Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Isn't it strange?

THE forward. Everyone has gotten them. I find it remarkable that the forward still circulates amongst e-mailers. I also find it crazy how many more forwards come around the holidays. I know my grandpa gets a kick out of the forward. He goes so far as to print them out, so, at anytime he can look back at the words of the Luke 2 Christmas story shaped like a bell. Good for him. I am sure that there are more who love the forward. All of that to set up the fact that I have been getting some forwards from someone, who I did not expect. This person has fully embraced the "yes, this forward has touched me so much that I need to send it to my entire e-mail directory" mentality. I have been checking them out, just to see if any of them are anything more than a long hallmark greeting. So far, not so much.

I got a forward asking, 'Isn't it strange?" And then asking several questions about how strange it is that is easy to do things in the world like sit through a 2 hour movie, sit in the front row at a ball game, read a novel, talk to friends, gossip; but then how difficult it is to sit for an hour at church, sit in front at church, read the Bible, pray, tell people about Jesus. It was actually quite insightful, though not enough to forward.

Two things, first, at the end of this quite insightful forward was the clause, "If you choose not to share His message you may deprive yourself
from being blessed as well as depriving others...
who may need God in their life." Are you kidding me? There is so much to rant about here, I don't even know where to begin. So, I won't, except to say that if you do not send people the link to my blog, I know Jesus will not love you.

Second, with the questions posed in the forward, I wondered about the strangeness of people's lack of desire to dive into spiritual things. I guess I could chock up the cause to Spiritual Warfare, believers must realize that they are a part of a battle over their hearts. Not only do we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, when we are not intentional about building our relationship with Christ, we are in danger of being completely in-effective in ministry, which is what all believers are called to. It is Spiritual warfare, but I wonder about the direct role the church plays in this process.

Let's be honest, church as a whole is not usually characterized as fun. I wonder at what point do churches move from reaching, engaging and challenging people and into maintaining a certain level of reverence. I am part of the 'no running in the chapel' generation. I am sure there is a sociological study as to the cultural impact in the church that pushed reverence into the wrong areas. i.e., the chapel, the way people dress and act in church. Without really exploring that I have to think that what was once reverence, spurred a generation of people, who may or may not really believe, who simply do not equate the things of the church with excitement. (which is what makes people read a novel or go to a sports game.)

One of the realities of the church is that we are called to make disciples, joining people into the adventure of a transforming life in Christ. It seems that many churches have moved away from making disciples and towards keeping up with the functionality of the reverent activities of the church. I am going to think more about this idea and post on it later, but for now the question is there. Why is it hard for people to engage at church? And I wonder if the answer actually is making church not boring, which has been the seeker sensitive model of the church.

I'll leave it there for now. Merry Christmas, unless I post again before then, at which time I will recant my Christmas blessing and provide you with a new one, unless you are a sinner and don't tell people about my blog.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Refer to the last blog or the ability to add a link

Ok, so I figured out how to add a link onto my blog. I feel as though a whole new level of freedom has been added to my life . It is all thanks to my dear friend JR, you'll notice the highlight on his name, it is linked to his blog, check it out. I'll also link the kid from the last post so that you can easily see him here. And I'll link the guys who like to scream that Rob Bell is the anti-Christ. I'll also put a link to a sweet guitar player, and then a movie of babies laughing, just for fun.

Friday, November 30, 2007

the side swig, rob bell, truth by the way . . .

I preached at our church a couple of weeks ago. I was fun and I got both good and bad reviews, however the crowning achievement I noticed when I watched the video online the next day. As I was watching I noticed that when I took small sips of water on occasion, from my water bottle I was using the Babcock side swig. I felt pleased as pie that I have made the side swig a part of my ethos. If you have not seen the side swig, it is the coolest thing in the history of mankind. If you know Babs, you will know what I mean, if not take Frank Sinatra and mix him with some Ray Charles and throw in some John McClain and a pinch of of the Cheetos Cheetah, and then have him drink some delicious Coca Cola out of an old school bottle: and you have the Babcock side swig.

I am a fan of Rob Bell. Mind you, I do not live and die by everything he teaches, but I believe he is teaching people to get into God's word in a way that is reaching people. I have been challenged quite a bit by his books and videos. Anyways, I was online trying to get some info on his Nooma video series and I stumbled on some youtube junk that had to do with him. The first was this kid doing an impression of the Nooma videos as a commercial for the 'see you at the flagpole' prayer gathering. Below is the link, sorry I still don't know how to get it directly on the blog.

Anyways, after the 1st 30 seconds, the kid does a stinking great impersonation of the Nooma videos. If you have seen them you may enjoy it. If you haven't, you might not waste your time. Anyways, after enjoying that video so immensely, I clicked on the next one and found a video of two street preachers outside a Rob Bell speaking engagement screaming heretic, and hell fire and brimstone. These guys are literally yelling about 'truth' to people who know 'truth' I was at a missions conference about 7 years ago, and there were street preachers, screaming about the importance of being Pro-life. They were equipped with graphic posters with photos and stats about abortion. We're talking about an evangelical missions conference, truth to truth. I am not going to comment on whether or not I feel either one of these preacher groups are correct in what they are saying. But I always wonder what these guys are thinking. Hey. I am a conservative evangelical dude at a conservative evangelical missions conference and I see these guys. . . 'Wait, you mean I should kill babies? Why did anyone tell me before! I better go change some major things in my life right now! It is even more remarkable for the Rob Bell instance. Hey, I am on my way to see this guy speak who I really agree with and trust to teach me things or that my good trusted friend says I should check out and I see these complete strangers yelling through a bullhorn, heretic! Rob Bell teaches that the Bible says we should celebrate a new life in Christ! instead of living in fear of the flames of Hell! . . .oh. . .well in that case stranger guy screaming, I guess I better just go home. I didn't realize he said those things.

I guess my issue is, 1st of all why do that in the face of believers? What does it say about truth? It isn't enough to know Christ, you have to know him how I know him, otherwise you are wrong and are heading for judgement. I struggle with this, because I am not a universalist by any stretch. You have to know Christ, you have to work towards understanding of and obedience to scripture (which is knowing Christ) and he says, "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." (Jn 8:31-32) That being said, there has to be grace.

