rick & 1j13
Monday, May 31, 2004
Top Ten Books
Just posting off the top of my head, inspired by MessyChristian. These are my "top ten", not in any particular order, books that have been used to form me as I am today. For better or for worse.

1) Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard
2) Jesus For A New Generation, Kevin Graham Ford
3) Soul Tsunami/Aqua Church/Soul Salsa, Len Sweet
4) New Kind Of Christian, Brian McLaren
5) Finding Faith, Brian McLaren
6) Final Quest, Rick Joyner
7) The Chronicles Of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
8) Between Noon And Three, Robert Farrar Capon
9) Foreign Bodies, Hwee Hwee Tan
10) The River Of God, Dutch Sheets
Cheney, Halliburton deal
CNN.com - Cheney office denies role in Halliburton deal - May 30, 2004

Things like this bother me. I don't fault someone for trying to earn a living, and using current positions to bolster past or future prospects are probably more in the American capitalistic culture than we realize, illegal or not. It just smells funny. In this world where perception is reality, why even come close to projecting a possible conflict of interest? If decisions are being made with regards to personal financial success, over the best interests of the country, or without regard for taxpayers - that's wrong, isn't it? And if it is, then making deals that look bogus like this is at least a bad idea.

In other news today, it's Memorial Day. What makes this country something worth lifting up among the world's nations is that men & women have laid their lives down for our freedoms and way of life. Our mostly volunteer militia is the best fighting force in the world, and they are preserving American values for generations to come. I appreciate the work done, the lives given, the deaths in defense of freedom. I think we're doing the right thing now, and have been more or less on the right path for the course of our country's history (Vietnam was a blip on the screen, because the conflict wasn't engaged fully, and the public did not buy into the sacrifice needed).

I pray for our Commander-In-Chief - that he will make wise decisions based on the moral compass of the Holy Spirit instead of leaving the perception of personal gain and this hanging air of conflict of interest. The means do not justify the ends, and I pray that we will do the right thing before attempting the popular thing or the expedient thing. I pray for a quick exit - whatever that might mean - of US troops from Iraq, and that our leaving will be done in a way that teaches freedom to the people of the Middle East. If we have to send more troops in order to leave sooner, so be it. Let's help them govern themselves, and then get out of their way to let them do it.
Sunday, May 30, 2004
  • CNN.com - Good manners apply on the beach, too - May 30, 2004: "And whatever you do, don't feed the gulls. Once you do, they'll stick around, squawking and flapping and -- when nature calls -- playing an icky version of beach blanket bingo."

    It's been an interesting day, but a fairly restful one, too. After a leadership meeting at church post-service, it was naptime for most of the family. I hate it when I sleep hard and wake up feeling stiff & headachy, but it's nothing a couple of Tylenol can't help. Right now, something else that could help would be the Gamecocks holding on to a 3-2 lead in the ninth over Vanderbilt in the SEC Baseball Tourney.

    Double play to end the ninth - woo hoo!

    Nothing on TV tonight. Maybe we'll watch MIRACLE, after watching COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO Friday (good movie, left me wanting to read the book). Or maybe we'll relax and flip across the dial, maybe read a little in the peace & quiet while the kids watch something lous and obnoxious upstairs. After the thunderstorms earlier, and the nice clear skies now, and after the deep headachy sleep, I think I'll look forward to just about anything that's just.... ahhhh... peaceful.

    Tomorrow is Memorial Day. We're going to enjoy time with friends and family, playing and yapping about stuff that's probably not quite that deep - thankful to those who've gone before, paying the price to keep us free.
  • Saturday, May 29, 2004
    They're Everywhere
    Take a stand today!
    Say No to Clean Air and Water!
    [Thanks, Mike - I think :) ]

    Saturday Morning
  • The State - Gamecocks in "hairy" situation
    I'm not superstitous, and that thing's ugly. But if they keep winning, he can look like Grizzly Adams for all I care.

    We've got a rule in the house for our children: you may not sign up for anything on the internet that requires personal information. In other words, no new screen names. There are a few kid-friendly sites out there, but we also want to use this rule to teach our kids not to give personal information to anyone because many of the "anyones" out there are looking for harm kids or to steal identities. Normally, they sit down with one of us and we'll enter information to get to the fun stuff, and avoid stuff with bad intentions.

    Last night, our son told us that he had made a new screenname to get a new set of online something or other. In all honesty, it's not that big a deal. But, his conscience made him tell us after the fact - and I need to uphold that conscience when it's right. So, he was able to finish what he was doing last night on the PC, but no PC this morning until I'd had time to think about it. That was his "punishment".

    He got up before me. He didn't hear me coming down the stairs. And he jumped up from the PC, thinking I hadn't seem him playing on the website again. It's a safe site, so I'm not concerned about it. But he knew he'd done wrong. New punishment: no PC this morning, then we go to a wedding midday, and no PC after that. If there are no further problems today, he can get on the PC at Grampa's house. As I'm trying to give proportionally bad consequences for disobeying - and trying to reinforce his conscience - it's really going to be tough for him to not get on the PC.

    Being a parent is a learning process, much like being a kid.
  • Friday, May 28, 2004
    Vote for Kerry?
    Would someone give me one good reason to vote to elect John Kerry as President? What's something inspiring enough, meaningful enough to cast my vote for him to stay in office?

    Thanks for your continued support.

    [link to Vote For Bush? entry]
    Posting Via Email
    I'm still figuring out what some of the fun things Blogger has unleashed on the populace for blog construction. One of the things I've looked forward to is the ability to email a post and have it published to my site. This is the first such post - and it should look seamless to the individual surfing through. For me, I spend alot of time sending and answering email - both work- and non-work-related - so being able to post from email is less obtrusive than my w.bloggar module or going on the web to post from there. I've got quite a few email conversations, and including the blog in those conversations somehow just makes sense.

    Right now - lunch. Anyone else getting a kick out of this?

    UPDATE: Had to edit the link above, since the message got word-wrapped and messed up the layout. That's two things that I don't think I like - the comments and the email-entries. Argh.
    Praying Flying Preachers
    Yahoo! News - Praying Preachers Ground Flight
    linked from RelevantMagazine.com Slices

    Something tells me this could've been handled differently....
    Ready For The Weekend
    Is it just me, or has this been a long week? I'm really looking forward to the weekend. Vicki's feeling much better from her surgical stuff at the beginning of the week, and she and the kids are running some errands this morning before hopefully finding some time to play later on. We're all looking forward to the holiday weekend, even if I have to do some yard work and run the blower across the driveway & patio.

    Last night went well, except that I was incredibly warm while teaching. As I'm wiping my forehead with our handy-dandy towels, other ladies are gathering quilts - so I didn't ask to make it any cooler. We had a good time, talking about "engaging the will" and such. Afterwards, I just really enjoyed getting the kids in the car, listening to the end of last night's "Adventure In Odyssey", and getting home to listen to the Gamecocks beat the UT Vols in the SEC Baseball Tournament. Honestly, I was so pooped last night that I could've watched just about anything - it's been that kind of a week.

