rick & 1j13
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Time For A Change
I have changed the URL for this site - moving on to new things, so to speak. Please keep an eye out for "Rambling Adventures" - the new site, when all is said and done.

UPDATE: I've moved over there, and I'll be tweaking the template to suit me, I'm sure. Thanks for all the well-wishes and prayers - it means alot. Please update my URL if you've linked me - not taking any of that for granted at all :). I won't be posting here, but it's not going away - at least until I get some of these pieces backed up and archived somewhere. Thanks again - the ride continues...
Enviro Safe Dorms
The Gamecock: New dorm keeps it green

Perkins was told they would have Internet by Thursday, but he remains skeptical. "They say Thursday, but does that mean the Thursday before Christmas or the Thursday after Easter?" the third-year criminal justice student joked.

There's some really nice new campus housing going up around the USC system, and this article was published in today's school paper. Sometimes I miss college - taking classes, your only real "deadlines" being getting to the next lecture or leaving in time to make it to work. I didn't live on campus, commuting instead from home each day. But I spent alot of time downtown those last couple of years while dating Vicki and trying to wrap up a computer science under-grad degree.

I'd go back to school in a heartbeat, but I don't miss it enough to just do it. I like getting paid and supporting my family, and I don't remember getting to go to San Francisco or Puerto Rico for any research project in the CompSci program.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
  • CNN.com - Girl-power tools - Aug 18, 2004
    Don't tell my wife and little girl. Ok? Promise?
    There are two components that I find missing from the cultural definition of COURAGE today: Fear and Faith. Without Fear, courage is arrogance & cockiness. And without Faith, Courage wastes away to cowardice & indecision. There needs to be real Fear and real Faith, mixed in proportion, for Courage to be courageous.
    Tuesday, August 17, 2004
    Olympics - In Perspective
  • SI.com - Life in Athens: From songs about Dutch swimmers to watching wedgies
    Most honest article on the Games so far...
    The Cliff
    Robert found himself at last at the edge of the cliff. His long hike and free-climb up the rock had taken all day, and he was hot and sweaty, and yet still anxious and exhilarated after the ordeal. He'd planned this trek for weeks - probably years, wanting deep inside to do something like this as long as he could remember.

    He'd first seen the peak while driving around one the of the park's forest-lined two-lane blacktops, enjoying the breeze, the windows rolled down in his Mini-Cooper, listening to something on the XM "Audio Visions" channel. That's probably what set him on this particular quest - the movement of the car, the sensation of the sunshine, the music building to movie-soundtrack crescendo at the exact moment he rounded the bend to see this precipice in all its majesty, all its danger, all its glory.

    He stepped closer to the edge, peering down at the valley below. An updraft caught him offguard, knocking him back a bit, bringing a little more reality to what he was planning to do. He sat down to drink some water, straighten his things, and pray.Robert stood up, brushed off his backside, and took one last look down the cliff's craggy face. Then he set his eyes forward, surveying the horizon from the highest point in the park. This view was spectacular, complemented by the lightness in his heart and the courage welling up in his soul. He adjusted his headphones, turning on the same soundtrack orchestration he'd been listening to in the car those few months, eons ago. He turned up the volume, turned to take four or five steps away from the edge, and then turned to face the valley again.

    And he ran - hard, fast, sure and courageous. And he jumped - pushing purposefully away from the cliff into a purity of nothingness he'd never known before. After years of base-jumping, Robert had finally found the one ultimate test of his reliance on God - this time, the parachute was left on the ledge. And in the initial rush of wind, adrenaline and abandon, he didn't care.

    "In order to surrender to the joy of soaring, one must get over the fear of falling."
    [borrowed & paraphrased, Crystal Lewis, "For Such A Time As This"]
    Beautiful Day
    After a week of hurricane warnings and wind/rain, it's a beautiful day here. It'll be a little warmer - but I'm not going to complain about upper-80s in August around here. And we don't have any of the clean-up that's continuing on in Florida today - yet another reason to not gripe about a little extra humidity and to just enjoy the view.

