Saturday, December 27, 2008

Introduction to the church as "Culture Pub"


Is anyone out there familiar with VOX? Someone recently mentioned to me that they are a religious organization, a piece of information I was rather surprised by as my few visits to their former space on X and 19th didn't necessarily speak to me of anything religious per se. After receiving this tidbit of information I decided to do a little looking into the VOX website and myspace pages for more info about their project.

A careful reading of both their website and their Myspace pages didn't reveal anything of a specific religious nature in regards to VOX although there were a few friend comments on VOX's myspace that were of a religious nature. On both sites they talk at length about wanting to foster a creative community in Sac and a desire to nurture creative talent in all of its forms. Seems cool.

Here's the mission statement from the above mentioned sites:
"VOX Sacramento is a California nonprofit, public benefit corporation, run solely by a volunteer Board of Directors and Officers.

VOX exists to nurture the creative process in anyone, by promoting artistic experimentation, providing the opportunity to collaborate, serving the community, and working in a supportive environment.

Currently, we're a once a month art and music venue manifesting its presences during the Sacramento Art Walk on Second Saturday. Our passion is for the city and for people, and seeing people live their passion to make a difference.

Soon to become a resident artist community focused on providing artists with the opportunity to create new work and encourage risk-taking and innovation in the arts and ideas essential to our human progress...

Essentially, a research-and-development lab for the arts!"

Hmmm, zero mention of god, Celtic evangelism, or church as far as I can see.

After reviewing these materials I then selected a few of the board members names and googled them. Dropping the name Eric Sweiven into google came back with some interesting results. I found the site for VOXtropolis a sort of global VOX network whose intention is to found "culture pubs" all over the world.

Sweiven discusses these pubs in a blog post made last year on the VOXtropolis site in reference to the Sacramento pub saying:

"My name is Eric Sweiven, I’m a church-planter. Over the last 16 months myself and a team of missional leaders have hosted art and music shows in Sacramento, called VOX Parties. These have been hosted at two places. First as a traveling show where we loaded and unloaded a 23’ truck full of furniture, decorations, coffee bar and even walls (the venue would not let us hang art on the walls, so we created our own). Then, more recently (since Feb ’07), at a semi-permanent location that will soon be leveled for new development."

A church? Hmmm, it doesn't mention that on the VOX site. In fact until recently I don't think I ever heard mention of religion in regards to the VOX project.

Here's another Eric quote taken from a different post made in July of this past year that I find interesting:

"Interestingly enough, our “target audience” doesn’t know me as a pastor, but as a venue/gallery director, or creative manager, or as a collaborator. With each event we promote and put together, I come in direct contact with people I’d never have the opportunity to meet otherwise."

Don't get me wrong... I'm cool with religion. Though I'm not personally religious, I respect wholeheartedly the religious beliefs of others... to each his own. What I don't get is why the religious aspect of these "pubs" are such a seeming secret. Why zero mention of church or religion on VOX's various sites? Why doesn't Eric's target audience know him as a preacher?

As a local writer I find it a little frustrating that this information is so important to the group and not front and center to the audience. Having written about local arts and culture for the past two years I would not have immediately known that I was sending people to a disguised church. Perhaps it's just me but these motives don't seem particularly honest.

55 comments:

J Lehr said...

Yeah I noticed the whole no booze thing at their shows and thought that a bit odd.. but the quotes in your post are even stranger. What is this, some secret religious order? Are they going to jump up in the middle of one of their shows and pitch the wonders of the new Jesus-o-matic 3000? It just seems odd to keep it so secret. Is this guy keeping files on Sac youth?

darin said...

From the links it sounds like the intention is to get close to the youth, to be seen as trustworthy & helpful & a "friend" & to represent what being Xian is supposedly all about. Thereotically no preaching or anything like that, just acknowledgement of the situation if it comes up in a conversation, and keep your distance always. Part of me thinks they should be avoided, full stop. And part of me thinks, hey, use 'em for all they're worth, and walk away the second any mention of religion comes up in any conversation. It's just shady that, instead of Christians doing VOX because they think it's a neat thing to do, and if religion comes up, so be it, they are pretending to do that while the intention is in fact to make new converts. Is sneakiness a sin?

darin said...

Uh, my edit went bad.

the "keep your distance always" part belongs after "walk away the second any mention of religion comes up in any conversation."

geez, my writing is confusing enough without that error.

Liv Moe said...

yeah, i find the secrecy really off putting.

KLJ said...

Its not secret, its sacred.
That's what the Mormons say.

Yeah, sounds like the VOX folks feel like they need a spoonful of sugar to make their medicine go down.

Very strange. Thanks for the research.

Eric Sweiven said...

Came across your post and felt like you had some questions that needed answering. Hope my thoughts add some insight.

First VOX is not a church, but I am a church planter/entrepreneur. VOX has always been about meeting people and serving them (mostly new, emerging artists) but never about adding sugar to our medicine. Only trying to get out of my all too restrictive "Xian" (I like that, hope its OK to borrow darin) skin and trying to be more human and less religious; less "churchy" (I used to be way too much like the church-goin' stereotype). VOX was (is?) a grand experiment, adventure!

While it is true I am a church planter my intent was never to secretly create a bait and switch situation, but only to serve folks with a need that seems to exist in Sacto a venue where artists and musicians can create, share and grow in their talents.

It might be cool to be a secret religions order, but we're not -- most of the folks involved with VOX are not "church-goers."

We don't corner folks, preach (hence the story about how folks know me), or even carry Bibles around ;-)-- and I consider myself to quite irreligious, in fact. I have nothing but disdain (mostly) for the institutional, organized church -esp, where it controls, manipulates or creates guilt in the people connected.

Actually, you were almost correct: I do do this because it is a "neat thing to do", but really I do this because I actually care about the people I get to help and work with and dream with. I really do.

And while I'm not here to sneak up and make converts, is it OK that if someone wants to know what makes me tick I share that with them?

Here's the bottom line for you: No, VOX is not a church. We are a community; or tribe if you will. No, we don't secretly evangelize or pretend to one thing and then switch mid-stream (ick). Yes, I am a follower of Jesus and am working to develop a spiritual community (church) AND working with a non-profit to try and do some good in the world.

One last thing (sorry for the length)...VOX has taken on a life of its own...the people who have contributed over the last two years have changed VOX into something more than I ever thought it might become, and I'm glad for that. Cool thing is, if I walked away, VOX would continue. To me, that is a sure sign that something different, something more is happening there.

Hopefully you'll come by and see. I'm open to more convo if anyone is interested. Thanks for reading this far.

Jill said...

Hey there! I can understand the confusion, because I too was somewhat confused with Vox when I first started showing with them.

To throw this out here first, I'm on the board of directors of Vox, I'm one of the officers, I'm a contributing artist, and I'm not a Christian.

What I came to know after showing with Vox a few times, and then going to their weekly organizational meetings, is that the original folks involved with Vox Sacramento were really just sincerely good people with a real focus on helping others. I thought they were too good to be true, and I am a cynic, but after knowing them for 2 years, there's nothing secretive about who they are or what their goals are.

And now that I'm part of Vox Sacramento (we're a non-profit corporation filed as Voxtropolis Sacramento with the Secretary of State), I can assure anyone who asks, that no, we're all very upfront about what it is we're after - getting art and music shown, and trying to help people acheive whatever it is they're after.

As for the post about us not allowing alcohol - man, that's nothing but us covering our butts. We make no money and can't afford lawsuits, or licensing to have alcohol, or anything else remotely similar.

Hopefully that clarifies things a little.

Jill

Jill said...

oops, sorry, one more comment I promise.

re this:

"As a local writer I find it a little frustrating that this information is so important to the group and not front and center to the audience. Having written about local arts and culture for the past two years I would not have immediately known that I was sending people to a disguised church. Perhaps it's just me but these motives don't seem particularly honest."