When it comes to the street preacher guys, I really struggle with this because I just don't see it in scripture. Sure there were street preachers and teachers, but it was a different deal. Everyone taught on the street, . . . and wrote on blogs. When it comes to the truth of the gospel, we model Christ. He told his disciples to go make more disciples ( which trickles all the way to believers today). Disciples were (and are) people who acted, did ministry and taught the way Jesus did. There is the verse that says he came not to condemn the world, but to save it. So truth and condemnation do not have any place with one another. Truth and love do.

I was thinking about this idea the other day and the thing I began to realize, and struggle with is that people on the street do not need to hear about death. Death is all around, the earth cries out about death. People know that life is tough, that it stinks when marriages fail, and wars devastate, and how much wrong child abuse does, and friends die, and terrorists attack, and lies break destroy our connection to people, and so on and so on. People do not need me to tell them that death is all around, they need me to show them life. They need me to be real and honest and an example of life in a dying world. Yes, we teach on how to grow in faith, which necessitates some 'do not touches', but the goal is life. We are not who we were, death does not reign here. I think we get really concerned with death within current issues ( abortion, issues with homosexuality, other religions, etc) I think it is important to take a stand on issues, but do we do it correctly, are we spreading life or death? So, I struggle with the street preachers, but I struggle with me as well. Am I being a source of life for people around me. Am I actively showing them life, or am I getting too concerned with death? There are a lot more questions, and answers for this discussion so I leave it there, for now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


It is time for a blog update. I have been thinking through a ton of things as of late, all of which could use some addressing, but I do not have a ton of time right now. I anticipate a ton of awesome posts over Thanksgiving. For now though, I got to see David Crowder last week. I took the ten folks that are currently on our worship team. It was a very cool experience for three reasons.

1. the opening band were actually quite good. The Myriad and Phil Wickham are both worthy of checking out for drastically different reasons. I would look the up if you have the chance. I would like to see them both again.

2. Crowder played for a long time and played a lot of songs off of his newest album, which I really like. If you have seen him a few times, it can get redundant and this was pretty new.

3. He really emphasized the message that if we lived the way we sing the world would be hugely impacted. It was a very good starting conversation for our team. I loved that he was pretty in your face about the need to be Christ to the world. It is such a simple message. I hate how we aren't so much of the time.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Outlandish Prediction

OK, I feel it is time to make a playoff/ super bowl prediction. This is simply to refer back to when it comes true. This should go against what anyone feels they know about the NFL. Here goes. . . NFC Championship game will be Dallas vs Green Bay, Green Bay wins. AFC Championship game will be Pittsburgh vs Cleveland, Pittsburgh wins. Super Bowl then is Pittsburgh vs Green Bay, Pittsburgh wins.

That is my prediction, oh yes. If this happens everyone owes me a dollar

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lots of Little things

Ok, I have been in class for 6 days in the last two weeks. Whenever I am class this long, I get annoyed easier and my mind wanders. So, here is some pointless venting and some rambling thoughts.

Heavy Breather-
There is a guy in my class who breathes really loudly. It is one step above snoring. I know he probably has some genetic problem which has led to painful confrontations with people and he feels bad, but whatever, I have psoriasis and people used to pretend to ski on my dandruff. Breath right strips baby!

Yucky Toe-
There is another guy in my class who where sandals every day. It's cool, I do too. Except, he has a yucky toe. More specifically, toe nail. It haunts my dreams and when I sit near him, it is all I can focus on. I can't even describe it. It transcends words. I understand loving the sandal, but you got to keep others in mind. I don't think he should cut it off . . . or be required to wear shoes. Perhaps a big toe-sock would do.

Dropping the Kids Off-
As my class drew towards an end last Thursday, I digressed in maturity ( or digressed in my pretending ) We had been in class for 9 hours and the dude was talking about problems that face small groups. He said a major one was finding some baby sitting for member's children. In the span of about 10 minutes, he said a variant of 'He can drop the kids off before he leaves for small group' about 150 times. At the end I was like, "Does no one else find this funny!?"

Minister of Deez-
In the same class, the dude had come up with a cool new name for his pastor of discipleship -Minister of D's. Again he repeated this over and over, the whole time I had no idea what he was trying to say, because I, again, had digressed to 8th grade maturity. (if you don't understand my plight, enjoy your level of maturity, and pray that I am not ever in charge of anything)

The evil vacuum-
I hate the sound of the vacuum cleaner on so many levels.

Extra Question Guy-
Same class as before, there is a guy who always has a question when the prof. says, " If there are no more questions, we'll be done for the day." It would be awesome if he had a question that anyone shared, or was deep. Unfortunately, it more often then not is more along the lines of 'here is what my situation is, and I don't have a question, but want to get some participation points, and get the professor to repeat things that have already been said for five more minutes.

The guy who dominates class time + is a loud typer-
Same guy, same class. This dude apparently is the kind of person who "thinks out loud." This is not me, so I get annoyed when the guy has to stamp his own story for 20 minutes on every major point our professor, who I pay lots of money to give me insight, makes. And to top it all off he is the guy who finishes his comment and then very visibly finishes 'taking notes' by typing without looking at the keys. (I am probably more mad because I can't do that) The worst part is that he does not have a wonderful newer laptop with very little sound out put, but rather a honking old think pad with the loudest space bar in the history of man kind.

The iphone + kettles-
I have noticed that all but maybe one person I have talked to about their new iphones have had a similar response. I love it! Look at all the cool stuff it can do. I usually say something quick and oozing with wit like, "Yeah, my phone has a built in calender." In order to make up for my shortcomings. Perhaps I ooze conviction, because then every single person says something to the effect of . . .Yeah, well for the kind of work I do it just makes everything so much simpler, my previous phone and laptop just was too much to handle." To which I have to say, Starbucks must really keep you on the go! - People, your iphone is expensive. Be secure enough to say you bought something expensive, it does awesome things and you love it. It was like when I used to stand kettles (salvation army red buckets, Christmas time, bell-ringer, give your change) if I ever made eye contact with people they would always feel compelled to explain to me why they were not going to give to the needy.