    It's beautiful in other ways, too. My wife's birthday is this week, and we've got a babysitter lined up for Friday evening - table for two, please. I'm back at work - under-medicated, I'm sure - and I'll get stuff done today in preparation for my trip to Puerto Rico in a few weeks. The kids got off to a shaky start - why is it so hard to find shoes every morning? - but they got to school with smiles. Tonight, I'll do the kids-bath/bedtime routine, giving my sweetie a little breathing room in the middle of her evening's school work. I guess I'm just looking forward to working today, being productive (if I stop blogging and start working, huh?), and then getting home and spending time with my kids, helping my wife and letting her know I think she's wonderful and worth it, and then at the end of the day getting a little reading time on my own.

    It's way too easy for me to be cynical - politics, church people, media stuff - and to get down on life, obstacles and such. But I choose, today at least, to not be like that. I choose to live the abundant life today, and to pray/intercede for those around me to do the same.
    Monday, August 16, 2004
    Nip it. Nip it in the bud.
    I was sick last year at this time. And I was sick two years ago at this time, just after starting this blog. And today I went to the doctor with my nose and sinuses still runny and stuffy and sniffly. Now that I'm adequately medicated I hope that this nasal infection will pass. For now, I'm thinking about taking the month of August off next year - stay away from all the sick people, nip this perennial thing in the bud.
    Getting Ready For November
    Here are some links I want to save for election issues/coverage as we closer and closer to November '04:My recommendation is to pray: who to vote for; for the candidates as they campaign to really get into the issues and not just rely on soundbites; for our country, to return to morals and values reflected in the founding principles; and for the Church, to stand on Christ alone and not rely on any political systems to make real meaningful change take place around here.
    Olympics in HD?
    I'm a wee bit perturbed at NBC. After a summer-long promotion of the Olympic experience in high-definition, it's a definite disappointment. The pictures are great, the aerial views of Greece are stunning, and the action is very alive and real. But it's all a day late. What's up with that? I know that most of what we see will be tape-delayed, but c'mon - why can't you simulcast what's happening on one of the other channels of "the Networks of NBC"? Meanwhile, CBS had the PGA Championship in HD in real time all weekend, and ABC had the MNF game last week in both formats.

    I guess NBC's still hurting from the end of Friends and Frasier. Geesh.
    O2: Revealed
    We have a winner - just barely. Only one person guessed right on my Obfuscation2 stories this past Friday. Congratulations to Sarah, who figured me out:

  • Story One - "Construction Site": TRUE - I drove by that house yesterday while heading to my folks' house to feed their cats
  • Story Two - "The Runaway Dog": FALSE - Muffin was too skiddish to cross the yard, much less the interstate
  • Story Three - "Road Trip": TRUE - Jay spent the next ninety seconds or so convincing Michelle that he was now driving the car with a g-u-n-shot wound from the very fake but very real looking and evidently loaded cap g-u-n

    That was fun. Thanks to everyone else venturing a guess. Definitely planning on doing this one again when the time comes.
  • Saturday, August 14, 2004
    2nd Blogiversary
    My 1,271st post (Blogger.com's numbers) comes two years after I posted my first rambling rant on this site. It's funny to go back and read stuff from those first few months of online journaling. Back then, I knew everything, and now when I know nothing, I realize that I still struggle with the same issues (like why do I consistently get bogged down in four books at once), the same relationship hang-ups (no one understands me - waah waah - even though I've got them all figured out), the same weather patterns (hot and muggy - gotta love August in SC), etc etc etc.