Hopefully Eric's post clarified things, but in case it didn't, we, Vox Sacramento, are not, in any way, shape or form, a religious entity. Or church. Or secret coven. We are a group of individuals who work very, very hard at helping the community. There is nothing else to it. No sinister motives or ideas to throw at people.

If you would like to talk about this ever, I would love to.

You can email me at my gmail account if you'd like, or at jill@voxsac.com.

casey said...

a lot of people have already formulated their opinions on religion; and more specifically christians. i think what vox is doing is more of an effort to dispel these criticisms, and at the same time enrich culture and community.

we have tendencies to lump people together into stereotypes (whether we like it or not). tell me, what do you think of when someone mentions the word christian? to me, not being up front about the faith, is more of an act of respect. honestly, if you started bantering religion (or politics for that matter) to someone you barely know, chances are you'll end up in an argument. if you know this person and have been around them awhile, that allows for a more civil conversation. and in the end, you both can hold your views and opinions without stepping on each others toes.

it's really about sharing. vox provides artists and musicians opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise. the art and music scene is tough in sacramento. no gallery or venue really wants you there unless you are "somebody." that's a really big hurdle to overcome. granted, it's not impossible, but vox has ended up being that nudge/stepping stone for some.

sorry for the length. thanks for reading.

jcc6655 said...

I mean no dis respect by this but I honestly Fail to see what you are trying to accomplish with this posting. A passing comment from a friend does not equate fact

I've shown with VOX in the past & have worked with them on a few other shows & I can tell you that it is NOT a religious organization in any way. I have NEVER once seen or heard of any religious recruiting practices.

The fact that through your own searches you weren't able to find any information on VOX's pages to confirm that it is a religious organization would indicate that it is NOT.

As far as Eric's affiliation with the church, from the comment you posted he has done nothing but identify HIMSELF as a church plantER not someone who is church plantING, no where does he mention that he has started a new church.

I am not officially affiliated with VOX in any way but after having worked with them off & on for over a year I can tell you that these are some of the BEST people you can ever meet in life. They want nothing but the best for their community & the planet. I've seen nothing but good come from VOX & it saddens me to see such baseless negativity written about it.

Anonymous said...

It seems strange to me that if one of the founders of a non-profit happens to be of certain spiritual leanings, whether it be christian, jewish, muslim, buddhist, that it should have to be displayed, and if it is not, that they are being "secretive". I would like to think that we have moved beyond this. If it is not part of their mission or their actions, who cares?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to think, after reading these pages:

M Operative: Security Level (IMN) Global

Q: What is the IMN’s Global Network?
A: The IMN Global is an alternative to the traditional church planting network.

Expressions of the Network have taken (and can take) an endless variety of forms:

* Culture Pubs
* Wine Tasting Clubs
* Voxtropolis Performing Art Venues
* Vox Cafes
* Dojos
* Art Houses or Studios
* Life Coaching
* Creativity Consulting
* Book clubs
* Cigars and Conversation gatherings
* EarthTribe eco-experiences
* Vox Parties
* Experiental Art displays
* Tea Rooms or Coffee Houses
* Businesses
* Your idea

Q: What does the IMN’s Network do?
A: The IMN focuses on creating community among and dialogue with “not yet Christ followers” in an environment that is conducive to spiritual conversation. Rather than limiting “ministry” to what happens in church, the IMN Global Network releases ministry to whatever and where ever moves you. The list of ministries in which you could serve are limited only by the endless passions that God places in the human heart.

Q: Who is IMN Global for?

A: The Global Network is for anyone wanting to participate in or support advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ to a world in need of it. But, more specifically, it is for people who

* know that the era of the clergy is over and desire to see more initiative taken by visionary leaders regardless of their occupation.
* are missionally minded, cutting edge pastors, church planters or church leaders
* recognize that the cyber dimension of 21st century life must be fully integrated into our mission
* insist that the focus be on mobilizing unreached people for the gospel
* want to participate with other innovative practitioners in a cutting edge strategy either through personal participation or financial support

What is the Investment?

$500.00 annual subscription

Here are some more details…
Purpose:

*
To take those who believe the gospel out of the church and into the community
* To form a networked “underground” movement against the status quo through establishing “local undergrounds” that are part of the network.

Process: to develop and deploy apostolic missional teams to create “spaces” and “processes” where the “not yet Christ following” person can gather and be heard, relationships can be cultivated, and the life of Christ can be experienced.

(there is far too much text to copy this all in, but the rest is on the web page).


-----
Voxtroplis International links to Vox Sacramento:

EMERGING VOICES - The Vox Culture Pub Issue

-----

A plan for Sacramento from Eric?

Planting a Church vs Launching a Culture Pub - Part 2

Eric Sweiven
IMN Senior Field Operative
Voxtropolis Sacramento

PLANTING A CHURCH VS LAUNCHING A CULTURE PUB - PART 2

Recently, a friend of mine questioned my call and progress toward planting a church in Sacramento. He encouraged me to consider, “You may want to go to God and ask if this is what you’re supposed to be doing…”

As a church planter I have spent very little time developing the First Place, the “church.” Which is not typical. I’m sure this was what concerned my friend. Without opening a huge can of worms (perhaps in future post) I think his idea of “church” was at best misplaced and at worst simply wrong. There is huge pressure, both internally and externally, on church planters to succeed. Generally, that success is measured in conversions, attendance and giving. The development of the First Place is really the measure.

Considering the above, my well-meaning friend was correct. But his assumption was that I was failing, not by choice, but through lack of planning, poor implementation or wrong direction. Actually, with the VOX team, I had spent all of my time developing and creating the environment for our Second Place, VOX, where culture and Christ could intersect (and even collide) and where we became missionaries in every sense of the word. And because VOX is meant to be a place where we have influence IN the culture and appeal to, even attract, those outside the church, most Christians have no interest in being there. My friend had come to a couple of events to support and “check it out.” But he didn’t really understand our strategy.

(more at the web site link above)

Jill said...

Anonymous - too bad you're unwilling to use your name on these posts, but it is a lot easier to hide behind the safety anonymity on the internet provides.

I don't know how else to respond other than to say that while Eric is a member of Vox Sacramento and he is entitled to his beliefs, as an active board member, I can only reiterate that it is not the purpose of Vox Sacramento to convert anybody to Christianity, either overtly or covertly.

One member's beliefs do not a whole organization make.

I can only continue to work hard at helping other artists break into the local art scene, which is exactly what Vox did for me.

I can only continue to spend hours of my free time trying to raise money for charitable causes, promote other artists and musicians, and teach people how to organize and throw music and art shows.

If after two years of knowing Eric, and the other board members of Vox, I have not swayed from my decidedly non-Christian path, I can safely say that any magic conversion process being worked must be very subtle indeed.

Who knows, maybe year 3 will be the big year for me.

Jill (stepping away from the Kool-Aid)

Simply Aaron said...

I think what anonymous #1 and #2 both had some very good points.

I personally work with people from a wide range of spiritual (and non-spiritual) backgrounds towards a cause that I believe is greater than us all, its a central ideal in my life. I think that Vox oversteps this cooperative relationship though.

What Anonymous #2 posted from Vox and company's own website negates both Jill's, Eric's and Anonymous #1's defense of Vox. Eric is the driving force behind Sac Vox, he does have a mission, and there actually is a "secret coven" within (ie; M Operatives).

Vox has a pointedly Christian and evangelical mission that guides it. "VOX is meant to be a place where we have influence IN the culture" says this quite clearly. Vox is being dishonest through omission of this fact.

As Jill said, I too find the secrecy really off putting. I don't think that its right that you should feel very offended that people have called for disclosure on something that is so obviously true.

If Eric wants to be a bit less "churchy" I would say just be honest, otherwise it just seems cultish.

Simply Aaron said...

Oops, I misquoted Liv as Jill in that second to last line. Sorry bout that.

ErockB said...

Wow..
For The record i have been working/renting a studio from the Vox people for a couple of months and not once has religion came up or been an issue at all.
In my experience with them the only agenda they have is enriching the arts/music scene in Sacramento and nothing more.

Rodrigo Calhoun said...

All right, gossip! I love gossip! Here's some gossip: I heard about this irresponsible blogger who brought an entire organization into question without doing any reasonable investigation.

Vox is a place where people can take their first babysteps into making and showing art. That is a great thing. If any of you readers have struggled with this, you know how important, valuable, and rare that kind of support is.

If you (blogger) or you (knuckleheads commenting) would bother to talk to any of the artists who have shown with Vox, you'd find nothing more heinous than "that's the first place I showed" or "nice people, comfortable chairs."

But nooooooo. Let's destroy it. Let's get out our torches and pitchforks because one of the board members has views that are, well, weird to us.

Because that's what we do now, isn't it? I hate to tell you this, but every day you come into contact with people whose views are very weird to you. At least I hope you do.

I don't care that somebody who works with Vox is a crazy Christian anymore than I care that the guy who sold me a popsicle is a Jew or the lady at the dry cleaner believes in aliens.

Grow up.

Ol' Man Foster said...

Rodrigo,

NOWHERE in the original post or comments does anyone suggest that VOX should be destroyed. That bit of hyperbole is something that you have added to the mix.

Read the post again- this has nothing to do with destroying VOX... it has everything to do with shedding a little light on their ultimate goals.

Whatever VOX currently is, it is clear (from his own blog posts) that Sweiven has the goal of using VOX as a christian conversion path. It is very possible that other members of VOX do NOT feel this same way.

However, it is interesting that VOX Sacramento uses the same name and other terminology of the Voxtropolis organization- a self-avowed church planting group, and that Sweiven is affiliated with that group.

I don't care AT ALL that VOX is a christian-affiliated organization. There is a long history of religious-affiliated organizations doing great things (think Salvation Army, Red Cross/Crescent) so that's really a non-issue to me.

What is a concern to me is the Voxtropolis idea (that seems to be a motivating factor with Sweiven at least) of creating cultural gathering places as 'fronts' for to gather potential converts.

This 'front' concept is, at its core, dishonest. It is no better when used to convert people to Christianity than it was when used to convert people to communism back in the '30s.

People in the arts community have been discussing these concerns about VOX for months. Now that this discussion is out in the open, speculation can end, the truth can come out, and, as in that old saying, "The Truth Shall Set You Free."

Rodrigo Calhoun said...

The problem, you conspiracy-sniffing child, is that this is not the truth.

The truth is this: Vox as a gallery/artist space has nothing to do with religion. If you would read the comments of individuals who have actually interacted with them (better yet, if you would actually talk to somebody), you would find this to be true. Yet you won't hear this because you've convinced yourself otherwise.

The truth is this: There are Christians in this world that see everything as an opportunity for missionary work. Everything. Everything. For those of us who are not interested it's more than a bit off-putting, but it's a part of their faith and more power to them. We encounter these people everywhere everyday, and they do us no harm. Should they wear some kind of special patch so that their "agenda" isn't secret?

The truth is this: You have falsely correlated a person named Eric Sweiven with a corporate entity called Vox. In so doing, you have created a mess that doesn't need to exist. It amounts to nothing more than sniping.

Enjoy your smug, self-righteous, paranoid fantasies, but if you are going to publish something that potentially causes harm have the decency to do some homework. If you don't know how to research a story beyond Googling and cocktail party banter, enroll in a journalism class.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Liv Moe said...

Rodrigo, if you can't refrain from name calling I will start deleting your posts. Feel free to voice your opinion but enough with the pettiness.

Unfortunately, that's about as much as I can say for the moment because I'm buried at work, however, my hats off to the Ol' Man for hitting most of the points I would have brought up anyway.

Ol' Man Foster said...

the Truth is this: Sweiven's blog STATES that he is a Church Planter. Voxtropolis International's manifesto lays out explicit plans to create 'culture pubs' as a way of creating converts.

And Rodrigo, your statement:

"You have falsely correlated a person named Eric Sweiven with a corporate entity called Vox."

is flatly untrue; there is no false correlation.

Eric Sweiven is directly involved with VOX Sacramento: in fact, he's on their Board of Directors. He is also affiliated with the international Voxtropolis. Both of these points are easily confirmed matters of record. I'm not sure why you are trying to dispute something that is so easily fact-checked.

The truth is that there IS a Christian culture pub component to VOX, whether all of those involved support it or no. many in the arts community have been aware of the connection for some time.... I first noticed a link when when I googled 'vox sacramento' to get details about an upcoming show and ended up with a bunch of results linking the local VOX with the Voxtropolis Christian organization.

And for Jill: so you're saying that the name of your organization, 'voxtropolis,' is only coincidentally the same name as the International Church Planting organization that Sweiven is a part of?

Jill said...

Hi Ol' Man Foster.

No, it's no coincidence that the legal name of our non-profit corporation is Voxtropolis Sacramento (to avoid confusion, I will refer to our local non-profit corporation as "VOX", and any mention of other Vox culture pubs elsewhere as "Vox Culture Pubs").

When I met the members of Vox, and started attending the organizational meetings of the people who put on all the art and music shows, they were already operating under the name Vox Sacramento. I didn't know anything about the connection to the other Vox Culture Pubs that were out there, I simply knew that the group with whom I was showing were named Vox Sacramento and that they were known in the community for throwing pretty good art and music shows. Simple.

When I talked to them about incorporating our specific group into a non-profit (I am a paralegal for a living and drafting corporate documents is something I do on a daily basis), we decided to continue using the name Vox Sacramento because it was already a known in the community (name recognition is huge, right?).

When I filled out and filed all the paperwork, I made it clear to everyone involved that legally, our entity could NOT have anything to do with religion. And all parties involved completely understood and respected that.

So, while yes, originally Vox Sacramento may have started out as part of this larger Vox network, once we became a legal corporate entity, any religious aspect of what Vox was changed. In all the weekly board meetings I've sat in on, never once, not ONCE was the subject of spreading religion, or converting others, or anything remotely similar ever broached.

The people involved in Vox all still hold whatever religious beliefs they may have had prior to us forming the corporation. That hasn't changed (as I stated in earlier comments, I'm not a Christian). But our goal as a corporate entity is exactly what it says in our bylaws, in our articles of incorporation, in all of the corporate documents we've ever filed or drafted or prepared.

The funny thing is I've heard some of the rumors about us before this, and when I asked why, the answer has always been "because you guys are too nice."

hahaha.

man, that's a sad comment on society.

anyway, yeah. We have a large group of artists and musicians who have shown with us, ranging from Kepi, Kevin Seconds, Adrian Borgeois, Ricky Berger, The Scary Art Collective, Mark and Nicole Fox, Char Hall, Aaron Winters, Jared Konopitski, Ben Walker, and so many others, and I have heard nothing but positive feedback about what it has been like to show and work with us.

We hope to continue to help out fellow artists and musicians as best we can, not to mention all the other entities who have benefited from our hard work in the past (WEAVE, Mustard Seed School, Komen's Race for the Cure, Build A Village).

Eric, Heath, Cindy and I throw so much of ourselves into Vox, donating all our time, and so much of our own money that it's crazy ridiculous.

Nobody's asked, but why do I personally do this? Why am I involved in Vox? The other 3 board members are some of the most legitimately caring, sincere, wonderful people I have ever met, and they have opened my eyes as to how important community is (and to avoid any confusion, I mean community in purely a nonreligious sense). I have never given so much of myself as I have on meeting these folks.

Any other questions I'd love to answer them. I can be e-mailed directly at jill.stafford@gmail.com

Jill

Anonymous said...

