rick & 1j13
Thursday, January 30, 2003
Do not be too quick to assume that your enemy is an enemy of God just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy precisely because he can find nothing in you that gives glory to God. Perhaps he fears you because he can find nothing in you of God's love and God's kindness and God's patience and mercy and understanding of the weaknesses of men... Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God, for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice, your mediocrity and materialism, your sensuality and selfishness that have killed his faith.
- Thomas Merton, Meeting The Enemy
Who's the real enemy? Too often we are our own worst enemy, knowing exactly where we're weak, knowing all too well our own faults/failures/shame. We give the devil the day off, dwelling on our own shortcomings and making much of how pitiful we are. Or worse, we swing the other way and let pride take over - again, taking the place of the enemy by puffing ourselves up, making much of what amounts to nothing...
Dang, we're good.
Calvin Miller devotes a whole section of INTO THE DEPTHS OF GOD to the importance of confession. We weren't meant to hang onto the guilt and condemnation for which Christ died. If we're too overburdened, then we're not as close to Him as we thought. And while humility is of utmost importance, it's also important to not give into the lie of self-deprecation and an I'm-a-worm-woe-is-me mentality/theology that makes little of God's creation and Christ's sacrifice. In real confession and
real humility, God is the whole focus - not ourselves, but our eyes on Him.
Just working on the followthrough...
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Well, it's Tuesday...
...and I'm just finishing *last* week's book. I'm hoping my average over the course of the year will even all of this out, but this was too deep and rich a book to fly through the last hundred pages.
Calvin Miller's INTO THE DEPTHS OF GOD is a good book. It looks like some of his interns helped him out, much like Len Sweet's writing, in finding every little obscure quote from history to go with the topic at hand. Anyway, Miller's search is for the "inward life": one where the relationship and inner holiness of the believer reigns on the outside into our fallen and needy culture. The four sections - discipline, listening, informed, and confessional - speak to the need we have to drop alot of the outer excesses and retreat into the inner working of our relationship with God and with others.
"Deep is the dwelling place of God. Deep is the character of the ocean. Hold the metaphor for a moment and savor its lesson ahead of time. For deep is where the noisy, trashy surface of the ocean gets quiet and serene... Deep is the gift of discipline." - p. 15
"But it is those who read and pray, not those who philosophize and chatter, who arrive at lives of real power.... Real spiritual divers are so in love with the depths that they don't spend much of their lives trying to make oceanography real in a world where birdbaths define the smaller passions." - p. 16-17
"Jesus' counsel to be in the world must mean that we walk through sinful, fallen culture, giving it hope only because we remain in conversation with God as we walk through it." - p. 116
"The best thing of all is to surrender to God's will, and bear affliction with confidence in God. The Lord seeing out affliction will never give us too much to bear. If we seem to ourselves to be greatly afflicted, it means that we have not surrendered to the will of God." - p. 182, quoting St. Silouan
Good book... now on to something shorter... like Dr. Seuss 8^)
Then Jesus asked, 'What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.'
- Luke 13:18-19 NIV
We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity... Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now...
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The tree mentioned by Jesus in Luke 13 isn't necessarily a good thing. Do you see it? In context, our Lord just finished talking about the birds that come to steal away the seed the Sower sows on the road. In Hebrew tradition, birds were often omens of evil, and if we take that position here, we get a fairly different reading, don't we? Can the Kingdom actually become a place where the "birds of evil" can perch, finding a place from which to forage and steal among the children of God...?
It can if it becomes stagnant. You've seem churches and Christians that have frozen in traditionalism - the dead faith of the living, versus "tradition," the living faith passed on from those who are dead. We've been apart of things that are fairly "church-y" but that have no real life, no real influence, no real challenge, no real depth. And if the "tree" grows into a place where the birds can nest - a place where there's no shower or rain of the Spirit, no winds of change, no "love... growth... fluidity" - then we allow ourselves to shelter the enemy, thinking we're doing the Kingdom-thing but really allowing room for the Kingdom to be demolished and nullified in our midst.
Just thinking out loud...
Monday, January 27, 2003
"Move out of the way, son - I can't see the commercials."