    So for the three-day holiday coming tomorrow (not nearly soon enough, if you ask me), I've got some things I'd like to do/start:
  • walking - starting tonight, I'll be hoofing it in my neighborhood, because I can't justify putting off any longer my need to exercise and lose weight
  • reading - really like to finish just one of the four books I'm in
  • movies - hoping to watch COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO tonight on an in-house date-night with my sweetie, and then maybe MIRACLE tomorrow night with my folks at their house
  • yardwork - getting out and clearing the walkways and driveways, mowing the front yard and seeing what we might want to do landscaping-wise this summer
  • sleep - late, often


    This week's PhotoFriday challenge: Black & White
  • Thursday, May 27, 2004
    Hot in the City
    It's too dang hot around here. Humid, muggy and moist - like stepping outside into a warm bath. Yuck. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to teach tonight ("engaging the will" and all that), but I'm not looking forward to sweating. I'm a big guy, and very hot-natured. My biggest hope is that I can keep the cold water bottle close by. On top of that, when I get to church, I'm taking off my socks and shoes...

    Would someone remind me to re-shod before service starts?

    I've taken the notes already posted, rearranged them into something vaguely resembling an outline, and we'll go from there. I don't like using notes - they slow me down, and there's a better feel for the people and the interaction if I don't try to stick to a script. But I feel good about it - might even "finish" tonight so Pastor can jump back into his study in Ephesians next week.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2004
    With All Your Strength: Engaging The Will, Part Three
    On a lighter note, and what's really important: CNN.com - 'American Idol'? winner celebrates - May 26, 2004
    Congratulations, Fantasia. I'm more of a Diana fan, but both of you did a wonderful job, and you'll both reach higher then if you'd never taken the plunge. Going through it together looks like it's been fun.


    Hmmm... well, my best and most honest critic has rendered her verdict. After reading through the previous two posts, my wife has told me that I need a new metaphor. The HaveTo-WantTo-GetTo motif is old and tired. Or at least, using a husband-wife relationship to describe it is getting kinda old for her, and probably for others, too.

    We can all relate to living life out of our understanding and reasoning, or out of our emotions and feelings, or out of our personality and upbringing. In reality, all of those things filter through our strength on the inside, or through our will, before being made into action on the outside.
  • A heroic act to save a baby from being hit by a bus comes only through force of will - understanding but ignoring your own survival reasoning, being fearful and jumping anyway in spite of it, leaping for that person's safety and disregarding your own... and live or die, you do what needs to be done.
  • The daily act of getting out of bed to go to work comes through force of will - despite all your arguments for hitting the snooze again, in contradiction to the stress you dread from the morning commute, and against your judgments amid personality conflicts at the office... but a paycheck comes in handy, so we do it.
  • The consumer act of purchasing a new expensive toy comes through the force of your consumer-oriented will - even if we can't afford it, even if we are stressed over the last credit bill, even if we know it's unjustified and will probably be obsolete before we get it home... we buy it because we want it, right?

    Actually, it's the consumer mentality that keeps us from fully engaging our will within the sovereign will of God. "All our strength" is so engaged in getting what we want when we want it no matter what, that we seldom if ever find ourselves completely and totally sould out for Christ. We are so conformed to this world that the only thing we're renewing our minds to is the constant repetition of TV commercials, pop-up ads and mailbox catalogs (my apologies once again to Rom 12:1-2).

    Got to have a closing, since I'm only getting one week on this :). In his article "Detoxing From Church", Jason Z from TheOffRamp.org writes that we still need church, but only as an outlet for what's already being fully fleshed out from within. If I'm not sold out for Christ the other six days of the week, then Sunday is just the day I consume whatever it is that's needed to make me feel "saved". My will is engaged in keeping me from hell, or in making me "a good person" - not in learning and following through with His will. The spiritual disciplines, working out our salvation with fear and trembling in the grace and mercy of God, help to shape and form and exercise "all our strength".
    With All Your Strength: Engaging The Will, Part Two
    Continuing the train of thought from the previous post...

    Why is all of this important? We've talked before, on this blog and in various small groups, about the difference between WANT TO and HAVE TO. There are many things we do because we WANT TO, and way too many things we do because we feel we HAVE TO. From my own experience, if there's too much HAVE TO without enough reward or without enough WANT TO to reinforce the action, there will eventually come a time when I won't do a thing because I will feel that I DON"T HAVE TO anymore. My concept of HAVE TO is that we're forced to do something we'd rather no do - but there's an element of WANT TO with it, such as I HAVE TO pay my taxes because I WANT TO stay out of jail. The WANT TO underlines the HAVE TO. Somewhere, though, things get better when the WANT TO turns into a GET TO. For example, as a husband I HAVE TO do certain things for my wife. If I don't WANT TO, it'll be a chore but that underlying WANT TO please her will work for awhile until I no longer WANT TO and I then feel like I DON'T HAVE TO. Following so far? All that to say: it changes for the best when I see it, from the depth of my strength and will, as an opportunity to serve - I GET TO do things for my wife. And that drives my WANT TO more than my own desires for laziness or whatever else.

    And that same GET TO is huge in our own sanctification as Christian. When Jesus quotes the law, that we are to love God with all of our strength - all of our ability and power, with a real grasp and clinginess to the thing - He is saying that in Him, we can see our calling as a GET TO situation in serving Him. Whew. He's saying that our will must be engaged - and in that engagement, our decision-making (mind) will be driven by our will, and we'll act on our feelings (heart) by that same will, and we will become people who display the fruit of the spirit in our personalities (soul) because we are driven to follow Him with all our strength.

    As my will is transformed, as it's shaped and molded to be more like His will - then and only then will I begin to prove who He is and what His calling is on my life in all I do, say and think (rough paraphrase of Romans 12:2).

    In that light, where GET TO is the overarching factor in making decisions and acting on conviction, let's take a look at some of my favorite Bible characters:
  • Abraham - Read his story in Genesis XX-YY and see where his will is slowly swallowed up into God's will, and how that impacts his decision making from that point on
  • Joshua - As he is trained under Moses, he sees what it's like to really serve God. Along with his friend, wholehearted Caleb, they lead the people into the promised land.
  • David - He GETS TO stand up to the enemies of God and the people of God. Woo hoo.
  • Daniel - Even at a young age, being able to stand his ground and simply take God at his word, Daniel defines for me what it's like to be "in the culture but not of it".
  • Shadrach, Meschach & Abednego - The ultimate test of "strength" is displayed when these three friends are threatened with disposal in the fiery furnace. "God can save us - but even if He chooses not to, we still GET TO honor Him by not bowing down to your idol, O King."
  • Paul - Even when everyone around him prophesied that the trip to Jerusalem would be his undoing, he still pressed on because he knew it was God's will that he go and that he be stretched in suffering this way. That's real dedication, serving God by choosing to suffer for His will.

    Man... all that feels like a set-up for what I really want to say about the need to engage our will. That's all just introduction :). I told Pastor I was going to need two weeks...
    With All Your Strength: Engaging The Will
    If you're going to be at Columbia World Outreach tomorrow night, you might want to skip reading this. I'm posting my thoughts and investigations into Mark 12 - specifically, Mk 12:30, where Jesus answers that the greatest command is to love God with all your heart/mind/soul/strength, and a particular emphasis on the word "strength" as it pertains to "your will" or "what drives you". That's what we're talking about tomorrow night, and it'll probably be vastly different from what gets typed out here. This is the rough rough draft, and since I don't have a lot of time elsewhere, I've decided to take my lunch break to just get some thoughts down and semi-organized. How's that?

