rick & 1j13
Monday, June 30, 2003
Blahg. Great word.
Sunday, June 29, 2003
I want to blog. But I don't want to talk about what's got me bummed. Maybe later. Right now...

I ordered some new books from B&N. Not sure why, since I'm in the middle of at least two others right now. We received a $10 coupon good on $50 or more, so Vicki and I got a few books we've been eyeing for a time:OK, what's got me bummed? Is this "later" already...?

It seems that no one's listening, that no one cares, that no one's paying attention. That's pretty self-centered and self-serving, and I'm sure it's only my perception and not reality, but that's where I'm at right now. I'm not angry with anyone; I'm not even thinking of anyone in particular. It's just an overbearing sense that I'm not on the same page with the rest of the world, or at least the rest of my little world. And in the midst of this, when I see others seeming to have a full-on presence-filled time with the Lord, for me He's oddly quiet right now.

I don't mind that, really. "Desert experiences" in this christian walk are best served quietly, contemplatively, steadfastly. Faith is reborn and renewed and refreshed in the void that's left when there's nothing left. If He's God in the full times, He's still God in the empty times, or He's not God at all. He proves Himself in the wilderness, and we get proven, too.

My questions right now... Do I identify with Christ, or with my church? Do I have my being in Him, or in what I'm doing for Him? Is my relationship with Him based on what He's done for me, said to me - or is it based on His life, His truth, Himself being born in me? If everything else is gone, is Jesus still enough? I'm not looking for the approval of men, but at the same time I am in submission to Pastor, mutually submitted to others, submitted to Christ through them... what does that look like in "real life"?

Meanwhile, I'll read... think... pray... study... teach. And I'll rely on Him, because it's all I've got.
b4G: Love In The Midst Of Pain

Jen has been through alot over the past week or so, and it comes out in this post at b4G. There's something about that time, those times, when everything in us is still lacking to help with what we're actually going through. "Outside of our comfort zone" isn't a place we like in our comfort-driven consumer society, and yet it's the only place where we find ourselves desperate enough to hear Him, to do as He says, to actually have faith that He's still there and still gives a rip. I don't know what she's been through, but I'm glad that God is revealing Himself. That's all I can think of after my own desert/wilderness/non-comfort-zone times: what did I learn about God here that surprised me, that encouraged me, that gave me hope when there was none.

Thanks, Jen.
Saturday, June 28, 2003
My template just took a hit. I went in to clean out some linkage on the left, alphabetize the blog list, and it got hosed. Had to revert to a month-old backup, so it might take awhile to rebuild some of those links. Drat.
Two movies. Two DVDs. Two Netflix rentals going back in the mail today.

Last night, we watched the 007 DIE ANOTHER DAY. No thought required, which was good after a very draining mental week. Anyway, I figured out the plot points before Commander Bond, which took more mind that I'd wanted to use but was way too easy to figure out. My wife's really hoping that the Halle Berry Kinx character doesn't get spun off to her own movie series, or at least gets better writers.

Then this morning, I watched 12 MONKEYS on my portable player. Long movie, bizarre on alot of points, and why did they throw in the curve at the end, using a virtually unknown character.... but I digress. I thought Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt were very good in their parts, and enjoyed the movie overall. I just hate it when it seems that the ending is thrown together. Might have to get that one and watch it again.

Also out from Netflix for the kids: THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE and BATMAN: THE LEGEND BEGINS. Sending my two back today, so I should have next selections by Wednesday - SE7EN and PUNCH DRUNK LOVE. Hopefully I'm not on too big of a Brad Pitt kick (I've got MEET JOE BLACK in my queue, too). Last time I was hooked on one actor, it was Kevin Spacey, until THE SHIPPING NEWS depressed the bejeebers out of me.

I keep meaning to blog more about movies. I really enjoy getting into plots, good story, good characters, good & meaningful dialogue. Of the movies I just mentioned, probably none would ever be on any "best of" lists - though 12 MONKEYS is right up there on some sci-fi lists I've seen. Image, story, perception, words - all come together in film, and they come together well in a good film. I hate to see a movie just to escape or to get my mind turned to mush, but even those have a place from time to time (like the 007 flick last night). So if I don't take them too seriously, and I take them seriously enough to make the time worthwhile, I don't consider it a waste to see a good movie at the theater, or rent it on DVD.

