Friday, September 26, 2008

Treating Symptoms

A group of students, (not ones that I knew) were asked, "If you could change one thing at your school, what would you change?"

I was shocked when the first two responses were to eliminate cussing.

A group of adults were asked, "If you had to pick one social injustice in the world to over turn, what would it be?"

I was surprised when several people chose abortion.

I hate abortion. I think that there is a human life in a womb, and that abortion is taking a life.
I believe that we should heed Paul's teaching in Ephesians, and should restrict unwholesome talk, but should use words that are edifying.

HOWEVER, just as I easily pop several Advil to alleviate signs of symptoms that might be pointing to something more serious, I worry that we have gotten so used to Christendom that we would rather police culture, than actually ask what the disease is.

Kids cuss, but their cussing is part of something much bigger, and if all we want to do is white wash their actions, we are missing soemthing.

Women get abortions, but if all we want to do is force someone to keep a kid that they don't want, we lose sight of, the reason they are pregnant, and the reasons that they don't want to keep their child.

Are we willing to just feed the hungry?
Or are we willing to question why they are hungry in the first place?

I think that symptoms can, and should be treated, I just hope that we are seeking to wipe out diseases at the same time.

New Masthead

In honor of Michaela's birthday this week:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bridging the Generational Gap

I found a program online that will take an e-mail, and convert it to snail mail.

That means that I can use e-mail to communicate with my grandparents who, while in New Mexico don't have internet access.

Today, rather than just sending a text filled letter, I created my own postcard with pictures from my computer, and mailed it to them, all for just 59 cents.

Check the program out at


Beating the System?

When I was in college, AOL began offering $100 - $400 rebates if you signed up with their services. I had friends who would go to Circuit City, sign up for AOL, receive their voucher, buy DVD players and televisions, go home, and cancel AOL. Apparently in California, customers were not contractually obligated to maintain their AOL/Compuserve account. I watched them do it, all the while expecting it not to work. And yet it did...over and over again for some of them, until AOL recognized that they were being taken advantage of and removed the offer from stores in California.

Part of me regretted not taking advantage of the rebate when it was offered, but a small part of me, still knew that it was dishonest.

I know that the proposed $700 BILLION financial bailout is complicated and is multifaceted, but yet I can't help approaching it with the same attitude as I have towards AOL's rebate.

I and others chose not to listen to those who kept saying that renting is throwing money away. I respectfully listened as people told me that you can never go wrong with Southern California real estate, and I respectfully disagreed with friends who opted to buy homes that they couldn't afford with interest only loans, banking on the rising house prices to give them the equity they needed to refinance down the road and shrink their house payments.

And yet now, it looks like I may have missed an opportunity, not an opportunity to buy low and sell high, but an opportunity to take advantage of a system that seems unwilling to let people live with their mistakes.

I am painfully aware that if the number of people affected by the housing crisis foreclose, that lives will be upset. Children will be uprooted from schools, the economy, (and people's tithings) will stall a bit, but isn't that a consequence for actions. Specifically a consequence for people biting off more than they could chew? For fibbing on loan applications, for counting their eggs before they hatched, for buying something today that they weren't even sure they would have the money for tomorrow?

Perhaps grace is needed. Perhaps a bailout that enables our economy to live to fight another day, and that keeps the middle class in Mini McMansions is the graceful loving thing to do. But maybe it isn't, maybe the best thing to happen would be for a natural adjustment to take place, for the housing market to somehow reflect actual values, and for people to be given the chance to live within their means.

I don't know...I do know that it sucks for the kids either way. They not only are going to be forced out of the homes that some of them lived in, but they are going to be the ones bearing the full weight and repercussions of the sins of our nation, manifested not only in higher taxes, but in place of their inheritance, many will be paying for their parents' retirements instead.

Gosh I'm glad, (or at least I hope) that my life doesn't revolve around the greenback...much.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Anyone up for a road trip?

This "sounds" too crazy to be true (Pun intended).

The BBC (note spelling of "tires") reports:

A section of road in California has had grooves cut into it so car tyres play the William Tell overture, otherwise know as the theme from The Lone Ranger.

But the noise has been irritating residents in the town of Lancaster so much that it is now going to be resurfaced.

The quarter-mile stretch of road was part of a car advertising campaign.

The sound is made by specially cut grooves in the asphalt that emit different sounds as the tyres pass over them, similar to a stylus on a record player gliding across a vinyl LP.

Check out the video here.

I'm sure it's super annoying to residents, but I still think that it must be a "trip" to hear, (again, pun intended).

Research reveals that it is best to drive over it with a Honda Civic at 55mph. I might have to settle for an Accord.

