Monday, December 25, 2006

merry christmas

it is to this end that we remember a man who would be king...love.


love the people...not the stuff

Monday, December 04, 2006

thursday

this past thursday i was in san francisco for a doctors appointment that gave me what i was looking for...the date of my next surgery. on the 13th of december dr. brooks is going to reposition my thumb to a more usable position. needless to say I AM STOKED...sure i will be laid up for a bit and my right hand will be virtually useless for some weeks but this will allow me to have more dexterity and help me feel a lot less frustrated with my hand...i hope!

also, i was able to meet with some new friends, RYAN, HOLLY AND PAXTON SHARP. i cannot begin to explain the amount of rest and kindredness for my spirit they radiated. i was first introduced to ryan via the nick and josh podcast. i sought out holly and his music the cobalt season, which i completely recommend, and met a number of people who love them when i was in new mexico for the gathering. anyway since they live in san francisco and i go there often we decided to hook up.

so glad we did

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the dog

The dog was a cross between a purebred border collie and a wonderful mutt that looked somewhat like a German Shepard. She had very noticeable herd instincts and a sweet disposition like her mother. Other than not being trained, her single flaw was she would run away and go God knows where. The couple could not leave the front gate open to their little ranch because of this flightiness. Although every neighbor they had met was civilized and friendly, they had never met the neighbors on the other side of the gorge that lay at the back of their property. They were concerned about what the dog was doing when it ran off and did not want her to get shot. In the end, though, they just had too many animals, so they decided she needed to go.

They put an ad in the paper and started getting phone calls. Unfortunately, they were concerned with many other things and time constraints and responded to the first caller, letting him know that if he wanted her she was his. He explained to them that he had, just that morning, buried his daughter’s dog, a Border Collie mix, and that their dog was to replace it. It sounded wonderful to them and they were pleased to hear that she was going to what appeared to be a good home.

They packed her up and made off to where they were to meet the man and his daughter. They were already heading that direction for a holiday, so this just seemed to fit well with their plans. Although they did not verbalize it to each other, they had both virtually decided that this was the new home for their dog. When they arrived at the meeting place they promptly found the man. An elderly though youthful man, he was very cordial and confident. He reiterated the reasons for why he wanted this dog and said under his breath that his daughter was continually crying. Finally his daughter emerged and the couple had instant reservations. She looked very tired and used, like she had been wrestling with a vice for years and it often got the upper hand. There was no reason to doubt the validity of the familial connection between the father and daughter other than she looked to be the same age as him.

She instantly took to the dog and vice versa, and would occasionally return to the couple to ask questions or state her ability to train dogs. Upon one of these little visits she disclosed what had happened to her former companion. Apparently she was camped out across from a highway truck stop and the managers didn’t appreciate the presence of her and her dog. According to her story, choking back tears, they had poisoned the dog. She had taken a blood sample to the vet and confirmed the presence of Arsenic and antifreeze. The couple was stunned to hear this, because, again, they had major reservations and, again, didn’t know how to pull the plug on this situation. The woman was obviously homeless and the couple began to question, to themselves, whether or not she would be able to properly care for and protect this dog that they did love. They quietly watched the interaction between the woman and the dog, and because of time constraints, a cold wind, and a child getting impatient, they decided it was time to go. They got the address of the man and promised to send all pertinent information about the dog, which the woman was emphatic about receiving. They watched the dog load into the car of the man and said goodbye.

The rest of the trip was virtually silent.

Throughout that long weekend they would periodically pose questions to each other about whether or not they did the right thing for the dog. They were uneasy about it but also had a resolute feeling of, “What is done is done.” They were sad about a hasty decision.

When they returned home they decided to call the man and see how the dog was doing, and honestly, find out if they could get the dog back. The man told them that the woman had already moved on and he had no way of contacting her.

That was it.

She was gone.

