Monday, September 22, 2008

File Under: That Was Awkward

I stopped by one of my favorite proprietors of Mexican food, Don Jose, for lunch today.
Reader Tip: You can immediately tell the quality of a Mexican restaraunt by the music they play (Don Jose plays only Junta music) and the refried beans (out of this world).

In short, they know their way around the enchilada.

After quickly ordering my lunch (Speedy Gonzales with pollo y frijoles), I made a visit to that one room set apart as holy for the men in the restaraunt. While preparing to do the important work one does while in said room, and having just shut that very special inner door separating me from the rest of the world (guaranteeing a few moments of solitude from the rest of the world's chaos)...the outer door to said room pops open.

I hear my waiter (!) say with his great accent: "Did you want the rice or beans on your Speedy Gonzales?"

Cue brief pause as I scan the room (which is very small), thinking, hoping, praying, that he is talking to someone else.
Nope. He would be me. I guess that's good customer service??
Not wanting rice, I of course responded.

For now, I will be filing that under the "A's" for "awkward."

Monday, September 15, 2008

What I Want to Leave Behind

I read this report from a Church Leader about renewing a pioneering spirit and the legacy he wants to leave.
I say, me too.

BlockquoteI do not need to see the end of the reward. The reward is in the journey. Of my leadership, what shall be written? ... perhaps heaven's scribe would be kind enough to write: "He, in the tradition of Wesley, created a restlessness . . . a searching, striving frustration for a better way; a way to make the good news of Jesus Christ come alive to a complex culture, and he helped to open the doors of the church to succeeding generations."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

How to Fail a Test

Some actual answers students put on tests. My wife and I laughed until we cried. Thanks Dale.
If you can't see the image, click on it to make it bigger.

And my personal favorite.

It's Always About Relationships

This shot was snapped driving down the interstate at about 70 miles an hour, in the rain.
Probably not the safest way to take a picture.
I've never heard of KBS, but their tag line told me that they understand something fundamental about human nature and how the world actually works.
It's always about the relationship. Always. So even if you are a construction company (like KBS), you aren't building buildings, you're building relationships.
It underscores a life axiom: So go your relationships, so goes your life.
Think about it. In what arena of life are relationships not the key to success, joy and peace and the place we find love?
The quality of the experience is directly related to the quality of the relationships.
Relationships are the umbrella under which we live life. Everything else either contributes to or takes away from those relationships.
This is what it means when scripture says we are made in God's image. We understand God to be a relationship of persons--Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Trinity) always giving away love. Or Augustine described the Trinity: Lover, Loved, and Love.
Bad relationships=no love.
Want love? Work on your relationships.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Ancient Future

My college roommate is a bush doctor in Papua New Guinea (PNG). They are literally in the future. Because of time zones, they are always in tomorrow. So I recently asked him, joking, "how's the future?"

What he said was a beautiful mixture of Scripture and hope.

BlockquoteThe future? The future of the world in general - going to get worse in fact I would guess eventually the love of most will grow cold and I wonder if when the Son of Man returns if he will find faith. The future of PNG is bleak and deteriorating more rapidly then anyone really realizes. The future of the US economy is uncertain which adds a layer of doubt to the uncertainty of my 403B retirement plan and my children's educational futures. My future is the same as all those who love God - secure, without doubt glorious and making me feel like these light and momentary trials are not worthy the glory to be revealed.

It reminded me of what the 2nd Century Bishop of Carthage Cyprian wrote to his friend Donatus about his conversion:

BlockquoteThis seems to be a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from my fair garden under the shadow of my vines. But if I climb some great mountain and look out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see -- brigands on the
highways, pirates on the seas, armies fighting, cities burning, in the amphitheaters men murdering each other to please the applauding crowds, selfishness and cruelty and misery and despair under all roofs. It is really a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. Yet in the midst of it, I have found a quiet and holy people. They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of this sinful life. They are despised and persecuted but they care not: They are masters of their souls. These people, Donatus, are the Christians and I am one of them

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Hot Day in Central Virginia

It gets really hot here in the summer.
So hot that going outside can feel like walking into a hot, wet, blanket.

I first experienced the oppressive glories of an East Coast summer when I came to DC in the summer of 1987 for Nazarene Youth Congress--a monster quadrennial Christian youth rally.

It was hot like a mother then too.
And its hot like a mother now while were waiting for Hurricane Hanna to slam into shore later today.
Good times.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Your Illusions - Loving the Truth, part 6

How do you break through the illusions, mistaken perceptions and half-truths you tell yourself about yourself and your world?

It's just human nature to adopt views of ourselves and the world around us that make us comfortable...or rather, don't make us uncomfortable. So without some way to cut through the cozy mental couches we tend to rest on in our minds and hearts, we live with and through illusions, comforting ourselves with half-truths.

Jesus wasn't about illusions. He would burst anyone's bubble--causing temporary pain in the interest of long-term healing. The Kingdom of God--what he came to announce and demonstrate--is a place of reality and so requires a ruthless honesty. He used parables to do just that. Break through the illusions to reality.

BlockquoteI suspect Jesus was pointing to...transformation in seeing and hearing when he said it took "parables" to subvert our unconcious worldview--and thereby expose its illusions, even to us. Parables should make us uncomfortable if we are really hearing" them. If we fit them nicely in our business-as-usual world, parables have not served their purpose. A parable is supposed to change our operative worldview and unlock it from the inside--so that we can see and hear reality correctly.

What we have done for centuries in the West is give people new moral and doctrinal teaching without rearranging their mythic worldview. (And all it does is) create legalists, ritualists, minimalists, and literalists, who always kill the spirit of a thing
From Richard Rohr's, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective