Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Dream Vacation: A Blog World Tour

Sometimes I think, if I had the time to get away, I would do a blog world tour.

In other words, I would drive around the country and cruise around the world, and say hello to all of you out in blogland that I have never met. If this scares you, please don't worry because it is not happening anytime soon.

The reason I bring this up is because I wonder, does anyone else ever think about doing something like this.

No? That is what I thought. Now it is confirmed. I am a total weirdo.

Enduring Suspicion and Embracing Vulnerability

Today, I love my job. I got lunch for one of my students and a couple of her friends and they came over to the clubhouse at my apartment and we sat and ate and talked. The sun was out. The girls were smiling. It is one of those days I was reminded why I do what I do. Because I love teenagers! And I love being a support and an influencer in their lives.

Then I came to the office, and there was a note that a new parent had called. She was concerned that we had asked her daughter's school in our registration materials. The parent was very polite and very appropriate. And, I think I answered her questions honestly and well. (I told her my first response when I heard she was asking this question was, "Because we have always done it that way and never thought about it", and my honesty seemed to reassure her.) It seems the school had told parents to be suspicious of anyone who asks what school your child goes to, and as she is a single parent of one, she is "very involved" in making sure her child is safe.

I was thankful for the parent, but I left the conversation thinking that situations like this are so very sad. We have come to a place in our society when we cannot really trust one another anymore. Sadly to say, this seems especially true with church work with teens. There are some that equate "youth leader" with pediphile priests and bad boy scout leaders and other kiddie diddler types. And even if they do not, people often view your good intentions with suspicion.

How does one deal with being the object of suspicion? How does one deal with someone who assumes the worst motives? How does one transcend a culture of mistrust and an eagerness among people to put up their defenses? This isn't something that just happens in my profession. It happens everywhere. The worst possibilities are automatically imagined and guarded against. We are assumed to be guilty of something until we can prove ourselves.

Many people try to combat this by attempting to put their best face forward. They smile and they charm. And they put the more messy stuff in the back closet hoping nobody will see that.

I, however, think the opposite approach is most helpful. Be vulnerable. Especially in the face of concern of others. Let your life be an open book. Don't play games.

The easy way to go with difficulties, especially difficulties in the church is to be defensive. The problem is, when you appear defensive you arouse suspicion. It is a lot like Heath Ledger's character in A Knight's Tale. To be sucessful in overcoming the defensiveness of someone you need to lean into their attacks instead of running away from them. And this leaves you both a greater risk of getting hurt, and a greater chance of overcoming their defenses. But, how can you ask others to be open and vulnerable toward you if you are not willing to do the same thing. So I have started being more open the more I am attacked or questioned about things. And I am hoping God will bless my actions in these matters.

What about you?

I got a new calendar today! I needed something inspirational at home for my wall, and to help me keep track of what day it is. Until then, this particular picture is hanging in my church office as a muse to motivate me to work harder, and to add a smile to my face. And, cause, well, I feel a little ornery too. I just wish they provided her name!
Your Career Type: Social
You are helpful, friendly, and trustworthy.Your talents lie in teaching, nursing, giving information, and solving social problems.
You would make an excellent:
Counselor - Dental Hygienist - LibrarianNurse - Parole Officer - Personal TrainerPhysical Therapist - Social Worker - Teacher
The worst career options for your are realistic careers, like truck driver or farmer.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday Evening Quotes

The crowd does not recognize a leader until he is gone; then they build a monument for him with the stones they threw at him in life--Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership

Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently.--CS Lewis

Spiritual growth, in a sense, is increasing our capacity to experience the presence of God.--Brother Lawrence

God makes the glow worm as well as the star; the light in both is divine--George McDonald

It is a severe rebuke upon us that God makes us so many allowances, and we make so few for our neighbor.--William Penn

Great faith, like great strength in general, is revealed by the ease of its workings.--Dallas Willard

The worse the evil, the readier the Christian must be ready to suffer--Deitrich Bonhoeffer

One sees only great things from the valley, only small things from the peak--Chesterton

Sunday, January 29, 2006

SOME of the books in my bookbag

Jesus Doesn't Need a Fan Club

Jesus doesn't need a fan club. These were my thoughts as I drove into work this morning. Let me explain.

I have been thinking a lot about what scholars call the "messianic secret". This is where Jesus heals and helps people but tries to get them to keep it between them and him. It is the lectionary text for next Sunday, and I have been thinking on what it means.

At the same time, here in Colorado we have to listen to Bronco fans turn on their team all over again. Well, maybe not the team, but the folks calling into sports radio are already calling for the trade of the quarterback and the possibility of finding a new coach. It happens whenver does not win the Super Bowl around here. It happens everywhere to a certain extent. It is the nature of a fan. They watch. They scream. But at best they participate from the sideline.

Jesus doesn't need a fan club. He needs participants in his kingdom. People who are going to work with him to love their neighbor and make the world a better place. Jesus doesn't need more billboards, or bumper stickers for support. He doesn't need more of us yelling at homosexuals about how evil they are, or telling heads of state they deserve to die. He needs people who are going to live their lives as compassionate servants.