BTW, there's no going back to VHS and "please be kind - rewind." Now that DVDs are out, with all the special features and commentary ("pop-up video stuff during 007 was really cool - better than the movie itself!), there's no reason to watch a video tape of anything other than home movies. And once it's a little less cost prohibitive to make Home DVDs, we'll be there, too.
CNN.com: Hundreds of thousands sign on for 'do-not-call' registry

I "registered" first thing yesterday morning, putting in our home phone and both cell phones just in case. Now, my only thing is that I hope it works better than the SPAM FILTERS that all of our email services are supposed to have.

I'll miss getting to talk to them when they call, find out what they're selling, if they've got one, if it's completely free, if they want me to call them back at home, etc.
Cayce residents voice concerns about Bantu

This really grabs my goat. Someone wants to help a people group that's been through hell, and the citizens of our fair town are griping about property values. As for J. Knotts - we're stupid enough to hold our own SAT scores down without any outside help. The real threat here is the unwillingness to help and the bias against anyone not from around these here parts.
San Antonio police link man to 14 church fires

Glad that he can't get ahold of blogs...
Up way too early this morning. It has been one long stretch the past couple of weeks at work, with a couple of projects just taking too much mental effort and stress and strain. I basically worked on one thing last week, a similar thing the previous week, and both of them were ust really intense mentally. The only real stress I had on me was just figuring outthe problem - relatively easy as far as outside pressure goes. But one of the "perks" of being a programmer is that you sometimes get a puzzle that's difficult to solve, especially when what you do effects so many other pieces downstream in the flowchart that you've also got to mindful of not breaking anything in order to get your fix in. Whew.

So, I slept okay, but when I had to get up at 5:30am (read: had to go potty, the only reason anyone would get up on a Saturday morning), I decided to come down and surf a little, blog a little, make a pot of coffee, and dig into the Word. I'm still on a kick on OBEDIENCE, where I'm being challenged within to be obedient out of love and choice want-to, not compulsion and have-to. If God longs for a cheerful giver, then I want my longing to serve Him to override my laziness and don't-want-to attitudes. I think this Thursday evening at PowerHOUSE I'm going to preach a backwards sermon - backwards in that I'll end with my "title": OBEDIENCE IS NOT SACRIFICE. I think that's where I've had alot of problems in the past, and seen it in others: we view our obedience to Christ as a sacrifice, as taking up our cross, as laying down our lives. But that's not entirely true. I've got two Thursday's to speak, and the second one (right now, subject to change) will be along the lines of OBEDIENCE IS A PROMISE, coming out of Jesus' promise in John 14:5, that if we love Him we will keep His commands. Hmmmm...
Friday, June 27, 2003
It's friday, here's five... fridayfive:

1. How are you planning to spend the summer [winter]?
Right now, we're taking a short weekend to Charlotte to use some Carowinds passes. Possibly heading to the mountains or to the beach again, but nothing else definite.

2. What was your first summer job?
My first "job" was cleaning out a self-serve car wash on Hwy-1 when the owner (a pilot) was out of town, but I think that was year round. The first job I can remember that was strictly during the summer was bussing tables at Al's Upstairs, summer 1985, before my senior year of high school.

3. If you could go anywhere this summer [winter], where would you go?
My wife and I take up any offer to travel to San Francisco and the Bay Area. We're going back, but probably not until the kids are older.

4. What was your worst vacation ever?
Worst? Probably repressing alot here, but the only one I can think of was the week-long trip to the beach with my ex-gf's family. We'd just broken up after school (end of my soph year of college), and then with all of her and my friends gone for the summer, still had no one else to hang out with. Painful getting-back-together-no-we're-not-but-maybe-we-will-walking-on-eggshells kind of trip. But good news - met the love of my life as school started back in the fall, and still hanging out with her - woo hoo!

5. What was your best vacation ever?
Honeymoon. Hands down, with San Francisco weekend coming in a distant second.
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Salt Lake Tribune: Teachers get preliminary OK to carry weapons

Back in the day, all my teachers threw were erasers and chalk pieces.
I feel like there's not much to say these days... or maybe there's too much to say, and we're all stuck in some retro 80's movie with Ben Stein asking the class, "Bueller? Beuller?"because there's no one to speak or no one to listen. I've got a few "outlets" for the stuff I write, and anything I come up with for the 1J13 email list tends to be either a re-hash of what I've blogged about here, or it's a re-hash of dead horses we've kicked around on the list already over the years. So it's not really "writer's block" in the truest sense - more of a "writer's roadblock."

