Friday, September 28, 2007


Right now, Otter Creek is going through her elder selection process. If you're interested, you can see more at

It's an interesting process, because especially for the Churches of Christ, we're choosing men who will not be paid, but will be the ones casting vision and guiding/shepherding the church. At Otter Creek, the elders candidates are suggested by the congregation, and then asked to consider being an elder. If they assent, they are brought before the congregation and there is a period of time where the congregation can question them or ask them about their perspectives on issues. If the congregation agrees, the candidates are ordained for 6 year terms, at which point they can decide if they want to be considered for reaffirmation. Is this a perfect system? No, it's not. Does it seem to much like an American democratic philosophy? Sure, but until we're willing to go out there and cast lots, it seems like a decent one.

The interesting thing about all of this is the qualifications for being an elder. The reason I bring this up is because a few weeks ago, I got an email from a friend suggesting a single man being nominated for eldership. My first reaction was, "Yeah, right. That has as much a chance of happening as I do of being an elder." But as I read this email, I got more and more curious. You see, the qualifications for elders are found primarily in Titus 1:
5The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Also in I Timothy 3:
1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
Like I said, when I first got the email, I scoffed a little because the Biblical witness seems pretty clear. But as with many things, I started to wonder 2 things. 1) Why would Paul (through God's inspiration) put down these qualifications? and 2) Even though those qualifications were very explicit for a 1st Century Euro-MidEastern culture, were they still applicable now?

A lively email discussion followed, where the reasoning behind this suggestion was shown that there are singles at OC that don't feel like their concerns are being addressed or focused on to the extent that couples and families and children are, which I can say from becoming dear friends with several of the singles over the last couple of years, that I can sympathize with. I think that speaks to a deeper issue of integration of demographics at Otter Creek, but that's another story. Where I ended up coming down, is that I think the elder qualifications are what they are. Where my personal inconsistency came in is that I said that I would strongly support a single Ministry Coordinator or what is Biblically known as a Deacon, even though that would seem to go against the qualifications that Scripture lays down, also in I Timothy 3:

8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

11In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

12A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Well, that's kind of a long way to get to what I was thinking about this morning.
  • What do you look for in an elder/shepherd? Tim Woodroof, our preaching minister, said a few Sundays ago that a congregation cannot progress past her elders. So do you look for someone who will help a congregation progress or maintain the status quo?
  • Do we look for people who are like us or different from us? Do we look for successful business leaders or do we look for men who might not have the "trappings of success" but have shown spiritual maturity?
  • What about their wives? I've long contended that when an elder is ordained, it's not just him but his wife that is also becoming a part of that. If I were ever chosen as an elder (waits for laughter to die down), I know that Sheryl would be as much a part of that I am.
  • Do you look for a certain age? I know one friend who once said that he would not nominate or vote for a man who had children in grade school because he should focus on his immediate family rather than the congregational family. How much does age play into our estimations of maturity and wisdom?
And as always, I'm not really looking for answers, but just throwing the questions out there and curious about the thoughts of my friends/readers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Birthday to...


I was going to do one of those posts where the blogger talks about someone special in their life, wife, husband, children, mistress... um, I mean, um..... preacher, etc. But humor doesn't always translate over the intertubes, so here are some interesting facts about my birthday.

- On this day in 1540, the Jesuits received their charter from the Pope.
-In 1777, Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the capital of the United States for one day.
- In 1940, Italy, Germany, and Japan signed a treaty forming the original Axis of Evil.
-In 1998, Google was founded.

I share a birthday with...
- Samuel Adams, Revolutionary Patriot and Beer Company model (1722)
- Wilford Brimley, actor and lovable curmudgeon (1934)
- Shaun Cassidy, singer, actor, and philosopher (1958)
- Gwyneth Paltrow, actor, male impersonator, and based on her child's name, a fruit afficiando (1972)
- Avril Lavigne, "singer" (1984)
- And according to Wikipedia at the moment, "Brenda D. - Amazingly Taleneted Ghetto Teenager" (1992)

Interesting facts about me personally on this day.
- I'm double the age I was when I graduated from high school. And I'll just say that 36 doesn't feel nearly as old as it did in high school.
- I'm the age my (bio)dad was when he and Mom got divorced. Interestingly, on our next anniversary, Sheryl and I will have been married for the same amount of time my mom and dad were when they got divorced: 12 years (and the mistress joke above notwithstanding, Sheryl and I are doing great in our marriage and I feel closer to her now than I did 12 years ago).
- I'm also now the age my (step)dad was when Sheryl and I got married. I'll allow you to work out for yourselves how much older than me that makes him.

So, all in all, another birthday. I got a beautiful card from my family the other night and we had a nice time together Monday. I'm a very blessed man and I'm looking forward to what the next 36 years bring.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Heroes Wednesday: Four Months Later...

Image from

It's back and it was very good.

Yesterday, over on Scott's blog, there was just a little Heroes bashing going on. My feelings on Heroes going in are that it really has two issues from the start. 1) A lackluster season finale. The simple fact is that 90% of the Heroes viewers wanted a knockdown dragout fight that lasted for at least 15 minutes of the finale. We didn't get that and it was disappointing. 2) Heroes was such a surprise last year that it didn't have any expectations on it and now it does. Very similar to Lost after its first season. The challenge will be to see if it can keep the viewers or if people will get frustrated as I did with Lost.

So, to the episode. I really liked it a lot. As per usual, the Claire/HRG interaction was the best. I listened to some of the episode commentary by Tim Kring (the creator of the show) who mentioned that that relationship really was the heart of the show, replacing a traditional romance, and I think that's really true. It's no doubt the most emotionally resonant relationship. Of course, I wondered about timelines and why it took Claire 4 months to register in school while her dad has been working at the glorious CopyWorld for those months. Were the Bennets/Butlers still being careful or what? Also, is it really so warm in February in southern California that girls can wear tube tops to school? Obviously no Standard School Attire there. And what exactly are the cheerleaders cheering for? Football's over and basketball would be ending, and I've never seen baseball or soccer cheerleaders before. Not too sure about Claire's new peeping tom. I guess we'll see how that develops. And yes, I very much enjoyed HRG bad-assing the manager at CopyWorld. I still love how the writers can make him so gray and I still really like him.

I also like how he's working with Mohinder to try and bring the Company down, but I'm sure it's not going to be as easy as just infiltrating it. Nice intro of the ultimate "Hey, It's That Guy!" Stephen Toblowsky. Also, Mohinder and Parkman taking care of Molly? Very interesting. I really like the young actress that plays Molly. Very nice.

Speaking of Parkman, I like that he's a New York cop. I'm not sure about him cheating on the exam and I REALLY hope that this isn't the last we hear about the divorce. We can never actually see Janice again, but as a child of divorce I really expect to see that divorcing his pregnant wife really affects him in some way.

Hiro. Obviously this storyline is very reminiscent of the first Back to the Future movie, even quoting "Great-o Scott-o!" I'm hoping that it's not an extreme reworking of that. My thought is that either Hiro will become Kenzei, or the swordsmith's daughter will, as opposed to some redemption arc for English-Kenzei.

Wonder twins... or rather Maya and Alejandro. Speculation I've read is that Maya has a power/plague that kills people as is what happened, but it's neutralized when she's around Alejandro. If that's true, it's interesting and makes me wonder if it's related to the plague Mohinder was talking about.

And finally, the Nathan/Peter/Mama Petrelli/Mr. Nakamura storyline, which could be a post on its own. I think Nathan is the killer. I think he put the picture of Nakamura with the sign in the newspaper when he bumped into Ando. And I think he put the picture of Mama Petrelli in the hallway before he came in. Now, why would he be doing that? Why would he kill Mr. Nakamura? Revenge for the Company's plan which resulted in killing Peter? Or is it Peter himself seeking revenge? Follow me here. This is purely someone else's speculation, but it makes sense. We saw that Nathan saw something different than what we looks like in the mirror at the bar. What if that reflection is the result of Peter's contact with Niki/Jessica. Peter absorbed Jessica's power to put her personality into a sibling's reflection, and thus did it to Nathan when he "died" (as, perhaps, Jessica did to Niki when she died.) But then Peter regenerated with Claire's power... but his whole personality is in Nathan's reflection, so therefore his own body has no memory.

Obviously we don't know how Niki and Jessica became... fused or whatever. Possibly it had something to do with Jessica's death and so this would make a lot of sense. Now I could be wrong and whoever is killing the members of the Company's remaining 9 is Molly's monster or even someone completely different. We'll see. Oh, and did Nathan resign his position in Congress to become Neanderthal Nathan?

