rick & 1j13
Friday, April 30, 2004
No official Friday5 today, so here's one of my own. I'll answer later.
1) Do you study the Bible?
2) How often do you "study" the Bible?
3) Do you have a routine in your study time?
4) What tools do you use for Bible study?
5) When's the last time you "talked Bible" with someone outside of church?
Post answers in the comments, or answer at your site and leave us a link.
UNDERSTANDING SUPERMAN :: RELEVANT magazine
I can count on one hand the TV shows that I really watch week in and week out:
- NYPD Blue
- According To Jim
- Law & Order (regular or SVU)
- American Idol (first few tryout episodes and final six or seven, when it gets good)
And I missed Smallville this week. Aarrgghh. I'll have to peruse fansites, get the write-up on what happened in this "fresh episode" as it winds down for the season. Aarrgghh. Anyway, I linked the article from RelevantMag above because it's so true - as I get older, I'm still looking for heroes. And now, I'm drawn to heroes who struggle with what it means to be a man, what it means to have talents and gifts, what it means to wrestle with convictions and with people in their lives.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Claims vs. Facts Database - Center for American Progress
Claims and facts are usually equally debatable in an election year.
Here's another google-ism:
Equal opp offender [thanks, Stef:) ...]
Running email conversations are bogging me down. I had to pull my sarcasm hand back from the keyboard last night, not replying to a contrary response to stuff I'd emailed about the need for Christians to "cleanse themselves" (2 Tim 2:21), to walk in obedience and escape the sin they've been forgiven of and delivered from. I just felt like banging my head against the wall, looking forward to the relief when the banging finally stops. I don't mind criticism, or being told that I'm wrong, or that there's a better way. But please, don't go out of your way or over the top to prove your point and to tell me just how incredibly wrong you think I am.
Also last night, the kids and I went to my folks' house: to let the kids play with them, to sponge supper, and to see my Memaw who's in town for a few weeks. I'll be the first to admit that I'm the low cousin on the totem pole - I always forget grandparents' day and never send a card. I try, but not hard enough, I suppose. When we got there, my daughter went to her to tell her about losing her teeth: "Memaw, look - I lost two teeth." To which my grandmother replied: "Wow, look at that - did you know that Marissa has lost four teeth? Yeah, and I think she's a little taller than you..." And so it continues, as the sins of the father are passed down to the generations.
Other than that, everything's peachy...
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
[link found @ the Coffeehouse]
And this from PardonMyEnglish:
Anyone who's been reading here for a period of time has probably noticed that I hate politics - almost as much as I'm growing to hate political talk radio. "Hate" is probably too strong a word, since I tend to listen to it way too much. But it's not love - more like a warped psychological drama I put myself through when there's no decent music coming through the other XM channels I tend to frequent.
Anyway, while out getting lunch today, I flipped between the first half hour of Rush Limbaugh and the first half hour of The O'Franken Factor. On the politically liberal show, they were continuing their attacks on the current administration's supposed lack of character. On the more conservative leaning show, he was laughing at how poorly the liberals were attacking what they see as this supposed lack of character.
One side is attacking the President. The other side is laughing at the side that's attacking the President.
What bothers me is that there appears to be no one substantively standing up *for* the President. I know that these are just two shows of many, and these are only small portions of shows that I'm not going to take the opportunity to listen to in entirety. But I don't see much coming from either candidate/party in terms of vision, answering critics, laying out policy. The soundbites from the Democratic party aren't pro-Kerry; they're anti-Bush. And the sound-bites from the Republicans aren't pro-Bush, they're anti-Kerry.
Will the real candidate, the one who wants to lead, please stand up? And tell you folks to stand with you, for pete's sake.
Also, check out Jen's "political rules" - [sarcasm] I only disagree with #5 [/sarcasm]...
I've been working on this off & on since yesterday, getting it ready to post. Some folks have these long theologically heavy posts, and I usually just jot something down and fire it off. But this time, I wanted to make the effort to get something worth reading down here. There was a comment to this post from Dina (I've cut/paste as is):
- Hi i surfed in onto your blog when i was doing some personal research on spritual issues, particularly relating to this topic. i am hoping that maybe you or someone out there could ansswer it for me.
Everywhere i notice that people pray to God for specific things, like "let me get an A on my test," "keep my family safe in their travels," "please let me have a healthy baby" or the one you listed above, "please ask him to help this woman." basically, asking god for something in particular.
i guess my question is, is there a point in praying or askign god for specific things? i mean, supposedly god's will is going to be done regardless of what we personally want. we can pray for a healthy baby all we want but if it was meant be born brain damaged, all that praying will have been in vain. we can pray all we want that our family members are going to return from their trip to france in one piece, and if the plane crashes inot the ocean does it mean that god wasn't listening? i think it means that it was pointless for you to pray for that particular thing.
also, i remember back when elizabeth smart, the little kidnapped girl was found, and her father said that it was because so many people had prayed so hard for her to be returned safely. and everyone semeed to nod their heads and agree. but kids disappear all the time and people pray night and day that they will come home, and they still turn up dead. and it seems like kindof an insult to those people whose kids didnt come home, like they hadn't prayed hard enough or god didn't favor them as much as he did elizabeth smart's family. like, the laci peterson family prayed nonstop and so did many people around the world for her, and she and her baby were still found dead.
so is there a point to praying for something specific besides "god's will be done?" if not, why do people do it? i hear pastors and preachers praying for specific things all the time, and i wonder.
boy that was long. sorry everyone. any responses on this topic would be really interesting to me personally. thanks.
take it easy,
Start with "what is prayer?" - it's the conversation between us as humans and God as God, Father, Creator, Savior. When Jesus was asked about prayer, He brought things like humility, asking for provision, gratitude for forgiveness and guidance, etc. Paul instructed the Thessalonian church to "pray without ceasing"; and he told the Philippian church that he was always rejoicing in prayer over them. We can follow these principles through the Psalms, stories in the OT and NT, and into the lives of the Apostles and early Church fathers. We are a people of prayer.
Some of our prayer is asking for things - but that's not a total definition of prayer. Many times, I don't ask for anything. I praise Him, I thank Him, I ask for forgiveness and grace to repentance, and then I move on. Sometimes I listen - sometimes, for a long time, I just try to get quiet before Him, hoping He'll speak. Sometimes He's far away, but most of the time, I sense God, bigger than myself and still pursuing relationship with me.
But what about asking for specific things: like healing, or deliverance, or salvation, or a good parking space. When we ask God, according to Jesus' name - which means that this is what Jesus is actually asking through us at the time - when we do this, we are joining in the work of the Father. We are speaking, and He is listening. As we grow in Him, we ask better questions. As we learn more about His heart, as we grow in Christ-likeness, we ask for the "right thing" more often than not. And when our prayers are answered - however they are ultimately answered - we have the joy of knowing we have joined with the Creator in things of utmost importance in the universe.
When we don't get the answer we expected, or we don't receive what we asked for in a way that we were looking for, we learn more about how God works, and we might be learning how our own faith needs to rely on Him more than the way we pray or how hard we might pray. We are to intercede, knowing that ultimately it is all in the Father's hands.