I think a lot of us are committed to the Christian fan club. We sing our own little club songs, and play our own little club games. We wear our Sunday morning best as a uniform of sorts. We even have something akin to a tailgate party with church potlucks. But are we willing to commit our lives to living the way of Jesus. Are we willing to be players on the field instead of being in the Jesus fan club. I am not sure.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Commended posts for this week--Part 1

Renee's Wardrobe Malfunction

Ray's questions about God

Raven's Natural Remedies

Nabeel's shoe mystery

Kim's report about Rick Warren and a little of his vision for the church

Dan Kimball's reflections on preachy t-shirts and his response to them.

A few more tomorrow as well

Living on the Borderland

I have lived on the edge socially. Not feeling that I really belong anywhere, that I fit anywhere. I am not saying this to put myself down, it is just a statement of fact. And it isn't that I do not have friendly relationships with people. If anything, especially in high school and college, it was that I was friendly with lots of different people. I am independent and stubborn to a fault. What I am saying is that I never have really fit a mold, or felt like I belonged in a clique, or could be defined by a particular label.

Here is one example. Both in high school and college, I was both a part of athletic teams (everything in high school and football in college) and in more academic circles with highly-driven students. In college there was also the "God-squad" (a group of very "Jesusy" people) that I was social with, but never really righteous and holy enough to fit into (I liked to kiss girls and cussed too much). So while I had friends in each of these circles, I never really belonged in any of these social circles. In part, because I had the other aspects to my life and personality. Also, I can be a pain in the ass in about any setting.

Since I have been in church there have also been these same kinds of groups, and I do not really fit into any one of them either. Church workers often affiliate themselves into theological camps. There is the Pentecostal/charismatic crowd that wants you to speak in tongues or get hyper emotional to fit into their group. There are the conservative evangelicals, that like Pinky and the Brain have grand plans to force the country and the world into their mold. There are the flaky liberal folks, who spend a lot of time as chaplains in hospitals, and who make up for their lack of theological depth with larger Jesus bling (the more liberal the theologian, the bigger the jewelry). And now there are the Emergent church folks, that have some interesting thoughts, but have the vibe of a neo-hippy Jesus people movement at times. I have friends and sympathies in each camp. I want to experience God as Pentecostals do, value Scripture as conservatives do, be as socially concerned as liberals are, and be as good at thinking missionally and theologically as Emergent church folks are. But I don't really fit into these camps either.

I also feel like I am both on the borderlands of the church and the world. By this I don't mean that I am compromising my faith. I mean that I feel like I can kinda relate to prissy church people and kinda relate to the guy having a beer next to me at the local watering hole, but I don't really fit completely in those settings either. I am too backward and country for church folks, and I am too straight-laced to really fit in at the bar or the club.

This is why I chose the moniker Friar Tuck. It was a nickname from my aunt who thought I did a good job with the Jesus stuff, but could be a lot of fun at a wedding party or two as well. But it often leaves me as a bridgebuilder. On the borderlands. Trying to bring all my friends and sensibilities together, but never quite succeeding.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My Sunday adventure or In Search of a Decent Apology

These days I am trying to grow a goatee. I have had the patch on the bottom of my chin off and on for a while. I recently started shaving again about November because of the bleach in my hair. And because I felt it was time for a change.

The problem is....I have a round face. And when grow hair on the bottom of my chin then it makes the rest of my face look thinner and thus I look skinnier. And skinnier is always the look I am going for.

So, like I said, I am trying to grow a goatee. This last Sunday I am walking into church and one of the power people at the church yells...."Clint, OH NO! Are you growing facial hair again? I really wish you would not do that. I DONT LIKE IT. I can't believe you are doing that again. It just looks AWFUL. I am so disappointed in you. You should not have FACIAL HAIR.

Ok, I will admit, the little beard or goatee or whatever you call it at the bottom of my chin is not everyone's favorite look for me. I am real about that. I like how it looks in the profile pic personally, but think at times it gets to be a little mangy. And I should have shaved it off right away when I died my hair. But after looking at before and after pictures....I look better with it. And besides, it is kind of a security blanket anymore.

Nevertheless, I did not think I deserved a dressing down about the matter in the entryway of the church by the wealthiest and most influential member of my congregation. Neither did he. So, about 5 minutes later he comes into my office.

He started to apologize and I felt thankful.

He said, "I apologize for my behavior, it was inappropriate."

I was feeling like this could be a true breakthrough in our relationship. But, he could not keep quiet. His next sentence ruined everything.

"My behavior was not worthy of me!"

I am taken aback. What the hell does that mean. Not worth of him? It was not worthy of me! I was the one that was attacked. But somehow he turned his apology into something where he was the victim of himself and I was just in the way.

I was trying to wrap my head around what he was trying to communicate. He rambled on about how facial hair was just not appropriate for men (what about women?) and this was especially true for people in the pulpit (Didn't Moody have a beard...and doesn't Rick Warren have a goatee?). After about a minute of telling my why he is right he again continues with saying...MY BEHAVIOR WAS NOT WORTHY of me. Over and over. When he left I thought he was even more of a jerk than when he came to apologize.

He communicated that his issues were his issues...not mine. Then he left.