It still looks as though all of the research here is based upon the words of ONE of VOX's original founders. I get that.

But now, he, himself, has stated here that the organization has "taken on a life of its own" separate from its original intentions.

The artists involved with Vox are stating here that there has NOT been any "religious" activity. A board member (who is not a Christian) has testified to this. Why would she dedicate so much time, effort, and money, if it was?

Yet, many continue to basically call them all LIARS. Where is the evidence that what they are saying is a LIE?

If the organization NO LONGER has religious affiliations, why would they advertise that they do?

Where are the masses of people witnessing to the CLAIMED proselytizing? If the accusations are true, wouldn't there be hoards of people to testify to this rather than just a few people (perhaps?) with an ax to grind?

Again, ARE THERE ANY ACTIONS OF THE ORGANIZATION THAT DEMONSTRATE THIS NOT TO BE TRUE?

I do not so much have a problem with the original post, because there were questions that needed answering. But now I feel that they are being answered. Time to move on.

As for the argument that gossip cannot destroy good organizations, this is patently false. If a false rumor gets out that Vox is some secretive Christian organization looking to convert heathen artists, trust me, Sacramento will lose another great organization that is TRULY supporting the arts with their time, energy, and money.

Not gossip? Take a look at some of the posts and the conclusions that are already being reached... keeping files on children? Come on! This blog is disputing the pro-Vox comments, but allows such a comment to stand without a word?

I have to believe that this is NOT the kind of thing that Liv or the Midtown Monthly supports. I think this arguably started as good reporting and is becoming something much darker.

Unless there is evidence that their ACTIONS are any different from what Eric and Jill have stated here, the responsible thing is to move on or AT LEAST clarify the board's stated reasons for not calling themselves a Christian organization. Talk to the founders, talk to the artists.

This town needs more organizations like Vox. Not less. Thanks for reading this WAY TOO LONG comment.

I do love this blog and Midtown Monthly. Restore my faith? (yeah, I meant that tongue in cheek...)

Liv Moe said...

Okay, so I originally had a longer post that I have since deleted because I don't want to write anything that could later get misconstrued.

Essentially, in reviewing a series of blogs, websites, and other materials which were - some of them have now been taken down - easily accessed on the web I noticed that VOX presented an interesting public identity. I DID NOT suggest that VOX should cease to be, and I plainly stated that even if there was a religious affiliation that would be fine and essentially I was wondering what the deal was. Again, all based on information easily obtained via the interwebs.

Whatever VOX is or is not those involved may want to seriously consider how confusing this information is to an outsider. I mean really, your logo is even the same as that of the global religious network. Furthermore if you go to the myvox.org/group/sacramento website the Sacramento location is still listed as part of the global network as of Dec 2008.

Can you understand why I would be confused? I understand the importance of name recognition, however, if you had decided to separate yourselves for the sake of a non-profit you should have consider changing your name or the logo or something to dispel public confusion. In the future I would expect these questions will continue to get raised by folks besides myself.

Beyond all of this as someone who has committed her life to art and is very very stoked that Sacramento is growing into a strong artist's community the more projects like VOX the better. When I was in Miami last month there were scads of artist's opportunities and several projects similar to VOX which provide places to show along with subsidized studio space. Only good can come of these things, religious, non-religious, whatever.

Anonymous said...

Liv,

I find it particularly interesting that while bringing into question the so-called hidden agenda of Vox, that you failed to be honest about your own background. After doing some research on you, I found some very interesting things. The posting of your investigative blog curiously coincides with the opening of the new Verge Gallery, of which you are affiliated! Sounds to me like someone can't take a little healthy competition! So tell us, Liv - what were your motives for your posting?

And quite frankly, who cares if Eric is religious? Do I need to disclose to everyone that I meet that I am a Jewish, vegetarian, lesbian? Perhaps I'll have that printed on a t-shirt just so that I am upfront with everyone I meet.

And by the way, the comments from Old Man Foster aren't fooling anyone - we all know he is your husband. Sounds like the lack of full-disclosure runs in the family.

Liv Moe said...

Unfortunately, I can't do any investigative sleuthing on you because you've decided to make one of those ultra courageous anonymous posts. Good for you!

Yup, Ol' Man Foster is indeed my Old Man. No secret there. Pick up a copy of the Midtown Monthly and you see that pretty plainly, or go to the Monthly website, or better yet scroll down my blog and find one of my recent posts about him. Sorry to shoot your detective work in the foot.

As for the timing of my VOX post:
A. The Verge has been open since September. True it was a soft opening and this recent event was a grand opening but regardless we've been open for a while.
B. My affiliation with Verge is also no secret. Again go ahead and scroll down to my post about the grand opening. Whatever.
C. I don't see the Verge and VOX as competitors. We're serving different audiences and doing different things. Beyond that I would never do something to sabotage someone else's creative project. The more successful art projects in this town the better. If you actually paid any attention to what I'm doing you would know that.

Finally, I don't give a flying f*&! that VOX or Eric has any religious affiliations. What I didn't like were the discrepancies that turned up between the VOX's website and that of the global network. If VOX had indeed been a conversion mechanism I think that's lame and dishonest whether it's religion, communism, time share schemes, whatever.

FYI, I have a hit tracker on this site and I know when someone opens these posts via a vox login admin so if you want to accuse me of ulterior motives in my attacks I can do the same to any of you. I suppose the difference is that I'm not hiding the way some of you are.

Liv Moe said...

gah! i just reviewed my blog again and noticed that the headline post as of anonymous' little missive was about working 7 days a week to get the verge open. so tell me did this so called "research" and "investigating" start there? i sure am keeping a lot of secrets.

lame

Anonymous said...

This article was originally published at http://alexmcmanus.org/index.php/join-the-underground/ The link has since been removed.

- - -
IMN Global Network
Eric Sweiven
IMN Senior Field Operative
Vox Sacramento

August 2, 2008

Vox Culture Pubs in Sacramento - The Mission

When Alex initially explained to me the idea that was then Voxtropolis, I was immediately attracted to two parts of the vision. First, as an art/community center, Voxtropolis represented a way to earn a living without draining a church community as it’s “pastor.” Second, I was interested in the mission he expressed (God’s) and how a portal like Voxtropolis as a cultural pub can become a connection point for people who are desperately searching for God.

Voxtropolis represented a way where I (as a “church planter”) could become part of the community, NOT as a “pastor,” but as an Artistic Director or Community Activist or Director of Development. VOX was a way to step into the context of everyday life and begin to share life with others. VOX provided a venue to step into real-life situations and extend myself into the messy reality of human-ness. A quick overview of Bible personalities reveals stories about people in the workplace (not the religious establishment) making a difference and contribution to the world.

I’ve found that the more I distance myself from being a “pastor” the more relevant and genuine I become to others. Let’s face it, pastors are probably the least relevant people out there!

Before hearing about Voxtropolis, I knew God wanted me to go and plant a church. I knew He was calling me out. But I really didn’t know what that meant. See I thought I understood the New Testament. I thought I understood what it meant to “go and plant a church.”

How does it work for us? The previous conversations have generated great questions, important questions about how we “evangelize.” I’m not sure that evangelize is the right word.

What if we rephrase the questions: As Christ followers, how are we being relevant to the lives of those searching for God? How does our community bring meaning and love to the city? How do we engage people outside our own comfort zones, people who may not agree with us, look like us or even think like us? How do we serve others in our cities? How are we making meaningful contributions to the world? These are the questions we ask ourselves.

The answers come in many ways, mostly we just get new questions. We’ve found that to be relevant we need to understand the culture. This is a hands-on process for us. We talk to people and listen to them. We admit we don’t have all the answers or a corner on creative ideas. We’re ready to get a little messy. We make mistakes, we take risks and through this process we make friends and encourage new, emerging artists to take the first steps toward a potential career in art.