The only thing they have left of the dog, is the hope and prayer that she and the woman will be safe and a blessing to each other.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

sometimes...

sometimes i am a christian
sometimes i am a diest
sometimes i am an atheist
sometimes i just know i am agnostic
sometimes i am obnoxiously opinionated
sometimes i am just plain apathetic
sometimes i am insanely optimistic
sometimes i am darkly pessimistic
sometimes i am all or some of these at the same time
and yet, sometimes i still don't know who i am

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

widgets

can you see the mercora music on the right?
ok that one sucked...i'll keep searchin'

Monday, October 30, 2006

death and life

Oftentimes we will have people comment on how cool it would be living on a farm….well not to piss on your parade but here is a glimpse of what is involved in the enchanted world of farm-life…
Yesterday morning as we were feeding animals Christy noticed one of the ewes was laboring and actually had something distended from her hindquarters (best way to say it) she thought the ewe was aborting her pregnancy because it is very early for them to lamb…but alas a few hours later finds a little black lamb sucking at momma’s teat. The ewe, “Blue,” looked like she maybe had another in there so we left them alone. When we came back in a bit blue was on the ground with what appeared to be another lamb coming out but what turned out being a prolapsed uterus (look it up if you want the gory details, it is not pretty). We have some books that help with this stuff and with blue being very old we didn’t want to spend a small fortune on getting a vet down our three miles of dirt road. We worked on her for a while and tried to get the uterus back in place, but to no avail.
This is where it gets hard. We realized that blue is failing rapidly and have to make the decision to put her down…which is my job…I hate it! I do it in the least painful, quickest way possible. She is a 200+lb sheep and with only one good hand and Christy pregnant there isn’t any way in anywhere that we are moving her…so I fire up the tractor and take her out back where she is now giving back to the earth.
So…now we have this little girl living in our kitchen and making my daughter laugh, but actually needs to be fed more often than K1. Life is a give and take…and it is never easy.

So if you ever have a twisted notion that life out here is grand come on up and help us out anytime…we will be glad for the company, the help and we will let you walk through some shit…

Friday, October 27, 2006

update on mike menning

An up and down week it's been. I'm writing this from Greg and Cindy's house in Tampa (Kara's brother and wife). As the week went on we started to believe more and more that this was not going to be an urgent condition. Let me just cut off my explanation and let you hear it directly from my mom's version:

Well, welcome home! We have changed location of our waiting room and for that we praise Our CREATOR!

After consultation with the kidney specialists it was determined that the cause of part of the problems Mike has faced in the past ten days may VERY LIKELY -- not for sure -- may be caused by some kind of allergic reaction -- to what? Not yet determined, but a hunch was even something as simple as aspirin or ibuprofen!!!!!!!! So, no kidney biopsy for at least 7 - 10 days due to potential of bleeding in the meantime watch symptoms. Stop even the baby aspirin and no ibuprofen, as well as a couple other adjustments on his diabetes medications.

In the meantime -- what about the gal bladder? Well, after more consultation with a surgeon resident doc and the main team of doctors who have dealt with Mike since Saturday evening -- we are at peace about waiting to sort out the kidney problem first and then proceed with the surgery -- it is agreed that his wish will come true in due time.

When I specifically asked the question whether all felt we ought to be at peace at this point in regard to the non-presence of cancer, they of course, were not able to give a black or white answer, but feel there are not enough signs to point that direction and feel adequate tests would assure us that all has been done for now -- to be at peace.

Now, we are at home, our path is not necessarily that of understanding, but surely it is God's. We have prayed for good reports, good medical care and peace -- and we do have that. We have prayed for healing and ask you to join us again in that prayer -- for complete restoration and clarity. We know that God alone is the peace giver and we are willing to receive!

Thanks again for all your caring and loving messages, cards, visits, and greetings, and most of all your prayers.


Mitch again - let me thank all of you too for all of your concern, prayers and care. It's almost embarrassing if this turns out to be nothing more than a bad gall bladder and an allergic reaction. It's great news, but far from potential lymphoma!

Have a great weekend,
Mitch



Tuesday, October 24, 2006

for mike menning

O Lord, Holy Father, creator of the universe, author of its laws, you can bring the dead back to life, and heal those who are sick. We pray for our sick brother that he may feel your hand upon him, renewing his body and refreshing his soul. Show him the affection in which you hold all your creatures.
Dimma, a 7th Century Irish monk

Christ, give him the strength; your servant is not well.
The tongue that praised You is made silent,
Struck dumb by the pain of sickness.
He cannot bear to sing your praises.
O, make him well again, make him whole,
That he may again proclaim your greatness.
Do not forsake him, I beseech you.
Let him return now to your service.
Gregory of Nazianzus (modified)


Lord, we pray for our brother Mike that you would heal him and restore him.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Monday, October 23, 2006

**URGENT**

i haven't heard from my friend mitch since our camping trip....this was in my email this morning...please pray


Hey, everyone,

I know I've missed someone on this email, so please don't take it personally if you're getting this forwarded from someone because I forgot someone. And feel free to pass it around to whomever you wish.