The only thing I can point to that's "new" for me right now is something that's building inside through the Word, through sermons, through stuff I'm reading and listening to, and that is the call to OBEDIENCE. That's a hard pill to swallow for the church. We know we need to "obey," but that rarely turns into real motivation and real action to really follow through with the commands of God. And it's tough to tell a grace-driven people that there's still a "law" that needs to be followed and lifted up as a standard for living instead of some unreachable absolute ideal or unnecessary legalistic thing.

But isn't that what grace is about: the desire and power to do what God is compelling you and me to do? That's the rub - if you're already going to heaven (since this is what the average church-goer considers "salvation"), and you're forgiven for your shortcomings and sins if you'll just confess 'em, then why do you have to put real effort into obeying The Law, right? But that's what grace is for, to actually DO what you cannot on your own DO in the right heart and spirit and motivation.

But we... don't... do... that. Our basic Sunday morning sermon is an infomercial for the Christian Life (an ideal that everyone can try with the right "keys" and $19.95 - or your money back), not for kingdom-living (the grunt work of living with people day-to-day, with no money back guarantees). We jot down the thesis and the four bullet-points of application in our Bible margins, nod our head in agreement or shout "Amen" at the appropriate times to keep the pastor fired up, and then we walk out of the building thinking we've grown in maturity because we've heard and "understood," NOT because we've actually changed - we haven't.

But how do I write about that? How do I put down in words that I want to be someone who follows God's call no matter where it comes from, no matter what it costs, no matter where it will lead? How do I type about obedience and grace when those two things seem so paradoxical to our culture these days? How can I proclaim that grace is good because it empowers us to choose to obey, not because because it is used as a mask for our unwillingness to do so? How can I write...

Oh wait a minute... I just did. Maybe. Boy, I feel more mature already. Sarcasm.
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
CNN.com - Holy reunion! West, Ward in 'Batman' film - Mar. 4, 2003

I am so there...
This was an email I sent out in response to a series of "questions" from my good friend D on the NKOC email list. Basically, this seems to be what she's seeing as "our story" as told by Neo & Co. in Brian McLaren's New Kind Of Christian series of novels:

I don't necessarily flow 100% with these "answers," but that's how I read the book/s going. And it makes me stop to think about what's really important in sharing the good news, the Story, with others looking for themselves, too.
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Wow. Actually looks like I think about stuff from that previous post. But don't let the big words and reference citations fool you... I'm finding out that I'm just as dumb as everyone else. I just hide it better. I think.

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.
- Psalm 15:1-5 NIV

I received this verse from my Daily Manna email this morning. And as I'm challenged by the question of who among us is really worthy, I'm also struck by the inclusion in the middle of this passage of something that doesn't seem to fit: "...who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord,..." I admit, I don't know what to do with that one. How does it fit in with "Love your enemies" and such? How can I despise someone God loves and Jesus died for? I'm not saying it's wrong. I just want to do more digging into what "despise" means, who a "vile man" would be.

In Matthew Henry's Commentary on Psalm 15, he writes that:
Still chewing on that, but it makes a little more sense now... somehow agreeing with God's word in "judging" someone, instead of being compliant and compromising. Being impartial and letting God's word speak for itself... and still loving that person, hoping he or she will receive conviction and repentantly pursue Christ. Hmmmm...
Monday, June 23, 2003
THE HULK was not as bad as I thought it might be. If you believe all of the reviews, it's just a weak story with cool special effects that aren't that cool when you look close enough. So I went in with no expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised. The story drove the effects and the action, which is a major plus for me. Also, one of the things I'd read about the editting and split screen techniques turned out really well. Ang Lee spent alot of time making the screen look like a comic book. I thought it worked - though there were a few lo-o-o-ong drawn out sequences (just like in Mission: Impossible 2). Other than that, and the feeling that they didn't bring out the insanity that I know if inside of Nick Nolte and his character here - the ending felt really rushed - I enjoyed it.

CNN.com - Original Hulk Ferrigno talks TV-inspired movie - Jun. 23, 2003
Saturday, June 21, 2003
Alright, I'm changing to HULK GREEN as my way of defying the Harry Potter media blitz, and as a means to show that I'm really looking forward to THE HULK tomorrow evening. Not kidding about the media blitz and hype - all four local news broadcasts last night were at different bookstores last night, where parents waited with the own little muggles to plop down $$$ for the latest edition of the saga. I'm not going to get caught in the trap of defending one side or the other philosophically or theologically. I just like my fiction to still have some kind of moral compass that stays in tact on various levels - i.e., people doing bad things get punished, and people doing good things get lauded. I know bad things happen to good people and vice versa, but a good story will still keep you engrossed while challenging you to sense that underlying morality and integrity beyond the simplicity of good vs. evil. I'd rather spend time with Tolien or CS Lewis, or even Hiaasen's HOOT or Suchar's HOLES, then read 800+ more pages that might glorify the application of "the ends justifies the means" to a generation of future movers and shakers.

