Saturday, January 29, 2005

too good not to share

In the last couple of days, people have found their way here by seaching for "Jerry Falwell's house" and "ladies church hats". Who knew how much curiouswonder had to offer?

off to Texas.

Friday, January 28, 2005

oooooooooooooooooklahoma (the state, not the song)

I live in the middle of a Jeff Foxworthy routine.
1. Toby Keith is Oklahoman of the Year.
2.Senator Wants Boxing Gloves on Chickens

Yep, boxing gloves on chickens. This is the single most significant thing in Oklahoma to this guy. Of course we need a quote:

State Sen. Frank Shurden, a longtime defender of cockfighting, is suggesting that roosters be given little boxing gloves so they can fight without bloodshed. The proposal is in a bill the Democrat has introduced for the legislative session that begins Feb. 7.

"Who's going to object to chickens fighting like humans do? Everybody wins," Sen. Frank Shurden said.

and another
"Let the roosters do what they love to do without getting injured," Shurden said.

There's so much more. Go read the article.
On the brighter side, at least we don't have this problem. (You know you want to look).

At least it's snowing. Although that provides a whole other set of issues for Oklahomans.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Today marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. There will be a moment of silence in different places around the world at noon today local time. I didn't know much about or think much about the Holocaust until K and I visitied the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem several years ago. It is hard to forget the things we saw and heard and experienced there. If you think of it today (or any day), pause a moment and remember. While you're at it, pray for people who are experiencing the same kind of brutality and genocide today in places like The Sudan.

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the war horses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah 9:9-10


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

the danger of God in church

I found this quote through a book I'm reading by Eugene Peterson called The Contemplative Pastor . In a section on "praying with your eyes open" he quotes Annie Dillard's
essay "An Expedition to the Pole ". She says about church:

Why do we people in churches seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute?. . . Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does not one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews.

That's what I want to be a part of. A community that is encountering and exploring and expressing the dangerous untamed wildness of God. One of passion and reality that gets messy and messed up by the love and life of God. It is a dangerous thing to seek that out. Life could get really screwed up. Part of me is terrified at the thought of reality like that. But like standing in line for the crazy roller coaster, another part of me can't wait.

make mine a black crash helmet.

evangelism of the passion

Andrew Zirschky at naked church has a great post on why The Passion of the Christ was "snubbed" for the big oscars.
At one point he compares the movie to the modern version of evangelism -- all cross and very little Jesus. No context, nothing He taught, nothing He was. We like to tell people Jesus died for them, but as one guy said to me, "who the hell is Jesus?" It's like only watching the last scenes of Return of the King and having no idea what all the commotion is about.
It does help explain why the movie was viewed as the witnessing opportunity of the century of the week -- it was exactly the way the story gets told only instead of having to say anything, we could just buy a movie ticket. If we could get one from the "christians" who bought them all.

anyway, go read the post.

moby on 24

No not on the show, but talking about it. Apparently Moby has found himself as addicted as the rest of us. The quote?

it is the painted hooker and i'm the dim-witted sailor on shore leave with $20 burning a hole in my pocket.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

this one's for jaci

OSLO, Norway - President Bush’s “Hook ’em, ’horns” salute got lost in translation in Norway, where shocked people interpreted his hand gesture during his inauguration as a salute to Satan.

Norway is finding out what those of us north of the Red River have known for some time.

Hook'em horns = devil worship.

Imagine picking up the paper and seeing this picture if you thought that's what the sign means. For most Europeans, it would simply serve as confirmation of what they already believe.

ps. sooners by 8 tomorrow

Friday, January 21, 2005

so we bought a camel this week

For Christmas this year our church decided to put money together to buy something from the World Vision gift catalogue for a family in Africa. The ultimate goal was to get together enough to buy a camel. Think about it, how many opportunities in life do you have to buy a camel? So we collected money for a few weeks and lo and behold (don't think I've ever typed that before, hmmmm)not only did we have enough for our ship of the desert, but we were able to buy 50 ducklings as well.

The catalogue is great stuff, you can donate everything from bunnies to entire water / electricity systems. You can order a catalogue here or find out more.

