October 28, 2008
Ur 2.0: Introducing Url & The Urthlings
A slate of new voices for the journey ahead.
You may have noticed that the blog has a slightly new look. The revised banner is a simple way for us to celebrate Out of Ur's third anniversary. In October 2005, Leadership embarked on a digital journey of conversation. Since then this blog has grown to become a meeting place for church leaders and a think tank for cultural missionaries.
But that was just the beginning.
The second reason for the new look is to symbolize changes that we're making to Out of Ur as it moves into its fourth year. We'll be unveiling those changes in style, format, and content in the days ahead, so stay tuned. For today we are happy to introduce a new slate of regular voices to the site. We hope you benefit from the wisdom of these Urthlings in the days ahead.
Url Scaramanga is the facilitator of Out or Ur and an adjunct professor of interdisciplinary pseudonymology at the College of Creative Writing in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. He is the son of circus performers but left to pursue ministry. Url nearly earned a seminary degree but was "encouraged to seek another calling" after an unfortunate incident in hermeneutics class involving a pigeon. He retains a keen interest in issues of theology, culture, carnivals, and ministry, and believes blogging is the best use of his gifts for the church.
Dave Gibbons is the pastor of NewSong Church in Irvine, California. NewSong is a multi-ethnic church with locations in Irvine, Los Angeles, Northern Orange County, and Bangkok, Thailand. Gibbons is helping NewSong shift from a megachurch model to a church of smaller congregations called "verges." He first met Url one night in Bangkok.
Collin Hansen is an editor at large for Christianity Today. He is currently a seminary student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School while continuing to report for CT, Out of Ur, and author books. Hanson has also been seen on Fox News discussing issues of faith, politics, and culture. Collin first met Url during a toga party at a Reformed theology conference.
Bob Hyatt is lead pastor of the Evergreen Community - a church that meets at two pubs in Portland, Oregon. Apart from planting churches, helping other church planters, and blogging proficiently, Bob also edits the online e-zine, Next-Wave.org. Bob first met Url in Haiti where Bob was facilitating a water-purification project, and where Url was catching chickens.
Skye Jethani is managing editor of Leadership. He also serves at Blanchard Alliance Church in Wheaton as a teaching pastor, a role he has occupied since 2002 after graduating from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He holds degrees in history and comparative religion, and has spoken and written widely about Christianity and consumerism. Skye first met Url at an ashram near Varanasi, India, where Url served as a short-term missionary/masseuse.
Scot McKnight is the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University in Chicago. Dr. McKnight has written many books and is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. He speaks widely and has been featured on television and radio stations across the country. Scot first encountered Url in 1986 while working on his Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham where Url served as sheriff.
Brandon O'Brien is assistant editor of Leadership. He also contributes to BuildingChurchLeaders.com, and has worked on the PreachingToday.com editorial team. His writing has also been featured in USAToday. Brandon has served in pastoral ministry in Arkansas, and carries degrees in biblical studies, Christian history, and literature. He first met Url at The Slug and Lettuce, a pub in Edinburgh, Scotland, although both deny the veracity of the official police report.
Marshall Shelley is editor of Leadership and an editorial vice-president of Christianity Today International. Marshall joined Leadership Journal in 1982 after developing journalistic skills at Cook Publishing Co. and The Denver Post, and after serving as a pastor in his hometown of Denver, Colorado. Marshall met Url while they both served as understudies to Patrick Swayze in a short-lived musical stage production of the film Ghost.
David Swanson is Community Life Pastor at New Community Covenant Church in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. Prior to his gig in the big city, David served on staff at a church in an affluent Chicago suburb. He is the son of missionaries and spent his formative years in Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Ecuador. David first met Url in Peru, where Url worked as a Sherpa leading tours of Machu Picchu.