- - -
From the same website (www.alexmcmanus.org)

The IMN is a global network of Kingdom Operatives engaged in a 21st Century effort to topple the status quo wherever it opposes true humanity and hinders the life-transforming way of Jesus Christ.

Voxtropolis Culture Pub Network -- an alternative to a traditional church planting network. These IMN Field Agents are operating at the highest levels of missionality. Their mission is to create 3rd spaces that work to move unchurched peoples towards and with Christ. Recommended for those who (1) want to generate movement or (2) want to support the highest possible equipping of apostolic teams in the midst of cultural engagement.
(emphasis added.)

Jill said...

I was wondering if everyone knew about our new space in West Sacramento.

We also share it with Sacramento Movies on a Big Screen.

Everyone should check them out. They show movies and host events on Friday evenings.

beckler said...

Wow, what a wacky thread. Phrases I never want to hear again: "church planter", "culture pub". however, here is a word I would like to see more of: dojo. Dojos for Christ!

Anonymous said...

Ah...what a (hopefully) fitting end to this thread.

I'm still reeling from the fact that Liv Moe has a different last name from her husband.

I'm going to have to challenge her in my kitchen dojo this Saturday Nite!

-skpr

Liv Moe said...

Yeah, nuts to that cleave unto thy husband BS. I was all like Foster, Shmoster!

But seriously, there shall be no challenge. I'm looking forward to some tasty eats this weekend.

Dojos for Christ!

MOBS said...

I heard we got mentioned here, so thanks to Jill for the plug.

However, to make a couple of things clear in case anyone gets confused: we're just Movies on a Big Screen (no "Sacramento" - we're not part of a franchise or anything :) And there's a reason that Central City Guy originally dubbed us as MOBS - not SMOBS). Additionally, we aren't affiliated with Vox.

Finally, we also really just show movies that wouldn't otherwise be shown in Sacto on Fridays. As far as arranging for other events at 4th & F on behalf of the owners of the building, it seems like we're less able to do that now than it was before, so we have backed off from that.

But yeah - thanks again for the MOBS plug!

MOBS said...

Oh - I forgot:

"Yeah, nuts to that cleave unto thy husband"

That's making me laugh. C'mon - cleave! CLEAVE!

Alex McManus said...

Dear Liv,

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about Vox.

I founded both Vox and the IMN--two quite different things.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a Christ following secular humanist with a tendency towards atheism and paranormal experiences.

I think most of the confusion can be attribute to my inability to walk
and chew gum at the same time. Hopefully I can clear things up for you.

Most of the quotes used in the comments on your site are from articles in which we were operating in dual roles. Eric and I are both a a part of the IMN and of Vox. Both Vox and the IMN are rooted in my thinking.

For the first couple of years of forming vox, our conversations and writings about Vox were spent on trying to argue that any passion a human being might have, if used to make the world better, was a legitimate way of serving God.
We reasoned with Christians who could only imagine God at work in the church. The slant in the articles you quoted are mostly addressed towards Christians. That matters in the ways things are shared. We argued that people who were passionate to see others come to Christ could also be passionate about other things. Take me. At the time I was writing music and performing it with my band. You can find and buy my music on iTunes. Search dosul.

I was not writing "worship" music or "christian" music, I was writing regular music that fit better in a cafe or a pub than in a church. Add this to the fact that I wanted to mobilize the immense and untapped creative talents within local communities to do a world of good --and the Vox Culture Pub was born.

Yes, the Culture Pub is not a church or a religious organization, the Culture Pub you know as Voxsac is NOT a church or religious mission, nor is Voxtropolis a church or religious organization, but they are certainly rooted in my Christ following world view.

We also argued that God could use our "passions" in the real world to accomplish his ends. I think that's what you hear in these writings. Your husband mentioned that Vox is a conversion path. Man, I hope so. The conversion we hope for through Vox is that the world would become human and decent again.

In recent days, our arguments are more with people like you who think if a Christian starts a nonprofit, they should wear "christian" on their sleeve. One of your commentators, for example, suggests that Eric is trying to be "less churchy". I would say Eric is trying to more human. You would want us to say that Vox is a "less churchy" church, but it isn't. You would want us to say that Voxsac is a subversive church, but it isn't. Neither of these hit the sweet spot on the Voxtropolis vision. The public and explicit Vox vision is to discover and develop local artists and bring humanity to a community by serving a local and/or global cause. Of course, Jesus is a model. So is Bono. So what?

No doubt, Vox emerges out of a deeply spiritual vision and community (The IMN). Some of the confusion you and your audience may feel probably comes from witnessing (through reading our posts) an act of creation
in process.

I can say as the founder that the trajectory of Voxtropolis, birthed in a very spiritual community, has been to be a nonprofit with the mission of creating global culture in local contexts. Our aim is to discover, develop and deploy local artists and create a community with the aim of making the world better.

At the beginning we bantered about different perspectives about Vox. From the beginning I wanted Vox to focus on mobilizing all artists (regardless of religion or the lack of it) to make the
world better in some way. As we moved forward the mission and practices became sharper in focus. At the end of the conception process (which took 2-3 years) we determined that we didn't want Vox to be a church or a religious organization but a cultural organization. This is not uniform yet, but we are a work in process.

Ok, Liv, to your post. While there is so much that is false in practically every line, I am aware of how long this comment is and cannot comment on a line by lne basis. I find your comments and the comments of a couple of your commentators rather judgmental. They seem to divide along two lines.

First, You favor in your post the Intention/ Motivations conspiracy theories rather than the actual Action/ Experience testimonies.
Second, You confuse personal mission/intention with organization mission/intention.

In regards to the second, Eric will always be excited to meet non Christians and will always be glad if through anything he does someone encounters Christ.
His personal mission is bigger and more comprehensive than the Vox organizational mission.

So what?

Voxsac was born in Eric's heart. As it develops, it develops to capture a bit of Eric's passion to serve Sacramento through the arts. Who Eric is cannot be reduced to the Vox mission. Neither does Eric's bigger personal vision change the more particular Vox mission.

The Vox mission is an easy subset of any person (whether Christian or not) who has a passion for Sacramento, good works, and creating culture. It may be that Eric may also plant (or start) a church. That's fine. They're different organizations.

In regards to the first, this is where the problem is located. I trust his motivations more than I trust yours, Liv. Eric is free to define the intent of his activities. Why should he let you define them?

You say you are a frustrated writer and I hear you. I'm a writer too. I have a book coming out in the fall called Making The World Human Again: the quest to save the future from religion. You can find it on Amazon.

As a writer you should have called Eric for an interview before you publicly undermined Eric's integrity with a conspiracy theory. This is a professional courtesy. It is also a practice in basic human decency. You could use a little, "Do unto others..." like Jesus said, as part of your work as a professional writer. You would have spared a few people some pain. But that may not have been your aim.

In the end, you got a few extra hits on your site. You may feel that Verge may seem edgier if you can make other groups look stodgier. You have questioned a good man's integrity. You cast a small and temporary shadow on a good group of people. You may have damaged some relationships.
Congrats. You have brought attention to the parts of a creative act that were and are messy. You have tried to be an obstacle in the way of an organization that has already helped many and will undoubtedly help many more. You've highlighted our inability to chew gum and walk at the same time. But you have shed no light.

You'll notice that my only offense was in your abuse of Eric. Professional etiquette on your part would have spared him. A person with loose lips that damages anothers image is describe in a old (Jewish?) story as a persons who lets the feathers of pillow loose in the wind. You can't regather them once they're let loose. Bad show, liv. The rest is understandable given how Vox developed. Thanks, Liv. Best to you.

LINKS:

ABOUT VOX
http://voxtropolis.com/about-voxtropolis%C2%AE/

ABOUT CULTURE PUBS
http://voxtropolis.com/culture-pubs-voxtropolis/

The Vox Social Network
http://myvox.org

darin said...