Yahoo! News - Aaaaaaaaagggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

All those verses in the Bible about the tongue come rushing to mind... and none of them deal adequately with this. Just say "no" - if you can talk at all after this... eeww.
Friday, June 20, 2003
A hairy Friday Five:

1. Is your hair naturally curly, wavy, or straight? Long or short?
naturally curly when i let it grow out, but pretty short and manageable most of the time

2. How has your hair changed over your lifetime?
there was the time in the eighth grade when i tried parting it in the middle for about a year or so; since then, i think my part is somewhere between middle and where it started when i was younger

3. How do your normally wear your hair?
on top of my head - brushed back from the part, and it's really wavy when it's too thick and time for a trim

4. If you could change your hair this minute, what would it look like?
i'd go buzz cut - but would be scared it wouldn't grow back

5. Ever had a hair disaster? What happened?
trying to remember one - probably nothing worse than an abnormally flaky cowlick trying to overtake my whole head...
I'm up way too early on a Friday morning. This has been a nutty week. At work, it's been one puzzling little thing after another. Spent three days trying to figure out one problem, and got a new one yesterday that's eating my lunch already, too. High stress is okay for short bursts, but this has been intense most of the week now.

A dear friend from church passed away Sunday afternoon, and her services are tonight and tomorrow. She was at church Sunday morning, and passed away in her sleep later in the afternoon. As we're lifting up her daughters, I'm also reminded of the "discussions" we would have over bible studies and stuff. I'm going to miss her.

Positive things have come out this week, too. My ons was grounded from all technology-related playthings yesterday - meaning no Gamecube, no TV, no DVDs, no PC, no Gameboy - and he lived. Actually enjoyed himself, playing board games and reading books, just like in the olden days when I was a kid, huh? Son, we didn't have DVDs back then, we had tapes and we had to be kind and rewind before taking them back to the cheesy video store up the street; didn't even have Blockbuster, and I had to walk uphill both ways in the snow.... oh never mind.

Scott & I are going to read Dallas Willard's DIVINE CONSPIRACY together this summer. I hope I can get all the way through it this time. We'll meet at Starbucks every Wednesday, find a comfy chair or two and follow Willard's thoughts on the Discourse On The Hill in Matthew 5-7 and beyond.

And of course, THE HULK comes out this weekend. A few of us are going to see it Sunday night, methinks. If it's any good, I might have to change the background color to GREEN for a time next week. Meanwhile, I can see where it might be cheesy and where the graphics aren't there yet to make a fully functional, non-shifty human-esque character on screen yet. I'm just hoping the story carries everything and not just the effects.
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Reuters | Religious Attacks Muted as New Potter Book Lands


UPDATE: I took a little time to read the article above, and I'm impressed that "we" as Christians are not harping on this topic once again. Yes, I think there is something wrong with the whole Harry Potter line. My wife agrees that they have been growing increasingly dark and ominous. As a teacher and a mother of children who are growing up with a love for reading, she felt like it was necessary to read the books for herself (I tried - couldn't get into the first story). So she'll probably read this next one, too, and be able to report back on it. But while they have been "good stories" and wel-written, and while there are certain occultic undertones throughout, I'm glad to see that maybe we're focusing on other things... like, say, sin in our midst, hopefully?
The Deep Love of God
N. T. Wright

Here is the mystery, the secret, one might almost say the cunning, of the deep love of God: that it is bound to draw on to itself the hatred and pain and shame and anger and bitterness and rejection of the world, but to draw all those things on to itself is precisely the means, chosen from all eternity by the generous, loving God, by which to rid his world of the evils which have resulted from human abuse of God-given freedom.

My thought as I read this statement above is, "do I have the kind of love that strives to draw rejection or pain or suffering or discomfort onto myself in order for others to be free?" As I look around me, at the people I love with and work with and worship with, do I see where I've loved like this? Or do I instead see the hurt and junk of life sticking to folks, when this kind of love should be "drawing to itself" all of that?

One of the things I've discovered about my relationship with God is that I can guage how things are going by how the people around me are catching on, too. I hope that I can become someone who loves with this kind of love, and that it's revealed around me in the lives of people as they're healed, comforted, encouraged and amazed by God.
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
SI.com - College Football - Ole Miss benches Colonel Rebel mascot for 2003 - Wednesday June 18, 2003 02:09 PM

Rednecks across the south are nervous.... What will be next to be kicked off the cultural map? Maurice's BBQ? David Dukes? Jakey Knotts?...... let's hope so.
Thanks for the suggestions on books for the summer. I'm going to be meeting with my buddy Scott at Starbucks every week or so, and we're going to read DIVINE CONSPIRACY (Dallas Willard) together. Huge book, chock full of stuff - based around the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 ("Discourse on the Hill"). I read it last year with Russ and others on another email list, but I didn't invest too much into it then. Hopefully we'll plow through and sharpen each other's iron in the process (Prov 27:17).

I've had some discussion on what kinds of books I read, how do I balance non-fic with fiction, etc. For the most part, Christian literature is based in the non-fiction Christian-Living department, with some fiction thrown in to show "we" can right stories without cussing and sex. If the story is right, I love Christian fiction - huge Frank Peretti fan (read most of his), and I'd recommend the Narnia Chronicles (CS Lewis) to anyone. I also like Jefferson Scott - he hasn't written anything lately, but he had a couple of books based on a near-future where virtual reality has some evil stuff going on. Anyway, good story drives any book for me, whether it's fiction or non-fic. Without a decent story, or way of putting things, or challenging conversation with the author, I'm just not usually interested. I read "non-Christian" books in the general market that might have Christian/ethical themes, because they usually tell better stories.
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Tuesday morning. Yesterday was way too long @ work. I started out (8:30am) by having to find something to do (a customer account was put on hold, so I'm without something solid and billable for the next couple of weeks). And when I was given something to get into for the day, it took a-l-l d-a-y. No lunch, this is priority, this is the last thing on the list, etc. When I finally got out at 5:30pm, I was drained. I'm a programmer, sitting on my buns all day, so it's not the most strenuous job out there. But the mental strain and the workload still wears on you, and I was beat.

On the other hand, after coming downstairs to let the dog out and cool off around midnight last night (A/C upstairs set too high to blow), I finally went back upstairs and slept really well - best night's sleep in a few days. So there's your moral - work hard, sleep hard, repeat.

Meanwhile, I'm making coffee (grinding Starbucks instead of buying Starbucks this morning) and heading out the door. Gotta find something to do again, and hope to get started on that early enough to *PICK* the next assignment.
Monday, June 16, 2003
My turn to go see FINDING NEMO yesterday afternoon. I loved it (my first time, their second), and will say here now that if this film doesn't win the Oscar next year for Best Animated Feature, there's something fishy going on.
Sunday, June 15, 2003
Any suggestions on a one-on-one book for reading together, discipling each other, etc? I've got a few in mind, but I honestly don't want to start something that I've already read, already have preconceived notions on. My friend Scott & I are going to start meeting at Starbucks each Wednesday morning through the summer, and I'd like to read something good that'll stretch us both; not just something I can lead him through to "think like me," but something we can grow through together. Anyway, leave a comment if you've got a suggestion.

UPDATE 06/17 7:18am - thanks for all the suggestions. Keep 'em coming. I'm hard to please when it comes to reading and movies - hate to waste time/$$$ on something that's not going to really smack me and challenge me, you know? Anyway, good suggestions, and I really appreciate the help & encouragement.
Saturday, June 14, 2003
Just for the record, I don't like the new "blogger basic" screens coming up right now. Not completely down with it, just not sold on the new interface. I tried posting this semblance of a thought twice yesterday, and it jammed each time. Perhaps today is the day...?

Bad thing on the way to work yesterday morning (Friday). I usually sleep pretty deep through the night, but I woke up really wide awake to go to the bathroom, just knowing that it was morning and time to get up for real. Then I noted it was only about 2:30am - yuck. So I went back to sleep, knowing it wouldn't be as deep as before. Anyway, I woke up again - this time at 5:30am, and I went on and got up. No use going back to sleep and forcing myself out of bed an hour later. I took my shower, went downstairs and did some blog-time. I ended up leaving around 7:15am, deciding to stop at Starbucks on the way in. Bad move.

