rick & 1j13
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Tribute to Peter Sellers at this year's Oscars... well, to Blake Edwards, but love the Clousseau schtick. Classic.
Watching the Oscars right now, and wondering if LOTR:ROTK will sweep or not.

Meanwhile, this will be a total waste of time.
It's been a funky-feeling Sunday. This morning was rushed, getting to church, preparing for bible study, and then having a very long but very filling 3-hour service. It's been awhile since we've gone "over" by that much, and we're not usually ones to keep an eye on the clock anyway. I had to explain to the 'rents that maybe we had more to thank God for than the usual mainline 1-hor service.

Anyway, no one signed up for Cleansing Streams this time around. I have to take the blame for that, sicne I really haven't spent much time on promotion at all. But with new videos and materials, and with a few new families starting to participate at CWO, I think we'll have a decent group-size in the fall.

I stayed up way too late last night. Had to finish Grisham's KING OF TORTS - not bad, good writing, but it didn't really do anything for me. As much as Clay Carter became ethically stretched, he didn't seem to fall as far as necessary, and it just kind've ended. Which was good, since it was 2:30a and I really needed to get to sleep. The next piece of fiction on my nightstand: BLACK.

And of course, it's OSCAR Night. We're watching all the fun and frivolity in hi-def - woo hoo - and I'm looking forward to wins by LOTR:ROTK and FINDING NEMO. I'm pulling for Bill Murray or Johnny Depp for Best Actor, and "Into The West" for Best Song.

So... how was your Sunday?
Saturday, February 28, 2004
TheOOZE - When Passion Is Reduced To A Door Hanger: This article by Spencer Burke was written on the hype, pre-release. I'm wondering what he's saying post-release. I'll keep my eyes open.

And here's a review from Next-Wave:
next-wave > church & culture: Film Review: The Passion of the Christ
Friday, February 27, 2004

Roger Ebert's review - thumbs up.


Sidebar - This is a quote from the end of Ebert's review: "Note: I said the film is the most violent I have ever seen. It will probably be the most violent you have ever seen. This is not a criticism but an observation; the film is unsuitable for younger viewers, but works powerfully for those who can endure it. The MPAA's R rating is definitive proof that the organization either will never give the NC-17 rating for violence alone, or was intimidated by the subject matter. If it had been anyone other than Jesus up on that cross, I have a feeling that NC-17 would have been automatic."

This is not the first time I've heard a critic say that the movie probably woulda coulda shoulda received an NC-17 rating for the violence. I've been having dialogue with a few people over how the level of violence in this movie is very high, but shouldn't take away from the story itself. I've read various blog posts about how it didn't phase some people, and how it ripped the hearts of others. Both reactions are valid, and again, should not detract from the strength or impact of this story as filmed.
Yahoo! News - Agency Tells Airlines to Weigh Passengers

There's no FridayFive this week, so let's make up our own - woo hoo.

1. What is the top news story this week?

2. What are you looking forward to this weekend?

3. Do you watch the Oscars? Why or why not?

4. What are you looking forward to as Spring approaches?

5. Is there anything at all to watch on daytime television?!?

I'll answer back here later. Feel free to play along, answering in the comments or linking to your website.

UPDATE: Thanks to you who've posted your stuff. Here's my short list:

1. Looks like it's a toss-up between THE PASSION and homosexual marriage rights.

2. News coverage of the lines of people this weekend. In one line, people lining up to see the new DIRTY DANCING movie. In the other line, all the people waiting for THE PASSION praying for the people in the first line :)

3. Yes - and sometimes it's worth watching. Looking forward to Billy Crystal this time around. As for the fashion critiques, the classy ones are beautiful - everyone else earns a remote control channel change to college basketball for a few minutes.

4. Sunny days, cool breezes.

5. I'm working from home today. Match Play golf on ESPN, and that's about it.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
CNN.com - Rosie O'Donnell to marry girlfriend in San Francisco - Feb. 26, 2004:

"'I think the actions of the president are, in my opinion, the most vile and hateful words ever spoken by a sitting president,' O'Donnell said on the program. 'I am stunned and I'm horrified. "

Excuse me? "Most vile and hateful words ever spoken"? C'mon, Rosie, you can do better than that. I'm sure there were more "vile and hateful" words exchanged between the previous and his wife over their unseemliness than the speech given here. Words are chosen to elicit a response and to give insight to the speaker's position - you've done both, while not adding a single intelligent thing to the conversation.

Sorry... was that too vile and hateful of me?
Well, I got my wish - one more wintry mix kind of day. But I'm at work - what's up with that? After having such nice weather last week, we're bogged down with sleet and rain and wind and the possibility of snow. It's just really yucky out. But I love it - nice to feel the cold, huddle inside a jacket, sit in here with some green tea and work. Well, would've been nicer to be able to stay home and not come into the office for the weather, but I'll take what I can get.

Heard from my brother last night after his screening of THE PASSION. His word was "disturbing", and that fits pretty much. It should be disturbing. Someone asked me this morning if I enjoyed it - and I turned and must've looked funny at her: "Well, maybe 'enjoy' isn't the right word, huh?" I heard one estimate that the movie made $20M yesterday, making it one of the all-time money-leaders for a one day, non-summer/christmas release. It'll make $$$ through this weekend, but it's lasting power will rely on how well Christians receive it and how well they take up the discussion around them.