Lots of good ads last night, and some duds I suppose, making their debut during Super Bowl XXXVII. Click to this article at MSNBC to watch the commercials and make your own picks.
Here's my Top Ten:
10) Fake "ROMAN NUMERALS" during the SNL Halftime
9) MJ on MJ - seen it before, but still like "Coulda dunked" - "Shoulda dunked"
8) MATRIX movie trailer - this one's gonna be cool
7) CHEF JIMMY - Quiznos, and yeah, I saw it coming, but it was still funny
6) WILLIE NELSON, for H&R Block
5) FOOTBALL HORSES and ZEBRA, Bud
4) OSBOURNES, for Pepsi Twist (I've always had suspicions about the kids)
3) HEIMLICH MANEUVER, Dodge Trucks
2) HULK movie trailer
1) Gotta be the UPSIDE DOWN CLOWN Bud commercial - hands down... literally.
No more football? ... now what?
Sunday, January 26, 2003
Close - then a blowout.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one Super Bowl XXXVII - 48-21 over the Oakland Raiders... And the commercials were good, too. I promise, tomorrow I'll try to list a Top Ten with links to the actual clips.
Better get your high-band ready.
So far, the game's not bad...
... but the commercials ROCK. Best commercial I've seen so far (besides MATRIX and HULK): Beer commercial with upside down clown.
I'll review more later - now back to the game.
Are you ready for some football?!?!?
We're about an hour or so from kickoff of the SUPERBOWL, and I don't give a rip who wins. I'll be watching the commercials and just hoping for a good game. And after we get back from my brother's house about halftime, and the kids go to bed (school night, you know?), I'll be playing Madden 2002 on the Gamecube, re-playing the biggest game of the year and still trying to figure out how to play decent defense.
Saturday, January 25, 2003
Abortion... Roe v. Wade... Planned Parenthood... Poster Contest?... Satire... Hurt...
At blogs4God.com, this past week has been one of bruised feelings, painful satire and, perhaps, misplaced decisions of what's "funny" or not.
I wasn't offended by the original posts/posters, but I've been challenged by the questions and remarks of those who felt all of this has gone over the line. Where stereotypes abound, I've been more pricked by the real stories then the rhetoric. And I can't help but ask that if "legalized abortion" were removed from the table, would other choices rise...? Has anyone flooded the Planned Parenthood site for their "poster contest" like we have to each otehr on blogs4God? Have both "sides" been insensitive to each other, whosing once again that Christians are more likely to point fingers at each other then to meet the real needs of people in need around us...?
Rachel is questioning her involvement in blogs4God as a moderator, and from her post, I don't blame her. Others have also blogged in opposition to what happened (Jordon, Brian, Sally and others) and in apology and explanation (Katherine). It seems that the heat of the moment has passed, and what we're left with is what's appropriate vs. what's hurtful or mean-spirited...?
I hate that it's so easy to offend, so difficult to not be offended.
Friday, January 24, 2003
Here's our snow angels:
By afternoon, the snow was mostly gone, and we're all back at school and at work today. But it might come again Sunday evening - but don't tell Cammi. She'll be ticked at the weatherman if it doesn't happen!
Ho ho ho, snow snow snow.
Snow pics from yesterday coming soon... but now, it's time for...
The Friday Five:
1. What is one thing you don't like about your body?
Unfit, no energy, high dependency on caffeine. My bum's too big, only complemented by my belly.
2. What are two things you love about your body?
High dependency on caffeine - tends to be a double-edge sword. Also, my eyes and hair.
3. What are three things you want to change about your home?
Would love to have a porch on the front. Here it is from yesterday's snow:
4. What are four books you want to read this year?
Already on it, finishing a book per week. Really, the only one I've *got to have* right now is THE TAO OF ENRON by Chris Seay. But I'm waiting to finish a few others first.
5. What are five promises you have kept to yourself?
Don't eat blue paint - finish a book per week (so far) in 2003 - stay teachable -... this one's hard, because I never think in terms of "promising myself" anything. Might have to revisit this one later.
More snow later - ciao.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Back to work...