After a night where I woke up more than I'm used to, I stopped for a caramel machiato at the new shop on Forest Drive. There was no line, and not many cars, and I saw folks inside sitting at the tables and reading or chatting. And I made my move - I took my book in and decided to get my coffee and find a fluffy comfy chair to crash in until about 8am. That was so-o-o-o relaxing, I can't begin to describe. I watched the morning rush grow a bit, saw two guys start a "business" meeting, listened to a mom tell her little girl about the stuff on the walls, listened to some light jazz, sipped my coffee and read a few pages. And then I had to go to work... bad thing, since I knew it would probably be downhill from there.

Sigh. I was right, mostly. Long day, tedious in spots, but we worked last night @ home to get a new entertainment center - woo hoo - into the house, and the one from the living room upstairs to our room. So it wasn't a total waste (no day ever is, is it?), but.... I'm looking forward to hitting Starbucks again this evening after seeing X2 with my wife. Ahhhh....

Gonna burn me some tunes tomorrow morning - woo hoo. But now, too tired, so i'm lazy: saving link to my blog. Woo hoo.

UPDATE: Man, that was late/early, huh? I came downstairs, fell asleep looking at SermonAudio.com, and woke up about 2:30. Whew. Shoulda stayed in bed, huh?
Friday, June 13, 2003
I started 2003 with the resolution to *finish* a book per week. That pasted about three months, and then I got bogged down in a couple of books that were either too long to finish adequately in a week, or that weren't interesting enough (which is why I hadn't finished them before). So here I am, back in the predicament of being the middle of at least two or three books at a time.

I'm reading two books right now (having given up for a time on my new year's resolution to *finish* a book per week), one fiction and one non-fic. I'm reading THE ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY, and it's bogging me down. Good story, but wa-a-a-a-ay too long. I bought it for my flight to Miami back in December, and took it with me again to Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago. I'm now HALF-way through the SIX HUNDRED PLUS page novel. It's about two cousins writing/drawing comic books in the late 1930s. Good story for the most part, just so-o-o-o-o-o long to get to some kind of conclusion. Anyway, Michael Chabon is a decent author (or I would've dumped any attempts to finish this thing long ago), so I'll press on.

I've just started (re-started, I think) GOD'S PASSION FOR HIS GLORY by John Piper. I'm caught up in the introductions, and then I'll be reading the text of a couple of John Edwards' books that he is re-publishing in this format. Good stuff; challenging stuff; stretching stuff. I haven't gotten to the Edwards portion yet - THE END FOR WHICH GOD CREATED THE WORLD - but I'm looking forward to having to think about stuff with real depth & substance.

And in the Bible, I'm meditating on Philippians right now. Topics like the mind of Christ and attitude of Christ (chapter 2), identifiying with Christ in His suffering (chapter 3) and an over all attitude of joy in the midst of it all - that's what's pumping me up right now.
TheState.com - Word Association w/ Aaron Rawl

Good stuff. His mom was my senior AP English teacher, and now Aaron (pronounced AY-run, y'all) is pitching in a second consecutive CWS. Go Gamecocks!
FridayFive, on a Friday no less:

1. What's one thing you've always wanted to do, but never have?
Go back to San Francisco. I went out there a few years ago on a business trip, and spent two weeks, back one week, then back there two weeks. Vici came out one weekend, and I got to drive around the Bay area, down to Santa Cruz, up the coast just a little. We'd both love to go back with a free week, just adventure through all the sites and Starbucks shops.

2. When someone asks your opinion about a new haircut/outfit/etc, are you always honest?
I'm a guy, so the only person who asks my opinion on a haircut is my wife. Andd yes, I'm honest - she couldn't mess it up for me; I like her too much to ever see a bad haircut :)

3. Have you ever found out something about a friend and then wished you hadn't? What happened?
Probably, but nothing specific on any particular friend comes to mind right now. I tend to let things slide, so anything "that big" wouldn't have made much of an impact.

4. If you could live in any fictional world (from a book/movie/game/etc.) which would it be and why?
DC or Marvel Universe, where superhero powers/challenges would be a real possibility. Of course, having no powers and not looking good in spandex anyway, I'd live in rural locales and watch it all on the news through satellite feeds. Why rural? No sky scrapers falling on you when the bad guys start ransacking the place.