I hope it's going to be a good, deep, discussion-filled weekend. Time to relax a little with the weather turning bad, and time to reflect on what Christ did so many years ago along with what He's doing in our midst right now.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Joel Rosenberg on The Passion of the Christ on National Review Online

Another POV, this time with Ted Koppel asking the questions.
I'm looking for the "circle above the line" when it comes to the debate over the definition of "marriage" in this country. Anyone speaking against it is labelled a bigot, and anyone in favor of it is typecast as a liberal. There's not much of a middle ground - you're either for it or against it. Anyone who's "undecided" and in the middle is probably more likely to not care, but not enough to oppose it very forcefully.

Please hold judgment on me until the bitter end.

Is it wrong to allow people to marry if they're the same gender? Yes. Is it wrong to condone such things going on in spite of laws forbidding such? Yes. Is it wrong for me to sit idly by while this goes on? No, and yes. But the reasons aren't "typical" for me, and I'm still discovering more about myself and what God's created, so it's almost always a work-in-progress.

What is "sin" in the first place? Simply put: it's anything that's outside of God's boundaries, God's control, God's discretion. Someone might have negative connotations to those words, and that's unfortunate. There's a real sense of freedom when we're inside those bounds; and we've proven as a race that it's pretty chaotic outside the fences. It appears that from the created order of things, God intended for one man to righteously pursue, or welcome as an unblemished gift, one unblemished and complementing woman, equally pursuing and equally growing in righteousness. That appears to be the goal, the pinnacle of how it should work out; that's how the pieces and parts have been arranged physically, socially and culturally. Inside of the bounds of God's sovereign discretion, this is how it's supposed to happen. Anything else falls short and misses the mark.

And the Bible is full of information on how we've missed the mark. Men had many wives (many mothers-in-law?), married sisters, raped women, etc. There's polygamy and adultery and incest all over the place. But it still looks like, through all of that, the ideal of one man and one woman gets held up above the rest.

It is for that reason that I felt I needed to write this post. I write for myself, and I needed to know where I stood. Because it's more than just saying that gay marriages should be outlawed and condemned - it usually goes beyond those types of easy answers and stances, doesn't it. It's wrong for a man to marry a man, or for a woman to marry a woman, because it's outside of those boundaries that God has built into creation and that we habitually ignore and jump across. Beyond that, the hard part is to also stand and say that marriage itself, between a man and a woman, is shortchanged and railroaded in travesty all over this culture, too. Divorce and adultery and abuse have all been stirred into the pot, and have led more to the demise of the marital outlook than anything else.

If this is an issue today, it's an issue because we've allowed it to be an issue. On some front, we as Christians have not lived out the kingdom life, have not lifted up our families and our wives and our husbands. Men haven't loved their wives selflessly as Christ is loving us, and wives have not submitted to the Lord or the the mutual relationships in their own homes.

We are as much to blame as anyone, and when we take our stand against homosexual marriage, we must also stand strong against the deterioration of marriage that's generally rampant around us.
CNN.com - The man who plays Jesus - Feb. 25, 2004
Just got back from THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.

Go see it. If you consider yourself "saved", go see this movie. It was good, and I don't take that lightly. I'm very tough to please when it comes to films, and this one tells a very good story in a very meaningful way. Yes, it's bloody - way bloody, and the violence is extreme. I think I was desensitized a little, waiting for more than was there. I flinched once, when He's getting whipped. I cried once, when His mother Mary goes to Him as He's dragging His cross through the streets. Everything was beautiful, engaging and compelling you to enter into the story - all signs for me of a good film, regardless of its subject. But we can take this one's Subject more seriously, right?

The biggest thing that drove the story for me was watching the eyes of Jesus and the eyes of the people He looked at. Story within a story.

Be ready for the violence and the blood. But don't let that stop you from seeing it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Andrew Jones has struck a nerve, and I missed the whole discussion. Dang.

You're Ulysses
by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

With the release of THE PASSION tomorrow, I'm hoping that "Christians" will get saved...
Monday, February 23, 2004
Huh? - blogs4God.com

I echo Josh Claybourn's sentiment - Rooney's the whacko.
Weatherbug is calling for snow in Thursday's forecast. Same thing on Weather.com.

I'm probably jinxin' that all to heck, huh?
Trying my hand at Monday Madness:

1. If I could win A Pulitzer, I'd be so happy!

2. Maybe one day I will try my hand at coffeeshop ownership - woo hoo.

3. Before I started blogging, I used to stutter alot (first thing that popped in my head).

4. Laundr-o-mats sure make me scared!

5. If I could fly, I would fly to Antartica.

6. If more people were neighborly, the world would be a better place.

7. I thought this meme was decent this week. (any letter will do for this one.)
Monday Monday. I've got my coffee, my laptop is booted up (and running way slow - what's up with that?), I'm settled into my cubby-hole cubicle, and I'm ready to tackle the day. Or maybe a nap first? Actually, I'm looking forward to this week. There's a feeling of "big things" somehow, tied in with the release of THE PASSION and things that need to get done at work. On top of that, I'm hoping my wife will find out what's causing the pain in her side - either an infection or kidney stones, neither of which sounds like much fun.