And I began to wonder how we will ever muster up enough momentum to grow anywhere as as a church getting hung up on this. So I vented my frustration in a productive way. We talked as a youth group about repentance and the proper way to apologize with examples from Scripture. That way...maybe we wont end up with the next generation acting as badly. Or, at least they will have the opportuinity to learn different.

Who would have guessed?

I am constantly amazed at the folks who come through this little blog of mine.

As I look over my blogroll I notice that there is a lot of diversity. For instance:

At least half of the "People I have met in tbe Blogosphere" section is not Caucasian.
My blog has been linked by 2-3 authors I respect in my professional field.
Ages of "subscribers" range from early 20s to people who are grandmothers.
Occupations vary from artist to education to church secretary to public health.
People visit from Europe, Asia, Austrailia, and all over North America.
There are more people from the South on this blog than I ever expected.

What did I expect? I think a few minister types would come through. And I was hoping a publishing person would come through and think I am a good writer. When that happened I blew it. It was a slow time in ideas to blog about.

I am thankful though, for the diversity and some of the friendships I have begun to grow and to form on here.

What about you? How has blogging been what you expected? How has it taken on a life of its own?

Because I want to be accountable

The HEARING GOD blog is back up with regular post with my thoughts on the lectionary texts from the week.

Please feel free to drop by and leave comments.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The First Time Ever

Highlight of the greatest football game in history

One of My Newsletter articles for the week

This January has been a little odd. While I generally know a few people who make New Year’s resolutions that last until a week before Valentine’s Day, I have talked to a number of people who are making major life changes in the new year. It has gotten me thinking about what life changes I need to make. The problem with me is, there is so much room for improvement. Go on a diet—it is rather obvious that could be a good goal for me. Another good goal might be to do more ironing before Sunday morning. I might also want to muster up the courage to have more than one date every two to three months. And, going two years in a row without getting a speeding ticket would do wonders for my insurance premiums.
The thing is that these resolutions require something that is very difficult—a confession. Confession is a scary thing. When we move toward confession, we feel weak and vulnerable. We get worried that someone is going to take advantage of this unguarded state and hurt us. Yet growth and change require confession. One of the reasons recovery groups like AA are so effective is that they challenge their constituents to admit before everyone their need to begin and continue a life change.
In the last month or two I have been struggling with a sense that I need some sort of change, but I have not been sure what it is. I have been asking myself lots of questions that do not have easy answers. Is God really using me here at First Baptist? Does God still want me in ministry anymore? Do I really like the “me” I am becoming? What am I really passionate about, and how do I follow that passion?
And these questions led me to a place where I needed to make a confession to you as a congregation. Recently, I have not been the Associate Pastor God has called me to be. I have been working hard at putting together ministry programs, building and maintaining relationships, and trying to make everybody happy. In the process, these tasks have been what I centered my ministry around. For me to minister my best, my life cannot revolve around the tasks I have to perform. It needs to be centered around my relationship with Jesus Christ. My ministry needs to grounded in prayer and study. Otherwise I am trying to share living water when my life is a soon to be empty well. And as an associate pastor in the church, that takes more than “devotions” and studying to prepare for the next lesson to be leader God wants me to be.
Here is my resolution. My work day is going to begin with and be centered around focused time of prayer and study. Emails can wait until later in the day, and so can non-emergency phone calls. And if you support me in this decision, feel free to support me and keep me accountable as God leads you to do so. And pray for us as a staff. We can use all the prayer support you can muster.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I think it fits

You Are Mexican Food

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

Friday, January 20, 2006

Life Lessons for this week

Life Lesson #1--I May Do Well Under Pressure, But I am miserable while the pressure is on

When I was in football in high school, and even the first time I got in the game in college, I played well under pressure. But, I dont deal well with stress. I used to get more sorry for myself the more pressure I was under, but these days I am just....as Whoopie Goldberg's character said in Kingdom Come "downright surly".

Specifically, I have been feeling a lot of pressure at work this month with my responsibilities on Sundays. I have to coordinate and organize 6-12 grade Sunday School, as well as lead it. Then the next half hour is spent between counseling folks about issues, trying to get in to practice for choir, and running upstairs to put on the robes and pray with the boss and whoever is the worship assistant. I then do announcements, run back, change into a different robe for choir, get in the loft to do choir, run down, change back into my suit, and listen to the rest of the sermon. I run home, grab a quick bite to eat, change clothes, and then run back out again to get ready for the evening. The evening includes a meeting with the youth workers, getting supplies for youth group, leading youth group. So far so good. This is the typical Sunday I have had for most of my career.

The next thing is what puts it over the top. I have to then lead our NEW WORSHIP SERVICE CALLED EDGE after leading youth group. I have to do all the last minute stuff in the middle of Sunday afternoon as well. And then there are always people who just do not show up for commitments they have made. And although I try to delegate and include everyone else, the presssure is ALL ON ME to make things go well, to get everyone in the proper place, to give everyone their strokes. And since we are trying to do CREATIVE AND NON-TRADITIONAL types of things...that means more work....not like a normal service where you kinda do the same thing every week.

