rick & 1j13
Monday, April 28, 2003
CMCentral.com - A Wedding Dress Story - 04/20/03 by Michael Janke

Derek Webb's album SHE MUST AND SHALL GO FREE isn't being carried in at least one Christian retail chain for being TOO CHRISTIAN. Isn't this a fun country.......
CNN.com - Van Gogh, Picasso paintings found - Apr. 28, 2003

WHAT?!? I'm paying more attention next time I go... never mind.
Sunday, April 27, 2003
CNN.com - Cappuccino friar beatified by pope - Apr. 27, 2003

I'm cross posting this comment to Rachel's post on "Pomo Thoughts...":

    Hi, Rachel (and others commenting) - you've hit the nail on the head as it comes to the problem in the church with postmodernism. As a concept, pomo is what we're all going through - it's as big of a paradigm shift in cultural thought as the enlightenment in the 1500-1600's. But someone thought that the church should be at the forefront of this momentous change (rightly so, I think): folks like Len Sweet, Stanley Grenz, Brian McLaren and others. But as soon as the church folks got ahold of it, it's now a new label, a new fad, a new cause to fought for - just as you've pointed out.

    It's become a label that's supposed to encompass people who don't like labels :). Anyway, it's not an "-ism" in the sense that it's a philosophy we're grabbing onto - even though that's the way some come to it and try to push it in agenda. Pomo is what's going on - the world is changing, moving away from the scientific method of "prove it" to a more profound "live it and show how it impacts real life."

    A new apologetic needs to take into account that I can't debate you into the Kingdom. I could tell you the 4 Spiritual Laws, tell you how much you need Jesus, and then have you say, "Thanks - that's great for you." Our stories need to connect and interconnect. Relationships need to become that much more sacred, reaching out to real people in real places in real time, letting them reach out to minister to us as well. The Bible becomes a collection of stories and The Story, and the only way to make a meta-narrative work (an all-encompassing story) is to show in my life how it's moving me along.

    Stuff like that. What I see from your comments :) is that you're in the midst of this pomo shift and didn't know it because you didn't like the label. Leave it to the church to overstep and mess up what's a good and probably imminent thing.

Saturday, April 26, 2003
This might be a record for posts in one day for me - woo hoo.

I'm really tired tonight. We had fun today, heading to the park, shopping at Wal-Mart, lunch at D's Wings, and goofing off at home tonight. I've also had some time this morning and this afternoon to surf the web in search of "irony & christianity" - imagine that. It's a thought I've gleaned from A IS FOR ABDUCTIVE, and it's got me thinking: I'm way more cynical than alot of my church friends/family, and part of it is an irony & sarcasm & satire that I tend to see in just about everything... Ever notice?

What are people looking for? Substance. Meaning. Something worth living for, worth dying for, worth fighting for. I know that most people probably don't think like that, but on some level I believe that's what we all want. We might be afraid of the hurt, afraid of the vulnerability, afraid of rejection - but in the end, we want to feel like what we're going after is worth going after.

In the middle of that is hedonism - selfish abandon - and servanthood - selfless abandon. And that's the realm of God, isn't it? Selflessly giving, and yet jealously holding onto our praise...? Just thoughts, ramblings, musings... on what's the most important thing we could ever hope to grab ahold of: God Himself. If He wants relationship bad enough to pursue us, isn't it worth the effort to pursue Him? To enjoy Him, and to deny myself in serving Him and introducing others to Him. Isn't it ironic?
Off The Map Media Center

Lots of video clips to make you go "hmmmmmmm" - checking it out.
CNN.com - Student writing samples show lack of skill - Apr. 25, 2003

One of my favorite classes from high school was Dr. Maddox's HARP (high achievers realizing potential - c'mon, what's up with the acronym?!?). He taught us how to write (readers here might disagree), and he taught us to enjoy the language, use the right words (I still hate to here "utilize" instead of just "use"), and to appreciate good writing when we see it. Shame that it's falling away in our school systems today...
Editorial: Don't build giant fetus

One more look into the GAMECOCK, USC's student paper. The SC Legislature is considering building a memorial to all of the unborn children of the state: a giant fetus, viewable from the roadways, as a "deterrent" to abortion.

The article is obviously against this, and I can only assume by word-choice that the author is "pro-choice." But I'm also, as a very anti-abortion supporter, glad that the reasons for not putting this thing up are valid: won't do anything to help; will be a source of ridicule; and in a time of budget cuts with teachers and state workers getting the shaft, this isn't the time to now open up the coffers for every lobbyist group to get a plot of ground in the state's garden.

Abortion is so wrong on so many levels. This isn't the way to move on it.
USC's Horseshoe-ites revealed

Ahhh, the good old college days... lounging on the grass... studying for finals... picking on tourists. Woo hoo :).
SI.com - 2003 NFL Draft

I can feel it. Only 4 months until.... fantasy football. Woo hoo.
Day later, dollar short - FridayFive:

1. What was the last TV show you watched?
Spongebob is on right now. Watching, and as background noise for the kids.

2. What was the last thing you complained about?
My daughter not eating her breakfast.

3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say?
My daughter, looking precious in her flowered shorts set, while disobeying and not eating her breakfast: "you're such a cutie - now eat."