Wow, Alex, talk about judgmental. Ha, that's hilarious. And talk about, "Intention/Motivation conspiracy theories." Most of your comments directed at Liv suffer from the intentional fallacy. I get it, a friend of yours seemed to be attacked for his motivations ('seemed' being a very important part of it), so you attack back, making assumptions about motivations and intentions. Well played. Eye for an eye, anyone? Of course, I've known Liv for years, and trust her motivations 100%. I'm sure that's similar to how you feel about Eric. I trust her more than I trust you, but I believe both of you have the best of intentions. Wait, isn't there some saying about good intentions? It slips my mind at the moment....

Jill said...

I told Liv via e-mail I wouldn't be visiting this site anymore because I was too stressed out by it and by some things going on in my personal life, but of course I am dragging myself back in.

For anyone who distrusts Liv's motives in this - I have never met her, but through the few e-mails we traded I fully believe she did NOT post this in order to promote Verge, or Midtown Monthly or to get more hits on her blog. I think she had some very valid questions about Vox Sacramento based on things she'd heard around town and amongst discussions with friends.

And as I told her via e-mail, I do wish she'd asked one of us on the Board first, but she didn't, and that's the way life goes.

As someone who is directly impacted by this whole discussion, who has spent so many hours and so much money and so much of herself on making Vox Sacramento a place where people who might not have a chance to show at other galleries, or play at other venues, please, let's all stop with the finger pointing and conspiracies, and just move on from here.

I think the common thread that links us all is that we care deeply about our respective communities and that we can help make other people's lives richer and more fulfilling through both creating art, and sharing it, whether it be art, music, theater, film, dance, whatever.

I'm excited that Verge did well. I'm excited that Vox Sacramento's grand re-opening went well.

Vox Sacramento is not a church. It is not a franchise of VOX, or Voxtropolis, the entities and ideas created by Alex McManus. It is a self contained unit, currently made up of 4 board members, and various volunteers, all of different religions, belief systems, and ideas, all trying to make a difference.

Okay?

p.s., Liv, for the record, I think Liv Moe flows better than Liv Foster.

Kelly Mahan Jaramillo said...

Boy, am I confused. I am not confused about the content in this thread, I am confused by the fact that this thread is still going on. Everybody who has commented who has exhibited with or is a member of the board of Vox has made it very cleat that there is no religious conversion going on.

I have to say, I agree with what Alex points out, that Ms. Moe might have thought to interview Eric and perhaps even other board members first, before writing a rather declarative post simply because someone mentioned that Vox was a religious organization. It seems a bit premature to jump right on it and write a post based on google information alone. That type of one-sided research tends to make a person view the writer with less objective credibility and, at least in my case, makes one wonder what the real, underlying agenda is, especially when the target of the post is blindsided like this.

The folks that are religious have a right to be, and have made it abundantly clear that Vox is not a secret religious organization. Perhaps Eric's target audience does not know him as a 'preacher' because concerning Vox, he is not a preacher, he is a board member of a hardworking group of people/artists whose sole mission is to foster up and coming artists and give them a place to have a voice.

What is the problem here?

And finally, Jill, who commented that she was the one who got Vox going as a non-profit, and drew up all of the necessary papers, makes it abundantly clear that legally, Vox could not have anything to do with religion - this is a statement made in a legally binding contract! That alone should have stopped this thread cold, yet some folks here seem hell bent on portraying Vox as a secret religious conversion cult.
Also, as Jill stated, she is decidedly non-Christian - and yet she is still involved with Vox. If someone were putting the religious moves on you at a place where you volunteer, would you continue to support them? I think not.

From what I have read and heard first hand about Vox, ( I have known about them for awhile as a friend of mine had some of her art displayed at one of their shows) has been nothing but positive. I fail to understand the ultimate goal of what appears to be a smear article.

It is a real shame. There are so many real bad news issues out there to tackle, and to sling mud at an organization like Vox is on par with slandering the Humane Society.

And to the Vox organization - so, your new office is a movie theatre? I am trying to picture it - sounds interesting, and very nice of the theatre owners to rent you a space there. Wait, if they are being nice, does that make them part of the religious conversion cult also?

Anyway, Jill just asked that everybody please stop, and I will. If anyone rebuts this comment, I am not going to respond because it is a dead issue. If someone wants to point out any flaws in my comment, you may e-mail me at kelly@kellymahanjaramillo.com.

Liv Moe said...

Ug. This is getting old... really because Alex's post is such a tangle and I am as usual pressed for time I'm just gonna respond to that for the time being. I would like, however, to say thank you to Jill for defending my integrity.


For starters from Alex:

"nor is Voxtropolis a church or religious organization, but they are certainly rooted in my Christ following world view."

- okay so VOX has no religious affiliations or it does? i'm not sure this post is helping you out here.

Again with Alex:

"In recent days, our arguments are more with people like you who think if a Christian starts a nonprofit, they should wear "christian" on their sleeve."

- Not true but if casting these kinds of asperions on me helps your argument more power to ya.

And from Alex:

"One of your commentators, for example, suggests that Eric is trying to be "less churchy"."

It wasn't a random commentor who suggested the Eric was trying to be less "churchy" it was Eric who was suggesting that he wanted to be less "churchy."

From Eric:
"Only trying to get out of my all too restrictive "Xian" (I like that, hope its OK to borrow darin) skin and trying to be more human and less religious; less "churchy" (I used to be way too much like the church-goin' stereotype)."

Alex says:

"You would want us to say that Voxsac is a subversive church, but it isn't."

- I don't care what you say. Based on what I read on the internet I wondered what the heck was up and asked a few questions. I think that's fair. Your wacky response to these questions speaks for itself.

Alex:

"Of course, Jesus is a model. So is Bono. So what?"

- uh, huh

Alex:

"First, You favor in your post the Intention/ Motivations conspiracy theories rather than the actual Action/ Experience testimonies.
Second, You confuse personal mission/intention with organization mission/intention."

- No I was basing my questions on the writings of Eric and those associated with the organization. Essentially, it was lines like this that gave me pause:
"Actually, with the VOX team, I had spent all of my time developing and creating the environment for our Second Place, VOX, where culture and Christ could intersect (and even collide) and where we became missionaries in every sense of the word. And because VOX is meant to be a place where we have influence IN the culture and appeal to, even attract, those outside the church, most Christians have no interest in being there." - Eric Sweiven

Alex:

"The Vox mission is an easy subset of any person (whether Christian or not) who has a passion for Sacramento, good works, and creating culture. It may be that Eric may also plant (or start) a church."

- ? So Eric may also plant or start a church where? I don't think your helping yourself out with this one here either. Although, it's confusing enough that who the heck knows.

Alex:

"In the end, you got a few extra hits on your site. You may feel that Verge may seem edgier if you can make other groups look stodgier."

- These kind of hits I don't need. I especially find this funny given the fact that you used the platform of defending VOX and Eric to promote both your book and your band including telling us where we might purchase both. Pot, kettle, black?

Alex:

"You'll notice that my only offense was in your abuse of Eric. Professional etiquette on your part would have spared him."

-So by asking questions about writings that Eric made public on the internet is me abusing him?


In summation Alex I don't know that your recent post is really helping VOX out. It seems like you are actually suggesting some things that the group themselves are trying to refute.

In general attacking me is all fine and good but it would be nice if you took some ownership of how confusing this information was to the general public. Once you began incorporating VOX into a secular non-profit this summer that may have been a good time to stop making religious posts in reference to the project on line for anyone interested to read. If those posts had been members only or say not made in the first place this discussion would not be happening.

beckler said...

god-you people are all guilty...of boring me to tears! It was not a smear, it was not an attack, it was basically phrased as a question, which I guess you guys at VOX have tried to answer but cannot seem to be clear about. I have never heard of vox gallery before this, and all this hoo-ha would not prevent me from going to see a show if it was something I was interested in. And I'm a firm atheist. I'm confused and you all seem a little weird, but no one is trying or has succeeded in doing any damage to your reputation.