    I've written before that I write for me. These are my lessons to myself, I suppose. That anyone else would find something worthwhile here is a graciousness beyond what I've asked for. I appreciate the friends and souls that have gone through these pages. All of it has had an impact on me, then and now, to keep moving forward in kingdom life. As Brad Stine put it at PK last week: "Nothing matters but God - because without God, nothing matters". Growing in Christ, making mistakes and being dusted off by Jesus - and writing it all down for an unsuspecting world to find in a google search. That's why I'm here.
    Friday, August 13, 2004
    O2: Story Three - "Road Trip"
    [rules here]

    High school is the time where you begin to discover who you are, what you like, who your friends are. And it's a time for driving all over the countryside, making the local governments regret giving you a license so early. I remember one such road trip. I don't remember where we were going - I've got in my mind that we were going to a football game in the Upstate, but the event that stands out to me didn't happen in a place that was actually on the way there, if that makes any sense. Anyway, I was newly "dating" - meaning that we'd just been friends before and were just now starting to hang out together - Janet, and Jay was dating Michelle at that time. Like I said, I think we were heading to a ball game, but right now I'm not so sure.

    As we were taking an off-ramp at an interstate interchange, Michelle reached into the armrest/storage box in Jay's Mustang and pulled out what looked like a g-u-n (spelling it that way so I don't start getting alot of google hits with this one, ok?). And of course, it was a prop Jay had used in making a short film for our AP English class, something that had actually gotten him taken in for booking at the local airport security offices. Playing around, she pulled the t-r-i-g-g-e-r - and it went off.

    Needless to say, this is the biggest part of the story for me. And that's why I can't remember any other details.
    O2: Story Two - "The Runaway Dog"
    [rules here]

    When I was in high school, we had a white wooly sheepdog mutt named Muffin. She was a very sweet dog, too big to be a lapdog but didn't care - she'd jump on you or the couch or the recliner just for the fun of it. She enjoyed the cats, got along with everybody - really, a great dog to have around.

    Once, she got out of the fence. She wasn't bold enough to dig out or jump over, so either my brother or I must've left the gate open by accident. And we figure it happened early, because by the time everyone got home from school and work, she was nowhere to be found. We drove all over the neighborhood, on bikes and in my dad's big navy blue Ford LTD II, yelling for Muffin, calling "here, puppy puppy!", getting other friends and neighbors involved.

    That afternoon dragged on and on. Knowing she was a skiddish dog, we were sure she'd probably wandered toward the highway and gotten hit by a car. It's one of those things you think about when you can't find your dog. We drove around the neighborhood more the next day, and my brother and I and some friends went trekking through the woods, yelling for Muffin, finding a few other worthless critters instead. We also drove along the highways by our subdivision, and my mom called the pound to check if any dogs fitting Muff's description had been rescued lately. No luck.

    We got a call about a week later from a man in Memphis, TN. He had picked up a sheepdog mutt with a tag that had contact information on it, and had we lost a dog. We were floored. Evidently, Muffin had made it all the way to the interstate, then had crossed the interstate - I still don't know how she managed that, unless it was in the middle of the night or something - and had been "rescued" by a family stopping at the rest-stop there on their way home from Isle of Palms. There was no address on the collar, only a "call this # and give them this code" kind of thing. He had kids, and they of course fell in love with Muffin, too - so they decided to feed her, get her some water, and take her home before finding her owner, who could've been anyone since this was happening at a rest area in the middle of summer vacation.

    It turned out that the gentleman would be travelling back through town in a couple of weeks, and he offered to bring Muffin back with him. We met at the rest area on eastbound side of the highway and got our dog back. That was cool, and we promised to send pictures back from time to time to his family, thanking them for helping Muffin. And Jeff & I made sure we did a better job of shutting and locking that blasted fence gate.
    O2: Story One - "Construction Site"
    [rules here]

    When we moved to West Columbia in the late-70s, the neighborhood was still growing. Houses were being built along a few of the streets in the back, perfect places for young adventurous boys to wreak havoc. We were never destructive, just taking time in the evening after construction crews left to climb up into the dwelling shells to see what had been done, see how the place was coming along, see if we could climb up into the rafters and attics and such.