4. What was the last thing you threw away?
My paper plate (ate MY breakfast - bagels w/ butter).

5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited?
VanillaForever - and I remembered that I'd forgotten to check the Friday five :).

UPDATE: Just found out about Saturday-8 - did it come before or after the FridayFive? I don't like this week's questions (about people you think are weird, creepy, etc), but I'll check back next week.
Got a good comment from IreneQ on a post about worship and the church of the revolving door, so I decided to link it here and post my "reply" in the blog.

"I know a pastor who used to insist that church service and cell group meetings must end by a certain time. His reason: "Your word is your bond. People must know that your word can be trusted, that if you say it's gonna end by a certain time, it will. Moreover, some need to arrange transportation home and we don't want to keep kids' parents waiting." I saw his point, and it was admirable... but at the same time I chafed at the rigidity... how do we balance the two?... As for worship - it never seems to be long enough."
I grew up under that same kind of system, and then found out that by adding an "extra" half hour or even an hour to the service, while it took getting used to, gave you a lot of freedom and flexibility. We regularly go about 2.5 hrs every Sunday, amd it feels weird to get out any earlier than 12:30pm.

"I hate the practice of having announcements and offering directly after the worship - it's such a let-down, it's like coming back to earth with a huge bump after being in the clouds. I'm all 'high' from being in God's presence and then the pastor/worship leader starts to drone: "On Tuesday afternoon the Ladies' Fellowship will be meeting..." Eww!"
I agree - there should be a flow and a balance, with nothing stopping the natural progress. From worship with body/voice to worship with wallet/checkbook to worship with mind.life-challenge - that's not a bad path. But there's no good time to make announcements. At the beginning, no one's paying attention while they're coming in, socializing or preparing their hearts for the service. Afterwards, no one's paying attention because they're getting ready to leave and eat. It's usually that "bump in the road" in the middle. I handle most of the announcements at church: I've got PowerPoint slides looping before and after, a bulletin each week and a monthly newsletter, and still no one pays attention to what's coming unless someone says it from a mike-stand. Weird.
Friday, April 25, 2003
The second issue of RelevantMag just got here - woo hoo! New bathroom reading!

UPDATE: I just noticed this has been like relevantmagazine day on my blog. Wonder if I'll get any kickback or product for any of this?
LIVING THE SOLUTION: Find Real Answers to Real Life Challenges - Resources for faith, love, prayer, Christian bibles, books, music

This is a website that features one of the writers I've recently read on RelevantMagazine.com's site. I'm looking forward to digging around a little, hopefully with my skepticism and cynicism taking a backseat to really seeing what they're saying.

Yeah, right :)....
:: RELEVANT magazine :: Church Of The Revolving Door - Jeff McCann

In attending a conference in Ontario with David Ruis, McCann is challenged by the possibilities for real change in worship. Yet, he's also mindful of folks not wanting to change or get that close to God.

"I’m not suggesting we 'worship the music' nor do I believe we should replace our worship team with performers and become an audience. But I see a real need for total, complete freedom and an all out abandon to worship, not to be constrained by time or agendas, to be able to stand before the real audience…. of One."

I'm all for that - giving place in our midst for God to really be felt, sensed in our presence. Getting a sense of individuality, and at the same time realizing we're all together - that almost-paradoxical feeling gives me shivers. Getting real enough with it that the clock doesn't matter, lunch with family doesn't matter - all that's important is sustaining this and milking it for all it's worth, and then being life-transformed enough to tell that this coming together has made a real difference.

It's not about "contemporary" vs. "traditional" worship styles. It's about the heart: are we really seeking after only Him?
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Charisma News Service: Churches Urged to Shed 'Indifference' Toward Singles

Here's the lifecycle of a "normal" mainstream churchgoer:
* Nursery
* Children's Church
* Youth Group
* College/Career
* Married/Young Couples

If you fall out of line somewhere, you're on your own. Or the church's programs, intentionally or not, urge you back onto the main track. Singles aren't given much room to interact and minister, and it's probably even worse on those who are divorced or widowed. Hope this call gets out further than just a good web article.

It's a good article, but I'd prefer not to trivialize it (my opinion) with an acronym to describe what churches need to grab onto:
* S - separate
* I - involving
* N - nurturing
* G - gather
* L - launch
* E - encourage
CNN.com - Student kills principal, himself in Pennsylvania - Apr. 24, 2003

When I was in school, the most violent thing was football practice, followed closely by band camp hazing and standing in the cafeteria lines. Not trying to be funny - I've got no idea what it might feel like to feel unsafe from a fellow student. We felt some lingering threat from the Cold War, or bad weather, or whatever other thing outside the school that might threaten. But the rise in student violence - that's completely different. To think that the guy sitting behind me in math class could come in tomorrow and kill someone never crossed my mind or effected my life.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
United Press International: Professor, students identify 'Deep Throat'

Dang.... always thought it was Hal Holbrook.
"Am I looking for real depth? Or am I simply trying to avoid my own shallow tendencies by looking "deeply" at superficial stuff that doesn't matter?"