Why is THE PASSION such a big deal? I was listening to CNN on XM on the way to work, and the morning show crew was discussing seeing it vs. not seeing it vs. already seen it. One guy said that he couldn't recommend it to anyone, that it was so violent - while he was excited to see it, by the time he left it was so draining and appalling. He said there wasn't any anti-semitism, just alot of blood and ribs showing through the carnage. Another on the set said she wouldn't see it, just couldn't stomach gory films - and I thought that it would be bad if this was put into the same genre/league as most of the 80s slasher flicks. Someone else said she was seeing it tomorrow, looking forward to it, but also taking in all the hype and protest to see what this was really all about.

What if I see it, and then can't recommend it to people? I'm getting the feeling that Christians will be challenged, because we're not too sure of the extent of what Christ went through in this drama. But for unbelievers - will this draw them in, or will it be a repellent? I feel like telling people to not go unless they're willing to have everything change, unless they're open to having their lives ripped apart and replaced with something else. How much repentance will be required on my own part first, dealing with the log in my own eye before marketing the film as an evangelistic tool?

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
- Romans 8:18-21 NIV

"Our present sufferings are not worth comparing..." - somehow, I feel that this passage needs to be pasted above and below all the movie screens showing THE PASSION this week.

We'll see... Wednesday, 10am.
Sunday, February 22, 2004
It's Sunday morning, and I really need to shower and get out of here in about thirty minutes. We're going to have the Cleansing Streams orientation/intro this morning, and I'm praying that there will be more people than I think there will be that will participate. What I mean is - the cost is pretty high, but most people only look at it financially. It costs $$$, but it also costs significantly in a spiritual sense, seeking to get rid of the baggage we've all brought with us into this salvation and kingdom life.

Anyway, the new material looks really good, and I've got to make copies of forms and stuff for that, copies for the LifeTRAINING Bible Study time (still on "Witnessing Without Fear"), and copies of the morning bulletin. Pray that people will want to do this because God is leading and pulling - not because of me or Pastor Mike, or even because of the new material.

UPDATE: Well, I only had one person come specifically for the Cleansing Stream material, and I walked back into the dispersing crowd to hand out a few more info/sign-up sheets. If there's no response, we'll do it in the fall - and I might do it by myself this spring to get a feel for the new stuff.
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Doing some housecleaning on the blogsite. Mean Dean at blogs4God writes that BlogMatrix is hosed - so now I've got to figure out how to get Blogger's Atom XML site feed working here. Wish me luck.
Friday, February 20, 2004
Ashley commented on my political post that she felt Christians could bring about change through the political process: "I think Jesus would vote because that's how Christians can make a difference in the world. I definitely don't see him aligning himself with a political party that approves of and encourages abortion, homosexual practices, or other things the Bible speaks against. I think he'd probably be independent." She also mentioned Kevin Young's post on politics and Christianity - he's on my list to the right, and I hadn't seen the post during this busy week, but I went to his post on Jerusalem and Athens, and it's making me think, too.

What comes to mind first is that we tend to not think when it comes to politics, or to many other things for that matter. We tend to follow the crowd, or we scurry after the most charismatic leader/preacher, or we fall in step with the values that most closely align with where we are already in life. This isn't a reflection on Ashley's comment or Kevin's post, nor is it saying that either of them is wrong in any way. It's just that we tend to congregate around who we feel is right more than we try to gather around reality, truth, and God's perspective. We think WWJD? and then take a course of action according to our own predisposition and presupposition of the character of Christ.

But what if we're wrong? Where is there room for doubt? In political times, where is there room for a conservative to question the motives of our president? Where is there room for a liberal to doubt an entitlement mindset? More often than not, it's an Us vs. Them mindset that permeates both camps - when there might be more to this than just "two sides".

I'm not plugging a centrist/moderate attitude, because that's really just another point along the line, right? What I think I'm getting at is that there might be more to this than the line - that we've restricted the discussion to points along a line, when there might be more variation and creativity available somewhere off that line, or on another plane altogether. Brian McLaren mentions a "circle above the line" where God is sovereignly still at work (Joshua 5:13-14).

Here's my visual on the "circle above the line": If I wanted to cover you, I could throw a rope or a blanket. I can spend all my time getting the rope just right, but it still won't adequately cover anyone. But if I focus on the blanket, giving it just the right toss - you're covered.

I think that Christians can indeed make a difference in the world, and that voting might make some difference. But it's still just one vote among thousands or millions. What if we sell ourselves short, or sell the Kingdom short, in putting so many of our eggs into this political pasket in order to effect change? Why are we tossing ropes, when God might have a blanket at hand for us to throw on the fires of immorality, or to warm us against the chill of the challenges to family and life?

Gotta stop the rambling now...
Crosswalk.com - Stacie Orrico Says Pop Stars' Attire 'Degrading'

A problem I see is the motivating factor: "The reason that I don't dress trashy is that I'm trying to set an example for little girls," Orrico, 17, told reporters Feb. 14 in Singapore, where she was preparing for the MTV Asia Awards. "From the time they're 7 or 8 years old, [girls] are being taught that the only thing that makes them special and beautiful is their sexuality, and I think that's wrong."