    Wait - listening to the radio before lunch, and they're mentioning a campaign to get South Carolina to secede from the union. Please tell me this is satire.

    In Mark 12, Jesus is being confronted by various religious leaders. After answering all of the questions, He makes an impression on one more teacher, who asks, "What is the greatest command?" Jesus replies that God is the one and only Lord, and that we are to love Him with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our strength - quoting from Deut. 6:4-5. He also adds that the second one is equal to the first - "Love your neighbor as yourself", quoting from Lev. 19:18. So all of this discussion is in the context of loving God and equally loving others as an outflow of our loving God (John 13:35, 1 John 4:19).

    We can love God with all our heart - thinking of the "heart" as the seat of your emotions, where your feelings and emotions and passions are collected. We can love God with all our mind - thinking of the "mind" as the place where intellect, reasoning and understanding is rooted. We can love God with all our soul - thinking of the "soul" as your personality, your upbringing, your cultural and societal factors that make you "who you are". But what does it mean to love Him with all of my strength?

    The word translated as "strength" in this verse is ISCHUS (Strongs 2479), and it looks like it's basically "ability, force, strength, might". It's also a derivative of ECHO (Strongs 2192), which is a little deeper. Four biblical usages are listed and they all fit together, but the one I think I want to focus on is #4 - "to hold one's self to a thing, to lay hold of a thing, to adhere or cling to - to be closely joined to a person or a thing". It seems to be an active being kind of word, one that's associated with you being firmly attached to something so that your will, or your strength in some way, is engaged in the effort.

    Lunchtime over. Feel free to comment if you "will" - and I'll post more later tonight.
    Wednesdays As Mondays
    Back to work. Wednesdays make difficult Mondays - since I was out of the office the past two days, I come in today basically needing to get a week's worth of stuff done in three days. I worked from home, but it was on other things that were more pressing, not the stuff that still has a deadline at the end of the week. But I've got tonight to put in some extra time on it - shouldn't be too bad. I've also got to get ready to teach/preach tomorrow evening - woo hoo - so that's taking up any "free time" between now and the weekend, too. But I can't complain. My sweetie's recuperating nicely, everyone's out of school and sleeping late, and my summer morning commute is very nice. Aaaaaah.
    Tuesday, May 25, 2004
    Redneck American Idol
  • CNN.com - No matter who takes 'Idol,' South wins - May 25, 2004
    Ye-haw, y'all. I only enjoy this because I'm one, too. Woo hoo!
  • Monday, May 24, 2004
    Vote for Bush?
    Would someone give me one good reason to vote to re-elect President Bush? What's something inspiring enough, meaningful enough to cast my vote for him to stay in office?

    Thanks for your continued support.

    UPDATE Tuesday Morning: Only TWO of you? No one else voting around here?!?
    Sunday, May 23, 2004
    It's been a weird weekend. Maybe not weird - "wired" might be more descriptive. We had all the fun and running around on Saturday, and the typical chores and activities of Sunday. Tonight, we're actually getting things cleaned up around the house for tomorrow. A trip to the hospital for my wife - minor surgical procedure - and my mom-in-law will be here to stay with the kids by 6am. That means we need to clean up the house, put out the cereal, make sure things are in order for them to play and have fun. Woo hoo.

    Don't you hate it when you go to "do the dishes" since you thought the dishwasher stuff was clean, only to find out that they haven't been washed - and now there's no room for what's in the sink to go in either? What's that mean? You guessed it - no sleep for daddy.

    Tomorrow, we'll get up and out as soon as MIL gets here. I've got studying to do for my mid-term tomorrow night, and Vicki will be drugged out most of the morning. But it's going to be a good, slow, and patient day. "Patient patient" - get it?

    UPDATE Monday 3:40pm - My sweetie's fine - a little groggy and nauseated, but recovering and sleeping nicely. Thanks for your prayers!
    Saturday, May 22, 2004
    Noticing The News
  • CNN.com - Jenna Bush skips own graduation - May 22, 2004
    Hey, if her dad and mom aren't coming, who can blame her. I still feel that this passes along the wrong attitude towards family, with the President and Mrs. Bush deciding not to attend graduations. Her dad spoke at LSU this week - they had all kinds of security concerns, and he spoke anyway. His father, GHW Bush, spoke at my commencement. It wasn't all that. So why the family angst? And on top of that, can I vote for a man who's not displaying, at least to me, that he can be a father in his own household?

    I pray that they find resolution to whatever's going on, and restoration to their relationships. For their good first; then for the good of the country.

  • CNN.com - Married lesbian couple sues clinic - May 22, 2004
    The first of many. I think they have a case, and if this is what it took for the case to be heard, so be it. It's just that this affirmation of gay couples has not given justification to all sorts of things that are still way below the ideal of God.

  • Starbucks Beats Bushes for Best Beans
    At least this is good news - woo hoo.
    "New & Improved" Blogger
    I'm jumping in and trying some of the new bells & whistles at Blogger. With all of the problems that crop up from time to time in the comments, that's where I'm going to start first - using the Blogger-defined comments. Do me a favor if you're surfing through: post a comment here and let me know what you think - seems a bit bulky to me.

    Anyway, I'm not impressed with any of the new templates to replace my current one, so I'm not thinking of changing it - yet. But I did update the template at Javabeans, and I hope I'll be able to get more team members onboard to post there soon.

    UPDATE: Old comments are back. What was Blogger thinking? No smilies?!? That, and there's no good way for non-Blogger folks to place comments with info - kinda like some other services. I didn't like that.
    Still recovering from yesterday's post.
    Friday, May 21, 2004
    11 Responses to 11 Responses to Dobson's 11 Statements Against Same-Sex Matrimony
    This is from Stefanie in the comments section:Thanks for taking the time to type and respond, Stef. I really appreciate it, and I've got to say before I post this humungous piece that I agree with alot of what you've written. But my underlying disagreement here is that there are a few presuppositions that need to be questioned before taking a stance either way.You hit my biggest stance in the whole thing: "Focus on your OWN family" - take care that divorce and abuse and other factors working in relationships that tear the fabric of "the sanctity of marriage". The "traditional family" is probably better understood, however, as a metaphor of a tree. There's one man and one woman, together building a life in love with each other. Out of that relationship, children come and are raised and go on to build their own families. If no children enter the picture, fine - the tree is the same. Add in grandparents, goofy uncles, etc - all of these flow from the same basic design. "Be fruitful and multiply" was a very broad statement from God to the human race, and the way for that to happen was the one man-one woman starting point. If that is taken into account, there's no room in a Christian sense for two men or two women to call themselves a "family".But consider this - if the underlying idea that the "family is supposed to be founded on one man-one woman in loving marriage relationship", can you see why this would be so wrong to the children? Where each individual is making a decision to do this in the face of "tradition", the children involved have no such choice. Now, they're mired in a mixed up counterfeit - it might look better and feel better and even love better, but it will always fall short of the ideal - and that's a real problem, isn't it?I am against bullying, hate-crimes, harassment, intimidation or any other discrimination against anyone for any reason. However, what I think Dobson is saying here is that "homosexuality" as a viable option will be a major, not just a minor, part of any curriculum. Again, if you accept something like what I wrote in #1 as the ideal, then bringing this up to the same level does a disservice to the people we're trying to train for life in future society.You'll probably find a trend in me, and I think this is the thread that's going through all of Dobson's statements: a family is rooted in the loving relationship of one man and one woman. Adoption laws that now respect that ideal will be obsolete, for better or, I think, for worse. It has nothing to do entirely with a person's fitness to be a parent - rather, will that ideal continue to be lifted up.This is another area where the underlying assumption might be wrong. Homosexuality has not been 100% proven to be a genetically acquired trait. It's probably something grown into a person, with certain environmental and genetic factors going into a person's sexual identity. However, it does not have to stay that way. The "choice to be homosexual" never has to be made; but someone can choose to follow that path, instead of possibly "reversing nature" and changing themselves through will-power or through the grace of God. There are some aspects of alcoholism that appear to be genetic, too - probably also in drug addictions, obesity. What about generational curses, mentioned in the Bible, where the sins and decisions of an ancestor have lasting ill effects on the children and the children's children? All this to say: "being born like this" is not necessarily a reasonable excuse for staying that way. But again, if you don't hold #1 up as an ideal, this is probably not an issue. But for Christians, promised that we are "new creatures" in Christ, homosexuality would be one of many things that we would want to leave behind and move beyond in growing in Christ-likeness.I'll agree that the logic presented is a stretch. But what about the people who have not had marriage-influenced insurance policies now being able to get just that? In our family, I am on my company's insurance alone, and my wife is on hers. But since she's a teacher with better and cheaper dependent benefits, she also has our kids under her policy. There are things we can do as a married couple that can save us $$$, and that will now be available for anyone - it would be too broad for the system's current design. If homosexual partnerships are allowed, what about polygamous marriages? Now it grows exponentially, passing family benefits all over the place. Prices, inevitably, will have to go up to cover those bases.But take my argument above, too - these systems were built on the one man-one woman ideal I mentioned all the way back in #1. They're not ready to handle, except maybe at the small percentage this will actually impact in the beginning, what can happen as almost anyone and everyone can claim family benefits.I've read some of the things about Canada's new laws, and I'm not sure that what I'm posting here might not be construed as a "hate crime" for just taking a stand on what the "family ideal" should be. It's a red herring to say that there's lot sof evil stuff that's not cut out of the Bible - those things are in there, and they're never lifted up as the norm or as a good thing. However, I think that Dobson is talking more about our pulpits, where it will become increasingly difficult, if not legally then at least culturally, to preach the Truth as presented in the Bible and a personal relationship with Christ. That bothers me, too - it won't shut me up, but it makes the message that much more volatile.Of all your responses, I'm probably with you on this one. We have a moral background, but much of it has eroded to the point that it's ineffective as a "lighthouse" to the rest of the world. However, as the world's only superpower, I do appreciate the need to at least try to stay above the fray.I think the gospel has been curtailed by this and many many other things going on in the country and within the church in this country. Our problem on this issue is that we have indeed "singled out" a group of people - instead of judging their sin and lovingly embracing them into the community of believers who should be modelling Christ better.Another assumption that you might need to question. God's will will not always come to pass. He would rather all people come to Him; He would rather Eve and Adam not have eaten that dang fruit and found a form of "the knowledge of good and evil" that was apart from their relationship with Him. But those things won't happen. God's level of control is held back, on purpose by His own sovereign will, by our ability to choose Him or not. My only problem with Dobson here is that the world is already "like the days of Noah" - there's no cultural search for God, and we like it that way.I didn't - but it was because I loved her, and in her I could follow God's ideal as laid out from the beginning.

    Let me say this in conclusion (of the longest post I've ever posted!) - thank you, Stef, for posting from your heart. All of my "debate" goes to that one issue on #1 - God's ideal appears to be one man and one woman. That's it - if we walk away from that, however "okay" that might be, we are falling short of God's intention. And that can never be a good thing. Where you mentioned in your intro that we should be "remembering the example of Christ Himself, whose message of love has been tainted and perverted by a lot of so-called Christians out there", I'd ask that we remember that Jesus' message is one that also brought the Kingdom of God to bear on real life. His message is that we are not as we should be, and that in Him is change through His grace for His glory and for our abundantly real and fulfilling life. Something I read recently said that we are "to become by grace what Christ is by nature" (Jason Z, TheOffRamp). Anything outside of God will be counterfeit at best.
    Photo Friday - MACRO
    Taking the plunge, making my first contribution to the PhotoFriday site. Today's topic is MACRO. Here's my entry. I just need some extra tea, and few extra napkins would be nice.
    Thursday, May 20, 2004
    My Kids Will Love This
    P&G to introduce Trivial Pursuit potato chips - May. 20, 2004

    The problem is that my 8-yr-old son will love the trivia, but he's not a big fan of chips. So if they're a hit in my house, I'll probably be the one eating all of the chips that he's already read and answered. Of course, if they can come out with a couple of the big cans, you can buy a couple for playing Trivial Pursuit with friends. Ask the question, eat the chip. Next, real apple pie for the pie pieces on the game board?
    20 Years?
    Yahoo! News - Andy Kaufman Returns After 20 Years

    ... well, I'll be... wonder which is bigger hoax: being "dead" for twenty years, or pretending to come back to life and still being dead after twenty years?
    Last Day Of School
    My daughter asked me last night: "Daddy, do you get the summer off, too?"

    Heh, heh, heh. "No, dear - Daddy has to work, every day, getting up early and driving all the way across town all by myself every morning this summer, while you guys sleep late and play and goof off."

    "But Daddy, why can't you be out, too, to spend time with your family?"

    "Because I'm out of school, and I've got a real job."

    My wife, the teacher, didn't like that answer. I don't know why.
    Wednesday, May 19, 2004
    From the Weathbug radar, it looks like we might actually be getting rain at home. Woo hoo - it's been really dry and humid around here lately, and at least the ground should get some refreshing, and the temperatures should drop a bit this afternoon. Of course, I work on the other side of town, where it's still too moist outside and too dry. And of course, this is a half-day for the kids at school, meaning that in the event of rain they're having to move inside instead of getting to play outside. But the rain is needed - I think we can adjust. Woo hoo.
    Living Without God
    Hmmm... "before God and with God, we live without God." I'm pretty open to ambivalence and contradiction, but I'm having difficulty getting my brain around that one. How do we live with God as though He were not there?

    Over the weekend, an article and a conversation have teamed to shed some light on this for me. It has to do with the will - the intentionality with which we do what we do. If we are doing "just enough" to get by, or doing what's expected in playing the religion game, then we are basing our motivation around ourselves. It's a selfish existence that lives by doing "just enough". It says, "here's what I'm doing, and that's all I'm doing, because I don't see myself needing to do more than XYZ to gain what I want - which is mostly just peace for myself." We live life as "christians" in a way that might be showing we don't really believe God is there, or at least that He's not the same as revealed in scripture.