It seems like I'm constantly taking a day off. Not that I'm complaining. It's just that next week, barring any illness or catastrophe, will be the first week I'll actually be in the office a full Mon-Fri 8:30a-5:15p week since the beginning of December. I really enjoyed taking Friday off - got the oil changed in my car at SpeeDee, hung out at Barnes&Noble with a Toffee Nut Latte (not as bad as it sounds, really), and drilling a few horrendous holes into our computer cabinet while watching WE WERE SOLDIERS with Mel Gibson. Woo hoo.
We didn't do much else over the weekend until Sunday, which is always a fairly full day. Worship/Service in the morning and a Cleansing Stream video made for a long day. That's why I'm glad we were all able to take MLKJr Day off yesterday. And that brings us to today - when no one wanted to get up and go to work/school. But we got out of the house fine: the kids were fine and well-behaved, and I had time to stop for gas before pulling into a parking spot right at 8:30a. Now, I'm going to head out, do a little reading for lunch, and come back to get some "real work" done.
It's incredible to feel productive, and while I haven't been as motivated as necessary, I do believe that what I've got to do needs to be done, and that it fits into the scheme of my calling. I'm to do my job well, as unto the Lord, right? Then I've got to finish these tasks with quality and thoroughness, working for the Father, not my bosses or my paycheck. My ministry grows from my relationship with Him, and I want to please Him, to do my "job" well.
Thanks for paying attention this long 8^)
Monday, January 20, 2003
Contemplating template changes...
I just added the Verse Of The Day to the lefthand column. Pretty cool, but had to play with it to get it to look right. I think I'm going to try to add it to the CWO website, too, if it's something Pastor might like. I'd also like to move the "comments" klink down beside the [+] link at the bottom of each post, instead of at the top. We'll see.
Hmmm... any other changes...?
Another week, another book in my quest to FINISH at least one book per week.
This time, I've taken my task into Monday to wrap it up, but it's been worth it. Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD is a collection of lessons on writing, mostly gleaned from her writing classes in the SF Bay Area. I've read some of her essays (great piece on her here, all "Jesusy"), but this is the first time I've read any books. I'd like to pick up one of her novels later on, maybe compare notes and figure out how she wrote this one according to what she says of writing in BIRD BY BIRD. Most of the anecdotes are dead on, even for those of us who are novice writers at best. But I do hold onto a dream of being published, and, perhaps more, of having something worth saying/writing/publishing in the first place, and I appreciate the story of her writing that's been presented here. There are many good tidbits of advice on plot, characters, dialogue, watching people, taking notes on index cards so you don't forget - and just writing, the disciplined act of sitting down at a desk and PC or paper, and making words appear that mean something. Or if they're meaningless, who cares? You're still writing, right?
It's all in the followthrough...
Sunday, January 19, 2003
A good kick-off to Cleansing Stream Spring 2003.
We met for Session #1: ALIGNMENT. I've gone through this material four times or so now, and each time I am simply nailed to the wall concerning my need to walk in alignment. What's that? It means walking in the spirit, not being controlled by the flesh. My spirit is born fresh in Christ, and my soul is in need of the restoration that comes with cleansing and maturity. My body needs healing, and as life goes on from here, it and my soul need to line up properly in submission to my spirit, even as my spirit submits only to the Holy Spirit. No room for fear, for stresses, for feelings and emotions to drive me and force my decisions. And on top of that, proper alignment in my home - my submission to Christ, my wife's submission to me, our children submitting to us - will allow the protection of God in our home and the flow of Christ into our family and community.
In a nutshell, it means that I need to follow Christ, not my own hungers and drives and opinions. And that my wife and I, in mutual submission to each other, also seek to follow Christ instead of what's popular from our in-laws, instead of living by hurt feelings or offended hearts.
More later... ciao.
Saturday, January 18, 2003
Friday Five for 01/17 - woo hoo.
1. Where do you currently work?
CSC - I'm a programmer/analyst, doing financial/insurance software.
2. How many other jobs have you had and where?
I've been at CSC (including when it was PMSC and Mynd before the merger) since graduating from USC in 1990. So before that, it's been mostly college jobs. I worked in the file rooms at the SC Tax Commission a couple of years, and I dj'ed at WQXL here in Columbia for about 2.5 years, too. - still the best job I ever had, if money's no object.
