act of traveling is rarely fun or relaxing, but the payoffs and surprises are well worth it. I got lost once walking back to Johnny’s at 4am, and it was cold and I was tired, but at one point it was like a music video–there were people falling headfirst out of pubs onto the sidewalk in front of me, a car pulled up and a gang of people jumped out of it, ran into an alley beside me, and two of the guys started fighting. It was frightening and invigorating and I remember that 2 hour walk fondly.

9pm, Wednesday night – what are you doing?

Sitting at my computer answering your questions. :)

Mac or PC?

Both if I could only afford a Mac.

If Integration Research could get any celebrity spokesperson in the world, who would it be? Why?

Madonna. She personifies success under the old/established structures of cultural dissemination, so there would be a beautiful irony there. She’s the most powerful relevant public figure I could think of and her pocket change could fund IR forEVAR.

If you could summer anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Dang these are good questions! I’m going to have to go with……Vienna. Beautiful, diverse city to begin with and a hop-skip to a lot of interesting places. Wait. Or Sydney, for the same reasons.

Best three weblogs you are reading right now?

Amateur Hour: the me in media, Purse Lip Square Jaw, dooce.

What is one thing that the National Hockey League could do to make you into a diehard hockey fan (for the Canadian readers of my blog)

Um, go back in time, transplant my DNA, and drop me in Saskatchewan maybe?

All of the interviews can be found here (well, except the ones that I haven’t posted yet)

In Conversation with… Scott Williams

Scott Williams is a good friend of Wendy, Mark, and I. Even the dog likes him. Mark prays for him and his kids twice a day but from his answers, I am not sure it makes a difference or at least with his Homer puzzle. He is also the pastor of New Heights, a church in Mission, B.C. that as Scott has said, loves loud rock and roll as well as reaching out to the poor. It does both really well.

Scott is also Wendy’s arch nemesis and is responsible for several tramatic events in her life for which she has yet to have a comeback for. He also publishes one of my favorite blogs right here. Here is the interview. Scott walks the fine line between giving an interview and making fun of Wendy and I. Some things never change.

What’s your age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?

I’m forty years old but everyone says I’m really immature and that’s a good thing right? I live in Mission, BC Canada, where I started a church here eight years ago. I grew up in a military, non-christian family of alcoholics and card players. I trace my roots back to Scotland where our ancestors were hung for horse stealing? blue blood all the way. My sister recently upgraded to her first trailer. I’m a single parent of two teenage boys.

What makes New Heights different from the bazillion other “contemporary” churches in North America.

Contemporary? Yuck.

New Heights is not a contemporary church. When I think of contemporary I think of dressing well, singing hillsongs, matt redman and delirious chorus’s instead of hymns; powerpoint, topical sermons and nice flyers. I am not sure New Heights aspires to be contemporary, at least not in its present status.

I grew up in the days of the church growth movement, Willow World and the migration from hymn books – overheads – powerpoint. I started churches using these paradigms but it was never really who I was at heart. I am not, by nature, someone who fits into mainstream anything, even contemporary church. New Heights strives to be brutally honest and you cannot really be that within the mainstream evangelical church movement. People are our church are screwed up, poor, lack any Christian background, or just aren’t interested in regular church. We are more crass, use words like piss, crap and sin, believe in the redemption of secular media, drink light beer (cuz we’re Christians) try to shock people into reality, rebel against dress codes and ‘fitting in’, looking cool, and following any ‘come–lately’ model. The church was born out of who we were. We didn’t fit in and didn’t think we had to care whether or not we did. We wanted real even if it was brutal or painful. New heights has largely grown out of pain? and we grew out of powerpoint a while ago.

Coolest gadget you have ever owned.

Without a doubt it was the breast pump your wife Wendy gave me. Oh, the mammories…

If you could experience on moment in church history, what would it be?

Would have loved to ride with Constantine. I think he did more for Christianity than any person since Christ. Two other church heroes of mine are Mungo and William Lamberton, the great friend of Robert the Bruce. Would have loved to talk with a few of the reformers and told them to ‘get over themselves.’

Who have been some of the most influential thinkers along your spiritual journey?

Nietzsche and whitehead have had a big influence on my thinking. Peter Griffin from “Family Guy‘ too. I’m not sure he’s considered a ‘thinker’ but it is hard to overestimate the influence that Tony Campolo had on my early leadership development. He changed my view of the world and challenged me to be something other than what I was. He gave me freedom and a ton of cool illustrations. Of course Jordon Cooper has had a big influence on me too. I don’t know anyone that looks as good in spandex as Jordon.

