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