How can you resist that face?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

by the way

If you want to see the insidious cartoon video, check it out here. Just don't blame me if you turn gay.

this is going to bother some of you (for different reasons)

James Dobson has become the new Jerry Falwell. (If you are wondering, that's not a compliment) Endorsing candidates, threatening elected officials if they don't roll his way, and now he's trashing cartoon characters who promote tolerance (by the way, the church marketing sucks blog has a great article on this one). It seems as though Dr. Dobson is feeling pretty empowered by the alleged "right" turn of the country and wants to move forward with God's (really?) agenda for America.

In an interview in his office in Colorado Springs, Dr. Dobson acknowledged that his plunge into partisan politics had irrevocably changed his public image. "I can't go back, nor do I want to," he said. "I will probably endorse more candidates. This is a new day. I just feel a real need to make use of this visibility."

He said that despite initial concerns, his political activities did not appear to have diverted donations from Focus on the Family. He created a sister lobbying organization during the last election, and the two organizations' combined budgets grew to a projected $146 million in 2004, from about $130 million in 2003, with a target of $170 million for 2005.

I'm not saying that I think Dobson is a bad guy or even that he is completely wrong in some of his stands. My problem is this, Christianity was never intended to be legislated. It is subversive, sneaky, grass-roots. we are salt and yeast, not bakers. I know there is (and has been for some time) a desire among "christians" to be considered mainstream and powerful and to feel like we hold sway over this "christian nation" and that has been heightened over the past four years that we have had "God's guy" in office. I have said for a long time, only when "christians" start acting like Jesus will our country become anything resembling a "christian nation". Banning gay marriage, abortion, and SpongeBob is not the answer. Loving our neighbors (even the blue state ones), helping the poor (even the Iraqi ones), and living lives of peace (as much as it is up to us) might be.
Dr. Dobson, keep helping people on the radio and in your books. Pray for the president and our other leaders (even the ones you don't like). Stop cramming evangelicalism down the throat of America and just live Jesus out in front of them. It's nuts, but it just might work.

Off to block the Disney Channel

Monday, January 10, 2005

One of the byproducts of the tsunami has been a rash of discussions about the role of God in the midst of a tragedy like this and, ultimately, the sovereignty of God. Since we have the ability to view things from afar, we have to fill up the hours of radio and TV time so God (Allah, karma, Yahweh, etc.) gets to be explained / questioned / called out by all kinds of folks. I'll reserve comment right now (the bed is calling), but can I point out a couple of these conversations that have been enlightening in a lot of ways (and infuriating in a couple of ways as well)? They are worth checking out.

A transcript from Larry King Live the other night -- features an "evangelical", a catholic priest, a Buddhist monk, a rabbi, a Muslim scholar, and Deepak Chopra (whatever he is)

From NPR's morning edition today -- Interviews with leaders / scholars from 6 or 7 different faiths. The end provides some of the most interesting listening with thoughts from John Piper and a Buddhist spiritual adviser from California (I think)

Thoughts anyone? How much blame does God get for the loss of 150,000+? I think I know what I think, I'm curious to hear from others.

bed now

Friday, January 07, 2005

2004 book list

OK, here we go. I've finally put together my list of the books I enjoyed the most last year. Not all of them are from 2004, but that's when I encountered them. Feel free to agree or disagree or add your own. Any of the links will take you to to pick up your own copy of all of this great stuff. Enjoy.

The Preservationist -- I have talked about this one a little before. It is a novelization of the Noah / flood narrative from Genesis and it is great. Maine shows some serious creativity while staying true to the original. Good stuff.
Life of Pi -- Another great, different read. Some good thoughts on spirituality in the midst of a good story.
Stephen King's Dark Tower Series -- I blew through all seven over the course of the year. It will never be confused with great literature or fiction, but they were fun reads. If you like epics, sci-fi, with some spaghetti western thrown in you'll like these.
Honorable mention -- This was the year of Vonnegutt for me. I read Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions, and Timequake (and I think one other, but I don't remember which). He's nuts. but in a really good way.