    One time, we climbed into a nice vaulted-ceiling designed home. Over to the right, above the garage, was what looked like a future storage space. There were no ladders or stairs heading to that area, but the studs and boards in place were sufficient climbing steps for the three of us. Jimmy, Grant and I climbed up over the garage, not realizing that the higher you climb into a house being built in the summer, the hotter and toastier it became for the altitude. It was hot, so we lay back to catch our breaths before rolling over on our stomachs to survey the site from that lofty perch.

    A car pulled up. I don't know if we heard the engine or the car door first, but we jumped and scrambled and held our breaths when we realized people were coming. We were as quiet as we could be, which to me wasn't very quiet at all. But the folks didn't take note of three teenagers laying down in their under-construction home. It looked like it was the realtor or the contractor, explaining to the home-owner or potential buyer what was being done, what was left to do, what it would look like in the end. They walked all through the single level structure - probably only fifteen minutes, but it of course felt like forever.

    When they left, we could breathe again. I don't know if we actually held our breaths that long, but it was pretty intense up there. And we were soaking sweaty from being nervous and it being so humid and warm in that attic crawlspace. Grant and I climbed down as quickly and as quietly as we could, making sure the car was gone before walking back out into the open area of what would be a dining or den area. But Jimmy didn't follow us. He was a big guy then (still a fairly big guy now, 25 years later), and he was scared to come down. It wasn't an easy drop, but it wasn't that bad. But he wouldn't budge. He started whimpering, calling for someone to help. If I remember correctly, we went to get my Dad to help Jimmy come down. That's what your friend's father is for - saving your life while trespassing.

    I don't think we climbed in another construction area after that.
    Friday Blog Game
    It's time to play Obfuscation2, where I will post three stories today and the lucky reader will get to decide which one/s are true and which one/s are false. Three stories - one will be true, one will be false, and a third will be... either. I think I'm supposed to pick 2 true or 2 false off the bat, but this is my site and [evil grin] I'll do it the way I want [/evil grin]. Leave your guesses in the comments of each post. I hope you enjoy this as much as I'm expecting to for myself. Answers will be posted Monday 08/16.

    Story 1
    Story 2
    Story 3

    postscript: It will probably take most of the day to post all three stories. I'm at work, and they like me to actually work while in the office. Go figure. Check back often.

    postscript2: If there's alot of fun in the comments section, I might play along in there, too - but only to muddy the waters on what's real and what's not.
    Photo Friday

    ... the only time it's "tranquil" at our house is when someone's asleep... shhhhhhh... shot this morning before school preparations.

    [color shots of Cam & Trace from this morning on our photopage]
    Thursday, August 12, 2004
    Fantasy Football
    Ok, sports fans - we need a twelfth team owner for our fantasy football league. We're setting up at Fanball.com, where the cost is $60 for the league, or $5/team. Let me know if you're interested - leave a comment and I'll get back to you a.s.a.p.
    Catching Up
    Just had a really good conversation with an old friend. Frank was a mentor of sorts during high school, teaching our Sunday School class for a couple of years before he and his wife moved away. He works here with me (I was applying for a job with him 14 years ago when I signed on under another manager), and we bump into each other occasionally. We talked about our families, kids growing up - his oldest is starting at Furman this year - and relationships between moms and daughters. Looks like he's still "mentoring" me a little, and that they're doing a wonderful job, difficult as it is, in raising their own kids to be great people.
    Big Storm(s) Rising
    I'm a freak when it comes to the weather. I really enjoy watching a weather event roll through. It started when I was working radio in college, DJing at a small AM Christian station here in town. I'd listen to weather reports when a storm was coming or snow was going to roll in, and I'd get to report it to the two or three faithful listeners. I could watch a storm roll across the open field outside the huge plate glass front window of the station. Creation is cool, and creation getting angry is cool to watch.

    So I'm stealing glances at the Weather Channel and WeatherBug for radar updates of Bonnie and Charlie (wouldn't it be cool if this year's name had been "Clyde"?) coming up towards SC through Florida. We've already had big thunder from storms that passed through early this morning - a front passed before these two systems come through.

