Thursday, November 30, 2006

winter is here

i'm sitting here tonight listening to the thunder and lightning crash and the rain is pouring down and the threat of ice and snow and arctic blast stuff hangs over us as we wait for the dreaded news of school closure in the morning. it will be a happy day.

bad weather days are these amazing, unplanned, undeserved gifts that pop up once in a while, where my wife gets to stay home and enjoy a day around the house. hope it happens tomorrow. winter is good.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I promise

haven't posted for a week. sorry. a wedding, thanksgiving, and friends from california made life a little complicated. i'll do better. i promi...

before i make a promise, i need to tell you something. i've been preparing for tomorrow's sermon most of the day today. we're on the ninth commandment. it says that we are not to give a false testimony against our neighbor. more than anything else, we are to be people of truth. our word must be counted on. the things we say carry amazing value and must be trusted above all, if we are to ever make a difference in the world. frankly, if we are ever going to know god and experience his presence in our world, we must be true.

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman. Psalm 15:1-3

so how's your word? are you trustworthy? do you speak the truth, or nothing at all? can you be counted on to communicate from your heart and speak no slander? i hope so.

anyway, i'll do better. i promis...

Friday, November 17, 2006

A measuring stick

here's an excerpt of an article out of christianity today, about something that's going on this week at the church in colorado springs, where the pastor was fired for sexual misconduct...

First comes news that not all members of New Life Church will be able to vote on Haggard's successor at the church. "Only those who can prove they have contributed money to the church during the tax year 2005 will be able to vote in the selection process to choose Haggard's successor in the pulpit," Pueblo Chieftain columnist Chuck Green reports. A church spokesman tells him that a tax statement or church receipt are, "in a sense, your admission ticket."

what do you think? should people who contribute money to a church be given more privileges and responsibilities at that church? is giving money to support the ministry of a local church a measuring stick of one's commitment and worth as a "member"?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The problem with headrest monitors...

i was driving around the other night and pulled up behind a mom and dad driving their shiny new honda passport with those really cool monitors embedded in the headrests. although the window tint (which was installed according to CIA standards) made me work harder to snoop on the back seat, i was able to see the little peeps glued to a dvd of the "little mermaid", while the oldsters were enjoying their starbucks in uninterrupted bliss.

i'm not jealous. i thoroughly enjoyed throwing loose baseballs at my boys as they argued in the back seat, while i ate my burrito from bueno with my other hand and balanced my diet coke between my knees. come on..

anyway, the whole event made me think. it's getting harder and harder these days to get young people (and old people, as well) to understand the value of things like silence, solitude, quiet contemplation, and the discipline of bible reading and study. for most, the thought of spending some quiet moments alone with God is a totally foreign concept. it seems like we have resigned ourselves to living in an "adhd" culture that caters to short attention spans and the addicitons of visual junkies. we depend on someone else to spoon feed bible truth to us. we get annoyed at the insinuation that we ought to carve out some alone time in our busy, hectic, "out-of-control" lifestyles. quit making me feel guilty for not reading my bible...

i don't have a great answer for this. it seems like we are on a technological autobahn where there are no "off ramps"...only faster and faster speeds where the only hope of stopping is to crash.

i need to go throw a baseball.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election day

On the eve of our current election, I guess I am waxing political again. Please don't hold it against me. After reading a bunch of political commentaries and insights from both the wise and the foolish, I was left with this observation:

for ten years of my adult life, I lived in one of the most politically conservative, academically enriched, and economically privileged counties in the entire country. living there sort of gives you an entitlement to knowing what is best for everybody. political, economic, and religious know-it-alls are everywhere.

at the conclusion of those ten years, we packed up our little family (very young at that time) and left for a land of total opposites. we moved from our suburban cocoon, to the very raw and chaotic urban world of one of our nations major inner cities. our move was all about starting a church in an urban adventure we were passionate, but more than a little naive about!

I could write for days about the lessons that God taught us during our years on this part of our family journey, but for today, let me pass on this perspective...

the philosophical and theological foundation for our ministry there was built on living with the people of our community. understanding their point of view. feeling their pain. listening to their perspective. honoring their priorities. responding to what they needed. and, most importantly, moving from they to us.

the greatest thing that happened to me was a re-educating of my belief that I could know something about somebody else before I walked beside them. by joining with our new school, at the ball field, at community meetings, at church, at the market... I began to see life...and politics...from their point of view. things that seemed so politically reasonable from the safe confines of my former neighborhood now looked a lot different.

it's kind of like this: imagine that there is a car wreck at a busy intersection. there are people standing on all four corners who witness the wreck. they all see the same wreck, but when the police come to get their account, they all give different stories...based on where they were standing.

to me, politics are a lot like looking at the wreck. same wreck, but it looks totally different from a variety of locations. maybe we would all be a little better off if we tried to see things from different perspectives...without assuming we already know what is best.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


let me see if i can say what i'm thinking without being horribly offensive...

i was out walking the dog tonight (the crazy one, not the needy one) and while we were on our journey, we were almost hit by a ups truck that took a corner like he was jeff gordon at the texas motor speedway! don't drivers realize that gimpy, 52 year old guys, walking manic little dogs, on 25ft leashes, down unlit driveways, by the side of banks, late at night...have the right-of-way? as i gathered my composure and settled the brainless one down, i started thinking... idiots like that shouldn't have driver's licenses...

why do we have to be a culture of "name callers"? i guess it starts early. four-eyes. fatso. cry-baby. cheater. liar. lazy. children can be so hurtful. then they become teenagers. wannabe. slut. emo-boy. faggot. loser. jerk. moron. honestly, when we grow up, we're not any better. we just carry on our childish name-calling into our daily lives. our politics. our denominational loyalty. our sports teams. our values. our morality. our children. even when we're cut off in traffic or nearly run over in a dark driveway... pretty much, if you disagree with me, offend me, hurt me, look different than me, believe different than're at risk of being an idiot.

as i was walking away from my brush with death (ok, so i exaggerate a little), i started thinking a little. my guess is the ups driver was in a hurry. maybe he'd had a long day. he might have been anxious to get home to see his kids. who knows what his story really was? he may have just been careless. i don't know. no matter what, he didn't deserve to be called a name.

i'm pretty sure jesus wouldn't have called him a name. the only people jesus called names were the religiously smug church folks of his day who thought they were better than everyone else because they perceived themselves to be morally and spiritually superior to others. mmm...

kindness. is it too much to ask?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Politics and labels

i'm really tired of political "spin"... frankly, i'm weary of politics in general. those democrats... those republicans... as if either side really cared about anything more than the next election. there's a reason i never talk about politics. the moment you start talking, you label yourself... and the moment you put a label on yourself, everyone from the other side feels like they know all about you. what you think. what you believe. what your values are. what you are passionate about. what motivates you. baloney.

i'm tired of labels and i'm more tired of people assuming they know something about a person just because they know their label. baptist. post-modern. veteran. university student. black. californian. hunter. pro-life. divorced. artist. cowboy fan. stop assuming!

would it bother you to know that kinky is starting to make sense to me? don't assume...