**Let me take a moment to say that I realize this blog is quite negative. I also realize that I am often times way too selfish. Having several items in this blog anonymously venting about people doing things differently than me, I need to ask. How quickly do we fall into this need to 'vent'. I know that, while sometimes it is 'funny' to vent if I truly had God's heart for people, I might not need to vent. Is it healthy or necessary to vent? Did Jesus ever vent? Get on his blog and type about 'that guy', the one who is always talking before he thinks . . .' The blog is a very easy place to do this I have found.

Mr. Miagi-
We ended our class with a killer walk through the Biblical call of the disciples to disciple others (which is still in effect today). One of the things we pointed out was that it is really everywhere. The best athletes always can point to someone who taught them specifically. Electricians always learn through apprentices, as do doctors. In movies it is standard procedure Jack Dalton and whoever Sam Elliot was in Roadhouse, Kung Fu and grasshopper, Star Wars and Mr. Miagi and Danielson. It was just interesting to think of the Karate Kid as a model for discipleship. Anyways, that was a lot of nothing, I bring some meat next time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

pizza, Horatio, 'They must be cheating'


If you haven't already heard, my wife Julie and I are having a baby. So far, it seems that the pregnancy has been uneventful. I say that loosely, because I know Julie has been pretty sickly for the first three months, which is stinky. I know that I would turn into a little girl from feeling ill for that long, so great job to Julie. But, the first real weird food issue occurred last week. We were shopping. We had made a habit of buying these cheap yet delicious frozen pizzas to eat on busy nights. As we were wrapping up our grocery extravaganza, I suggested that we get some delicious pizza. I was confronted with a death stare and the challenge to not ever allow the word 'pizza' escape my lips again. She said, 'I can't even think about pizza right now without feeling sick.' Just the thought of it was making her visibly ill. If I even started to mouth the 'P'. . .sick. - - - But here is the best part A.)we ate pizza the night before and B.) we were getting the ingredients to make calzones (AKA-folded delicious pizza). It is apparently just the word or evil triangle-circle pie shape that makes my child angry. Just down right crotchety. Anyways, that has been a fun new adventure for me to work my mind around.


Julie and I have a few shows, as I eluded to in the previous post, we like to watch. One of which is not CSI: Miami. I hear a lot of hype about this show and due to a very sore back, have watched a few episodes over the last few weeks. The show is alright, cool suspense and interesting crime science and drama. All in all, it is ok if you really have nothing better to do. That being said. . . the like main character. (And I meant to say like, because I don't know how to describe him another way) Horatio. . . I don't know if anyone watches this show, but tell me if this is not the biggest tool on TV. He is this all pasty, red-headed, dude who uses this 'Dirty Harry' whisper when he talks and he says all of these pointed one liners like he has experienced everything that has ever existed and everyone else are just silly ignorant children wasting his time. The idea of his character is not all bad. Mysterious, strong, intense, bad 'A - double money sign' good guy who influences the team and often times makes the final bust. But the actor they picked is just so random. It is like Nicholas Cage in Con-Air -"Put the bunnay down." or George Clooney as Batman (for real?). Anyways, that is his picture.

'They must be cheating'

I was riding to school today with my class mate and having our weekly debate over why the Bengals stink and why Pittsburgh is a sleeping giant ever in danger of awaking and destroying all who venture near. After a weekend when Pittsburgh forgot to show up and Cincinnati actually played like they new what a football was, Nick and I resumed our debate. It has become pretty clear that Pittsburgh will be able to defeat the Bungals, but the topic came up about whether or not anyone will beat the Patriots. Nick's immediate response . . ."They must be cheating!" Now, I am not a fan of the 'Hoody' or Tom Brady ( not for any good reason other than he has beat us three times in the championship game. ) I also note that they have not played anyone really good, but holy freakin cow. They are absolutely toying with teams. They are like a pro team playing against ACC college teams. The domination has been total. Now I know that this will end when they face the Steelers, but for now, I have to marvel at whether they are that good, or is everyone else that bad. If they are that good . . . they must be cheating!

that is all

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

PETA, The British are Coming, the Talmud and the church: a dead horse


OK, to start off this round. I love my dog, Steve. I also love petting the soft fur of kitties and bunnies. That being said, PETA gets a big, fat "FOR REAL?". They are holding a giant protest outside of an annual evaluation meeting for Proctor and Gamble. (They make the glorious smell of my Old Spice, Cool Rain Solid Deodorant, as well as IAM's dog food.) They are protesting the use of dogs as test subjects for dog food.! Are you kidding me? They are saying that dogs and cats are house pets and shouldn't be used as test animals. What about mice? How is PETA not outside every cancer clinic every day? I am going to start a new PETA called PEETA. "People for the Equal and Ethical Treatment of Animals." Let me just insert again, for those who are PETA members, I love animals and don't think they should be tortured or anything, but they are still animals. I once ate a live snake though, that could be pretty torturous. And, how do we decide which ones are better than the others. Doggy . . . cute, you are in. Rat . . . yucky, so it's OK to sell poison at the drug store.

The British are Coming

Julie and I are excited about several shows that are on TV currently. We have a VCR so we can tape shows while we are working and then watch them without commercials. If you don't have a V C R, you should hook it up. Anyways, out of the 6 top shows on TV this year, like 4 of them have lead actors from the UK. They all throw on a very good American accent and are totally believable. Then they go on American talk shows and we simple Americans marvel at their ability to fool us so completely. There is no bigger meaning to this part than me just saying that is funny how we import our actors. Are there many American actors in Britain? Is this all because we are the only nation willing to sit and watch anything and everything that runs through the tube? hmmmm

The Talmud and the Church

Briefly, it seems that again and again I am running into the problem of dealing with churches or people in churches being stuck in their traditions. More specifically the problems associated with said 'stuckness'. It is so interesting that when we read the New Testament, we see that all of the conflict that Jesus has with people are based on religious folks stuck in traditions. Stuck to the point where their actions became their God, as opposed to God directing their actions. It is interesting that most of the issues were not merely on the law but on the human interpretations of God's law that were recorded in the Mishnah which later made up a part of the larger exposition in the Talmud. Lots of weird words, but the point is, how does this happen over and over. Churches get so caught in their own methodology that they miss their God given call to reach people.