Shouldn't the real reason to not "dress trashy" be to honor and glorify God, or because it's wrong to flaunt yourself like that? The role-model position is overused, and it's hard to live up to that level of accountability. But her goal is to honor Christ (which I'm sure it is to an extent, but that it's playing out poorly in how she's responding here), the "being a role-model" will come more naturally and successfully through the working of the Spirit in her life.

There's "more to life" than being a role-model: just be holy.
Safe & sound Friday5:

When was the last time you...

1. ...went to the doctor?
** Monday morning. I had been checked with high BP the Thursday before, so Monday I went in for blood work. Results are that everything's fine and normal, except my bad cholesterol that's "a little high". I'll worry about that next. As for my BP, it was 144/93 this morning - probably as close to "normal" as I've been in a while.

2. ...went to the dentist?
** Lo-o-o-o-o-o-ong time.

3. ...filled your gas tank?
Earlier this week, but I've got to fill up before I leave for home this afternoon or I probably won't make it.

4. ...got enough sleep?
Fall of 1989.

5. ...backed up your computer?
Just this week - sort of. I switched to a new laptop at work, so anything important got copied to the new machine and everything else got whacked. I need to make new ZIPs of the latest stuff, but other than that, I'm good. At home is a different story - only really backup photos and documents my wife and I might do for work or church. Anything else lost or fried would be a hassle, but not that big of a loss.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
Maybe it's time for another political post... naaah.

Seriously, I can't take much more of the campaigning going on in the Democrat camps for John Kerry and John Edwards. They're bashing each other. No, they're bashing Bush. They're very different. No, they're similar but different. They're separate but equal. I don't know. Honestly, I haven't heard much out of any candidate, the incumbent George W. Bush included, that resembles more of a this-is-where-I-stand platform instead of the usual that-guy-is-evil attacks. Picking one politician over another, for me, is like picking one gas station over another for its restrooms - either way, you still don't want to touch anything.

But I will throw this out: I want to become more socio-politicially conscious this year so that I can comment on what's going on, why it bothers me, why I think it's wrong for the evangelical Christian right to hop in the sack with the GOP and why it's wrong for the more social-gospel-oriented liberal Christians to too their lots in with the Democrats in 2004. My thought is not For Whom Would Jesus Vote? - but instead, Would Jesus Vote, and What Difference Would It Make?

I don't know that Jesus would vote. I don't think it would've been on His list of priorities the first Tuesday of November. If He did vote, however, I don't think He'd fit the pollsters profiles. Jesus didn't mind paying taxes - so He might've skewed Democrat, trying to balance the budget and still help the little people with entitlement subsidies. He probably would've tried to see how taxes could be cut, though, to relieve the burden of the government (a la flinging the money collectors out of the temple), so He might've sided more Republican. We don't know, and therefore I have a tough time putting a more Christian-ized slant on the proceedings.

That's why it's funny to hear this side say it's unbiased, when it's phrasing and questioning are so one-sided; and to hear "the other side" say the same thing, that they're fair and show no favoritism, when the candidates reports are skewed to match someone's agenda somewhere.

All that to say: If I vote, it'll be because someone has impressed me; because a person has made me want him/her in a position of authority and responsibility - not just to make sure the other guy, who's so obviously loony, won't get the office.
Subject: New Law

I don't know if you've heard, but starting Jan 1, 2004 you will no longer be able to use a cell phone while driving unless you have a "hands free" adapter. I went to Circuit City and they wanted $50 for a Headset with a boom microphone for my cell phone. Having a friend in the cell phone business, I talked with him and was able to come up with An alternative, working through Office Depot.

These kits are compatible With any mobile phone and one size fits all. I paid $0.08 each because I was able to buy in quantity. I'm selling them for only $1.00. I tried them out on Erickson, Motorola, Nokia phones and they worked perfectly.

A photo is attached. Take a look and let me know if you want one. Also, forward this to anyone you know who may want one!

[sent to me from my brother - what a maroon!]
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
It is such a gorgeous day outside. I've got alot to do here at work, with having such weird weeks the past few for medical and weather-related situations. But for now - you know, I'd like one good time for snow or something, but if it's going to go ahead and turn to spring, I'm all up for that, too. It was wet and cold and nasty this past weekend, and the sunshine and warm breeze is oh so welcome right about now.

Makes me wish I could WiFi this new laptop and work on the grounds outside. Best thing is that my BP is coming down, slowly but steadily so far, and that I'm beginning to feel a little better, too. Sunshine helps in lots of ways.

I did get an upgrade in the laptop department from work. While I'm still taking on the customer responsibilities, the most tedious thing to add to my task list is to find and re-install all the little utilities I've been used to having for my job and such. But it's always fun to get a new machine, 'specially one that's so much faster, thinner/lighter, and more robust than the last one. I just hope I don't end up ripping the screen of the keyboard off this one anytime soon. Like I said: makes me want to crank this puppy up outside and catch some rays while I make the customer happy.

