- Growing up, I listened to the small radio station from the local college. It was on FM and was a whole 10 watts. I remember waking up every Wednesday morning one year, hearing the Beatles sing "Good Morning" and jumping into Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the light"
- I still have a dislike for Opera because every Saturday growing up I heard the Firestone Opera on the local AM radio station.
- I still have a love of what Steeleye Span did for (to?) English folk music because my cousin gave my brother and I one of their albums for Christmas.
- I still have an attraction to Herbie Hancock music because a friend and I arranged "Chameleon" for jazz ensemble in our senior year of high school.
- I still love Procol Harem's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" because I did an arrangement for full jazz band that same year.
- I still remember where I first heard the Eagles "Life in the Fast Lane" as I was crammed in the back of a car on the way to a college age church event next to an unwed soon-to-be mother thinking that it was so accurate (judgmental huh?).
- My appreciation for Classical music (and probably covers) was enhanced by the versions of songs I heard from such unlikely sources as Spike Jones and P.D.Q Bach.
I am many things. I am a follower of Jesus, a son, a father, a husband. I program computers, play with amature radio (KG0IL) and play bass.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
Plastic Jesus, plastic Jesus
Riding on the dashboard of my car
I'm afraid He'll have to go
His magnets ruin my radio
And if I have a wreck He'll leave a scar
from Plastic Jesus
As I mentioned here, I was reading Eric Sandras' "Plastic Jesus: Exposing the Hollowness of Comfortable Christianity". The title and the chorus of the song above seem to expose the same thing. Too often, we have settled for much less than God would have us be and do.
"Plastic Jesus..." is published by NavPress.
In "Plastic Jesus...", Eric challenges us to quit being comfortable, raising lots of issues that affect me "where I live". For instance, it is quite easy for me to, once making the commitment to follow Christ, check that box off my to do list, continuing down the road to something else. This book challenges the reader to look beyond that initial commitment and determine what it really means to follow Christ.
I am putting this book back into my "to re-read" pile, actually, I am promoting this as a small group study for the group I am in.
2006 Coverville Countdown
My favorites so far?
From Part 1, the Icehouse version of David Bowie's "Heroes" and The CopperBox version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" (sort of bluegrass/zydeco).
From Part 2, the Cake version of the Muppets "Mahna Mahna" (progressive rock), the Johnny Cash/Joe Strummer version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" (folk), Joey Ramone's version of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" (punk) and the Yum! Yum! Orange! version of Bobby McFerrin's "Don't worry Be Happy" (ska).
From Part 3, the Opie Gone Bad version of the Rolling Stones (and Stevie Wonder) version of "Sympathy for the Devil/Living for the City", the Weird Al version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (actually called Bohemian Polka) and the Gypsy King version of the Eagles "Hotel California".
Since these are legally (as Brian does work with ASCAP) downloaded, check them out!
By the way, if you are wondering what Sympathy for the Devil is about, check out this Lyrics Undercover which explains the song. There is also a Lyrics Undercover on "Hotel California" here.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
A Life Lesson
I stayed home today while Marj & Kyle went to see a movie. While flipping through the channels, I flipped stopped at "The Jerry Springer Show". I have one life lesson I have learned from watching that show.
If Jerry Springer (or any of those types of shows) call and invite you on, DON'T GO, SOMETHING BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN!
There are numerous little lessons but that is the primary one and will avoid all the rest.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Christmas Eve Services
In order to show Northern Hills to these people, we did something that, for some of us on the worship teams, was pretty revolutionary and somewhat stressful (for Dan & Dave more than us).
This morning in The River services as well as the two services held this evening, we played "Angels We Have Heard On High". Then Scott or Rob got up to speak. The topic was the "Noel's of Christmas". Noel means song. Prior to the bulk of the message, the people in each service were asked for things that Christmas that were important to them or that they were thankful for.
While Scott or Rob spoke, telling about the 5 songs or Christmas in the Bible, Dan (and in Whitewater, Dave) went to the back and wrote new a song based upon the phrases the people in that service expressed. By the time the message was completed, we had a new song. It was copied, sent up to the media team to be input for words up front and the worship team walked out on stage and performed it, asking the people in the audience to join in.
Each song from the services as well as the one the worship team put together was unique. The words, of course were different, but so were the chord progressions and the tune. The one with the neatest chorus was "Thank you for coming down here".
We then sang "Silent Night" and Dan's song "Humble King", finally we got to sing the song the audience helped to write as the final song.
As the day went on, each of the songs written to that point was performed prior to the service (we were out singing and playing 15 minutes prior to the last service).
This weekend, 5 new songs were written and sung for Christmas.
Friday, December 22, 2006
The "Saturdays with Mark & Tony"
Well, thanks to this post, I got introduced to Mark Lowry who is now doing a Saturday video or audio show with Tony Campolo called "Saturdays with Mark & Tony". I have had a long time interest in Tony Campolo and what he is thinking as he pushes the "traditional" evangelical envelope.
The first show I listened to was sort of "mind-blowing". One of the questions they were asked was "What is your soul?". Great answer!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Kyle is staying overnight at a friends house so, depending on the weather, we may not see him until tomorrow.
Rocky was complaining that he needed his daily walk so I figured I should give Marj one of her Christmas presents early.... Here are a couple more pictures.
When Marj got back from her snowshoeing adventure in the development, I went out to clear snow away from the back.. Here is what I found!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The prodigal son...
Back in February, I posted this. The title was "Todays Prodigal Sons".