    So where does that leave this bold statement from Bonhoeffer? This is just where I'm going with it right now: I need to live life the kingdom-life, whether or not I "feel" His presence. If He's there or not, I'm to be about His work. There are times of silence, times of dryness, desert experiences of cleansing where everything is removed, including what I thought were strong convictions and foundational views. All that's left is God - now, can I live life so that even if He's not there, I still point to Him? ... something like that. Maybe it's like when I was a teenager. Our parents would leave to go wherever, expecting my brother and I to not kill each other, to keep the house from burning down, to clean our rooms and the kitchen and stuff - even if they're not there, act and behave and obey as if they were.

    Then again, there's Coupland's LIFE AFTER GOD. Great book, one of the first ones that got me thinking and re-thinking my thoughts on life, the universe and everything.
    Tuesday, May 18, 2004
    Eleven Arguments Against Same Sex Marriage
    An article with excerpts from a new book by James Dobson. I've been relatively quiet about the whole thing, thinking that we'd do well to undergird marriage and save it from divorce, not just this current "crisis". But by far, this is the most informative piece I've read on the subject. Much prayer...

    On the same topic, here's a message from the WorldPrayerTeam:Now... off to our anniversary dinner. Marriage rocks.
    Re-inspiring Marriage, Part Two
    Today's the day.
    Thirteen years. Seems like only yesterday, and seems like forever. That's a good thing.
    Monday, May 17, 2004
    Re-inspiring Marriage
    Any ideas on what to get my wife for our thirteenth wedding anniversary?
    What Really Inspires...?
    We prove time and again that we won't move as individuals until we have to. Usually, there's no compelling reason big enough to get moving. That's why we see ourselves as slackers when someone mentions prayer time, or reading the Bible, or serving the community. That's why the bulletin is never read and the announcements are ignored. We're not sufficiently inspired by a "mighty purpose" - or, if we are, we do move toward that thing with all that is within us.

    I'm inspired to work towards a conviction that's summed up from this phrase above: "I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live." By rule, I don't work hard - I'm like everyone else, doing enough to get by. But that's not real living, and that's not abundant life. If that's what Jesus came to bring, then I've got to accept it and live that thing out...

    Here's another Daily Dig from over the weekend:I don't want to just be "first to the couch" in heaven.
    Re-defining Marriage
    CNN.com - Same-sex couples ready to make history in Massachusetts - This is the first day of same-gender marriage in Massachusetts, and people are either way against it or way for it, or are in the apathetic majority that doesn't care enough to stand either way. It's wrong - wrong that couple of the same sex can have their unions ratified by the state, but also that there's no real backlash yet. It's wrong that the sanctity of marriage amendments that are being batted around congressional chambers do not do enough to protect marriage from divorce, from abuse, and from the homosexual agenda. In all three of those instances, the stance against marriage is selfish and prideful - and we condone it in the name of freedom of choice and freedom of privacy.

    But it's not all about me, is it? Why do I have to fight for my rights, for my voice to be heard, for my stuff? Instead, why can't I be given tools to give myself to and for others? I'm wondering where the selflessness has gone. I'm wondering if statistics will show that divorce grows, that spousal abuse grows, that teen pregnancy and abortion and therapy grow as we continue to be blatantly selfish people.
    Sunday, May 16, 2004
    Top 10 Movies
    THE TOP 10 MOST PROFOUND MOVIES :: Relevant Magazine - Good list, and I've seen seven of the ten. Agreements all around, especially on LUTHER and HIGH FIDELITY.
    Watching Movies
    I made time to watch SHATTERED GLASS the other day, and I thought it was pretty good. It's the story of Stephen Glass, a writer for The New Republic in the late 90s who fabricated many quotes, events and entire stories and passed them off as "fact". When caught, Glass covered himself with more lies and more lies and more lies, until nothing he said to the people around him could be trusted. Hayden Christensen does a decent job as Glass, and the cast around him is convincing, too - both trying to find the truth, and still trying to protect him from the fallout, until it's too late and the lies have piled way too high.

    I'm peculiar about the way I watch movies. I can lose myself to an extent in a film - letting the story carry me away, while hopefully still retaining a sense of what's being taught or what's being learned. I look for truth, and I look for character traits that need to be formulated in me. I guess what struck me about this film is that it's message might go unnoticed: living a life without truth, and ultimately without integrity and trust, was the bad thing. It's tempting to say that getting caught was the worse thing in all of this. But the film does an excellent job (minor twist at the end, but I won't spoil it) in saying that the underlying integrity that was missing from this young writer's morality was in fact his fatal flaw.

  • Good review @ Slate of the 60 Minutes piece that's included on the DVD
  • Saturday, May 15, 2004
    Splish Splash & Bark Chips
    We went to Saluda Shoals - very nice new park over in the Irmo area, and the kids really had fun at the Splash Park and Playground. Took some pictures, too. Probably considering this place as a great spot for getting out of the house and getting wet this summer.
    Saturday Morning
    My little girl is up way too early. And as I hear the pitter patter of my son's big feet, I'm reminded that it's only 7am on a Saturday morning and that we should STILL BE ASLEEP. No matter - we'll turn on cartoons for awhile, and then listen to some of this week's shows from Adventures In Odyssey online. Hopefully. Which brings me to my reason for being up this early, besides letting the dawg out: my PC is having some annoying hiccups on something that's either related to the firewall protection or to changes in the Blogger api, or both. I'm hoping that some of the tweaking and playing I've been doing the past couple of days has done something. We'll see.
    Friday, May 14, 2004
    CNN.com - Man angry at Verizon hurls phones - May 14, 2004

    I feel his pain.
    Got a busy weekend planned. Woo hoo. Tonight, I'll be joining the missus at a faculty end-of-school banquet, followed tomorrow evening by a retirement banquet within the english department. I really want to get some yardwork done tomorrow early, before it gets hot. And I've got a few things to finish up work-wise, too. All that to fill the void of what would be an otherwise retful and lazy weekend.

    Meanwhile, winds of change are coming. Sarcasm and irony are too funny.
    Life is good. Living it isn't always. One week tends to bleed into another, and if you're lucky there's no real blood being shed. At the same time, maybe a little sweat and blood shed on behalf of others isn't such a bad thing. I think the times I feel most down and despaired, it's been when I've been mostly focused on myself. When I feel most productive and most appreciated and most ... maybe not appreciated, but at least a part of what's going on that's important - that's when I'm more focused during the week on being helpful for others, meeting their needs, being a servant on some level that's making a difference in the world. There's no magical end to depression here, but on some level, focusing on others really gets us closer to being focused on God. And that is the only place where life is good, and living it isn't so bad.
    Thursday, May 13, 2004
    I think my template was eaten by the new Blogger. I like it alright, but soemthing went goofy - and now I've had to revert to a backup. And the colors are all funky. I've got another, more recent version saved on my laptop. I'll load it in the morning... Or maybe I should use this as an opportunity to check out the "new & improved" Blogger templates.