This is a particularly touchy subject when talking about healing: what if I pray, and the person is not healed? Did I have enough faith? Why didn't God do as I asked? The best story I've heard on this subject is from Doug Bannister in his book, The Word & Power Church. His daughter was in the hospital close to death, and the whole church was in the hallways praying for her healing and safety. Another young girl was on the same children's floor, also close to death; her family and church filled the hallways, praying for healing and safety. The author's little girl lived, and the other little girl passed away. How can you look at one family over the other and say God's grace was bigger there? When the other little girl died, that family and that church needed more of God's comfort and presence. His little girl lived, but he never forgot that God was in the prayers across the hall, too.
He is sovereign, and still wants to have us join Him in this adventure. Prayer is the journey, the map and the conversation along the way. I guess I want to grab onto some of the drama, some of the grandeur that real prayer is supposed to contain.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Crossposted this link at Javabeans. This article points to something that is so true - we're all up in arms against the homosexual marriage issue, but we've taken a nap on the heterosexual divorce issue.
This is almost as inane as the political speak elsewhere. I'll say it one more time: there is no evidence that the votes are rigged or racially motivated, other than trying to state that the Fox viewership might be skewed white. Here's how I see the breakdown - the guys have their popularity followings, and the women are fighting for the next votes. All of Hawaii is voting one way, and all of Georgia is voting another way. After that, they probably split evenly.
I haven't been impressed with Hudson - sue me. But if she's as talented as everyone thinks, she will not "slip through the cracks", as Seacrest is trying to warn. I'll make this prediction right now - unless they just do something spectacularly brilliant, La Toya and Fantasia will be in the bottom three again. But they'll be there with John, who'll get voted off this week. That's just me.
Aarrgghh. Things like this make aggravate me. In the tenth grade, my English teacher would've called me "a pus head", because "aggravate" means to make a bad thing worse, and if I'm getting aggravated then I must already be pretty bad. That's just it - the more I pay attention to the back-and-forth attack rhetoric, the dirtier and "pus"-ier I feel.
Driving for Integrity
On the way into work this morning, I was flipping channels on my XM, hoping to find something to listen to, to inspire me, to sing-a-long, to get me pumped. Nothing. So I tuned it to talk radio, and that was a bad idea. Spiralling downward, into a morass of doublespeak and misguided conviction. As I flipped from one news program to another, from the America Left to the America Right channels, from liberals to conservatives and back again, I was smacked with this question: WHERE'S THE INTEGRITY?
- The Center for Public Integrity - this appears to be a liberal leaning investigative organization, looking for ways that the Republicans are lying, thieving criminals
- Integrity - this is an orgainization promoting "A witness of God's inclusive love to the Episcopal Church and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community"
- IntegrityMedia.com - I've got some albums/projects from these folks, but is this the right use of the word?
- CENTER FOR ACADEMIC INTEGRITY - pretty self-explanatory
- Alliance for Bio-Integrity - protecting our food:"Preserving the Safety of Our Food, the Health of Our Environment, and the Harmony of Our Relationship with Nature"
- Filtered Internet by Integrity Online - tagline: "YeeHaw, it's fun!"
- Integrity in Science: A CSPI Project
- Promise Keepers: Men of Integrity
It's an election year. Both sides are seeking to smear the other side as unfit for political service. Meanwhile, no one knows who's telling the truth; no one knows who's right. There is no integrity, no love, no peace in what's being said back and forth. And that bothers me.
Monday, April 26, 2004
I still feel lousy.
But at least I've gotten alot accomplished today, and enough to keep me busy tonight and tomorrow, too. Don't know if I'll actually work from home tonight or not - I've got class in an hour and a half, and after that and getting the kids into bed, I'll probably need to get some rest. Lots of rest. And orange juice.
Changing my Unkymoods mood to "Sick" - but only because "Snotty" isn't one of my options in their list. Somewhere, there's some hot tea, a blanket and a ceiling fan just for me. Tea for my throat, blanket for chills, and ceiling fan to just keep the air moving so I don't have one of those nasty-tacky-sweat-things going on.
I feel lousy.
It's going to be a good week: lots to keep my busy at work, making sure everything runs fairly smoothly at home, while my wife takes care of play rehearsals and the actual performances at the end of the week. But in the meantime, we found out yesterday that our daughter has a viral-throat-cold thing going on, and I'm pretty scratchy in the throat area, too. I'm hoping it's more about the pollen. We're supposed to get some good rain today, and that should wash alot of the stuff away. I hope.
Meanwhile, I'm poppin' Tylenol and hunkering down under my headphones, listening to the LOTR:ROTK soundtrack and trying to stay awake.
In other news:
Good thing it wasn't a glass house, huh?
Sunday, April 25, 2004
God is so much bigger...
Here's an open letter response I just sent to our email list. I really don't get why these letters are sent by well-intentioned Christians, except to say their good intentions don't have to translate to sound theology or real understanding of who God is and what He's about:
- praying mom [email@example.com] wrote:
My friend the mother of 3 is in need of all the prayers she can get right now for her and the kids. she is in an emergency situation and if anyone can help please contact me. I would not be asking you this but this is an emergency. She has really been having a rough time. She once again has been in the hospital due to a blood clot. She lost her house she was renting back in December and moved to a trailer but over the last week she has been told by the landlord that her grandson wants to live there so she has until the end of May to find another place to live ... [original post here]
I hope that everything works out in this situation, I really do. Having said that, I really don't like posts like this, because it's so untrue of how God works in our lives. Do you think this is an emergency for Him? Do you think He's unaware of the situation, the needs, the real deep things going on? You mention that if "you can't help then pray hard" - the only real, meaningful, and lasting help that'll make any difference here is God's intervention. I don't think He responds to anonymous emails quite the same as He draws near to the heart that is drawing near to Him.
"Suffering" is not a bad thing; instead, it's a tool to draw us to Him, to rely on Him and seek Him with all we've got. I can hear the desperation here, and I hope it's drawing us to Christ, not to His provision. Sorry to sound so harsh - I don't even know you or the situations you're writing about. But things like this perpetuate something in the church in America that needs to be flushed out: that God is a cosmic fireman, ready to save us from our own mistakes and misfortune, but that we don't really have to live for Him. That might not be happening here, but the stereotype is strengthened by doing this.
If someone is led to help, please help. But the biggest thing is to pray; the only thing is to pray, and to trust that God hears our prayers because we're living righteously, not because we're "praying real hard". He will help as much as it brings glory to His own name and draws others to Himself. I pray for spiritual awareness, sincerity and courage above any other "help" that might be "needed".
peace to you - rick
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Got this from a friend of a friend, and thought it might be fun. My wife's not here right now, but when she (the english major and drama teacher) returns I'll get her to go through and mark those she's read with an asterisk or something.
College Board’s 101 Greatest Works of Literature:
[bold those you have read, italics for those you want to read]
Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Dante - Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Heller, Joseph - Catch-22
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O’Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Proust, Marcel - Swann’s Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac (in French)
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver’s Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - George Bergeron
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse
I’ve read 36 of the 101, almost all of those were for in middle and high school and in college. And the word "read" might be misleading, at least until I got to college. Trust me, if it was boring and there were Cliffs Notes available, I "read" the abbreviated versions.
Well, there was no Friday5 yesterday, and there's so much going on that I won't be getting much time to blog as much as I've been doing lately, so I'm just surfing this morning through some headlines. Here's some of what's out there today catching my eye:
I was IM'ing with Jen a little yesterday afternoon. She knew the Tillman family, went to school with a couple of younger brothers. This is a real story, with real heroism, real patriotism, real selflessness.
Heh heh heh. Means she'll probably end up doing call-in radio.
I've blogged alot lately on my continuing disgust and concerns with the political games played in this country. I'll probably end up voting conservative and Republican, but only for those candidates that impress, that look like they can do the job with sincerity & integrity, and with the godly ideals I think are important. No politician is perfect - I'd like to vote for those that are still trying.
I'm glad to see that after yesterday's post, Hudson isn't taking it personally as much as some others seem to be. But "I think there should be another vote"? I think William Hung still wants another vote, too. Not to lump them together, but everyone wants a second chance, thinking that would make the difference. But there are rules, and that's not one of them.
A college version of The Bachelor: "One guy, not going to classes, but a hottie with a rich family endowment, taking his pick of lovely ladies looking for a sugar-daddy when they're not rushing sororities." Yippee.
I'm going to have to get this book now.
I'm a big fan of Netflix. I don't know that I would ever seriously get into downloading movies. Maybe for a business trip, having it on my laptop instead of having to use battery power to spin a DVD. But other than that, I don't know that we'd get much out of it.
Friday, April 23, 2004
CNN.com - 'Idol' voting results start controversy - Apr 23, 2004
The only way this can turn into a positive for Hudson is to get past it, use the popularity and exposure she's gotten from the show to her benefit, and move on. If she's talented and proves it beyond "the American public", she'll make it. If all that exists is a whininess and a "they're racist"-card being played (I haven't heard her actually come out like this, but if this is what she's about right now), then she won't make it no matter how well she thinks she did.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
I'm reading McManus' UPRISING, and it's flooring me on the idea of what real courage really is. Looking at the life of Joshua, he was asked to do extraordinary things, knowing only that God was with him. He quotes this passage at the end of the chapter, and I'm including the NIV and The Message versions.
- I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel...
- Philippians 1:20-27, niv
I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don't expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn't shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can't lose. As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We'll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.
Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people's trust in the Message, the good news...
- Philippians 1:20-27, the message
Oh what a beautiful morning... Oh what a beautiful day...
I usually like to get up by 6a - that doesn't mean that I actually do it often, but when I'm awake by 6a the whole day seems less rushed. This morning, I rolled out of bed at 6:34a. It wasn't too bad - I got dressed, fixed lunches for later and breakfast for now, even emptied and re-loaded the dishwasher before having to barrel everyone out the door. We made good time to the kids' school, and they were super this morning - no fussing and whining, my perfect morning.
But then traffic was a bear. I normally have about 25 minutes from the point to work, but it felt longer this morning. There was an accident on I-20E, just past the point where we're all trying to merge from I-26W. It was in the right lane, so the merge lane was a parking lot, and the traffic wasn't moving at all for about a mile. After that, though, clear sailing.
When I walked in, I heard over the cube-farm wall, "Rick? I'll let you settle down and catch your breath first." There was a note on my desk - a customer production problem, right off the bat. Woo hoo. Looks like there's a network problem over there, and part of it goes beyond my level of expertise. So I'm waiting on someone else to help resolve the problem. Woo hoo. All that, and I've had no coffee yet. Woo hoo.
Got coffee - finally. And got headache - regrettably.
Happy Earth Day. Woo hoo.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Following the herd
I've seen this making the rounds on various sites across the blogosphere, and I'm at a point of sufficient writer's block to now be ready to play along.
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
"Where you're headed, my love, you will need it all the more."
- THE JESTER, James Patterson
CNN.com - Fellow vet blasts Kerry's antiwar comments - Apr 21, 2004
Ouch. That's gotta hurt.
The PROOF Bush wants a draft!
Ouch. That, too.
- When War Fails - Johann Christoph Arnold
Even the strongest supporters of America's "war on terror" agree that it is not going well. They admit that the Pentagon's attempts to stabilize the Middle East have been far from successful, and that our national security and intelligence systems are not what they should be. At the same time, they seem to see no option other than pressing forward down the same militaristic path that has placed a hundred thousand young men and women in harm's way and brought us into the current crisis.
Strangely, though our nation is supposedly predominantly Christian, we have forgotten the Gospel's simple advice on the best way to combat terror: by living for love, which "casts out fear."
© 2004 Bruderhof Communities
I don't know what "love" would look like on a national/international basis, so I don't know that the discussion is valid. However, having a mentality that war is the best and only real option available, I think, goes against what we would want to live out in our personal lives as Americans, and in the spiritual lives of those of us called to be children of the Kingdom. I don't know if the current War in Iraq has been justified or not - but I can gather that the current state of not doing as much as we could and not seeming to have an exit strategy isn't in the best interests of either country.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Here's today's TuesdayThree from the 1J13 Email List - with two more for added measure, taking a look at Premiere Magazine's published list of the Top 100 Characters in Movies:
1) Who is your favorite character in the Top Ten?
2) Which character in the Top Ten do you most disagree with?
3) Which character is rated higher/lower than another, a bull-headed travesty of injustice?
plus one) Which character is not on the list, and should be?
plus two) Which character would you most like to play/be?
Feel free to answer in the comments, or link to answers on your site.
I heard a great line this morning. It was "great" because it dealt severely with two almost completely different things in my mind: politics on one hand, and the state of Christianity in America on the other. I'm having a terrible time looking up a reference - I heard it on the radio this morning, so it's already a third-person quote supposedly from last night's Nightline, and I'm not quite ready to pay for a transcript of something that might not be there anyway. If I find who said this, I'll update and give credit where it belongs. Also, I'm going to paraphrase as it stuck in my head, since no one repeated it and with all the voice between me and the original commentator, there's probably a few mistakes in the wording. Whew.
Here it is: "The President calls on God, not for direction, but for support [my paraphrase]."
Politically, that's probably a pretty fair assessment of most folks running for office, and I've got a real problem with that. The current "Jesus movement" is as much about cultural capitalism as anything else, and if you mention Christian things you're probably trying to grab votes and/or donations. I don't doubt that President Bush does call on the Lord for guidance and direction - I hope beyond hope that he's saved and has a solid relationship with the Lord. But at the same time, political machinations tend to take the heart and soul out of a person, and relying on God "for support" of our own ill-conceived and self-serving plans is far from the love relationship God is constantly pursuing with us.
Which brings me to "the other hand" - the state of Christianity in this country. That statement is an indictment against the Church as much as it's a slam against the President. Most, if not all, of us rely on God more for support than for guidance. I know that's a broad generalization, and I hate painting with that brush. But even those of us who have a good grasp on the particulars are probably still more apt to look for God for provision and protection above direction and impulse. It's not that we don't seek God's ways; it's just that we are still self-serving people, doing our own thing and claiming it's godly and divinely inspired (honestly, I hear some "plans" where the folks say, "God told us to do this", and I just want to say, "which god?!?"). Or we get caught up in doing something willfully sinful, trusting that His mercy might somehow triumph over His wrath because "we're not perfect, we're forgiven."
Monday, April 19, 2004
CNN.com - Forces of 'barbaric illiteracy' too strong - Apr 19, 2004
Going to add this to my own wishlist. I want to read her take on the relationship between commas, periods and closing quotation marks. I've never liked to render "blah blah." - unless I'm writing dialogue, at which time the period is as much a part of the conversation as the words. But if I'm putting something in quotations to offset it, such as a proper name or an idiom, I'd rather leave the period outside the quotation marks thusly: "blah blah".
Bring on the nitpickers, who never bother with my punctuation as much as my run-on sentences. And fragments, of course.
CNN.com - Duke University cuts out 8 a.m. classes - Apr 19, 2004
... if this ever comes to the University of South Carolina, it'll be about twenty years too late.
I must say it was an exceptional weekend. We played outside most of the day Saturday, and played inside most of the day Sunday, grabbing a nap somewhere in there and sleeping in a little that first morning. The children went to be very well both nights, and I think we were actually all looking forward to going back to work and to school this morning - in a relative sense, of course. We've got a pretty full week: I've got class tonight, my wife has play rehearsal each night (show time next week!), and we've got the usual weekly schedule of church and homework and such. But for a Monday, I think we're doing pretty well.
I'm trying to teach my son the meaning of the word counterproductive. We were at my folks' house yesterday, packing up after lunch to come home. Trace has really gotten into hidden features on DVDs - easter eggs - and wanted to see some of the extra clips on the SPIDER-MAN disks. We looked at a few, and then I helped my dad hook up the DVD player properly in the living room - and since they have a limited selection of flicks, I was going to leave the Spidey DVD for Grampa to watch last night. That didn't sit well with my son, very heartbroken and whiney about not taking the DVD home to continue looking for hidden eggs.
We'd taken my whole case - has X-Men, Hulk, Daredevil, LOTR, etc - so I reminded him that other DVDs have easter eggs; let's leave this one with Grandma and Grampa and we'll look at the others. "AAWWW" - he huffed. I know it's just a DVD, not that big a deal, and my folks didn't want him to be sad, so no big deal, right? Wrong - it's a big deal to selfishly disobey and put yourself in front of others, and it shouldn't get rewarded. So I told him we'd take Spidey, that it was okay, that when he wanted to be nice and share the DVD we'd bring it back to the people we love. He felt terrible (and I felt a little rotten for talking like that), but he still took the DVD. On the way home, I told him it was best to keep quiet, that we would have to wait thirty minutes before putting that DVD in, but that we would put it in since he felt so strongly about keeping it away from the people we love (I felt bad for that one, too).
And when we got home, we had a talk. I told him that selfishness didn't get him into trouble, but putting himself first in a way that showed he didn't care about someone, and then on top of that arguing with me in a way that showed he cared more for that DVD than for me - that was wrong. And because of that, we had the SPIDER-MAN DVD, but none of the others. I'd left the whole case back at the 'rents, so they could choose what other movie they might want to watch last night. While he wanted to look for special features so bad, now there was only one disk, and there were no more movies to look at when it was done.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
It's summer time. Don't tell me it's only April. Don't tell me it won't be summer until the Earth reaches the vernal equinox and the days start getting shorter again while the northern hemisphere faces the sun more closely and the seasons actually astronomically change. All I know is that it's 86F outside and that the A/C is on inside. And according to the five-day forecast, it'll be in the 80s each day for the foreseeable future.
Summer time. So I change the template to a green background, both highlighting the wonderful colors of life growing and thriving on the planet, and bringing to mind how much I hate to sweat.
This year, one of the things I'd like to do is take more pictures. I don't really need another blog, but I would like to store them online. So you might see some of them still linked here, but I'll also try to let folks know when new photos are uploaded to 1J13 PhotoBlog.
Well, time to be hubby, to be daddy, to be DVD buddy, to be head chef. Good weekend, but tomorrow it's back to the grind.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Friday, April 16, 2004
Pondering Friday with a pseudo-FridayFive
Well, it's Friday - finally. It's been a long week, but by the time Friday rolls around, everyone's usually saying that. I think it's because we've got a natural & instinctive condition that needs to be addressed about every six to seven days - it's called LAZINESS. I know I suffer from it, and you probably do, too. I'm not like those people who don't need sleep... what do they call them? ... oh, yeah - SUCCESSFUL. Instead, I'm like just about everyone else who needs the time on the weekend to unwind, sleep late, take afternoon naps, and walk around barefoot.
Meanwhile, has anyone seen any good movies or DVDs lately? I saw HELLBOY last week, and it wasn't all that. There's not much in the theaters I want to see right now after that. The last DVD I watched with the kids was BROTHER BEAR. Get that one - the audio commentary with the moose, voiced by Bob & Doug MacKenzie, is worth the cost of the rental. I also saw DUPLEX on DVD - wasn't all that.
So, since there's no updated Friday5 yet, I'll throw out one for today, movie- and DVD-based. Woo hoo. Feel free to leave your answers or a link back to your site in the comments.
1) what's the last movie you saw in a theater, and how was it?
2) what's the best movie you've seen in a theater this year?
3) what movie are you most looking forward to for the summer blockbuster season?
4) what was the last DVD you watched?
5) would you recommend buying it, renting it or skipping it - and why?
Thanks for playing. Have a nice day.
[borrowed the laziness/successful joke from xmradio-laughusa channel 151, but don't remember the comic - just givin' props]
Colleges are for learning, for bettering yourself, for goal-setting and career-dreaming, for figuring out how you're going to move forward in life and what your life is all about, for turning over cars and wreaking havoc when your teams win the NCAA Basketball Championships. [linked from Slices @ RelevantMagazine.com]
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Found out from my tracking that we've gone multicultural here at 1J13.
Thanks for linking to me, Luis! I don't understand much of the prose, but you're looking and searching like the rest of us - and that's really cool. I'll have to run your site through Altavista's Babelfish to follow along, though - don't go too fast :)
CNN.com - Kids taking food home from school - Apr 15, 2004
This is a cool idea, helping children and their families without being so much of a burden on any one system's financial situation. I'd assume most of what's sent home is fresh and would've been thrown away. Now, with a little extra help from other pockets, they're able to give food to people in need. That's a pretty Christian thing to do in a non-Christian separated-church-state kind of world...
- In an "MTV world," Mr. Gibson's movie fulfills a desire to have images attached to these narrations, said James Shapiro, an English professor at Columbia University and an expert on passion plays.
"Contemplation is a time-consuming and difficult business," he said. "The visuals are a shortcut, but remember, it's somebody else's visuals. It's very hard in a sense to remember what you are thinking when powerful images come to mind." In the long run, he suggested, the debate over whether Mr. Gibson's film could inspire anti-Semitism pales in comparison to its potential effect on "how people reflect on this central event in the Christian faith."
- April 9, 2004, "A Meeting of Movie and Ritual" - By Daniel J. Wakin, (c) NY Times
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
When there's no one there. When it's quiet enough to hear your heartbeat. In that quiet time between laying down and falling asleep, when only the pillow know if you're crying or not. When the day comes to an end, and even the people closest to you are miles away physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. When the darkness surrounds you, as you turn off the room lights to mimic the darkness invading life. When loneliness and solitude fight for headship. When no one else cares. In the time between light and dark. In the space between your eyes, as you close them to go to sleep on a life you wish you could've lived differently. When you get to that point, God is there. Jesus is listening. The Holy Spirit is wiping your tears and collecting your sighs. And the deepest longings of your heart, believe it or not, are wrapped up in Him - but sometimes, it's only at those times when...
Wonder if Rudy & Jimmy would like this for Christmas this year?
TALK RADIO: Reactions to President Bush's News Conference, 04/13/2004
[any errors due to my own paraphrasing]
Fast Company | It's A Blog World After All
As far as magazine subscriptions go, I get Fast Company and Golf. I read both, but my growth in the management side of my psyche is better than in my golf game. But that's not saying alot.