That's a question I posed to self a few weeks ago in a dead tree journal (notebook) when I was away from the PC and couldn't blog. I don't know where I was going with it then, but I know what the question does to me now: I hope my "depth" is real and not just a facade. Things tend to bug me deeply; but at the same time, I realize that alot of what I ponder deeply doesn't mean a hill of beans to other people.

So, are my ponderings making me a better person, a more solid Christian, a better example of Christ-likeness? That's where it hits the fan, because I don't know. I've always been more abstract and mental in my approach to Life, the Universe and Everything. But I can also tend to think instead of do, and there's got to be something wrong with that.

I find myself judging folks as being unteachable, unwilling to learn or open themselves to new ideas/mindsets/paradigms. And at the same time, I might be unteachable in the sense that I don't want to let go of things either... I'm learning so much, but it often feels like I'm learning in a vacuum, and none of it is playing out as well as it is "in my head." Scary.

So, I don't know. Maybe I do think too deeply about stuff that's of no importance. I hope it's not hiding an internal shallowness, but I can fight against that by seeking God above all, by making sure my "depth" is measured inside of His infinite depth/height/width.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Amazon.com: Books: Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters

I want to read this. Here's an excerpt from the notes: "Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal pangram,* “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Now Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island’s Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop. As the letters progressively drop from the statue they also disappear from the novel."

I don't understand alot these days, but that should be a hoot to read.
Monday, April 21, 2003
being played?
Sunday, April 20, 2003
:: RELEVANT magazine :: Bearing The Cross Of Caleb - by Caleb Sjogren

With so many people not willing to stand for anything, and too many pridefully standing for the wrong things... go Caleb.
Happy Easter.

One of my responses to Christmas' "Jesus Is The Reason For The Season" is to throw back, "No, EASTER is the REAL reason for the season." All that Christmas stands for points towards God's love displayed at Calvary. On the cross, Jesus wasn't only God living as Man, but God dying as Man and then living again. In the crucifixion, we see obedience leading to pain and death. And in the resurrection, we taste the hope of victory over evil, the sweetness of restored fellowship with the Creator.

How does it play out today? We had a big crowd at church this morning. Children dressed up in new pastels. Women in hats - not something you see that often in our neck of the woods. Colorful congregation, smiling faces, joy as people greeted and hugged each other. Was it a "special" service? I don't think so - but maybe that's because we're at a point in our community & congregation where we live out more and more of this reality each week, not saving for holidays and holy days what is actually happening in our midst when we gather together.

As I read back over what I've written, I hope it doesn't come across as pride or self-delusional puffing up. I want to believe that we're growing as a local body of Christ, and that what we're beginning to resemble is the real relationship that Jesus died and lives today to restore, you know? So that's what I'm reminded of at Easter: the pain and gore of the cross, the suffering of Christ and of the disciples through the weekend, and the incredible resurrection that somehow started the process of making sense of it all.
CNN: Iraqi doctors say they took risks to care for Lynch

When it all boils down, war or no war, people still help people. From somewhere deep within, selfishness gives way to simply being a neighbor to someone in need.
Saturday, April 19, 2003
CNN.com - Scott Peterson arrested in wife's death - Apr. 19, 2003

He doesn't look good. As I've said from "the beginning," I hope he didn't do this. I hope it's swift, guilty or not, and that everyone involved can move past. I pray for forgiveness... Whatever happened is terrible enough without having to be re-lived every waking moment. I pray for real grief, real mercy, and overpowering grace to show up in the lives of the Rocha and Peterson families.
Friday, April 18, 2003
MTV.com - News -Evanescence Take Manhattan, Amy Lee Steals Hearts

I'd probably try to get into a show if they got close enough to Columbia, SC, and had some decent bands alongside. Don't know if it's "my kind of crowd," but I love the vocals/lyrics/melodies that seem to have made this first NYC gig a hit. At least a DVD of concert footage some time later?
Holes -- The Official Website

Another movie - Tracer and I are heading to the 1:30pm showing. I've been looking forward to it - flew right under the radar for us; we'd never heard of the book, and my wife and I are usually on top of that stuff. We bought the book, and I think we'll have fun at the theater. At least I'll get a good latte' in the deal.