3. What do you like best about your job?
I like the challenge of making things work. Also, working with real people, traveling to the customer sites, and seeing your work come out in "the real world" is fairly rewarding.
4. What do you like least about your job?
Too often, there's an emphasis on deadlines and billable work over what can really be done in a reasonable amount of time. It's gotten alot better over the years, but there's always room for improvement.
5. What is your dream job?
I'd be back at the radio station, sharing good music and Jesus with people across the Columbia Metro area. And I'd have a jam-up theology/sports call-in show.
Thank you - thank you very much.
Movies move me.
I watched WE WERE SOLDIERS (Mel Gibson film) yesterday afternoon before the kids & wife got home from school, and it was really an experience. It's one of those movies that goes a long way in conveying the emotion, pain and feeling of those who actually participated in this particular battle at the beginning of the Vietnam War, and the utter clueless of everyone else. It's still amazing to me that we lost in Vietnam - that the US, for all its talk about supporting the troops heading to war, has such a long history of not caring a lick about what's really going on. We are a nation that watches from afar, and we're content with seeing soundbites and video clips on the evening news to give us a sense of the tragedy and horror of war. Maybe that's why I'm finding myself against the imminent conflict with Iraq - we have no idea. Our troops are going to fight, laying their lives down every step of the way, from the ground assault to the cleaning detail back at the base. Meanwhile, my life won't change much because they're over there, and it won't change much when they return. That bites, because in some way, that means they're fighting for nothing... except maybe the American right to be apathetic.
I pray for our president, that he will make wise decisions. My opinions matter little, and I know that. In his heart, I pray that he is sure of himself and his reasons for going to war. And I pray that we as Americans will support our troops in service and in sacrifice. In some way, we need to fight alongside the soldiers, to share in the battle, in some way that's real and meaningful.
Thanks for letting me gripe...
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
(From our discussion on the 1J13 List) Let me see if I can put into words what my thoughts are on the subject of the end times and the possibility/probability of the Rapture...hmm?
* Yes, I believe that Jesus is coming back (Acts 1:11). I believe that it is soon and very soon, that it is imminent and quite probably in "our time." Just a gut feeling, but one that's probably been shared by millions of folks in the last two thousand years, too.
* Yes, I believe that the world as we know it will be destroyed, and that a new heaven and a new earth, as physical places, will be built or are being built as a physical place for us to dwell for all eternity with the Father (Rev 20:11-21:2). I also believe that the new heaven and new earth is already being built spiritually within each of us as His Kingdom advances (1 Pet 2:5, Eph 2:22).
* Yes, I believe that the Bible points to a period of time at the end where the Antichrist will be in power (Revelation, Daniel, many other places). This will be a terrible time for anyone alive. But I have also seen that in reading Revelation as a book that tells me how to live, more than just an unfolding of future events, I get a different picture of where my place might be in all this. I'm not sure whether anyone will have an opportunity to "be saved" during the coming tribulation. From my reading, I just couldn't make the connection if Christians are already out of the picture. Also, reading Revelation should be just like reading Jeremiah or Isaiah or any other prophetic book, leaving room for practical/tangible application as well as spiritual/mysterious/undefinable interpretations.
* Yes, I believe that Jesus is coming back. Did I say that already?
Now, for the particulars: I don't think the only way for the prophecies to be fulfilled is for there to be a literal rapture of the church. My "hope" is in Christ, not in His ability to take me out of the bad stuff to come. If He is taking us out, praise the Lord. If He's not taking us out, praise the Lord. Do I believe there will be a rapture? Yes, but I'm not going to hang my life or my hope on what is not much more than theory and interpretation. My life is in Christ, as is yours. And while I might think it's going to happen one way, it may indeed happen quite differently, and in that sense, I'm not going to tell God He did it all wrong, am I?