All that to say: I'm enjoying life and looking forward to the last gasps of winter turning into the stretching and awakening of spring... as long as we can postpone the sweatiness and heat of summer as long as possible.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
jayuff's Xanga Site

My brother finally got with it and started a blog. Show him some love... but ignore the photo on the left. And remember: wear your helmet.
Monday, February 16, 2004
ABCNEWS.com : How Despairing Gibson Found 'The Passion'

Pray for Gibson - as this film comes to the fore of a culture, his theology will be challenged again and again. Pray that he will be awakened more and more to Christ, to the life of Jesus being lived out now, to the Kingdom of God being here now and not yet.

For now... Mel is da man.
Thanks to Andrew @ BloggedyBlog for the link to MyMediaList. I've added the list to the righthand column - might be too much, too "mechanical" for me, but I'll give it a week or so and see how it feels.

Let me know what you think.
CNN.com - M&M's obsession leads to physics discovery - Feb. 16, 2004

Wonder what my obsession with the perfect cup of coffee might lead to scientifically....?
There have been a couple of articles online trying to shed some light on the blogging phenomona, in particular "christian blogs". One was published this weekend at AnglicansOnline, and another is a couple of weeks old at Christianity Today: "A Theoblogical Revolution" and a more recent followup, "Revenge of the Bloggers".

The articles tend to miss what I like most about "christian blogs" - that we right about life because that's where Christ impacts the most. It's not about getting hits or being a preacher online. I mean, for some folks it is, and if they're good writers they'll usually keep my attention. But I like to share the story of my life and the stories of the lives of others. That's what's interesting - how is God showing up as you go to the movies, or the grocery store, or clean your kids nasty diapers? That's real life, and more often than not it's real christianity, too.

Just my $.02.
Sunday, February 15, 2004
CNN.com - Jesus in America - Feb. 15, 2004

I usually wake up this early on Sundays. Any other day of the week and this would be "late" - even Saturdays we tend to get up with the kids and do cartoons by six a.m. But Sunday's are different, and even the children want to stay in bed. I get up, do the church bulletin for the morning services, and mess around on the 'net before getting ready for church. I'll leave in a few minutes, getting there before the line at the copier grows and having a few minutes to stop at Starbucks first, perhaps.

God messes me up on Sundays, so I'm not taking anything lightly today. I've already had the discussion with my wife about switching to decaf (oh, the horror, the inhumanity). My BP is ok, but still not where I know it needs to be. And while there are mixed reviews on hypertension and caffeine, I'm going to err on the side of caution and get this thing under control before having another decadent macchiato. So it's a decaf latte - or maybe chai latte - this morning, and then teaching on "Witnessing Without Fear" from Bill Bright and Campus Crusade. Somewhere between the video lesson/discussion and the morning service that follows - Pastor Danny's preaching, I think - I expect to be challenged and messed up. It's a good feeling.
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Whew - the Gamecocks have beaten the Vandy Commodores 82-75, thus ending the length of life for the MSU logo in my header. Got close a couple of times, but they had it going away most of the game.

It's a good weekend.
Oh it's Saturday, it's Saturday - ha-na-nonnie and a ha-cha-cha.

And it's Valentine's Day. Heart Day. How appropriate.

It's been a weird & freaky week this past week. I took Tuesday off to drive my brother to Hickory, NC, to retrieve his car from the shop. Then Thursday morning we find out that my blood pressure is through the roof, and I end up going back on meds and taking off most of Thursday and all day Friday. Whew. I'm not tired - I've been sleeping most of the time at home. And graciously, my BP is down this morning to a point below where I'd have to check in with a weekend clinic or emergency room.

I'll be back at the doctor's office Monday morning for blood work, checking out everything to make sure there's no damage from however long it's been elevated. There's history of hypertension in my family, and I'll have to be more careful to take care of myself.

I'm more concerned about my wife right now. She's strong and very supportive, but it didn't hit her how bad this might be until she went to church Thursday evening. I was supposed to have taught during the evening service, but I didn't feel well and I got Pastor Carlos to fill in for me on that. Everyone at church found out, and came up to tell her "we're praying for you" and "it'll be alright". I mean, everyone. She was fine until that, I think, but you get enough people telling you "it'll be alright" and you begin to wonder if it'll be alright. She's concerned, and I hate to be doing this to her. I could've avoided this if I stayed on the medication since the first time around.

It's a rainy day in SC, so we're going to take it easy again. I'm up way too early, and both kids are already up, too. So we'll let Mommy sleep a little before taking her a Valentine's breakfast.
Thursday, February 12, 2004
MSNBC - Interview: 'You Want Me To Play Jesus?' [linked from RelevantMagazine.com]

Another really good article/interview, this time with James Caviezel, who stars as Jesus in THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST - opening Wednesday, Feb. 25th.
Well, maybe it was high because of last night's game. Or dealing with the kids this morning. Or my shoes were too tight. But my BP's gotten too high again. Went to the doctor for a consultation on something else, and ended up getting a new prescription for hypertension. Woo hoo.

Blood runs in my family, and high blood pressure does, too. I don't go to the doctor that frequently - most of the time when I'm sick, it's body aches and flu symptoms and I just take a day or two off and it's fine with over-the-counter cold stuff. When I had developed headaches years ago, I'd been diagnosed with hypertension - and I was good about taking my meds for about a year or so. I felt good, and my weight had gone down some, so I stopped taking them. I'm smarter than the doctor, right? Well, last year when I went in for a sinus infection, my BP was normal, even if it was at the high end. With doctor approval, I was officially off the medication.