UPDATE 4:34pm: Well, no latte' since we ended up at a different theater, but that's okay and forgotten. Great movie - I wish I was younger because I'm sure I would've read the book first back in middle school. Lots of plot turns, different storylines and timelines all told across flashback and brought together without being cliche at the end. Two thumbs up from me and my 7-yr-old.
Time Changer

Pastor Danny recommended this movie. Looks like it's on a limited run in selected cities/theaters, probably underwritten by local churches. I haven't seen it and hadn't hear of it, but it looks like it might be pretty good. Basic premise: what's morality without Jesus? I'll post a review if I get in to see this one.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
:: RELEVANT magazine :: Drowning in Jennie's River - Mitali Perkins

Wow. I read things like this, challenged beyond belief, and wonder how so many people think this is all about easy answers and getting to heaven. We live life here on earth, always right now, always with others - and we do our best to be Jesus in the hurts and the triumphs... but mostly in the hurts.
SI.com - SI Writers - Marty Burns - Inside the NBA - Burns: Jordan showed NBA what it means to be a pro - Thursday April 17, 2003 01:05 AM

I've never been a Tarheel fan, a real Chicago Bulls fan, or a Wizards fan (puh-lease) - but like everyone else, I've been a Michael Jordan fan. I look forward to watching what e does next (PGA Seniors Tour, anyone?), and for watching for whoever comes next to take his title of "greatest ever."
CNN.com - Back-from-dead saga grips nation - Apr. 16, 2003

That's wild. Definitely movie-of-the-week fodder.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
RollingStone.com: News: Evanescence Fall From Grace

"In a sign of the sometimes difficult marriage of mainstream and Christian markets, Meltzer continued, 'We will scrutinize our Christian artists' beliefs and commitment with even greater diligence . . . I will personally inform all of our future artists who represent themselves as Christian artists and wish to be represented in the Christian community that in doing so they must understand the lasting and on-going commitment that involves.'"

Why would anyone want to pigeon-holed into what's become more about the christian music industry, which seems to always be becoming more about "industry" than "music", while "christian" is just a label saying "you adhere to what we call *spirituality*"?
Bruderhof Communities - God the Rebel by G. K. Chesterton

"That a good man may have his back to the wall is no more than we knew already; but that God could have his back to the wall is a boast for all insurgents forever. Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete. Christianity alone has felt that God, to be wholly God, must have been a rebel as well as a king. Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point - and does not break.

"... In a garden Satan tempted man: and in a garden God tempted God. He passed in some superhuman manner through our human horror of pessimism. When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God."

Wow. I don't think I've ever grabbed onto like that, but it seems to make some sense, at least on the surface. God tempted God. God tested God. Jesus actually had/experienced doubt, and did not break to it, or break in it. It probably actually worked to solidify Him in His flesh at this point, working to point Him even more towards Calvary, working against whatever doubt Satan might have been flinging at the same instant. While modern tellings, movies, etc, have this almost as a second temptation from Satan, this observation/thought makes more sense of what's written.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Yesterday was a weird day. Or at least the evening fellt all out of kilter. I left work to pick up the kids from my wife - she has a 6pm class at our church's bible college, and I've got an 8pm class, so I planned on taking them to Barnes & Noble, let them pick out a book, get me and the missus a latte to take back when we swapped again before my class.

Anyway, we had a good time, and they were very well-behaved, except for too minimally disastrous points. First, at about 7:25pm, I told them it's time to stop playing with the Thomas railroad, get our books and head for the checkout. One of my pet peeves is being ignored b my kids - and Trace didn't skip a beat in the song he was singing/humming under his breath. "Trace, did you hear?" - hum, dooby-doo - "Trace?" - hum, la dee da... You get the picture. So as I got closer, and he still didn't acknowledge just that he'd heard the comment "we've got to go" - I took him by the hand and pulled him away from the train and towards me. At the same time, his index finger on his left hand got jammed in the train carousel - smooshed it pretty bad, tore the skin a little. He didn't scream and holler - but it hurt. I felt bad, because it was a if-you'd-been-listening-this-wouldn't-happen moment, but I felt like dirt for *causing* this injury.

"Trace, why didn't you answer me, bubba? I called you like six times, and you never stopped humming."

"I had to finish my song."

He apologized, and I still felt like scum - but hoped that he might remember the finger even if he didn't remember not listening.

Same thing with Cammi on our way out. I had a tray of coffee and a bag with her book inside, and I'd asked Trace to close his book while we walked to the car and to hold his sister's hand. He keeps on walking, she keeps on skipping, and WHAM, trips on the doorjamb heading out of the store, scrapes her knee and three spots on her shin.

I felt like dirt as I turned slowly (had to protect the coffee, right?) and inspected the damage. Where Tracer hadn't yelled before, she made up for it now. I felt so bad - I was *right* and should've been *obeyed*, but that didn't help her right now. I didn't scold her right then either. We talked about it on the way back to church, and we bandaged her leg pretty good. Tracer's finger was fine, and we waited for class to be over.

Do I do that to God? Do I pretend to listen, but then do my own thing as it suits me? I find myself wanting to finish my own song, my own game, my own ministry, and I wonder how many times I'm crushed my finger in something because I wasn't listening... or how many scraped knees I've had spiritually because I was skipping merrily along without listening to God as He told us to be careful, to hold hands, to take care of the coffee.