5. What's one talent/skill you don't have but always wanted?
I would love to play guitar better. I'm decent, I suppose. I've led music at church and small group, but only simple chords and stuff. Wish I had time (made more time) to practice, take lessons again, get better.
Thursday, June 12, 2003
CNN.com - Gregory Peck dead at 87 - Jun. 12, 2003

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a great book, and the only way it's an equally great movie is Peck as Atticus Finch.
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
The State | 06/11/2003 | Knotts ticketed for leaving dog in car

NBC.com > Last Comic Standing: The Search For The Funniest Person In America

I watched both episodes last night, and I'm sad that there are no really good *clean* comics out there today. I'm rooting for Ralphie Mae - big guy from the LA show - and the tall brunette girl (forget her name and can't get the recap yet at the website) from the NY show. They were the only ones who didn't really go potty mouth with their bits. A couple of others stood out, too - but this was mainly a how-can-i-cuss-and-get-away-with-it-on-network-TV-and-still-get-some-recognition... Life is funny enough, IMO. If you've got to throw out four-letter-words to simply liven up your act, you're going for shack value over substance. Sorry - not funny.
Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Disclaimer: This website is suited for active citizens only. We bear no responsibility for any discomfort this may bring to corrupt officials and indifferent citizens. If you think being an active citizen is a burden, try apathy and send us a postcard from the stone ages.

I found out about this ENOUGH! movement in Albania through today's edition of JoelNews. Still perusing through the site, but I'm impressed with a group that can use irony and sarcasm as political weapons against apathy and ignorance. Wonder if there's a USAmerica Chapter?
This would be my kid:

*Penny Problems*

After tucking their three-year-old child Sammy in bed one night, his parents heard sobbing coming from his room.

Rushing back in, they found him crying hysterically. He managed to tell them that he had swallowed a penny and he was sure he was going to die. No amount of talking was helping.

His father, in an attempt to calm him down, palmed a penny from his pocket and pretended to pull it from Sammy's ear. Sammy was delighted.

In a flash, he snatched it from his father's hand, swallowed it, and then cheerfully demanded, "Do it again, Dad!"

* Copyright © 2002 Crosswalk.com, Inc. and its Content Providers. All rights reserved.
:: RELEVANT magazine :: Devout Christian - Nightcrawler

Gotta head off to work, so I'm linking this here for me to read later. Nightcrawler's religious faith plays a pretty big role in X2, and I think I've blogged on this stuff before. Looks like a good article though...
Monday, June 09, 2003
CNN.com - They're back: 'V' to invade NBC again - Jun. 9, 2003

Oh no. Please don't tell my wife. If we "get hooked" on this one, we'll have to plan everything that week around the tvguide.
Meditation for the week:

The first commandment was really brought to life yesterday morning in a new video we're watching on the Ten Commandments. The thought that we're to "have no other gods" makes sense when you consider that there are no other gods, and that the Lord has already led us to freedom, already made us free.

The second passage above was Pastor Danny's text yesterday. "Who are you to judge someone else's servant?" We judge too much in the disputable matters, without standing firm nearly enough on those matters that God is clear about. We might turn a blind eye to an affair in the congregation, but watch out if you walk in full of tattoos. I'm meditating on these two passages this week, wondering where I might be seeking after other gods, and where I am judging others too harshly, or myself not harshly enough.

I also went to my brother's church and heard him preach on "The Perfect Church." Basic premise: we're already in the "perfect church" by being a part of the body of Christ, so now LIVE LIKE IT.
Saturday, June 07, 2003

South Carolina Advances to Second Straight College World Series with 14-4 Crushing of North Carolina :: Brian Buscher and Landon Powell hit two home runs each in offensive slaughterhouse

I asked for bandwagoneers to jump on board yesterday. Too late now - we're heading for Omaha, and you're not welcome anymore :).
You are Morpheus-
You are Morpheus, from "The Matrix." You
have strong faith in yourself and those around
you. A true leader, you are relentless in your

What Matrix Persona Are You?
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I'm going to try to stick to a topic of MOVIES this coming week. I've watched a couple of good ones over the past couple of weeks:

As I was watching the movie this morning, I was struck by this thought: The best movies of my life were probably made in the 80s. Now, that's just a generalization right now, and probably/hopefully isn't entirely true. I've liked alot of movies from the 90s and beyond, and I'd say that GLADIATOR and THE MATRIX are right up there at the top of my best-of-life list, and they're recent films. But there's something about nostalgia, remembering going to the theaters (I'm still in the same town and some of those theaters don't exist any more), going to a summer movie double feature, finding a good action flick on the last day of school - priceless.

Don't save me the aisle seat. I prefer fourth row center, thanks.
RelevantMagazine's interact boards has a topic in the "progressive culture" section on who's blogging and who's reading. Here are some of the blogs listed - and I'll be paying visits today - woo hoo:

Gonna check 'em out.
Friday, June 06, 2003
Quotes from NCAA Super Regional Press Conference :: Go Gamecocks!