Not any more. I'm not emergency high, just urgently high. So I've got a new prescription and we'll see what happens. Actually, life happens all the time, and I'm just having to pay a little more attention thee days.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Pray for Jessica's mom & family...

The Gamecocks lost, and my wife & I are heartbroken. While Blake was dancing for joy - or whatever they do in Mississippi to celebrate - we had to sit through the game plus overtime, walk to our car in the rain after blowing a twelve-point lead, and then slog through nasty traffic before finally getting home around 10:45p (we'd told the babysitter, "sometime between 9:30p and 10p" - yeah, right).

I was ready to beat the traffic out of there when we had the big lead. But faster than we could decide what to do, it vanished. Bowers hit a 3-pointer to tie it up, and we had nothing for the last seven seconds of regulation. In overtime, we could not hit a free throw to save Coach Odom - and we lost.

Good game, just ran out of gas.

Here's a photo of Blake celebrating:

So now I've got an M. State logo at the top of my blog until USC wins again, which will hopefully be this weekend against Vanderbilt. Any Commodore fans want to make a bet?
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
We've got an F5 knockoff on our email list, and since I've been away and not really blogged today, I'll toss it in here, too - the Tuesday Three for 02/10:

1) What is your favorite "love song"?
  • "I Will Be Here" - Stephen Curtis Chapman
  • "Whenever I Say Your Name" - Sting

    2) What is your favorite "chick flick"?
  • REAR WINDOW - okay, it's really more of a suspense/thriller, but it's got Grace Kelly in it, so it's a chick flick in my book

    3) What is your favorite "date night" destination/itinerary?
  • dinner at a place where you don't have to order standing up, a movie, a late-night stop at Barnes & Noble, and kids in bed by the time we return

    Feel free to comment and leave your answers here or let us know it's on your own site.
  • Monday, February 09, 2004
    Hear ye, hear ye. Whilst I don't approve of gambling in any form, I feel it is my duty-bound obligation to stand tall for my teams. In the spirit of competition, and in the presence of a worthy opponent, I hereby state the following wager:Keep up with our saga with USC Sports Audio on the web.

    Update: Blackout for Men's Basketball vs. Mississippi State :: Fans encouraged to wear all black Wednesday night
    Then again, this might not be good. We did this a few years ago for the UFlorida football game. It looked really impressive - everyone dressed in black except for the Gator fans. Problem is, it looked like NOBODY was there except Gator fans. They stood out like sore noisy thumbs, easier for the UF players to point to and play to, etc. It'll either look like "a frenzy of intensity and noise that will give the bulldogs a much needed reality check", or it'll look like a cave.
    Follow-up on the pilot story: CNN.com - Passengers: Pilot promotes faith on flight:I still don't have a problem with this. He'll probably be reprimanded, hopefully not losing his job. And while the circumstances might get a little nutty about then, I've got one more question: why did nobody raise their hands when asked to respond to being a christian or not? My prayer is that if there were christians on that flight, that they're more ashamed for not raising their hands to the question than they're ashamed of the pilot for asking.
    I had a thought-provoking conversation with my wife last night. She asked me a simple enough question: "So, what's God been saying to you lately?"

    That's not the kind of question you blow off, at least not between friends and lovers. The kids were already in bed, it was getting late, the fireplace was warming the room, and we were both tired of watching the Grammy Awards. It's the kind of question that seldom gets asked, but it's the kind of question that doesn't need to be overused, so that's okay. I'm glad we've got the kind of friendship that can go from "what's on TV" to "what's God saying". I know too many couples who don't have that, too many friends who wouldn't know what to do or what to say at that point.

    My answer was of course very vague and fairly deep: "I feel like I'm either too opinionated, or not opinionated enough." Yeah, she gave me that same look, but that's where I am spiritually and personally right now. I'm not very easily satisfied, and the things that usually are so rock solid are being challenged all the time. It's like I'm more confident that I'm doubting in the right places, than I'm confident that what I *know* might be wrong. I feel better about my questions than I do about any answers I might have.

    Makes absolutely no sense to me either, but it's my lot in life right now. It's not a lot, but it's my life (where is that obscure quote/joke from?). The only piece of advice my wife offered was to read the Bible, and only read the Bible. I can't keep interest in any books, and when I have been picking up the Bible, I haven't found myself "moved", and I might've been short-changing its value in my life.

    So I'm taking her up on that one, reading the Bible only for awhile. No time limit or constraint, because I'll probably pick up a book or something at any time. But my focus will be on the Bible, and I'll be trying to read it with new eyes: to get to know Him, not to find His will for me, or His presence and power for me, or His word for today. It's got to be about knowing Him right now. When all the questions and answers are broken down to their base position, it's got to be about Him.

    Thanks, hon...
    Sunday, February 08, 2004
    Kudzu: "Little Bundle"

    ... been there, done that - too cute.
    CNN.com - Pilot reportedly promoted Christianity on flight - Feb. 8, 2004

    Many times, we've been challenged to "witness" in our workplaces. For me, that often takes the form of having a verse on my cubicle wall (Col. 3:23), praying and reading the Bible at my cube, being open to conversation that heads towards spiritual matters (happens quite a bit, actually, but it wouldn't fit into most folks' idea of "witnessing"). I'm not the person who turns every conversation towards the cross, but I pray that I'm open to wherever the Spirit is leading, where He's already working in someone's life as we start talking about what's going on in life.

