Thursday, December 29, 2005

It is supposed to take time: Eros and Faith Part 2

There is a man in a town I used to work in that is a pastor at a local church in the area. Within the first couple minutes of meeting him while we were umpiring a baseball game together. In between innings he got two inches from my face and asked me, "Do you know JeSUS?" I said that I did. He said, "Are you sure?" I answered that, "I think so cause he made me his friend when I was little, and still talk to him on a regular basis." Curtis patted me on the back. And although we both share a passion for Christ, his antics made me so angry I wanted to punch him in the mouth.

I have often wondered why this enraged me. In the last couple of days I am beginning to learn. Put simply, Curtis' evangelism efforts were a lot more about him than they were about loving God or caring for me. It was about him asserting dominance, not humbly sharing simple truths of the Spirit. It was about him feeling good about himself and his faithfulness, not a genuine caring for my spiritual condition. Like two people having a quickie sexual encounter five minutes after meeting, he was more about getting his selfish desires met and me screaming "Yes! GOD! Yes!" so that all his friends at the other end of the parking lot can hear me than he was in truly caring about me.

Now at first, the parallel of unhealthy, immoral sexual behavior and evangelism may seem inappropriate to you. But let me remind you that the Scripture refers to following Jesus as being born again, and unfaithfulness to God to a woman hoaring around on her husband. Both images have something to do with this type of relationship.

John Bowen in his book Evangelism for "Normal" People made this parellel so compellingly in the first ten pages of his book that I was convinced I needed the book for a resource.

Bowen quotes a Canadian author (Sandra Tsing Loh) shares about having a wonderful date with a man she had a lot in common with. Then all of the sudden out of nowhere he asks her,

"'Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior?'
Just like that. No warm up. No mood music. No idle teasing around the issue to loosen the soil. Had Jeff have just reached out and grabbed my breast I would not have been more shocked."


Margret Atwood says a similar thing in a short story she wrote...

"Religious people of any serious kind made her nervous: they were like men in raincoats who might or might not be flashers. You would be going along in a normal way, and then there could be a swift movement and you would look down to find the coat wide open and nothing under it but some pant legs held up by rubber bands."

Let me suggest that a faith-sharing relationship and a sexually intimate relationship should both take time to develop. As a Christian, I believe that sexual intimacy works best when it takes place in the context of a committed relationship. Sharing one's spiritual beliefs works best in this context too. When you take time to know someone, care for someone, and love someone you each feel more willing to be open and vulnerable. When new life emerges from your time together, that life is better nurtured and cared for within that context. "Hit it and quit it" faith-sharing may lead to new life in Christ, but often times it leaves the person who made the choice to follow Christ ill-equipped in developing that faith, and quickly thinking they may abort Christianity.

More on this later. These are just a few thoughts.

Sermon for Sunday--Part 1

GOD LOVES US, AND GOD AIN’T FINISHED WITH US YET

(Read the Scripture, Ezekiel 37: 1-14)

When I was in seminary there were folks of all ages, skills, and abilities there. One of the people that I went to school with was named Gloria. Gloria was in her late forties or early fifties. I am not sure how old she was exactly, except she got very offended when employees from McDonalds assumed she was ordering with the Senior Citizen discount. Gloria’s eyesight was not all that good, so she asked me to drive her from Kansas City, KS to Olathe, KS—a suburb of Kansas City. About 20 miles away. While I was waiting for her to purchase Jeanette Oke book or some other cheesy Christian romance I stumbled around the rest of the bookstore. I found a book on the bargain rack that caught my attention. It is entitled I Dream of Peace. The book is a book about the images of war as illustrated in war torn Yugoslavia in the early 90s. Listen to a couple of the letters.

The soldiers ordered us out of our house and then burned it down. After that, they took us to the train, where they ordered all the men to lie down on the ground. From the group, they chose who they were going to kill. They picked my uncle and a neighbor! Then they machine gunned them to death. After that, the soldiers put the women in the front car of the train and the men in the back. As the train started moving, they disconnected the back and took the men off to the camps. I saw it all!
Now I can’t sleep. I try to forget, but it doesn’t work. I have such difficulty feeling anything anymore.
--Alik, 13, refugee
(p.59)

It’s all so strange! Suddenly, it’s so important, everybody is asking who you are, what you do, where you come from.
So many people have been killed fighting for justice. But what justice? Do they know what they are fighting for, who they are fighting?
The weather is growing very cold now. No longer can you hear the singing of the birds, only the sound of they children crying for a lost mother or father, a brother or a sister.
We are children without hope.
--Dunja, 14, from Belgrade
(p.27)

Can you hear their cries for justice, help, and deliverance? Can you feel their hopelessness?

Maybe if it’s hard to relate to the cries of the children in the former Yugoslavia, then you can relate to some children a little closer to home. Dana is one of the street children in this country that are estimated to be one million strong. Dana was 16 years old. At a young age, her father abandoned her. Later, in her teen years, her mother had told her that she needed to get out of the house because she could not support both Dana, and her five younger brothers. So, Dana was left to live on the street, fending for herself. Dana did whatever she had to do in order to get by. She said, “I used to be from somewhere, but I am not from anywhere anymore.” 1
Can you hear her pain? Her sense of abandonment and God-forsakenness?
(Pause)
I don’t know if you hear their pain, and I have an even bigger question. Does God? That is the concern that our Biblical story addresses today. You see, Israel, unlike the examples above, was suffering because of their sin. They had turned away from God. They had ignored the cries of the poor, the widow, and the orphan. They had bowed their knees to idols. Thus, they had been drug across a desert to a strange land. There, they had been slaves and servants to the people of Babylon. To the mind of the people of Israel, the Babylonian people who were more cruel and wicked than they ever thought of being. Yet, like the examples above, they too were crying out, feeling abandoned and forsaken by God. The Israelites were also wondering if tomorrow was worth dreaming about, if there was any hope. In Ezekiel 37: 1-14, God intends to answer these cries and questions.
The Bibles says that God brought Ezekiel out by his hand, and the Spirit brought him smack dab in the middle of a valley. As he was getting adjusted to his environment by rubbing his eyes and blinking a few times, he noticed that there were a bunch of bones in the valley. Dry bones. Bones of people who had been dead for a long, long time. God walks Ezekiel back and forth across the valley, and he sees bones, piled upon bones, piled upon bones. Then God asks Ezekiel if the bones can live. Ezekiel ponders the question for a while. Can the Lord make something good out of this situation? Can the Lord make something good out of this ugliness, lifelessness, and death? Ezekiel responds, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know!”
Then, God tells Ezekiel to prophecy to the bones. To tell these dry, stale remnants of human bodies that they will once again have muscles to move with, lungs filled with oxygen, and skin to cover them. God tells Ezekiel to tell the bones that they will once again bear life!
So Ezekiel did what God said, and something amazing, something miraculous happened. The bones made a clacking, rattling sound as they raced to be attached to their original skeletons. Then, flesh and skin came upon these bodies. Finally, Ezekiel prophecies that they should have breathe, and they all stand up before him. All of the bodies were like a huge army. Can you imagine? Would you be speechless? Would you be jumping up and down for joy? Or, would you be falling on your face, begging for mercy from such a powerful God?
It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for breathe that is used in this text is used in this passage only one other time in all of Scripture, the creation narrative. The parallel is obvious, and it is reiterated by verses 11-14 (reread that portion of the Biblical text).
What is the message? The message is that God is in the business of recreating. Recreating nations! Recreating people! Recreating his people! You see, God had a message for the people of Israel. That message was that GOD LOVES THEM, AND GOD AIN’T FINISHED WITH THEM YET.
This world is in a sad state. We need only think about the things we have heard on the news. 35,000 children head to their death writhing from either starvation or dehydration, or both. Terrorist cells are springing up in little villages all over the Middle East, Asia and in Africa, and with youth on the margins in big cities in the West. Ruthless dictators rule in all corners of the world, whether it is Kim Jong IL starving his people so he can make nuclear weapons in Korea, or the ruler of Iran doing similar things, or the nation of Sudan persecuting the Christian minority of their population in the Darfur. In the last year there have been killer tsunamis in the Pacific and record numbers of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. The avian flu threatens to mutate and has the potential to turn into a pandemic that kills millions. The AIDS virus may mutate as well, and possibly even hundreds of thousands of children will be orphaned in the next several years. Child slavery in much of the third world, and even in America is increasing at alarming rates. In the midst of this the scientists warn us about things like overpopulation and global warming. This world has lots of problems. But I have a message for this deeply troubled world—GOD LOVES US AND GOD AIN’T FINISHED WITH US YET.

Sermon Part 2

As I look at this country, it is easy to get depressed. We are less and less able to trust one another, and since September 11, we have to be more and more concerned about passing a security check when we come into airports, or even ballgames for that matter. Look at our political situation. We seem to be stuck in perpetual gridlock, with more and more politicians and political activists who care less and less about the common man, and more about lining their pockets. While certain drug rates are going down, uses of drugs like heroin, crystal meth, and ecstasy are on the rise. With every trailer in the rural Midwest a possible drug den. After situations like Katrina, racial tensions seem on the rise. Street children are estimated to be one million strong. One-eighth to one-fourth of all women in this country will be the victim of a heinous sex crime. Fifty percent of all marriages in this country end in divorce. In many ways it might seem kind of hopeless. Yet as people of the good news of Jesus Christ we have a message for this nation of ours—GOD LOVES US, AND GOD AIN’T FINISHED WITH US YET.
I wish I could tell you that the stories in the churches are a lot different, but they are not. How many churches have we heard of that have been scarred by clergy that violated their trust through stealing from them, or sleeping with vulnerable members of the congregation? How many times have we walked into churches and saw only about 20-30 senior citizens, and wondered where the hope for our future is and what the future of that churches witness would be if one bad flu bug hit the congregation? And what the church of the next generation is going to look like? Is there even going to be any young people in churches like ours in 20 years? How many churches have settled for a social club and a pretty meeting space instead of insisting that the gospel is about following Jesus no matter the cost and the discomfort? How many times have we been in churches that have been lulled into a sleep of complacency and half-hearted Christianity? Or that spend most of their energy arguing about who is right and who is wrong instead of spending their energy asking who is hurting and alone, and how can we introduce the grace and goodness of God to them through our life together? How often do we see churches building human kingdoms instead of participating in the Kingdom of God. The picture can sometimes seem bleak. And I am a firm believer that for revival to come in this city, in this nation, in this world, it needs to start with a radical sense of repentance from within the church. It seems we are far away from that happening. But we still have a message for our churches. That message is that—GOD LOVES US, AND GOD AIN’T FINISHED WITH US YET.
Garth Brooks describes the hopelessness that we see and feel in his song, The Change, when he says that trying to go against the hopeless flow of selfishness and evil is like “trying to stop a fire with the moisture from a kiss”. Yes, as this song goes on to remind us, as ministers, it is this flood of hopelessness that we are called to strive against. We, like Ezekiel, are called to share the good news of God’s faithful lovingkindness in the midst of the suffering cries of the people around us.
There are many ministers that could serve as examples to us of this. Think of an example that is known to all of us, the example of Martin Luther King, Jr. At 26, he led a whole city in a non-violent bus boycott. He went on to inspire a nation. How did he do that? Through a message of hope, that is how! Hope that love is stronger than hate. Hope that can suffer through imprisonment, beatings, and suffering. Hope that justice would come in the morning. Hope that the dream of racial and ethnic barriers would crumble under the power of a dream. Hope that—GOD LOVES US, AND GOD AIN’T FINISHED WITH US YET.
Yet, this message does not just apply to the big picture issues. It applies to the ordinariness of our everyday lives. Many of us are dealing with struggles in our own lives. We are teenagers that wonder if the day will ever come when our parents will actually listen to us and understand us. We are parents that wonder if our children will ever appreciate us. We are single people wondering if we will ever get married. We are married people wondering if we are going to be able to survive another year in a marriage where it doesn’t seem that our spouse loves us. We wonder if we will ever do more than live paycheck to paycheck. We wonder if we will ever get out of debt. We are in midlife wondering if our life is really amounting to much. We are growing old, and wondering if anybody will value us or listen to us any more. We are lonely people. We are people who fill our lives with half-hearted obligations instead of setting Christ-centered priorities. We are people who struggle with depression and anxiety. We are people who struggle with anger and rage. If statistics are right, at least half of us men in the church have some sort of struggle with internet pornography. Even more with lust in general. We judge our friends and our neighbors for not living up to our impossible standards. We steal by taking long lunches at work, and taking shortcuts on our taxes. We eat too much and we exercise too little. In other words, most of us can look at our lives and see sin and struggle. WE ALSO NEED TO KNOW IN OUR PERSONAL LIVES THAT GOD IS LONGING TO TRANSFORM OUR LIVES. IN OTHER WORDS, GOD LOVES US AND GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH US YET EITHER.

Sermon Part 3

And, there are some of us who have never come to Jesus. Never chosen the way of Christ. We may think it is a good thing, but we have never committed to it being a thing for us. We have been trying to do life our own way. Maybe we are here because we are trying to make the spouse happy, or to see friends, or because we are just a little curious about spiritual things. Or maybe because our parents make us come every Sunday. But we feel….we know…that God wants something more for our lives. Inside we know that life is about something more than going through the motions. Or maybe we are here and we feel we are a moral or spiritual failure, and that there is nothing that we can do to feel right about things…to reconcile ourselves to God. Let me assure you. God has a purpose for you. God can forgive you and transform you too! He has plans for you that you cannot see now. He has meaning for your life that you are only beginning to glimpse. I urge you today to come to Jesus. To give your life to him. To embrace the truth that GOD LOVES YOU AND GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH YOU YET.
Where does that hope come from? The message of Ezekiel? Not completely. It starts in the book of Genesis and ends in the book of Revelation. And it has its center from another story in the Bible. Another event in history. A story of a perfect man who became a sacrifice for all. A man who allowed himself to be beaten, ridiculed, mocked, and spat upon. This Jesus was born in a barn, lived working a blue collar job for most of his life, and then for three years he wandered around like a homeless man teaching people and loving people. Giving himself completely to others. He was taken to a hill, and nailed on a cross. As a result, he died and they put him in the grave. Some thought his movement was dead. That the hope he shared was no hope at all. But, three days later, he rose again in victory. Later, he ascended to heaven. He now sits at the right hand of God the father, ushering in the reign of God, waiting to come again to redeem this world. Faith in this story calls us all to shout from the highest mountaintop and the lowest valley. We see the whole world anew. We realize that just like God was recreating then, God is recreating now. Making our world, our nation, our churches, our selves, new again. Giving us life when we were only feeling and experiencing death. It calls us to sing and shout hope and victory in the here and now. It calls us to proclaim to the world that GOD LOVES US, AND GOD AIN’T FINISHED WITH US YET.
Those who have ears, let them hear! Amen!

Top 9 Randy Travis Songs






9 I Won't Need you Anymore.
"When you see me walk on water. When the sea dont reach the shore. When the fires of hell freeze over,I won't need you anymore.

8. Diggin Up Bones

"Diggin' up Bones. Diggin' up Bones. Resurrecting memories that are better left alone."


7. It's Just a Matter of Time


"Someday. Someway. You will realize that you have been blind. Yes, darlin' you will need me again. Its just a matter of time."

6. Better Class of Losers

"Going back to the folks that I used to know, where everyone is who they seem to be...Going back to a better class of losers, this uptown livin's really got me down."

5. Is it Still Over?

"Is it still over, are we still through? Since my phone still ain't ringin' I assume it still ain't you."

4. Deeper than the Holler.

"My love is deeper than the holler, stronger than the river, higher than the pine trees growin tall upon the hill."

3. Look Heart, No Hands.

"No net to catch me when I fall...look heart, no hands"

2. Three Wooden Crosses

"A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher riding on a midnight bus bound for Mexico."

"I guess its not what you take when you leave this world behind you, its what you leave behind you when you go"

1. Forever and Ever, Amen

"I am going to love you forever and ever....As long old men sit and talk about the weather, as long as old women talk about old men."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas Music Gifts



I recieved this album from my sister for Christmas. Coldplay is mellow, melodic Brit pop with suprisingly thoughtful lyrics. I am enjoying it a lot.




I recieved this album from my mother for Christmas. Very relaxing and mellow music to work to in the office and to take a nap to as well. Not so inspiring when working out.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

THATS HOT: Wise words


Kim says I quote Paris Hilton more than anyone she knows. I say she hasnt spent to much time with middle school girls in recent years...but thats ok. I have tried to disuade the young gals that I work with of being fans of Paris, but as the saying goes, if you cannot beat them...join them.

So....I thought I would throw a few more Paris quotes out for everyone other than THATS HOT...

The way I see it, you should live everyday like its your birthday

Every woman should have four pets in her life. A mink in her closet, a jaguar in her garage, a tiger in her bed, and a jackass who pays for everything.

the only rule is dont be boring, dress cute wherever you go, life is too short to blend in.

No matter what a woman looks like, if she's confident, she's sexy.”

A true heiress is never mean to anyone-expept a girl who steals your boyfriend”

I don't really think, I just walk.”

Monday, December 26, 2005

Recommendations for Friar Ray

Friar Ray asked me to recommend some books for him to read. Actually, he got tired of me pushing books on him and just wanted a list. Especially important to him are books that dialogue with his Catholic Heritage.

Ray....here is the short list

In the Name of Jesus and Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen

Both essentials in understanding leadership and Nouwen

Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

A life changing book on the power and impact of the love of God.

Through the Year with St. Francis by Bodo??

An excellent book with the greatest of saints in the medieval era.

The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Edie

About Christian life and vocation as Catholic writers in the mid 20th century. Merges the stories of Merton, Dorothy Day, Flannery O'Connor, and Walker Percy.

The Complete Short Stories by Flannery O'Connor

Silence by S. Endo (fiction)

A compelling novel about Catholic missionaries in Japan. Endo is an often ignored Christian leader in letters. See also his book THE LIFE OF CHRIST.

Anything by William Keinzle (mystery)

Mysteries of an aging priest that discusses a lot of issues in the church while it deals with solving a murder.

Acquinas for Dummies

This has that stuff about Acquinas being influenced by Muslim philosphers in a very accessable read.

St. Thomas Acquinas and Orthodoxy by Chesterton

Chesterton is brilliant. Aquinas is brilliant. Enough said.

Abondonment to Divine Providence by St. Francis de Sales

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawerence (most essential)

A very accessable and ancient work about following Jesus day to day.

The Wisdom of the Desert and Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton

Merton is a little trendy at times, and his later stuff does not hit me as hard...these are my favorites so far.


Non-Catholic Choices:

The New Kind of Christian Trilogy and Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren

Good primers on Emergent Church stuff. See also the CHURCH ON THE OTHER SIDE.

Prayer and Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

He is the best at what he does in teaching spiritual disciplines and prayer in an everyday, common way.

A Long Obiedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson

Everything by Peterson is good. This is the most popular. Uses the Psalms of Ascent to discuss essentials of the spiritual journey.

Soul Survivor by Phillip Yancey

A number of mini-bios here. Very powerful and informative.

Women in the Church by Grenz and Kjesbo

Strongest most accessable arguement for women in full partnership in ministry.

Well...Ray at least that is a start...I will tell you more as I think and as I read my Christmas books.

Gift Certificates and the Art of Budget Maintenence

I recieved a number of gift certificates for Christmas. Which has been a real blessing. I got some faux fiestaware from Walmart, a CD, a pair of sweatpants (on clearance even), and several books. I am very thankful.

While the Walmart gift certificate allowed me to purchase some useful things for my home (like presentable dishware), the Borders and Barnes and Noble gift certificates awakened a monster sleeping within. Namely, the book buying bug. And while I got several books I had been wanting today...I also discovered several more that I really want.

And it got me to thinking...a lot of my life...perhaps too much...is lived on a binge and purge cycle. I tend to read voraciously, and then not read a lot at all. I tend to immerse myself in one type of music for a long while, and then ignore that type of music all together for a short time. Sometimes I get sucked into sleeping a lot and at odd times, and other times I go for a week or two with only 5 hours of sleep a day half of the time.

The same is true with my introversion/extroversion balance. I tend to go through long phases where I "go into my cave" and socialize as little as possible, and then I go through similar phases where I hunger to socialize all the time.

I tend to do the same at work. There are times at work when I wish I could just live and sleep there. I have so much to do, and it is so important to do it. Then I go through similar phases when I seem to barely be able to get my work done and it is all I can do to do just enough to get by.

The same is true right now is true with shopping. I loved buying nephews their playful yet cheap Christmas presents and spending my gift certificates. But I need to tighten my budget and curtail month to month personal spending here soon.

After all....April 15 is coming!

My book purchases (with gift certificates)

Colossians Remixed By Frian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmat

Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen

Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice

Poloroids from the Dead by Douglas Coupland (the collection is nearly complete)

The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

The Reluctant Saint by Donald Spoto (biography of St. Francis)

The Last Word by NT Wright

Friday, December 23, 2005

Finding a New Destination along the Way

If you are like me, you often end up at a different destination than you were looking to find when you started a journey toward something.

I entered college thinking I would be a teacher, like my mother. Only I wanted to do secondary education and teach history. I ended up as minister.

It seems we all change our flight plans in life. And often times, the circumstance God uses to get us going somewhere are not what we expect when we get there. We think we are landing in one place, and we end up going in a totally different direction as we move forward and listen to God's leaning.

My freshman year, we moved up to Alaska. Mom thought she had a job lined up. It fell through as soon as we got there. We were living with my aunt and uncle and their family. Not a pleasant experience. Those circumstances pushed us in a new direction where we moved an hour and a half away from my aunt and uncle. Mom was a teacher's assistant that first year. What a blessing though! I could not have imagined living anywhere but HOMER, ALASKA for my high school years. And if we would have gotten comfortable where my aunt and uncle lived....well....I would have been miserable.