Anyone want to jump on the bandwagon now? No guarantees, but hopefully it'll be a good weekend against the hated Tarheels, and we'll be back in Omaha to do it right this year.
NEWS.com.au | Heroin dealer gets tax deduction (June 6, 2003)

SI.com - Baseball - Sosa suspended 8 games for corked bat, will appeal - Friday June 06, 2003 01:06 PM

CNN.com - Reporter says he 'never meant to hurt anyone' - Jun. 6, 2003

Integrity is SO HUGE. I'm not knocking either man. Sammy seems to have made a bone-headed mistake, and while 8 games might seem long (I was expecting half that), you just don't know how intentional this thing was. As for Blair, he's dealing with his own mistakes. It seems like he's putting the blame on "[his] own demons," but at least he's taking the heat and seems sincere in wishing it hadn't effected the careers of others.

Integrity should be such an emphasis in our culture that relies on truth and information........ Too bad it's not all that.
I posted my "faith/life story" a few days ago, and that was fun (my wife said she liked that better than the post on snakes from CNN - eeww). Last night, I shared another chapter of that story with my daughter. She wanted to hear a story about when she was a baby, so I started with the night before she was born.

We stayed up late. I still had to finish painting the new nursery, and the colors on the rainbow wall weren't completely dry when we went to bed. But we back up in a few hours (I'm sure I slept hard, as usual) to go to the hospital. We had to be there by 6am or so for the scheduled-C, and the rest of the family (Trace stayed with Grampa and Grandma) would meet us by 8am.

If I've got my clock right, the surgery was quick and Cammi was born around 7:30am - almost in time for breakfast biscuits from Hardee's. After they cleaned all the goop off of her, we walked into the hallway outside of the waiting room. I think the pediatrician was holding her; my plan had been to introduce her to Tracer first and let him tell everyone else that he had a new baby sister (we hadn't told anyone that we knew - sneaky). But she/pediatrician barreled through the doors and introduced her as our daughter. I called T-boy over and let him poke her to make sure she was real.

Then it was off to the nursery to cry a lot and scream alot and get more goop cleaned up. She was beautiful, even as the grandparents were blinding her with flashbulbs through the nursery window.

I told her last night that we'd talk about Trace's first day later. That one's a doozy.
Thursday, June 05, 2003
CNN.com - Slithery mating frenzy draws crowds - Jun. 4, 2003

um... eeww? The only image that comes to mind: Singles Class/Program at your local church (sorry).
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
Crosswalk.com - "I Can Only Imagine" Impacts Mainstream Radio

Hmmmmm.... I've got my reservations about this being a crossover "success" or not. I spent this morning listening to a CD I burned of a Leonard Ravenhill sermon/MP3 on Joel 2, where the men of God are called to weep for the people between the Porch and the Altar. In it, Ravenhill says that Christianity today is more of a cruise ship than a lifeboat, that people are more amused than amazed - and this seems to be just one more case where the acceptance by the world might mean that they really don't get it, and that it's finally watered down enough to be deemed "good" by the marketing agencies of the world.
Starbucks is finally here in the capital city. Back in January or so, I wrote an email to the corporate offices, describing our happy little town and how unhappy we were that there was no *official* Starbucks (coffee cafe's in B&N do not count, do they?). A few months later, and we've got a shop in the heart of the Forest Acres area of town. Only drawback: my newly ordered/received Starbucks card won't work; their system isn't processing them yet as of yesterday afternoon. But I told 'em I'm already a regular, and now their store is on the way to *everything* - even though it's about ten miles away.

Author's note: Please don't flood the comments with how bad it is, how capitalistic $tarbuck$ is, etc. I know all that. But compared to what we've settled for in this town, this is big time. And even though I can brew a better cup of their coffee at home (love grinding the beans fresh), I can't replicate the aroma and atmosphere as easily in front of the collection of refrigerator magnets with the dishwasher running. If you're going to comment, tell me what to order (anything but the toffee nut stuff last christmas)....
Monday, June 02, 2003
I'm home today - working in the kitchen while the kids argue over the DVD in the living room. I just ordered a couple of things from the Passion folks: a OneDay03 cap and a new book by John Piper. I was at OneDay2000 - a friend and I flew out to Memphis and spent that Saturday on a hillside, muggy humid and sweaty, with 30K of our closest college age friends, worshipping the Lord and repenting for & praying for a generation. It was good. I was too busy to plan a trip to this one, so I'm looking forward to any video/audio they might post on the OneDay03 site.

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