I have been reading about this concept in some classes this semester, but it has also been made painfully real after spending some time with a group of young people recently. It was apparent that all of these people had deep roots in the church, but have all gone down a different path. They know the stories, they have served in church and they have been totally dropped by the church. They are all searching for a way to fill voids in their lives with drugs, sex and alcohol. I understand rebellion, I have been there. This was supremely different, however, because for this group, rebellion has moved to lifestyle. They have embraced a Universalist theology, believing that all roads will lead to God. While they are seeking, in a way, the only church they know cares nothing about connecting them, is only interested in judging people, and totally hypocritical upfront. It is a bad rap the church gets (which is not without merit) from the outside world, but these kids are from the church. I remember coming out of my own rebellious phase, thinking that my church dropped the ball and that they did not invest in me. I am realizing that, to some extent, it had to be my decision and the church isn't all about me. The larger issue was not that the church didn't invest in me, but that it was solely interested in the skills I had to further its own methodology. These kids were the same. Their church never challenged them in ministry or in their faith, but rather reinforced for them the appearance of faith. The deeds were more important. I wish I could have put my time there on video, and then sit every pastor and church leader down in front of it to hear the conversations and see the devastation written on their faces. And then ask how important is it really to wear that? or painfully fill a choir, or throw the band together? to sing that song? to have that program?
How often does this happen? Maybe if we saw it, we would be challenged not to put the band-aide on the appendicitis anymore.

I am really struggling with this and am still processing my experience. I could probably go on for a long time, but I'll leave it for now with a quote from a guest prof from my class today. The dude is 80 years old and has been ministering in the church since the 50's. (Which means he was a part of the large growth movement that developed most of the traditions we deal with today) He actually wrote a book which formalized Rick Warren's purpose driven church. The guy was old and did not speak with tons of . . .'pizaz?' But he spoke with a burning hot passion for the church to be real. I loved that this older guy had no interest in traditions, but rather in seeing the church be the church, authentic. He said this about methodology,

"When the horse dies . . . dismount." -Dr. Ellis

Friday, September 14, 2007

. . . , mmm and the wink guy, the fruit I am owed, wee ones

It has been a small time gap since my last post, but I just put a post ranting about my boring class. It needed its own space. So I this is the second, and I am still in love with putting several short ideas in a post so,
on we march.

. . .,
I love the dot thingy. It implies so much with so little. anger . . .I am so mad I can't even complete the sentence! artsy-ness . . . introspectivity. . . awe. . . it can also mean, for real? . . . the face. . .all sorts of awesome; just watch
Prime Rib. . .
Oprah. . .
crap. . .
Steelers . . .
then watch what happens when it comes before
. . . gas
. . . (this would be the perfect space to throw an 'A double money sign', although that may not be the most appropriate, so I will simply hint at it. )
especially if you could add a head motion or angry fist. it also enables the reader to input their own feelings. It is like a choose your own adventure novel every time!

mmm and the wink guy,
I am taking four classes this semester so I get to have interaction with lots of different people which is good for me, because people tell me I sometimes am "not very nice" or I "Intimidate" people or "make little girls cry" whatever, I enjoy getting to see how people interact and pick up on things that make me laugh. Here are two from last week. The first is the wink guy. He is in my human and family development. Everything he says is somewhat playful in an older guy, likes to use puns, cheesy way. The wink I guess is there to mean, "its OK I am just kidding, you are a good enough friend that we can joke like this, Isn't it great that we are close in this way?" Whatever! Yeah, I see how close we are. You just winked at the dude in front of me as if I wasn't even here . . . cold ( note the dot thingy) Wink guys, don't take offense I enjoy the relate- ability you bring.

The other one is the mmm person. You know when something profound is said in church or some other sort of lecture setting or in a prayer circle, the "mmm" that comes from somewhere. This can be very encouraging for the person speaking. The first time the person did this in my class I was taken back to summers at camp and my friend Jamie. It took me a minute to remember what she used to say. . . "That's right" She was very good ( and more than likely still is) at finding the right place for it. Very encouraging. You know you had the green light to continue when you heard that, and everyone else was there to, "Jamie's on board, so are we lets go!" Props for the encouragement. Now, mmm person is a wholly different beast. I realized this by five minute into the class. Every other sentence was profound enough for an 'mmm'. "Small groups are the life blood of the church" . . . (mmm!) "Acts 2 shows a church built on true koinonia (fellowship)" . . . (mmm!) "I think we are going to take a break for some coffee" . . .(mmm!) "Attendance is important " . . .( mmm!) After a while it is definitely not encouraging, but annoying. Oh well, I am sure mmm people will learn to master it much like the force. It also, when used improperly can start to come across as pointing at ones self as opposed to the person speaking. I have definitely know a dude who does it to make himself seem more spiritual. This is the dark side of the force . . . so mmm people beware!

The Fruit I am Owed -this will be an abrupt change of tone

I have been on a kick about the garden of eden, and how the story surrounding the fall of man gets repeated over and over and how it speaks so much about our depravity and the illusion that sin (Satan) creates to cloud, tempt and deceive people.

One of the things I have begun to notice about myself is how easily I get caught in thinking I am owed something and then to make matters worse I feel what I am owed is sin. For starters, when we get tired we all have a propensity to make bad decisions. I have been working a ton this summer and basically dove right into school again and had a short vacation which was nice but not long enough to really recover. So stupid thoughts start creeping into my head, more than just I need to get away for while, or I need to rest.

You get tired, especially after doing some intense ministry and say, I am drained, I need to just chill. Then you start to think, that was awesome I deserve some me-time and it becomes something that gets in the way. Other people are not as important, someone else can take care of them, my margin is too small for anything or anyone else. I look back on my early days as a Christian and doing small amounts of ministry while still struggling through some of the sins that had their hold on me that I knew about. I can remeber the same feeling then. I just need some me-time, a chance to 'chill' I deserve it and this would soon lead to something sinful ( I leave the description there because it does not matter who your are, or what you do, or what sin you struggle with . . . insert it here.

