Monday, September 29, 2008

Peace and Justice

Just a question and looking for some thoughts.

If your church were going to start a Peace and Justice Ministry, what would that look like? What would be the goals? The methods? Should churches have peace and justice ministries? Is that too political?

Like I said, I'm just curious about people's thoughts on that.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Torn or, Is It Really Bailing Out If You Don't Solve Anything?

I'm going to take a minor break from the faith stuff that I typically do on Fridays and talk about what many others are thinking about and it's the bailout stuff. Maybe you're tired of it, but for the last two weeks, I've been basically glued to the TV news stations with the coverage of the election and now the financial meltdown. As with many things, I'm of two minds on this, so let me share.

Fiscal Conservative:
Let'em burn. People can talk about CRA and lower income people taking out loans they shouldn't have and those are important points. But here's the deal. Wall Street got greedy. They (stereotyping for effect and ease of writing) wanted to keep their share prices up and keep themselves in power and so many of the financial firms got so deep into loans that they had 1) no business backing and 2) no business investing in that they deserve to go down. Was there governmental pressure on this as far back as Carter? Yep. More so with Clinton? Probably. But the enthusiasm with which the firms sold and invested in these loans was staggering. Were they so blinded by greed that they couldn't see what even I an English major/user interface designer could see? That the housing bubble had to pop and the whole meltdown could really happen? Or did they see it coming and just want to find the fine line between profit and meltdown?

And bailout? Why the frak should we bail them out? With my tax dollars! I work hard. I don't live extravagantly, outside my means. My wife is at home with our kids. We have a paid for car. We don't have credit cards. We give, we save. We pay our bills on time. Why should we bail out people who got so greedy that they screwed themselves? If I got in over my head in bad debt and investments, would Bernanke and Paulson ride to my rescue and take over my debt? I doubt it. So let'em burn. It'll be bad for a while, but those of us who can ride it out will be better on the other side and maybe we can stop basing our economy on bad debts and bad credit and pursuing the mythical "American Dream." Maybe the Americian Dream shouldn't be home ownership any more; maybe it should be having a $1000 emergency fund in the bank.

Bleeding-Heart Liberal:
Yeah, but if we do that, what about the people who are able to save and to pay and could potentially be roadkill in the path of a crumbling economy. If the financial institutions fail, what are the repercussions of that? How many jobs will be lost? How many more homes foreclosed?

And if the government mandated that loan regulations be relaxed to help low income families get houses, doesn't the goverment have a moral responsibility to help take care of the families that got into those loans and the businesses that enabled that? Even if there was too little regulation before, we've got to get it right now. The government needs to help solve what it helped cause.

Reality (or one version of it):
Look, there's almost assuredly going to be a bailout. It's mainly just the details that have to get worked out. What needs to be decided from this point on is whether the culture of greed in the financial markets will be held in check or if they'll view the bailout has helping them dodge the meltdown bullet. There will most likely be more banks to fail. There will be more businesses collapse, but unless the culture changes, it's just forestalling what seems to be inevitable at some point.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


"I was convinced an Obama/McCain campaign would be measurably different on almost all standards. And to watch it become Bush/Kerry, Bush/Gore, has been one of the most dissatisfying experiences. " - Jon Stewart

Entertainment Weekly Interview with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Heroes Wednesday: Premiere

Look, the 2nd season of Heroes wasn't good. It just wasn't. There were good things about it, but they got really locked into the same pattern as the first season with new characters, when we'd all grown attached to the characters from the first season and didn't really care much about the new ones.

The premiere Monday was... Ok, here one thing that I've learned about watching Heroes is that I really have to turn my brain into its lower gear. I can't nitpick as much because then I realize how ultimately dumb the show is. And it's ok to like a dumb show. I can't do things like think about how people should use their powers. For instance, when Claire locked herself in the closet to hide from Sylar, was this his thought process? "I'm evil. I have magnificent telekinetic powers. The thing that I've been pursuing for a long time is on the other side of a wooden slats door chained with a thin chain. I think I'll wait her out, instead of using my powers or say... my foot." See, I can't think too deeply about it. It's almost the opposite of Lost where they want you to OVER-think it.