I have seen this in projects I was involved in. I expected them to be one way, and as I went we discovered that they look totally different than what I expected.

We start out with a vision and a plan. The Lord directs our steps. And, we end up in a totally different place than we ever expected. Praise God.

Does any of this make any sense? Have any of you had experiences like this.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas....

I am so thankful to have each of you in my blogworld.

Even those "blurkers" who never leave comments.

Thanks to Kira's slave for helping me fix my computer.

Thanks to those of you who visit from different places around the globe...such as San Nakji, Deepa, Lorna, and Kira's Slave.

Thanks to those from other racial backgrounds and sexual orientations that visit within the USA. The perspectives and thoughts you bring to the table broaden my life and my thinking.

Thanks to you younger folks for keepin me young with your insights.

Thanks to you more mature folks for sharing your wisdom.

Thanks to you all who I have met just surfing around, or having had you do the same. Your initiative is my blessing.

Thanks as well to those of you I know and have become better friends with in this format of communication.

Thanks as well to those youth ministry and church leaders who have to one extent or another served as mentors and role models to me in the ministry life.

Thanks to all of you and MERRY CHRISTMAS.

And email your address if you would like a Christmas Card at the beginning of the year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Stealing Signals, Timelines, Living in a Library and More--Another Rant on Living Single

Watch a football game or a baseball game. You will see people making all sorts of signals that do not make sense to the naked eye. They will be grabbing their hats, rubbing their arms, scratching their private parts, stomping their feet, and more. And somebody is understanding all this talk. But I am not.

The same is pathetically true as single man trying to understand women. I want to communicate. I want to be able to read the signals right to understand where they are at with their thinking and their interest in me. I don't want to be a stalker, or an unwanted nuisance. I also don't want to be a spineless wimp that never makes a play for anyone. So I try to read signals, pick up hints, and figure out if someone is interested. I talk to female friends about it. And I always end up messing everything up.

These days there is the neighbor woman. She is single, never married, and the same age as I am. And she keeps handing me her phone number and telling me to call her and we will get coffee sometime. And she invites me to her singles group things. And she uses "we" talk sometimes in a way that sounds hopefully couplish. I am not sure I am interested in her.

What I am interested in hearing from you all is: how do you know when someone else is sending you "signals"? What is the key to understanding the signs.

I have.....explored whether something was developing from a friendship into something romantic with two people. I will not say much about it here since both of these people are both personal friends and blog buddies. But in both situations (the first exploration something I thought about for a long time, the second more something like "What is going on here?") I thought I might be recieving signals. The first I responded with a bold move (3 dozen roses) while the second I responded with a clearly communicated question (see above). Both situations, I even asked female friends/relatives...is this a hint? is this expressing interest? In both situations even female observers thought there were hints and possibilities.

One thing I have learned though. At my age, it does no good to be hinting in return. Have direct conversations and cut through the crud. Even if she seems evasive, that is an answer in itself.

Speaking of age. Age is another struggle in understanding the single life. Many life's goals have changed and morphed. One has stayed the same, I want to be married and have children. Ok...that is not completely true. I want to have children, but I am not big on infants. So once they are verbal, potty trained, and not mortally wounded when you drop them or step on them....then I want children. Infants and toddlers scare me. And there is a fear that I will massively screw up the parenting venture. But that is another story....

Anyway...when I start doing the math it does not seem like a big family is as much of a possibility. Right now, if I were to have a child, they would be graduating high school when I turned 50. And that would just be the first child. And....when you are logical about this....how many good childbearing years does a woman that is my age have?

So I continue with solo living...which is kinda like living in a library. Only people talk in a library more. Some homes have a lot of hubub. Mine does not. And our office culture at the church I work at is not highly social either. Sometimes I feel like I am too social when I am around folks cause I make up for all the words I did not use the rest of the day. Which kind of freaks me out.

All the single people I knew as a young adult that were older...they had this single person's vibe about them. And although I really likes some of them, they creeped me out a little at the same time. Overly analytical. Overly judgemental, though benevolently so. I never wanted to turn out like them. I think I am turning out like a creepy single guy sometimes. Then throw in that I do kids stuff as a single guy....and we have a whole other set of issues.

Then there is the sex thing. As I commented on DRC's blog...I often feel like the almost 40 almost-virgin. And I do have multiple action figures in my office (if you dont get this watch the movie...the DVD came out this week).

Seriously though. Being single is one thing. Being single is a older church full of married people is another. Add to that being an introvert (although an outgoing one) and being overweight (though I am being on making limited progress with this) and it seems like I am hopelessly single and as a minister hopelessly celebate as well.

Strangely enough though, through it all, there are lots of things I enjoy about being single. Most of them are because I enjoy only having the responsibility of me...instead of a whole family.

What do you think?

Why I do use quotes: A disclaimor

Some people who visit my blog have had concerns about the recent use of quotes. No worries.

There are a couple words of explanation for this.

First, from the beginning I have used quotes to fill in dry times in writing on my blog. I know some of you can write several entrances in one day. I cannot.

Second, I have been on study leave and vacation the last few weeks. Part of that process for me is collecting quotes. And, I like to drag my study time over vacation when I have it like this....

So...at the risk of exposing myself to much, I have been sitting around in my underwear reading books and organizing stuff in storage, and doing stuff at work on my vacation that I cannot let go. I have not been doing a lot of LIFE stuff, more REST stuff, which means that a lot of quotes have been interspersed with reflections--which has taken some careful attention to get to.

Finally, I have all these loose sheets of paper haning around with quotes on them that I need to catalogue. I catologue quotes in two places. One is on my blog, and the other is in a cheap black journal that I bought at Barnes and Noble. Being as I tend to lose these journals either on a WP (computer breaks down with no backup)or in a notebook (lose notebook) I have been trying adding them to my blog...hoping that GOOGLE is less absent minded than I am.

So, I will try and space out the quotes stuff a little more, alternating it with quizzes and pics (I cant stand just looking at script...and believe a blog is an artistic expression of sorts) and entries about my thoughts and experiences and all that.

Thanks for your patience with a more fallow period of productivity in my life.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Quotes from Rhythyms of the Inner Life

Resting is tied to trust (102)

instead of childlike trust, the reliance on God that can sustain us is a sturdy knowing trust (104)

Just as bightly lit streets dim our view of the Milky Way's sequined splendor, they also obscure our vision of God (107)

GK Chesterton quotes

A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things

To be clever enough to get all the money, you have to be stupid enough to want it

Phildelphia--A poem I wrote a couple of years ago

Great things happen
In ordinary places
In buildings made of
Brick and wood
where buses transport
people
from place to place

Great things happen
In places where it rains
Where drunk people
stumble from the bar
at 2AM
screaming
they are safe to drive
and waking up the neighborhood

Great things happen
In ordinary places
Just like weeds
crawl through concrete
on a Saturday afternoon

Great things happen
on every corner
$5 Psychics open 24-7
while the oldest churches
in a nation
lie empty
save a few curious tourists

Great things happen
In ordinary places
A city of brotherly love
where no one
smiles and says hello
save the baby pigeons
from behind a bush
in a rose garden

Great things happen
in ordinary places
But it is not seen
by ordinary eyes

Peterson quotes from Subversive Spirituality

We percieve reality from the vantage point of God's saving work, and not from the morass of the desprate muddle. We acquire hope.

Productive prayer requires earnestness, not eloquence.