Last weekend (13th-15th) Kara, the boys, and I went camping with my parents (ages 61 & 59) in Southern Utah and had a great time. During the weekend my dad mentioned that he had gained 12 pounds over the past couple of weeks and being diabetic he was quite concerned about this (went from 170 lbs to 182 lbs). Also, my mom stepped in some broken glass in their motorhome after shattering a coffee pot. Due to having a piece of glass removed from her foot on Tuesday of this past week, I had to cut my workday very short on Wednesday to take care of our boys (my mom normally watches them on Wednesdays). Well my mom’s foot is now doing well and has turned out to be the least of our concerns.

Thursday my dad was diagnosed with pneumonia (turns out incorrectly). He continued to get more and more sick by Friday (pain, more bloating – gained 8 more pounds putting him at 190, a rash that developed across his belly, legs, and arms, and nausea). Friday night my mom took him to the ER at St. Mark’s Hospital in SLC. They ran a bunch of tests and released him during the night on Saturday AM without a diagnosis. He continued to worsen and by Saturday morning we finally talked about the similarities of his symptoms to that of his older brother of three years who died in 1993 17 days after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. (Both of my dad’s parents died of cancer and three of his six siblings died, had, or currently have cancer so there are familial concerns.) So it was back to the ER on Saturday noon. His abdomen was full of fluid and he was now weighing 198 lbs (28 lb. gain over three weeks). His lymph nodes were very enlarged. Concerns were now lymphoma (an often-aggressive cancer of the lymph nodes), various other types of cancer, kidney issues, or gall bladder. Ultra sounds showed the gall bladder was fine. He did feel some better after getting anti-nausea meds through an IV and morphine, but the ER at St. Marks released him on Saturday afternoon and said to follow up with his family practice doc on Monday upon the family practice doc’s return to town. (Had he been in town, I believe things may have gone differently, but everyone looking at him had no history.)

Frustrated and really concerned, Kara called a friend of ours who is a hospitalist doctor (internal medicine specialist) at the University Hospital in Salt Lake. Given the symptoms, some of the test results, and my dad’s history our friend was concerned that he was sent home. Our friend stuck his neck out and made arrangements for my dad to be directly admitted to the U. Hospital and by Saturday night he was in the hospital. Our friend’s feeling was that whatever is going on, it’s serious and moving quickly. He (and the rest of us too) didn’t want to lose one, let alone three or four days. He said, “We’re admitting you and you’re not going home until we find out decisively what’s going on. In the meantime we’re going to try to get you comfortable.” I guess there’s something to the “it’s all about who you know” saying.

By this afternoon (Sunday) they had found the right mix of morphine and anti-nausea meds to make my dad fairly comfortable, but still no diagnosis. There are signs that it might not be lymphoma (soft, moveable glands) which is a great relief, but there’s still a lot of unknown. Some kidney conditions are also of concern.

To top it all off, Kara, the boys, and I are supposed to be leaving for a family vacation in Florida to see her brother’s family on Wednesday. Needless to say, that’s up in the air.

So as you can imagined, we're pretty messed up right now. My dad was my best man in our wedding and we're incredibly close to him. So if any of you are the sort to pray, we could use as much of it as possible.

We know God can do amazing things so we're praying for either a treatable diagnosis or a miracle of healing. Also, he's going to be poked, probed, and messed with a lot over the next couple of days so we need to pray that he'll hang in there and be a patient patient.