From Wired:
From the Autopia "Most Annoying Promotion Ever" department comes a dispatch from Lancaster, California. Honda's guerilla marketers joined up with the Lancaster highway department and cut grooves into the pavement of a remote stretch of Avenue K. Far from ordinary rumble strips, this particular pavement modification caused a car's tires to resonate in a way that sounded like the William Tell Overture (yes, that's the theme to "The Lone Ranger"). Honda claimed the music sounded best when "played" on a new Civic driving exactly 55 miles per hour.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Urban Art Gallery in OJAI!

I love taking the girls on adventures. If Amber asks me to watch the girls during the day, there is a good chance that we will go out on some sort of adventure. We've gone hiking through poison oak on an overgrown road to get to a cave that I vaguely remember from High School. We've gone hiking in the river bottom, to what Sage calls, "Rattle Snake Hike." We've driven up to the little baby waterfall up the 33, just so we can throw rocks. And at the first sign of snow, we drive up to find some white fluffy stuff to eat.

Yesterday Amber had a lunch date with a woman from church, so the girls and I planned another adventure. By the time we were ready to go, (we had to return home for a band aid and tennis shoes), Amber was home from the Emporium and we all headed out on an adventure together.

I took the girls to a secret art gallery that I heard about, with only Sage's Camera to record the images.

While walking around, it was great to hear Sage and Aspen yell, "DAD, THERE'S MORE ART OVER HERE!" They were so excited, and loved the colors. Their favorite picture was one of a penguin.

This is the third "gallery" that I've taken Sage to. If anyone has any tips on any more, let me know.

Guide for questions

One of the blogs that I subscribe to is Andrew Jones' blog, (who blogs under the name, "Tall Skinny Kiwi"). He's been attending, speaking, and blogging about the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas. Today he quoted John Mark Reynolds, (Professor at this school called Talbot...yeah, I've heard that some pretty cool people go there), on "Crafting a good question for the blogosphere."
His three guidelines were:

1. Don't ask questions to which you know the answer.
2. Don't write about things you know little about.
3. Do read books or online material related to your question.

There's got to be more applications for these guidelines than just blogging.
In fact, I think that those are the same qualifications that I use to ask a question in Community...some of the time.

With this in mind, what are your favorite questions that you don't know the answer to?

*How free will and sovereignty of God can co-exist?
*Adam & Eve's anatomy?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My new earworm

Mark 9:23-24

" 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

"It's a Small World After All"

You know how there are just certain songs that get stuck in your head and you find yourself singing a phrase over and over? There's actually a word for it, it's called an "Earworm."

Lately I've had certain phrases or concepts doing the same thing.

The most recent was, (thanks to Mike Kingsley), John Wesley's exhortation to, "Gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can."

Since Sunday's service however, I can't stop thinking about Jesus' words in John 14:

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

Thanks to Matt Kingsley, we asked on Sunday whether or not people agree that, "“We are doing greater things than Jesus did.”

Most of the people disagreed. We haven't brought people back to life, ascended into heaven, hung out with Moses, walked across water, multiplied loaves of bread, or risen from the dead. I did overhear someone point out that they have driven a car faster than Jesus, but I don't think that's what Jesus had in mine when he said that we will do "greater things than these."

If technology isn't what Jesus had in mind, what did he mean, and does this promise still apply to us today? I can look at Jesus' followers, and in Acts I see them do some amazing things by the power of the Holy Spirit. Is that what Jesus was talking about?

Can I have the expectation today to do greater things than Jesus?
Do I have that expectation?
Will I do greater things?

It feels like blaspheme to even ask the question.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Who would have thought how much trouble would emerge around the word "emerging."

Andrew Jones is one of the most widely read Christian bloggers, and blogs under the name, Tall Skinny Kiwi. Recently he polled his readers asking whether or not he should continue to use the phrase "Emerging Church." Follow the link to read the results, but also be sure to read the pros and cons of the term.

It sucks to think that some of the pain and conversations that I've had over the past couple years aren't isolated, but have been causing pain in all sorts of people's lives.

Andrew Jones writes:
Jenna White who is staying with us, told us that her missionary support had been stopped because a pastor in the Baptist church she attends in USA just preached an anti-emerging church sermon and they put a hold on the money they were going to send her. Funny thing was, it was the same denomination that I had just taught, and we have enjoyed a decade long relationship to this particular church

I think the most upsetting things to me about all of the "emerging" hoopla is that some people give more weight to an anti-emerging pastor's comments re: "Emerging Churches," than to years of relationships with people who they have been serving together with.

Sounds a lot like McCarthyism to me.