If uwary, the person providing care is co-opted into feeding selfishness, which is to say, sin. (158)

The prime need of the church is not men of mercy nor men of brains, but men of prayer.--EM BOUNDS

Productive prayer requires earnestness, not eloquence.

If we do not use these occasions of need to teach people to pray, we cave in to the pressures of care in which there is no cure. (161)

Eugene Peterson quotes

I think these are from THE UNECCESSARY PASTOR

Timothy was commanded to teach
sound doctrine (I Tim 1:10)
sound words (I Tim 6:3)

If you want to teach wisdom, you feel yourself going against the stream constantly

Truth matters: simple, clear, lived

All wisdom is aquired relationally in the context of family and friends, work and neighborhood, under conditions of sin and forgiveness within the complex stories that the Holy Spirit is writing and continues to write in our lives (136)

People ought never to think too much about what they could do, but they ought to think about what they could BE.--Meister Eckhart

The mess and need of our congregations are not conditions that constrict us. They didn't constrict Timothy!

He (Timothy) has bigger fish to fry. He is to teach and to pray" (128)

Wrong thinking leads to wrong living.

Everything has been given to us in Christ. All we need is to experience what we already posses.

If liturgy weren't cosmic, it would not be worth doing

For in the end, what is man in nature? A nothing compared with the infinite, and all compared to nothing, a mean between nothing and everything--Pascal

Quotes from Aquachurch

A false vision is imprisonment, a true vision is empowerment. (180)

You can't see anything properly when your eyes are blurred with tears (131)

What 'planning' was to the modern world, 'visioning' is to the postmodern world (132)

No one is more a stranger is a community that one who 'sees' in a community that is 'blind' (132)

The test of a first-class mind is to be able to hold two opposing ideas in their head at the same time and still be able to function (135)

Vision is not about programs or scenarios or goals. A vision is about releasing energies (141)

STOP BLAMING THE KIDS

Once again another national figure blames his family for his resignation.

This makes me so mad. As if teenagers don't have to deal with enough, teenagers and children often take the blame for their parents not wanting to work any more.

First it was Colin Powell. Now, Stan Van Gundy. Stan quit as the coach of the Miami Heat so he could spend more time with his children.

Must the children always be the cop out for famous people to take a few years off. Even if it is true, can't you just resign for "undisclosed personal reasons"? Do you always have to get on national television and say that this was a joyful dream job...but you just need to spend more time at home? PLEASE STOP!

If you stir the pot its bound to stink once in a while

I was reading Tony Jones' blog again today, and it made me laugh.

Tony is the coordinator of the emergent "conversation", and he is working on a PHD in Practical Theology. He used to be a youth minister at a church in the suburbs of MSP. He has written several books, and I have most of them. Several of them were little things written for a publisher here in the Springs, and then he has also written a couple books for YS and YS' Emergent Line of publishing things.

Anyway...what most people like or hate about Tony Jones is that he tends to be a bit of an iconoclast. Last time I saw him he was in a vigorous debate with Duffy Robbins on the "slippery-slope theory" of morality of sexual ethics. Duffy was maintaining that if we give ground anywhere in our discussion of sexual ethics, soon we will be supporting beastiality. Tony argued that the whole slippery-slope theory was more of a manipulative tack to silence debate than an honest discussion of said issue at hand.

Tony was right about the slippery slope, and Duffy was right about the issue they were discussing, in my opinion.

The thing is, part of Tony's role in this Emergent church conversation is that he runs around and pushes peoples buttons a little bit. He gets people to think outside of the box. With his book "Postmodern Youth Ministry" he challenged youth ministers to think outside of the box at how we can be missiological to coming generations within the culture they live in. In the process, he trampled on some sacred cows of conservative christianity (dont remember what they were at the moment.)

I find all of this very interesting.

What I find even more amusing is that he always seems genuinely shocked and angered when either Emergent or Tony pushes in new directions and presses envelopes. It seems to me that when you stir the pot, it is bound to stink. In other words, if you are going to be a leader in pushing the church in new directions, dont be surprised when it pushes back.

I think it amusing in part because I see parellels in my own life. I like to rail against windmills as well, and then I wonder why people think me a little odd.

This fall, at our church retreat, I began to point out and share things in an open manner. Especially about how our church culture was becoming more and more closed to outsiders. I knew I was stirring the pot. I knew I was upsetting people. So, when I recieved a little backlash for not towing the party line, and for agreeing with our retreat speaker instead of some influential church leader, I was not surprised. A little irritated. But not surprised.

When I speak bluntly to the congregation about things that they really need to be challenged with through my newsletter or when I speak, I also know there is going to be a little backlash. I just hope my SP has my back. For instance, when I wrote a newsletter article about how fundamentalists were wrong for villifying Halloween, I got in a little trouble. I knew I would, so I dealt with it. Told a few friends about the anonymous notes I got in my box, and the parent who pulled their kid from youth group for a couple of weeks.

Also, when I got angry that I was "benched" from any worship leadership whatsoever and wore a Hawaiian shirt to worship one Sunday, I was also not surprised when people got angry. I was surprised that nobody wanted to talk to me about it directly except for a few people that uttered words of encouragement. But these things are a whole other story.

But it constantly cracks me up when people, and Tony is one of many national, church, and personal examples of people who stir the pot, and then expect it not to stink.

What about you all?

Are you more quiet conformists or lightning rods of controversy?

How so?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Quotes from Fahd's Blog

"Man built most nobly when limitations were at their greatest."
— Frank Lloyd Wright

"In art, truth and reality begin when one no longer understands what one is doing or what one knows, and when there remains an energy that is all the stronger for being constrained, controlled and compressed."
— Henri Matisse
Your 2005 Song Is

Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz

"Love forever love is free.
Let's turn forever you and me."

In 2005, you were loving life and feeling no pain.
Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas

For you, it's all about sharing times with family.
Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.
You Are Mexican Food

Spicy yet dependable.
You pull punches, but people still love you.
Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Jet Soarer
Your Superpower is Electrocution
Your Weakness is Spiders
Your Weapon is Your Wind Bazooka
Your Mode of Transportation is Slide

Pretty close..you need to try this one

You Are 31 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
You're a Shy Kisser

You *do* love to kiss, once your comfortable with it
And that means knowing the person you're kissing pretty well
You usually don't make the first move when it comes to making out
But you've got plenty of intensity in return

Another quiz

Your Dating Purity Score: 70%

You are an under-experienced dater.
This doesn't mean you're unexperienced - far from it.
It just means that there's a lot of romance left to discover!

Just call me THIS:

Your Pimp Name Is...

Master Pimp Bling

This is sad and depressing

You Are 50% Boyish and 50% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.
Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.
You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.
You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

This is not something I do...but....it was a fun quiz

Your Seduction Style: Sweet Talker

Your seduction technique can be summed up with "charm"
You know that if you have the chance to talk to someone...
Well, you won't be talking for long! ;-)

You're great at telling potential lovers what they want to hear.
Partially, because you're a great reflective listener and good at complementing.
The other part of your formula? Focusing your conversation completely on the other person.

Your "sweet talking" ways have taken you far in romance - and in life.
You can finess your way through any difficult situation, with a smile on your face.
Speeding tickets, job interviews... bring it on! You truly live a *charmed life*

My Powerball Fantasies

Everytime the Powerball Lottery gets above 100 million my fantasy world goes on overdrive.