    ... naaah.
    It's so stinkin' hot. It's going to be a freaky hot & humid summer, too. Yesterday, the weatherguys all said spotty showers - and it rained all day. Made it humid and sticky this morning, and they said it would rain in the afternoon - and it's 86F and too dang moist. It doesn't usually get this warm this early, and the humidity doesn't usually enter the picture 'til July. This is just May. Too hot and moist out there...
    Writer's block sucks.
    CNN.com - 'American Idol' shocker: La Toya London out - May 13, 2004

    Sometimes, this is what happens when America votes. Makes you wonder what'll happen in November, huh?
    Wednesday, May 12, 2004
    i give up control to my life and my destiny
    i give up control right now
    i lift my hands to my God and Father
    i lift my arms to You
    You are the God and Creator of all
    i give my hands to You
    i trust in You

    - jason upton, "40", from faith
    With all the news of terror and retribution, of lies and counter-lies, of prisoner abuse and prisoner execution - I find myself drawn excruciatingly towards the cross this morning. I don't want that to sound too melodramatic. After the pictures and video, editted and not, I'm just really longing for Jesus to come back. My mood is somber, and my questions are many and unsure.

    I think I've written this here before: what does LOVE look like on a national and international scale? Maybe it's the exact opposite of what we're seeing now. As I pray for our leaders, and for theirs - I want to see the kingdom fulfilled.
    Tuesday, May 11, 2004
    CNNmoney - McDonald's adult Happy Meal arrives - The Go Active! package for grown-ups includes salad, water and even exercise tips

    I tried the "adult happy meal" at McDonalds. Not bad - needs a toy, but comes with a pedometer so you can eat your fast food salad and feel like you're exercising walking from the car back into the office (248 steps, btw).

    Then there's this review of the documentary SUPERSIZE. Wow. I've got it saved in my Netflix queue - I don't think it'll be playing Columbia, SC any time real soon. But I want to see it. I'm not the poster child for diet fulfillment, and I probably do fast food four/five times per week, mostly for lunch. I can't do burgers every day, trying to find a good chicken sandwich or even a salad. But this week I'm trying to be better (but left my lunch at home again today). I'm trying to imagine a week at home without junkfood in the house, where our kids actually eat vegetables and meat and the same things the adults eat. I'm tired of Nickelodeon and fruit snacks. This world isn't made of corn dogs and PBJ - and as good as that might be for awhile, it's time to eat right and enjoy it at the same time.
    ...click through for captioning...

    Monday, May 10, 2004
    Time to be honest.

    I had every intention to work from home today. My body's just not feeling right, still sore from the weekend golf outing and getting over the upper resp thing. Three things kept me from dawdling at home and coming on into the office:Of those three, I sure hope the laundry's getting done, because the other two have fallen completely through so far. I've got plenty to keep my busy, but I feel rotten - and who doesn't feel less rotten when they're at least at home in comfies working from the kitchen table? Now I've got other laptop issues here, the network looks like it's got some kind of hiccup, and the day is just going on and on and on...

    Joy & gratitude, right?
    It's Monday again - woo hoo.

    I've got so much to do this week, and all it makes me want to do is go back to bed for a long nap. It's beautiful outside, as long as I can watch it from inside where the A/C is working because it's way too hot for this time of year. And I'm sore all over - from the golf on Saturday, from the illness last week, from getting out of bed when I knew I shoulda just stayed asleep. Get the feeling that I want to gripe a little?

    Actually, I'm doing okay. It's just that the negatives seem to outweigh the positives right now and it's easier to vent a little and move past them than to actually try to do something about it. I can't change the weather, and all I can do for soreness is stop walking around so much, take a few Tylenol, and let it work itself out. In the meantime, I'm finding that this is the perfect testing ground for the next thing I've been reading in UPRISING, the McManus book that is very challenging but that I also can't seem to finish. After talking about integrity and courage, I'm now finishing a chapter that's focusing on GRATITUDE as the basis for real forgiveness and love. So right now, in soreness and sweat, I'm really grateful for all God has done and is continuing to do around me.I might add to that list, might not - don't want to get pithy with it, but I am grateful for God's mercies, His guidance, His hand of discipline and providence. And today, I'm thankful for Monday, since it's reminding me how wonderful He really is - so much so, that Monday ain't no big deal.
    Found this from Caron: the Gallery of Regrettable Food. Worse thing about the first cookbook I poked through on the site? I think my mom had that book. Too funny, and too regrettable.
    Sunday, May 09, 2004
    It's Mother's Day. Do you know where your mother is?

    I posted some photos from today's lunch at Grandma's house. It's been a good day, good weekend - the kids and I got Mommy some new travel mugs from Starbucks (decorate-yourself mugs that she hopefully won't lose as often) and a new card game from the Cranium people - Zigity. Cool game, other than the slick plastic see-through cards falling all over the place.

    I played golf yesterday - sucked, but enjoyed the time with friends, enjoyed the scenery. And this morning we had a great time at church - I thought the Bible study time went well, and the service was good, too. "Heritage of a Godly Mother" was Pastor Mike's message from 2 Timothy 1:1-5. And now, I need to read, relax, watch golf (watch people who know how to play) and get ready for tomorrow. Woo hoo.
    Friday, May 07, 2004
    It's been a long and busy Friday. But we finally got to watch HANGMAN'S CURSE - and I really enjoyed it. A little too predictable, but it was fun and there was enough to keep me guessing to the end to make it worth renting. If you are now or have ever been a Frank Peretti fan, I'd recommend taking a look at the first of his books to finally make it to the big screen... small screen.

    Now if someone will bring on Peter Jackson to do THIS PRESENT DARKNESS...
    Marc's Messages: No labels, please!

    Right on, Marc. I hate the labels that we take upon ourselves, and that others stick on us to define us against our wishes. and when we label others, more often than not we place ourselves in a position of judgment over them, for better or for worse. I'd rather just give folks the benefit of the doubt and let them be and become who they're supposed to be.
    Ashley's Substitute FridayFive:

    1. Friends ended its 10-year run last night. Name one other long-running sitcom you enjoyed watching that has ended or will be ending this year.
    I enjoyed the final episode of M.A.S.H. - wrapped up things pretty well, I suppose. Seinfeld was classic, and still about nothing.

    2. If you could cancel one sitcom right now, what would it be and why?
    Only one? Because I'd trash the whole ABC TGIF lineup on Friday nights.

    3. Name one drama you enjoyed watching that has ended or will end this year.
    NYPD Blue, which is likely ending next year. It's just real, and the storylines have stayed above the fray while so many others have tanked into perversion lately. This one started a bruhaha on language and partial nudity - and it's now one of the cleanest (comparatively) shows out there.

    4. What drama would you like to cancel this year? Why?
    The O.C. - I don't care, it's still a 90210 wannabe, and that's not a compliment.

    5. List your top 5 sitcoms of all time.
    All In The Family
    Duck Soup (I liked it, anyway)
    Everyone Loves Raymond
    According To Jim
    * I think these last two will, if given the room and the promotion and the writing support, go into the history books like other good ones have over the years. But that's just me.
    Long live the FridayFive... well, or not. Gonna miss this.