    I think this man has opened a can of worms - and I like it. If he could witness during a missions visit to Costa Rica, why can't he also open his mouth to speak as he pilots people across the country. Would I have done it? I don't know - probably not. But look at it this way - they're still talking about it. Christians on that plane were challenged, convicted, stretched, and might've had spiritual conversations with people really looking for Something More. And non-Christians, as offended as they might've been, had to at least give the thought some credibility: this guy is flying the plane.

    I like this real life saga much better than Comfort's parachute metaphor. Here, it's real, you don't have to take the parachute, and you're confronted with what's really important. And asthe plane lands, christians and non-christians have something new and provoking on their minds.
    Saturday, February 07, 2004
    Blogs for Bush

    I'm already on the rolls at blogs4God, and I'm a participant of a few other blog sites and webrings. While I'll probably vote republican, I don't think I could actually put into virtual stone that this is a blog *FOR* Bush. I include the link for the perusal of others, and I'll probably pop down through a few of the listed sites myself.
    fragment | a writing meme:

    The idea is to write something, anything that incorporates these three sentence fragments:Hmmm...Ok, it doesn't have to be "good" - just inclusive.
    Friday, February 06, 2004
    There was a whole huge roll of this stuff downstairs this morning. They could give us pounds of this as christmas bonuses.
    And in the news today (linked from RelevantMagazine.com):And this from CNN.com:
    I'm not particularly fond of today's FridayFive, but my wife seemed to have a hoot & a holler with them on my behalf -Getting no respect....
    Thursday, February 05, 2004
    Is it Friday yet?

    I'm working from home again - had to take care of getting the last of the yard damage away from the house, and I'm picking up the kids again this afternoon. Just easier to stay home, not have to waste time on the hour commute back and forth to work. Sometimes, you get more done this way, sometimes it might be less - but most of the time you can work more focused on things when there's no other distractions.

    No distractions - except for the "Live from 7" on HDnet right now, live coverage of #7 at Pebble Beach in high-def. Sweet.Got that in my inbox as I logged in earlier. For me, the key is to not worry which one - "brilliantly creative" or "most gigantic idiot" - I'm going to be judged for today. Most of the time, it's going to be both of those, simultaneously. But I can live with that.
    Wednesday, February 04, 2004
    But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
    - 1 Cor. 9:27

    I've sensed something in me. I know it's probably not like this for you, since everyone else around me seems to have all the answers pretty down pat. But for me, I'm constantly questioning and alternately doubting what's going on. I seek God while He might be found, and I find that I've lost sight of Him by my own lack of discipline and stick-to-it-iveness. No one else has these issues, do they? I'm much more comfortable self-judging, pointing the fingers inward rather than shining light on anyone else's life. And at the same time that I see what's wrong inside, I also live as if everything's 100% alright.

    Here's how it happens (I can spot the pattern):
    1) I hear a good sermon, or read a meaningful passage, or hear a moving and challenging song.
    2) I know a change is needed; I thank God for pointing out my fault.
    3) I might get have a few tears - not a really good cry, but wet cheeks from a tear or two.
    4) I walk out of the sanctuary, or keep driving, or put down the book, still challenged and encouraged to change for the sake of Christ.
    5) But I don't. The moment is lost somewhere between 3 and 5, and I feel like I'm different, but that's just my own perception of my own maturity. In reality, nothing changes. How do I know? It'll happen again, over the same song or the same message or same passage - and I'll either feel like I've heard that before, or I'll be challenged anew, and I'll *know* that I missed out on something the last time.

    Sound familiar? Maybe not.
    Tuesday, February 03, 2004
    CNN.com - It's voting day in seven states

    It's primary day here in the Palmetto State. We've tended to skew republican and conservative in recent years, but it looks like we've been targeted as a "must-win" as the first state in the south to cast votes. I've also tended to skew republican and conservative, with one twist - I hate politics, and I hate voting.

    I've put this off long enough. It's an election year, and I've kept my blogging tongue quiet (for the most part) on my own views and opinions concerning the political climate of the day. But here it is for anyone interested - both of you. I hate to vote.

    Here's my underlying predicament: if you're running, that fact in and of itself probably reveals an underlying defect in your character that shows you shouldn't hold the office.

    In the early 90s, there was a heated US Senate race here in SC. That's where I "fell off" the campaign wagon. Both sides had nothing good to say about what they wanted, only that the other guy was a crook and shyster and couldn't be truested. HINT TO CANDIDATES: You'll win my vote by showing my why I should vote for YOU, not by pointing out the faults of your opponent/s. I'm not going to vote for you because you're not the other guy - I'll vote for you because your values most closely reflect my own thoughts and leanings. As much as I can help it, I refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils. I didn't vote for either candidate in that particular race. I've since voted in elections, but most of the time I still leave some sections blank - I won't vote for someone I don't know, and name recognition is not enough to get my mark.