We do have a statement of belief (doesn't specifically say anything about the rapture, only that Jesus is coming back like He said), and if you queried the CWO staff, everyone would probably profess a belief in a coming rapture of the church, to greater or lesser degrees. But to say the my "hope" is in the rapture is too much for me. The idea that millions of people have been martyred over the years to the glory of Christ, and yet He's planning to pluck us out before the really dangerous stuff happens at the end, sounds a little unfair. And it places the focus on us and our good fortune or blessing in our escape, rather than on what pain and suffering the world in its sin will go through, and that was not Jesus' way, was it?
I'm not off the page, just hesitant to hang my hat on anything other than Christ. I believe we will be raptured - but if we're not, we've still got "blessed hope" in the Savior, right?
No bread, no meat, no dairy. And let myself be hungry.
That's my mantra for the Daniel Fast we're participating in with CWO. There's all kinds of legalism I could get caught up in on this, but the last time I heard, that's a DIET. This is a FAST - abstaining from food or from certain foods in order to let the hunger pangs reveal a hunger for "every word that comes from the mouth of God." When my stomach growls, it should be a cry to God - not to the pantry and another granola bar, you know?
The hard part isn't the menu. It's staying hungry. Last year, we found all kinds of tofu and veggie patties and stuff that made it like we weren't fasting at all. This year, I'm looking at one good meal in the evening - no meat, no bread, no dairy - and just a little snacking on apples during the day. I had too much coffee yesterday - while I'm not going to cut out caffeine, I am going to stick to mostly water for the next few days, let the system get flushed out a bit.
And I'm meditating on His word - right now, in 2 Cor 3 and 2 Timothy 2. That's where I need to be more hungry.
Monday, January 13, 2003
Well, I've finished a second book in my 2003 quest to *finish* one book per week - wrapped it up after 10pm last night, but made it through the journey.
And it was a literal and literary journey - FOUR SOULS, by four guys looking for "the epic life" around the world. Mike, Jedd, Trey and Matt graduated from Westmont (Santa Barbara, CA), good friends looking forward to post-grad life, but also hungering for more in their individual and collective walks with God. After saving money during the summer, they set off for places around the world to help missionaries, Christian locals, and others. Here are some highlights that stuck out to me from their stops (without giving too much away):
* Guatemala - wrestling with the integrity of using bribes to pay off local officials and get medicine and supplies to their destination
* Russia - lots of good story time here, finding that Christians are a small minority in need of encouragement, but also finding that legalism can run rampant in the midst of real, caring community
* South Africa - effects of racism on Christian community; seeing how a country has been effected, how expectations have gone largely unmet and have left a generation of people who are frustrated and angry
* India, Thailand, Bangladesh - real deep poverty, the caste systems, being a Christian minority in the midst of severe hostility
* Vietnam - encouraging the underground church
It's a full book (350+ pages), but their own discoveries about themselves, with glimses into their journals revealing the internal struggles for godliness, are well worth the "travel". Finding that God often works outside what we would consider "the norm" is something that many of us have grown through as well. I was sad to see it end - and glad, too, since I was sleepy as all get out 8^). Pray for these four guys, to continue in meaningful lives.
Click here: FOUR SOULS, the Website.
And if you pick up the book, pray for the individuals - real people in real situations around the world - that they might be strengthened and encouraged in Christ.
Sunday, January 12, 2003
Good morning, Lord.
We talked last night, just a little. I went down to fix myself a sandwich before midnight. And today, I join the rest of the church in a Daniel Fast. No meat, no bread, no dairy for three weeks. Removing those foods that really bring pleasure to the flesh, in order to give time and energy to building up the spirit within.
And I am strangely content, Lord. I'm not worried about the next three weeks, about the foods I'm going to miss (though I did have a cajun ribeye last night!) and stuff like that. I'm not looking with dread at the TV being turned off a little earlier each night, at the PC sitting dormant and untouched each night (okay, that one might be tough). Instead, I'm looking at the possibility of getting some of the chaff out of my life, getting rid of those things that have served to clutter up the room of my relationships with You and with those around me.
I read Isaiah 58, and I see that the "true fast" is one that breaks bondages and frees captives and heals friends. I want that so much to be a part of who I am all the time, not just over the next three weeks. I want people around me to be a part of what's going on inside of me as I seek after You.