    My ideal day today would be to stay home, kick back in my big blue recliner with a book in the sunroom, with the Weather Channel playing just up enough to hear as background noise, and to glance at for radar updates and satellite images. All the windows open, all the lights off, reading in the overcast daylight while these two storms head for the east coast, finishing off the first pot of coffee so I could start a second.

    We were made to weather the storms in relationship and fellowship and friendship with Christ. I'm good with that. No complaints at the moment.
    Wednesday, August 11, 2004
    "Whatcha Thinkin'?"
  • I've made my itinerary & plans for the business trip to Puerto Rico at the end of the month. I'm beginning to look forward to it. I won't be playing much, but the resort/hotel is nice and right on the beach. And while it'll be very busy, I'll also be travelling by myself - which means that I can do what I want in the evenings, go to the right restaurants, get lost in the tourist district, and shop for souvenirs. Any suggestions? It'll be nice, but by the end of the week, especially with so much work being done, you just want to come home. So yes, I'll miss my family - but it'll be fun to tickle 'em when I get back with surprises. And next time I fly down there, hopefully after Thanksgiving some time, Vicki might be able to come for the weekend, too - really do the touristy thing.

  • I've got a Bible conundrum: Psalm 15. In verses 3-4, David writes:
      ... and has no slander on his tongue,
      who does his neighbor no wrong
      and casts no slur on his fellowman,
      who despises a vile man
      but honors those who fear the LORD ...
    Right there, side by side, it looks like we're supposed to have the ability to "cast no slur on our fellowman" and to "despise a vile man". Is this "love the sinner, hate the sin"? Because I've rarely seen that lived out in a way that's truly loving towards the individual - unless there's a real relationship there already. I mean, you might be able to "speak the truth in love" and preach against the homosexual agenda with the backing of the wrath of God. But if a close friend all of a sudden comes out of the closet, your reaction tells alot about your love for him as an individual and your view of sin - doesn't it? I guess it just struck me that we'll cast those slurs because we despise the reprobate man (another translation) - but we're not necessarily supposed to join in that, according to the context here at least.

  • CNN.com - Police: Wedding guests eat victim - Aug 10, 2004 - Eeeww. Rough in-laws.

  • I received a "get good luck" email this morning. I don't mind them, but I do like to check out any stories being passed around, making sure they're at least true. This one wasn't - good story, just didn't happen in real life. It's the story of Sir Alexander Fleming and Sir Winston Churchill, with one saving the other, and then both getting educated and doing well. Fleming discovers penicillin, and is able to send it to Churchill when he's sick, once again saving his life. Lots to learn about sacrificing, saving others, being grateful, what goes around comes around, etc. And it brings up the question again: in order to be "truthful", does a story have to be factual?
  • Tuesday, August 10, 2004
    Gratitude in Stress
    One of the things I took away from Uprising (the book, by E. R. McManus) is the need for gratitude in life, in my life. Right now, dealing with some pressure within and without, I really want to be grateful to the Lord, thankful that He is forcing my hand and extending an opportunity for some breakthrough, some movement forward.In the midst of the junk in our lives, it's hard to be thankful. Where's the freedom in being stretched and pulled? I put up with too much stress, internalizing much of it and ignoring the rest.I think about all that's going on, and I'm grateful that there might be a growing light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it's a train coming, things are forced to move forward in some way/shape/form. I'm weary of the status quo, tired of taking things as they are and being pressured outside and inside to... whatever.

    I might need to re-title this post to something like "the gospel according to Switchfoot". I'm listening to "This Beautiful Mess", and the next song is "Dare You To Move" - and that's where I think I am at this point in this life. It's like I know what to do, where to go, how to proceed - but I don't dare. Where's my courage? Where's my love that's supposed to cast out fear? Am I wrong, or worse, am I afraid? If it's not fear, it's frustration, and perfect love doesn't necessarily cast out frustration.