At any rate, on a purely dumb show level, Monday night was great. I thought they did a great job setting up the arcs for the season and coming up with tolerable solutions to the last season. I really think that where they're going with stuff is going to be fun and as long as I don't think about why FuturePeter didn't just teleport away from FutureDarkClaire and the like, I'll be just fine with it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good Place

I've used this blog a lot to talk about the issues that I've had with raising kids, and there are always issues with busy-ness and life and such.

But I have to say that I really love it right now. My morning starts with getting Connor up and out of bed and dressed and so I get to see him every morning. He gives me hugs and I send him in to help wake Kinsey up. She gets up and they watch Playhouse Disney together while eating breakfast. That's usually where they are when I leave so I get goodbye kisses and tell them to have a Magnificent Monday, Terrific Tuesday, and so on.

When I get home in the afternoon, I change and then will play with them for a while. Right now, we can go outside and play in the backyard, swinging or playing ball or something. We eat dinner together and then it's bath time. If they have time, they play for a little while (not too much splashing) and then we get them in their PJs and get them into bed. I'll read a few pages of the Harry Potter book we're currently on (Prisoner of Azkaban, right now), and get them into bed. Last night, Kinsey read a chapter from her Magic Treehouse series and it was so good to hear her reading so smoothly and enjoying it.

Are the kids perfect? No. Sheryl and I still struggle with Kinsey being polite and listening to us and we had to force Connor to eat last night and bribe him with ice cream. He's getting into his 2 year old stage where he gets very selfish and wants to say "No" a lot.

But all in all, we're in a really good place right now. I know it's not going to last, and that's ok. I just want to make sure I hold onto these times for the times 6 years from now when Kinsey slams her door shut and tells us that she hates us and we'll never understand her because we're too old and don't remember what it's like to be a teenager. Ahhh, good "future" times...

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Question About Atonement

There has been a old line that atheists used about God: "Can God make a rock that God cannot lift?" Of course, this kind of physical limitation of God is one that's supposed to drive theists nuts, but it actually leads me to another thought, specifically about the atonement.

The traditional idea behind the atonement (death of Jesus as payment for our sins) is that the relationship between God and humans is irrevocably broken. The sin that we commit separates us from God. And because God is Holy and cannot be in the presence of that which is not holy, we cannot be in relationship with God. Only because Jesus died as a sacrifice for us was God's anger/wrath removed and God could could then return to relationship with us.

So here's the thought. The implication of this idea is that there is a law that even God cannot break. That what is Holy and Other cannot mix with that which is not. Some might say that God's Holiness is not really a part of a law per se, but a part of God's nature and for God to mingle with unholiness would be as foreign to that nature as a cat trying to fly.

But here's the question that I have. Is the Law/Rule of Holiness more powerful than God? Is this a law so powerful that even God cannot break it?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

YouTube Thursday Part Deux: Joe Cocker (Captioned for the Clear Headed)

Joe Cocker, "With a Little Help From My Friends." Woodstock, 1969. Closed captioned for the clear-headed.

YouTube Thursday: McCain Gets Barack-Rolled

Do you know what RickRolling is? It is/was basically a bait and switch tactic where you would tell someone to watch a video, give them the link, and they would get the Rick Astley video for "Never Gonna Give You Up." So I would potentially say, "Hey check out this video of a cute baby!" And there you go.

Well someone put up a video where John McCain gets Barack-Rolled. It's pretty amusing. If you like that sort of thing....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Murray Sanderson

On Sunday morning, the elders at Otter Creek announced that Murray Sanderson would be joining the ministerial staff as the worship minister. You can read his perspective on the move here.