Experiencing God - Spring 2004
We're going through the study EXPERIENCING GOD, by Henry Blackaby, during our Sunday morning adult Bible study time. I'll be posting each week's memory verse here somewhere - either as a post or on the sidebar. Maybe at the top of the right sidebar to balance out the VOTD on the left. For Week One, the memory verse is John 15:5:
- "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing." (NLT)
"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with Me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing." (The Message)
No Room For An Apology
Did anyone else watch the President last night during the news conference from the White House? I think I've written a little this election year about how I'm really trying hard to get involved, to make informed decisions beyond the rhetoric, to listen to both sides of the political divide, etc. So I watched with an ear for hearing something different, something that would make me want to stand up for something. I think I heard it, but it was garbled by the spin that was placed on the questions from the reporters, from his own answers and coaching, and from the pundits who gave their $.02 afterwards.
I feel like we're headed in the right direction, that we're facing down the terrorists and methodically doing something about the threat to our national and collective security. But it seems that politically, either you want to blame President Bush for the 9/11/01 tragedies, or you want to absolve him from all culpability. Maybe there's some grey area in there, but the rhetoric makes it sway to the extremes. And there's not much room for a middle ground.
Personally, I feel that the 19 hijackers, their benefactors and training buddies, and their leaders with the plans were the ones who are to blame. Could it have been prevented? I don't know, and no one else does either. At the same time, there's no room for anyone in authority to be able to say, "I'm sorry. This happened on my watch, and I'm wracking my head to try to see what we missed", without that kind of thing coming back to haunt at election time.
Three times, he was asked variations on the same question: "Is there anything you'd like to apologize for, and mistake made that you've learned from?" I wanted him to answer it by saying, "Yes, I'm sorry this happened. I'm sorry we didn't see it coming." I wanted him to be able to say it, because he strikes me as a man who would say that to you in your time of loss and mourning. But we can't go there, since everyone's pointing fingers backward at what might've happened if...
Just me ranting - have a nice day.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Times are changing.
My mother-in-law doesn't understand that yes, it's okay for me to work from home occasionally. In her world, you go to the office or place of business, work your eight hours, punch the time clock and leave when the work is done. You work every opportunity you get, however long you're needed to finish whatever task is at hand. That's a strong work ethic, something I strive for - trying to do a commendable job that pleases both the customer and my supervisors.
But I don't punch a clock, so my 40 hours can be 50 hours from time to time, as the need arises. Also, I have a laptop for a workstation - one that usually doesn't need to be attached to the network to be a useful tool for getting my work done. Everytime I leave the office, I take it with me (do not leave a laptop in your cubicle unless you want to get a new desktop to replace it after it's lifted). So in effect, I'm "in the office", or at least available to the office, nearly 24/7 because I bring my PC just about everywhere I go.
I also have a thirty-minute commute. I've been working at the same place for almot 14 years now, and I appreciate the drive to let me gear up for work in the morning and leave the stress behind in the evening (except for bringing my laptop home, of course). So that's an hour drive time to add to my day. Normally, I leave at 7:30a to drop the kids off at school and arrive at work by 8:30a (that's worse case with bad traffic). Normal quitting hour is 5:15p, so with shutting down and wrapping up, and the possibility of traffic on the way home, too - let's say I get home by 6p.
Following so far?
Today, and other days throughout the year, I needed to be here this morning when the pest control guy showed up. He arrived at 8:30a sharp - very punctual - and he sprayed around the inside of our house and in the yard. I paid him and he left at 9a. If I left for work, I would've been there by 9:30a, and my day would be one hour off. If I skipped lunch, which I do sometimes anyway, I could've been home by the normal 6p time. But if I just worked normal and took lunch, I wouldn't be home until 7p, which is no good and we'd need a babysitter since my wife has play rehearsal tonight and would be gone before I got home.
Or, I could work from home. I was logged in before 8a, working when the gentleman came to spray for bugs. When he left, I returned to the kitchen to get some stuff done on a program. My brother came over for coffee, I took a break for lunch, and I've been fairly busy since then. When I turn the laptop off in a little bit, I will have gotten in about 8 hours of work. Without the commute.
I can take advantage of the arrangement, as long as I don't take advantage of the arrangement. My mother-in-law doesn't understand that, having been taken advantage of too many times, I guess. I do the same thing if I've got to take a child to the doctor, or get the car to the shop. Anything that requires me to take some time out of the day, it's easier for me to do it rather than my wife, and I save about an hour by not having to drive to work. Staying productive is the key, and getting stuff done without vegging out around the house is hard sometimes. But I'll be back in the office tomorrow - with a 9am conference call, and a few things that I need to get done. I work some weekends, and I answer email on vacation - being attached to the laptop has it's perks and burdens.
Times are changing. And at home, I can work barefoot. Woo hoo.
We finally got the much-needed rain around here. It's clearing now, but still quite moist outside. Hopefully, the pollen is being washed to the ocean as we speak/type. Hopefully, my sinuses won't be harassed by this stuff for much longer.
Had a good time with my friend James last night. He lives on the west coast now, and it's not often that we get to kick back with some coffee and just shoot the breeze. Caught up on things, rambled about the good ol' days, all that. It was the third night in a row where I didn't get to bed before midnight, though. I think I'll go to bed before 6pm tonight. Maybe.
Working from home today, since the pest control guy was coming to spray our house and yard. So I'm blogging from the kitchen, eating a fish sandwich, and watching the proceedings on TV from the 9/11 Commission. I hope they find whatever they're looking for, whatever can be done to move us forward as a safer nation. At the same time however, I wish that people could learn that there's room for forgiveness and justice to co-exist, and that the former is greater than the latter.
Back to work. Fish sandwich was nasty.
Monday, April 12, 2004
Kerry says "misery index" highlights middle class woes - Apr. 12, 2004
My problem here is that this is the only tactic available for most candidates. First, demonize the opposition by making him/her look really bad. Second, polarize the people - here, the Kerry Campaign targets the upper and lower class as getting "more than their fair share", making the middle class feel left out and put upon. Third, provide an alternative - maybe, and really only if pressed. We might never hear the exact details of what Kerry would propose differently, but as long as the first and second pieces of this equation do their job, he won't have to.
I'm working today, and trying to find time in the midst of all the compiling and composing to study for tonight's midterm exam. I'm taking a class, EXPOSITORY PREACHING 101, at our church's bible college, and there's alot of information to cover from the first five or six classes. I've crammed most of it in - the operative word is CRAM, since I won't remember any of this tomorrow. For now, short-term memory is holding most of the definitions and factoids in place for the multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank parts, and for the essay questions.
I always like the essay questions best if I hadn't studied. I could always work out some partial credit by showing that I at least listened, or at least knew enough words in context to pretend I listened.
It's been a day. Once again, I'm up after midnight - meaning that it's now tomorrow. Or something like that. It was a good Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday. I really felt something sure, strong and true about the day's proceedings. Sunday morning's Bible Study time went well, and the sermon & worship were really spot on. Even as I dwelt on Christ's death, it's the Life that's been given to us in Him that makes the real difference in this world.