So there is all this pressure, and people are pretty pleased with things, but I feel a little overwhelmed.

Throw in trying to plan two trips and help with camp planning at a new site for the summer, people wanting me to teach LEVITICUS (read lots of study) on Wednesday night and make it interesting, choir practice on Thursday nights, and I feel a lot of pressure to perform in a lot of different ways. And to get really well organized with everything. And that....by every Sunday afternoon....has made me DOWNRIGHT SURLY.

Life Lesson #2--I am not a very likeable person

So these people on Wednesday night are all talking about MUNICH. And all of the sudden I come to the realization that there were all these people who were invited and I was not. It put me into a bad funk.

You see, on several occasions asked my friends here, who are married to one another, if they want to do something. You want to catch a movie? Can I drop by and say hello? Do you want to get a bite to eat after church? And generally they say, "That would be great! Not tonight but could you call tomorrow between such and such a time." I then call them. And they do not answer the phone. We do not get together.

Then they complain how another co-worker comes by after work all the time and eats them out of house and home. But when I ask if I can drop by it is like....maybe later.

These are people who had me do a prayer and be a groomsman in their wedding. They talk about how we are friends at times. But more and more I am feeling....But you do not act like friends.

The frustrating thing is that they pretend like they care. They want me to think they care. But they dont. Which is frustrating for me, since they are my only friends here.

Then there are these other acqauintences I have. They work at a place I shop at. We were all going on a diet together...and I joined them at their insistence. Without getting into too much of the drama, I had a big argument with one of them because she accused me of being a weak person because I was not doing as well as she was after three days. I had a rare moment of being assertive, and told her in no uncertain terms that if she wanted to get in a pissing match about who had more discipline in their life I think I would win hands down. That was the wrong thing to say. Never get in a pissing match with a redneck woman from Arkansas. (Point of interest: I dated this woman for two months before I moved here. She has since married someone else.) She went out for a smoke. The other guy told me about how he couldn't argue with either of us because he has some gay trist about once a week and hasn't been in a committed relationship in a year. And I left. I have not seen either of them since.

I guess I just dont deserve to have good friends that care about me.

Life Lesson #3--I need to be more courageous

This has been a challenge I have set before myself during the last year. Even though I have become more bold at times, I still have a little growing to do.

Generally I am more cowardly in two situations. One is in asserting myself at work, and the other is in having the gumption to ask women out on dates.

The work stuff is evidenced by what I wrote above. And what I have written previously.

As for the dating stuff, I am just a wimp. I don't like rejection, so I look for signs. Currently, I have a little bit of an interest in someone. So, I try to drop by and say hello when she does not look busy. We talk. She makes me laugh. She teases me a little. And tends to flirt with me a little. (If saying, "Well look...if it isnt my Prince Charming is flirting...I think it is general friendly flirting). So I have decided I am going to ask this woman out several times in the last few weeks. I try to do it. And I wimp out. Last time we got into a big discussion about the REV in front of my name on my mail. (That REV thing seems to be a big strike against me with the ladies....almost worse than being overweight).

Life Lesson #4--I seem to have a strong resume for people looking to hire someone at bargain basement salaries

Enough said.

Life Lesson #5--Just showing up scores points

I got some encouraging words from some former parents this week. And the comments taught me, among other things, that just being there and showing up is half the battle. This is especially true in a ministry where I was the 5th person in 5 years. If I were to hang around as long as I have already been here, I would have the longest tenure for my position in the history of this church.

I still however, feel like I am RUNNING TO STAND STILL as long as I am here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Celebrity Fit Club

What a great show. And it is back!

This year they have some folks I have never heard of...but some of the more interesting names on the teams are:

Tempest Bledsoe (Cosby Show)
Chastity Bono (Sonny and Cher's daughter)
Kelly LeBrock (the hot chick from Weird Science now older and chubbier)

YEAH! One of my favorite shows is back!

Now if only I could catch up on the Sopranos!

What happens when you don't have a social life

Last night I got sucked into a movie on television.

The name of the movie was **blushes**, Crossing Delancy.

It was a chick flick. Set in a Jewish neighborhood in New York.

Actually the movie was interesting because it got me thinking about something. See, the whole story was about this woman who gets set up with this guy and she sees that he is a good guy but thinks that she could do better.

There is something that is a turn off about being with a man that owns and runs a pickle shop, and that was matched to her by a matchmaker.

More and more the woman in the story sees what a good man he is, but he is not her ideal. She thinks she can do better. More exciting. More handsome. Yet she still finds him intriguing.

The other thing that is more subtle and behind the scenes is how his goodness reflects his Jewish faith. He takes in people who are without a home. He cares for the old men in his neighborhood. He honors his parents. He deals honestly in his business.

I guess I liked it cause it dealt with chick flick type of issues in a different way. A way that was modern and full of people with faults, but at the same time it was a morality tale of sorts. And it was a romance movie that seemed to say that there was more to love and marriage that raging hormones and instant attraction. It spoke a lot more to the importance of integrity and fidelity and goodness.

And it got me to thinking....