    Another defininf moment in my anti-voting persuasion was the '92 Presidential Election. Most of my friends and cohorts voted to re-elect George Bush, Sr. - but I had a few friends who felt strongly, christianly that Bill Clinton would do a better job. I lost friends over that one - they had been so torched by our group taking potshots at them, arguing and debating every little thing, that they left and never really came back. I've since come to understand that there will be Christians on both sides, following their hearts as best they can. I don't mind the debate, but if we can't be friends afterwards, I'd rather skip the discussion and be an encouragement to you. I trust God that He will lead me, and lead others, on who we should mark on the ballots.

    So what do I look forward to most from today's Primary in SC? Finally - the political ads will stop airing every ten minutes. Finally, Edwards will stop demonozing the rich while playing up his own "humble beginnings". Finally, Clark will stop claiming to *not* be a politician (see above, "the fact you're running..."). Finally, there will be some news other than the halftime "show" - and hopefully by tomorrow they'll both be in the tank and we'll be able to move forward.

    Finally. Until the Conventions later on this summer. Dang.
    CNN.com - TiVo: Jackson stunt most replayed moment ever - Feb. 3, 2004

    Did anyone else laugh when news of an FCC Investigation came across the news yesterday? I could see into the sterile offices of justice, where young men were doing their duty, rewinding and playing, rewinding and playing, pause, slow, rewind - all in the name of "investigation".

    The only "malfunction" was that Timberlake's hand was there in the first place. A serious lapse in moral judgment occured when the producers and performers chose shock value for entertainment. It doesn't matter how many kids might've been watching it, though that's the only real argument I've heard from anyone that's got some acceptance. The real issue is that we've deteriorated to a point where this was even an option. My kids didn't see it, and I didn't see it, and my wife didn't see it. And I'm still "offended" - more that we've created a culture & creative machine that shoots vulgar and shock as the norm.
    Monday, February 02, 2004
    Aarrgghh. I was going to be the man. I was going to ignore the obvious and NOT comment on J@net J@ckson's inadvertent maneuvor during last night's H@lftime. But I just discovered that I had 113 hits yesterday, and I'm fast chugging past that today, because I had Miss J@ckson listed in this post. I've since updated the post to reflect "@" where the "a" should be - much as she should've covered her own @'s with something more appropriate. The only "good" that might come of this will be that M-T-V won't be given that particular production job again. I hope. At least not until the XFL makes a comeback and needs someone to do the pregame stuff every week.

    So those google hits blew my numbers off - aarrgghh. They're not real hits, and it ticks me off that I'm skewed (more than normal anyway) by those hits. Hopefully I've corrected the loophole, but probably not.
    In Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest 01/31, I found this to be challenging:

    Paul did not say that he separated himself, but "when it pleased God, who separated me . . ." ( Galatians 1:15 ). Paul was not overly interested in his own character. And as long as our eyes are focused on our own personal holiness, we will never even get close to the full reality of redemption. Christian workers fail because they place their desire for their own holiness above their desire to know God. "Don’t ask me to be confronted with the strong reality of redemption on behalf of the filth of human life surrounding me today; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes." To talk that way is a sign that the reality of the gospel of God has not begun to touch me. There is no reckless abandon to God in that. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul was not conscious of himself. He was recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered, and separated by God for one purpose—to proclaim the gospel of God (see Romans 9:3 )."

    Where do I feel that I fall short? It's usually in the area of my character - am I the man God wants me to be, all the time, no matter who's around? And the answer I usually come to is, "no, not particularly." But here, the charge is that I'm focusing on me rather than on God, worrying more about my standing with Him than about Him, His glory, His kingdom. If I'd seek first His kingdom... character becomes a non-issue in the face of grace.

    Of course there's a place for self-examination, but at the same time, that's not my goal: to be a better me. I need a re-focusing somehow, to allow Him to be better in me, more liberating in me, more gracious thought me.
    CNN.com - Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil predicts long winter - Feb. 2, 2004

    I am a big fan of winter. Now that football is over - :( - I'll be full swing into college basketball, and the thought of enjoying winter a little while longer is cool - um, pun intended, I guess. No superstition here - but if we get another snow or ice storm that shuts us down a day or two, that would be nice and peaceful. Summers get too hot and humid - I can enjoy a little chill in the air as long as it can hang around.
    SI.com - New England claims second title in three years: 32-29 over Panthers - Monday February 2, 2004 3:33AM

    Sunday, February 01, 2004
    Tonight's the night - if I can make it through the 4-hr pre-game show. And it's on CBS-HD - woo hoo. On the menu: nachos, maybe some chili with sausage, chips, tes/diet coke/coffee. Bring it on - and Go Panthers!

    Wrapping up MEME WEEK. It's been fun, and I've found some new post starters. I'll probably stick with old reliable FridayFive, and I might hit fragment/Saturday from time-to-time. Here's the week's last entry for MEME WEEK, from LunaNina.com | Unconscious Mutterings:

    1. Ignore:: react
    2. Death:: life - why am I thinking opposites?
    3. Missy:: little - "C'mere, little missy..."
    4. Ballet:: jumps, twirls, crashes
    5. Guest:: coffee?
    6. Campus:: walking alot
    7. Lonely:: solitude - not a bad thing
    8. Company:: the man
    9. Helicopter:: whirl, getting blown up by the Hulk
    10. Sterile:: meaningless

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