    And in the midst of it... I am utterly and undeniably grateful to God for the pressure and stress that might be finally coming to a head. It's the weirdest feeling, hard to put into words (and yet making a pretty lengthy post on the subject right now, huh?). I can rest in Him, the fact that He loves me, won't let me down, only wants my best. I can smile, maybe not as big and bright as normal, in the midst of the pressure because He will get glory as this crap plays out in our lives.
    The Presence Of God
  • Sacred Space - Tuesday 10th August, St Laurence
    Found the Sacred Space site, and... I just really need this today. And coffee... a trip to Starbucks or something.
    [link via crcc.org]
    Tuesday3 08/10
    Feel free to answer in the comments, or post responses on your blog/site and leave a link in the comments.

    1) Three things you wish you'd done when you were younger.

    2) Three things you wish you could be doing today.

    3) Three things you wish you can do as you get older.
    Did I Ever...
    ... tell you that I love my wife?
    Monday, August 09, 2004
    Preaching Politics
  • Sojo.net: "Scared To Talk Politics In Church?" - Brian McLaren
    I don't know if there's a more divisive issue in the church today or not. Politics is right up there, but it's really bad when you find yourself disagreeing, or at least wanting to put forward another opinion/insight. Maybe McLaren's thoughts are on target, maybe not. I just want the dialogue to continue in a positive and less-separated way.
  • Sunday, August 08, 2004
    "The Perfect Score"
    We watched The Perfect Score this evening after the kids went to bed. Language was bad - too bad for Vicki to scren for her drama students later in the school year. And it wasn't The Breakfast Club, of course, even though it referenced the confession scene from that movie. But it wasn't bad. What stands out is the short exchange quoted above. Roy is the idiot savant of the group, who might be on to what they all know - it's easy to deal with answerable questions. The hard part is dealing with the questionable answers.
    New Look - Font Size, etc.
    Well, whatcha think? I've changed the font around here a little this weekend, and I'm not sure if I like it or not. It'll have to grow on me - I'll give it the week for me to get used to it. It's a little easier on the eyes, but I've had the other itsy-bitsy way since the beginning. As anyone can see, I've been a little antsy over the design this week - moving a column here, changing a font family there. I like my 3-column design, and I've tweaked the bejeebers out of it, but I get these ideas to find a new template and start over. We'll see - let me know what you think if you've got an opinion.
    Saturday, August 07, 2004
    PK Aftermath
    We left Phillips Arena early (shh - don't tell, ok?) and made it back home by 8pm. It was a good weekend - a little too evangelical and a little too politicized in spots, but overall a very good trip. I was rocked by Erwin McManus - he was really on his game Friday night, which is what I'd expect since it was his book we were themed out on the whole time, right? Brad Stine was really good, too - a Christian conservative "Denis Leary", he really had his stuff going, too.

    I did have to excuse myself before the end of Steve Farrar's time. He was just too much for me, over the top and using the same tired ol' emotional Us vs. The Big Bad World rhetoric. That might be too harsh. It's just that I can't stand having the whole "Postmodernism is all about no truth, no absolute truth" argument being thrown into my face every time someone needs someone else to blame. He also had a problem with context in Psalm 15 - I had a completely different sermon come to mind when I read the passage, and I didn't have to skip verses to do it.

    Oh, and Bishop Wellington Boone rocked. He used his bible when he preached (Psalm 15 - against pride, quest for humilty). In context & everything. Really challenging and on target, but I was expecting nothing less. I think he took some of the crowd by surprise, not ready for this speaker to get so deep so quickly and so meaningfully.

    So we're home, and it's got to make a difference or it was a wasted trip. Meanwhile, it's still a long weekend. I've got to get ready for teaching tomorrow morning, and then the Cleansing Streams intro stuff after worship.
    Photo Friday

    This is a photo from our vacation a couple of weeks ago to Stone Mountain. The young man is a flatland cyclist, doing all kinds of balance-oriented tricks on two wheels. This guy was nearly "perfect", at least for this shot.
    "Somebody's gettin' a new daddy tonite!"
    We're back at the hotel, wrapping up a long day after the evening's PK program. Erwin McManus, author of UPRISING, the book that's themed out here at the conference, was the main speaker, along with Joe White. I'd never heard of him, but he's got a resume' that includes sports and other ministries. Good speaker, talking about bondage and how we don't really live in freedom until God wakes us up to our need. During his time, White asked men to deal with the issues that plague their lives (a couple of photos at our photopage). I'm sure that there were men tonight that really gave it over to Christ once and for all. So tonight - some wife is really getting a new husband, and a child is getting a brand new daddy, and an employer is getting a new & improved employee.

    I pray that the changes and challenges tonight and tomorrow bear long-term fruit. That's usually the worst thing - getting all sentimentally hyped at a conference like this and then losing all that enthusiasm as soon as the first hurdle appears on the way home. I pray that doesn't happen, that men are real and courageous. I think Saturday's schedule will help, reinforcing what's already started.

    In my own life, I want to be challenged and changed, too. I've already read the UPRISING book, and I'm encouraging the men to pick up a copy for our book study/discussion that's starting in a couple of weeks. I'm at a point right now where I want something more - but that "more" is elusive, hard to grab onto, difficult to define and to find. I don't want easy answers, but I also know that very seldom am I willing to work hard to get to better questions. Tonight, I'm also stuffed up in the head, and that's adding to my being tired and being lazy - but it's in obedience and in pressing through that God is glorified and we are sanctified in Christ... right?

    Good trip so far, and I really enjoying spending time with guys and cutting up about bodily functions. Don't ask.
    Friday, August 06, 2004
    Testosterone Weekend
    It's 8:30am - an hour and a half before the van pulls out of the CWO parking lot for Promise Keepers in Atlanta, GA. I'm looking forward to it - the fellowship driving down and navigating the downtown traffic, standing together in lines to get anywhere, praising God with thousands of men from all over the southeast. I think I'm also looking forward to the anonymity in being such a small group in a big place; and I'm looking forward to conversation, getting opportunities to talk to folks and find out what they're really about, share myself and my incongruities a little deeper, I suppose.

    I've been to a few PK events before - I can remember at least three: my first time in the Georgia Dome, another trip to the Dome, and then the time it came to Columbia's W-B Stadium. The speakers can get a bit long-winded and dry, and the rhetoric gets a little too masculine skewed that I need sometimes, but the praise & worship is the most incredible thing to be a part of. All the tenors and bass voise gathered up together, not caring who's listening and not trying to impress their wives. It's really good - the live music recordings have been really good over the years, but they can't catch the force of that much voice depth bouncing off the ceiling and reverberating through an auditorium.

    As I wrote above, I'm looking forward to conversation - with men going from CWO, maybe hooking up with other guys from other churches/states. I love the book tables and tshirt stuff, but I'll probably keep a low profile on those fronts. I'll post pictures and thoughts and stuff later, too.

    Thursday, August 05, 2004
    Political Checklist
    I took a poll this morning and found out that I'm centrist with a pull towards conservatism - well duh. Labels me, but doesn't help me vote. Here's the original test [link via Consistently Chili].
    Wednesday, August 04, 2004
    Blog Game
    This might be fun: Obfuscation 2. On Friday August 13, I'll post three stories - either two true and one false, or one true and two false (haven't made up my mind, but I'll let you know). In the comments, anyone can guess the true and false stories, and on Monday 08/16 I'll reveal the results. Hopefully interesting enough to keep me out of trouble that weekend, huh?
    Faith & Politics
  • Salon.com News | Persecuted for their faith -- and ignored by the U.S.: "If Bush truly believes religion is the 'first freedom of the human soul,' why isn't his administration pressuring countries that persecute people for their beliefs?"