I think a lot of times in a lot of things in life we think life is about bigger and better. If we are single we think that...this person might be good and nice...but I could find someone more exciting. And so we let a lot of good and nice people move on by because they dont seem to be a "catch" or our ideal, and then we find out later that we should have gotten to know that person a little bit better.

Sometimes the same thing can happen with friendships. And we take friends for granted.

Sometimes it happens with work and with lots of things.

And sometimes this happens in the way we understand the faith aspect of our life to. We think it is alright, but plain and ordinary. So we do not give it much value. Only to discover later how beautiful and passionate and meaningful it becomes when we invest ourselves in it.

Don't get me wrong....I dont think we should settle in life. But sometimes golden jewels come in tattered containers. And lifeless manequins are always well dressed.

Why do I do this to myself?

I had a job interview yesterday. A friend set it up, and so I went along to the meeting gladly.

It was wonderful. We ate cheesecake together and were straight forward about a lot of things, and came out very clear (in my opinion) that we could work together.
I really like the community the church is in, I would love the opportunity to be back in a small town...etc etc.

So what is the problem? I am really worried about the financial situation if I go there. And really worried that I might end up there anyway.

God has a strange sense of humor.

Pray that if I am led there that doors open to make it a viable option for me!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Troy Polamalu--Articles and thoughts

Here is a CNN interview article with Troy...How many guys tough as Troy talk about making hope chests by hand for the future wife?

Why Troy keeps his hair long and more on his faith.

From the OC to Tenmile, OR--a little of Troy's Life Journey

Inspirational Quotes

The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children--

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of shore--
Andre Gide

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm--

Those who are quick to promise are generally slow to perform. They promise mountains and perform molehills--

A man with courage makes a majority--
Andrew Jackson

To have what we want is riches. To do without is power--
George McDonald

The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide--

If there is a job to be done, I always ask the busiest men in my parish to take it on and it gets done--
Henry Ward Beecher



Christmas in Cali Pics

I stayed home for Christmas, but my sister sent me pictures of Mom (Mimi), my nephews, and some with her and her hubby in there too. Enjoy!

An Interesting Theological Observation

Tonight we were discussing the story where Jesus says that we must recieve the kingdom like a child.

One of the things that I thought of during the teaching time of our worship service I thought was a pretty keen observation. Where does Jesus get angry is Scripture? Jesus gets angry when people find ways to get in the way of other people getting to God. He turns over tables in the temple because the people in the temple were ripping people off, and getting in the way of them being able to worship God through charging movie theater prices for things within the church.

Jesus gets mad at the disciples for getting in between him and the children who are seeking him.

He gets angry at the Pharisees for putting up barriers between the people and God through legalism.

Whenever Jesus gets angry in Scripture, it is because other people are keeping seekers from God.

Anyway...something to think about. A warning to live by.

what decade does your personality live in?

quiz brought to you by lady interference, ltd

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Drought is Over

For the first time in 20 years, the Seahawks have won a playoff game. They beat the Redskins 20-10. They play at home next week, and if they win, they go to the Super Bowl.


Friday, January 13, 2006

This is Mindy. She comes in and hangs out with me every Thursday night before choir whiler her parents are doing handbell choir. She has Downs' Syndrome, a truth she shares with most people rather matter of factly.

I have this picture because lately she has taken to spending a few minutes in my office, and then asking to use the camera. She takes pictures of about everything that she can find. Clocks, about 18 pictures of her watch, a copy machine, the windows, the floor etc. She turns 21 next Monday.

Yesterday she walked in and within a few minutes my eyes started watering. She laid a "silent but deadly" blue cloud over the whole room! Says nothing while I am coughing and gasping for air. Just smiles and giggles a lot. Then she asks to use the bathroom across the hall. I am not quite sure she shut the door because I could hear her talking to herself, as well as noises of her making an strong effort at what she was doing (loud grunts). I was almost rolling on the floor Laughing by this point. She is adorable.

This morning she was still on my mind, but in a different way. I started to think of Mindy as a role model. For instance, you should see her worship in church. She will jump up and down and sing really loud and be totally oblivious that she is the only one with her hands raised or jumping at the time. She just is who she is before God, and makes no apologies for it.

She also is unconditionally embracing of about everyone she meets. She gives everyone the benefit of the doubt.

Then I started thinking about heaven. And about what it would be like. And I think at somepoint early in that moment when we are gathered on the other side of glory, there is going to be a processional. And in that processional is going to be millions of handicapped people. And many of those will be folks with Downs' like Mindy. And while they will be healed of some of their hardship and pain, they will still have that special smile on their face and that unhidden, unrestrained joy on their faces. And the folks like Mindy will be dancing around Christ's throne and sitting at his feet. Probably eating cake and ice cream. Posted by Picasa

Mindy's Pics

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fifteen years changes a lot

When a friendly aquaintence from High School that you at lunch with, went to camps with, and went on road trips with gets in THIS KIND OF TROUBLE, it is kinda sad.

Update: Read my comment below if you cannot access the file.