Thanks for all of your support,

Mitch (and Kara, Isaiah, Joey, and our baby girl due in January)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

here's the deal

just exorcising some demons from my head:

--the gathering was great not because of what it was but of those who made it so. there were great sessions on the good news of god and what it means today, communal living and why people do it, women in ministry and women in emergent as well as emerging, i heard the one by tony jones on theology was good something about theology is everywhere (if you went to this one fill me in more)and the one by doug pagitt on post-augustinian christianity (which i listened to...thank you ian) BUT the real bread and butter happened outside of the sessions...talking with people like mike stavlund who spoke with me openly about his son, will, dying just about a month ago (amy - i would love to hook you up with he and his wife)and watching him and stacy dealing with it while still being in community with people there... in fact, if i knew nothing else about emergent and the books i have read and people i have met, and i saw mike and stacy come up at the beginning of the week and explain WHY they were there in light of will's death, that would be all i need to know about the people there and would have been sold on emergent from that point. this is why emergent is so appealing to me... it is real and love and freedom and honest pursuit of god and christ and it is messy but it recognizes the reality and beautiful place messiness has in life (thank you mark and adam for the "beautiful mess")
--through this time i have decided to go ahead and start the cohort, with directed encouragement from sarah notton and tony as well as andrew and becky..originally i thought i would wait and see who was interested but it seems good to just go ahead and get the ball rolling and see who comes along side
--mitch and kara are incredible friends of ours...in fact they are family... you get to a place where you realize that people become involved in your life, if you let them, to such a degree that the categories of FRIEND don't apply but the categories of FAMILY are more fitting...anyway, they came along side of us again and supported us by loving us and pledged support by action and that is wonderful...during our conversations i expressed a frustration about not living by the disciplines that i hold dear, at least by word, and through mitch's encouragement we are embarking on an eight month trek to live better primarily through health but i plan to use this as a catalyst for other things that are important, issues of justice locally, better life for those around me, active love...
--christy and i have a relationship that is defined by tension, it is not easy. we also have a lifestyle right now that is demanding and trying, therefore out of love for her as well as needing to get things done and living my love more actively i am limiting myself to computer use in the early morning and late evening. we have a lot on our plates and we need your prayers and persons (i.e. hands, feet, mouths, ears, eyes, minds) to help us be all that we desire to be and dig ourselves out of the mountain of stuff that we are buried under.

FINALLY, i will be adding more people to my sphere of blogfluence...please visit them because i believe it will be worth your time

my little love is awakening so i must tend to her...peace
Sunday Heroes: Matthew

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

sigh

we got back late last night from our trip to utah and my trip to the life-giving (i am diggin' that, ryan) emergent gathering in new mexico.
if, by chance, i met you at the gathering and you are maybe expecting a hello from me please be patient, we are experiencing the worst diaper rash known to this household, weird muscle pains in chest as well as in side and butt (one for me two for christy)after 14 hours in a car with everyone in pain and feeling trapped, christy whirling off to work, me going to school for some catchup, a messy house and lots of animals who want attention.
tomorrow
tomorrow
tomorrow
will there be more peace in the world tomorrow?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

vacancy

the fam and i are heading out today for utah to visit mitch and kara...and then on monday i am heading down to new mexico for the gathering. i'll check in when i can but probably no posting for a while. we will be back on monday the 16th. pray for traveling mercies for us.
peace

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

when your left and your right get obfuscated

when i was recovering in the hospital, i overdosed on television (because we don't have one) and watched some south park....and laughed my ass off!
this is an interesting interview with a couple of very honest guys
Matt Stone & Trey Parker on Nightline Pt. 1

a day in the life

my sister linked this on her site originally but i was so struck by the realities of it i had to share.
Daddy Survival Guide - Part 1 (of 5 parts)

Friday, September 29, 2006

christy

there is no big secret that we don't always get along. but i am always reminded that you are the one i want. we sat on the floor in the kitchen last night and talked...and it was so good. i see within the face of our daughter the hope of our love for each other...not in the faces of the past that can't even look at each other.
i was looking through some old journals today, and there is the truth of love written in them that can't get washed away by pride and selfishness...although it sure seems like i am trying hard as hell to test our love...pride and selfishness, sacrifice and selflessness...wrestling for oneness.

i am no poet or lyricist, but these were written from the depths of reality and meaning
this was written before we were married

9-17-00
in times past
when i dreamt
of lovers without face
or name
i woke with such
a feeling
that remains
singular, exact, unique...
love
pure, emotional, passionate
strong, concrete, unwavering.
now i no longer dream
of lovers
yet that feeling
remains
renewed
in you.
you were always the one
i dreamed of.