Btw, does anyone else think that Peter, Nathan, and Sylar returning, further cheapens the season finale last year? Hiro having to go through his Hero's journey to kill Sylar and it doesn't mean anything. Same thing with Peter and Nathan both returning, although if the speculation above is right, that would be cool, but still cheapen the finale.

Next week, I'm sure we'll see Niki and Micah and possibly the return of the not-so-dead Sylar.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More Teeth

Seriously, I don't know how that boy could be cutting any more teeth. It's almost like all of them decided to drop or come up at once. He's getting incisors and molars at the same time. He got a fever last night that seemed to go away when we gave him some Tylenol, but it spiked up again. On top of all of this, he seems to have some other viral infection that's cropped up around town.

But he's still cute. And he has a great big sister who loves him a ton and is having a great year at school this year. She needs to not talk as much, but she loves her teacher and is doing great in her reading and math. We're very proud of her.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Some Thoughts About the Jena 6

I realize that I might be stepping into a landmine here, but I have a question about the Jena 6 situation and protests that happened last week. First, let me state that I think that the hanging of the nooses over the "white tree" was reprehensible and it deeply saddens me that these attitudes still exist. I'm not naive enough to believe that racism and prejudice will ever disappear.

I also understand that there seems to be a serious miscarriage of justice in terms of how the African-Americans were treated by the justice system in this case. And that is something that I think deserves protestation.

Here's my question: Where are the statements from the African-American community that what the six young men did in beating up the Caucasian was wrong? It seems to me that the whole situation goes directly against the kind of mindset that Dr. King spoke about throughout his life. That by retaliating, the African-Americans stooped to the level of violence that had been intimidated to them and visited on them in at least one case. But in going six on one seems just as wrong.

Maybe I'm overromanticizing the Civil Rights era, because I'm white and I didn't live through it, but I get the sense that while Dr. King would have spoken and marched for equal justice for the Jena 6 that he would have been chastising as well about the use of violence by them. I could be wrong, and perhaps as a white man, I don't have a real context for thinking about racism, but I think there is fault on many sides of this one. I'll be interested to hear other thoughts

Friday, September 21, 2007


I haven't had time to write a major theological post in the last couple of weeks. I've got one brewing about teaching children about non violence. I'm wondering about the use of pronouns for God and the Other-ness of God. I've got another big one brewing about similarities between the Orthodox Church and Churches of Christ, and actually I've been thinking about a small part of that one. But I'm going to punt a little by just asking a question today.

One piece of literature I picked up at the Greek Festival in the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church had a listing of their beliefs and one of the beliefs stated that Scripture and Tradition were of equal authority in the Church.

How does that statement strike you? For me as a member of the Church of Christ which purportedly claims to "Speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent," (although I will freely admit two things. 1) Otter Creek doesn't completely go along with that statement, and 2) Tradition is a major guiding factor in Churches of Christ), this idea of Scripture and tradition being equal troubles me. I would suppose the claim is that God has divinely guided the leaders of the Church since He established it, equal to how the Scriptures were divinely guided, but it also seems to open things way up for Man's intervention. And again, just because a group claims to only use Scripture as a guide (Sola Scriptura) doesn't exclude tradition and the meddling fingers of people being a part of it as well. Maybe I just prefer the illusion of a solely Scripturally based theology.

What think you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Heroes Wednesday: The Rewatch and a Preview

I'm halfway through rewatching Season 1 of Heroes. Finished Homecoming a couple of nights ago and really enjoyed it again. I have my standard questions of course, such as how Peter was able to get from NYC to Midland, TX in a very few hours, but suspension of disbelief is a wonderful thing.

A few notes. I'm still not fully convinced that the producers knew what they were doing with the whole Sylar thing until this point in the season. For serial shows like this, I always wonder if the producers don't think they'll get a full season pickup and write a couple of outs into the show. It seems that by the time they would have been writing the Future Hiro visiting Peter in the subway, the show would have been a hit, and so they would have started writing certain aspects that played out the rest of the season. For instance, when Hiro and Ando are in the Burnt Toast Diner is when we get the first shots of Sylar, now played by Zach Quinto under the baseball cap. And everytime there's a shot of Sylar, we either see his watch or there's the sound of ticking. I'm still finding Bennett to be a compelling character, even though we know what side he ends up on, and I even found Eden to be much more interesting this time around. Simone... not so much.

At any rate, I'm really looking forward to the season premiere NEXT MONDAY!!!! WOO HOO, wait.... Aw crap. The Titans are playing Monday night in New Orleans. Why must the television gods taunt me so? Oh well. Thank goodness for dual tuner TiVo.

