Thursday, February 21, 2008

Doug Pagitt and Preaching

I just commented at my friend Tim's blog on his review of Preaching Reimagined.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ER, Life, and Atonement

I just jumped into a discussion over at Knightopia. It's about a recent episode of ER where one of the patients struggles with the meaning of forgiveness, works, and grace. It looks like it might turn out to be an interesting one. You can see NBC's 2 minute replay here. I hope the full episode will be online sometime.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Star Wars Pretender

My friend Anthony is in this video over at You Tube. He's the guy in the Darth Vader suit.

NEw Rob Bell Video

Rob Bell has a new Nooma video (HT:Emergent Village). It's rather well done. I've not seen too many of the Nooma videos, but I sure do like this one. It us currently available on Facebook for the next couple of days.
As a former hospital chaplain, I can say that he has hit this one on the head. I've had these conversations with many families. It is all too easy to get into platitudes, but to enter into the suffering and pain of the world as Jesus did is our calling.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Maybe it's lust, maybe it's more

Maybe I'm just jones'n for a new piece of tech, but the more I read about the iPhone the more I really want one. I've been a Treo guy for years. I love the crude nature of the Palm OS, but the truth is that it's no longer working for me. As with everyone else, the longer I've had a mobile phone the more I seem to need it to do. As my life has become more mobile, I need a phone that can do more. The trouble: the price. I've never spent much for a phone. Even my current Treo 680 only cost me $75 after rebates (still waiting for that rebate card Costco!). Plus, I always been a PC guy. Sure I ruled on the early

Apple II and II+, but that was Jr. High School. (Heck I even played with a LISA for a while.) I've alway been a bit of a Mac hater because I think that Stephen Jobs is a arrogant SOB, but he does have the chops to back up what he says. He has earned my respect over the years, so the idea of buy in the Apple lifestyle doesn't make me cringe like it used to. I have to see. I don't have $400 burning a whole in pocket at the moment, but maybe soon...

Clutter Butt

The short answer: Yes! Organization is a discipline that I am sorely lacking in. I go through times of letting everything find its own place on the desk to the opposite extreme of wanting my desk to be completely cleaned off. Lent is one of those times for me. It is a time of cleaning of things out of my life that are only clutter, that add nothing positive to my life. May this season of Lent be more than a furry of cleaning followed by a time of entropy!

Yosemite Bound!

Well, it happened again. Today is the opening day for making reservations at Yosemite National Park for the summer months. And, as usual I was unable to secure a camping site! AND as usual my wife got right in. I don't know how it works, but she did it! Now, we only have to have 4 more months of hearing the kids daily ask "Are we going to Yosemite this week?" Oh, the joy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Venus and Mars and St. Valentine

Just heard part of an interview of John Gray, author of the famous Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars book. He has a new one out in which he talks about the differences and complementarity nature of the sexes. One of his main points is that oxitosin, the hormone that signals a woman to give birth and starts her contractions, is a stress reducer in regular circumstances. This hormone is also produced in women through romance. It seems that romance and a romantic partner create in a woman the hormone that reduces stress. Similarly, in a man when he does physical activity, including having sex his body produces testosterone which reduces stress in men. So, all you husbands out there, wine and dine your wife tonight and you reduce the stress for both of you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Made To Stick

Just picked my copy. Very stimulating. I will be posting on it soon.
So many books, so little time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lent: Day 6

I spent the afternoon with my oldest son yesterday. My wife and two young children are out of town. So, after church we had the day of the boys. We finished painting his bedroom, UCLA blue and gold, went to the batting cages, and then saw a movie. It was great pouring time into him. Now that he is 10 he is becoming more of young man all the time. I had lots that I wanted to do, but this day was for him. He loved it and so did I. It brought back a lot of good memories of my dad and I hope built some for him.

During Lent we are reminded that our lives are not simply about ourselves. While few of us would state it that crassly, the truth is that many of us live that way. We see our own desires at paramount and those of others, including our families, as being less important. I am often guilty of this. When the bible says that we are trust in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart, the subtext is that when we follow after Jesus our desires begin to change. As we give of ourselves to others our desire for personal satisfaction changes. It is not that we don't desire satisfaction any longer, but rather that how that personal satisfaction is accomplished changes. When we begin to take pleasure in the joy of others we become transformed and become more like God.

Jesus said two things that are often not connected: He said that he only did what he heard God telling him to do and he said that no greater love has a man than he lay down his life for his friends. The connecting point here is that Jesus calls us to live like him: to listen to and obey God AND to give of ourselves to a broken and hurting world that disparately needs the good news of Jesus.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lent: Day 3

The force of habit is a strong thing. This morning my family was going through our normal routine: get up, get the kids up and dressed for school (socks and shoes too?), make sure everyone eats something (but I'm not hungry), get the lunches made (daddy, I don't like that kind of sandwich), get everyone out the door on time for school. Everything is going normally and I make a pot of coffee (Peet's Major D). Sit down at the computer to check some email. Wow this coffee tastes really good! Then it hits me: out of shear habit I put sugar in my coffee. Oops! A short internal wrestling match later I decide to pour out that sweet nectar of the gods and get another cup sans the sugar. Not as sweet, but this is Peet's so it's still pretty tasty.

It is a gift God gives us in traditions like Lent. They help us to get off autopilot and to become more aware of the moment. They call us to wake up. Jesus kept calling followers to leave behind (repent) their normalized lives that made sense for a life that did not, but that was true living. There are many things in our lives that are not bad or evil or anything negative in and of themselves. Rather, they are clutter and distraction. They demand time of us and lull us into a false sense of peace and security. During this season of Lent I believe that Jesus is calling us to go deeper in being aware of each moment we have with Him and that He is truly the same yesterday, today and forever (ht: to my Foursquare peeps!).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lent: Day 1

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and seeking after God in preparation for the great celebration that is Easter. It is a challenging time. Which sets up this post:
Yesterday, not ten minutes after my initial post the following took place:

  • Phone rings: This John from Citibank, I'm calling because your payment is 5 days over due on your new credit card.
  • Me: What!?!? (In my mind - I thought we canceled that one because we got a better deal on the other one!) OK, I'll send the payment in today.
  • To myself: I can't believe it.. @#$#^$$ I am sure I canceled it. OK, where is the info for this card so I can pay it off an cancel it. (Can't find any paper work on it. Oh great!)
  • 30 minutes of me digging through files, looking through piles of paper on my desk until I realize that I applied for this one online and that it is setup for online statements. (More @##$@% to myself because I don't know what the account number is.)
  • 10 minutes later I find the card in my dresser drawer.
  • OK, now I have the account number, what is the password for the website.
  • 5 minutes of futility in trying to guess what the password is until I click on "Forgot Password?"
  • Jump through the security hoops so that I can log in and make a payment.
  • A bit more @#%&^## to myself.
  • Then I remember, Oh yeah this is Lent. A time where I am supposed to put aside my own desires for control and find God in everything I do.
  • Many more minutes of confessing and asking God's help and forgiveness.

How often is it that I try to do something for God or to grow in devotion to the One who loves me in spite of myself and it turns out this way!

If this is the beginning of my Lent experience I'd better strap myself's going to be a bumpy road!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

40 Days of Lent

I've decided to keep Lent this year. I haven't done it for quite some time, so this should be an interesting journey. I first started celebrating Lent when I was in seminary. My Greek professor was an Orthodox Priest and had a great influence on my spirituality.

The fasting portion of Lent is done to remind the follower of Jesus of his sacrifice. The minor inconveniences that that we endure during this season are daily reminders to pray that the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness and that we are to be a part of living it out where ever we are. Traditionally the money that was not used towards the food was to be given to the poor. The fasting of Lent reminds us that our lives are not simply about our own desires, but rather that we are to give of ourselves as Jesus did: denying our own desires that God's desires for the world would be done through us.

I won't be keeping the Orthodox sun up to sun down fasting. Instead I am going to do without sugar. There is nothing spiritual about going without something, as if sugar where somehow spiritually corrupt. My purpose in doing this is that sugar is in so many of the things I eat and by going without I am constantly reminded throughout my day of season of Lent. I'll be blogging daily over the next forty days as Easter approaches. Leave your comments here on your thoughts of Lent.

Today is "Fat Tuesday" so-called because during the traditional celebration of Lent no fat (read butter, Crisco, etc.) was to be used. Fat Tuesday was the day when all of the fat in the house was to be consumed so as not to waste it. So, for me today will be sugar Tuesday. I will not be taking on some form of Mardi Gras like consuming of sugar, but today will be the last day of consuming sugar until Easter. Oh baby, this ain't gonna be easy!