this was written when you were pregnant with HER

my life on the couch

there it is on the couch,
just sitting there.
my life.
it walked in a minute ago,
tired, weary.
it keeps going
because it has a strong will.
it thinks a lot
of what i don't know.
it takes on a lot
of responsibility.
it laughs
and when it does
there is light and joy
peace
love.
it is real
does not dissemble or lie.
does not even exaggerate,
that would cheapen life.
it puts it's hand
on it's fat belly
and it giggles
at the movement
my baby is making
in it's tummy.

i love my life.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

san francisco

so i drove down to san francisco today to check in with my doc about my hand....only to find out that they didn't have the mri results.
so, i spent eight hours on the road...
to hang out in the doctors office for twenty minutes...
for him to flip through my chart and tell me the stupid news...
all this after i called them on tuesday to make sure the results were there!
damn it

oh well...
san francisco was great...foggy and cool, had to wear a jacket...i am really loving going into the city, it's starting to grow on me. christy and i used to meet there for dates and spend all day walking around. i would like to do that again. i think i am geeting pretty lonely in this isolation. we have a lot that others don't but there is a part of me that is neglected and cold much of the time.

anyway...
did some good thinkin'...a little fragmented prayin'...and a lot of listenin'

nick fiedler has a pretty good album, if you click his name on the right column of my blog, his album is on the upper right of his page. there are a couple of songs on there, in particular "my god" changes, changes, changes
also, i just downloaded some cobalt season stuff...if you look on the right and hit ryan sharp, then scroll down 'til you see it on the right....i am really enjoying this as well. the first song on the live album, "begin again," something about the style of this song is hauntingly nostalgic. anyway he has a section in there,
"for all the ways the world is shit
there is so much beauty in all of it
i can't seem to find
everything that haunts my mind
could it be that i'm still blind?"
growing up with an understanding of "the fall" you come away with a sense that nothing is good...but there is much beauty in the world...and that is great and wonderful. recognizing the good does not negate any action to remove the evil, sometimes people react that way when you talk about things like this...it is almost as if they would rather have the world be all bad so it can get wiped away...but there is so much here to transcend and love and show others the bold splendor of god

both ryan and nick give utterance to some of the things i have been unable to put into words...
thank you guys!
incidently, i was turned on to both through the nick and josh podcast, which i have been enjoying. a couple of young guys jawin' about religion, theology, music, movies and other stuff.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

she won't let me go

ok so i was listening to ray lamontagne today, and "trouble" was playing when my baby girl got up from a nap. as i was carrying her to go change a diaper the chorus bust in, "i've been saaaaaved by a woman" and it struck me how much my daughter has saved me. the pain and mindscrew that came along with this injury has been completely overshadowed by her and i only have to think of her and it makes me grin like i just discovered something wonderful.

thank you my little love



and to go along with that here are some things i never imagined i would find myself calmly and rationally saying....most of them prefaced by a "no"....

what's in your mouth (like she's gonna answer)
we don't touch that
we don't eat that
that's for the doggies
we don't wear mommies underwear on our heads
don't put your hand down there
that's where it poops from

Monday, September 25, 2006

study break

what do you call it when you are reading blogs and you should be studying or doing the honey-do list?

Mat Weddle of Obadiah Parker -


ok...i know this song is quite pop-infectious....but i have loved it since day 1....it's on my mp3 player...no i didn't say ipod 'cause i don't have one and i don't wanna get sued.
anyway enjoy these... 'cause i sure as hell do!
Hey Ya! Charlie Brown Style

fun

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Becky

my friend's daughter becky is, for now, out of the hospital but is still dealing with the infection in her kidneys. she has diarrhea and is still vomiting. the doctors say if she gets dehydrated she will have to go back into the hospital. she is taking a load of anti-rejection medication still and all of her meds are taking a toll on her stomach, so she is bleeding into her stomach. every time i talk with her dad, he is very blunt and sad and says it is not good. still no hope. please still pray.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jesus Camp

tell me what you think

psst...hit title link

Monday, September 11, 2006

Update & Celebrate

Our friend, Becky, is still in the hospital, although now off of respirator and oxygen. She is still feverish and vomiting but was able to get up and walk around yesterday. Her kidney is infected but still operational. Please continue to pray.