And now, a preview of next season. If you don't want to know what characters and/or actors return. Don't watch.

No thoughts on the video itself even though there seems to be a lot going on there, but I do have this extraneous thought... Episode 1 of Season 2 is entitled "Four Months Later..." I seriously, seriously hope that means it takes place in February, since that would four months after election day. As a continuity geek, it would really disappoint me if it started in August or September. Nonetheless, still very much looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Connor won't really let us get a good look or feel, but our best guess-timate is that he has about 6 or 7 teeth coming in right now. This makes for a fussy Connor, even with a good dose of Tylenol.

Fun times...

Monday, September 17, 2007

I Knew This Was Coming

Tattoo remorse fuels boom for dermatologists

It reminds me of the girl that once showed me the tattoo of a dolphin on her stomach. When I saw it, I rather untactfully said, "You realize that if you ever get pregnant that that's going to be a whale, right?"

And it also reminds me of this...

Friday, September 14, 2007

My Verses

Just wanted to share some verses today. My favorite in the Bible.
If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

YouTube Thursday: Conspiracy Theory Rock

This video was shown only once on NBC's Saturday Night Live. After you watch it, you'll know why.

And not to go completely conspiracy theory, but it doesn't seem surprising that when corporations own the media, that there wouldn't be the complete reporting of news that would be bad for corporations, right?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

8 Random Things About Me

Well, Fajita tagged me last month and so I decided to finally answer the call.

1) I have totaled 5 cars that I have been driving. (Not exactly as bad as it sounds.)

2) I have no problem speaking in front of several hundred people, but to sing or lead singing gives me cold sweats.

3) My favorite romantic comedy is "You've Got Mail."

4) I am missing a tooth on the bottom row that was growing horizontally under my teeth line and had to be surgically removed.

5) I was hit in the face with a wooden golf club in third grade.

6) I have never broken a bone or spent the night in the hospital for my own injury or surgery.

7) I have only had one credit card in my life and Sheryl and I currently have none.

8) I always wanted to be a writer as a kid, and still haven't completely given up on that dream.

Malia and David
Judy Thomas
Fake Steve Jobs

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Back at his birthday, some of our good friends got Connor a really cute outfit, that will probably not be worn much. But there was babysitting by the singles at Otter Creek last Saturday night, so he had to wear it.

At home. The boy gets serious red eye.

Flashing a gang sign? Or just pointing at the camera? (thanks to JT for the pic)


Kinsey got into the spirit too. One of her favorite Disney movies is Mulan and we went to Opry Mills Friday night. We didn't sneak past the Disney store and she wanted to go in, so we obliged, and ended up with her Halloween costume for this year. But, good Lord, is she cute!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Greek Festival

Sheryl and I took Connor and Kinsey to the Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church with my mom and dad and Kinsey's cousin yesterday. It was one of those Nashville things that I'd been wanting to go to for a while and just never gotten around to.

It was ok. Kinsey and her cousin had fun doing a couple of bouncy things and the petting zoo. Then we ate some lunch and watched dancers, and that was about all there was to do there. I don't know what I expected, but I really thought there would be more stuff going on. It was nice enough, but for as much as I'd heard about it, I really expected something more... substantial.

I did get to go into the church's sanctuary and picked up some of their materials, particularly about the Orthodox church, which will most assuredly be the subject of at least one Friday post. Let's just say that Churches of Christ and the Orthodox Church make some strikingly similar claims...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Anatomy of a Church Split

I have never been through a church split, thankfully. I don't say that to brag, but it seems like something that a lot of people have been through that I haven't. The closest that I've come was when some of the members of Otter Creek, including the then-preacher left to form Harpeth Community Church. But that was more of a seeding.

On another blog I've been following..., the author Dennis has been chronicling what been going on at his church in Texas, a church of Christ, as some of the members move into a desire for a "freer" experience and several members of the congregation and some elders disagree with that.

Here's are the links of pertinence.

- Lynch Mob - August 27, 2007
- Aftermath - August 29, 2007
- Termination - August 30, 2007
- Can't Go Back - September 3, 2007
- Church Colonoscopy - September 6, 2007

Obviously, the first thing to say is to ask for prayers for this congregation, for those on all sides. As you might guess, my sympathies lean toward Dennis and the people that agree with him. However, a church split has got to be one of the most painful things that a person can experience. It's got to be like a death or divorce, like a painful separation from someone that you love or even thought you loved.

