Sunday, March 28, 2004

one of my favorite places on earth

i got to go to mission arlington this weekend with our church. i don't know how many times i have been since i was first introduced to this place in 1993, but it is without question one of my favorite places to be on earth.
if you don't know, MA is an organization that takes the Kingdom to the city of arlington, texas and beyond. they distribute food, clothes, furniture, assistance, medical care, dental care, and more to just about anyone with a need. they are also committed to taking church to the people of arlington and have bible studies and "churches" in 237 apartment complexes in the area. in any given week, over 3000 people are a part of a MA study. many of these apartment studies have become full-blown churches. go to their web site for more about what they do.
there are a ton of things i love about MA. more than what they do, i love who they are. most of the people i saw yesterday working are the same people who were their 11 years ago. they have given their lives (literally) to the vision of this place and to the people of their city. one of the people we worked with yesterday was a jr. high student hanging out around the place when i took my first group there and now she is on staff full time -- that is amazing and she isn't the only one. i am inspired and humbled by the dedication and love of these people. they not only take the reality of God into their world, they demonstrate the reality of who He is by the way they deal with people and each other.
i don't know if there is a point to this really. i just wanted to thank God for this amazing place and the people who make it happen. if you have some spare $$ or time...send it their way.


Tuesday, March 23, 2004

on the lighter side

do you read the door magazine? you should. it is a satirical magazine about christianity or really more about "christian" culture. a couple of things from the latest issue to check out

1. emoticons for the 21st century church
2. truth is stranger than fiction this is a collection of insane ads for churches and "christian" products. it's hard to pick a favorite, but the fire bible is way up there. quote "AAA batteries and lighter fluid not included"
3. a "tribute" to pat robertson. that's all i can say about that.


Monday, March 22, 2004

brian mclaren is my hero

in the latest brian vs. all of modernity "conversation" here is brian's take on the "outreach" effort marketed to coincide with the passion of the christ and a response by mr pdl hmself, rick warren

here's my thing. i agree with brian that the hype about "perhaps the best outreach opportunity in 2,000 years" is more "christian" marketing garbage. i also think it's great that warren's church used the movie as a massive outreach to their community and that lots of people are making moves toward Christ as a result of it. my problem is that, yet again, here is a spiritual leader from one side of the debate attacking and minimalizing an "emerging" leader and taking the opportunity to toss numbers around as a measure of the "success" of his ministry (at least 9 different references to numbers). after rereading brian's article several times, i just don't feel like it is an attack on anything. does it critique? yes. and that critique seems thoughtful and respectful and hopeful. why does warren feel like he needs to try and rub mclaren's nose in it? last time i checked, his church was doing just fine.

my guess is that for the rest of my life the church will exist in the transition mode we are currently experiencing. my hope is that at some point we can stop attacking each other (i realize that there are a LOT of people among the emerging church "leadership" who take shots at the modern church) and find a way to co-exist. lots of people are telling me that it isn't possible. i hope that's not true. and if we can't get along, can we at least be civil about the way we disagree?

to quote that great american man of peace rodney king
can't we all just get along?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

the biggest problem facing america in 2004

is apparently steroids in baseball.


president bush calls athletes out in his state of the union address, congress is investigating, John McCain is mouthing off about it, ashcroft is personally going after BALCO labs, and spring training is dominated not by who will win it all, but by who is juiced.

i love baseball. it ticks me off that there are guys who are cheating, including a notable player for the cubs who has lost about 30 pounds since the whole steroid thing started up last year (i'm sure he's just eating better). but seriously -- this is the most significant thing the leaders of our country have to do with their time?

apparently poverty, the underfunding of public education, the cost of higher education, drugs, terrorism, crime, war, the economy, jobs, etc. all take a back seat to steroids in baseball followed closely by gay marriage.
don't get me wrong, i don't like those things either, but i don't think they are the biggest items on the american plate.

misdirection -- the new national passtime

Sunday, March 07, 2004

just for the record

after the last post, i took my kids to sonic last night after the basketball game.

i may be a hypocrite, but i believe in full disclosure.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

think about this

40% of the average family budget for food is spent on fast food (source)
the average child in america eats fast food 3-6 times A WEEK! (source)
the average american eats out almost 4 times a week (source)

setting aside the obvious health issues, if the average family of 4 eats fast food twice a week (conservative) at a cost of say $15 / meal (probably also conservative), that means that out of the family budget about $1500 a year goes to happy meals. the reality is, it is probably a lot more than that.

we don't need a tax credit for kids in this country, we need to shut down mcd's.

i have no idea how my mind got onto this train of thought.

Friday, March 05, 2004

a little while ago it hit me

yesterday was the third anniversary of my grandfather's death. it feels wierd to call him that. he's pop. anyway, the last two march 4ths have sucked. well, ok, the last three. but yesterday was different. i went through the day knowing it was march 4 (our kids are obsessed with calendars right now so i couldn't not know) without realizing what it meant. when it hit me this morning, i felt like ... well not good stuff. i couldn't believe that i had forgotten. did that mean that i cared less? or that i had moved on? or that losing him was somehow less meaningful than the other crap i spent my day on? so i'm basking in my self-loathing, thinking about yesterday when i realize that all i did yesterday was think about him. i watched the cubs' first spring game (thanks corey) and thought about him. i wrote about him for my piece for the writer's circle last night. i thought about how many goofy awards banquets and stuff my family had to sit through for me while i was sitting through caleb's last night. i talked about him and read about him at writer's circle.
i don't spend every day thinking about him like that. subconsciously i guess i knew what yesterday was, but instead of thinking about losing him, i spent the day thinking about when we had him. in all of my thinking about him, the fact that he died never crossed my mind. so i've decided that instead of being an unfeeling jerk (at least about this, i probably am in other places) i've just moved into a different phase of grieving or something. i don't have to always think about him in terms of being "gone". i can remember him here and enjoy that. that feels infinitely better than spending the day wrecked. a few tears here for the remembering and then back to the better things.
anyway, my time on the couch is almost up. if anyone is reading this (and why are you?) thanks for indulging me.

blinking at the bright spots in the darkness

Monday, March 01, 2004

random thought of the moment

who establishes the establishment and why do any of us care what they think?