Rodrigo Calhoun said...

How much clearer can it be?

- The gallery in Sacramento named "Vox" is a gallery/studio space. It has no ties to any organization other than itself.

- They made the mistake of sharing their name with "Voxtropolis" because one of their board members is down that rabbit hole. More power to him. Everybody has a hobby.

- The...shall we say "interesting fellow" so that I don't get threatened with banishment...who runs Voxtropolis wants to connect the gallery in Sacramento to his...thing.

- The gallery in Sacramento named Vox reiterated yet again that this is not correct.

- And no matter how many times they do that, some mysterious anonymous poster wants to keep looping the conversation back to the Voxtropolis people and the one single board member

- Which lead the Vox people to have to once again reiterate that they are a local non-profit gallery/studio space with organizational ties to absolutely no one.

- And around it goes again.

- Which leads me to believe that the only thing anyone wants to hear is sordid tales of voodoo and twisted conspiracies.

Rodrigo has spoken. I SAID GOOD DAY, SIR.

Liv Moe said...

Hello again Rodrigo,

Why didn't you just break your argument down as such in the first place instead of resorting to name calling and abrasive remarks?

I think to a large extent you're right based on the personal emails I've now received, some of the comments that have been made on this blog, and various internet sources. VOX looks as though it may originally have been formed with some religious intent but it has now grown into its own thing.

Again this does not mean that Eric, Alex and Heath for that matter shouldn't be held accountable for the public identity they have presented of the project. If Eric and Alex hadn't say, had a long dialogue about conversions just this past summer, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation. It's not like I made this shit up.

Like you and everybody else I'm about done with this thread. It appears as though no matter how many times I have reiterated my initial intent or clarified my original blog post I continue to get those with less than stellar critical thinking skills ripping me a new one. I have chosen my words carefully throughout, have not changed my stance one iota, and weighed both sides in every occasion.

So again my best to VOX in the coming months and Sac's art scene in general in light of our current economic situation.

MOBS said...

I do want to follow-up to a few things of Kelly's:

"so, your new office is a movie theatre?"

We are a microcinema. That means, we work within a space to try to create a theater-like environment to the best of our ability. Before being in this space (which we came into in Oct 2007), we were in midtown, beginning in Sept 2006. We've also done a couple of other one-off type screenings in other locations.

"I am trying to picture it - sounds interesting, and very nice of the theatre owners to rent you a space there."

We are NOT the owners of the building, nor are we involved with any rental arrangements or agreements with Vox.

"Wait, if they are being nice, does that make them part of the religious conversion cult also?"

As I mentioned, but apparently need to reiterate and expand on: we aren't affiliated with any of the following: Vox, Voxtropolis, INM, Alex McManus, any of the affiliated websites or whatever else may be out there that is Vox-ish.

We show movies that wouldn't otherwise be shown in Sacramento, but are shown in other metropolitan areas such as SF, LA, Chicago, New York, Austin, etc. We also have done some fundraiser screenings for local groups wherein we have shown films that wouldn't otherwise be shown in Sacramento, but are shown in other metropolitan areas such as SF, LA, Chicago, New York, Austin, etc.

Cripes - there's 10,446 words here, not counting this post! That is counting the date/time stamps, but still - that's quite a bit!

Rodrigo Calhoun said...

Yes, yes. 10,000 words, many triggered by an anonymous poster apparently obsessed with Voxtropolis, INM, Alex McManus, and all things "Vox-ish," since anytime the conversation veers from the conspiracy theory Mr. Anonymous (good name for a movie villain) steers us back to this red herring.

But I'm sure that's just a coincidence, hmmm?

Again, Rodrigo sayeth unto you - GOOD DAY, SIR.

J Lehr said...

Yeahhhh...... the volume of responses is intriguing. I think thou doth protest too much.

Liv Moe said...

in a word... yup

MOBS said...

Rodrigo: Since it seems yer following up to the last post from MOBS ------ um, what the fuck? (will blogger allow that language through??).

Are you implying, when I state that we do not own the building and are not affiliated with Vox and anything that may or may not be affiliated with Vox, that I posted all or part of the following:

"it seems strange to me that if one of the founders of a non-profit happens to be of certain spiritual leanings, whether it be christian, jewish, muslim, buddhist, that it should have to be displayed"

and

"I don't know what to think, after reading these pages:

M Operative: Security Level (IMN) Global

Q: What is the IMN’s Global Network?
A: The IMN Global is an alternative to the traditional church planting network."

and

"It still looks as though all of the research here is based upon the words of ONE of VOX's original founders. I get that.

But now, he, himself, has stated here that the organization has "taken on a life of its own" separate from its original intentions."

and

"I find it particularly interesting that while bringing into question the so-called hidden agenda of Vox, that you failed to be honest about your own background."

and

"This article was originally published at http://alexmcmanus.org/index.php/join-the-underground/ The link has since been removed."



Wow.

We show movies. I was trying to clarify what our status is, particularly given Kelly's comments that we might be the renters/owners of the building, which we are not. Nor are we affiliated with Vox. I mean, if you have info that we are the owners of the building OR affiliated with Vox-ish stuff (that would kind of have been meant to be a humorous take on this - I was actually originally gonna use "Voxy"), please feel free to let me know.

And now, according to the implication that "Rodrigo" made, MOBS are movie villains. I can live with that (but can't stop thinking about the Wicked Witch of the West being a villain I could be more proud of being compared to - or dressing as).

Is this at 11K yet?

And I repeat -- what the fuck?

MOBS said...

Apparently - blogger WILL let that kind of language through :)

Anonymous said...

If it quacks like a duck...

The fact remains that three of Vox Sacramento's Board Members are International Mentoring Network (IMN) Operatives -- Eric, Heath, Cindy each with blogs on the IMN website discussing their own various takes on their role.

(Again, the stated goal of the IMN operatives is "to create 3rd spaces that work to move unchurched peoples towards and with Christ.")

Vox Sacramento remains linked to the Voxtropolis Culture Pub Network -- "an alternative to a traditional church planting network" -- even if every effort is being made to suggest otherwise.
Same Logo. Still referenced on the Voxtropolis website.

Does being an evangelical front diminish Vox Sacramento's capacity to be a useful part of the local arts scene? Nope.

Will some folks still go to and support their artistic efforts? Most likely. As beckler suggests "...all this hoo-ha would not prevent me from going to see a show if it was something I was interested in."

Is the organization's clandestine approach -- complete with it's lexicon of covert terminology like "operative" and "field agent" -- disingenuous and deceptive? You betcha.

So the spotlight's been turned on. This isn't a threat. Just the suggestion that everything is out in the open now; revealed for what it is.

Yvonne W. said...

Hello everyone,

I know I'm jumping into this conversation rather late but I just found this blog.

I am an independent writer who has done extensive research into the corporate dealings of Alex McManus and his more famous brother, Erwin Raphael McManus: lead pastor of Mosaic LA.

Here is the link to the California Secretary of State's Business Portal where you can view the public documents regarding Voxtropolis Sacramento:

http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/list.html

[In the box for corporations, type in the name: Voxtropolis Sacramento]

Please note the name of the Agent for Service of Process and the address given for this corporation.


Now I direct your attention to a website called The Mosaic Alliance:

http://www.mosaicalliance.com/

"The Mosaic Alliance is a global network committed to create the future by unleashing a culture of entrepreneurship, activism, innovation, authenticity, and creativity within the local church. We seek to empower and equip churches and leaders to maximize the creative potential in the communities in which they serve. We partner with leaders from around the globe in effort to catalyze the movement of Jesus Christ. The Mosaic Alliance provides resources, training, and ongoing dialogue in effort to serve leaders and churches worldwide. One of our focus areas involves serving church planters, but the Mosaic Alliance is not limited to church planters. Join us in creating the future together!"