We take so much for granted, and yet we don't take enough of what Jesus really gives: courage, life, love, forgiveness. We look at these things and umpteen other high-sounding ideals and we don't think they're really ours in this life. They are lofty things we strive for, not characteristics we feel are ours to possess. And we wonder why we continue to fall so short of His glory in our day-to-day living. We move towards a destiny that is without power, living lives in fear without fully knowing that He has conquered all, and that we are called to now live out that victory on this planet.
Just a few jumbled thoughts on a very full Sunday in April. Oh yeah, went to see Hellboy. It stunk. Not as bad as LXG, but not all that.
Sunday, April 11, 2004
TheState.com:Hootie and Co. tee off again for charity - Band’s Monday After the Masters event celebrates its 10th anniversary
After all the festivities of Easter and the Masters, I wish I could get out and just smack a little white ball around the scenery for charity...
Jesus is Alive.
That makes all the difference in the world. He died, and He rose again. The tomb is empty. Life has hope because He overcame Death.
Now... we are to be alive, too. There is no room for living in Death, for perpetuating Death by our lives, by our sins, by our unfaithfulness. The promise of the resurrection is that we are now resurrected to a newness of life, a more hopeful creation.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Friday, April 09, 2004
Anyone like to watch cars drive really fast in circles? Here's tickets to watch drivers drive too fast, in defiance of physics and legal speed limits of the area, in Martinsville next weekend. I'm not much into NASCAR, to be honest - but alot of people are. If I really wanted to watch people drive in circles, I'd sit on the corner downtown and watch them navigate the trains that go through town during afternoon rush hour. Yeah, boy.
It's ba-a-a-ack - the Friday5:
1. What do you do for a living?
Make money working as a consultant/programmer, and do life-work as an associate pastor.
2. What do you like most about your job?
Working with people - both job titles.
3. What do you like least about your job?
Working with people - both job titles.
4. When you have a bad day at work it's usually because _____...
Someone's gotten all bunched up over nothing.
5. What other career(s) are you interested in?
Jesus died. I saw it in Gibson's THE PASSION. I realized what it meant, to some extent, in January '82. I've grown in that realization and understanding, to some extent, over the past twenty-two years. And it still amazes me that He died.
Last night, we were passing out fliers for tonight's screening of another recent movie, THE GOSPEL OF JOHN. We drove the CWO bus to a local mall, and hopped off to barnstorm the parking lot with fliers for every windshield wiper in sight. Until a lady cussed me out (here's Carlos' rendition).
I reached down to lift the wiper blade of a little black Honda (maybe - might've been another make/model). As I did, I placed a flier there and heard a clicking sound, just knowing that a car alarm was about to go off. It did - the first time I'd heard one go off in the five weeks or so that we've been doing this. My compatriots looked my way, pointed and laughed at my "luck". Of course, I pumped my hands and "raised the roof", feeling embarrassed more than anything else and moving on to the next car.
But this was her car, and she was not impressed. Are you trying to break into my $#%^ car?!? My only response was No, ma'am and Sorry, ma'am. She was younger than me, and had her six- or seven-yr-old son with her. She was irate, saying something about how every time she has her @%&* car detailed someone comes along and does this and messes up the #$@%% wiper blades. Pastor tried to calm things, explaining what was going on but getting an earful, too. I apologized again, and we got back on the bus - everyone else had finished that side of the mall.
She flagged down security, telling the guard that two guys had tried to break into her car. He followed our bus to the other side of the mall, told us what the charges were - I'm big, but just one guy, thanks much; and Carlos was over thirty yards away if he was the "second perp" - and told us that we couldn't pass out these fliers without proper authorization from the mall office. His partner pulled up, and a county sheriff's deputy pulled up - either she called 9-1-1 or it was procedural. Anyway, she went on her way, being told that her charge was flimsy and we were looking at "tampering with a vehicle" at best. The guards and deputy pretty much shrugged and laughed the episode off, and we handed them fliers to attend our presentation tonight. Whew.
And it still amazes me that He died. For God's glory, completing His character traits of forgiveness and mercy. For us, giving life a newness and freshness that we had abandoned at the Garden.
He died for me. He died for her and for her son, and even for Carlos. He died for all of us passing out fliers, and for all the people who checked out the fliers, throwing them away or making a note of the event. I am not upset, though I am a bit quiet and stressed still over the situation. But I understand her, a little I hope. Maybe she had a bad day - I don't know. But if your car is that important, you stand up against the invaders. If your privacy and your schedule is important, it ticks you off when someone jostles things.
I found out later that I hadn't triggered the alarm, that someone had seen her desperately pushing the panic button on her keyless remote. From the time she saw me, I was the enemy - I was invading her space, whatever that might have been in her world. I walk through the house at night, checking all the locks and windows, doing the same thing - protecting what's important. To that extent, I understand.
Jesus died for her, and because of that I invaded her space, placing a flier on her newly-detailed windshield. I know that in the Lord's will, she's really rejecting Him, and I have no problem with that. I just can't shake the nag that there might've been another way. I'd rather Jesus invade her space. I've got the feeling He would've done a better job.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
I should just relax, get away from political mumbo-jumbo, and watch a little golf.
I've gotten way too "political" over the past couple of weeks. Way too judgmental and critical and skeptical and cynical when it comes to matters of politics and elections and commissions and pointing fingers and telling lies. Can you tell this stuff is getting to me?
What's bothering me most right now is that I can't trust my own judgments and opinions any more than I trust those of the talking heads on TV and radio. Who's to say that I'm not also listening with a bias, with an internal spin control that's already made its mind up... And on top of that, would that be a bad thing? If it's the Holy Spirit, if my spirit is growing into the likeness of Christ, shouldn't I have some internal thing going on that helps me process the information coming in, disgard what needs to be tossed aside?
I guess I'm in the midst of an experiment, and if anything, the only ground I've gained is that I was right before I started. In diving once again into the political discussion arena, I'm finding it refreshing that I'd basically left it for the right reasons. Those reasons are still there: fruitlessness. Everyone can't be right, and pointing the bigger finger doesn't make anyone more right. Instead, community and relationship built on real integrity and courage - those are the only things worth standing on and fighting for.
Might delete the political stuff on the left sidebar; might not.
I will be blogging under oath. At least for today. Maybe. As I see fit.
In response to all the hooey and hoopla and hype, I'd like to step up to say that what you read here is as truthful as possible. Our crack staff of fact-checkers are hard at work, day-in and day-out, gathering the very latest
Actually, I'm reading about Integrity and Character in McManus' UPRISING. I'd say a real understanding of these ideals that we say we hold high... a real understanding and putting them to practice would benefit this country more than we dare to imagine. While people are jockeying for political gain and position, we discover what's really in their hearts. Absolute power doesn't corrupt absolutely; it reveals who we really are (pp 76-81).
I'm curious about how this morning's questioning and answering will play out later today on the talk radio programs and the evening newscasts. And I'm looking forward to listening in from work - and then seeing what soundbites are selected later and how they'll be spun. In the world today, the truth gets very little room, while opinion and diatribe take up a majority of airtime and bandwidth. That's sad.
Listening to the questions and rhetoric, I am more sickened by the way we treat people who disagree with us...
It's easy to fling mud backwards. It's easy to point fingers. It's not easy to move on, to forgive, to learn from mistakes. Who is to blame? The 19 men who walked onto the planes and died in the fireballs. Who missed it? We did. Can it happen again? I hope not. But why are we shooting ourselves in the foot by seeking to demonize people who are just trying to do the best job they can, the best way they know how, given the best information available? The search for blame, done in this manner, looks like a hunt for evil and intentional misinformation, and while there might be some of that... aarrgghh. It is no excuse for what's going on - on either side of this great philosophical divide.