I sin and wrestle about whether or not I should with my self and fall on the rationale that because of the crazy, draining ministry I just did, God won't care what I'm about to do. . . . HE OWES ME . . . this is not only crazy to think about, it is also dangerous. This is the beginning of thinking that I am as important as God. Return to Eden. God just wants to keep you from knowing the truth. You owe it to yourself to be a God. This is what the devil sneaks into our hearts with ease! When I stop and think about how easy this starts to creep in my mind, it is scary and I am challenged to build plenty of margin in my life and to be sure to balance my work and ministry properly with my family and most of all, my active relationship with God. How crazy is it to think that I am owed something by the creator of the universe, and the savior of my soul. I guess the cross just doesn't cut it. . .

Wee ones
- this blog is all over the place, but if you have made it to this point, you get yet another major change in tone. You all will be happy to note, though many of you already know, that Julie and I are going to have a baby. Well, she is doing the having. . .(this is the sort of addition to deter wink guy from a well timed quip)

We are super excited about it and a little freaked out at times about how we will be able to make it. I start to wonder if I am ready for a child, but I know that it is part of continued growth. I also think about the fact that my dad was a few months away from having his fifth child when he was my age. So, whatever that means. We are happy.

One more, I want to personally thank Tim for putting a curse on me. He said about 6 years ago, "Wait until you get older and your metabolism slows down." He was saying this in response to some amazing show of eatability, like when I ate 85 chicken wings, or a whole pizza of whatever. I woke up this morning fat, slow and with back problems. I used to athletically dominate all who questioned my short, large boned stature. Until this morning. I did get in its place, some man-strength and can now wear a moustache with pride. Anyways, until next time. . .

Friday, September 07, 2007

"My best friend was killed on one of those"

Can I just vent a bit about the class I am taking. The professor is a very . . . we'll say . . . different. The above quote was said in reference to motorcycles, but said while laughing and telling a motorcycle joke. This is the equivalent of saying , "Speaking of naked, Babs' mom . . . " (I use Babs for obvious reason . . .kidding, cause I know his patience knows no bounds) That sort of oddity is just a bonus for the crappiness that is this class.

The professor, in his defense, is 70 and this is his first time as an adjunct. I am also a bit spoiled, addicted to stimuli and have a rough time paying attention most of the time, but this dude couldn't be more boring. He makes Bob Ross and or James Lipton (take your pick of the one you recognize) look like a hoe -down. ( You cannot, not party when a banjo is being played) I could also say rock concert, but whatever . . . Boring.

To complicate matters, the class is on "contemporary dynamics of Biblical church growth" or how to grow a church today based on the Bible. The problem is, I don't agree with half of the stuff he is shoveling. In fact, there are no limits to my level of disagreement with the basic model of church he describes. This is a classic case of having to work through my own differences in order to glean the wisdom from someone who is obviously experienced in ministry. It is hard, when methodology is so diametrically opposed, to stay quiet and attempt to stifle my instinctual urge to provide correction and wisdom for the person.

I cannot begin to explain all that is being said. There is nothing necessarily un-Biblical being said, simply 'agree-to-disagree' interpretations and such. I guess it raises similar questions that I have had for some time. Much of the class (oh yeah it has been 12 hours over 2 days intensive) has dealt with corporate worship. At what point does an older person lose touch with changing culture and cling to (while defending with scripture) what they did in their prime? The best example is that he said that the church maximizes its musical worship and best guards against a 'performance' mentality through the use of a choir. Soak that in. Let it marinate. You have to understand I grew up singing in choirs, church choirs at that. Through that time I completely missed the point of 'worship' and never once felt it anything less than a performance. Oh, by the way, I paid for my undergrad by singing in a church that paid me to come on Sunday to sing in their choir. So, this could be me being led astray by my own unfortunate experience of the smallest percentage of churches doing the right thing the wrong way . . . The bigger problem is not whether this mode would or will work, but rather that he said that the example we have from scripture shows a choir. Yeah, Acts 30:21, right there.

So, all that to say . . . how easy is it for anyone, old guy . . .me . . . anyone to look at scripture and subtly twist it, and unintentionally interpret it through our own 'goggles' to make it say whatever we want? This obviously happens all the time, but who is right? And specifically when it comes to the our style or method of doing "church".

As the blog goes, We hold the keys . . .

Friday, August 10, 2007

Saving Babies, The Y, Moust-age, Cowboy Church and Meeting people where they are

My apologies for the long title. I realized that I have been lacking in telling folks about what has been going on in our lives this summer so here is a reader's digest version of some of the highlights along with some issues I have been working through.

-Saving Babies
So, you can call me Batman, Superman, and/or John McClain if you are inspired. I was fulfilling my pool duty about a week ago. (Julie and I are pool monitors for our apartment complex to make some extra cash) As I was working on come music editing, w/ my head phones on, this little boy comes over and taps me on the shoulder and says, " Can you help us?" I say um sure. Well, his mom had accidentally, shut the minivan door on his 12 month old sister and locked the keys inside.

Mind you it was a sweltering day and the van had been sitting outside for several hours so needless to say, the mom was freaked out. So, I calmly had her call 911 as I went for a screwdriver and hanger. I went to work. And due to my extensive experience, having locked my keys in the New Yorker on monthly basis, was able to have the door open in a matter of minutes. It was weird to break into a car with a police officer watching... I felt good about that day.

-The Y
I have been working at a day camp at the YMCA this summer. It is a pretty easy job with little stress and is way below my qualification, at least so my degree says. It has been interesting being the oldest person on the staff by a few years and bringing a whole different understanding to their concept of child care. The biggest issue that I deal with is having to see the same 50 kids (ages 5-13) for a whole summer (16 wks) with little to zero funding. Most of the kids are dealing with issues ranging from dis respectfulness to lack of having a functioning brain. That is a bit harsh, but if you saw some of these guys, you might be a little crazy as well. I may need rotator cuff surgery from the amount of dodge balls being thrown this summer.

The good that has come out of this however is the relationships I have been building. Two guys I met this summer have become pretty close friends to the point where we have hung out a bit outside of work. This has been huge for me as they are not church guys. I have felt God tugging at my heart to be building relationships outside of the church for a while and have been looking for the opportunity to do so and was really able to do this while at the crappy Y. The best news is that I was able to have a very serious faith discussion with some of the guys the other day. It was very non threatening and really just opened up a discussion for us to learn about each other, and hopefully plant some seeds.