I start thinking about what it would be like if I won the lottery. What would I give away? What would I spend? What would it feel like to be out of debt? What could I give to my momma, my sis, my dad, my friends. I have fantasies of winning and paying off my car, and selling the car to the person who sold me the ticket for a dollar. I think about this for at least a half an hour or so, and it seems so real. (NOTE: This is a little bit dangerous if you are going shopping afterward)

Do any of you out there do the same thing.
Your Kissing Purity Score: 54% Pure

For you, kissing isn't a casual thing

Lip to lip action makes your heart sing

I missed #6

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!

The Message speaks to me

I like the Message. It speaks the words of Scripture to me in new ways. There are some times in my life where the cadence and language of a book in Scripture is something that I have read over and over again and I miss a lot of things because the Scripture has a familiar voice and a familiar tone. The Message translation (it is a translation..it is not a version or a paraphrase..I will post more about that if somebody wants me to)is unfamiliar so it speaks to me about the ancient word in new ways. In a way that grabs my attention.

Here are few quotes I kept on a sheet (until now) from Titus and 2 Timothy:

2:1--Your job is to speak out on the things that make solid doctrine.


2:15--God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available to everyone.

3:2--God's people should be bighearted and courteous.

2 Timothy

2:3--When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did.

??--Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Quotes from Aquachurch

Unless you have sent one out, it is no use to wait for your ship to come in.--Belgian Proverb (90)

The person who does not have faith is like someone who has to cross the sea, but is so frightened that he does not trust the ship. So he stays where he is and is never saved, because he will not get on board and cross over. MARTIN LUTHER (90)

stability is nothing more than sluggish motion--(91)

If you are not livin on the edge, you are taking too much room

It is the start that stops most people (92)

Entrepreneurs are people who do what they are not quite sure how to do.

You miss one hundred percent of the goals you never take--Wayne Gretsky

Design your life's journey not through planning, but through preparedness.

In popular Hebraic piety Satan is most fierce on three occasions: when you walk along a road, when you sleep in a dark house, and when you sail on the high seas (100)

Living in the light makes singing in the rain possible (112)

Augustine and Calvin feared musics power in worship to stir up the sense and lead them astray.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday living--Leopold Stokowski

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.--Maya Angelou

Leadership is sending out vibrations of truth that hunt people down and invite them to join the song (117)

I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until I was lifted and struck.--Annie Dillard

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Pro picks for this week

(all times EST)
Chicago at Pittsburgh 1:00 p.m.
Pittsburg wins in an upset at home.
Picked this one for a WIN!!!

Cleveland at Cincinnati 1:00 p.m.
Cinci wins this one BIG
Win but closer than I thought.

Houston at Tennessee 1:00 p.m.
Houston gets over the top and wins this game
Barely missed on this game.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville 1:00 p.m.
Indy wins this in a close game.
WIN AGAIN 3-1 so far!!!

New England at Buffalo 1:00 p.m.
New England grinds out another win
CORRECT!

Oakland at N.Y. Jets 1:00 p.m.
Oakland picks up a win here
LOSS 4-2

St. Louis at Minnesota 1:00 p.m.
Minnesota keeps winning
BRILLIANT!

Tampa Bay at Carolina 1:00 p.m.
Tampa wins this to stay in the hunt for the playoffs
YES!!
6-2 so far!
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia 4:05 p.m.
Giants win BIG

San Francisco at Seattle 4:05 p.m.
Seattle wins in a game that is closer than most expect

Washington at Arizona 4:05 p.m.
Arizona picks up another win with Kurt Warner at QB.

Baltimore at Denver 4:15 p.m.
Denver wins in a close game.

Kansas City at Dallas 4:15 p.m.
KC wins and keeps hope alive for a playoff birth

Miami at San Diego 4:15 p.m.
San Diego wins in a close game

Detroit at Green Bay 8:30 p.m.
Green Bay wins and Packers win two in a row

New Orleans at Atlanta
Atlanta in a route

Blog of Note

This COUNTRY MUSIC BLOG linked my post that a wrote a couple of months ago. Smart man.

Quotes from this book:

SEEING IS BELIEVING BY GREGORY BOYD


a person can believe Christianity is true, but it will affect his or her life only to the extent that it is also experienced as real (12)

people who are passionate about prayer are people who, usually without knowing it, use their imaginations in prayer (15)

There is simply nothing anyone can do to improve on what God has done for us by placing us in Jesus Christ (28)

The first reason the hiddenness of the flesh is so destructive, then, is because it constitutes a fundamental contradiction to God's design for people. Secrecy is foriegn to our created natures. (49)

For we are as healthy as our picture of God is accurate (56)

By keeping sin, pain, failure, and sickness hidden, Satan can ensure they will bring about destruction. (63)

The Grace of Discontent

Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged. We want to be a better person. We want to be a stronger person. And we find it discouraging that we are struggling against certain strongholds in our lives that seem to be bigger that we know what to do with.

But as I am thinking and studying, I am beginning to think that the visibility of the struggles that we deal with and the fact that we are infact wrestling with things is not necessarily evidence that things are going wrong. Infact, this struggle, this discontent, is actually a beautiful and wonderful thing.

This is especially true in the Christian journey. Death is satisfied with the way things are in the world. Life is being God's instrument to transform the world. The way of death is choosing not to listen to that urge that God calls you to more. The way of life is to have an insatiable appetite to become more of who you were created to be that you were yesterday. The way of life always spurs us on to something greater. To something better. Death is closing yourself to the person God has formed and is continuing to form you to be.

For me, there are point where I wonder when I can be satisfied with things just the way they are. At times I want to be, but I am not. I think Jesus calls us to be thankful and content with what we have been given and who he has made us to be. But we are also called to never be satisfied with what is, so that we can see more of what could be.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Now President Bush is in trouble

President Bush sent out a card that said, "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry Christmas. Now he is being attacked by the religious right.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10355980/

Test from Becca's blog

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to good manners and elegance.

In love, you feel the most alive when your lover is creative and never lets you feel bored.

You'd like to your lover to think you are loyal and faithful... that you'll never change.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage as something that will confine you. You are afraid of marriage.

In this moment, you think of love as something you don't need. You just feel like flirting around and playing right now.

Monday, December 05, 2005

In the Words of our former secretary of state.....



Although I have a few loose ends to tie up, I have study leave and vacation that I need to take from work by the end of the year. So although I have to follow through with a few responsibilities (like Christmas parties and a Wed. nite Bible study, and finding a few substitute teachers), I really dont have to be in the dreaded office much for the rest of the year. Yipee!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

We don't all look alike

I went to college in Sterling, KS. Not the most diverse place in America. A town where the one black gal in the local high school could not get a date in high school because interacial dating was considered sinful and wrong by most in town. And her parents were considered scandalous as well. This is the town where housewives show the slave entrances to their homes that had a secret entrance to the master's bedroom from the kitchen with a huge smile and laughter. Then they say, "Isn't that just neat!"

One of my fellow football players, an African-American wide receiver, worked with me doing children's ministry one night a week at a Methodist church about 10 miles from our college.

One of the kids kept telling him he looked like Eddie Murphy and kept wanting him to do the Buckwheat thing. Now, Terrell looked nothing like Eddie Murphy in my opinion. And he slowly got more irritated. So he went off on the kid in a very gentle and humorous way for about 5 minutes about how "we don't all look alike".

I have never understood this whole deal with black-white relations. With so many variations in skin tone in one ethnic group, it seems impossible to say, "They all look alike." Yet, just about every middle-aged black woman with a little extra weight gets compared to Oprah by middle-aged white women from hicktowns all over America.