Inspirational Country

There has been an upswing in some good inspirational yet mainstream country music that has come out recently. Here are a few of my favorites:

1.) When I Get Where I am Going--Brad Paisley (feat. Dolly Parton)

2.) Believe--Brooks and Dunn

3.) Clothes Don't Make The Man--Keith Anderson

Updated List:

4.) Jesus Take the Wheel--Carrie Underwood

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cry, Cry, Cry

I have a couple of conversations lately on the subject of crying. All of these conversations have been with women. At sometime in these conversations we get to a discussion of how often each one of us cries. The women say once a week or once a month. I say once every year or two.

This generally shocks the female in the conversation. Are you just unemotional? Are you cold-hearted? How do you function and keep your sanity? What's wrong with you? Don't you like to cry? Don't you feel better after you do so?

Here is my general answer, in outline form (sort of):

1. Everyone has an initial emotional trigger. For some people it is crying. For some people it is sadness. For me it is anger. My first response when I get emotional is "fight or flight". I either want to punch something or run as far away from it as possible. My first emotion is not to cry. Crying happens in me when someone hits something deep below the surface.

2. I hate to cry for the same reason I have never been drunk. I have a little bit of a control freak in me. I feel out of control of things when I cry. And if I cry in front of others I feel weak and vulnerable. The only time this was not the case and I cried like a baby was at my sister's wedding reception. I cannot explain this. Except....I love my baby sister.

3. I am not an unemotional person. I am personally moved by many things, including sometimes getting a little bit misty (which does not count as crying in my opinion). Not everyone vents their emotions and feeling through tears. Although, from what I have seen, those who do get their way more often.

What about all of you out there. How often do you cry? What kinds of things move you to tears the most?

Best Drinking Songs

I have been thinking....what are the best drinking songs ever written...
Here is my top ten list:

1. Marguiritaville--Jimmy Buffett

2. Five O'Clock Somewhere--Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett

3. California Love--Tupac Shakur

4. Beer For My Horses--Toby Keith and Willie Nelson

5. Let's Get Drunk and Screw--Jimmy Buffett

6. Its Hard to Be Humble--Mac Davis

7. Sweet Home Alabama/Freebird--Lynyrd Skynyrd

8. Family Tradition/All My Rowdy Friends--Hank Williams Jr.

9. All Apologies--Nirvana

10. I Love This Bar--Toby Keith



1, 2, 3, 4--COOLIO

Excerpts from "The Founders on Religion"

This is a book of quotes by the founding fathers of the United States on Religion in our Nation:

As much as I love, esteem, and admire the Greeks, I believe the Hebrews have done more to enlighten and civilize the world--
John Adams

The lack of anti-semitism suprises me here. Good for Adams. Lest we give him too much credit he shares the following quote about Catholicism:

I have long decided in opinion that a free government and the Roman Catholick religion can never exist together in any nation or country.

Adams was not the only one with reservations against Catholicism. It makes me wonder how Maryland ever made it into the union with attitudes like this. Read what Ben Franklin said:

"Our anscestors from Catholic first became Church of England and then into refined Presbyterians. To change from Presbyterianism to Popery seems to me refining backwards, as from white sugar to brown."

Wait a second Ben! I like brown sugar! Anywhoo....Thomas Jefferson also had issues. Jefferson's issues were with the Calvinism of the Northeast. Listen to what he says:

"Calvinism has introduced into the Christian religion more new absurdities that its leader had purged it of old ones"

Many try to turn Jefferson into a diest. The quotes in the book tend to suggest otherwise. Perhaps the most powerful statement on Christianity I noticed from Jefferson was this:

"Had the doctrine of Jesus been preached always as purely as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would have now been Christian"

(How is that for Enlightenment optimism)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Travel log

Today I went on a little road trip for work. I made the trip to Denver. And, most of the trip I alternated between thinking I was beginning to understand the city, and pulling my hair out because of all the construction.

A little hint to small town drivers. Trying to navigate major Denver thoroughfares and read Mapquest directions at the same time is not always the best idea.


I went and did my hospital visit first. We have a high schooler that is having problems holding anything down, so the doctors transferred her to Denver to run tests. They think it is probably ulcers. She hasn't eaten anything she can keep down for longer than an hour in 7 days. Poor thing.

Once I navigated Interstate 25 road construction, Colorado Ave, and parking at the hospital, the visit was really fun. I felt like I got to know the kid I have been working with and the parent in a new, more meaningful way.

Then, I went to the seminary bookstore at Illif Seminary. Illif is well known as probably the most liberal ministerial training school in the country. My experience at the bookstore affirmed this. Besides students and staff cussing like sailors (which I am not immune to myself...but generally not in that setting--ok I dont cuss like a sailor, I just drop an occasional word when I am angry), the books and classes that were offered there reminded me why I was eager to leave seminary.

There are the specialized books--A Southeast Asian Gay/Lesbian Ecotheology Text

There are the boring books---History of Architecture in Pre-exilic Israel

The obvious leftist political bent books etc etc.

Fascinating people watching though.

Then I went to Mardels, an Educational and Christian Supply store to pick up supply stuff for the youth room and youth group. And I picked up some nerf finger rockets for myself.

After that I wanted to check out our new denominational offices that are on the South Side of Denver. That was fun. Got to say hello to all the staff, and got to meet my buddy Mike there. We got dinner in Castle Rock and the Rockyard Grill and Brewery on the way home.