Ok, I came up with a new term. You know how it is sort of funny to grow out a moustache? Especially in college, this was all the riot. The dirtier the better. I never once considered my moustache to be acceptable on any level. Well, I just turned 28 and I recently cut a mustache for a day as it turned to spring (5 mo. ago). Just for fun, but noticed that it actually looked OK. I began to wonder, you see pictures of older guys (Alex Trebeck, Tom Selek, Sam Elliot) that look fine with a stache. My stache was not nearly as filled with comedy as it was sex-appeal. You can view in an earlier blog post ("Stages of my beard") I have decided that, much like coming out of puberty, when parts begin to it together again and zits go away, there must be an age when the moustache becomes right. The Moust-Age. I am sending it to webster.

-Cowboy church
OK, so Cowboy Church happened while Julie and I were on our high school mission trip, which she did an awesome job leading by the way. While on this trip I was able to hang out and minister to some of the leaders there (at Youth Works, the org. we went through) which was really awesome. It is so encouraging to get to hang with young people who are hungry to see God work in their lives. So, the one evening they took us to Cowboy Church. Now if anyone has ever been to a new church for the first time, specifically one that is somewhat different, (ie. Catholic Mass, or a Liturgical Church of Christ, or the Salvation Army, or a Charismatic CHurch) you may get a piece of the shock value of being at Cowboy Church.

This was not quite as awkward as a new faith display (going from a liturgy to speaking tongues) but at the end, all I could say was . . . That... was... Awesome! Couple highlights:
The call to worship consisted of listening to Lee Greenwood on cd singing "I'm proud to be an American" while four flag bearers on horseback road around in a circle with the Christian, American, State and Stadium flags. Oh yes, it was in a rodeo stadium.
We then got to here a poem by a little cowboy complete with buckle, hat and Sam Elliot Stache who got choked about the colors of the flag. We then said a Pledge of allegiance to every flag and the Bible. We then sang a song or two, followed by special music. The preacher and wife sing Ray Boltz - "I pledge Allegiance to the Lamb" Then the preacher gets up there, chew can visibly in pocket and gives message. And there was a church dog that roamed around the whole time. OK, those are the highlights, but the point of telling this story, aside from attempting to get the awesome outside of just me (find and attend cowboy church) was to be a bit marveled at how this is a real ministry that is reaching people.

I guess it ties into two questions and/or observations. The church is community. Cowboy church worked not because its target audience, but because it was a place where community was happening. There may be something to be said about basing a church around some pastime. Call me up when Golf Church needs a worship leader. Are churches aware of the importance of building relationships based on anything in order to build community and spread God's love?

The second, though not exactly drawn from cowboy church is an observation of God's will. Or at least a conjecture to it? Julie and I have been painfully dealing with a second house payment since we have moved to Springfield. Because of this, I took the job at the Y and the pool. Now, had I not been in that position, I probably would have simply done more school stuff and then took a vacation. I would not have built any relationships at the Y, would not have been able to share Christ with some guys, would not have saved a baby ( which could be my actual calling) and probably more things that I may not know. Some of that sounds like I did a lot, but I know I could always do more. I guess there is no question here except to ask do you know your in God's will even when things are not peachy?

That's should keep you all busy for a while.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I am so glad I have a blog on a day like today. I performed at a coffee house last night, which was its standard good times of playing as many songs as humanly possible over two hours. I think I am getting better at it though as I have a much more impressive line-up of songs now. So I played pretty well, by my own account, but that is not why I blog.

I met this guy, he was a computer programmer of what I presume is Indian (not Native American) decent. He had embraced his, how shall I say ... techyness. He was all about how he figured out how to put the entire first level of SuperMario Bros. 1 as his screen savior. May I input here that, that is pretty cool and I would be all up in that business if I was techy enough. OK, so he was also the 'let me see that' guy. You know the guy that grabs stuff that's yours as he is asking to 'see it'. Yeah he was that guy.

He says, "Hey, can I see your guitar?" As he begins to play it. That is cool, it really doesn't bother me, I am a sharer. By default he was also the guy who wants to play guitar and is all about playing the performer's instrument in front of them. So, all that to give you a general description of this guy. Every one knows someone that fits this description.

But, is your guy's name MONEY! hahahaha

Oh yes, you read correctly. . .. Money. I am still slightly speechless. It goes so far beyond Layla, or Rhonda or Hugh Jass or any other name warranting a quip from that other guy who makes the quip after hearing someone's name that sounds like something else. Money.

I couldn't help but to at least ask if that was in fact his real name. He assured me it was.

He is now the coolest dude ever. That is so money!

Incidentally, he knew Rick James, who is a local youth pastor and who is all about being as white as possible and dressing in dockers and polos. Also money.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Welcoming back to the land of posting a new blog

Alright, so I know it has been a while. Life has been busy for me this summer. Since Julie and I are trying desperately to sell our home, we have been left paying for an apartment and a mortgage. So, this summer I have been doing some extra work at the YMCA day camp. This has been weird for so many reasons and have produced many crazy stories. I will probably be able to share some with you as I now have some time because we have finished our church mission trip, and will wrap up VBS, which is apparently a huge deal for our church, this week, and the biggest time consumer has been my summer classes at school. So all those are done leaving me some time for the wonderful world of blogging.

So, to kick this new round of blogs off, I want to mention one thing of utmost importance and validity to discussions of life and society and whatever else I want to have and opinion on, on this blog . . .

Die Hard 4 rocks, it wasn't better than the original, but did the original complete justice, making it a close second. It was action packed, visually awesome, funny all that you could ask for from a Die Hard movie. We'll see how it stands up to the 'on video' test, before we put it atop my favorite movie list, but it is surely in contention to knock off one of the weaker movies on my top ten.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I got to see David Crowder at a conference I am at, and then again for a service that evening where Donald Miller spoke. It was pretty awesome, Crowder was sweet as always. At the conference however the last session was a sort of panel discussion with Dan Kimbell and some other pastors on his book They Like Jesus but not the Church.