What was I ignorant about? The meaning of the word prodigal. If you look up the word in dictionary.com, you will find out that prodigal means:
- wastefully or recklessly extravagant: prodigal expenditure.
- giving or yielding profusely; lavish (usually fol. by of or with): prodigal of smiles; prodigal with money.
- lavishly abundant; profuse: nature's prodigal resources.
- –noun- a person who spends, or has spent, his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance; spendthrift.
Now, how did I find that out? I have been reading Plastic Jesus: Exposing the Hollowness of Comfortable Christianity. So far, it is an excellent book! If you'd like to read a few excerpts visit the authors blog here and here.
What I like about it so far is that it gets "into your business" but is still fun to read!
Monday, December 18, 2006
A little over a year ago, we were extremely proud of Kyle and I posted about his green belt here. Besides the color of belt, he also is wearing a new outfit. That is the Dojo's (Karate Studio's) outfit (and can be taken away if Kyle does not fulfill the responsibilities of his position or belt). It signifies that Kyle has worked as an apprentice (the black shirt) and has put in 200 hours helping out (the black pants). Kyle started as an apprentice early last year for the right reasons. In his words, "...because I want to help other kids...". I have gotten to watch him teach over the last year and he is pretty good at it, especially when you consider his age.
I wish him luck and blessings over the next year as he pursues his brown and black belts!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Understanding your pet
We often don't realize how much our pets understand of our speech. We had an interesting revelation this morning however.
A year ago when we were going through training, we were told that dogs, especially Border Collies, could learn as many words as a 2 or 3 year old child. I suspect they learn these words just like a child does, by context.
One characteristic of the herding dogs is a desire, no, a drive, to anticipate what is going on. This comes in especially handy when you have an unruly animal who will not cooperate. With no animals to herd, Rocky has decided to anticipate what we want.
It was especially funny today. Kyle was getting ready to leave for a Karate Power Weekend and we told Rocky to say goodbye to Kyle. Rocky would start toward the stairs, then turn around and go to his kennel, even though Marj was ready to take him for a walk. We called him out, started to send him upstairs to say goodbye and he again headed for the kennel.
We figured out that he knows that the word goodbye meant that we were leaving and failing to put everything into a proper context and faced with a drive to anticipate, we had him running in circles.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Music downloading and the recording industry
They have been aggressively pursuing violators without prejudice. Sometimes some rather funny stories about this such as grandparents who don't use a computer are sued.
All the time, they wronged party is the poor artists who deserve their royalties (no argument here -- it is only fair).
Of course, though out the last few years, the recording industry is just as much trying to protect it's fiefdom as evidenced by this report.
The short form?
RIAA Petitions Judges to Lower Artist RoyaltiesAggressively litigious group has claimed to protect musicians in the past. Now believes musicians deserve less for "innovative" music distribution.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Prolific no, oops yes
No, I didn't post 20 items this weekend. What I did do was fix some of the labels for those items.
It hits the RSS readers really hard.
National Treasure and Family Business
This weekend I received a call from my Aunt in Iowa. When I called back she told me that she had found an ancestor with ties to those New Amsterdam (now New York) land marks.
According to Roots Web, it tells about one of my ancestors, Christian Barentse.
On August 1, 1657, Christian Barentze, carpenter, was granted by Peter Stuyvesant, director general of New Netherland, a lot in New Amsterdam, by the Land Gate, (now Broadway and Wall streets) for a house and garden. He also owned several other properties in the neighborhood, some of which are said to have covered a part of the present Trinity churchyard.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Kyle made me post this
Last night was a very special occasion for Shelby.
It was the night she got her black belt. This is after 14 years of training (she moved around a lot and started over each time).
It was also a special night for Kwanjangnim* Scott, the leader of the school, she is this school's first black belt.
We considered not going to the ceremony but were quite glad we did. Why? First of all, while we do not know her well, it gave us a chance to honor Bo-Sabumnim** Shelby as she is now titled. Second, it gave Kyle a chance to see what he would be doing if/when he graduates to black belt level. Third Kyle got to particpate (more later). Fourth, I got to hear more of the faith (Christian) of Scott than I have before.
The ceremony started with a diagram of the Black Belt testing stations and Scott asking Shelby to set up the stations silently according to the diagram. There were 8 bricks set up around a circle with the black belt stretched across the center. On each brick was a tree of candles. A fourth candle tree was set across the black belt. A student or friend was set up at each station around the side. Shelby was then given a word which described a characteristic of a black belt and asked what that word meant to her in relation to her life and in relation to karate. After she explained what it meant the person sitting at that station was asked to blow out the candles in front of them because without that characteristic, the world would be a darker place. The characteristic Kyle blew out the candle for was 'respect'.
The final characteristic was faith. That candle was not blown out. After this was done, Shelby was presented with her black belt.
* Kwanjangnim means Kwan Leader, a Kwan being a martial arts school. (see Taekwando)
** Sabumnim means teacher, the bo in front means baby or beginning.
My friend was right!
The same sort of thing you might hear watching Kung Fu.
Body builders know that as they lift weights, it creates small tears in the muscle that are replaced with other muscle cells.
The principle holds through a lot of things in life. A show on the Discovery Channel or one of it's affiliates that we saw called Xtreme Martial Arts tells how the process of breaking boards causes small cracks in the bone being used. The healing process of the body, like with muscles, repairs these cracks, filling them in, making them harder.
I think that many of us are so comfortable that we are afraid of challenges. In fact, we are more than willing to whine when things get tough. We forget that they do build us up.
Remember what James 1:2-4 says:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Done with the end...
It was sort of a long read but I did it because I have been curious about the Preterist and Futurist views of Revelation, The Great Tribulation and the end times.
Just to set the record straight, I think to adhere to either view takes faith. In this book, two "evangelicals" debate the issue.
The interesting thing about this debate was the way it was approached by the debaters. I the attitude I picked up in the book (and I could be very wrong about this) was arrogance. I felt the preterist had a much more humble spirit, at least at the start (and again, I could be quite wrong).
A word of warning about debate (not necessarily this one). The winning of a debate does not necessarily depend on the facts.
An example of this was a debate I was assigned to participate in while in High School. I was assigned the position that the world was flat. We won! Why? Because the opposing team was so convinced (and rightfully so of course) of their viewpoint, they forgot the rules of debate, that the newer (in this case, 15th Century view point) was considered true unless proven otherwise.
The format of the book is 2 chapters of explanation of the preterist view, 2 chapters explaining the futurist view then rebuttals.
Would I recommend it? If you are willing to trudge through a lot of linguistic mire, yes. If you hold one viewpoint or the other and wonder how in the world someone could think differently, yes. If, like me, you hold what a friend called a "pan" view (it will all pan out in the end), this one is probably not for you.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
As I was thinking about this weekend I was over whelmed with the busyness. 2 trips to Longmont, a Christmas party and a banquet.
Why so busy? Because Kyle was in Black Belt University. At 11, he now has a solid goal of becoming a black belt. He already teaches as an apprentice so is doing well. This weekend, he earned his high blue and tonight is testing for his red belt.
What actually brought on this post however is this from my friend Dave's wife Tara.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Snakes in the Pew
Snakes in the Pew
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Thinking things out...
I got the privilege of shoveling the layer off alone. Why is that a privilege? Because I get to think while I shovel.
Some time ago, when email was relatively new, I got a list of "imponderables". Thinks like:
Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways.
I would characterize an "imponderable" as a question with no real answer.
I tend to think in "ponder-ables" lately. Here is my pondering.
Yesterday, as I drove to a park-and-ride to catch a bus, I listened to the start of "Focus on the Family". Not a show I typically would listen to. As the host was introducing his guest speaker, Josh McDowell he made mention of McDowells latest book, "The Last Christian Generation", he said the book was "scary". Through this, I may have discovered a little more what has bothered me about the traditional "Christian Right" movement (this links to an article about the Christian Coalition for instance).
I heard fear. Fear that the our children may not follow Christ. Fear that our "Christian lifestyle" may be nearing an end.
Contrasting that, we went to a Worship and the Word Movement dinner last night. There Dave said that God is doing great things today.
Why the difference?
I think many Christian leaders have substituted the things of God with the things of this world. This then dribbles down. Here is the list that I thought about this morning.
|Gods things||The Worlds Things||In Substituting...|
|Hope||Fear||We look at the things around us and forget that God is in control|
|Love||Hate||We forget that those who are our enemies are people that Jesus died for also|
|Joy/Peace||Uneasyness||We cast of the beauty of God and portray God as unattractive to those around us.|
Friday, December 01, 2006
I have never met but have enjoyed his writing and perspective. You can read more about him here.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I saw this and thought it was so cool! The rolling toaster.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
There is a feud afoot
Ok, I think I am mixing metaphors (Hatfields & McCoys with Sherlock Holmes) but I suspect you get the drift.
For the last 2 or 3 years, I moved from Internet Explorer to Firefox, at least for home use. One of the big reasons is the tabbed browsing, a feature I use extensively. Now Internet Explorer has released a new version (7.0) with tabbed browsing.
At about the same time, Firefox has released their latest and greatest 2.0.
As with any new code, there are bugs, incompatibilities and, at least with browsers, security holes. As a result, you may want to wait awhile before upgrading...
In spite of that, I have moved to the latest of both.
During that move with Firefox, I realized one of my favorite features is the "add-ons" which are typically user written. One of my favorites was a "link visitor" which allowed you to mark all links on the page read or unread. This makes looking for new content quite a bit easier. It wasn't compatible (at least I thought). I found that the Link Visitor website had a work around so I now have my favorite plug in back.
High (Church) Tech
This month, they have an interview with the operators of the "Church Marketing Sucks" website. One of the take aways from that interview is that you are always marketing, whether it is your beliefs, your church or your business.
Another thing we tend to think is that our competition is the "other churches in the area". The reality is, your competition is the movie theaters, the football game, anything that may come up to distract someone from God. Just think, the coffeehouse down the street out markets many churches.
One of the distinctions that they draw in the interview is the difference between branding and marketing and the synergy between them.
It's a great interview.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Winter Wonder Slam
I didn't know what to think prior to getting there. Wow, what a show. He brought in his favorite acts. Some crazy some great but quite diverse.
His show? Kyle loved it, I was impressed!
A quick note, if you do a quick calculation, I have posted an average of once every 2 1/4 days this year.
The reason was that this summer flew by because I made myself too busy. Along with bass duties at church, I was also running sound and playing at another church.
Her answer (correct as it turned out) was to take a couple of months off. Although I fought it, almost immediately after making that decision known, my attitude got better, even making my final month of service tolerable.
I wasn't supposed to play again until December but the bass player that was scheduled to play was out of town. Since he had picked up a week for me, I volunteered to be the "ace in the pocket" so he was free to go. Nobody else offered so there I was.
What is it like to be back? My fingers got sore faster, my hand tired and I didn't know the music (we played only one familiar song -- things change fast). It was great!
What did I learn? It is well explained in this (.mp3) sermon from this church titled "The temptation of practical goodness". The short answer is, however, being busy doesn't mean a whole lot to God if you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing with your time.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
You gotta watch what you're doing
You gotta watch what you're doing, didn't you knowThis doesn't really fit into the context of the song above but as I was thinking about the following, the chorus kept coming into my head.
You gotta watch where you're going, didn't you know
-- (chorus) Watch What You're Doing, Larry Norman
I started this blog because I had thoughts running through my head and needed a way to get it out onto a media that I could see it, organize it and, even be criticized (constructively I hope) on it.
Throughout this year, I have started re-examining many things about my beliefs. No, not about my chosen beliefs about Christ but more about my beliefs within that context.
To explain a little, let's dial the way-back machine to where and how I grew up. I grew up in Iowa in a small town. The challenge for those in that small town, especially in that time, there were not a large choice in churches. My parents were members of the non-denominational church.
If you remember, I mentioned here that I related to a culture where the realization of God's grace happened a generation ago and I had been taught the taboos of the Christian faith which, both protected me but also would serve to guide me to that grace also.
The problem with this is that the taboos don't necessarily line up with what the Bible says. What does that do to the faith of those around you that you have spiritual input with.
Here is an example. At the time I was growing up, dancing was frowned upon in the church, in fact, it was considered taboo.
Then, when reading the Bible, you read 2 Samuel 6:17-23, the story about David dancing before the Ark of God (in his underwear no less). Now as a kid, you have several possible responses to that:
- I am going to ignore this because the adults (or those around longer if you are an adult) know best. An approach I would call the turtle approach to life. Where this approach fails is that when you are approached by someone who has "better" guidelines, you follow them without looking at Scripture.
- I am going to ignore both those around me and God because obviously they are "full of it". An approach that best fits with the rabbit view, running away from anything that may be a challenge.
- I am going to figure out what Scripture says about this and ignore unscriptural taboos. This is the hardest stance to take because ultimately, it means standing alone until the next person like you comes along. You get judged (and possibly rejected) by both sides above. This is the approach I have chosen to take many times, especially lately.
Like most compliant kids, Kyle takes many of the rules at face value. I see this as a danger and ask him to question everything. The High School principle, on the other hand, teaches a class that encourages the kids to do exactly that!
I really appreciate advice given by one of my college Teachers Assistants. "Be skeptical about everything, cynical about nothing."
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The Sunday Service
Dave and the worship band lead off with "You are Good" and "Your Grace is Enough". Scott introduced our other worship leader Dan who gave the message on being alone and God never leaving you. His take-aways:
- Listen to the Holy Spirit
- Pray continually
- Read the Bible
In the twighlight zone?
While on a trip to the local Radio Shack, I tuned into one of the local Christian radio stations. On the show was a woman host who, from what little I heard, made Rush look liberal. From what I heard, America should be doing more against Iraq and Al Queda. The rant I heard was for a simpler term "Spouting Hate". I then turned the radio off to talk to Marj.
A few miles down the road, I flipped on one of the local AM talk radio stations, one that is usually pretty conservative but is not particularly religious in nature. The host there is talking about an Elton John statement suggesting that we ban religion banned. The news stated:
Elton John has declared that organised religion should be banned, as it turns some people into "hateful lemmings".The host on this station was telling how Christians are told to love and how his church (I don't know which one) does that. This is a host who, from his language and demeanor on the air does not strike me as a particularly "Christian" individual.
I was struck by the irony. The station who is the "outreach" to the unchurched is spouting hate against it's enemys. The station that has no commitment to any "Christian" values is sending out a more "Christian" message.
"Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.-- Matt 5:39 (The Message)
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love.-- I John 4:7-8 (The Message)
"Hope is like a lighthouse keeper's beam.
Hope - the master cobbler of our dreams.
For Hope believes in desert streams.
The mightiest of stars,
the microcosm in a jar -
vast or small they all revolve on Hope."
-- "Hope" - Klaatu
Years ago in college, I bought an album (yes, vinyl) from a band I had never heard about but had this wonderful album cover, Klaatu. The band had a sound that was similar to The Beatles but the lyrics were "Sci-fi rock".
I think often about the word "hope" as I go through my day and the quote above has stuck with me for many years as somewhat profound. I have many hopes and dreams. Where does that fit into my life? I Cor 13:13 says:
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Sickness and health
Claes and Diane, friends from our college years, called a couple of weeks ago and said they were going to be in Denver then up to Estes Park to do some work with the Weekend To Remember. They were wondering if we could get together sometime when they were in town. We were able to put them up for two nights before they headed up hill.
The problem we had was that first Kyle and then Marj came down sick so I don't think they felt that they were much fun to be with. So far, however, I haven't caught it.
It was wonderful being able to catch up with them!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Read the Ed Young article he points us to in Relevant Magazine.
The quote that blew me away?
Have you ever wondered where that phrase, "a fall from grace," comes from? Galatians 5:4, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (NKJV).Sorry about the 2 link jump but I really wanted to let the original author have his credit.
How telling that we use that particular terminology to describe an incident (usually of the high-profile variety) of moral failure. By doing so, we tip our theological hand. While we talk a lot about God's inexhaustible grace and unconditional love, when it comes right down to it, we still believe that grace is exhaustible. We know that we owe our salvation to Christ's grace-giving work on the cross. But it doesn't take long before we trade in that boundless grace for the boundaries of the law.
I am sad about the election
We had 2 big ballot initiatives, one an amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman, the other a referendum to allow "civil unions" between same sex couples.
I don't want to debate the merits of either. I do want to comment on this.
I heard that one organization who supported the marriage amendment and opposed the civil union law spent$1,000,000 in advertising. That is a 1 with six zeros behind it.
Let me put that in a little different perspective.
The average wage in Colorado is $43,000. That is enough to pay 23 of the the average wage earners here.
You could generously feed 5000 families for one week with that same money.
If given to World Vision, you could feed over 2000 children for one year.
This makes me quite sad.
It's all over but the crying...
The best part? I don't have to watch any more advertisements slamming the opponents.
I'd scream but you wouldn't hear.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
More thoughts on Pastor Ted
Since the weekend, he resigned from the church he lead and is undergoing personal counseling.
My observation? In spite of the fact he was a very public figure, way to many people are talking that are involved. People involved in the pastoral staff were talking in ways I would say was inappropriate when the story of Ted stepping down from NAE. I heard interviews with those involved in the overseeing process who told much more than was made public. The latest are interviews with those who are monitoring his recovery.
I don't know the terms of his recovery program so it could be legitimate but this bothers me.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
A King and a Kingdom
my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a king & a kingdom
From Derek Webb's Mockingbird album.
Freeing the mind?
Thursday and Friday of this week were spent working from home. It is quite nice that Qwest allows this.
On the other hand, one of the bad things about my job is the amount of time I spend on the phone in meetings.
Something happened yesterday that was quite interesting. I was on a call and one of the people sharing his desktop so that all could see was using an application called FreeMind. FreeMind is a "mind- mapping" tool.
According to the Wikipedia mind- mapping link:
Mind maps (or similar concepts) have been used for centuries, for learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists and people in general. Some of the earliest examples of mind maps were developed by Porphyry of Tyros, a noted thinker of the 3rd century as he graphically visualised the concept categories of Aristotle. Ramon Llull also used these structures of the mind map form.FreeMind is a Java application which allows you do do basic mapping. I thought I would try it out next week... maybe my mind will be freed.
Friday, November 03, 2006
I have watched as political critics such as willzhead and Jim Wallis have said very little, an act consistent with what I have seen from them before. I have also watched as the traditional "religious right" have offered compassionate pleas for prayer. I now have friends that have offered their thoughts here and here.
I agree with the requests asking for prayer for the pastor and his family. These are my thoughts...
Many times, I am not content to sit back and watch. One of the characteristics of my personality is being somewhat analytical. This came out as I was thinking about the situation. What can we learn from what is occurring?
- None of us are immune from sin. We often times hide it, sugar coat it, build a facade around it but it is still there. We need to remember that outside of God's grace, we are all the same. Inside God's grace we can be clean.
- While I agree we need to pray for the people who attend church. I don't know that we should ask, however, that their pain, grief and other emotions are made easier. Scott Hamilton spoke at chapel at Kyle's school last week. The topic was struggling (or wrestling) with God. His point (second hand here) was that in the ancient Jewish culture, struggling against God was a badge of honor. Here in this country, we look at struggling with God as a bad thing. I hope that his church do struggle against God to understand why this is happening and through this, see God face to face.
- It shows us that we should never put my spiritual leaders up on a throne as they are as prone to sin as we are.
- It shows us that the politics of this world do not matter nearly as much as the politics of the Kingdom of God.
Just in time...
I voted (early) yesterday... And just in time too!
It seems the 11th hour efforts to discredit the issues and/or candidates are in full force! If there is any question that politics are not what God would have us concentrate on, these last few hours of this election may serve to convince us otherwise.
The things that hit me on this years elections were:
- I used the new Diebold electronic voting machines. There is quite a lot of talk swirling around the internet about vulnerabilities since it is software based. On the other hand, at least the models my county uses have a paper trail that prints out prior to your vote officially being cast.
- Kyle was off school yesterday so I was able to take him along to watch Dad do his civic duty. I remember doing something like this with my parents many years ago with the mechanical voting machines.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I have heard that the head of IBM in the 1940's stated that there would never need to be more than 5 computers in the world...
Your digital watch has more computer power than the computer power that put man on the moon in 1969....
The computer you are reading this on is likely to have more processing power than the computer used for the computer animation in the movie "Tron"...
The first computer I purchased in the 1980's cost me about $2000. The computer I would love to have would cost me about $2000...
Seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Monday, October 30, 2006
What do they think we are?
You have the candidate ads which are , for the most part, positive. Then you have the party ads who are not quite so positive. Finally, you have the 527 ads which are down and dirty. The thinking is that "We need to keep our candidate looking good so someone else can sling the mud!". The faulty logic here is that I believe both the party and 527 ads can back fire on those they are meant to support.
In the Denver area, a good source for what is true, what is false and what is spin is Channel 4's "Reality Check". Check it out!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
We were lead in several worship songs prior to communion and offering, among them, "I am Free", "Open the eyes of my Heart" and "Blessed be your name".
Scott read from the passage...
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."
He then told about Laodicea which had a resort town with healing hot springs on the one side and mountains providing the water on the other. The town was wealthy because they had sheep which gave them a black wool as well as an eye salve.
The problem was that the water was sent from the mountains to the town through an aqueduct which, by the time it arrived and was stored in the water system, had turned tepid.
The things that challenged me, especially in my weekend of challenging podcast listening were...
- It is easy to be tepid, apathetic or even distracted.
- The "hot" and "cold" don't just talk about a spiritual temperature but that fact that the people were not spiritually refreshing or spiritually healing.
- He also talked about how, while the church was well off, they didn't really have the spiritual necessities of life. The illustration here of being poor, blind and naked actually spoke in contrast to their physical situation of being well off, having easy access to the healing eye salve and having easy access to clothing made from the wool.
- Finally, he talked about the last verse... "I stand at the door....". I suspect most of us have heard this used in evangelism but Scott pointed out that within the context given, it is actually talking to the Christ followers in Laodicea. He also mentioned that dinner was "The Meal" of the day and so being told that Christ would dine with them was quite special.
Lost in the cast space
Ok, the last couple of days, I have been in the process of catching up. What that means for me is sitting down and listening to the podcasts that I haven't listened to yet.
It also turned out that not all were podcasts. Let me give you my inventory, at least the ones that struck me.
- Liquid Church HD - Tim Lucas and his church are being given the green light to go out on their own, creating a High Definition church. What struck me about this is how close his desires are to the desires of Northern Hills when creating Whitewater.
- An interview with Moby (in three parts). Interesting to see how this popular artist (not someone I really listened to but did know about) incorporates his faith and art and the questions they raise.
- Jim Wallis speaking on Minnesota Public Radio about faith and politics.
- Jim Wallis and Gregory Boyd debating faith and politics at Bethel University. This was an incredible debate. The questions that the students asked were insightful and ranged from "traditional" thinking to more in line with what Wallis and Boyd were speaking about.
- Melvin Bray on the Emergent Village podcast. Melvin is a story teller who tells an extended story of the adulteress and Jesus. Honestly, this is the one that really inspired me to post here. The story was touching and incredible! You can also read it on his blog with a little more of the story behind the story here.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I know.... Weird.
Although sometimes pushing the boundaries of common sense, I have liked his music and parodies for some time now. Al is a great showman and musician. I won't go near musical genius however.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
An interesting way to listen to music.
It started when my friend and worship leader Dan started blogging, that lead to Rob which lead to Scott. From Scott, I found out about Anthony Coppedge where I learned about his podcast on Creative Synergy which he shares with the author of ChurchVideoIdeas.
This is where it got interesting. Today, ChurchVideoIdeas had an audio related entry that was really COOL. It seems there is a site called Pandora which claims to be the start of "The Music Genome Project". What that means, in so many words, is that they are analyzing music (see the link in the previous sentence.
They have put together a really nice little tool to build Internet radio stations. You enter an artist, it picks a "characteristic song" then links from that to other songs related to that artist or song in some way.
I have tried "Matt Redman", "Lynard Skinard", "Bach" and "Victor Wooten" and haven't stumped it yet!
Monday, October 16, 2006
Yesterday was interesting. We live not far from a large open field, some trees and an irrigation ditch. We have lots of rabbits in our neighborhood as well as in the open area.
Because of the rabbits, we have also seen raptors in the area (Owls and Hawks). Yesterday, we saw two coyote's around 100 yards away. They were actually bigger than I thought they would be and fatter too as we have not been seeing as many rabbits as we used to.
We elected to stay well away from where they were headed!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Put 'em away....
No, not because of something we did. They were having a drainage problem and the Fire Marshall cleared the store.
Today, we stopped back for the few things we hadn't picked up on Sunday. Then, we found the one thing we forgot (and really did "need") just after we got home.
I ran to the store the third time alone. I parked some distance away from the store but about 3 spots away from a cart corral, those things in the parking lot that are there to put the carts into (that nobody seems to use). These are particularly well designed cart corrals as we do get a lot of wind out on the prairie.
No carts nearby as I ran into the store. When I came back out, however, two carts were near the front bumper. Why can't people walk the 30 feet to put away a cart, especially when I am nowhere near a handy capped parking spot?
I have had this podcast sitting in my player ready to go for days. Since I subscribe, it automatically pulled down.
The title of the talk was "Relational Truth". I was cautious as I pushed the play button. Was I going to disagree with what was said?
Let me say starting off, I was quite impressed.
This podcast was downloaded from the Emergent Village. I realize now that I misread the title of the talk as the speaker was not about "Relative Truth" but says that God, being truth, is a relational God.
I will, on the other hand, say that I don't know much about the Emergent Church movement but I am finding a strange harmony in what I hear from those involved, what I read in the Bible and my feelings.
This image denotes the RSS feed. To find out more about RSS, you can revisit this and this post....
I did this because I found giving links to podcasts feeds looks really silly unless you really want it. I also found that some blogs don't publisize their feeds so to make it easier, I added the image with a link to their feed.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Compare and Contrast....
Here is what I found strange as I listened to the lyrics....
Imagine there's no countriesFrom willzhead...
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
This Tuesday there will be a demonstration at the White House, just prior to the time when the President is to sign the Military Commissions Act of 2006, legislation that legalizes torture of prisoners. Further, this bill would eradicate the the writ of habeas corpus for detainees, meaning that we have eliminated the process for determining if the prisoners we are torturing are even individuals of interest. God help us (and I mean that quite literally). This is a terrible piece of legislation and ranks the United States with some of the cruelest and most barbaric cultures.
You can tune a guitar and you can tune a piano but can you Tuna Fish?At first he looked at me with a look that said "What is my crazy Dad talking about"? Then the light bulb went on and a great big grin broke across his face with a giggle.
Several years ago I got to hear James Burke speak at a conference in Denver. Burke is a technology historian who has done a book/audio/video series called Connections which traces the evolution of inventions from early history through today.
In that speech, which was at a computer related conference, he talked about how they have not yet developed great speech recognition software because the way we have a computer do things and the way a human brain works is quite different.