Thinking out loud - what happened after class was nuttier... but I've got to get back to work right now. Ciao.
CNN.com - Peterson investigators examine bodies of woman, baby - Apr. 15, 2003

This has been one of those cases where you hope this isn't her, and you hope it might be... I pray for her husband Scott, that he will be strong and forthcoming, and that justice for him, whether guilty of a crime or not, is swift and not lingering. I pray for forgiveness in his life and the families involved, that they will not harbor this crud in their hearts.
Monday, April 14, 2003
CNN.com - Echoes of empires past - Apr. 14, 2003

Interesting article on the possibility of a growing imperialism in USAmerica. I had to look up hegemony.
Long weekend. But at least it's spring break this week. My wife's a teacher, so she and the kids are able to goof off, have fun, play outside - while I at least get to sleep an extra hour each morning for not having to haul them to school - woo hoo!

I didn't blog much over the weekend, more for too much to say than not enough. I've got alot milling around inside me - on ministry, on my own spiritual growth, on what it means to grow and mature versus standing still and letting the status quo begin to pull you backwards. Is it possible that what I'm seeing isn't really a "sliding backwards", but is instead the same stuff coming around or cycling again so that I get a better grasp of what it all really means? Have I really grown in these areas, or did I leave some vital part behind, so that now God in His grace allows me to sorta kinda go through it again to see if I can pick it out and keep it this time? I'm not sure - and I know that's as clear as mud. But there are situations popping up that I thought we were through already - and if I'm to give God the benefit of my doubt, not to mention my friends and family around me, then there must be something more to get... Maybe I need to rent Groundhog Day and watch it over and over and over.
Friday, April 11, 2003
This website is so cool - the Acme License Maker. Made one for my heaader - woo hoo.

Anyone else making theirs?
Another FridayFive... man, I feel old.

1. What was the first band you saw in concert?
Probably Amy Grant & Band (Michael W. Smith played keyboards). Around 1984, STRAIGHT AHEAD Tour (I think the jpeg's from around then). I saw her a few years later in college - had front row center tix for that one. Woo hoo.

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?
** Really getting into Derek Webb's SHE MUST & SHALL GO FREE right now. Also, John Mayer, Evanescance.

3. What's your favorite song?
"Wedding Song" - Derek Webb, "My Immortal" - Evanescence

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
I play guitar, though not very well. As always, gotta make time to practice practice practice.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?
I've met a few, and they usually don't live up to expectations, you know? I think I'd rather let them be decent from afar - unless Derek Webb and John Mayer want to meet me at Starbucks for a jam session.
Thursday, April 10, 2003
SI.com - College Basketball - Men - North Carolina players anxious to get new coach

The North Carolina players sit around at night and talk about their coaching wish list. The names include Roy Williams, Larry Brown, Tubby Smith and George Karl.

They also wonder what's taking so long.

"We're real anxious to get this thing going," forward David Noel said Wednesday, eight days after Matt Doherty's forced resignation. "It's been hard going through workouts knowing you don't have a coach. You've just got to push yourself (emphasis added by me)."

...For Noel, the wait gets harder with each passing day.

"We need a coach, and if you're going to accept the job accept the job," Noel said of Williams. "If he doesn't take it we'll just keep moving on. It's just a waiting game now.

"I know it's a tough decision because he has his own legacy at Kansas. It would be tough to leave that, but this is North Carolina."

I've never been a Tarheel fan - comes with growing up with a Wolfpack fan dad. But as I read about these young men appear to be too full of themselves. Who's in charge? I hope it's the administration - and at the same time, I wish the media would quit looking for soundbites and quips from teenagers on the direction of the university's search for a coach.

In other words, shut up, work out, and let the people who know do what's in your best interests - which hopefully will be get a coach who knows how to handle egos. Geez.
Compare these two articles:

CNN.com - Morality tale in a 'Phone Booth' - Apr. 10, 2003

CNN.com - It's Gospel Music Week in Nashville - Apr. 10, 2003

Hmmmmm.... morality from the "secular", and marketing from the "sacred"... Not to be too hard/harsh on the Christian music industry, and not to lift up the "morality" of Hollywood as something more than it is either - I still wonder who's at least headed in the right direction sometimes.
I'm deeply moved by the depth of God - more towards suffering than towards rejoicing, you know? I'm feeling the burden of realizing how deep a thing it is to really get to know the Lord...

Excerpt from DEEPER WALK: A Relevant Devotional Series #1 - "Birth Pains," by Winn Collier, pp. 30-31 -

"This is the spiritual axiom: the work of God in our heart is often birthed in pain. As much as I cringe to acknowledge it, this will be true for our new son Wyatt. While filled with delight over his entrance into the world, there is also an undertone of sorrow. I fear, for I know the suffering world he enters... But as much as I grieve, I also rejoice. Each of us must face birthing pains if we are ever to move deeper into our calling.

"These moments of agony connect us with our brokenness, and we see our need for a Savior. God may graciously wound us - as severe as it may be at times - to allow us to embrace the story of the Gospel... [to become] a person deeply connected with his God, intensely aware of his brokenness, and free to follow the path of God's design.

"... Without pain, we cannot see the Kingdom of God fully birthed in our souls."

