Friday, December 31, 2004

favorites of 2004

Everyone else has a list and I'm sure, faithful reader, that you are dying to see mine. Ok probably not, but here's the stuff I found worth checking out in 2004.

Just a note: 2004 was a long time so many of these will have more than one "favorite". I won't get into all of the issues with that, feel free to do so yourself, but leave me out of it. It's my party and I can be inclusive (or indecisive if you will) if I want to.

Napoleon Dynamite -- This is hands down one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Don't ask me what it's about, I can't explain it just trust me. I know very few people who didn't love this movie and the ones who haven't just didn't get it. This is a DVD to go ahead and buy because renting won't be enough.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- I love the non-Ace Ventura Jim Carrey. This is a great movie because it looks great, it's smart, and it doesn't end "easy" (one of my biggest movie gripes).

Some strong runners-up
The Village. This is one everyone either loved or hated. I choose to love it.
Saved One of the funniest and saddest movies of the year, for the same reasons. If you are a Christian that gets bothered by people taking shots at what passes for faith these days, don't watch this movie.

TV -- No contest, it's
24 (on Fox). The first season is still the best, but it continues to be one of the most exciting, smartest (most of the time) things on television. You can check out seasons 1 , 2 , and 3 on DVD.

Radio -- This is the year I finally discovered the joys of NPR (I know, I'm way behind). One of the must listens for me as I have stumbled around in the business world is
Brain Brew. You can listen to each week's segments on their web site. It's on KGOU at 11AM on Wednesdays if you're around OKC.

Music -- Two Christmas entries win out in this one. (at least that's when I heard them)
Damien Rice - O -- Josh tells me I'm way behind since I just heard this a couple of weeks ago, but it is the CD I can't stop listening to right now. Every song is amazing and I come up with a new favorite every time I listen through it.
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - U2 This will probably offend someone(s), but this may be the most "Christian" CD I have heard in a while. It gets better each time I listen through it.

Other random good stuff --
Tech addition to my life --
blogexpress -- all the news, sports, randomness, and writing from all over the world you could possibly want. I know people who subscribe to over 5,000 feeds through it.
Place we traveled -- Kansas City v. Santa Fe v. Montego Bay -- toss up here. It was a good year for getting around.
Internet waste of time -- say what you need to, it's Homestar Runner.

Place to just hang out -- Java Dave's (downtown) wins this one. Great food and drinks, comfortable spots to sit (if you know where to find them) and FREE wi-fi (listening starbucks?). If you haven't been (and you're anywhere around) go. Invite me to join you while you're at it.

Enough for now. I am working on the book list, but that's like asking me which meal I enjoyed the most in 2004. (the Jamaican special at the townhouse in montego bay if you really were wondering, or maybe that nuclear chicken thing at the shed in santa fe, or maybe the chicken at stroud's in KC, mmmmmmm)

Well, now I'm hungry.
Happy 2005

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

i'm numb

I have spent the past three days watching and listening and reading about the tsunami in Asia. How do I even imagine the loss of what will ultimately be over 100,000 people? Islands where 2/3 of the population are dead or missing. Maybe as many as 1/2 of the victims are children, many of them pulled from the arms of their parents by the surge. I heard a father on NPR yesterday describe trying to hold his son and losing the fight and I found myself crying in the car for the next 20 minutes.
Part of the frustration for me is my inability to do anything about it. Pray you say? Can I be honest enough to say that feels fairly inadequate at this moment? I got an email from World Vision that says I can send a relief pack for 1 family for $50. 1 family? Out of millions? And how does my pack help them deal with losing a father, mother, son, daughter, or all of the above?
One life impacts another life and so I will be sending money somewhere through someone to do what I can to matter in a life I will never meet and maybe my prayer at this point is that millions of other Americans who opened 1000s of dollars worth of Christmas a few days ago will find it in their wallets to do the same. If you are so inclined, here are a couple of options. -- you can pick from a dozen or so options here.

Pray if you are able. I'm not sure for what.
Do something.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

merry christmas to all

I'm sitting here tonight after an evening with old friends and some "santaing" with my amazing wife. My heart is full of thoughts about my beautiful kids, incredible church, great family, good friends, on and on and on. I'm struck tonight by how full life seems to be in these days. Full in the best ways. What can I do but thank God and enjoy.

I know there is a miserable war going on in my name (and in yours too American friends). I know there is genocide in Sudan. I know there are homeless people trying to stay warm and find something to eat tonight not too far down the street from where I write these words (I even know a lot of their names). I know there is poverty and misery and pain and all manner of wrong all over the planet tonight. I know the world isn't perfect, a whole lot of it stinks in fact. But I also know that we celebrate the birth of a baby that speaks hope and peace into this wretched world. Immanuel (God with us) brings with Him the possibility of the Kingdom where all of the things that are wrong won't be anymore and He brings the hope that my life and yours can count to live in that Kingdom and live it out. I want my life and my family and my community to extend the hope and the life of that baby and the God who sent him.