They typical way a computer processes speech is to hear a word, look it up, associate a meaning, then proceed to the next word, assembling the meaning as it hears the word.
Burke said that scientists think that the way our brain works is to hear a word and immediately build a decision tree (similar to the one below), eliminating branches of possible meanings as it hears the next word (my phone does this with letters in words if I put it into iTap mode). He also said (and this is where I tie it together), that the scientists believe that what makes a joke funny is that it takes a path not on that decision tree, causing the humor.
(*** This is Kyle and I approve this post ***)
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Admitting the wrong...
These posts pertained to the politicizing of the Foley scandal. I am still upset about the way things are handled for the following reasons:
- From the news reports, the sending of IMs to pages was a known issue for years by several in leadership
- It has been handled poorly politically by all sides of the issues. On the
- Many (not all) of our "christian leaders" have been strangely silent or have condemmed and then made excuses for Foley's behaviour.
- The conservatives in congress and elsewhere are using this as a "the liberals are attacking me" excuse to garner sympathy.
- The liberals in congress and elsewhere are forgetting their wrongs and vilifying the concervatives.
All the time, I think we as followers of Jesus should divorce ourselves from the politics of this country and start looking at the people who need Jesus.
This is NOT a cry to say DON'T VOTE. This is a cry to say.... VOTE WISELY!
Monday, October 09, 2006
Yesterday at Northern Hills
I thought I would give my impression of the service I went to. For those that don't know, Northern Hills has 2 different services happening each Sunday. They are called The River and Whitewater. Whitewater is higher energy and the favorite service for my son, Kyle. Although I like the music and feel of Whitewater, I still tend to gravitate toward the River service.
Quick notes off the top! Marcy ran great sound this weekend! The music portion of the worship, lead by Dave was wonderful. Then we've got Scott who has been our speaker.
Each time I hear him speak I am overwhelmed by his passion which overflows his love for God and love for speaking about His word.
This week, we heard a message on Revelation 2:18-25. Most of the message dealt with church discipline as it related to this passage. We quickly moved to Matt 18:15-17 and how to treat those who do not change as a result of this discipline. I had always assumed that verse 17 meant excommunication like the Catholic church practices. According to Scott, "How did Jesus treat the pagans and tax collectors?" He hung out with them, trying to show them the right way through his example.
Book Review: The Myth of a Christian Nation
It is a challenging book to read as it challenges a lot of our way of looking at America (or any other country for that matter). Rather than going into an in-depth review, I'll refer you to this review done by Vanguard Church.
Instead, I'll tell you my take-aways.
- There are two kingdoms that we deal with, the "Kingdom Under Heaven" and the "Power over the Earth".
- When people who should be more concerned with the "Kingdom Under" perspective become distracted or involved with the "Power Over" perspective, the "Kingdom Under" perspective is distorted or harmed.
- We, as humans, are prone to tribalism, including being drawn to the "Power Over" viewpoint.
- Jesus did not concern himself with the politics of this world.
- If it doesn't "look like Jesus" than it is likely a "Power Over" rather than "Kingdom Under"
- It is not partisian, unlike the Randall Balmer book I recently read, in fact, throughout the book, you find very little out the political viewpoints of Boyd.
- He keeps pointing you at Jesus.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Among the things I liked about this one?
- The requests from other podcasters at the podcast convention.
- The Sid Vicious version of "My Way" in punk.
- Save Ferris' version of "Come On Eileen"
Saturday, October 07, 2006
This morning's walk
Every morning someone walks the dog... Usually it is Marj. On weekends, however, I try to go along. This morning, I grabbed the camera and took this photo as Rocky ran toward me. This is taken in a field about 1 block away from our house.
The backpack was to give him more of a sense of "working" and contains a couple of small bottles of water.
Friday, October 06, 2006
What does it look like?
"If it looks like Jesus" or "If it doesn't look like Jesus".
I was listening to the latest news about the school shootings in Pennsylvania and saw something that "Looked like Jesus". According to the news report, the community effected by this shooting...
- Asked for prayers for the family of the shooter.
- Set up a fund to support the family of the shooter.
To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
What's going on?
What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn't treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
So God said, in effect, "If that's what you want, that's what you get." It wasn't long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!
We have sin headlining the news... Within one week we have had a congressman from Florida resign in discrace and three school shootings. Two of these had intents of sexual assult associated with them.
Do we need any more proof that what Paul wrote in Romans 1 is accurate?
My heart mourns with the parents who's children have been harmed in these events. My spirit grieves with those who are angered by these events.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
Hitting the top...
I find it odd that while our housing market throughout the US, but especially here, is soft, the business news is all about the Dow Jones index hitting the highest point in it's history. Don't get me wrong, as long as the Dow rises, many of the retirement accounts I have in place benefit. I often wonder, however, is this a case of the Rich getting Richer and the poor getting poorer?
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Facing the Giants
- Our job, the sport we are in, etc in and of itself are not our reason to live. We are to glorify God whether we are succeding or failing.
- God can do greater things than we can imagine if we are willing to trust in him.
Here is the film's publicity story line:
This is not a paid promotional ad and no movie viewers were harmed in the writing of this post.
From the award-winning producers of FLYWHEEL comes a new, action-packed, family-friendly drama about a high school football coach who draws up a new game plan for his team … and himself.
In his six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never had a winning season. Even the hope of a new season is squelched when the best player on his Shiloh Eagles decides to transfer schools. After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, Coach Taylor has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure.
However, an unexpected challenge helps him find a purpose bigger than just victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, Coach Taylor and the Eagles discover how faith plays out on the field … and off.