As some of you are reflecting on the significance of the date please take a moment to reflect on a joy of our family and relish in the knowledge of hope in a better world.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

URGENT

We have some friends whose twenty-something daughter is dying from her kidney shutting down. She has had a transplant, from her sister, years ago and now that kidney is failing rapidly. The treatment is so aggresive that it would probably kill her. No one has a lot, if any, hope right now. PLEASE pray and ask others to do so.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

for what it's worth

i have just completed an application for a degree completion program at the local christian college. here is a short autobiographical essay i had to write for it. it really made me reflect. plus there is a little surprise in it...
I am a 35 year old husband and father of one with one on the way. I have, for various reasons, started and stopped my college education process far too many times. Recently I had an injury that almost resulted in the loss of my right hand. As it is now, although future beneficial surgeries are almost inevitable, I will have some degree of permanent disability. Because I am writing with my left hand and am limited to the work I can do, I have decided to pursue my BA in liberal studies and explore some options for a career while doing that. I, along with my wife, feel compelled to finish my degree and view this goal as a flood-gate that, when opened, will provide the needed catalyst for further personal growth and sustaining possibilities for my family.
I have been brought up in a Christian home without a father. Although I consider myself socialized into Christianity, I feel the experiences that my mother went through allowed me to gain an understanding of trusting God that I don't believe I could have attained otherwise. This trust in God and my subsequent pursuit of Christ has helped me through the more troubling decisions and events. I do not hold my Christian faith as something to be related tritely and continue to question how Christ might be fleshed out in my life.
I have struggled with formal education. I almost did not graduate from high school because of disinterest, but I have gradually come to a place where I am a much better student. Even though I have blossomed late I hold my education as inevitable and unavoidable. I am excited for the process, although anxious about the fulfillment. I am now in a place where I feel more confident that I will win my prize and continue to climb towards my next goal.

yes we are pregnant again!
thank god!
pray for us as we prepare for a new baby, christy's new job and that i will finish my degree without diversion
peace

Saturday, July 29, 2006

how long has that elephant been there?

the comments alone in this article are worth the read and thought provocation, in my estimation.

Friday, July 28, 2006

okey dokey

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative

94%

Existentialist

56%

Postmodernist

50%

Romanticist

38%

Idealist

38%

Modernist

38%

Fundamentalist

25%

Materialist

19%

What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com

Thursday, July 20, 2006

redding emergent cohort

i haven't hit this page for a while because we have been running all across the nation and doing a family wedding, more about that on the other blog. here is the deal. i'm not sure how many read this, but if you are in the redding, ca area or know someone who is and are interested in starting an emergent cohort with me, please contact me.
for information about emergent, hit the link to the right
for information about cohorts go here
i know many of my friends, family or associates are a little wary if not distrustful of emergent, and i encourage anyone to be careful, but for me and others i have met it has been an bright spot spiritually and theologically. so, i'm jumping in, more or less and i invite you to join me.
peace

Sunday, June 25, 2006

evangelistic flora

"When outsiders who have never heard of God's law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by obedience. They show that God's law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God's yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God's yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences." Paul to the Roman church Chapter 2 verses 14-16, Eugene Peterson's The Message

"Gratitude, not understanding, is the secret to joy and equanimity. I prayed for the willingness to have very mild spiritual well-being. I didn't need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees." Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Sunday, June 18, 2006

dick-n-annie

here is a podcast (first of four) from two of my favorite people. AMANDA thank you again for turning me on to anne!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

plastic piety

this is an interesting blog post on christian music. i know many don't see any harm in christian music such as it is, but i very much relate to what rob bell says, in his book "velvet elvis," about the difference in "christian" as a noun and "christian" as an adjective. and what if what wears "christian" is really crap and what wears "secular" is really truthful, beautiful and encouraging?

weeding

in an effort to fine-tune this team-blog i have removed family and fluff related posts to my other blog. hopefully, as they get time kara and christy will be able to participate more.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

resonate-intercede

this is a good article. and this is an interesting blog.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

what the hell?!