From an outsider's standpoint, like me, this entire thing is very interesting and such a useful look into a church dynamic where you have an established leadership, supported by a vocal group of people, trying to maintain a status quo, and another group who feels called to a more free experience, such as clapping in worship, and is trying to express those feelings, even when they might offend or disconcert others. The trouble is how does this get accomplished? Is there any scenario where the "status quo" people would allow for clapping in worship? Could they regard that as an opinion matter, not related to salvation? It doesn't seem so.

Is there any scenario where the "clappers" could refrain so as to not offend their brothers and sisters, if they feel God is calling them to this, and ultimately to other understandings of Scripture rather than the traditional ways that the Church of Christ has interpreted Scripture?

Or is it simply better to let these to groups go their own way, worshiping and understanding God in their ways, so as to not offend one or bind the other?

And where does the concept of family work into all of this?

Like I said, one thing we can all do is pray for this church, but I'm also curious. Have you been through a split? What was that like? How did it affect your spirituality and feeling toward and about God? Were you able to "maintain fellowship" with the others that split or were all relationships broken? And if you're not a Christian and you're reading this, you might be thinking, "Those crazy Christians. Splitting over stupid stuff like clapping? Give me a break." To you I would say, "Yes. Churches break up over clapping, or kitchens, or preachers. Churches, as much as they are the Body of Christ, are also made up of flawed creatures, so it's not going to be perfect and it's not always going to be right."

So what do you think?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Heroes Wednesday: The Rewatch

Did you hear? That the Heroes Season 1 DVD came out last Tuesday, and like any good fanboy, I've watched the first 4 episodes and the deleted scenes.

Some thoughts.

1) I'm not convinced that the producers and writers knew exactly what they were doing. For one thing, the characterization of Mama Petrelli is very different from the end of the season. I mean, seriously, who would have thought that the stone cold dragon lady at the end was the same as the shoplifting, confessing-that-Peter-was-her-favorite one at the beginning. Also, I don't think Sylar was thought out very well at the beginning. Mohinder's dad called him Patient Zero, indicating that he thought Sylar was the one from whom the power sprang possibly? Either Papa Suresh didn't know what he was talking about or Tim Kring didn't. Same difference I suppose. Plus, I would think that if the producers put the same thought into Sylar as they said they did into Molly Walker, they would have cast Quinto much earlier than they apparently did.

2) In Sylar's apartment, there was the hidden room with the map and the "confessional closet" with lots of religious language about forgiveness and sin on it. Possibly from the influence of his mother I suppose, but that part of the regret and remorse was never really followed up on. Also, did Mohinder ever use the key in his father's old journal that was hidden in the laptop?

3) Deleted scenes. I haven't watched the unaired pilot yet, but I plan to at some point. I did like some of the deleted scenes from the pilot, like DL just appearing out of his cell. I liked that a lot. Also, there was some subplot about Micah's grandmother calling Child Protective Services on Niki. Not too surprising there, but that was actually the reason Niki went to visit her, so that at least made a bit more sense.

I'm enjoying the rewatch so far. Obviously, I watch Heroes recognizing its flaws and just trying to have as much fun with it as possible. Three weeks to go until the premiere!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Minor Update

No deep family stuff today. Connor's doing great and has his top two teeth coming in, so he's being a bit fussy. He also slipped Tiffany the tongue Sunday night, but I don't think she was too traumatized by it.

Kinsey is doing well in school. She gets warned every now and then for talking too much, but on the whole a great school year so far.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Football Post

If you haven't heard, the NFL is changing its logo.

Anybody wonder how long before it gets to this?


Did you see the Michigan-Applachian State game, where the Division 1-AA team beat a top 5 ranked team at the ranked team's stadium? Of course not. You probably don't have the Big Ten Network. See many of the NFL preseason games this year? Or Thursday night games last year? Probably not, because you probably don't have the NFL Network.

In the ever increasing pursuit to monetize Americans obsession with sports, both the Big Ten and the NFL have started airing games on their private networks, rather than on the networks whether cable like ESPN or broadcast networks. Any one else think this is extremely shortsighted? The NFL became as popular as it did because all the games were available. To hide games from viewers, which is what this does, is just dumb. And it can only serve to alienate fans, who are responsible for the monetary success and popularity of the sports, which will cause a deterioration in monetary success and popularity.

In my humble opinion.
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