    Honestly, things like this are what keep me from whole-heartedly backing the President's re-election campaign. Yes, he's probably the closest candidate to my ideals and opinions, and even to my reading & interpretation of scripture. But there's just so much ethically wrong and theologically weak in this administration.
    Promise Keepers Atlanta
    Alright, guys - we're heading to Atlanta for Promise Keepers this Friday & Saturday. Weather looks great - both days in the mid-80s. I'm looking forward to hearing thousands of men singing together, watching teenagers see something new and humble in their dads, listening to all the speakers, and just hanging out together. Pray as we go (and for those not going, pray harder!) that we'll be open to an UPRISING inside, and that meaningful change in us will bring about real transformation for the culture around us back home.
    Tuesday, August 03, 2004
    Movie Review
    RELEVANT magazine :: Review - The Village
    *This* Might Get My Vote
    Since I can't find anyone to really inspire me with their integrity and ethical clout, maybe I should vote with my empty wallet. Before I get totally $$$-loving on this, I think it's an idea worth pursuing - replacing the income tax with a national sales tax might be the best thing for all socio-economic classes, at least on my first superficial thoughts, allowing each of us to ultimately decide how much $$$ we pay in taxes by what we buy/need.
  • Monday, August 02, 2004
    Dang... Not again
  • CNN.com - Police arrest husband of missing Utah woman - Aug 2, 2004
    Husbands, love your wives as Jesus loved the church - and do not kill them, ok? I can only imagine how painful it would be to have something truly terrible happen to my wife, and then all these people get emotionally involved in the story or in the actual physical search - when someone gets hurt or kidnapped, a little bit of each of us dies. But to now find out - again - that the one who's supposed to be her biggest support and lover has actually done this horrendous thing... dang it - again.
    Tough Kingdom-Living
  • CNN.com - Church bombs: Top insurgent blamed - Aug 2, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Deadly weekend attacks targeting Christian worshippers in Iraq bear all the footprints of insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his operatives, Iraq's National Security Adviser said Monday."
  • China: Chinese Christians Sentenced to Death

    Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like in USAmerica if Christians were persecuted. More than just threats to remove a church's non-profit status - what would it be like to have armed soldiers rush into a morning worship service and start shooting? Who would still testify to Jesus' love while staring down the barrel of a rifle? Who would still sing worship songs after being raped or beaten by soldiers?

    I was listening to the BibleAnswerMan this morning, and... please don't let me listen to that show again? In a former life, I would've been impressed with his knowledge and doctrinal insight. But right now, I just think he's misguided, and that he's probably missing a good proportion of "truth" by hammering down so hard on "opinion" and "interpretation". I don't mean to hammer on Hank H., but there's already too much dogmatic dogma going around. We end up persecuting ourselves, within the kingdom, labeling everyone outside our cliques as wrong when we have all the answers. I want to ask better questions, and when we think we've got an answer, that position should spur us on the better and better questions, and on and on. Anytime we settle on something, that's a dangerous spot - because we lose sight of an alusive Christ who is always infinitely Other and hard to grasp.

    I think that one of the reasons we are not persecuted in this country to the extent of Christians in other locales is that we are not Christian enough. We have too many answers, not enough seekers, and not enough people to be honest about their doubts and their faith. We pose no threat to the status quo in USAmerica. We're tying ourselves to politicians to bring about change instead of living lives that explode with light and life and meaningful transformation. We were established as a "Christian nation", but over the two centuries of growth that foundation, however strong it might've been at the beginning, has eroded to a point where someone's "religion" is inconsequential in the public arena. That's sad.

    I don't want to face guns, or soldiers chasing down our children in Sunday School. But what if...? Would tension bring out real Christianity, or would we find that we're not all that...?
  • Sunday, August 01, 2004
    The Village
    The Village wasn't the best movie I've seen this year, and it moved at an Unbreakable-esque slow pace - but I enjoyed the story. No spoilers here - but I posted a comment with some spoiler stuff here at MovieBlog.

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