why do people look for significance in a date, such as today's, for some showing of supernatural evil when daily it looks like this, or the killing of the innocent wether children or africans in darfur and elsewhere, or the trafficing of women and children, or...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

secrets and sparks

"You can't talk about this thing with just anybody. People worry about you. They may think you're changing sides, turning traitor. They may talk about you as if you came down with some communicable disease. So you keep this sort of thing like a dirty secret, this doubt that is not really a doubt about God or Jesus or faith but about our take on God, our version of Jesus, our way of faith. You let it out only when you feel you have found someone you can trust." -from the introduction to A New Kind Of Christian

Monday, May 22, 2006

invitation

i have just returned from a men's retreat with my church vineyard city church. the main discussion was about integrity. integrity when you are going about your daily business (do i even consider that the way i drive affects more than just me); integrity when you think no one is watching (do i even consider that looking at porn degrades my wife and our relationship, every other woman on this planet and myself); integrity when everyone is watching (do i even consider my motivations when i am interacting with people). bottom line for me is do i do what i do because i was made in the image of a personal, loving god or because somehow i believe that whatever i do is for the betterment of me and affects only me. sometimes i need the reminder that ALL people are made in the image of god and they have value in that, irregardless of whether or not they claim to know or follow god. when i remember that, my behavior, or character and integrity, will reflect it.
throughout this conversation about integrity another thread of thought continued to pop up. that was community. without community, it is difficult to reach the wonderful depths that can be reached through integrity and love. without community you begin to justify all of your actions based on how you feel. which brings me to the main reason i started this blog. this blog was about an idea that we (christy and i) had while we were reading some wonderful books, but we didn't have an outlet to really discuss them. so we posed the idea to some friends who don't live in the same state (and in one case, the same country), that we could start a blog to discuss some of the ideas that were coming from the pages that were challenging us. most of the friends we posed this to are really busy (i.e. studying for the CPA exam, studying theology in grad school) so their involvement would be limited. but our friend kara has decided to join us in this. she is one of christy's best friends from college and she and her husband, mitch, have been a continual godsend to christy and i throughout our marriage.
so this is how it is going to work, with obvious room for lots and lots of revision and change: we will read through a book together and, by way of team blogging, will post comments about that chapter that challenges, stretches, intrigues, whatever adjective applies. the book we have decided to read through first is the "A New Kind of Christian" trilogy by brian mclaren. because kara and christy have lots they are doing outside of this we haven't given ourselves any other parameters besides what i just stated, but, each one of us will be writing posts. NOW, here is where you come in. whoever you are i invite you to get this book by brian mclaren and join along with us, it will require an open mind to be able to DISCUSS some of these ideas. we are not interested in entering into anything other than a dialogue about ideas (read "comments are moderated and we're just not gonna get into the arguing thingy") but we are VERY INTERESTED in hearing what each other, and maybe you, have to think about ideas and issues that are challenging us in our faith and beliefs.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

mirror

please read the comment from my sister amy in the previous post. i am in no way blaming president bush for all of the scrutiny that christians receive, either justly or unjustly. but because he is our nation's leader and a professing christian he will be the ultimate scapegoat and fall-guy. there are a number of institutions, pastors, priests, lay-people and otherwise, including myself, who are doing a poor job of being christ-like. not to mention any number of historical figures or institutions who, to the absolute glee of christian detractors, have fed the flame of disparagement. it is true that we have an enemy as followers of christ, but sometimes that enemy is staring us in the face as we are brushing our teeth. so rest assured, although i will continue to ask questions of people in high places who "represent" christ, i will be subject to the same scrutiny.
hopefully.

above reproach

i know for myself, i've had some trouble voicing my unsettledness about our current president and the war. i do not hate george bush, but i hate that there is some distrust of christianity, at least the conservative-evangelical branch, because of president bush and his unwavering, unquestioning christian supporters. here is a great essay from donald miller about our commander-in-chief and americana-christianity. i realize that i don't know the first thing about being president or the responsibilities and expectations therein, BUT i believe that if christians begin to take following jesus more seriously in all aspects of life radical, kingdom-of-god stuff will happen.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

feed the hunger

check this article out. it has some great things to say about the jesus-followers response(s) to "the davinci code" and "the gospel of judas" hype.