Romans 8:21-23, Psalm 119:50, 75-77
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
The Official Site of the Masters Tournament

Looks like there'll be good weather for the weekend, and plenty of time to sit back and watch the tournment. Goodness knows I'd enjoy watching them more than them watching me tee off.
I've been interested in labyrinths as a tool for growing/stretching spiritually. From JazzDaddy's blog, that interest has been rekindled. I'm going to see if I can find one in South Carolina - where I might can take a Saturday "off" and walk the maze...

UPDATE: thanks for the suggestion, Jen - I found a Labyrinth locator page on the web, and it looks like there's one relatively close to where I work.
LivingRoom >> A space for Life: A bible study with George Bush, Mother Theresa, a refugee and Bill Gates.

hmmm..... verrrrry interesting....
I've been having a running conversation with a few folks lately, and my brother gave me something last night that's working through my system. I've come to a point where I've begun to think of *repentance* as a total attitude adjustment - not just turning away from bad stuff, but even in the good stuff, getting the mind/heart of Christ on the issue. Our motivations become holy, our desires more God-centered and kingdom-oriented. But the prevailing notion of *repentance* is the turning away from sin, exhibiting confession and acknowledgement and leaving it behind.

What I've considered two sides of repentance, my brother noted that maybe it's two different issues semantically - repent of bad stuff, renew your mind to good stuff. The reason, he said, was that he couldn't find where Christians, after choosing to follow Christ, are ever called to *repent*. We are called to leave the dead sinful baggage of the old nature behind, but we're also called to be renewed into what we've been newly created for in Christ (Colossians 3:5ff; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Cor 5:17).

I can track with the notion that we're to repent in coming to salvation, and after that we cooperate in the process of renewal. In that sense, adding on to what I've been discovering up to this point, that *renewal* means that I begin to think like Jesus thinks, see as He sees, perceive and discern as He does. I buy into His vision as it's revealed; I begin to let Him act through me, have "opinions" through me, seek after desires through me. I let Him ask/seek/knock through me in prayer, and I let Him speak creatively, lifegivingly, encouragingly and correctingly (I love making up words) through me......
Slate: The postwar paradox

I think both statements are "right": we're going to leave Iraq so the people can govern themselves, and we're staying so that the people can govern themselves. It's two sides of the same coin - we're going to make sure you're free to do it yourselves, so we're going to stay and help. But we're always under the assumption that we're leaving and getting out of your way, too.
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
what a block - probably saved the game, came out of nowhere, and just as clean a block as you'd want...
Living Reflections From a Dream: Syracuse Orangemen: 2003 Men's Basketball National Champions!!

This is a "real fan's" site - woo hoo! Check it out - sounds like she's lived and died with this team for a long time.
CNNSI: 'Cuse is in the house!

Good game, great ending. Congratulations to the Syracuse Orangemen, 2003 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions. Finally - something I can stand proud for, put my whole psyche behind as a bandwagon fan. Might even find myself a hat or a mug on eBay, after all the hype calms down, of course. Woo hoo.

UPDATE 04/09 4pm: Okay, that's enough orange for now. Gotta maintain my true allegiance, 'specially since the Gamecocks are playing the Tigers tonight @ Clemson in baseball. Go USC!
Monday, April 07, 2003
My Bloginality is INTP!!!

... I have no idea how that effects the future, how I'm supposed to process that information, or how it might explain my life to this point. But hey, knowledge is power, right?
The Miami Herald | 04/04/2003 | Army chaplain offers baptisms, baths

"You have to be aggressive to help people find themselves in God,'' he said.

Maybe Saddam will want to take a bath, too. I just can't buy into this... while soldiers are fighting against guerilla tactics in the field, they're having to stand firm against guerilla evangelistic tactics, not to mention extortion on some level, from their own chaplain. Good grief, Charlie Brown.
Blog: Army family journal

Article with more links for "military blogs." I find myself reading their "real stories" more than the ones from "normal folks" just telling why they're anti- or pro-. They read more personal, more real. I think we all feel this deeply, more or less - but the people going through it are all literally on the frontlines of the thing.
CNN: What celebrities are reading

Might be an interesting list, and who hasn't been interested in what Dom Deluise is reading these days?

UPDATE: Nope, never mind. Dom's reading his own book (didn't he write it? ghost write it? c'mon), and there's not much else on the list - in celebs or in books - that's holding my attention. Sigh.
:: RELEVANT magazine :: Encounter With A Prophet.

I had this kind of thing happen to me once. I had been having a particularly tough time in "ministry." We'd left one church, being called to serve alongside Pastor Mike at another church downtown. Then we'd been voted out of position there and were establishing a new non-denom church. But it was all so new, so fast, and I wasn't seeing any results, only feeling pulled and stretched in new and painful ways. I'd basically left behind alot of friends, mentors and people I'd "done church" with for fifteen years. I was vulnerable, open to letting God lead me - but it hurt, and I was so unsure of any calling, any direction, anyone else needing me to do whatever it was I was being led to do.