All in all an excellent day. Even if I was about to rip my hair out while stuck in traffic all over Denver.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My name is Clint and I am a guiltaholic

I have friends that don't have a care in the world. They are going to do what they are going to do and nobody is going to tell them any different. And if they happen to step on your toes in the process they may apologize, but they are not going to feel guilty.

I have friends that say, "Its all about me!"

I am not that person. I am a guiltaholic.

There are times, after a long, hard 2.5 years at my job I feel like leaving and looking for something else. Then I feel guilty about it and think I should try and make it work here a little longer. Then I feel guilty about being to comfortable here to be willing to really work hard at looking to find a job somewhere else.

I feel guilty for not having enough money and not being financially stable enough. I feel guilty for not giving away enough money as well.

I feel guilty for having too many books. I should have been more responsible.

I feel guilty for being single. Like I am disappointing those that care about me by being so.

I feel guilty for eating pizza last night. So I will probably punish myself with extra exercise.

I feel guilty that I am still laying on my bed in my underwear on my day off and it about 1pm.

At work I have to make decisions. I feel guilty if I do not make everyone happy.

Some people have an overactive bladder. I have an overactive conscience.

I am a guiltaholic. I need help. And the first step is admitting I have a problem.

Some Thought Provoking Posts on Other Blogs This Week (Links)

Brother Buck's New Year's Resolution

Becca's self-examination

Ray's reflections on authentic faith

Marko's Music choices

Dan Kimball's t-shirt rant

San Nakji's Weekly Animal Pic

Peachy's Uncensored Thoughts on Men

Shawn Alexander, the running back for my favorite team (Seattle Seahawks), became the MVP of the NFL for 2005.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Quickie Book Review

I finished this book last week. It is excellent.

It is written in the first person from Jesus' perspective. It chronicles his life from leaving his exile in Egypt, the journey back to Israel and eventually to Nazareth. Then again to Jerusalem.

It was interesting. You get to think in a whole different way what some of the struggles might be growing up as Jesus, as well as what it might be like to be a peasant Jewish person in Galilee.

A must read.

My story update

I moved the posts in chronological order of the story instead of the posts.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

My story: Part 1--How I came into the world

There have been a number of circumstances that lead me to tell a little bit of my life story in the next week on these pages.

I will try and intersperse other "filler" type stuff on here as well, but this will be my primary focus on "Friar Tuck's" for the next week or so.....

Anywhoo....here it goes.

How I came into the World

My parents met in Salem, Oregon in the early 70's. My mother, after working in a home for mentally handicapped folks, took on a job as an administrative assistant for the government. My father at the time was just out of the military, had come back home, and was working as an investigator for the state. (He had been in intelligence in the millitary).

My mother, a tall bubbly bundle of sunshine, and my father, a big and tall man of mystery and armchair philospher, somehow got together. They were married in February 1973. My father was 27 and my mother was 23.

Six months later I was born in Roseburg, OR. My mother had inherited a house, and my father was tired of working in a job he hated, so they moved into the house. It was right near the land my mother's side of the family had homesteaded in when they came to America.

I was a sickly little guy. I shared a room with my Aunt Teresa, and was allergic to milk I guess. I was also a bundle of energy. I was walking at 7 months, but did not talk until I was close to two. I have been trying to catch up for lost time in the talking department ever since.

Fifteen months later my sister came along. Everybody thought she was adorable as well, which made me very jealous. So I would jump off mantles, couches and the like to make sure I got the proper amount of attention.

Of course, I don't remember any of this. It is all second hand information.

After a couple years (more or less) my parents sold the house they inherited and built a house on the Umpqua River. It was a dream home. A couple of acres, a large yard on the river. Dad was working as a carpenter. Mom was working as a real estate agent when she was not home taking care of us.

I remember being very happy there. My sister and I each had a room, but my sister's room was more of a retreat center for her from my antics. Most of the time though, when it came to time to sleep, my sister somehow ended up in my room with bunk beds. I think our parents may have worked to keep us in separate rooms for a while, but it did not work.

My first childhood memories take place here. My father taking me fishing. My sister and I thinking we were going to get rich stealing money from the penny jar at midnight, watching Grizzly Adams and football with dad in the living room and sharing his zebra-striped pillow on the floor.

I remember family boat rides and fishing on the river.

I was 4.

My story: Part 2--Childhood changes

So somewhere around kindergarten we moved in a little closer to town, in a subdivision in a little part of town called Winchester. The house was more simple and conservative.

We lived there around a year. Then we had this little family meeting where mother told us that my parents were getting a divorce. I can't really talk to much about this, because my memories of the situation are historically inaccurate. I was too flooded with emotion to say much.

I don't remember a lot around that time either. I remember moving to a house IN TOWN. In addition to having Dad out of the picture, I was put in this really conservative Christian school. I remember getting spankings for staring out the window, and the whole class having to get on our knees and pray for repentance because someone rolled a marble on the floor.