Monday, May 08, 2006

culture observed

if you get a chance check out dick staub's blog. he has a lot of great things to say about the culture at large and the meager amount of christian "creatives" that are engaging it.

blue pill or red pill?

my brother-in-law eric has asked some good questions about being a christian in america in his new post. check it out.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

glimpse

recently christy and i were at the bank for a somewhat lengthy document signing. the bank was very busy with people lined up almost to the door. after we had been there for about 10 minutes a mom came in with a toddler and a newborn. the toddler was NOT happy and let everyone know it. instantly, i think, everyone felt sorry for her but then when the kid would not stop you could see and hear everyone change. THEY were irritated and indignant that she would bring him in there and that they would have to suffer the noise because of her lack of wisdom in bringing an unhappy, loud kid into an overcrowded bank. i admit that i was getting embarrassed for her but stayed in my chair. next to me my wife, whom i have seen very impatient sometimes, even with kids, said, "someone should help her." after a couple of minutes more of this both my wife and the bank manager approached the woman. the bank manager to bring her to the front of the line, looking very displeased, and christy to offer to take the toddler and hold him while she did her banking. INSTANTLY, the boy stopped crying and put his head on christy's shoulder. i can't tell how overcome i was that christy did this. she thought it was the right thing to do and did it. stinkin' cool! i believe that this was a glimpse of the kingdom of god and i was very grateful to see it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

haggard love

i think about our relationship with god and others a lot.
how can god care about billions of people and not see them as billions of people? i look at grass and have such difficulty focusing on just one let alone a few or some. even as i get closer it almost becomes more frustrating to try and do so. yet i believe that god cares for me. the individual me. i don't know how, i don't always understand why, but i believe god does. if i didn't believe that, i couldn't keep my faith that helps me to love others. when i believe god loves and cares for christy that helps me to transform my thinking and actions towards her (i have been snappy, cranky, and selfish lately, having a hard time vocalizing, at least appropriately, what is bothering me)when i believe that god loves and cares for my neighbors and their neighbors and their neighbors and their neighbor, who happens to be merle haggard, i can believe that i can also. they all have names, they all have parts of them that still identify themselves with god, somehow, if they pay attention. i have to believe god loves merle, because god knows merle, not just the famous country artist, the merle that is merle when no one else is around. it's mysterious and incomprehensible to us, because we base so much of what we do on earning. merle, to us,is merle because of what he accomplished. he has value based on his notoriety. merle is merle to god because he was born, he has value to god based on being. merle's value is equal to that of the homeless person, the politician, the religious person, the dalit in india, the tibetan monk, the drug czar in columbia, the oppressed woman in africa, the homosexual prostitute. he has the same value in god's eyes as adolph hitler had and as mother teresa had. unfortunately, for whatever reason, people respond to that love differently or not at all and do harm to themselves and others.
why?
why chose pain and fear over love?

traveling mercies

i have been reading anne lamott's "traveling mercies" recently.
amanda: thank you, thank you, thank you!
i enjoyed her from the start. anyone who can reduce all the baggage we've packed into the "sinner's prayer" down to "fuck it: i quit." "all right. you can come in." is someone who might understand me. someone who might become a warm friend. and she is, although it is a one-way friendship right now.
i recommend this book, highly.

maybe not for all of you.

Monday, April 24, 2006

inclusion

this is the beginning.
in thinking of a title for my first post many words came to mind, but the one that stood out for me has huge implications for what is happening to me physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. up until recently i have looked at the world somewhat exclusively. i have come to find that life is more full and real with an inclusive approach, especially with people. this does not ignore the hurt that people, in particular, inflict on themselves and others, but it helps to see that others are hurting. my hope is that as i include others into my thoughts, heart and prayers i can begin to see the world as god intended it to be.
forgive my vague quasi-intellectual ramblings
now for more down to earth: you've heard, possibly, the expression "...busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kickin' contest!" for those that know me i have an injury that for now, maybe longer, leaves me with only one arm and hand that works well. so, i am officially, based on personal experience, changing the aforementioned adage to "....busier than a one-armed man trying to change a poopy diaper that has a very dissatisfied little girl in it who would like very much to get up and roam free!"