Now where do people all look alike? Boys in Powers Lake, ND. All of Norweigian hertitage. All with the same haircut and the same baseball cap, blue jean, and t-shirt look in the summer. With the exception of the Wisthoff family, who were redheads.

I say all this to get to a semi-humorous point. Fat people do not all look alike. Find two men of size in a community of 100-200, and people will get them mixed up all the time. It is like people put you in...fat man that is at church or school category. I will say it again. White men of girth do not all look alike.

On two occasions I have had someone compare me to this person:



I don't think we look much alike.














Although I do have a mean impersonation of this wonderful man who is no longer with us....God rest his soul....















And sometimes people have even compared me to this character:











I don't think I look an awful lot like any of them. Let me remind you.
I AM A LOT BETTER LOOKING THAN ANY OF THEM.

:)

Renee Meme--may be a little bit of repeat from something previous

By the way if you have not picked up Renee's book Stumbling Toward Faith...you need to.

NOTE: With so many of my other entries being about my faith and my mission in life..I will try and not say all the noble and super-spiritual Sunday School answers.

Seven Things to Do Before I Die
travel to a distant land
enjoy my 15 minutes of fame
spend all day making love to a woman
take a 2 week road trip without a plan or a map
get out of debt
have made a difference in someone's life
weigh what I did in high school


Seven Things I Cannot Do
Run a mile in under 6 minutes
Be perfect
Get a job at Super Target (hangs head in shame)
Be friends with someone without going through a stage where they really make me angry (except Shawn)
figure out anything mechanical with my car
find a woman to put up with me
stay really angry at my mom for more than a few hours

Seven Things that Attract Me to the Opposite Gender
That she thinks highly of me and sees more in me than I see myself
The way she carries herself (good grooming, confidence, quirkiness)
The way she laughs--especially if it is always laughing at how cute I am!
The way she smells (ahhh....the scent of a woman....boooya!)
Knowing when to call me on my crap and when to just empathize with me
Strangely, when she gets angry on my behalf and comes speaks out to support me
Breasts. I really like breasts. A lot.



Seven Things I Say Most Often
Whatever!
Cool! (I am getting mocked for this more and more0
Sh*t!
What do YOU think about that?
I HAVE SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT THAT I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT
(most recently followed by making church staff sing its hard to be humble)
Hey, can I show you something?
RRRRRRRRR! (while pounding fist on desk)

Seven Books (or series) I Love
The Life of Pi
Anything by Douglas Coupland
The Chosen and sequels by Chiam Potok
My little black joke book
Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
A Long Obiedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson
In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen

Seven Movies (or Series) I Would Watch Over and Over Again
The Third Miracle
the Matrix (the whole series....the last 2 are underrated)
The Tao of Steve
The Color Purple
Keeping the Faith (Jenna Elfman is HOT!!)
Forrest Gump
A River Runs Through It
(phew, I got through that without having to hang my head in shame for mentioning a chick flick.)

Friday, December 02, 2005


The first of two Luther quotes Posted by Picasa

Ya think? Posted by Picasa

A thought to ponder Posted by Picasa

Another inspirational quote Posted by Picasa

Interesting quote Posted by Picasa

A controversial thought Posted by Picasa

Clint's NFL picks for the week: 12-3 for the week so FAR!!!

Atlanta at Carolina
Atlanta wins this one. They seem more in need of a win.
WRONG!!!!

Buffalo at Miami
Miami wins at home. They play well at home.
I BARELY won this pick.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Cincinatti breaks through on this one.
AGAIN I WAS CORRECT!

Dallas at N.Y. Giants
NY wins this one, and takes the lead in the division
WIN AGAIN. I AM DOING WELL THIS WEEK SO FAR

Green Bay at Chicago
Chicago keeps winning and grinning

Another CORRECT PICK.

Houston at Baltimore

Baltimore wins this one at home
ONCE AGAIN I WAS RIGHT!

Jacksonville at Cleveland
Cleveland wins this in an upset with Leftwich out.
Can't win em all. I WAS WRONG HERE.

Minnesota at Detroit
Teams tend to play more motivated after a firing the following week. Lions in an upset in this game.
WRONG AGAIN.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Tampa Bay wins this game, and their division is in a log jam again.
ANOTHER GOOD PICK!

Tennessee at Indianapolis
INDY wins big.
WIN!

Arizona at San Francisco
Warner leads the Cards to another victory.
WIN!

Washington at St. Louis
Washington wins on the road and creeps a little closer in their division.
WIN!

Denver at Kansas City
KC wins this game at home, and makes the division interesting. As long as they can stay close in the first half.
WIN!

N.Y. Jets at New England

New England wins this and basically solidifies their front runner standing in their division.
YET ONE MORE WIN!

Oakland at San Diego
San Diego wins this game, and after the KC win, they are all within a game.
Barring a HUGE fourth quarter comeback. WIN!

Seattle at Philly
Seattle wins this in a coming out party on Monday Night. West Coast teams always play better at night when they go back East.

For Becca

The word for worship

One of the New Testament words for worship, according to Len Sweet, means to "Move toward to kiss." What a beautiful picture.

I tried for about half of my life to be a stoic. Don't get too happy. Don't get too sad. Even more, if you allow yourself to be too happy, then you might contribute to feeling way down in the dumps at other times.

I tried to approach my understanding of my faith exclusively with my mind. Following Jesus was about truth. Christianity was a cosmic plan to control my little part of the universe. Good faith was about having the right ideas. Bad faith was about having the wrong ideas. Faith worked when I got what I wanted. I was doing something to piss God off when things did not go my way. I thought good ideas make all the difference in the world.

I forgot that faith is an action word.

And that following Jesus is about worshipping him. And that worshipping him is about "moving toward with a kiss".

Gives a whole new spin on Judas' "You betray me with a kiss?" Judas moves toward Jesus with a kiss, acting like is a friend and worshipper. His last encounter with Jesus exposes Judas' hypocrisy. He had thought and analyzed himself into a workable plan, but he had become the tin man--he lost his heart.

There are some days when I wonder....do I really believe in "all this Jesus stuff"? Does it make any sense at all? What's the point.

Then I worship...truly worship. Sometimes in the car. Sometimes at home. And I sense that in my worship as I move toward God he is also moving toward me, in me, and through me. And at that moment it is all worth it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Singing the blues

Been feeling a little down and low lately, so I decided I wanted to download the song "Stormy Monday".

But which version should I get. Lou Rawls? Muddy Waters? BB King?

I decided to go with the originator.

T-Bone Walker:



Here are the lyrics:

They call it stormy Moday, but Tuesday's just as bad
They call it stormy Moday, but Tuesday's just as bad
Wednesday's worse, and Thursday's also sad

Yes the eagle flies on Friday, and Saturday I go out to play
Eagle flies on Friday, and Saturday I go out to play
Sunday I go to church, then I kneel down and pray

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy on me

Choir song lyrics

Some of the choir songs we are singing are just gorgeous.
Here are the some of the lyrics:

To Welcome to Our World--A Christams Hymn

"Tears are falling, hearts are breaking, how we need to hear from God. You've been promised, we have been waiting, welcome Holy Child."

"Bring your peace into our violence, let our hungry souls be filled. Word now breaking heaven's silence, welcome to our world."