He basically polled a whole bunch of twenty-somethings and found them hungry to hear about Jesus, but not from the church. The consensus from the book and anyone paying attention is that the church has missed the boat. Now, most people in my circle understand and are dealing with this issue, so this probably isn't news. Nevertheless, I felt that it was a good step to have an open, large group, pretty no-holds- barred discussion with pastors and church leaders about how to push the church into a new era in western culture, which is absolutely catered to the suburban middle class right now.

A couple of really good points that were made:
- this is the first time in history that a church has the possibility of having 5 generations represented in its community. Old and young will not be pleased by the same show.

-20 years ago people (culturally) came to church because they thought it might do well and then were turned away with crapping, outdated music. This is being remedied, but now people (culturally) don't really just go to church so why is the show such a big deal, or more importantly the most open door to knowing Christ?

-The Christian bubble is the biggest wall to non-Christians, this is against the call of church, hence --sin. People who have a bad view of Christians usually do not have any Christian friends so their perception is built around the guy pushing a tract on a street, or holding picket signs outside abortion clinics and concerts. How do they not have any Christian friends?

Yeah, that's just the surface. Can I just say that the thought that many of the people polled do not have Christian friends is the most painful to think about. Obviously, we are supposed to be obedient to God and grow spiritually and the like, but Christianity . . .aka being like Christ . . . is based on love. Love means growing relationships not just being polite, though some could start there. Anyways, I'll probably bring some more on this as I process it.

Go make a friend

Monday, May 14, 2007

The exclamation point!

I was going to write on the power of the written word, but I don't feel overly powerful at the moment as I have a week off of school, so I thought I'd write on nothing.

So I was talking with my wife, who loves cards and little encouraging things in the same vain. Within the body of work of a card or encouraging e-mail she likes to include the exclamation point, as much as possible. Example: ... Hey Girl! What is up!? I miss you tons! Can you believe it !? Today was the nicest day ever! etc. This may be a fundamental difference between guys and girls. Whenever I get a card or e-mail with said exclamation point, I usually like to read them all as angry exclamations, always enjoyable. Nonetheless, these serve their purpose in generating excitement and encouragement. Anyways, more next time.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Best Paper Ever

I just finished my last major paper for this semester at school. My first at graduate school. I had my biggest paper ever due last week (25 pgs). This kicked my butt. And for those of you who were with me in the undergrad., will remember my propensity to produce awesome papers. I once received a D with a remark "maddeningly poorly written" is that a word? Much to the joy of my friends who could from then on say they knew a guy who got this remark. Anywho, got my big paper back and oh yes, I got an A.

Not to toot my own horn (A) I did have some room to improve, of course how much can you really improve on A. I now know anything there is to know about the debate over miraculous spiritual gifts (A) within churches of the Restoration Movement, if you need to know anything, I did get an A.

So I will be off school shortly and back to blogging more consistently (A) and filling your world with joy. I know you all never know how often I change my blog, it should be more consistent.

next up. . . the power of the written word (A)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

update and Babcock

Hey everyone,
sorry it has been a while. I have a ton to talk about but not enough time as I am in the midst of my first round of finals and term papers. So, the big stuff will have to wait for a week or two.
How about, American Idol ( yeah I watch it) brought in like 50 million dollars for children's relief Africa. That is pretty big. I just finished my biggest term paper on the argument over the existence of miraculous spiritual gifts in the contemporary church. We'll see what kind of grade I get, but I learned alot. I'll talk about it a bit later as well as the power of the written word.

Until then feast your eyes on this commercial on you tube address here... ( I don't know how to attach it directly)

For those of you who know Babs , do you resonate with this commercial? those who don't probably will not think it humorous so don't get your hopes up.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Porch at 17th

So, I was supposed to continue my thoughts on butter Jesus (see previous post), but I think I am spent from trying to analyze things too much. In short I think to spend money on such a thing is the worst decision they could have made. And maybe I am being like Judas because the people at that church really feel that this was the best they could give to God, like a small child drawing a picture of her dad, but I feel like there is so much harvest ready to be reaped all over the world. I would hate to think that resources were squandered. Anyways, enough of that.

The last few nights have been perfect weather wise. Warm but not humid. You could smell the grass and the soon to be budding trees. It reminded me of making killer movies at three in the morning in college with the guys, and sitting at the edge of the runway of the airport for like two hours only to have one plane, the smallest plane in the world, fly over our heads. And then to get stopped and interrogated by the cops. It reminds me of bitners, and camp during lane duty, and jumping off the bridge, but most of all...

It reminds me of the porch at 17th street. If I was Josh, I could wax on eloquently about the joys of the porch and the yucky couch and the bottle tree and everything else. I love all of the seasons equally and am always ready for them when they arrive, and they always provide me with nostalgia.

So here's to the porch!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Newsong and Other Rockers of Old

I must comment on my recent experience with Newsong. Now, previously, I had only experienced Newsong in the context of the song 'Arise my Love' being ( air quotes) danced to through interpretation with assistance of dow rods. Now, saying nothing of the dow rodders, this song was scarred slightly, which in turn kept me from seeking out further Newsong songs.

Now Newsong is sort of in the Christian rock genre. Now, not to be confused with the straight hair rockers such as Petra-(This means War!) , DeGarmo and Key ( Boycott Hell), or of course Striper ( To Hell with the Devil)... who all taught young Christian kids how to Jesus rock. Now also not to be confused with the more adult friendly MWS ( oh you know) or SCC or Geoff Moore and the distance, Newsong meets somewhere in the middle with very solid and tight 80's rock and roll with a stack of killer vocalists. These guys embrace their lives of 10-15 years ago and rock it hard. I went to see them play along with SCC and a few others and they rocked. I do not think this is because I am getting old either. These 8 or so white guys sang the old spiritual ' people get ready for the train's a comin' and let it rip. The piano player ( who incidentally has been nicknamed "Sauce" by Thunder Dan and friends for the amount of sauce he throws down on the keys to spice up every song, which by the way may be my favorite nickname aside from Thunder Dan) so 'Sauce' jumps out from behind the keys and throws all sorts of soul in a vocal solo. And then this other dude ends the song with the longest, loudest, highest note ever. Comparable only to-"To Hell with the Devil" if you don't know, get it somehow an listen to it.

All that to say, I have been renewed in my love for the snare heavy, screaming guitar solos, synthesizer ready rockers of old. Rock ON!

Coming up next... the continuation of "butter Jesus"

Monday, March 05, 2007

Butter Jesus

Ok, for real?

This statue is in front of a church on I 75 just north of Cincinnati. It is most commonly referred to as ‘touchdown Jesus’, but I like to call it ‘butter Jesus’ because it looks as though it was carved out of a giant stick of hand churned, full-out-Amish butter. If you look close you’ll see a dude standing next to the statue as a way to scale the thing. It is over 60 feet tall. We’re talking the statue of liberty big.

This is the most gaudy thing I have ever seen. It blows all other ‘big’ church indulgences out of the water. This makes the textured iron cross of camp look almost necessary to true spiritual growth and development. ( this analogy only works if you know of said cross, my apologies.)

Now, before I go into any thoughts on this…what do you think? Audience participation. Is it a good use of money for the church? Is it an “alabaster jar” expensive? Is it good for churches to drop money on bigger better stuff? Is this a symbol of God’s blessing or a perversion of resources?

Thursday, March 01, 2007


This is me really thinking through the issue of healing. Perhaps some food for thought might come for some folks. When I left my previous job, I remember having to work through what went wrong. I still am working through this. It is interesting that as I left, I wondered if I was in fact doing what I was called or gifted to do. I realize more and more that it had less to do with calling and more to do with following. Like all of us in leadership, I am learning constantly how to be a better leader. I think that the point when we left, God was opening some new doors for us, but perhaps more importantly teaching me some lessons about what it mean to 'heal'.

I was surprisingly not very distraught or self conscious when we left, but I had a older leader express to me that this time would be a good time of healing. I was taken a little by surprise, thinking, "I don't need healing, they need healing." But as I have had opportunity to think and reflect, I realized that there was a defensive response to my own insecurity. I remembered that it is through the struggle that God makes us more of who he wants us to be. We don't realize it while in the struggle, but he uses it to sharpen us and draw us closer to him.

Now that Julie and I are in our new place, after four months of waiting around for God to make things go, I am now again in a leadership position, and perhaps one with greater responsibility. The ironic (to us mortals)thing is, in order to be here, we had to step on someone else. After tons of thought, worry and prayer as to whether this was the right thing to do, our pastor pushed it forward. Now, as for me, I am in a place right now,( and I pray that I remain), where I know deep down that God has to direct this.

The other guy however has been pushed-out a bit, caused to question his call and giftedness. I know God can provide him with healing. I guess my whole thought process boils down to is, in order to take people to where God wants them, leaders must pull them out of the spot that isn't good enough, even when it is painful. It is here when God picks them up, brushes them off, and points them in the best direction. Healing takes us out of the status quo and closer to the great things God has for us.

This is a bit of a burden for me right now, having to be the center of the struggle for someone else. Hopefully I will be able to come along side the person and help the healing process.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I wanted to comment on the discipline of fasting. This is just me thinking through and processing my experience. Much to every one's surprise I have never really intentionally practiced fasting for an extended period of time. I sort of assumed I knew the ideology of fasting to put us into a better place to experience God. I also grasped the concept of it making a person practice an element of self denial in a simple way. Basically if a person can deny the basic 'need' for food, they can open their hearts to denying other elements of life that get in the way of our relationship with God.

I had to read a couple of books for my spiritual formation class, one of which dealt in large portion to the discipline of fasting. I felt compelled to try it for a period long enough to surpass the initial wave of hunger pains (few days). I felt important to make known the supernatural humbling that takes place. I wouldn't go as far as to say nothing else compares, but I would say that after doing this, I felt more ready to take the hill than I have in a long time. When you are really physically hungry, you understand truly who you are. I was able to look at myself with sober judgment and see my need for God to work through me as opposed to reallying on my own handling of the gifts he's given me.

It really helped to center me and renewed my vigor for meeting with God in every aspect of my ministry. I would encourage anyone to make this part of their own relationship with God.

Stages of my beard

Here we go for all of you who look forward to my annual spring shave stages. I had to consolidate into a singular documented experience for all to enjoy. For all those looking for a real meaningful blog experience, you'll have to wait until next time.

Just to note this is the first time I ever thought about keeping my mustache for a while. I mean look at it.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Hello blog land. I am currently writing form the college coffee shop from my new laptop. It is a mac, (complementary head nod) It is the bomb or it is simply a new toy. Needless to say, it has been sorely needed in starting school, and I finally was able to obtain it last week. This does open the door for much more blogging, for the two or three of you who ever care to look on my blog. I have so much to update! though most unfortunately it will have to wait as I have to study for a test.
Stay tuned for posting on cool things happening and specifically "Butter Jesus", "Healing", "Fasting" and "Newsong, and other rockers of old". stay tuned...

Monday, February 12, 2007


To all those anxiously awaiting a new blog, here it is. I have not been able to blog as of late because I have been waiting for my financial aide to come through for school, in order to purchase a computer and then have access to the internet whenever necessary. This has been an arduous process that couldn't be resolved quick enough. Needless to say, being in school allows little time for blogging when I only have isolated chances to use the internet. This may be for the best as to wasting less time. School is awesome so far and the day I get my new computadora I will blog all about it.

In the meantime, I must comment on the event of snowfall in Cincinati. What the crap? As soon as a flake fall to the ground the whole area basically turns to chaos. Drivers ride their brakes like a 16 year old girl, and all the schools close for days, and that is no exaggeration. THere are like three plow trucks for the whol of western OHio. I grew up in mnts of western and eastern Pennsylvania where we had to get over a foot of snow to cause even the least bit of concern. Here the news has been talking about a snowstorm that might come through tommorrow and it is all everybody, and I mean everybody is talking about. What the real problem with snow is, "iIt's the slush that really make it bad." or "it's when the freezing rain hits, that when you know we are approaching the end of the world." biuldings burning, rioting, looting, fire hidrants bursting, children and grown men crying, dogs and cats living together, all H. E. double hockey sticks breaking loose. Cursed snow!

I am going to make an angel.