The Year of the Memoir -- It's not a genre I usually care anything about but for some reason I read a lot of these this year. Some good ones.
Don Miller -- Blue Like Jazz -- Probably the best book I read this year. If you haven't read it yet, you need to. (his Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance is great too.)
Anne Lamott -- Traveling Mercies -- This is a beautiful book about a quest for faith. Another must read.
Stephen King -- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft -- I read through tons of King books as a teenager and really enjoyed reading King talk about some of those books and beyond. Also his thoughts about writing were encouraging and helpful.
Danny Wallace -- Join Me -- I think this is a memoir. Anyway, it's the funniest book I have read in a long time. If you don't know about Join Me (it's not a cult, it's a collective), check it out and then read the book.

Books on Faith / the Church
Brennan Manning -- Ragamuffin Gospel -- Still one of the most significant books I have ever read. I read it every year and it is great every time.
Lauren Winner -- Mudhouse Sabbath -- I read this during the summer and I am still thinking about the distinctness of Christianity in the world.
Doug Pagitt and friends from Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis -- Reimagining Spiritual Formation: A Week in the Life of an Experimental Church -- It may be because our church is similar in many ways to SP, but I found myself tracking with every part of this book. Doug wrote most of the material, but around it are comments from people from his community, many of which contradict what he is saying. It is a great exercise in collaborative writing if nothing else, but it is more.

Trouble makers -- These are the books that have cause me to question a lot this year and led to some serious shifts in thinking and lifestyle.
Culture Jam: How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge--And Why We Must
-- Kalle Lasn
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal -- Eric Schlosser -- If you liked Super Size Me , you'll love this. If you love McDonalds, you'll hate it. I have not darkened the door of McD's since I read this book.

Enough for now. A good year for books. Here's hoping 2005 proves the same.
Read Something.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

post orange bowl thoughts

beat like...
... a drum
... a rented mule
... a red-headed stepchild
... Michael Dukakis
... the '62 Mets
...Michael Moore (or Natalie Maines or Moby or ...) at a Toby Keith concert get the idea.
other suggestions?

At least the largely pro-OU crowd showed the good sense to deal appropriately with the half-time show.
Ashlee Simpson Booed at Orange Bowl
Never a good idea to unleash a few thousand unhappy Sooners on something that poor.

Pitchers and catchers report in six weeks.

Monday, January 03, 2005

faith and sports

There's a good article on today about Reggie White and his thoughts on being a "Christian" athlete. Before his death a few days ago, Reggie talked in an interview for the NFL network about how his role as "The Minister of Defense" both gave him a platform to talk about his faith and caused him to become a promotional tool / motivational speaker for Christianity.

You can check out the article here. You have to watch through a commercial to get the free day pass, but it is pretty painless.

As a teenager and a new follower of Jesus, I loved finding out about athletes who were Christians. It felt great to have big names like Reggie White and Barry Sanders and Evander Holyfield on "my team". They were larger than life and helped me legitimize my faith to friends who called me out for not "acting the way 16 year olds should". If it was good enough for Reggie, it was good enough for me. The obvious problem came when those heroes inevitably fell. That list is too long to go over here. The celebrity that gave them the platform also provided opportunity and visibility to fall hard and publicly. To be fair, almost any 25 year old Christian guy placed in the spotlight like that would probably find a way to screw up (look at all of the youth ministers who do).

These days I'm still glad to hear about athletes and "celebrities" who live out faith in their worlds. The ones who don't make the grand public statements, but who give their lives and finances and energy away to a kingdom other than their own. I cringe to hear "God" get credit for Grammy awards or football titles, my guess is that God has better things to do than track the BCS and cheer for the Sooners (I know that will be hard for some of you to accept).

Not sure where all of this is going, so I'll stop and encourage you to check out the article. Here's one quote from Reggie.
"I used to have people tell me, 'God has given you the ability to play football so you could tell the world about him.' Well, he doesn't need football to let the world know about him. When you look at the scriptures, you'll see that most of the prophets weren't popular guys. I came to the realization that what God needed from me more than anything is a way of living instead of the things I was saying. Now I know I've got to sit down and get it right."

Check it out.