    So, what to do, what to do on Fridays? I'm going to post one more here, a FridayFive tribute:

    1) Did you ever participate in the FridayFive and why?
    2) What other memes to you participate in fairly regularly?
    3) What will you blog on Fridays now that the Friday5 is gone?
    4) Got any weekend plans?
    5) Fill in your own question and answer here :)

    Thanks for playing, and for your continued support.
    Thursday, May 06, 2004
  • CNN.com - Bushes decline twin daughters' graduation ceremonies - May 6, 2004
    Open Letter to President George W. Bush: What?!? They are your daughters, and they need your support, your congratulations, your time, and your presence. Your dad was at my college graduation, and I think you should be with your daughters that day. No matter how well you may serve your country, there will come a day when you're no longer President. But you will always be their Dad.

  • AP Wire | 05/06/2004 | Anderson teacher's assistant on leave for faith comment

  • Krispy Kreme says diets hurt doughnut sales - May. 7, 2004
    CNN.com - The 'Friends' close the door

    Awww... she got off the plane.

    I've never been a big fan of FRIENDS, but I am watching the finale. When I've watched over the years, it was funny - even if on the absurd side, or the less-than-moral side of things. Chandler's always been my favorite character, and I've enjoyed watching all of their relationships change over the years, albeit from a distance.

    I've been in the "real world" just a little longer than these guys, and they've gone through some of the same journeys we have. Collectively, we all have gone through this stuff. Some of this is what holds us together. Pop culture has it's moments, doesn't it?

    "Do you guys have to get to the new house right now? Do we have a little time?"
    "Sure, we've got a little time."
    "Can we get some coffee?"
    "Yeah, yeah sure."

    Politics and Lies - Or, Where's the Integrity?!?

    I was watching THE PRINCESS BRIDE Wednesday while staying home to nurse this cold/flu that's been lingering for almost a week. There is a great scene with Carol Kane and Billy Crystal. Crystal plays Miracle Max, the man called upon to bring Westley back to life to save Buttercup from the evil Prince Humperdinck. The noble reason for working this miracle is "true love" - only when the "mostly dead" body utters those words, he refuses to think that's what was said. That's when Kane, playing his wife, comes rushing around the corner: "Liar! Liar! Liii-eeeeerr!"

    I keep hearing those charges - "Liar! Liii-eeeerr!" - with every piece of political news, every soundbite, every campaign commercial, and every politically motivated talk-radio host. If fifty percent of what the Democratic party says about the Republican machine is right, they're filthy. And if fifty percent of what the Republicans allege against the Democrats is right, they're equally out there. I'm just fed up with not having anyone with real integrity, and it seems that we don't deal with real issues in real ways.

    I know deep down that it's the fault of the Church - and maybe that's why I'm so fed up. There shouldn't be a need for welfare reform in a country where the founding fathers were supposed to have laid this vast foundation of Judeo-Christian ethics. There shouldn't be a need to deal with aggressive soldiers in the Iraqi prisons, abusing real people with such humiliation - why is that kind of angry attitude allowed an atmosphere to burn if we're really the country we claim to be? Instead of leading the way, the Church tags along with whichever political entity most closely mirrors the interpretation-of-the-day, and lines are drawn within the Bride of Christ to divide the Christian Right from the Christian Left. Instead of changing the world and charging into the world as the Kingdom of God here on earth, we sit back and hope it just gets better before the Rapture comes.
    CNN.com - Bush 'sorry for humiliation' of Iraqi prisoners - May 6, 2004

    He's apologized. Will anyone get off his back on this now?
    National Day of Prayer

    Whatever side of the political, cultural, denominational divide you are on, today is a day to join together and pray for each other. In spite of whatever agenda might be behind anything, God's agenda is supreme and sovereign. Prayer is the first and best way we join in with Him.
    Man, that's good coffee.

    I'm feeling better this morning - not "much" better, but not as achy and croopy as I have the past week. And I'm back at work after taking the day off yesterday to go to the doctor and to sleep alot, so I better be well-rested. I did get my cup of coffee this morning, and I'm about to finish up the Starbucks Brazil Ipanema Bourbon from home and replace it with the S&D stuff here at the office. Not bad, but not as good, so I'll have to cream it up a bit.

    I'm looking forward to this weekend. We've got a golf tournament at Hillcrest, maybe some swimming Saturday afternoon, and then Mommy's Day on Sunday. I've got an idea for the kids' gifts, but shhhhhh - don't tell. I also hope to have some time to watch HANGMAN'S CURSE with Vicki some time over the weekend - movie night with your sweetie is a real plus for any weekend. Probably Friday night in the living room home theater, while the kids are blissfully upstairs watching the Nickelodeon special, JIMMY/TIMMY POWER HOUR. Whatever.

    Since I'm catching up on life here, the next topic is probably TV. I just talked with a co-worker about problems with her thirteen-yr-old daughter wanting to watch THE O.C. I can see why she'd have a problem with that. It's so hard and still so important to teach our kids how to make good decisions. I'm not there yet, but we're having to do the same things with our kids, making sure the 6-yr-old and 8-yr-old aren't watching things that inappropriate, and like I said, making sure they're learning how to make these decisions for themselves. Not just "you can't watch that", but "that's not worth watching and here's why - do you see that?"

    Let's see - sick, coffee, Mother's Day, movies, TV... that leaves books: I'm going to finish UPRISING this week if it kills me, and I want to get back into THE LIFE OF PI. I just picked up THE LOVELY BONES (Peter Jackson's going to direct the movie according to rumor, and I want to be ready for that) - but I'm going to push it over until I finish one of those first two.

    That's it - life, with a good nearly-finished cup of coffee.
    Wednesday, May 05, 2004
    Would someone please rescue me?

    I'm at home, sick as a dog with a cold that's moved into my chest, and I've got an hour or so before my doctor's appointment. So I'm flipping channels - absolutely nothing on daytime TV - until I stop at VH1. Dave Matthews was playing, so I left it on to come to the PC and surf a bit.

    Then it happened. I'm more into acoustic stuff than anything, and this really cool song came on. I mean it - I was getting into the vocals and guitars, just a good feel in this song. I caught the video as it was winding down - and discovered it was "Penny & Me"... by Hanson.

    Help. This is so wrong.
    "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." - Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:27

    We had an exercise this week in our Expository Preaching 101 class: breaking into two groups, we used the materials at hand to study a passage, determine an intentional meaning to its readers then and to us now, and then presenting the findings in an expository outline form. Our group looked at Galatians 5:16-26, where Paul is writing that there is a real freedom from the Law when we live by the Spirit in Christ. He lists the outer actions/attitudes that are prevalent when we're living selfishly by the flesh, and then lists the fruit of the Spirit that is evident when living by the Spirit. The ladies did a wonderful job - I mainly typed out the notes, and then was hoodwinked into giving the presentation. I felt like preaching, but was glad that I only had ten minutes because of my sore throat and congestion.

    So today, I'm going back over those notes, looking at them and meditating on that passage. In Gal 5:25, Paul has a "well, duh" position: if we're going to live by the Spirit, then it's time to live by the Spirit (my paraphrase).