Anyway, I went to a christian bookstore. That was my deal - look at books, look at CDs, spend some $$ and internalize it to deal with it. I'd had a pretty bad morning at work, too - people getting laid off, losing friends, not knowing if I should even be at work since I was "called" to ministry now, etc. I went to look for something new, music or a book to drown the voices, I guess.

As I walked past the guy at the cash register, while he was helping another customer, he said, "Hey, you're a pastor, aren't you?" I said, "yeah, just looking around," and I headed for the back corner with the CDs. I looked, but didn't see much - too busy thinking about how this guys would know? Did I know him? Did I *look* like a pastor? Not particularly, in buisness casual on my lunchbreak.

I picked something out - probably JOC or something at that point of my life, and I walked to the register. "How did you know?" I asked.

"Well, I just see it sometimes. God shows me things. You need to know that He has called you. You're right where you're supposed to be."

I thanked him, and he probably noticed I was noticably tweaked by that exchange. I got in my car, put in that new whatever-it-was CD, and wept in real joy in the drive back to work. It's like God chose that moment, in that store, through that man to say, I've got you right here, close to me. I know what I've called you to do, and you're in the middle of it. I'm closer than you think, seeking you as you're seeking after Me...

Sometimes I feel like I need more of that now. Other times I remember that story, like I did tonight - and remember that he's already told me what's going on.
Sunday, April 06, 2003
NBC’s David Bloom dies in Iraq

Back in January, this man was anchoring the Weekend Today Show. One Saturday in particular, a pro hockey player and his son were guests on the show, and Bloom was showing his skating prowess, scoring goals and getting "schooled" by a six-yr-old, all while Soledad and the weather guy looked on. They were having fun, and that's the memory I've had of Bloom as I've watched his reports from the frontlines. It's the first thing I thought of as I heard the news today.
BANDWAGON FAN ALERT: Temporary template change in effect until after the 2003 Men's Basketball Championship Game, Monday 04/07. GO 'CUSE - and I'll keep the colors up a little while longer if they win... at least until I get sick of the orange, ok?
CNN.com - Six more moons spotted orbiting Jupiter - Apr. 5, 2003

Galileo only saw four with his first telescopes. And now, with better "vision" from these new telescopes, this team expects to "get to about 100"... geez, what a difference a little change in perspective can do for your observations, huh?
SI.com - 2003 Men's NCAA Tourney

Well, it's Kansas vs. Syracuse Monday night. I've been out of my brackets for more than a week, and didn't watch but about ten minutes tops from both games combined this afternoon. But GO 'CUSE - I'll root for them. Beiheim's been here before, and that program's one of the most consistent and most underrated in the country year after year. Go Orange (not Clemson, mind you! - give me some credit as a gamecock).....
Saturday, April 05, 2003
Bible study method
(cross-posted @ javabeans)

Andrew Jones shares seven questions (taught to him by Thom Wolf) for a pretty deep/impromptu bible study session:
1. What word or phrase "shimmered" or stuck out.
2. What did you like best about the passage?
3. What did you like least?
4. What did you learn about God?
5. What did you not understand or find puzzling?
6. What do you think applies to people today?
7. If you were to choose a sentence or phrase to meditate on this week, which would it be? And why?

He gives John 15:1-8 as the passage a group used. Got any thoughts? Answers from that passage to some of these questions?
Friday, April 04, 2003

1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life?
Many many. At least ten, by my recollection right now, mostly moving through elementary school, settled by middle school (my folks have been in same house since 1978).

2. Which was your favorite and why?
Current - this is our first house, and we're paying our first mortgage. But it's also the biggest house I've lived in. And since it's mine, I can set the thermostat however cool I want. Woo hoo.

3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why?
Stressful - I'm not moving again, unless it's sold with furniture and we move to the retirement community at the beach.

4. What's more important, location or price?
Location - we've spent a little more to live in a nice house close to where my wife teaches and kids go to school.

5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)?
My wife wants the spa bath, and I'd love to add on a front porch w/ swing. We've done a fair amount of renovating already - finished 500 sq ft in the attic to give us a useable third floor, and made a playroom out of the previously unused deck.

... that's it - that's the list... ciao...
Thursday, April 03, 2003
Beliefnet: Why Is George Bush afraid of Franklin Graham?

Excerpt: Even other evangelical leaders seem to be aware of the volatile nature of Graham's comments. Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, told Religion News Service, "Evangelicals need to be sensitive to the circumstances of this country and its people. If we are perceived as opportunists, we only hurt our cause."
I think I'm semi-officially out of my snit-frustrated-snotty phase. I mean, I can probably recall a little snottiness at a moment's notice if necessary, but right now I feel pretty good about life in general. I'm in class today - learning the process of peer review/inspections, woo hoo. I see alot of potential in using this kind of thing for church ministries/events, planning for future changes, etc. I enjoy taking a class when I know what I learn will be transferrable to other areas of existance. I still don't have a finalized-this-is-my-"new"-old-laptop, but at least I'm connected to the 'net and to email and to the LAN, so I'm functioning somewhat and having a good time. Still got alot to do this weekend to catch up on what I've had to put off through the week - but it's supposed to be damp & rainy, so that's no big to sit in the kitchen, setup a workstation, and plod through code/printouts while listening to ballgames on the radio or MP3s.