A "busy" Sunday ahead, but I relish the thought of spending more real time with You, O Lord. As Pastor preaches on "Removing The Veil" - may I be challenged to remove my own, to allow You to remove it from me, Your Bride, and may I be changed and challenged in the presence of the Spirit amongst Your people.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Saturday, January 11, 2003
If I include the trip to Miami as part of my "vacation" (it was work-related, but a change of venue nonetheless), this has been my first week back after basically three weeks away from the office. I went back in the two days before New Year's, but that didn't count. Work is back at full swing now, and everyone's back from vacation and settling back into the flow and rhythm of hitting deadlines and pricing work efforts. Even though I stayed home sick yesterday (can you say "stomach flu"?), it was a dang long week.
So this weekend, we're doing our best to keep the weekend free from "must do" lists, sticking with "want to" lists of things to do. Sunday there's church - more of a "want to" than a "must do," right? - but other than that, we're going to do next to nothing. We might hit the mall, might not. Wouldn't mind stopping by Barnes & Noble later for some Starbucks', but only if the trip doesn't interfere with watching the playoffs. One thing on my "must do" list is reading FOUR SOULS - in keeping with my resolution this year, I've got to finish this one by tomorrow. Good book, but I've still got about 150 pages to go and I'm not Evelyn Wood.
Okay, so there's another "must do": "Dad, we've got to find the easter egg on the ICE AGE DVD." I'm spending time this morning looking on the 'net - found an easter egg site from the UK and EyeCraveDVD, but no luck yet. I'll keep you posted.
Well, I'll do more journal-like blogging later this weekend, as well as a semi-review of FOUR SOULS when I wrap it up. For now, a cup of coffee, leftover pizza for breakfast, and egg hunting.
Thursday, January 09, 2003
Open letter to Vicki, my wife:
Hope you get this today 8^).
I drove out a ways down Wilson Blvd. during "lunch," looking for that little church we did the lock-in for in college. Remember? Playing spoons around the lo-o-o-o-o-ong table, playing basketball and v-ball outside as it got chilly, watching Stand By Me in the sanctuary - I'll never live that one down.
And I thought of you. You know, you might not have even been on that excursion - but I've got memories of you there. I don't remember much else, except you were there. Like when you went to Japan - the only memories I have of that entire autumn are being locked up in the dungeons of LeConte for our senior project, and the times we talked, I recorder Hugo's remnants on a little tape recorder, and taking your packages as you de-planed. The only things I remember are the times you were there.
And I'm overwhelmed at how, through it all, you're there. Sometimes, I find myself living in a fantasy world where everything will work itself out, where things will turn out okay in time, where things aren't as bad as they seem - and the only constant other than Christ is that you are there with me.
I should be more attentive, more understanding, more forgiving, more serving. I don't show my love for you "as Christ loved the church" in nearly enough ways, choices and moments in time. But this is only an apology in the short term. It's much more about a thankfulness, a gratitude, a wonder at who you are and what place you hold in my life.
So, how was your lunch?
lymi - deep - r'
Monday, January 06, 2003
Good to the last drop.
I drink coffee. Lots of coffee. Not alot compared to some people, but probably more than alot of people. I don't need it as a morning fix, and I wouldn't consider myself the victim of a caffeine addiction. I just like the experience. That's right, it's more than a taste or a shot for the system. Caffeine rarely has that effect on me anyway. No, it's the whole thing: taste, aroma, warmth, grinding, brewing, pouring, etc. Is that so weird?
I'm trying my hand at cuban coffee. My first batch was rank, but I hope I can improve on it in the days and weeks to come. I had my first authentic cup in Miami, and I think it'd be neat to replicate itin my kitchen. Why? The experience of it all. I've found a cool coffee website in my search for a good cuban coffee recipe, and I'm probably going to do a little more 'net research on coffee recipes, how to make a great pot of java from a drip maker, how to grind, what to grind, ethical coffees... it goes on and on 8^).
But no more coffee tonight. Gotta go to bed.
Sunday, January 05, 2003
Following through on my "resolution" to finish one book per week in 2003, I finished THE CONNECTING CHURCH by Randy Frazee this evening.