    BTW, I still feel like crap. Thanks for your support.
    Tuesday, May 04, 2004
    CNN.com - Methodists protest ban on ordaining gays - May 4, 2004

    'Jesus always included the outcasts' - subtitle quote

    The problem is that ordaining anyone with a lifestyle that's contrary to scripture goes against the leadership modelled by Jesus and underlined by Paul. It's not that a homosexual person can't be saved - but in salvation, there is a newness where forgiveness and repentance come together. There is healing and deliverance, and there is a real change to one's lifestyle. It might not happen outwardly all at once, but the old lifestyle is gone and a new one is installed to be lived out in the kingdom. Sure, Jesus included the outcasts, but He didn't make any of them PASTORS until they'd gone through some pretty radical trials and growth processes... not to mention the filling of the Holy Spirit.
    Still got a cold. Still feel crappy. Still all snotty. I hate being sick.

    On a brighter note, I'm hooked up with Gmail. Officially a lemming, running off to find green lush pasture land, or running over a cliff. Gmail me here - I'm switching alot of my blogging correspondence (comments, posts, updates, etc) to that new account, and I'm hoping to give it a workout.
    Monday, May 03, 2004
    Productivity is a wonderful thing. At least, that's what I hear. When the network and email come back up, I might be able to get some good things done. I've got a deadline at the end of next week that I don't think will be a problem, but for now it's kinda hanging in the balance of server limbo. Also, I was able to talk my mother-in-law through the procedures to stop internet activity on the home PC, which I'll have to explain to my son later on this afternoon when he can't google the cheats for his gameboy game. Then I'll have to talk my dad through stuff on his PC at home, I'm sure - and maybe others. The plan now is to leave work around 3pm and head to church - skipped lunch in case something breaks here at work, but so far no dice - to check all those PCs for problems. Class tonight, and probably working late tomorrow evening.

    Yeah, being proactive on a Monday. Yep, taking care of business.

    No, not really.

    I've spent most of the weekend asleep. I caught some kind of cold or sinus/allergy thing at the end of last week, worked from home Friday instead of hacking all over everyone here at the office, and then slept a super-long nap Saturday morning. I slept pretty good Saturday night, but woke up feeling crappy Sunday. Went to church, crashed and burned when we finally got home, and was completely worthless to my wife & kids last night.

    So here I am on Monday morning, still coughing, still not feeling all that great. I stopped at Wahlgreen's and got some Tylenol Cough & Cold and a big bottle of Gatorade (that I left in the car - dang!). But at least I made it to work. And what's next? PC problems - parts of the network are down, everyone's loading a virus patch so it's slo-o-o-ow, email seems to be having problems, and some of the PCs up here might be infected anyway.

    Don't you love Mondays? I want to have a good day today, and I want to be proactive about it. So I'm going to pray - not that I don't normally pray, but today I want to be a little more deliberate about praying all day, through the ups and downs of work and not feeling good and dealing with life. And I want to meditate on the week four memory verse from Experiencing God: "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him" (John 14:21, niv). Ultimately, life is more than my crappy Monday, more than chasing down problems and tolerating illness. It's about living in Christ's love, and that's about grabbing onto His commands and obeying Him.
    Sunday, May 02, 2004
    From Gator -

    This is an exercise going around the 'net:
    1. Grab the nearest CD.
    2. Put it in your CD-Player (or start your mp3-player, I-tunes, etc.).
    3. Skip to Song 3 (or load the 3rd song in your 3rd playlist)
    4. Post the first verse in your journal along with these instructions. Don’t name the band, nor the album-title.

    Here's mine:
    i once was a dreamer, i once was a man
    discovered all the things that chris columbus ever can
    i know that disturbs you like just another man
    i let you turn my conscience off
    and off you ran

    Saturday, May 01, 2004
    CNN.com - Gun safety presenter shoots self - May 1, 2004

    Irony, the great equalizer.
    All I've got to say is that it's way too early for the whole family to be up on a Saturday morning. I got up to let the dog out back this morning, and she decided that it was her responsibility to inspect the neighborhood for gophers and raccoons and such. I went outside calling for her, and that brought my wife down to go looking for her (the dog actually comes for her - imagine that). My daughter woke up with the calling and whistling in the front yard under her window. So here the three of us are, hoping not to wake up the fourth - when we here his door open, and my son comes downstairs ready for cartoons. Woo hoo, 7:30a on a Saturday morning. If I'm up, might as well be typing.

  • Charleston.Net: News: World/Nation Affleck lobbies for minimum wage raise 04/30/04: "I know firsthand what a struggle it was to try to raise a family on such a small salary. Nobody is going to get rich off of making $7 an hour."
    There are logical problems with this debate, besides the illogical problem of bringing in Ben Affleck. First of all, if the minimum wage is raised from $5.15 to $7.00, there's a potential for folks to get fired. Where a business might employ two people at the lower rate, it now can't afford to keep one of them at the higher rate. It's not better for the one who's let go, and it's not much better for the one who is now left to do twice the work. Then there's the jobs that are outsourced overseas, which is already a problem. You don't have to pay one person $7/hour if you can hire four people @ $2/hour somewhere else. And my last beef with this - the assumption that people making minimum wage cannot work their way or educate themselves into higher paying positions. One consequence of $5/hour being "too low" is that a person should be motivated to climb the ladder. The system isn't designed for a welfare family of four to live off one person's McDonald's wages. But if the parents make more than that, now the teenagers in the house can start there and begin to understand work and profit and such... But that's more thought than I should've put into something involving Ben Affleck this early in the morning.

  • Family.org - CitizenLink - FNIF News - Southern Baptists to Consider Schools Resolution: "It's time for Southern Baptist parents to pull their children from public school in search of a Christian alternative; at least it would be if a proposed resolution to be presented at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting this summer is adopted."
    I'm not SBC anymore, am I? Whew. To me, the worst thing the popuation could do is remove itself from the debate and from the structure. Instead of spending time with the children and getting to know what's going on at school, there are now advocates for Christians pulling out of public schools and doing it themselves. Last I heard, Disneyland was still doing okay without SBC support, and I don't see why this wouldn't be any different. Instead of pulling out, why not prepare our kids for school? Why not teach them morality at home in a way that lets them lead others at school? I know schools are doing a poor job of teaching morality, but the way it stands, I'd rather do that part one-on-one with my own kids rather than letting someone I don't know try to teach them right and wrong. Keeping them in public school is as much of the training and testing process as any, and if they come out of the experience poorly it's as much my fault as anyone else.

  • Family.org - CitizenLink - FNIF News - United Methodists to Grapple with Gay Issue: "The United Methodist Church (UMC) General Conference is meeting this week and next in Pittsburgh. The quadrennial event is set amidst the backdrop of church officials recently having acquitted an openly lesbian Methodist minister, even though church law bars gay clergy."
    Some of this issue is probably why I've been having the email conversation I mentioned a few days ago. The other person is involved at his Methodist church, and they've been discussing these issues. I'm not here to bash anyone, but it's not "bashing" to say sin is sin, to agree with scripture that homosexuality is an aberration of what was intended in Creation. We sell grace short when we allow people to fill positions of leadership while still openly embracing a contrary lifestyle.

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