Honestly, I don't know Murray well and my only experience with him and his family was on Sunday morning. However, just from that experience, I don't doubt that he is a great choice for this position and will be great at guiding OC in worship for years to come. Plus the fact that he really appreciates the tech side of things in the worship experience and is a Mac guy are just pluses for him anyway.

Sheryl and I are both looking forward to working with him regularly and getting to know him and his family further.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Soccer Pictures

Pretend for a moment that you're looking at pictures of Kinsey playing soccer.

See? She just kicked the ball.

Now look, she's running behind the play and trying to get into it...

Oh man, look at the smile on that girl's face.

That's what you'll see if you come back later tonight...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Palin/Fey - Clinton/Poehler

If you didn't see the opening to Saturday Night Live on Saturday, you really should...


Ever notice that gas never goes down as quickly as it goes up? I'd like to see gas drop 60 cents in 8 hours every now and then.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Question of the Day...

How political was Jesus' message and life? Is it limiting to His message and purpose to relate Him to a "community organizer"? Or does it expand it?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

YouTube Thursday (Fun Version): Best Game Ever

You might have seen videos from Improv Everywhere. Frozen Grand Central Station, Shirtless Abercrombie & Fitch, Cell Phone Symphony, Fake U2, etc.

However, my favorite one has to be this one where they made a little league game into the best game ever (with the help of NBC Sports).

YouTube Thursday (Serious Version): False Palin Rumors

CNN ran a good report the other day about some of the false rumors going around about Sarah Palin: cutting special needs funding, banning books, mandating the teaching of Biblical Creationism. Worth Watching.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Switch: My Journey from Mac and Back Again, Starring a Frozen Hard Drive

For my entire high school, college, and teaching years, I was a Mac guy. I wasn't one of those annoying Mac guys that believed that Steve Jobs had cried tears of gold on every Mac produced, but I really liked using them and enjoyed it. When I left teaching, I went to work for a company that didn't use Macs and to be able to work from home, I needed a PC. And based on being a Screensavers fan, I knew that I could probably build it myself and so I went for it. Which means that for the last 6 years, I've been a PC guy. Except for the iPod and then earlier this year, the iPhone.

Well, last Wednesday, I suffered a major hard drive crash. Couldn't get back into Windows at all. And I hadn't backed up in a while... Lots of lost data and especially pictures. Lots of pictures. I was crushed and Sheryl was fairly unhappy with me. The computer had been having issues for a while and we'd been thinking about replacing it. When this happened we decided to take the plunge and return to the land of Macs by getting a refurbished iMac. But that didn't solve the problem of the existing crashed hard drive.

Well, I tried putting the hard drive into an external enclosure to retrieve the info and that didn't work. I then purchased a program that I could run to try and retrieve the data. It kept hanging and wouldn't recover. And so I tried the last resort before taking it to a professional.

I stuck the hard drive in the freezer.

Yes. I put it in a plastic bag and stuck it into the freezer for an hour.

After that time frame, I put it back into the hard drive enclosure, and lo and behold, the hard drive appeared on the Mac and minus a few hangups here and there, I was able to get ALL the data off it that I needed, especially the precious pictures we had. And so now, we've had a successful switch. I'll be loading Windows onto the iMac in the next week or so for those few times that I need it, backing up regularly (in a couple of places), and enjoying my excursion into the land of Mac.

Addendum: For those interested, here's an article about why freezing a hard drive can help recover data.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Soccer Time

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook (or even here from a couple of weeks back), you know that Kinsey started soccer a couple of weeks ago and on Saturday, she had her first game. I've got pictures, but haven't had a chance to upload them. I'm honestly not sure if her team, the Pink Polar Bears won, but Kinsey did score a goal that I'm pretty sure was accidental, but she was still very excited by it.

Soccer still makes Tuesdays very busy days, but playing on Saturday was a ton of fun.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Re-Post: Get Off Your Ass and Do Something

Re-Post from 3 years ago.