After a year at the Christian school I went to public school. It was not easy either. I got picked on a lot by other kids. The teacher was not nice to me, and she needed to retire.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I convinced my mother that we should start going to church. And we did. And it was there where I really began to understand who Jesus was and believe in him, and started to make that belief a really important part of how I thought and how I lived. And that did, and continues to make all the difference in the world.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My story Part 3--Early childhood friendships

I was a country boy growing up. It was not until I was in school that I lived in town. I remember crawdad hunting with family friends, camping trips, and lots of visits to friends with big yards in towns like Myrtle Creek (pronounced crick).

Growing up in the lumber capital of the world, most of our family friends had something to do with that industry. My dad was a carpenter. His best friend since high school was a mill foreman. That man's wife and my mom worked as real estate agents. The other close family friends had a mother who worked as a hairdresser, and a father who worked in the mill. I referred to these people as my aunts and uncles, even though they were not family. A DJ named Wolfman Jack was in the background on the radio.

It seemed that everyone did everything "big" then. Big river rafting is what the adults did a couple times a year for fun. My dad was well-known for his ability to navigate a driftboat through whitewater.

Drinking lots of booze was the other thing that they were known for a lot of the time. I would wake up and the smell of wild game and bloddy mary's would be in the air. A little bit more meat and booze for lunch. A little goofing around in the yard until the football games came on television. Then, more drinking, this time coke and bourbon. All the old men were usually asleep on the couch or just plain loopy by a little after dinner.

The kids had a great time. At least I did. Most of the other families had all boys, so it was generally my sister with the women, and all us boys outside playing some sort of game. My sister would join in for hide and seek and occasionally basketball, but when we got to some of the rougher games she would often opt out.

And one would think that us kids would be bothered by all the partying around us. To the contrary. It was a blast for us to. We had clear boundaries, and lots of friends to play with. And when all the men had drank a little too much, the women, the sober men, and the kids would usually start some board game or low stakes gambling. It was a little low-brow and unChristian for some of you out in blogworld, but it was wonderful.

Soon after the divorce though, these fun times slowed down. We were less and less in touch with most of those friends. Most of which I have not heard from in years.

Carrie's Blogging

My friend and fellow Sterling College alum Carrie is blogging HERE. Check her out and tell her I sent you there.

Carrie is a administrative professional serving a youth ministry in Wasilla, Alaska.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I was clicking the channels last night after Room Raiders was over on MTV. It was 11PM and I was about to go over to the fitness center to work out. But I accidentally clicked up (to CSPAN) instead of down (to check if CMT was doing videos on New Years Day). I did not get out of the house until midnight.

Why? Ward Churchill was giving a talk to a small group in San Francisco about his new book. The book is entitled "Kill the Indian, Save the Man" and was about the evils done through the residential boarding school programs that many Indians were sent to from around the country. I was transfixed, because he was utterly brilliant.

From the late 1800s to around 1980, many Native American children in Canada and the US were forcibly removed from their families and taken to residential boarding schools all around the country. These schools were ended in Canada when a boy was found frozen to death trying to walk a 1000 miles home to Manitoba in frigid temperatures with just a windbreaker.

Step by step Churchill laid out his case. Although I think I knew more about this phenomenon than 99 percent of America before the show, I was blown away by some of the truths that he systematically shared about how the Indian school program was used in an attempt to destroy Native culture.

Think on these things:

Students were rarely allowed to be somewhere close to home. In fact, they were shipped far away from home and family to places like Carslile Indian School (NJ) and Haskell Indian School (KS).

Carslile indian schools principal had no educational experience. He was infact, a prison warden before he was commissioned to begin the Indian school program. And this is the way he ran the Indian schools.

Boys were forced to have crew cuts the minute they entered the school. (Supposedly because they were lice riden, but this was really an attempt to strip away Native Culture) After that they were stripped naked, herded into showers, hosed down with insecticides, and forced to scrub with wire brushes and lye soap.

After a short amount of time, Indians were not allowed to speak their native tongue. If they did so, they were punished, sometimes beaten, and in some schools their tongues had a pin forced through them to remind them to speak the proper language.

Students were forced into bunkhouses to live in. This created numerous health problems. These health problems were then blamed on their cultural background.

Half of all children who entered Indian schools, especially before 1960, when they were in 3rd grade, died before they were allowed to go home. Churchill compares the death rates at concentration (not extermination, but concentration) camps in Germany in WW2. Survival rates are comparable in America at about the same time in history with Indian boarding schools.

Students only went to school 4-5 hours in the morning. The afternoon was left for vocational education (i.e. domestic work or factory work) for about 6 hours. The Indian schools sold the labor to fund the schools. And they spent half of what was spent to care for children in orphanages that were similar at the same time.

Students were not allowed to go home in the summer. Instead they were sent as cheap labor (children in 3rd grade mind you--and up to around 15 or 16 yrs)on farms in places like Southern Colorado (from Haskell in Lawrence KS). They were paid very little, and most of their pay went to the schools again.

At least half, and in some schools up to 100 percent of students were abused, often sexually, while in these schools that were not of their own choosing.

Well....that is a start. He talked rapid-fire for around an hour.

Today I am grieved about this. I want to talk to the people I knew, from both sides of this equation. Unfortunately, they have all passed away.