I will say this: as I went out for lunch and flipped back and forth between AirAmerica and Rush and Fox and CNN, I am glad that they now all have actual statements for use/abuse, and not just hearsay. What was actually said is now a matter of public record. How they spin it, conservatives and liberals, it will have to pass the test of public scrutiny. I just hope we're smart enough to scrutinize, you know?
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
My comments box isn't working all that well. Aarrgghh. I hate changing templates/providers, but I might have to. Don't have many problems with 'em, but it's been a couple of days now. Feel free to leave comments - I get a reminder, but they might not show up when you leave them in the box. - thanks
I like the way these two posts from my inbox and from my blog surfing position together to tell us that we want way too much for ourselves in this relationship with God. Do I demand too much of God? Is my heart the salesman's temple table, trading sacrifices for whatever profit I can muster? Somehow, these two pieces are speaking to me.
I've been through these waters before. Everywhere I look, I find myself alone, and God is difficult to find. It's more about where I am than where He is, or where anyone else around me is. It's more about what's going on inside than what's occurring outside. And inside, where I desire God's affirmation - am I finding that I lack faith? Am I opening up to the possibility that God is disgusted by my filthy-rag-righteousness, and can only accept what's in me that's been placed there by His hand?
I have nothing with which to barter. None of us have anything comparable to what has already been given freely. It's an Easter meditation on my own consumer mentality. Forget Christmas: there's a spiritual capitalism that's gained too much ground around us...
Nothing in Return - Meister Eckhart
- As long as we look for some kind of pay for what we do, as long as we want to get something from God in some kind of exchange, we are like the merchants. If you want to be rid of the commercial spirit, then by all means do all you can in the way of good works, but do so solely for the praise of God. Live as if you did not exist. Expect and ask nothing in return. Then the merchant inside you will be driven out of the temple God has made. Then God alone dwells there. See! This is how the temple is cleared: when a person thinks only of God and honors him alone. Only such a person is free and genuine.
Source: "Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation" by Raymond Bernard Blakney.
*from Brett @ the journey, 04/05/2004
- From Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
“The desire to feel loved is the last illusion: let it go, and you will be free. Just as the sunrise of faith requires the sunset of our former unbelief, so the dawn of trust requires letting go of our craving spiritual consolations and tangible reassurances. Trust at the mercy of the response it receives is a bogus trust.”
...read further at Brett's blog.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
No. Please no.
Jen @ Meditatio is having problems blogging, and is looking for questions to answer to bide her online time. Questions I'd ask:
- is there anything that has a real effect on the price of tea in China?
- how do you think the Packers will do this year?
- how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
- how would you rate the performance of the current US administration - using Brady Bunch Kids as rating points?
- why do birds sing so gay?
Here's the Tuesday3 from our 1J13 email list:
(1) List three topics you feel like you can't talk about with people you know.
(2) List three things you wish folks understood about you.
(3) List three things you would tell _____ if you could.
I would tell George W. Bush
Monday, April 05, 2004
CNN.com - How Paul spread the word of Jesus - Apr 5, 2004
Jesus is all over the media these days. Does this mean that there will be an all-satan channel popping up on the nation's airwaves soon?
I hope tonight's piece is well done and even-handed. It probably won't be - and if it's bad, I hope all seekers who would watch are huge college basketball fans instead...
You've probably heard it said that one shouldn't bring up politics or religion into "pleasant conversation". I say, oh why not :) - because those two issues are usually at the forefront of what's popular, what's being talked about all the time anyway. Actually, politics probably leads the way. If you're "religious" you probably talk about your faith and your politics, but those who are more "political" and "non-religious" probably don't tend to bring up the whole religion thing very often.
I'm at a crossroads. Here in the South USA, it's expected that certain people would vote a certain way. College-educated church-goer: Republican. Business-oriented homeowner: Democrat. African-american Christian: Democrat. Caucasian Christian: Republican. There are stereotypes over my voting records, and that's troubling. It means that someone else has already decided what they'll do and say based on what they know-to-be-true about the way I'll vote. But I can't do that: follow the crowd without asking questions and making judgments for myself. I won't be corralled into voting. My vote is too precious to waste it on the lesser of two evils.
So here are some "conclusions" I've come to this morning. These are apt to change as the Spirit leads, I'm sure. Feel free to add your own ideas/comments/complaints to the comments section below.
* As a candidate, you've got to inspire me - not scare me. I've tended to vote conservative and republican. Don't lump me in with the white-southern-christian bandwagon, though. The fact that you're running for office reveals to me a character flaw that probably shows you're unfit for the job. Prove to me that you're capable of leading, and of continuing to lead.
* As a candidate, don't take my vote for granted. There is alot of talk about how Nader cost Gore the election in Florida, taking away thousands of votes that would've gone against Bush and would've avoided the problems we experienced down there. But I disagree. If Gore had wooed those voters, he would've won that state. Instead, in looking for an alternative to GWB, those voters couldn't choose Gore and went elsewhere. Gore beat Gore in Florida, by not successfully inspiring that demographic.
* As a candidate, only part of your campaign can be focused on your historical record, or on your opponents' historical record. I want to know what the trends have been over time, but I reserve the right to determine how these things might play out in the future - which is still an unknown commodity.
* As a candidate, tell me more about the good you intend. Don't spend so much time telling me all the filthy dirt that's covering the other side. I'm relatively smart. If they're bad, I'll know it. I don't mind sharing facts and opinions, but if the only message you've got is "I'm better than him because he's sooooo bad" - forget it. Tell the voters what you intend to do differently, how you intend to right the ship - moreso than how bad it's been or will be with the other side in power.
* As a voter, I don't have a litmus test review for my ballot. There are too many issues to narrow it down to one or two things that I'd like to see happen. If I felt as passionately about them as the pundits seem to think that I (generally) do, I'd be running myself. Don't think I'll vote for you because you're anti-abortion, though that's probably a plus. But if you're against abortion and still a poor leader, I don't know that my vote needs to be cast in your direction. At the same time, if you're a great leader, but seem to have failings in integrity and truthfulness, don't assume I'll be on your campaign donation list, either.
* As a candidate or as a political party, don't ask me for money. Please. Get a life. I kept getting a pop-up message at the Democrats' website: "Donate now - we can't defeat Bush without your help." That's sad, since it seems to me that they're less sure of themselves and their ability to be the party of real inspiration around here... No $$$ - that campaign pitch might win my vote before anything else.
That's it. That's my list. Whew.
The experience of personal purification at the cross is vital, yet to remain focused on that alone would be useless. Christ's love is so great, it must lift our minds above our little struggles - and any preoccupation with our own salvation - so that we can see the needs of others, and beyond that the greatness of God and his Creation. The cross is so much greater than the personal; it has cosmic significance, for its power embraces the whole earth and more than this earth!
- "At The Cross", J. Heinrich Arnold [Bruderhof.com Daily Dig]
I remember being at a retreat once where the leader asked us to think of someone who represented Christ in our lives. When it came time to share our answers, one woman stood up and said, "I had to think hard about that one. I kept thinking, Who is it who told me the truth about myself so clearly that I wanted to kill him for it?" According to John, Jesus died because he told the truth to everyone he met. He was the truth, a perfect mirror in which people saw themselves in God's own light.