Let me add this though: I don't feel guilty for feeling like crap the past few days. I don't see the need to mask my troubles and my disheartedness behind the smiley/cheery "I'm blessed" answer when someone asks, "how are you?" I've been forthright - "I feel like crap - thanks for asking." Well, maybe not so blunt most of the time, and I haven't been spreading feelers for the pity party.

It's okay for a christian to be down. For one thing, it's a good check to see if joy is real or not. If I'm down, do I still have joy? - mostly it's been yes. God's still moved me to things, still drawn me to Himself at times over this past week of frustration and PC demolition. I've still appreciated my daughter's smile and my son's knock-knock jokes. I've also been offended at other people at times, and this level of junk has allowed that to rise quickly and be dealt with rather than stewing on it or repressing it. I don't think I've hurt anyone else's feelings, but at the same time, I've caught my own tendency to be offended and for the most part I've been able to drop that log from my own eye. I'm not perfect, but any time I've let my own feelings be hurt, I've also had time to reflect about it and to just get over it, thank you very much. It's healthy to get down at things that should get you down - but do you lose who you are, lose your joy, lose your longing for Christ in all things? If so, that's a problem, and if it's dealt with, then it's still a "good thing," right?

Secondly, I think it's good for other Christians to see how you deal with disappointment. I can't put a facade on things and pretend everything's alright - folks see right through that, but too often Christians think that's the way we're supposed to deal with life's crap. Why can't we be honest about the way we feel? Why can't we ask God questions, share our doubts and frustrations with Him and significant others? Why do we have to have some sort of false humility or falsified faith that looks ahead to the final end - yes, we do win; yes, heaven is way cool - and ignores the present reality that something's out of sync? Too many Christians bury their heads in the sand and wait for the rapture, either when Jesus comes back for real, or when He finally gets around to fixing my problem. "God will provide a way of escape" - but if you don't know you're in trouble, you won't use it; or if you think he's going to carry you through that escape route... you'd better start running now or it'll close up and you won't get out. Hmmmm?

Last thing: it's good for people who claim to know Jesus to be seen while they're going through frustration and junk by people who don't know Jesus quite as well. Christians don't live in sense deprivation chambers. We hurt, we bleed. And it's good for people to see how we respond as little-Christs - as we mature, we act and react more and more just like Jesus would in our shoes. At the same time, it's good for us to open up to people outside the christian realm of influence when we're having problems - they might have truth, too, just the piece we need, provided by God through them as that way of escape that we might've ignored if we didn't open ourselves up to "outsiders." My junk isn't an evangelism tool - but at the same time, it's something a relationship can build upon and work towards some resolution together, right? Mutual growth happens in times of trouble - why do you think so many companies plan team building survival camping trips? Why are so many of your chilhood memories wrapped up in shared tragedy or experiences of adrenaline rush (camping, white water rafting, funerals, etc)?

We know each other, and we're known, more by the way we handle suffering/adversity/frustration than by how pollyanna-ish we are in times of optimism and easy happiness. Boy, that's a lesson my wife's waited a lo-o-o-o-o-o-ng time for me to learn.
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
Ditto today. Read yesterday.
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Other than the stuff today from b4G (for dummies, too), and some responsesto my lottery entry late last night - nothing much funny today. I've been twiddling my thumbs all day. My laptop at work was hauled in to be upgraded yesterday - should've taken a day to go from WinNT-4.0 to Win2000. But a handful of disk drive and hardware errors later, and I still don't have a PC. So frustrating - I've got things to do, and you never want to get bogged down by using someone else's PC, their settings and network mappings, etc. Plus, I've been away from email @ work for two days - oh, the horror.

Seriously, I'm bummed on this one. I hope tomorrow goes better. Goes more productively. Goes in one spot, not with me having to run around trying to help the process move, but actually sitting and getting billable work done.

Meanwhile, I'll see if I can't drum up discussion on McLaren's followup to New Kind Of Christian - THE STORY WE FIND OURSELVES IN. We're discussing it at NKOC on Yahoo!Groups, and I'm hoping we get into the meat of the story/conversation soon. Then there's the relatively dead day on the 1J13 List - matching my productivity pretty closely today.

Last thought before settling in for more war coverage (joy joy - either that or tonight's American Idol - decisions decisions): I need to get into another book quickly, before falling further behind in my yearly quest to finish a book per week. I think I'm two off the pace right now - not bad. And I think I'm going to pour into A IS FOR ABDUCTIVE tonight, see if it'll hold my attention long enough to pull me through to the end. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for lifting me up in prayer. I'll pray, too, in agreement that I'll (a) get up off my lazy behonkus, and (b) get something done.
Lots of good links from b4G on April Fools today - thanks, Dean!

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