Individuals and organizations/churches who wish to join the Mosaic Alliance at the two higher levels (Pioneer and Adventurer) pay a fee to Mosaic LA for this privilege.

The Alliance posts it's membership list as a pdf.

PLEASE NOTE THIS:

Entry #50 - Mosaic Sacramento
Level Pioneer


The contact person and address information given for this entry are identical to the information given for Voxtropolis Sacramento.

The pdf information is rather confusing on this point but apparently this registration was still valid as of January, 2009.

Based on these facts, Mosaic Sacramento and Voxtropolis Sacramento appear to be sharing the same corporate office space.

By itself, this is neither "good" nor "bad", it simply "is"; however, I believe it should be made clear to those who wish to participate in Voxtropolis Sacramento that it does in fact continue to hold to some sort of tenuous, relgious affiliation.


Alex McManus wrote on
January 13, 2009 8:55 AM.
"The Vox mission is an easy subset of any person (whether Christian or not) who has a passion for Sacramento, good works, and creating culture. It may be that Eric may also plant (or start) a church. That's fine. They're different organizations."

This is a rather odd statement for two reasons:

- Mosaic Sacramento and Voxtropolis Sacramento share the same address. Are they "different" organizations?

- Eric Sweiven already started a church.

The original page for the following has become "unavailable", here is the Google cached page address:

http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cache:uXXkAwA7GL8J:alex.voxtropolis.com/2007/10/31/church-planters-+Eric+Sweiven,+McManus&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=24&gl=us

Title

Church Planter’s Forum — Voxtropolis Sacramento
October 31, 2007
in TheCITY


Quote from above:

"Our current “church” gathering is a whopping 12 people. I suppose it might be said I’m a dismal failure as a church planter. 16 months, 12 people.. But, through Vox, I’ve come to have relationships with at least 57 people from all walks of life who know me as one of the folks behind VoxCafe in Sacramento."

I agree with the other posters here that Voxtropolis Sacramento should be more forthcoming in revealing it's religious roots and current religious affiliations (if applicable.) While they are in no way legally obligated to do so, it would be the ethical thing to do.


"NOT" an anonymous poster,

Yvonne W.

Yvonne W. said...

More food for thought . . .


I found this information posted on a church website:

http://www.baptistsites.net/goba/index.cfm?page=11

The HUMAN EVENT February 5-6, 2009 2/06/09 (9:00 AM - 5:00 PM)
Registration Information

Join Alex McManus, Eric Bryant, Eric Sweiven, Brian Russel, and Mike Harris for a concentrated conversation on the topics below...

Words, Deeds and Rhythms-The Church as an Experiment in Translation

Making the World Human Again-The Quest to Save the Future from Religion

Dancing in the streets: Thinking about the Future

Voxtropolis: Starting in, with, and for the world

How to raise leaders in a missional community

How to create leadership teams in a multicultural context

Planting Churches and Launching Culture Pubs: Partnering with pop culture, teaming with local business, and getting things moving

Unleashing The Scriptures: Realigning our Lives to the Heart of God

The HUMAN EVENT is created and hosted by the International Mentoring Network (IMN). We sometimes refer to this event as H2.09 (i.e. Human Event 2009).

This missional leadership experience is subversively embedded within an art and music jam called Voxtropolis (Voxtropolis.com).



Hhmmm . . . "subversively embedded?"

Yvonne W.

Yvonne W. said...

Hello again,

After conduction a more thorough investigation of the connections between Voxtropolis Sacramento, Vox Cafe, Mosaic Sacramento and Eric Sweiven, I have a minor correction to make to the information I posted before:

It now appears that the address listed at the California Business Portal for Voxtropolis Sacramento's Agent for Service of Process; Eric Sweiven, is not the corporate address for Voxtropolis Sacramento.

The above address is the same as the one listed on the Mosaic Alliance membership roster. In all likelihood, this is a personal address for Eric Sweiven.

This does not clear up the confusion that still exists between Voxtropolis Sacramento (a non-religious, non-profit) and Mosaic Sacramento (a church.)

Here is the link to Mosaic Sacramento:

http://www.mosaicsacramento.org/FAQs.html

In the faq's, please note the following:

Where do you meet?

Mosaic gathers on Saturday’s at one location in Sacramento (VOX Cafe’). For families with children, we welcome you with an open and relaxed children’s program.


Vox Cafe is the same entity as Voxtropolis Sacramento:

Vox Cafe
http://voxsac.com/

Please see the "About Us" page for the following information:

VOX Sacramento

Who We Are

Vox Sacramento is a California nonprofit, public benefit corporation, run solely by a volunteer Board of Directors and Officers who are elected each year.

Currently serving:

Heath Dalrymple - President, Board Member
Cindy Kruschel - Treasurer, Board Member
Jill Allyn Stafford - Secretary, Board Member
Eric Sweiven - Vice President, Board Member

While Vox Sacramento is not at this time a tax exempt nonprofit corporation, our goal is to obtain that status before the end of the year 2008.

We do accept donations, and are always looking for additional volunteers to help make Vox Sacramento a larger presence in the Sacramento arts and music community.


From the same Vox Cafe website is this page, Ignite:

http://voxsac.com/?page_id=336

“Ignite!” uses the Gallup StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and Character Matrix to help individuals uncover their unique strengths and make their irreplaceable contribution to humanity.

The above is notable for what it leaves out;

source: http://yelo.awaken.org/



yelō includes:

» Gallup’s Strengths Finder with the yelō team

» Myers Briggs Temperament Indicator with the yelō team

» The Character Matrix based on Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul by Erwin McManus

yelō is an Awaken event that focuses on unleashing your creativity, elevating your influence, challenging your character, and maximizing your leadership potential.



Erwin McManus is the founder/president of Awaken and Yelo is heavily promoted by Mosaic LA and it's associated organizations.

Yvonne W.

primarywatcher said...

Liv, fantastic blog here! Eric posted studio space available on craigslist so I inquired.

His reply:

Hi (my name), thank for you(r) interest. Tell me about you and your art. What media do you work in, how long have you been developing your craft, what are your goals/dreams, etc.

The spaces were previously offices, but have great natural lighting, 24 hour access and wifi, plus with the premium studios we're offering printing. You can share the studio with one other artist to share costs. Also, although May is our official move-in date, you can move in ASAP and we'll prorate the rent for April.

The rent is $400/month. We're asking for a 6 month agreement and one month's deposit (can be paid over time). They are located on the corner of 20th and H and you'll have the ability to open your studio each Sec Saturday if you wish.

We're also offering a Coop Studio membership: $45/month including -- coop work space, on-site storage, special opportunities to show on Sec Sat, wifi, reduce pricing on classes, and the opportunity to host classes if desired.

If you rent a studio or become a coop member, for each person you refer who becomes one we'll knock off half their membership dues. So, you send 3 people you get 3 months @ $22 bucks a month or $66 off of one month of premium rent!

If you like to set up a time to swing by and look at the spaces, let me know I can arrange it. I work out in Roseville, but can have someone meet you there.

You Belong Here,

Eric


empathy input connectedness responsibility positivity
---------------------------

Haven't checked it out yet, but I gotta say - that was one hellofa 'ncentive to "recruit" and I thought it odd. So with a wee bit o'Google I stumbled here.

Liv, you've saved me days of research and quite possibly cold hard cash! THANK YOU.

-------------------------------

Eric, it's a free world - do as you wish. I'm merely looking for a place to paint, not a place to work as your guinea pig nor tool for a McManus Existential Mad-Science Project.

p.s. Take note: Jesus didn't offer the monthly discount plan to recruit his flock - probably good reason for this.

Liv Moe said...

well isn't that interesting.

primarywatcher said...

Oh yeah, and the "premium" studios with "printing"? eh, you guessed it: "xerox" machines. Riiiiight.