- "A Perfect Mirror", Barbara Brown Taylor [Bruderhof.com Daily Dig]
[Typed this up yesterday, enjoying a pleasant and challenging Sunday morning]
I'm actually blogging from the church sanctuary. Sort of. I'm not connected, so this entry will have to be uploaded later. For now, we're at church with special guest Trevor Thomas, and he's a hoot. Using drama, humor, comedy and poetic sarcasm - that's my take on it, anyway - he's really good at poking fun at us without us knowing it.
That's one of the trademarks of a good storyteller. The best parables were ones where the audience learned something without learning that they've been the butt of the joke. It's happening here - as we clap, many of us are getting smacked in the behinds as well.
For all of it's marks and blemishes, the church is still the church. The Bride of Christ is still being cleansed, being prepared, being challenged to be ready for the coming Bridegroom. I know there are problems. I know that we've become bedfellows with strange entities - politically, culturally, socially. But the work is still going on; the cleansing is still flowing through the room, removing the junk and refining like fire.
And with all of my own doubts, opinions and problems with the attitudes of people - I'm glad today to be in the house of the Lord, with the people of God, worshiping Him. Amen?
Saturday, April 03, 2004
I should probably throw out a post as a disclaimer and an explanation. I've made two design changes that stand out. The less controversial one first: On the right hand side where I list blogs, I've separated out some of the newer links I've added in the last few weeks. I don't keep a "blogroll" necessarily - I just link to sites that I've found interesting and that I want to cehck out again in the future. There's no link-back necessity from them - I just like to read decent writing. Lots of different opinions over there, so have fun surfing through the different stories and journeys.
The second change is the addition of a "politics" category on the left hand side. There are alot of very different, very antagonistic sites listed. Sue me. I want to be able to click through and read what "both" sides are saying - that's all. You can't nail me down by the links, except to say that I'm fairly conservative, and that I tend to think outside the box.
Found this blogpost on rectal exams through Blake's site - eeww.
Otherwise, just goofin' off, wastin' time on a lazy Saturday morning... until I've got to get up and get this crew movin'...
Here's the GMan G7:
1. When was the last time you moved?
Late summer, '93
2. Have you ever been fired? How did you deal with it?
Once - I think. I had been helping a guy with his self-serve carwash. He was a commercial pilot, and when he was gone for extended periods, I'd look after the place. It lasted on fall/winter, and then they sold the place. Had to let me go. Downsizing. I think I used my last paycheck to buy a MWS cassette.
3. What was the last April's Fools joke you did?
This week, passing along bogus headlines to the 1J13 email list.
4. What was the last thing you bought @ the bookstore?
Um... if not coffee, probably just a book...?
5. What was the last TV show you saw?
Fox & Friends Saturday, if you don't count Rugrats on for the kids right now.
6. When was your last caffeine(sp) fix?
Yesterday morning, probably. But the pot's ready and the next one is soon.
7. What is a cool catch phrase you been using with your students?
um.............. drawing a blank here.
A. How are things personally for you?
Good - tired right now, but alot to do today, so it's easier to just do it. I've got time to go upstairs, read the Word and pray and get ready, and then get the kids ready. It'll be a good day.
B. Anything we can pray for?
My sanity - getting a heart for God that overcomes the rut I've found myself in, that we all find ourselves in from time to time.
Friday, April 02, 2004
What is truth?
Pilate asked that of the Lord, and I'm asking it now. I'm really, really glad that Jesus is the Truth - because I can't be trusted to figure it out for myself.
I'm listening to AirAmerica, the new liberal-only radio network that debuted this week - not because I'm turning liberal; not because I'm voting democrat this election year; not because I enjoy listening to people lambast the President and the current Administration. I'm listening to see what they say, how they say it. And you know what? They sound just like Rush, Hannity and the rest - with the extreme difference being that they are 180-degrees opposed philosophically on most social, economic and political issues.
The problem isn't that we disagree. It seems that the root problem is that we think we're right and the other side is definitely wrong, and being so wrong makes them evil, with evil motives and evil desires. Both sides have this as a tenet in the natural make up of their foundational beliefs. Neither can hear that both sides sound exactly the same in tone, and neither can see that both sides might be as right as they are wrong. There is good and bad on both sides, all sides. And yet there's no room for real discussion and change because of the core belief that the other side is not only wrong, they're evil liars all the time in every situation. Until proven otherwise, don't trust the other side...
This is why I hate voting. There is no way to determine who's right, who's wrong, who's motivated by altruism and not greed or stupidity. You can't believe everyone, and you can't believe anyone. Overcoming the I-am-so-right-that-the-other-side-looks-stupid mentality is too difficult a task for the sound-bite oriented campaigns we find all around us.
Truth is absolute by definition, and it's way too relative in practice. That's why we trust Christ. He is Truth, and He reveals Himself as Truth when we seek after Him. Only when we seek after Him - not talk radio, no matter who's pumping the "facts".
Reminiscing over PCs at work. I used to work on one of these, programming tax forms to print, using BASIC, probably senior year of high school. Ahh, those were the days.
Once again, it's Friday, and time for the F5... and since there isn't one this week, I'll make up five questions of my own:
1) what would you do the first day after being elected president?
2) what would you do the first day after losing the election for president?
3) as president, which country would you try to build diplomatic ties with?
4) as vice president, on which late night talk show would you like to be a guest?
5) as the first lady, what would you add to the white house decor?
Hmmm... anyone else want to play? I'll post my "answers" later. Feel free to post your answers on your blog with a linkback in the comments, or just leave your responses in the comments. Woo hoo.
UPDATE 10:46am : Here are my responses -
1) I'd probably spend time calling all my friends and cousins, making sure "The Oval Office-White House" shows up on their caller id.
2) I'd be on the phone if I lose, too - making crank calls to the WhiteHouse press room.
5) Remove the Martha Stewart Collection linens, replace with the Bath & Body Works Summer Collection in the Lincoln Bathroom
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Pastor's wife sends body double to sit pleasantly on front pew
I'm wondering if Jen's husband should begin to be worried...
I got this info from the WorkInSports.com newsletter this week:
- With the NCAA Tournament heading into the Final Four, the players and coaches have achieved a goal that will be the accent of their basketball careers. UConn-Duke is the marquee national semifinal. Many are offering that the rematch of the 1999 championship game is the de facto title game this year. But remember, Georgia Tech has beaten both Duke and UConn during the season, and Oklahoma State is perfectly capable of beating either team. It should be an amazing finish.
It's interesting to note that the average revenue of the 65 teams that participated in this year's tournament is $2.3 (millions). The basketball program with the highest revenue this season was Louisville that grossed over $14.6. They were just ahead of the University of Arizona that brought in excess of $14.2. At the bottom of the revenue scale is Central Florida that only managed to bring in $161,157.
Surprisingly, the participating teams in the tournament receive very little money despite a deal that sees CBS pay the NCAA $565 million for the rights to broadcast the tournament. That money is actually distributed to the various athletic conferences whose teams compete in the tournament. It appears that advertisers are getting their monies worth this year as the average ratings for the first four days of the Tournament were up 53 percent from last year. That four-day average is the best since 2000.
Just thinking, after seeing how much $$$ is changing hands and how little of it is actually going to the folks putting on The Show.