With God, all things are possible …
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
It seems that my posts here run in phases... There are lot of things running through my head these days but few tend to stop running long enough to get to the fingertips.
This was rather interesting however. Thanks to the Coverville podcast, I was introduced to a band that I have heard but didn't know... Polyphonic Spree.
They have a bunch of influences but the closest I could come to describing the band is "Sgt. Pepper". A lot of 60's pop in a 24 piece band.
They were just through the Denver area earlier this month and, of course, since I didn't know about them, I missed them... Maybe next time.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Free music and more free music
A couple of interesting things are contained in the all (well mostly) music episode.
- A new Switchfoot release was announced with a song that, according to the host "Just Pete", will not be on the release and will not be on the radio. It is good.
- He played a song from Derek Webb who is giving away his album at his website. The song I heard was good enough that I thought I'd download it.
In a way, this is my way of complying guilt free with his marketing techniques... Listen to the Bored-again Christian podcast, then pop from the website over to check out Derek Webb's free download.
Monday, September 18, 2006
iPod Observer talks about MyVu glasses for the iPod. The price tag, however, is higher than even the top of the line iPod.
Then I read this post from Mark Battersons evotional Blog. On top of that, probably my favorite recent post is "Top-ten ways to redeem technology".
The bottom line? The web, iPods, blogs... It's all there for us to use for good (and God)!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
A tale of air
Once upon a time, in 2004, it came time to blow out the sprinkler lines. A trip to the local hardware superstores and pawn shops found nothing to help without investing a LOT of money. As a result, we drafted a "hero" of sorts, my Brother-In-Law, to come and help. Mark brought his air compressor over and we blew out the lines.
Some time later, in 2005, it came time again to blow out the lines. The air compressor that tempted me was more money than I wanted to spend but.... A new Home Depot had just been built near my house. A trip there and I found it! The air compressor I wanted to invest in... The problem was, money. My neighbor had a solution! I could borrow his! Using Mark's example, I blew out the lines. In the mean time, however, I started planning. If I asked for gift cards for Home Depot, that air compressor could be mine.
I made it through Christmas, Anniversary, Valentines Day, Fathers Day and finally, my birthday. The $$ on the gift cards covered the $$ for the air compressor. Yea!
My family and I went to Home Depot and alas, they were almost out of the model I wanted. I took the second to the last one there. Kyle and I assembled it but... OH NO! It wouldn't turn on!
Let me take you down a literative bunny trail here. For years I went to Home Depot near our old house because of prices and the things they carried. I didn't go there for customer service. When we found the one near us in Brighton had opened, one of the first things we noticed was the helpful friendly people that worked there.
I took the non-functional compressor back last weekend. There was no hassle, in fact, the only thing they did was to plug it in to verify the facts.
This one did work so I'd like to say....
Thank You to the Brigton Home Depot for your helpfulness in a time of stress and disappointment.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Where am I going?
The story started several weeks ago when my friend Scott posted this video from Vintage21. Out of curiosity, I dug into their archives and found a series of messages on Revelation. Not your typical peek into what they think the "end times" are about but a look at the 7 churches mentioned and how the admonitions applied to me.
Next, I read the willzhead post on Gregory A. Boyd, purchased both his book and the book by Randall Balmer (see this and this for more...). As a result, I started listening to podcasts from Gregory Boyd's church, Woodland Hills.
Yesterday, my church started a series on Revelation as well with a similar theme as Vintage 21. I am looking forward to where that is going.
This morning, while getting ready for work, I am thinking about taking risks and my friends who help at the Denver Rescue Mission monthly. I got home and heard LifeChurch's weekly podcast on being a disciple which states that a disciple of Jesus will...
- Has compassion for those that are helpless
- Befriended the sinners.
- Offends the religious people while doing the above.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
A strange start to the morning...
I remember sleeply turning off my alarm as it rang this morning, then un-characteristically, rolling over and dozing off.
A few minutes later, my wife woke me up out of my sleep. At that time, I remember dreaming (this is unusual because I don't often remember my dreams). The dream?
I was in the midst of worship singing the song Majesty...
Your grace has found me just as I am
Empty handed, but alive in your hands
Forever I am changed by your love
In the presence of your Majesty
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
It's a blog-a-thon day....
Jason, the worship leader from Solomon's Porch sent this link to me... Being on the worship team we all have our worst nightmares. This is one of them. Play the clip... You'll laugh, you'll cry...
You just have to love Colorado
The family gathering... The final chapter
It was wonderful seeing everyone together!
Monday, September 04, 2006
What a busy weekend...
To that end, my sister Jane and her husband as well as my family have hosted the rest of the family. My sister lives a few miles away so this has been fairly convenient.
Friday started the affair. My parents, one niece and her boyfriend flew in first, my first trip to the airport. Then my brother and another niece flew in, trip number 2. My final trip was to meet my sister-in-law.
Events this week have included:
- family time
- barbecue at our house
- trips to Starbucks and Dazbog
- a wonderful lunch at my sisters
- Church together
- Sunday dinner Bucca De Beppo
- Ice Cream cake
- A trip to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder
- A trip to Boulder Falls west of Boulder
- Casa Bonita
- Downtown Denver - specifically a pilgrimage to the Hard Rock
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Loosing my religion...
It is also the title of an excellent message from Liquid Church.
In the message, Tim challenges the reader to consider trying to loose their religion while keeping their faith.
This is something I have been trying to do since High School when we went through a study on Romans called "How to be a Christian without being Religious". I say trying because, honestly, I am more successful sometimes than others.