Monday, April 28, 2008

Friends are Better Than Ice Cream

Andrea, Corban and Hudson were away in Atlanta for 10 days and just came home.

Feeling very fatherly and wanting to bestow only blessings on my eldest, last night I proffered this to Hudson: "Would you like to go get some ice cream?!?"

Hudson's response, as any 3 three year old who's tasted the sweet nectar of the cow in this way: "Yaaaayyyyy!!!!"

We're walking out to the car en route to Cold Stone Creamery when his friend from across the cul-de-sac, Gabe (who he hasn't seen in 10 days mind you), saunters down our driveway.

Hudson yells his name with joy and runs and hugs him. Turning to me mid-embrace, he says, "Daddy, I don't want to go get ice cream."

Friends are better than ice cream, every time.

BlockquoteThen the LORD God said, 'it is not good that the man should be alone.'" Genesis 4:18

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Missing Persons

I miss these 3 people…a lot.

They’ll be home on Saturday and I can’t wait to hug and kiss them all.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cell Phones Will Get You in Trouble

This guy was talking on his phone during a courtyard concert and the musicians let him know what they thought.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ned Flanders Might Be My Friend

I've grown up in church.
I know it's language.
How to dress. What to say. What to do.
I know the game really, really well.

And maybe for that reason I've come to the place in the last 10 years where I don't much like church people (which is a tricky situation when you work as a pastor).

By church people, I mean the Ned Flanders of the world. As in the kind of people who apparently send their kids to summer Christian camp so they can learn to be more judgmental.
Grouchy, out-of-touch, conservative-on-all-the-wrong things, party-line-toting church people. Or at least that's been my perception.

But somehow, God loves them. Alot. And I haven't quite been able to put into words what I've been feeling about my animosity. There is a stream of head-nod-inducing talk in church leadership conferences that talks about having righteous indignation against the religious "pharisees" of our day. Now maybe that's right and as a leader I need to just "bring it" against those folks. But I still think Jesus loves them--so what does that say to my head nodding during said conferences?

Matt Chandler, who pastors The Village Church in Flower Mound , TX (right next to my high school hometown), wrote a post that unravels all that for me. He's my kind of guy (even though we are on different sides of the theological playing field) and is an excellent communicator.

I read his post and was humbled. Maybe I need to take Ned to lunch.

Wii Would Like to Play

Played some Wii for the first time last night with a family in my small group. I've never been a big video game guy (except for some old school Atari).
But last night:
Rocked it in Tennis.
Crushed it in baseball.
Severely humbled in bowling.
Got beaten up by a six year old in boxing (but not before accidentally actually punching him while trying to figure out the controls. Whoopsie.)
And now I have a new injury I am officially dubbing: Wiiitis Shoulderitis.

I lift. I run. But Wii kicked me where it counts and my shoulder has ached all day.

Props to the imaginations that saw a way to merge exercise and interaction with the passivity of video games. They've reinvented a cultural experience.

Friday, April 18, 2008

How to Pray...among other things

I'm relearning some things. Here's a current list of what I'm relearning.
  • How to be a husband. I'm often not aware of how my actions affect (negatively) my wife and the other people around me. When I'm focused, I'm focused. But that can mean I leave someone with a less dominant personality standing by the side holding my coat. No fair. Here's a list I came across several years that inspired me to be a better husband.
  • How to plan. Not doing it right creates chaos. For instance, this week my wife's tire blew as she was pulling out of the driveway on her way with the boys to Atlanta. I didn't plan the tire rotation properly, thus creating conditions for said blow out. (see above thing I'm learning). Note to self: have the oil changed at a place that also does tire rotations. I've been using these guys, and they don't. Regardless, thank God for Fix-a-Flat! The stuff is a miracle.
  • How to think of others and remember what's important to them. It's an expression of caring.
  • How to pray. Henri Nouwen says we learn to pray by praying. I've been doing that as plainly as I can lately. That's meant a decrease in the amount of flowery language and emotional content of my prayers. It seems in low-church world, flowery language and emotional-laden speech often qualifies as "good" prayer. Now I happen to like flowery language and emotionally laden speech--I feel warm and fuzzy afterwards. It's just that I've often left prayer times wondering why (a) we did all the talking and (b) we told God a bunch of stuff he already knows. Maybe the flowery language and emotional speech will be replaced in time, maybe it won't. For now, I'm okay with honesty, sincerity and plain speech. And regardless, I know I am connecting at a deeper level with God. This is how Jean-Nicholas Grou (b. 1730) describes it in his excellent book How to Pray:

BlockquoteIn this matter people generally treat God as though he were a man, and believe that he cannot understand a prayer unless every detail of its requests is explained to him. They prepare carefully their intention, have special formulas for each act of prayer, mention individuals by name and imagine that if the least detail escapes their memory God cannot supply it. O souls of little faith and little knowledge of God, your intentions have reached him before you have opened your mouth; no sooner are they in your heart than he sees them, and why must you torment yourselves by explaining them to him? You desire every spiritual blessing both for yourselves and for those whom you love; how should he who inspired these desires not know that you have them?"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We're All Hokies Today

This is the one year anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech ( you can visit their remembrance website is here.)
Today, 3o+ families are having to relive the awful tragedy that was that day. I just can't imagine what they are feeling and thinking. We hosted one of the funerals after the tragedy--it was a sobering experience.
In my experience, American's generally don't know what to do in the face of grief. We don't know how to lament and how to let others lament. It makes us...uncomfortable. So we say nothing and do nothing--hoping to sweep the issue under the rug and out of our zone of awareness. 'Don't do anything and it will go away', we think.
So pray for those families today, including the family of the shooter who are bear the double burden of grief and shame. My prayer for them is an image: Jesus--the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief--embracing them while they cry, weeping with them.
My initial post on this just after it happened, is here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Day (or night) in the Life

This is a heart-melting image, isn't it? Maybe it makes you think of soft lullabyes, or plush little toys, or the sweet scent of a just bathed baby--their little coos of contentment warming your parental soul. And it's all true, more true than you could ever imagine. But as any parent knows, it's also the worst sort of propaganda put out by the diabolical Babies Workers Union (all newborns are automatically signed up) in their effort to continue the propagation of the species.

For instance, one night ago this was Corban's (gently sleeping baby pictured above) schedule:
12:30AM - Daddy goes to bed after checking email. Baby whimpers as Daddy walks past his door. Daddy goes in and cuddles baby, softly stroking his cheek and thinking how beautiful it is to be a parent and how right things are with the world. Daddy lays down to his own precious slumber thinking beautiful thoughts, thanking God for this gift of children.
1:00AM - Baby whimpers again, breaking into a soft cry. Daddy, having just drifted off, awakes with a start, but happily calls to mind those 30 minute old memories and warmly replaces the missing binky that was the genesis of his progeny's cries. Daddy drifts off to sleep again.
1:30AM - More crying. This time louder. Daddy, not quite as happily comforts baby, laying down praying that baby goes to sleep, not so sure God was doing him any favors.
2:00AM - Crying continues. Daddy, by now in a sleep induced fog, begs (yes, begs) baby to go to sleep. Bylaws in the Babies Workers Union require baby to ignore this request. By way of divine assistance, offers to go to Africa as a missionary if God will grant sleep to his infant. This too is rebuffed by Providence.
2:somethingorotherAM - More crying. Daddy nudges mommy. Mommy repeats above cycle as obliged by amendments in Babies Workers Union bylaws.
Repeat cycle through rest of the night.
7:00AM (or shortly thereafter) - Big brother jumps in bed with Mommy and Daddy saying "get up daddy, I'm hungry! Bylaws in the Little Boys Workers Union require this request.
The rest of the day - stumbling through in a fog of exhaustion, wiping spit-up and throw-up (yes, baby was sick) off various surfaces of the house.

This, this is what it means to be a parent.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

irrelevant leadership

BlockquoteI am telling you all this because I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer, but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love. The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.”
--Henri Nouwen

So what's the result of that kind of leadership? I think this is one example. Doesn't this start with a wake-up call? Listen for his.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The General Confession

From The Book of Common Prayer

Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from your ways like lost sheep.

We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.

We have offended against your holy laws.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us.

But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare them, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those that are penitent; According to your promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we might live a godly, righteous, and wise life, To the glory of your holy Name.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Yoder Power

I knew we were living in post-modern times, but post-Amish??
Who'd of thunk it?
Go Jacob Yoder! Read it here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Herb Peterson, inventor of the Egg McMuffin died last week at the age of 89. His motivation for creating it? Eggs Benedict. Don't know about you, but I don't exactly see (or taste) the link. I do love me some Egg McMuffin though, in spite of the fact I feel slightly nauseous after eating there.

Google--a company who has "don't be evil" as one of their core values, is living up that by providing free voicemail for the homeless. San Francisco is their pilot city. If it catches on, they'll expand it around the country. Article here.

This is Virginia in the Spring. It's really an amazing experience to see. The trees are barren now, and then almost overnight they blossom into a carpet of green. It reminds me of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah who talked about the wilderness blooming as a sign that God hadn't forgotten them. I'll post the blossomed pic in a few weeks after the "show."