So tonight I pray. For every soldier 10,000 miles from home. For every Iraqi family in fear of what tomorrow brings. For every addict who spends tonight with nothing but their poison. For every wealthy American who takes all of life for granted living in blind self-sufficiency. For the hurting and broken and lost and needy and hopeful and blessed. For my family, my friends, my community, and for you -- the friends I know and those I haven't yet met.

May God bless us every one. And may we recognize those blessings for what they are and for the One who brings them to us. May God use our lives to bless those of others. And may we remember the hope we have.

To quote my friend Corey -- Merry Jesus.

Friday, December 24, 2004

we have the coolest santa

We have always been told that THE Santa to visit in OKC is at the mall in of course THE part of town to live in. We went once, stood in line for a couple of hours, got shuttled through, picture, picture and off we go. Now that guy is so popular (at least among the brown mooing herd) that they give you pagers like at a restaurant so you can go and shop until your turn comes.
Needless to say, after that first encounter we said no thanks. So now we go to the mall near our house. This guy is the coolest. He reads to the kids who are there about once an hour. Not effecient, but the kind of thing Santa would do don't you think? A couple of years ago when Caleb wanted something that none of us had ever seen and weren't sure existed, Santa asked him all kinds of questions to get him to describe it, all the while looking at me to make sure I was paying attention and taking notes on what needed to appear. This year, the big news at our house was the introduction of the song I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus (Hannah did her dance recital to it -- yep went to another one), so the big question for the Santa visit was "would Mommy really do it?" Well, if you know Kenda at all, she is Santa's biggest fan, so of course she did. What was not expected was Santa then standing up and opening his arms to hug me. I have to tell you, it's been a year or two (or 25) since I hugged Santa and I must say, it felt pretty good.
Now for those who frown on followers of Jesus who let their kids believe in Santa (and I must say that ALL of mine (yes, including the 8 year old) are still true believers (come to think of it, Kenda is still one herself), I will simply say that Santa is in proper perspective at our house. He isn't why we have Christmas or the center of our celebration. I won't defend him, but I will say that the act of hugging a total stranger such as myself for no real reason other than to do it comes off far more like Jesus than most of the good church folk I know.

Setting out cookies tonight (and carrots too, now that the kids have seen The Santa Clause)

no other way to describe this but child abuse

Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced "Albin")

this is the name given to a child in sweden. it's worth the 20 seconds it will take to read the wikipedia enrty.

now we're having to rethink what we'll call rebekah. hmmmmmmmm

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

does this bother anyone else?

the veggie tales nativity play set
The Veggie Tales Nativity lets your child bring the true meaning of
Christmas to life with the help of their favorite characters from the

thankfully they finally got that lights and sounds thing going.

Monday, December 13, 2004

i can't choose between screaming and crying

Falwell Invigorated by 2004 Election

WASHINGTON — Invigorated by what he calls the "greatest victory" in the history of the religious right, Rev. Jerry Falwell says he is going to resurrect the Moral Majority — the movement he started in the 1970s that some say led to the march of Christian soldiers to Washington.

the following responses from the article say it all

"If he becomes the voice of the evangelicals, they've got big problems," said Democratic strategist Tom King, who called Falwell a lightning rod who wants to cash in on the acclaim given to "moral values voters" credited, in part, with re-electing President Bush.

"I'm more than happy that the Rev. Falwell reconstituted the Moral Majority coalition," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission . "I think anything that can be done to keep up the resurgence of moral values voters is good for the country."
ready to find a hole to crawl in

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Jesus polished for mass consumption

The worst thing that can happen to a prophet is not to be ignored and forgotten; it's to have her cause taken up and chewed by the masses. Whatever she says, if it doesn't fit, will be chewed up some more, some opportunist will come along and forge a contradiction, polish a rough edge of original meaning, and then it will fit. Peop;le beleive in everything but the original words.

I came across this statement last night in an odd source. It is from a sci-fi book (yes, I'm a geek) by Greg Bear called Anvil of Stars (for any other interested geeks). It has stuck with me though. i wonder how much "polishing" has gone on in order for Jesus to be presentable to our American mindset. I'm not thinking so much of the obvious things like "health and wealth" or Oprah, feel-good theology, but more about things like individualism vs. community and care for the poor and denying self and all of the other words of Jesus that I watched be put off to the side in years of hanging out in "big church".
It seems like Jesus created problems wherever He went. Religious folks got stressed out when he started talking and acting. I find myself in both my life and my church wanting to see Jesus cause more trouble, stir things up. I want to stop explaining away the things that don't make sense or don't fit my picture. I want to wrestle more and I want our community to wrestle together with the words of Jesus that cause trouble.
That makes me nervous though. Nervous about how much Jesus will screw up my admittedly comfortable life. Maybe even more nervous that I will just find a new way to polish Him up to make Him more consistent or palatable to a new way of life. I'm not even sure I know how to avoid that. Hmmm.

Interesting what brain candy can stir up.

Monday, December 06, 2004

the definition of too much time on your hands