I’ve always loved the story of the Good Samaritan. I’ve always loved the idea of someone showing kindness to someone else, but only recently have I begun to realize the serious call this puts on our lives as Christians.

As I’ve read the Gospels, I’ve noticed that Jesus reserves his harshest criticism for those who think they’ve got their beliefs right, but do nothing to act on them. This parable is no different as there are two members of the Jewish clergy who pass by the beaten man. Jesus always had strong words to speak against the religious authorities whether in Temple, or calling them a brood of vipers, or here in this story.

And to make it even more remarkable is that a Samaritan is the one who is the hero. He’s the one who gets off of his donkey and cares for the man. An outcast; a heretic. And when Jesus says, “Go and do likewise,” he’s telling a Jew to go and act like this Samaritan. To show mercy and kindness and compassion.

This is the call of the Gospel. This is the call of Christ. Jesus says here that our neighbor is anyone in need. Faith is good. Believing certain things seems important to Jesus. But if we do not act on those beliefs with compassion and love for each other, that faith is dead. If we don’t bother to get off our donkeys to care for people, we are not truly followers of the Christ whose name we purport to wear.

So I pose the question to the readers: What is our obligation to the poor? How involved to we get? Is donating funds enough? Should we get involved with the lives of the poor rather than kowtowing to the rich?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

YouTube Thursday: Both Sides of Their Mouths

I am an unabashed fan of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I make no apologies for it. I know people don't like him, but frankly, they're just wrong. (I'm kidding, of course).

Last night, in their continuing coverage of the Republican National Convention, the Daily Show did what it does best and hoisted political blowhards by their own petards (Non-English major translation: let them hang themselves by their own words). And it was abso-frakkin'-lutely brilliant.

This was in the spirit of the classic Daily Show segment (President) Bush vs. (2000 Candidate) Bush from 2003.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Otter Creek Update and Vespers

I know that there are some outliers who read my blog to keep up on some level with what's going on at Otter Creek, and obviously we're in a major time of transition right now, so here's what's going on.

As you remember, Brandon Scott Thomas resigned from his position back in December and if you keep track of his blog, you know that he's become the Cruise-Meister. On the worship leader front at Otter Creek, we've had some tryouts but no one has fit the position yet. We're having another one soon, but as of now the position is unfilled. It's been interesting because Otter Creek is very blessed to have some really talented people to lead us in worship, but I know that many are ready for a worship leader.

Also, Tim Woodroof announced his resignation in June. Since then, he's been preaching part time at OC and doing other seminars. As of right now, there's been no announcement about the process for finding the next teaching minister, so most of us are just waiting to see what happens next.

Finally, as I also wrote, Scott Owings resigned his position back in April to go to work for a hospice here in Nashville. It's obviously hard and draining work, but work he's well suited for. However, I am excited to say that he will continue (in a voluntary position) his work on the Otter Creek Vespers service, that restarts TONIGHT at 7pm. If you're looking for a contemplative service that has a more liturgical feel (yes, within a Church of Christ), drop by 409 Franklin Road in Brentwood at 7. See you there.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I saw in Connor another glimpse of myself the other day. He was playing with a toy that was supposed to fit together nicely and it didn't, because, well, he's 2 and can't work that stuff out as easily. He took the pieces and with a loud grunt/growl threw them to the ground. I immediately went over and asked what was wrong. He babbled something at me and then together we put the pieces where they went.

It was weird to see that, because I had a terrible temper as a child, up through my teenage years. If ANYTHING didn't go the way I excepted it to go, I would explode with anger. It caused me quite a bit of trouble too, getting into fights and the like. I guess it's just one of those things where you see it and hope to guide him as best as possible to avoid having to learn some of the hard lessons that I had to learn too.

Or, it could be that he's two years old and had a temper tantrum. What do I know? :-)
Template Designed by Douglas Bowman - Updated to Beta by: Blogger Team
Modified for 3-Column Layout by Hoctro