"Rob our sin and make us holy"


Of the Father's Love Begotten--with oboe in the style of Gregorian Chant

"Of the Father's love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be
He is the Alpha and Omega
he the source, the ending he"

Mary did You Know

"Did you know that this baby boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered would soon deliver you?"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


If I eve start a band, this might be a good name for it Posted by Picasa

Another Friar Tuck pic--this one from Disney Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Another Friar Tuck Picture Posted by Picasa

A quote for today Posted by Picasa

Places I almost moved: listed and rated

Pueblo, CO
Marietta, OH
Philidelphia, PA
Spokane, WA
Flagstaff, AZ
Memphis, TN
Kirkland, WA
Fairbanks, AK
Rushville, IN

Ranked:
1. Marietta, OH--was offered an associate pastor position here.
2. Spokane, WA--almost went to Whitworth College, but not enough $. This was my #1 choice though.
3. Philidelphia, PA--job interview in suburbs was cancelled, but had the ticket. LOVED PHILLY.
4. Flagstaff, AZ--southern AZ is too dang hot, but love N. Arizona and S. Utah. When we moved to AK is was a toss up from what mom said between AK and Flagstaff.
5. Memphis, TN--was asked to candidate here after I accepted a call to Belgrade, MT. Always wondered what might have been.....
6. Pueblo, CO--Strangely enough for those who have been there, this town has a peculiar fond place in my heart.
7. Fairbanks, AK--Had two flirtations here as a college choice. Both times I chose to go to different schools. Also interviewed for a job here. They turned me down, and then called back a year later to offer me the job. The year after that they folded as a church. Phew! Glad I didnt go there. That and when I did pulpit supply there it was 0F and people were out jogging. They told me they closed down the church when it got under -35F.
8. Rushville, IN
9. Kirkland, WA--did not like the Tri-cities area at ALL. Job interview offered here.

Another idea for making money

I have decided that I might be able to make money organizing THIS (click link)

Call it PURE BY CHOICE PIMPIN'

The place I have lived: Listed and ranked.

I have lived in the following places.

Homer, AK
Soldotna, AK
Ashland, OR
Roseburg, OR
Douglas County, OR
Deerfield, IL
Sterling, KS
Kansas City, KS
Peoria, IL
Powers Lake, ND
Stony River, AK
Colorado Springs, CO
Belgrade, MT

This is how I would rank these places from best to worst:

1. Homer, AK--one of my favorite places in the whole world.
2. Douglas County, OR--not Roseburg, but living out of town along the river
3. Belgrade, MT--loved the place, loved the community, needed to leave the job
4. Ashland, OR--Beautiful, gorgeous wonderful place
5. Kansas City, KS--my fave metro area I have lived in (over Chicago and Front Range)
6. Roseburg, OR--home sweet home--where I was born and was until 5th grade
7. Powers Lake, ND--a little too rural. Great in the summer, but would not want winter.
7. Soldotna, AK--Like it better visiting then when I lived there.
9. Deerfield, IL--had no car when I went to school in this wealthy IL suburb.
9. Colorado Springs, CO--nice size, not a friendly place so far. Grown too fast.
11. Stony River, AK--would be much higher if I had running water while living there.
12. Sterling, KS--went to school here. Did well. Never want to go back.
13. Peoria, IL--hot, sticky, trashy....with a whole lotta bad experiences.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Loser

I am so frustrated.

I have worked really hard to find a job lately. I have ended up with NOTHING.

I got turned down by TARGET. And BARNES AND NOBLE. And Bath and Body Works.
And the calandar KIOSK in the mall. I feel like a failure.

I have been looking for a second job to suppliment my income.

I have been weighing the options of why I am getting turned down. Here is what I have come up with so far.

a. I already have another job, and they want me committed to their schedule.

b. Lack of experience in the positions I am looking for.

c. They dont like me.

d. I am a reject and nobody would want me to work for them.

e. I am overeducated for the positions that they are wanting to fill.

Ughhh. I am a loser.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Regionalism

One of the things that has always fascinated me is how different regions in America are so different.

The West is different from the Midwest which is different from the South which is different from the Rocky Mountain region which is different from the East Coast. And California is a whole different world unto itself. There are some slight differences in language, some definite differences in values and culture, there are variations in accent, and even in musical styles. As a matter of fact, all a person has to do is look at the last election to see this truth.

In my life I have visited every section of the country except for the Northeast (I consider Pennsylvania mid-atlantic). Here are some differences that I seemed to notice.

Music:
Have you ever noticed that California Rock has a whole different feel than Jersey Rock and Southern Rock? Not to mention the Seattle alternative music scene.

Have you ever heard people talk about East Coast vs. West Coast rap?

Lesser known, there is a lot of regionalism within country music. Texas country sounds different that Texas country and Western country.

Values:

Racial attitudes are much different in the midwest and the south than they are in the west.

Certain areas of the country are a lot more smoker friendly than others.

The West seems more focused on the individual and their rights, while the south and midwest seem to be more focused on conformity.

Anyway...that is a start to the observations.

What kinds of things do you notice?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Quotes from Timbered Choir by Wendell Berry



Once the mind is reduced to the brain, then it falls within the grasp of the machine.
(118)

The body in the invisible
Familiar room accepts the gift
Of sleep, and for a while is still;
Instead of will, it lives by drift

In the great night that gathers up
The earth and sky. Slackened, unbent,
unwanting without fear of hope,
the body rests beyond intent.

Sleep in the prayer the body prays,
Breathing in unthought faith the Breath
that through our worry-wearied days
Preserves our rest and is our truth.

(Sabbath poems, 1990, V)

The seed in in the ground
Now we may rest
while darkness does its work

(Sabbath poems, 1991, V)



Quotes from Eugene Peterson in Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places


Living fully and well is at the heart of all serious spirituality. (29)

The fundamental inadequacy of codes of conduct for giving direction in how to live the spiritual life is that it puts us in charge....God is moved off the field of action and into the judges stand where he grades our performance (43)

The Spirit of God that moves over the waters "in the beginning" continues to move, continues to create (22)

We begin a journey by first deciding on a direction.

In my CD/Real Player



This is nice, mellow music for a Saturday Afternoon. I particularly like Bannana Pancakes.

Jack Johnson is a fun mix between Jimmy Buffett and Dave Matthews. Acoustic guitar and drums, with a strong emphasis on vocals.

Budget crisis



Had an interesting thing happen at work on Wednesday. I was told that I could spend no more money from my budget for the year. Argggh.

This is a difficult time for this to happen. Here is why: I feel my work is the least valued in whole place, even though it is one of the few places where we are growing in our church and where new life is happening.

For the year I have paced out my spending from my budget (which was reduced 20 percent last year)toward the end of the year. Thus, I am under budget for the year. The church has over 300,000 in various savings accounts, but somehow we are too broke for me to spend my budget.

This is frustrating because I was faithful to my budget. I planned my spending for the year, had spent time getting permission to buy something from a department line item. I had done everything right. I had stayed on budget. Yet somehow I was made to feel like our budget crisis was due to too much spending my budget, specifically the youth budget which is in total--1% of the total budget.

When told this I said, "So the youth group and I are being punished for being on budget when everyone else was over?"

I was told, "Well that will teach you to not blow all your money at the beginning of the year, won't it?"

At this point I wish that they would just tell me that I did a good job but they could not afford my services, and send me down the road.

It feels like I am always being taken for granted at this place. I feel like I keep doing the right thing and getting punished for it.

Poor me. I am going to go eat worms.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005