Okay, maybe "finished" is a pretty loose term, seeing that I skimmed through the last two chapters. In these, Pastor Randy detailed how his fictional couple, the Johnsons, put into practice all of the principles upon which the book had already expounded. While I was challenged by alot of the insight into community building, the necessity of overcoming individualism, consumerism and isolationism, and the need for our society to be based more on geography than affinity (proximity to each other, rather than similarity) - I didn't like how preachy it became as the book ran on. That's probably why it's taken me so long to read it. After starting it some time last summer, I just now got around to finishing it.
I recommend it to pastors looking for a mindset change that would lead to more fruitful community in the neighborhoods surrounding their churches. For me, I don't know quite how to process it yet. Some of the precepts in there are playable, but I don't know that all of them are. Of course, there's a built in time factor that we usually don't have to allow things like this to grow properly, right?
Next week: FOUR SOULS.
Saturday, January 04, 2003
No more college football.
Ohio State won the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl last night over the top-ranked Miami Hurricanes. Why does that bring a warmth to the heart of this Gamecock fan?
Because the last time the National Champ Buckeyes lost a game was in last year's Outback Bowl. Woo hoo.
But my NFL fantasy teams lost, so that sucks.
Thursday, January 02, 2003
My Bloginality is INTP... woo hoo. The test was fairly simplistic compared to other ones out there. I'll have to take a look and see what I've scored in the past, but I think it's close.
I'm not necessarily into censorship...
... but I just censored my first book of the new year. There's a comic strip style story in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002 Edition that just needed to come out. It's the story of two teens ("Bomb Scare" by Adrian Tomine), one a freshmen boy who has trouble being associated with divorce in his house and a relationship with a perceived homosexual, and a sophomore/junior girl who's discovered that she can get what she wants with sex and drinking and such, only to find that no one respects her. There's alot of "truth" in these stories, but as they intersect, it "ends" (these GenX stories don't have traditional endings, do they?) with the girl allowing the boy to see her body, and she seems to find some comfort in... something...
For me, it was exploitative, both of the protagonists' real emotions and growing pains, and of the genre itself. Why does everything have to be solved, or at least put on a path towards resolution or even just continued apathy, with sex and erotic affection? Anyway, since it's a comic with pictures - I might could've left it in & dealt with it later as prose - I cut those pages out. I want my kids, should they ever look through Daddy's library, to find books that give them alternatives with hope instead of hopelessness, with love instead of self-hate disguised as self-discovery. There are real answers, and they usually lead to more real questions - but are we solving anything if we stop asking and fall in line with the status quo?
Do I think I did the wrong thing? No. Why do I feel like I need to defend my actions? Because I don't want to come across as a bookburner and literary hypocrite. I appreciate the story, and its probably parallel in many many kids' experiences and memories from the past fifteen years. But there's no hope in it, and if anything, I want those around me to find hope in the midst of what's usually just crap.
Wednesday, January 01, 2003
I am ubergeek - hear me roar.
This is just a gee-I'm-up-and-this-is-a-brand-new-year-but-I-don't-know-what-to-expound-upon kind of post. Just letting you know.
Here we are in a brand new year: 2003. And I'm online after only about four hours of sleep, writing to my blog, updating my homepage chock full o' links, and contemplating geekdom. I hope this isn't an omen of the year ahead. I'm watching VH1's "I Love The 80's" Marathon (that'll only last as long as the kids sleep in, I'm sure), and I'm reminded of all the fun of middle school and high school - yeah, boy. I'm looking at one of my coolest christmas presents ever: a watch that's also a TV remote (also got Smart Mass for my cubicle). And I'm looking forward to nothing but Gamecube, Bowl Games all freakin' day, and reading (per my resolution to *finish* one book per week this year).
I'm also brainstorming things I'd like to hit on this year on this blog:
* can I follow through (2003 catchphrase - is that one word or two?)
* what made the eighties both special and oh-no-please-take-'em-away?
* book reports each week as I actually finish a few
* other geek toys and trends
* what it means to minister, to lead, to train, to disciple in our culture today
... stuff like that.
Well, back to my book - gotta get some quality page time in before the bowl games, right?