When you take a look at the church growth movement… what is the biggest thing that historians and theologians are going to look back at and say that they got wrong?

It’s hard for me to confine my comments to this question to a single answer. The cg movement did a lot right, and tons wrong. Undoubtedly the thing that has probably affected my friends and I the most, besides the bad hair styles of the movement, has been the insidious drive for success and numbers. Everything became boiled down to a measure of success that seems blatantly skewed. I have spend much too long in the cg movement, have walked and talked with some of its greatest proponents and seen firsthand the bondage that movement brought to young pastors and churches that didn’t measure up to a very narrow definition of success.

When you look at the movement of postmodern churches being birthed…what is the biggest thing that historians and theologian are going to look back at and say that they got wrong?

Personally, and I’m not as well versed in this area as some others are, I think that they will wonder why we ever thought we knew what we were doing. The very nature of this time in history is its transience; yet we have tried to convince people it is an end in itself.

The other thing I think they’ll say about us is that we tried to convince people that they were in Oz using a feeble magician to lead the way. We were convinced we were so ‘up to speed’ and knew the answers but when they pull back the curtain in the years to come they may think that we didn’t have a freakin clue what we were talking about.

Who would make the better pastor, Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin?

I love you. Finally a theological question I can understand.

Homer is an idealist at heart (“I’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me Superman”.). Peter is a pragmatist (“I saw you in that coffee shop, breaking the fifth commandment. Congress passes these things for a reason, Lois.”). Of course The Simpsons is a very spiritual show and all Family Guy has to offer is that it’s the best comedy ever made.

Simpsons is linear, Family Guy is chaos (Peter: We love the Bible in this house. Francis Griffin: Really. What’s your favorite book of the Bible? Peter: Uhhhhh… the book where Jesus swallows the puzzle piece and the man in the yellow hat has to take him to the hospital.).

Homer would care more but Peter isn’t as dumb as a post, though he fakes it well. Of the two I would definitely choose Bender from Futurama.

Did you ever get that Homer Simpson Rubik’s cube puzzle solved?

Shut up? it has nine different corners! Shut up.

Best part about living in the Fraser Valley?

I was going to say “micro-brewery beer” but that doesn’t sound very spiritual. Then I was going to say, “not having to live in Saskatchewan anymore” but that might be construed as offensive.

I like the action out here. There are people here that are innovative, friends who “get it”, places that expand my mind and create vision. Or maybe it’s just the beer.

Most embarrasing thing to ever happen to you in a church service?

The list seems endless. Let’s see, I broke a 6 year olds collar bone at a ‘get to know you’ prelaunch family event. They didn’t come back. I got a marshmallow stuck (flaming) on the end of my nose on a Saturday night and went to church with a one inch high scab on my shnoz (do you think anyone noticed?). I did a sermon high on cocaine when I was first in the pastorate and my delegate found out about it. You know, your basic church life stuff.

How many churches have you planted now?

I have personally helped to plant 4 churches and oversaw the planting of two others. We are hoping to start a new one in the Fraser Valley this fall. I need to do something crazy every couple of years or I die a little inside.

You are a student of military history. How do you think some of the previous war presidents like Roosevelt and prime ministers like Churchill would have handled 9/11.

FDR was a great man who was a slave to public opinion and therefore would have probably done what good he could without being run out of office. Churchill was one of the greatest leaders who ever smoked 12 cigars a day and would have done what he thought was best, the world be damned. Neither would have jumped three months early into a war without assessing the cost. Both were smarter by far than Bush. Both were smarter than most.

Most historical leaders fall into two camps ? idealist and pragmatists. Homer and Peter. Fewer than we care to admit were willing to die for a cause. It’s easier to talk big than be big. It’s easy to act out of arrogance or a position or unquestionable power. It’s another to suffer for it.

Best book you have read in the last year? What made it worthwhile reading?

The bible. Did I get the right answer?

I read a lot of fiction and history mainly. Plus any book that you send me for free, Jordon.

It’s hard to remember which were best unless I happen to have them on hand right now but I will tell you a few books I have read in the last month that were decent.

First, any book by Nigel Trantor on the history of Scotland. Mein Kampf, I Claudius, a novel based on ancient Rome. War of the Rats ? the battle of Stalingrad, How the Scots invented the Modern World, bird by bird was helpful with my writing, and the left hand of darkness, a sci-fi book written by an anthropologist. All of these books were well worth my time but I wish I could say I was reading more philosophy and guys with German names, but I’m a church planter, and Family Guy was on.